Difference Between Muffins and Cupcakes

Though they are quite similar when you first think about it, given you bake them in the same tin and they are the most portable baked goods next to cookies, muffins and cupcakes are not the same thing. In fact, there are a few key differences between the two, though they may not be well known to some. Here is a quick breakdown of the significant differences between muffins and cupcakes:

Can You Make A Birthday Cake?

There is a quite simple test you can run to determine if something you are baking is a cupcake or a muffin. If you have cupcake batter, you can just pour it into a cake tin and bake it, resulting in a nice birthday cake (or a cake for another occasion). For muffins, on the other hand, the batter will not make a nice birthday cake if you were to pour it into a cake tin instead of the individual tins for muffins/cupcakes. No, if you have muffin batter you could make a quick bread like banana or zucchini bread, which are both denser than cakes, much like how muffins are denser than cupcakes.

Only One Can Be Savoury

Most people tend to make sweet muffins and cupcakes when they are baking. This is, after all, what baking is most associated with! However, the idea of savoury baking is rising in popularity at a steady pace. Most significantly, you can make savoury muffins, such as cornbread muffins to go with chili or a baked egg muffin for a quick breakfast. You cannot, however, make savoury cupcakes. Those remain exclusively sweet.

Down To The Batter

Both muffins and cupcakes share common ingredients, such as flour, eggs, butter, milk, and sugar (though this will vary based on the specific recipe). However, with muffins you can commonly find the regular all-purpose flour substituted for oat, nut, or other wheat flour. In muffins you are more likely to find mix ins like nuts in the batter, whereas you may find a filling in a cupcake. The major differences come in the quantity of the ingredients, like the higher amount of butter and sugar in cupcakes, and the mixing process. For the most part, a baker would mix cupcake batter for longer, resulting in a different consistency, including more aeration than with muffin batter.

3 On-The-Go Breakfast Ideas

The vast majority of the population will have a string of busy mornings sometime during their lives, if not busy mornings just about every day of their lives. Regardless of how busy it gets, you should always take time to eat breakfast in the morning. It gives you your first burst of fuel for the day! In addition, skipping breakfast increases your potential for overeating later in the day. So how can you eat breakfast even when you are in a time crunch? Take breakfast on the go, of course! Here are three excellent on-the-go breakfast ideas to help get you through your busy mornings.

Smoothies

A smoothie for breakfast is a perfect choice for those busy mornings, especially if you are not a big fan of breakfast. You can even make your smoothie the night before if you will really be in rush! You have your choice, but a great nutritious smoothie would include your choice of fruit, a sliced avocado, some milk, and an add-in like flaxseed, chia seeds, or spinach. Once you blend your smoothie you are good to go for the morning. If you are making it the night before, make sure you store it in a covered container/cup in the fridge, so the smoothie remains fresh when you’re ready for it in the morning.

Overnight Oats

Yet another great idea for an on-the-go breakfast: overnight oats. We recommend choosing a quick cooking oat for this. Then all you need is water or milk for a basic recipe, though we also recommend adding some nutrition with fruit, chia seeds, flax seed, et cetera. You may also choose to add a sweetener like maple syrup to taste. All you need to do is combine the ingredients and leave them in a covered container in the fridge overnight.

Breakfast Muffins

Muffins are perhaps the most transportable item on this list. You also have a wide range of options when it comes to having muffins for your on-the-go breakfast. You can make your typical sweet muffin, such as a blueberry muffin, or a chocolate muffin. Alternatively, you can find a good savoury muffin recipe. There are often ones made from eggs, ham, cheese, and chives as a base! Simply make ahead of time and store them in your fridge or freezer. Just be sure to heat before you leave house if you want a warm muffin!

