Monthly Archives: March 2012

Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Muffins Recipe

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Throughout my school years, I pretty much always brought my lunch. For middle school and high school  I went to a small, expensive private school on scholarship. Tuition is now over 20 grand per year, so you can imagine how expensive it was to buy lunch! Although it wasn’t your typical school lunch where you go through a line and they slop food on a tray. It was more like a little café with burgers, fries, sandwiches, yogurts, salad bar, etc. Most of the families there had lots of money, mine did not. I didn’t mind at all, I got a great education and I never felt any less because we didn’t have money. We wore uniforms so its not like I was competing with designer clothes or anything. When some kids would buy lunch, they wouldn’t want to carry around their change the rest of the day. This means if their meal was $6.01, they would just leave their 99 cents on the table. Not that I went around searching for spare change or anything but if I saw it sitting there, you better believe I put it in the front pouch of my backpack! I even had friends who would intentionally throw away pennies! Craziness to me. Now I wouldn’t go into the trash to retrieve them (even though I’d want to) but I sure would take them if I saw they were about to be thrown away. Haven’t I told you how frugal I am before? Well on days where I found a dollar or two in change I would go buy either cookies (the insanely gooey undercooked ones) or an Otis Spunkmeyer chocolate chip muffin. I know, not healthy at all, but SO good. I saw a chocolate chip muffin the other day and instantly remembered these delicious muffins and decided I had to recreate them without the 440 calorie dent! When I looked up the calorie count on these it said 220 and I was thinking no way. I then noticed it said “per serving” and there were 2 per muffin…tricky tricky. Well not my muffin…

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Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Muffin

1 3/4 cup flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup cocoa powder

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup milk

1 egg

1/4 cup plain greek yogurt (or butter/coconut oil if they wont be consumed quickly)

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips + 2 TB for garnish

Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, cocoa, and salt. Add the milk, egg whites, yogurt, and vanilla. Stir until well combined. Alyssa really got at the mixing today, look at that hand go!

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Stir in 1/4 cup of the mini chocolate chips. The mini ones are really important here because you get more bang for your buck. You can add less and still get a little chocolate in each bite. Grease 12 muffin tins and evenly distribute the batter. Top each muffin with some of the remaining chocolate chips.

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Bake at 375F for 14-17 minutes. Don’t overcook. Since there is not any fat (butter or oil) they will dry out if overcooked.

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Let cool for a couple minutes then take them out and enjoy! I ate a couple of them warm straight out of the oven and man were they good. Definitely reminded me of my favorite high school muffin but was actually more of a muffin than straight cake.

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Many people have the misconception that muffins are healthy. Quite the contrary. They are usually one of the highest calorie foods at a bakery! You’d be better off getting a cupcake or donut. At Dunkin Donuts the reduced fat blueberry muffin has 450 calories and 11 g fat where a glazed donut has 260 calories and 14 g fat. The regular blueberry muffin clocks in at 500 calories and 16 g fat. Crazy huh? Its actually like a straight piece of cake!

Well these muffins are actually muffins, light and healthy! We went to a dinner at our church and there are some little old lady’s who make some amazing desserts! Since Alyssa can’t have them (can’t know for sure what’s in them as far as nuts go), I make her a special dessert and bring it with us. She requested pudding and one of these muffins. Random I know, but she is amazing with not complaining about not getting to eat the same dessert as everyone else so I make her what she wants. I made a single serving of homemade vanilla pudding and brought a muffin along. Snack time or dessert time, these muffins are a winner. But honestly, when chocolate is involved, you can’t go wrong!

And I have to add in an Alyssa quote…

We were in the garage doing a circuit workout and she burped.

Me:         Hey, Burpy, how about an excuse me?

Alyssa:    Oo we are doing burpees next? lets go!

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29 Minute Bodyweight Circuit

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Spring is my favorite season to workout. I don’t sweat to death like I do in the summer (I am a sweaty person!) but my lungs don’t hurt from the cold like in the winter. And lets be honest here…impending bathing suit season gives everyone a little extra motivation. And luckily for me, I don’t suffer from seasonal allergies so I can be outside amoungst the pollen and still be able to breathe through my nose. Although unfortunately both of my girls inheritied their dad’s allergies and are currently all snotty.  My husband and all his dominant genes. My blonde hair and blue eyes were overruled and both my babies look just like him. At least I know Alyssa inherited something from my genepool because she is stubborn as can be :). Although so is Dave so she was doomed! Anyway, back to working out…I have been loving circuit workouts in my garage with the door open to get a nice Spring breeze. I made one up that used some similar exercises to my 50/10 circuit workout except this one is based off of time intervals. I think I liked it better this way actually.  Both Dave and I were sweaty as can be after it and Alyssa was out of breathe from partaking in her portion too (note: I never make Alyssa work out with me. I usually set her up with an activity if i workout while she is awake. She just joins in a lot of times because she wants to be doing whatever the adults are doing)

Do each exercise for 1 minute and then rest 1 minute. Repeat for a total of three times through.

