Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Fall Favorites Recipe Round Up

Being that last week marked the beginning of Fall,  I thought I'd share some of my favorite Autumn (primarily pumpkin!) recipe posts from the past to get in the spirit. California seems to be locked into Summer heat for what seems like forever and I am hoping that if I start some Fall inspired eating the weather will follow!   I kicked things off with my Pumpkin Power Muffins in my last post and here are some additional recipes I've created over the years that I'd like to share as well. Enjoy!


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Recipe Redux Post # 38: Pumpkin Power Muffin

“Fantastic Freezer Meals” is the Recipe ReDux challenge for September. We were encouraged to use our skills to develop a meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner that freezes well.  Mornings are an extremely busy time for me.  I have to cram in my workout, getting ready, making my daughter’s lunch (and mine) and get out the door by 7am to leave for work. And, I am a firm believer in eating breakfast since it is key to maintaining my energy level and starting my day off right. So one of my go to breakfasts is a protein muffin. I created this pumpkin flavor recently and I love to bake several batches and store extras in the freezer. I can simply take one out the night before, defrost it in the fridge and it is ready to go the next morning.  And this muffin has it all- whole grains, lots of protein, fiber, fruits and veggies and it tastes great.  I usually make the jumbo muffin size for a hearty AM meal that’s a very reasonable 300 calories. You can also make them in regular sized muffin tins as well. I simply pop one in the microwave for 30-40 seconds and spread a little Earth balance margarine or low sugar jam on them for a delicious breakfast. I hope you will try the recipe and also check out the rest of the “Fantastic Freezer” Favorites created by the great Recipe ReDux crew!

2 cup rolled oats,
3/4 cup oat flour 
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
6 Tablespoons protein powder *(preferably natural
unflavored, see notes on the one I use below)
3 medium sized over ripe bananas, mashed
6 tablespoons liquid egg white
6 packed tablespoons brown sugar
½ cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
cooking spray


Soak the oats over night for about 8-12 hours and then
drain. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the flour,
baking powder, baking soda, pie spice, cinnamon and protein powder in a small bowl.  In a large bowl, mix together the mashed banana, pumpkin, brown sugar, vanilla and egg whites. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix well. Stir in the oats until well combined. Spoon into 6 jumbo size muffin pan cups (or 12 regular sized) coated with cooking spray and bake on the bottom rack of the oven for about 30-35 minutes, until top is firm, lightly browned and a toothpick comes out mostly
clean when inserted into the center.

* I have had great success with using Nature’s Best
Isopure Perfect Natural Protein Powder, unflavored- it is gluten-free, lactose free

Makes six jumbo muffins or twelve regular sized

Serving size 1 jumbo muffin Calories 290 Protein 13 g Carb 53 g Fiber 6 g Sugars 22 g Fat 3 g Saturated fat 0 g  Sodium 190 mg

Serving size 1 regular sized muffin Calories 145 Protein 6.5 g Carb 26 g Fiber 3 g Sugars 11 g Fat 1.5 g Saturated fat 0 g  Sodium 95 mg


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

In The News: Eating Junk Food Can Shrink Your Brain?!

There is plenty of evidence that a poor diet can take a toll on health, namely promoting chronic disease, and now another study has pointed to yet another deleterious effect of consuming too much junk food- it can actually shrink your brain!!

A small study, recently conducted in Australia with 250 participants aged 60-64, demonstrated that those participants that had a higher intake of sugary drinks, salty snack foods and processed meats had smaller hippocampal volumes, while those who more consumed fruits, vegetables and fish had bigger hippocampal volumes. These results persisted even after being adjusted for smoking, exercise and gender. The hippocampus is the part of the brain associated with memory, learning and mood regulation,  so this is a key finding.

Although this study does not prove a cause/effect relationship, and is more an association, the researchers note "This latest study sheds light on at least one of the pathways by which eating an unhealthy diet may influence the risk for dementia, cognitive decline and mental disorders such as depression and anxiety in older people.” 

So, this is just another reason to ditch junk foods and consume more whole, natural and healthful foods like fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains and nuts. Say good bye to a sugar laden soda and substitute my antioxidant rich Blueberry-Nana Pineapple Smoothie  And, lose the fries and try my Super Smoky Sweet Potato Chips for more vitamins and minerals and less fat as well!


Friday, September 11, 2015

Gabby’s Eats Coconut Macadamia Pancakes

Gabby loves coconut and she adores macadamia nuts so it seemed fitting that she would decide to go with this pair of ingredients when we were brainstorming to come up with yet another pancake recipe. In addition to the shredded coconut we decided to add coconut milk in the recipe as well to really help the coconut flavor come through.  Gabby enjoyed crushing the macadamia nuts by putting them in a zip lock bag and using a mallet to get them into very small pieces so there would be plenty of their added crunch in each bite of pancake.

