by Melanie

Livin’ Up Summer + Healthy Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

July 25, 2014 in Adventures, Family Life, Recipe by Melanie

We’ve been having a lot of fun the past few days.  We’ve definitely been living up summer!!

We went to a reservoir near our house yesterday with my brother, sister and their families.  Everyone had a BALL!  The kids had such a fun time playing in the water

The kids at the reservoir

My 6 year old thought he was indestructible in that life jacket though!  I think I had about 13 nervous breakdowns as I watched him play in the water.  I’m such a paranoid mom, BTW.  You think I’d chill out a bit after having so many children, but I DO NOT.

Kids+water=Stressed out Mel!

Thankfully, my 4 year old wanted to play in the sand and on the nearby playground instead of the water.

Jake playing in the sand at the reservoir

My oldest son and his cousin liked hanging out and chatting at the top of the playground.  My 4 year old loved running around with his cousin (that’s my sister taking a picture too!)

The kids on the playground at the reservoir

Kevin (my fearless, over-adventurous husband) decided to swim across the reservoir!  He also took my 10 year old son with him!  AUUUGHHH!

Kev and D swimming across the reservoir

They made it across and then swam back!  I had about 4 more nervous breakdowns watching them swim.  Oh, and I just want to mention that a teenager drown just a few months ago trying to swim across this EXACT reservoir.

Ya.

I know I’m paranoid, but I think it’s for good reason!  I also don’t know how NOT to be paranoid.  I think it’s programmed in my DNA.

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Yesterday was “Pioneer Day” in Utah.  It’s the day the Pioneers finally made it to Utah back in 1847.  It’s kind of like Utah’s birthday and like a second “4th of July.”  I love it.

So, last night we went to a fun neighborhood BBQ and then watched a bunch of amazing fireworks.  I couldn’t believe all the fireworks going off around our neighborhood.  It was incredible!

And, I’m lame and didn’t take any pictures. :-(

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Kev took my three middle kids (13 year old, 10 year old and 6 year old) back to Lagoon Amusement Park today!  We had such a fun time there last week and Lagoon lets you “Bounce Back” within 10 days for only $12 per person.

I decided to stay home with my 4 year old and 15 year old (who doesn’t like rides!???!)  Sooooo, I decided we needed to have a “Brothers Day” with my two kiddos….my biggest kiddo and my littlest kiddo (for now, lol.)

I took them to Carl’s Jr. for dinner.  I wasn’t feelin’ the “salad vibe,” and I didn’t want to pig out, so I ordered myself a Cheeseburger kids meal.  It was just perfect, but I didn’t take a pic. :-(

We got there a little before the dinner rush (around 4:30), so we had the playground all to ourselves.  I even talked my older son into playing on the playground with his brother.  I reminded him that he’s “only a kid once” and his childhood will be over soon, so LIVE IT UP!

Ty and Jake at Carl's Jr

Cutie pies.  It was actually a fun playground and they loved climbing and sliding down all the slides.

Afterward, I took them over to Petco to look at all of the dogs, cats, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, turtles, fish, lizards, frogs, etc.

Ty and Jake at PetCo

They loved it.  Then we decided to head over to Target and I bought them each a Lego set (I’m sure my other kiddos won’t be happy when they find out….Eeee.)

Ty and Jake with their Lego Sets

They had so much fun building together and my older son was so sweet to help his little bro.

Ty helping Jake with his Legos

Love these guys!

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I also made some YUMMY healthy Banana Chocolate Chip muffins the other day that I want to share with y’all.  They were so delicious and all my kids loved them!  YAY!

I especially love these muffins because my little kids have been able to HELP THEMSELVES when they want a snack.  In the summertime, I feel like my kids are always looking for a snack and it’s so nice when mom doesn’t have to get it for them.  Yay!

I was inspired by a recipe I saw on AllRecipes.com, but I COMPLETELY changed it up and made it even healthier.  Woo hoo.

