Berry “Power” Muffins & The Sweet Temptations of Vacation

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Ahhh, summer! I’m sorry I haven’t posted in a bit, but that whole summer vacation thing got to me for a while! Luckily, I’ve still been doing all kinds of fun stuff, and keeping up with my exercise, too!

Hubby and I celebrated our wedding anniversary- three whole years! Having been together for over eleven years, this seems small, but celebrating our special day at the beach with the pup was fun, even though we had some minor setbacks along the way (i.e. getting the car stuck on the beach, blowing out a tire on the way home, the usual).

One of the most difficult things while on vacation is keeping up with healthy habits. I didn’t do a whole lot of exercising or eating perfectly over our long anniversary weekend, but it’s okay. I surprised myself by jumping right back on the wagon once the weekend was over– a pretty huge feat for me! Even more surprisingly, the exercise wagon was the easiest to jump back on. The eating well wagon has been much harder to climb back on, though.

I am tempted by food so easily, as I’ve mentioned in my earlier posts. Sweets are the bane of my healthy eating existence. Once I get started, I can’t stop, and once I get the taste, I crave sweets like crazy. I have to admit, in the last week, I have been pretty terrible at restraining myself. Honestly, though, I started off well intentioned. I made some no-bake oatmeal, honey, peanut butter and protein bars ( delicious, by the way– find the recipe here: http://thejoyofeverydaycooking.com/3-ingredient-no-bake-peanut-butter-bars/ ), that for all intents and purposes were supposed to be “healthy”. Granted, I added some semi-sweet chocolate chips and vanilla whey protein powder to the original recipe!

Unfortunately, when I worked up the calories and nutrition, they were a lot more than the original recipe stated- about 450 per bar! They were mighty tasty, and with the added protein powder, oatmeal, and natural ingredients, not horrible for you, but still, a lot of calories! The honey also made them very sweet. Enter my cravings.

Once I started on the bars, I couldn’t help eating ice cream, homemade cookies, and all other delicious treats that came into my path. Ugh, so good, yet SO bad! I seem to have no willpower when it comes to eating just one. Needless to say, I’ve been working out like crazy to try and balance out the calories from all those treats.

Anyhow, I’m trying to reverse some of the damage in the gym, but also trying to ease myself off the sugar cravings with something less sweet and more healthy. Introducing my secret weapon, Berry Power Muffins!

Berry Power Muffins

I got the original recipe here http://domesticatedacademic.wordpress.com/2012/07/31/power-muffins-blueberryoatmealyogurtpower/ and we loved it with the blueberries, but it being berry season, I wanted to try a version with raspberries and blackberries. With non-fat Greek yogurt, oatmeal, and berries, this recipe tends to be much more on the healthy side and clocks in at 250 calories per giant muffin!

This muffin is chewy, dense, moist, and not too sweet. This is not a cupcake-type muffin sugar-wise. If super sweet is what you are looking for, you won’t find it here. It is a subtle sweet and tart combination, thanks to the berries. Perfect for a pre or post workout snack, or even a fast breakfast, this muffin will help curb those sugar cravings.

You will need:

Muffin tin (makes 12 big muffins)
Non-stick cooking spray
2 cups all purpose flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill unbleached all purpose)
1 cup oats (no need to cook beforehand, can be quick or regular)
2/3 cup sugar, plus extra to sprinkle on the top
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 ounces non-fat Greek honey yogurt, 1.5 cups (two containers of the Fred Meyer/Kroger brand)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup raspberries and blackberries, mixed

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1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Prepare muffin tin with nonstick spray or liners.

3. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl.

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4. Combine wet ingredients, except berries.

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5. Add wet to dry ingredients, stirring until well combined. Dough will be thick!

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6. Fold in berries, then stir.

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In my case, the raspberries broke apart and worked into the dough, while the blackberries remained relatively whole.

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7. Spoon dough into muffin tin. They will be pretty full. I’m sure you could also split the dough between two muffin tins, making smaller muffins, but I like the big ones!

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8. I like to add a sweet finishing touch by sprinkling some sugar on the top of each muffin before it goes in the oven. I love using this organic, fair trade sugar that I got at Costco for baking.

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9. Bake muffins in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the tops are springy to the touch. Mine took 25 minutes, probably because they were so big!

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Serving size: 1 muffin. Calories: 250.5. Fat: 6.1g. Protein: 8.5g. Sugars: 14.2g. Fiber: 2.3g. Sodium: 23.5mg. Potassium: 71.7mg. Total Carbs: 40.8g

Eat, enjoy, in moderation, of course! šŸ˜‰

As an afterthought, I realized I probably could’ve added vanilla whey protein powder with good results for an extra protein punch. I’ll have to try that next time!

What are your biggest food temptations? What have you tried to curb your cravings in a healthy way?

Some pics of Baby Girl loving her first time at the beach!

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