Archive for the ‘healthy lifestyle’ Category

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins


The page on which I have recopied this recipe is falling apart. Again! I’d better post it here before I lose it forever (in which case I could just get it from my sister-in-law, who got it from me and also bakes these regularly). The reason this recipe is so faded and dirty is simply that everyone loves these muffins, so I bake them over and over. For parties, church functions, birthday breakfasts, care packages, and so on. Here’s where I got the recipe:

A couple months after I was married, I was invited to my first home sales party. It was a Tupperware party, and the hostess was a fellow school teacher. She was single and lived with two other single schoolteachers. (They all eventually got married–probably because they fed some guy these muffins!) The muffins were served at the party, and along with my first-ever Tupperware purchase, I went home with the recipe. Because they were that good.

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened (no substitutes)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 egg
2-3 large bananas
1 Tbsp instant coffee or espresso powder
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli)

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In another bowl, beat together softened butter, sugar, and egg. Mash bananas and add to butter mixture. In a coffee cup, dissolve the instant coffee in 1 Tbsp very hot water. Stir into butter/banana mixture. Add dry ingredients and stir just til combined, then stir in chocolate chips. Spoon batter into muffin cups lined with paper liners and bake for 20 min, or until knife inserted in center of muffin comes out clean. Makes 2 dozen.

I once substituted gluten-free flour (Krusteaz gluten-free all-purpose flour is the BEST I’ve tried, and is available at Sam’s Club) and they turned out fine!  Some of the college kids eating them that day were surprised to find out they were gluten-free.  Score!

By the way, if you want to be a really popular mom, serve these for breakfast tomorrow. Of course, then you’ll be serving them over and over…. =)

Posted on January 18th, 2016 by DaisyMuse  |  No Comments »

A bit of a book review and sample menu

So I received the book Trim Healthy Mama in the mail, and have begun reading.  It’s a thick book, but contains many recipes, and is easy to read.  I read a little each night when I go to bed.  I’ve started the plan, though I am still learning about it.

The basic premise of the book is this:  Do not eat large amounts of carbs with large amounts of fat.  This would include a meal such as a hamburger on a regular or even whole wheat bun, or meatloaf and mashed potatoes.  Or chicken sauteed in olive oil and rice.  Mixing carbs and fat makes one fat.

I already agree with much of the book, as I’ve lost weight on the South Beach Diet and felt great.  But I stopped doing that.  Don’t ask me why… it was working!  Trim Healthy Mama is not exactly like South Beach, and I’ll just explain a few of the things I like about the plan.

Fat.  In the words of Julia Child (who, by the way, died just two days shy of her 92nd birthday), “Fat gives things flavor.”   I agree!  It is also necessary, as is cholesterol, for good health.  I am eating fat on this plan, and guess what?  Though I can snack, I don’t really think about food much between meals.  Why?  Because my body is satisfied from eating fat.

Simplicity.  At first, I thought I’d have to go to a lot of trouble cooking THM meals.  Not so!  Their delicious recipes are also simple.  Each of these authors (who are sisters by the way) has more than six children.  And homeschools.  So no, they do not have time to fiddle in the kitchen.

Variety.  Here’s where I failed on South Beach (which actually doesn’t allow as much fat as THM):  I didn’t have a lot of variety.  Here’s what I’m making for later today:  Cookie Bowl Oatmeal (it’s like No Bake Cookies) and a to-die-for mocha frappucino.  They give you all the recipes for these treats in the book.  There are more than I’d even need to keep my palate interested.

Purity.  The sweetener  recommended on this plan is Truvia… made with natural Stevia and erithrytol, a sugar alcohol.  This sweetener has none of the ill health effects of artificial sweeteners nor does it raise blood sugar as do natural sweeteners such as agave or raw honey.  Hormone-free meat is recommended but not required.  Both women have large families and tight budgets, so there are no extraordinary purchases;  just things you can make room for.  This week, I purchased my regular chicken breasts, but found grass-fed beef on sale and combined it with a coupon (at Super Target… if you haven’t checked out their meat selections and prices, you should).  I bought frozen wild-caught salmon at Aldi (I love Aldi!  I always stack a bunch of groceries on the conveyer and try to guess how much it will be… it’s always at least $20 less than I thought.).  My eggs are local… $2.00 a dozen for the most delicious, dark-yolked eggs from chickens who actually have a yard to run around in and eat worms and bugs in.  (Sounds gross… but in case you didn’t know, that’s what God made chickens to actually eat!)  I make the healthiest choices where I can and let go of the rest.  Worrying because of food is just as bad for your health as eating junk food.

