Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Zucchini has got to be one of the greatest vegetables in our garden! It can be made into so many magical things! We have had it on pizza, sautéed, grilled, fried, and today baked in a cake. I think this one is quickly becoming the family favorite recipe. After posting yesterday I was sent a few wonderful recipe ideas. I decided to take a few parts from each of them and add my own healthy twist to create a perfect new recipe that turned out amazing! The first thing I did was make gluten free flour. I have found that using oats from my pantry and grinding them quickly in the blender make the perfect flour for so many wonderful baked goods! I use a 1 to 1 ratio for all of my recipes and they come out perfect.

I ground the steel cut oats in my bullet for quick and easy clean up. The flour it produced was the perfect consistency for my cake. I really like Natures Path gluten free oats, but you can use any gluten free oats in your pantry.

The next step was to grind the zucchini in my food processor. If you do not have one you can always hand grate them too! I just love to use my kitchen gadgets and it makes cooking so much easier. The girls watched while I prepped the ingredients for this cake, and questioned vegetables and how they would taste. I promised them it would be delicious.

This cake was perfect on its own when it came out of the oven, but I thought it could use just a little extra love. I quickly made a cream cheese frosting that took this cake right over the top! The kids absolutely loved it and it was a hit in the house! The recipe is simple and a lot of the ingredients you have in your pantry. This is a wonderful summer or any time of the year cake!

Zucchini Cake

1 1/2 cups steel cut oat ground into flour*

1/2 cup organic brown sugar

1/2 cup organic cane sugar

1/2 cup melted coconut oil

1 organic brown egg

1 cup zucchini shredded fine

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Coconut oil spray for pan*

Sprinkle pink Himalayan sea salt *

Preheat oven to 350 and spray pan with coconut oil and set aside. Grind oats in blender until fine like flour. Shred zucchini in food processor and set aside 1 cup. Add brown sugar and cane sugar to bowl with melted coconut oil and mix until well combined. Add egg and mix well. Next add vanilla and spices. Once all combined add baking powder and baking soda and stir. Add flour and mix until completely combined. Finally, add zucchini and mix well. Place cake batter into 8×8 cake pan and bake for 30 minutes. Let cool before adding frosting* ( batter may be slightly wet… that is ok!!!!!! It will bake just perfectly in the oven)

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz cream cheese softened

1/2 stick butter softened ( I used salted)

1/3 cup organic brown sugar

2/3 cup organic powdered sugar

1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

In a bowl blend with hand mixer cream cheese and butter until mixed well. Add powdered sugar 1/3 at a time. Alternate brown sugar in between. * ( 1/3 powdered mix, 1/3 brown mix, 1/3 powdered mix) Add vanilla and give a final good mix. Spread on cake or eat with a spoon… it’s that good!!!!!

Homemade Pickles

We planted a few vegetables that are growing beautifully. Squash, zucchini, and cucumbers. We have more cucumbers then we know what to do with. I ran to Target and bought these adorable mason jars and could not wait to make some pickles! This morning we went to the garden and picked a few cucumbers and brought them inside. Daddy used the mandolin to slice them all to the perfect size to fit in the jars. The girls took turns measuring out the ingredients for the pickling solution. They had so much fun putting the cucumbers in the little jars. After the solution was cooked we added it to the cucumbers and put the lids on the jars. We let them cool to room temperature and placed them in the refrigerator. It is so much fun to not only cook as a family, but to try new foods from your very own garden!

We added jalapeño and crushed red pepper to this jar! Mommy and daddy’s pickles !

Cucumbers 2-3

2-3 garlic cloves chopped

Dill fresh or dried 1 -2 teaspoon

2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 cup vinegar ( white or apple cider)

1 bay leaf

* you can add mustard seed, jalapeño, onion, paprika, red pepper flakes) adjust to your liking

Put in sauce pan and cook till sugar and salt are dissolved. Slice cucumbers and place in jars. Pour solution over cucumbers and seal jars. Bring to room temperature before placing in refrigerator.

* double recipe for more 🙂

** be sure to clean jars with soap and water before using!


Summer Veggie Pizza

The smell of these veggies cooking was incredible!!!!

