Wednesday, December 25, 2013

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Merry Christmas!

From my family to yours: I hope you have a great holiday celebrating with those you love and stuffing your face with those foods you love.
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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

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Pretzel Chocolate Chip Bars

This is my third post this month. Woo hoo! I've been off from school for almost three weeks and I'm starting to get back to what life was like before the craziness of this past semester. The biggest lesson I learned was that I needed to organize my life a little better by prioritizing and cutting back on things. I was doing too much and was spread too thin. I guess the best way to put it is that I made myself too available and had a lot of trouble with saying no. Not a good thing when you are going to be a therapist and part of your job is to dive into the lives of others and help them come up with more effective boundaries! Next semester will be different and I think I have done a better job at consolidating things so I'm hoping that these small changes will have big effects at home. I'm sure the girls will love having me around more and will love having me be less distracted all the time.

To celebrate the end of the semester and the little bit of downtime I have before school starts again, I made these Pretzel Chocolate Chip Bars. I found this recipe after doing a quick "pretzel chocolate chip cookies" search and I am never letting it go. The sweetness, saltiness, crunchiness, really just everything about this recipe was great. I'm a chocolate chip cookie lover by nature so my expectations for these bars were a little high and I am happy they did not disappoint. I had to keep these hidden from the girls just so that I didn't have to share.

Pretzel Chocolate Chip Bars
Source: Just A Taste
Yields: 16 bars

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips, divided
1 cup crushed salted pretzels, divided
2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, allowing it to hang over two sides. Coat with cooking spray.

In a large bowl using a hand mixer, mix together the melted butter and the sugars until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined

Slowly mix in the flour and salt just until incorporated. Stir in 1 cup of chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of crushed pretzels.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top before sprinkling the remaining 1/2 cup of crushed pretzels on top.

Bake for about 30 until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove the cookie bars from the oven and allow them to cool completely in the pan. Once cooled, remove the cookies using the parchment paper overhang.

While the cookie bars are cooling, melt the remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips with the vegetable oil in in the microwave, heating for 20 seconds at a time until melted.

Drizzle the cookie bars with the melted chocolate and allow them to cool until the melted chocolate hardens. (I poured the chocolate into a ziplock bag and piped them onto the bars)

Cut the cookie bars into 16 squares. Serve and enjoy!
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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

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Late for the Holidays: Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix

I started my Christmas shopping last Friday. This is a first for me. I am usually very on top of things and done with all of my holiday shopping the first week of December. Considering the first week of December coincided with the end of the semester and the finishing of some of my programs at my internship site, I guess I shouldn't be surprised that I am this behind. The worst part is that I am so stumped when it comes to what to get people. Last year I made this Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix and handed it out to the teachers at Cati's school and I'm doing the same this year. Except, I'm thinking I will be handing these out to family and friends with a note attached that says "IOU a more thought out, personalized gift."

Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix
Source: Slightly adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Yields 20 servings

3 cups nonfat dry milk powder
2 cups powdered sugar
1½ cups cocoa powder
1½ cups chopped milk chocolate chips (or any other variety of chocolate)
¼ teaspoon salt

Whisk together all ingredients in a large bowl. Working in two batches, pulse the ingredients in a food processor until the chocolate is finely ground. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

To make hot cocoa, put 1/3 cup of the cocoa mix in a mug and stir in 1 cup of hot milk. Top with whipped cream or miniature marshmallows.
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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

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Fun & Fit: November

How is it December already? November was such a great month in the fitness department that I'm sad to see it go. December, however, will probably be just as awesome with a mud run (The Challenge) I'm doing with my friends and Alex and half marathon #6 (Live Ultimate). I honestly can't get enough of all these races!

In November, I participated in DIVAS 5K. This wasn't a race for time as I was doing it with my girls (and the new stroller) and with two of my friends who were new to running. The race was fun and a great first race for my friends because of all the cheering and goodies given away. We left that race with  crowns, boas, and pretty medals. And Cati was happy there was no color thrown her way ;)

I also participated in the Fort Myers Beach Half Marathon and got myself a personal record. I ran that race not thinking about time, ran how I felt, enjoyed myself all 13.1 miles, and scored a 2:09:47 time. I was so happy! My only goal for this race was to beat my best time of 2:23 from my half in March, then as the miles went by and I saw that I was running faster than I thought or felt, I really pounded out the last 5K of that race. I ran 1:30-:30 intervals the whole time and am proof that running intervals does speed you up. My first half marathon in January 2013 was done in 2:30:06 so the Fort Myers Beach Half was an improvement of 20 minutes. I'm a believer!