Healthy Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Healthy Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Makes 24 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup flaxseed meal (ground flaxseed)
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats**
  • 1/2 cup Sucanat (or sweetener of your choice)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs; beaten
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
  • 3 very ripe bananas; mashed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

**If you don’t have quick cooking oats, you can just use regular oats and put them in the blender/food processor and pulse a few times to make them smaller.

Ingredients for healthy Banana Muffins

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Grease 24 muffin cups or line with paper liners.

Stir whole wheat flour, flaxseed meal, quick cooking oats, sucanat, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a bowl.

Dry Ingredients for Healthy Banana Muffins

Beat eggs in a separate bowl.

Eggs for Healthy Banana Muffins

Add applesauce, milk, bananas and vanilla to the eggs.

Wet Ingredients for Healthy Banana Muffins

Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir just until moistened.  Batter will be lumpy.  Add chocolate chips and mix into batter.

Healthy Banana Muffin Batter

Fill prepared muffin cups about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way full.

Healthy Banana Muffins getting ready to bake
Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of several muffins comes out clean, 12-16 minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes before removing to finish cooling on wire racks.

Healthy Banana Muffins

Enjoy!

Healthy Banana Muffins Close Up

These were really tasty!  I hope you all enjoy them.

Have a great night!

Healthy Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 24
  • Serving size: 1 muffin
  • Calories: 99
  • Fat: 3
  • Carbohydrates: 55
  • Sugar: 6
  • Sodium: 147
  • Fiber: 5
  • Protein: 2
  • Cholesterol: 23
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
These muffins are healthy, yummy, filling and all my kids love them! They are the perfect snack anytime.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup flaxseed meal (ground flaxseed)
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats**
  • ½ cup Sucanat (or sweetener of your choice)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs; beaten
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ⅓ cup milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
  • 3 very ripe bananas; mashed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Grease 24 muffin cups or line with paper liners.
  3. Stir whole wheat flour, flaxseed meal, quick cooking oats, sucanat, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a bowl.
  4. Beat eggs in a separate bowl.
  5. Add applesauce, milk, banana and vanilla to the eggs.
  6. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. Batter will be lumpy.
  7. Add chocolate chips and mix into batter.
  8. Fill prepared muffin cups about ½ to ⅔ of the way full.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of several muffins comes out clean, 12-16 minutes.
  10. Cool in pan for 5 minutes before removing to finish cooling on wire racks.
  11. Enjoy!

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by Melanie

Trying to Keep it Healthy During the End of Pregnancy

July 24, 2014 in Family Life, Meal Ideas, Pregnancy by Melanie

I’ve been having a lot of fun running around with family lately!  I’ve also been trying to keep the diet a little healthier since last weekend.  I’ve found it’s much easier to eat well when I’m in my own home, but when I go to my mom’s house…..it’s SO HARD!

She has so many yummy treats there right now and it is KILLING me!

I’ve been having this for breakfast most mornings…

Egg Veggie Scramble and cherries

Some sort of veggie/egg mixture with a side of fruit.  I’ve been lovin’ cherries SO MUCH this summer.  YUM!

I’ve had my weird lettuce/fruit/cottage cheese mixture a few times lately and I love it (this picture was taken last week though.)

Lettuce, peaches, raspberries and cottage cheese

For some reason lettuce has tasted SO GOOD to me this pregnancy.  I could almost eat it plain.  Weird.  I’m going to make an effort to add it to more things so I can get more veggies in.  I’ll keep you posted on the interesting concoctions I come up with.

I also made this for dinner the other night…

Pot Stickers, Chicken, Broccoli and Fruit

This is a perfect example of an “It’s summer and I don’t feel like cooking, but I want to feed my family something healthy” dinner.

It’s just Pot Stickers from Costco, roasted broccoli, chicken (I just cooked on my Electric frying pan), pineapple and grapes.

I’ve been buying Pot Stickers from Costco for a long time, but they recently started carrying a new brand that I LOVE!

Green Chopsticks Pot Stickers

They’re made by Green Chopsticks and they’re so good.  The wrappers seem thinner than the other brand I used to get, which I’m happy ’bout.  I’m also quite impressed with the “real” ingredients in these.  They’re also super quick and easy to make and all my kids eat them!  Yay.

