Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Vegan (and soon gluten free) Blueberry Muffins!

This is an awesome recipe for blueberry muffins! I tested them on three men, telling them to be completely honest, and got rave reviews! In fact, they ate nearly the entire batch! I decided to wait until after to let them know that the muffins were actually pretty healthy.

So here's the recipe, which I got from Bethenny Frankel's book "Skinnygirl Dish". By the way, if you haven't checked out any of Bethenny's books, I definitely recommend it! She's amazing!

Here's the skinny: Each muffin has about 180 calories, which compared to a normal blueberry muffin is a steal! A Starbucks blueberry muffin is 380 calories! Ouch!

Makes 6-8 muffins
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

1 1/5 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cups raw sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/5 teaspoons baking powder
1/5 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons shortening (melted if using butter or margarine)
3/4 cups fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line a muffin tin with paper liners, or grease the pan. I would definitely recommend liners - way less hassle and no mess!

Combine all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder) in one bowl, and all the wet ingredients (milk, vanilla, shortening) in a separate bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and stir together. When everything is incorporated, stir in the blueberries.

Using an ice cream scoop, distribute the batter between 6-8 muffin cups, and then pop in the oven for 20 minutes, rotating the pan after 10 minutes so that the muffins cook more evenly.

It's as simple as that! Next time I'm going to use buckwheat flour or oat flour (the original recipe calls for oat flour, but it's slightly harder to find in stores, and I think, a bit of a pain to make myself) to make the recipe gluten free as well as vegan so all my friends and family can enjoy them! Plus I love the taste of buckwheat, it's kind of nutty and has extra iron which is just an added bonus!


Monday, July 23, 2012

Skinny Pumpkin Pie Recipe Fail

Last night I decided to try a recipe I had found for a faux pumpkin pie. The description said for around 100 calories it satisfied those fall food cravings. Um...not so much. Take one container of fat-free vanilla pudding and 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin, and what do you get? A pretty tasteless bowl of something somewhat resembling baby food. Pumpkin pie, I think not.

Tomorrow morning I'm trying a new recipe I found for vegan blueberry muffins, and I may even be brave enough to make them gluten-free as well. Stay tuned!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

To Count Or Not To Count...

When I tell people that all I did to lose a fourth of my body weight was count calories, they don't believe me. But in the end, that's really what it comes down to. And it makes sense, doesn't it? Eat less, exercise more, et voila!

The critical piece though, is making smart choices. Sure, if you're trying to stay under 1400 calories a day, you could eat a 450 calorie scone from Starbucks for breakfast and still be under your calorie goal. No problem. But is that going to keep you going until lunch, or is your stomach going to be growling? Mine would. That doesn't mean I don't eat scones every once in a while. I'll just eat a yogurt first or pair it with some other form of protein. My point here is that a lot of people stop counting calories because they're not thinking about how best to use the calories they're giving themselves. Going for high protein, high fiber foods that will fill you up and keep you satisfied longer is really the only way it will work.

The other tool I have found amazingly useful is the program Myfitnesspal. You can download the app on your phone or tablet, or just use the online version (myfitnesspal.com). I'm not being paid by any companies to write this blog, by the way, so any shout outs are genuine. This program is awesome, because it is EASY to use. It counts everything for you, and has a huge database of foods and exercises. If you're like me, and simple addition makes your head hurt, this is an instant bonus. Check it out!

Counting calories works for me, because it holds me accountable. If I put in that I ate 250 calories for a half cup of ice cream, and actually see that choice reflected in my calorie count for the day, I'm way less likely to say hell with it, and fill up the bowl. I make better choices, and think about what is really worth it for me. Fries from McDonalds? Not so much. The occasional piece of chocolate cake? Oh hell yeah. But I'm in control, I'm aware, and I understand the choices I'm making.

This works for me. If you've never tried it, look into myfitnesspal or a similar program. If you've tried it and hate it? Don't do it! This is about making you a happier person, and if counting calories kills your soul, stay far, far away! Look for something else that works.

This blog is not focused on counting calories, but since it's the most common question I get, there you go; that's my secret. Pretty simple!

Who Am I, And Why Do You Care?

Ok, so another fitness/diet blog has appeared in the blogosphere. With approximately a ton of bloggers out there claiming to have the secrets for losing 10 pounds in week, eliminating cellulite forever, eating just chocolate to lose weight, why would my blog, which is aimed toward a more reasonable (and maybe less newsworthy), fitness and diet lifestyle be of any use?

Well, here's the skinny. Over the last year or so, I started to really care about my appearance and my health. Of course, I had always cared - any girl who claims to look in the mirror and not notice those annoying imperfections is either lying, or Miranda Kerr. One morning though, I realized that I was spending more energy stressing about how I felt and looked than it would take me to actually do something about it. So I did! Here I am, 40 pounds lighter, and a million times healthier and happier.

The most important thing I learned is that losing weight is your own experience; there is no diet or exercise program that will work for everyone. Find what works for you. Find what makes you feel good about yourself and see the results you are happy with. I can't tell you how many diets I started (and quickly "forgot" about) that were supposedly the answer to all my prayers and instead left me feeling hungry, angry, and with no social life since I was terrified there might be temptation at the next party. So this is about moderation, making healthy choices, and being happy!

I am not a fitness expert. I am not a natural foods chef. I am not a scientist. I AM a girl who pays close attention to what those experts have to say though, and I AM someone who is willing to do the research.

Let me do the taste tests for you. Can buckwheat muffins really taste as good as one from Starbucks? Let's find out! Is interval cardio training worth the hassle? Let me do the legwork for you. I love feeling healthy, sexy, and proud of myself, and I want to share this feeling of satisfaction with you. It's so cliche, I know, but it all begins with one step.

Are you ready? Let's go!