Category Archives: Health

Brownie Batter Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes


With Outrageously Rich Chocolate Indulgence Frosting.

AKA
The Mega. Extreme. Chocolate. Overdose. Cupcake.

Almost immediately after making the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes, I got the idea for a rich, decadent massively chocolate brownie batter cupcake, and I haven’t been able to get them outta my head since! This recipe uses a favorite chocolate brownie batter, my best chocolate cake ever recipe (just ask Google) and the most insanely ridiculously rich, fudgy, indulgent chocolate frosting you’ve ever had.
To all the chocolate lovers in the house… This is for you.

It all starts with the brownie batter – this is seriously one of my favorite chocolate batter mixes ever. It calls for fat free sweetened condensed milk. You guys love me for that, right? Right back atcha.
It only calls for 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk though, and since I hate recipes that only call for a little bit of something in a can, leaving me wondering what the heck I’m supposed to do with the rest of it, go ahead and make this easy, no machine required homemade ice cream. You will definitely want some with these cupcakes! 🙂

Use your trusty 1.5 tbsp scoop to drop spoonfuls of brownie batter onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze overnight.

The next day, get ready to bake the best chocolate cupcakes ever.
This recipe calls for an entire cup of oil and an entire cup of sour cream. No wonder they’re good!

It also calls for 2 cups of mini chocolate chips, and if you want to help keep them from sinking to the bottom of your cupcake, mix them with a spoonful of the cake mix.
It’s tips like these that keep you coming back, I know.

Now using a large (3 tbsp) scoop, fill your cupcake liners about 2/3rds full.

Mmm, chocolate chips.

Grab your brownie batter from the freezer and press down into the cupcakes.

And when you pull them out of the oven…

You know how they say the muffin top is the best part of the muffin?
The best part of this cupcake is definitely this chewy, brownie batter top.
Think chewy brownie shell on top of an insanely gooey, soft chocolate cake.

Now these cupcakes are sho’ nuff good enough to eat just like this.
And this is coming from someone who basically only views cake as the vessel to getting frosting in her mouth.
But we’re not done here yet.

You know that rich, dark, fudgy classic chocolate frosting? The one that all chocolate frostings want to be when they grow up? The one that makes life worth living?
Here it is. This is what you’ve been looking for. Don’t be scared.

It calls for uh, quite a bit of butter. Can I promise you right now it’s worth every bite? I made four completely different types of chocolate frosting in one day – a buttercream, a sour cream, a ganache, and one that claimed to be fudgy, but wasn’t – looking for the perfect complement to these cupcakes. By the end of the day, I was so sick of chocolate, I never wanted to eat it, smell it, or get it all over my hands again. I didn’t even want to lick the bowl. It was bad. Until I tried just one more recipe. That’s all it took. I couldn’t stop eating it. By the spoonful. That’s how I knew it was perfect.
Exactly what I was looking for.

Move the frosting to a Ziploc bag, cut off the tip and pipe away!

So chocolaty. So dreamy.

Melt in your mouth delicious.

I think I’ll just stop talking now.

Brownie Batter Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes
with Outrageously Rich Chocolate Indulgence Frosting

BROWNIE BATTER
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup milk
1 (18.25 oz) box devil’s food cake mix
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix on medium speed for 2 mins until well combined. Using a small scoop (about 1.5 tbsp) drop batter onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze overnight.

CUPCAKES
1 (18.25 oz) box devil’s food cake mix
1 (3.9 oz) pkg Jello instant chocolate fudge pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
2 cups mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray and line with cupcake liners. Combine all ingredients except chocolate chips into a very large bowl and mix on medium speed for 2 mins until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Using a large scoop (about 3 tbsp) drop batter into the cupcake liners, filling about 2/3rds full. Remove brownie batter from freezer and press into the cupcake batter. Bake for 22-28 mins. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

FROSTING
5 sticks butter, softened
8 oz powdered sugar
1.5 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa)
a pinch of table salt
1.5 cups light corn syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract
16 oz milk chocolate chips

Melt chocolate chips in the microwave, stirring well every 30 seconds. Allow to cool for 5-10 mins. Combine butter, sugar, cocoa and salt in a food processor and process until smooth, about 30 seconds. Scrape the bowl as needed. Add the corn syrup and vanilla and process until just combined, about 5-10 seconds. Scrape the bowl again, then add the melted chocolate and pulse until smooth and creamy, about 10-15 seconds. You can use a mixer for this too, if you don’t have a food processor, just don’t whip the butter too much! 🙂 Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated.
Makes & frosts 36 cupcakes.

