Posts tagged healthy

Pumpkin Granola Muffins

Due to the fact that we are currently home bound due to getting 40″ of snow in 24 hours two days ago, we have been doing lots of baking.  We just made these for the first time today and boy are they yummy. We LOVE anything pumpkin in our house, so we are always looking for a new recipe that includes vitamin packed pumpkin.  This recipe was adapted from one I saw from Libby’s Pumpkin website.

Here is what you need:

1 c. whole wheat flour 143809lrg

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/8 tsp. allspice

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

3/4 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 c. packed brown sugar

1/4 c. canola oil

1 can pumpkin

2 eggs

1/2 c. mini chocolate chips

1/ 2 – 1 c. low-fat granola

Here is what you do:  

Preheat the oven to 350. Then beat together the sugar and the oil until well combined.  Next add the pumpkin and the two eggs to the brown sugar and oil. Beat this until very well combined. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, baking powder and baking soda.  If you have it on hand, you could use pumpkin pie spice in place of the nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice.  Add the dry mixture slowly to the wet ingredients and beat slowly to combine.  Finally stir in the chocolate chips.

Once combined, spoon batter into lightly greased mini muffin tins. Fill almost completely. Then top each muffin with about a 1/2 tsp of granola. Press the granola into the batter slightly.  Bake for about 18-20 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

These muffins are a wonderful snack for both kids and adults.  They are healthy and not overly sweet, but the mini chocolate chips made my kids think they were having a dessert.  My kids loved them and begged for another one.  These types of muffins freeze really well too so they are a great snack to pack into the freezer and then throw them in a lunch box for a tasty lunchtime treat.  Hope you enjoy and happy baking!

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Mommy’s Time Out!

Wow, I can’t believe how long it has been since I posted something on my blog. The truth is that the last couple of months have just been insane in my house.  I feel like I am never getting anything accomplished.  The worst part about this is that when life gets like this the last thing any of us have time for is a little mommy time, but missing out on that little bit of me time sucks!

In the interest of  getting back some mommy time, I decided a couple of months ago that I would give running a try.  Yes, running!  Any of you that know me know that I hate to run. I have often said that I only run when someone is chasing me.  Well things have changed a bit (or a lot).

About 2 months ago, while at the gym just cruising along on the elliptical machine, I had the idea that I should try to run…just a little.  Well, just a little has turned into quite a bit.  I started out with the goal of running one mile.  Once I ran 1 mile, I felt so proud of myself that I wanted to run 1.5 miles.  Now this had turned into a competition with myself always trying to run just a little bit longer or faster.

I have found that running is actually pretty amazing for me both mentally and physically.  My body feels great after a run and my mind feels great after having 45-60 minutes of mommy time.  Time where no one talks to me, needs a snack, wets their pants or cries. We recently joined the YMCA and wow there is nothing like free babysitting to motivate you to exercise. I find that in those crazy days when I am at my limit, the idea of being able to get a little down time from 2 small children is enough to get my ass on the treadmill.

I have convinced a friend (thanks, Jen) to run with me and that certainly makes it fun too.  One of the things people have asked me is  “how long will this last”?  Truthfully, I am not sure.  I do have a tendency to go full steam head with things and then get bored and stop, never to do it again.   The thing that has been keeping me going is that I keep setting a new goal. These little goals are keeping me motivated right now.

This coming Sunday I am going to be running in my first race ever!  The best part is that three of my best friends will be running right along with me.  Right now I feel like even if I never run again I have already completed a huge achievement considering that just a few months ago I could have barely run to the end of my street.

You may be wondering why I am sharing all this.  Truth is, as I was thinking about a post for my blog, I got to thinking about how it is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and how easy it is to cut out the things that seem unnecessary.  This leads us to feeling bored in our routines and having a short fuse (for me) with the people around us.  It is so important when we are raising our kids not to neglect ourselves and just assume that when our kids leave the nest then we will get back to taking time for ourselves.

If I have gotten even on person thinking about what they can do add something fresh into their life then the time I took writing this was worthwhile.   Set a goal for yourself now. Instead of waiting until the new year to make a resolution, make one now with the goal of keeping it up until the new year.  Reframing your goal to be something that you can accomplish in 30 days is much more motivating that one that lasts all year.

What do you do to give yourself some me time?  Do you try to make a little time for yourself each week?  I would love to hear about what you do to take care of yourself or what you plan to do!

. Imagine if it really worked this way! 🙂

If you are interested in running, here is the link to a fantastic running blog called Organic Runner Mom. I went to High school with Sandra and her blog is totally awesome and motivating!

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Oatmeal Apple Craisin Muffins

Wow it has been a long time since I have posted something.  I am not entirely sure where the time has gone.  All of the sudden, the summer is behind us and autumn is in full swing.  In fact, there are frost warnings tonight in my area.  Now I have to admit that I am a warm weather gal.  By the end of the winter, I am about ready to jump out of my skin after being “trapped” inside all winter long.

