recipe

Bea’s Bran Muffins

Bran muffins can be tricky.  Well, muffins in general can be tricky. You never know if you’re biting into a healthy, wholesome snack or a oversized sugar bomb. Sadly, bran muffins are often the worst offenders.  Most recipes contain healthy ingredients like wheat bran, walnuts, and raisins, but often in way too big of portions.

Luckily, my family still has a recipe from way back in the day when my grandma used to make bran muffins.  Original recipecard and all:

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How cool is that?!

Anyway, besides being incredibly healthy, these muffins are delicious. They’re not crazy sweet so when you bite into a raisin it’s extra special 🙂

I love that I can continue to show my late grandma love by baking these muffins. They’re perfect for a light breakfast (if you add some protein and fruit on the side) or a quick snack.

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Bea’s Bran Muffins

Ingredients

  • 3 cups All-Bran (cereal)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 1/4 cup while wheat flour
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

Combine cereal, oil, and raisins and pour boiling water over them (mixture 1).  Set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk, molasses.  Add that to cooled mixture 1.

Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt: add flour mixture to cereal mixture 1, stirring just enough to moisten dry ingredients.  Cover batter with plastic wrap and let stand 15 minutes, preferably an hour.

Preheat oven to 400. Bake in greased muffin tins for 20 minutes, or when a toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs.

Enjoy!

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Question: what’s your favorite type of muffin?  I love lemon poppyseed or fresh blueberry ones!

BlackBean&Lime Salad (recipe)

Workout today was an hour-long spin class full of hills and sprints, plus a quick 15 min upper body workout afterwards. It was nice to get back at it after taking a few days off!

To make up for the fact that July is over (unbelievable), I figured a new summer recipe was in order. Let’s just keep pretending it’ll always be flip flops and dress weather, okay?  I recently made a huge batch of this salad for a summer party and it was such a hit that I knew I had to share it on the ol’ blog. Not only does it make fantastic leftovers alone, but you can add things to it to bulk it up into a meal or simply scoop it up with tortilla chips if you need a quick snack.

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BlackBean&Lime Salad

  •  3 cups cooked black beans
  • 2 red peppers, chopped
  • 1 cup sweet yellow corn
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 jalapeno peppers, minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

Combine all of the above and make sure to let it sit for at least 2 hours in the fridge before serving.  You may find that you need to add more lime juice/olive oil/red wine vinegar to taste if you like a saucier salad (I was going to write “moist” but I know how much that word bugs some people. With “saucy” I guess I’m just admitting that this salad has a bit of an attitude).  Serve as a side dish, with tortilla chips, or add grilled chicken for a healthy, hearty meal.  Enjoy this dish while summer lasts!

PS This recipe serves 8-10. Feel free to double or triple the deliciousness!

In my humble opinion… *spinach dip*

Spinach dip is the best dip of all the dips.

ImageI know I’m not alone in this opinion because when I googled “spinach dip”, over 5 million recipes came up. People loooove their spinach dip.

Whenever I go to an outdoor party or bbq, it’s the first thing I look for. And no, not to dip veggies in.  I don’t pick it because it’s semi-green therefore semi-healthy. Few things are better than plunging salty potato chips into a big bowl of spinach dip.

So when I decided to throw a graduation party this weekend, I knew I had to make it.

Since I’ve already admitted to you all that I don’t eat this dip for health purposes (let’s be real…it’s just a delicious vehicle with which to eat more chips), I decided to try to make it healthier.  Not fat free, salt free, calorie free, but as close as possible without sacrificing the taste.

So after testing a few options, here’s what I’ve come up with. It’s beefed up with greek yogurt so it’s got protein to fill you up, but it still has sour cream and mayo to balance out the tanginess of the yogurt.  I’ve tried in the past, but I just have to admit defeat: you can’t make a whole dip with greek yogurt. You just can’t. It’s too tangy and too different from a normal-tasting dip.  However, you can easily slip some in there and guests won’t be any the wiser.

I’ll be serving this alongside all my favorite chips (and veggies) at my graduation party.  I hope you find a way to use it too! It’s delicious!

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Bulked-up Spinach Dip

  • 1 1/3 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt
  • 2/3 cup light sour cream
  • 1 cup light mayo
  • 1 1.8 oz package dry leek soup mix (have no fear–it’s sounds scarier than it is)
  • 5 oz can water chestnuts
  • 2 10 oz. frozen packages of spinach (thawed and drained)

Directions

  • Mix all ingredients together, making sure there is no liquid left from the thawed spinach
  • Let sit for a few hours
  • Serve and enjoy!

Hard Day + *recipe*

Today is one of those days when things just aren’t going my way.  When it rains it pours, right?  I do consider myself lucky because these days are few and far between!

Today I woke up and saw peaches in the freezer. I knew I had to make oatmeal with them! Seriously guys, peach oatmeal is so good because if you add the right stuff, you can make it taste like peach cobbler (one of my all time favorites).

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I boiled 1 cup of almond milk on the stove, added 1/2 a cup of oatmeal, and stirred in a bunch of flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, peaches, blueberries, and cinnamon. So comforting and it sat like a rock in my stomach for a few hours, which did a lot of good helping me fuel for my run.

I headed to the gym to attempt a “non-stop” 5 mile run. Success! I love setting a fitness goal and accomplishing it.  It’s a great feeling!

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I’ll be running the Big Ten 10k in just two weeks so I’m glad these 5 miles are getting easier.  I can’t wait to run in the city–it’s one of the best things to do.  That, plus running in huge groups–it’s an endorphin high like no other.

I made a quick lunch before running off to work.

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I sliced up some grilled chicken, tossed it in jalepeno bbq sauce and red onions, and served that over mixed greens.  I have so much spinach to use up!

