Protein Packed Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin Muffins

Protein Packed Pumpkin Muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Kodiak cake mix (or flour of choice)
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2c (15oz can) pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the Kodiak mix, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, honey, greek yogurt, eggs, and coconut oil. Stir to combine.
  4. Fold wet ingredients into dry until combined.
  5. Transfer the batter to either cupcake liners or a non stick loaf pan.
  6. Bake 30 minutes for muffins or mini loaves and 45-50 minutes if you use a full loaf pan.
http://www.budgetforhealth.com/pumpkin-muffins/

Well, I found my favorite recipe for pumpkin muffins. They were good enough that after a maybe 2-year hiatus of writing blog posts I wrote one up because I know you’ll all be asking for the recipe. I’ll get one up for my famous egg bake soon. I made these muffins often and keep them in the freezer but now that I tweaked the recipe I’ll be making them even more!

If you want to spend $7 for a tiny container of pumpkin spice at the store go for it. You can save a few bucks by making your own so I’ll share the recipe I use. I usually double the recipe and keep it in a mason jar so I always have some on hand:

3 Tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground nutmeg
1.5 tsp ground allspice
1.5 tsp ground cloves

What’s your preference- muffin or loaf? There’s something I love about cutting a fresh, hot slice and letting a hunk of butter melt over it. What spice blends do you make on your own?

What We Ate: March 2015 (did I mention we love food?)

Another month of good eats! Let’s jump right in to another round of what we ate!

homemade pizza, breakfast, salmon burgers, rotisserie chicken

Homemade pizza & crust
I use this recipe or my mom’s recipe for pizza crust. We found a random variety of ingredients in the fridge that worked for toppings: spinach, kalamata olives, chicken sausage, banana peppers, and cheese. Since I keep frozen 2Tbsp portions of tomato paste in the freezer I just spread some on and sprinkled it with dried oregano, parsley, and crushed red pepper.

Breakfast for dinner
We have breakfast for dinner at least once a week. Yes, we go through a lot of eggs since we usually have 2-3 each between fried eggs at breakfast and hardboiled eggs as a snack or in our lunch. Don’t worry, they are an amazing protein source and you don’t have to worry about the yolk being bad for you. Eat ’em up!

Our neighbors stopped by and said, and I quote: “We got too much bacon.” Is that a real thing?? I would argue no but we gladly accepted their offer and added some crispy bacon to our dinner along with homemade hash browns.

Salmon burgers & sauteed veggies
Thanks, Costco, for quick meals when I don’t want to cook or I forgot to plan ahead.

Rotisserie chicken
You’ll probably see this dish every month because it is SOO easy to make and you get a ton of meat out of it that can be used in a variety of ways throughout the week. We used the chicken to make burrito bowls and also this Sweet potato, Chicken, Quinoa Soup my sister shared with me.

Chicken marsala
This was a fantastic and I can’t take credit for making it. We had dinner with friends and they treated us to this delicious meal. If you want the recipe it can be found in the Eat This, Not That cookbook.

Indonesian food
We attended an Indonesian Cultural Night with friends of ours and it was catered by a local Indonesian restaurant. Everything was so flavorful- the beef rendang was my favorite.

Nachos
We threw toppings like ground beef seasoned with my homemade taco seasoning, jalapeños, fresh salsa, and cheese on a cookie sheet of tortilla chips and baked it in the oven. Mmmm mmm.

Tuna melts
Tuna mixed with mayo or avocado and some cheese on Ezekiel bread.

Sweet potato hummus
Great recipe if you get bored of regular hummus made with chickpeas

Chicken Curry Stew
Every month. This stew is a staple. I actually made 6 batches that filled 3 crockpots for a nutrition class I taught this month!

fresh cut strawberries

More fresh fruit
Strawberries were on sale for $0.50/pound at my favorite local produce warehouse so I stocked up on 12 pounds. I saved 2 pounds so we could enjoy fresh strawberries during the week and I froze the rest for adding to our plain, full fat yogurt.

food in lunch packing routine

Packed lunches
This is the first time I’ve remembered to take a picture of EVERYTHING I get out of the pantry, freezer, and fridge for packing our lunch the night before. It looks like a mess but I’ve got my routine down so well that it only takes me 10-15 minutes to make a lunch for Dave, Nora, and me. In this pic you can see all the toppings for our giant salads (can you spot the protein, fat and carbs?), Dave’s oatmeal with PB and raisins, Nora’s odd mixture of canned pumpkin, yogurt, almond milk, coconut cream, cinnamon, and a little oats, raw veggies with hummus, and plain, full fat yogurt with blood oranges (usually frozen fruit), nuts, and cinnamon.