Now with all that being said there are a few things that I actually look forward to as the weather gets chillier and one of those is apples.  My daughters absolutely love apples. They average 2 each everyday. Let’s hope that an apple a day really does keep the doctor away.  Due to our love of apples, I buy them or pick them in large quantities. Especially if I ever want to get any to bake with or turn into applesauce.

Sunday morning my older daughter asked if we could bake something.  Inside I suggested that we make applesauce (recipe coming soon) due to having bought 10 lbs. of apples recently.  She had a blast using the apple slicer, dicer and coring machine. I have to admit that this is one of my favorite kitchen gadgets too.  If you do not already have one, I highly recommend that you pick one up.  Then Sunday afternoon, I picked up another 10 lbs. of apples. We are literally up to our elbows in apples right now.  One thing to keep in mind though is that when making applesauce, it takes a lot of apples to make a sauce.  My 10 lbs. of apples made 6 pints of sauce.

Tonight we made the rest of the applesauce and as I giving it a final stir I got to thinking that maybe I should use a bit of it to make muffins.  I love applesauce muffins. They are moist, delicious and healthy. It doesn’t get much better than this.

Here is what you need:

1 1/2 c. rolled oats

3/4 c. AP flour

3/4 c. whole wheat flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/4 c. applesauce

3/4 c. sugar (I like to use the Truvia sugar blend)

1 egg white

3 tbsp. canola oil

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

3 tbsp. wheat germ (optional, but so tasty)

3/4 c. craisins or raisins

 

Here is what you do:

First preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  The mix all the wet ingredients together and stir just until combined.  Next slowly add the dry ingredients and stir until well combined.  Finally, stir in the craisins.  Line a muffin tin with muffin wrappers or spray with nonstick spray. Then fill each tin almost to the top. Bake for 20 minutes or until the muffins are golden brown.  These are truly delicious.  I love them smeared with a little butter but my kids like them right out of the muffin wrapper. They are a treat for the whole family.

 

What is your favorite apple recipe? Do you like to bake with them or use them in more savory dishes? I would love to hear from you!

 

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Zucchini and Apple Cobbler

 

If you read the title of this recipe and thought “yuck”, you are not alone.  A couple of months ago, another blog I read posted a recipe for zucchini cobbler and I thought the same thing when I read it. You can check out that recipe here.  After reading the reviews, which were amazing, I decided I needed to give this recipe a try, but make it my own in doing so.  Boy am I glad I did because it is a wonderful dessert!

If you are like many gardeners you have had you fill of zucchini for a while and yet your zucchini plants keep on producing.  That is the problem that I have been  having.  Well problem solved. This recipe will use up a few of those zucchini and you will not even know you are eating it.  I have made this recipe a few times for family and friends and they all raved about it and swore it was not zucchini. It tastes just like apple cobbler!

Here is what you need:

2 medium or 3 small zucchini

2 granny smith apples

2 lemons

1.5 cups sugar (I used Truvia for baking)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1.5 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

6 tbsp butter (cold)

3/4 c. oats ( I prefer steel cut but quick cooking would be fine)

3/4 c. whole wheat flour

Here is what you do:

First peel and dice the zucchini and apples into about a half-inch dice.  Then add the zucchini and apples to a pot and squeeze the juice from both lemons into the pot.  Cover and cook the zucchini and apple mixture for about 10-12 minutes or until they just start to get soft.  Once the zucchini and apples are soft, add 1 tsp of cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. of nutmeg and 1 cup of sugar.  Reduce heat and simmer just until the sugar is melted.

In a separate bowl, combine the rest of the sugar, the brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, oats and flour. Cut the very cold butter into the mixture with a pastry cutter (or two knives) until the mixture has formed a large crumble.

Next pour the zucchini and apple mixture into a 2 quart baking dish and cover the top with the oat crumble.  Place the baking dish in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 40 minutes or until the top of the cobbler is golden brown.  Serve warm topped with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream (or both if you are me).

Hopefully if you are still reading this then I may have  convinced you to try this.  It is truly delicious and I promise that you and everyone you feed it to will not believe that you are eating zucchini!

Have you ever made any unusual desserts before just to find out it was delicious?  Does this recipe sound gross or are you willing to give it a try?  I would love to hear from you!

 

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Home Remedies Part 2- Weight Loss

I thought I would break down the post on home remedies into a couple different posts so that the information would not be too overwhelming.  Here are the next 8 home remedies on the list.

Here are 8 natural ways to help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight

1. Milk- Studies showed that those who drank a glass of fat free milk before lunch experienced decreased appetite and calorie intake compared to those who drank fruit juice.  Click here for more information about drinking milk for weight loss.

2. Almonds : One of the healthiest of all the nuts, research has been found that people with a diet rich in almonds lost more pounds than those without. They also helped with blood pressure.  Shape magazine says that almonds are one of the top 25 natural appetite suppressant.

