Lets talk about Bro-Food

It wasn’t til recently that I learned the true definition of bro-food.  According to the urban dictionary bro-food is defined as:

Foods that are primarily eaten by bodybuilders, figure competitors and people who participate in strength training.
Food eaten primarily by members of the fitness community.

They generally consist of high protein, high fiber, fats and carbs. These foods are mostly healthy foods that help the fitness person lose weight, gain muscle mass or both. Many bro-foods tend to be much more nutrient dense than general grocery food.

They’re called bro-foods because the fitness guys who tend to eat like this are called bros. The nickname or slang term for muscular guys who participate and or spend much of their lives in the fitness community.

Bro-Foods generally consist of food like Oatmeal, chicken breast, whey protein, nuts, 90% lean beef, coconut oil, Broccoli, olive oil, many types of fish, brown rice, peanut butter, bananas, wheat bread, eggs, cauliflower, cottage cheese, yogurt, leafy greens, sea slat etc.

Note : Bro-Foods do NOT always have to be strictly healthy. It can allow for cheat food, junk food or fast food from time to time. But still generally is less processed food that has high protein, higher fiber, adequate amount of fats, nutrients and carbs. These main components can and do fluctuate depending on what the fitness person is trying to achieve. (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Bro-Food)

I think we need to re-define this as “fitness food.”  Guys and gals alike in the fitness community eat these types of foods.  I think folks typically just call this “clean eating” or at least that is how I would define it.  I don’t even know if you could go as far as to call this “fitness food.”  I truly believe that this is just a healthy lifestyle.  Eating foods that are good for your body and mind, foods that are nutrient dense and make you feel better.  I have been trying my best to eat clean for years now.  I think people find this hard or daunting but honestly it is just as easy to cook a healthy meal as it is an unhealthy one.  I always hear people say that eating clean is more expensive or it’s harder to do.  WHY???  When a head of lettuce at Kroger costs ninety nine cents and a bag of frozen burritos costs six dollars, explain to me how eating clean is more expensive?  You can buy a banana for twenty nine cents or a burger from McDonalds for one dollar.  The banana will give you the potassium you need and the burger will give you enough fats (mostly saturated) to cover your entire daily value.  All of the meals that follow were cooked in 15 minutes and I guarante my body thanked me much more for these meals than it would have a greasy burger from a fast food joint.

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Can of tuna with mustard, chili spiced baked sweet potato fries, greek yogurt pizza dip.

 

D3

Baked sweet potato with peanut butter & cinnamon, cut green beans.

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Josephs Lavish Bread Pizza

br4

Pan crisped polenta, fried egg, steamed vegetable, bbq chickpeas.

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Baked cod with lemon pepper seasoning, steamed broccoli, superfood pilaf (from Trader Joes).

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Roasted sweet potato rounds, Morningstar Veggie Dogs.

D4

Morningstar Blackbean Burger, Steamed vegetables, FF Feta Cheese, 35Cal Wheat Bread.

br3

Miso Ginger Couscous, mushrooms, butternut squash, spinach, greek yogurt w/ sriracha.

It doesn’t take much time or effort to come up with a healthy meal that you can feel good about.  Just do it!!

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Minty Christmas

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First off, let me just say that I love mint.  It is the one flavor that just screams Christmas to me.  I think many people have a love or hate relationship with mint.  My husband for instance, will not touch anything that is mint flavored with a nine foot pole.  He can’t stand it.  I on the other hand reach for anything with this flavor immediately if I see it on a table.  In fact, peppermints have always been my candy of choice.  I think this comes from growing up with peppermints always being readily available in my grandmothers purse.  We would go to church and I always knew that sometime during the beginning of the service my grandma would reach over and give me a handful of peppermints.  I was spoiled a little.  Going to an ice cream shop would always bring about the same results for me as most of the time I always wanted mint chocolate chip ice cream.  Whether you love it or hate it mint is going to be everywhere during the Holiday season, so you might as well embrace it and enjoy!

