I hope you are having the sweetest start to your year!
To start this January off in the most loving of ways, I am HONORED to partner with Kristen Shoates, one of the most talented freelance Nashville writers I know, to talk about my absolute favorite topic in the world, HOW TO FALL IN LOVE WITH FOOD.
Kristen has had an incredible journey with food- and without giving too many details away, let me just say she went from Lean Cuisines to now functioning as a total, holistic girl boss in the kitchen.
I also know that January is the month of resolutions. And whatever decisions you have made on ways to better your life- I honor that! But I’m also wondering what would happen if we all decided to, instead of seeing food as bad or dirty or evil- to flip the light switch on and see it as GOOD, HEALING and NOURISHING. To focus first on the way we THINK about food, which will then affect our motivation to cook- and creativity in the kitchen!
Also, in partnership with Kristen’s amazing writing, I’ll be posting a YouTube video over on the Luv Cooks channel about each reason she gives. I can’t wait to share this content with you!
So without further ado, here’s Kristen:
I remember the first time I went to the grocery store in college, with my first apartment to stock and the purchasing power of my first debit card in my hands. It felt exhilarating to walk through those automatic glass doors into a store filled with thousands of options and get to buy whatever I, the new boss of my refrigerator, wanted.
But as I aimlessly wandered the aisles, I quickly realized I had absolutely NO idea what to buy. Going from my parent’s table to college dining halls, the question of what to eat had always been an abstract one – until at age 19, I found myself standing bewildered beneath the fluorescent lights of the Chapel Hill Food Lion, filling my cart with sugary yogurt and processed crackers and Lean Cuisine. After all, these were the foods the skinny girls ate on commercials, and as women, wasn’t our primary dietary objective to choose food that makes us skinny?
After school, my supposedly healthy diet of low-fat microwave dinners and prepackaged snacks took much of the joy out of food and cooking. Preparing a meal was a chore, eating it a necessity. Half of my meals were consumed in a car or at a desk, barely registering as a conscious act. When I started dating my now-husband, I very proactively warned him that I.did.not.cook. It wasn’t that I had never seen what it looked like to spread love through a meal – I was raised half Italian and half Southern Baptist after all – but my lifestyle and our food system had so greatly disconnected me from my food that I lost a sense of the purpose and power of it.
As simple as the question of “what do I eat for dinner?” might be, far too many of us don’t really know how to answer it. Our parents fed us, but often didn’t teach us why they fed us what they did, sending us out into a food jungle of additives and artificial flavors and abstract health claims, with little knowledge of how to truly fuel our bodies. As a result, many of us have a twisted relationship with our food. Perhaps you see it as the enemy, something to be feared and restricted in an attempt to fit into society’s beauty standard du jour. Maybe for you it’s all business, a transactional relationship focused on efficiency rather than substance. Maybe yours is volatile, or lifeless, or passionless.
But I want to propose a new kind of relationship with food. I want to propose that you fall in love with it.
My love affair with food began slowly, the kind of love that begins with a small spark and deepens over the years. Pre-packaged snacks were slowly replaced with fresh produce, to-go orders swapped for nights spent creating over a stove. As I filled my body with real, whole foods, I became healthier, more aware and more connected to everything around me. And as I discovered new flavors and varieties and foods I didn’t even know existed, I became enamored with the beauty and diversity of food available to us – and in turn, fell in love with eating and believe it or not, cooking (you’re welcome, hubs).
So as you and your food sit down for a much-needed DTR, here are four reasons to fall head-over-heels with your next meal:
- Food as medicine. The greatest catalyst in changing my relationship with food was recognizing that what I ate actually had a real impact on how I felt, looked and lived. Though it wasn’t always an act of consciousness, eating was an act of consequence, and recognizing that my choices mattered turned eating well into a joy rather than a burden. Real, whole foods have the power to build up our bodies, enhance our beauty and even restore and reverse disease. Food truly is medicine, and eating something that you know is bringing wholeness to your body makes eating a richly positive experience rather than a fear-based one.
YES and AMEN!! Isn’t Kristen amazing?! And stay tuned! We have THREE more reasons to come in January!!
Gluten Free Vegan Snickerdoodles
Y’all! This week I was honored to post these gluten free and vegan snickerdoodles on Neat Foods page! Their vegan egg replacement is my favorite EVER. Just click HERE to find out more info about neat egg!
What You Will Need:
- 8 oz. superfine almond flour
- 1/4 tsp organic cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/4 tsp gray salt
- 5 dates, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes, drained and de-skinned
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 6 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil, room temperature
- 1 neat egg, prepared according to package instructions
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup toasted sweetened coconut
FOR BROWN SUGAR TOPPING:
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
What You Will Do:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, use a spoon to mash dates into a paste.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together brown sugar topping.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together almond flour, cinnamon, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat dates, brown sugar and coconut oil together on medium high for three minutes.
- Add neat egg and vanilla extract and beat until combined.
- Add almond flour mixture to the mixer slowly on low speed until incorporated. Beat on medium speed until a dough forms.
- Stir in shredded coconut until combined and dough re-forms.
- Roll 1 to 2 tablespoons dough into a small ball. Roll dough ball in brown sugar topping until covered.
- Place dough balls evenly spaced on baking sheets, about 10-12 to a sheet. Use a fork to flatten each ball into a cookie shape.
- Bake cookies one sheet at a time for 13 minutes. Remove from oven; rest for one minute on sheet then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Enjoy!