Foods That Look Like Body Parts They’re Good For

Every child has heard the healthy-eating mantra „You are what you eat.” But there may be a closer resemblance between good-for-you grub and your body than you thought. We found 10 foods that mirror the body parts they provide nutrients for—for example, brain-boosting walnuts actually look like a brain. Coincidence? Maybe. Though these healthy foods are beneficial to the whole body, the list below is a fun reminder of what to eat to target specific areas.
1. Carrot: Eye

Slice a carrot in half crosswise and it’s easy to see that the veggie resembles an eye—look closely and you’ll even notice a pattern of radiating lines that mimic the pupil and iris. And the old wives’ tale is true: Munching on carrots will actually promote healthy eyes. „Carrots are filled with vitamins and antioxidants, like beta-carotene, that decrease the chance of macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss in older people,” says Sasson Moulavi, MD, medical director of Smart for Life Weight Management Centers in Boca Raton, Florida.

2. Walnut: Brain

The folds and wrinkles of a walnut bring to mind another human organ: the brain. The shape of the nut even approximates the body part, looking like it has left and right hemispheres. And it’s no surprise walnuts are nicknamed „brain food”—according to Lisa Avellino, dietitian for Focus28 Diet, „they have a very high content of omega-3 fatty acids, which help support brain function.”

3. Celery: Bone

Long, lean stalks of celery look just like bones—and they’re good for them, too. „Celery is a great source of silicon, which is part of the molecular structure that gives bones their strength,” says Dr. Moulavi. Another funny bone coincidence: „Bones are 23 percent sodium, and so is celery,” reports Avellino.

4. Avocados: Uterus

The lightbulb shape of an avocado looks like a uterus, and it supports reproductive health as well. „Avocados are a good source of folic acid,” says Elizabeth Somer, registered dietician and author of Eat Your Way to Happiness. „Folate has been found to reduce the risk for cervical dysplasia, which is a precancerous condition.”

5. Clams: Testicles

Studies have offered evidence that clams, which bear a resemblance to testicles, are actually good for the male sex organs. „Research from the Netherlands has suggested that supplementing your diet with folic acid and zinc—both of which clams are high in––can have a significant effect on improving semen quality in men,” says Dr. Moulavi.

6. Grapefruit: Breast

The similarity between round citrus fruits––like lemons and grapefruit––and breasts may be more than coincidental. „Grapefruit contains substances called limonoids, which have been shown to inhibit the development of cancer in lab animals and in human breast cells,” says Dr. Moulavi.

7. Tomato: Heart

Slice open a tomato and you’ll notice the red veggie has multiple chambers that resemble the structure of a heart. „Studies have found that because of the lycopene in tomatoes, there is a reduced risk for heart disease in men and women who eat them,” says Somer. And, she adds, if you mix them with a little fat, like olive oil or avocado, it will boost your body’s lycopene absorption nearly tenfold.

8. Red Wine: Blood

Red wine, which is rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, including powerful resveratrol, looks like blood. „When you drink it, you’re really loading up on the healthy stuff that protects against destructive things in the blood, like LDL cholesterol, which can cause heart disease,” says Somer. „There’s also a blood-thinning compound in red wine, so it reduces blood clots, which are associated with stroke and heart disease.”

9. Ginger: Stomach

Anyone who’s ever reached for a glass of ginger ale when they’ve had a stomachache knows about the antinausea effects of ginger. So it’s fitting that the herb somewhat resembles the digestive organ. According to Dr. Moulavi, „gingerol, which is the ingredient responsible for ginger’s pungent scent and taste, is listed in the USDA database of phytochemicals as having the ability to prevent nausea and vomiting.”

10. Sweet Potatoes: Pancreas

The oblong sweet potato bears a strong resemblance to the pancreas, and also promotes healthy function in the organ. „Sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene, which is a potent antioxidant that protects all tissues of the body, including the pancreas, from damage associated with cancer or aging,” says Somer.

The Twenty Healthiest Foods for Under $1

Food prices are climbing, and some might be looking to fast foods and packaged foods for their cheap bites. But low cost doesn’t have to mean low quality. In fact, some of the most inexpensive things you can buy are the best things for you. At the grocery store, getting the most nutrition for the least amount of money means hanging out on the peripheries—near the fruits and veggies, the meat and dairy, and the bulk grains—while avoiding the expensive packaged interior. By doing so, not only will your kitchen be stocked with excellent foods, your wallet won’t be empty.

1. Oats
High in fiber and complex carbohydrates, oats have also been shown to lower cholesterol. And they sure are cheap—a dollar will buy you more than a week’s worth of hearty breakfasts.

Serving suggestions: Sprinkle with nuts and fruit in the morning, make oatmeal cookies for dessert.

2. Eggs
You can get about a half dozen of eggs for a dollar, making them one of the cheapest and most versatile sources of protein. They are also a good source of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which may ward off age-related eye problems.

