Laughing’s My Favorite

It’s soooo easy to get stuck in a solemn mood. Maybe it’s because I’m focused on a goal or possibly because I’m determined to craft a new plan of attack for whatever strikes my fancy lately. It’s not always because I’m sad or discouraged about something.  These are the times when I stay in a mood. It’s that dull, lackluster, monotonous feeling where things seem to just be rolling along with the clock, no big changes or manifestations.

Ew to that. I like the sparkle and the joy.

It’s like when I want to be dancing around the kitchen, music blaring (Well, not blaring;  I don’t like super loud things in my house. I have sensitive ears, okay?), making scrambled eggs or something.  You know the feeling, when I don’t have a time schedule and just act a little weird and silly like no one’s watching, even if someone is. It’s freedom to let go of control and literally let loose.

I got to thinking this more and more recently. As adults it’s almost an unlearning of sorts.  We’re taught to button up and save the wild times for very specific moments when they’re deemed acceptable.

Hello!  There is no scheduling fun when you’re a kid. We can be silly!  We can have fun! This doesn’t make us any less responsible or respected as grown ups. In fact, I believe it sends out the message to the universe that we’re having a great time here on Earth and we’re open to more enjoyable moments.  So yes, it’s not a perfect world where we never lose our sense of fun for fun’s sake, but this just means we have to be a tad more conscious about it.

I’m trying to make time for the silliness.

  • Watch a funny movie/TV show I know gets me laughing or smiling or just feelin’ good.
  • Daydream.
  • Sing out loud to my favorite songs.
  • Color.
  • Play dress up.

None of this is relegated to kids; we just seem to forget these are options.

Last night my mom and I went to see I Love Lucy in the movie theaters for Lucille Ball’s birthday and it was so fun. They showed a couple episodes in color and even though I’ve seen them all (many times) before I still laugh so hard!  It was worth the staying up a little later. If you know me, you know I’m in bed by 8:30pm on a weekday…

This was the reminder I needed that I can laugh and have a great time any moment of any day. A “normal” schedule doesn’t allow time for that. It doesn’t always come naturally but it always boosts my mood for a long time after. It’s something I’m working on and I think it will keep getting easier to do without thinking.

So for now, I’m just over here connecting with my inner child, people!

~Whitney

Current Favorite Snacks

My eating habits have had such a roller coaster ride over the last few years.

I’m pretty over labels and rules and restrictions and anything else that tells me I can’t have this or need to eat that.  However, I’m still into health and feeling my best. I’ve cut out certain foods off and on for years. Seriously, I’d say almost 15 years.  I was searching for that magic bullet, the mystical diet that would change my digestion, my body, and my life.

I’m here to say that diet does not exist. Maybe paleo works for you right now but it may not in a year. Maybe I feel better eating less sugar this month but by September I might feel just as good having dessert every single night.  Things change, so do I.

I know now that I can have whatever I want (except bananas. I really believe I have an allergy…), in moderation. “Moderation” can be an annoying term but it really means something different to everyone. I just had to figure out my own moderation.

Anyway, I’m talking about my current favorite snacks that make me happy and satisfied. Maybe you’ll find something new!

Epic Bars

I’m a little tired of most snacks, especially bars, being sweet. I’ve always been more of a savory/salty person so these are perfect!  It’s more portable than jerky and has great, clean ingredients.  Fave flavor is the Bison Bacon Cranberry but I’ve tried a bunch and they’re all good.

Siggi’s Simple Sides

So far I liked the Almonds and Dried Cherries flavor the best. I’ve eated these for breakfast along with a muffin or just alone for a snack. I love the crunch that the toppings add because I’ve never been one for the normal texture of plain yogurt. I love that there’s like 16 grams of protein in each one because I notice I feel fuller longer when I have enough.

Happy Yummies Gummy Bears

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I am not super into candies. Normally I’d rather pick chocolate but since I’ve been experimenting with running fuel (which gummies are great for!), I randomly picked these up at Marshalls on clearance the other week.  They really are some of the best gummies!  The bag I bought has 12 flavors, like Pink Grapefruit and  lemon, and they’re the softest, non-sticky gummies I’ve ever had. It’s nice to grab just like five or six of them after lunch for something sweet.

