Saturday, March 29, 2014

Glazed Doughnut Muffins

I love glazed donuts...or is it doughnut? I like the more complicated spelling.  Just the thought of these guys makes my mouth water.  My parents used to walk us to Sweetie Pie's doughnut shop on Saturday mornings and we would get a dozen donuts.  I loved picking out which varieties to put into our big pink box.  Usually at least half were some version of the glazed doughnut, whether it be original, old fashioned, in bar form, or hole form.  

Today I stumbled on a recipe for glazed doughnut muffins.  But don't let the muffin form fool you. These taste just like the old-fashioned glazed doughnuts I used to get at Sweetie Pie's and are super easy and fun to make at home.  You can use regular sized or mini muffin tins.


For the Muffins:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
For the Glaze:
3 tablespoons butter; melted
1 cup confectioners’ sugar; sifted
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons hot water

Read more at http://sweetpeaskitchen.com/2011/05/glazed-doughnut-muffins/#k1C7rI8TDGtdXE16.99 <!-- /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:Times; panose-1:2 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:3 0 0 0 1 0;} @font-face {font-family:"MS 明朝"; panose-1:0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0; mso-font-charset:128; mso-generic-font-family:roman; mso-font-format:other; mso-font-pitch:fixed; mso-font-signature:1 134676480 16 0 131072 0;} @font-face {font-family:"MS 明朝"; panose-1:0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0; mso-font-charset:128; mso-generic-font-family:roman; mso-font-format:other; mso-font-pitch:fixed; mso-font-signature:1 134676480 16 0 131072 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-unhide:no; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-font-family:"MS 明朝"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";} .MsoChpDefault {mso-style-type:export-only; mso-default-props:yes; font-size:10.0pt; mso-ansi-font-size:10.0pt; mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt; mso-fareast-font-family:"MS 明朝"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-fareast-language:JA;} @page WordSection1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.WordSection1 {page:WordSection1;} --
For the Muffins:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup vanilla almond milk

For the Glaze:
3 tablespoons butter; melted
1 cup confectioners’ sugar;
2 tablespoons warm vanilla almond milk
For the Muffins:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
For the Glaze:
3 tablespoons butter; melted
1 cup confectioners’ sugar; sifted
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons hot water

Read more at http://sweetpeaskitchen.com/2011/05/glazed-doughnut-muffins/#k1C7rI8TDGtdXE16.99
For the Muffins:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
For the Glaze:
3 tablespoons butter; melted
1 cup confectioners’ sugar; sifted
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons hot water

Read more at http://sweetpeaskitchen.com/2011/05/glazed-doughnut-muffins/#k1C7rI8TDGtdXE16.99

For the Muffins:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
For the Glaze:
3 tablespoons butter; melted
1 cup confectioners’ sugar; sifted
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons hot water

Read more at http://sweetpeaskitchen.com/2011/05/glazed-doughnut-muffins/#k1C7rI8TDGtdXE16.99z
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Mix the wet ingredients (except the milk), through the eggs with a hand mixer.  Mix the dry ingredients separately. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients with a spatula and alternate adding in the milk.  Careful not to over-mix.  The batter will be a little stick/doughier than most muffin recipes.  Spray a muffin tin with oil and scoop batter in until about 3/4 full.  Bake for about 13 minutes, or until the tops are slightly golden.  Whisk together the glaze while the muffins cool.  Then dip the tops of each muffin into the glaze.  Let them sit and harden, then dip once more.
Recipe adapted from -  http://sweetpeaskitchen.com/2011/05/glazed-doughnut-muffins/



Enjoy!


What is your favorite kind of doughnut?

When is the last time you ate one?





Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Farro Salad - For Ancient Roman Strength


I have been on a healthy grain kick.  A couple of years ago, I was duped by stupid diet talk about the benefits of eliminating carbs.  With the amount I exercise, it is no wonder I would get light-headed and grumpy most afternoons.  I am now not only adding rice and pasta back into my lunches and dinners, but I am exploring other weird and trendy carbs.  I’ve definitely hopped on the quinoa bandwagon, I made lentils last week with dinner and made lentil tacos for lunch with the leftovers, and now I have graduated to…

Farro!  A staple of the ancient Roman diet - maybe it will help me gain gladiator-like strength?


I bought the 10-minute farro at Trader Joe’s and will definitely be adding it to my cart more often.  It tastes slightly nutty and makes for a really great addition to salads since it is slightly crunchier than rice or quinoa. There are a lot of soup recipes with farro, and you can even prepare it like risotto.

The benefits of farro:
Farro is a complex carbohydrate that stimulates the immune system, regulates blood sugar and helps lower cholesterol.  It is not a complete source of protein like quinoa but it has more protein than brown rice and also has more antioxidants. It takes a while to digest so it keeps you feeling fuller longer and provides sustained energy (goodbye afternoon slumps!) Farro is also thought to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. Source: http://www.npr.org/2013/10/02/227838385/farro-an-ancient-if-complicated-grain-worth-figuring-out

Try it in this delicious salad recipe – boyfriend approved!


