Healthified Any-Fruit Whole Grain Muffins – Healthy snack, dessert or breakfast!

I make these muffins for my family often, they are quick to throw together and are full of healthy fruit, vegetables and are a good source of high quality whole grain carbohydrates for quick bursts of lasting energy!  They enjoy them for a quick breakfast when we are on the run, as a snack to grab for practices after school or for an evening snack if their little tummies are a bit hungry before bed. They are a good alternative to grabbing a cookie or a highly processed granola bar!

You can make these with any fruit you want, or even shredded carrots! I make them different all the time, although carrots and blueberry are my family’s favorites. I keep frozen organic fruits in the freezer to use in all different kinds of ways – this is a great way to use them. The last batch I made was blueberry-apple…I only had about ½ cup of blueberries left so bumped it up with some fresh chopped apple – perfect! The pumpkin and the smashed banana are the two things I use as the base of the recipe all the time though – it adds good sweetness and a lot of vitamins! I also play around with adding chopped nuts – pepitas are our family favorites, as well as almonds and walnuts.

They freeze really well also- make a couple of batches and freeze to take out and microwave as you need them. Make them once a month and be ready for the month ahead!

Healthified Any-Fruit Whole Grain Muffins

Makes 18 muffins

Use organic ingredients if you can

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

2 cups whole grain flour

½ cup whole grain rolled oats – not quick cooking

1/3 cup raw organic sugar – substitute Stevia if you wish

2 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp ground cardamom, optional

1 scoop vanilla flavored protein powder – optional

1 banana, smashed

½ cup canned pumpkin puree

1 egg, beaten

1 cup milk

½ cup applesauce – unsweetened

2 Tb healthy oil

1 cup fruit or vegetable of your choice, fresh or frozen –diced apples, blueberry, shredded carrot, cranberry (use a bit more sweetener if you wish for cranberry muffins), extra banana, raspberries, strawberries, etc.

½ cup chopped nuts/seeds of your choice

Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, whisk together to combine. In another bowl combine the wet ingredients  ( I usually start the wet ingredients by smashing the banana and beating the egg in the bowl first so I can save dirtying another bowl). Omitting the fruit and nuts at this point. When well combined pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix with a rubber scraper very gently, folding and combining everything well – DO NOT OVER MIX – this will make for tough, gummy muffins! When the ingredients are almost completely incorporated stir in the fruit/vegetable and your nuts/seeds of choice.

Spray a standard size muffin cup with some non-stick spray, or use cupcake liners. Fill each muffin tin about ¾ full, with about 1/3 cup of the batter for each. Bake for 30 minutes.  Remove from the tin and serve . Enjoy!

You can make a little glaze for these if you wish. Simply mix ¼ cup powdered sugar with a drop or two at a time of lemon juice. Mix well until you have the consistency of a glaze. Drizzle lightly over the muffins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be sure to visit Chef Kirsten at www.mesadevida.com

 

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Has Dolvett Made You Forget Jillian Yet? (Is Bob Bitter?)

Face it; Jillian Michaels has been absent from The Biggest Loser for 2 seasons now!

No matter how many people beg for her return through facebook and Twitter, so far she isn’t coming back. According to the Los Angeles Times she explained on her way out; “How many times can I scream last chance workout? This job is all consuming. It’s seven days a week. I want to start a family. It’s time.”

Through the first 11 seasons there have been many understudies however none have had the staying power of Jillian and Bob. They captured the hearts of Americans with their motivating yells, inspirational talks, and grueling workouts. Then the news of Jillian’s departure sent shockwaves through the blogosphere. Rumors of trouble with Bob, management, and money surfaced. None stuck as Jillian put an end to those rumors by letting everyone know that she had made the decision independently and not because of problems or money. Michaels’ departure caused threats from devoted viewers who swore they’d never watch the show again.

Enter Dolvett Quince and Anna Kournikova.

Both were very enthusiastic and inspirational trainers however Kournikova failed to connect with the contestants and the show and Anna decided mutually that she wouldn’t return for season 13.

Dolvett on the other hand was an instant success. He was called a Fox and a half by one contestant and was often complimented for his big smile and even bigger heart. The contestants that he works with call him inspiring, motivating, and unrelenting in his approach to help them succeed. With all these compliments, what’s not to love about Dolvett?