Black Bean Brownie Bites

And my final snack I’ve been having lately is black bean brownie bites! Really, this is such a good version of them. You would never know the beans are in them, but it gives them such a great, dense texture and really compliments the chocolate well. I love the bite size and the chunks of chocolate chips in them. I’ve been having one after dinner and it’s the cutest little dessert to end the night! This recipe made about 20 so I froze them to keep whenever I want a treat.

‘Till next time!

💕Whitney

Trying too hard?

Trying too hard has been such a theme in my first 30 years.  I’ve gotten tons and tons better but it would just sort of stop in one area of my life and stay present in another.

Trying too hard to be perfect.

Trying too hard to be nice.

Trying too hard to be organized.

Trying too hard to look pretty and polished.

Trying too hard to be something (everything) I’m not.

There is much to be said for self-improvement.  In fact, it’s basically my favorite pastime. However, the feeling that I need to change in order to feel better about myself or more worthy of my dreams I’m trying to manifest is completely insane.  That’s what trying too hard has done for me. It was almost always never about growing and chasing my goals.  It was almost always about striving for perfection so the world would think I was good enough. It was never for the sake of having fun and being myself.

The act of trying is really an act of doing nothing but spinning my wheels. Stuck in the mud, trying to run away and gain some traction. It was usually something I had to force myself to do and something I did not really enjoy. I would even try to like whatever I was forcing myself to do!

I lost all the magic, all the spontaneity, all the fun.

Now, there is a time and place for planning and pushing myself.  There’s even an instance or two when I need to force myself to do something, but that only works when the end goal I dream of requires consistent action.

I swear I won’t always use running as a life metaphor but it just works, okay?

Case in point: I’m running a marathon this November (115 days to go!) and there are some days I reallllly don’t want to get out and run my miles even though my training plan says so.  This is when I let my (old friend) rigidness come out and show me who’s boss. I need this run or else I’m going to regret it on race day.  This run makes me stronger and more prepared.  This run gets me closer to my dream of crossing “Run a marathon” off my bucket list.  It’s those literal steps that are taking me where I want to go.

That, to me, is not trying too hard.  It’s just fighting for my goals.

I’ve been really into surrendering lately and that’s what kicking this habit of trying too hard means to me.  Surrender has been quite the trendy word but, man is it a tough one to actual practice.  I’ve never noticed just how tight my grip on the world is until I started to let go.

What a work in progress I am.  Aren’t we all?

P.S. I like fun things too.  It’s not all a lot of words and thinking and pondering life’s purpose up here…aka in my head.

Sugar Detox: Why It’s Necessary

Yeah, I know.  You might not want to actually quit sugar.  You might love it.  I totally do but it is one of those things that really hurts in the long run, no matter how good it seems in the moment.

I fully intend to have Lindt Lindor truffles on a semi-regular basis.  Because they’re amazing.  Because one makes me happy and satisfied.  No, they are not the healthiest chocolate in the world. They do have some questionable ingredients, but they are some of the best I’ve ever had.  Seriously, buy my favorite flavor right //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=whitneyvictor-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B002RNYDBU&asins=B002RNYDBU&linkId=c721a00dfc767e41e57020bca4c6fd57&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff“>here. The extra dark are to die for.   Well, every flavor really is, except the orange.  That one just shouldn’t exist in my opinion.

Anyway, sorry for the chocolate rant.  I just love it.  That proves my point that I will still have a Carvel ice cream cake on my birthday every year.  I just don’t want to NEED it.  I don’t want to crave sugar to the point where I feel powerless in it’s grasp.

In one sitting, I’ve eating an entire bag of those exact truffles I mentioned at on point probably a year ago.  Sugar is that thing that makes your brain think you need it to be happy and satisfied.  The first, oh maybe 3 chocolates were amazing and I loved every bite, and then my brain kept telling me “More is better.”  12 empty wrappers and one almost stomachache later, I knew that wasn’t true.