Registration for my virtual race opened up and thanks to all those that registered in November, I was able to donate $260 to Give Kids The World. The best part about this virtual race has been running the distance with friends who have signed up. I seriously love the running community and am so glad to be a part of it. For more information, visit the Facebook event page or sign up on Active.

Lastly, November was dedicated to yoga, increasing flexibility, and tackling head- and handstands. I love how yoga makes me feel and I think that has also contributed to my improvement with my running.

I'm already thinking about what fitness goals I want to set for myself for 2014. I know I want to do more races, including a full marathon, and I need to think of something epic and memorable for my 30th birthday!
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Friday, November 22, 2013

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Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies

Around Halloween Target had caramel squares on sale. I bought them. I didn't know what I was going to do with them but I figured I would find something. After a particularly stressful day this week, I asked the family what they wanted me to bake them and they all said, "cookies." I decided I would find a recipe using caramel squares and make them cookies. Imagine my happiness when I found a caramel chocolate chip cookie recipe. I love chocolate chip cookies! These cookies were simply amazing. Everyone loved them and you could tell right off the bat they had caramel in them. Cati has already requested that I make them again!

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies 
Source: Two Peas and Their Pod
Yields: 3 dozen cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup Kraft Caramel Bits (or chopped up caramel squares)
Sea salt, for sprinkling on cookies

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a large baking sheet with a Silpat baking mat or parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, cornstarch, baking soda and sea salt together. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugars until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla extract and beat until combined. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients.

Stir in the chocolate chips and caramel bits. Form cookie dough into tablespoon balls and place on prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle each cookie with sea salt.

Bake cookies for 10 minutes, or until slightly golden brown around the edges. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for two minutes. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and cool completely.
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Friday, November 15, 2013

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Virtual Race for Charity

My favorite half marathon has been the Disney Princesses one. I did that one back in February and loved almost everything about it; I loved the course, the entertainment on the course, the crowd, and the costumes. The only thing I didn't love was the wake up time, but even that had it's benefits because half the run for me was done in the dark. I'll be running that race again in February, but this time I'm running as part of a charity team. Since I signed up with the team back over the summer I have been trying to think of ways to raise money. I've got some items for a silent auction and people have been extremely generations with their donations. I have 2.5 months to reach my $3,000 fundraising goal and I'm hoping that doing a virtual run will bring me closer to my goal.

I first learned about virtual runs on Facebook and I love the idea of it. You sign up, run the distance whenever and wherever you want, and then you get a medal. My race is a 5K and is called The Cookie Runner Virtual 5K and the medal has the logo of my little cookie runner. I wanted to share the information for the race in case anyone wanted to sign up for it or in case you know of anyone who might be interested in doing something like this. I completed the run last week and dedicated one of my training runs to Give Kids The World.

This is the site with all the information: The Cookie Runner Virtual 5K. The race is $20, includes a medal, and the net proceeds go to Give Kids The World. Thanks for all your help and support!

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Friday, November 1, 2013

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Fun & Fit: October

Oh my, October was a fun month! I started doing yoga, participated in three events, and challenged myself to run 100 miles by Halloween. Of the 31 days this month, I didn't run 8 of them. Can you believe that? My butt was constantly on the move and it felt so good to be so active. I felt really weird on those days that I didn't workout or run. This past month really drilled in the idea that being healthy and active is a lifestyle, not just a phase.

The month started off with me trying yoga. Friends have recommended yoga to me and I have seen plenty of pictures and videos of people in various positions, but I was always unsure of whether this was something for me and whether my brain was even capable of quieting down for meditation. You know what I learned very quickly? My brain can shut down! I am so focused on my breathing, learning new positions, and holding those positions that my brain doesn't get distracted with thoughts of making dinner, picking up the girls, or everything else on my to-do list. Yoga is hard work, but it is also so relaxing for me. I want to keep practicing and learn as much as I can learn.

