It may surprise you to learn that I don’t actually eat a lot of vegetables. I can go entire days without a vegetable, if you don’t count the tomato sauce in pizza.
The problem obviously isn’t that I don’t like vegetables…I love them! The real problem is that I am busy and tired, and preparing vegetables (plus, let’s get real: doing the subsequent dishes) takes more time than boiling an egg.
“But,” you protest, “you’re a vegetarian. How can it be that you don’t eat a lot of vegetables!?”
And that, my friends, is a beautiful question. As I have been trying to plot ways to actually model good health for my kiddos, I have made a resolution: I will make it a priority to eat greens at every meal. Seriously, even breakfast. I have been drinking green smoothies and tossing kale into scrambled eggs. I even made oatmeal with spinach in it. More on that later.
Greens are so good for you. Greens, and vegetables more broadly, are the one thing we never have to eat in moderation.
Do you ever just have a really bad day? Like a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day?
This has nothing to do with falafel, really. I’m just whining.
I have been sick for several days. Like the kind of sick when everything in your body suddenly revolts all at once, where you have a cold, plus a broken wrist, plus a headache that feels like it might possibly be a brain tumor, plus a fever blister, plus a few other unmentionable problems. So I woke up already feeling like I just wanted to camp out under the covers for another several hours. But I didn’t.
Dave and I had a rather tense discussion right before he left for work. The baby pulled my necklace right off my neck. And then my nephew came over for the day! Unfortunately, he and Jake spent the entire day screaming and snatching toys out of each others’ hands and smacking each other with wooden tools. And then they pulled the curtains off the wall in the playroom, leaving a thumb-size hole in the drywall above the window. After which I half-fell off a ladder onto a pile of Duplos (if you’re a parent, you know how much that hurts). And then one of the 3-year-olds peed directly on me.
I hollered uncle.
My sweet sister-in-law brought me a milkshake, and I put the kids in their rooms for nap time, intent on doing Sudoku and listening to Yes, Please and slurping my chocolate shake in peace.
But my daughter stood up in her crib and wailed for an hour instead. (Yes. I left her in there for an hour. I’m a monster.)
So here we are. And you may, if you have been tracking with me for a while, notice something special about the amazing pastries I am sharing with you today: they are full of BUTTER!
Woot! Caitlin’s pediatrician cleared me to eat dairy again. This may or may not have happened two days after I had a small psychotic break and ate a cupcake that I totally meant not to eat.
Anyway. You better believe I have been loading up on all the cheese and butter and cream I have been craving for the last few months. Because as delicious as food can be without dairy, it’s hard to achieve true decadence in the absence of butter.
So I decided this year that we would indulge in breakfast instead of saving all our chocolate for dessert. (Though, let’s be honest, these strudels make an amazing dessert if you have the patience to wait for dinner time!)
If you know me, you may know that I occasionally go on a one-woman crusade against refined sugar.
(Whaaaat!? Give up refined sugar? But…what about dessert? For heaven’s sake, your blog is named after brownies, girl! No one can live without sugar. Forget diamonds, chocolate is a girl’s best friend.)
This first started as I became aware of how much sugar is in everyday foods, such as mayonnaise and bread and salad dressing and granola. At that time I had a young baby, and I was bound and determined that he would not eat any refined sugar, ever (hah). I started researching the effects of sugar on the body, and it led to making a New Year’s resolution to avoid all refined sugar for 31 days.
I never intended to give up sugar long-term, but here are a few things that happened during that month:
at first, I was reallly, reallly hungry, and quite a bit cranky, but then my hunger levels started to regulate;
I became more adventurous in what I ate;
I stopped binge-snacking during my kid’s nap time because I was thinking more about what would be good for me to eat, and I was avoiding most of my lazy snack foods;
people started telling me how thin I looked. I didn’t really lose weight during this time, but eating no refined sugar and less highly refined carbs in general actually made my body shape change! I did not exercise one single time, so this was definitely a result of my sugar fast;
I felt really proud of myself;
I still totally ate dessert! Because, let’s face it, no big change in your diet will be sustainable unless you find ways to include the things you really love. For me, that is dessert!
everything tasted sweet even without refined sugar. When I finally started eating sugar again, I ate much smaller amounts (initially anyway) because it was overwhelmingly sweet and honestly made me feel a little sick for a few weeks.
I write a food blog and I love to bake, so I did go back to eating sugar. But I enjoyed my sugar fast more than I expected! So much that I repeat it a few times a year, especially if I have been going overboard with sugary foods or if I am feeling out of balance or mentally/physically/emotionally unhealthy.
Since my first refined sugar fast, clean eating has become quite trendy. Basically, eating “clean” involves aiming for whole, nutrient-dense foods, and avoiding highly refined foods.
These raw brownies totally fit that bill, and they are completely delicious. Not only are they sweetened entirely by the naturally occurring fruit sugars in Medjool dates, but they are full of healthy things, like raw nuts and raw cacao! They are chewy and dense and chocolatey and rich, so rich. (Plus, they are other good things, like vegan and gluten-free!)
Raw brownies will satisfy any dessert craving, and you can feel good about eating them!