Thursday, January 14, 2010

A New Staple in Our House

Typically I don't succumb to a new year's resolution. I often have goals in mind, but I usually don't have one particular resolution. This year I am trying something new. I am a big fan of sugar. I really, really, really enjoy something sweet. I like sugar in just about everything. Okay, so maybe not on pizza or in my scrambled eggs but almost in anything else! Overall, I think I do well on not over-indulging on sweet treats. But every now and then I like to go wild on all things sweet. Like when my mom brought me some coconut bon bons from the Amish market near Waverly. Yeah, that was sugar overload, and I certainly ate my fair share of them... give or take about 10!

I digress! My point is this: I'm starting something new. Throughout the week, I'm diligently trying to cut out as much refined sugar as possible. By refined I'm talking about white, processed sugar that is typically found in packaged candies, desserts, etc. I'm trying to be reasonable here and not rigid. I still use cane sugar or agave nectar in my coffee and tea. And I still eat granola bars, yogurt, fruit, and the almond and flaxseed bars from Trader Joes, which are incredibly tasty! Sugar is found in many foods, so I cannot cut it out completely, nor do I wish!

Here's the fun part of my new goal. I set aside one day each week and allow myself any kind of dessert or sweet treat that I want! Oh yeah! You know I look forward to that day every week! For me, I think it's a realistic and healthy expectation. I want to be sensible with what I put into my body. I already used my day this week and had some jello and chocolate chip cookies. I enjoyed every bit of them and don't feel at all guilty for eating either food! What a freeing feeling!

As a SAHM, sometimes I don't sit down and eat lunch when Isaac does. I'm either doing dishes or wiping up the counters. I often find myself wanting a snack throughout the rest of the day just to tide me over until dinner. This is part of the reason I wanted to have a reasonable goal in mind. Knowing this keeps me from reaching for that chocolate chip cookie or coconut bon bon. I need a stash of healthy snacks on hand for that mid-day pick-me-up.

I stumbled upon this healthy nutty granola recipe about a week ago, and it is a perfect match for me! It's sweetened with natural sweeteners, maple syrup and honey. It's slightly crunchy and pairs perfectly with a cup of vanilla yogurt. Matt savored it as well and took snack-sized bags with him to school. I have a strong suspicion this recipe will provide snacks for our family for years to come! It seems like a versatile recipe; next time I make it I may add some other dried fruit or coconut flakes. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do and that you find it satisfying when you need a boost of sweetness! (Just make sure you stir it about ever 6-7 minutes so it doesn't burn.)

P.S. This week in two of my new cooking magazines I came across similar granola recipes. Once I try them, I'll give you a comparison. Have a nutty-sweet day!