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It’s a New Year, a new decade and time for resolutions. I usually try to refrain from making resolutions.  Especially those that I am likely to fail at…I like to feel some success. This year, I decided to make a couple resolutions or I like to say “goals” and join the 10 in 10 Healthy Challenge. This challenge was put together by Lori at the blog Recipe Girl.  If you have never stopped by her blog please go now.  I promise you will enjoy her site!

The 10 in 10 Challenge is open to everyone and is essentially a 10 week commitment to a healthier you! As of today, the 10 in 10 Challenge has over 250 awesome people from 38 states and 10 countries committed to a healthier lifestyle in 2010! The goals indicated by the participants include: losing weight, exercising more, lowering their cholesterol, increasing their strength, eating more veggies and many more! You can find out who is participating and what their specific goals are by clicking here.

My goal list is pretty short….again I want to feel some success in the end!

1.)    Get back to eating clean.  I did this for about two months back in the summer and it was amazing how much better I felt.  I will go into more details on “clean eating” in future posts.

2.)   Get back into a regular workout routine.  I used to be hopelessly devoted to working out before the girls came along.  I even competed in a triathlon the day before I found out I was pregnant!  I haven’t been as devoted as I was and I know I won’t because there is no time in my busy life but I would like to get back to a somewhat “normal” routine.  When my alarm clock went off at 5:15am to head to the gym this morning I had mixed feelings about that statement.  It didn’t help that it was 40 degrees outside…I know not as cold as some places but that’s pretty darn cold for us here in South Florida.  I did it though, I got up and started my way towards my goal. 

3.)   Continue with my running in hopes that maybe I can do a half marathon in 2010.  Ok, this may be a big goal, but I have been running a lot and it’s “my time”.  My time to think and to work things out in my head.  Majority of the times the girls come with me as I push the jog stroller so it’s not completely “my time” but it’s pretty close. 

So those are my three goals.  I think I can, I think I can….I can do it!  When I say this I think of Dora the Explorer when her and Boots complete their goal they sing….”we did it, we did it, we did it!”  As you can tell I have two little ones that love Dora!  Regardless, I hope to be saying “we did it” in the end too.  Wish me luck!

I will post how I’m doing with my goals on Saturdays for the next 10 weeks if you want to follow along.  I’ll let you know how I’m doing and what I have been up to.  I will still continue to post recipes, healthy and not so healthy.  And as I mentioned to you recently some other changes will be taking over at my blog soon.  I’m so excited about them!  Stay tune.

Now for the recipe….

To start off a healthier eating here is a recipe for Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bread that uses all whole grains, fruit, and organic sugars.  I threw in the chocolate chips but you can leave them out.  The bread is moist and delicious and I promise will be eaten up very quickly.  Enjoy!

 

Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bread

2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
1/2 light brown sugar, packed
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup ripe bananas, mashed (about 3 medium)
3/4 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray two 9×5 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.
 
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, oats, both sugars, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
 
In a medium bowl, mix together buttermilk, eggs, butter, and bananas.  Pour into dry ingredients and mix until well combine.  Stir in chocolate chips.
 
Pour batter into prepared pans and bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
 
Note: You can also use the batter to make muffins.  I usually make one loaf and use the remaining batter for muffins.  The muffins will need to bake about 20 to 25 minutes.
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Our Christmas vacation has started!!  We had the car packed, the dog in the back, the girls in their car seats, and we were off.  As we pulled out of the driveway I thought to myself many things….did I forget anything?…did we set the alarm?…did we grab the dog food?….did we throw out the garbage in the kitchen….and my very last thought was….are we crazy!!??  Then I knew it was too late to turn back we were off for the big adventure and off to colder weather!  The morning had already been filled with adventures as we rushed around the house packing those last minute things and making sure the car was all ready to go.  We also managed to squeeze in a little outdoor playtime for the girls in hopes it would tire them out!  I of course, couldn’t help but to squeeze in some time in the kitchen to make these muffins for our trip.  We had to have snacks right?!  I also had very ripe bananas that had to be used before we headed out the door.  We managed to get everything done and get out the door only 30 minutes behind schedule.  I was only hoping that the girls would take a nap once we were on the road!  When we are home the girls usually take a great afternoon nap of about 2 hours and if we are lucky 2 ½ hours!  Well, today in the car we barely got 1 hour in.  To entertain them, I popped open my laptop and placed their favorite Dora the Explorer DVD in to help pass time.  We made it to our half way point where we planned to stop and stay the night.  Everything was going really well up to this point.  We get to the hotel check in and start to unload everyone.  This is when Parker (our golden retriever) goes crazy.  I don’t know if it was excitement, anxiousness, nerves or what!  Once we get to our room, the girls turn into two little energizer bunnies!  You name it they are into.  The next three hours were quite interesting to say the least.   I won’t go into the details because it was so crazy I care not to remember every detail of it.  Needless to say I’m happy to say our first night of our Christmas vacation has come to an end and we are half way through to our final destination.  I’m only hoping tomorrow’s road trip goes ok.  I know one thing… I will be happy to get there and get settled in.

