Coconut Infused Vanilla Muffins

Coconut Infused Vanilla Muffins - Mimi's Fit Foods

These are glorious!  They are soft, fluffy, and contain both hints of coconut and vanilla.  The dusting of cinnamon on top adds the perfect finishing touch.

And . . . well, if you’re looking to use up some of that leftover coconut milk that’s lingering in your fridge, this recipe is a fabulous idea!   (It seems like most recipes that call for coconut milk rarely use the entire can!)

We are BIG fans of coconut oil and coconut flavor in my house.  So, I was pretty darn sure we were going to LOVE these muffins.  That being said, the coconut is not overwhelming here, but offers nice subtle notes that leave you completely satisfied.  I use organic extra virgin coconut oil because it has a stronger coconut flavor and it’s a tad bit better for you than other forms of coconut oil.  (If you’re looking for less coconut flavor, then use one that’s not organic and not extra virgin . . . but please make sure it’s non-hydrogenated as you’ll still want the health benefits of using the coconut oil.)

Now, let me just clarify that these muffins are not perfect from a nutritional stand point.  However, they are healthier than most traditional muffins.  They have less sugar, use a healthier fat, and more than half of the flour is whole wheat.  I realize we are all at different places in our health journeys.  For some, these could be the healthiest muffins you’ve made in years.  For others, these might be considered a treat/dessert.  Either way, I think these can find a way into the hearts of many of you, and luckily they are much more heart-healthy than the typical muffin (or donut, or pop-tart, or other crazy breakfast option you might grab).

Coconut Infused Vanilla Muffins
Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

2 large eggs
1/2 cup canned light coconut milk
1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
6 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
Cinnamon and sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray (or you can line them with paper liners).

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milks, vanilla extract, coconut extract and coconut oil.

In a large bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients.

Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, stir the batter together until just combined. Don’t over mix or the muffins will be tough and dry. It only takes a few stirs to incorporate the batter well enough. The batter will be lumpy and that is ok.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin tin. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon and sugar.

Bake for 16-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out dry or with a few moist crumbs. Don’t over bake.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 12.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1 Muffin)
Calories:  205.4
Protein:  4.1g
Carbs:  28.6g
Fat:  8.8g (7g = Sat.)
Fiber:  1.8g
Sugars:  11.3g

Berry Heart Skewers

Berry Heart Skewers1 - Mimi's Fit Foods

Since Valentine’s Day is in two days, I thought I would share a fun and easy idea into the mix.  These Berry Heart Skewers are so EASY, but beyond that I think they are so super adorable.

There’s not a real recipe that goes with this post as it’s more of a simple method to ensure you get a heart shape out of your strawberries.  It’s pretty simple since strawberries already come in a shape that resembles a heart.

All you do is core the strawberries.  Then, taking a paring knife, simply cut a v-shape out of the top of the berry.  I  cut one slant down, and then I make my other cut on the opposite side.  I found that the strawberries look best if the cut is not too deep.

That’s it!  You can skewer them however you wish.  I thought the addition of blueberries was way fun and festive.

Berry Heart Skewers - Mimi's Fit Foods

You can put these out as a snack for the kids, put them in your hubby’s lunch, or you can have them as a side dish for dinner or lunch.

My sweet little toddler has been enjoying them with her PB&J for lunch!  And, because it’s Valentine’s week . . . her PB&J is shaped like a heart too (using a cookie cutter).

Berry Heart Skewers with Heart PB&J - Mimi's Fit Foods

Most importantly, I hope you have a love-filled Valentine’s Day!

Spicy Chipotle White Bean Hummus

Spicy Chipotle White Bean Hummus - Mimi's Fit Foods

Here’s another great recipe for game day!  I absolutely love the smokiness of chipotle peppers.  And, guess who loves them even more?  My hubby!  If I make anything with chipotle peppers in it, I’m bound to get all kinds of compliments for my kitchen craftiness.

This hummus is excellent.  I like hummus, but sometimes I find it to be a bit bland.  Not this one!  This one has a fabulous little kick from the chipotle peppers and the smokiness is enhanced by the cumin.  It’s a hummus with a Mexican twist.  Awesome!

