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Monday, February 23, 2009

Health or Flavor?

I mentioned to a friend the other day that I was working on a food blog. "Is it healthy food, or food with flavor?" she asked. "You know you can't have both."

Do I really have to choose? I've been working hard to be healthier the last few months, and have been very careful about what I've eaten (well, on most days. Occasionally I "go on vacation").

In the process, I've found that I enjoy simple food pleasures as much as I've enjoyed overdoing in the past. If I put the same amount of work into a salad and a nice dressing that I put into french fries and the accompanying fry sauce, it's actually as good (especially if you factor in the guilt differential).

This dilemma reminded me of a recipe. Last fall, Bob and I went to Hawaii on vacation. We cooked almost all of our meals in the kitchen in our room (I know this would not be much of a vacation for some people. It was for us). We bought all kinds of things that we normally wouldn't buy, as they aren't the right size or price tradeoff for our big family. One of our favorites: A spreadable butter. We loved the flavor. We loved being able to spread it without taking it out of the fridge hours before dinner.

A few weeks after we returned, we had dinner with a group of friends. Our friend Wendy brought incredible homemade rolls (I'll post my version of her recipe later), and also some homemade, spreadable butter.

We call the result miracle butter. We started liking it because of the flavor and the spreadability. Wendy pointed out that it's also somewhat healthier than butter; we figured out on our own that it's also a little less expensive. Hence the name, magic butter.

Magic Butter

The only ingredients are butter and canola oil. Wendy suggested equal amounts; we've found that at those proportions the butter gets too runny for our tastes when left on the table during a meal. So we opt for 3/4 cup oil to 1 cup butter. I let the butter sit out for the better part of a day until it's soft. Then I mix all ingredients (make that both ingredients) in a blender. Keep mixing until there are no big butter chunks. Then pour from the blender into a two-cup container (Bob was my hand model for this photo).

After it's refrigerated for a few hours, it should come out ready to use and looking like this:

We can make vast quantities of this stuff at home and not have to worry about going through a tiny container at every meal!

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