 

Meals For Lazy Days

Whether you’ve just come home from a long day at school or work, have been running around all day with your kids, or simply are not in the mood to cook at all, you will still need to eat. Of course, you have options like ordering a pizza or whipping up boxed macaroni and cheese (or just reheating leftovers). However, it is still nice to have a nutritious meal. So what kinds of meals might you want to cook when you are having a lazy day? We have some clear ideas for you:

Power of Slow Cooking

Do you own a slow cooker? If not, and if you lead a busy life, you should invest in one as soon as possible. This appliance is perhaps the most helpful thing when you have a lot on your plate in other areas of your life. All you really need to do to make a meal in a slow cooker is to add the ingredients with some preparation (e.g. chopping the vegetables), setting the timer, and letting it run until your meal is ready to eat. Popular dishes for the slow cooker include soup and chili.

Quick Cook Pasta

There are gourmet pasta dishes out there, there is no denying it. However, you can have quick pasta dishes, which makes it a great choice for lazy days. If you really want to get down to it, all you really need to do is cook the pasta itself and open a jar of premade sauce. If you did have some energy, you can steam vegetables and incorporate those into the sauce, or slice precooked meat (e.g. chicken or sausage) and include that as well.

Scrambled Egg Sandwiches

Want to have breakfast for dinner? Scrambled egg sandwiches are a perfect choice for a quick dinner. All you really need to make the sandwich are two eggs, two pieces of bread (or a bagel or English muffin), and a little bit of butter to coat the pan and butter the toast. Of course, you can add flavour to the eggs with shredded cheese, and increase their fluffiness with a splash a milk during the scrambling process. You may also choose to add a slice of lunch meat or slice of bacon to the sandwich, if you have those on hand.

3 Ways To Eat Flaxseed

Flaxseed has many benefits, including having a high amount of fiber content and other vitamins and minerals. This makes them an effective addition to your diet, though very few people would want to eat ground flaxseed alone. Thus, they look for ways to mix them in with other foods they eat. Here are three of the most popular ways to eat flaxseed to help get you started:

Smoothie

When you make a smoothie, chances are you start with a selection of fruit, add milk or water, and then choose a banana or avocado to help make your smoothie creamy. In some instances, you might choose spinach or kale to increase your smoothie’s health benefits. Adding a few teaspoons of ground flaxseed is also a great way to boost your smoothie’s nutritional benefits without shifting the taste too much. You can add more than a few teaspoons, of course, but it is best to give your body time to adjust and slowly increase your intake.

Baked Goods

Flaxseed is perhaps the best and most versatile ingredient you can use in baked goods—it makes the perfect substitute for many other common ingredients, and also makes for a nutritious addition. Vegan bakers often use flaxseed as a replacement for eggs—to do this you would add 1 tablespoon of flaxseed to 3 tablespoons of water for every egg you need to replace in your baking. You can also eliminate the oil and butter in a recipe by substituting ground flaxseed at a 3:1 ratio (e.g. 1 cup of the ground flaxseed per ½ cup of oil or butter).

Chili and Casseroles

Need more fibre in your diet? Just want to add other nutritional benefits without altering the taste? Add some ground flaxseed to savoury recipes like chili and casseroles! You will not notice much of a difference in terms of taste, especially with a dish like chili, which is normally packed full of spices of its own. You will, however, be ingesting a lot more nutrients than before, which can only benefit your body.

3 Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

When you look at a list of superfoods, you will likely find chia seeds listed at some point.  They often top many of these superfood lists, especially those related to smoothie additions and similar. However, many people are not aware of exactly why these tiny black seeds are so beneficial—they simply buy them up and include them in their diet simply on the word that they are a superfood.

Packed With Nutrients

Chia seeds contain what is essentially a laundry list of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Some of the most prominent include the following per 28-ounce serving of chia seeds: 11 grams of fibre, 4 grams of protein, 9 grams of fat (including 5 grams of omega-3s), and an array of potassium, calcium, B2, B3, and more. In short, you can get a lot of nutritional benefits from these tiny seeds. Some other nutritional benefits include

Weight Loss Power

Both the fiber and protein in chia seeds work to help fill you up quickly and maintain that feeling of fullness, both of w hic help reduce snacking and promote weight loss, particular when combined with a healthy exercise regime. The reduction in appetite from consuming chia seeds on a regular basis must be in combination with other healthy dietary choices and regular exercise, otherwise you risk counteracting the benefits.