3. Vinegar : Some studies suggest that vinegar can increase metabolism. This in turn helps the body process food and burn more calories. There is some debate about the effectiveness of vinegar in weight loss.  Here is more about apple cider vinegar.

4. Jalapenos :, The spice found in these peppers can  increase metabolism. In fact, many naturally spicy foods tout similar properties. While these do not burn a ton of extra calories (about 50-75 a day), if you enjoy spicy food then throw them in.  Click here for more on jalapenos for weight loss.

5. Evening Primrose Oil : The oil is extracted from a plant of the same name and contains an essential fatty acid that can help with metabolism. Other benefits include combating cholesterol, fatigue, improper hormone levels, and more. Here is a little more information on evening primrose oil.

7. Coconut : The oil found in coconuts is said to have weight losing properties. I have read about people that take a tablespoon or two before meals and they say it helps with weight loss.  There is quite a bit of research that would support that belief. Click here for more about using coconut oil.

8. Pine Nuts : Use these nuts as a garnish to many dishes to help naturally decrease your appetite.  Pine nut oil contains pinolenic acid, a fatty acid that stimulates the body to produce two natural appetite suppressants.  Click here for more about pine nuts.

9. Flaxseeds : Similar to the above, they also help suppress appetite. The seeds also contains omega-3 fats and fiber as well. I love flaxseeds. They add a delicious nutty flavor to baked goods and oatmeal. Keep flaxseeds in your freezer to extend its shelf life once opened.  Here is a bit more info on flaxseeds.

There you have it. Eight natural additions to your diet that could aid in your weight loss.  Thanks for reading!

Do you have any tips or tricks that you use to help maintain a healthy weight? I would love to hear from you!

 

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Nonfat Key Lime Frozen Yogurt

Key Lime Frozen Yogurt!

I know that I have posted a lot of frozen yogurt recipes recently, but how can I resist. It is just so yummy. This is the easiest frozen yogurt recipe yet and my daughter and I decided it was our favorite.  I wish I could take credit for this recipe, but I can’t.  I saw it a while back on a website (can’t remember which) and the recipe was so simple I remembered it after just reading it once.  That is my kind of recipe.  It is only three ingredients and took less than 5 minutes to whip up and get in the ice cream maker.

Here is what you need:

1 quart (32 oz.) of french vanilla nonfat yogurt

1/2 of a can of nonfat sweetened condensed milk

4 oz. of key lime juice

Here is what you do:

In a bowl mix the yogurt, key lime juice and sweetened condensed milk.  Once combined pour into your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your ice cream maker.  I told you this was easy. No straining the yogurt, nothing to cook or chill.  This was so easy and so incredibly delicious.  It tasted like a frozen slice of key lime pie.  You have to try this!

What is your favorite flavor of frozen yogurt?  Have you ever tried to make your own ice cream or frozen yogurt?

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Blueberry Vanilla Frozen Yogurt for Your Birthday Breakfast

Two years ago, my family decided that we wanted to start a tradition of having our birthday celebration in the morning.  This meant that instead of eating your cake after dinner, we were going to eat our cake before breakfast on our birthdays.  This has been so much fun.  My daughter was so excited this morning to roll out of bed and hurry downstairs to open her presents and blow out the candles on her blueberry frozen yogurt.  Last year, she had pineapple carrot cake (recipe to come) and this year frozen yogurt. The beauty of this dessert is that it is really quite healthy, so I felt good about it being breakfast.  My daughter felt happy because it was delicious.  I made the yogurt mixture the night before and let it chill in the fridge over night. Then this morning, we poured it into the ice cream makers and in 15 minutes we were eating frozen yogurt.

To make this delicious frozen yogurt, you will need:

1 quart fat-free vanilla frozen yogurt

3 cups of blueberries

1/2 c. of sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/8 c. water

Here is what you do:

Line a mesh strainer with two layers of cheesecloth and add the yogurt. Tie the ends together and place strainer in the fridge over a bowl.  The yogurt will lose a lot of liquid.  Allow it to drain for about 4 hours.  Then discard the liquid in the bowl.  In a medium saucepan, add the  blueberries, sugar and water.  While the mixture is heating up, use a potato masher to mash the blueberries.  We mashed most of the blueberries, but left some big pieces.  It made for great texture in the frozen yogurt.  Heat until it is warm enough that all the sugar has dissolved.  Remove from the heat, add the vanilla extract and allow it to cool for about 30 minutes. When it is cool, stir the blueberry mixture into the yogurt mixture.  You could now refrigerate it for a couple of days if need be. It is best to chill the yogurt mixture for at least 2 hours before adding to your ice cream maker.  When the yogurt mixture is chilled, add to your ice cream maker and follow the manufacture’s instructions.

You could certainly use the yogurt portion of this recipe as a base and add any flavors you like.  We have been picking a lot of blueberries lately and they are our favorite so they were a natural choice for us.  This is a simple, delicious and healthy recipe that the whole family will love.  Thanks for reading!

What is your favorite flavor of frozen yogurt? Have you ever tried to make it?

My little birthday princess!

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