The photo below shows how I’m able to pack our lunch in 10-15 minutes. I do all my produce prepwork ahead of time so I only need to pull out the containers and throw it in a salad or bag when it comes time to pack lunched. prepped vegetables

Here’s a close up of our salads. The ingredients vary but this one has hardboiled egg (protein), avocado, olives, and homemade dressing (fat), and all sorts of veggies (carbs) like bok choy, beets, bell peppers, cucumber, and greens.

pre-packed salads with protein, fat, and carbs

What are your favorite meals you plan to make this month?

What We Ate: November 2014

I started a new tradition at Budget for Health by sharing recipes I made and loved. This is only my 2nd month of sharing (See what we ate in October!) but it’s a fun post to write. It’s also a form of accountability because I want to lead by example when it comes to meal planning that is easy, budget friendly, and healthy.

You’ll notice a trend that so many of my recipes have been coming from the 100 Days of Real Food cookbook and website. I was given the cookbook for free in exchange for my review of the book but all this promoting I’ve been doing is because I just really love the recipes! I especially love that they’re all real ingredients and easy recipes.

Now let’s get on to the goods!

  Chicken Pot Pie from 100 Days of Real Food
I can’t say my food will ever be featured in a magazine for looks but it sure does taste good! I made this dish twice; once for just Dave and I then again for when Dave’s parents were in town visiting. It’s realllly good stuff.

Rotisserie chicken in the crock pot from 100 Days of Real Food
We used this for taco bowls and for the chicken pot pie filling.

Homemade chicken stock from 100 Days of Real Food
It only made sense to make some homemade stock after making the rotisserie chicken! I freeze it flat in gallon Ziploc bags for easy storage.

photo source: 100 Days of Real Food

Pulled pork from 100 Days of Real Food
Crockpots are a wonderful thing. I asked for your opinion on Facebook what I should serve Dave’s parents and my parents when they came to visit for Nora’s dedication and I chose the pulled pork option. I also learned that including a cute photo of Nora along with a question gets your attention WAY more than any food photo I’ve posted!

Veggie Corn Chowder from 100 Days of Real Food
This recipe is only found in the 100 Days of Real Food Cookbook but I was allowed to choose from a selection of recipes to share in my review of the cookbook.

photo source: food network

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad by Ina Garten
A friend brought this salad and everyone loved it so I requested the recipe. It would make a great side dish if you’re in charge of a salad for thanksgiving.

Big ol’ salads
I pack a salad every day for Dave’s and my lunch. We keep canned tuna and wild salmon in our pantry or fry up some salmon burgers to top on a salad with kalamata olives, avocado, walnuts, bell peppers, and in this case, roasted butternut squash. I top it with my homemade balsamic vinaigrette.

Breakfast bowls
Our dinner is served in a bowl multiple times a week because I’ll pick some type of protein and add a ton of veggies. For healthy fats I cook with coconut oil or butter and I top it with avocado if I have a ripe one on hand. Again- it doesn’t look pretty but it sure tastes good! The photo above is a mix of eggs, roasted butternut squash, shredded broccoli stems, and some stir fry veggies.

I also made a breakfast bowl with the leftover pulled pork, a fried egg, hashbrowns and shredded broccoli stems. Don’t let food go to waste; eat the stems!

Paleo Pad Thai with Sunshine Sauce
I discovered this sauce when we tried out Whole30 this past summer. We enjoyed it with the rotisserie chicken and sauteed cabbage.

Homemade Hashbrowns
Dave and I have been tweaking our method of making hashbrowns in pursuit of the perfect hashbrown: crispy on the outside & soft on the inside. I think this recent batch we made was a winner. The key was steaming the diced potatoes first so that they’re almost fully cooked then frying them on high heat in 2-3 Tbsp of butter. I made sure there was only one layer of potatoes so that they all touched the pan and I let them sit for a couple of minutes so the bottoms had ample time to crispify. They paired well with our most popular dish: eggs, LOTS of veggies, and avocados.

Cauliflower “rice”
I’ve heard all the hype of this “rice” but never actually tried it. I’m a fan and plan to keep this dish in my go-to pile. Similar to breakfast bowls we often have taco bowls which consist of some type of protein (fish, ground meat, chicken) seasoned with homemade taco seasoning along with sauteed veggies (cooked in coconut oil) and avocado. I didn’t use a recipe for the rice; I threw it in my food processor and cooked it on medium heat for 3-4 minutes with some onion and garlic. Easy, right?

