morning glory muffins.

A bit of a breakfast recipe tangent lately.
But that’s okay.
You eat breakfast at least once a week, right? <wink, wink>

Quick notes about this recipe–

–Make them. They rock. Even your kids will like them. If you have kids. If not, the neighbors will like them, too.

–Do not cover them in butter and jam. Please.  Maybe some cream cheese but that’s about as far as I’d go.  They don’t even need butter.  Really.  And I love butter.

–They are dense little boogers.  One will probably fill you up.  So eat one, have some coffee and let it sit.  I am convinced they expand in my belly so don’t eat two until you are really sure you need two.

–They make great snacks for kids (who will have no clue they are good for them).

–Don’t worry about this recipe containing 100% whole wheat. They are perfect this way. Don’t mess with them. Thankyouverymuch.

–The unsweetened coconut is not your momma’s sweetened shreddles of coconut.  (don’t look up shreddles. it’s my own made up word.)  These are big flakes of coconut and are not sweetened.  They will be fine with sweetened coconut flakes but try to see if you can find the unsweetened big flakes. They rock.  I use them in my maple granola, too.

Morning Glory Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar (or maple sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (I love Penzey’s Cinnamon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups peeled and grated carrots
  • 1 large tart apple, peeled, cored, and grated (or leave the peel on; your choice)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes or chips (I get these at a local store.)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup olive or coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/4 cup orange juice

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin, or line it with papers and spray the insides of the papers.
  2.  In a small bowl, cover the raisins with hot water, and set them aside to soak while you assemble the rest of the recipe.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, spices, and salt.
  4. Stir in the carrots, apple, coconut, and nuts.
  5. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla, and orange juice.
  6. Add to the flour mixture, and stir until evenly moistened.
  7. Drain the raisins and stir them in.
  8. Divide the batter among the wells of the prepared pan (they’ll be full almost to the top; that’s perfect).
  9. Bake the muffins for 25 to 30 minutes, until they’re nicely domed and a cake tester inserted in the center of one of the inner muffins comes out clean.
  10. Remove from the oven, let cool for 5 minutes in their pan on a rack, then turn out of pans to finish cooling. Wrap any leftovers airtight, and store at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.
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start Monday.

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I am typically a happy person.
And for the past 10 months I have been on fire with happy.
I don’t mean that I walk around perpetually smiling, but that I feel happy in my core.
That everyday I feel joy.
About a month ago, I had a week that threw me for a loop.
Knocked me down and kept me down.
I was not happy.
There was no joy.
I was tired, frustrated and pissed.
And for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why.
I still don’t know why as I sit here a month later scratching my head.
What I do know is that I needed that terrible, no good, very bad week.
Yep, I needed it.
I find that low times bring about perspective, but more than that, they bring about growth.
Let me explain.
I spent that whole week blowing off my 5 a.m. alarm.
I dreaded the stuff I needed to do each day that normally brought me joy.
My kids were beyond annoying.
My husband couldn’t seem to do anything the right way.
<sigh>
By the end of the week I was fed up. FED UP.
Furious and fuming at everyone including me.
Because I couldn’t figure out what the heck was going on with me.
I felt totally out of control.
But I knew one thing.  I had to change.
So on Friday of that terrible week, I made a decision.
I decided that the week had sucked and I was going to start the following Monday anew.
I gave myself permission to be miserable, not workout and to sleep in until Monday morning.
Then it was going to change.
And it did.
I woke up that Monday with a renewed sense of joy.
I got straight up at 5 a.m., did my workout and got some work done before starting the day with the kids.
I hit the ground running and am still going strong.
That growth I mentioned?
I found a new schedule that works so much better for my family.
Do I like changing the schedule? Nope.
But it sure has made things better.
So if you are struggling, let me encourage you.
Pick Monday.
Monday is your new start.
Make a plan!
Give yourself permission to do nothing different until that Monday.
Then when Monday arrives, you give it a big ole’ sloppy kiss and kick butt.
You got this.
Change.
Grow.
Be awesome.
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brain dump.