Easy Incorporation

Chia seeds, if you were to try eating them by themselves, are actually quite bland in flavour. So while this does not make them appetizing on their own, it does render them quite easy to incorporate into your diet. Perhaps the most popular use for them, even beyond chia pudding, is to add in a few teaspoons to a smoothie. But in addition to this, you can add chia seeds to muffins, banana bread, and other baked goods. You can even include them in savoury dishes if you think about the quantities carefully.

4 Great Smoothie Additions

Smoothies are a great breakfast you can whip up and take with you on the go. They are also a great snack or post-workout recovery drink. They serve many nutritious functions! However, beyond blending fruit and milk, what can you add to your smoothies to truly make them the best they can be? Here are four great smoothie additions to get you started.

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are truly a superhero among seeds, which is why adding few teaspoons into your smoothie is a great idea, especially if you are using it as your breakfast. These tiny seeds contain a high amount of omega fatty acids, which increase the healthy function of your brain and help your heart and cholesterol levels. They also contain lots of protein, iron, antioxidants, and many other nutrients.

Avocados

Sure, you can use yogurt or a banana to help thicken your smoothie, but if you really want a creamy texture and a nutrition packed drink, you need to add an avocado. Not only does this one of our smoothie additions give your drink a nice consistency, but it also contains almost 20 vitamins and minerals, in addition to being home of healthy fats.

Flax Seed

Need more fiber in your diet? Add a teaspoon or two of flaxseed to your smoothie! You can either ground it yourself, or buy the pre-ground variety—either one is fine. This seed adds a slight nutty flavour to your smoothie. Along with the fiber, you also get omega fatty acids, and the ground flaxseed promote a healthy heart, boost immune system, brain function, et cetera.

Cacao Powder

Do you have a sweet tooth? Adding cacao powder to your smoothie can bring a rich chocolatey flavour while also curbing your sweet tooth. This does not contain vast amounts of sugar, which is why you will need to adjust to taste and still have sweet smoothie additions (and lots of fruit). In addition to the flavour, cacao powder also brings a lot of antioxidants into your smoothie.

Differences Between Pasta

 

pasta

You are standing in the pasta aisle, faced with a wide variety of different shapes size, and even colours of pasta. What do you choose? Though you can walk away with anything and use it however you like without major taste differences, you still want to consider your options carefully. The different types of pasta are intended for different dishes, so for the best results consider what you want to cook with your pasta!

Sheet

Sheet pasta is easy to explain. They are quite wide, and instead of eating your pasta out of a bowl or on a plate like spaghetti, you are better of making a casserole like lasagna with your sheet pasta. Some of the sheet pastas out there come with ridges along the sides. For the most part, this is for sauce retention, though either option is fine for you to use in your casserole.

Strand

There are quite a lot of different strand pastas, though the three most popular are fettucine, spaghetti, and spaghettini. The only significant difference between them is the size/width of each strand. Fettuccini are the largest, which makes them ideal for heavier sauces (such as Alfredo). Spaghettini is the smallest strand pasts, and is best suited for thin sauces, such as simple olive oil or basil pesto. Spaghetti is a good all-purpose pasta, as it is a nice middle ground between the two.

Tube and Shape

Of course, there are also countless tube pasta and ones in fancy shapes, such as fusilli or bowtie. The uses vary widely based on the specific shape and size, but the general rule of thumb is the bigger the tube/size, the heartier the sauce you can serve it with. Significant ones to note include orzo pasta and the giant shell pasta. The former is actually best suited in a soup, whereas the latter is often stuffed and baked in the oven.

3 Reasons Why You Should Eat Healthy

When most people think of why they should eat healthy food, they tend to latch onto the idea of losing a little weight. While you can definitely do this, provided you pair a healthy diet with a sufficient amount of exercise, it is not the only reason to eat healthy. Here are three significant reasons why you should eat healthy aside from losing weight:

Get Better Rest

When your body has whole grains, leafy greens, and similar running through its veins rather than greasy food and candy, it runs more efficiently. It also runs in a way that allows you to get a higher quality of sleep on any given night. This is particularly helpful if your schedule demands a lot of your time, resulting in less overall sleep. While you should make time to get roughly seven to eight hours a night, making sure it is quality sleep is perhaps just as important.

