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Posts Tagged ‘Health’

As part of our current “diet,” we’ve begun to really indulge in our morning meals.  Our omelettes overflow and we’re blending an embarrassing amount into our smoothies.  Thankfully, what’s kept us from feeling like we’re sliding into gluttony is remembering that our breakfast still has fewer calories than lunch or dinner–which maybe should change.  If there’s any meal of the day to indulge, it’s breakfast.

Everyone knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Eating breakfast regularly has been linked to increased longevity, higher metabolism, longer attention span, and sustained energy. It’s also a great opportunity to add some much-needed fiber, fat, and fruit to a body starved of nutrients after an 8-hr hiatus.

That said, it’s amazing what the packaged-food industry has done to this most essential meal! Rather than promoting good health through eating real foods, the food industry has taken over breakfast with its promise of rainbow-colored treats and cocoa crispies. Even the standard run-of-the-mill store-bought granola will contain a deceptively high amount of fat and sugar under the guise of healthful eating. Most granola recipes will contain half a stick of butter or a cup of maple syrup, and scaling back will lead to pitiful flakes of lightly toasted oats, barely resembling the substantial clusters found in store-bought varieties.

Enter the avocado. Hailing from Miami, Greg’s mom was in town last week with a hostess gift of two of the most ginormous avocados we’ve ever seen. Seriously, if you’re born and raised on Haas avocados, these South Florida beauties will knock your socks off. The two that we received were at least as big as pineapples, covered in a bright green skin, and sometimes called alligator pears. (I thought they were bowling-ball sized, but Greg insisted they weighed less than 8 lb. each).

Now a quick plug on avocados — they are high in monosaturated fat, which can improve heart health and keep cholesterol low. They are also bursting with vitamins C, E, K, folate, and fiber. Avocados, along with extra virgin olive oil and some nuts, are often considered to be among the best fats that a body can take in, in moderation of course.

Avocados work surprisingly well in granola because of their fatty content (remember, good fats) and their smooth, spreadable texture. Unlike the aforementioned granola recipes I’ve tried, which rely on bad fats and bad sugars to achieve desirable clusters, avocados are an incredibly healthy substitute. And because we typically eat granola with Greek yogurt and fresh fruit, there was no need for an additional sweetener. The vanilla, cinnamon, and toasted coconut gave it enough aroma and flavor that no sugar was needed. This recipe is by far the tastiest and most guilt-free granola recipe I’ve ever made! (And would you believe I dreamed it up in my sleep?)

Coconut Avocado Granola

1/2 Florida avocado (or 1 Haas avocado)
1 T natural peanut butter
2 c rolled oats
1/2 c coconut flakes, unsweetened
1/4 almonds, slivered
1 t cinnamon, cardamom, or other spice of your choice
1 T vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Blend avocado, peanut butter, vanilla, and cinnamon until well-combined and smooth. There should be no clumps. Stir in rolled oats, coconut flakes, and slivered almonds.

Spread evenly on prepared cookie sheet. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally for even toasting. Let cool before storing. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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Since getting married in June, we have collectively put on 25 lbs. of happiness. Yes, happiness.  It’s true: when you get married, you get happier.  We thought that we were gaining weight, but all of our friends corrected us that, no, we were getting happier.  “You must be sooo happy!” one of our NYC friends exclaimed.  Some people might even be surprised to hear how happy you’ve gotten.  Skeptically, one friend at church asked us where all of Joann’s new happiness goes. (When she answered “her hips, butt, and stomach” another woman remarked, “Just where Greg likes it, I bet.”)

Why do you get so happy after marriage? It could be the tiny little kisses that your spouse gives you for many different reasons (joy at seeing you again, to cheer you up, to get the food off of your face, to calm you down after she scared you because she made a scary barky sound); it could be the unconditional love and commitment and the peace that comes with knowing that no matter what you are loved; it could be the promise and hope for a future together (with beautiful little babies!); or it could be because you eat so much damn food.

Seriously people! We nearly finished a full loaf of bread for dinner (4 cups of flour!) with butter (which we’ve discovered is, well, delicious) and soup (the soup was actually really healthy…on top of all that bread and butter).  And all of these recipes that go on our blog: it’s not like we’re pulling out the stops and saving up.  We eat like this every night.  Actually, maybe several times a day.

We got married knowing that it would teach us more about how Christ loves His Church.  We didn’t know we’d get so fat–I mean, happy–too.

This is a good last-minute kind of bread. All in all it takes about an hour to make, mostly inactive time. It’s quite different from yeast bread, much more dense and biscuit-like with a moister crumb and hearty crust. Very good with butter.

Short-Notice Soda Bread

2 1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 3/4 c plain fat-free yogurt (or buttermilk)
2 oz butter
1 egg

Preheat oven to 400F.

Whisk egg until smooth. Add in yogurt, whisk until well-blended. The butter can either be melted beforehand and whisked in at this stage; otherwise, some heavier-duty mixing will be in order. Stir in baking soda and flour, adding in flour half a cup at a time until the batter is thick and on the wetter side.

Pour batter into prepared baking pan. (We used a 9″x5″x3″ loaf pan, but I imagine a free-form Le Creuset version would be great as well.) Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bake for 50 minutes, remove when the top sounds hollow when knocked on. Serve warm. With butter.

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