Just Eat It: Pumpkin Coffee Cake

The other day, I used Sally’s Baking Addiction’s wonderfully delicious Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies, and as per usual, they did not disappoint. Even my mom, who is a pumpkin hater, enjoyed one. The only problem with making something that calls for pumpkin puree is that if it doesn’t call for the entire can, and you’re dangerously close to grocery shopping day and therefore without foil to cover it, it gets gross after a couple days.

So after looking up pumpkin muffins and realizing I didn’t have cream cheese (again, dangerously close) and realizing I didn’t have a doughnut pan for pumpkin doughnuts or buttermilk for pumpkin doughnut muffins, I landed on a recipe I’ve used before and loved – Pumpkin Spice Coffee Cake from Joyful Healthy Eats. Her photos and step-by-step directions make it easy to follow early in the morning and before coffee.

Photo Credit: Krista / Joyful Healthy Eats

Photo Credit: Krista / Joyful Healthy Eats

And if you happen to have all the ingredients like I did (well, I had almost all of them), it’s free to make. And even if you have to pick up a couple, you’re still paying less for just one slice at any bakery or coffee shop. Here are the ingredients:

  • 2½ cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • ¾ cup of sugar
  • ¾ cup of canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon of pumpkin spice seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • ¾ cup of milk
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup of pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup of finely chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon

You can click on the photo I posted above or here for the full recipe. The only change I made is that I didn’t have pecans and I was feeling adventurous, so I used the little remainder of walnuts I had and filled the rest of the cup with pumpkin granola. I was a little nervous about how the substitution would turn out, but I really like it!

One little square filled me up enough but didn’t make me feel too full and it had just enough spice to not overwhelm people who may not enjoy pumpkin as much as I/you do. This is actually the only pumpkin recipe I can get the majority of my family to eat, especially after the pumpkin explosion that happened last year.

SONY DSC

My rendition. Looks a little sloppier but tastes gooood!

What are you baking? Is it a recipe shared from your family, something you created or something you found in a cookbook/blog? Share in the comments and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google + and Pinterest!

Coffee and Muffins

coffee and muffins

Last weekend, my mom and I embarked on a new challenge. We must avoid all drive-thru eateries for an entire month. This wouldn’t be difficult for me, but I have a secret addiction to drive-thru Starbucks. Because sometimes when we’re on the road, I need a coffee. And almost all the time, I don’t want to have to lug my daughter out of the car and then back into the car to get a simple coffee.

The thought of walking to a little, hidden gem of a local coffee shop is a beautiful thought, except for the fact that I live nowhere near one. When I lived in downtown Sacramento, you could just turn in any direction and point, and a coffee shop would magically appear. But this is not the case.

So, it’s time to broaden the horizons. Since I will be more dependent on my at-home coffee-making skills more than ever, I’ve come to a conclusion. It’s time to stock up on some coffee from rad coffee shops when I come across one, and then get some rad travel mugs.

Photo from Mugoos

Photo from Mugoos

First of all, I love Mary Tyler Moore. I used to watch that show on TV Land before all my of childhood shows somehow wound up there, and before there was a DVR. This coffee mug not only brings a smile to my face and brings back memories of no responsibilities, it’s also kind of a perfect quote for my life right now. This ceramic mug has a plastic lid and is double-insulated. MC Simon, who made the mug and runs Mugoos, is a mama-of-two who was welder before running her own handmade ceramic shop.

Photo from Heartbreak Coffee

Photo from Heartbreak Coffee

Heartbreak Coffee is not actually local, but I read about this online coffee shop on Design*Sponge and I fell in love with the story. She brews and sells everything from her kitchen, and the first comment on her Coming Soon post was from her mom. I mean, come on.

So, I think this would be a great time to start reviewing different coffee shops – both local and online.

And what goes better with coffee than…

IMG_1458MUFFINS!!!

I used a recipe from The Granny Girls for these apple blueberry muffins and they were delicious – and good for you! I count them as a success because my boyfriend – the enemy of all that is health food – even enjoyed them. My muffins tend to be dry, but these were simply delightful. Moist (I know, I hate that word too), and every bite was filled with fruit.

The ingredients are below and you can get the full recipe here. I’m thinking of adding bananas next time (like, tomorrow).

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup raisins or currants blueberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup apple juice (I didn’t have any so I used almond milk)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup apple sauce
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, beaten (or 2 egg whites)
  • 2-3 medium apples, unpeeled, finely chopped (or grated)

What healthy steps are you taking? Share them in the comments and on social media. If you are writing about it, share the post with me! I would love to help motivate each other!

