Vegan Italian Zucchini Boats + Homemade Pizza Sauce

It has been way too long since I’ve shared a recipe with you! When I came home in August to visit my family and take a break from being out in the middle of nowhere, I finally had the chance to create a recipe. I really missed my kitchen, I will never take it for granted again! Oh kitchen, how I love you.

Anyways back to these delicious zucchini boats. I’ve seen these over the inter webs before along with every other stuffed vegetable. You have stuffed peppers, squash, potatoes, tomatoes, avocado, pumpkin and more. I wanted to make something at home that was a single serving and froze well so I could take it up here and just pop it into the oven when I was hungry. These zucchini boats are low carb, gluten free and vegan while still being high in fiber and protein thanks to the chickpeas. You don’t have to add the pizza sauce (it was randomly in my fridge so I decided to add it in) to the filling but trust me you will want to because it took these boats from great to these-are-so-delicious-I-want-to-eat-it-straight-from-the-pan. I refrained on the last part :).

Vegan Italian Zucchini Boats

2 zucchini, halved lengthwise
2 minced garlic cloves
½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp coconut or olive oil
Half of a yellow pepper diced (that’s all I had, but can easily use a full pepper)
½ cup pizza sauce (recipe below)
1 cup drained and rinsed chickpeas
Homemade Pizza Sauce
Adapted from Real House Moms

2 tbsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic minced
2 cans tomato paste (6 oz. each)
1 can of water (can of tomato paste)
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese (to make vegan omit cheese or substitute a vegan alternative)
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 tsp fennel seed

Directions – Pizza Sauce: Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté the garlic in the oil until it becomes fragrant. Add in the 2 cans of tomato paste, 1 can of water (may need more, judge by thickness), parmesan cheese, basil, oregano, salt, sugar, black pepper, bay leaf and fennel seed. Give it a big stir and lit it simmer on low for 30-60 minutes. When it is done remove the bay leaf and let cool if not using right away. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Directions – Zucchini Boats: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Start by washing your zucchini and cut lengthwise so you have 4 zucchini halves. Take a spoon and hollow out each half, being careful not to go through the zucchini. Put the scooped insides into a bowl. Cut up your pepper into bite sized pieces, at this point you also want to chop the zucchini insides and add it to the pepper. In a skillet pour your desired oil, and add the 2 minced garlic cloves and sauté until it becomes fragrant. To the skillet add the pepper/zucchini mixture, basil, oregano and red pepper flakes. Cook until the peppers are soft. Add your chickpeas and pizza sauce and cook until the sauce and chickpeas become warm. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the zucchini halves on the sheet. Evenly distribute the mixture into each zucchini boat. Place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes or until the zucchini is soft and insides are hot. Serve and enjoy!
 If you wanted to make these not vegan you could easily sub the chickpeas for ground turkey, chicken or beef. Personally I think beef would be great because beef is great with all Italian food. And what would kick these up another notch is adding some shredded cheese on top :). I did add some cheddar to mine the other day and it was heavenly. Although I think mozzarella would be even better.
These also freeze well. When the boats have cooled, wrap each one indivdually in tin foil and place in the freezer. When you’re ready to eat it, bake in the oven from frozen at 400 F until hot. I don’t reccomend letting it thaw out as it became mushy, much easier to do it from frozen. Enjoy!

Sunday Set Up #19

10 points for me for putting this Sunday Set Up on a Sunday! I watched the third Harry Potter movie last night and am all 5 points for this, and 10 points for that. I forgot how much I love the Harry Potter movies. They’re probably one of my favorite movie series to watch and never get sick of. I’ve read all the books expect the last one, I’ve been on the same page for like 7 years. Same with the Twilight and Hunger Games series. I always start the last book but never finish it. Now that I’ve seen how Twilight and Harry Potter ends I don’t know if I’ll read the last book. I probably will just to finish it but I really want to finish the last Hunger Games book. The movie comes out on November 21st and I want to finish the book before I see the movie. I’m going to give myself a deadline of November 20th, you need to hold me to it!

Fitness
  • Stretch lower body everyday (Even though this is such a simple task, I always forget!)
  • Create a fitness plan (What to do on what day)
  • Go for a run

 Food

  • Continue to eat 2 servings of vegetables at lunch and dinner
  • Create a meal plan for the next 2 weeks

Sleep

  • Continue getting to bed early

You

  • Treat myself to a expensive food purchase (You know the foods that you really want to try but don’t because they’re a ridiculous price? Well I’m going to indulge my wallet and my mouth)

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Friday Faves: Pumpkin Edition

Wow, me blogging during the week? That’s a rarity these days. But you can thank the stomach bug that has me down for the day. I’ve been sitting here in my bed looking up recipes and watching netflix, all day. I am so not a sedentary person and I am going crazy not being able to be active. The thought of a walk just makes my stomach turn, plus the mosquitoes have come out of hiding and I’m back to my daily bites. I did go a while without getting one and now I’ve gotten 10 in the past 2 days. No bueno.

