Sunday, December 26, 2010

Muffins For Brunch

Planning food for Christmas Eve morning brunch posed a bit of a dilemma in our household.  We were  having my husbands two adult children and their significant others over for a brunch.  I like foo foo food and they are quite basic and simple in their food choices.  Not that basic and simple is bad, because it is not,  just different from my diverse love of food.  So, after much deliberation, I looked through my new favorite cookbook, Whole Grain Baking, and found some delightful sounding muffins.  They are Sour Cream Muffins with fruit, which mine had blueberries. 

I have learned that many batters with whole grain do better if they have at least an hour to refrigerate, so I was able to make the batter the night before and refrigerate.   The next morning I baked the muffins and served them piping hot, with fruit on the side.   I think it was a winner!  Juice, milk, and coffee for beverage choices and the brunch was complete. The fact that these muffins were whole grain went completely unnoticed.  They were moist, sweet, and popping with bright and vibrant colored blueberries.  Give this recipe a try!

Sour Cream Muffins

2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen berries
Coarse sugar for sprinkling

Cream together the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy.  Then add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add the vanilla and sour cream, and mix until incorporated.  Add the dry ingredients, mixing until the batter is smooth.  Gently fold in the fruit and refrigerate at least one hour. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Scoop the batter evenly into 12 muffin cups.  Sprinkle coarse sugar over the top.  Bake the muffins for 22-26 minutes until done. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Great dish after shopping!

Photo by:  Wayne Abraham/ it only three days to Christmas?  This year has flown by at amazing speed.  So, with the 25th rapidly approaching, the malls are crazy (I know because I was at one yesterday).   My husband and I got hungry while we were doing some last minute shopping and decided to have a quick bite to eat at the food court.  Not a great plan, we both felt yucky afterwards.  In an attempt to help you avoid that same mistake out of desperate exhaustion, and not wanting to cook, I have come up with a super delicious and very easy meal that you can throw together lickity split when you get home from shopping.  To add even more goodness to this recipe, I use the Barilla Plus Pasta because it has flaxseed for Omega 3's along with several other grains for added fiber.  Enjoy!

Turkey Chili Mac

1 pound of lean ground turkey
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic (I buy the kind in the jar)
1 14.5 oz can tomatoes
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 cup water
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
16 oz. Barilla Plus Elbow Pasta, cooked and drained

In a pot, brown the turkey and then add onion and saute until they are soft and transparent.  Add the garlic and saute for just about a minute more.  Add the other ingredients, except the macaroni, and stir together.  Bring this to a simmer and let cook for 20 minutes.  Add the macaroni and stir together.  After serving,  I also grate a little fresh Parmesan over the top because I tend to add Parmesan to almost everything. 
 *If you rinse the turkey after browning it will decrease the amount of saturated fat in this recipe.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 265 g / 8 servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 325 Calories from Fat 48
Total Fat 5.4g
Saturated Fat 1.5g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 41mg
Sodium 627mg
Total Carbohydrates 49.7g
Dietary Fiber 4.0g
Sugars 5.8g
Protein 20.1g
Vitamin A 22% • Vitamin C 21% Calcium 4% • Iron 17%

*Nutrition facts analyzed at Calorie Count Recipe Analysis

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Healthier alternative to Chocolate Chip Cookies

Photo by:  Elke Dennis/

I spent the last couple of days baking Christmas goodies for my neighbors and I say with great pride that I, for once, exhibited extreme discipline.  I did sample a few things, but definitely not in a glutenous manner.  I ran across an old recipe that is a wonderful alternative to chocolate chip oatmeal cookies.  I cannot remember where I originally found this recipe but I did not create it.   The recipe uses canola oil instead of margarine or butter, and oat flour instead of white flour, and raw sugar instead of white sugar.  I have to say it is absolutely delicious.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup oat flour
3/4 cups oats
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup raw sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup soy milk (I have also used regular milk)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 banana cut into small pieces
1/4 cup nuts (optional)
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (I always add more)

Mix all ingredients and drop by teaspoonfuls onto a cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 10-12 minutes until done.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Proverbs 31 Woman

Photo by:  Kavita/

I love the Proverbs 31 Woman!  She is fact, so amazing that I have read studies that suggest she is not just one woman, but many female examples in that scripture.  I personally think that one woman could live an accomplished life like that.  Especially when, like the Proverbs 31 woman, you are honoring God in all you do.  Phillipians 4:13 says, "I can do all things through Him who gives me strength."   

