Monday, August 27, 2012

{clean} Cinnamon Banana Muffins

There is nothing I want more in the mornings than to feed my family a quick and nutritious breakfast.  These muffins do just that. Add a serving of fresh fruit and you are off to a great {clean} start!

{clean} Cinnamon Banana Muffins

(makes approximately 12 muffins)

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1/4 c {all natural} applesauce
  • 2 egg whites (I actually used 1/3 cup egg white liquid)
  • 1/2 c evaporated cane juice (or any unbleached sugar that is similar)
  • 1 tsp {all natural} vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 c whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c oat flour (or I've used oat bran too)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbps ground flaxseed (or more if you dare)


1) Mash bananas in a large mixing bowl.
2) Add all other ingredients to bowl.
3) Mix well until all ingredients are combined.
4) Spray muffin pan with extra virgin olive oil spray or wipe with extra virgin olive oil to prevent sticking.
5) Scoop mix into muffin pan evenly.
6) Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

NOTE: These muffins are bland to me, BUT my kids keep eating them and eating them so I am not going to add anymore sugar until they complain they are bland. HA! So, if you want to add more sugar, feel free. Just wanted to give you a heads up. If you are used to standard muffins at the store, you will be disappointed. Also, you could add a smear of apple butter on them and they would be grand!

No-Bake Energy Bites

These little nuggets of love had me at NO-BAKE...These are super simple to make and the possibilities are endless. I just LOVE peanut butter!!! Heck, I LOVE all nut butters for that matter.  These make a great snack in school lunches or on the go, an after school snack to fuel up for homework, and even a great satisfying dessert!

No-Bake Energy Bites

  • 1 cup (dry) oatmeal (I used old-fashioned oats)
  • 2/3 cup toasted coconut flakes (I use untoasted)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (no added oils)
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed 
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips-70% or greater is best (optional)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp. {all natural} pure vanilla extract

Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed.  Let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.  Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you would like.  (Mine were about 1″ in diameter.)  Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.

NOTES: I typically make a double batch and use only a 1/2 cup of chocolate for the double batch. It all depends on how many of them you eat a day and how dark your chocolate is as to whether or not you should cut it back.

I make these also with dairy free Enjoy Life brand mini chips. They work great. I get my peanut butter in the cooler section of Costco and it has NO sugar in it. Parker Farms is the brand.  You can make this with almond butter as well. 

Visit this link for more detailed information on this recipe:

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Crutches {we've all had them}

I know it sometimes seems impossible to give up those things in life that are our crutch to get us through the day.  The key word here is SEEMS impossible. It's not impossible and my advice would be to GIVE IT UP. If you can't commit to forever, set a goal of 30 days and do it.  

Whatever it is. Smoking, drinking alcohol daily, chewing {sugar free} gum, eating sweets, drinking soda, drinking anything with caffeine, sugar free waters, etc. You would be very surprised how different you feel at day 30. Even if you don't decide to stay off this habit something magical has happened. You have set a goal and you have conquered it. You have made yourself proud.  You believe in yourself now. YOU have the power now.

I get many testimonies from friends and strangers that made a commitment to change since I started this blog. It makes me very excited to see that this journey I'm on has helped others reach comfort/relief/success with making even the simplest of changes in their daily lives. 

One of my recent success stories came from a friend that gave up caffeine (mainly his addiction to coffee) and most sweets for two weeks (at the point of him writing me). He reported to me that he had significant reduction in his neck and shoulder pain which was causing him a lot of problems.  He also mentioned that he feels much more "awake" throughout the day.  He drinks only water, a single cup of green tea, and an occasional beer now. He's feeling much better.  

If you are reading this and you are addicted, mentally and physically, to something...(you know what it is, don't kid yourself)...I challenge you to make yourself proud. Make your family proud. Let someone else know you are committing to give something up for 30 days. AND DO IT! Become a quitter.

My journey actually started a month before finding the {eat clean} book.  I had already decided to give up caffeine completely and see if it made changes in my stomach pain. It was a great detox and from then on I drink small amounts of caffeine on a regular basis. I now drink one cup of coffee in the morning and usually a glass of green matcha tea in the afternoon (sometimes a decaf tea instead).  I used to drink cup after cup of Joe (and Diet Coke) and that landed me nowhere but straight to the loony bin with anxiety, stress, and panic!!!  If you are suffering at all with your health, you owe it to yourself to do some research and make some changes.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Green Goodness {juice}

My juicing continues and I try to juice daily.  I've been juicing double the amount needed and saving it in the fridge in an airtight container until the following morning. It still tastes great. I pray it hasn't lost much of it's benefits by morning. It sure does save on time and clean up!

