Monday, April 15

Lemon Coconut Cottage Cheese Muffins

Holy cow it's been 7 months since I've blogged. WOW how time flies! I've been a busy girl. Anywho...

I LOVE baked goods! Doesn't everybody? The cardiologist at my work gave me some great insight one day. He said that if you're going to eat baked goods, be sure they are HOMEMADE! Not only does it allow you to avoid the lard that most baked goods contain, it also allows you to find healthier recipes that include less sugar and that have alternatives for white flour and butter. My new thing lately is to find specific recipes that will help me get rid of foods in my fridge that are going bad. We're trying to save, save, save any way that we can. Who isn't these days right!? 

I had some cottage cheese in my fridge that was going bad in a day, so I went on Pinterest and searched "cottage cheese muffins." Low and behold, a plethora of muffins popped up! I was surprised. Since I'm a visual person I picked the prettiest picture and quickly realized that that recipe was full of unnecessary (and delicious) stuff. But, I was looking for something very low in sugar and that had good hearty ingredients. I found this beauty from the Mum 'n' Bub blog title Hearty Cottage Cheese Muffins. Perfect name! She made this recipe geared toward babies, so I spiced it up just a bit and changed/added a few ingredients. I was having a craving for lemon (mmm...I love lemon desserts) and I have a taste for coconut EVERY day of the week, so I added some lemon zest and juice, plus some unsweetened coconut flakes. Thanks Mum 'n' Bub for this great, healthy recipe!

Seriously need to work on my picture taking ;)
**These muffins are not super sweet, if you're going more for a traditional sweet muffin, add more agave, honey or natural sugar. 

Lemon Coconut Cottage Cheese Muffins

1 cup ground rolled oats
1 cup wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
1 cup almond milk
1/4 tsp vanilla flavor
1 1/2 apple sauce
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1 egg
2 Tbsp amber Agave
Zest from 2 lemons
Juice from 2 lemons

Directions: (Makes 12-16 muffins)
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Grease your muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray or coconut oil, or line with muffin papers. (mine stuck to the papers pretty bad, so maybe greasing is a better option)
Grind rolled oats into a powder in a blender or food processor and place in large bowl.
Add all other dry ingredients to the large bowl and stir.

Combine all wet ingredients in a medium bowl and mix together.
Add wet ingredients to dry bowl and mix with a spoon.
Fill muffin tins almost to the top and bake for 20-22 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Allow muffins to cool in tin for a few minutes. Remove them and let fully cool on cooling rack. 

ENJOY!! Please let me know if you try these and how you like them. I'd love to hear!


Monday, September 17

Eggplant Parmesan & coconut oil? Yep!

I've really been on a cooking kick lately, so I'm going to do better at trying to post as many of the recipes I try or come up with. I tried Eggplant Parmesan for the first time just this year. For one, I try to stay away from fried foods period and two I always thought of eggplant as this weird spongy, purple food that had a terrible taste. I'm not sure why I ever thought that, but let me tell you folks, if you've never tried it and you think like I used to I assure you that it does not taste like a funny purple, spongy food.

I go on kicks where I crave Italian flavors or Mexican flavors... or whatever else I feel and they usually last for a few meals, but sometimes as long as a whole week. Well this week I started craving Italian. And like CRAZY! I had a work lunch function at Carrabas where the only thing they were serving was their infamous Chicken Marsala. Let me tell you, it was SOOO worth the calories. I thoroughly enjoyed the penne pasta with marinara and grilled chicken with marsala sauce. De-lish.

Since I try to limit my pasta intake to when I'm really wanting it, I decided to forgo the pasta in this recipe. However, I did have spaghetti squash on hand to have with it that you can certainly add. A friend was in town so we were already snacking on appetizers and didn't need the squash.

The only other time I've made eggplant parmesan I baked it. This time I wanted the real deal. I decided to try pan frying it in coconut oil since research shows it's a more healthy oil, especially for frying. Coconut oil has been said to be linked with weight loss, healthy skin and some even claim it's the healthiest oil on Earth. It's great for cooking at high temperatures too. So here's the recipe.... Please comment if you try it!