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Today I am brain dumping here.
It’s a doozy.
I’m going to talk about counting calories.
And eating real food.
And taking care of this amazing gift you have been given.
Bare with me, I might ramble and get fired up but I’ll get to the point.

Counting calories.
I think it sucks.

Plain and simple.
I don’t do it because it stresses me out.
Know what else?

It makes no sense to count calories.
Research has shown us over and over again (in very recent years) that the concept of calories in vs. calories out is not accurate.
Not accurate.
So what does research show us?

Calories are important.
We need them.
They are a way to measure energy.
The amount of calories doesn’t matter.
Does.  Not.  Matter.

What matters is the kinds of calories we eat.
The quality of food we put in our body.
This is where we start talking about crap food vs. real food.

So let’s use the good ole’ car/gas tank analogy.
–>Your vehicle needs fuel to run.  Kerosene is a fuel.  Kerosene doesn’t make a car run very well, if at all.
–>Your body needs fuel to run.  Crap food is fuel.  Crap food doesn’t make your body run very well or for very long.

You most likely care about your car and whether it’s running fine, right?
Which is why you put gasoline rather than kerosene in your car.
Same goes for your body.
And you should care more about your body, than your car.
Just sayin’.

So, back to crap food vs. real food.

Real food is anything that grows or comes directly from something that grows.
Vegetables, fruits, meats, nuts, fats, grains, and, for some folks, dairy.
These foods have carbs, protein and fat.  All things we need.

–>Doritos are not real food. There are no Doritos trees.
–>Chicken nuggets are not real food.  No chicken nuggets walking around on the farm.
–>Veggie chips are not real food.  No veggie chips seeds at the local Rural King.

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I recently put myself through a six month experiment to test this “quality matters more than quantity theory”:
–I have eaten more fat in the form of coconut and MCT oil.
–I have stopped counting calories and just eat when I am hungry and just until I’m full.
–I have started eating in an 8-10 hour window each day.
–I eat real food and stopped buying crap food.
–I workout for just 30 minutes a day most days of the week.
–I eat “superfoods” and take fish oil every day.

My results?
–I am at my lowest weight.
–I am at my leanest.
–I am at my strongest.
–I am at my healthiest.
–I feel better mentally and physically than I ever had.
–I no longer obsess about my next snack/meal and those stupid cravings are gone.

So here’s the key:
I eat a lot of real food everyday.
I move my body everyday.
That’s it.

Don’t believe me? Well, that’s dumb.

I just put myself through an experiment and I proved it to myself.
And I was the biggest skeptic of all.
Everything I learned as a dietetics student and practicing dietitian was just blown out of the water.
Counting calories was not the key to weight loss and feeling great.
Eating the right foods is.

When you fill yourself everyday with real foods, your cravings for crap foods will disappear.

As will the extra weight, the headaches, the insomnia, the depression, the general not feeling well.
Will you still have a few potato chips at a party? Maybe. And that’s fine.
But they should no longer be part of your everyday eating.

So what about the eat a lot part?
Think about this…

I would like for you to show me a fat person who ate too much real food.
Yeah.
That’s never happened.
Seriously.
Again, it’s not about eating fewer calories (quantity), it’s about eating better food (quality).
Get rid of the crap in your diet.
Eat real food.
You will lose weight and feel freakin’ awesome.
I guarantee it.

So what exactly do I eat every day?

This is how I roll (a guesstimate–some days I am hungrier and eat more real food.)
6 a.m. organic decaf coffee with a spoonful of coconut oil (I shake it up but blending is good too.)
10 a.m.  Shakeology with frozen berries
12 noon  Mixed greens salad with toasted pecans, feta, apple and simple homemade vinaigrette
2 p.m.  1 spoonful of MCT oil
4 p.m.  Apple and peanut butter or a homemade Larabar; 1 spoonful of fish oil
6-7 p.m.  Dinner:  local meat (organic if I can), vegetables, vegetables and more vegetables.  Maybe a fruit to go with.

So the basis of my diet is vegetables–ones that are loaded with nutrients (that’s not corn and canned peas).
I also get quite a bit of fat every day.
And I eat meat. And carbs mostly in the form of vegetables and fruits.

