Thursday, September 25, 2014

Cinnamon Lover's Muffin in a Mug (with Variations) - THM {E}

I love quick and simple food ideas. I am a mix between a "Whole Grain Jane" and a "Drive Thru Sue" but mainly out of necessity. Having four boys under five has taught me that if I want to eat anything the first time it is heated, I better do it quick or someone will need me before I get to finish... So I have come to cherish the In a Mug/Bowl recipes shared in the Trim Healthy Mama (affiliate) book. However, I have also been "On Plan" long enough to discover my body operates more efficiently when I stick to an {E} breakfast.

I routinely grab some oatmeal in the morning, but every once in a while I like to change it up.  I usually don't have the special ingredients to make the Muffin in a Bowl recipe [p.258] (Because 2 in diapers + 1 income = Tight budget) So, I experimented with a fuel switch on the Muffin in a Mug recipe [p. 256]. This was a big step for me, I am typically a strict recipe follower, and overly cautious when it comes to culinary experiments. I hate waste and will choke down whatever recipe fail I am subjected to. But THM has given me more confidence to “Own it!” and thankfully this risk was worth the reward!

Check it out and own it for yourselves. {Pin It}

Cinnamon Lover’s Muffin in a Mug (with Variations) – THM {E}

The Ingredients:

2 Tbsps. Oat Flour (ground Old Fashioned Oats)

1 Tbsp. Flax Meal

1 Tbsp. Cinnamon

4 Tbsps. Liquid Egg Whites

1 Tbsp. Fat Free Greek Yogurt

½ Tsp. Baking Powder

1-2 Doonks Pure Stevia Powder

Pinch of Salt and a splash of Vanilla (optional)

The Directions:
Add to your favorite mug and Mix well, Microwave for 1 minute (or pour into a waffle iron for a yummy cinnamon waffle!) and Enjoy.

The Variations: 
After the confidence boost that resulted from my success I attempted a couple other flavor combinations. 

Chai Spice: Reduce the Cinnamon to 1 Tsp and Increase the Oat Flour to 2 ½ Tbsps. Add ¼ Tsp. Cardamom, 1/8 Tsp Black Pepper and 1 Tsp Vanilla

Apple Pie: Reduce Cinnamon to 1 Tsp and Increase Oat Flour to 3 Tbsps. Replace Greek Yogurt with Unsweetened Apple Sauce and Add 1/8 - 1/4 Tsp Apple Pie Spice. Add chopped Apples (optional) 

All of these variations turned out nice and moist. I think this would be wonderful topped with Fat Free Redi Whip, but I didn’t have any. I tried a Greek Yogurt topping but I didn’t like it very much (but yes, I ate it all anyway.) I also tried to use all Oat Flour as the Flax adds approximately 2.2 grams of fat, but I liked the texture better with the Flax meal. I think the possibilities are endless; Blueberry, Pumpkin, Banana... I'm excited, and hungry!

Until Next Time, be brave in the kitchen and enjoy your food freedom!


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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Food Freedom: My Six Month Trimaversary and Trim Healthy Mama Book Review

Six Months! That doesn't seem like very long... but my sweet little baby is already crawling and starting to pull up to standing, my oldest started Kindergarten and I have lost almost FIFTY pounds! So A LOT can happen in just six months... but let's rewind...

My fourth and last baby was born at the beginning of this year. I had two pregnancies worth of weight to loose and I was really dreading all the hours I was going to have to spend doing cardio and counting every calorie that came near my face... because I had done it before. I spent a year trying to loose the weight after my first two pregnancies. I was so stressed and tired that I literally have very few memories from that summer of my life, it's all just a blur. I didn't want to go through that again. I want to soak up and cherish every moment of my boys early years because we all know, they go by way too fast.

I had heard of this Trim Healthy Mama (affiliate) book from my dear friend and fellow blogger (check her out at: Kids, Clutter, & Chaos) but I just kept thinking, oh it can't be that easy (I am so glad I was VERY wrong.) But I really didn't want to go another summer being overweight and stressed out about food and muffin tops. When I began my journey in March of this year I was wearing size 16/18 and 190 lbs. At 5 feet tall, it was way too much weight, all my joints ached, and I was tired. So figured I would give it a shot and I ordered the book.

