Good Food and Gratitude

Welcome  As I continue to share from my Thirty Days of Gratitude journey in December, I’m going to focus on the prompt of day 4…What food am I most grateful for?  Well, for someone who loves to prepare, serve, and eat food, this is quite the challenge!  So what did I finally choose?

Food For Thought  One family habit we have held tightly since our daughter was born, even during times of difficulty and when other areas of our spiritual life have been very weak, is the act of saying grace before a meal.  My husband and I have always thought it important that our daughter understand the importance of being thankful and grateful for the food we have, along with our house, clothes, and other basic needs.  I’m sure there are some meals she is more thankful for than others, as she communicates pretty clearly which ones she’d rather not have on her plate.  So I’d like to think that I am grateful daily for my food in general, but I found this particular prompt somewhat challenging.  Could I choose a single food that I am most grateful for?

This one was challenging because I love so many different flavors and even different types of foods, ranging from healthy and nutritious to, well, junk!  I could say chocolate, because like most women, I think this food group meets a basic need for me…really!  But when I was really thinking about being grateful for my food I thought chocolate wouldn’t work because it’s not sustaining, as much as we would like it to be.  I can even say that there are times when I don’t even want chocolate because it just doesn’t meet my taste needs at the moment.  I also love a lot of snack foods, but again they bring some poor health baggage with them, so it’s best not to be too grateful for foods that cause me to consume unwanted fat, sodium, and calories.  I also didn’t want to be grateful for my Diet Coke, that I often refer to as “nectar of the gods,” because it’s become almost an addiction.  Nope, don’t want to be grateful for that.   I want to be grateful for a food that I enjoy eating, but also doesn’t cause guilt for the bad stuff it contains.  It would be a food that has some nutritional purpose to it.  My most grateful food would be versatile for a variety of preparations and styles so I wouldn’t easily become bored with it.  My most grateful food would be something I can carry with me on the go, eat at home or on the trail, and could be my “stranded on a desert island” staple.

Well, I think I have decided that the food I am most grateful for is peanut butter!  For me, peanut butter can almost “magically” transform any meal or snack and it certainly was a staple in my lunchbox growing up!  I love peanut butter to dip celery, apples or bananas.  You can easily add peanut butter to stir fries or noodles for a Thai flavor and it pairs well with the red pepper flakes.  I stir peanut butter into my oatmeal and yogurt for protein boost and satiety.  I like it on toast or frozen waffles.  For my diabetic husband it helps balance the carbs in bread, crackers, and cereals.  Peanut butter goes well with chicken, like the peanut sauce served with Chicken Satay.  And have you ever had a “Goober Burger?”  Oh, my goodness…it sounds crazy, but it’s crazy good!  You put a dollop of peanut butter on a hamburger as it cooks on the flattop and it melts into the burger, awww, yeah!  So as you can see, I am a big fan of peanut butter, especially the all-natural variety that is just peanuts and salt.  Two ingredients is not bad for a store-bought “processed” product!  So for all the ways I can enjoy peanut butter and reap its nutritional benefits, such as protein, potassium, magnesium, and some healthy fats, this is the food I am most grateful for and hope I never have to live without.  How about you…what food would you be most grateful for?

Today’s Prayer  My Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for the blessings of your harvest and bounty and for meeting our physical needs of nourishment.  May we always remember that everything we have is a good gift from you.  May we consume these blessings wisely and share them with others who have less.  Bless our foods, that they may meet our health needs and provide us with the energy needed to complete our daily tasks and service to you.  In Jesus’ Holy Name, Amen.

Today’s Scripture is 2 Corinthians 9:10-12

This passage touches me for so many reasons in my life right now.  In addition to personal connections, I like this passage because it helps to remind me that in my thanksgiving, I should also be generous with what I have, that thanksgiving and generosity go hand in hand.  For our household, one of the easiest ways to be generous is with our food.  We frequently donate to local food pantries and the school district’s program for undernourished children.  It’s also a “no-brainer” for me to whip up some snacks for teacher appreciation luncheons at my daughter’s school or for church events.  As we have been given much, so should we also give to others, right?

Today’s Recipe  You. Can. Not. Go. Wrong!  I’m talking about the chocolate and peanut butter combination…it’s just the best!  With my sweet tooth and my love for both chocolate and peanut butter, you can probably imagine I have a recipe or two…hundred…for desserts and snacks using the best of both these worlds.  Today’s recipe, however, is diabetic-friendly, using sugar-free products and is a dessert I can feel good about serving my family on regular occasions.  Oh, and did I mention it’s EASY and budget-friendly.  I guess you could say it “has it all!”  Enjoy the Chocolate and Peanut Butter Mousse Parfaits.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Mousse Parfaits
Diabetic-friendly, budget-friendly, kid-friendly, and EASY!

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Mousse Parfaits (serves 4)

  • 1 1-oz box of sugar-free instant chocolate pudding
  • 2 1/2 cups skim milk, divided
  • 1/2 cup all-natural peanut butter (there will be no sugar in the ingredients list)
  • 1 container sugar-free Cool Whip, thawed
  • shaved dark chocolate, for garnish, if desired

Whisk together pudding and 2 cups of milk in medium bowl, until well combined, and set aside.  In separate bowl, whisk together peanut butter, 1/2 cup milk, and 1 1/2 cups Cool Whip–do this slowly at first or your milk will slosh out of the bowl.  It will have the consistency of mousse and be light tan in color when ready.  Divide the pudding among four glasses, followed by the peanut butter mousse.  Top with remaining cool whip and garnish with dark chocolate shavings.