Healthy-ish banana chocolate muffins

I have been so busy with grad school I haven’t posted any recipes lately! I have made some, I need to stop slacking.

I’ve been reorganizing some of my pins over on Pinterest, and started a board for just breads & muffins. I decided that this would be a great time to make Feel Great in 8‘s “Healthy Chocolate Swirl Banana Muffins”. Muffins and baked oatmeal are great ways to grab a healthy breakfast on early days. Mondays and Tuesdays are my busiest days at school, so these were perfect! I’m also trying to tempt my boyfriend into eating breakfast, he has a bad habit of not eating all day until 2pm or 4pm so I was hoping these might to the trick with that too. Who can resist chocolate?!

Chocolate muffins

For these, I didn’t really decide what to mess with until I started to make them. They’re pretty healthy to begin with, if you don’t mind 2-1/2 cups of wheat flour in 18-20 muffins. Personally, I wanted to cut down on the wheat. I subbed in some quinoa flour that I’ve had but haven’t had a chance to use yet. Unfortunately I did not realize that quinoa flour is a little bit bitter, similar to when you bake with stevia, so once I tasted the mixture I had to add more honey in order to make it palatable. I used eggs instead of flax eggs, and I added some cinnamon. I also threw some unsweetened organic coconut on the top of some of them, just to add a little texture.

Once I started, I realized no way was I swirling chocolate into muffins (they’re just too small and there’s too many of them!) so I decided to make them chocolate muffins instead of chocolate swirl. Make sure to visit Feel Great in 8 for the original recipe!

Healthy-ish Chocolate Muffins

1 cup quinoa flour
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
1/2 cup honey
2 whole eggs
1/3 cup unrefined coconut oil (measured after heating)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 unsweetened organic coconut (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 2 muffin tins or add muffin cups.
Whisk together the flour, cinnamon & baking soda.
In a separate bowl, mix together mashed bananas (I cut the bananas into 2″ pieces and then used a hand mixer to
“mash”), yogurt, honey, eggs, oil, and vanilla.
Fold the banana mixture into the flour mixture until blended.
Spoon batter into each muffin cups, about 2/3 of the way full. Top with coconut if desired.
Bake until slightly brown on top and a toothpick, poked into the center, comes out clean (18-22 minutes).
Enjoy! Keep leftovers refrigerated, or freeze and microwave on busy mornings.

You can try freezing these, but they won’t last that long! I split these between me and my boyfriend yesterday, (9 for him, 11 for me) and mine are nearly gone already. They aren’t too sweet, and they’re really moist! One thing I noticed is that in the oven they rise like a cake but then they all fell a couple minutes after I took them out of the oven and they started cooling. That wasn’t really a problem.

My boyfriend does not eat clean or healthy at all and he’s also not much of an adventurous eater (although I’m pushing him on that a bit!) so I gave him one of these before I told him anything about them. I just said “eat this and tell me what you think.” He ate it and said it was good; asked if it was gingerbread (?); and remarked how moist it was and that there was a taste he couldn’t quite identify (banana). Once he knew they were healthy, he still wanted to take them home, so I count this recipe as a win!

Chocolate muffins

Total Cheat – Chocolate Bread Pudding

My instagram followers might remember the Coconut Tres Leches cake that I made for Mother’s Day.

Coconut Tres Leches cake

I found three different recipes that I liked the sound of, and combined them. I think if I had left it at that, it would’ve been ok – but I decided at the last minute to make it gluten free and use coconut flour. It made sense, it’s a coconut cake, why not use coconut flour? Different websites cautioned that using coconut flour is tricky and it’s best to stick with proven recipes, but the main problem is that the items turn out dry and I figured I was soaking the cake in three milks so that wouldn’t be an issue.

WRONG!

I made the only dry Tres Leches cake in the history of the world. My mom loved it, but it was very disappointing to me. Another mistake I made was making it a two layer cake. I found one of those lifestyle blogs that makes even the most chic, together women feel like they’re shabby underachievers (you know the ones I mean, Goop anyone?) She made a lovely two layer Tres Leches cake, I’m not sure how. I made a cake where the top layer slid around when you tried to slice it, partially because the cake ended up dry to the coconut flour but partially because whipped cream icing doesn’t work as well on a two layer cake. I should’ve known, the restaurants make their Tres Leches cake in a rectangle pan, I needed to do it that way too.

When Father’s Day rolled around, I had learned my lesson. Sometimes, we want to indulge. A cheat can be all cheat, especially for holidays and special occasions. So I decided to make chocolate bread pudding, in all it’s gluteny, unhealthy glory. My father is huge fan of the Double-chocolate bread pudding from Red Fish Grill in New Orleans, the whole family is! I found a recipe that seemed simple enough and decided to see what happened.