Cook farro according the package directions.
When it is finished, season it with lemon juice or balsamic vinegar and any other seasonings you like, I used garlic salt and black pepper.
Sauté 1 cup of sliced mushrooms and a sliced red onion.
Season with garlic powder and salt.
Dice up tomatoes and avocado.
Toss everything together with your favorite salad dressing (I used Trader Joe’s parmesan ranch).

Both refreshing and filling.  Add sliced chicken breast for an even heartier dinner portion.



Do you have a favorite weird or suddenly-trendy grain?



Have you ever tried cutting back on carbs?



Sunday, March 23, 2014

Perspective and Pancakes

Think back to when you were a kid.  Just after your awkward years, when you thought you really had discovered who you are.  For me, this was probably about age 15.  When you were that kid, what were you most worried about?

Now think about who you are today.  What do you worry about most now?

I realized that for myself, any negative thoughts I had back then were pretty different than the worries I have now.  And when I think about where I may be in ten years, I am pretty sure I will have very different problems than I do today.

My point is that our perspective on life changes.  It happens slowly, but the way we view the world and ourselves shifts drastically over time.

So why can't we change our perspectives in the present?  I think that we can.

I think that making small adjustments to behaviors and the way we assess situations and feelings can help to shift our priorities, our worries, and what makes us happy.

Am I getting to deep?  Probably.

So lets talk about it with pancakes.




When I woke up, I asked myself - How do I feel this Sunday morning?

Hungover.

Bloated.

Sad the weekend is nearly over.

An overwhelming need to run off the beers I drank last night.


What will make this Sunday morning better?

Laughing about last night's ridiculousness.

Yoga.

A brisk Spring breeze.

Pancakes.


Living in the present moment is one way we can shift our perspective.  Regrets about the past and stress about the future hinder our ability to appreciate and enjoy what is in front of us now.  Why feel guilty for overindulging? Why dwell on what the work week may bring?

Just eat the pancakes.  

And smother them in peanut butter and Greek yogurt if that is what your heart tells you to do.  

And savor every bite.

Here is the recipe for the most amazing pancakes I made this morning.  These are my best-ever.

Perfect pancakes:
1 egg
1/2 cup plan nonfat Greek Yogurt
3/4 cup almond milk
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup instant oats
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 packets of Splenda

Just mix and griddle them up!  Add more milk if you need too, I like my batter on the runny-side.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Stuffed Sweet Potato

This is the meal that I would eat every night if I lived alone.  I have been enjoying several variations of it for years, but have never posted about it here.  I feel like it is the only recipe that is truly my own and may be slightly weird-sounding to some.  When I have only a small sweet potato on hand, it makes the perfect side dish to chicken or pork.  But when I have those big guys laying around, I go to town and make a full meal out of it.  In the photo below, I paired it with a kale and barley salad.


The bf isn't a huge fan of sweet potatoes or Greek yogurt.  So I made him a similar version with a regular russet potato and ricotta instead of the yogurt.  He was a big fan.  And I got a better picture of his plate :)


So here is my secret stuffed sweet potato recipe:

1 large sweet potato
1 cup of frozen spinach, thawed
1/2 red onion, sliced
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (I use Fage nonfat)
2 tbsp soy sauce
garlic powder
sea salt
fresh ground black pepper

Make a cut through the middle of the sweet potato and microwave for about 6-9 minutes depending on the size - until it is nice and soft. While microwaving the potato, cook the onions in a hot skillet with cooking spray.  Let them get nice and golden, then add in the spinach, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Continue cooking until brown and flavorful, add a tablespoon or splash of soy sauce and a little water or chicken stock at the end and stir until absorbed.  Take the sweet potato and season with some salt, and mash it up a bit with a fork.  Pour the other tablespoon of soy sauce right onto the potato, then top with the Greek yogurt, then pile on the spinach and onion mixture.

Enjoy!

Anyone else have weird recipe combinations that just work?

What is your favorite, easy weeknight meal when you are cooking for 1?


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Eat all the Food


Does anyone else have those days where you just cannot stop eating?  These days used to scare the crap out of me.  I used to blame myself and feel guilty for eating so much on days like these, equating it all to “binging”, but now I know that it is just my body politely asking me for more fuel.  I did two cycle classes over the weekend and ran over six miles this morning.  Between that and all of the walking I have been doing since the weather has been nicer, my body is screaming for more food.  Luckily, I brought lots of snacks for the week to work today (although I pretty much ate most of them already).  It is also a nice reminder that my metabolism is really kicking into gear, and restricting food will only slow me down.