Eggplant Parmesan Stacks with Goat Cheese

1 medium eggplant
1 container crumbled goat cheese (about 8 oz)
1 1/2 cups Panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan
2 eggs
1 large can crushed tomatoes (be sure the brand you buy does not have added sugars! Check the ingredients. I buy Hunt's.)
2 cloves garlic chopped (I use a garlic press)
2 Tablespoons Fresh Basil
3 Tablespoons Fresh Oregano
2 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley
2 Tablespoons Fresh Thyme
4 Tablespoons coconut oil
Fresh ground pepper


  1. Cut both ends off of the eggplant. Since the skin of eggplant is kind of tough and waxy, use a vegetable peeler or a sharp knife to remove some of the skin. Place the eggplant with on of the cut sides down on the cutting board and thinly slice off the skin from top to bottom. Your eggplant will look striped after you're done. Slice eggplant into slices just thicker than a 1/4 of an inch and place on a paper towel and sprinkle with salt. Let eggplant sweat at room temperature for about 30 minutes, flipping after 15 minutes.
  2. Wisk eggs in a small bowl and set aside. Mix bread crumbs, 1 tablespoon oregano, 1 tablespoon basil, Parmesan and a dash of salt and pepper in another bowl and set aside. In large skillet, combine crushed tomatoes, garlic, about a teaspoon each of salt and pepper and all of the rest of your herbs. Simmer on medium-low heat until ready to serve.  
  3. Mix together 1 tablespoon thyme, 1 tablespoon oregano and goat cheese in a separate small bowl and set aside.  
  4. Place coconut oil in a large skillet and heat on medium for about 5 minutes. Pat eggplant with a paper towel to make sure it's dry before beginning your batter process. Dip one slice of eggplant at a time into the egg, then into the breadcrumb mixture. Place battered slice in the heated oil. Cook on each side about 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown.
  5. Place one slice of cooked eggplant on a plate and spread goat cheese mixture on top. Place another slice of cooked eggplant on that piece to create your stack. I stacked 4 pieces of eggplant because we were sharing it off of one plate, but you can stack as many or as little as you wish. 
  6. Cover your eggplant stack with desired amount of sauce and ENJOY! 


golden delicious!
As with all of my recipes, please comment and let me know if you substitute anything or how it turned out for you if you decide to make it. This is my first time making it and I will say, I don't think I will change one thing next time. I loved it!

Be Strong. Be Healthy. Be Balanced. 



Thursday, August 30

Paddle Boarding is a GREAT Workout + {Healthy Banana Nut Muffins}

I've been trying to get this post up for two weeks now! I participated in my first paddle board race on the Aug. 18 and IT WAS SO FUN! The race had a 6 mile elite race, as well as a 3 mile recreational race. I opted for the 3 mile since I've only paddle boarded a handful of times. I didn't train for the race at all since I decided I was doing it 3 days before the race. Ha! Gotta love being spontaneous!I finished the race in 1 hour and 2 minutes. That's my benchmark now... If I do another race I will have to beat that time.

Seriously though, the weather couldn't have been more perfect that day. Florida has been a very rainy state lately, at least where I live in the panhandle. After weeks of rain nearly every day, it seemed there wasn't a cloud in the sky that Saturday morning. {Blessing}

Just the beginning of my first lap

Post Race... AMPED!
Since I'm training for a half marathon I went for a run each of the following 3 days. On Monday and Tuesday, my back was soooo sore from paddling that I had to ice it (couldn't find my heating pad). It definitely made my runs anything but comfortable, that's for sure. Paddle boarding uses so many muscles in your body, so it's an awesome workout. If you don't have a board, research local places that may rent them and get on the water! Wanna learn more about paddle boarding techniques? Check out SUP Magazine's (Stand Up Paddle Boarding) How to SUP: 4 Steps to Standing Up.
REI also has a great video with Laird Hamilton (pro surfer) about basic paddling techniques. Super helpful!

And now for Healthy Banana Nut Muffins recipe!

Healthy Banana Nut Muffins

Healthy and delicious! These muffins will keep for a few days at room temperature and up to a week in the refrigerator. Pair your muffin with a glass of milk or almond milk and a piece of fruit for a complete breakfast.

TOMORROW IS FRIDAY! As you can tell, I'm very excited. It's been a chaotic week it seems, so I'm ready for this three-day weekend ahead. Anyone have any fun plans for the holiday weekend?

Be Strong. Be Healthy. Be Balanced. 

- Lauren 

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