Category Archives: Food Ideas

Grandma’s Recipe

There’s something satisfying about being bonded through food to someone you love. Several years ago I happened upon a recipe for banana pudding in one of my cookbooks. It delighted me to see adjustments written next to it that said, “Grandma’s way.”

20160528_140939I started making the pudding. First it was a Fourth of July tradition, then the kids started asking for it more often. Pretty much every time I made it I thought about how happy it would make my sweet grandma to know her great-grandchildren loved one of her specialties.
Time passed. Our family is growing. Soon after our daughter, Sarah, married, I found out banana pudding is one of her husband’s favorites, and my making of the treat increased in20160517_153924 frequency. That’s why our youngest son’s girlfriend, Ariel, discovered it. It delighted me when I offered to bring it to her graduation party, and her eyes lit with pleasure.

Again, it’s that connection thing. My grandma loved people through food. The family even teased her that she had some kind of a disease that required her to keep people feed. She was a good-old-fashioned-homemade-simple-country-kind-of cook. Nothing was fancy. Everything was GOOD. And there was always PLENTY of it.

Now those who are part of us get a little of Grandma’s lovin’ through my cookin’. (Hear the southern click in? I am from Oklahoma originally.)

As a mom of three boys, I soon discovered there is something to the old adage that food is a way into a man’s heart. My husband loved it as I learned favorite recipes from his side of the family, too. Traditions have grown from that–like homemade cinnamon rolls to start a holiday morning (or just because it snows).

For the gluten-free set, I’ve found my mom’s apple crisp to be a hit. For birthdays it’s a toss-up whether the one celebrated wants the “famous” Moldenhauer chocolate cake, a recipe from Jerry’s mom, Fencine, or my famous banana cake, a recipe from my mom. (Then again, David still votes for banana pudding no matter what!) When I make Grandma’s chocolate gravy for breakfast, I make homemade biscuits from a recipe from my brother, Curtis.

Then there are my own discoveries. Like the “holly” (Challah) bread which I learned to make, in part, because it pleased my Jewish neighbor, Bernice. It was a childhood favorite for her back in New York. My daughter, Sarah still loves to braid the dough, something she’s delighted in since childhood.IMAG0704

My grandma was well-known for her pies. Sarah and I spent hours covered in flour when she was little. I showed her how to feel the dough to know how much flour was needed, and how to “work” it as little as possible to keep it flaky. She now claims to make better apple pies than I do. (Her brothers agree; her father doesn’t. Smart man.)

Isn’t it all about relationship? I love making food that triggers a memory of someone I love. Grandma, Fencine, and Bernice are now all with their Lord, but I love watching the new people in my circle of love as they connect to a circle of those who have passed on and left their recipes of love for me to share.

Now . . . for those of you on Facebook who requested the recipe, I share this family treasure. (For more on the step-by step process, visit this post, which doesn’t have ingredients, but does show pictures and further explain the process.)

Grandma Eunice’s Banana Pudding

In large serving bowl:

Layer vanilla wafers and bananas

Cream together in medium sauce pan:

1 C sugar, 2 eggs, 3 heaping T flour

Add the following and place on medium heat:

3 C whole milk

Stir pretty much constantly!

When pudding thickens and begins to boil, keep stirring and add:

1 t real vanilla, 2 T real butter

When butter is completely melted pour over wafers and bananas. Crumble some wafers on top and line round wafers around the sides if you want just ’cause it’s pretty.

(If you’re making this for Ariel, Sarah, or David, go for more cookies and less bananas. If you’re making it for Stephen, go lighter on the cookies and heavier on the bananas. Then again your special people might like it however you do!)

Confession: Grandma used margarine and imitation vanilla, but even the best recipes can use a little tweak. ;o)

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Wednesday Weigh-in ~ Eating, Exercise, Excuses, and a Plan

There’s always stuff to do. Person-weighing-themselve-007

There’s always stuff that hurts.

There’s always excuses.

I wanted to start this blog whining about how hard it’s been to focus on my body while remodeling a house, grieving deaths, and adjusting to the kids leaving home. All of those reasons for my struggle are real. Emotional eating is an easy trap to fall back into when sadness or loneliness hits. It’s hard to prioritize exercise when my home feels chaotic, and I can’t stand the mess one more day.

But the truth is life happens. I’m pretty sure I will never live an entire day without more pulling at me than I can conquer in that day, and I’m also sure that however many joyful moments a day holds, there will be something that happens that wants to pull me down, stress me out, or at least irritate me.

The truth is I am no longer at the age I can live and eat without intentionality. There are consequences. Not just on the scale, but in my body, health, and energy levels. As hard as it was to lose all that weight, if I’m not intentional I will find it again. All of it.

