Friday, September 16, 2011

Food Glorious Food!

         I took today off work so I can go home for my brother's football game and the Spencer fair.  Steve works until 2:30 so we plan to leave after he gets home.  My plan for today was to make our menu plan and grocery list and then go grocery shopping.  Good plan, right?  It is when your car is not in the shop.  The only place I can actually go to is the mall because it's a block away and I can walk there.  This will not help me.  But on the plus side, the menu and grocery list are done and ready for when we return on Sunday.  I am looking forward to all of the delicious food we'll have when home.  We're staying at Grandma's and her food is always good.  I'm excited to have concession snacks at Jerry's game.  I don't remember all of the concession food but I do remember the giant pickles which I only bought once.  I'm not a huge fan of pickles.  I wonder if they still have those...  I am excited for the fair food!  It's going to be very difficult choosing what to eat.  There are always so many options: pizza, nachos, gyro on a stick, fried butter (I'm not kidding or trying it.), taffy, pastries...  A couple years ago I had a bucket of nachos and it was delicious in a very disgusting way.
      I actually couldn't eat all of it.  I don't remember what Steve had but I do remember that he liked it.  He wouldn't let me take a picture of it. :(  I'm very excited for Tom Thumb donuts.  They are a legend at the Spencer fair and you must stand in line for the freshly fried mini donuts covered in sugar.  What's your favorite concession or fair food?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Breakfast: The Most Important Meal of the Day

          Breakfast is truly the most important meal of the day.  We've all read it in magazines but I've learned it the hard way.  In the past couple of months, I've skipped breakfast a few times and almost passed out.  I'm not kidding.  I have a fast metabolism and in the past had to eat every 3 hours.  Before you slap me, keep reading to find out why it's not always the greatest thing in the world.  In July I skipped breakfast before hosting coffee and rolls at church.  All I had to eat was 2 large glazed donuts at this event.  Afterwards Steve and I took the left-over donuts to a local women's and children's shelter.  I have no idea how I drove all the way across town to the shelter without causing an accident.  I had Steve drive us directly to a restaurant for lunch.  By the time we got there it was 2 o'clock and I wanted to lay down on the restaurant floor.  I'm not exaggerating.  Sitting up in a chair felt like work.  I ate my burger and fries and instantly felt better and could sit up straight.  This past Friday I skipped breakfast before going to work.  Friday was the last grill-out at work so I needed to pick up some grill-out items: buns, BBQ sauce, pickles.  I started to shake just by carrying those items inside.  I also had a headache.  I grabbed a Snickers and a Pepsi from the vending machine because I knew it would pop my blood sugar back up but still felt crappy until lunch when I ate real food.  I know better than to skip breakfast but I was too lazy both of those days to fix my simple breakfasts.  Not anymore.  I have to take better care of myself.

I have two go-to breakfasts: yogurt with homemade granola and fruit and toast with homemade apple butter and peanut butter.  I prefer the yogurt because it lasts longer but the toast is really tasty.  Both of these breakfasts take a couple minutes to assemble.  Both breakfasts last because they contain multiple food groups.  For your benefit, I'm posting the original recipes and I'll list the few tweaks I've made.  First the granola.  My older sister Kat found this recipe online and shared it with me.

Homemade Granola
Mix well:
3C oats
1/2C sunflower seeds
1/2C nuts
1/2C coconut

Mix well:
1/4C oil
1/4C honey
1/6C water
1tsp vanilla

Combine the mixed wet and dry ingredients together and stir well.  Pour into a 9x13 pan or a cookie sheet.  Toast in a 350 degree oven.  Stir after 10 minutes, then more frequently until browned (every 5 minutes).  Store in an airtight container.

Easy, right?  I don't usually add the sunflower seeds or coconut.  The sunflower seeds are left out because we usually don't have any in our apartment.  I have added them a few times and it's good with them.  I leave out the coconut because I hate it and it's never in the apartment.  I know I'm taking away some of the nutrition by leaving these out but I'll actually eat it this way.  I usually use vegetable oil or olive oil.  The recipe suggests melted coconut oil or butter but I don't have coconut oil and I don't want to use all of my butter making granola.  I store my granola in the fridge.  For breakfast I put a couple tablespoons of granola in a bowl, grab an individual vanilla yogurt and mix in some fruit.  For the fruit, I use frozen fruit that's thawed in the fridge.  Easy and nutritious.  And also delicious.

Now for the apple butter.  I've blogged about it before but I feel it's worth mentioning again.  Another recipe my older sister found online and shared with me.  It would take too long to share the original and list my changes so you're getting my version of the recipe.

Apple Butter
14 apples
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 C white sugar
3/4 C brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Core and quarter the apples.  I cut the slices into smaller sections.  Put all of the apples into the crock pot.  Add in the sugars, vanilla, cloves and cinnamon.  Cook on low for 8 hours.  When done, stir and let cool.  Put in smaller containers and refrigerate.  I usually put all of the containers in the freezer except one.  This recipe makes a lot and it lasts for a really long time.  I made the recipe a few times and have never made it the same way.  I've previously blogged about adding cranberry sauce to it.  I have also added peaches to it and eliminated the white sugar.  I realize that it still has quite a bit of brown sugar in it but I'm still working on that part.  I'm thinking about subbing molasses or sorghum for the brown sugar.  I'll have to wait until apples go on sale again before I start making it this fall.  The original recipe suggests picking out the apples skins and uses a hand mixer to make the apple butter smooth.  I didn't do this because a) I'm lazy and b) I like the chunkiness of it.

Happy breakfast to all of you!  I hope these recipes make your mornings a little easier.