Tag Archives: blueberries

Better Oats is the Best Darn Microwave Oatmeal: 4 Easy Microwave Oatmeal Recipes

The best part of waking up is oatmeal in my daughter’s bowl. The morning is the most routine part of her day and she sticks by it with military precision. This is her own doing. She rises at 8, requests a bowl of oatmeal, and then gets dressed. Every single day. Her penchant for oatmeal used to be a sticking point for us; I had to boil the water and prep the oatmeal from scratch. This wasn’t feasible every morning.


Have you looked at microwave oatmeals? Honestly, they’re gross — at least to me! For something so pure and natural, most of those boxes read like a chemistry experiment. So we reserved oatmeal for the mornings I had time to make the real thing. Until I discovered Better Oats Raw Pure & Simple Oatmeal. I swear this isn’t sponsored; my endorsement is as organic as the oats themselves! I found it on the shelf at my Kroger one day, and at $1.99 per eight-count box, I couldn’t afford not to stock up. Now it’s a staple on the grocery list and for six months my daughter has had a bowl of this oatmeal every single morning.


Each pouch is filled with raw, pure oats and a blend of quinoa, flax, and barley. We buy the “Bare” — just plain Jane oatmeal. It takes two minutes to prepare: Oats in the bowl, water, microwave for 1:45, and serve. We’ve found that using a little less water than recommended and cooking for less time gives a thicker oatmeal, which my kiddo prefers.


What she actually ends up eating is anything but plain Jane. She has a standard recipe that we abide by: butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, dried fruit, fresh fruit. (more…)

4 Foods Runners Must Eat for Training and Recovery


Two friends train for a marathon. They follow the same training plan and meet for long runs on Saturday mornings, keeping each other accountable to their goals. When the big day arrives one crosses the finish line with a smile on her face and arms raised in triumph. The other hobbles across, much later, ready to collapse in pain.

Our late finisher didn’t get injured. She trained hard but she neglected to pay attention to her fuel and her rest. Rest and recovery are THE difference makers not just in race training but also in fat loss, fitness and overall health. Giving your muscles time to recover and rebuild is key to a healthy and strong body that will carry you wherever you want to go. Getting plenty of quality sleep and including scheduled rest days gives the body time to recharge, repair and be ready for the next workout.

Finding the right calorie balance to meet your training level is just as important as finding the right running shoe. A balanced plate MUST be part of the training and recovery plan. Lean protein, smart carbs, and healthy fats provide fuel to replenish energy stores and rebuild muscle. Eating too little can leave you drained, while eating too much of the wrong things (like over carb-loading or surviving off fast food) can also leave you feeling sluggish. (more…)

Make This Strawberry Banana Crunch Smoothie Bowl for a Delicious Post-Workout Recovery

smoothie bowl recipe

One of the most common questions that I get asked as a personal trainer is what to eat pre- and post-workout. Fueling your workouts properly and eating a nutritious post-workout meal is just as important as exercising itself (especially if you want to reap the full benefits of your sweat session). Let me share with you what works best for me.

I keep my pre-workout fueling simple. Why? I’m usually not hungry when I wake up, and I tend to cramp up if I eat a big meal before I exercise. My go-to choices are a banana, half a bagel with peanut butter, or part of a granola bar.


Post-workout is when I can get creative! After I’ve finished a long run or bike ride, I love nothing more than to kick back and enjoy a delicious and refreshing smoothie bowl. I created this recipe in order to help my body recover after a hard workout. I like to call it the Strawberry Banana Crunch Smoothie Bowl, and I think you’re going to love it, too! (more…)

Little Blue Dynamos: My Love Affair with Blueberries Made a Blueberry Cucumber Salad


It’s my favorite time of year: peak blueberry season! If you’re anything like me, you can’t get enough of these little balls of deliciousness. Farmers markets, U-Pick berry fields, or from the local produce store, I can’t gobble them up fast enough.

