Pumpkin Oats White Chocolate Chip Muffins

Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin overload – right?  Pumpkins are everywhere, even now that Halloween is past and we are moving headlong into the Thanksgiving season.

Do you know what my favorite Thanksgiving commercials are – ever – the Publix pilgrim little figurines – that get so full from all the Publix food that was served on Thanksgiving that their outfits tend to pop buttons.  So fun.  Growing up in Lakeland, FL – the home of Publix – I saw my share of Publix commercials – and am so glad to be living again with a Publix on every corner.

Anyway, back to pumpkins.  As a Mom, sometimes I stress about my kids’ nutrition.  I mean my older son could down all the fruit he could ever eat if I let him.  My younger son loves those little pouches that are fruit-filled.  We have instituted a donut morning one day every week, and I usually bake something sweet, and we eat out just to make life easier.  So, I’m not the healthiest Mom out there – but that isn’t the end all either. They love their fruits and veggies so that is great!  And neither of them really dig french fries – so that’s a plus!

These muffins – both of them are gobbling up.  I feel good about giving them one because there is no added fat in it from butter or oil – so that makes them healthier, right?  And, they are very yummy!  You can change up the add-ins for the muffins, and this time I had a small amount of white chocolate chips left – they are a very nice addition.

Pumpkin Oats White Chocolate Chip Muffins
Author: 
Recipe type: Muffins
Cuisine: Bread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
A healthy hearty filling pumpkin muffin with a touch of sweetness
Ingredients
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1¼ cup Pumpkin Pie Mix in a can
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T applesauce
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup white chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Mix all the ingredients together.
  2. Spray muffin tin (makes 12 muffins) and set oven on 375
  3. Fill each muffin cup about ¾ full with muffin batter.
  4. Bake for about 20 minutes or until done, don't overbake
 

Simple Summer Squash Salad

Simple Summer Squash Salad

Summer food should be pretty.  The sun is shining.  The gardens are bursting with fragrant herbs and brightly hued fruits the way God imagined and created them.

While I didn’t grow the items found in this summer salad, I did buy them at the Whole Foods in Buckhead (a delightful shopping, eating, and living area of Atlanta).  This Whole Foods takes the cake on any one I’ve been in.  The produce alone would be reason to keep coming back to it again and again.  I remember the first time I took our older son in there.  He exclaimed “watermelon” while looking at the sample containter of beautiful red, completely juicy, delicious watermelon.  (And that was the first time he had said it!)

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And another favorite thing I love about this salad is the dressing.  I do love to make my own, but when you’ve found a simple summer vinaigrette such as this one: Brianna’s Real French – why waste the time in making my own?  It is slightly tangy and fragrant and rests lightly on any food you put it on (this salad and our pink grapefruit salad are our two favorites).  And if you want to know where to get the delicious Yard Blend that I use in this side dish, contact my friend Jayme over at Holly and Flora.

So, without further ado – here is a perfectly simple summer side dish that would be a great accompaniement to your next light summer affair.  Get some crusty bread, cheese, wine, berries, and this – night well made.

This recipe was inspired by Laura’s.

Simple Summer Squash Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Vegetable
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-3
 
Simple summer squash in a light vinaigrette with salty, smooth goat cheese
Ingredients
  • 2 yellow summer squash, sliced in ribbons
  • 1 zucchini, sliced in ribbons
  • 2-3 T Brianna's Real French Vinaigrette
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • ½ tsp of Holly & Flora's Yard Blend
  • 2 T crumbled goat cheese
Instructions
  1. To slice ribbons in your vegetables, I used the side of my box grater with the long grating option.
  2. Toss your sliced vegetables in everything but the goat cheese. Let marinate for about 20 minutes
  3. Crumble the goat cheese on top before serving.
 

 

 

Fit Friday: 5 Health Benefits of Drinking Water

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5 Reasons to Drink Water

Starbucks. Coke.  Diet Coke. Cherry Zero.  Milk.  Juices.  Green Smoothis. Kefir.

So many liquids to drink out there – and I’ve only named a few.  But, what about the one thing that is free and good (at least in our ountry in most cities in America)?