This summer was our first attempt at a growing a garden. We picked out just a few plants and gave it our best try. We have had great success with zucchini and squash. Actually we have an over abundance of these wonderful summer vegetables. I needed to get creative when finding ways to get my family to eat them and be excited for dinner. I decided since everyone loves pizza that would be the perfect solution. We are trying to eat more veggies and less meat so we are starting vegetarian nights. I knew this pizza would be perfect for our new veggie menu. I grabbed a few essential ingredients and put together this delicious dinner.

As the veggies were cooking, I was preheating the pizza stone in the oven. Once the whole wheat dough was done rising, I took it out of the bowl and rolled it out on the counter. I used a really good jar of sauce for this weeknight recipe but you can use any tomato sauce you like. During this pandemic I have found myself keeping staples like good quality sauce and stock on hand. Once the stone was hot and the veggies were sautéed, I got to work on constructing our pizza. I put the dough on the stone and a few spoons of sauce. Next came mozzarella cheese. I always use a good one that doesn’t have any antibiotics in it. I layered on the veggies and topped it with feta and some fresh herbs from our garden. For this pizza I chose some basil and oregano. It went in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 425. This whole wheat summer veggie pizza was what dreams are made of!!! The flavor of the squash and the cheeses were amazing together. It was as if they were meant to be. The girls loved this pizza and it was a great way to get whole grains and veggies in for the day! We felt really proud to be eating food that we grew in our own garden!!!

Summer Veggie Pizza

Whole wheat pizza dough

1 small red onion chopped

1 green zucchini chopped

1 yellow squash chopped

1 bag mozzarella

Jar tomato sauce of choice ( I used Rao’s)

1/2 cup feta

Handful basil & oregano * you can use dry

Salt & Pepper to taste

Olive oil to sauté veggies

Preheat oven to 425 with pizza stone inside. Bring whole wheat dough to room temperature in a bowl. Chop veggies and sauté in olive oil with salt and pepper till soft and golden brown. Place rolled out dough on stone and cover with sauce. Next add mozzarella cheese. Top with veggies and feta. Next rip and add basil and oregano. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes and enjoy!

Fresh from our little garden 💗

Golden Smoothie

I decided to go back to school a few months ago and I have to say it was on of the greatest decisions I’ve ever made. Nutrition and health have always been so important to me. My chronic illness is something I live with every single day, so finding ways to over come that with nutrition is my number one goal. I always knew turmeric was key for inflammation, but I have learned so much more about this miracle spice lately. It is so amazing and in my opinion should be consumed often. To learn more about turmeric and it’s wonderful benefits you can click Here . My recipe for my golden smoothie is simple, delicious, and a family favorite in our house! I hope you enjoy!

Golden Smoothie

1 frozen banana

1 cup pineapple

1 cup coconut milk

1-2 teaspoons turmeric

1 scoop protein powder

Blend! Enjoy!

A glimpse into my migraine story…

I have posted the link to my video on Healthline and I hope you can learn more about Migraines. If you have any questions or feel you may be experiencing migraines, please feel free to reach out to me. I would love to be a guide on your journey and a friend against this beast of a condition. We rare in this together.

I recently had a wonderful experience working with Healthline on a great project to bring awareness to Migraines. I have been an advocate for my chronic migraine condition for as long as I can remember and I was honored when asked to be a part of this video collaboration. I was first diagnosed with migraine with aura when I was 9 years old. At such a young age I felt like my childhood was forever changed by these visual auras. When I was in my early twenties, my migraines changed into complicated auras and Hemiplegic Migraine. My hope has always been that I was given this condition so that I can overcome the obstacles and learn to help others experiencing what I am.

My Video

Banana Bread ( GF / DF)

I have been experimenting with different homemade recipes lately. I want to make delicious and nutritious snack time options for my home. I decided to make a banana bread since the bananas from last week needed a little extra love. I have decided to be kind to my gut and reduce inflammation in my diet. Therefore we have taken on more of a gluten free and dairy free lifestyle. I have found great ways of making gluten free desserts and can’t wait to share this recipe with you! My new pantry staple is Natures Path gluten free oats. I love these oats for a morning breakfast, on top of my yogurt, or ground up for oat flour. Below is my quick banana bread recipe.