 My first event of the month was The Color Run. That run was a true experience. We did this run as a family, but soon after the start line our stroller broke. We ended up walking most of the distance and neither of the girls were too into getting color bombed. We survived it, did it as a family, and had popsicles at the finish line. I made sure to get more colorful this time around and, I don't know if they changed the formula of the color or what, but the color washed off so much easier this time around. 

The day after The Color Run I participated in my first duathlon, the Columbus Day Duathlon (1.5 run, 11 miles bike, 1.6 run). If it weren't for my aunt, I would have never done this race because I thought I was content with running alone. I barely trained for the cycling portion and I was riding on my cruiser instead of a nice bike, so I didn't have any expectations of greatness. My aunt tried to keep up with me on the running portions and I tried to keep up with her on the cycling portion. I ended up getting first place in my age group and I was beyond thrilled. The whole experience was great and I realized that I really do like getting on the bike and being competitive with riding.
On October 26th I participated in my first half marathon of this racing season. It was the Miami Beach Halloween Half and I ran it with my running partner and her friend. That morning we decided that the race would be more of a training run than an actual run and that helped set a fun tone for the race. The costumes were great and I was amazed  at the things people were able to run in. My favorite was the runner who ran as the Mad Hatter and carried a tea pot pinata with her the entire way. Towards the end I was ready to be done--the course was a little choppy and crowded and it was windy--and I left my friends to sprint it out to the finish line. My time wasn't my best (2:32), but it was a lot of fun and, in a month where I was running 100 miles, I needed to take all the distances I ran easily.

And speaking of running 100 miles...I'm trying to challenge myself each month to do something new. October was the month for running 100 miles by Halloween. It was pretty hard getting to that distance because my body wasn't used to running that much, but I managed it. I had a running partner on most of my runs and that really help get through the miles. I felt so proud of myself for having actually ran 100 miles. I have never felt like more of a runner than I do now.
I'm sad to see you go October, but I am definitely looking forward to November. There will be more yoga, two races, and maybe even a bikini body challenge. With the holidays coming up, I need to keep myself motivated and challenged!
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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

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Trying to Simplify & More Pumpkin

Life is busy, busy, busy. I'm struggling with finding the balance lately and am fighting against feeling overwhelmed more often than I'd like. The past few weeks have really left me in awe of all the working moms out there; how do you do it? With my internship and school I'm feeling a little stretched thin and I feel so guilty that the girls aren't doing anything fun outside of school. I can't wait for school to be over with so that my evenings can open up again and so that I can stop feeling like a gypsy, driving around Miami, all the time. So I've been trying to think of ways to simplify my life and focus on doing things I enjoy. It's a work in progress because everything feels so necessary right now, but I need to learn to build better boundaries. I'm getting there!

Because I don't like to post without giving you something to enjoy, here's this recipe for a Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal that my friend shared with me. I made a few changes to the original recipe because it tasted too much like pumpkin puree to me and I think I did the right thing. The pickiest eater in the house as of late is Elina and she loved this oatmeal. I will definitely be making this again and maybe next time I'll throw in some chocolate chips. 

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal
Adapted from a post on Finding Fitness and Health with Becca
Serves 2

1 1/4 cup water
1/2 cup steel-cut oats
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 to 1 tsp cinnamon depending on your preference
1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 Tbsp brown sugar (more, if you want sweeter)
2 Tbsp chopped walnuts
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

Bring water to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add oats and cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, for 20 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat.

Mix in the rest of ingredients. Serve and enjoy!

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

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Fun & Fit: The Summer Months

For some reason I thought I had only skipped out on the month of September with my fitness, but nope.  I have actually missed July, August, and September. Oops. To be honest, the months of July and August didn't have much going on fitness-wise, other than me starting T25, the newest Shaun T workout program. I did finish Insanity (go me!) and the second month of that program was incredibly intense. T25, on the other hand, has been a great workout made even better by the fact that the workouts are 25 minutes long. I finish up the program this week and I like that I have T25 to add to my budding at-home workouts collection.

Aside from that, July and August were spent working on conditioning and getting back into training mode. My first half marathon is coming up on the 26th so the summer was spent training for that run. Thankfully, my IT band has been under control and I haven't had any pain  or discomfort while running (love you foam roller!). I also tried to train for my duathlon, but "tried" means I only rode a bike twice so I'm hoping I'll be able to get on and off the bike without falling on my face.