We had a crazy night last night, so I made my kiddos quesadillas and Peanut Butter sandwiches for dinner (they didn’t complain at all!) and I made myself this concoction and ate it in the car…

Yogurt Cottage Cheese Blueberry Mixture

It’s a blueberry Chobani yogurt, light cottage cheese, blueberries and granola.  I always love these yogurt concoctions.  They always taste good, take 2 seconds to make and sit well in my tummy.

Oh, and I received this yummy granola from Cascadian Farm recently…

Cascadian Farm Granola

They sent me two flavors, Dark Chocolate and Apple Crisp.  SUPER YUMMY!  I love the taste and crunch that granola adds to things and I also love that this granola adds protein!  However, granola in general is HIGH in calories, so I just like to use it in small quantities.

This Cascadian Farm granola is about 230-250 calories per serving (3/4 cup), so I’ve just added a little bit to my yogurt concoctions, to protein shakes or I’ve just had a little bit by itself.  I even came up with this yummy sweet treat a few nights ago…

My late night Smart Pop, KIND granola and chocolate chip snack

Skinny Pop popcorn with chocolate chips and granola mixed in.   This was fabulous and such a yummy late night snack!

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Sadly, it seems like everything I eat makes me feel ill lately.  I think my stomach is quite squished and can’t handle much these days.  When I’m not pregnant, I NEVER EVER get heartburn, but now everything gives me heartburn and makes me nauseous.  It’s so sad. :-(

If I eat VERY clean and VERY small meals, I seem to do fine….BUT if I eat anything sweet/salty/fatty/carbohydrate-y/yummy, etc. it makes me sick AND if I eat more than just a small portion of anything, it makes me sick.

It doesn’t stop me from eating though!  Ha.

However, I’ve found that warm lemon water is very soothing to my body lately.  I prefer to have it first thing in the morning, but I’ve also been having it whenever I feel ill.  It’s great and really makes me feel better.

I filled up a big water bottle with warm lemon water yesterday and took it with me on the go.

Me looking a lot like Jabba

It was so good!

I also have to say this is NOT a cute picture of me!  Like at all.  However, this is pretty much how I look these days. Oy.

When I first found out I was pregnant, I told you guys I would share pictures of myself throughout the pregnancy…the good, bad and the ugly!

Well folks, I’ve afraid we’ve reached the ugly stage, lol!  I would say the best word to describe myself these days is haggard.

I feel humungous, bloated, ill, frumpy and just NOT CUTE.

It’s okay though, I only have about 3 weeks left!!!  I’m really looking forward to the scale, the bloating and my FACE going down in size.

Oh, and I’m seeing quite the resemblance to Jabba the Hutt these days…

Jabba the Hutt

I’m sure a lot of pregnant women can relate to feeling rather “Jabba-esque.”  Notice how the chin(s) run into the chest, which runs into the tummy to form one giant blob??!  Yes, I can relate.  Poor Jabba doesn’t get to give birth though.

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Anyway, I’m getting ready to head over to the reservoir to swim with my kiddos and family, so I gotta wrap this up!  I also want to share a beautiful picture

Beautiful Summer Sunset

This is the view from my parent’s deck and it’s one of my favorite views in all the world!  This picture actually doesn’t do it justice.  I took this picture last night while my sissy and I were chatting on the deck.  The sunset was a beautiful shade of red and pink….this pic doesn’t show how vibrant the colors were!

FYI, that is the Great Salt Lake and the sun is setting behind Antelope Island.  That’s also my cute Elementary school.  I LOVED growing up adjacent to an Elementary School and church.  We had so much space to go exploring and running around.  It was bliss.

Oh, to be a child again.  I miss it.  Well I gotta run!  Enjoy the rest of your day!

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by Melanie

Fun Time with Family and Too Much Sugar!

July 21, 2014 in Adventures, Family Life by Melanie

Well guys, life has been hectic, hectic, hectic!  It’s also been fun, fun, FUN too!