My Menu Today:

Breakfast:  Me–2 eggs, fried in butter, with 2 pieces of turkey bacon (I can have pork but chose not to this time)  Family–egg and turkey bacon sandwiches on whole wheat mini-bagels with cheese

Lunch:  Me–slice of muenster cheese wrapped around 3 slices Hormel Naturals Smoked Deli Turkey (another sale), several green olives, and for dessert, a thin square of 85% dark chocolate dragged through a brand-new jar of Skippy Natural Peanut Butter (don’t you love to be the first one to get to the new jar?!?).  We have one child with a peanut allergy, but she is not anaphylactic, so we can have it in the house.  Her SunButter is on another shelf.  If you have allergies in your house you could try this with SunButter.  Family–leftovers or they could have the turkey and cheese on sandwich bread and a piece of fruit.  Don’t worry… one CAN have fruit.  But fruit is high in sugar, so we stick to those that are not.  Berries are the best choice and just happen to be my favorite fruit anyway!  I buy them frozen to save money.  If you have a Sam’s card, they have huge bags of frozen berries, but I find even better prices per ounce at Aldi (though you’d have to buy several bags to equal one from Sam’s).

Dinner:  I’m probably going to make the plan cheeseburger pie and have a salad with full-fat ranch dressing and some steamed broccoli with butter, though I may wait on the broccoli because we’re running out… I know.  What weirdos, we actually eat up the broccoli too fast.  We might have salmon instead.  But I might save that for just me because it’s expensive, and I’m the one trying to lose weight.  But it’s nice to have options.  The family will have mashed potatoes added to their meal.  That doesn’t tempt me at all.  Oven-fried ones would, however.

What I miss:  Just one thing so far… raw honey in my hot tea before bed.  I got used to the Truvia in my coffee right away.  I use half and half, so that in itself is a real treat when I first wake up.  I also splurge on a quality-brand coffee.  But tea is different and I will have to get used to tasting it with Truvia.  Raw honey has medicinal properties, and I will definitely use a little if I get sick with a cough, but it’s not the best for keeping blood sugar down.  I love how God has already told us about this in His Word:  If you find honey, eat just enough— too much of it, and you will vomit.  (Proverbs 25:16)  I’ve always enjoyed the simplicity and practicality of this verse.

The extra dark chocolate is not as sweet as my favorite Ghiradelli bittersweet chips (60%), but is a treat when eaten along with a handful of raw or sea salt roasted almonds or dipped in peanut butter.  There is a fabulous peanut butter fudge recipe I’m going to try soon.  Taking this when I’m out should prevent any temptation to have a treat from the store.  My friend who talked me into trying THM, and has lost over 20#, says she keeps her fudge in the freezer and breaks off a little piece when she needs it.  She makes more before she’s completely out so she always has it available.  That’s my kind of girl!

There are a few ingredients that I had to purchase one time, and they will last awhile.  I made room in my budget for them.  What’s $30?  About two doctor’s copays for us.  I’d rather eat my way to good health while I can and avoid unnecessary trips to the doctor.  I need some clothing and shoe items, so I will probably get just a couple things this month, and wait until next month for the rest.  We afford what we want to afford.  These ingredients are whey protein powder, xanthan gum, and glucommanan (the last two you have probably seen if you read labels.  They are used to thicken things such as gravies, puddings and frappe coffee drinks.  You purchase one time and they last a long time.  The protein powder pumps up the fat-burning power of things such as smoothies.)  Using these items allows me to enjoy special treats and not just eat meat and cheese and veggies all the time.

I’m also going to try Almond Raspberry Cream soon.  And chocolate peanut butter cookies.  This list goes on and on.  But for now, I’ll leave you with this thought:  If you’ve tried diets and quit because you are always hungry, or missed desserts, try this one.  Just reading about blood sugar and Type II diabetes in the beginning of the book is enough to scare you into trying it!  I can’t really advise you on the basis that it worked for me, because I haven’t lost any weight yet.  But I can tell you that my three friends who have been on it awhile all look amazing!  They are not only not hungry, but  thinner, healthy, and energetic.  And isn’t that what we all really want to be?



Posted on March 15th, 2014 by DaisyMuse  |  No Comments »

A new plan…

Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve written!

And not much has happened.  I lost 4#.  I kept it off (well, rather, it came back and I got it off again… the story of my life for at least the past 15 years). I didn’t know what to write, and kind of lost track of my gluten-free thing.  Though it works well when I stick to it!  It’s very difficult to cook one way and have everyone else eat another.  It’s not that I would be jealous and want to eat what they’re eating… more that I don’t want to be faced with 2 loads of pots and pans every night!  And that several nights a week, I am  not available to do dishes.  Our lifestyle is hurried and over worked right now… every one of us has a lot on our plate.  And no dishwasher right now.

