A Happy, Healthy Family

A Happy, Healthy Family


Change Your Mindset, Change Your Results

Happy New Year!

This is the time of year when many of us make promises to ourselves that we'll eat better, lose weight, cut out certain foods, etc. Behind those resolutions are the best of intentions, but where many of us fail is in the methodology and the mindset.

We want a fast change.

We want to lose weight.

We want it to be easy.

We don't really want to make changes in the way we eat.

Here's the thing: healthy eating is not going to produce lightning-fast results, it's not going to be easy, and you will have to change the way you eat.

You can go on a fad diet and have drastic (and unhealthy) results, but fad diets don't last, and as soon as you go back to your old way of eating, the weight will come back, the sluggishness will return, or whatever symptoms you're trying to get rid of will creep back in to your life.

Healthy eating must be a permanent lifestyle change.

That doesn't mean you can't ever eat ice cream or chocolate or nachos again, but eating healthfully for a month and then reverting to your old ways will never help you gain long-term results.

And chemical-laden diet bars, diet drinks, and low-cal frozen dinners aren't going to do it either, by the way.

Long-term results require long-term change.

Health is about so much more than weight, y'all.

Did you know that many obese people are malnourished? Yes, the word that you probably associate with starving children in third-world countries also applies to people who are overloading their diets with processed junk.

And "skinny" people can suffer from fatty liver disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes.

So before you make a resolution to lose a certain number of pounds, how about reevaluating that goal? Do you really want to weigh X number of pounds, or do you want to be healthy?

If you start to nourish your body appropriately, chances are that the scale will adjust itself accordingly anyway.

Now go eat those collards!

Here's to a happy, healthy 2017.


Whole Wheat Pumpkin Waffles

If I had to choose only one breakfast food to have for the rest of my life, it would be waffles. I love the crispness and the endless stir-in and topping possibilities. I used to buy frozen waffles, but then I started making my own, and now I don't see myself ever going back.

Pumpkin recipes are everywhere these days, and for good reason. Pumpkin tastes good and is good for you! It is rich in fiber, beta carotene, and vitamins A and C.

This recipe combines that fall superfood with whole grains for a lightly sweet waffle perfect for a fall morning. These waffles can also go into a lunch box or snack bag for later in the day, and you can even eat them in the car (without toppings, obviously).

I love to make a big batch (or double batch!) of these, segment them into kid-sized portions, and store them in the freezer. When we're ready to eat, I defrost them in the microwave for about 15 seconds then pop them in the toaster, or if we have more time, I put them in a 350-degree oven for about 10 minutes.

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Whole Wheat Pumpkin Waffles
These waffles are perfect for a fall morning!
  • 3/4 c pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 T unrefined coconut oil, melted
  • 2 T pure maple syrup
  • 1 t pure vanilla extract
  • 1 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 1/2 c white whole wheat flour
  • 2 t pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 c chopped pecans (optional)
1. Preheat waffle iron.2. In large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, eggs, oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and almond milk.3. In medium bowl, combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, and baking soda.4. Stir dry ingredients into wet. If desired, fold in chopped pecans.5. Spray cooking spray (I use coconut oil spray) onto heated waffle iron. Cooking directions and times will vary; my Belgian waffle maker takes about 2/3 cup of batter and about 7 minutes to cook. I get four very large waffles that I then divide into 16 kid-sized portions.6. Drizzle with just a touch of maple syrup and sprinkle with chopped pecans (if you didn't stir them into the batter). Store cooled leftovers in refrigerator or freezer.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4 large Belgian waffles

Source: Adapted from Fit Foodie Finds



Whole Wheat Apple Veggie Muffins

A few weeks ago, I posted a recipe for Blueberry-Banana-Zucchini muffins. This recipe is a variation of that one, but I've used fresh apples and shredded yellow squash instead of zucchini and blueberries.

I've said it a million times, and I'll say it a million more--muffins are so versatile and, given the right ingredients, they don't have to be bad for you. These muffins combine whole grains, fruits, and vegetables and have no refined sugar or butter.

They're great for breakfast, a light lunch, or snack, and they freeze well and reheat beautifully in the microwave or oven.

Happy baking!

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Whole Wheat Apple Veggie Muffins
These whole wheat muffins are perfect for fall!
  • 1 1/2 c white whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 t aluminum-free baking powder
  • 3/4 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 c raw honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 c coconut oil, melted
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 c shredded yellow squash
  • 1 c apple, peeled and diced
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line muffin tins with parchment paper liners.2. In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.3. In large bowl, combine bananas, honey, egg, oil, and vanilla.4. Mix flour mixture into banana mixture. Stir until just combined. Fold in squash and apples.5. Spoon into muffin tins, about 3/4 full. Bake in oven for 20-22 minutes or until tops spring back when pressed.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 18 muffins

Source: Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod



Peanut Butter & Oat Granola Bars

I'm back with another variation of my new favorite granola bars. Y'all, that trick about pressing down the granola mixture with a loaf pan has changed my life, and now I'm a granola bar making machine!

In my original post, I mentioned that granola bars need some kind of binding agent to make them stick together, and the basic recipe uses coconut oil.

In this variation, I've replaced the coconut oil with peanut butter, which has a similar nutritional profile in terms of calories and fat (it's actually a bit healthier), but it also has protein, which I appreciate.

Be sure, though, that you're using natural peanut butter with no added oil or sugar. I like Smucker's Natural Creamy, which contains just peanuts and a tiny bit of salt.

I've also cut out the brown sugar that was in the original recipe; you really don't need it at all.