For the first time since 2012 I didn’t pay attention to how I ate or exercised over the holidays. And it shows. I feel myself getting into old patterns–being discouraged about the weight gain and allowing that discouragement to shut me down. Emotional eating comes really easy when I’m in that state. Getting out and walking does not. I’m also lonely more often now, and those solitary walks don’t sound quite as inviting as they did when the house was constantly noisy.

Here’s the honest truth. I need to get serious about my health again. I need prayer ’cause I know I can’t do this alone.

This week I’m taking a good first step. I’m doing a BENew cleanse. When I was losing weight and doing these consistently I noticed they helped reduce my cravings for the bad foods. (That first cleanse was a rough one for me emotionally. This one isn’t quite as bad, but I’m struggling a little.)

We’re in another car transition, which has made my schedule difficult. So step 2 for me was arranging with my kids for a schedule that allows me a car two mornings a week. My plan is to visit my chiropractor then meet with a friend who lives nearby so we can walk together.

Step 3 is I’ve also returned to doing a few light exercises every morning at home–some crunches, leg lifts, push-ups, and stretching. Nothing too intense. If I start with too much at first I know I won’t continue, so I’m beginning small and seeking to be consistent.

Where I feel the greatest resistance inside is food. I’ve continued much of the healthier eating that I learned in 2012–more fresh fruits and vegetables, making the largest portion my salad instead of the carbs. But unhealthy stuff has crept back in, too, like sometimes having a snack before bed, being mindless about portions, and being less careful with sweets.

When I lost weight I talked a lot about making changes I felt I could live with long-term. I believe I did that. The problem is I grew weary of mindfulness when it came to healthy choices and wise portions. Combined with less activity and less muscle mass, the weight began slipping back on.

And so I continue the journey. Instead of maintenance, I am seeking the courage to stand up and admit I need to lose a few pounds before it gets out of hand. Honestly, it makes me sad to own that, but pretending it isn’t there doesn’t make me any happier. And as much as I would prefer to keep this a private battle, I know accountability makes a difference. I need to lose eight to ten pounds. I need to do this now before things get out-of-control again, and it’s fifty I need to drop.

There. I said it.

If you’re on this journey with me, maybe a summary of my plan can help you, too.

  • Honesty with self – choosing to admit I must deal with this problem
  • Intentionality – Making choices with intent to stay on the road of health
  • Mindfulness – Paying attention to what (and how much!) I eat and how much I move
  • Spiritual support – Asking God to help me and others to pray for me
  • Admission – Admitting I need to lose and owning exactly how many pounds
  • Accountability – Telling someone that I need to change and have chosen to do so.
  • A plan – for me it is 1) cleanse 2) exercise 3) Portion control 4) healthier foods

Anybody with me?

Until next time,

Paula another test (401x192) (2)

Mmmmm

IMAG3190

I’ve admitted in the past that part of my struggle with weight loss and healthy eating is my lack of tolerance for raw veggies. I’m always on the lookout for healthy ways to get some green stuff down.

Here’s another salad for the vegetable challenged: lettuce, pomegranates, walnuts, and kiwi fruit. I LOVE it.

I also enjoy a good turkey quesadilla. Unfortunately I discovered last year when I was diligently counting calories that though the quesadilla didn’t feel filling, the caloric intake added up quickly between the butter, cheese, and flour tortilla (the one in the picture is a typical white tortilla, but I have found healthier, lower calorie options). It was also not as nutritious as I wanted it to be.

My solution was to eat half of what I used to, put less cheese inside, and mix a little ranch dressing with a lot of cholula sauce, which has no calories, for a dipping sauce. (I don’t usually do dressing at all, not on my salads even. Mostly because I don’t really like dressing. But this is the one place I love a little ranch.)

Paired with a big salad, my old favorite was no longer too much of an indulgence, and the fresh foods added health. It’s also a quick, easy, no fuss meal. (If you’ve already prepared the pomegranate ahead of time! Sheesh those things are work. But worth it.)

I love that this easy dish connects with many of my values–it’s a simple pleasure I found a way to hold onto instead of giving up during my get healthy journey. The less familiar fruit in the salad makes it feel exotic and looks beautiful. And the kiwi and pomegranates are antioxidants and great for my body!

I’m no longer counting calories, but I hope I’ve learned something about managing portions and upping the nutritional value of my meals.

Do you have a favorite you’ve adapted to your new lifestyle?

Share it: Salad for the vegetable challenged added to an old favorite=low calories and nutrition

Embracing Simple Pleasures

Are you like me? There’s nothing like a cold day to make me want to bake.

