Thursday, February 27, 2014

Whole-Wheat Banana Pancakes

When my family first started our clean eating diet, it was a big adjustment.  We tried our best to take baby steps, but there were a lot of foods that were staples in our diets that were highly processed. A big part of our success was finding alternatives to these staples that we enjoyed just as much. I found that the best way to make sure that what we were eating was unprocessed was to make foods from scratch in my own kitchen.

Now, my kids LOVED Eggo waffles and pancakes.  They ate them every morning for breakfast.  Did you know that, in addition to preservatives,  Eggo waffles have Yellow food dye in them? I can’t understand why a waffle would need food coloring. So I went to 100 Days of Real Food for help. I found a bunch of breakfast alternatives but our favorite quickly became whole-wheat banana pancakes.  

These pancakes are made with all natural ingredients like whole-wheat flour, and fresh bananas.  And unlike other made-from-scratch pancake recipes, they contain much less butter and don’t call for any refined white sugar (instead, honey is used).  

When topping these pancakes, be sure to use real maple syrup. And don’t trust what the label tells you! if you check the list of ingredients, it should list only one ingredient: 100% pure maple syrup.  Otherwise you are likely to be covering your pancakes in high fructose corn syrup!

Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes

2 cups whole-wheat flour (I use King Arthur brand, which can be found in the baking aisle)
2 tsp baking powder
1 ½  tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp butter, melted
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 ¾ cups milk
1 tbsp honey
2 ripe bananas (the browner the better!), mashed
maple syrup

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.  In a separate bowl, combine the butter, eggs, milk and honey.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined (a few lumps are ok). Stir in the mashed bananas.  Butter a griddle or saute pan.  Add the batter using a ladle.  Once the pancakes start to bubble around the edges, flip and cook on the other side.  Serve with 100% pure maple syrup.  

These pancakes are also delicious with peanut butter! I make a big batch on Saturday and keep the leftovers in the fridge for the rest of the week.  We just pop one in the toaster and it’s ready!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Valentine's Day Craft

I'l admit, I've never been much of a decorator.  Our house doesn't have a ton of accents.  We don't have shelves filled with pictures and nik naks. The only time I've ever changed what sits on our mantle was for Christmas and I always put the same thing up, year after year.

And then I joined Pintrest.  Ah, Pintrest...the giant vortex that sucks you into a land of ideas for parties you will never throw, fashion you will never own, home improvement ideas that will never be implemented and pictures of kitchens that you will never occupy (and of course the occasional picture of Ryan Gosling).

I'll admit, I try to only pin things that I think I'll try.  But even I have crafts, recipes and outfit ideas pinned that I'll never use. However, Pintrest has led me to "up" the way I decorate.  And for the first time ever, I have decorated my mantle for Valentine's Day!

I saw a pin the other day for these lovely rose balls.  You can see the tutorial on how to make them here. Now I'm all about decor that is cheap, and let's face it, what's cheaper than crepe paper? So I set out to make some crepe paper flower balls.

I started out by cutting strips of tissue paper.  Then I folded each strip in half lengthwise, and twisted it into a rosette. Amy at The Idea Room even has a video showing how to twist the rosettes up!

Then I used hot glue to affix each rosette to a styrofoam ball.  And let me tell you, I used a LOT of glue!

The end result was an adorable rose ball.  I made three and placed them on wrought iron candle holders that usually occupy our mantle.

While I was at Hobby Lobby picking up supplies to make the rose balls, I also got some cardboard letters. I got an L, V, and E as well as a heart shaped box.  I painted all the letters red and used the lid of the box for the O to spell out "LOVE" in the center of the mantle.

I added some Valentine's Day garland to the glass hurricane I already had on the mantle and, behold! A beautiful Valentine's Day Mantle! And it was all done on the cheap which makes my husband happy!

How has Pinterest inspired you lately? Have you been inspired to decorate for holidays that you typically wouldn't decorate for?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Healthy weight loss?

On Tuesday, the NBC show The Biggest Loser crowned it's 15th weight-loss champion.  But the internet and social media immediately lit up with comments about the winner's drastic weight loss.

Rachel Frederickson, a former swimmer, came to the Bigger Loser Ranch weighing 260 pounds.  Right from the start she showed herself as a fierce competitor on the show. I'll admit, I had her pegged as the winner from the first episode. Week after week, she shed the pounds and worked hard to stay on the show. By the time she was named as a finalist, and sent home to continue her weight loss on her own until the finale, she looked like the athlete she used to be.

(Rachel talks with host Alison Sweeney after winning a triathalon)

On Tuesday, Rachel weighed in at 105 pounds.  Over the course of 7 months, she lost a total of 155 pounds or 59.62% of her total body weight.  At 5 foot 5 inches, that put her BMI at 17.5 (anything under 18.5 is considered underweight by the National Institute of Health).  She looked extremely thin and even the trainers and other contestants couldn't hide the look of shock and concern from their faces.

The Biggest Loser has often been brought under attack over the way their contestants loose weight. Many argue that such significant weight loss over such a short period of time is bad for the body.  In my experience, this kind of weight loss usually leads to temporary results.  There are so many fad diets out there that claim to help you achieve your weight loss goals in a matter of weeks.  But the best weight loss is slow and steady. 

It can't be denied that the $250,000 cash prize had a part in Rachel's weight loss. My hope is that she can now get back up to a healthy weight and stay fit and strong.

Are you looking to loose weight? The best way is to eat healthy, whole foods, exercise regularly and build lean muscle buy lifting weights.  Check out my weight loss story here.

What are your thoughts on Rachel's drastic transformation?

Monday, February 3, 2014

Valentine's Day snacks and treats

Over the past year and a half my family has cleaned up our diets and striven to eat healthy, whole foods.  I'll admit, we're not perfect.  I love to bake which means there is often cookies or cake in our house, and I cave now and then on the occasional processed treat for my kids (Cheetos, anyone?).  But whenever possible, we try to stick to unprocessed foods and a big part of that is teaching our kids to make healthy food choices.

Valentine's Day is coming up which means that our kids will be attending school parties filled with cupcakes with bright red and pink frosting, cookies with sprinkles, and chips.  And then there are the Valentines themselves with candy bars and Smarties attached.

But there's a way to eat well during this time! Check out my most recent post on Greeley Moms on how to provide healthy options for your child's school party as well as non-candy Valentine ideas:

What healthy treats are you planning to provide for Valentine's Day?