My Healthy Life: A Recipe!

my healthy life

My favorite time of year starts around October 24. Everyone is getting ready for Halloween, and the pumpkin craze is full steam ahead. People don’t look at me weird for adding pumpkin to everything I make and fall is finally in full force. I used to love summer. Now I loathe it, because my daughter gets wayyy too hot if we take her outside, so we’re like little recluses in our house.

With the Holidays surrounding us, it can be rather difficult to maintain your diet. I know that for me, we have a huge leftover pizza from Cecilia’s birthday, and with final projects for school, Christmas projects and trying to get my small business going, I have been living on pizza and cupcakes. Luckily, I treat myself every morning to this wonderful pumpkin muffin I found on Recipe Girl.

Photo from Recipe Girl

Photo from Recipe Girl

I wanted to make the same muffin but a little cleaner, so I consulted my favorite clean eating site – The Gracious Pantry – for the food substitution chart to see what I could do with this recipe. And here are the changes I made:

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour  2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour  1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (I would have done 3 cups whole wheat flour, if I had enough!)
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, melted  1/4 cup apple sauce, 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar  3/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (unsweetened)
My version

My version

I also opted out of making the glaze, which was part of the recipe. I’m sure there is a clean glaze I could make, but I didn’t worry about it this time. You can get the full recipe – including the glaze – over at Recipe Girl, and you can download How to Convert Recipes at The Gracious Pantry.

I will be sharing more and more recipes that are cleaned up a little and perfect for the Holidays in the next couple of weeks. If you have a healthy holiday recipe you would like to share, or you would like to see a favorite recipe of yours cleaned up – please let me know in the comments and share on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #healthyholidays. You can find more healthy holiday inspiration on my Pinterest!

My Healthy Life: A Journey

Well, I’m exactly one week away from two things I have been looking forward to – my birthday, and my goal date for my weight loss. They happen to fall on the same day, and that is no coincidence. I was hoping to reach 130 by my 31st birthday and kept assuring myself the whole time that I could most definitely do it. And I probably could have…if I locked myself in my room with a mini fridge filled with only the healthiest and best food, and my only activity to do during the day was to exercise.

But, let’s face it. Real life happens…and sometimes your best intentions fall short. I will say that I am proud that I have not only lost all the weight gained during my pregnancy, I am between five – ten pounds lighter than I was when I got pregnant. Sure, I still have 15 lbs to go before I reach my goal weight, but I have had the willpower to turn down fast food and soda, when both are so easy…and sometimes so good.

I have put myself on a workout regimen, and sometimes I actually stick to it. But sometimes I don’t, because I’m freaking tired after chasing around my daughter, and sometimes I count mopping my floor (so what if my mop is actually a Swiffer) and doing laundry as my workout for the day.

18ac2a84412a11e3b44322000a1f92df_8My morning walk with my daughter. My favorite workout routine

So, I’m going to make a proclamation for myself, and if you would like to join in, I would love your company:

  • No more following websites that have the word “Skinny” in them. I don’t want to be skinny. I just want to wear my old jeans. Not the jeans I was wearing before I got pregnant. The jeans I wore when I was at my most comfortable weight. Sure, my hips have expanded. Babies will do that to ya. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. But damn did it feel good to put on a pair of jeans I have not been able to wear in over a year.
  • While on that note, no more pinning “Skinny” recipes on Pinterest. If you haven’t heard this before, most of the skinny ingredients are worse than the real thing. Look at the ingredients and decide if you really want all of that in your body. If you do, go for it. If not, put it down. It ain’t worth it in the long run.
  • Follow bloggers and recipe developers who use real ingredients for all of their food. They don’t do a diet version, because they don’t need to. You don’t need a diet version of granola – it’s granola! A good site I just found today is A Sweet Spoonful. Her recipes have real ingredients in them, and most of them aren’t crazy. Check out these pumpkin spice muffins (you know how I feel about pumpkins). She also has a book called Whole Grain Mornings – I think the title says it all – that will be available on Dec 31. You can pre-order it now through Amazon, and it will be perfect for your New Years Resolution, if you’re about that.
  • Remain active. Even if I can’t get a workout or yoga session in, I remain active. I sit at my computer to write blog posts, and do some work. But I take a break after every project I work on to go walking with my daughter, to play with her, or to clean my house. It keeps her entertained and happy, and I stay active. We hardly ever sit down to watch TV until after dinner. Because that’s my family time, and that’s how we like to relax.