It seriously takes all of 5 minutes to whip up, and it’s oh-so-good!  Add this to your healthy game day line-up. You won’t be mad about it.

Spicy Chipotle White Bean Hummus
Slightly Adapted from Damn Delicious

1 (15-ounce) can cannelloni beans (white kidneys), drained and rinsed
1-3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (the more you use, the “hotter” it gets)
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

In the bowl of a food processor, combine cannellini beans, chipotle peppers, garlic, Meyer lemon juice, cumin and chili powder.  With the motor running, add olive oil in a slow stream until emulsified.

Serve with pita bread, crackers, chips, or veggies.

Serves 12.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 2 Tablespoons) 
Calories:  86
Protein:  1.9g
Carbs:  5.4g
Fat:  7.1g (1g = Sat.)
Fiber:  1.6g
Sugars:  0.2g

Banana and Oatmeal Cookie Bites (Two or Three Ingredients Only!)

Banana & Oatmeal Snack Bites - Mimi's Fit Foods

Okay folks!  This is the easiest recipe ever.  When I saw a version of it, I knew I had to give it a go (plus it was in Oprah’s magazine and it seems like EVERYONE trusts Oprah when it comes to what is best – haha).  I figured if these babies really did turn out to be snack-worthy, then I knew I found myself a winner.  I mean, we’re talking 15 minutes from start-to-finish and 12 of those minutes are baking time.

Winner.  I’m telling you; these win in my book.  I whipped these up in the afternoon for a little “cookie” snack for me and my sweet toddler and we BOTH loved them.  All it took was mashing two ripe banana and adding oats to them.  Done!  Before baking, I decided that I wanted some peanut butter in them.  Why?  Because I LOVE peanut butter and I’m always trying to sneak protein in my little babe’s food.  Thus, I added some PB2 to the mixture.  (Have you ever heard of PB2?  It’s awesome.  It comes in a powder form and it has 85% less fat than regular peanut butter . . . making the calorie count much less.  That being said, it adds great PB taste to smoothies and other things . . . like these cookie bites.)  If you want the peanut butter taste and you don’t have PB2 and you don’t want to buy any, then you can substitute 1/4 cup of peanut butter instead (however, keep in mind that 1/4 cup PB = 360 calories, where 2 Tablespoons of PB2 = 45 calories).

These turned out great and Baby Evie and I were thrilled to eat these little cookie bites for our afternoon snack.  In fact, she had NO patience to wait for me to snap a picture of them so she ate one right off the plate beforehand.  And, while I was snapping pictures I had to keep telling her, “no touchies.”  As soon as I was done I told her she could have another one and she waited all of .01 seconds to go in for the grab!

If you’re looking for a way to get some healthy eats into your kiddos, give these a try!  They’ll get bananas and oats for a snack without all the extra sugars and fats.  TOTALLY great!  I also think these would make great pre-workout or post-workout snacks.

Cookie anyone?

Banana and Oatmeal Snack Bites - Mimi's Fit Foods

Banana and Oatmeal Snack Bites
Adapted from Foodlets Via Oprah Magazine

2 very ripe bananas (brown spotted ones)
1 cup old-fashioned oats
2 tablespoons PB2 (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare baking sheet with a non-stick silicone liner or parchment paper.

Mash the bananas with a fork, add the oats plus PB2 (if using). Once it’s all incorporated, using a cookie scoop (1 1/2 tablespoon size) drop balls on the baking sheet and press down (like peanut butter cookies but without the fork). Bake for 12 minutes.

Makes 10 Cookies.