Making anything with mint extract is tricky.  You have to find that perfect balance.  Too little and you will barely taste it, too much and you will be left with a very sharp after taste that may possibly burn your taste buds completely off.  I know you all know what I’m talking about.  Mint can be bitter to say the least.  I think that I perfected the use of it with this mug cake though.  The flavor was perfectly balanced and contained just the right amount of mint.  This is easy to make and is easy to transport to work as well.  I brought the pre-mixed ingredients to work with me this morning and put them together here.  All you ready need is a coffee mug and a microwave and your set.

Mint Chocolate Protein Mug Cake

Dry Ingredients:

2 tbs Coconut Flour

1/2 tbs Chocolate Protein Powder

1/2 tbs Hershey Dark Cocoa Powder

1/4 tsp Baking Powder

3 Truvia Packets

Wet Ingredients:

1/4 cup Liquid Egg Whites

2 tbs Plain Greek Yogurt

2 tbs Unsweetened Almond Milk

Scant 1/4 tsp Pure Mint Extract

Mix all the dry ingredients until no clumps remain.  In a separate bowl mix the wet ingredients well.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry and pour into a coffee mug sprayed with non stick spray.  This would also be the time to add anything extra to the batter that you would like.  I added some mint chocolate chip morsels for an extra kick.  Place in microwave and heat for 1.5 – 2 minutes or until the cake seems done.  Please don’t over zap it though or it will get too dry.

I topped mine with a healthy mint dark chocolate sauce.  Cake just isn’t cake to me without some sort of topping!  Once the cake was cooled some I turned it out onto a plate and topped it with the chocolate sauce, extra mint chips and coconut.  Holy cow I was in love at first bite.  The best thing about being an adult is that you can eat cake for breakfast and nobody is there to tell you no!  Sorry mom 🙂

Healthy Mint Chocolate Sauce

2 tbs Hershey Dark Cocoa Powder

2 tbs Sugar Free Syrup

2 tbs Unsweetened Almond Milk

1/8 tsp Mint Extract

Just mix it all together and then pop in the microwave for a few seconds to warm it up.  Easy and delicious!

Sorry for the absence…

Hello everyone!  It’s me again, after taking a little break from the blogging world.  I know that I haven’t had my site up and going all that long but I realize now how much it takes to keep one of these running.  Things get busy, life gets crazy and you just sort of put these things on the back burner.  So I apologize for my lack of posts and my lack of motivation to write things.

I promise that this is going to change and I will be back to writing again soon.  This blog has been my dream for a very long time.  One I’m just not ready to give up on and sweep under the rug.  We must all make time for the things we love and want in life, right?  So this is my promise to you, that I will get back to my normal blog writing self asap!

A few quick updates on life in general.  The house has officially been painted!  Thank the good lord that is done, it was much-needed and now I feel as if there is a weight lifted off of my shoulders.  Now it is just on too counter tops and blinds.  Then things will be well on the way to finished…well sort of.  There is still a lot to be done with the new home to make it feel like ours BUT we are working on it!  Even though winter is looming, spring will be here before we know it and that will mean it is time to start our first garden!  I can’t wait to fill you all in on all the mishaps we encounter.  I also believe we will be building a chicken coop and that means fresh eggs and lots of baking recipes to come.  I mean seriously, you just can’t beat a straight out of the backyard chicken coop egg.  If you haven’t ever had one before then I am sorry because you are seriously missing out on something spectacular!  Store bought is just not the same my friends.

Hope you all are having a wonderful Holiday season.  Will be writing soon, just letting everyone know I’m still alive and well 🙂

Mom Moment

Have you ever had one of those moments where you stop and think “Oh gosh, I am just like my mother.”  Well, that moment hit me this morning.  It was something simple, no big deal really but it sort of overwhelmed me.  Not in a bad way either, just a way that made me think.

You know those times when you were living at home and you looked all over the house for something?  You had searched high and low, under the bed, couch, sink and on top of the cabinets, behind the tv, you get the gist.  You may have even resorted to looking in the refrigerator because lets face it, at this point that thing you are looking for could be anywhere in the house.  Once you had exhausted all possible options you end up caving and yelling those all to familiar words “MOM!!!!!”  After a few moments you would hear “What?” from the kitchen as she was slaving away, making dinner, doing the dishes, laundry and usually all three at the same time.  “Where is my (insert random item)?”  Then you would hear the footsteps as she trodded up the stairs or down the hall, straight to your room.  Into the closet she would go and within a matter of seconds she was there handing you the item you just knew was nowhere to be found.  Lets be honest here, it may have even been hiding behind the stack of old backpacks still stuck in your closet, but she knew, she knew exactly where it was.  Magic I tell you, it’s simply magic.  You would ask her how she knew where it was and you always got the response “I just do.”

