Paleo Pumpkin Muffins

Let me start off by clarifying that I do not follow a paleo diet. I love food too much. Food makes me happy. If that’s wrong, then I don’t want to be right.IMG_6469

That being said, if food can be made to taste good while being comprised of all natural, readily available ingredients, then I’m all in. That’s why when I came across this recipe for Paleo Pumpkin Muffins from Empowered Sustenance on Pinterest, I was in – pumpkin PLUS minimal ingredients, minimal steps, and minimal dishes to clean up? Yes please.

This recipe only required one bowl and a few measuring tools. The cleanup took me five minutes. Also, there was no need for an electric mixer, a whisk, or anything remotely involved – just one simple spoon to stir all the ingredients together! Now that’s my kind of recipe.

I’ll tell you which ingredients I used when the recipe gave an option: coconut oil instead of butter or lard, pumpkin puree instead of other veggies, raw honey instead of maple syrup, and pumpkin pie spice instead of cinnamon.

I baked the muffins until the tops were golden brown, just as the recipe instructed. When I cut into one, it looked as if it was slightly underdone but I didn’t want to dry them out so I left them as is. I’m glad I did, because by the next morning they were a great consistency.

IMG_7040The taste of the muffins is definitely more subdued than I’m used to, but the good thing is that I don’t think anyone on earth has a more intense sweet tooth than me. My mom, for example, loves desserts and thought these were perfectly sweet. For me, they may not make the perfect bedtime snack for my cravings, but they do make the perfect breakfast! They filled me up while keeping me feeling light and ready to start my day. I would absolutely make them again!

The moral of this post? Don’t knock paleo treats ’til you try ’em. The cavemen weren’t totally stupid. 😉

 

 

 

Save the Green!

I turned 24 a couple of weeks ago, but I’m far from being an adult. Exhibit A: I still haven’t mastered the art of grocery shopping. Aside from waiting until I run out of just about everything before getting my butt to the store, and never buying any meals, (snacks are important, too!) I continually repeat a third food faux-pas.

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The only (ugly) photo I snapped because I didn’t have much faith in this concoction

I attempt to buy fresh, healthy produce…but I always forget to use it. Oh, you mean you’re supposed to actually consume the food you pay crazy amounts for?! Who knew?

The other day, I opened the veggie drawer and jumped back in horror. A near full bag of kale, three entire zucchinis, and a verrry ripe avocado were staring back at me. They all looked like they’d probably have to be put on life support soon if I didn’t intervene.

Blender to the rescue!

Just because certain ingredients may not be pretty after being neglected for a little while doesn’t mean they’re not usable. Should you invite guests over for a kale salad with avocado slices when the kale is sort of soggy and the avocado is turning brown? Probably not if you want the invite to be reciprocated. Should you throw the items in the blender and whip yourself up a healthy, filling smoothie? Absolutely.

Here’s what I threw into my “Save the Green” concoction:

  • A generous handful of kale
  • 1/4 of a large zucchini, sliced
  • 3/4 of an avocado
  • 1/2 frozen banana (if the banana is fresh, just throw in some ice cubes)
  • 3/4 to 1 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • a heaping teaspoon of peanut butter (is there such a thing as PB Addicts Anonymous? Asking for a friend.)

This was probably one of the top three smoothies I’ve ever made, and it didn’t cost me $9 like the one I got at the airport last week! I got to ease my guilt/save the planet (does that apply here?) by using up my fresh ingredients. And I got to enjoy a delicious, guilt-free snack!

I saved two very different types of green ($ + veggies, duh) and ate green! Are you green with envy yet?

Note: If you’re looking to add some protein to your smoothie, you could use greek yogurt or sprinkle in some protein powder. As for the veggies, take a page out of my book and throw your entire veggie drawer in there – that method seemed to work pretty darn well for me!

Smoothie Queen

Forget Smoothie King.

I’ve been blending up a storm of healthy smoothies for breakfast the past few weeks. I was getting a little sick of drinking my breakfast, though, so I decided to imitate those trendy juice spots and make my own bowl. I’ve been using the Carnation Instant Breakfast (No Sugar Added) packets and mixing in different kinds of frozen fruit. I’m a chocoholic, so I tend to always go for the Rich Milk Chocolate flavor. I bought the variety pack so I could switch it up, but I couldn’t get myself to make the Strawberry shake. The thought of strawberry milk/ice cream/shakes makes me shiver. I decided to use up the Strawberry as the base of my smoothie bowl, because I thought the flavors would blend well with the fresh fruit I planned to top it with. It turned out perfectly! Sweet, refreshing, and delicious. I felt energized and satisfied, and it provided me with a good balance of carbs to fuel my workout.

smoothie bowl

Strawberry Green Machine

Base:

– 1 packet of Strawberry No Sugar Added Carnation Instant Breakfast

– 1/2 a frozen banana

– a handful of baby spinach

– an eyeballed amount of Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk – about 1/4 cup

I blended the above ingredients and poured them in a small bowl. Then I topped it with:

– Fresh sliced mango

– Fresh sliced banana

– A pinch of chia seeds

– A dusting of granola

Happy blending! Hope you enjoy this colorful breakfast! 🙂