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.