EASY Pumpkin Muffins/Cupcakes

It’s September and to me that means pumpkin everything.  My bathrooms have been stocked with Pumpkin Spice soap, there is pumpkin spice house spray, I’ve stocked my Keurig tray with Pumpkin Spice coffee, and this week I made pumpkin muffins…

While these might not be the healthiest, they were SO easy to make, and honestly, I’m not really one to count calories…

INGREDIENTS:  

  • one box of Yellow Cake Mix (I used Betty Crocker, but any brand will do)
  • one 15 oz. can of 100% pure pumpkin

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Seriously, that is it. Two ingredients!

I do think that they probably could have used a touch of cinnamon.

I did add chia seeds to the batter of half of them and oatmeal to the top of the other half.

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Directions

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • Mix the batter and the pumpkin to remove lumps
  • Add any extra stuff (chocolate chips, cinnamon, chia seeds, etc.), mix well
  • Use a 12-ct. muffin pan with the metal liners; fill 3/4 full
  • Add any toppings you may want (cinnamon-sugar topping, oatmeal, granola, etc.)
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes.  (I was using an electric oven and started checking with a fork at 20 minutes.)

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Adding Chia Seeds

They turned out really good.  They are very moist.  Just sweet and vanilla-y enough.  They’d be just right with some cinnamon…

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Enjoy!

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Recipe: Pomegranate-Pineapple Swirl Pops

Yum.  Need a delicious, healthy, and easy to make treat?  These popsicles are where it’s at.  I had seen some popsicle recipes from Women’s Health Magazine and they all sounded delicious.  I decided to switch one of them up a little bit and came up with these Pomegranate-Pineapple Swirl Pops.  These treats are a great source of potassium, calcium, and even hydrating (thanks to the coconut water).

Ingredients:

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  • 12 oz. bottle of Pom Coconut
  • 1 or 2 Light Nonfat or 2% Greek Yogurt, Pineapple flavor (you can choose other flavors too!)
  • Popsicle tray

Directions:

  • Fill each popsicle mold 2/3 of the way full with the pomegranate juice.

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  • Add yogurt to fill the molds to the  top.  About 2 tbsp. is perfect.

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  • Slide a knife into the mold and swirl until a pattern forms and the yogurt is spread evenly from top to bottom of popsicle.

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  • Insert tops and freeze for about 8 hours.  ENJOY!

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They are pretty tasty!  When the boyfriend loves them, you know you’ve done something right!

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Let me know if you try them!  Or, if you change the flavors!  I want to know how your concoctions turn out.  Enjoy!

This post was in no way related to any of the brands shown.  I purchased all supplies and am not affiliated with any of the brands.  The opinion shared is honestly mine.

Runner Problems: Runner’s Tummy & Going Dairy/Lactose-Free?

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Warning:  This is one of those times where I am talking about the ugliness of running… proceed with caution.

Ahh the ever-present injuries a runner could face… runner’s knee, shin splints, IT-band syndrome, plantar fasciitis, achilles tendinitis, stress fractures… and stomach problems, aka “Runner’s Tummy.”  We as runners are up against a very unpleasant list of possible aches and pains.  Runner’s Tummy seems to be the one that chose me.

When I first started seriously training for my half-marathon, I noticed that my stomach was beginning to cause me problems.  The more mileage I added and the more serious I became with my training the less foods I could keep down.  At first it was mostly Italian and Mexican-type foods that would trigger the rumblings.  I would be up for hours at night in pretty bad pain.  Once I could get my stomach to settle I could go back to sleep and would be fine the next morning.  I started noting which foods caused the bad pain and sickness, which ones just made me feel rumbly, and which ones were fine.

I researched some running articles and found that this wasn’t an uncommon thing for runner’s to experience.  Running for long periods of time, or at high intensities (like speed work) causes a greater impact on your GI tract.  Some articles suggested that running irritates pre-existing conditions that may have previously gone unnoticed, like being lactose intolerant.

