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

* Some of my posts contain affiliate links. Using affiliate links helps to support this site, thank you for your support!
All content © 2010-2017, Stacey E. Aldridge, unless otherwise noted.

Gluten free, sugar free Belgian waffles

This morning, for my cheat meal brunch, I decided to take my favorite Belgian waffle recipe and make it gluten and sugar free. This is not an overly sweet Belgian waffle recipe to begin with, the original recipe only calls for 2 T of confectioner’s sugar for 8 servings, so I warn you in advance if you like a super sweet waffle then you’re going to be disappointed!

Belgian waffles

Ingredients

1/3 cup almond flour*
1/3 cup coconut flour*
1/3 cup quinoa flour*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon powdered stevia (I prefer stevia in the raw)
1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other diary free milk)
1/3 cup water
1 egg white and 2 egg yolks, separated
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 scoop unflavored/unsweetened protein powder (optional. I use isopure unflavored whey protein)

* or sub 1 cup all-purpose gluten free flour

flours

Directions

Combine the flours, baking powder, stevia, oil, milk, water, and egg yolks.

Beat the egg white and vanilla until they stand in soft peaks. Fold into the batter (do not over mix). Mixture will be a bit thicker than a wheat flour batter.

mixture

Pour 1/4 of the mixture into each side of a hot waffle iron (assuming it’s like mine & makes two waffles at once) and bake for about 2 minutes. My waffle iron has a light that goes off when the waffle is done.

batter

waffle maker

Repeat with the remaining batter. Makes 4 servings (aka 4 waffles. What you see pictured is 2 servings.)

Top with your favorite fruit, fruit spread, nut butter, butter, maple syrup, basically whatever you like on waffles. Since I happened to have Fiordifrutta organic fruit spread in Strawberries & Wild Strawberries from my April Love with Food box that I’ve been excited to try, I topped mine with that!

fruit spread

finished

The Verdict

I was actually really surprised at how well these turned out! They were really fluffy, slightly chewy, and turned out better than the recipe did with wheat flour. The Fiordifrutta spread was tasty, but because of the waffles not being sweet themselves, I think I would’ve done better saving it and topping the waffles with maple syrup. Live and learn! The Fiordifrutta spread was a bit like a syrup in consistency however, so if it had been more than a sample it probably would’ve worked better. This cheat meal was definitely worth the work! I ate the waffles with scrambled egg whites and a morningstar farms veggie sausage, since this was brunch.

The great thing about these waffles is that they freeze REALLY well (at least the wheat flour recipe does!) When I have made these in the past with wheat flour, I usually freeze the extras in a gallon sized ziplock bag and then eat them just like a store-bought frozen waffle. Pop it in the toaster and you’re good to go. I am freezing the uneaten waffles from this batch, so I will report back on how they do!

Note: the original recipe link does contain nutrition info. I did not crunch the numbers on this, partially because it was a cheat meal and partially because I just didn’t want to go to the effort of it! If you try this recipe, comment and tell me what you think!

Printer friendly recipe here!

yum

brunch

What is clean eating?

You’ve probably heard of “clean eating” by now and it may strike you as some sort of hipster, hippie, locally sourced, organic, bullshit and in some ways you would be right. I don’t know where the term was coined, but I’m sure you can find it if you look. I’m not talking about anyone’s diet plan called Eat-Clean, I’m not talking about anything marketed to you, I’m talking about simply – Avoid all over-processed, refined foods, especially white flour and sugar. Clean eating basically means eating something that comes out of nature, or as close to nature as possible. Ingredients in what you eat should be things you can pronounce, that you recognize as food. The fewer ingredients in something, the better. As Michael Pollan said, very simply, “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”

Aka – the ingredients in chicken you buy in the grocery store and prepare is “chicken.” The ingredients in a McDonalds chicken nugget is: White Boneless Chicken, Water, Food Starch-Modified, Salt, Seasoning (Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Salt, Wheat Starch, Natural Flavoring [Botanical Source], Safflower Oil, Dextrose, Citric Acid), Sodium Phosphates, Natural Flavor (Botanical Source). Battered and Breaded with: Water, Enriched Flour (Bleached
Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Yellow Corn Flour, Bleached Wheat Flour, Food Starch-Modified, Salt, Leavening (Baking Soda, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate, Monocalcium Phosphate, Calcium Lactate), Spices, Wheat Starch, Dextrose, Corn Starch. CONTAINS: WHEAT.
source.

There are volumes and volumes and volumes of information on the internet about why to eat clean and organic. If you have netflix, you can spend just a little over an hour to watch Hungry for Change. It’s a great “beginner’s” guide to what’s wrong with the way we eat in America. Another documentary I highly recommend is Food Matters. You can also find a lot of stuff that says that clean eating is bullshit; that it’s impossible to not eat chemicals – that part is untrue for the most part, if you eat organic vegetables you are avoiding chemicals as much as humanly possible. Or they say some preservatives are ok, afterall salt is a preservative; but my point is you can also say “Well why bother to get fit at all? I’m going to die someday after all and all my work will be for nothing.” It’s not an all or nothing thing here, the point is to eat as healthfully as possible because it makes you feel better.