Truth is, I never had a single clue how she found anything.  It always seemed like a mystery to me.  My mother was like the Houdini of finding missing articles of clothing or missing pages of homework.  She had to have some sort of super mom radar or something.  That was the only way I knew how to explain it.

Well this morning, while getting ready for work my husband knocks on the bathroom door yelling, “honey do you know where my long johns are for work?”  Without any hesitation, I said “Yes, they are folded up and laying on the drier under the second pair of pants.”  WAIT A SECOND…How do I know this?  That is exactly what crossed my mind.  I immediately thought of all the times I had yelled, “MOM!!!  Where are my pants?” , “MOM!!!  Where is my light blue shirt with the black dots on the front?”  “MOM!!!  Where is the needle in the haystack?”  Seriously, that woman knows everything, I’m telling you she does.  I took a moment, standing in the bathroom putting on my make up and I thought.

The older I get the more I realize how much work goes in to keeping up a household.  It is hard, very hard.  It takes a lot of time and effort to do all of those things for which I always took for granted when I was living at home and watching someone else do it.  My mom, while maybe not having some sort of cool radar system in her brain knew where things were because she took care of everything.  She took care of me, she washed my clothes, she put things away, she fed me, she made my bed and the list goes on and on.  She knew where things were because she took the time to pay attention.  Knowing that there would come the all too familiar “MOM!!!” yell from the top of stairs.  I started to understand this morning that when you are taking care of your household you learn everything about it.  You learn the routines and the way it operates because you are the one in charge of making sure it runs smoothly.  It is no easy task.  More work goes into it than you realize, until you are the one doing it.

What I’m saying is that none of us should neglect to remember all the things that are done for us.  Lucky as I was to have “super mom” and “super dad” I never appreciated them and what they did for me on a daily basis as much as I should have.  They were always there to watch over me, protect me and take care of me.  I also know that having that moment when you say, “I sound just like my mother,” is probably the greatest compliment you could ever give to yourself.

Oat and Flax Crusted Mahi Mahi

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Can we just take a moment to stare in awe at that crust atop the mahi mahi?  I occasionally get a decent idea, not often, but occasionally.  When you are home alone, bored and hungry great things can happen.  This was in fact one of those times.  Truth be told, I have had the mahi mahi fillets in my freezer for a little while, only because I couldn’t decide how I wanted to fix them.  Which led me to not fixing them at all.  Last night, my husband was out shelling corn so I decided to do some kitchen experimenting.  I love crusted things, there is just something about a crumble topping that can send food over the top and beyond.  Mahi is normally paired with sweet things, like mango or coconut but I had none of that.  I decided to try out an oat and flax-seed crumble.  I also added some crushed up almonds too it, which added a nice sweet nutty flavor.  This recipe is super simple and requires only a few ingredients.

– Preheat oven to 400 degrees 

– Place mahi mahi on a baking sheet, sprayed with non stick spray

– Bake fillet for 7 minutes

– While fillet is baking prepare your crumble by mixing: 1 tbs butter with oats, flax seeds & crushed slivered almonds

– Remove fish and top it with the crumble & a little paprika, return to oven for another 6-7 minutes

That’s all it takes to have a delicious piece of fish ready to eat.  I had the couscous in the fridge leftover and so I decided to warm some of that up to along with it.  The couscous was cooked in POM juice which paired perfectly with this fish.  If you don’t have some already made then you can you can easily make it while the fish is cooking.  All you need to do is bring 1/3 c POM juice to a boil, remove from heat, stir in 1/3 c couscous and cover the pot with a lid and let it sit for about ten minutes.  Remove the lid from the pot and fluff the couscous with a fork, and it’s ready to eat.

