Fresh Peach-Pecan Muffins

I have been on a huge peach kick lately with the juiciest, ripest peaches to choose from in Alabama. I made these Peach-Pecan Muffins this weekend for my kids, and they were quite popular. This recipe can be made with whole wheat or all-purpose flour, and I used medium fresh peaches. Our medium peaches are huge, so you may want to add more if yours aren’t that large (see my picture below from instagram on the iphone). Also, feel free to omit the pecans if you wish, but they do make them pretty and add an additional touch of southern flavor.

Smarter Healthy Beverage Choices

Did you know the average person consumes 400 calories in one day just on beverages they drink? It’s possible that if we make smarter beverage choices, we can really slim down faster as well as improve our health. Dehydration can lead to many things, but it slows down your fat burning abilities and decreases mental and physical energy. Here are the smartest beverage choices:

1. Water-Water will always help with hydration without adding excess pounds. Add fresh lemon, lime or orange to bump the flavor up a bit. Drink water often and before meals to curb appetite and cravings.

2. Green Tea-Recent Research regarding green tea’s health benefits have been astonishing. They include: preventing cancer and heart disease, lowering cholesterol, burning fat, preventing dementia and diabetes and more. Filled with antioxidants, green tea is also said, by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, to stimulate the metabolism and help burn fat.

3. Skim or soy milk-Milk is a great source of Vitamin D and calcium. Milk is high in protein and filled with health benefits including improved bone health, aiding in the immune system as well as helping prevent osteoporosis and respiratory problems.

4. Pomegranate juice-An antioxidant powerhouse, pomegranate juice is said to help the body guard itself against premature aging, heart disease, alzheimer’s, cancer and other diseases.

5. Concord Grape juice-If you choose the juice made from 100 grapes, concord grape juice is filled with antioxidants. It is said to have similar health benefits of red wine such as protection against heart disease and lowering chances of blood clots. I like to mix it in my water.

6. Blueberry Juice-High in fiber, antioxidants and vitamin C, blueberry juice is lower in calories than other juices. It is also said to help reduce aging, diabetes and urinary tract infections.

7. Orange juice-Drinking at least 2 glasses of orange juice a day increases the vitamin C concentration within the body which can protect against inflammation, improve diastolic blood pressure and decrease bad cholesterol.

 

Also I want to just mention coffee: Studies completed at the Mayo Clinic and the Harvard Health Letter suggest that coffee also contains antioxidants and can help prevent against liver cancer, Parkinson’s disease and type 2 diabetes. Coffee also curbs the appetite, but it should be consumed in moderation.

Parsnip-Potato Chowder

It’s the perfect time of year for soups, and why not try something a little different such as this Parsnip-Potato Chowder? When I taught a cooking class recently, very few people in the class had ever cooked or tried parsnips.  Parsnips are root vegetables, and they are related to the carrot family. Parsnips resemble carrots but are paler in color and have a slightly sweeter taste. Parsnips provide an excellent source of vitamin C, folic acid, B vitamins and fiber. Combine parsnips and potatoes with a touch of fresh dill, milk and vegetable broth to create a comforting and flavorful chowder. This soup tastes so rich without using any cream, and my kids even enjoyed it. For added flavor, sprinkle with crumbled bacon and fresh chopped dill.