Banana Pumpkin Muffins

Print Recipe

1 ¼ cups white whole wheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp salt

½ cup unsweetened applesauce

¼ canola oil

1 ½ cups sugar

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

1 ½ tsp baking soda

½ cup buttermilk

1 ½ cups ripe banana, mashed

½ cup pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a mini muffin tin or two regular muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together both flours, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment mix together the sugar, applesauce and oil on low speed until incorporated.  Mix in eggs and vanilla.

In a small bowl, mix the buttermilk and baking soda together and let sit for a minute. 

Add 1/3 of the dry ingredient into the mixing bowl, on low speed.  You will be beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Add half of the buttermilk mixture followed by another 1/3 of dry.  Finish with mixing in the remaining buttermilk mixture and the remaining dry ingredients.  Mix until incorporated.

Stir in mashed banana and pumpkin. Do not over mix.

Evenly distribute the batter into the muffin tins.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Update: We made it to Charleston!!  We are here and settled.  Sorry for the delay but I had to run and get a wireless card no service at in-laws!!

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Muffins, muffins, muffins!!  That’s the 4th holiday gift idea!  What a great thing to have in your pantry when you’re in the mood for muffins or like the pancakes need a quick breakfast idea.  The mix is easy to make and again I have combined whole wheat with regular all-purpose to get the whole grains in there.  I have also made this mix with using white whole wheat flour and whole wheat.  You do what you prefer.  For the girls I like knowing they are getting some of those whole grains in their diet.  Along with the recipe for the muffin mix I’ve included a recipe for Lemon Blueberry Muffins and Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins.  There are so many other ideas you can do with this muffin mix which makes it so great.

For the packaging, I used the same white bag as I used for the pancake mix from My Own Labels.  The label is also the same one I used for the Cinnamon Sugar Pecans.  The labels are again so easy to use because Paper Source includes the template so all you have to do is choose the font you want and test it out.  Easy!

Happy Holidays everyone and I hope you have found some of these gift ideas inspirational.  There is one more to go so stay tune!

 

Homemade Muffin Mix

Print Recipe

3 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
 
Whisk together all ingredients and store in an airtight container.
Lemon Blueberry Muffins
 
2 2/3 cups muffin mix
1/4 canola oil
1/4 unsweetened applesauce
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk or soy milk
Zest of one lemon
3/4 cup frozen blueberries
 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a mini or regular muffin pan with non-stick spray.
 
Whisk together in a medium bowl the oil, applesauce, eggs, vanilla, and milk.  Mix the muffin mix into the wet ingredient and mix until well combined.  Fold in lemon zest and blueberries.
Fill muffin tins 2/3 full and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in muffin comes out clean.
Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins
 
2 2/3 cups muffin mix
1/4 canola oil
1/4 unsweetened applesauce
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk or soy milk
1/2 – 3/4 tsp espresso powder
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a mini or regular muffin pan with non-stick spray.
 
Whisk together in a medium bowl the oil, applesauce, eggs, vanilla, and milk.  Mix the muffin mix into the wet ingredient and mix until well combined.  Fold in mini chocolate chips and espresso powder.
Fill muffin tins 2/3 full and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in muffin comes out clean.

