Cooking With Myra: Granola, yogurt healthier way to start day
By Myra Starkey
Jan. 29, 2013 at midnight
Updated Jan. 28, 2013 at 7:29 p.m.
• Nonstick vegetable oil spray
• 2 cups old-fashioned oats
• 1/3 cup slivered almonds, chopped
• 1/3 cup sweetened, flaked coconut
• 1/3 cup chopped pecans
• 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, hulled
• 1/3 cup frozen concentrated cranberry juice cocktail, thawed
• 1/3 cup golden brown sugar, packed
• 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
• 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray heavy, large-rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Combine oats, almonds, coconut and pecans in large bowl. Combine cranberry juice concentrate, brown sugar, oil, cinnamon and allspice in medium saucepan. Bring all ingredients to a boil and whisk until sugar is no longer visible. Pour over oat mixture and stir. Spread mixture onto baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, turning sheet once to even cooking. Cool completely on baking sheet.
Adapted from cranberry-almond granola from Epicurious.com
This couple spoke in church last Sunday.
They had lived a fairly normal life in America until they felt the calling to go to Thailand as missionaries.
They actually had only gone there a few years ago for a one-week assignment but felt a strong urge to stay and serve when they saw the great needs in that faraway place.
They sold almost everything they had, quit their jobs and took their two young children and moved to the foreign country. Now, they spend their time looking for ways to serve the local people.
The town they live in is a major tourist destination. Prostitution is rampant, and there are more than 800 bars in the city. The locals who are involved in that sort of work sometimes tend to not be good about taking care of their kids so these missionaries have focused their efforts on these neglected children.
They organize child care for large groups. They work with orphanages and support groups who bring relief to the victims of child labor and sex trafficking. It seemed to me they were having a great impact in that exotic place, so far from the comfort and security they had back home.
What was even more amazing was that this couple did not get any regular paychecks. They totally depended on people in the United States sending them donations each month. If money did not arrive, they would not have a way to buy food or pay rent. They did not seem too concerned about this situation. Somehow, they always had enough to get by.
I wondered about this type of faith and trust. I spend way too much time wondering what the stock market will do or what our government has planned next. I fret that I don't have enough saved for retirement. I worry about my kids, my elderly father and my health. I feel confident that God has it all under control, but I would sleep better if he could give me more firm details about my future.
I have been very mentally fatigued lately. I am usually so busy at work that I don't have time to think about much other than my job. I am the clinic administrator at my husband's medical office. Keeping track of the employees, doctors, regulations, insurance contracts and all the other daily tasks are sometimes mind-boggling. I occasionally feel overwhelmed and overworked but think this is what I am supposed to be doing. Yet sometimes I don't know what I am accomplishing that is truly meaningful.
Taylor is a doctor. He seems to directly be able to affect peoples' lives, and it appears they really appreciate the time he spends with them. He figures out what they need and writes them the prescription. He was a little dismayed the other day because he read this scientific study that had been done.
It found that patients who have no symptoms who regularly go to the doctor for annual checkups do not live any longer or have fewer serious illnesses than people who don't go to the doctor until they are actually sick.
He told me that if this was true then he should not have folks come in for checkups unless they feel bad. In reality, most people don't go to the doctor unless they feel sick. Anyway, he told me that he sometimes wondered, the same as me, if what he did was truly meaningful.
It might be depressing if we start to overanalyze our lives. The truth is that we don't always know the impact we have on those around us. The mail carrier does not stop delivering your mail just because he knows that half of it may be junk mail you will immediately throw away. He simply brings you your mail.
The people who sell you groceries at the store or food in a restaurant do not believe you will be forever satisfied and never need to return. A teacher does not think that the majority of what they say will be remembered by their students.
I suspect that whatever any of us do in our jobs will not affect world history and will only be of temporary importance to anyone. It may be that the most important thing we do is to show kindness and concern for those who cross our path. And for us to feel good about ourselves, we must do our job well to the best of our ability, even when no one is watching. Even ordinary jobs can become dignified and extraordinary when they are done well.
The missionaries in Thailand are showing the kids there that they do have significance and are worthy of being loved. That is what matters most and changes the future. It is my job to love people here. I may struggle with my significance in the big picture, but in the end, when I am gone (to heaven), I don't want to be remembered for what I did for myself but rather that I cared for others. That would be meaningful.
I have been trying to drop a few extra pounds that have somehow jumped onto my body in the last several months, making my clothes tighter. Instead of my traditional morning breakfast of pastry and a latte, I am trying to start my day with healthier fare.
I love Greek yogurt with honey and granola. Store-bought granola has a lot of sugar, so I cut some of the sugar and calories and prepared my own. It is easy and can be stored for about one month. Enjoy.
Myra Starkey lives in Victoria. Write her in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.