About a week ago I was craving Pumpkin Bread while doing a long swim (5000 yards) at the YMCA. Sure, I could have picked some up at the grocery store, Starbucks or Panera but that's not like me. For the majority of the time, my cravings are satisfied by preparing items at home. I realize that in today's society, the convenience to food to satisfy cravings makes it really easy to obtain food when we want it and "need" it. I also believe it makes it just as easy to crave food that we may not otherwise crave if we knew we had to prepare it ourselves in order to eat it. Although, there are occasions when both Karel and myself crave something different, this doesn't happen a lot but I still find a way to incorporate it into our diet in a controlled manner. We don't speak of food negatively in our house so we avoid anything like "I'm being bad" "I shouldn't eat this" etc and we don't do anything extreme in this house like cleanses, juice fasts or even a list of off-limit foods. That is not our philosophy with food. If we eat well most of the time we don't have to worry about the rest of the time.
After Karel did the Jax Bank 1/2 Marathon, he was craving ice cream. We don't crave ice cream on a daily basis and that's likely because we don't keep it in the house. Not for the reason that it is a trigger food but we learned to not "need" it on a daily basis like we did in years past when we were dating. Likely, this is because I have put my emphasis on creating satisfying meals and not intentionally leaving room at dinner for "dessert". Oh, so Karel did end up eating ice cream - he drove down the street to TCBY and made himself an ice cream treat. Enjoyed fully and no guilty feeling involved.
When I think about all the allergies, intolerances and issues that people have with food, I simply think about the eating habits of people in society that have occurred over the past 20 years. It's not just about the obvious culprits like portion sizes when eating out (along with excessive sodium), skipping meals, eating habits secondary to poor sleeping habits/sleep deprivation or processed foods but the forgotten past of the joy of home cooking, eating slow (or making time to eat) and sitting down to eat. Now we live in a very sedentary world where wholesome food is de-valued and comes across as too time-consuming and costly and "health-claimed" processed food is overly emphasized, cheap and easy.
In anticipation for the New Year, I look forward to your reactions when you begin to appreciate home cooking and most importantly, taking the time every day to appreciate the food that you choose to fuel your lifestyle and workout routine.
Pumpkin BreadI used a recipe from Cooking Light w/ a few modifications (listed below is the recipe I used)
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup 1% milk
1/3 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cup baked pumpkin (I baked a small pumpkin in the oven and pureed in my blender. Feel free to save the time and use 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree - NOT pumpkin pie filling)
Preheat oven to 350°.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and the next 7 ingredients (flour through cloves) in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture.
Combine sugar and the next 5 ingredients (sugar through pumpkin) in a bowl, and stir well with a whisk until smooth. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.
Spoon batter into 2 (8 x 4-inch) loaf pans coated with cooking spray (I used 1 loaf pan for the bread and the rest of the batter for muffins), and sprinkle with almonds.
Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool loaves in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans. Cool loaves completely; cut each loaf into 12 slices.
Keep refrigerated for up to 5-6 days in sealed container or bag.