Well ask Bob!

He came off as the Bitter Loser on episode two of season 13.

While his contestants were in high plank positions, Dolvett was army crawling under them. Bob was so disturbed by this that he accused Dolvett of stealing his workout routines. So much so that he took his team outside to complete their workout. Some might say Bob was a bit of a sore loser after losing the first weigh in of the season. You decide.

So with all the drama, good looks, and muscle that Dolvett brings to the Biggest Loser, has he made you forget about Jillian yet? Also, what’s more important, your love for the trainers or the contestants reaching their fitness goals? (Are you reaching yours?)

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Jumpstart 2012 By Working On Ourselves “Week 3 Check In”

Congratulations! You are another week into accomplishing your Health and Fitness Goals. Hopefully you are also teaching your family to follow in your footsteps. As Chef Kirsten of Mesa De Vida explained, There are many ways to get your kids (or reluctant husband) to eat more fruits and veggies. If you still aren’t seeing results, maybe you are making some of these common mistakes in the Challenge. No looking back now! Keep it up. Don’t forget to check in “Still In” in the comments section!

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Common Mistakes in the Jumpstart 2012 By Working On Ourselves Challenge

You’re 2 weeks into the JumpStart 2012 By Working on Ourselves, Challenge and haven’t seen enough results yet. You’ve been eating your servings, drinking your water, and straining through dreadful pushups and sit ups, but the scale still reads the same! Here are a few mistakes you are making and a few solutions to help you start seeing results faster!

You Traded One Vice For Another

For the challenge, you decided to give up ice cream. Now instead of ice cream you are eating more cookies. Take a look at your food journal and see what you have substituted your ice cream cravings for. I’m assuming you have some type of food journal as it is paramount to the success of this challenge. If you have traded one vice for another, take a look at our article, “Are you a Cheater”, for ways to cope with giving up vices. I noticed this same problem when I tried to buy Golden Oreos. I had found another vice.

You’re Still Eating Too Much

Again, check your food journal. If you are eating more calories because you added more fruits and vegetables, you need to make adjustments. Too many extra calories are detrimental, even if they are coming from fruits and veggies. If you are full after eating a fruit, veggie and protein source at breakfast, stop there. You may want to start cooking one less egg or eating one less piece of toast now that you are eating more fruits and veggies.

Your 30 Minutes of Exercise Isn’t Intense Enough

If you started walking two weeks ago, you should have made adjustments by now. Pick up the speed in your walk or add in intervals of jogging in order to raise the intensity. If you are biking, or riding the elliptical, you should speed those up as well. You can also try downloading our free EBook for a workout program and body weight exercises that’ll add a little variety to your workout. As we stated in our article, “Can’t Lose the last 10 Pounds? Here’s Why”, you have to change your workouts so that your body is always guessing. Don’t be afraid to push past your pain threshold. Only then will you start seeing more results.

You’re Miscalculating Servings

Do you know what constitutes a serving of fruits or veggies? It may not be as much as you think. Our article, “What’s a Serving”, will help you with this. If you are eating more than you should, you may be adding extra calories to your diet.

You’re Still Modifying Pushups and Sit Ups

It’s time to get on your toes and do a few pushups. Try 1 “real” pushup for every 3 “modified” pushups ratio. Soon you will be doing full pushups. Try the same with modified sit ups. If you don’t try it, you’ll never know that you can do it.

You Need to Divorce the Scale

Last but definitely not least, you need to divorce the scale for a while. Instead, measure your waist, legs, and arms. You should also measure your success by how far or fast you are running, how many more pushups you can do, and how long are you holding your planks! The scale is not the only success measuring tool.

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Jumpstart 2012 By Working On Ourselves “Week 2 Check In”

CONGRATULATIONS, you have made it through week 2. If you haven’t yet, please weigh and measure yourself and post your successes here as well. We’ve heard weight loss numbers as high as 20lbs. If you are still having trouble beating the sugar cravings, please read our article, Beat the Sugar Cravings With These 8 Tips. Many of you have asked about the emphasis on fruits and vegetables so we decided to start writing articles regarding the benefits of both. Take a look at this article An Apple A Day. Are you losing your Motivation? Get it back with these easy steps.

Don’t forget to comment, “Still In” at the bottom of this post!