I’m still going to work on my goal, but I’m not going to hate myself if I don’t get in that 15 minute yoga session, and then 15 minutes of bodyweight workout, and then 15 minutes of yoga at night. Because sometimes I’m just tired. And I have other stuff going on. But I will (attempt to) drink all of my water, and I will cook real food for my family. Because not only do I want to look good in my jeans, I want to feel good, too.

2b58fe7e3ff311e38f8522000a1fb838_8Homemade apple butter on wheat toast with banana. Breakfast is served.

Here is my promise to you, and this is one I can stick to. I will continue to share sites with you that I feel good about sharing. I will continue to show you new recipes that incorporate real, healthy food. I won’t ever share anything that has the word Skinny in it. Unless I have checked the ingredients and they are all real. That’s my only exception.

So, to start things off. Here are some of my favorite sites that embrace whole foods and healthy living:

The Gracious PantryIf you have read my blog just once in your life, you probably know how deep my love for this site runs. Tiffany not only shares a whole bunch of clean eating (the elimination of processed foods in your diet) recipes, she also advises on healthy food substitution, like the sugar substitution chart, and she loves pumpkin, too. My kind of girl.

Healthy Aperture – Healthy food photo sharing site. A good way to find recipes that you will love and continue to use, and you can also find new healthy bloggers to follow. If you find yourself liking a bunch of recipes from one poster, maybe you should check out their site and see what else they have. There’s also a blog with healthy tips and recipes.

Attune Foods Blog – This is a new one that I found today, through Sweet Spoonful. It’s a healthy recipe sharing site, and you can also join the FitClean community, which focuses on incorporating both fitness and clean eating in your daily life.

Are you ready to take this pledge with me? To include healthy and real ingredients in our food and to remain active – no matter what the activity is? I would love to get this healthy party going. I will be sharing more and more healthy recipes, workouts and yoga routines that I feel are worth sharing, and introducing more real food bloggers. If you would like to join me on this journey, I would love to have you. Connect with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest and share your journey with me by using the hashtag #myhealthylife or tag me in the post.

Gettin Fit: Healthy Harvest Recipes

Since we don’t have a lot of coffee shops to choose from around here, Starbucks is the only place to stop to get a little espresso to go. Let’s be honest here, sometimes Folgers just doesn’t cut it. Well, I was doing pretty good at avoiding Starbucks for a while. It’s on the way to and from the freeway, so that is a challenge. But then, they had to go and bring back all of the pumpkin spice treats. Thanks a lot, Starbucks! Not only is it hurting my wallet, it’s also hindering my weight loss/ clean eating lifestyle. Luckily, there are plenty of pumpkin recipes you can make at home that are not only delicious, but are also healthy.

Image belongs to The Gracious Pantry

Image belongs to The Gracious Pantry

Clean Eating Pumpkin Pie Creamer from The Gracious Pantry – I really do try to venture out and find new websites to get clean eating recipes from, but when you have such a good thing going on, why mess it up? What I love the most about recipes from The Gracious Pantry is that she uses normal ingredients that I can find anywhere. We’re a one car family and I don’t drive. There is no way I’m getting my boyfriend to take me to anything that resembles a health food store, so I need to be able to get the ingredients at a grocery store.

Have you had those pumpkin muffins from Starbucks? My most favorite thing in the world is a pumpkin muffin with a pumpkin spice latte. Yes, I really do love pumpkin. Like, a lot. Well, here’s a recipe that is a little healthier, and a whole lot cheaper, to make.

Image belongs to Little Mouse's House

Image belongs to Little Mouse’s House

Clean Pumpkin Walnut Muffins from Little Mouse’s House – These may not have the delightful cream cheese frosting in the middle of them, but that’s for the best. I make muffins every week and eat them for breakfast every morning. They’re easy to make and literally require no work during the week. Just what I love. Sometimes I’ll even get to have a cup of coffee and muffin before the little one awakes, but that’s extremely rare.

And if you are still missing that cream cheese frosting, I found a recipe that still uses cream cheese, but much less sugar.