As the house empties of children, and I continue the goal of staying more fit, I find myself not indulging in a day of baking quite so often.

But even as I have backed off of this high caloric habit, I refuse to let it go completely. There is freedom in hanging onto life’s simple pleasures, choosing moderation instead of all or nothing when it comes to forming healthy habits.

And there’s nothing like the aroma of bread baking to make a house feel practically magical.

Oh the joy of a sprinkle of flour across a clean counter top and the feel of dough pliable in my hands! My absolute, very top favorite dough sensation is the feel of holly bread being shaped beneath my fingertips. (Challah bread for the more precise.)

Before winter gives way to spring I must celebrate this simple pleasure.

Challah bread 1 challah bread 2 challah bread 3 challah bread 4 challah bread 5 challah bread 6 challah bread 7 challah bread 8 challah bread 9

The only problem with this photo series is I forgot to get a picture as the bread was pulled all warm and golden brown from the oven. (“Look at that! Another example of brown that I LOVE,” she thinks as she remembers her last post on earth tones.)

I guess you’ll have to take my word for it. It looks–and tastes–heavenly.

As you continue on the weight loss journey–or the journey of life–what simple pleasures do you embrace?

Simple pleasures: Challah bread

Mmmm Mmmmm Good!

orange julius (2)

Ever need a healthy pick-me-up on a long, demanding afternoon? I LOVED this. It was similar to an Orange Julius, but low in calories (205) and no added sugar. It also gave me strengthening protein and carried me until we had a late supper that night.

Some almond milk is only 30 calories a cup. This one is 40, but the recipe is based on a 30 calorie intake.

I believe in my BEfull shakes. They are designed by Life Force International to aid weight loss and lean muscle development and have blend of proprietary protein, vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Additions like this one make them fun. I got this idea from my friend Dani.

Here’s what I used to make my afternoon pick-me-up:

4 oz orange juice

6 oz almond milk

2 Scoops BEfull (vanilla flavor)

For taste, you can play with the amounts of milk and orange juice. I used less orange juice than you might prefer in an effort to keep the calories down.

Besides supporting healthy and weight loss, I see this shake as one of those simple things that makes life better!

Enjoy!

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A great tasting, healthy boost for a long afternoon

Summer Joy

rhubarbEmbracing life’s simple pleasures brings joy. One of summer’s gifts in Colorado is rhubarb. Though incredibly tart, when mixed with a sugar, honey, or strawberries, it is delightful!

It’s also a gorgeous plant, hardy, and resilient. I’ve given mine very little care, but it comes back, year after year. It does require a lot of water if you want it to bear repeatedly throughout the summer, and over-harvesting can ruin your return. Only a third of the plant should be harvested at time. Also, the plant should not be allowed to flower. When blooms start to form, remove the stalk where they grow. Allowing the plant to flower reduces return.

My favorite rhubarb dish is homemade pie. My husband loves rhubarb sauce. He makes a steaming hot loaf of homemade wholewheat bread, covers it in real cream, then covers that in rhubarb. Sarah thinks rhubarb is best when mixed with strawberries. Stephen rates Miss Monique’s homemade strawberry rhubarb jam at the top.

One of my favorite rhubarb stories includes our foreign exchange student from Spain. Before coming to my house he’d never been introduced to pie or to rhubarb. His first few days here he was tenuous about trying such things, IMAG2030even apple pie during our Fourth of July celebration. But after he was here a few weeks he grew bolder–and rhubarb pie became a favorite. He even admitted to getting up in the middle of the night and having a piece! Before returning to his homeland we’d convinced him that pie is one of the USA’s best pleasures.

Part of sustaining my BeNew journey is giving myself permission to enjoy life’s simple pleasures, like rhubarb pie. I can’t eat heavy calorie treats like this at every meal or even every day, but enjoyed in balance with good fresh fruits and vegetables and a mile or two walk through the neighborhood, enjoying life’s good stuff keeps me happy and able to maintain my weight loss goals.

Tweetable:

Rhubarb: a simple pleasure

What does 200 calories look like?

A pat of butter. 2 1/2 medium apples. It’s crazy how different 200 calories looks depending on the food. A friend recommended this linkat ArtFido. Take a second to glance through it. It’ll make you think twice about what you’re eating.

Here’s a sneak preview taken from their website. These two pictures are expected, but some of the foods may surprise you.

As you look at the pictures on Artfido, ask yourself what kind of nutrition is displayed. My friend Kathleen talks about eating foods that are nutrient dense. In other words, spending calories on what makes your mind and body stronger and healthier instead of using up calories on foods low in nutrition.

How’s your day been? If you think about 200 calorie chunks, have they fed your body or just added calories?

What does 200 calories look like?