Friday, May 22, 2015

I Knew It Wouldn't Be Easy (Whole 30)

After tapering my caffeine, sugar, and flour consumption for two weeks, I felt like I was ready to tackle a full 30 days of whole food eating. My plan was to only consume fruits, vegetables, protein, and fats. For 30 days, my experiment would eliminate flour, grains, processed foods, sugar and artificial sweeteners.

Why would I agree to this self-inflicted torture? There are just so many desired outcomes hanging in the balance: restful sleep, increased energy, less arthritic pain, and the big allure for me : being in control of my out-of-control eating.

After a big breakfast of sautéed spinach, peppers, and eggs, but no coffee, Monday morning, I took a deep breath, and declared it my official DAY ONE of the Whole 30 eating plan.

I knew it wouldn't be easy. What I didn't know is that within a couple of hours of my official start, there would be a special delivery from Edible Arrangements. A silver platter loaded with strawberries dipped in chocolate came as a thank you for some photography work we had done for a non-profit dance company. 

This wasn't just a stale cookie or the frosted remains of a carton of ice cream calling my name. This was an exquisite presentation of my favorite fruit covered in one of my favorite temptations.

I texted Chuck immediately.

"What shall we do with them?" he responded.

"I want to gobble the whole tray."

"That is fine with me."

Yes, I knew that would be the case; Chuck just wants me to be happy. I also know that I am a person of my word. When I commit, out loud, to another human being, and even to myself, I want to follow through. If I don't, I'm not happy. So...we called a friend who was glad to take them off our hands. Problem solved.

Chuck was proud, if not a little surprised, at my resolve. I was pretty impressed myself. I knew if I could walk away from such a beautiful tray of temptation, I could walk away from anything.

Day One of anything is like that, isn't it? We're so full of ourselves, our determination, our goals, our best intentions. Harder days are coming...

Monday, May 4, 2015

Pumpkin Spice Scones

This versatile recipe allows you to make these scones two ways: Pumpkin Spice or Apple Oatmeal.

Have you heard of "Bring Your Beautiful Bride to Work Day?" Probably not, because my husband made it up. He doesn't like it when I call it "Take Your Wife to Work Day," but I told him when I say it his way, it sounds a little too self-promoting.

Every Friday, it is my privilege to ride to and from work with Chuck, which gives us two to three hours of commuting time together, and we get to go out for lunch. After the weekend, Fridays are my favorite day of the week because the two of us have more time together.

You may wonder what I do with my Friday while he is at work for eight hours. I'm glad you asked.

Every time I have ridden to Deerfield with him, I have started the day with a bottomless cup of coffee and a vegan scone at a local coffeehouse, and have enjoyed the use of their WiFi. After lunch, I have gone to the public library, and read and walked around the city park next door until it's time to pick up Chuck.

ENTER THE BENNORTH BUDGET. Right up until I saw the numbers in black and white, I was quite content to spend money the way we did. When we saw something we wanted, we bought it. If we wanted to go out to eat, we went.

Now I have to ask myself if I would rather have more money in our travel and home improvement accounts than have the whim of the moment. The whim usually loses out, and our budget wins.

I discovered I was spending seven bucks a week at the coffee shop, which was no big deal to me until I did the math. I was slightly uncomfortable realizing I was spending nearly $30 each month on my weekly splurge, and when it hit me that I would spend $360 a year on my coffee and scone, I realized that money could go toward the new dishwasher, or cover part of our Florida trip to visit Chuck's new grandson, or any number of things we have deemed important.

Our budget made me reconsider my weekly splurge at the coffee house, and I determined that I could do my Fridays much cheaper by bringing my coffee from home, and learning to make my own scones.

This week my goal was to make scones for the first time. Not Utah's version of fried bread dough, which I think Utah should reconsider, but the English version of a slightly sweet, crumbly scone. My favorite scone is a fruity, lightly spiced with cinnamon, vegan scone, so I searched for a recipe to tweak to my liking, and this is the result. I was able to cut the calories by almost a third without affecting the texture or taste, so the results were worth it!

My man child deemed my second attempt "so freakin' awesome," so I think we have a winning recipe here. If you like apples, oats, and cinnamon in your scones, I think it's safe to say you will love these. Here you go: the Randomocity Oatmeal Apple Scone.
Oops. One disappeared before I realized I wanted to take a picture for you.

Randomocity Oatmeal Apple Scones 
(for Pumpkin Spice Scones, follow directions below, except substitute pumpkin puree for the applesauce, and add 1/2 t. pumpkin pie spice.)


Put the following into a large bowl for mixing:

3 cups of oatmeal, old-fashioned, rolled oats blended in blender until most of it is the consistency of flour. (You could also substitute your favorite flour for any of the oat flour.)
1/4 cup brown sugar (or 1/4 cup blended dates)
1/4 cup stevia
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

After emptying blender of flour, put the following into the blender, and blend until well blended: (Geez, could I use any more forms of blend in one sentence?)

1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1 small apple or 1/2 c. applesauce (or 1/2 c. pumpkin puree, if you like)
1/3 cup coconut almond milk or coconut milk, unsweetened (feel free to substitute your favorite kind of milk product)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Stir the dry ingredients together, setting aside 1 cup of oats (unblended) to stir into the mixture before baking.

Soften the coconut oil in the microwave for 30 seconds, and then cut it into the dry ingredients until the mixture is crumbly..

Stir in the last three ingredients.

Shape the batter into a circle on a lightly greased cookie sheet, and cut into triangles.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Nutritional info courtesy
My Fitness Pal Recipe Calculator
These have the same flavor and texture as the ones from the bakery case at the coffee shop, but will cost considerably less when I bake them at home. It's a win for the Bennorth Budget!