On blueberry muffin hill

Blueberry muffins…yum!  Who doesn’t like a good moist blueberry muffin?  But don’t most of us also want something that’s at least somewhat healthy?  I try to make my muffins from scratch using whole grains and fresh fruit, but when time is short (or I’m feeling kind of lazy) I’ll resort to the boxed muffin mixes.  Fortunately I found this…

Is it as good for me as what I would make using one of my healthier recipes?  Mmm…no.  Is it better for me than something sweet and sugary from the vending machine?  You bet it is.

These muffins, baked according to the package directions, still have 210 calories per muffin.   I make them smaller by making 18 instead of 12 and that reduces the calories to 140 apiece.  This is just one more indication that what we now consider to be a serving size is much larger than it was in the past.  So I still get to enjoy a freshly baked muffin without going overboard on calories.

Can I make a lower calorie, healthier-for-me muffin?  Yes, I can.  But there are times in life where we make trade-offs, this is one of those times…calories for convenience.  I don’t do this all the time, but it’s nice to know I have the option.  Now I have a good supply of muffins in the freezer.  I can pull one out in the morning, put it in my lunch bag and it’ll be thawed and ready to eat for my morning or afternoon snack.  If that can keep me from putting that dollar in the vending machine, I think it’s worth it. 

What can you do with over ripe bananas?

A bunch of Bananas.

Image via Wikipedia

I had some bananas sitting on my kitchen counter for several days.  Every time I noticed them, I thought I should do something with them…but I didn’t. Usually I’ll just peel them, break them up and freeze them so they’re ready to throw into a smoothie.  I guess I must have been lazy last week.  The bananas just kept sitting there, looking worse and worse.  Finally, this morning, I decided I was going to do something with them…went online and started looking at recipes (yes, I have a huge collection of cookbooks…love the Gooseberry Patch ones….but it’s so much easier to just do a search).  Wow…there’s a lot you can do with those icky looking, mushy bananas.  Cakes and cookies…dessert  bars and pies..and about a million recipes for banana bread.

I finally decided to go with banana bread, making one loaf of bread and a dozen muffins.  I like to freeze the muffins so I can keep them fresh, pulling one out of the freezer to take to work whenever the mood strikes me.  I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m not the best recipe follower in the world…I’m always replacing things, adding things, whatever.  This particular recipe (http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/banana-bread/51427396-6764-4b0a-a73a-78c683c703d2/?p=1) called for 2.5 cups of regular old white flour.  I decided to try to make the recipe a little healthier by replacing some of the white flour with whole wheat flour and reducing the amount of salt by about half.  I thought about adding some applesauce in place of some of the butter, but didn’t have any applesauce (what?  better add that to my shopping list), so used a stick of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter in place of the regular butter…then totally negated the whole healthier thing by adding a handful of mini chocolate chips

Have you ever noticed that quick breads or muffins don’t really look like much before they’re baked?  And honestly, who in the world first decided to use rotten…I mean, over ripe… bananas in anything that they wanted to eat?  How does that thought process come about?  Did they say to themselves, “Hey, I’m really hungry and all I have left is this bunch of rotten bananas and some flour and eggs…what can I do?  I know, I’ll mash the bananas up and make kind of a cakey bready thing.”  Well, however and whoever, it worked.

They look good and taste good…these will be a great morning snack for work over the next few weeks…and a few chocolate chips never hurt anything.

Feel Good Fitness

I had the day off work today…thank goodness!  I came home exhausted last night and really needed a day to take it easy (sort of).  I decided I wanted to prepare some meals and snacks for the rest of the work week so I can stop putting my dollars in that blasted vending machine (saving myself both dollars and calories).  At first I thought I’d make out a grocery list and head out to the store.  Then I looked in the pantry and the fridge…decided to use up some of what I have before buying anything else.  I get on these frugal kicks every once in a while…unfortunately they don’t last very long and I end up buying (and ultimately throwing out) more food than I need.  So… had pumpkin puree opened in the fridge…it became pumpkin muffins…delish, if I do say so myself (and I do).  There’s a (relatively) healthy snack for my afternoons at work.  Prepared some lentils and whole wheat couscous to take in my lunch the rest of the week.  For tomorrow, I cut up a little onion, mixed in a little olive oil and have a cup of grape tomatoes to put on top of it…yummy lunch!  I also baked a batch of healthified oatmeal cookies (whole wheat flour, yogurt, only 2 tablespoons of oil in the entire recipe)…ended up putting most of the cookies and muffins in the freezer…kind of keeps me from eating more than I planned.  And it keeps them fresh longer.

Now on to the feel good fitness portion of this blog…rode the exercise bike this morning…set the tension really high…wow…not sure how that feels good, but it was a good workout.  Went outside for a walk/run…didn’t realize it was so cold this morning…but it sure felt good to be out there moving.  And this afternoon I put some oldies on in the kitchen and danced my little heart out for half an hour…I’d forgotten how fun (and what a great workout) that is.  And music…really…for me, that’s such a mood lifter…everything goes better with a little music, the more upbeat, the better!! So now I’m ready to face another hectic day at work, prepared and uplifted!!