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I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  This year was a little lonely without my parents down here.  The past three years they have been down to spend Thanksgiving with us, but this year they decided to stay in Atlanta. I have to say I missed my mom’s help in the kitchen this year.  Even though they weren’t here I still cooked the same big Thanksgiving meal.  There was turkey, cornbread dressing, broccoli casserole, sweet potato biscuits, and my favorite sweet potato casserole and to top it off Pecan Pie Cheesecake for dessert.  After naming all these things I’m glad I was able to go running on Thanksgiving morning.  Overall, it was a great day and what better to spend it with my wonderful husband and my girls!  I’m so thankful to have them in my life!  Oh ….and by the way the girls loved Thanksgiving dinner!

Now for these cheese biscuits….I made these for my company’s Thanksgiving Potluck and had several people ask for the recipe so I made another batch.   That way I could photograph them and post the recipe for everyone to enjoy.  It’s a very quick and easy recipe.   I have made these biscuits on several occasions for a quick side.  If you can believe these have no butter.  Paula Dean would probably not approve, but they are just fine without the butter. 

I usually try to capture pictures when the girls are down for their afternoon nap.  This time, I wanted to capture the biscuits right out of the oven.  It also happened to be before nap time!  As you can tell I had two little ones eager to take a bite of these biscuits and the whole time saying “mommy, yummy”. 

 

You should have seen me too, I was holding out one arm and trying to block them out with my hip it almost felt like I was using my old high school basketball moves.  You know the one!  Basketball wasn’t my best sport either so it probably would have been better if someone took a picture of all this happening!  Thankfully our dog Parker was outside or it would have been three against one!  Not good!  Especially since Parker is a 85 pound golden retriever.

Hopefully, you can enjoy these biscuits when you need a last minute side for dinner.  Again, I hope everyone had a wonderful Turkey Day!! 

 

Cheese Biscuits

1 cup plus 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
3/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded (I used 2%)
1 cup chilled heavy cream
 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
 
Whisk together in a large bowl the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and italian seasoning.  Mix in cheese and then stir in heavy cream until well combine.
 
Using a ice cream scoop with a release scoop 1 tbsp size biscuits onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake the biscuits for 20 to 25 minutes until golden.
Enjoy!

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For my birthday my wonderful friend got me a gift certificate to Borders to buy the cookbook of my choice.  She knew I would love a cookbook but had no idea which one.  I have to tell you it was so difficult.  I searched and searched and finally decided on Baked: New Frontiers in Baking

I saw them on Martha and have heard about how great their book was and what finally sold me was they opened a shop in Charleston.  I haven’t been yet but it will be on my stop the next time we head to Charleston.  If your in NYC they also have a shop there too. 

When I finally got my book in the mail I opened immediately and started to flip thru.  Wow!  So many delicious recipes and wonderful pictures to go along.  I have many on my list to make but my first recipe were these Banana Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins.  The decision was easy since I had very ripe bananas that needed to be used.  I changed the recipe a little by adding some white whole wheat flour and reduced the sugar to 1/4 cup (recipe called for 1/2).  The smell these muffins made while baking was magical.  Of course, the first bite was pretty magical too.  These are great to have in the morning with a cup of coffee or as a dessert. 

As you can tell by the pictures I’m still trying to test my lights.  This daylight savings time is a real bummer.  I miss my natural light!

Oh….and I have a GIVEAWAY!  Would you like your very own copy of Baked: New Frontiers and Baking?  Well you can!  Just leave me a comment and tell me your favorite cookbook and why.  The contest will end Sunday at 12 pm EST and Monday I will announce the winner.  Good luck everyone!!

Banana Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins

Print Recipe

1 1/2 cups mashed, very ripe bananas (about 4 medium bananas)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 milk
1 large egg
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp instant espresso powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.
 
In a medium bowl, stir together the bananas, sugar, butter, milk, and egg.
 
In another medium bowl, whisk together the flours, instant espresso powder, baking soda, and salt.  Make a well in thee middle of the dry ingredients.  Pour the wet ingredients into the well and stir until just combined.  Fold in chocolate chips.
 
Fill each cup about three-quarters full.  Bake in the center of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
 
Move the muffin pan to a cooling rack, and let cool for 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes, remove from pan.  Enjoy!

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Apple Cinnamon Muffin

I found this in the Oprah magazine my mom left behind from her recent visit to see us and I loved it!  I wanted to share it with everyone.  I hope it speaks to you as it did me.