Image belongs to Clean Eating In Texas

Image belongs to Clean Eating In Texas

{Clean Eating} Cream Cheese Frosting from Clean Eating in Texas – I have been able to get most of the recipes I use past the taste buds of my pickiest eater, my boyfriend. He’s not picky when it comes to “bad food,” but he sure is when it comes to the good stuff. Since this recipe still uses cream cheese, I’m sure I can get this one by him too. I’m not even going to tell him it’s the healthier version (although I’m sure he’ll know), I’m just going to see what he says. HA!

So, if you are like me, and go pumpkin crazy at Starbucks, these recipes should make it easier to make the same stuff at home. The ingredients may cost a lost at first if you don’t already have the stuff, but it will save you money in the long run. I was overwhelmed at the cost at first, then I realized that most of these ingredients are used in several dishes. You just need to find whole, good food that can be used in a variety of dishes.

What’s your favorite recipe that you want to see “cleaned up?” Let me know and I will either find a good recipe for you, or attempt it myself. Share your favorite healthy harvest recipes on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #healthyharvest. You can find more healthy harvest inspiration on my Pinterest.

This Week at the Weekly Treat

weekly treat

Back when I could eat donuts whenever I felt like it, I would love the maple sprinkled donuts. You couldn’t find them at every shop in town, but when you did, it made your heart soar. Well, at least mine did. When I was a little older and classier, I ditched the sprinkles and just stuck to maple bars. It’s been a while since I hit up a donut shop, but I still love a good maple recipe. Here are some worth trying out:

Image belongs to food plus words

Image belongs to food plus words

Baked pumpkin autumn maple donuts from food plus words

Image belongs to Hot Polka Dot

Image belongs to Hot Polka Dot

Maple Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread from Hot Polka Dot

Image belongs to Two Peas and their Pod

Image belongs to Two Peas and their Pod

Mini Chocolate Chip Maple Pancake Cupcakes from Two Peas and their Pod

Image belongs Annie's Noms

Image belongs Annie’s Noms

Mini Maple Cinnamon Doughnut Muffins from Annie’s Noms

Image belongs to Lauren's Latest

Image belongs to Lauren’s Latest

Pumkin Maple Rolls from Lauren’s Latest

And if you’re in the mood for something healthier….

Image belongs to Opera Girl Cooks

Image belongs to Opera Girl Cooks

Pumpkin Scones with Maple Spice Glaze from Opera Girl Cooks

I hope you enjoy these maple recipes, and I hope that you take a few moments to check out all of these blogs. I do my very best to only get recipes from food bloggers, and I try to steer away from the big companies as much as possible. There are so many awesome food bloggers out there that spend hours planning their recipes, and even more time making sure every crumb is in the right place for their photos.

If you are a blogger and have some recipes you would like to share, please post in the comments and share on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I will be sure to check out your blog/website and share any recipes that work well with what I’m writing. I’m also up for any ideas you have for future weekly treats. Just let me know! I don’t post every recipe I find, so if you are looking for more Weekly Treat recipes, check out my Pinterest.

This week at the weekly treat

weekly treat

I’ve never met a fruit I didn’t like. Well, I didn’t like pineapple for a long time, but then I finally got with the program, and now it’s one of my favorites. Nevertheless, I have met plenty of fruit that don’t really stick in my mind when I’m at the Farmer’s Market or grocery store. And one of those fruits is the pear. I am reminded how much I love pear every time I eat it, but I’m quick to forget this once I hit the store.

When I got onto Pinterest and saw a recipe for a carmelized pear pastry from Will Cook for Smiles, I was reminded once again how delicious this tasty fruit is.

Image belongs to Will Cook for Smiles

Image belongs to Will Cook for Smiles

Carmelized pear pastry from Will Cook for Smiles

Image belongs to Sips and Spoonfuls

Image belongs to Sips and Spoonfuls

Poached pear crumble with chocolate from Sips and Spoonfuls

Image belongs to The View from Great Island

Image belongs to The View from Great Island

Pear Gingerbread Crumb Cake from The View from Great Island

2011-10-20-PearMuffins1

Image belongs to theKitchn

Spiced pear muffins from theKitchn

muffins

Image belongs to Fitness Treats

Healthy pear muffins from Fitness Treats

Image belongs to The Kitchen is My Playground

Image belongs to The Kitchen is My Playground

Pear Walnut Crisp from The Kitchen is My Playground

If you love baking or are just getting into it, check out our Weekly Treat group for some recipe inspiration. Share your pear treats in the comments or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #lemonblueberry You can find more of my lemon blueberry inspiration on Pinterest!