Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Butter & Love

  To know me, is to know that I love to bake.  A self-admitted dessert junkie, I'm rarely more at home anywhere else than when I'm in the kitchen baking sweet treats for my friends and family to enjoy.
  You can't get much better than a good cookie, and I've long been trying to perfect my go-to cookie.  Allen doesn't like chocolate in his cookies, so that's had me experimenting with different combinations.  Often I would just follow a basic drop-cookie recipe and add whatever sounded good, using up ingredients I had a little of or trying something new.  I was quite partial to the dried Michigan cherries, but Allen didn't care for them as much, leading me to continue the search.
   And now I think I've hit the proverbial cookie jackpot with my latest concoction.  Studded with moist, golden raisins, flecked with bits of coconut and oats, and sweetened with a variety of chips these cookies are crispy, chewy, and golden.  Good luck eating just one! 
  I'm in a sharing mood:
This recipe is an adaptation of The Joy of Cooking's Quick Oatmeal Cookies recipe.  If you have another base recipe you like better, use that and just add the remaining goodies at the appropriate time.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  
Cream 1/2 cup of unsalted butter
Add 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup white sugar.  Cream.
Add 1 egg, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 T milk.  Mix well.
Sift together: 1 cup sifted flour, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt.  Mix into creamed mixture.
Stir in 1 cup rolled oats, scant 3/4 cup each of peanut butter chips, butterscotch chips, white chocolate chips, golden raisins, and coconut.  
Place on well-greased cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart, and baked until golden brown (10-12 minutes).  
Makes about 3 dozen cookies.  

This lucky girl has a new helper in the kitchen and her name is...

Kitchen-Aid Mixer!!

  The only things that could make this Valentine's Day complete are new skis and a powder day!  Oh, wait, that was yesterday...

All is full of love.  

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Cleanse Weeks #3 and #4- The Phenomena of Food

As the age-old adage goes, you are what you eat.  To me, this is a relatively good rule of thumb and if it holds true then we should soon be turning into legumes, dark leafy greens, and raw nuts.  Followed by blueberry pancakes, ice cream, and cookies.  Yes, it's true, I'm a backslider.  After three weeks of eating perfectly, I gave in to Allen's plea to have breakfast at our favorite neighborhood greasy spoon.  Although I'm not placing the blame entirely on him.  I was ready.  I heartily drenched my pancakes in syrup and slurped my coffee (cream AND sugar) with gusto.  It was so much easier to fall off of the wagon than it was to get on!
  Allowing ourselves a bit of a binge period, we ate with reckless abandon for about two days.  I'm talking candy bars, chips, popcorn, SODA.  Oh, for shame!  However, I'm not looking back with regret: It was disgustingly delicious and I enjoyed every minute of it.  But there was one change that was too drastic to ignore: eczema.  Terrible, itchy, hurt-y eczema.  I inherited this angel from my mother and grandmother, and even though mine is mild compared to some that I've seen it's still annoying!  I was never before willing to accept that it could be caused by my diet, preferring to believe that it was stress-related.  Yet, lo and behold, away it went when I cut out the three main triggers: gluten, dairy, and added sugar.  Bounce that happy little trinity back into the old diet and WHAM-O...flare-up!  So, for now, I'm experimenting...though that Asiago bagel with butter this afternoon was exquisite!  Sometimes you have to give in to the dirty, rotten gluten-sugar-dairy-addicted devil on your shoulder.

  Then you make up for it with these...     

Avocado-Vanilla Smoothie
Fresh fruit with applesauce-sweetened tahini and toasted coconut

Toasted coconut muesli

Amped-up muesli with golden raisins and Western Slope unfiltered honey
Chickpea burgers with oven fries
Kale and white bean stew with potatoes
Toasted-almond broccoli pesto
Pesto and noodles
Shiitakes and brown rice cooked en papillote
Tri-color quinoa with spinach and poached egg

Filet kebabs with grilled zucchini and brown rice
 While I have every intention of continuing to explore which foods harm and which foods heal, never once has 'deprivation' been a thought of mine.  Though every time I mentioned the cleanse to someone they made some comment about never being able to live without their coffee/beer/cheese/donut.  At first, I bristled at those remarks.  Of course you can do without (insert crappy food/drink choice here).  The key is that you don't want to, and so you won't.  But it's also not far-fetched to consider that most of us, are in some way addicted to the worst of the foods that we eat.  I will readily admit to this addiction!  Doesn't mean I'm going to wreck my body willy-nilly just because I happen to adore chocolate-covered anything.  
  How do we control that little voice that says, "I'm hungry," "Something sweet sounds good," "Just one more."?  I'm beginning to think that maybe control is an unattainable goal.  Maybe what we really need to focus on is tricking that voice into satiation by eating foods so fresh and full of flavor that it won't have any reason to complain.  For me, the prolonged and conscious commitment is the only way.  Awareness manifests into understanding and anticipating what the body and mind need to truly be nourished. 
If you don't take care of your body, where are you going to live?
~Lendon Smith, M.D.