While I haven’t been tested for a lactose intolerance, I believe it to be the culprit.  I can no longer enjoy certain pizzas, although I have been trying different ones and can tell you which ones I have to avoid.  I can no longer eat at Mexican restaurants either, the cheese they use there completely kills my stomach. It’s very heartbreaking because chicken soft tacos from Plaza Azteca are a weakness of mine.

I have been reading running blogs like The Local Elite, who found themselves becoming lactose intolerant later in life.  I have also been reading up on runners who follow Paleo diets.  While I am not ready to go completely in that direction, it is probably best that I remove dairy from my diet…

One of the issues I am having  is where I will get the calcium besides vitamins (which also have a tendency to hurt my stomach) and how can I cook things that require these products.  Ironically the day that I was really pondering this, Shine or Set, discussed the benefits of hemp seeds.  I have seen hemp milk at Whole Foods before but had never really thought anything of it.  I have tried almond milk too, but it’s kind of watery tasting to me.  I guess if I’m cooking with it, it wouldn’t make a difference.  I have used it in smoothies as well.  Textures of foods cause me to be an even pickier eater, the “watery-ness” of almond milk doesn’t go down very easily for me. Hemp milk however, I have heard and read, has a consistency that is closer to actual milk than the other alternatives.  So I am very interested in trying it out.

And Cheese.  I love cheese.  I mean it’s a great compliment to many meals.  Ever since I started noticing my stomach aches, I was taking note on what I had eaten prior.  I do know that certain cheeses are really bothersome, especially when mixed with other foods.  And there are others that don’t have an effect on me at all.  I guess it’ll just be trial and error if I don’t want to fully remove it from my diet.

Decisions, decisions… To be dairy-free or not to be?

 Readers!!! What are your experiences with Runner’s Tummy?  Anyone have weird food issues during/after training?  Advice on lactose intolerance?  Have any suggestions on a dairy-free diet? What about going Paleo?

Comments and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Healthy Salsa Chicken, tacos/nachos/etc.

*Side note: I promise there won’t be a ton ofcooking/recipes on this blog, unless of course the people who are reading enjoy them… please let me know if you do…this post was just too easy to not post.*

I was eating dinner last night thinking about what my next blog post would be. What can I say, I am very excited about this blogging thing… Lo and behold, my next blog post was sitting on my plate…my favorite meal of all time, which can actually be quite the well-rounded supper. It can also be made in a healthy version and a not so healthy version, depending on toppings and ingredient choices.

This is a favorite meal of mine because it is low maintenance, healthy, and the pickiest of eaters (like me) can pile on…or leave off…whatever they choose…It’s a favorite of my family and my boyfriend as well. Even the leftovers taste delicious! It freezes nicely too!

Salsa Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts (depending on how many are eating, and how big their appetites are)
  • 1 large jar of salsa (mild, medium, hot, whatever your palette desires) – Not as healthy option: Tostitos Restaurant Style Salsa Healthy Option: Green Mountain Gringo Salsa (found at Whole Foods, dairy free, gluten free, low sodium, sugar conscious, vegan, vegetarian, kosher)
  • Water
  • Whole Wheat Tortillas (for tacos) or Tortilla chips (for nachos)
  • Toppings: low-fat cheese, shredded lettuce, corn, black beans, tomatoes, avocados, pepper assortment

    Directions:

    1. Pour jar of salsa into crock pot.
    2. Fill jar halfway with water and add to crock pot.
    3. Add chicken breasts to crock pot and make sure they are submerged.
    4. Put crockpot on low.
    5. Let sit for 6-7 hours. Test the chicken. If it shreds easily, it is ready to eat. If it is still rubbery feeling or hard to pull apart, let it cook for awhile longer.
    6. Once chicken is cooked, shred with two forks. I prefer very shredded, but this is up to you.
    7. Use toppings to create tacos, taco salad, nachos, etc.

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    Like I mentioned above, I am a super picky eater. Therefore, my tacos are usually very plain. I will add corn and black beans to mine, I just neglected to make them this time. I also decided to take the less healthy option tonight too… oops! Planning on a 6-mile run in the morning, so all will be well.

    Hope you can try this crock-pot salsa chicken! Let me know your thoughts, any additions you tried and loved, or any suggestions you might have.