What were some good eats you had in November?

Breakfast on the Farm

IMG_4360.JPG

I recently attended an event put on by Michigan State University Extension called Breakfast on the Farm. It was a free event open to the public that allowed families to tour a local farm and see what goes on there. A free breakfast was provided followed by a quick hayride tour of the corn and soybean field. After the hayride was a self-guided walking tour that had informative signs along the way that shared information about the crops and animals on the farm. I had never been to a farm before so I was excited about this opportunity. So was Nora as you can tell. It was fun to go with friends and see everything but unfortunately I didn’t leave with much respect for the direction our culture has gone with processing food and making it sound like a good thing.

Our day started with a free breakfast that included 2 pancakes with a 2 Tbsp packet of syrup, 2 sausage links, the equivalent of 1 scrambled egg, 4 ounces of flavored yogurt, and a 16-ounce bottle of either 2% or chocolate milk. I know it was a free breakfast but I was bummed to see that every food item except the eggs contained some form of added sugar, mainly high fructose corn syrup. Not the greatest start to the event but we still enjoyed our time with friends.

IMG_4352.JPG

On to the tour- It’s amazing how marketing tactics work. You can take something negative and say it in a positive way that makes people thing it’s a good thing. For example, one of the signs said that cows used to produce 2 gallons of milk every day but now they can produce 8 gallons per day! I’m sure some of this has to do with having machines that are more efficient than man power but I’m not sure if cows were meant to produce 8 gallons per day. I would speculate that it’s the reason hormones and antibiotics have to be used.

IMG_4353.JPG

Another example that was concerning the feeding methods for the beef. All cows graze on grass for their first year of life after they’re weaned off the mother’s milk. The difference between grass-fed and grain-fed cows is what happens after that 1-year mark. Grass-fed cows stay in the pasture while conventionally-raised cows are moved to a feedlot where they are “finished” and fattened before slaughter. In the feedlots they get a concentrated mix of corn, soy, and grains. This can speed the growth of the cow enough to get them ready for slaughter a year earlier than if they were grass fed. However, since cows’ digestive systems weren’t quite made for this type of diet, supplements, hormones, and antibiotics enter the picture. This is when knowing your farmer comes in handy; the term “Grass-fed” may not mean what you think since all cows are fed grass at some point. It’s how they are finished that makes the difference.

IMG_4354.JPG

Let me give you one more example of marketing tactics:
There was a kids area with lots of games and visuals like sheep shearing and a display that showed every cut of meat. I was baffled when I saw a table with products marketed to kids like Cheez Its, Go-Gurt, Quaker Chewy bars, and more. I wasn’t baffled because those products were there but because the sign next to it basically said “look at what corn and soy has allowed us to do!” as if it were a good thing!

IMG_4356.JPG

I’m not sure if there is a happy conclusion to this post. I understand the population is growing rapidly and supply has to meet the demand but it sure doesn’t seem like it’s to our benefit the way food is being “grown” these days. My plan is to eat as much real food as I can and avoid the highly processed, refined foods with all their false health claims.

Have you visited a farm before?

My favorite breakfast

20140202-133714.jpgSpoiler alert: it’s eggs. 

I just wrote about my most used kitchen tool so now I can tell you how I use it every day to make my favorite breakfast! I love having eggs for breakfast. I usually hard-boil a dozen so Dave can pack a couple in his lunch but I really like my eggs fried and runny. You may think making eggs in the morning before work takes too much time but honestly, it doesn’t take much longer than it would if you were waiting for a piece of toast to…toast.

eggs for breakfast

It’s this easy:20140202-134040.jpg
Melt butter…add veggies…cover…
Put away clean dishes…
Uncover…add eggs… cover…
Drink a big glass of water because it’s good for you
Add cheese or avocado… eat up

Not only did you just enjoy an awesome and healthy breakfast, you became a great multi-tasker.
Well done.

If you pack your own lunch for work you’re already saving $2,000-$3,000 per year. If you pack your lunch the night before you’re saving precious time in the morning and you can use a portion of that time to make a hearty breakfast! How awesome! You know how important breakfast is, right? A bonus of having eggs for breakfast is that it provides an extra opportunity to sneak in a serving of vegetables. You don’t have a side of kale with your bowl of cereal do you? Didn’t think so. You don’t even need to worry about prepping veggies if you buy them frozen (see top photo).

