Healthy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins!

Here is yet another pumpkin recipe!  I just love muffins.  They make me feel like I am eating cake for breakfast. 🙂   Growing up in Boston, we had a Dunkin Donuts on every corner.  One of the things I loved there was the pumpkin muffins.  Then one day I looked up the nutrition facts.  They have 600 calories and 26 grams of fat.  Ouch!   These muffins do not so it’s okay to eat more than one!

Meadow and I ate one as soon as they came out of the oven.  Yum!

Healthy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins!

2 1/2 cups spelt flour
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 light oil (I used organic canola)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 can pureed pumpkin
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp ginger
1/3 cup chocolate chips (I used carob)

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix wet to dry and scoop into muffin tins.  Bake
for around 15-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Do anyone of you have a Dunkin Donuts nearby?  We only have a handful here in Texas.

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Popular Breakfast Foods Exposed

Here is a closer look at two popular processed breakfast items.  I used to purchase both of these products almost every week when I  trusted the claims on the box.  I was shocked when I started paying attention.  Here is the first brand.

Look familiar?  You are probably thinking the same thing I was.  Oatmeal?  High Fiber? Heart Healthy?  It has to be good for me.  It’s just oatmeal.  The only ingredient should be oats.  Now let’s look at the label.

The second ingredient on the list is maltodextrin (processed sugar).  The next ingredient after that is sugar (processed sugar).  After that, natural and artificial flavors.  Who knows what those are?  Maybe it is so bad that they don’t want you to know.  A few more ingredients down is sucralose (artificial sweetener).  A few more down is caramel color which is a carcinogen.  You can read more about that here.   Suddenly this seems less and less like oatmeal. Did I mention that Quaker Oats is owned by Pepsi?  The soda people.  Yeah, that shocked me too.  Here is a recipe for healthy oatmeal that can be made in minutes.

1/3 cup oats

1/3 cup milk/water

Cook the oats and milk in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Turn the heat down and cook until it is the thickness you desire.  Remove from heat and finish with a bit of pure maple syrup or fresh fruit.  The healthy version will not only taste better, but keep you full longer.

Onto another popular processed breakfast food.

This one look familiar too?  The name gives the impression that it is healthy.  It also states that it’s high in fiber, heart healthy and made from whole grains.  I can see why people can think it is a good choice.  I thought so.  So let’s look at the ingredients.

So the second ingredient down is rice.  There is no whole grain before it so it is probably highly refined white rice.  The next ingredient is sugar (processed sugar).  Further down is rice flour (processed), brown sugar syrup (processed sugar), honey (sugar), corn syrup (sugar), polydextrose (a synthetic form of glucose), artificial flavoring (chemicals) yellow 5 (artificial dye derived from petroleum), BHT (chemical).  If you want to read more about BHT click here.  I don’t know about you, but I am already disgusted.  Let’s look at the nutrition facts.

There is 14 grams of sugar in a single 1 cup serving.  Most of us eat at least 2 cups in one serving!  There is nothing smart about this cereal.  Your best bet would be to turn away from this product and others like it.

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Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Cookies

Cookies for breakfast?  Um, yes please!

These cookies are healthy and filled with protein and fiber to keep you full for quite a while.  These are great for on the go kids too.  What kid wouldn’t get excited to eat cookies for breakfast?  Meadow ate at least five when they came out of the oven.  She is a ninja when it comes to snatching cookies of the baking sheet.

Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Cookies

1 cup flour (I used Spelt)
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 ripe banana smashed
1/3 cup peanut butter (If you have a peanut allergy, you can sub sunflower butter.  I have a recipe here)
2 T pure maple syrup
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2-4 T non dairy milk (I used almond)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 baking soda

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl.  Mix the wet in another. ( If you store your peanut butter in the fridge like I do, you may have to stick it in the microwave for a minute to soften it. )
Combine wet and dry and stir just until they are well incorporated.  The dough will be very sticky.  Spoon onto a lined or greased baking sheet and bake for 12-17 minutes.  I bake a big batch of these and store some in my freezer for busy mornings.  Enjoy!


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An Example of Why Americans Are Getting Fatter

Most people if asked, are interested in improving their health.  Last year Americans spent $46 billion on diet products.  Why are we getting fatter then?  The problem is, most people trust food scientists for products that claim to be diet aids.  Take this Lean Cuisine box for example:

This box contains a deep dish pizza that only has 340 calories.  A typical pizza is loaded with fat and calories so this looks tempting to someone who is trying to lose weight.  So lets look at the label:

The first ingredient is processed flour.  The fourth ingredient is sugar.  Wait a minute, isn’t this supposed to be a healthy option?  The sixth ingredient is natural flavor.  Who the heck even knows what that means.  Soon after that is modified cornstarch, which is a chemically altered derivative of corn that is used as a thickener.  More chemicals!  These ingredients are all just in the crust!  There is more modified cornstarch in the seasoning as well.  Also in the seasoning there is maltodextrin (processed sugar), sugar (processed sugar), soy lecithin (another additive that stabilizes fat) and more natural flavor.  Natural flavor is a scary term.  Petroleum is natural, that doesn’t mean I want it in my food!  Finally, lets look at the nutrition facts:

430 mg of sodium!  That’s crazy!  That much sodium is bound to make you retain water and look bigger not help you lose weight.