This topic may not 100% relate to the pictures below, but I wanted share a bit about ALL the random foods I have been eating lately.  The fact that my meals have been bigger with more carbs and fats may also be one of the reasons my metabolism is finally jump-starting back into gear.  Not to mention, life with more carbs and fats is sooo much better than diet and nonfat foods

Amy’s White Cheddar Mac and Cheese – yes that’s right, boxed mac and cheese is an old favorite.


Though not enough food to fill me up for dinner... a side of sausage and veggies please?


Make-ahead eggy oats with Greek yogurt, almond butter, a banana and chia seeds.  Perfectly gooey breakfast on the go.


Pre-dinner margaritas with chips and guac - thanks to a great friend and hostess for a Mexican themed feast last weekend.


Afternoon delight, a macchiato from Tryst with animal cookies – the perfect Saturday afternoon girl date with a friend from work.


EAT (and drink) ALL THE FOOD!!



Do you ever have days where you are constantly hungry? 

Does it freak you out, or do you soak it up?


Saturday, March 8, 2014

Baby Bok Choy in Garlic Sauce

I love Chinese takeout and I love trying to cook new and different types of vegetables. I often get stuck in a rotation between broccoli, Brussels sprouts and asparagus.  So on my Saturday morning stroll through Whole Foods last weekend (becoming a bad habit, I know) I grabbed a new veg – baby bok choy.  I love it in Chinese takeout, so I thought I would try to make a Chinese-inspired bok choy side dish to go with our rice and salmon I was planning for dinner that night. 

I actually watched a couple of You Tube videos, during which an enthusiastic Chinese man showed me how to make the PERFECT garlic sauce.  My variation came out awesome and coated my bok choy in the most scrumptious way possible.

For the garlic sauce:
3 cloves of garlic, diced
½ cup soy sauce
1/4 cup of water or chicken broth
1 tsp of cornstarch
1 tsp brown sugar

Sauté the garlic in a little olive oil, mix the rest of the ingredients together in a small bowl or measuring cup, add the mixture to the pan with the garlic and cook and stir until thickened to desired texture. 

For the baby bok choy:
Cut lengthwise so each “bulb” becomes 4-5 pieces, then rinse well (get out any dirt from inside the crevices).  Layer a hot pan with cooking spray or oil and add in the bok choy.  Stir fry for a few minutes then season with salt and pepper.  Cover pan to allow the bok choy to steam a bit.  After plating, pour the garlic sauce over top.


Do you get stuck in veggie ruts?  


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Stepping off the Scale

I have written several versions of this post but have yet to finalize one I feel good about. About 5 months ago, I decided I was going to stop weighing myself.  For the past 4 years I had weighed myself daily, every morning.  During that period I was thrilled as the number steadily began to drop.  And drop.  And drop.  The feeling that I got when I saw the number fall lower and lower, to a weight I had not been since middle school, was a feeling of pride, accomplishment, confidence.  The times the number hopped up by 1-2 (usually on the weekends when I wasn’t eating as “clean” and was probably just dehydrated and bloated) were met with strong feelings as well - but feelings of disappointment, frustration, self-hate.  After one of those “bad” mornings, which had been followed by a night of drinking and jumbo slice pizza, I decided I was done.  I was done being controlled by a number.  I was done measuring my self-worth, my dedication, my hard work…by a number.  I was done letting that number dictate whether or not my day was “good” or “bad.”  What started as an innocent attempt to gain control, turned into a complete relinquishment of control to an inanimate object.




Ditching the scale was hard since it had become my main method of determining what and how much I was going to allow myself to eat that day and how hard I needed to workout.  But I knew it was something I HAD to stop doing if I was going to get back to listening to my body’s true needs and revamping my body image.  Out of fear of losing control, I looked to other forms of measurement.  How do my pants fit, are they slightly tighter? How does my stomach look in the mirror? Do I feel heavier? 

It has been several months now, and rather than focusing on these external factors, I am slowly getting back in tune with my body and how I feel versus how I look. I had a few slip ups recently where I hopped on the scale at my gym.  I did it because I wanted to convince myself that I hadn’t gained any weight, which is silly because I needed to gain weight, I looked frail, I was always hungry, my body was NOT happy. But I still wasn’t ready to admit that I wanted to.  When I saw the number settle at a point that was higher than I had been in almost a year, I felt like shit (though it was still on the low end of a healthy weight for my height - it was just about 8 pounds more than I was at my absolute lowest).  I felt sad, anxious, and confused.  Those negative feelings I associated with a higher number came flooding back to me.  That is when I decided I was done with the scale for good.  I wasn’t ready to know my weight.