Now, September was the fun month. It was the one-year anniversary of my first running event and I also set a person record for the 5K! I did the ZooRun 5K and had my Jeff Galloway group organizer/leader pacing me the whole time and she helped me finish in 27:57. I couldn't believe it! I was so happy and I couldn't believe I could actually run that fast, especially after my IT band issues. This time is almost two minutes faster than my previous fastest time from March, so I'm proud of this bit of improvement in my pace. To top off the experience, Cati participated in the kids' dash and had a great time. I love that she loves running and gets excited about her own races.

I also participated in a mud run, Highlander V. I drove up to Orlando for this one and, oh my goodness, was this a hard mud run. I did the 5k route and there were easily over 30 obstacles. There was so much climbing, swimming, crawling, lifting, and, even more climbing. My body hurt for days after this run. Apparently, there were complaints about this event, but I had a good time, met fun people along the way, and pushed myself physically in ways that I didn't think possible. I don't take these events too seriously and am proud of myself just for going out there alone and doing something new. 

And so, here we are in October. This weekend is a 10-mile long run, The Color Run with the family, and a duathlon on Sunday. I'm thinking I need to schedule a massage for my sore muscles soon!
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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

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Pumpkin Week: Pumpkin Bars, Revisited

Last day of Pumpkin Week and it went out with a bang. I made these pumpkin bars and shared them with my fellow classmates. I first made them close to two years ago after my friend made them for me and I fell in love. These bars are just as good and I got so many compliments at school.

Day 1: Pumpkin Bread
Day 2: Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Day 3: Healthy Oatmeal Pumpkin Pancakes
Day 4: Pumpkin Muffins
Day 5: Pumpkin Smoothie
Day 6: Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Pumpkin Bars
Source: Paula Deen

4 eggs
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
15-ounce can pumpkin
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the bars: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Using an electric mixer at medium speed, combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy. Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth. Spread the batter into a greased 13 by 10-inch baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting. Cut into bars.

To make the icing: Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and mix at low speed until combined. Stir in the vanilla and mix again. Spread on cooled pumpkin bars.
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The Color Run Anniversary & Promo Code

It's October! Most people are saying, "How can it be October already?" Most people are wondering how it's possible for the year to have passed so quickly. You know what I'm saying? "Heck yeah, October!" October means I'm one month closer to graduating, Alex is one month closer to finishing up his residency, we're one month closer to Chicago, and the girls are one month closer to 2 and 4. Bring it on, time!

What also makes October great is that it feels like the real beginning of the running season. My first half marathon is coming up and I am so ready for it. October is also special for me because it's the month where I did my first fun run: The Color Run. To this day, Cati will ask when we are doing another "carrera de colores" (run of colors); that's how much she enjoyed participating in that run with me. Running The Color Run was one of the best experiences (minus the scared child at the end) and it made me fall more in love with running. Running is my freedom and runs like this one make me feel like I'm flying.

The Color Run is coming back to Miami on Oct. 12 and to celebrate its return they are offering $5 off the race with the promo code COLOR5OFF. The best parts are that the code is good for any of their races that aren't sold out and you can use that code on top of the discount you get if you join a team (so $10 off). To check locations or register for the race go HERE.

So October, thank you for getting here on time. I have the Happiest 5K on the Planet, a duathlon, and a half marathon filling up my weekends with joy.
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Monday, September 30, 2013

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Pumpkin Week: Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Pumpkin Week day 6 and I believe this is the best recipe I made all week. Seriously though, stop reading and copy the recipe and get in the kitchen. I have made quite a few cinnamon rolls in my life and these are near the top of the best. The recipe came together easily and the finished cinnamon roll was too good for words. You couldn't even taste the pumpkin in it; or rather, you can tell there was something different in this recipe, but you couldn't pinpoint exactly what that something was. I wish I could bake rolls like this all the time for the smell alone it brought into my house. The only regret I have with this recipe is not having enough powdered sugar to make the frosting so what I made instead was a glaze. Next time!