Nutritional Information (Per Cookie with PB2)
Calories:  55.6
Protein:  1.8g
Carbs:  11.3g
Fat:  0.8g (0g = Sat.)
Fiber:  1.6g
Sugars:  3.2g (all natural sugars, of course)

Whole Wheat Triple Berry Protein Muffins

Whole Wheat Triple Berry Protein Muffins - Mimi's Fit Foods

These seriously taste awesome!  I was a bit skeptical, but curious enough to make muffins with protein powder, and I’m so thrilled with the results!  I’m constantly looking for yummy, healthy, and effective ways to use protein powder.  Using the protein powder in these muffins obviously added a nice chunk of protein to the muffins PLUS it allowed me to cut WAY back on sugar.  I used a healthy oil here too . . . coconut oil.  I love the way they turned out.  They taste just like a breakfast muffin and the berries add extra components of flavor, sweetness, and nutrition (go antioxidants!).

These would be great additions to your breakfast or snack line-up.  We ate these for breakfast alongside a fried egg (just to get a little extra protein).  They can easily be frozen and pulled out of your freezer for your convenience.  They are a great grab-and-go snack.

You can really use any protein powder you like here.  Obviously, depending on the powder you use, the protein content may change slightly (the one I used for the nutritional information below had 18g protein per scoop and there’s about 2 scoops used in the recipe).

Also, the recipe calls for partially frozen berries.  you can take your berries out of the freezer an hour before you plan to use them.  OR, if you’re like me and don’t really plan that far in advance (especially if it’s breakfast), then you can just slightly thaw them in the microwave (I thawed mine on power level 2 for about 90 seconds and they were perfect).

Whole Wheat Triple Berry Protein Muffins
Mimi’s Fit Foods

1 cup whole-what flour
1/2 cup vanilla protein powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups partially frozen berries

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Create a well in the middle of the bowl. Add the coconut oil and then slowly add the buttermilk and vanilla extract while stirring until it’s just combined (for ease, I combined the buttermilk and vanilla in the same measuring cup).  Fold in the berries.

Spray a muffin tin liberally with nonstick cooking spray, or use paper liners.

Using a cookie scoop, fill each well of the muffin tin 3/4 full.

Bake 17-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Allow to cool before serving, and refrigerate in a covered container for up to one week.

Serving 12: Makes 12 muffins.

Nutritional Information (Per Sering = 1 Muffin)
Calories:  130
Protein:  5.1g
Carbs:  13.2g
Fat:  6.9g (5.6g = Sat.)
Fiber:  1.8g
Sugars:  4.8g

Triple Berry and Carrot Juice Detox and Antioxidant Smoothie

Triple Berry and Carrot Juice Detox and Antioxidant Smoothie - Mimi's Fit Foods

We caught some of the nasty winter germs that have been going around and have been down with colds in our house.  Ugh!  In order to help boost our immune systems we’ve been trying hard to get in as many fruits and veggies as possible.  

This little smoothie has become our breakfast drink for the past week.  The berries are LOADED with antioxidants and I love sneaking veggies in the smoothie without anyone even noticing they’re there . . . thus, the addition of carrot juice.  Fruits and veggies will help us to naturally detox and cleanse our bodies too, so this smoothie is great for any of us who may have indulged a little over the holidays.  

If you’re wondering, I buy my triple berry mix from Costco.  I also found the carrot juice at Costco and have noticed that I can get the three bottles at Costco for almost the same price it costs for 1 bottle in the grocery store.  Since we won’t be drinking ALL that carrot juice before it goes bad, I’ve decided to freeze it until I need it.

If you’re in need of a handy-dandy way to get in your fruits and veggies, here’s a great solution.  Your kids will love it too.  My little babe sees it mixing in the blender and starts chanting, “num, num, num.”  Smoothies just seem to be a special treat!

Triple Berry and Carrot Juice Detox and Antioxidant Smoothie
Mimi’s Fit Foods

1 cup frozen mixed berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries)
1/2 cup carrot juice
1/2 cup cold water
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder
1/8-1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (depending on taste)
crushed ice, optional

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth (about 30 seconds).

Serves 2.

Nutritional Information Per Serving (Per Smoothie)
Calories:  110.2
Protein:  4.8g
Carbs:  22.6g
Fat:  0.4g (0.1g = Sat.)
Fiber:  2.7g
Sugars:  18.4g (mostly all natural from the berries)

Pumpkin Pie Protein Smoothie

Pumpkin Pie Protein Smoothie - Mimi's Fit Foods

I hope you all had a fun and safe Halloween!  Now we get to look forward to Thanksgiving.  What better way to do so than with Pumpkin Pie, I ask?