Instead of topping with just regular syrup, we mixed in a little bit of the leftover coconut milk, which gave it a delicious, not too sweet and creamy taste. The combination worked so well with the pancakes and it turned out to be a winner recipe altogether!


1 cup all purpose flour or oat flour (which is great if you are on a gluten free diet)
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons finely shredded unsweetened coconut
¼ cup egg whites
1 cup light coconut milk  
¼ cup macadamia nuts, crushed


In a small bowl combine the flour, baking powder, brown sugar and coconut together. To a larger bowl add the egg whites and coconut milk and whisk together. Then slowly whisk in the flour mixture until a smooth, thin batter is formed. Stir in the nuts. Let stand for 20-30 minutes (or overnight in sealed container) in the fridge to thicken. Add ¼ cup (for 1 pancake) to a non stick skillet, or one coated with cooking spray and heat on high for 1-2 minutes on each side, until lightly browned. Repeat with ¼ cup mixture 5-6 more times for a total of six-seven small pancakes.  (Note: if you make this ahead of time and keep in the fridge it will thicken A LOT, because of the coconut milk so you can whisk in a little milk before cooking to thin out if desired. We also often cook up the whole batch at once and then freeze or refrigerate the rest of the pre-made pancakes to reheat for quick and easy breakfasts later.)
Makes 6-7 pancakes, six-seven servings

Serving size: 1 pancake Calories 80 Protein 2 g Carb 14 g  Fiber 2 g Sugars 4 g Fat 1.5  g Saturated fat 0  g Sodium 140  mg

Coconut Syrup

Mix 6 tablespoons light coconut milk with 4 tablespoons maple syrup, that’s it!

Makes 10 tablespoons total

Serving size: 1 tablespoon Calories 35 Protein 0 g Carb 7 g  Fiber 0 g Sugars 7 g Fat 0.5  g Saturated fat 0  g Sodium 0  mg

Gabby's Shot:


Saturday, September 5, 2015

Sweet and Smoky Carrots

This recipe is a variation of my Super Smoky Sweet Potato Chips.  I tried the combination of seasoning with carrots and found it was quite delicious as well!


6 cups baby carrots (two smaller size bags)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 packed teaspoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon sea salt


Add the carrots to a medium bowl, add the olive oil and mix well to coat. In a small separate dish combine the brown sugar, smoked paprika and  salt.  Sprinkle this mixture over the carrots, mix well and then bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes (flipping them once halfway through the baking) until lightly browned and starting to crisp. Refridgerate if not eating immediately,

Makes 8 servings
Serving size: 1/8th recipe Calories 80 Protein 1 g  Carb 11 g  Fiber 2 g Sugars  6  g Fat 3.5 g Saturated fat  0 g Sodium  190  mg


Friday, August 28, 2015

In The News: More Research That Suggests Drinking Water Before Meals Helps With Weight Loss!

Haven't we all heard time and time again to "drink more water!".... and especially before meals because it will help us eat less?  Well a recent study has investigated just that!  The research published in the journal Obesity, involved 84 obese results, 41 randomly assigned to the intervention group and 43 to the control group. All of the participants received a weight management consultation, where they were counseled on how to adapt their lifestyle and improve their diet and levels of physical activity.  Those recruited for the intervention group were asked to preload with 500 ml of water before each meal.  The results showed that those drinking the water lost almost 3 pounds more than the control group by the end of the 12 weeks follow up. These are exciting results that such a simple measure can make a reasonable difference for those trying to lose weight.  Check out the summary in the study HERE!


Friday, August 21, 2015

Recipe Redux Post # 37, Super Easy Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Chicken

The theme for August Recipe ReDux is “Back To The Dinner Table,” meaning we were challenged to share our healthy recipes that encourage our families to eat dinner all together. One of my favorite things to do on Sundays is throw some ingredients in a slow cooker that transforms them into a delicious dish for our family to enjoy that evening, and also provides leftovers for the start of the week.  This super easy slow cooker bbq chicken is just the ticket.  Just a few simple ingredients to combine together, then set it and forget it for 4 -5 hours and viola, you have got your main dish all ready!  We like to eat this chicken with some corn, simple sautéed kale and a salad.  Then later in the week it is great in tacos, atop salad or in sandwiches. I hope you will give it a try and also check out the many great family favorites developed by the awesome Recipe ReDux group.
3 pounds chicken breasts
2 cups BBQ sauce (we love Trader Joe's Carolina Gold)
1 cup low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2 teaspoons brown sugar
Add all the ingredients to large slow cooker  and cook on low for 4- 4.5 hours. Break up chicken with fork to shred and then cook for another 30 minutes.
 Makes 8 cups, 14 servings

Serving size  1/2 cup   Calories 150   Protein 18  g Carb 14  g Fiber 0  g Sugars 20  g Fat   2 g Saturated fat 0 g Sodium 470  mg


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