What do we do about the sugar addiction?

I go cold turkey with the hard stuff.  By this I mean the chemically engineered, fully processed versions of sugar like high fructose corn syrup and anything like Splenda or aspartame.

Then I start with replacing those sugars with naturally-derived sweeteners like raw stevia.  I will only use //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=whitneyvictor-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B00CQ7YSW6&asins=B00CQ7YSW6&linkId=d9b24b6dc9f8de599a82580af56164c9&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff“>Stevia in the Raw packets or this //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=whitneyvictor-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B01B048808&asins=B01B048808&linkId=7cd9d157d83feabff1e74535624af3ba&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff“> liquid stevia (it comes in caramel and other great flavors!).  I also use limited coconut sugar and unsweetened applesauce for baking. My snacks will include some whole fruits and I’ll still allow some clean snack bars. More on this in my next post.

The next week or so, I’ll try to limit adding stevia to my oatmeal and cut back on bars.

After that, I only eat fruit once a day, preferably in the mornings, and don’t add any sweetener to my dishes.

Then I stay in that phase for at least another week to the point that I don’t crave something sweet after lunch and supper.

That’s always my goal.  I want to kill the cravings.

Is craving something bad?

Well, it is when it’s sugar.  See, sugar is in so much conventionally-made food these days that you might not even realize it unless you’re constantly reading nutrition labels like I do.

When you give up sugar, you gain a LOT.

Some benefits:

  1. Clearer, brighter skin
  2. Less noticeable cellulite (yeah, it’s true.  I’ve seen it happen)
  3. You’re less hungry for junk food
  4. Lose belly fat
    1. and overall weight loss, for that matter
  5. Drastically lower risk for diabetes
  6. Energy increases

Check out the following sources: Here, here, and here.

Now.  What does sugar actually do to you body?

Side Effects of Eating too Much Sugar:

  1. Weight gain
    1. “Additionally, excessive fructose consumption may cause resistance to leptin, an important hormone that regulates hunger and tells your body to stop eating (4). In other words, sugary beverages don’t curb your hunger, making it easy to quickly consume a high number of liquid calories. This can lead to weight gain.”  source
  2. Increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer
  3. Increases risk of depression
  4. Accelerates skin aging
    1. Yes, I’m vain enough to admit this is a factor in my detox
  5. Potential liver damage

And, those are just a some of the reasons it’s necessary to quit the habits.

Now, who’s with me?

~Whitney VictoriaIMG_1934

P.S. Bonus shot of me holding an ice cream cone called The Salty Pimp.  The shop is fun and bright and offers treats like the “Dorothy” and the “Rocky Roadhouse.” Any ice cream place that joins rainbow sprinkles with the Golden Girls is okay by me.  Just not every day…

Sugar Detoxing: Easing into It

I’m early into it, very early, like 2 full days into my self-imposed sugar detox.  I’m always one for challenges and pushing myself but this decision seemed extra necessary this time of year.

I love ice cream and chocolate, obviously.  Who doesn’t? I’m good at making healthier desserts but the problem is that if those options aren’t there, what am I going to want?  The traditional cake, with gluten white sugar, and lord knows what else.

Those cravings were just getting out of control.  Sure, I could kid myself and act like I’d only eat some super clean blueberry muffins that I whipped up, but then slowly I’d “allow” myself candy or Halo Top or something once week, which would become twice a week.  Every savory meal left me wishing I had a sweet bit to finish it off. Sometimes I’d just have a piece of hard candy but other days that just set me off to wanting even more.

I just got tired of having a craving at all.  I believe a craving means you don’t have control over wanting something.   I don’t like feeling powerless, especially over something as small, and meaningless as sugar.  I kept pushing it off and saying I’d stop eating “next week” or after the weekend, etc.

After July 4th, I knew I had to kick the habit.  I had a “goodbye” bowl of ice cream and felt terrible after eating it.  When I go for awhile eating mostly fruits, vegetables, and overall clean food, a big serving of sugar affects me like crazy.