Learn what the best veggies are and the best way to prepare them and eat them.
Stop bitching about how you don’t like vegetables or your kids are picky eaters.
Those are dumb excuses for setting yourself up for feeling mediocre all your life.

My husband hates cauliflower, but he eats it roasted (and I think he likes it) and sometimes thinks he’s eating rice when it’s really shreddled (that’s my word, but you can use it) cauliflower.
So again, learn what the best veggies are and the best way to prepare them and eat them.

If you eat plenty of real foods, not only will you get the nutrients you need but you will fill up and not have room for crap.
Please, please, please eat.
Eat fat, eat vegetables and fruits that have carbs, eat steak and chicken that contain protein.
Eat.
Eat real food that is real fuel for your body.

Your body is this freakin’ amazing gift from God.
So start eating like you want to live.
Eat like you don’t want to get cancer.
Eat like you don’t want to have Alzheimer’s.
The BEST way to prevent disease in your life is to pay attention to what you are putting into your body.

I am getting all jacked up and pounding the keyboard so I’ll quit.
Another day I’ll talk more about how what you eat can truly heal your body and that a diseased future is preventable.

So…
Eat real food.
Eat plenty of it.
Drink water.
Get sleep.
Kick ass.

If you think it’s not that easy, please talk to me.
Don’t just scoff and walk off.
Ask me a question.
Challenge me.
I may not know the answer, but I would be happy to find research to help support the answer.

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Maple Granola.

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So if you follow me on Facebook, you know that we make our own maple syrup.
It is a TON of work but so darn good that we just can’t help ourselves.
So every year we haul sap and cook it down into syrup.
Every. Single. Year.

It takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup.
And since I was taught as a young child that it is a treasured item, we don’t waste it.
When I make pancakes, we use enough to cover it because it takes a lot of work to make that syrup!
Don’t waste it! (I think I heard THAT once or twice in my childhood.)
(and yes, I lick my plate clean when there is maple syrup on it.)

So how do I use up all the syrup if I’m not allowing everyone to pour it all over their pancakes all the time?
I make this granola.
My family loves it and it makes my house smell good.
Plus it’s easy to make. Really. It is.
The hardest part is measuring everything out and if you use a scale, it’s way, way easy.

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Vermont Maple Granola

modified from King Arthur Flour’s cookbook, Whole Grain Baking

Time: 2 hours 15 minutes (mostly inactive)

Yield: A bunch of granola (about 16 cups)

Notes:  Please, please, please use a big bowl set on a scale to make this recipe.  I use a big plastic bowl that has a lid. I measure all my ingredients to the bowl, put the lid on and shake it.  Then spread it on the pans and bake it.  So very easy that way.  Feel free to mix things up–don’t like coconut? Leave it out or swap in some extra seeds or nuts.  Hate raisins? Don’t add them!  I prefer olive oil, but you can use melted butter or coconut oil as well.  Stay away from vegetable oils!

Ingredients

7 cups (24 1/2 ounces) old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup  (3 ounces) unsweetened coconut flakes
1 cup (4 ounces) wheat germ or chia seeds
1 cup (5 ounces) almonds, sliced or broken up
1 cup ( 3 3/4 ounces) pecans or walnuts, chopped or broken up
1 cup (5 ounces) sunflower seeds or pepitas, raw or toasted
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup olive oil
1 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup raisins or golden raisins
1 cup dried cranberries or dried cherries

Preparation

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, coconut, wheat germ or chia, nuts, seeds, and salt. Mix well. In a pint jar, combine the oil, maple syrup, and vanilla.  Screw the lid on tight and shake with all your might! (I love when things rhyme but I don’t mean them to…) Pour over dry mixture in bowl, stirring and tossing (clean hands work well) till everything is very well combined or snap on the lid for the bowl if it has one and shake that bowl!  Flip it over and shake it some more.

Prepare two large baking sheets by covering them in parchment paper (not necessary but makes clean up way easier). Spread granola evenly between the pans. Bake for 2 hours, stirring after 1 hour or so. Remove pans from oven and cool completely. Sprinkle on dried fruit and transfer to a container to store in you pantry.

