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Weight Loss

Kale and Banana Muffins

Kale Banana Muffins

When I first saw the title of this recipe over on Prevention RD, I was immediately intrigued. Kale…in muffins? Genius. But could it actually taste good?

One look at the batter creation that ended up in my bowl, and I was feeling rather doubtful.

Kale Banana Muffins

It was beautiful nonetheless, so I decided to give it a go in the oven and see where the baked version would take me.

Somehow my final result ended up looking like those dyed green bagels on St. Patrick’s Day but in muffin form. Luckily, in my case, I could boast of this color being au naturel.

Kale Banana Muffins

I’m not sure if I packed my cups of kale tighter than Prevention RD, but the vibrancy was unexpected.

I would only be pleased with this verdant color if the muffins were edible though, so let’s get to the first taste. How were they?

Well, I wouldn’t be posting about them if they weren’t going on my repeat list.

These were surprisingly good. I’m talking eaten-in-two-days good by my surrounding friends and family. In fact, I’m already ready to make them again.

Kale Banana Muffins

My initial reaction was that these tasted like a Green Smoothie in muffin form. If that sounds strange, well, these are a tad on the unique side. They’re not going to resemble your average blueberry muffin…but who wants average? And who wants a muffin loaded with sugar and empty calories? Not me.

Despite the absence of a bunch of sugar, these are rather sweet, and given how healthy their makeup is, I’m declaring them a real winner on the muffin scale. Add some peanut butter to your first bite, and you’ll feel like a champion holding a golden green medal. Delish.

I love these as a nourishing option for breakfast or as a midday snack, and I love that these provide a muffin choice that you can finally feel good about, one that will make you feel good, too! If you already enjoy green smoothies, banana muffins, or simply beautiful bites to awaken you in the morning, then I 100% recommend giving these a try. Let me know what you think in the comments below.

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Mango Toast with Drizzled Honey and Tahini

Mango Toast with Drizzled Honey and Tahini

Mango toast.

Could it be the next avocado toast?

Mango Toast with Drizzled Honey and Tahini

When the avocados on display at the store aren’t ripe, but the champagne mangos are awaiting at their prime, the answer is a clear yes.

Mango toast becomes the snack or breakfast of champions.

Mango Toast with Drizzled Honey and Tahini

Easy-to-make yet feeling oh-so luxurious, mango toast is the kind of eat you can treat yourself whenever the moment calls for it.

Feel like having an indulgent Sunday brunch? Mango toast is there for you. And won’t make you feeling like crawling back into bed afterwards.

Need a mid-afternoon snack during a hard day at work? Mango toast is there for you, too, without calling for too much of your attention.

In moments where you simply need to refresh, mango toast allows you to relax and enjoy with a prep time of 5 minutes or less.

It’s not a bad dessert option, either.

Mango Toast with Drizzled Honey and Tahini

Here, sweet mango compliments an earthy, creamy drizzle of tahini, all of which gets topped with aromatic, toasted walnuts. Choose a rich, whole grain bread. You want a slice with some oomph versus one filled with an excess of air bubbles. Go for something with seeds, a loaf that feels nourishing and hearty. If a whole grain sourdough option is there, reach for that. The tanginess in contrast with the mango and honey is divine.

Enjoy!

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Cleansing recipes for the New Year

Well hello there! I’m not really sure how a new year is on its way already, but I’ll welcome it with open arms. I’m hoping 2016 is every bit as great as 2015 was – filled with adventure, travel, photos, good people and good food. I’m sure we’re all raising our glasses to at least one of those gems. Now let’s get to that latter topic.

After one too many days of hefty holiday eats, I’m ready to start 2016 out on a light and refreshing foot. Are you with me?

I consider 99% of the recipes that go on my blog to be healthy. But I’ve rounded up a few that I particularly seek out when I’m looking for a truly nourishing cleanse for my body. These are recipes filled with whole foods. Bright ingredients. Produce. Fiber. And definitely not a lack of flavor. Let’s be clear, this is not akin or meant to be akin to a juice cleanse. This is meant to be a guide for wholesome recipes that’ll make you feel both energized and satisfied.

I’m already putting my spoon into that last one on this list. Happy New Year everyone, and cheers to a great year ahead!

Savory Japanese Oats

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Sweet Potato Crostini with Toasted Walnuts and Tahini

Sweet Potato Crostini with Toasted Walnuts and Tahini

Ain’t no party like a sweet potato party. Or a crostini party. Or a tahini party. Or a Friendsgiving party. Or a Thanksgiving soiree with all your family members you see but once or twice per year and still don’t really know what to talk about besides sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes and stuffing.

