It is January 2014 – a brand new year! With the new year brings new ideas and a fresh start. I am sure many of you reading this have set new health and personal goals for this year. I am with you on that! In fact, Thomas and I sat down just before January 1st and wrote down our goals. I bought one of those dry erase marker boards (not that I plan on erasing our goals when they get tough), so we could write them out and look at them daily. It is something I highly recommend doing. It is important to remind yourself daily of what you want to achieve. You won’t believe how fast you reach your goals when they are staring you in the face every day. You can do it!
Sometimes setting new goals are quite the challenge (or rather reaching them). I was staring at my goals the other day, excited to begin, but a bit nervous. I know that everything is achievable, but I also know it won’t always be easy. One of my goals is to focus on developing new healthy recipes for my blog and cookbook. I really want to help you (and me) reach your diet related and fitness goals! I am aware that many of you find food and diet a bit of a struggle in your daily life. What do I eat? How can I lose those extra pounds? What is a healthy alternative for my favourite unhealthy food?! Well, fear not – Melanie is here to your rescue! I am equipped with my apron, spatula, spoon & clean ingredients and I am ready for a challenge. I think I have discovered a fun way to help you make better choices each day with the food you eat.
Welcome to Food Wars.
The is a new challenge beginning with a New Year (especially great for all you healthy resolutioners!). I hope to continue Food Wars throughout the year with many battles, especially if you enjoy battle #1. This isn’t your typical game, and it is a bit risky. I am asking you to try a popular food product and compare it to my own healthy recipe; Let’s face it, the food industry does a darn good job making their products look and taste amazing! I only wish the ingredients were as enticing…It may take a little effort on your part, but I hope you see the benefit of entering the battle grounds (especially if you are serious about eating healthy). Book your “battle time” on your calendar and make a commitment to yourself to try this.
If you haven’t already, the first thing you need to do is visit my Food Wars Page to read the rules of the battle. If you are up for the challenge, that page will lead you right back to here: The Beginning of Food Wars. Battle #1. Ps. You get a delicious recipe out of it AND a chance to win a prize! How awesome is that?! You also get to help me with my recipe for my future cookbook by letting me know what you think of it. I NEED your help with this. All advice from you is greatly appreciated and encouraged. I know you all like a little “healthy competition” once in a while too…right? Quick – go read the rules then come back. *If you are ready to begin after reading the rules and details, scroll down below for all the information you need on the Battle #1.
Food War. Battle # 1 Details
Okay, so you are ready to begin the challenge. You have committed to enter the battle grounds and be the Judge of both competitors. Are you ready to do this? Let’s go!
You have until January 31st to complete this battle if you want to be entered to win the prize. The winner will be announced February 1st on Facebook or by email. *Make sure you like my Facebook Page or subscribed to my blog by email if you don’t have Facebook!
The Prize: A $25.00 gift certificate to Alcona Beach Health Shoppe to help you with your healthy resolutions for the New Year! You can buy many ingredients that I like to use including: Goji Berries & Coconut Sugar (and many other healthy ingredients and products).
Like their Facebook page too for healthy tips!
I know for you busy folks, Food Wars may sound like a lot of work, but why don’t you think of it this way – you will have 6 healthy snacks ready to go for the week! And if you have kids, they have something super healthy to snack on too. Skip the drive-thru and think about how happy your body will be with you. One step closer to your healthy goals with quick grab-and-go nutritious food. Preparing healthy food is one of the most important things to do so you don’t set yourself up for “failure in the food court” or “failure at the drive-thru.” If that isn’t worth the 30 minutes this will take you, I don’t know what is!
Let’s learn about our challengers:
Challenger 1: Melanie Faris’ Goji Oatmeal Muffin
For all that struggle with finding healthy snacks or being tempted by the drive-thru, I have created a brand new recipe (Goji Oatmeal Muffins) to help you with your 2014 “eat healthy” resolutions. These muffins are the perfect snack to bring with you to work, school or to enjoy at home. You’d never know it by their size, but goji berries are huge in terms of nutrition and health benefits. Think of a problem, and these little guys probably can help with it; Low iron? Goji berries can help. Low metabolism? Goji berries. Need energy? Goji berries. Gojo berries are so powerful that they can even prevent and help diminish cancer. Wow – why are we just hearing about these things now?! They are full of antioxidants, tons of vitamins, minerals and health benefits. No wonder these little berries are called superfruits.
I think it is pretty obvious why I went with goji berries as an ingredient in the first battle of Food Wars. They are powerful little guys! Not only do they taste good, but they sure know how to fight against the bad guys and defeat sickness. Hopefully they will win you over too after trying a bite of my Goji Oatmeal Muffin.
These muffins are Gluten Free, Packed with Nutrients, and…“Fit-Chick” Certified (okay, I made that one up, but hey, I eat them! Does that count?) Hehe.