So what does one do when they’re not feeling well? Look up every pumpkin recipe imaginable that’s what. And I cannot wait until I visit home next weekend and make all the things pumpkin. I’m talking a waffle pumpkin french toast recipe (say what?!), pumpkin bars, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pancakes. You name it and it will be pumpkinfied. Surely I’m not going to be able to make all those things, but I assure you waffle pumpkin french toast is happening. It is so happening and I cannot wait.

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But here are some of the pumpkin recipes I found that I think you might enjoy too! Even if it is only the 5th of September, September is pretty much the gateway to fall so go ahead and bake your pumpkin hearts out!

Happy baking!

Sunday Set Up #18

Long time no post! Sorry for being MIA, it’s been a busy week. I went home for the first time since being up here on Saturday and wanted to spend as much time with my family as I could. So I put this weeks Sunday Set Up aside for this week. It was a really good few days at home, but now it’s back to that work life. I definitely take advantage of having a dishwasher, a big bed and a mom that cooks for me. All three of those things I do not have up here and didn’t know how much I truly missed them until I got back! Even though I do love to cook myself, it was nice not having to do it and relaxing during dinner prep :).

By the way, where has summer gone?! I feel like summer has just started when in reality we’re only a couple weeks away from autumn. I’m not gonna lie, I’m pretty excited. Like really excited. Autumn is definitely my favourite season. I love the crisp cool air, halloween, warm drinks, the leaves changing colors, being able to wear a sweater without dying and the most important PUMPKIN! I am definitely on the pumpkin everything train. Pumpkin pancakes, waffles, muffins, bread, cookies, candles etc… I love love love pumpkin. But have yet to try the pumpkin spice lattee from Starbucks (probably the only person on the planet who hasn’t tried it). Honestly I’ve never ordered it because it’s full of sugar, unhealthy fat and unnecessary calories. But you know what? I really want to try it and I love pumpkin and I’m going to let myself indulge in this very rare treat. I am not going to hold myself back any longer, bring it on pumpkin spice lattee! I’m ready for you.

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Okay back to the title of this post, Sunday Set Up! 
Fitness
  • Stretch lower body everyday 
  • Workout 4x this week (heart pumping, sweat dripping workouts!)
  • Go for a run

 Food

  • Continue to eat 2 servings of vegetables at lunch and dinner
  • Meal prep for lunch 

Sleep

  • Continue getting to bed early

You

  • Treat myself to lunch or dinner out
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Sunday Set Up #17

Whoops I’m a day late but never late than never! So a little update on my knee, it’s been sore for the past couple of days so I decided to roll my IT band and that just made my IT really sore for two days. But here I am two days later and it feels much better. I thought the knee pain I was feeling was due to a tight IT band and I was right. I’m going to continue to roll it out but much more gentler, I don’t want to bruise anything.

And do you see this?! It’s actually a sunny day! Up here in Muskoka the past week has been cold, dreary rainy weather. I am welcoming this sunny warm day with open arms. I forgot what sun looked like! It is a perfect day.

Fitness
  • Stretch lower body everyday 
  • Create a fitness plan
  • Work out before work at least 2x this week

 Food

  • Try to eat 2 servings of vegetables at lunch and dinner

Sleep

  • Continue getting to bed early

You

  • Read a book at sunset or early morning by the beach

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Luna and Mojo Bars Review

Hey! I am so excited to write my first review, and on something totally awesome. There are so many options of bars these days. High protein, high fiber, low carb, low sugar, vegan, gluten free etc… But I’ve never seen a bar made just for woman. LUNA bars have the vitamins and minerals woman need most to help us stay healthy. From clifbar.caCreated by and for women, LUNA bars were the first bars just for us, with the vitamins and minerals our bodies need to stay healthy. Wholesome nourishment and delicious indulgence, they are made with 70% organic ingredients and are just plain yummy.” They have 14 different flavors, but not all are available in Canada. These also aren’t gluten free, however they don’t contain gluten there is some cross contamination. I was able to tolerate it but don’t try them if you aren’t sure.

I contacted LUNA and they sent me 2 different flavors to try: Chocolate Peppermint and Lemon Zest. In addition, the kind people at LUNA also sent me their new MOJO bars to try. I found these similar to kindbars with there being a nut and dried fruit combination. MOJO bars are gluten free, a source of fiber and as with LUNA are made with 70% organic ingredients. These bars were very filling due to the higher fat content and moderate protein.

First is the MOJO bars:

Dark Chocolate Almond: There were nice big chunks of almonds and chocolate. I liked the chocolate coating on the bottom as it was like eating a healthier chocolate bar. Not overly sweet despite having 9g of sugar. My favorite of the MOJO bars.