My health fast in the month of March is for the remainder of the month, I will give up my Sonic runs and my unsweet tea and drink only water.  So, why should we drink water?  These are not scientific but just some thoughts:

1.  Fills you up before a meal.  So you don’t eat as many calories, so you lose weight.

2.  Cleanses your body because drinking more makes you go to the bathroom more.

3.  Makes your skin look healthier because you are flushing toxins from your body that usually cause acne.

4.  Its free.  Our wallet could use a break.

5.  It tastes good.  I like our water.  Clean.  Not filtered.  Ice or no ice.  Lemon, lime, or just plain!  PS.  If you don’t like your water, there are items like Brita or you can buy Aquafina or Fiji water if your budget allows.  Those are my two favorite bottles of water.

Fit Friday Links

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Fit Friday Links

Welcome to Friday. Its been a difficult week to do anything in the way of exercise because all I want to do is go outside and walk – but that is hard when the wind is blowing, you have two under 17m and the air is arctic (compared to Florida sunshine and warmth).
So this weekend is supposed to be in the 50s so the Mister and I will get some walking in with the boys.
But, thought I would pass along some healthy blogs I’ve read this week – whether they are encouraging us to exercise or some delicious recipes – I hope you find a take-away in these links!
Be healthy this weekend!

My most memorable stuffed peppers are the ones my then boyfriend made on the night we got engaged.  He knew I was doing vegetarian for a year and made some black beans stuffed green peppers.  Here is a recipe for some pretty quinoa stuffed peppers.  Add a side salad and its a perfect light and inexpensive dinner.

Two of my favorite things combined in one recipe: brussel sprouts and avocadoes!  This is a beautiful salad that would be paired well with a lean meat or eaten for lunch with a slice of toasted sourdough (which makes every day better)

Healthy living includes mental health as well.  Here are some timely tips from Jessica for living without un-needed guilt.

Some of you asked about the juice or raw detox I did.  Here are some reasons of why juicing could help you!

Enjoy some sunshine where you are this weekend.  Enjoy the time spent with loved ones.  And eat some good food!  Read a book.  Laugh with your kids.  These are all healthy things to do!

 

Raw Detox Recap

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Raw Detox Recap

Going on a two week vacation right after New Year’s doesn’t really help with keeping all those resolutions.  5 people in a hotel room doesn’t leave much room for exercising but I enjoyed the many days in the Florida sunshine (and heat).  But, I had returned with the scale being up 6 pounds (including birthday desserts).  So, I was thinking, even before the return trip, about how I wanted to get that weight off!  So, I chose to do a raw food detox for three days.

I looked at several websites and I’m glad that none came up with a specific menu.  I wanted to choose my own raw foods to eat.  I didn’t think it would be as hard as it was, but my husband knew it was difficult for me.  The only things I’ve had for three days have been raw except for salsa and gum.

My favorite thing I ate all wknd was my carrot apple ginger juice and avocados!  Man, I love those things!  In smoothies, on salads, or by themselves – they were a welcome addition when I couldn’t things like salad dressings.

I was hungrier than I thought I would be.  The affects on my body (besides a 5.6 lbs weight loss in three days) were bloating which I expected.  But, I think I also slept better too.

My thoughts:

Good:

I love the foods that God created in the form that God created them.

There is so much beauty in fruits and vegetables.

I didn’t snack as much (like grab half of a chicken nugget from my son’s plate).

Bad:

There are other things that God created: like fire and heat and animals that give us food products – that shouldn’t be cut out of my diet.  I was craving eggs when I finished the detox.  Eggs are nutritious.  I wanted milk, cheese, healthy breads, cooked vegetables, etc.

Most fad diets that are out there today (and for the past decades) usually tell you to cut out this or do away with that.  But, as most people can tell you, that doesn’t work for the long haul.  Moderation is key. I’ve learned in years (almost 20) of dieting, exercising, eating healthy, periods of loss and gain – that moderation of everything is key.  I think that is also biblical.  So for me, I will not be adapting to a raw vegan lifestyle.  May do a detox on occasion but I don’t feel the need to cut out everything cooked from my diet.

