“clean out the pantry” zucchini muffins

Hi everyone! Hope your week is off to a fabulous start! Allyn and I are deep in the process of packing up our lives to move to our new house this coming Saturday! Where does the time go??

I have made it my personal mission to clean out our kitchen cupboards by using up as many ingredients as possible in our meals this week. By far, my favorite improvised recipe has been these zucchini-banana muffins, which I have dubbed “clean out the pantry” muffins because they enabled me to polish off a huge container of rolled oats, bags of flour and sugar, AND use up a zucchini and banana that were on their last legs! For some reason, finishing off almost-empty containers of ingredients makes me feel ridiculously satisfied, and doing so right before our move has increased my excitement level by tenfold. Muffins for the WIN!

I’ll definitely be making these babies again, even when I’m not trying to clean out our pantry. 🙂 They are perfectly moist, with a hint of sweetness, and give me a boost of energy to power through the morning. I especially love them topped with peanut butter!

The only thing I neglected to do, in my packing daze, was to snap a photo. You’ll just have to use your imagination. I hope you make these for yourself — and if you do, you can post a photo in the comments and help a girl out!

“clean out the pantry” zucchini-banana muffins

1 cup flour {I used a mixture of spelt & white whole wheat flours}
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1 medium ripe banana, mashed {about 1/2 cup}
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup turbinado sugar {you can use more if you would like a sweeter muffin}
1 large egg
1/3 cup melted coconut oil, cooled to room temperature {or canola or vegetable oil}
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup shredded zucchini
optional add-ins: chocolate chips, nuts, raisins, dried cranberries

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with paper cups or grease well.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour(s), oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and shredded coconut.
3. In a large bowl, combine mashed banana, yogurt, sugar, egg, coconut oil, and vanilla. Stir until well combined.
4. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and stir gently until incorporated.
5. Squeeze the zucchini in a paper towel to remove excess liquid. Fold the zucchini into the batter.
6. Fill each muffin cup about 3/4 full with batter. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

pumpkin pasta

Happy Thursday, everyone! I’m in a super happy mood because my brother Greg is arriving this evening for a long weekend visit! I’m leaving right after I finish teaching to go pick him up at the airport. I am sooooo excited to see him! 🙂

I have another new recipe to share with you today for pumpkin week! I made this last night after seeing a recipe on AllRecipes.com that compared this sauce to “inside-out pumpkin ravioli” … I’ve never had pumpkin ravioli but it sounds really delicious. So I thought I would give this pumpkin pasta sauce a whirl. And I’m so glad I did! It was even better than I expected.

I was starving when I got home from school this evening {a little later than usual because I had a meeting after class for Sycamore Review, the literary magazine I work for} so I discovered an added bonus of this recipe: it comes together pretty quickly! I made the sauce while the pasta was cooking, and the entire thing was ready to eat in about 15-20 minutes.

pumpkin pasta

– 1 package noodles of your choice {I used whole-wheat spaghetti; I think penne would also be delicious}
– 1 tbsp butter
– 1 tbsp flour
– 1 small onion, diced
– 1 tbsp minced garlic
– 1 zucchini, diced
– 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
– 1/2 cup skim milk
– 1 cup pumpkin puree
– 1 tsp onion powder
– 1 tsp garlic powder
– 1 tsp chili powder
– 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
– salt & pepper to taste
– grated Parmesan cheese to taste

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions.

2. While pasta is cooking, melt butter in a large pot and saute onion, garlic and zucchini. Add flour and stir to make a rue.

3. Add the chicken broth, milk, and pumpkin. Stir together until well blended.

4. Add the onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt and pepper.

5. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, until sauce reaches desired thickness.

6. Drain the pasta. Add sauce to the drained pasta, and toss with the Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

I served mine with fresh baked French bread. It was the perfect complement to the pasta and I loved mopping up the sauce at the bottom of my bowl with the warm bread. {Something I wouldn’t do in a restaurant, but at home it seems okay!} 🙂

Hope your week is going great! Tomorrow, I’ll have a classic pumpkin recipe for you to wrap up the work week: pumpkin pie!



– Time: 20 mins
– Cost: about $8

coconut zucchini muffins

Happy Friday, everyone!

Now that I’m settling fully into my school routine, I’ve found myself baking muffins even more frequently than usual. When I can make healthy, fruit-or-veggie-filled versions at home, they’re the perfect thing to grab for breakfast on my way out the door or bring as a snack to eat between classes.

Since I love coconut, I was really excited to see this recipe on one of my favorite food blogs Two Peas & Their Pod for coconut zucchini bread. One look at the delectable photos was all it took to convince me I needed to try it out myself! I tweaked it to make coconut zucchini muffins. Here’s my take:

coconut zucchini muffins

– 1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
– 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1 teaspoon cinnamon
– 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
– 1 & 1/2 cups shredded zucchini (squeezed and drained in a paper towel)
– 1/2 cup brown sugar
– 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
– 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt at room temperature
– 1 large egg, at room temperature
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line a muffin tin with papers and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

3. In a separate large bowl, combine shredded zucchini, sugar, applesauce, yogurt, egg, and vanilla extract.

4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until moistened. Stir in the shredded coconut.

5. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tins. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. I also sprinkled some extra cinnamon on top of each muffin about 10 minutes into the baking time.

These turned out great! Delicious and healthy, a perfect breakfast or snack or even dessert.

Have a wonderful day! Happy baking!


-Time spent: about 1 hour, including bake time
-Cost: less than $5.00

If you liked this recipe, you might also enjoy this recipe for chocolate spice zucchini muffins!

chocolate spice zucchini muffins

As you have probably figured out by now, I love baking. I haven’t met many baked goods that I don’t like! {I have an especially hard time staying away from the bakery items at Starbucks … I always go in planning to just get a healthy green tea, but the pumpkin bread and/or maple scones love to call my name!}

That said, I do love baking things myself because I love taking a delicious recipe and tweaking it to make it healthier, while hopefully still retaining the deliciousness level.

Which is why when I came across this recipe for chocolate zucchini muffins, I was super excited to try it out. Anytime you can figure out a way to sneak some veggies into a chocolate fix seems like a win to me!

These turned out chocolatey, moist and I liked the hints of cinnamon and spice. They’re pretty healthy as far as muffins go. You could probably add some frosting to these too if you wanted to make some uber-healthy cupcakes!

chocolate spice zucchini muffins

– 3 egg whites
– 1/2 cup sugar {I used 1/4 cup white sugar & 1/4 cup brown sugar}
– 1/2 cup no sugar added applesauce
– 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1 cup grated zucchini
– 1 & 1/2 cups flour
– 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
– 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
– 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
– optional: mini-chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease or line a muffin tin with paper liners.

2. In a large bowl beat the egg whites. Beat in the sugar and applesauce. Add the cocoa, vanilla, zucchini and stir well.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.

4. Pour the flour mixture into the zucchini mixture and stir until just moist.

5. Pour batter into prepared muffin tins, filling them about 3/4 of the way full.

6. Optional: For a topping use any, all or a combination of the following: brown sugar, chopped nuts and mini chocolate chips. Sprinkle tops of muffins just prior to baking.

7. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool on a wire rack. Store loosely covered.

-Time: 40-45 minutes {including bake time}
-Cost: about $3