Get Your Fruits In

lighten up your dessert choices

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When I was growing up mom cooked every day. Every single day, for a family of nine. That’s a lot of time standing in the kitchen. She still made sure we got our veggies and fruits. I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that fruits and veggies were less expensive to feed a large, hungry family.

After dinner there was frequently some type of dessert. But, dessert was different then. Not always cookies or cake or some super sweet something or other. Most of the time we had fruit in one form or another. Sometimes she’d make a cake, like fruit cocktail cake, that was easy and inexpensive. I like this cake a lot. It somewhat reminiscent of upside down cake but not as sweet. And the butter, when it combines with the taste of the nuts on top of the cake, gives you a little burst of salty to go with the sweet. It’s a nice, light taste that still satisfies that taste for something sweet after dinner.

If It’s Oatmeal, It’s Healthy, Right?

I like oatmeal, for breakfast and in cake

Now that I’m working on getting healthy one of my favorite breakfasts is a bowl of oatmeal. There’s a lot of different things you can do with oatmeal, you never have to eat the same thing twice in one week. And you can make it taste sweet without adding sugars, which is why it’s starring regularly in my breakfast bowl.

Most of the time I’ve been pretty good at keeping my food in the low carb category, but sometimes I get cravings. The big problem is when those cravings are for something sweet. Generally, fruit will satisfy me. As I have gotten used to eating this way I’m finding that there are a lot of ways to get a taste of sweetness without resorting to processed sugars. I’ve also found that when I make sure to flavor my food with spices and/or herbs I get less cravings and I am more satisfied with the smaller portions I eat.

However, I’m having a problem. And that problem is my mom’s oatmeal cake. I’ve been able to resist a lot of my mom’s recipes but this one keeps calling me. This cake is moist, a little buttery, and has that almost caramel taste that comes from brown sugar. I’m going to need to make this pretty soon to keep my sanity. I have two choices to help me keep my sugar readings relatively low. Either I keep the recipe as it is and instead of cake, make it into mini muffins(pre-portioned already, easier to just have a small amount) or I need to experiment with cutting back on the sugar. I don’t want to use a sugar substitute, that never tastes right to me and ends up making me want real sugar instead. I think a lot of recipes we make can have the sugar cut back and still taste very good. I believe this is another recipe I need to experiment with.

Recipe Cards and Memories

mom’s recipes pull me back in time

Still digging through mom’s recipes. I put them on my computer so they’re easier to post here, but as I work my way through them I’m picturing the recipe cards that she worked from for so many years. Written in her dainty, impeccable handwriting, the cards were worn, and spotted with stains from the ingredients of the recipe. I don’t know where those cards are now, but mom spent some time rewriting her recipes in a notebook. That’s where I got them, except for the ones she read me over the phone when I needed to know how to make something.

One of my most vivid memories is coming in the front door of her house (it opened up into a foyer and then you stepped into the kitchen) after a tiring day and being greeted with the smell of something freshly cooked. I think the memories I treasure most are when I was still in school. Early fall, a weekend trip to an apple orchard, and soon I would enter the kitchen to the smell of apple crisp. I’m not a big fan of apple pie because I’m not a big fan of pie crust. It’s only been in the last few years that I’ve run across pie crusts that I enjoy. But apple crisp gives you all the goodness of fresh apples with just a little sweetness and spice topped with crumbly oatmeal, almost like a soft granola.

I’m thrilled to rediscover this recipe, in particular because I’m pretty sure I can revamp it slightly and make it more friendly to my new way of eating. The right apples need less sugar, and so will the topping. I’ll be sure to post my results after I run them past my family.

I’m not on a Diet

my new way of eating and staying healthy

In my mind, a diet is a temporary thing where you restrict what you’re eating to reach a goal. Gotta look good for that big event coming up, or fit into your summer wardrobe. And when you get to your goal, what happens? For me, it has always been going back to eating the way I was before. Not a workable solution.

Now, I have to eat a certain way to stay healthy. Otherwise I will feel like roadkill. Everything hurts, I have no energy, and I can’t think straight. So, this is my new life. I can eat almost everything I want but in small portions. I have found though, that I no longer have the sweet tooth that I used to have. Candy doesn’t appeal to me, except dark chocolate. Surprisingly though, I only need a very small amount to be satisfied. Fresh fruit is sweet enough for me now. Desserts of any kind, I’m happy with just a taste.

But, cookies now… I am generally a cookie monster. I love cookies, so I’ve been avoiding them. I think part of my love for cookies includes my memories of learning to make cookies from my mom. I can remember wanting cookies and her telling me to bake them. Oatmeal, chocolate chip, everything chip(big batch with different kinds of chips in them), and peanut butter. Mostly she’d just let me do it myself, but I always knew she was right there if I had questions about how to do something. That carried over into adult life and there were many phone calls to mom with the cooking question of the week. Now, I’ve been getting those kind of phone calls from my daughter.

I’m not really craving any cookies right now, except regular peanut butter cookies. Those are my go to cookie when I really want one. And, I generally overindulge, so I’ve resisted making any. But I can tell I’m going to want them sometime in the not so distant future. I think I need to do some work on this recipe and try to make it a bit more friendly for my new lifestyle.