If you are going to choose to eat radical (in anyway):

1.  Make sure you are determined. Will power is key here.

2.  Make sure you have support from those around you.  My husband was a huge supporter of this and that is a giant help.

Fruit and Bran make a wonderful muffin

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Moist, healthy, filling, fruit: what more could you want in a morning muffin?

I have tons of recipes that I’ve torn out of magazines over the years and I’m trying to actually cook through them.  Now that I have someone to cook for it makes it a little easier (and I always need ideas)!

These were very moist and have plenty of fruit and fiber in them.  And they are under 200 calories. 

1 1/2 cup all bran (the cereal)

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

3 T sugar

1/2 tsp baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon

1 egg

3/4 cup buttermilk

1/2 ripe banana, mashed

1/4 cup molasses

2 T oil

1 apple, tart, chopped

1/2 cup frozen blueberries (don’t thaw) – use you can use fresh

Combine first ingredients (through the cinnamon).  Mix the wet ingredients.  Mix together with dry.  Fold in apple and blueberries.  Bake in greased muffin tins, fill 3/4 of the way, bake at 350 for about 23 minutes, give or take.  Cook for 5 minutes, then cool on rack.  Serve warm.

Much & Link Love: November 21 edition

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Vacation over: Thanksgiving ahead.
1. Vacation was great: hiking, eating, sleeping, photoging, seeing friends. Beautiful weather.
2. Parents come in town tomorrow.
3. I’ve decided not to do the half on Thursday. That would take out 9 hours of what my parents and I could do together (drive, run, drive), so we will find stuff to do in Raleigh without going to Charlotte.
4. Friends are crucial to my wellbeing, but I also love downtown when I don’t see another soul. I’ll have to find a time to do that after my parents leave. Hmmmm. Maybe New Years.
5. It just wasn’t a pretty football weekend, except for the GATORS. I was in Boone (home of ASU) and loved saying GO GATORS. One of the signs I saw read “Gator: It is what’s for dinner. Go App.” – Well, that didn’t happen.
6. Short week in the office, busy week of editing and reading.
7. To shed some weight this holiday season (instead of put it on): one meal a day has to be either oatmeal, egg white omelette, or veggies. That will definitely help cut some calories during the day.
8. Got some new things in the works for after New Years. Thinking and excited.

Link Love:
1. Girls Gone Wise blog hits up entitlements and rights of women.
2. I think I would like to host one of these. Anyone in RDU interested – good way to start the new year.
3. These will definitely be making their way to a holiday party near you.
4. These will also be making it to a Christmas party near you (if you live in RDU or Lakeland).
5. Love this article that Justin posted on his blog. Often as Christians we ignore culture. But, here are some wise ways to engage and redeem. Hopefully a post will be coming on that by a friend of mine.
6. I would like to try this Chicago-style pizze at home one night, maybe while the parents are here.
7. Ed Stetzer to the rescue - especially if you are flying this holiday season.
8. I thought of these videos a lot this wknd while scaling 23 feet up a ladder on a side of a mountain.

Do Hard Things

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This post actually has nothing to do with the Harris brothers’ book by the same title. But, as I was thinking of titles for this blog, that is what came to mind. Others that came to mind: Things I Learned from Randy Stinson, Spiritual Laziness, What I Don’t Like To Do, but Need To. The Do Hard Things stuck and is shorter.
So…what am I talking about? One of the best part of my jobs while administrative assistant in Louisville was transcribing my boss’ talks or sermons. Sometimes I get to hear them live, but other talks I basically memorized because of the time I had to rewind, and rewind again to get the talks just right. It was a period of growth and memorization for me.
Mostly he spoke to men, but I learned a lot. He would tell the men that a lot of the younger generation is lazy. Not because they don’t like to do things, or they just sit around (which some of them do), but more than that he was talking about men who don’t do hard things. They may be really busy, but they don’t like doing things that are hard for them. They would rather live passively with their wives than bring up the issue that both of them know they need to deal with. They would rather let the slacker keep going at work than to confront him and call him on his laziness. They would rather play video games all day than prep for that test or sermon, or fix the toilet that is leaking in the guest bathroom. Do hard things. The boss would always say, do them first: write that note, send that email, fix that toilet, study for that test, ask that girl out, apply for that new position. Whatever is most hard for you to do – do it first, get it off the to-do this first and then you’ll have plenty of time to do the not so hard things.

