Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Protein Oatmeal & Chocolate Chip Muffins

To stay focused on maintaining lean muscle, my diet can sometimes be kind of boring.  I typically eat the same thing for breakfast for weeks at a time before changing it up.  My typical breakfast would be oatmeal, protein pancakes, or maybe toast and peanut butter and ALWAYS with coffee.

I changed up my bowl of oatmeal (with cinnamon, raisins, and sliced almonds) in favor of an oatmeal muffin.  This is especially good for grabbing on the go on busy mornings.  I found a recipe on Sugar Free Mom that is really good.  You may have seen this image of hers floating around on Pinterest

After following her recipe, I tweaked it the second time, halving it (which still yielded 12 muffins) and adding protein powder and MILA (chia seeds- which I'll tell you more about this week).  I also made mine with dark chocolate chips and walnuts this time.

The chocolate bits are my favorite.

And I definitely recommend adding the walnuts- they add a great crunch.

Ingredients (Yields 12 muffins)
*Adapted from Sugar Free Mom 

  • 1 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup applesauce, unsweetened
  • 1/2 banana, mashed
  • 1 1/2 cups, Old Fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/3 MILA (chia seeds) *optional
  • 1/4 cup chocolate protein powder 
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups milk (I used skim)
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
I combined the banana and wet ingredients into a large mixing bowl and the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, stirring both well.  Then I combined the two and using an ice cream scoop, scooped the mix into the muffin pan.  Spray your muffin pan with cooking spray first!

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30-35 minutes.  I eat two in the morning for breakfast. 

Sunday, 28 April 2013

My Favorite All Natural Peanut Butter

All my life I was a JIF peanut butter girl.  I bought the low-fat kind and ate it by the jarful.  I love peanut butter on almost everything- apples, celery, PB&J, chocolate, even on my pancakes.

A couple years ago, in an effort to eat less processed food, I switched to all natural peanut butter.  I've tried all kinds of brands and even almond butter and keep coming back to my all-time favorite, Laura Scudders, because it tastes so good.  You do have to stir it some, but oil separation is normal in all-natural peanut butter.  I'm currently loving the nutty one, but they also make it in smooth.  I can find it at my local grocery store.

So good on protein pancakes!  I recently tweaked that recipe- I now add a little milk to the batter too- it makes them less dense.  

Are you eating all-natural peanut butter?  What brand do you like?

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Spinach & Fruit Smoothie

I thought for sure making a sweet fruit smoothie with some spinach thrown in would be a certain way to get my 3 year-old to eat some veggies.  No way.  One taste and he spit it right out all over my cowhide rug.  Thankfully, it wiped off just fine.

I used a big handful of spinach and about a cup of frozen fruit with 1/2 cup of water.  It tasted fine at that point, but a little bland.  Because it was intended for James, I sweetened it with one of his toddler yogurts and a tablespoon of honey.

It was yummy, but he didn't like it.  I drank it all and will make it again.  For myself.

In the future, I think I'd add protein powder or greek yogurt for added protein. 

Do you or your kids like spinach smoothies?  How do you make yours? 

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Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Baked Kale Chips

I jumped on the kale bandwagon and made kale chips as one of the sides to our dinner on Saturday night.  Somewhat to my surprise, I REALLY liked them- and so did everyone at my table.  I'll definitely be making them again because they are so quick and simple and full of vitamins K, A, and C as well as magnesium and fiber.

I bought one bunch of kale ($1.39 at my store) which made about 2 servings.  

I rinsed and dried the kale, then cut the stems off and tore the leafy part into 2-3 inch pieces.  Simply toss the kale with a tiny bit of extra virgin olive oil (next time I'll spray the olive oil) and salt and spread in an even layer on a baking sheet.

I cooked it at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, tossing a couple times.  For even drier, crispier chips, cook at 300 for about 30 minutes.

The kale cooks way down and ended up like this.

It is delicious!  I'm hooked and wish I would've tried it sooner.  We were literally fighting over the kale chips. They taste kinda like roasted brussel sprouts, but the thin crunchy kale is even better.