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An Apple a Day!

It’s one of the oldest adages, yet one of the most ignored. As the obesity numbers rise and the health and wellness industry becomes more and more profitable, many people are forgetting some of the simplest ways to become healthier. While everyone is trying to sell the next big health food, the neglected apple sits on the tree, silently screaming, “REMEMBER ME.” Let us remind you of all the Benefits of the Apple!

Lowers Bad Cholesterol

Apples contain a polysaccharide called pectin which studies show helps lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) Cholesterol. 2 apples a day will reduce your LDL 10%. Other benefits of pectin are improved insulin resistance and prevent a surge in blood glucose levels.

Prevents Breast Cancer

A study done by Cornell University found that rats who were given 1, 2, or 3 apples per day reduced their risks of breast cancer by 17, 39, and 44 percent respectively.

Weight Loss

Researchers in Brazil found significant weight loss among women who ate 3 apples per day as opposed to those who didn’t. Eating an apple before a meal will help you fill up and eat less as well. The honest truth about weight loss is that you will have to eat more fruits and vegetables and less junk.

Clean Teeth

Eat more apples to clean your teeth naturally. The juice in an apple is so sharp; it whitens the teeth and brightens your smile. Drink water while eating an apple to remove the sugar from your teeth.

These are only a few of the many benefits of an Apple. Always remember to keep apples refrigerated and don’t buy apples that you can dent with your finger.

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6 Ways to Get Your Kids (or reluctant husband) to Eat Their Veggies from Mesa de Vida!

Start early! 

Start allowing them to try vegetables and fruits before they have the ability to tell you “No”! It may be a little late for this, but if you have any new little’s in your future, you can start at the beginning with them! Of course follow pediatrician guidelines for introducing foods but once you get past that point, load them up with every fruit and veggie you can get into them! Let them experience a multitude of vegetables of varying textures, NOT just the ones you like, or think they will like. My kids loved steamed parsnips, beets, kale steamed and smashed into potatoes, all of them. I am proud to say I have almost no issue getting my kids to eat their fruits and vegetables now! My daughter requested green beans for breakfast from her grandparents when she was 3. :)  When they got a bit older and could chew they loved going to the garden and munching fresh rutabaga, snap peas and tomatoes. If they are familiar with many fruits and vegetables from the beginning, are used to seeing them appear on their dinner plate every day and see everyone else enjoying them they will be more likely to enjoy them as well! 

Rewards!

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Link to the MSNBC News article: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/45657989/ns/today-today_health/t/getting-kids-eat-veggies-can-be-sticky-business/#.TwyjoDWXQ2h) showed that for preschoolers, offering a sticker reward worked better than positive praise to get the kids to eat and eventually enjoy their veggies! They suggest doing this for about a 10 day span. Worth a shot! Great article, I suggest you try it!

Practice what you preach!

We all know someone…or maybe we are that someone…that says “Ew”! in front of their children when faced with certain foods. This gives them permission to balk at foods also before at least giving them a try. Keep your reactions to yourself. If I dislike a food I have tried and genuinely don’t enjoy – for me, this list is very, very short, fortunately/unfortunately  – I keep it to myself. I just choose to not take it, or in a way that is obvious, set it to the side. Is still prepare these foods for the kids if they enjoy them and they are nutritious and keep my opinion on the matter to myself. I also always had a rule for my kids that they have to at least try something before they can form an opinion on it. I bring up other foods that don’t look so great but they love the taste of as an example.

Teach them!

Fill them in about the benefits of the foods they are eating! “Those sweet potatoes have a ton of vitamin E & C! They can help your eyesight stay strong and help your cells fight off flu and cold bugs like super hero’s”! Arm yourself with information about the vitamins and minerals many fruits and vegetables have and the benefits of those, get your kids excited to be able to make healthy choices for themselves!

Make it taste good!

We have all probably had some nasty vegetables at some point growing up. I remember canned green peas and Brussels sprouts cooked until they were grey. I would say for younger kids, just make them soft enough to eat safely but just serve them straight up. They don’t have a taste for salty/sweet yet so if you can get them to enjoy them as is they will LOVE them with some clarified butter or parmesan later on! For older kids, try roasting vegetables then adding some parmesan. This does amazing things for almost every vegetable: it brings out the sweet nutty quality most vegetables have when cooked this way. Keep them al dente and not mushy, I find most people prefer the flavor that way.

