I was given a sign earlier today while I was out shopping in Pavilions. A very peculiar one that rang loud and clear.
I decided to do some shopping for dinner later but the first errand on my list was to close out a storage account at Public Storage. My family had the account for a year and never made use of it. I helped to orchestrate getting the account earlier on so the account was created in my name. It was a complete waste of money and we needed to stop the automatic monthly payments.
It was rather simple to close the account. I had been procrastinating on closing it for some time. I notoriously hate red tape although I know that the sooner things are dealt with, the better. They are out of your way!
Once going in, I expected to wait around and fill out paperwork but all I had to do was take off my lock and head back to the rental office to get a closed account receipt. Easy as pie and as a result, my day started off on a good note. I just love mentally checking things off on a to-do list. …when I get around to doing this.
Anyway, as I drove off the lot, I immediately developed a strong craving for low or non-fat frozen yogurt, but I didn’t know of any places nearby that sold it and I certainly didn’t feel like driving around aimlessly trying to find such a place. But on the way to the supermarket, I passed by an El Pollo Loco. I remembered that most of the franchises offered Fosters Freeze frozen desserts on a side menu, so I assumed that they sold frozen yogurt. I discovered that they didn’t.
The options were limited to ice cream servings loaded with options of rich sugary toppings and condiments, in either a cone or a cup. I knew I had to pass. Yesterday at Mrs. Fields (aka The Crack House), after picking up my reserved copy of Grand Theft Auto IV, I indulged on a white chocolate macadamia nut cookie topped with a generous amount of pink buttercream icing, I must say that as a bonafide food addict and foodie, I am learning how to balance and not let my obsessions take over. I promptly left the place and dashed back out onto the road.
However, my craving was still nagging me. I felt quite guilty about it because again, I didn’t want to fall back into bad habits. But I also knew that moving into a healthier lifestyle wasn’t about hanging onto guilt-ridden feelings about food. I had to realize that, outside completely inedible and toxic-riddled foods, no foods were bad. Choices and attitudes about them were.
I saw a mini-mall section as I got closer to my next destination. I spotted a large sign therein entitled LAX Boba and Yogurt. Now anyone who knows me knows how much of a fanatic I am about boba drinks aka tapioca drinks or bubble tea. It caught my attention immediately to see a place that sold two things that I highly enjoy. Of course, I had to make a stop.
I also noticed that there was a sushi place in the section. I took note for future places to get sushi. A guy was yelling out loud in the parking lot, throwing his hands up in the air to a passenger as I continued to drive through the lot. The passenger was a woman. As she completely drove past me, I saw, upon a good look, that she was an attractive woman. Regardless, I thought about turning back out and continuing on to the supermarket. I realized that I was stereotyping this man for his obnoxious behavior. He was just being flirtatious to this woman. So why this so bothersome for me? I knew that I had to stop generalizing about his behavior. It was silly. I also thought that, as a person of color myself, I should know better about jumping to conclusions. On further thought, I realized that part of my thinking was greatly influenced by being somewhat of an introverted person. Sometimes I like quiet and peace and an unsettling environment can be unpleasant and annoying even if it involves non-threatening clamor.
I drove further into the parking lot and found a nice cozy place to park. I entered the store and saw that the menu had a large selection of flavored drinks served with boba. I noticed that the yogurt they offered seemed very similar to what Pinkberry served.
Pinkberry is the hot stuff right now, especially around LA. but it has been under a wave of criticism lately by some media groups for claiming that their frozen dessert is real frozen yogurt when it’s not. I’ve been to Pinkberry’s and I can appreciate the distinctive flavor but I agree that it’s not traditional frozen yogurt.
Anyhow, the place I was in offered two frozen yogurt flavors; original and green tea. I decided to pass on the yogurt since it was so similar to Pinkberry’s stuff and get a boba drink instead. I hadn’t had one in a very good while. I got a Thai iced tea with boba. The drink turned out to be sweeter than I cared for but I didn’t want to waste my money by only drinking half of it.
I finally arrived at Pavilions and realized that I still had that damned craving for something sweet. I was a bit disappointed with myself. I mean shouldn’t the Thai iced tea have taken care of my craving?
This craving led me to the pastry section of the store. There were cakes, pies, donuts and baked goodies. You name it, it was there. At this point, I considered myself sold. I looked meticulously among the individually packaged cake slices that were arranged in a center stand. My eye stopped on a large slice of chocolate cake blanketed with white buttercream icing and white chocolate shavings. As I was grabbed a slice to place it in my shopping basket, an old lady came around looking at the slices. She suddenly said, “The devil is here.” I looked over at her a little puzzled torn away from being under a mesmerizing pastry spell.
She continued on and muttered, “Look at all of these temptations. I shouldn’t be here at all, but I am looking for a pecan pie. They are so good!”
I was caught off guard with not only the woman addressing her random uncanny chatter toward me, but also by the odd sensation that accompanied the situation. As a response, I gave a sincere but nervous laugh and agreed that the cake slices were indeed temptations and that I should be elsewhere as well. I took her sudden appearance as a sign that I should walk away and make a better decision about something sweet to eat. With my goals for eating healthier and balancing my desire for sweets, I knew that this was surely a reminder that I had to respect.
I instantly moved away from the area and as I did, I quickly came up with the idea of making homemade fruit parfait cups. I love fruit immensely, especially mixed berries, so I thought it would be wonderful to make a dessert using fresh fruit.
What did I need to make these delectable and healthier treats? I needed:
- fresh baked plain pound cake from their deli section or sponge cake
- selections of packaged raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and blackberries
- a generous supply of plastic cups
- saran wrap
- low-fat Cool Whip
These are very simple and reasonably cheap to make and a much better dessert idea than gorging on a refined sugary slice of cake. I realize that the pound cake was still a richer indulgence but in little amounts, it was not going to hurt.
I paid for all of my grocery items and headed out. I couldn’t wait to get home to make these treats. The first thing I did when I got back home was put away most of the groceries, wash my hands thoroughly and start making my fruit parfait cups. I had never made them before, but I had eaten them, prepared in many different ways, from Whole Foods Market in the deli section and at other places. I knew it was going to be pretty effortless (and fun) to prepare these cups.
I gathered all of my ingredients and prepared my layers in the plastic cups. You can use any type of fruit you want and you can layer your fruit parfait cup any way you please, but this is how I layered my cups from bottom to top:
- Cool Whip (very bottom layer)
- Few slices of strawberries
- Small slice of pound cake
- Berry of your choice
- Berry of your choice
- Cool Whip
- Pound cake
- Cool Whip (tops the parfait cup off)
If you aren’t allergic to nuts, you can sprinkle the top layer with crushed or sliced nuts of your choice. Sliced almonds would make a good choice. They are lower in fat, offer more calcium and fiber than a lot of nuts and provide a good source of vitamin E, magnesium, folic acid and phosphorous.
Each fruit parfait cup should be firmly covered and wrapped with saran wrap and stored in the refrigerator. These make great healthy snacks either at home or at work. I personally would not store them longer than a week in the refrigerator. Instead of using pound cake for the cake filler, you can use sponge cake or get even more festive and make your own cake filler from scratch. You also make your whipped cream from scratch and experiment with many other selections of fruit for different flavors. Be creative and be explorative! Have fun.
I will be talking more about healthy treats that you can prepare at home in the future as a way of making and maintaining healthier eating choices.
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