Have you tried kale chips? If not, have I convinced you to?

Saturday, 20 April 2013

The Yummy Mummy Kitchen - Cookbook

A HUGE congratulations goes out to my beautiful and talented friend Marina Delio, of the blog Yummy Mummy Kitchen on her published cookbook The Yummy Mummy Kitchen.  She was kind enough to send me a copy of the glorious, kid-friendly cookbook filled with tons of her beautiful food photography.  Her philosophy is all about eating well with all-natural, non-processed ingredients and doing it with style.

I've been savoring this cookbook and really enjoying all of the stories and insights from Marina about how to live and eat well with family and friends.  This is more than a cookbook, it's a "lifestyle" book.   I have to admit, I feel like a big failure when it comes to my 3 year-old son's diet, but seeing how Marina's girls chow down on her simple meals gives me encouragement to keep trying.  I love how gorgeous and colorful her plates are.  

Her book has over 100 recipes, many with just a few ingredients.  Here's just a peek at what's got my mouth watering.  

*All photos via Marina.  So proud of you girl!

Are you drooling yet?!  You can order Marina's cookbook, The Yummy Mummy Kitchen HERE.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Tuna, White Bean, and Avocado Salad

Hi there, everyone!  It’s Jennifer from The Chronicles of Home and I have the easiest, tastiest, quick lunch idea for you today.  It’s made almost entirely with pantry staples I always have on hand and goes together in no time.  My daughters love it as much as I do and I think it’s the perfect healthy, stay-with-you lunch to give you a punch of energy for the rest of the afternoon.

You could make a double or triple recipe and keep it in the fridge for even faster lunches all week.  The only thing I would recommend if you do this is to add the avocado right before you’re going to eat.  It just tastes so much better when it’s freshly cut.

Tuna, White Bean, and Avocado Salad - serves 2-3
1 can tuna, packed in extra virgin olive oil
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 avocado, diced
2 tbsp. golden balsamic vinegar
1 very small garlic clove, or 1/2 a larger clove, pressed
2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper

Drain the heavy oil off the tuna then spoon the tuna and remaining oil into a medium bowl.  Add the beans, avocado, vinegar, garlic and parsley.  Season with salt and pepper and stir gently to combine.

That is it!  Can you believe it’s so short?  I’ve made this twice in the past week, it just tastes so good.  Hope you love it too.

Thank you for this post from contributing writer, Jennifer, of The Chronicles of Home.  You'll definitely want to check out her blog for more amazing recipes, beautiful home decor, and easy-to-follw DIY projects!

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Healthy Banana Bread

Hi everyone!  It’s Jennifer from The Chronicles of Home with another healthy recipe for you.  I picked up a recipe card from my Whole Foods’ bakery counter a few weeks ago for Flax and Honey Banana Bread and have been so excited to make it.  I adapted the recipe a bit but the results were delicious and just the healthy bread I was hoping for.

The bread was sweet but not too sweet, hearty and satisfying but still just the right amount of cakiness to it.  The banana and coconut flavors complement each other so beautifully.  My girls gobbled this up for breakfast the morning I made it and happily ate more that afternoon as a snack.  I’ll be adding this to my repertoire and will probably make two loaves next time so I have one to freeze!

Coconut Flax Banana Bread

3/4 c. mashed bananas ( about 2)
3/4 c. unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/4 c. honey
1 1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
2 tbsp. flaxseed meal
1 1/4 c. shredded coconut
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350ยบ.  Line a loaf pan with parchment paper down the length and the width.

In a large bowl, whisk banana, almond milk, and honey.  Add flour, flaxseed, 1 c. coconut, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.  Fold with rubber spatula just to combine.

Transfer to pan, sprinkle with remaining 1/4 c. coconut and bake until golden and cooked through (test with a toothpick), about 55 minutes.

Let cool a few minutes, then lift out of pan using parchment and slice with a serrated knife.

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Thank you for this post from contributing writer, Jennifer, of The Chronicles of Home.  You'll definitely want to check out her blog for more amazing recipes, beautiful home decor, and easy-to-follw DIY projects!