Thursday, February 21, 2013

Scones that Defy Logic

  Okay, so these don't exactly defy logic... but you know the family members. The ones who hear you put whole wheat in whatever you made and gag. Blaize and Natalie are those kinda  people. And they both had THREE scones!!! THAT'S why they defy logic. :)

You know I'm excited about something when I blog more than once a week! Now that I've decided to blog about one of my passions, it is so much easier to come up with things to write about. My latest project: healthifying scones! I've always loved making scones, and have gotten lots of compliments for my recipe for lemon ones... BUT they have 1 cup of butter, 1 cup of sugar, and one cup of whole milk. Hence the reason for the compliments. 

I wanted to prove to the world that yummy things CAN be healthy. So, here they are:

Don't these look yummy? That's cuz they are!!! And they have all whole-wheat flour, only 1/3 cup sugar in the actual scones, coconut oil instead of butter, and almonds. The whole milkd was replaced with 1 percent milk. They aren't low fat, but I'm actually not a huge fan of low fat. There are so many healthy fats out there, and they really do make things taste better! Now, the frosting... it's sugar and milk, so not much nutrition there. But it was necessary because I didn't measure the salt carefully... the sweetness
Here's the Recipe:

2 cups white whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole roasted almonds
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup sugar
1 T. lemon juice + enough milk to equal 2/3 cup. (or butermilk, which I never have)
1 t. almond extract

Frosting: ( I didn't measure, sorry!!!) Powdered sugar, low-fat milk, and almond extract.

Preparation Instructions
You'll need a food processor that can hold 11 cups for this recipe.
Place the almonds into a food processor and process until they are a fine crumb. Add the remaining dry ingredients and pulse a few times to mix. Add the butter and process until incorporated well.
Now, with the food processor on, add the wet ingredients through the feed tube. Continue to mix, just until it all comes together and forms a ball. Do not overmix!
The dough will be a little sticky when you remove it from the food processor, so I just toss the whole ball into my flour bin and coat it lightly.
Next, divide it into 2 balls. Flatten each ball into a disk, about 8-10 inches in diameter and 1-2 inches thick. Take a long bladed knife and cut the circles into 8 even wedges. A pizza cutter works well too.
Use a silicone baking mat (Silpat) to keep the scones from sticking to the baking sheet. Place the 16 pieces on the mat on a cookie sheet.
Combine the frosting ingredients once the scones are cool, and drizzle over the scones.  :)  Enjoy!
See??? Alll whole wheat flour, coconut oil, minimal sugar, (minus the frosting) and low-fat milk. And they look good, and taste as good as they look. Have I sold you yet? :)
One last thing: My amazing sister took this cool picture!!! I'm NOT a photogropher, and my pictures looked hardly appetizing. Natalie is amazing, plain and simple. And so are these scones! :)

Test Your Nutrition Knowledge!

Yes, I've caved. I'm going to start writing about nutrition more. But you see, it will give ME the excuse to do research, it it will give you a window into something I'm pretty passionate about. Which will motivate me a whole lot more to write. Plus, it's probably better for ya'll, because I really don't write as well about things I'm not interested in.

So, until I figure out how to use a camera (which is on my to-do list this week!) I'll start off with a quiz. Maybe ya'll will ace it. But I'm hoping there's at least something on here you didn't know.

1.) True or False: Honey is healthier than sugar.

2.)  True or False: If you want to eat healthier, you should cut out fat in your diet as much as possible, especially if you want a healthy heart. (who doesn't?)

3.) True or False: A whole apple offers more health benefits than apple juice.

4.)  True or False: Apples are the highest fiber fruits out there.

5.)  True or False: Chocolate = junk food. Try to avoid it as much as possible.

6.) True or False: Fiber has more functions than just promoting digestive health.

Well, how'd you feel? Are you ready to find out the answers? Oh, and these answers come from the American Dietetics Association, so I really am not just making them up, or relying on my iffy memory!

1.) False! Are you as shocked and disappointed as I was when I found this out? I thought surely it had to be. I mean, honey comes from bees, and sugar comes from factories, right? Actually, both come from nature. Sugar comes from Cane plants, and honey is made by bees. However, unless you get them in the raw, BOTH are processed,  and honey actually has more sugars per serving than sugar. It was a nice thought. :) But don't worry, both of these are just fine in moderation.

2.) Also FALSE! However, certain fats, like saturated and trans fat, DO lead to poor heart health. But, things like nuts, avocados, and olive and canola oils actually promote heart health. Getting enough of these is really important to stay healthy-- they decrease risk of heart disease AND diabetes!

3.) True. Apples have 6x as much fiber! The saying "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" does not include apple juice!

4.) FALSE! Not even close. While they are a great source of fiber, Blueberries, Rasberries, Blackberries, Strawberries, and pears all come in on top in regards to fiber. 

5.) False again! Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, can promote heart health. Woohooo! However, so do fruits, vegetables, and nuts, so don't make it your only go-to snack. 

6.) False again! While fiber does help your digestive system, it also can help lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease. In other words, fiber is very useful!

