Realistic Cooking Ideas

for Busy People! And sharing our life adventures along the way!

St James United Church of Christ front door

When going for walks through the village of Hamburg, I always enjoyed this church door. It reminds me of a medieval door! I love the black iron work and it is just a beautiful building – but it was the door that got me! What do you think?

Church front door Hamburg NY

St James United Church of Christ Side of the Church

And be sure to check out Thursday’s Doors by Norm who started this fun adventure!

Chocolate Peppermint Muffins Plated side view

Indulge your sweet tooth with these minty chocolate muffins made from good-for-you ingredients. These wonderful chocolate muffins are not made with flour but instead chickpeas! It might sound odd but many people cannot tell the difference – the muffins are light in texture and delicious! These can be made as 24 mini-muffins or 12 regular muffins. The mini muffins are nice if you are going to a brunch and want to bring a dish.

Chocolate Peppermint Muffins Plated

They also freeze nicely. I make my snacks for work ahead of time and then freeze them until needed!! Healthy snacks are really important to losing weight and not overeating. I always struggled with this and depended too much on protein and carbs bars – that actually turned to fat. Now I have a baking morning where I make healthy treats and freeze them. When I need a treat I just take it out of the freezer. I also use plain greek yogurt with berries and apples with almond butter as a treat. Below are Oatmeal Muffins, Zucchini Muffins, and Chocolate Peppermint Muffins. My muffins tend to collapse a bit after taking out of the oven but they are still delicious!!

Variety of snacks

This recipe came from The Beachbody Blog and is part of the 21-Day Challenge and you will want to follow their recipe for accurate conversion of containers.

Chocolate Peppermint Muffins out of the oven

Ingredients:
1 (15-oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Wet Ingredients:
3 large eggs
½ cup raw honey, local
3 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
½ tsp. pure peppermint extract

Dry Ingredients:
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda

Preparation:
Preheat your oven to 350° F. Prepare 24 mini-muffin cups by either lightly spraying with non-stick spray or mini muffin paper liners.

Place the chickpeas in a food processor and blend until smooth. Then slowly add the wet ingredients blending into the chickpeas. Slowly add the dry ingredients and blend until smooth.

Divide the batter among the 24 mini-muffin cups. Bake for 15 – 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Chocolate Peppermint Muffins Plated front view

SuperSaturday

Recently I joined Beachbody as a Coach since I appreciate their holistic approach to living. This past weekend I attended the local Buffalo Super Saturday that is held on a quarterly basis. Almost 300 coaches and guests in the Buffalo New York area got together to hear inspirational stories on how people are transforming their lives through Beachbody programs and support networks. It was a great opportunity to meet local coaches that you might see on Facebook and build relationships with them. Plus it is nice to meet other people in person who are interested in transforming their life and helping others.

super saturday

We learned more about new products that have just been released that includes Boost (I am already trying this new line), a new performance line for supporting workouts, and Shaun T’s new CIZE dance workout (my deluxe package has already arrived!). And I almost forgot to mention the raffles for great products like Autumn’s new cookbook FIXATE!

boost

One of the first things I noticed about Beachbody coaches is they are normal, everyday people trying to improve their lifestyle. A few are in excellent shape and look like personal trainers – but that was not the norm. People are attracted to Beachbody because their holistic approach works and most of us has experienced failed programs or promises that it is refreshing when something actually works!!

CIZE
At the end of the event, we did a CIZE workout together! Shaun T is an excellent trainer and motivator. He teaches you each dance, step by step and slowly brings it all together. Then at the end you CIZE IT UP which means you are dancing at a much faster pace – or what you can do! For these dance routines if you find it hard to learn the arms and footwork together start with the foot steps – then add the arms. Plus on the workout CD, Shaun T has a reverse angle demo to help you! But do what you can and keep moving! Below is a video from our Buffalo Super Saturday. There is a glimpse of me in the far back, to the right, in the yellow Shakeology shirt! I am not going as fast as the girls in front who are much younger than me! Don’t you feel like working out after watching the video – a lot of great energy!

Click here for Buffalo Super Saturday CIZE workout!