Use it on top of yogurt or with milk or almond milk.  A little bowl will do you as it’s very filling!

1/2 cup serving=19 g of whole grains, 292 calories and a bunch of other stuff that is good for you. So eat it and don’t worry about how many carbs or grams of fat it has in it.  Eat a serving.  Enjoy it.  It’s good for you.

is busy really bad?

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I spend a lot of time doing things all the time.
Say that out loud.  Really. Say it.
That’s my definition of busy.

I recently came to this conclusion:
That busy is a blessing.
Yep, I know. It’s not hip right now to be busy.

We are supposed to follow this “essentialism” idea of saying no to everything except the essentials,
so that we have more time to relax and play and live life.
I get that. I really, really do.
So much so that I was feeling guilty for hustling like all get out, all the freakin’ time.
I was really struggling with this when I heard a podcast about essentialism.

Kind of ironic that while listening to all the reasons why I should be less busy,
I decided that I like busy and busy is just fine, thankyouverymuch.

This is a list of the things I am (in no particular order):
I am an entrepreneur.
I am a mom.
I am a wife.
I am the care taker of our goats and chickens.
I am a daughter, sister and friend.
I am a PiYO instructor.
I am a neighbor to an elderly lady that needs me.
I am a homeschooler. To two kids.
I attend church regularly and teach Sunday school.
I cook. I clean. I do laundry. I work my tail off.
I exercise daily.
I take one kid to baseball and the other to horse lessons.

Sure, there is some busy stuff that I would love to cut out.
Washing dishes, scrubbing toilets, trimming goat hooves…
But that’s essential stuff so it can’t be eliminated.
But the rest of my day is filled with stuff that I want to do.

I don’t always enjoy homeschooling my kids.  But I want to do it.
I don’t always like cooking dinner every night.  But I want to do it.
I don’t need to enroll Jack in baseball and drive him to/from there a few times a week. But I want to do it.
I didn’t need to start a business.  But I really wanted to do it.

Since I started my business last July there is little downtime.
Hardly any TV watching
No more fiction novels before bed because there is personal development to read.
No relaxing evenings out with friends on a regular basis.
Limited play time with the kids. (okay, fine. very little play time.)
You get the idea.

I hear little voices (and real life, loud voices) telling me that someday I might regret all the time I have put into my business.
I hear them say “You shouldn’t work so hard.”
And to those people I say, “where is your freakin’ passion?”
Actually, I shout it:  WHERE IS YOUR PASSION? THE FUEL FOR THE FIRE OF YOUR LIFE!?

Holy snotrockets, folks.
My passion for my business of helping others get healthy takes over my thoughts during the day and my dreams at night.
As does my excitement for the products.
And my drive to help my coaches succeed and change their own lives as well as those they help.
I am so freakin’ fired up that it doesn’t matter what those voices tell me.
I know I am living my passion and purpose and those things I might be missing out on or might regret in the future?
Well, I know that I won’t regret any of it.
I know it.
Because my busy is full of my choices.
This is how I truly live life–not by resting and relaxing.
But by doing.

Do you have that kind of passion in your life?

I truly feel there are seasons of our lives that will be more or less busy.
I know for a fact that I am in a VERY busy season.
You saw that list up there–I got shit to do and I’m going to do it.
Someday, my kids will be bigger and can do more of the stuff I do every day, and my season of life will be less busy then.
But for now, I am in a busy season because I choose it.

Your life might be FULL (can we use “full” in place of “busy”, already?) and that is good.
As long as it makes you happy.
If you love those things that are keeping you busy then you just keep on, keepin’ on.
Do your thing.
Hustle.
Be busy.
Be awesome.
Be okay with it.
And when you tell someone you are busy, then say it with joy and passion!
Not like it’s a burden you haul around everyday of your life.

And if you have too much on your plate and are miserable, then some reevaluating is probably a good thing.
Cut some of the “fluff” from your life and find your happiness.
Say “no” to more stuff.
Do what makes you happy.
Not everything we do is essential, remember that.

And if you aren’t busy, then that is fine too.
Enjoy it.
Relish it.
And if you find yourself wanting a more full life then find that passion inside of you!
Because busy can mean happy.

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