Coconut Almond Peanut: I liked that you could taste the almonds, peanuts and coconut evenly throughout the bar. Loved that it only had 5g of sugar and it had the perfect combination of sweet and salty. If you don’t have a big sweet tooth I would recommend this one. 

Chocolate Cherry Almond: Found this one a little too sweet for me. It did have a nice chocolate taste and I liked the chunks of chocolate and almonds. Would prefer a less sweet bar.

Now onto the LUNA bars:


Chocolate Peppermint: Definitely my favorite. Perfect ratio of chocolate to peppermint. I liked the peppermint coating on the bottom and liked that it didn’t taste too sweet. Chocolate flavor could be a little bit stronger but overall it was delicious.

Lemon Zest: The lemon flavor could of been a little stronger but still had that nice lemon taste. For being called zest it could of had a punch more flavor but overall I would buy it again.

I definitely recommend any of these bars as they are nutritious and delicious. If you’re craving something sweet or in need of a quick snack, these will do you a lot more good instead of a chocolate bar or a bag of chips, while still satisfying that sweet tooth in a healthier good for you way.

Disclaimer: LUNA did send me these bars for free in return for a review. All opinions and thoughts are my own.

Sunday Set Up #16

It’s Sunday, and you know what that means… Sunday Set Up! It’s a great time to lay out what you want to accomplish for the week and get yourself together for the new week.

I’ve made a goal of creating a meal plan for the past two weeks and I have been following through with it and I have to say I am loving it. When I look at what I’m going to be eating each day I get excited, it’s like having my own personal chef create it even though it’s me. It helps me determine what I need to eat before it goes bad and also saves time as I know exactly what I’m making. I’m not rummaging through the fridge wondering what to make. It’s my new favorite thing!

Fitness
  • Stretch lower body everyday 
  • Work lower body 2x this week 
  • Work out before work at least 2x this week
  • Run at least once (knee was starting up again)

 Food

  • Try to eat 2 servings of vegetables at lunch and dinner

Sleep

  • Continue getting to bed early

You

  • Read a book at sunset by the beach(can’t remember if I did this)
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Sunday Set Up #15

Sorry for the late Sunday Set Up! The wifi isn’t the best out here, so it’s hard to upload posts sometimes. We might be upgrading our internet this week (fingers crossed!) which would make things a lot easier. Although it is nice to be out here with distractions of TV and computer, it would be nice to catch up on a couple episodes that I’ve missed. It can also get a little boring when on your days off, so having something to watch would be nice. I’m off today but we have bright blue sunny skies, so I think my day will be spent down by the beach working on my tan :).

Here it is!

Fitness
  • Stretch lower body everyday 
  • Work lower body 2x this week
  • Run 3x this week

 Food

  • Create a meal plan
  • Try to eat 2 servings of vegetables at lunch and dinner

Sleep

  • Continue getting to bed early (I went to bed before 10pm these past two nights!)

You

  • Read a book at sunset by the beach

Sunday Set Up #14

I feel like in the summer the weeks just fly by, anyone else feel that way? Being up here in Muskoka has got my days all confused. Despite being a Sunday, it feels like a Monday and Friday’s don’t feel like Friday’s. Every day just feels like the same, it’s taking a bit to get used too. But check out this view:

Beautiful right? This was before the mosquitoes decided it was time to feast on me, yet again. I have over twenty mosquito bites and for whatever reason mine like to turn into big welts, and the more I scratch the more swollen they become. I’m getting used to seeing my hands, legs and arms as big as balloons. It’s not pretty and they can stop anytime, but the view makes up for it…kind of. I’d like to go back to having regular sized body parts please.

Anyways, this week I worked out six times! I am so proud and am feeling really good. It’s getting easier to wake up before work and workout and I like having it out of the way. I don’t have the workout cloud looming over me when I get home which is always nice.

Fitness
  • Stretch lower body everyday 
  • Create a fitness schedule (what to do on this day)

 Food

  • Create a meal plan
  • Try to eat 2 servings of vegetables at lunch and dinner

Sleep

  • Be in bed by 11pm

You

  • Give myself a pedicure (Gah! Need to do this, my toes need some TLC).
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Sunday Set Up #13

Hello from Muskoka!

Unfortunately it isn’t that nice today, it’s cloudy and been raining on and off. But it has cleared up a bit so I’m going to go for a walk. I do like being up here but it has really messed up my workout routine. I do a lot of videos online and the wifi is pretty slow. So I’m just doing whatever, at least it’s better than nothing!  So with this week being my first week here things on last Sunday Set Up didn’t get accomplished, but here’s to a new week! 

Fitness
  • Stretch lower body everyday 
  • Go for a hike
  • Try to exercise 3x this week

 Food

  • Create a meal plan
  • Try to eat 2 servings of vegetables at lunch and dinner

Sleep

  • Be in bed by 11pm

You

  • Give myself a pedicure