Monday, April 28, 2014

Carrot Pineapple Coconut Muffins

This recipe was inspired by my love for carrot cake! I wanted to make this treat healthy and satisfying enough that it could be enjoyed for breakfast or dessert. For a fun seasonal twist,  I added pineapple and coconut to the muffin mix . To cut down on the calories, I used applesauce in place of some of the fat and cut back on the added sugar.

Baking this weekend also gave me the chance to play around with the new fancy camera I got for my birthday!  I think the pictures came out pretty well for my first try :)

Carrot Pineapple Coconut Muffins


  •    1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
  •  1 teaspoons baking powder
  •  ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • ¼ cup milk, fat-free (can substitute with coconut or almond milk)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg (or 2 egg whites)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups carrot, grated (about 4 medium carrots)
  •  ½ cup sweetened flaked coconut
  •  1 cup fresh pineapple, cut into ¼-inch dice or “tidbit” size -or- use canned pineapple tidbits, drained -or- 1 cup frozen pineapple tidbits


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease or place cupcake wrappers in a standard-size, 12-cup muffin pan.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together applesauce, milk, brown sugar, vegetable oil, egg, and vanilla extract.

4. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and whisk just until all ingredients are incorporated. Gently stir in the carrots, coconut, and pineapple.

5. Divide the mixture between the muffin cups. Cups should be filled to the top.

6. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until muffin tops spring back when poked and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

7. Allow to cool for 5 – 10 minutes before removing from the muffin tin. Serve plain for breakfast or with pineapple cream cheese glaze for dessert (recipe below).

8. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 – 3 days, or freeze.

Nutrition Information (per muffin): 192 calories, 30 grams carb, 6 grams fat, 3 grams protein

To make these muffins into a sweet treat, top with my pineapple cream cheese glaze!

Pineapple Cream Cheese Glaze
(makes enough to frost 12 muffins)

-1/2 cup,1/3 less fat cream cheese (softened)
-1/2 cup powdered sugar
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-3 tablespoons pineapple juice
    Instructions: Whisk together cream cheese and powdered sugar. Then whisk in vanilla and pineapple juice.
 Nutrition Information (per frosted muffin): 229 calories, 35 grams carb, 7 grams fat, 4 grams protein

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Recipe Makeover: Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

I am always looking for a fun healthy ways to make over my favorite recipes. This week I tackled my families favorite recipe, Lasagna!  For a fun spin on lasagna I added the fillings to a spaghetti squash instead of layering between lasagna noodles.

Spaghetti squash is a lower calorie and lower carbohydrate alternative to pasta. One cup of spaghetti squash only contains 40 calories compared to a whopping 220 calories in a cup of pasta. Spaghetti squash is also packed with nutrients not found in pasta including folic acid, potassium, vitamin A and beta carotene.

My husband may have been able to tell the difference, but he gave this recipe two thumbs up for taste!

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

Servings: 6
Cook time: 60 minutes


  • 3 small spaghetti squash (1.5-2 # each)
  • 32 oz spaghetti sauce
  • 1 # lean ground turkey
  • 1# part skim ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup frozen spinach (3 cups fresh)
  • 1 1/2 cups part skim mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1. Pre-heat to 375 degrees. Cut squash in half length wise and place cut side up on a roasting or jelly roll pan. Lightly sprinkle spaghetti squash with olive oil, salt and pepper. Cook for 45-50 min or until tender.

2. While spaghetti squash is cooking, cook ground turkey on medium heat in a saute pan until cooked through. Drain any fat, then return meat to heat and add in spaghetti sauce. Cook sauce mixture until sauce boils then add in frozen spinach, cooking for another 3 minutes.

3.  In a small dish mix egg into ricotta cheese.

4.   Layer cooked spaghetti squash with 1/4 cup meat sauce, 1/6 cup ricotta, 1/4 cup meat sauce, 1/4 cup mozzarella and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Repeat for the remaining spaghetti squash halves.  Place filled spaghetti squash back into the oven and cook for another 10 minutes or until cheese melted. 


Nutrition Information (per 1 filled spaghetti squash half ): 430 Calories, 20 g Carb, 34g protein, 18 g fat

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Top 10 Snacks for Under 200 Calories!

Snacking can be included into a healthy diet and even weight loss plan. Choosing the right foods to snack on can help keep you satiated and prevent you from over eating at meal time. Snacks are also a great opportunity to get in foods that might be missing from your meals like fruits, vegetables or dairy. The secret to the perfect snack is protein and fiber! These two nutrients work together to help keep you feeling full longer.

TOP 10 Snacks for Under 200 Calories!

1) Hummus and Raw Veggies 
- 1/4 cup hummus, 1 cup cut raw veggies
(175 Calories, 14g carb, 4g protein, 11g fat, 7g fiber)

2)  Greek Yogurt with Low Fat Granola
 - 6oz of your favorite greek yogurt + 1 tbsp of low fat granola
(160 Calories, 25g carb, 15g protein, 2 grams fat, 3g fiber )

3) Part Skim Mozzarella Cheese Stick and a Piece Fruit 
- 1 cheese stick and small fruit
( 140 Calories, 16g carb, 8g protein, 6g fat, 3g fiber )

4) Almonds and Dry Fruit 
- 1/2 oz (~12 nuts) and 1/4 cup dry fruit
( 142 Calories, 17g carb, 3g protein, 7g fat, 3g fiber )

5) Peanut Butter and Whole Wheat Crackers 
- 1 tbsp peanut butter + 5 crackers
(180 Calories, 19g carb, 7g protein, 10g fat, 5g fiber)

6) Popcorn 
 - 3 cup serving of plain popcorn
( 90 Calories, 18g carb, 3g protein, 1g, 4g fiber)

7) High Protein/Fiber Granola Bar (e.g. Kashi, Luna Bar, Cliff Bar) 
 - 1 bar
( 120-180 Calories, 24g carb, 5-9g protein, 2-7g  fat, 4-6g  fiber)

8) Cereal and Milk
 - 3/4 cup low sugar/high fiber cereal( choose cereal with >5 grams fiber, <6 grams sugar) + 1/2 cup non-fat or 1% milk
( ~170 Calories, 32g carb, 7g protein, 2g fat, 5g fiber)

9) Cottage Cheese and Fruit
 - 1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese and 1/2 cup cut up fruit/berries
(140 Calories, 17g carb, 14g protein, 1g fat, 3g fiber)

10) Rice Cake with Peanut Butter and Banana
 - 1 rice cake, 1 tbsp peanut butter, 1/3 banana
(175 Calories, 17g carb, 5g protein, 8g fat,  4g fiber)

Many of these snacks are easy to pack for when you are on the run, at work, or at school!