Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I need S'more 100 calorie Cupcakes!

I LOVE cupcakes! I love them so much that I had to come up with a way that I could eat them without feeling like my whole blog/life is a lie.

This weekend I experimented with a lot of things I’ve seen on Pinterest and came up with a low-calorie (approx. 100 calories) S’more Cupcake. They are oil free and egg free and ACTUALLY taste like a cupcake version of a s’more! I couldn’t be happier with the outcome!  

100 Calorie S’more Cupcakes!

You’ll need:
1 box of Yellow Cake Mix
cereal, preferably Golden Grahams (I used what was in my cupboard—Trader Joe’s O’s)
at least 1 banana
baking powder
Coconut oil
Chocolate chips

OK… first things first, egg substitute:
1 whole banana mashed up so that it has as few lumps as possible. Add 1 teaspoon of baking powder and whisk together, making sure all is combined and there are little or no lumps. 1/3 c. of this mixture will be equivalent to 1 egg. 

Secondly, applesauce can be substituted on a 1:1 basis with oil in baking recipes.

Now, onto the cupcakes!
1.     Preheat the oven as instructed to on the box.
2.     Use the back of the box and make cake batter as instructed except, substitute ALL of the oil for applesauce and the egg(s) for the banana/baking powder mixture (1/3 c. of mixture = 1 egg).
3.     Line your cupcake pan with liners – for this recipe, since there isn’t any oil, you need to use cupcake liners otherwise your cupcakes will stick to the pan.
4.     Fill cupcakes liners ½ full of batter.
Batter with O's in them
5.     Put a few pieces of cereal in each—I made Mini cupcakes and put about 4-6 O’s in each cup—for larger cupcakes, I’d put about 8. (PS. The cereal adds that crunch that you need to really feel like it’s a s’more)
6.     Put a few chocolate chips in each cup. I put 2 in each for my minis, larger ones, I’d use about 4.
7.     Put enough batter on top of the cereal and chocolate chips to just cover them. If you have a few pieces of cereal sticking out still, that’s ok too. The cups should be about ¾ full.
8.     Bake according to the package, subtracting 5 full minutes from the baking time.
Cupcake cooling with Marshmallow
9.     Once your time goes off (with 5 more minutes of baking needed) take out the cupcakes and carefully place 1 marshmallow on top of each cupcake. Try to make sure they stay upright and don’t topple over. For mini cupcakes, I used small marshmallows, for larger cupcakes, I’d use Large ones.
10.  Place cupcakes back in oven and cook for remaining 5 minutes.
11.  Let cool completely before frosting.

My favorite part of s’mores is when the chocolate is partially melted, but you get a little bit of crunch from the parts that didn’t melt completely. This is precisely why I used hardening chocolate as opposed to a true frosting.

Hard Shell “Frosting”

1¼ Cup Chocolate Chips
½ Cup Coconut Oil (measured while solid)

Melt together 2 ingredients for about 1 minute in microwave. Stir until runny. You’ll have lots left over that you can save for next time—or to put on ice cream a la Magic Shell!

Dipping into "Frosting"
12.  Once the cupcakes have cooled, dip the top of each one into the Hard Shell “Frosting,” set it on a cooling rack and wait for it to harden. (I am aware that my “no oil” cupcakes have an oil based “frosting,” but it is applied in a very thin layer adding minimal calories—not to mention Coconut oil has a wide array of health benefits).
13.  Make all your friends try them and let them praise you, THEN tell them that they are pretty much as healthy as cupcakes can get.
14.  Enjoy! (I didn’t want to end the recipe on number 13.) 

**side note: the calorie content is my calculation based on the recipe's ingredients and how many cupcakes it makes.  Serving size is 1 regular sized cupcake with "frosting." (Mini cupcakes came out to about 60 calories each)

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

DROP and give me 80!!!

I’m trying out a new workout routine this month. It’s nothing special really, I just came up with it based on what I CAN do and what I think I actually WILL do.

It goes like this:

Monday: GYM, 35 Minutes of Cardio
Tuesday: GYM, 30 Minutes of Cardio, 200 Crunches
Wednesday: 80 Push-Ups, 20 Seconds of Planks
Thursday: GYM, 35 Minutes of Cardio
Friday: 80 Push-Ups, 20 Seconds of Planks
Saturday: Off Day (unless, I crap out on one of the days, then this is make up day)
Sunday: 80 Push-Ups, 20 Seconds of Planks

If you think Wednesday, Friday and Sunday seem easy, try to do 80 push-ups and 20 seconds of planks,then we’ll talk. I know it sounds easy, peasy, but I guarantee you’ll break a sweat and be hurting the next day.

If you are doing your push-ups correctly (see below), you should be giving your arms and abs quite the workout. Think of your push-ups like a plank that moves, nothing should be moving except your elbows—and the only way to do this is to engage your abs.

If your back hurts while you are doing push-ups, you aren’t doing them correctly, if you do 40 perfectly fine, THEN your back hurts, you’ve tired yourself out and are now doing them incorrectly—stop and take a break or just stop all together and try for another 10 tomorrow. Don't OVER do it, but do push yourself (no pun intended)

…and the 20 seconds of push-ups, you ask? Well, after 8 sets of push-ups (and I'll fully admit, I'm throwing in some girly knee push-ups in there for a couple sets), my arms just don’t have the strength for anymore, so I do 20 seconds of planks, since my abs have just about 20 seconds more left in ‘em.

Just remember, bathing suit weather has arrived, are your abs ready? Good Luck! 

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Breakfast Files: Vol. 1

I know you’ve heard it a billion times, but breakfast REALLY IS the most important meal of your day. Don’t be like me in my first few years at my job and only drink coffee. It leaves you grumpy and your stomach screaming by noon. Be nice to yourself, have an actual breakfast. Whether you want to believe it or not, you will be happier, healthier, more energetic and more productive if you just take a few minutes to make yourself a proper breakfast. Here is one of my more recent work day breakfast ideas. Enjoy!

Tropical Oatmeal (for the days that you wish you were on an island rather than work)

½ cup of Oats (surprise, surprise, I get mine at Trader Joes)
¼ of a fresh Mango, peeled and sliced
½ banana
¼ of a red apple
a small sprinkle of sugar---if you must (and I do.)
a couple tablespoons of milk

Microwave your oats according to the package. While that’s cooking, cut your fruits (if you need help cutting your mango, go here). Add fruit to cooked oatmeal. Eat it. Be happy, healthy, and productive.  

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