So I’ve kind of been slacking off… which is so typical of someone who starts anything with the New Year.  By February it’s over.  I’m determined that it doesn’t happen to me, however, and like many times before, I have gotten up and wiped off my knees, ready to begin again.  This time I have a plan.  It’s on the way in the mail, actually.

Here’s how it happened:  I was noticing how my friend has a waist again (and that’s saying a lot because she is 40 and has had twins!).  And looks happy and healthy.  And does not seem hungry all the time.  She raves about her program, “Trim Healthy Mama.”  Another woman I know is using the same program and finding success with it.  I thought “Hmm…” and looked for the book online.  They don’t sell it through amazon, etc.  You can only get it used that way, and it’s as expensive (or more) than brand-new.  I researched our library, which only has one copy for the entire regional library system, and there are 7 existing holds on it.  So, being a cheapskate, I did nothing.

Today I ran into another friend, one of those women who breathes sunshine and God’s goodness into my life.  We got to talking about my blog, and I confessed I’d neglected it.  She mentioned THM and how she loves it because unlike Weight Watchers, she’s not starving all the time.  (Kudos to WW for helping so many people lose weight, including a few pounds myself years ago… but it’s true about the starving all the time.  And I am not fun when I’m starving.)  But here was the clincher:  this friend mentioned that she’s lost 20# in three months AND SHE EATS PEANUT BUTTER FUDGE!!!  True, it’s a diet version… but it has real peanut butter and real cocoa and is sweet.  That did it.  I told her I’d order the book tonight, and I did.  I’m excited and yes, I may have to wash a few extra dishes, but losing weight fast makes me so happy, I don’t think I’ll mind.  I just hope I don’t lose so fast my face gets saggy.  I don’t think losing too fast will ever be my problem though.

I’ll let you know how it goes.  Check out the book at  It’s 35.00 but there are tons of recipes in it.

Oh, and my friend says do not get the ebook.  I agree.


Posted on March 4th, 2014 by DaisyMuse  |  No Comments »


As I write this, I am thinking about weighing myself, because it’s the day I usually do, but I forgot when I first got up, and have drunk almost all my coffee. And coffee weighs something, right? I like to weigh myself first thing in the morning, before eating or drinking anything at all. So while I ponder whether or not to get on the scale at all today, I’ll write about something else, because the number on the scale is certainly NOT what it’s all about.
For me, I usually make relatively healthy food choices. We eat mostly “real” foods, not processed, fruits and veggies everyday, the occasional treat. I even make good choices when eating out. So what was it that was causing me to gain all these years and then stay heavier? Portions. And I’m not talking about huge portions either, because I really can’t eat a lot at one sitting. I hate the full feeling that comes afterwards. It’s just that as one gets older, less can be eaten and burned off, even with exercise.  So portions must become even smaller!  I remember my grandparents, who were never overweight, and the little bit of food they ate for dinner. This was back in the 70’s when portions were smaller anyway, even at restaurants. I was watching I Love Lucy one day (I have them all on DVD, and have seen each episode numerous times, but that’s another story). Anyway, in this particular episode, Ricky was at the drugstore counter eating lunch. He ordered a tiny sandwich–I think the bread was even sliced smaller back then–and a glass of grape juice, about 6 oz. Compare that with the “value meals” of today, and you can see what has happened!
Usually when my husband and I go out to eat, which is not often (we like our own food best), we split a meal. It’s amazing how full you can get after half a restaurant portion. If it’s a really special occasion, we split a dessert, but those times are few and far between. It’s more cost-effective to eat out that way, as well… but we try to tip the server on what two meals would have cost, to be considerate of them.

Well, here I go… if it’s not good, my next post will probably be about drastically reducing carbs. Thanks for reading!

Posted on February 5th, 2014 by DaisyMuse  |  No Comments »

A little less eaten; a little more lost

I’ve lost another pound, and I’m afraid it’s the last one. I don’t even want to get on the scale next week! Someone asked me what I’ve been doing and I said “just watching it.” I’m afraid that’s going to stop working and I’m going to have to do something drastic, like cut out all carbs. In the meantime, I continue to eat smaller portions, especially at lunch, and have the occasional bite of chocolate.
As with any long-term goal, the end result will happen because of consistency. Setting a goal doesn’t make it happen; that’s just the first part. One must work continuosly, daily, towards the goal, not giving up, even if setbacks are encountered. And every day, small decisions must be made. Like the decision at my nephew’s birthday party not to take a serving of cake and ice cream… just to take a few bites of my husband’s. And to down it with lots and lots of water. By the way, I learned a great tip awhile ago about parties… to keep yourself away from the snack table, become the unofficial party photographer. It gives your hands something to do besides pick up chips!

Posted on January 26th, 2014 by DaisyMuse  |  No Comments »

Another pound lost, and I didn’t deserve it!

