In the quest for better eating habits I'm experimenting a lot these days. I'm still eating my home-made granola for breakfast but I'm playing around with ways to dress it up and add more fruit in: parfaits for a fun change.
What made this particularly interesting was that I had not one drop of milk-milk in the house, only soy milk. But you know what? It worked. Well. I kicked up the nuttiness of the soy flavor by adding a little almond flavoring along with the vanilla in the custard sauce which complimented the walnuts and almonds in the granola. The blackberries then cut the richness of the custard to make the whole thing very well-rounded lovely start the morning. (Gene ate his for dessert last night and loved it.)
(Recipe at the end of the post.)
FYI to anyone here in Springfield: Price Cutter has the packages of blackberries that normally come in at $3.99 on sale for $1.00 a carton right now and they're very good.
I'm also experimenting with salads for every meal and finding new options for flavored beverages that aren't loaded with sugar and don't come in my favorite red can.
I'm drinking water and lots of it, but let's face it, there are times when you really crave something loaded with flavor and or carbonation. So while I'm limiting myself to one carbonated anything a day, (and less than that with time is the plan) I'm trying to find better alternatives to my belovedly addictive Coke. One solution was to buy pomegranate and grape concentrates from the health food store. Both of them made by this company, Tree of Life, have no added sugar or HFC's. There is carbs, natural sugars, of course and my body will see them as carbs but there are no chemicals or preservatives so for the time being I feel like they're a good substitute when I'm really wanting the idea of a soda.
I love the pomegranate and club soda mix but Gene hates it. I think he was expecting it to taste like pomagranate soda and it doesn't. It's very tart. It reminds me of a much tarter Italian soda, also one of my favorites.
Next, I've been making salads to go with dinner every night to try to pump up our veggie consumption. Okay, maybe to everyone else this is a "duh" moment but for me it was more of an epiphany: salads don't have to be complex to be good.
Several nights in a row I just tore up good leaf or butter (thanks Auntie Miranda!) lettuce, chopped a green onion, and poured a quick hot dressing over it for wilted lettuce. We thoroughly enjoyed it every night. Last night it was this:
It's only torn lettuce and a nicy juicy tomato that I tossed as we sat down to dinner with some Paula Deen Vidalia Onion dressing (from The Cheddar Block on West Republic Road) but it was fresh and delicious. We ate it all.
Hmmm...so I've learned a lesson here. Sure, spending a half hour at the chopping board creating a complicated salad with every color in the crayon box is good. Very good. But simple works well too.
Now for the custard recipe. I'm not sure how to label this. It has the ingredients and technique of a pudding but it didn't set up like that. I'm not familiar with soy milk; I'm just learning so I don't know if that's because of it or something about the way I prepared it. This comes out more like a thick, rich Sabayon. Thick and creamy but not set like a pudding or baked custard, more like a custard sauce so maybe that's what I'll call it.
This is not vegan but you could make it so by omitting the egg and upping the cornstarch to 2 Tbsp.
Blackberry Parfaits with White Chocolate Soy Milk Custard
Recipe by Glenna Anderson Muse
To make the custard sauce:
In medium sauce pan combine
1/3 cup sugar (or the equivalent in Splenda)
1 Tbsp corn starch.
1 large egg
1 1/2 cup soy milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 oz Ghirardelli White Chocolate
Bring to a slow boil and remove from heat when thickened. Divide into four servings and chill. Top with blackberries and home-made granola.