Many ask me for recipes for green juice and I really only make one on a regular basis. It gets pricey so I like to stick to something I love. Instead of the Mean Green that is featured on the film, I'm going with Green Goodness {juice}

Green Goodness {juice}

I use the Breville Juice Fountain Plus and am very happy with it.  

The items listed below make approximately 20 ounces of juice. PLEASE use organic when possible for juicing. If not, you are juicing chemicals!

3-4 large Kale leaves (remove from stalks)
3 heaping handfuls spinach
1 pear
1 green apple
1 large cucumber

Enjoy! Juice on!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Lunch time : In or Out?

I know we are all busy with life, but it's important to get educated on what goes into our body (and our children's bodies).  I took the time put off laundry  and decided to do a cost and nutritional analysis on a meal from home vs a well know Happy Meal from McDonald's.

Now, let's not forget McDonald's just revamped their kids meal to be "healthier" so these stats are on the new and "improved" information. They eliminated full fat milk, caramel dipping sauce, added apples to each meal and reduced the size of the fries included.  I still think it's ridiculous that most McDonald's will still charge you for a drink, even if you want to skip the sugar loaded beverage and save some pennies.  

I have pretty much severed my relationship with McDonald's.  It really was my only burger/fries joint I frequented. I think it was second in line with my Diet Coke love affair. I am down to going there about 2-3 times a year (I think that's a huge improvement over going there 5 times a week for a Diet Coke!) and sometimes I don't even order from there, just the kids (yes, I think they get more excited about the damn toy and box than anything else). Makes you wonder...what if they did away with the toy??? Hmmmm...a girl can dream, right?

Ok, let's get down to business.

The nutritional information I am about to show you is for the following:

4 piece nuggets with 1 ranch dipping sauce
1 kid size fries with 1 packet of ketchup 
1 tiny bag of apples
1 apple juice

McDonald's Happy Meal
Calories: 530
Fat: 29g
Sodium: 730mg
Sugar: 28g
Protein: 10g

NOTE:  To make it a mighty meal, you can add (in addition to the above) 220 calories, 12g fat, 270mg sodium, and 6 g protein. Then you probably add more dipping sauce too! Yikes. This is probably the amount of food my daughter would need to feel full at McDonald's.

My at home meal consisted of 5 hormone free whole breast chicken nuggets (with Bolthouse Farms Ranch dressing), organic mac and cheese, organic carrots, organic grapes, and WATER!

At Home Meal
Calories: 475
Fat: 14.7g
Sodium:  920mg
Sugar: 15.5g
Protein:  29.45g

Let's talk for a minute (if you have time to keep reading)...

Shockingly the calories were not that far off: 530 vs 475(mine)
My meal had quite a bit more food and the nutrients in my food well surpassed the Happy Meal. Compared to the Mighty Meal mine came in 275 less.

My meal was 14.3g less in fat. (26.3g less than MM)  Not so shocking.

My meal was 190mg more than the Happy Meal. 80 less than the MM.

I will be honest, I don't use the boxed Mac and Cheese too often because of all the sodium in it. This was the Annie's 25 % less sodium and it was still really high. My 4 year old loves the bland taste of this stuff! Yuck. My favorite for overall taste is Back to Nature brand.

With any boxed or frozen food you will have lots of sodium (especially if you are eating no preservatives)!

The chicken I used was from Whole Foods, they were 
Bell and Evan's Breaded Chicken Breast Nuggets. The ones I purchases are not organic but noted as "raised without antibiotics". I did try one and they were delicious. Probably the best frozen chicken I have had. 

I usually only buy fresh organic chicken. Now that I care about where my food comes from it makes me think WAY too much about the chicken I am consuming and in turn I eat way less meat in general. Here's a video if you wish to know more about Bell and Evan's as a company: Bell & Evan's

Mine was 12.5 less than the McDonald's meal. 8.5 of my total sugar was from carrots and grapes, so it was a natural source of sugar.

Here's where the big difference is...My meal had almost 20 grams MORE in protein than the standard Happy Meal. Keeping the kids feeling fuller, longer.

Now, let's get to cost.

Many would argue that they "can't" afford to eat healthy. Hold on to your seats my friends and send this to your friends that are narrow minded on this issue because I've got news for them....

Total cost of a Chicken Nugget Happy Meal at McDonald's is $3.99 + tax =$4.27  (Mighty nugget meal $4.81 with tax)

Cost of my meal (to feed 3 kids)= $3.50

That's a savings of $2.33-$3.93 (give or take) for that one meal.
That can really start to add up.

You should note that my fruits and veggies were ORGANIC and even purchased at Whole Paycheck, oops I mean, Whole Foods.  So you can assume if I were being frugal for this exercise that my meal would come in way under the Happy Meal price.  My foods did not have added colors or preservatives.

I challenge you to this experiment. Get your kids involved. Teach them how to read labels. This is a great math lesson in the making! I think we will do another one very soon!