Thursday, December 13, 2018

Gingerbread Spice Cupcakes - Gluten Free

"What's with you and gingerbread lately?" - My Dad

Um, hello. 'Tis the season for all things gingerbread, eggnog and peppermint mocha  - am I right?

The sweet spices of gingerbread with the natural sweetness of molasses always makes me feel warm inside. So why not take those classic flavors and turn them into cupcakes! Not to mention cupcakes that are gluten free, low in sugar, and higher in fiber! 

Anytime is a good time for these guilt-free gingerbread cupcakes!

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/3 cup cassava flour 
  • 1/4 cup Vitafiber IMO powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder 
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 egg (at room temperature)
  • 5.3 oz vanilla yogurt/skyr (I used 0% Siggi's Vanilla Skyr)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk 
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar or brown sugar substitute 
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
  • 1/2 tsp butter flavor (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. Prepare a cupcake tin with liners. 
  3. Combine the flour, Vitafiber powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices in a medium bowl. 
  4. In a large bowl, mix the remaining ingredients with a mixer. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and mix until combined. 
  5. Spoon the batter into each well of the cupcake tin. Fill them about 3/4 of the way. They don't rise much.
  6. Bake for 19-20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. 
  7. Allow to cool and frost with desired frosting. Garnish with cinnamon and toasted pecans! 
Frosting recommendations: Cinnamon Vanilla, Cream cheese vanilla, maple cream cheese, caramel pecan. A powdered erythritol is a great option if you want to make a sugar free frosting! 

Makes about 15 cupcakes. 
Macros per cupcake: 103 calories <1f/26c/2p 5g fiber

What's your favorite wintertime dessert flavor? I also love snickerdoodle flavor! Anything cinnamon and I'm in!

Get your Vitafiber powder here: vitafiberimo.com with code: VGMEGANO20 for a discount!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Product Review: Sheila G's Yummy Treats!

Have you heard of Brownie Brittle?



Brownie Brittle is a popular sweet snack that has been around for a while. I'll admit, it never had too much appeal to me because the word "brittle" made me think it would be really hard and crunchy. My parents love it though! 

Recently, I came across some new, fun snacks at my local Publix: Cookie Bites, Brownie Brittle Bites and Thindulgent Chocolate Bark. I had to try them! I then discovered that these products were part of Sheila G's line of snacks! 

I first tried the cookie bites which are essentially crisp cookie bites coated in chocolate and they are sensational! They taste like candy, clock in at only 150 calories per serving but be warned: they are addicting! Having tried these, it makes me want to try the Brownie Brittle bites which are similar - they are crisp brownie brittle pieces coated in chocolate. Coat most anything in chocolate and I'm game. 

Next up was the Thindulgent Chocolate bark. There's just something about chocolate bark that makes it more exciting than a chocolate bar, right? The bark is thinner than a typical chocolate bar and packed with yummy add-ins for a flavor and texture fiesta. The flavors available are Cashew Toffee, Smores, Caramel Pretzel and Dark Chocolate Almond. I tried the Caramel Pretzel and was not disappointed. They sweet and salty combo never fails me and the chocolate was sweet and smooth. It is also made with Fair Trade Certified Chocolate. 

I am excited to try more of the product offerings from Sheila G's because I was so impressed with these! If your local store doesn't carry these items, I would say: request it! You can get a product request form and find out more about Sheila G's treats here: http://browniebrittle.com/

I was provided with free product coupons to sample these products but all opinions are my own.


Friday, December 7, 2018

Winter Bucket List!

If you're anything like me, you vastly prefer the summer.

Short hours of sunlight, frigid temperatures, and dry skin - yeah, winter is just not my thing.

However, since Winter is a thing and it happens every year, I figured I should try to find enjoyment in it. Attitude really does make a difference! Thus, I made a bucket list of fun activities I want to try to incorporate in this winter season!


What's your favorite season? Do you have a winter bucket list?

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Feed Your Gut!

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've heard about PRObiotics. They're a very popular supplement to purchase lately and some even taste downright delicious (enter Smarty Pants Vitamins).

But what are you feeding those lovely little microorganisms in your gut? Isn't it weird to think about that? You're literally consuming living things whether through supplementation or through fermented foods, etc. So we can't starve our little friends! We have to feed them PREbiotics.

So what is a prebiotic and where can you get it? It's a special form of dietary fiber that is indigestible.  It can be found in certain foods and supplements such as:

  • chicory root
  • raw dandelion greens
  • raw garlic
  • raw leeks
  • onion
  • raw asparagus
  • raw wheat bran
  • baked wheat flour
  • raw banana/green banana flour
  • Jerusalem artichoke
  • VitaFiber IMO syrup and powder
  • supplements (sometimes it is included in a probiotic supplement)

Now I don't know about you, but it's not every day I'm snacking on raw dandelion greens, ya know? So I love including foods like bananas, onion, garlic, and using VitaFiber in homemade snacks and treats like these muffins: Pumpkin Muffins - Low Sugar, High Fiber

Probiotics and prebiotics work together for optimal gut health. Gut health has such an impact on our overall health and well-being and we can optimize it simply by what we have in our diet! How awesome is that?!