Basically, no food is "good" and no food is "bad" as LONG AS they are eaten in moderation. Praise the Lord!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Keys to Getting it Done

"I just didn't have time to get to it today." If these words were illegal, I'd already have a life-long sentence to prison! Fortunately for me, they're not. There's something a little fishy about these words, though. I usually say them about the things I don't want to do! Do you know how many days I've said I "didn't have time" to watch a movie with Natalie??? A LOT! And then there's the, "I don't have time to read my Bible. I have school!" The funny thing is, I ALWAYS have time to work out. And I always just happen to have time to call/hang out with/write back my friends. Why? Because I make time for the things I enjoy, and the things that I think are important. Then there are things like English and Chemistry... how many times have I stayed up WAY too late Monday nights finishing all my homework?  At 1:00 in the morning, when I usually would be sleeping, I'm studying!  You'd be right if you said it was because I'm chronic procrastinator, but that's not quite what I'm going for. The truth is, I wouldn't be staying up that late unless I knew that there was a teacher waiting at class who would subtract from my grade if I didn't complete the assignments. It's called accountability.

Basically, I may not always "have" time, but I make time for the things I want to do, or the things I have to do. However, in my life, some of the things I don't have to do are the things that really matter. Like reading my Bible, or taking time to spend with God. And even just obeying God in things that I really don't want to do.

Recently, a friend of mine and I have been keeping each other accountable to run every almost every day.  We've even found this plan to train for a half marathon! The truth is, there are plenty of days I would have run less, or just walked because it's easier, if I hadn't known that I would be sending her a quick e-mail in the near future and would have to be honest about what I actually accomplished.

Another plus is that I can SEE progress. For example, last week, I could only run two miles without practically dying. This week, I can run three. The progress, (though pitifully small), is visible and tangible, therefore MOTIVATIONAL! Because I set and reach goals, it motivates me to keep going.

I've always wondered why it's totally conceivable to improve at things like volleyball and runnning, but so hard to get better at obeying Jesus. Perhaps it's because I haven't been using the pattern of accountability and setting goals in my spiritual life. Often I say I'm going to do "better" tomorrow, without ever deciding what "better" means. Then I fail, get down on myself, and quit, because I didn't attain my inconcrete goal. I pretty much set myself up for the failure I got.

Here's my game-plan for this week: To set specific, concrete goals, and to get accountability to help me follow through. We'll see if this actually works!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Blessings in Human Form

Ever played 20 questions? I love that game! It's fun to think up really hard to place items, or obscure people, just to throw guessers for an extra loop. It's fun to strategize the most effective questions to ask, and basically, it's fun to win.( I seem to have gotten the competitive Peterman gene) However, the person I'm going to write about today is not at all obscure in the Manhattan community. Pretty much everyone who has spent any length of time with her leaves feeling happier and loved. And it's IMPOSSIBLE to forget her. Just like it's impossible to forget anything in this life that is far superior to awesome. I'm not gonna try to stretch your guessing to 20 questions... once I started describing her, ya'll would know who she is. (And I'd lose, which would really be a bummer, considering this is my blog, and I try not to look bad on it :) )

The person I'm thinking of is... (As I would tell my Sunday Schoolers, "Drumroll, please!" ) MRS. DEWOLF! I already think of her an awful lot, but I have been thinking of her even more frequently as of late, because it's her birthday this week. You have to meet her to truly understand why she is so awesome, but I guess I could start by saying she is one of those people I am constantly people who I'm always thinking, "When I grow up, I want to be like her." The first word that comes to mind when I think of her is 'blessing.'

While you might be thinking the reason is that she is smart, pretty, and talented, and just all around likeable (all of which are very true) there is something more that I really appreciate, no, LOVE, about her. It's the way she can meet someone for the very first time, and make them feel really... valuable. You sense that she cares about you, even though she isn't "supposed" to. She doesn't do it out of obligation, or just to be polite, and it shows.

This past year and a half, I was going through a rough patch. She spent at least an hour out of every her hectic week (which was filled with homeschooling, coordinating  a musical, teaching piano, cooking dinners,  etc) and made time to talk (and listen... a LOT) to what was going on. She spoke logic and encouragment into my rather stubborn head, and she loved me even when I was wearing sweats and my makeup was all smeared. :) Did she have to? Nope. I was just her friends daughter who had nothing to offer to her but mixed up emotions and confused thought-processes.  It blows my mind that she would take the time to walk with me in freezing temperatures with me, buy me diet cokes, and sit with me in the wind and rain to get away and talk for a while.  She reminded me of the hope we have in Jesus, and made me feel cared about even when I was questioning my purpose in life.

I could go on and on, about how she is super hospitable, an amazing cook, can make even cauliflower and breadsticks feel like a gourmet meal, and has a knack for making kids smile, but I'll close by saying this: I love her so much. I sometimes struggle with understanding the purpose behind some of God's actions, but I've never doubted for a second  that when He created Mrs. DeWolf, it was one of the BEST decisions He ever made. I know He's smiling at her right now, and I thank Him for her all the time. I can't imagine life without her.