Less than one week until Christmas and I’m still not really sure if I’m ready. But then again, I feel like Christmas is one of those occasions where it doesn’t really matter if you’ve crossed all your t’s and dotted all of your i’s. Everyone will naturally be happy and appreciative of each others love and company, no matter what you’ve done or didn’t do.
I mentioned in my last post that I’m making a strong effort to spend as much time with my family and friends in these next few weeks before I get ready to pack up my life and move to the city for half of the year and last night, I kicked things off with a fabulous mother-daughter dinner and shopping event.
It’s rare that the three of us ladies get to spend quality time together with such differentiating schedules, but we decided time is too short not to make a conscious point to do things more often.
We met for dinner at Panera before prancing the outlets to get some last minute Christmas shopping accomplished.
I hardly ever get sandwiches at Panera and I’m not really sure why. Maybe I’m just not all that impressed with the sandwich selection, but last night, the Roasted Turkey and Cranberry Panini was calling my name, as was a cup of Broccoli Cheddar soup to dip it in.
Both were delicious!
It was fantastic to spend time with these two and I really can’t say this enough, but I’m so grateful to have such a supportive and loving family. As sad as they are that I won’t be around for some time next year, they are so happy for the adventure my life is about to endure.
This morning, I woke up feeling grateful to have an entire day devoted to writing. Other than some calls later this afternoon, my entire day will be spent in my office working on some freelance projects and other articles I have on deck.
Before I cracked down on my workload, I did what I do nearly every morning, started my day with a run, showered, and then made my way downstairs for breakfast. Before breakfast though comes my vitamins!
I take a few vitamins + my digestive medication every single day. A new vitamin has recently entered the lineup, to which I’m rather excited to share.
Epicor is an all-natural dietary health supplement that supports a healthy immune system. I was recently asked by the company if I would be interested in taking part in a 30 Day Health Challenge to help support a healthy immune system. With my recent illness, I decided that I want to avoid getting sick again this year at all costs, so I figured a boost of immune fighting wellness couldn’t hurt.
I’ll be blogging about my overall thoughts once the challenge is over, but in the meantime, feel free to read up more on the program HERE.
All drugs aside, I still fully believe a healthy and balanced diet is the number one way to create a healthy immune system and keep you feeling your best. Vitamins and supplements are great for added support, but the body is a natural functioning system, so natural ingredients will be your and my best bet.
Speaking of all-natural, how about another wholesome (delicious) recipe to get you motivated.
I just read that today is National Oatmeal Muffin Day. Again, I’m not really sure who comes up with these food holidays, but lucky for me, I have a muffin recipe to share with you, so I guess it all works out.
I don’t have an oatmeal muffin per-say, but I do have an equally tasty alternative that I thought you might be interested to see.
You know how I feel about muffins, especially crumbled atop creamy yogurt in my breakfast bowls. Unfortunately, most muffins are loaded with sugar. So much in fact, that I would be better off eating a piece of birthday cake for breakfast.
Unless I know whats going into the recipe, I tend not to buy muffins from a conventional grocery store or bakery on an everyday account. I know if I would, it would just lead to a complete sugar overload, which is probably not the best way to start my day each morning.
So what does that mean for my muffin affection? Simply that if I want to enjoy a warm, crumbly, cake-like treat, I need to make my own.
Okay then. I can do that.
Carrot cake is by far, my favorite flavor when it comes to a baked dessert. One would think it would be super nutritious too, I mean it’s a vegetable, in a muffin form!
Not so fast. Most carrot cake muffins are anything but wholesome. Sure, there are a few shreds of carrots mixed into the batter, but the amount of oil and white refined sugar supersede any ounce of vitamins that these little orange crudites give off.
So I needed to come up with a way to make a carrot cake muffin without the sugar and still have it taste worthy of my breakfast bowl. Hmmm, seems difficult, but not impossible.
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- ½ tsps baking powder
- 1 tsps cinnamon
- ½ tsp salt
- 4 ozs unsalted butter (heated until just melted)
- ½ cup dried dates (seeded and finely chopped into a paste)
- 3 mashed bananas (ripe)
- 1½ cups carrot (grated, 3 medium)
- ½ cup nonfat yogurt plain
- 4 egg whites (lightly whisked)
- ½ cup raisins
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the raisins and set aside.
- Stir the dates into the melted butter, breaking up the dates a bit.
- In a separate bowl combine the bananas and carrots. Stir in the date-butter mixture, breaking up any date clumps as you go. Whisk in the yogurt and the eggs. Add the flour mixture and stir until everything just comes together.
- Spoon into the prepared muffin tins, filling about half way to the top. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick tests clean in the center of the muffin. Remove from oven and let cool.
These turned out better than I expected. Natural sweeteners such as dates and bananas are truly a wonderful thing in the world of healthy baking.
I couldn’t wait to put these to use in today’s yogurt bowl. It’s been so long since I’ve had a creamy bowl of yogurt, fruit, muffin and nut butter for breakfast, so this was a welcomed treat this morning.
- 1/2 cup Plain Chobani
- 1/2 of a Carrot Cake Muffin
- 1 small banana
- Blackberries + a few blueberries
- Almond Butter
- 3-4 crushed pecans
I can have my muffin and eat it too!
A few housekeeping items of note:
I’m running 2 Giveaways right now so be sure to check them out if you haven’t already.
Both run until Friday so be sure to enter for a chance to win some really great prizes!
Do you take any immune fighting supplements or vitamins? What do you think is the best way to keep your immune system healthy during the cold and flu season?