Body Beast Hat
Below are a few takeaways from the event. I hope a few of them speak to you and what changes would you like to make in your lifestyle? For me it is to lose some weight, lose inches, put on more muscle and have the endurance to do INSANITY (that is next year’s goal!)

  1. Be an advocate for yourself! Put yourself first!
  2. Personal development is important. Beachbody is a holistic approach that includes healing your personal life if it is needed.
  3. Beachbody is a lifestyle change. Not a diet or a fad. You are making healthy changes day by day and changing your life for the better!
  4. I love this one – You have nothing to lose – but weight! You have to want to change more than stay the same. It is up to you.
  5. Beachbody challenges us to help people meet their goals and live healthier lives!
  6. For the next 12-months you need to be ambitious! Everyone matters. Workouts and nutrition need to have intensity!
  7. Be a Beachbody coach – there is no catch. You do not need to sell – you can be a Discount coach for the 25% reduction on products.
  8. Sharing your story is important – you never know whose life you might change!
  9. You may not need to lose a lot of weight but need to transform your body. The 21-day challenge can help you put on muscle and fine tune your eating habits.
  10. Know the ingredients in your shake. Are the ingredients healthy- is there a lot of added sugars or chemicals? Or do you purchase it because of taste or cost?

I do have a Facebook page called “The Fitness Edge” and you can follow it by clicking this link. The Fitness Edge will share information about Beachbody but also general healthy tips, motivational tips, and some of our daily adventures! I post 2 – 3 times a day.

This fall, maybe late September I will be starting a CIZE challenge group if anyone is interested. You do not need to live in WNY – but you do need to purchase the CIZE challenge pack – more information in another posting. But as a teaser… we will have a closed Facebook group where on a daily basis you can share how you are progressing and if you are struggling we are all in this together to help each other! The support network is important so you are not on your own trying to meet your goals. That is when we get frustrated and give up!

Gingery Nectarine and Plum Cake - closeup of sideview of the cake copy

This is a beautiful cake that is nice for a special occasion or whenever you need a dessert that is a bit different and not covered in a sweet icing. It is a small cake, which means servings are small and pretty much guilt free!

Gingery Nectarine and Plum Cake served on plate

I adore ginger, which means there is a lot and you could use a combination of fresh and ground if you run out of the fresh ginger or do not have fresh ginger. But remember fresh ginger has an aroma that ground ginger loses! The lower end of the measurement will provide a flavor of ginger but if you like a more prominent ginger flavor you should definitely add more! Serve with a side of whipped cream topped with cinnamon for an added burst of deliciousness! This is a rustic cake so do not be concern about placing the sliced fruit perfectly! Doesn’t it look delicious and beautiful!

Gingery Nectarine and Plum Cake - closeup of cake copy

I adapted this recipe from Fine Cooking Appetizers: 200 Recipes for Small Bites with Big Flavor.

You bake the cake partially before adding the fruit topping.
Gingery Nectarine and Plum Cake - out of the oven before adding fruit

Then add the fruit topping and return to the oven to finish baking.
Gingery Nectarine and Plum Cake - fruit topped on cake before baking

Then it comes out of the oven looking gorgeous!!
Gingery Nectarine and Plum Cake - baked cake out of the oven

Serve warm or at room temperate. A bit of warmth is nice to bring out the flavors!
Gingery Nectarine and Plum Cake served on plate with whipped cream

Cake Dry Ingredients:
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. to 1 tbsp. ground ginger
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

Cake Wet Ingredients:
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla
2/3 cup sour cream, light

Topping Ingredients:
1 Plum halved, pitted, and cut into 1/8- to 1/4-inch slices
1 Nectarine halved, pitted, and cut into 1/8- to 1/4-inch slices
1 – 2 tbsp. finely grated fresh ginger
3 tbsp. firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
Whipped cream, for garnish (optional)

Cake Directions:
Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 9×2-inch round cake pan with non-stick spray. Lightly flour the side, shaking out any excess flour. Then line the bottom with a parchment circle cut to fit the pan. I like to turn the pan over a piece of parchment paper to trace the outside of the pan to make it easier to cut out and fit.

In a medium bowl combine the dry ingredients. In a mixer cream the butter and then add the brown sugar blending until well incorporated. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until just blended and then adding the vanilla.