Bottom line. I like having energy, I like feeling awake, alert, healthy, like I can do the things I need to do. I don’t like feeling bloated, depressed, anxious, hungry, guilty, tired, and ill.

How I lost 30 pounds

How I lost 30 pounds

 

Because I know some people are going to want to know how I lost the first 30 pounds, I’m going ahead and including it here. Clean eating and exercise is the bottom line. The more blogs and instagram pages and facebook pages you read, you WILL see a theme. There is no magical pill, there is no easy fix, you have to work. Eat right, and exercise.

Keep Track of what you eat

I use the free SparkPeople app to count calories and activities, and I try to keep it at 1500 calories a day.  I have also done macro counting which has also been successful. Try not to go under 1200 calories because too few calories can be just as damaging as too many, and you may not see results. Sometimes adding 100-200 calories can help you get over a plateau.

Eat Clean, always Know what you are eating

I eat clean 90-95% of the time. At the beginning I tended to eat out a lot and I realized that I was making bad choices at restaurants too often. It’s not hard to make a rule to indulge only in a restaurant if you’re eating in a restaurant 3-4 times per week. Takeout counts too! ALWAYS know what you’re eating. If the restaurant is a chain, it will have nutrition calories listed. My motto is that I can eat it but I have to eat it mindfully. If a meal is 1,200 and I really want to do that? Ok but I’m going to go into it knowing it’s nearly a day’s worth of calories. Ask for things to not be cooked with butter, some restaurants put butter on everything. Don’t eat the bread, if possible ask they don’t even bring it. Make the restaurant meal your “cheat” meal, but again you still have to be mindful about it. A cheat meal isn’t an opportunity to gorge one’s self on chemical crap.

Keep temptations and unhealthy food out of the house

I don’t keep chemical crap and/or sweets in the house. If I have cookies, I will eat cookies. If I really want ice cream, and I have to leave the house to get it, I’m less likely to eat it. Artificial sweeteners, aspartame, even splenda (yes sorry!) are just as bad a sugar, but in a different way. Don’t go to the supermarket and grab the “diet” ice cream and candy and cookies. Don’t buy processed “fruit” snacks that don’t actually contain fruit (apple juice concentrate as the 10th ingredient isn’t a good, healthy thing!) Don’t buy gluten free crackers that have 30 ingredients you’ve never heard of in them. Gluten free does NOT MEAN HEALTHY!  Minimally processed is the norm of a clean eating diet but if I just have to have a kitkat, I will eat a kitkat not a diet kitkat knock-off. Better yet something high quality and made locally.

If you live with others ask your family not to bring home sugar filled processed food. If you have roommates, ask them to keep that stuff in their room – they’ll probably appreciate you not eating their food in a moment of weakness!

Move every day

I walk my dogs several times per week. This is good for them too because they need exercise as well! I also try to get to the walking trails near my house 2-3 times per week unless it’s the dead of summer. (We hit 100+ during a Mississippi summer.)

I am lucky that I have a treadmill but there are also lots of free home exercises that you can do on YouTube or find home exercise routines online.

Log activities, use a step tracker

I wear a Fitbit activity tracker and my current step goal is 8,000 per day. That’s a realistic stretch for me because I have to spend a lot of time sitting while I work, driving long distances for work, sitting and talking to patients, and being sedentary.

Do Cardio. Slow is better than not at all

For the first 30 pounds, I tried to do cardio 3 times a week, specifically this free Couch to 5k mix. I stayed on each week until I could run all of the intervals without stopping, no matter how long that took. It was slow going but that was ok!

ladies, lift weights! muscle burns more fat

I weight train 3-4 times a week. I’ve lost almost 10% body fat so even when the weight on the scale doesn’t move much it’s cool to see that body fat % go down. Women are sometimes afraid of getting too ripped but let’s be really honest here, you aren’t going to look like a body builder by lifting weights a few times a week. People have to work very hard to look like that. Even during times that I have gained some of the weight back, I’ve never gained back much of the body fat. Check out my Workouts board on pinterest for ideas on how to start.

if it doesn’t challenge you it doesn’t change you. Get uncomfortable.

I push myself. I hate being uncomfortable and getting sweaty but you don’t see results if you don’t work hard. I do try to do things I like as opposed to things I hate though. I don’t like running, I just don’t. I’ll walk faster, for longer, than I will run. So I walk instead of running.

stop quitting

I have rarely actively quit healthy eating and working out. What I have done is allow life to get in the way, start to slack off, and wake up one day four months to a year later and realize I’ve gained weight back. While I have never said “I’m going to quit eating healthy” I am aware when I get off track and I find that I get overwhelmed thinking about how tough it will be to “start again.” Truly I have never started again because I’ve never hit my starting weight or body fat and I never will again. I have however made my life really difficult by deciding that it will be too hard to start again. Life happens, we all have setbacks. When you realize you have gotten off track just get back on track.

I’m not paid to endorse any of the things/products listed here, nor was I given any of them for free! Just fyi.