This is also going to be a LONG post!

My little sister and her kids arrived from Connecticut last week and my brother and his family arrived from Georgia on Saturday, so it’s been a big ol’ party!  We’ve had so much fun, but MAN I’m SO DANG tired!

My healthy lifestyle has seriously been struggling, but I know it will be short-lived.  Mentally I’m still 100% dedicated to health and fitness, but physically…that’s another story.  I seriously feel like my body has just decided it’s incapable of doing anything these days.

It’s quite sad.  It’s seriously amazing what the body goes through during pregnancy….AH-Mazing!  I feel like my belly has grown a TON the past few weeks and I can no longer bend, breathe or sit (unless I’m reclined.)  I love feeling the baby kick, but it feels like he’s going to kick right through my belly!!  I’m sure his living quarters are quite cramped in there!

Sooooo, my “exercise” has pretty much consisted of walking and cleaning my house.  It’s quite pathetic, but I work up quite a sweat cleaning my house these days.  I’ve also done a lot of walking.  I’m still trying to do some weight lifting, but the busy schedule and mega fatigue has kept me from doing it lately.

I was doing pretty well with the healthy diet until this weekend.  We decided to spend the weekend up at my parent’s house so we could spend more time with my siblings.  We had so much fun, but there was SO MUCH junk food up there!!!!

I just have to say that my family is the biggest chocolatey, sugary, rich, decadent, sweet tooth family I know.  It’s scary!  For example….

A bunch of treats at my mom's house

Those Scotcheroos (far left) are one of my favorite treats ever!  We also had Brownies and Cutler’s Cookies (that box is TWO layers deep!

Kev also decided to buy a bunch of candy!

A bunch of candy up at my mom's

Hello!!???  Thankfully, candy doesn’t tempt me too much.  I did enjoy the Red Vines though!

My mom also bought my family’s favorite cake, Mrs. Backer’s Mint Chocolate cake!

Backers cake at my mom's

Auuughhh!  Thankfully, I don’t LOVE this cake.  It’s very good, but VERY rich.  I’m usually satisfied with just a small taste.

We also had a mint chocolate chip Oreo ice cream dessert thing, but I didn’t take any pictures. :-(

I didn’t pig out on anything, but I took “small tastes” of everything way too many times!  AND it made me so sick!

I’m actually GLAD it made me sick though!  Back in the day, I could POUND a bunch of sugar and it wouldn’t even phase me.  Nowadays, I can only handle a little bit before I want to hurl.

Oh, and I’ve told you guys I’m pretty much incapacitated and severely challenged these days.  Well, here’s proof….

I am a challenged Pregnant lady

Check out all of those stains on my WHITE shirt!  I see at least 4…..and they were all separate incidents.  Yes, I can’t sit up straight, or move, or breathe AND a have a huge belly in the way, SO I have issues.  LOL.  It’s quite funny.

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We had a fun weekend spending time together and playing games.  Last night, we took a picture of all the grandkids that were up at my parent’s house.

Most of the grandkids

What a cute group!  We were only missing 5 of the grandkids.

We also went to church with my parent’s and some of my siblings on Sunday morning.  My parents live two doors down from the church, so I took a pic of us walking over there.

The fam walking to church at grandmas

Yes, I’m a sentimental sap.  This is the church I went to while I was growing up.  Oh, and check out that MEGA huge satellite dish!  I remember when they put that satellite in (in the 1980′s) and it was quite the big deal back then!  Too funny!

I also snapped this pic of my 6 year old DURING church…

Ben asleep at church on Kev

Ya, I know I probably shouldn’t take pictures during church, but I DID!  This picture perfectly illustrates how hard we’ve been playing.

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I went to a wonderful Mormon Tabernacle Choir Concert at the Conference Center with my sister and parents Friday night.

My parents, Laur and I at the MoTab Concert

It was a fabulous concert and Santino Fontano was the featured soloist.  He has an amazing voice and played Prince Hans (the bad guy) in the movie, Frozen.  He was such a nice, funny guy too.  I loved him.