Fold in half the dry ingredients, then the sour cream, and finally the remaining dry ingredients. Spoon the batter into the pan and spread evenly. Bake for 15 minutes.

Topping Directions:
Make the topping by combining the sliced fruit and the grated ginger in a medium bowl. Toss until the ginger is well distributed. Then add the sugar and flour. Mix the ingredients to evenly coat the fruit. Remove the cake from the oven after it has baked for 15 minutes. Place the topping evenly over the cake. Work quickly and do not worry about being perfect. Return the cake to the oven and bake for about 35 – 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Cool the cake on a rack for about 15 minutes. Then run a knife around the inside edge of the pan to make it easier to remove. Place a cookie rack on top of the cake pan and holding onto both the pan and cookie rack flip the cake. The pan should easily remove from the cake. Remove the parchment paper and then lay a flat serving plate that you intend on using to serve the cake on the bottom of the cake and flip the cake so that the fruit is on top. Serve warm or at room temperature. Add whipped cream if you like.

Zucchini and Walnut Bread - Plated 2

Today is day 6 of the 21-Day Challenge! I have been eating clean all week with the exception of a small piece of ice cream cake for a co-worker’s birthday. By keeping the portion small I could join in the celebration without adding too many calories! Monday through Thursday included a 30-minute workout: Total Body Cardio Fix, Upper Fix, Lower Fix, and Pilates Fix. The workouts were tough and I often have to follow the modified version but I feel stronger each and every day!

21-day-fix-workouts

Friday was 10-minute Fix for ABS and rest. But I added a 60-minute walk on the treadmill to burn another 200-calories. Today is a rest day but some of us in my challenge group are doing a bonus intense 15-minute workout and then I will add something else maybe CIZE or T-25. Today I am sharing a healthy recipe for a Zucchini and Walnut Bread that is an approved snack as part of the 21-Day Fix. But first I want to share today’s breakfast and lunch. Breakfast was a wonderful Chocolate Shakeology with Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk, a small banana, 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa, and 1 scoop of Vanilla Shakeology powder. I blend it in my Ninja and I have a healthy breakfast to start my day!

Banana and Almond Shakeology in Shakeology Shaker

For lunch I had a simple but delicious Baby Spinach Salad with strawberries, pecans topped with Macadamia Nut Oil and Balsamic Vinegar. I added 1 whole hard boiled egg and 3 hard boiled egg whites. I absolutely love this salad! My preference is a nut oil over olive oil for a salad.

Spinach Strawberry salad

Do you enjoy muffins? This recipe is part of the 21-Day Fix plan as a snack!! I got this recipe from Beachbody and if you are doing the 21-Day Fix you will want to refer to their recipe to ensure your ingredients are correct for the container conversion. Click here for the official Beachbody recipe.

I like to make this ahead, cut it into 20-slices (the approved serving), wrap tightly with saran wrap and then freeze. I prepare my lunch ingredients the night before and I take a serving out of the freezer to work into my food plan.

Zucchini and Walnut Bread - sliced and ready for the freezer

I use unrefined coconut oil since it has a smoke point of 350 degrees that is perfect for this recipe. Unrefined coconut oil is made from coconut meat and goes through a quicker process than refined coconut retaining the coconut flavor. Refined coconut oil has a smoke point of 450. For more information click here.

Zucchini and Walnut Bread - out of the oven

Zucchini and Walnut Bread - out of the pan
Dry Ingredients:
1/3 cup sugar
¾ cups all-purpose flour
1¾ cups whole-wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cloves

Wet Ingredients:
6 large egg whites
¼ cup melted coconut oil
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Other Ingredients:
Nonstick cooking spray
2½ cups grated zucchini
½ cup chopped raw walnuts

Preparation:
Preheat your oven to 350 and lightly spray two 9×5-inch loaf pans with a non-stick spray and flour.

Combine your wet and dry ingredients in two different bowls. Slowly add and mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Then fold in the zucchini and walnuts. Divide the batter between the two prepared pans and bake for about 45-minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean. Cool for a few minutes, remove the bread from the pan and completely cool. Then divide it into 20-slices to get ready for your 21-Day Challenge!!

Susan Call Hutchison

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