Finally, I decided to ACTUALLY cook something that I pinned on Pinterest 🙂

I think most people who are active on that site know that it’s easy to pin a hundred things in one sitting, but actually doing them? That’s a whole other story.

I tackled a Black Bean and Quinoa casserole! I left out the cheese because of my dietary changes this week but when it was done I topped it with some plain greek yogurt and sliced avocado with sea salt and it was delish!

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Black Bean Quinoa Casserole (adadpted from Pinch of Yum.com)

  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 4 bell peppers chopped (I used 2 green, 1 yellow, and 1 orange)
  • 2 small jalepenos, seeded and minced
  • 5 cups cooked black beans
  • 1.25 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin

Instructions

  1. Black beans: Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onion, and jalapeno, sauteing for 4 minutes and stirring occasionally. Stir in broth and black beans. Bring mixture to a boil and cook for 7 minutes. The mixture should be thick, not watery. If you still have a lot of moisture, let it cook out by keeping it on the heat for another few minutes. Taste and season with salt.
  2. Quinoa: In a dry nonstick skillet over medium high heat, toss and toast the cooked quinoa with the cayenne, chili powder, cumin, and salt for 1-2 minutes. Taste and season with salt. Set aside.
  3. Peppers: In the same dry nonstick skillet as the quinoa, over medium high heat, place the diced peppers and do NOT stir. This allows the peppers to get a brown roasted look on the outside. Wait for 2-3 minutes before stirring, then let them “roast” for another few minutes before removing from the heat.  Add the peppers to the quinoa that is set aside.
  4. Assemble: Preheat oven to 375 . Put black bean mixture into a 8X8 glass baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with quinoa/pepper mixture. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Top with whatever you’d like–avocado, greek yogurt, sour cream, cheese, tortilla chips, etc.

Enjoy!!

Question: does having a bad day motivate you to work out more or less?

Chocolate Cherry Protein Smoothie *recipe*

Hey all!

I just wanted to share a quick post with one of my newest smoothie loves.  The hot summer heat always makes me crave icy cold smoothies, and slipping some greens and protein in there is just a great bonus!  So without further ado:

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Chocolate Cherry Protein Smoothie

1 cup almond milk (or any other milk you choose)

2 cups cherries (pitted)

1 scoop chocolate protein powder (I use GNC brand)

2 big handfuls of spinach

A few ice cubes (add at preference.  Frozen cherries aren’t as solid as other fruits, so I needed more ice cubes than normal)

Blend and enjoy!

Kicked-Up Corn Salsa

Now, if you’re anything like me, you have those days when Chipotle is on your brain and nothing else will do.  On those days, a giant guacamole-filled veggie burrito bowl is like fine dining.  Now, I’ve been able to master making the burrito bowl at home, for the most part.  I know how to cook up the veggies, add the beans, throw in some delicious guac (although, let’s be honest, Chipotle has some magic way of making it that I’ll never understand. That stuff is gold)…but there’s that one ingredient that mocks me every time I walk the line adding my ingredients: the corn salsa.

It’s not something that can be pulled out of the fridge and assembled in seconds.  It’s not something that I always have the ingredients (or patience) for.  But today, I won.  I found a recipe online (courtesy of the Food Network) that has helped me overcome this culinary obstacle and feel better about myself. Is that sad? Regardless…

This salsa isn’t the fastest to prepare, but for a barbeque in the middle of summer when corn is at its sweetest, I guarantee it’s worth it.  It’s also a nice break for when it’s 1 pm in the middle of the afternoon and you can’t write another cover letter without wanting to gauge your eyes out. Whatever your reason, whip this up ASAP.

Kicked-Up Corn Salsa

(adapted from Food Network Magazine’s “Almost-Famous Corn Salsa”)

Ingredients

  • 3 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed (if using fresh corn, still 1 cup, or about 2 ears)
  • 1/2 of a small jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Pinch of truvia or sugar
  • Salt to taste

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ImageLet it sit for at least an hour, preferably more, so that the flavors can come together.  It really does make a difference!

Now make some tacos, fajitas, burritos, or grab your nearest bag of tortilla chips. You know you want to…

 

Garlicky Shrimp

Here’s a super simple scrumptious shrimp dish for those nights when you feel like acting fancy.  It’s healthy, hearty, and most of all, delicious.

Enjoy!

ImageIngredients:

  • 1 tbls butter
  • 1 tbls olive oil
  • 1 pound large shrimp (peeled, cleaned, deveined)
  • 5 cloves garlic (never fear the garlic)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs (optional)
  • 9 oz bag of spinach

Prep Work

  • Before beginning to cook, sautee or microwave the spinach so that it is cooked when you add it to the shrimp dish later.  Also, cut the cherry tomatoes in half lengthwise and use your fingers to get all the insides of the tomato out.  The tomatoes you use for the dish should look like little tomato-boats, like this:

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Directions

  • Melt butter and oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet
  • When you see the butter bubbling, add the shrimp to the bottom of the pan (make sure they are in a single layer or they might not cook evenly)
  • Depending on the size of your shrimp, cooking time can vary.  Smaller shrimp take about 2 min each side and larger take about 5-6.  You just need to cook them until they are pink on both sides and opaque throughout.
  • Add the garlic, tomatoes, salt and pepper, and cook for 2-3 minutes until the tomatoes soften
  • Sprinkle panko bread crumbs on the mixture and toss until everything is nicely coated
  • Add prepared spinach to the pan (sidenote: it’s important to cook the spinach on the side because it releases a lot of water while it’s cooking.  You have to get rid of that before you add the cooked spinach to the shrimp dish or it will be watery)

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Serve with whole wheat pasta or eat alone! It’s delicious either way.

Enjoy!