Banana Bread ( GF / DF)

1 1/2 cups gf oats ground fine in food processor

1 cup brown augar

1 stick plant based butter ( you can use any butter you like) melted

1 tsp vanilla

2 tsp baking piwder

2 eggs

3 ripe bananas mashed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mash bananas and set aside. In a separate bowl mix melted butter and sugar until well combined and smooth. Add eggs and mix well. Add vanilla and baking powder. Once all combined add oat flour and mix. Once everything is combined well add bananas. Spray 8×8 pan with coconut oil spray and bake for 30 minutes. Enjoy!

Kid approved 👍🏼

Allergy Friendly Energy Bites

I absolutely love energy bites! They are a family favorite. Since we have some allergies in our home, I have had to improvise a little on the recipe. Today we made these delicious and healthy bites. We kept to the same flavors but used allergy friendly ingredients. The girls loved making these just as much as eating them!

Energy Bites

1 cup gluten free oats

1/2 cup enjoy life mini chips

1/2 cup no nut butter

2 tbsp flax seeds

1 tsp honey

Mix well and form into balls. Chill for a few minutes and enjoy!

Some of the brands we love to use listed below!

No Nut Butter

Enjoy Life Chocolate

Flax Seed

Gluten Free Oats

What 100 means to me!

A picture is worth a thousand words. To me this picture, moment, the feeling I had is worth so much more. Hitting this milestone is not only a huge fitness goal, but also a huge accomplishment for my chronic condition. My migraines have held me back from so many things in my life. When I was young I would be afraid to go on class trips, or dates. As I got older I learned to live with my condition but it would hold me back in so many ways. I was a fitness instructor in my early twenties teaching Zumba and I loved every minute of my career. My migraine condition worsened and I was diagnosed with Hemiplegic Migraine on top of my existing chronic migraine with aura condition that I had since age 9. I was no longer able to teach class and I had to stop high intensity work outs all together. I was heartbroken.

I tried to find methods of exercise that worked for me, but anything more than a walk would make me sick. I learned through years of practice to build up my endurance. With this experience with the right combination of preventative medications I am finally where I am today. I love exercise. It is a stress reliever and makes me feel healthy. I want to be the best mom I can be and the best version of myself.

When you have a chronic condition it is important to stay healthy physically, emotionally, and mentally. When I was unable to exercise it affected me in all three ways. I was so sad and felt so down on myself. I would try to do at home fitness programs, but they would be too much for my brain. I would have a hard time completing the work outs and feel depressed. I was not able to do bur-pees or lay on the back of my head. I tried yoga too… but there are so many positions I personally cannot do because of the blood flow to my brain. There was even one day I tried to go for a jog/walk with some neighborhood moms. I was so excited to be out and about with other moms and our children. I was pushing my jogging stroller and felt so good about being outside and healthy. I was mostly walking but would occasionally jog for a few minutes. I didn’t even make it to my car before I had a full blown Hemiplegic Migraine episode. The worst part about this one for me was it happened in front of other people. I had to navigate driving home and my daughter was with me. Thank the Lord I had a very good friend with me who followed me home.

I realized I needed to find something else for fitness routine that would be kind to my brain. When my husband saw how sad I was that every exercise outlet I tried was making me sick he decided to become a Peloton family. I was so excited! When I was in my younger years I loved taking cycling classes at the gym, but I have not found the time since becoming a mom. I could not wait to be able to workout at home. Cycling is easy on my brain because I can go at my own pace. I can find classes that go at the right tempo and do not bounce or raise my heart rate too high. All of these factors contribute to an episode for me almost immediately while exercising. I started my journey of fitness again slowly. I would workout a few times a week and some days would be good and others not great. I stayed positive and worked hard at building my endurance.

As I completed my century ride I cried. The tears that rolled down my face were filled with so many emotions. I was so proud of myself. I was proud that I kept going and didn’t give up. I was proud that I didn’t let my fear of my condition stop me. I was proud that I showed up and committed to become a healthier version of myself. I was most of all proud that I showed my family that I am a strong mommy and that I am not defined by my migraines.

Removing Food Dyes is a family effort… and worth it!