To see a list of ingredients, please refer to the recipe below. But first, let’s meet Challenger #2.
Challenger 2: Tim Horton’s Whole Grain Raspberry Muffin
We have all been there – sitting at the drive-thru screen, trying to decide what the healthiest thing to order is. I know I have done this many times, and a muffin just sounds like the right thing to order. Plus – if it is a whole grain muffin, that sounds even better…right? Well after digging a little deeper and researching the ingredients, I wasn’t happy with Tim Horton’s so-called “healthy choice” they recommend.
Challenger #2 comes from Tim Hortons. This is no jab at Timmies, in fact I LOVE my Timmies. What can I say?! I AM Canadian. With that being said, I was sad to see a list of “Healthy Options” they advertise that really aren’t healthy at all. I fell for it many times, and I am tired of these health marketing traps. After calling Tim Horton’s and speaking with someone directly, I was able to have access to their ingredient list (since they don’t advertise it online). I decided on the Whole Grain Raspberry Muffin as my competitor since it seems like the closest comparable to my muffins. It sounds healthy, but I am going to let you be the judge of that. To be fair to my competitor, I will not highlight the ingredients I found that were disturbing to me. Hopefully you can see for yourself the amount of unnecessary additives, sugars, artificial dyes/colourings, flavours, GMO ingredients, additives and preservatives they contain.
Ingredients (list provided by Tim Hortons)
Enriched wheat flour (flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), water, sugar, soybean oil, raspberries, raspberry flavoured pieces [sugar, vegetable oils (palm, palm kernel), enriched wheat flour (flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), malic acid, tricalcium phosphate, sodium citrate, artificial flavour, soy lecithin, red cabbage juice, colour (FD&C red 40, FD&C blue 2)], liquid whole eggs, wheat bran, wheat germ, leavening (sodium bicarbonate, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate), salt, modified cornstarch, monoglycerides, guar gum, artificial flavour, xanthan gum, corn syrup solids, amylase.
Streusel topping: Brown sugar, rolled oats, canola and modified palm and modified palm kernel oil shortening, wheat bran, enriched wheat flour (contains malted barley flour), water.
Pull out your apron, measuring cups and mixing bowls, it’s time to get baking!
Goji Oatmeal Muffin Recipe
Goji Oatmeal Muffin Recipe – Click Here for the Printable Version
Recipe By: Melanie Faris
Makes 6 muffins
Prep time – 15 minutes
Cook time – 30 minutes
*Use organic when possible
1) 1 Cup of large flake oats
2) ½ Cup of oat flour (ground-up large flake oats into flour)
3) 1/2 Cup + 2 teaspoons of coconut sugar (or non gmo xylitol for less sugar)
4) 2 + 1 Teaspoons of cinnamon
5) ¼ Teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice *optional. (Or combine equally: allspice, cloves, nutmeg & ginger)
6) ½ Teaspoon of baking soda
7) ¼ Teaspoon of sea salt
8) 6 Tablespoons of goji berries (you can try half cranberries as well!)
9) 2 Tablespoons of sliced or slivered almonds
10) ½ Of a ripe banana, mashed
11) 3/4 Cup of unsweetened apple sauce
12) 1/3 Cup of 0% plain greek yogurt
13) 1 Egg + 1 egg white (*or mix 1 tablespoon of flax seed with 3 tablespoons of water until thickened)
14) 1 Tablespoon of vanilla extract
*Use muffin liners or grease a muffin pan with organic butter
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a small bowl, mix together the 2 teaspoons of coconut sugar (or xylitol) and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Set it aside.
- In a large bowl, using a whisk, mix together the first 7 dry ingredients and then stir in the last 2 dry ingredients.
- In a separate medium bowl, mash half of a banana with a fork until it is smooth without lumps. Mix in the applesauce and greek yogurt until combined. Add the eggs and vanilla to the wet ingredients and whisk together gently.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Gently stir everything together until just combined.
- Pour the mixture into your muffin tin (approximately 1/3 cup portions) and sprinkle on-top of each muffin the sugar and cinnamon mixture you made first.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Let the muffins sit for 15 minutes after cooking before removing them from the tin so they settle and don’t fall apart from how moist they are!
- Feel free to top your muffin with a few goji berries if you wish.
After you have baked the recipe above, you are all set to be the judge of the battle. Try one bite of each muffin and look over the nutritional comparison. Which one wins you over? Remember to follow all the rules and steps listed on the Food War Page. I hope you enjoy this first battle and find it helpful with your New Year’s resolutions. Don’t forget to take your pictures and post it on Facebook! You have until January 31, 2013 to be entered to win the prize. Please let me know your feedback in the comments below or on Facebook. I hope we can continue these battles in the future and learn together how to make healthier choices than our favourite “not so healthy” foods.
Happy Food Wars! I mean, Happy New Year :).