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My tactics for getting my family to be healthier probably wouldn't be approved by child protective services.
(It's a good thing I'm the child and they're the parents otherwise...we'd have some problems.)
Usually they involve me stampeding into the kitchen when I return home for a visit, throwing out everything that contains high fructose corn syrup (i.e. everything), screeching about type II diabetes for an hour, and then force-feeding vegetables and whole grains down everyone's throat. Sometimes, I even refuse to set foot in the car and insist that we all walk to the grocery store to buy ingredients for dinner.
And no, I have no idea why they keep inviting me back either.
Fall and winter are fast approaching, with their tendencies to force us all to spiral into hibernation mode, and so it's especially important to incorporate healthy habits now, while the weather is still inviting and the produce is still ripe for the picking, in the hopes that they'll carry over into the less conducive seasons that are to come.
If you're not as into the yelling/screaming/boot-camp/tough love/brute force method of kicking your family's healthy habits into gear as I am, then here are some health and wellness tips that are a bit less abrasive but equally (if not more) effective!
Meatless Mondays or, if you live in my apartment - meatless every day! Before I decided to become a vegetarian, I'm pretty sure my parents had never had a meatless meal in their lives. I'm also pretty sure that, even though I have gone without eating meat for about seven months, they are still completely confused as to what I eat on a daily basis. Going meatless even just one day a week (or whenever your daughter happens to visit you) will help you expand your culinary horizons and incorporate more vegetables into your diet, especially in the middle of winter when heavy stews and baked cheesy creamy dishes are the norm. Some of the perks of eating more veggies are that you'll be less likely to get sick (I get sick maybe once a year) and you'll have more energy.
Move more, sit less. While I recognize that most people are not psychotic individuals who have actually learned to love running outside in really cold weather, there are certainly still ways to get your heart rate up and your sweat glands working even in the dead of winter. Little things like taking the stairs, walking to the store instead of driving, doing squats while you blow dry your hair, finding an exercise video that you like, and shoveling snow really do make a difference!
Eat home-cooked meals. Together. A home-cooked meal is ALWAYS healthier than take-out or something you can heat up in a microwave. Even if it's mac and cheese. And especially if you sit down together and eat it as a family. My family always ate dinner together when I was growing up and even if it wasn't always the healthiest fare, there's something about the act of sitting and talking about your day that is just so good for you.
Which brings me to why I'm talking about wellness and shoving a peanut butter pie in your face (arguably not the healthiest thing in the world).
I always bring dessert when I go home to visit my parents.
We sit. We eat (usually something super veggie-full that everyone complains about but devours nonetheless). We talk. We catch up. We fight. We laugh. We try not to throw things at each other.
And then we eat pie.
Because in the end, true wellness is all about balance. And balance definitely includes pie.
My friend Megan posted about this pie today and she actually got pics of it's insides, so definitely go and check out her post! And wish her a happy birthday when you do!
Peanut Butter Honeycomb Pie
Makes 1 9-inch pie, adapted from Bon Appetit August 2011
- 9 graham crackers, coarsely crushed
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 6 tbsp butter, melted
- 8 large egg yolks
- 12 tbsp sugar, divided
- 1 1/2 cups almond milk (or whole milk)
- 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste or 1 vanilla bean
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 tbsp powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 oz bittersweet chocoalte (I used 70% Callebaut)
- 2 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
- Honeycomb (recipe below)
- For the crust, preheat the oven to 325. Finely grind graham crackers, brown sugar, salt and nutmeg in a food processor. Transfer crumb mixture to a medium bowl. Add melted butter and stir to blend. use bottom and sides of a measuring cup to pack crumbs onto bottom and up sides of 9" glass or metal pie pan (or if your mother is holding your pie pan hostage...you can totally use a cake pan). Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Let cool.
- For the filling, mix yolks and 6 tbsp sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat at high speed until ribbons form, stopping once to scrape down sides of bowl, about 2 minutes.
- Combine milk and remaining 6 tbsp sugar in a large saucepan. Scrape in vanilla bean paste or seeds from vanilla bean and add. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. With mixer running, gradually add hot milk mixture to yolk mixture. Scrape mixture back into pan. Clean bowl. Whisking constantly, bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove pan from heat. Whisk vigorously for 1 minute. Return custard to mixing bowl. Beat on high speed until cool, about 4 minutes. Mix in softened butter one tbsp at a time. Add peanut butter, powdered sugar, and salt. Beat to blend. Scrape filling into cooled crust and smooth the top. Chill until set, 2-3 hours.
- Stir chocolate and butter in a medium bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth. Drizzle some of the chocolate glaze over the peanut butter filling, making a circle in the middle of the pie and leaving a 1-2 inch plain border. Pile pieces of honeycomb on top. Drizzle remaining chocolate glaze over.
Serves 8, adapted from Bon Appetit August 2011
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 tbsp corn syrup
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp baking soda, sifted
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Combine sugar, corn syrup, honey, and 1/4 cup water in a heavy deep saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high. Bring to a boil. Cook without stirring, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush, until sugar turns pale amber. Working quickly, add baking soda (mixture will foam up dramatically). Whisk quickly just to combine. Immediately pour candy over prepared sheet (do not spread out). Let stand undisturbed until cool, about 20 minutes. Hit candy in several places with the handle of a knife to crack it.
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