Another Win for Team Muffin!

During the spring semester in a food science class, my lab partner and I did a research project on fat replacers.  The purpose of our research was to find fat replacers that could be used to make some of our favorite baked goods a little healthier.    We were SUCCESSFUL when using both pureed pumpkin and pureed banana (using baby food to control for consistency) to replace the oil, butter or shortening in muffins.  The results showed that using these fat replacers decreased calories and fat, while increasing fiber content.  Needless to say we were pleased with our results.

I’ve always loved cooking with pureed pumpkin, so I decided to test another recipe in my own kitchen. This time I used a standard cornbread recipe from Better Homes and Gardens, 11th Edition (p. 117 for those of you following along at home).  The nutrition facts per serving from the original recipe:

  • 222 calories
  • 9 g total fat (2 g sat fat)
  • 56 mg cholesterol
  • 301 mg sodium
  • 29 g carb
  • 1 g fiber
  • 6 g protein

My modified recipe substituted whole wheat flour for the all-purpose flour and a 1:1 replacement of pureed pumping for the cooking oil or shortening.  The nutrition facts per serving from this recipe (as analyzed using

  • 135 calories
  • 2 g total fat (0 g sat fat)
  • 42 mg cholesterol
  • 315 mg sodium
  • 24 g carb
  • 5 g fiber
  • 4 g protein
Here is how I made my new and improved cornbread:
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 beaten eggs (add 2 extra tablespoons of pumpkin if you want to make this egg-free)
  • 1 cup milk (or milk alternative i.e. soy, almond, hemp or coconut milk)
  • 1/4 cup pureed pumpkin
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
Grease a 9x9x92 baking pan.
In a medium mixing bowl combine the dry ingredients and make a well in the center.
In another bowl combine the wet ingredients, including the pumpkin.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and incorporate until the dry ingredients are just moistened.
Spoon batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack
Serves 9

Favorite Things List

So I haven’t completely shed the super woman cape.  I have the good fortunate of bringing new clients.  They provide me with so much inspiration.  Unfortunately I have not removed anything else from my calendar, so once again I find myself with too much to do and not enough time to do it.  Instead of stressing out this time though I plan to fall back on a few of my favorite things.  I honor the time I can spend reveling in each of these, even it is only for 5 minutes in the day.

  • I love early mornings.  A new day always offers fresh perspectives.
  • My favorite ways to relieve stress are to practice yoga, enjoy a good cup of coffee (current flavor is coconut), read an interesting book and talk to friends (morning commute conversations and FaceTime are lifesavers right now).
  • Nothing can get me motivated like doing my own strength workout so that I recognize just how much power I really have.
  • Riding my electric blue Electra cruiser never feels like work, even when I am riding to the gym to go to work to teach a class or see clients.
  • When I finally admit that my body and brain are at capacity a good massage helps put me back together.
I must thank everyone who is a part of my life and contributes to my favorite things list.  

Sweat and Soul Food

It has been outrageously hot this summer, and I love it!  Admittedly though, the heat is not for everyone.  There have even been a few days recently when it has been too hot for me to stay active outside.  Despite my indoor workouts (at home and in the gym) I am usually a sweaty mess in need of some seriously good food.  Here is one of my favorite 30 minute, at-home workouts and dinner option.

3-2-1 Yoga Workout
Time: 30 minutes
Equipment: stopwatch and mat
Workout design:
There are 5 circuits in this workout.  Each circuit begins with 3 minutes of sun salutations, then two minutes of one a pose, and one minute of a reflection pose.

  • 3 minutes: sun salutations
  • 2 minutes: poses
    1. crescent lunge (1 minute each side)
    2. warrior II (1 minute each side)
    3. chair pose with prayer twist (1 minute each side)
    4. bridge pose 
    5. side plank pose (1 minute each side)
  • 1 minute: reflection
    1. forward fold
    2. mountain pose
    3. forward fold
    4. cobblers pose
    5. corpse pose

This is very simple, but not necessarily easy.  For my fellow yogis, let your breath lead you through the entire workout.  You can definitely get into a moving meditation with this.  Even if yoga is not your workout of choice, google the exercises listed above and give it a try.  Think of it as a new version of a core interval challenge.

Disclaimer: I am not a chef or a recipe developer.  I eye-ball a lot of measurements and adjust seasoning to taste.  I will share with you the basics of the meal, and then turn the power of creation over to you.  Enjoy!

Bacon wrapped asparagus (makes 2 servings)

  • evenly divide 1 bunch of asparagus into 4
  • wrap each asparagus bundle with 1 slice of bacon
  • sprinkle with garlic powder, salt and pepper
  • bake or grill until the bacon is your desired crispness

Rice pilaf (makes 2 servings)

  • in a large microwavable bowl chop 1 clove of garlic and 1/4 cup of onion, then microwave in 1 teaspoon of oil for 1 minute
  • add a packet of 10-minute, boil-in-bag brown rice to the onions, garlic and oil, then add the recommended amount of liquid according to the package instructions
  • use some sort of stock (vegetable or chicken) to add extra flavor to the rice

1/2 cup fresh pine apple chunks

Total nutrient value of this meal (calculated using
465 calories, 14 g fat, 25 mg cholesterol, 401 mg sodium, 70 g carbohydrates, 9 g fiber, 18 g protein, 28 g sugar

My Favorite Mode of Transportation

Many people think that weight loss and/or weight management occurs in a vacuum, eat less or exercise more and weight comes off…then what?  Generally the weight comes back because often people do not make lifestyle modifications that become part of their everyday living.  One reason is because some people just don’t like to workout.  Another reason is that people don’t perceive themselves to have enough time for lifestyle modifications.  The good news though is that there are endless opportunities to incorporate healthy activities into a lifestyle.  Lifestyle activity involves increasing the number of calories used each day simply by moving more doing the activities that normally occur.  For example taking stairs instead of the elevator or parking your car as far away from the door as possible.  Studies have shown that incorporating lifestyle activity helps manage weight over a longer period of time than just programmed activity.  This summer my favorite mode of transportation is my electric blue cruiser.  I just can’t help but smile every time I get on it, and it never feels like a workout…just pure fun.