Here’s a great way to get your protein shake in while TOTALLY appreciating the flavors of pumpkin pie!  It’ll make you feel all cozy on a fall or winter day.  The smoothie surprisingly tastes a whole lot like pumpkin pie and leaves you with that sweet and decadent flavor.  I gotta admit that my favorite part of the smoothie is the the chunks of graham crackers found throughout.  I love the flavor and the crunch.

I’m so happy that I’ve found a way to enjoy pumpkin pie in a healthy and balanced nutrition sort-of-way.  Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pie Protein Smoothie
Adapted from Little Inspiration

1/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup low fat milk (I used organic, 1%)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder (100 calories, 15g Protein)
1 cup crushed ice
1/2 graham cracker (or 2 sections), crushed (crumbs for topping)

Put canned pumpkin, milk, cinnamon, and protein powder in blender.  Blend until well-combined and smooth (about 1-2 minutes).  Add ice and blend again until smooth.  Top with graham cracker crumbs.

Serves 1.

Nutritional Information
Calories:  209.8
Protein:  20.2g
Carbs:  24.9g
Fat:  3.7g (1.5g = Sat.)
Fiber:  5.3g
Sugars:  13g

DIY Microwave Popcorn with Coconut Oil

DIY Microwave Popcorn - Mimi's Fit Foods

Popcorn is one of our most favorite low-calorie treats.  We love the flavor and the crunch.  That all being said, I hate to get out the air-popper all the time and sometimes the store-bought microwaved stuff doesn’t really pop all that well (I swear I burn it more than I don’t!).  Besides that, it isn’t all natural . . . just look at your label next time.

I ran across this option to microwave my own popcorn and just had to try it!  It works so well and now we pop our popcorn like this 99% of the time. It’s fast, easy, and all natural.  I opt to use Coconut Oil rather than any other oils because the health benefits of this oil outweigh all the others.  I also find the results are a little better when I use the bigger lunch bag (Approx. 13″ tall by 8″ wide), but have also made it in a traditional lunch bag (Approx. 10″ tall by 5″ wide) with okay results.

Along with my love of popcorn, my little baby also LOVES popcorn and constantly asks for “pop pop” when it’s snack time (she couldn’t even wait 2 seconds for me to take a picture before she stuck her cute, little hand in for a taste).  I am always happy to oblige to her request!  Give it a whirl! You’ll love it too!

DIY Microwave Popcorn With Coconut Oil - Mimi's Fit Foods

DIY Microwave Popcorn with Coconut Oil
Adapted from Mostly Homemade Mom

1 teaspoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup corn kernels

Melt coconut oil in a small bowl (takes about 1 minute on 1/3 power in the microwave).  Add salt and kernels to the oil and stir to coat kernels.  Drop kernels into a paper lunch bag, fold over twice and microwave for 1 1/2 – 2 minutes.  (Cooking time will vary based on your microwave.  I like to cook mine for 1 1/2 minutes.  I still end up with a few extra un-popped kernals, but I never burn my popcorn.)  Add additional salt if desired.

Serves 2.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = Approximately 3 Heaping Cups)
Calories:  106
Protein:  2.7g
Carbs:  16.7g
Fat:  3.3g (1.9g = Sat.)
Fiber:  3.3g
Sugars:  0g

Cantaloupe and Avocado Salad with Agave-Lime Dressing

Cantaloupe and Avocado Salad - Mimi's Fit Foods

Ok. Ok.  So, this might seem like a weird combination.  However, let me be the one to convince you that it is a mightily GREAT combination.  We like both cantaloupe and avocado in our house.  We like it a lot.  We also love lime.  Thus, I knew I had to give this a whirl to see if the flavors would meld well together.  Oh man!  We love cantaloupe, avocado, and lime EVEN more now.  This salad was screaming SUMMER and it tasted fresh, with a hint of sweetness, as well as a hint of tartness.  It was a perfect side dish to our dinner.  My cute little baby even GOBBLED this right up.  I seriously put a good portion size on her serving tray, turned around to do something, turned back around to check on her, and it was all gone and she was begging for more.  I kind of wish I could act like a baby sometimes and cry and grunt for more too . . . even when I know I’ve had way over my portion allotment.

