When I was a kid, I spent many a winter and spring break with my maternal grandparents in Arizona. Oh, how I loved those vacations.
I loved the fresh orange juice my grandpa would squeeze for us each morning, playing with my brother at the pool, and shopping with my grandparents. I also loved everything my grandma made us to eat. (My parents owned a pretty fancy restaurant so at home we ate things like confit of duck and scalloped potatoes. At my grandparents we got to eat “normal” food: like tacos and banana cream pie!)
Recently, I was thinking about how much I miss my grandparents. Missing them made me crave banana cream pie something fierce, so I decided to make one.
My grandma made her pie with a store-bought crust and vanilla pudding from a box: I thought it was the most delicious thing ever, but I opted to make mine with whole foods ingredients from scratch. (I used the recipe in Joy of Cooking because that’s where I turn for classic recipes.) My daughter helped me make it by slicing the bananas and placing them “just so”.
The verdict? It was pretty darn delicious and I will definitely be making banana cream pie again! Maybe next time I will change it up a bit, though…see the bottom of this post for some amazing-looking banana cream pie variations from fellow bloggers.
Have you ever started a book and felt an immediate sense of kinship with the author?
This was my experience within the first few pages of Whole-Grain Mornings: New Breakfast Recipes to Span the Seasons. I just adore Megan Gordon‘s writing, and her recipes are so up my alley. I’ve been cooking from the book for a few months now, so it’s time I tell you about it! I’m also going to share one of the recipes that I’ve been enjoying from the book: Dried Mango and Toasted Coconut Muesli.
Whole-Grain Mornings is chock full of health-promoting, seasonally inspired recipes. Megan is a whiz with granola (she actually owns a company called Marge: it’s seriously the best granola I’ve ever tasted) and you’ll be happy to know she shares a few takes on granola in this book. But the book goes way beyond granola: Megan also shares recipes for things like nut milks, yogurt, fried rice, and numerous condiments and egg dishes. And while it is a breakfast cookbook, I don’t really think there’s a reason to limit the recipes to morning consumption only.
I have made the Smoked Salmon Crème Fraîche Tart, the Whole-Grain Pancake Mix, and the Whole-Grain Gingerbread (I photographed them all because I wasn’t quite sure which recipe I would end up posting here). They were all delicious…
…as was this Dried Mango and Toasted Coconut Muesli.
Muesli isn’t something I make very often…I usually do go for granola instead. But this muesli is briefly toasted, so it’s actually similar to granola (though with far less oil, and with very little added sweetener). I was drawn to this recipe because of the coconut and dried mango…these lend a tropical “vibe” that’s more than welcome this time of year! It’s been so snowy and cold this winter: if I can’t be on the beach, I am going to fantasize about being on the beach, and the ingredients in this muesli help a lot.
Muesli is usually soaked for a short while or overnight (in milk, nut milk, juice or another liquid). Soaking grains does have some potential benefits which Megan mentions in her book (and which I discuss in my book, as well), but soaking doesn’t work that well in this case due to the toasted nature of this muesli. As for serving it, Megan likes to eat her muesli with thinned yogurt; I prefer mine with (raw) milk.
Last month I announced that I’ve partnered with the folks from MightyNest, an online store specializing in natural, non-toxic products for the kitchen and home, on a series of giveaways: I am so excited about this partnership!
Valentine’s Day is behind us and I am betting you doled out lots of love to others this month, but have you been showing yourself kindness lately? I wrote about being kind to yourself in my book, and I am going to excerpt that chapter here in this post. You will also find a giveaway for some items that are perfect for the theme of self-care in this post :)
Many of us are unnecessarily hard on ourselves on a daily basis. We don’t treat ourselves with respect or compassion. I personally have a history of being quite unkind to myself because my “inner voice” used to engage in overwhelmingly negative banter. Do you have an inner voice that’s overly critical, too? If the answer is yes, it can be life changing when you start to train your inner monologue to be kind instead of harsh.
What does it mean to be kind to yourself, exactly? Well for starters, being kind to yourself means not judging yourself harshly for not being perfect. It also means not holding yourself to impossibly high standards. And it means putting an end to comparing yourself to others and to beating yourself up for making a mistake, or for not being good enough at something. Being kind to yourself means being your own cheerleader. When you are consistently kind to yourself, you don’t need others to validate your efforts and boost your self-confidence, because you can do those things for yourself.