Quietly reading the 607 paged book from start to finish was a bit more than I could manage with a newborn, toddler and two preschoolers living in the same house. So I just dove into the middle to get the basics of the plan down and I was hooked. Despite assuming I "knew how to eat right" I read it and learned so much (like eating fat doesn't make you fat - Bacon? Yes please!) Even now I go back to re-read different chapters and I am still pulling out new treasures and helpful information I missed in the beginning.

The authors do a great job using every day language to explain the 'why' behind the few foods that are considered "off plan" and give you suggestions for living this life in the real world, including tons of great easy to follow recipes. It is well written and entertaining. The information covers much more than weight loss. Totally body health is the ultimate goal. Not a number on the scale or a race to get there the fastest. They address all the issues that effect us and our everyday health. Including identifying your personality when it comes to your approach to food and the needs of your family life and how that all affects our successes and failures on our health journey.

So what is this Trim Healthy Mama (THM)? While a bit difficult to summarize, I generally explain it as a low-glycemic lifestyle. No sugar or white starches, combined with a way of eating that allows your body to burn it's own fat stores... but really it is so much more. It is food freedom.

Cutting out sugar seemed daunting at first (Have you looked? There is added sugar in everything!), but the natural sweeteners made it easy to adjust (check out my review on a great Stevia brand here)
Now I eat more sweets than ever before. I started eating rich chocolate muffins, creamy puddings, dark chocolate and peanut butter yogurt. I had real bacon and cheesy scrambled eggs for dinner at least once a week. And tons of other yummy foods. I began to notice a difference immediately. More energy, my skin and nails became healthy and strong and best of all; baggy pants! Sure, I have days I eat something "off plan" but that's okay, there is no guilt on THM, no food condemnation, three hours later just jump back in with a wise food choice. However, on those days I eat "off plan" I feel bloated and sluggish, and I am quickly reminded why I love THM so much.

Since March I am down to a size 6/8 and 143 lbs. I eat chocolate every day! I am free to eat butter, cream cheese, and bacon (and of course all the other wonderful foods like salmon, grilled chicken, fruits and veggies, sweet potatoes, beans and brown rice, but we all already know those things are "healthy") I eat until I'm full, no counting calories or points. No countless hours on the treadmill. Although exercise is encouraged and discussed in the book. I have begun strength training, because I finally have the energy to do so!

I am so excited to continue on this journey. Once I reach my goal, I won't be left to wonder what to do next, because THM has a plan for weight management, as well as weight loss. It is adaptable for every season of your life, whether you need to gain, lose, or maintain. If you have allergies, special medical needs or just want to invest in your health. It is not just for Mamas! This is a lifestyle the whole family will benefit from and I will forever be a Trim Healthy Mama.

Until Next Time!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Shutter Revival: A Baby Gate Project

Whew! It's been a busy week at our house. The holiday weekend came and went in a hurry and my sweet, not so little, baby boy has started crawling ALL over the house. Which means I have to revamp the baby safety for the fourth time!

Because I have a lovely open floor plan (and didn't want to spend hundreds of dollars on gates) I have struggled to find the right safety gates for our house. Consequently, I have been making do with the ones we purchased three kids and two houses ago. As the boys have grown I have moved them around the house, as needed, to protect them (or my stuff) from potential harm.

Once more, I have a toddler and a new crawler that need denied access into certain areas, but this time around I have older boys that need to be able to get into the kitchen or their bathroom without too much hassle. I went to search the leftovers in the craft room to find something to solve my predicament and I saw the stack of shutters I removed from the kitchen windows when we moved in four years ago. They have been looking for a new home for a while and could never find the right spot and I hoped this time they would finally find their perfect place. 

As I set off to find the best (i.e. easiest/fastest/cheapest) way to re-purpose them into a gate. I discovered if I flipped the hinges around I could just screw them together and they would fold out of the way when not needed. This was a huge plus, as tripping over, or stubbing a toe on, a gate threshold is terribly frustrating (and painful!) I was so excited that this plan was coming along flawlessly and in great time! I went to get some screws and my drill and disappointment quickly set in when all the screws where the wrong size and the battery was dead in my drill! With a heavy sigh, I had to pause my project until I charged up the battery and bought some screws… After the slight delay I was able to get back to it yesterday. I screwed the pieces together and mounted it to the cabinets and it works great! I still need to get a better latch, as I am sure my clever, soon to be, two year old will figure out the simple latch very quickly but these shutters work great for this space. 

I would not recommend this basic construction for the top of the stairs, but just to block an entrance this works very well. And it is something my older boys can operate without any problems.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend! Enjoy these last few weeks of summer!

Until Next Time,