My point in this and how it relates to eating correctly and exercising is that Proverbs 31:17 says, "She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks."  How can we keep our arms strong for the work ahead?  By exercising to strengthen our muscles which in turn protect our joints, and by eating right so that our bodies are at peak performance.  I know that I cannot set about my daily tasks as well when I am exhausted from not getting enough sleep due to pain and inflammation.  I cannot perform well when my body is weakened by not exercising.  My mental state is compromised by exhaustion and the need to be in good physical shape.  Regular exercise is proven to not only strengthen our bodies, but to decrease depression and increase energy. 

I want to honor God and care for the body He has given me.  Many times I have not done so well with that.  With His help and strength to draw on, I intend on changing that and to be the one who can  "set about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks."

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Holiday Baking

Photo by:  keithc at

What is more festive and fragrant than holiday baking and candy making?  Not to mention it is soooo delicious and my home smells warm and welcoming while I am baking.  This time of year is always challenging if you are trying to eat right as I am.  Whether it is simply cutting calories and fat or doing an all out diet for health reasons, it feels impossible at times. 

A favorite Christmas tradition of mine is to buy cute little tins and fill them with homemade treats to give to my friends and neighbors.  My dilemma....can I bake these without indulging as well?  I would love to fill these tins with homemade whole grain delicious morsels fresh from my oven.  Unfortunately, I think that may fly like a lead balloon.  In my minds eye, I see my recipients, with delightful eagerness and anticipation, opening the tin and oh how their faces fall as they look upon the fiber filled goods while walking straight to the garbage can.  We have grown accustomed to the saturated fat ladened, over sugary candies and cookies at Christmas and tend to be disappointed with healthy variations. 

As you can see, I have quite a dilemma.  The solution perhaps would be duct tape over my mouth while I bake, only to be removed when the tins are delivered and out of harms way.  However, I do realize that the ideal solution would be practicing some self control.  Whichever solution I choose, I will still completely enjoy my holiday baking experience and the joy of handing out the goodies. 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Just get moving!

Photo by:  Mat Hayward/
I had my Rheumatology appointment this past week.  My doctor has strongly suggested that I start taking a medication for RA that will prevent symptoms. I definitely do not want to do this!  So, he and I made a deal and I have an appointment on February 1st with him to follow up on this deal.  From now until then my homework is:
  • Research three different medications that he would like me to choose from. 
  • Eat to prevent inflammation.  I believe so strongly in eating to prevent symptoms that I am remaining dedicated (again) to show him that it truly works for me. I honestly don't know why I even stray from eating correctly when it increases my quality of life.
  • Exercise!  Oh me oh my!  I do not even like that word.  I have made so many great excuses to not go to the gym.  Time to just get moving! 
So, the deal is....I will not take medication if I can put my body back in remission through diet and exercise by February 1st.  He may not be on board totally, or at all, but he will at least acknowledge the positive change.  I know that I can do this and I am excited to share the progress that will hopefully be of encouragement to others as well.

In closing this post I want to share a quote by Kevin R. Stone, MD, "The way you live directly affects your joints.  The healthier your lifestyle, the healthier your joints."  I know this to be true and his words are an inspiration to me as I hope they are to you.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Fresh start after the turkey!

Photo by:  fooddesign at

Let's face it, most of us lose all control over our appetites during the holidays!  I know that I certainly do.  In fact, the last few months I have been really bad with my eating habits and now I am paying for it.  My body is aching and a neck injury from a great yoga move (OK by great I really mean NOT great)  is just not healing right.  That is all due to not following my anti-inflammatory diet.  Well....tonight that is going to change!  I am getting back on track and creating a recipe right now actually to help me do that very thing.

I made salmon croquettes with an Omega 3 twist by adding flax seed to the ingredients.  So not only do you get the Omega 3 benefits from the salmon, you get it by the flax as well.  These babies are Omega 3 powerhouses!  They are fried in a light drizzle of olive oil and have a browned, crispy outside and tender inside, packed with flavor.  Complimenting them is a wonderful, yet light, dill sauce made with yogurt and olive oil mayonnaise.  Finish this off with a side of roasted sweet potatoes.  What a delicious way to eat well.  You can find these recipes under the recipe tab.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Soup Time

