Last week I ran far, far away from home, where it’s been six-digit temperatures for the better part of the summer, in to the cool, loving arms of Portland, Oregon. I’ve never been to that part of the country and I can say it was just about love at first sight. To you Portlanders – well done! It’s one of the most beautiful, friendly, genuinely unique places I’ve ever visited.
I took in the scenic hikes at Mt. Hood, enjoyed tastings at local wineries, had lunch at the downtown food carts, and even picked up a bottle of honey (my go-to souvenir for any vacation). One of the things I loved the very most were the blackberries. They were very much in season while I was there, with many restaurants advertising all sorts of blackberry treats. The ones I enjoyed most were right out of a basket at the Portland Farmers Market on the PSU campus. Plump, juicy, and perfectly sweet… they were a far cry from any blackberry I’m used to having in Kansas.
When I returned home, I couldn’t get that sweet taste out of my mind. So this weekend, I made due with the blackberries I had access to and made what my husband called the best muffins I’ve ever baked. It seemed only right to share them with you.
I wanted a muffin that would let the blueberries shine, not be too heavy, and complement a breakfast rather than be the main course. I found a recipe that I could easily modify over at DozenFlours.com. Her recipe was great as-is, but I had to add a few of my own tricks to truly make it mine, make it a touch healthier, and help me savor that Portland blackberry flavor I was after. (more…)
Baking in the summertime seems ridiculous, especially considering how hot it’s been. Sometimes, it’s unavoidable… like when my niece turns three! I’m the “weird” aunt who doesn’t give the kids juice, or candy, or chicken nuggets. So it’s to be expected when I make her a special birthday treat that it’s going to be healthy. I decided to kick-off her third birthday with a healthy, delicious, kid-friendly breakfast.
With plenty of in-season strawberries at my disposal, I chose a strawberry muffin. It looks like a cupcake to a toddler, but it’s so much better for her. Plus, I just wanted a strawberry muffin!
My goal was to use whole grain flour and not use any sugar, and a quick search lead me to Yummly where a recipe made that possible! This recipe for Strawberry-Lemonade Muffins was exactly what I was looking for and more. With a few slight modifications I was able to make this on a whim with ingredients I had on hand… with a few helping hands. (more…)
Muffins are one of those things we quickly give up when we start watching our weight. And for good reason. Some the size of a softball made with starchy white flour, butter, loads of sugar, and likely some syrupy canned version of what used to be fruit combine to make a breakfast that will have you crashing before you can wash it down with coffee. Or, there are Van’s muffins. If you need a muffin fix, then reach for these.
Found in the frozen natural foods section at most major grocery stores (we’ve found ours at Super Target and Kroger), these make a nice addition to a balanced breakfast. We actually prefer them as dessert.
The best part is, it’s not a softball-sized muffin. It’s actually the best part of the muffin – the muffin tops, or as Van’s calls them, muffin crowns. In a portion-crazed world, these are just right for a quick breakfast, a snack, or a dessert. (more…)
Whether you’re male or female, healthy nails and hands are typically seen as signs of physical beauty. According to Dr. Ariel Ostad, a Manhattan Board Certified Dermatologist, changes in skin and nails can signify health problems, some of which can be helped or prevented by eating a healthy diet.
“Skin and nail changes should be given the same level of attention and scrutiny as other physical symptoms men and women experience within their body,” said Ostad. “All too often, we only see a doctor for symptoms we can feel such as stomach or back pain. Visible changes to nails and skin can be indicative of conditions such as skin cancer or other systemic issues.”
While a perfectly manicured hand is one where the nails are strong and smooth, with no discoloration or jagged cuticle, most people have less-than-perfect hands. While regular visits to the dermatologist, proper moisturizing and protecting your skin from UV rays are all good practice, what you eat can also help prevent the issues that cause skin damage – and help improve damage that has already been done.
Look at your skin and nails for cues that it’s time to change up your diet. If you suspect there is an underlying issue, be sure to see your doctor or health care professional.