Serving suggestions: Huevos rancheros for breakfast, egg salad sandwiches for lunch, and frittatas for dinner.

3. Kale
This dark, leafy green is loaded with vitamin C, carotenoids, and calcium. Like most greens, it is usually a dollar a bunch.

Serving suggestions: Chop up some kale and add to your favorite stir-fry; try German-Style Kale or traditional Irish Colcannon.

4. Potatoes
Because we often see potatoes at their unhealthiest—as fries or chips—we don’t think of them as nutritious, but they definitely are. Eaten with the skin on, potatoes contain almost half a day’s worth of Vitamin C, and are a good source of potassium. If you opt for sweet potatoes or yams, you’ll also get a good wallop of beta carotene. Plus, they’re dirt cheap and have almost endless culinary possibilities.

Serving suggestions: In the a.m., try Easy Breakfast Potatoes; for lunch, make potato salad; for dinner, have them with sour cream and chives.

5. Apples
I’m fond of apples because they’re inexpensive, easy to find, come in portion-controlled packaging, and taste good. They are a good source of pectin—a fiber that may help reduce cholesterol—and they have the antioxidant Vitamin C, which keeps your blood vessels healthy.

Serving suggestions: Plain; as applesauce; or in baked goods like Pumpkin-Apple Breakfast Bread.

6. Nuts
Though nuts have a high fat content, they’re packed with the good-for-you fats—unsaturated and monounsaturated. They’re also good sources of essential fatty acids, Vitamin E, and protein. And because they’re so nutrient-dense, you only need to eat a little to get the nutritional benefits. Although some nuts, like pecans and macadamias, can be costly, peanuts, walnuts, and almonds, especially when bought in the shell, are low in cost.

Serving suggestions: Raw; roasted and salted; sprinkled in salads.

7. Bananas
At a local Trader Joe’s, I found bananas for about 19¢ apiece; a dollar gets you a banana a day for the workweek. High in potassium and fiber (9 grams for one), bananas are a no-brainer when it comes to eating your five a day quotient of fruits and veggies.

Serving suggestions: In smoothies, by themselves, in cereal and yogurt.

8. Garbanzo Beans
With beans, you’re getting your money’s worth and then some. Not only are they a great source of protein and fiber, but ’bonzos are also high in fiber, iron, folate, and manganese, and may help reduce cholesterol levels. And if you don’t like one type, try another—black, lima, lentils … the varieties are endless. Though they require soaking and cooking, the most inexpensive way to purchase these beans is in dried form; a precooked can will still only run you around a buck.

Serving suggestions: In salads, curries, and Orange Hummus.

9. Broccoli
Broccoli contains tons of nice nutrients—calcium, vitamins A and C, potassium, folate, and fiber. As if that isn’t enough, broccoli is also packed with phytonutrients, compounds that may help prevent heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. Plus, it’s low in calories and cost.

Serving suggestions: Throw it in salads, stir fries, or served as an accompaniment to meat in this Steamed Ginger Chicken with Asian Greens recipe.

10. Watermelon
Though you may not be able to buy an entire watermelon for a dollar, your per serving cost isn’t more than a few dimes. This summertime fruit is over 90 percent water, making it an easy way to hydrate, and gives a healthy does of Vitamin C, potassium, and lycopene, an antioxidant that may ward off cancer.

Serving suggestions: Freeze chunks for popsicles; eat straight from the rind; squeeze to make watermelon margaritas (may negate the hydrating effect!).

11. Wild Rice
It won’t cost you much more than white rice, but wild rice is much better for you. Low in fat and high in protein and fiber, this gluten-free rice is a great source of complex carbohydrates. It packs a powerful potassium punch and is loaded with B vitamins. Plus, it has a nutty, robust flavor.

Serving suggestions: Mix with nuts and veggies for a cold rice salad; blend with brown rice for a side dish.

12. Beets
Beets are my kind of vegetable—their natural sugars make them sweet to the palate while their rich flavor and color make them nutritious for the body. They’re powerhouses of folate, iron, and antioxidants.

Serving suggestions: Shred into salads, slice with goat cheese. If you buy your beets with the greens on, you can braise them in olive oil like you would other greens.

13. Butternut Squash
This beautiful gourd swings both ways: sometimes savory, sometimes sweet. However you prepare the butternut, it will not only add color and texture, but also five grams of fiber per half cup and chunks and chunks of Vitamin A and C. When in season, butternut squash and related gourds are usually less than a dollar a pound.

Serving suggestions: Try Pear and Squash Bruschetta; cook and dot with butter and salt.

14. Whole Grain Pasta
In the days of Atkins, pasta was wrongly convicted, for there is nothing harmful about a complex carbohydrate source that is high in protein and B vitamins. Plus, it’s one of the cheapest staples you can buy.