Bread

Chocolate Bread pudding

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 eggs
¾ c. packed light brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups milk (normally I’d sub almond milk, but I didn’t want this dessert to disappoint!)
4 cups cubed stale bread

Melt 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips, I did this in the microwave. Add, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, eggs and milk. Add bread and let stand 30 minutes, occasionally stirring. Ladle half of the bread mixture into a loaf pan. Spread remaining 1 cup of chocolate chips on top. Ladle the rest of the bread mixture. Sprinkle a few chocolate chips on the top.

Bake about 55 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Serves 10.

I found this recipe on Pinterest, it was actually on BeliefNet. I don’t like mixing religion and anything else so I’m not linking to the original recipe but you can find it by googling “Chocolate bread pudding beliefnet.” This recipe turned out AWESOME. It was a big hit! I ate mine with some vanilla ice cream, my dad opted for ice cream and whipped cream both. It’s definitely not low-cal, or gluten free, or sugar free, or dairy free (although I think it would be fine with almond milk!) but it was very yummy for a special occasion, every-once-in-a-while cheat.

Chocolate Bread Pudding

The case against wheat

Last year, I gave up gluten for three weeks. I have several friends who are gluten free for health reasons, so I wanted to do what I considered to be impossible – completely give up gluten and then reintroduce it to see if I had an intolerance. I was convinced I did. It turns out, luckily for me, that I don’t but the experiment taught me something important: a lot of the foods I thought were necessary really weren’t. I thought it would just be too weird to eat eggs without toast or a tortilla, but it wasn’t that bad. I didn’t really keep bread in the house before, but I ate a lot of tortillas and whole wheat waffles. Now I avoid wheat most of the time, because I’ve read a lot of stuff about how wheat isn’t that great for humans. A lot of the things we consume really aren’t – it’s funny how what we eat is dictated more by society and what the manufacturers make than what we actually need to survive. That doesn’t mean I don’t eat pizza now and then, or a sandwich, but on a daily basis I don’t eat much wheat. (Although my favorite morningstar farm veggie sausage contains gluten and is probably more processed than I should be eating – boo!)

Movie theatre pretzel

It turns out, wheat probably isn’t that great for us. For one thing, the grains of today are not the same as they were 100 years ago. This makes sense, if you think about it. If you try to avoid GMOs (aka A genetically modified organism, an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques.) wheat is a definite offender. A study conducted in Britain found definitive evidence that consuming wheat products caused bloating and abdominal pain in patients with irritable bowel disease. You can read about the study here, and it includes a link to the abstract. Normally I only link to what I consider to be “credible sources,” a newspaper, a scholarly journal, something that it would be ok to cite in a paper for grad school, but because this site summarizes a scientific study and I can’t access the study, I decided I would in this case. I was hoping I could actually get a PDF of the study to provide here but unfortunately it’s not available online or in my college’s library.

There’s also a great article by Mark Hyman, MD on the Huffington Post about why wheat is so bad for us. I really recommend reading it!

Brownie dessert

It’s true you can also find as many articles about why wheat is fine and the gluten free craze is just a fad. I agree on one count, just buying cookies and crackers and processed crap that’s gluten free is not better than eating gluten. You’ll notice that my first post, the gluten free waffles, were still a cheat meal. Even though they don’t contain wheat, the various gluten/wheat-free flours still pack a lot of calories. Gluten free doesn’t always mean healthy.

I will never give it up 100%, I do like to indulge occasionally, but wheat will never be a part of my daily diet again. One thing I found when I gave it up was that my food cravings went away. Not cravings for rolls and pasta, but all cravings. I didn’t get hit by the urge that I just had to have french fries that wouldn’t go away. It seemed odd to me, but that’s what happened. It’s easier to make better choices if you don’t have a hankering for something specific and unhealthy. I think everyone should give up gluten for a while and see how they feel. If nothing else, it allowed me to realize that I don’t need a roll with dinner or a tortilla with my fajitas and that saves me calories!

The “dirty dozen”

It’s true, organic “clean” food is more expensive. That’s why I remember the “dirty dozen” – foods you should always buy organic. Apparently this changes a bit from year to year, which I did not realize until I was looking at images for this post! Important information.

The dirty dozen

Remembering the “dirty dozen” and “clean fifteen” are great, easy ways to eat more cleanly without having to spend a fortune. I found this great wallet-sized list of both. I do forget some of these so I’m going to make sure to have it with me next time I head to the grocery store.

The dirty dozen

Overnight oats (review)

Tropical overnight oats

Overnight oats are something that I was a little hesitant to try. I haven’t eaten oatmeal since I was a child, back then the instant maple & brown sugar was a favorite. A couple times over the years when I was trying to be “healthier” I’d read something about how oatmeal was healthy and grab a variety pack of instant oatmeal from the grocery aisle. I always added sugar, and it never seemed like anything special to me so I usually ate a few packets and then forgot about it.

