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The Office Health Nut Freak

Written for The River Current Publication, May 8, 2014

Nothing beats friendly banter with the girls at the office.  Having been out of the work environment for a while, admittedly it has taken me some time to get ‘back in the groove’.  No matter how old we are, we still feel those crazy feelings of insecurity when we find ourselves in a new situation; trying to fit in…all too similar to that ‘new kid in the classroom’ discomfort.  Ugh.  

Funny, you know you are being accepted by the pack (so to say) when they openly tease and poke fun at you.  I knew I had arrived a week or so ago, when one of the gals laughingly referred to me as The Office HNF.  HNF, you say?  Keeping in mind the acronym society in which we live…she had made this one up just for me…Health Nut Freak.  Swell.

I certainly don’t think of myself as a HNF.  Rather, I like to think that I simply have a stronger awareness of what is good for us vs. what is not.   I never push my thoughts or ideas upon anyone…but somehow, others become self-conscious of their eating habits when they are around me.  I often now hear what I call, Cubicle Confessions.  A fellow worker on occasion will mumble from their Cube…”Connie, I have been bad; I ate a bad thing”.  Lol

A couple of weeks ago; I had headed to the kitchen and chopped, dumped and poured together ingredients, all in the hopes of creating a delish carrot muffin recipe to share with my readers for Easter.  It was simply an effort of combining healthy ingredients, with the hope that the end result would be a pleasing muffin. 

The problem with living alone and diving into these recipe testing sessions, I don’t have anyone to share the end result.  Who better than to try out my creations than my new found friends at the office!  The following morning I quickly lined my muffins up in a pretty glass jar and headed out the door for work. 

On that particular morning as I rounded the corner of my office area, there on the corner of my desk sat two rather large boxes of doughnuts.  Oh dear, this certainly was not the day to try out my hearty carrot muffins!   Rather than sit my muffin jar down alongside the boastful doughnut boxes, I quietly sat my culinary offering back in the corner of my cubicle.  They were not hidden, but they also were not going to be taking the front seat at this snack offering!  To be honest, I didn’t want to take anything away from the kind gesture offered by the doughnut contributor. 

I don’t know if it was from guilt or actual desire, but slowly the muffins in the jar began to make their way around the office.  And even better yet, they seemed to be enjoying them!

Yes, there were those who enjoyed a doughnut, some even enjoying both.  On this particular morning it appeared I had provided my new friends and co-workers with a choice and I certainly wasn’t there to judge their choices. 

I think the fun part of being the newly designated HNF of the office is that I have at least made an awareness for those around me of the choices we can make when it comes to our food and our health.  Granted we don’t always make the right choices, but tomorrow is always a new day and a new opportunity to try again.

HNF Hearty Carrot Muffins

1 cup wheat bran
¾ cup whole wheat flour
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 ½ cups shredded carrots
¾ cup flaked sweetened coconut
½ cup raisins
½ cup chopped walnuts

1. Whisk together all dry ingredients in a large bowl until well combined.
2. In a medium bowl, combine egg, buttermilk and applesauce.  Stir into dry ingredients; just until combined.
3. Fold in carrots, coconut, raisins and nuts.
4. Divide batter among 12 lined muffin cups.
5. Bake at 350 degrees until wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean; approx. 25 minutes.  Let stand 5 minutes, then cool on rack. 



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