Somehow I think I struggled the most on the leg raises, didn’t see that coming. And of course I had to throw mountain climbers in there to torture my husband, he hates them! Workouts that go by time like this are either really easy to cheat on or really easy to bust your butt. You get out of it what you put into it!

I have also been intruiged by Tabata workouts lately. If you don’t know what they are, its where you do a particular exercise for 20 seconds full on, 10 seconds rest, and repeat for a total of 8 times. Each exercise set takes 4 minutes total. I know they have been around for a while but I just recently strayed from straight running and weight lifting into HIIT and circuit workouts. Does anyone have any good tabata workouts they can link up? Does anyone do them and enjoy it? I figure they would be right up my alley since they only take about 20 minutes to do an entire workout. Short and sweaty, just the way I like my workouts!

Healthy Mini Cheesecake Recipe

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I am a self proclaimed  cream cheese addict.  I like making grain dishes with cream cheese mixed in, cheesy dips, etc. But cream cheese in desserts is where its really at. I love cheesecake but I often feel it sits like a rock in my stomach. It is usually sickening sweet and heavy. Its also a little tricky to use a spring form pan, making sure it doesn’t crack, and is the right texture. And while that graham cracker crust tastes great, it isn’t too good for you with all that butter. Enter, the healthy mini cheesecake. It still has the graham cracker crust and the perfect cheesecake consistency but its portion controlled and high in protein with the addition of greek yogurt. Its one of those desserts I almost wish I didn’t discover because now I won’t be able to stop making it.

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Mini Cheesecakes

Makes 8 mini cheesecakes  (recipe can easily be doubled)

Ingredients:

homemade graham crackers

1 8 oz block cream cheese, room temperature

6 oz  plain greek yogurt

1/4 cup honey or coconut palm sugar

1 Tbs flour (any kind)

1 egg

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 325 F.

This is the simplest crust ever. Break graham crackers into pieces and place into bottom of sprayed muffin tin

 

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Now for the filling. Make sure the cream cheese is warm.  Add the yogurt, vanilla, sugar, lemon juice, and egg and combine well. Portion the batter into the 8 muffin tins overtop of the graham cracker circles.

Bake at 325 F for 45 minutes-1 hour. They are finished when they barely start to pull away from the sides of the pan and the center no longer jiggles. Run a knife around the edges to loosen then place on a plate in the refrigerator for about 45 minutes until chilled all the way through.

I topped mine with some all fruit, strawberry preserves. I ate some plain as well. And I ate some with fresh strawberries on top.

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So much for being built in portion control huh?

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Depending on my mood, sometimes I’ll healthify desserts, sometimes I won’t. I don’t usually tell my husband until after we eat it though so I can get his honest opinion. He said they taste great and not healthified, just as good as any other cheesecake he’s ever had! You really don’t notice the lack of butter in the crust since the graham cracker sheet still gives lots of flavor.

Too bad we ate all these last night…but good thing I bought another box of cream cheese at the grocery store today!

As far as nutrional stats…check these babies out…

For 1:

150 calories

6 g protein

16 g carbs

My gosh, I wish I would have made these while I was pregnant and had gestational diabetes, they have only 1 small serving of carbs! I will have to remember this for my next pregnancy! And where else can you get a piece of cheesecake for 150 calories and 6 g protein?

Hm I think I just talked myself into making these again tonight!

Momma Jewelry

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I asked for something called Chewbeads for Christmas. They are kind of like a teething ring you wear around your neck. I know it sounds gross to have a kid slobber all over your jewelry but its better than her chewing on my nice white gold cross. They also kind of looked like Betty Rubble jewelry according to Dave. So I forgot about them. Well now Cassidy is teething. She chews on everything and she is also very busy and always needs something to do. When I hold her or breastfeed her, she grabs all over my chest and neck. She grabs hunks of skin and scratches leaving me looking like a cat got me. She likes to tug on my nice cross necklace, so much so that she actually broke the clasp from tugging so hard. Chewbeads were my answer. But at 30 bucks a pop and a less than desirable “flinstone” look, I figured I could make my own! With some etsy inspiration I got going during naptime…

For all you Momma’s out there, I figured I’d give you a little tutorial. Although they are pretty cute aside from being functional so anyone could make these, and quickly!