This type of processed diet meal is not helping your health or weight at all.  The only thing it would do would be to cause you to eat more the minute your body burns off all that processed sugar and flour.  A better bet if you want a pizza is to buy some whole grain flat bread, full fat cheese and no sugar added tomato sauce and make your own.  An even better option is to make your own whole grain pizza crust and your own sauce.  For a dough recipe, click here.  For a sauce recipe, click here.  My husband usually makes the sauce in this family.  One day I will post his recipe.  We make a huge batch and freeze what we don’t use right away.

Even if you are too busy to make your own.  The flat bread pizza is super quick and easy.  Also, for vegans, you can use daiya cheese or just skip the cheese all together and load the pizza with veggies!

A great way to improve your health and lose weight without even trying would be to cut out all processed foods.  Trust me, my husband, Marcus, lost 20lbs without counting calories or exercise!  🙂

 

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Asian Inspired Tofu Scramble

This past weekend, my in laws came back from a trip.  They brought some goodies home from a farmers market for us to try.  To read more on what they gave us, you can click here.  A few things they brought back were a daikon radish and a few peppers I had never seen before.  One was purple and one was white.  They were both bell peppers.  So, I thought I would use them in an Asian inspired tofu scramble!  I just love Asian food.

It came out yummy!  Really, this dish is so adaptable.  You can add whatever veggies and make it your own.  If you wanted to, you could wrap it in a whole grain tortilla or a lettuce wrap. 🙂

Asian Inspired Tofu Scramble

1 pkg organic firm or extra firm tofu drained and cut into small cubes

2-3 bell peppers cut in thin strips

1 daikon radish cut in thin strips

2 carrots cut into thin strips

2-3 cloves of garlic

1/2 cup broccoli florets

2 T toasted sesame oil

For the sauce:

1 T miso paste

3 T water

2 T mirin

1/2 T brown sugar

1/2 tsp umeboshi vinegar

1/4 cup organic good quality soy sauce (I used San J)

Take the oil, daikon and garlic and heat in a pan on med heat.  Once you see them start to soften and turn translucent, add the rest of the veggies and cook for a few minutes until everything gets soft.

When everything looks soft, toss in the tofu and the sauce.  Crumble the tofu slightly as you toss it into the pan.  Turn the heat up slightly and let everything cook for a bit.  The mixture will look a bit watery, but if you cook it uncovered, some of that water will burn off.

Once some of the liquid has burned off, remove from heat.  Plate and enjoy! 🙂


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More Processed Foods Exposed

So today I made the trek to Whole Foods.  It’s about 20 minutes away from us.  I go there mainly for whole spelt flour which Sprouts does not carry for some reason.  While I was there I decided to take a few more pictures.  I would have liked to get more, but both my kids were getting a bit impatient with me.  All you moms out there can understand I’m sure. 🙂

The first picture I took was of Almond Breeze.  A lot of people seem to drink non dairy milks these days.  Not just vegans.  Reading the labels for milks is very important because a lot of them contain carrageenan.

Here is the label.

As you can see, this one contains carrageenan.  It’s very hard to find one that doesn’t.  That is why I make my own.  To get the recipe, click here.

For soy milk, I buy West Soy unsweetened.  No carrageenan in it.

This next food is one I used to purchase on a weekly basis.  Again, I trusted the box’s claims.  A big mistake because they are only out to make a profit.

This one looks familiar, huh?  It is available everywhere including Target.  I lived on this stuff before I got smart and starting educating myself on processed foods.  Let’s look at the label.

The third ingredient down is brown rice syrup, which is processed sugar.  The next ingredient after that is soy protein concentrate, which is another form of MSG.  If you would like to learn more about MSG click here.  The next ingredient after soy protein is evaporated cane juice crystals.  A fancy word for processed sugar.  Lets looks at the nutrition facts to see how much sugar is in each serving.

So the serving size is 1 cup.  I don’t know a single person who would eat just that tiny amount.  I think I would eat at least 3!  There is 13 grams of sugar per serving.  Those sugar calories go straight to your ass!  Not to mention, you will be starving an hour later.  Granola is a much healthier option that will keep you satiated for far longer.  If you would like a yummy granola recipe, click here.

Did you also know that Kashi is owned by Kellogg?  The same people that punch out those super sugary cereals to kids.  They are also one of the companies that has spent tons of money in hopes to block Prop 37 from passing.  It’s because they really don’t want you to know what is in their food.  Think about it.  If their product is as healthy as they claim, why are they trying to keep you from finding out what they are putting in it?