I swear my heard beat a little faster and I felt soooo sluggish.  I even woke up with what felt like a sugar hangover.  I had no energy!  It just reinforced exactly what I already knew.

Sugar was harming me.  It felt for about 5 minutes and then it went bad. IT really is an addiction.

So. Yesterday I decided to go cold turkey.

I made up my own challenge because I wasn’t finding any program I really cared to follow.

My  3 simple rules:

  • No added sugar
    • read this article for all the sneaky names of sugar!
  • Only 1 serving of fruit/day
    • before lunch
  • Follow for at least 30 days
    • preferably until the cravings are gone

I’ve done this type of sugar detoxing before and have pretty many tips and coping mechanisms.  It’s never easy but I know it will be worth it.

I’m going to share just how to get through those cravings this week and how to still have fun eating! Stay tuned!

~Whitney Victoria

No sugar spelled in magnetic letters

 

Inspired

Basically as soon as I knew how to screenshot something on my iPhone I was hooked.  I began saving pics of pretty scenery, quotes I loved, outfits I wanted to emulate.  The word “muse” comes to mind but this is not the extent I want to relay.  To me, “muse” is long-term.  It’s someone who serves as constant inspiration for whatever your project maybe. These moments I compile are tiny hits of inspiration that are ever-changing and always being replaced or forgotten.  It’s the things in life that come across my path that cause me to make a certain “small” decision. It’s like this: I see a bright bunch of flowers at the farmer’s market and then choose my outfit based on that combination of vibrant orange and hot pink that I saw in those flowers.  Get it?

Boom.

Inspired.

I am a collector of beautiful things and by “beautiful” I mean something that provokes emotion in me, just as much as something that I see as physically and aesthetically pleasing.   Pinterest and Instagram has made this possible

As we speak, I’m sitting at a Panera drinking iced coffee and I can hear one of the male cashiers tell every customer to “have a beautiful day” at the end of their order.  This is something that inspires me.   The same man let me know he loved my dress while I was getting my coffee.  Some people barely squeeze out a “thank you” or a “bye.”  I always know that I am in that specific place and time because I was meant to witness that kindness and beauty.  (Huge believer in timing right here.)

Anyway, I feel like starting a regular recap of my own inspiring moments I collected with all of you.  Thursday night seemed like a good time to do this.  Right before we head into the weekend, the last night that isn’t particularly joyful for most since we have one more day of work.  Some times I might have lots of quotes, one time I may seem to be drawn toward landscapes, and I just know that my collection will include a lot of style, fashion, and even some gorgeous people.

I’m hoping that by sharing my inspirations, you notice those moments in your own lives and let them inspire you to do something wonderful.

Beauty is all around.

I’ve started here with my Instagram picks from the last few days.

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Umm, hello, I’m going here.  Something for me to reach for.

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This one is all about the caption!

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Every struggle is a chance to grow.

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Seriously.  My astrology sign cat is Indiana.  It’s fate.

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Listen to yourself.  You will hear what you want.

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We can heal ourselves from within.  Oh yes.

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I’m betting on myself.  How about you?

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Yessssss.  No one is telling you what to do, say, think, or believe.  That’s all you.

Yours,

Whitney Victoria

Joy & Muffins

I decided to bake last night.  I usually don’t bake during the week.  I think I always feel like it will be an all-consuming 4 hour process or something so I push it off until I have “adequate” time on the weekends.  Baking gives me a little jolt of accomplishment so I really need to stop assuming my other to-dos are more important and I don’t have time.  You know what they say when your assume.  The best part is that I had plenty of time to whip up muffins, pack some lunch for tomorrow, and do lift a few weight. Oh, and most importantly, I had time to watch Young and the Restless  #priorities

My point is this: Don’t Postpone Joy.  Chase it now.

Happiness Is Not Something You Postpone For The Future, It Is Something You Design for the Present (by Jim Rohn). -- Do your very best for today but never lose joy over it.