First get some wooden beads (roughly 1/2 inch diameter). I actually took them from an old necklace I had and never wore. You can also get them from a craft store for a buck or two. Then take a piece of fabric about 3 inches wide by 46 inches (the width of fabric off the bolt) long. Fold it in half with the right (front) sides together. Stitch the entire length making a long tube. Turn it right side out. You should now have a long tube with the right side of the fabric showing and the seam hidden on the inside.

Now tie a knot roughly 10 inches from one end. Drop a bead in the long end of the tube.

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Tie another knot, right up next to the bead.

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Drop another bead, tie another knot. Repeat. I used 7 beads total.

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Take the leftover fabric and trim it to 10 inches.

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Finish off the edges and sew them together. Make sure it fits over your head before you sew it! If it doesn’t, make the ends a little longer than 10 inches.

Put it on and let baby at it!

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Cassidy seems to like it so far!

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So here is a close up…

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I actually really like how they turned out. They are really cute and I think I am going to make a couple more in some more fun prints. The possibilities are endless and they cost under 5 bucks to make!

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These took about 30 minutes to make. Would be great for a homemade gift!

Whirlwind Weekend

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I had one of the best weekends I’ve had in a recent memory. We had a jam packed weekend and I loved every second of it (well besides a certain 5 second incident I’ll get to later).

Dave rushed home from work early on Friday evening because we had a date! That’s rare around here. Our church is doing a series on Marriage and as part of that they provided free child care on friday night so the couples could go on dates. It was a great tie in with the series and a great opportunity. We dropped Alyssa off at 6 and went out for some seafood and froyo. Cassidy tagged along because I didn’t want to leave her in a day care setting quite yet. She also eats at like 730 and doesn’t take a bottle so she goes where I go. But she was her perfect angel self and sat in a high chair next to us and quietly ate some green beans while Dave and I talked. We picked up Alyssa by 815 so we could have them both home and in bed before 9 because we had a crazy busy day Saturday.

Saturday started with a 30 minute circuit workout in the garage after a pancake and egg breakfast. Then Alyssa had her first soccer game of the season! There was a huge improvement over last season! She kicked the ball twice, which is 2 more times than she did the entire last season! She is still the youngest kid on the team but at least she is interested this year. She told me she wanted to score a goal and was kind of sad she didn’t. I told her she would get there and she would soon! After her soccer game we had a family St. Patricks Day party all afternoon.  Then we came home, fed Alyssa, changed clothes, and were out the door again.

But during this rush of getting changed, Alyssa and I had a little collision. She was walking in front of me, and all of a sudden stopped, and I didn’t. I kicked her heel with my baby toe. I wanted to cry. Not quite 24 hours later it looks like this…

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This would be broken toe #3 for me! I didn’t even bother getting it x-rayed this time because I know what it feels and looks like to have a broken toe at this point. Check out this red, black, and blue swollen little toe. Its been a couple hours since this picture and the bruise is already all down the back of my toe as well. Its also starting to move down my foot some too.

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But it didn’t slow me down. I tried my hardest not to cuss in front of Alyssa and then rushed out the door (in high heels no less). In my defense, I was hoping it was just badly stubbed and I thought it would stop hurting soon. Not so lucky.

This time it was just Dave and me. Yes, you read that right…no Cassidy. I left her for the first time with a babysitter. She was 24, cpr certified and all that, a nanny for a living, and a friend of a friend. So I felt safe but it was still so hard. But I know Dave and I needed it and the kids were only awake an hour before it was bedtime anyway. We headed out to an adult only St. Patricks Day party. We stayed out until 1130, woohoo! We are always home by 8 pm for the kids bedtime so this was a little crazy for us!

Sunday morning started with church. We have recently started going to a new church and we both love it. We feel like the preacher is talking right too us every Sunday, its just SO relatable. They also have a Sunday school class for Alyssa (And Cassidy too but we don’t leave her quite yet). Alyssa comes home with little bible verses and songs memorized, its so sweet.

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At the moment they are doing a series on Marriage and I swear this guy must have heard Dave and I argue and spied inside our household because it feels like he is talking right to us. It could be a one on one marriage counseling session.

After church, we rushed home to eat lunch and change, then right back out the door. Where to this time? A Spouses kickball game! My husband is a Marine and I am part of a spouses kickball team for his unit and we play other unit’s teams. Well today we challenged our husbands to a game. We ended up splitting the teams co-ed so it would be fair. It was a blast! Dave and my team won 7-6 and out of our 6 runs, 2 were mine and 2 were Daves! I wore my cleats for a little extra toe support and when you kick the ball its more with the top of your foot where it meets your shin, so it didn’t hurt my toe. The running did a little, but I sucked it up, and now have an elevated throbbing toe as a result. The kids played on the playground right next to us with a couple of teenage girls watching them. One of them loved Cassidy and didn’t put her down the whole time.