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5 Minute Pumpkin Pie Dip!

Here is yet another pumpkin recipe!  I promise you will love it and it only takes 5 minutes to make!  If you are looking for an easy dish to bring to Thanksgiving, here it is!  It will be sure to be hit.

This has been kid tested and approved.

It’s like the pumpkin pie without the crust.

5 Minute Pumpkin Pie Dip!

1 pkg organic soft silken tofu

1 can organic pureed pumpkin

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1 heaping tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp ginger

1/4 tsp cloves

Throw everything in the food processor and blend until smooth.  That’s it.  Could not be any easier.  We sampled this one with whole grain graham crackers.  It was yummy!

What would you dip into this?

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This came out really good! Check out the rest of her blog!

Healthy Cancer Chick

So I made up a big pot of quinoa to mix with salads and stir fries this week.  Getting my protein powerhouse.  Last night I made this yummy concoction.  I don’t really measure things so I will give you the ingredients but you will have to experiment with the amounts.

Ingredients

Quinoa, cooked (about 2 cups)
Tempeh (I used half a package of the sesame garlic kind)
Spinach (about 2 big handfuls)
Broccoli (about 1 cup cut up florets)
Cherry tomatoes (about 10 to 15 halved)
Pine nuts (about 1/2 cup)
Olive oil (about 2 T)
Vegetable broth (about 1/2 to 1 cup)
Crushed red pepper flakes
Garlic, diced (about 3-4 cloves)
Liquid aminos

Directions

In a large skillet, heat oil and add tempeh and garlic.  After a few minutes add the pine nuts and let everything get golden brown.  Add broccoli and saute 1 to 2 more minutes.  Add…

View original post 51 more words

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This came out really good! Such a pretty dish too! Check out the rest of her blog!

Healthy Cancer Chick

So I made up a big pot of quinoa to mix with salads and stir fries this week.  Getting my protein powerhouse.  Last night I made this yummy concoction.  I don’t really measure things so I will give you the ingredients but you will have to experiment with the amounts.

Ingredients

Quinoa, cooked (about 2 cups)
Tempeh (I used half a package of the sesame garlic kind)
Spinach (about 2 big handfuls)
Broccoli (about 1 cup cut up florets)
Cherry tomatoes (about 10 to 15 halved)
Pine nuts (about 1/2 cup)
Olive oil (about 2 T)
Vegetable broth (about 1/2 to 1 cup)
Crushed red pepper flakes
Garlic, diced (about 3-4 cloves)
Liquid aminos

Directions

In a large skillet, heat oil and add tempeh and garlic.  After a few minutes add the pine nuts and let everything get golden brown.  Add broccoli and saute 1 to 2 more minutes.  Add…

View original post 51 more words

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Popular Processed Foods Exposed

Lately, I have been going to Target less and less.  I don’t buy any food items there.  Just diapers, wipes and things like that.  Today on my trip there I decided to take some pics of a few popular processed foods and their labels.  So the first one I go to is, of course, Kraft Mac and Cheese.  Here is the two “healthier” options they have.

And here are the labels.

As you can see there is a ridiculous amount of sodium and sugar.  If you were making homemade mac and cheese, you wouldn’t add sugar so why do they?  They do it because sugar is a cheap filler.  Remember, these are the whole grain and organic options!   Now onto the ingredients.

The “whole grain” product contains artificial  food dyes.  You can read more about those here.  The “organic” product contains annatto as a food coloring.  You can read about that here. 

Here is the Annie’s brand of mac and cheese.

And here is the label.

As you can see here, there is still a substantial amount of sodium and still some sugar too.
Let’s look at the ingredients.

Annie’s may be a better choice, but keep in mind the sodium factor.  These products are made to sit on store and warehouse shelves for 2 + years.  That is why they add so much sodium.  You can read more about high sodium risk factors here.

Lastly on the list are two products given to toddlers.  I used to give these to Meadow before we started this path to eating unprocessed.  I was pretty shocked.

Seen these before right?  Here is the label that I never bothered to read up until 6 months ago.  I just trusted the box.

The second ingredient is fructose aka processed sugar.  The first ingredient? Processed flour.  The sixth ingredient is also sugar.  Corn solids is on there too.  Corn is one of the most genetically altered foods out there.  Since this brand is not organic, it also contains GMO’s.  You couldn’t pay me to feed this to my kids now.  Nasty!

Here is another Gerber baby product.

Here is the label.

This product contains high fructose corn syrup.  Highly refined sugar.  I would never give these to my kids either.  Gerber is owned by Nestle, one of the companies that is fighting against Prop 37.  In other words, they don’t want you to know whats in their food.

So the moral of this story is to always read your labels!

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