Peak season is anytime from late June through early September, so I’m even known to buy extra large amounts in bulk and freeze* for the rest of the year. Then I add them to smoothies, pancakes (my favorite recipe is this one), oatmeal, you name it! I even found a way to add these little guys to a savory salad. Don’t believe me? We’ll let you try the recipe for yourself!

blueberry cucumber salad

Why the love affair with blueberries? These little blue dynamos… (more…)

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


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.


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Carrot Cake Muffins Recipe is In Season!


Recipe by Brandi Koskie; photos by Kacy Meinecke


5 Virus Fighting Foods That Make Colds Disappear

We’re incredibly close to spring, but that does not mean that cold and flu season is gone just yet. Here’s a list of delicious foods that also help strengthen the immune system and stave off germs and illness. Because you should not have to sacrifice your taste buds to stay healthy and eat well. 


This superfood, which is made of ground sesame seeds, is most often used as a paste. Tahini can be used as a dip and it’s also added to other foods—including hummus and baba ghanoush—to enhance flavor. Yes, it is high in calories but sticking to two tablespoons a day is just fine, especially considering the high amount of magnesium and zinc which are both important for building a stronger immune system.


Berry Bliss: 4 Ways to Boost Your Antioxidant Intake

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

My phytonutrient intake is pretty good year-round, but it skyrockets in the summer thanks to strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. That’s the time these antioxidant-packed berries are in season, and, finally, affordable!

Here’s why I love each of these berries.


Blueberries. One of nature’s most potent antioxidants—anthocyanins—give these berries their purple-blue color. They’ve been shown to help fight age-related declines in memory and cognition, plus they help keep arteries clear. They’re also delicious—plain, in a crisp, or in these ultra-healthy waffles. This recipe calls for frozen berries, but now that blueberries are in season, you can sub in fresh berries, which will be sweeter and more tender. (more…)

How to Cook for Heart Health

February is National Heart Health Month, making it the perfect time to highlight some foods that promote heart health, as well as list those that do more harm than good.

While heart disease can be hereditary, its prevention begins with a healthy lifestyle. For starters, this means no smoking, monitoring your blood sugar and blood pressure levels, and incorporating exercise and a healthy, well-balanced diet into your everyday routine. 

Diet alone can play a huge role in heart disease prevention. In general, heart healthy foods are ones that are natural, whole foods that don’t come in a box and instead come straight from nature. Fresh fruits and vegetables are certainly a cornerstone of heart-healthy foods for their high nutrient and vitamin content and their amazing ability to cleanse free radicals from the blood stream. (more…)

A Festive Fruit Salad To Ring in the 2012 Olympic Games

The 2012 Olympic Games are fast approaching and we’ve dished out just about every ounce of inspiration we have for the upcoming event.

You’ve seen our top picks for the most enviable Olympic bodies, delicious smoothie recipes straight from the Olympic kitchen, and even insight into your favorite athletes’ diet and training regimens. But, we have one more trick up our sleeve before the games arrive in the form of a healthy and delicious recipe that will ‘wow’ your guests at all of your Olympic-themed parties.


How to Cook with Blueberries

July is national blueberry month – have you been eating them like crazy this summer like I have? They’re such a popular fruit not only in my own home, but also in millions of other American homes as they reportedly rank second only to strawberries as the most consumed fruit in the U.S. And it’s no wonder they’re so popular with countless health benefits, surprising versatility and delicious taste.

One of my favorite ways to eat blueberries – besides fresh from the pint – is in my morning smoothies. I sprinkle half a cup in with some cottage cheese, protein powder, stevia and ice, and feel instantly better about the way I’m starting my day nutritionally.

“Blueberries have been loved in this country since the beginning, really,” explains Scott Jenkins, executive chef at Arlington-based Extra Virgin restaurant. “They are delicious, versatile and healthy, so what’s not to love about a blueberry?” (more…)