So, what did I bake, you ask?  In my head, you’re asking, ready for the recipe.

I always have criteria for my recipes.  Usually I need to have everything on hand and easily accessible.  No surprise that I couldn’t find something suitable from a quick Pinterest search, so I made up my own recipe.

Enter my Cinnamon Sugar Snacking Muffins.

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They’re semi-healthy.  Recipes like this I consider sorta like half-caff coffee.  You’re still eating a little sugar and gluten but not near as much as in traditional recipes.  The taste is still there and you most likely won’t miss the extra calories.  It’s good when you want to bake something for a person who eschew healthy food.  Most of the time I just can’t bring myself to not do some clean eating swaps.

This muffins are moist and have a cinnamony bite to them.  They  go well with tea as a snack.  Since the batter doesn’t have as much sugar as most muffins, the topping adds a welcome sweet crunch.

Next time I plan on making them in my mini muffin tin.  Like muffin poppers!  Is that a thing?

Cinnamon Sugar Snacking Muffins

makes: 12 standard muffins or 18 mini muffins

Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour (can use Bob’s Red Mill GF too!)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter – melted
2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp baking powder
pinch Himalayan salt
1/3 cup milk
1 flax egg (can sub for 1 egg)
Topping:
1/4 cup white sugar mixed
1 tbs cinnamon

Preheat over to 350 degrees.  Sift together dry ingredients.  Whisk all liquids together.  Slowly incorporate liquids into dry ingredient bowl, until just mixed.

Mix topping together.

Spray 12 muffin tins with cooking spray.  (I love this!) Pour batter evenly into muffin tins.  Sprinkle topping onto each muffin. Bake for 15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. They should be golden brown with a slightly crisp top.  Don’t over bake!

Tip: You can fill just 8 muffin tins to the top for bakery-style muffins.

Let me know if you whip these up!  I think adding apples would be great.  : )

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Whitney Lately Vol. 2

Admiring lately:IMG_8663

Lower Manhattan

This is from a recent Uber ride from Brooklyn to MSG to eat gluten free pizza and have have macaroons from the bus station. This view will be a part of my daily life.  It’s always been in me.

Crushing lately:

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Tone It Up Bikini Series 

“Crushing” might be a little strong but I’m officially on the last day of the TIU Bikini Series.  I gotta say, it’s 8 weeks, but those weeks really did fly by.  There’s an app that has free daily moves every day.  Each day is dedicated to a certain body part you’re working.  You swipe through the moves and then the last screen is this one.  A little encouragement is always welcome.

Seriously check it out.  I’m a TIU girl now for the long run.

Sipping lately:

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Knoebel’s Cookie Nook

All the iced coffee  

I’m loving my coffee cold even more so than usual.  It just tastes sooo good to me this time of year.  Who am I kidding?  It tastes good any time of the year but in winter my hands start to freeze if I don’t get hot drinks.  But then again, that’s what I have gloves for.

Researching lately:

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Summer Events

On July 18 I am going to an event for the Almost 30 podcast  in NYC and I cannot wait.  I took the day off  and the next day just because I’ll get back late on a “school night.”  Even though the event only starts at 6:30 pm, I’m planning on taking some time in the city before it starts.  Right now, my schedule is wide open.  I’m a planner but I’m working on being more flexible with my schedule.  It’s actually way tougher than I thought it would be when I started to work on this trait a few months ago.  I actually feel stress when I have something “fun” planned but I don’t have an entire, completed, highly-detailed itinerary in my possession.  Anyway…I am slowly getting there and am allowing myself to enjoy some true free time.  So, for this day trip I had to at least have some things in mind.  As we speak I have a few options:

  • Catch a matinee show on Broadway (This most def. revolves around finding a good price.)
    • Currently cruising this site right here for tips and tricks – Last Minute Broadway Tickets
    • I’m dying to see Anastasia and Dear Evan Hansen (amazing music that I only know because of my Greatest Showman Pandora station)
  • Find a new cafe and people watch while I enjoy a great coffee and pastry
  • Eat at a top chef restaurant for lunch and take my time enjoying the meal
  • FINAAAALLLY go to a Soul Cycle class
    • I so want to do this eventually but my main reason for most likely striking this one from the docket is that I won’t look super cute for the Almost 30 shindig a few hours later
  • Possibly find a semi-affordable hotel for the night so I can leisurely enjoy myself without rushing home at 9pm

Watching Lately:

Imposters TV show on Bravo: ratings (cancel or season 2?)
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Imposters

This was just recommended to me by a friend and I’m hooked.  A Bravo show that follows a team of con artists and the jilted marks who are trying to catch them.  I”m currently catching up on the first season on Netflix and will probably finish it in a few days.

Tonight I’m heading to see Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and can’t wait.  I haven’t looked at a single review because I want to just go enjoy Chris Pratt, Jeff Goldblum, and some Velociraptors.

 

Whitney Lately Vol. 1

Listening Lately:

Jess Glynne, Ella Henderson, and Leona Lewis

Those empowering girl singers were my music of choice this week.

I love this song.  It makes me want to smile and dance around in the kitchen.

Watching lately:

Grace & Frankie: Binge-watch an old lady show?  Check.  It’s hilarious and I’m sad I’m all caught up and have to wait months for new eps.

Drinking lately:

Mango LaCroix 

Love love love sparkling water for when I need something other than plain water or coffee. I picked up this flavor at Whole Foods.  It’s now my current fave.

Eating lately:

Gluten free Chocolate Molten Lava Cake

This warm, melty chocolate cake was excellent with the cold ice cream from The Peanut Bar. I’m impressed it was gluten free! It would have been a little too sweet all to myself though. It’s meant to be shared!

Wearing lately:

Leather half gloves

I’m obsessed with keeping my hands soft, especially in the winter, but I hate the fact that gloves are either too big for my child-sized hands or they’re bulky and don’t let me pick up anything.  These are so cute.  (Butttt, not warm. I wore them in NYC in December last year and almost got frost bite. I had to buy thicker gloves in Bryant Park because I literally couldn’t use my fingers at that point. Sorry!  Style over comfort every time. )

Mine were from eBay like five years ago. Here is a similar pair.

Loving lately:

2018 Winter Olympics

PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics

The Olympics only happen every 2 years and obviously, the Winter is every 4 years, so this is big!  Closely related to my addiction to sports movies, the Olympics are the best of the best for inspo of all kinds.  Endless motivational stories and competitions and history-in-the-making for 2.5 weeks straight! I’ve been watching them for as long as I can remember.  No lie. Like, probably since Keri Strug stuck her landing. I had a kid’s book about Michelle Kwan and I’m still semi-crushing on Apolo Ohno. Ahh, I can’t wait! Whitney heaven.

Have a lovely weekend!  Do something that lights you up.

~Whitney Victoria

Mocha Protein Muffins – Gluten Free & Vegan

Sometimes I want to eat cake for breakfast…but when I actually do that I end up on a downward spiral for the rest of the day, craving more sugar, more carbs, more unhealthy anything.  These muffins can be a great option for those days when I really want the cake without the crap.  IMG_7395

This is the nice middle ground between a muffin and a brownie.  I tweaked a recipe from Tone It Up. These aren’t dry like some gluten free recipes and they have a rich chocolate flavor because of the coffee.  Coffee brings out I learned that from Ina.

So easy. Tasty as a snack or dessert.

Mocha Protein Muffins

makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:

1/2 oat flour

3/4 cup vegan chocolate protein powder (using this kind at the moment)

1/4 cocoa powder

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

2 tbsp melted coconut oil

1/4 cup raw honey

1 cup pumpkin puree

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

1/4 cup coffee

1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax dissolved in 2 tbsp water)

Instructions:

Mix dry ingredients together. Add all wet ingredients. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray.  (I prefer coconut oil spray) Pour batter evenly Bake 24-28 minutes until just firm.

Let me know what you think!

~Whitney Victoria