Sweet Potato Crostini with Toasted Walnuts and Tahini

I can’t say I’m a fan of the word ain’t. (In fact, I had to look up its spelling just for this blog post.) But, I’m a huge fan of parties, even those semi-strange family ones, and I’m  equally a fan of all the ingredients listed above.

Tahini. Sweet potatoes. Honey. Toasted walnuts and baguette. Now that’s a party in a single, not-entirely-too-awkward bite to eat.

I.e., you’re going to want to put this guy on your Thanksgiving party plate list.

Sweet Potato Crostini with Toasted Walnuts and Tahini

Aside from crostini packages that offer a ton of flavor in one fork-and-spoon-free bite, I’m a huge fan of healthy appetizers. Let’s face it, parties aren’t always the most health-friendly activities, Thanksgiving included. In fact, recent research for my day job informed me that the average American consumes 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day, or the equivalent of the calories you’d use to jog 10 hours straight. Yowza. That’s a party in which I’m not too interested.

Luckily, this recipe packs in the nutrition, sneaking in a little protein while it’s at it. That bean-powered protein and creamy sweet potato fiber will keep you satisfied till the main meal arrives, and keep you feeling good, too.

If that sounds great to you, I invite you to kick off your next party FFFreshAir style, and let this crostini start your taste bud tango. I promise, it’s got way better dance moves than I do.

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Fidgeting Pays Off

Obtained from http://doyoufidgit.com...a site for all fellow fidgetors!

I’ve always been a fidgetor.  In class, you can often find me mindlessly playing with my pencil or pen.  While studying, I’m often catching–and trying to stop– myself from biting my nails.  When I’m chatting with a friend, I’ll often be playing with my zipper, or messing with a piece of paper, or any inanimate object within eye’s view.  And pretty much anytime I’m required to sit for longer than 5 minutes, I always end up relentlessly shifting around in my seat, repositioning my body because I’m either restless, just plain uncomfortable, or simply can find it in me to sit still.

Trust me, just ask my brother and he’ll tell you about my fidgeting.  He often calls me out on it when we’re out to dinner because he finds my incessant fork & spoon fiddling prior to the arrival of the food to be somewhat irritating.  “Can’t you just sit still?” he’ll ask me.  I’ll look up at him with a puzzled stare, continuing to mindlessly fool around with my awaiting silver utensils as if I were trying to knit a sweater out of thin air or something.  Half the time I’m clueless as to what he’s referring to until he says something along the lines of “you’ve always got to be playing with something”.

Then I’ll try to consciously become aware of my fidgeting and put an end to it because really, what’s with this constant fidgeting?  I don’t usually make it long until I’m shifting myself in my seat and then stop to notice minutes later I’m unconsciously playing with my fork again.

I’m really not a huge fan of multitasking (although I often feel forced to do so), so I’m not sure how I’ve obtained such a fidgeting habit.  I try to stay fully and solely present on whatever specific task/event lays before me.  Yet isn’t fidgeting most likely stealing away a part of my attention and proving that I’m not entirely invested into what’s in front of me?  I hate it when people are texting on the phone while I’m trying to have a conversation with them.  Yet, is the fingering and peristant flipping of my phone in my hands almost just as distracting to another person while they’re trying to tell me a story?  Who knows.  My brother might argue that fidgeting is certainly distracting and irksome.

But maybe fidgeting isn’t really all that bad after all…at least in some respects.

A 2005 study done by the Mayo Clinic showed that those who are fidgetors, or have a high NEAT —meaning a high level of “non-exercise activity thermogenesis”— tend to be leaner.  In fact, the Mayo Clinic went so far as to say NEAT is “more powerful than formal exercise”.

Obese people sit an average of 150 minutes more per day than those who are thin, meaning they burn 350 fewer calories than do lean people.  The Mayo Clinic states that the NEAT factor plays a significant role in determining who is lean and who is obese.  NEAT includes everything from tapping your toes, to cleaning the house, to picking up the guitar, to twiddling your thumbs.

However, the Mayo researchers concluded that the lack of NEAT in obese people was a result of biological differences, not a lack of motivation, thus even when obese people lose weight, they’re not likely to start constantly moving around and tapping their toes.  But who’s to say that a conscious high NEAT level can’t be formed and then developed into a habit?

I’ve always been relatively naturally thin my whole life.  Could it be due to my constant fidgeting?  While I’m sure much of my leanness can be contributed to my family genetics and their respective body structures, maybe my fidgeting is actually helping me to stay thin, without even trying.  Either way, it’s a great excuse to keep my fidgeting habits, even if some individuals such as my brother do find them a tad irritating.  For all you fidgetors, fidget away!