The choir and Santino Fontano sang a lot of Broadway songs from West Side Story, Cinderella and other classics.  You can actually watch the whole concert online here if you like.  I LOVED IT!

Oh, and my sister and I took a selfie with my dad too…

Laur, me and dad at the MoTab concert

Love him.

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I told you guys we were heading to Lagoon Amusement Park last Thursday, right?

Well, we had SUCH a great time!  I worried that my poor body wouldn’t last all day in the hot sun walking around the park, but it DID!  I actually felt great.  We showed up to Lagoon around noon and left around 10:20 PM.  I would love to know how many miles I walked, but I didn’t bring anything to track it with, dang it.

I’m sure I walked several miles, at least!

I didn’t go on any rides though and it was so sad. :-(  I loved watching my kids have fun though.

I was the official “keeper of the strollers” and the official “sit with the kids who can’t/don’t want to ride lady” and the official “hat/sunglasses/purse holder.”

Me being the stroller keeper at Lagoon

Yes, I felt so special.

Oh, the excitement of my day also consisted of hanging out with the peacocks

Hangin out with the peacocks at Lagoon

Ya, they were just wandering around the park (that’s a mom and baby) and it was cute.

Everyone had such a great time.  Here are a few pics I snapped throughout the day….

Kev and some of my boys and nephews on Rattlesnake Rapids (I love that ride!)

Kev and the kids on Rattlesnake Rapids

Some of the soaking wet group AFTER Rattlesnake Rapids…

Soaked on Rattlesnake Rapids

Kev went on the Log Flume with my 4 year old and he LOVED it!  He was all smiles and bouncing up and down after the “big hill!”

Kev and Jake on the Log Flume

Kev and my little sis even went on the “kiddie swings” with some of the kids…

Kev and Laur on the kiddie swings at Lagoon

I think it was a little too intense for them, lol.

Oh, and my LITTLE, TEENY, TINY, BABY 6 year old decided he wanted to go on ALL the big rides!!!!!  What!!???  He wasn’t quite tall enough to go on some of them, but he did make it on the two BIGGEST roller coasters in the park!

He went on The Colossus (the loopty loops in the background) and Wicked (the twisty roller coaster in the far back) and LOVED both of them!

Kev, Brooke and Ben in front of Colossus

I was sure I would see him fall off the ride at any minute.  I was a nervous wreck, but he wasn’t scared at all.  Freak.

Lagoon lets people bring in their own food and I’m so glad!  We brought big coolers and things so we could have lunch and dinner there.  It was so nice.

Eating at Lagoon

We actually filled a big Thermos/cooler full of hot dogs (in boiling water) and it was so nice to have a HOT meal while we were there.  My mom used to bring hot dogs to Lagoon when we were little, so we decided to keep up the tradition!

It was fun.

I also took a selfie with my sisters…

Selfie with my sisters at Lagoon

Oh, and the park closed at 10:00 and we were one of the last people to leave!  Yes, we’re hardcore.

That’s our van and the other car is my sister’s, lol.

Hardcore Lagoon patrons

It was SUCH a fun day!

I’m actually getting ready to head up to my mom’s again in just a bit so I need to wrap this up!  I also want to mention that I’ve been trying to eat EXTRA healthy today in an effort to detox my body from all the sugar I’ve been consuming!

I made myself a Chocolate Banana Spinach Protein Shake this morning and it was great.  I drank it on the way to swimming lessons.

Protein shake on the way to swimming lessons

When I got home, I made a big veggie/egg scramble and it tasted so good to me!

Veggie Egg Scramble with water

I think I’m going to make myself a big ol’ salad now and eat it on the drive up to my parent’s house.  Real food tastes SO DANG good to me after eating so much crap!

Well, I’m sorry this post is so long and NOT so healthy!  I’m going to be busy this next week running around with my fam, but I will do my best to keep up a sorta kinda healthy lifestyle.  I might not be the best blogger this week, but I’ll do my best!

I hope you all enjoy your Monday!

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