“When I walk into my kitchen today, I am not alone.  Whether we know it or not, none of us is.  We bring fathers and mothers and kitchen tables, and every meal we have ever eaten.  Food is never just food.  It’s also a way of getting at something else: who we are, who we have been, and who we want to be.”

Molly Wizenberg – From a Homemade Life

 

Now for the recipe, I know two apple recipes in a row and you’re probably worried I’m going to do a streak of apple recipes like I did with pumpkin…..don’t worry.  I just had one more granny smith apple that I had to use.  These muffins are moist and delicious and are filled with all the right combination of ingredients.  I made a batch of these this weekend and I didn’t even have time to photograph them because Scott ate them all.  So the other night I made another batch and I made sure I got pictures this time.  These are great for breakfast, as a snack, or even as a dessert.  Enjoy!!

 

Apple muffins

 

Apple Cinnamon Chip Muffins

Print Recipe 

  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp apple pie spice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 ½ cups tart apples, chopped (such as granny smith)
  • ½ cup mini cinnamon chips

Topping and Middle Layer

  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp white whole wheat flour
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp butter, cold and cut in cubes

Preheat oven to 375.  Spray a muffin pan with nonstick spray or use muffin liners.

In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and apple pie spice.

In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugar, and eggs until smooth.  Mix in vanilla and applesauce.  Stir in apples, and gradually blend in the flour mixture.  Fold in cinnamon chips. Set aside

In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon.  Cut in butter with a pastry cutter until mixture is like coarse crumbs.

Spoon ½ Tbsp into prepared pan and top with cinnamon sugar mixture.  Then top another ½ Tbsp into muffin cups and finally top with more of the cinnamon sugar mixture.  You will make about 18 muffins.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Cool on wire rack. 

Store in a airtight container for three days.  You can also freeze half and when your ready to enjoy let them thaw at room temperature or microwave.

apple cinnamon muffin

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Whole Wheat Pumpkin Apple Muffins

 

Fall is here…well it’s arrived everywhere else but South Florida.  I think it almost hit 90 today!  It’s mid-October and it’s 90 degrees with humidity….yuck!!  Fall is one of my favorite seasons, and while growing up in Atlanta I looked forward to the weather cooling off and the leaves changing.  It meant Halloween was on its way and Thanksgiving wasn’t too far behind.  It meant pulling out the sweaters and your jackets.  It also meant that the smell of pumpkin filled the house.  I always miss “home” around this time of the year.  So to help me handle the homesick feeling I’ve had lately I decided to make these Pumpkin Apple Muffins.  I can’t explain it, but baking and cooking is like a calming healing thing for me.  I know very weird, but I guess that’s why I love it.  Ok, back to the muffins…. Pumpkin is one of my favorite ingredients and honestly I use it year round.  Then there are apples which I love and this time of year they are everywhere.  I had pumpkin puree left over and a lot of apples so I thought I would combine the two and make muffins.  I added a sweet crunchy topping that adds a lot to the muffins.  As usual I added whole grains to these delicious bites.  As I took my first bite of the muffin it made me feel like it was fall outside.  As I’m typing this the weatherman says a cold front is coming in a few days which will bring our highs down to about 82.  Of course when it’s January and cold everywhere else I will then remember why living in South Florida as benefits.  For all of you out there enjoying the fall weather I hope you also find these muffins enjoyable!  Happy Fall and happy baking!

 

Whole Wheat Apple Pumpkin Muffins

Print Recipe

  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ¼ cup sucanat (you can use all light brown sugar if you don’t have sucanat)
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (0% or 2%)
  • 1 large apple, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup pumpkin

Topping:

  • ¾ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 450. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray or line with paper muffin cups and set aside.

Mix together in a medium bowl the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and applesauce with the sucanat and brown sugar.  Add the egg and mix well; stop once to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.  Mix in the yogurt and pumpkin.  Stir in the dry ingredients and fold in the apple pieces.

To make topping, combine the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a small mixing bowl until well blended.  Stir in the melted butter until the moisture forms large crumbs; stir in the chopped nuts.  Divide the batter evenly among prepared muffin cups and sprinkle the topping over the batter.

Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 400 and bake an additional 5 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.  Cool the muffins for 5 minutes in the muffin tin, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.  Serve warm with butter.

Makes about 12 to 16 muffins

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