Normally, I always want some sort of salad to go along with a fish meal.  So I chopped up some cucumbers and tomatoes, mixed them up and topped with feta cheese.  This was a perfect side dish to along with this fish.  This is a quick meal, one that you could make on a week day when you have little time but want a nice home cooked meal instead of opting for fast food or pizza.  I will also add that this is the length of time it took for my fillet to cook but you will want to check it and remove from oven when the fish flakes easily with a fork.  This may take more or less time for you depending on the size of your fish fillets.

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When Lunch Calls

What a week it has been already.  Being alone at the office has made for a busy and hectic week, and thank goodness it’s finally Friday.  Knowing that I have a noon lunch break to look forward too always makes it better.  Especially when I have my prepared meals that I know are a fun and healthy option.

 

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Sometimes I feel like I’m just a child trapped in an adult’s body.  I enjoy things that bring back past memories for me.  Maybe one day I will grow up but today is not that day.  Does anyone else remember taking lunchables to school?  There were days that I would get super excited because I just knew it was pizza lunchable day!  I looked forward to it all morning long, as it was one of my favorites.  If not my most favorite.  As an adult I still feel the need to have this sort of excitement so I decided to create my own “adult” version of the lunchables pizza.  I used one of my Ephraim’s whole wheat pita breads and topped it with corn salsa and crumbled goat cheese.  My child self would have cringed at goat cheese, but the adult me, with much better taste, broke into a big smile.  I couldn’t remember what else came with those lovely pizza meals (maybe a mini candy bar) but I chose to have some Lesser Evil brand red pepper pops with my pizza.  Great choice because the red pepper flavor kept with the pizza theme.

The other lunches of the week were a combination of some odd things.  Like a green apple and cream cheese sandwich.  Hey it’s fall and there are lots of apples going around…don’t judge.

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Another day was some chik’n salad made with Butler Soy Curls:

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Which may freak some people out but they are worth a try.  Especially if you are a vegetarian in search of some “meaty type” comforting food.  We don’t JUST eat salad people I promise!

Which on that note:

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Yes I know… I was just talking about the whole salad thing BUT I went to lunch with my Dad at Subway and I love their veggie salads.  Plus, that sriracha cream sauce is to die for.  I’m telling you though, have a glass of something to drink near by because that stuff will set you on fire!

I don’t know about everyone else but I’m so glad it’s finally Friday.  I have looked forward to it all week.  I think almost all working people do actually.  It’s just the day when you can feel the weekend creeping in.  I can already envision myself on the couch, in my sweats, under a blanket, catching up on some TV and having not a care in the world.  Home can be so glorious!

 

Polenta Stack with Mushroom Gravy

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Sometimes I like to get experimental in the kitchen.  It doesn’t always turn out so well, but there are those times that it turns out WAY better than you ever expected.  This was one of those awesome times!  I have never made mushroom gravy before, especially not an “almost vegan” version.  The only reason this wasn’t considered vegan is because I used “I can’t believe it’s not butter” instead of Earth Balance.  I’m sure Earth Balance would have made about the same result so if you decide to re-create this vegan style just substitute Earth Balance in necessary location.  Anyway, it was Friday night,  my husband was playing video games and so I decided to play around the kitchen.  That is usually what I do when I get bored and hungry.  I had a tube of polenta that my mother had given me and I knew it was about time to use it.  Now, I have used polenta a few different ways: polenta fries, polenta vegetable casserole, etc… I had seen online that people were crisping them up in a skillet and for some reason I had just never tried it so I thought I would give it a shot.

I was shocked at how quick and simple it is to cook this in the skillet.  I’m probably just going to make it this way from now on.  The texture is great as it gets really crispy on the outside but stays nice and creamy on the inside.  Never have I attempted to make my own polenta.  I always just buy the kind that is in the weird-looking tube shape.  Maybe one day I’ll venture into making my own but for now I’ll just stick to store-bought.  They know what they are doing and I don’t have to wait for it to set up which is nice, especially when you are in a hurry, or just lazy, like me.

