Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cutting Back on Sugar

On Valentine's Day I decided that it was now or never. The time had come for me to cut back my sugar intake. Three factors jumpstarted this decision.
1. Type 2 diabetes runs in my family.
2. My brother told me he had dropped 20 lbs just be giving up sweets.
3. It wasn't going to happen by my just wishing for it. I HAD TO ACT!

So, I embarked on this journey. I did suffer from headaches and feelings of lethargy on days 3 and 4, but I hung in there. Cut back drastically on soft drink intake. And I mean drastically. Went from 2-3 sodas a day to 1-2 each week. Replaced them with water and added lemon when I wanted a little taste. Didn't eat from 2 batches of brownies that were baked at my house these past 2 weeks. Haven't had the first girl scout cookie, even though we had purchased 7 boxes. And the hardest thing of all - no Little Debby treats. It may be a small feat for some, but for me it has been a major milestone.

We have a weekend ritual at our house that involves waffles for breakfast, covered with that high fructose laden syrup. Not wanting to give up our family waffle time I decided to try pure maple syrup, and much to my surprise, I liked it! Who knew?! So, now if I can find a replacement for my chocolate cravings...any ideas?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Going Nutty over Acorn Squash

Okay, guys, if you've never tried acorn squash, take my word for it. These thangs are REALLY good. On second thought, don't take my word for it. Why not try one for yourself! Not only are they shaped like a nut, but they are packed with nutty flavor, and so easy to prepare.

Acorn squash ripen from a dark green color to orange, even after harvest. I waited until this one was orange all over for a sweeter flavor. This squash was roasted, uncovered, in a convection oven for about 40 minutes, and sprinkled with a little nutmeg and cinnamon. Then, covered with aluminum foil, it baked another 10 minutes. After cooling for about 5 minutes or so, the skins easily peeled away revealing the golden yellow flesh inside. Yummilicious. Nutty. Sweet. Sooooo good!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sugar...ah Honey, Honey

Have you ever eaten a chocolate dessert and just felt good all over? I call it "happy face". There's something sweet about sweets. In addition to the feel-good-feeling, they make you feel less stressed and re-energize you in the middle of a lethargic afternoon. This, in turn, makes us crave them tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after. And when that quick energy burst doesn't last as long as the time before, we need another "fix" and increase our consumption of sweets. Sounds like a drug addiction. Yes, sweets can be over-powering. If we aren't careful, we may lose all control and find ourselves 2, 3, 10 years from now overweight, or suffering from diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

When my kids were babies and starting to eat baby food, my doctor advised me to give them vegetables first. This way, he said, they would develop a taste for veges that wouldn't be superseded by a taste for "sweet". I fear that through the years I have become addicted to sweets and am using these words of advice to help me conquer this addiction. Fill up on veges first. Then, there will be no room, and hopefully no desire, for dessert. For some, I know, moderation is the key; but those with addictions need rehab, discipline, and natural sweets like honey and fresh fruit to satisfy the cravings.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

An Apple A Day

Recently there was a story in the news about a young woman, pregnant with her first child, who went to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription for an antibiotic. She went home, took the medicine, and soon began to feel nauseous and sick. After taking a second look at the medicine, she realized that it was not her prescription. Instead it was the morning after pill, a drug with serious consequences for someone who is pregnant. She's currently in a wait-and-see mode before she'll know if this medicine will cause birth defects, or even death, to her unborn child.

This story started me to thinking. You know, in many ways food is like a drug. Ever heard the old saying, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away."  Just like medicine has the power to strengthen and heal our bodies, so does food. But only if it is the right drug, and only if it is the right food. What, you may wonder, is the "right food"? As I say to my girls, that would be anything that grows from the ground (non-poisonous, of course) that produces a fruit with a seed to reproduce itself. This covers just about every fruit and vegetable, and whole grains. These foods are filled with antioxidants that fight cancer, vitamin C to fight those nasty winter colds, vitamin D to build strong bones and teeth, and so much more. They are best, and most flavorful, when eaten in their most natural state, a great reason for adding the freshest, most recently harvested foods to our daily diet. the wrong foods can be addictive, and /or potentially dangerous to your health.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

How NOT to Make Kale Chips

Several weeks ago I blogged about kale chips. I had found a few recipes online and was gonna give it a try. People have been asking why I haven't followed up. Honestly, I didn't want to let the world know that my kale chips were a fail. But my story is quite funny, and I have been encouraged to share my story. So, here it is - How NOT to Make Kale Chips.

There were several recipes I used as a guide. The first part was simple enough. Wash and thoroughly dry the kale. Tear into bite size pieces. Spray with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and spread kale on cookie sheet. That part turned out okay. But going forward I was confused. Does the kale cook in a low-heat oven for 30-45 minutes? Or, does it cook at medium heat for 15-20 minutes? Or, does it cook in a really hot oven for 5 minutes? I chose the recipe that said cook at medium heat for 15-20 minutes. Seemed like a happy compromise. As they started to cook my family was not prepared for the "collard-like" smell that came forth from my kitchen.

My kids were like, "What is THAT smell?"

"Kale chips!" I proudly proclaimed, "and we're gonna have them with sloppy joes for dinner tonight."

"I don't think so," they said.

"You need a Plan B," my husband insisted.

"No, no. They'll be fine. Sure they smell like "collards", but they will be really good!"

Finally, the 20 minutes in the oven were up. Time to check on the kale chips. "Anyone want to taste?" I asked. Perhaps I would've had more positive response, if they hadn't been CHARRED, BLACK, and BURNT to a crisp. Not desirable at all. I was kindly advised by my family to NOT try it again.

My mother, however, was a little more encouraging. "You only cook them like 5-6 minutes in a very hot oven." Maybe I'll try again...or better yet, I'll leave the kale chips to Mom.

Have you had any recipe fails? Would love to hear. Leave a post.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

New for 2011

The CSA is a'comin! What's a CSA, you may ask. Why it's just another way you can get fresh, locally harvested fruits and veges. Check out our website for more info.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Catching Up

It's hard to believe that the first month of 2011 has come and gone! Time is just a-flyin by and I've been as busy as a bee! Too many things going on and I haven't updated the blog in a while. I KNOW you're tired of Mama's pecan pie. So I thought I'd take a quick minute to move it on down and catch things up a bit.

I went to the market today, and it was dead. Not many customers. I guess people don't think about fresh veges in the dead of winter. But there was quite a bit to choose from. Bok choy, cabbage, collards, strawberries (YES - fresh strawberries), acorn squash, butternut squash, sweet potatoes galore, apples, potatoes, pecans, and so much more! And the beauty of winter veges is that they stay fresh for a long time when stored in a cool place. So head on out to the market and stock up. Hope to see you there!