I’m SUPER glad I found this recipe and had the curiosity to try it because it’s going to make several more appearances at our lunch/dinner table (and probably others too when we are asked to bring fruit to the next BBQ) this summer.  It’s not only unique, but so, so, so, SO good.

Cantaloupe and Avocado Salad2 - Mimi's Fit Foods

Cantaloupe and Avocado Salad with Agave-Lime Dressing
Adapted from Whole Living

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon Agave Nectar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse (kosher) salt
1 cantaloupe (3 pounds), quartered and seeded
1 avocado, halved, pitted, and skinned

In a large bowl, whisk together lime juice, Agave, oil, and salt; set aside.

Cut each cantaloupe quarter in half lengthwise.  Run a knife between the flesh and the sin of the melon; discard skin.  Cut each wedge into 1/2-inch pieces.

Cut each avocado half again length-wise and then into 1/2-inch-thick chunks.  Add cantaloupe, avocado to bowl with dressing and toss to coat.  Divide among 6 plates.

Serves 6.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1/6 the Recipe)
Calories:  142
Protein:  1.9g
Carbs:  18.9g
Fat:  7.5g (0.4g = Sat.)
Fiber:  2.2g
Sugars:  14.6g

*Note:  If looking to cut calories, you can cut the dressing in half.  There is PLENTY of dressing, so that wouldn’t be much of a sacrifice in flavor and will cut about 20 calories.  You can also eliminate the avocado which will save an additional 45 calories.  (So, if you eat this with half the dressing and no avocado your calorie count will be closer to 82.)

Watermelon, Strawberry, and Feta Salad With Balsamic Reduction

Watermelon, Strawberry, and Feta Salad With a Balsamic Reduction - Mimi's Fit Foods

Those of you who have had tried a balsamic reduction over your fruit know exactly where I’m coming from on this post.  Those of you who have not tried such a thing . . . well, it’s time you jumped on the wagon because you’re seriously missing out.  I know, I know.  It sounds completely weird and it’s hard to even imagine that such a concoction would taste so awesome.  But, I’m here to tell you that it is seriously awesome!

My sister-in-law reminded me of this beautiful combination when we had lunch a couple of weeks ago.  I was then asked to bring fruit to a family party and I didn’t even think twice about what I would take.  I put the fruit in a big bowl and then allowed everyone to add their desired amount of balsamic reduction and feta cheese to their own portions.  This worked out perfectly because most of the kids just had plain fruit while several of the adults had the more “sophisticated” salad.  I’ve been eating this for a snack or side dish almost every day since (because the balsamic reduction goes a LONG way).  It’s sweet and savory all at the same time.  If you haven’t tried this, you just have to give it a whirl.  If you have tried it, may this be your mouth-watering reminder to make it again.

Have I mentioned how much I love summer?

Watermelon, Strawberry, and Feta Salad With Balsamic Reduction

1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
watermelon, cubed
strawberries, sliced
reduced fat feta cheese, crumbled

Place balsamic vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Bring just to a boil, and then turn down the heat so that the boil reduces to a simmer.  Stir occasionally and allow to simmer until the vinegar has reduced by at least half (for a thinner reduction) or to about 1/4 cup (for a more syrupy consistency – which is what I prefer).  This can take up to 20 minutes.  Allow to cool and transfer to an airtight container.  You can store the balsamic reduction in the refrigerator until ready to use.

For each serving, place about a cup of mixed fruit (watermelon/strawberries) on a plate.  Drizzle with balsamic reduction and 1 tablespoon feta cheese.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving)
Calories:  66.3
Protein:  2.4g
Carbs:  12.8g
Fat:  1.3g (0.6g = Sat.)
Fiber:  2.3g
Sugars:  9.4g