Have you heard of prebiotics? What is your favorite way to get prebiotics in your diet?

If you want to try VitaFiber products to up your prebiotic game, you can check them out here: vitafiberimo.com and use code MEGANO20 for 20% off your purchase!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Soft Gingersnaps - Gluten free and Refined Sugar Free!

Can you believe it's almost December??


I don't know about you, but I am in full on COZY mode. That means fuzzy socks, leggings, and cookie baking!

There is nothing cozier than the aroma of sweet molasses, ginger, and cinnamon wafting from the oven. Gingersnaps embody all the cozy feels. These cozy cookies just also happen to be grain free, gluten free, refined sugar free and have extra fiber.

Wait, there's more! Did you know ginger has been shown to treat nausea, be anti-inflammatory, improve brain function, reduce muscle soreness, may lower blood sugars, and can lower the risk of infections. The other key ingredient in gingersnaps is molasses. Molasses is the lowest in sugar of any sugarcane product and it has vitamins and minerals like iron, magnesium, selenium, and B6.

So I guess you need these cookies in your life. It's for your health.

Did I mention, no mixer needed? What are you waiting for?

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour 
  • 2 tbsp VitaFiber IMO powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  •  1 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 40g or 28mL molasses
  • 1/3 cup granulated sweetener (I used erythritol)
  • additional granulated sweetener for rolling the dough balls in (I used erythritol/monk fruit blend)

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the flours, Vitafiber powder, baking powder, and spices. 
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, almond milk, vanilla, molasses and sweetener. 
  3. Pour the wet into dry and stir until combined thoroughly. 
  4. Chill the dough for about 1 hour in the fridge. 
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or use a silicone baking mat (my preferred cookie baking surface). 
  6. Roll the dough into small balls. Roll the balls in granulated sweetener. 
  7. Bake for 9-11 minutes. Immediately upon removing from the oven, use the bottom of a glass to gently flatten the cookies. 
  8. Allow to cool and enjoy!
Makes about 10 cookies. 

*Be sure the sweetener you coat the outside with is a good flavor since this is not mixed into the dough. 
*You could also flatten the cookies before baking but I thought they looked prettier when I flattened them while they were warm.
*Use code: VGMEGANO20 to save on Vitafiber at vitafiberimo.com

What's your favorite cookie to bake in the winter? I'm thinking I will have to make snickerdoodles next!


Monday, November 26, 2018

November Hike of the Month: Moore's Wall Loop Trail

Another month, another hike! Thankfully temperatures haven't dropped too low so we had a nice opportunity for a hike this past weekend.


We chose to go to a nearby State Park that we  have hiked at before - Hanging Rock State Park in North Carolina. They have several trails that we have yet to explore. One of those trails was the Moore's Wall Loop trail.

You will need to drive to the lake area and follow a sign for Moore's Wall. The trail is marked with red circles. It also follows along with the Mountains to Sea trail for a while.

The trail is 4.3 miles with a rating of strenuous. We took the counterclockwise route which has you going up natural stairs and the way down is more meandering. The top of the hike features a lookout tower where you can see other nearby mountains and there is also a "Balancing Rock".

The trail was okay but I'm not a huge fan of so much downhill. Other than the vista features at the top, there wasn't much to look at besides trees.

Overall, I don't think it was a bad trail but I think it was a little forgettable. I probably prefer the Hanging Rock trail at this park!

Have you ever done a forgettable hike? What makes hikes stand out to you?

I can't believe we only have one more hike to go! Check out more about the hikes at Hanging Rock State Park here: https://www.ncparks.gov/hanging-rock-state-park/trail/moores-wall-loop-trail



Wednesday, November 21, 2018

How Much Protein Do I Need?

You need protein!

It seems like this is what everyone hears, especially when they start exercising. But how much protein do you truly need? Are you getting enough or too much?

There have been many studies and the gist of it is: the upper limit of benefit is .82g/lb i.e. a 150lb person does not gain any benefit from eating more than 123 grams of protein per day. 

Take your weight: y 
Multiply by .82
= your MAXimum protein in grams. 

So what does 123 g of protein look like?

Greek Yogurt : 12-15g 

4 oz chicken breast: 35g

Enlightened Ice Cream Pint: 28g

2 oz Turkey lunch meat: 12g

Square Organics Bar: 10-12g

2 tbsp Almond Butter: 6g

Totals: 105g protein 

Remember, there is protein in many foods, even bread and vegetables. These are just some of the higher protein foods I might consume in a single day. 

So many people who are "into" fitness consume plenty of protein, maybe even too much (topic for another day?), however, others who don't make a concerted effort to prioritize protein may not be eating as much as is optimal. Keep in mind these are generic numbers and everyone is different. Be mindful of what makes you feel good and perform well and be sure to choose protein sources that you personally digest well. 

Do you think you are eating enough protein? 

Square Organics Discount Code: HHF squareorganics.com
My favorite is Cookie Dough!

Check out this article for more of the scientific studies on optimal protein intake: https://bayesianbodybuilding.com/the-myth-of-1glb-optimal-protein-intake-for-bodybuilders/