The internet is swirling with polenta recipes.  Mostly they are shown as mini pizzas or with some sort of marinara sauce and I just wasn’t feeling Italian last night.  Not to mention that my husband is not a huge fan of marinara sauce and I wanted him to try something new so I decided on a more savory version.  What is better than a nice gravy?  Not much really when it comes to sauces or dressings in my book.  I started thinking about gravy options to pair with the polenta.  Since polenta is basically grits I immediately went to breakfast style options.  However, I wasn’t feeling like “biscuit style” gravy and I had some random mushrooms so I thought I’d give this mushroom gravy a shot.  Goodness gracious, I’m so glad that I did and I also think that this would be an awesome topping for biscuits as well, when you are just wanting something a little different.

I wanted to make the gravy first, since the polenta doesn’t take very long and I didn’t want them to get cold.  Here are a list of the ingredients you will need for the mushroom gravy:

Gravy Ingredients

Handful or two of sliced white button mushrooms

1 – 1 1/2c Original unsweetened almond milk

2 tbs AP Flour

1 tbs I can’t believe it’s not butter

salt, pepper

Start by spraying a skillet with non stick spray, saute the mushrooms until soft and then scoot them to the side of the pan.  Add butter and flour to the skillet to create the roux for the gravy.  Slowly add in almond milk and simmer until the gravy thickens to desired consistency.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. HA…how easy is that?

Once you have made the gravy, simply spray another skillet with cooking spray and cook each polenta round for about five minutes on each side.  Stack them up, pour on the gravy and add some fresh thyme.  Perfect healthy dinner on your plate in no time.

Sweet Potato Chile Soup

I apologize that I have not been able to post for a bit.  Things have been extremely hectic here at our household.  We have had company for much of the time and I have been playing hostess.  Which has meant staying off of the computer and trying to entertain as best I can.  Things are back to normal now and so I am able to get back to writing on here.  I was just reminded by my mother that we are doing the Susan B. Komen walk for the cure this Sunday.  We did the same one last year in honor of a dear friend of mine who has survived breast cancer.  It is always a good time and we enjoy it.  Hopefully the weather will stay nice for us.  It has been so beautiful the last few days as fall has started to set in around the Bluegrass State.  It has gotten a little cooler and there is always a breeze.  This means it’s almost time for the boots and sweaters season.  As far as food is concerned it’s also the time for soup and chili.  Which brings me to this wonderful soup I made last night.  Honestly, this may have been the best soup I have ever tasted in my life, no kidding.  Which really surprised me because it has very few ingredients, five to be exact, if you don’t count the toppings.  Which you most certainly do not have to add.  I highly recommend them though.  I was hoping to top this with some avocado but when I cut into my last remaining one I realized that it had already turned into the brown mush state.  Avocados go bad so quickly.  One day they are perfect and the next they are completely inedible.  It is sort of crazy actually.  Here are the ingredients you will need to round-up for this amazing dish:

Ingredients

1 Sweet Potato – cooked (I cooked mine in the microwave but you can bake it if you have time)

1/2 C – Vegetable Broth

1/2 C – Unsweetened Plain Almond Milk

1 Chile Pepper in Adobo Sauce

Sea Salt

Topping Ideas

Corn Chips

Avocado

Greek Yogurt

Anything Really

How Too

Grab a blender (I just used a small one).  While the potato is cooling add the broth, milk and chile pepper to the blender.  Scoop out the insides of the cooked sweet potato, mash it up and then add that to the blender as well.  Blend on high until the mixture is pureed.  Transfer contents to a small pot, add the sea salt to your liking and heat thoroughly.  Once the soup is warm transfer to a bowl and top with whatever your heart desires.  I added a few corn chips and swirled in some plain Greek yogurt.  Enjoy!

This is super easy and can be vegan, without the yogurt of course.  I did not think something so simple could taste so amazing.  I was in shock that this turned out so well.  For taking only 10 minutes to prepare, this is a quick and easy dinner idea or lunch.  I think everyone would enjoy this.  The chile pepper gives it a touch of a smokey spicy flavor which pairs so well with the sweetness of the potato.  Trust me, give this a whirl, literally, in your blender.  I’m such a ham sometimes!  This recipe is enough for one person or two if you are willing to share, which I wasn’t.  I inhaled all this by myself and savored every last bite.  Give it a shot and I think you will be surprised at just how wonderful it is.