Add More Energy

Have you ever felt fatigued, bloated, or just run down when you eat a lot of unhealthy food like greasy pizza and fast food? You can kiss these feelings goodbye nine times out of ten when you shift to a balanced and healthy diet. Watch your energy levels spike on a daily basis when you eat healthy food every day and consume less junk.

Arm Your Body

When you eat healthy, you are giving your body exactly what it needs to function. Well, you can actually be giving it even more? When you eat a healthy and balanced diet, you are also arming your body to fight off all manners of illnesses, including the common cold. This is because the nutrients, vitamins, et cetera in your food help build your immune system so it is as strong as it can possibly be.

3 Benefits of Organic Food

In your local grocery store, we are willing to bet you see produce, meat, et cetera with labels indicated they are organic food. When most people see organic food, they think it must be a little better, but they are not sure exactly how. Then, when the higher price tag is revealed, very few of these people still reach for the organic option—if they don’t know the benefits, why pay the extra money? What are they getting out of it? Well, the good news is you get a lot out of it when you are eating truly organic food. Here are three of the top benefits:

Freshness

Organic food does not contain any of the preservatives in other products. The preservatives are added in other products in an effort to make them last longer. However, these preservatives can alter the freshness and  taste of the produce, though many individuals never realize this, since they do not know any different. With organic produce, though you will have to eat it faster, you can definitely taste a significant difference when you are committed to true organic options.

Fewer Pesticides

Organic food contains far fewer pesticides than regular produce, though there may still be some traces or residue on the food, especially if they are stored right next to the “regular” variety, where the agriculture practice included the use of pesticides, herbicides, et cetera.

Environmental Impact

Did you know? The farming practices required for organic food results in a reduced amount of pollution, more water conservation, less energy usage, as well as an increase in soil fertility. Overall, the impact of organic farming on the environment is much more positive than non-organic farming practices. Since we want the Earth to last as long as possible, this is always a good thing! Treat the environment as best you can—including consuming more organic produce.

3 Types of Lettuce

So you are making a salad. What type of lettuce do you need to use? While much of this depends on personal taste, there are some differences between each type of lettuce you might want to take into account. However, there are quite a lot of different types of lettuce. To make things easier, we have compiled data for the three most popular types below:

Iceberg Lettuce

Many reports indicate iceberg lettuce is simply water—that there is no real nutritional value in its leaves. However, this is not strictly true, though if you really want to squeeze as much nutrition out of your lettuce as possible, you are better off looking elsewhere. If you still want to consider this light and crunchy choice, continue:

Iceberg lettuce contains, on average, four grams of carbohydrates, and 1.8 grams of dietary fiber per two cups. This two-cup serving also includes 35 micrograms of vitamin K and 722 international units of vitamin A.

It is particularly good for adding to a wrap, creating a lettuce wrap, or in a mixed greens salad.

Butter Lettuce

For each serving of butter lettuce (1 cup) you have only 21 calories, less than half a gram of fat, 0.74 grams of protein, 3.63 grams of carbohydrates, 1.53 grams of sugar, as well as 8 milligrams of sodium. It also contains roughly 91 micrograms of vitamin A per serving.

This lettuce is often sold in plastic containers to avoid bruising, and you may end up using an entire head for a meal-size salad. It is also a good addition to sandwiches, or as an alternative covering for wraps.

Romaine Lettuce

This is perhaps the most common type of lettuce, particularly for those who enjoy eating Caesar salad. Per every two cups of this type, you can expect 15 calories, two grams of dietary fiber, 10 milligrams of sodium, as well as 140% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin A, 8% of vitamin C, and 4% of your recommended iron intake.

In addition to Caesar salads, romaine lettuce is also good when grilled, in other salad types, as well as an addition to wraps, though it is not good to replace the breading itself due to shape.