Hide it!

Hey, it’s not hurting them! If you have someone who is reluctant to eat their vegetables, even using all of these other tips, you may have to resort to this.  Most of my recipes have a ton of vegetables in them and I get people who don’t like vegetables, or onions, or mushrooms, etc. to eat it and love it. When I let them know the dish had their despised vegetable in it they don’t even realize it! Chop it very small, for things like onions and mushrooms, cook them well and they blend in. There are some great books about sneaky ways to hide vegetables and fruits in your kids’ favorite meals (sneaking cauliflower into their mac and cheese, squash into a gratin or sauce, pureed spinach into spaghetti sauce, avocado puree in a chocolate mousse, etc.)  Many vegetables are naturally sweet and add a great flavor to sauces or casseroles and you can’t tell they’re in there. I don’t have to sneak it in, but I add applesauce, pureed pumpkin, mashed bananas and plum puree to many of my baked goods. They keep them moist and add great flavor, along with health benefits!

I hope this has given you a few tips to get your family to love fruits and vegetables. I have some great recipes on my site that are FULL of vegetables and fruit and I will continue to bring more to your table! Enjoy!

Have a good tip that works for you to get your kids to eat their veggies? Please share!

Please visit Chef Kirsten @ http://mesadevida.com/

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Do You Have a Sweet Tooth?

I certainly have a sweet tooth. I hadn’t had a Golden Oreo in 2 months as I was doing a No Junk Food Challenge. I had successfully replaced the cookies with fresh fruits and mixed nuts. I’ve been so happy that I was able to do it that I decided to buy a pack of cookies so that I could put them away and have them sparingly. I thought since it had been 2 months and I had replaced the cravings with healthy alternatives, I would have complete control… Wow, was I wrong. Here I sit typing this sentence and all I can think about are the last 10 cookies left. This is exactly why in my article, Beat the Sugar Cravings with These 8 Tips, I wrote, “Don’t Buy It.” I know we should allow ourselves cheat days but here are some better ways to get your fix if you are going to buy it.

  • Buy only what you want to have on that given day (a serving, a scoop, or a cup)
  • Eat before going out to buy the snack
  • Think about it before you do it… Is it really worth it?

I have learned a lot from this experience and I hope you have as well. What are some other ways you beat your cravings?

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Healthified Macaroni and Cheese

This takes processed white pasta and powdered “cheese” and puts that baby to bed! I swapped out whole grain pasta, use a bit of real cheese and make a quick and easy creamy sauce with whole wheat flour, a bit of butter, olive oil and milk. This comes together almost as fast as the blue box kind, but it is much better for you and your family! Turn it into a different meal by adding chopped broccoli or cauliflower, adding chopped chicken or tuna, it is one of my family favorites! Enjoy!

Healthified Macaroni and Cheese

Makes 6-8 servings

1 box (12-13 oz)

1 Tb butter

1 Tb olive oil

3 Tb whole grain flour

3 cups milk

1/2 tsp dry mustard

Kosher/sea salt to taste (I recommend for best flavor 2 big pinches)

Fresh ground black pepper to taste

1 cup grated cheese

Boil your pasta, cook according to package instructions, drain 1-2 minutes before the recommended time, just under al dente. While your pasta cooks make the sauce. In a saucepan over medium heat melt your butter, add the oil. Whisk in the flour, let this cook 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the milk, add the mustard, salt and pepper. Keep stirring and bring the milk to a boil, turn off the heat. Mix in the cheese. Add the drained pasta. If you are not baking this, turn the heat back on and cook the sauce and pasta for 2 minutes over medium heat, then serve. Or you can pour the pasta and sauce into a baking dish and bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees to get the casserole browned and bubbly. Enjoy!

Please visit Chef Kirsten at http://mesadevida.com

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Jumpstart 2012 By Working On Ourselves “WEEK 1 CHECK IN”

All you need to do is comment, “still in” so that we can check you off! Make sure your first and last name are in the comment as well. Having trouble with sugar craving? This article might help: Beat The Sugar Cravings! We are so happy that you made it through Week 1! Let’s roll right into week 2! Don’t lose your Motivation!

Remember to comment, “still in!” My example is there!

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