Photo by:  David Smith/

Yesterday my husband requested soup for dinner.  He looked in the cupboard and reached for the canned chicken noodle and said he thought that would work just fine.  The man should know me better than that by now!  I went to the kitchen and started dicing onion and red pepper and tossed them in a pot to saute with some olive oil.  Then I sliced some mushrooms and asparagus that I found in the refrigerator.  After the onions and red pepper had carmelized a bit I added the mushrooms and asparagus.   By this time my husband was soooo glad that he was not having to eat canned soup and did not stop commenting on the wonderful aroma in the house.  I then sprinkled about a tsp of sea salt and a tsp of granulated garlic over the veggies.  After they saute for a bit longer I add a can of fire roasted diced tomatoes, 1 small can of tomato sauce, and 2 tomato cans of water.  While this simmered I found some Barilla Whole Grain Pasta Shells and added about 8 oz. of them to the pot with a bit more water.  I then added another tsp. of garlic (we love our garlic) 1/2 tsp. pepper, and 1 tsp. of Italion Seasoning.  When the pasta shells were cooked through......we ate. 

This meal was delicious, full of anti-oxidants, and the pasta had omega 3's.  As we ate my husband said "Please...tell me you wrote down what you did!  This is delicious!"  I have a bad habit of throwing things into a pot and not writing down the measurements and ingredients.  So I quickly grabbed a piece of paper and wrote down what I had done so I could duplicate the recipe again.  Please understand that these are approximate measurements as I used the palm of my hand for measuring.  Just season to taste and don't be afraid to experiment.  I wrote this recipe out this way so you can see how easy and quick it can be to cook a healthy and delicious home cooked meal.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Nightshade Veggies

Photo by:  David Crehner/
I made a horrible mistake when I had company for dinner on Sunday. I ate potato salad. Nightshade vegetables, such as potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant , and peppers are known to be great contributors to inflammation. I have found that I cannot eat potatoes without suffering greatly. Why did I do it? Lack of discipline! Potato salad is so good with barbecue ribs that I simply could not resist. Two days later the swelling and inflammation in some of my joints has finally gone down.

While potatoes certainly need to be out of my diet, I find that tomatoes and peppers (any variety) do not affect me in an adverse way if they are cooked first.

I have found a great substitute for french fries now. Sweet potato fries are becoming more popular all the time in restaurants. You can also purchase them at grocery stores in the freezer section at your local grocery stores. They are packed full of fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin A, just to name a few.

Now that I am thinking about it, I may try making potato salad with sweet potatoes. If it works out...I will post the recipe.

Monday, March 8, 2010


In my quest for complete health and wellness, I have decided to fill my refrigerator with organic foods. I drove up to the South Hill and did my shopping at the local organic market. I haven't eaten any of my purchases yet so I cannot say if I am noticing a difference. I can say that I feel better when I open the refrigerator and see those healthy, colorful, and very expensive vegetables, eggs, and milk filling up the shelves.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


Why is it so hard to stay on track with healthy eating? My body feels so strong and healthy with no inflammation when I eat properly. I manage to do really great for a while and then suddenly I have company or travel somewhere. Those two things are almost like a get out of jail free card for me. In my mind there is some sick rationalization saying "go are celebrating life. Enjoy your travels, companions, and good times with lots of food. You can get back on track right after this". Due to that line of thinking I have more pain and stomach aches than I care to admit. Does that change my behavior? Naturally it should, but, NO...absolutely not. Where is the discipline in all of this? Having said all of this I should let you know.....we are having company tonight!

Thursday, March 4, 2010


When I decided to change my diet, it had to be a whole hearted, one hundred percent committment. I have talked to people who have said that changing their diet did not work for them. I found out that they only cut out a couple of things and were still in pain. That just does not work. I went through my cupboards and cleared out all oils that were high in omega 6 (inflammatory fats) white flour, white sugar, processed foods. To my diet, I added generous amounts of salmon, whole grain, fruits, and vegetables. I also added good Omega 3 fatty foods such as avocado, olives, flaxseed, and whole wheat pasta with added Omega 3's.

For me, sacrificing flavor and delicious satisfying meals was not an option. In my family food is not just fuel for survival,but an event. We love to eat and food is the focus of every family gathering.

I have been creating delicious and nutritious anti-inflammatory recipes.
There are so many ways to add foods that fight inflammation to your daily diet. It is my hope to share these ideas with you as I learn and develop more recipes.

One very simple idea is adding some ginger to your first cup of coffee in the morning. Ginger in an anti-inflammatory. I notice about a half an hour after my coffee that my fingers are less stiff and I feel much better. Great way to start my day.