20140202-133744.jpg

What’s your favorite breakfast?

My most used kitchen tool

I’m surprised it’s taken me this long to realize I haven’t written a post about my most used kitchen tool. I literally use it every day. I had never seen or heard of it until I was given one as a gift. I’m guessing you don’t have one. If you don’t, you are missing out and should get one. Now.

It’s a Charles Viancin Suction Food Cover/ Cookware Splatter Guard

Of course! You probably guessed that.

The lid comes in different shaped and styles but I have the 11-inch pink hibiscus flower pictured above. I’ll let the product do the explaining:
“This suction food cover creates an airtight seal to lock in juices while you simmer soups, contain splatters while you fry bacon, prevent freezer burn in the freezer, and keep your cappuccino warm between sips. The Charles Viancin Small Hibiscus Lid is made from BPA-free silicone that is safe for temperatures up to 450° F on the stove, in the oven, or in your microwave. Dishwasher safe.”

My mother-in-law gave us the lid as a gift when they visited us in Calgary over the summer. It was more helpful than I realized since the condo we stayed at had pots & pans…but no lids. We eat eggs A LOT and I like them sunny side up. Unfortunately my egg-flipping skills are awful. Slight tangent– I hate South Park but Dave occasionally tells me about episodes he’s seen before. You don’t have to have seen this episode but the South Park meme below perfectly captures what goes on when I try to make a good omelette or runny fried eggs:

Using my handy kitchen utensil allows me to cook my eggs without having to flip them. I use it as a pan cover to avoid splatter messes, I put it over finished dishes to keep them warm until they’re ready to be served, and I occasionally use it in place of foil or saran wrap. It’s a handy tool I tell you.

What’s your favorite kitchen tool?

FYI- I was not asked to write this article nor was I compensated for writing it. It’s all my own opinion, folks.

Egg Muffin Recipe: On-the-go breakfast

egg muffin recipeBreakfast is the most important meal of the day. We’ve been fasting all night and our body is ready to be refueled! There are a wealth of research studies that have shown eating breakfast instead of skipping it can help with weight loss. Eating breakfast can help you stay at a healthy weight and can also prevent over eating later in the day. The type of breakfast is just as important as making sure you have breakfast. A bowl of sugary cereal will only cause a sugar crash and send you rummaging through your desk an hour later at work as you to find any morsel you can get your hands on. For this reason, I encourage a balanced meal. This egg muffin recipe is a great balance of carbs (veggies), healthy fat (feta), and protein (eggs). This summer I wrote a post on breakfast in a pinch and offered suggestions depending how much time you have to get breakfast ready- the night before, a few minutes in the morning, or ASAP. Time is a precious commodity, especially in the morning. When I discovered this egg muffin recipe I had to try it! You can find a similar egg bake recipe and more tips about breakfast from Dietitian Cassie.

20130204-164302.jpg20130204-164249.jpg

We have hard boiled eggs in our fridge most days of the week because I don’t want to bother with cooking them in the morning. However, there are times when I forget to make a dozen the night before and I’m in a crunch come morning. This egg muffin recipe makes a perfect on-the-go breakfast I can grab from the freezer and throw in the microwave before heading out the door. They’re so easy to make too! FYI- I do not have a specific recipe. I just sauteed a bunch of vegetables until they were halfway cooked and let them cook the rest of the way in the oven. I ate what I couldn’t fit in the muffin pan for lunch 🙂

20130204-164234.jpg20130204-164239.jpg

I started with whatever veggies I have on hand. This week it was broccoli and tomatoes from a leftover veggie tray we had at church. I chopped up a red onion and, of course, garlic. Have I mentioned my love for garlic? I got a coupon for an herb paste made by Gourmet Garden and decided to try it out. Instead of buying a bunch of fresh herbs and only using a tablespoon total, this tube allows me to just take what I need. I love feta cheese so I also added a good dose of full fat feta to my egg muffin recipe.

20130204-164243.jpgSince I stuffed the muffin pan with vegetables I only had room for one egg per muffin. I used a fork to poke the egg around so the egg baked around the vegetables and not just on top of them. With our oven, 20 minutes at 400 degrees does the trick. Note to self- butter the muffin pan next time or use parchment paper; my non stick pan wasn’t very non stick after all!

20130204-164307.jpgWhat do you usually have for breakfast?