Thanksgiving Thoughts on Food

I am so excited to be hosting my first Thanksgiving at home! I love cooking, but I especially love putting together fancy meals and feasts like Thanksgiving dinner.  As much as I try to tell myself that food is fuel, it isn’t as simple as that.  There is definitely a Food=Love philosophy that is ingrained in my upbringing.

In addition to enjoying the food itself, there is so much sensory joy that comes from the preparation.  Feeling the textures of crinkly kale, smelling herbs and spices as you measure and chop, listening to the sizzle of oil, and planning out your preparation so that everything is done at once.

Then there is the joy that comes from cooking for others.  Much like knitting a prayer shawl, where the maker prays intentionally while knitting the fabric, cooking for friends and family makes me take extra care with my recipe as I think about the health and enjoyment that my food will bring them.   Preparing and sharing a meal with special people is one of my favorite things to do. Few things bring me more happiness than savoring a good meal while savoring the company of loved ones.

This is why Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  The focus is on the people you love, sitting and sharing a meal together.  Such a simple thing, but a such a huge blessing.  Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

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Shortcuts

Bryce is not one for shortcuts.

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He’s more of a stop-and-pick-up-every-pinecone-acorn-and-leaf kind of guy.

We have always spent quite a bit of time walking outside, but now he’s much happier walking with his Y-Bike than riding in his push-trike or stroller.  It amazes me how observant he is — he’ll notice and point out every squirrel, bird, or deer we see.  He’ll echo car horns beeping, bird calls, and dog barks that he hears.  Once, we passed an electrical box where a cat was sleeping, and now he meows every time we pass that particular box.

Everything takes longer when you have a little person, and I’m trying to let myself enjoy taking the scenic route during daily activities.  If he is happy playing the “I throw the pillows off the bed and mom picks them up” game while I’m doing some work, I’m down.  We also do “I’m gonna getchagetchagetcha!” in between phone calls,  sock puppets during laundry folding, and ottoman rides while prepping lunch.   I am totally fine with losing some efficiency if I can make my little guy smile while still being pretty productive.

HOWEVER, when naptime comes, it’s time to kick into high gear and GET S*** DONE.  Fitness and preparing healthy food are almost always highest on my priority list, and I  have been finding lots of ways to maintain health and quality by taking some shortcuts.

One great discovery I’ve made is that PANCAKE MIX can shave a significant amount of time from preparation of healthy breakfast muffins and quick breads.  Pre-baby, I used to spend lots of time mixing whole grain flours in different proportions, on the quest for the perfect balance of Taste and “Wow, I’ve never been so regular!”  Whole grain pancake mix has been combined for you AND has leavening already added.  Why measure two kinds of flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt  when you can measure ONCE?  Since I started using this substitution, I can have muffin batter prepped and in muffin cups by the time my oven is finished preheating.  I love Trader Joe’s wholegrain pancake mix the best, but I have had good results with Arrowhead Mills, and even Pamela’s Gluten Free Baking Mix.   Here is one of my favorite muffin recipes for Bryce (and me!  And Dad likes it too!)

Quick Banana Muffins

3 large, ripe bananas

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup white sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup coconut oil (or butter), softened not melted

1 T ground flaxseed mixed with 3 T water, set aside (OR, additional egg)

1 1/2 cups wholegrain pancake mix

1/4 tsp nutmeg

Optional: 1/2 cup hemp seeds (for extra protein) or chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350.  Dump bananas, sugar, coconut oil, egg, and flax mixture into a stand mixer and let it do the work of mashing and mixing for you.  Once all the wet ingredients are combined, stir in pancake mix, nutmeg, and hemp seeds or chopped nuts.  Scoop into 12 muffin cups, and bake for 20-25 minutes. (perfect amount of time to get a quick workout in! 😉