My Update: Out of the three fruits that I was dreaming about, I bought 2 – the strawberries and the raspberries. The cherries, unfortunately, were a bit on the bad side so I passed them up today. Instead, I bought two lovely mangoes.
Fruit hasn’t always been a definite cart-occupier when I go shopping like it is now. For many years, and all throughout my childhood, I’ve been blasé about fruit. I never got excited about an apple (actually, I still don’t…) and would opt for something more tasty like chips or burritos as snacks. It’s only been in the last year or so that I’ve really jumped onto the fruit wagon. I try to buy what’s in season, and I’m trying out new fruits just for the fun of it. And if there’s any leftover fruit, well, let’s just say that I can always find a good use for them in something baked and sweet. 🙂
Challenge Week 27 Topic: What we can’t live without.
Huh. Not sure how to tackle this one.
There are so many things I could say. Obviously, I would be really devastated if anything were to happen to my very supportive hubby, my mischievous bird, and even my aging goldfish. I would be pretty put out if the internet connection disappeared, and I couldn’t quickly look up how old Andie MacDowell really is (she’s 53, btw). Then there would be things like bodily functions, mental states and other things most of us take for granted every day but shouldn’t. And let’s not forget those wonderful late night walks ambling around our little town within a city that end up at ice cream parlors.
Since this is ELB, I’ll keep my response focused on health and food.
Right now, at this moment, I can’t live without good food.
I’m not talking salads here, neither am I talking about expensive-locally sourced-organic-farmer’s market food. Good food is what makes your body feel good. Plain and simple.
It’s amazing how far I’ve come with my outlook on food. In the old days (say, 7 years ago), I had an idea on what was good (vegetables) and bad (candy bars), but when it came right down to it, I ignored all of that and just ate what I wanted, when I wanted.
I was a vegetarian that was steadily gaining weight and eating her way through blocks of cheese and plates of cookies with only a green bean or bowl of corn as my “veggie” for the day.
Things slowly changed (around 4 years ago), and I was steadily evolving the way I ate and looked at food. At first, we began limiting the salt in our food. I stopped adding it to the boiled vegetables and then I started cutting back on the salt in other cooked food. Then I started to buy more reduced fat items and watched the cholesterol and fat content. All of this label watching meant that less and less processed, pre-packaged meals were ending up in my cart and more veggies were occupying otherwise prime real-estate. It has come to the point where very little packaged food actually appeals to me any more.
Finally, this year, I started to really look at the calorie content and noted the serving sizes associated with them. My favorite packaged udon mix that I used to devour at least once a week revealed to me that it was supposed to serve 3 people. THREE. And here I was adding even more to it by including a poached egg and other “goodies” that added to its calorie and fat content. I haven’t had a bowl of udon from that company in ages now and truth be told, I’m not really missing it.
Does this mean that we only eat really fresh food and no desserts or high-calorie items? Nah. We still eat frozen pizza once a week and just this weekend we had a super yummy honey bun from a local grocery and an Oreo Stack from Barnes and Noble. The dessert my hubby took to work for his 4th of July party? Rolo Brownies. With 50 Rolos.
50 melted, thick, gooey Rolos in the fudgiest brownie on this side of the planet.
But, if you look into my cupboards you’ll note something right off: no crackers, no snacks, no premade mixes and no frozen dinners. There isn’t even a jar of salsa anymore since I’ve started making my own.
What we now eat is what I now designate as “good food”. It’s food that makes me feel full, clean, and feeling happy. It’s food full of flavor and texture but not full of fat and empty calories. It’s food that doesn’t make you feel weighted down at the end and wanting to chug a gallon of water to cut through the “edge” left from the salt.
All of this good eating has left us a bit put off by potlucks and all day eating out trips. Whenever these happen, regardless of how delicious the food might be, we inevitably feel blah and icky at the end. We feel drained and grouchy, and we can’t wait to go to sleep to “reset” in the morning. I usually end up wanting to eat a lot of “clean” food when we get home just to counteract the effects of everything we’ve had that day. (Btw, it has yet to help in the least.)
I’m starting to learn how to moderate myself when we go out to eat. It’s a slow process since I’ve long believed in the “eat what you want and how much you want when you go out” philosophy. But this just has to change if I want to continue enjoying the food we eat and still feel good at the end of the day.
So, good food is my pick for this week’s challenge. What would be yours? 🙂
(Note: these come from My Baking Addiction. You can find the original recipe here. My tweaks are in red. You must try these. The plate was devoured by his co-workers and these brownies are a killer with vanilla ice cream. )
- 1 box dark chocolate fudge cake mix (I used Duncan Hines Devil’s Food Cake mix)
- 1/3 cup fat free evaporated milk
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine, melted
- About 40 Rolos, unwrapped (I used about 50 Rolos in the end, definitely buy a bag of them)
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line 8×8 glass baking dish with parchment paper.
- In large bowl, combine mix, evaporated milk and melted margarine until combined.
- Place half of the brownie mixture into the bottom of the lined dish. Pat until it covers the bottom.
- Bake bottom layer for 8 minutes. Take out and let cool slightly (about 10 minutes). In the mean time, unwrap Rolos.
- Place Rolos into the bottom layer starting in one corner. Make sure they are close together and that they go to the edge.
- On a piece of wax paper, pat out the remainder dough into an 8×8 square and gently lift and place the dough over the Rolos, dough side down. Peel paper off and pat down any edges not flat.
- Bake another 20-25 minutes. (I had to bake mine for about 30-35 minutes. Definitely check with a toothpick, but don’t insert it all the way or else you’ll mess the toothpick with melted Rolo.)
- Let cool completely before cutting.
Baking Tip: Not sure what to do with the leftover evaporated milk? Don’t want to toss it and waste food and money? No problem. Just pour into a clean ice cube tray and freeze. I then pop them into a baggie and keep them frozen until I need them!