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Peanut Butter & Oat Granola Bars
These simple, healthy granola bars are a great snack or breakfast on-the-go!
  • 3 1/4 c rolled oats
  • 3/4 c puffed millet
  • 3/4 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2/3 c white wheat flour (or oat flour)
  • 1/3 c all-natural peanut butter, melted
  • 2/3 c raw honey
  • 2 t pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 9 X 13 baking dish with parchment paper.2. In large mixing bowl, combine oats, millet, flour, baking soda, and salt.3. In small bowl, combine melted peanut butter (heat in microwave for about 30 seconds), honey, and vanilla.4. Mix wet and dry ingredients until well-incorporated.5. Press granola mixture into baking dish. Use the bottom of a loaf pan to firmly pack down mixture.6. Bake in oven for 22 minutes or until oats are golden brown. Immediately upon removing from oven, pack down mixture again with bottom of loaf pan. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars. Store in airtight container.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 12 bars



Grilled Salmon Tacos

I like fish tacos, but the ones in restaurants are usually made with some sort of white fish, which is fine, but it's not as healthy as wild-caught salmon, so a few months ago I decided to come up with my own recipe.

These tacos combine grilled salmon, which I absolutely love, with a fresh corn salsa and shredded cabbage (I bought a bag of shredded cabbage from the produce section at Trader Joe's, but you could always shred your own). They're light and not at all greasy, which is often a signature trait of tacos.

This is a perfect dish if you have some leftover salmon you've grilled the night before. Grilling times will vary, but here's a guide if you've never grilled salmon before.

Note: If you can make your corn salsa ahead of time, do! The longer those flavors can marry together, the better.

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Grilled Salmon Tacos
These tacos are light and fresh and 100% satisfying.
  • 3 large wild-caught salmon fillets
  • 1 T avocado oil
  • 1 t garlic salt
  • 1 t paprika
  • 4 medium whole wheat tortillas
  • 1/2 c cooked loose-kernel corn
  • 1 c cooked black beans
  • 1/2 c grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/4 c red onion, diced
  • 1 T lime juice
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 c shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 c shredded Cheddar cheese (optional)
  • 1 avocado, sliced (optional)
1. Preheat grill. Drizzle salmon fillets with avocado oil, then sprinkle with garlic salt and paprika. Grill salmon until done (see guide linked earlier in post).2. For corn salsa, combine corn, black beans, tomatoes, onion, and lime juice. Add a pinch of salt if desired. (Make salsa ahead of time if possible.)2. To assemble tacos, spread 1/2 c shredded cabbage on each tortilla. Flake salmon off the skin and divide among tortillas. Layer on corn salsa, cheese, and avocado, if desired.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4 servings



An Intro. to Sprouted Grains

By now, you've probably heard about sprouted grains, and maybe you're even buying and eating them, but do you really know why? I know I was eating them for a while before I researched why they're good for us.

Here are the basics.

What are Sprouted Grains?
Let's start with the difference between whole and refined grains. Whole grains are foods like brown rice and whole wheat, which retain the entire grain (technically, the bran, germ, and endosperm) and, thus, the fiber and nutrients that are stripped in the milling process that creates refined grains like white flour and white rice.

Sprouted grains are whole grains that have started to sprout (think back to those science experiments from elementary school in which you put a seed in a Dixie cup and watched it sprout).

Why Should I Eat Them?
Our bodies have a difficult time digesting grains, but sprouted grains are easier to digest because they have a lower glycemic index. There is an enzyme released during the sprouting process that breaks down the proteins and carbohydrates in the grains so that your body doesn't have to do all of the work. When our bodies are able to digest foods more easily, we are able to absorb and, consequently, take advantage of more of the nutrients in the foods.

Sprouted grains are also a bit higher in iron and zinc than regular whole grains, which makes them even more beneficial to vegetarians, who really have to watch their diets to make sure they get enough plant-based sources of these nutrients.

Where Can I Find Them?
These days, you can find sprouted grain bread at most grocery stores (it will probably be in the freezer or refrigerated section because it usually doesn't contain nasty preservatives that make other breads shelf-stable). I've gotten sprouted grain rice at Trader Joe's, and some stores carry sprouted grain flour, pretzels, tortillas, and other items.

How Can I Learn More?
Click here for a summary of research on the benefits of sprouted grains.
Click here for more basic information on sprouted grains.


Pumpkin Spice Granola Bars

A few weeks ago, I shared my new favorite granola bar recipe here. Since then, I've been experimenting with different stir-ins and substitutions, and today's recipes is one of my favorites so far.

I know pumpkin spice tends to be a love-it-or-hate-it flavor, but if you love it (and I do!), these granola bars are for you.

The recipe is very similar to the original, but I've reduced the amount of millet, omitted the brown sugar completely, and added raw pumpkin seeds and some pumpkin pie spice. That's it!

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Pumpkin Spice Granola Bars
These granola bars are healthy and perfect for fall!
  • 3 1/4 c rolled oats
  • 1/2 c puffed millet
  • 2/3 c oat flour or white wheat flour
  • 1/4 c raw pumpkin seeds
  • 3/4 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t pumpkin pie spice
  • 2/3 c raw honey
  • 1/3 c coconut oil, melted
  • 2 t vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 9 x 13 glass baking dish with parchment paper.2. In large bowl, combine oats, millet, flour, pumpkin seeds, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt.3. In small bowl, combine honey, oil, and vanilla.4. Pour wet mixture over dry and stir well.5. Press granola bar mixture into glass dish. Use the bottom of a loaf pan to firmly pack the ingredients down.6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until oats are golden brown. After removing from oven, pack down again with bottom of loaf pan. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars. Store in airtight container.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 14 bars

Source: Adapted from Five Heart Home