I have gained weight since I stopped weighing myself every day, but I am now convinced that it is mainly muscle.  I was never classified as underweight, but I knew that I didn’t feel right - I felt weak and moody.  I have always had a thin, but womanly frame, I am not meant to be a stick-figure.  Now I am trying to get back to a normal, healthy state, and gaining weight is all a part of that process.  It isn’t easy, it feels really uncomfortable to suddenly be OK with gaining weight.  But this is one of the reasons the scale is a bad idea – it is just NOT an accurate measure of health.

At the end of the day, weight is a number and I refuse to rely on a number to measure my self-worth, my beauty, or my health.  It has been tough at times to stay on track, but I am slowly beginning to TRUST that my body is smart, capable and strong.  And it is liberating to know that the scale cannot measure those traits.  I guess sometimes you have to just let go in order to get back in control.




Do you weigh yourself? How often?  How does it effect you?



Monday, March 3, 2014

Baked Cauli-Tots

I absolutely love cauliflower, is that weird?  Growing up, I would regularly eat a big bowl of steamed cauliflower with just butter and salt with my lunches.  My boyfriend hates cauliflower.  So I thought I would try a little experiment to see if I could disguise it into something he loves...like tater tots!  I have tried the infamous cauliflower "mashed potatoes," which came out fantastic, so when a friend told me about this tot recipe, I had to give it a shot.  I have to say these were probably one of the best "healthy" recipes I have ever made. 

Baked Cauli-tots (adapted from Cupcakes and Kale Chips Blog)

1 head of cauliflower, chopped and steamed
1/2 cup of shredded sharp cheddar
1/4 cup of shredded Parmesan
1 egg
1/2 c of panko breadcrumbs (I used garlic flavored, but plain is fine)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion salt
1 tsp sea salt
black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Steam the cauliflower until very soft, then puree in a food processor along with the rest of the ingredients.  Grease a mini muffin tin and scoop the cauliflower mixture into it.  Bake for 20 minutes until golden.





Perfect compliment to any meal..


The verdict....

The boyfriend will now admit he loves cauliflower.  Though ONLY in this form.

I'll take it!

Do you have any interesting recipes that disguise veggies?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Eating Without Rules

As I mentioned recently, I have been trying to change my relationship with food and exercise.  What started as an innocent attempt to start being more "healthy" a few years ago, turned into an unhealthy addiction to exercise and too much calorie restriction.  I listened to all of the stupid diet "rules" I would read in magazines.  My A-type, perfectionist personality fueled my ability to follow these rules strictly - I began to totally ignore my body and it's natural needs, cravings, and cues. 


Here were some of my rules:

Sweat every day
Don't eat after 8pm
Only one small sweet per day
No eating lunch before 1pm
The only legitimate breakfast foods are egg whites or oatmeal
No more than one 100 calorie snack in the afternoon
Dinner MUST contain 1-2 servings of vegetables
Only nonfat dairy it edible
Ice cream is evil
Salads cannot have dressing
Sandwiches cannot have condiments
DO NOT eat over 1400 calories a day

There were times when I would allow myself to break the rules, especially around other people.  But it was most often followed by internal feelings of anxiety, guilt, disappointment and sadness. And it would mean I needed to add an extra mile....or three to my workout the next day.

Thank god I refused to follow all of the "no alcohol" rules, or the "only wine or light beer" rules I would hear a lot.  I would have been even more miserable.

I was also working out an average of 90 minutes per day.  I was always hungry.  But I learned to ignore it and it would sometimes go away.  Or I would eat a rice cake or a piece of fruit.  "Because nothing tastes as good as skinny feels", right? 

I was withering away.  I started to avoid social events. I would be anxious about eating out, scouring the menu for the most "healthy" option available.  I avoided happy hours, lunches with coworkers, anything that would interfere with my mission.  I would have meltdowns over eating dessert.  Once I almost sobbed at a restaurant when I realized the dish I ordered had a cream-based sauce on it.

Then I decided to stop living like this.  

Since I began pushing these boundaries and letting go of the rules, my body has responded lovingly.  My mood is better because I am not starving.  I am not obsessed with thoughts about planning my next meal, I enjoy dinners out and order what I crave.  I feel strong, I feel happy, I can focus on other things, I like the way I look (on most days). 

Diets are the worst idea ever you guys.  Living a healthy life is about listening to your body and fueling it with a variety of carbs, fats, protein and even cookie dough if you want it.

So when you are hungry, eat.  Even if it is midnight!  When you are not hungry, don't eat....unless there are truffle fries in front of you, then you should eat them.  And then move on.  If you want pizza, have it, just stop when you are full.

Re-learning to listen to my body has not been easy, and I still push through some uncomfortable feelings and guilt.  I have a hard time gauging how hungry and I am and how much to eat - I had ignored my natural cues for so long, relying on counting calories and measuring servings, so sometimes I feel lost.

But it gets easier and better each day and I know it will all be worth it.


Anyone else get caught in the diet trap?