Day 1: Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Source: une gamine dans la cuisine
Yields: 16 rolls

for the pumpkin dough
3 1/2 cups bread flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup tightly packed brown sugar
1 Tablespoon instant dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
3/4 of a stick unsalted butter, room temperature butter and cut into bits
2/3 cup whole milk
1 room temperature egg
2/3 cup pumpkin purée

for the spiced filling

3/4 cup tightly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted and divided

for the cream cheese icing

2 ounces of cream cheese
3 Tablespoons well-shaken buttermilk
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar

Butter a 10-inch round cake pan, line the bottom with parchment paper and butter the parchment. Dust the pan with flour, and gently tap out any excess flour.

Lightly butter a large bowl; Set aside.

Prepare the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the flour, both sugars, yeast, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice on low speed. Add the butter and mix on medium speed until incorporated, about 1 minute. 
(Note: I mixed the butter in by hand) Add the milk and egg and beat on low speed until incorporated. Add the pumpkin purée and beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes. You should be left with a dough that's soft and sticky.

Remove the dough and gently form it into a large ball. Place the ball of dough into the buttered bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 30 minutes. 

Prepare the filling: In a medium-size bowl, whisk together both sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add the melted butter and stir until you're left with a wet "sandy" mixture.

Assemble the rolls: Flour a large working surface. Remove the dough from the bowl and and roll it out into a 20 by 10-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with half of the melted butter and sprinkle the filling over the butter, leaving a 1/4-inch border around the edges. Use your hands to gently press the filling into the dough.

Starting at the long end of the rectangle, roll the dough into a tight log and place it seam side down. Remove the ends if they're awkward and scraggly. Slice the log into about ten 2-inch rolls. Place one roll in the center of the cake pan, then fill in the rest of the pan with the remaining rolls. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and set aside until the rolls have almost doubled in size, about 45 minutes. 

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Pumpkin Week: Pumpkin Smoothie

Two posts tonight because this weekend turned out to be busier than I expected so Pumpkin Week day 5 is a little late in the series. Almost all of the recipes I made involved baking so I wanted to try my hand at a smoothie since I have a smoothie each morning for breakfast. I wasn't too sure if I was going to like this recipe because it involved pumpkin puree in pure form and I wasn't sure if I would like the taste or consistency of the smoothie. The smoothie was, however, pretty good. My only complaint is that I wish I had added more spices to it to make it feel more fall-ish. You can still taste the pumpkin but it wasn't overwhelming and it gave the smoothie a very creamy and smooth taste.

Day 1: Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Smoothie
Source: Adapted from Low Fat Cooking
Serves 1

1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp Greek vanilla yogurt
1 scoop vanilla protein
1 tbsp honey
Pinch of cinnamon
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup crushed ice

Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth, making sure the ice is completely crushed.

Sprinkle with cinnamon. Serve and enjoy!

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Friday, September 27, 2013

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Pumpkin Week: Pumpkin Muffins

Day four of pumpkin week and the baking continues. The fact that I have a week's worth of pumpkin recipes is very telling of how things have been in my life lately. I am a stress baker and I bake a lot when I am stressed and need to relax. Last week was one of the most stressful weeks for me; I had cranky children, a bad attitude about school, and was driving all around Miami for my internship. Baking gave me about 30 minutes of peace each day. This week has been better so my baking has toned down a bit but I have still managed to bake twice this week.

Now, these muffins. I wanted a pumpkin muffin, but I wanted a healthy pumpkin muffin. I also wanted something that combined banana and pumpkin. I came across this recipe and tweaked it a bit. The muffins could have been a little sweeter, but topped it with some honey butter made them taste much better. This was a good muffin, but it wasn't the type of muffin you eat when you want a sweet fix. Good thing I have six cans of pumpkin puree so I can keep tweaking the recipe until I get it just right.

Day 1: Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Muffins
Source: Adapted from Ambitious Kitchen
Makes 8 muffins


3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oatmeal
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp coriander
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
2 ripe bananas, mashed
2 Tbsp dark brown sugar 
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 egg white, slightly beaten
2 Tbsp canola oil
Extra oatmeal, for sprinkling on muffins

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 8 muffin cups with paper cups or spray with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl mix flour, oatmeal, spices, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. In a separate bowl combine pumpkin, mashed banana, brown sugar, almond milk, egg white and oil. Add the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture and stir to combine. Gently fold in chocolate chips.

Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full so that each is even. Sprinkle a tiny bit of oatmeal over each top of the muffins. Place into the oven and bake for 23-28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of muffins comes out clean.
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