Serving suggestions: Mix clams and white wine with linguine; top orzo with tomatoes and garlic; eat cold Farfalle Salad on a picnic.

15. Sardines
As a kid, I used to hate it when my dad would order sardines on our communal pizzas, but since then I’ve acquired a taste for them. Because not everyone has, you can still get a can of sardines for relatively cheap. And the little fish come with big benefits: calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and B vitamins. And, because they’re low on the food chain, they don’t accumulate mercury.

Serving suggestions: Mash them with parsley, lemon juice, and olive oil for a spread; eat them plain on crackers; enjoy as a pizza topping (adults only).

16. Spinach
Spinach is perhaps one of the best green leafies out there—it has lots of Vitamin C, iron, and trace minerals. Plus, you can usually find it year round for less than a dollar.

Serving suggestions: Sautéed with eggs, as a salad, or a Spinach Frittata.

17. Tofu
Not just for vegetarians anymore, tofu is an inexpensive protein source that can be used in both savory and sweet recipes. It’s high in B vitamins and iron, but low in fat and sodium, making it a healthful addition to many dishes.

Serving suggestions: Use silken varieties in Tofu Cheesecake; add to smoothies for a protein boost; cube and marinate for barbecue kebobs.

18. Lowfat Milk
Yes, the price of a gallon of milk is rising, but per serving, it’s still under a dollar; single serving milk products, like yogurt, are usually less than a dollar, too. Plus, you’ll get a lot of benefit for a small investment. Milk is rich in protein, vitamins A and D, potassium, and niacin, and is one of the easiest ways to get bone-strengthening calcium.

Serving suggestions: In smoothies, hot chocolate, or coffee; milk products like low fat cottage cheese and yogurt.

19. Pumpkin Seeds
When it’s time to carve your pumpkin this October, don’t shovel those seeds into the trash—they’re a goldmine of magnesium, protein, and trace minerals. Plus, they come free with the purchase of a pumpkin.

Serving suggestions: Salt, roast, and eat plain; toss in salads.

20. Coffee
The old cup-o-joe has been thrown on the stands for many a corporeal crime—heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis—but exonerated on all counts. In fact, coffee, which is derived from a bean, contains beneficial antioxidants that protect against free radicals and may actually help thwart heart disease and cancer. While it’s not going to fill you up like the other items on this list, it might make you a lot perkier. When made at home, coffee runs less than 50¢ cents a cup.

Serving suggestions: Just drink it.

Although that bag of 99¢ Cheetos may look like a bargain, knowing that you’re not getting much in the way of nutrition or sustenance makes it seem less like a deal and more like a dupe. Choosing one of these twenty items, or the countless number of similarly nutritious ones, might just stretch that dollar from a snack into a meal.

Vinegar Clinically Proven To Destroy Fat Without Diet Change

Some exciting research on vinegar proves that it really does reduce body fat levels, triglycerides and sugar in humans. I will outline the exact doses you need to achieve these beneficial effects, and when to use it to achieve them.

Fat and Sugar Busting Effects in Mice AND Humans

If you’ve ever had a high carbohydrate meal, or worse, one that was also high-glycemic, you already know that these sugars will convert to fat. If you use vinegar after a high-glycemic meal, your glucose levels will not rise, according to new research published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The study examined the effects of a high-glycemic meal with and without vinegar on diabetic humans. Those who also had vinegar experienced lower glucose levels after their meal. Previous research has also shown this effect in healthy people.

Another study, but on mice who were on high fat diets, also shows that acetic acid, the active component in vinegar, enhances fatty acid oxidation and thermogenic proteins such as UCP-2, and prevents body fat accumulation.

Vinegar Reduces Body Fat and Triglycerides in Obese Humans

The most interesting research though, is a study published in the journal Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, performed on 175 obese patients who were administered different doses of apple vinegar, but did not change their diet or exercise patterns. One group received a low dose of vinegar, another a high dose, and the placebo group got a beverage that tasted like apple vinegar, but had no vinegar.

The 500 mL beverage (about 2 cups), contained mostly water, with the low dose group getting 15 ml (1 tablespoon) of vinegar mixed in the water, and the high dose group getting 30 ml (2 tablespoons).

Subjects drank 1 cup of the mixture after breakfast, and another cup after supper. After 4 weeks, body fat levels decreased significantly in both the high and low dose protocol. The higher the dose, the greater the body fat decrease. After 8 weeks, waist circumference decreased in the vinegar groups. Body weight, visceral (belly) fat mass and triglyceride levels also decreased in the vinegar groups.

The study reported no side effects, and it suggests that you have to keep drinking the vinegar mixture to keep the beneficial effects. The good effects go beyond weight reductions, and so vinegar could be an easy, safe, and effective compound to fight fat, and enhance health.