On another note,  my mind is officially change about beets, I loved them! I cut them up, tossed in olive oil and garlic salt, and roasted until tender at 400F. I ate 3 entire large beets by myself! Even Alyssa and Cassidy loved them. I

This truly was an awesome weekend! We had tons of family time, a little alone time with just Dave and I, and tons of fun with every single actually we did! Now this week looks like it will be full of rest time to help heal this little toe.

The first time I broke my toe, I belonged to a gym so I just used the stationary bike and lifted weights. The second time, I broke my toe and foot really badly and had to keep it elevated for 16 weeks! Yes 16, not 6 because it was broken in a spot they couldn’t cast. It just would not heal and my hairline fracture turned into a full on break all the way through and crushed cartilage before finally healing. My husband was deployed when that happened and Alyssa was 18 months old, so needless to say I wasn’t able to rest and let it heal like I should have. But this time, I don’t belong to a gym. I run on my treadmill or outside and use weights and do circuit workouts. I think weights may be the only one of those I can  still do for a couple weeks.

Has anyone else broken their baby toe before? What do you do as far as exercise? Any suggestion?

Boredom Buster Treadmill 5k

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I run on the treadmill a good amount. Although I just bought my double jogging stroller, I have yet to buy a weather shield, so if there is any wind or rain or its cold, I can’t expect the kids to sit through that. The treadmill was technically my “push present” from having Cassidy. Well that’s at least how we justified spending all that money. We got a semi-decent one that is able to fold up since we keep it in our living room. I wish we could have gotten one of the gym quality ones but since it isn’t used all day every day like the ones at the gym, we knew we could get away with a much cheaper one.

I love to run, well I love the feeling after I run. I actually get kind of bored while running, which is one reason I have started doing circuit workouts a lot lately. But there is just something about a run that leaves me feeling accomplished! It also makes me sweat like no other. Well besides that stair climber at the gym, the one with the revolving stairs. Man, that thing makes me sweat! So to keep me from dying of boredom staring at my living room wall, I always switch up my speed every couple minutes. I usually do increments of distance actually because it would kill my OCD if I finished and was at something like 3.19 miles. I would inevitably do an extra .6 to get to a number I liked.

3 miles is my favorite distance. Well somewhere between 3-4. If I do less than 3, I feel like I didn’t do enough. And if I do more than 4 right now, I start feeling like my milk supply goes down. A 5k is perfect.

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I completed the run in 26:58 minutes and the cool down took me an additional 2 minutes. You can easily adjust the pace to be faster or slower. Just bump every speed up or down by 0.2 or 0.5, whatever suits your fitness level.

Make sure you have a towel ready because this will leave you nice and sweaty! Something about adding in those couple of walking intervals really gets me sweating. For some reason the instant I stop running, the sweat starts pouring. So starting and stopping and starting again really gets me!

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See that sweet headband? Its my 3 year olds and it works perfect for running, especially after I got my hair cut!

Does anyone else mess with the incline and speed non-stop to avoid boredom? If I was talented enough, I’d like to read while running. But that ended badly once, so its just music for me!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bites

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After story time today, Cassidy passed out in her car seat right as we were pulling up to the house. I figured I’d take advantage of that time and quickly get in a workout. I put Cassidy in her crib (still in her car seat) and hopped on the treadmill. Last week when I ran, I didn’t warm up at all. Stupid, I know. Its like asking for an injury to just jump on and sprint. So this time my workout went like this…

0.25 mile warm up at 3.7 mph

1.0 mile run at 7.6 mph with intervals of 8.0 and 8.5

0.25 mile walk at 3.7 mph

0.5 mile run at 7.6-8.0 mph

0.5 mile walk incline 9.0 at 3.7 mph

After my run I did a little bit of abs and arms. Just some random arm exercises with free weights and various plank moves. I didn’t do too much because I started running around trying to get some chores done before Cassidy woke up and demanded food. But my little princess slept for 2 hours so I was able to do all my laundry, sweeping, dishes, etc and have time to play with Alyssa and have lunch just the two of us.

And on to dessert…Dessert was awesome!

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana bites:

1 large banana

2 TB all natural peanut butter

1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

2-3 TBs coconut

Slice 1 large banana into 1/2 inch slices and top with a smear of peanut butter. Lay them on wax paper and place them into the freezer fr 5-10 minutes while you melt the chocolate. Put chocolate chips into the microwave on low power until melted (stirring frequently). I then took the banana pieces out of the freezer, dipped each top into the chocolate and pressed a little coconut on top of the chocolate. Place them back into the freezer until the chocolate hardens but not so long that the banana freezes (20-30 minutes).

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These were so good and simple and made with ingredients I always have on hand. This is gluten free, tree nut free, and vegan, so it would fit just about any eating style!