Better Eating For 2009 And A Bran Muffin

As much as I enjoyed the break, I am excited to get back to posting food stuff again. Did you know that many experts in the food industry are saying that 2009 will bring in a comeback of comfort food?  That’s right, out with all of the fancy foods and in with the traditional old fashioned foods. Just in time for the release of my cookbook.

Why not add a little bran into the new year

Why not add a little bran into the new year ?


Wow! I cannot believe how fast time can fly by. I hope you enjoyed the Christmas season as much as our family did.

Food, cooking, and sharing food are so much a part of our lives. My question is, why give up the foods you love the most if you don’t have to? I know that this is the start of a new year, and you probably made a resolution or two regarding health, exercise, and diet. If so,  good for you. I know that I am vowing to do better in 2009 . The cool thing is, comfort food can be delicious and healthy. And please, please, whatever you do, don’t give up dessert. It would make me very sad ;(

A little story:

I ran into a friend of mine that I have not seen for a few months. I wouldn’t say she was too overweight before, but when I saw her, she looked great! Not to big, not to small, she was glowing, her weight was down (lost 40lbs), and she said that she felt great. When I asked her what she was doing to lose weight, her response was something different than what I would usually from someone who has lost more than a few pounds.  She assured me that she has not been on the latest diet, she was not taking HCG injections (I am very concerned about these), and not drinking slim fast instead of eating. She lost weight and got healthy over time by changing a few things and also by lowering the amount she was eating. When she wound eat out, she would normally eat a whole burrito. Then she started asking herself, “do I really need to eat the whole burrito, or can I just stop at eating half?” Just by being honest with herself about what she was eating, and how much she was eating, she could make some small adjustments. And those small adjustments added up to better health, a slimmer body, and an increase in energy. She did give up soda completely, and although it was diet soda she was drinking, she felt that it was still contributing to poor health and her weight being higher than she wanted (lots of sodium). Our little visit inspired me to share a few tips that I am hoping will help everyone in the new year.  

I am sure you have heard most all of this before, but I always enjoy a little reminder here and there, and I hope you will too.

Drink water…. Lots of water: It is best to drink 8-12 ounces 15-30 minutes prior to a meal. Not only is water great for your body, it also fills you up, which helps to curb overeating.

Share a whole portion of your meal with someone else: If you can’t find someone to split a portion with you, then package it up and eat it for another meal. I use to live in Japan, and always noticed how small a meal size was. It was funny to return home to America because one portion in the USA would feed 3-4 people in Japan.

Cut down or give up soda:  I love a great fizzy drink. I don’t know what it is about a little co2 in our drinks, but it just feels great going down. If you don’t like soda, then you are a step ahead of a lot of folks. I love to drink herb tea mixed with juice. If you must have soda, how about limiting it a bit more or mixing plain soda water it with juice?

Cut down on prepackaged and fast food: This is a tuffy for many. The problem with these types of food is that a great deal of them are not food at all. They are packed with trans fatty acids, which are directly linked to diseases of the heart and colon.  Also, try not to be fooled by packaging and labels. When a package reads something like “natural flavor”,  unfortunately our darling FDA allows many non-foods to be called natural. If a product has no expiration date or one that is one year from the date you are reading it, it is s good guess that there is not much food in it. If you must eat fast, look for places which have fresher foods and an open kitchen. It’s nice see how your food is prepared.

Try new foods: It’s fun to try something new. I have a friend and her children hated vegetables. One evening, I was making asparagus and asked if they would like to try some. They loved it! All I did was lightly stir-fry it in olive oil, sprinkle a clove of garlic, and a few Italian seasonings. Now their mom serves them  asparagus, and they love it. Why not set a goal to try a new (real) food once a week? Be simple and creative, it’s fun.

 Eat Fiber: Fiber fills you up and keeps you feeling satisfied longer. When possible, check labels and notice how many grams of fiber are in your food. Men need about 30 to 35 grams of fiber a day and Women need 25-30 grams a day. The average American Diet (fast food) contains about 10-15 grams of fiber per day. Some foods which are high in fiber might surprise you…. ½ avocado- 6 grams, 1 cup raspberries- 8 grams  1 medium pear with skin -6 grams, 1 cup split peas -16 grams !. To add a little fiber, we have been known throw a bit of wheat germ in our pancake mix and not even our guests notice.

Okay this is long enough. As my contribution to help you in your start for the new year, I thought you might enjoy my bran muffin recipe. Bran muffins are not just for breakfast anymore!

This recipe makes about 55-60 delicious full size bran muffins. Make as many as you like, then store the remainder of the mix in the refrigerator in an airtight container. It keeps for up to 6 weeks.

And remember…..Whatever the question, dessert is the answer!!!

Happy Baking!


Bran Muffin Recipe from  Olive Oil Desserts

2 cups      

4 cups      

5 tsp         

2 cups      

2/3 cups   

2 tsp         

1 quart     

2 cups      

5 cups       

1  tsp        


boiling hot water

all bran cereal

baking soda

granulated sugar

pure olive oil

pure vanilla extract

low-fat buttermilk

40 % bran cereal

flour ( I love to use whole wheat pastry flour)







1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line muffin tins with

paper liners or coat with olive oil cooking spray.

2. In a medium size mixing bowl, add boiling

water, all-bran, and baking soda. Mix until all

ingredients are moistened and set aside.

3. And in a large mixing bowl add sugar, olive

oil, vanilla & butter extracts, buttermilk, and

bran flakes. Blend together until well mixed.

4. Add water/bran mixture and blend. Fold in flour

and salt, mixing until completely moistened.

5. Fill muffin tins ⅔ full and bake for 15~20

minutes. Cool on wire racks.


Keep unused batter in the refrigerator for up to six weeks