I got on the scale Wednesday with some trepidation.  I had been out of town AGAIN, and on top of that, was visiting my friend Rose, who is arguably one of the best cooks I know.  AND we went out to lunch.  Even with all that, I was pretty “good.”  At the restaurant for lunch, I ordered the spinach salad and the Mexican chicken and rice soup (not the seafood bisque, which actually looked better but was laden with butter.)  And we asked for no bread.  Good move!  At Rose’s house, I ate whatever I wanted, but in small portions.  I was feeling great about myself!

On the ride home, which takes all day, I turned the car off at an exit where I know there is both a Starbucks and a Trader Joe’s.  I love Trader Joe’s, and miss it since moving years ago and not having one close.  I stepped in to walk around and get a change of scenery and purchase some groceries.  Did you know Trader Joe’s has pistachio toffee AND hazelnut sandwich cookies?!  I purchased both as a treat for my family for when I got home.  I had a little sampling of each, which still would have been fine, but then I made the mistake of putting them near me in the car, instead of in the back.  And not stopping for dinner.  Needless to say, too many of each were eaten, just a little at a time.  I wasn’t even full.

Then next morning was my weigh-in day, and to my surprise, I had lost another pound.  Maybe because of all the other days  I stayed true to my plan.  Maybe I’ll see the gain next week.  In any case, I was thankful and vowed to make great choices this week.  Sometimes I do, and sometimes I eat just a little past where I should.  I know what I should do, it just takes constant attention and one good decision after another.

Here are two great substitutions I’ve found, for we all know that when you take something away, if you don’t replace it with something, you’ll eventually go back to it.  (Unless you are stoic, which I’m not… I like to enjoy life!)  First, I was craving chips, which is not normal for me, but nevertheless, my girls had some potato chips on the counter and I wanted some!  I actually had a few, then opened the cupboard and grabbed my sunflower seeds.  Not only do they give the same salty, fatty satisfaction as chips, they have good, healthy fats in them, and it’s not likely you will eat too many sunflower seeds.  The other is a cup of tea between dinner and bedtime.  I add a little raw honey (another healthy option, as long as it is moderate).  I love what the Bible says about honey:  “Have you found honey? Eat only as much as you need, Lest you be filled with it and vomit.” (Proverbs 25:16)  The mild sweetness makes my tummy happy.  Tea soothes and warms.  It helps me sleep (decaf or herbal teas are best) and helps me to slow down and relax anytime.  I think I’ll go make a cup now.

Oh, and my new washing machine came!  Hoping it lasts as long as its predecessor, may it rest in peace.

Posted on January 18th, 2014 by DaisyMuse  |  No Comments »

Two losses

My washer died today, after fifteen years of loyal service.  It died during a wash cycle, as I was loudly informed while trying to vacuum on the other side of the house and hearing my fourteen year old, the least dramatic child I gave birth to, scream, “Oh no!  Help!”   I turned off the vacuum and ran the distance from the other side of the living room to the laundry room.  “Aak!  Water!”  An inch of water poured from the laundry room into the small hallway and continued into the kitchen.  I grabbed some towels as my husband ran into the room and we began to mop it all up.  Ten or fifteen years ago, I would have been freaking out.  I think I’ve learned over the years that little crises (and yes, this is a little one), are not worth getting upset over.  They happen everyday, and everyone has them.  Feeling sorry for myself because I lost an appliance or my car broke down or a bill accidentally went unpaid and incurred a late fee doesn’t help anything.  It’s not a great time for us to have to purchase a new washing machine.  But even if we couldn’t, I could use my in-laws’ washer (another reason to be thankful they live right up the street), or my neighbor’s washer… I’m friends with two of my neighbors, and we would glady lend to each other.  Worst case scenario, I could go to the laundry mat… that’s what we did back in our first days of marriage.  My hubby and I could go together, and make a date of it.  We could bring some cards, or those books we’ve been wanting to read.  Or plan our dream vacation to Europe while waiting for the clothes… a vacation we’re farther from now, considering the expense of a new appliance, but one we will dream and plan for, because we choose to.

It’s all the way you look at things.  Which is why I am happy about my one pound loss this week.  It seems like I did a lot of work for one pound, but I will be happy I lost one, didn’t gain one.  I didn’t feel miserably hungry.  I gave up wheat almost completely, and my tummy feels better inside.  I enjoyed my week, and it didn’t seem that difficult.

I remember when my last washing machine broke and I purchased this one.  My belly was swollen with child.  That child is now a teenager.  How the time has passed, and my blessings have increased.

Farewell, loyal appliance.  I shall replace you with the exact same model, or the closest I can get fifteen years later.


Posted on January 8th, 2014 by DaisyMuse  |  No Comments »