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Season with Cilantro for an Extra Dose of Good Health

 

cilantro

By Janis Jibrin, M.S., R.D., Best Life lead nutritionist

“Do you like cilantro?” was the subject line of an email I recently sent out to a few people coming to my home for dinner. A cilantro-hating ex-boyfriend taught me that when you dislike the herb, it’s with a passion. (To find out why, check out the “I hate cilantro” Facebook page with more than 13,000 likes, and the blog of the same name.)

If you fall into that camp, then you can stop reading now (or, continue, just to see what you’re missing). No matter how you feel about its taste, there’s no denying that nutritionally, it’s a bona fide super food. Here’s why:

  • It’s very rich in carotenoids. This group of antioxidant phytonutrients is important for the skin and eyes, as well as overall health. When tested along with other common herbs (basil, dill, mint, parsley, rosemary), cilantro was the richest in beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.
  • It may fight cancer. In test tube research at University of Malaya, ground up stems, leaves, and roots help kill breast cancer cells, a benefit that can be chalked up to cilantro’s plentiful carotenoids and other antioxidants.
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The More the Berrier with Summery Blueberry Muffin Tops

The best part of the pizza? That very first bite of the pointy triangle end.

The best part of a cinnamon roll? The ooey-gooiest center.

The best part of the muffin? The top. Duh!

blueberry muffin tops

My completely made up statistic that 99.5 percent of people would rather eat the top of the muffin exclusively, rather than what a friend of mine calls “the stump,” is the reason an entire pan has been created to let you accomplish such baked good sorcery. There’s no waste; just bake the part people actually want to eat!

I know it’s warming up outside and the last thing you want to think about doing is firing up the oven. But berries are in season! So, you kind of have to. Rules and what not.

blueberry muffin tops pan

Blueberries are one of those can’t-fail foods, at least from a mom perspective. I don’t care what my four-year-old’s mood is, what she is or isn’t liking that week, or where we are — blueberries always get a yes. They are one of the original super foods, so it’s a no brainer to add them to pancakes, salads, smoothies, or just devour a fist-full every chance you get. One of the few, rare “blue” foods that occur in nature, those juicy little beads of sweetness can stand on their own with a healthy dose of fiber, a bit of protein, potassium, vitamin c, anthocyanins, antioxidants, and a host of other good-for-you goodness.

blueberry muffins

So when I tell you this recipe calls for blueberries, do not be shy. Dump ‘em in! The more the berrier, right?

You’ll notice we don’t add any sugar to this recipe. A generous, drizzly pour of honey with some natural applesauce really take on the heavy responsibility of sweetening these muffins. It’s not a two-man job though, the lemon juice, vanilla yogurt, and of course the blueberries, all carry their own weight in that department, too.

honey and applesauce

However, just before baking, I do sprinkle the tops with just a pinch of raw turbinado sugar. This gives the muffin that glazy top that you’d ordinarily create with a streusel topping, but without gobs of butter and white sugar.

sugar topping muffins

I use half-and half all-purpose and whole wheat flours. This gives me the bulk of fiber in a better flour with the texture we’ve all become accustomed to with white flours. To make up the difference, I add just a bit of uncooked oats for more fiber and a denser bite.

baking muffin tops

After it’s all whisked and folded together, scoop that batter into a pre-formed muffin top pan. Roughly 20 minutes later, you’ll have a pile of muffin tops that are just jam-packed with blueberries! You’ll want to save them all for yourself, but they’re so darn cute that sharing will seem like a reasonable option, too.

Blueberry Muffin Tops
makes 6

INGREDIENTSmuffin tops recipe

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
3 Tbsp honey
1 egg
1/4 cup natural applesauce
2 Tbsp lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 oz. vanilla Greek yogurt
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 Tbsp. raw turbinado sugar, optional

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Mix dry ingredients in one bowl.

3. In a second bowl, beat the egg with the other wet ingredients.

4. Fold the wet ingredients in to the dry, then gently add the blueberries.

5. Lightly mist the pan with cooking spray, then add the batter. If you choose, sprinkle the tops with raw turbinado sugar.

6. Bake about 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

ALSO TRY THIS!

Turkey Burger Sliders with Blueberry Balsamic Reduction

S’More Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot Cake Muffins Recipe is In Season!

 

Recipe by Brandi Koskie; photos by Kacy Meinecke

 



DIY Flavor: The Best Herbs to Grow in Your Garden (or Window)

herbs

Have you ever considered getting into the whole herb gardening thing? I certainly have, but as always, I need a strong resource to wrap my mind around what is the easiest and most beneficial thing to grow at home. I didn’t find this quickie guide, so I did the research and created one for us all. It turns out herb gardening is easy and a super healthy and cost-effective way to add heapings of extra flavor to your food. Here are the best greens to grow in an indoor or outdoor herb garden. All you need to get started are a few pots, a little bit of soil and some seeds! 

 

basil

Basil
Basil is super easy to grow at home. All you need is some seeds and the sunlight. Basil is so versatile—use it in soups and salads or make pesto with it. It works great in Italian dishes (obviously) and it can add a fun flavor blast to stirfrys too! Basil is also awesome for clearing your skin and mellowing your stress. Who knew?

Try it in a summery peach caprese salad!
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On Demand Eating: 6 Types of Food Delivery Services that Will Bring You Whatever You Crave

grocery

Remember when having food delivered basically meant the Domino’s Pizza guy ringing your doorbell? Now you can get pretty much anything delivered to your doorstep, regardless of where you live or what you feel like eating. Here are 6 of our favorite healthy ways to make the most of this new craze for on demand eating:

If You’re an Athlete: You know how sports drinks and energy bars seem to take up a lot of shelf space at the grocery store? It can be hard to cut through the clutter and find the best foods to fuel your workouts. The pros at The Feed do this for you. Their in-house experts customize a monthly box of sports nutrition for you or you can build your own. Boxes start at $20.01

If You Like to Cook (but hate to shop): We’ve already reported on Amazon’s growing grocery delivery service and other companies like Fresh Direct are also carving out a space in the market. This is great for anyone who likes to keep food in the fridge but can’t seem to make the time to shop. Some services charge a fee of around $10, which may seem steep or cheap, depending on how you feel about grocery stores.
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6 Secrets for a Healthy Backyard Cookout

grill

By Team Best Life

 

Spring is in the air and so is the smell of smoky, mouth-watering barbecue! As you prepare to pick up your spatula and fire up the grill follow these six barbecue basics for a healthy and tasty meal:

 

chicken

Look for lean.
Opt for lean meats to keep calories and fat in check. Try burgers made with lean beef (95 percent), buffalo burgers with naturally lean ground buffalo meat, turkey burgers, or veggie burgers (try this tasty recipe). As for steak, look for T-bone or different cuts of sirloin and flank steaks, or buffalo steaks, which are naturally lean. And don’t forget to remove the skin from poultry; it’s loaded with fat.


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