Removing colors from your family food routine is not an easy task, but one that needed to be done in our home. Sophia’s behavior was awful to say the least. We could not control her tantrums and outbursts. She would be happy one minute and upset another. These were not normal toddler tantrums these were so much more. It was as if she could not control her emotions and would have outbursts that were caused by something internal. She was also experiencing horrific night terrors. We were having these nightly and they were lasting weeks at a time. I will explain the night terrors in another blog post because they are something all on their own.

We dealt with Sophia’s behavior and tantrums like most parents would. We would discipline with time out and consequences. None of these things would work. At times Sophia’s rage would be so intense all we could do was just hold her in our arms until the screaming stopped. As parents we were scared. I talked with her doctor and tried to figure out what could be wrong. We searched for answers ranging from behavior to chemical to even PANDAS. Nothing seemed to fit what Sophia was going through. We started to look at ourselves as parents and took the blame. We felt we failed as parents and needed to do better.

We had a play date for the girls in October with crafts and treats. Sophia was so excited for the play date because all of her friends best were coming over. After eating dessert, a few cupcakes and cookies, Sophia’s behavior changed. She couldn’t control her emotions and was so misbehaved it ended the party. We were so embarrassed and it triggered a doctor visit the next day. The doctor told us it was rare but maybe strep was to blame. We were on board to move forward with testing and even a sleep study for the night terrors. As parents seeing what we saw the day before in front of friends and Sophia’s peers… we knew something needed to be done.

Move forward a month to Disney World. We were on vacation in the happiest place on earth during Christmas and Sophia was on a roller coaster of emotions. The thoughts of her being over tired went through my mind. It was not until after she ate cotton candy that it clicked. She was so happy, ate the blue sugar, and became a different person. I started to document these events.

When we got home from Disney it was officially Christmas time in our home. We got our tree and we started to decorate. My mom came over to make our annual Christmas cake. Sophia was eating marshmallows, sprinkles, and licking some green frosting. After decorating she had her worst meltdown ever. She could not control herself at all. She was crying and telling us she needed us to help her. My heart broke. It was so bad I could not even discipline. All I could do was hold her. I read the marshmallow bag and saw there was blue food dye. That night Sophia had another round of night terrors. We were up all night long. She was screaming, thrashing, crying for us as we were holding her. The night terror lasted from 10 till 3. I was helpless. I started to look up anything I could find on the internet and came across food dye allergy. I was shocked at how these parents stories were identical to ours. Sophia was allergic to food dye. The colors react in a chemical way in her brain and cause her to have behavior issues, feel sick, and have night terrors. It was that night that I said we are done. I will no longer feed our family colors. As I did more research I was shocked and disgusted to see what these colors really were. They are not allowed in other countries but given freely to our children and widely marketed in the U.S..

I woke up the next morning and cleared out the pantry, refrigerator, toothpaste, and everything else I could think of. We started with a clean slate. Within a few days Sophia’s uncontrollable tantrums were completely gone. Her night terrors were completely gone. Her anxiety started to improve. Her behavior is now night and day. When she has food dye by accident these behaviors come back instantly. It is scary to see. She is 5 and we do the best we can to avoid all triggers. At home we have zero food dye. We tell all family and friends there is no food dyes allowed. When she is at a birthday party she knows her limits and does the best she can to avoid the dyes. If she accidentally ingests them her behavior reflects this within thirty minutes.

We have found great products to keep her life as normal as possible. I bake goodies at home and offer to bring our own to parties. I will follow up with a blog post to include some of our favorite no- dye brands. Keeping our family happy and healthy is my number one priority.

Sunbutter blossom cookies

My sweet Priscilla has a peanut allergy. This allergy is something new for our family and started just this year. We are navigating the holiday season and learning how to make our favorite recipes allergy friendly. One of our favorite cookies is the Peanut Butter Blossom cookie. I decided to make our own version using Sunbutter and they turned out perfect!

1¾ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 stick butter

⅓ cup sunbutter

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup packed brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

Blend butter and Sunbutter until smooth. Add sugars and blend again. Add egg and vanilla. Once we’ll combined add dry ingredients and mix until completely blended. Make 1 inch balls and roll in white sugar. Bake on cookie sheet for 9 minutes. Take out of oven a place Hershey kiss on top immediately. Let cool. Enjoy!