It’s a new year and, like many folks, I am sweeping out the old to make room for the new. Last night the kings of our nativity set completed their journey to visit the Christ child in celebration of Epiphany. Today they were packed away with the last of the Christmas decorations.
I didn’t stop there. The new year called for another round of "Ten Things". Over the past few years, through the process of several moves, my husband and I have pared down the volume of our belongings through a challenge we call "Ten Things". When we are feeling burdened or overwhelmed, when we can’t find something or are simply drawn to take another step toward reducing the distractions in our life, we search out ten items we don’t need or use and put them in the donation box we keep in the laundry room. We have already made one trip to empty our box (and the pile beside it) since the year began and our box is already half full again.
Back to Basics
It feels good to clean out the clutter as we begin a new year. Still, there can be a downside. Unless we sort and discard carefully there is a chance of future regrets. I think of the Parable of the Clean House. In Matthew 12:43-45 Jesus warns that a house swept out and put in order can invite back what has been swept out, and then some, if we aren’t mindful of how we should use the space we are creating and occupy it with good things.
One new thing I have recently discovered is Eating Well, a magazine my husband subscribed to. The November issue was the first one I looked through and it was packed with inviting recipes that focused on a healthy approach to traditional dishes.
My favorite was a recipe makeover for traditional cornbread. Unlike other breads and cakes that rely heavily on butter, whlte flour and other ingredients I try to limit, if not eliminate, from my diet, this recipe cuts them to a minimum while delivering a tasty bread that is soft and moist. The secret is frozen sweet corn, thawed and pulsed in the food processor until it is smooth. The resulting Whole-Grain Cornbread is dense and soft with just a hint of added texture from the corn. It goes well with beans or chili and is lovely left-over, warmed or toasted and served with a drizzle of honey for a snack.
From the November issue of Eating Well
1¼ cups yellow cornmeal (whole grain if you can find it)
¾ cup white or whole-wheat flour (I used a mixture of the two)
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup frozen sweet corn, thawed
1 large egg
¾ cup low-fat milk
3 Tablespoons canola oil
3 Tablespoons honey
Preheat oven to 350F.
With a whisk, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the thawed sweet corn and egg. Process briefly, just until smooth. Add oil and honey, pulsing to combine. Add milk and pulse again.
Add the corn mixture to the flour mixture and stir together, just until combined.
Spread batter evenly in a prepared 9-inch square baking pan.
Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until done.
Allow to cool in pan for at least 10 minutes on a wire rack. Cut into pieces and serve warm or at room temperature.