So, I was thinking about this all day and really the past couple of days. There are two things in my life right now that are harder than the rest: and I haven’t done them because they wouldn’t be easy. I guess I should say I haven’t done either of them with sincere regularity, and my whole life reflects it.

Exercise/Healthy Eating. It is much easier to not exercise, to sleep in when the alarm goes off because it is cold outside, or to not run that extra 2 miles when you’ve already run 3. It is easier to eat brownies and roasted chicken than it is to eat carrots and roasted beets.

Personal Quiet Time. I spend all day writing curriculum, in books, digging into Scripture for my job. I love it. But, what I’ve not done with regularity is sit down in the morning – pre-work – and dig into the Scriptures for myself, for my soul, for my walk with the Lord.
I need to set my alarm, get out of bed, put my feet on the floor (and not hop back in bed) and do the hard things.
What are your hard things?
Is it cleaning the house?
Is it carrying on a conversation with your husband or wife?
Is it asking for accountablity?
Is it reading the Bible?
Is it exercising?
Is it cooking healthy meals for your family?
Is it asking that girl out?
Is it losing weight?
Is it serving in your local church?
Is it giving some of your income away to missions or service projects?
Is it opening your home to strangers or friends?
Is it practicing the spiritual discipline of prayer, worship, giving, evangelism?
Is it not buying any more “toys” because you already have too many?

Whatever your “hard thing” is – DO IT.
1 Timothy 4:8 “Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

Much & Link Love (Nov 1) and November!

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Well, thought I might tie these two posts together since November 1 falls on a Monday.

1. Great weekend: the ocean, 31 miles, mahi mahi tacos, and a Gator win!
2. Getting organized and down-sizing.
3. Love seeing old friends: they are rare!
4. Love talking about what God is doing in my life.
5. Love hearing about what God is doing in others’ lives.
6. Thankful for my pastors and their wives.
7. Much to do – hopefully celebrating by the end of the week. Press on!

Link Love:
1. I want to make this now that the weather is getting cooler.

2. She seriously is a great food writer – and I love her books, though I have different one – am asking for some of her’s for Christmas

3. Do you watch Glee? Here are some good reasons NOT to. I’ve only watched 5 minutes of one, and it was one of my un-edifying, make-me-cringe – 5 minutes of my life.

Now for November:
1. Living healthy! That is def on my menu!
2. Ice Skating – not to make a fool out of myself or break anything is always a good goal.
3. Meta – our big youth wknd at PBC – Troy Temple, one of my fave people from SBTS is speaking!
4. Tedd Tripp in town in Apex for a conference. Looking forward to that – live blog coming.
5. Hiking Grandfather Mountain and some girl time with a friend.
6. My third half marathon in Charlotte on Thanksgiving Day
7. Parents are in town for that week, be good to get some things done.
8. BABIES! They are coming from different place. I love new babies!
9. A new life class at church – am excited about something new.
10. Writing Writing and more Writing.

Honey Granola

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Granola is probably the thing I make most in my kitchen (save cookies and egg white sandwiches). I always like trying new recipes. This one is a winner. I started with a recipe from Joy of Baking and tweaked it. Turned out great.

3 cups oats
1/2 cup whole raw almonds (I buy in the bulk bins at WF and just keep in my freezer)
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raw pepitas
1/2 T wheat germ
1/4 cup flax seeds
1/3 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup honey
2 T light brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup dried cherries

Mix dry. Melt over low heat wet and sugar. Toss together. Bake on rimmed cooking sheet (sprayed) at 325 for 10 minutes x 4. I like to set the timer for 10 minutes and stir or I will forget about it. Don’t let it get burnt – nothing worse in granola than burnt almonds.
Add in the cherries when granola is cooled completely.

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