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The colors of this soup just scream FALL.  Don’t you think?  I’m sure you would get a similar outcome using butternut squash or pumpkin which I plan on trying soon.  Now I’m thinking of trying this with pumpkin and a little curry spice.  That post may be coming soon.  After I go to the grocery store that is.  We are running low on things so it is going to be necessary for me to go tomorrow.  I hope everyone has a lovely day and maybe you will get a notion to make this tonight.  If you do, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

If you like Pina Coladas…

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I entitled this post “If you like Pina Coladas…” because as I was making these overnight oats that’s what I was singing.  In my head of course, because if I actually sang out loud it would probably have glasses to shatter and people for miles would be covering their ears screaming in agony.  I am not the worlds best singer, so therefore I chose to sing it in my head.  I’m aware that this has no ingredients that make up a pina colada other than perhaps the coconut, but this had such a tropical vibe that I was picturing being on a bean sipping away on an ice-cold beverage.

I decided to try a different flavor of overnight oats.  I love my old standbys but sometimes you just want to experiment.  Lucky for me, this turned out very well.  I made this with the standard overnight oats ingredients but I added a little coconut and banana extract and kiwi.  I normally avoid kiwi as it isn’t my favorite fruit but I had picked up a couple at the supermarket for my husband.  He didn’t eat them however and so I decided to use them before they went to waste.  Which was also when another morning breakfast consisting of kiwi came into play:

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I just topped some Dannon toasted coconut flavored yogurt with a sliced kiwi, mini banana and some Puffins cereal.  Good stuff right there.  Maybe I have been having thoughts of vacation and warm places and that is where this has all come from.  I’m not sure really, but I do know that both of these were really awesome breakfast options.  So get to experimenting and coming up with some new overnight oat flavors.  Never be scared to try something new.  It just might turn out as the most amazing thing ever.  You never know until you try as I was always told.

I also managed to sneak in an oldie but a goodie:

LSB

This is one of my favorites.  Lemon flavored overnight oats with strawberries and blackberries mixed in.  Never ever gets old.

 

Lemon Poppy Seed Mug Muffin

There’s nothing like the refreshing taste of lemon.  Since summer has pretty much dwindled away and it’s now September I decided to make one last summer time inspired treat for breakfast.  It felt like a send off to the warm weather and sunshine.  Bring on the leggings, boots and sweaters.  It’s fall time which means loads of fall inspired foods will be taking over the internet in a very short time.  I feel as if I have already started in that direction with all of the pumpkin recipes lately.  I wanted to end the summer season with an ode to my favorite summer time treat…lemonade!  Now, you can make or buy lemonade all year round but for some reason it just doesn’t have the same effect on the soul as making and enjoying your first summer batch of lemonade.  I digress…on to the muffin.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just don’t want to make a huge mess in the kitchen.  Especially on my last day off before heading back to work.  Insert sad face here for the holiday weekend being over.  It has been filled with lots of laughs, fun and new home purchases.  Including, a new sofa for our entertainment room in the basement.  How exciting is that!  This muffin though, literally takes very few ingredients, AND….wait for it… everything is mixed and cooked in a coffee mug.  Which means that you only have to wash the mug and a spoon.  It does not get any better than that folks.  Absolutely delicious and low maintenance equals a total win in my book.  It looked a little something like this:

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Ingredients

2 Tbs Coconut Flour

 1 Tbs Liquid Egg Whites

1/4 tsp Baking Soda

1/4 tsp Baking Powder

1 Tbs Sugar Free Lemon Pudding Mix

2 Truvia Packets

1/4 tsp Poppy Seeds

2 TBS Plain Greek Yogurt

Splash of lemon juice, coconut extract and unsweetened almond milk to moisten.

Alright guys, this next part is extremely difficult so stay with me here.  Spray a coffee mug with non stick spray, put all of the ingredients straight into the mug and stir it all up.  Pop it into the microwave for 1.5 to 2 minutes.  Turn the muffin out onto a plate and add some blackberries if you wish.  Goodness that was difficult, I think I even broke a sweat typing it out.  Of course I’m kidding, but do not be fooled by the easiness of this recipe.  I promise that it will taste like something that took an hour to prepare and bake.  Thankfully, this was not the case at all.  I took my fancy muffin to the front porch and enjoyed the sunshine and a warm cup of coffee.  I felt like I had done the summer justice and waved it goodbye.

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