Cut to my Pinterest obsession. Like a lot of things, I was behind the crowd with Pinterest. I love instagram, but Pinterest just seemed like a waste of time – sharing things that other people shared didn’t make a lot of sense. But during my internship this spring, a fellow intern was telling me about all these creative ideas she had for decorating her new apartment, and they all came from Pinterest! So I checked it out, and unlike the first time I looked at it, I was hooked.

I started my Healthy + Fit board full of things that I wanted to try, healthy recipes and different workouts. That’s where I came across overnight oats.

peach cinnamon overnight oats

I was intrigued at the idea of just mixing up some oats and almond milk with fruit and letting it sit in the fridge overnight. It seemed so simple, would it be any good? I decided to try it because I had purchased some rolled oats and then couldn’t remember where I had seen a recipe that called for them. (oops!) I saw Oh my veggies Coconut Mango overnight oatmeal on Pinterest so I decided to give it a try. Typical of me though, I modified the recipe. I don’t think I’ve ever made any recipe I’ve ever found without modifying it in some way! I changed this recipe because I couldn’t find unsweetened coconut in my regular grocery store, my mango got mushy before I sliced it, and I wanted to use honey rather than agave. This was a lot of poor planning on my part – it really could not have turned out any better though!

peach cinnamon overnight oats

I am eating this 5-6 days a week for breakfast now. It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s cheap, it’s versatile, it’s vegan, it’s healthy – there’s really no downside to these! They have a hearty feel to them without being heavy. I feel like I’m having a good breakfast and they taste amazing.

My tweaks are pretty simple. I like sweet foods but for breakfast, I don’t want something that tastes like dessert, so 1-1/2 tablespoons seemed like a lot to me. I drizzle about 1 teaspoon of honey on the oats prior to adding the milk & fruit and stirring it all together. The peach cinnamon combo is really simple.

Peach Cinnamon Overnight Oats

1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon honey
half a peach, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 scoop unflavored protein powder (optional)*

Stir it all together, refrigerate overnight, and then sprinkle some cinnamon on it the next morning before you eat it.

Nutrition:

225 calories
8 grams protein
39 grams carbs
5 grams fat
* don’t forget to add nutrition info for protein powder, if used.

coconut overnight oats

It’s less clean, but to make these take literally less than a minute to make, instead of using fresh fruit use a fruit cup. Read the label on those though. They’re ALL different. It’s obvious you don’t want the one that’s packed in syrup, but watch what they’re packed in! One little cup can easily be over 100 calories, some have artificial sweeteners, some are packed in juice and have more calories but no artificial sweeteners. I’ve only come across one that was packed in water and had no artificial sweetener. Each fruit is different with the same manufacturer too, so don’t expect Del Monte mandarin oranges is the same as Del Monte peaches. Always read the label! For the first photo above, the tropical overnight oats, I used a Del Monte tropical fruit in juice, so it’s a few more calories than a no sugar added cup but it as no artificial sweeteners.

For the original, tropical recipe, please visit Oh my veggies. I’m new to this whole food blogging thing, and I don’t know the etiquette of writing about and using other people’s recipes but since I didn’t really change much about this one I don’t feel right about reposting it 🙂

30 day plank challenge!

Starting tomorrow (May 1st) I’m doing this 30 day plank challenge! I started this challenge a couple months ago, but then I was sick and slacked off and never picked it back up. I definitely am not letting a plank challenge get the best of me though – so I’m starting again.

30 day plank challenge

If you want to join in, “like” my facebook fan page and check in with me every day! It’s a great way to keep going when it gets tough, when you know other people are holding you accountable.

Welcome!

Looking for makeup content? I separated my two blogs, Not26Anymore and Not26AnymoreBeauty! This way you only see the content you’re interested in. Visit www.not26anymorebeauty.com for makeup and beauty content.

Welcome to my blog. If you’re looking for clean eating tips,  health and fitness articles, and information about weight loss, you have come to the right place! I have found plenty of stuff online about all those things, but nothing that really focuses on how different health or fitness is when you’re “not 26 anymore.”

I’m in the middle of my weight loss journey at the moment, but clean eating has definitely become a lifestyle for me. I also have a lot of goals that have nothing to do with weight loss, such as being healthier overall, and lowering my body fat percentage. I like to feel good, and feel good about what I eat, because I LOVE FOOD! If you’re interested in specifics on my weight loss journey you can check out my page about that.

If you’d like to know more about me, please visit the About page. I love comments, so please if you have questions, comments, or tips of your own, share them! Thanks for reading. ❤

yes fit challenge virtual race

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