A Cautionary Tale…
There once was a woman at work, we’ll call her Sue. Sue was feisty, opinionated and mostly fun to be around. She could be stubborn and bossy at times but her strong work ethic, loyalty and sense of humor were admirable. She loved pushing peoples’ buttons and was certainly good at pushing mine. More than anyone I’ve ever met, she loved stuff. She was constantly finding the weirdest, most random knick knacks and toys to fill up her space with clutter. I couldn’t have handled all that clutter but she seemed to thrive off it. She loved showing everyone her silly toys and making people laugh. She had a great laugh.
One day, something changed. Sue’s entire demeanor seemed to shift overnight and she went from being sunny, strong-willed and caring to sullen, distant and sensitive. “Everything’s fine,” she would say. “Nothing is wrong, I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Her tone plainly said mind your own business. So we did. But everyone knew something was going on and we conversed quietly by the water cooler out of concern and confusion. She was a newlywed… was it marital troubles? Workplace woes?
After months of uncomfortable conversations and awkward silence, everything came to a head. Someone said the wrong thing to her at the wrong time and she blew up, stormed out of the building and drove away. I can still hear her yelling “You have NO idea what I’ve been going though!” Surely she was about to quit? We were baffled. And very worried.
The truth was that Sue had found a lump and didn’t get it checked for months. And by that time the cancer had spread. Chemotherapy, a double mastectomy and radiation weren’t enough to save her life. Would 6 months have made a difference? No one will ever know. Why am I telling you this? Because early detection can save your life. Get educated, check yourself and schedule mammograms when you’re supposed to. If not for yourself, do it for the people who love you.
I sincerely hope I don’t sound unsympathetic as I share this story. Sue and I had a strained relationship at times but we did care for each other. I wanted to portray the experience honestly. It was traumatic for everyone and I can’t imagine what she went through.
As with my last post, I’m highlighting cancer fighting ingredients today. Berries. Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, whatever you like. Blueberries are a favorite of mine so today I’m sharing a lightened up blueberry bourbon crisp. Because blueberries aren’t in season right now I used frozen berries from the grocery store. They work perfectly well here and berries are too delicious to only enjoy in the summer. To keep things a bit healthier I used coconut oil instead of butter and light agave instead of refined sugar (thought I do include an optional tablespoon of brown sugar in the topping). You can make this with only the agave and it will still be good but it lacks a certain buttery richness that you get from the molasses in brown sugar. I leave that up to you. Most of the bourbon cooks away in the oven so if you want to re-infuse the flavor, drizzle a tiny amount over the cobbler right after pulling it from the oven.
- 4 cups frozen blueberries (fresh when in season)
- 1 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons light agave nectar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 11/2 tablespoon bourbon (I used Knob Creek)
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup rolled oats
- ¼ cup chopped toasted slivered almonds (you can substitute regular or sliced)
- ¼ cup whole wheat flour
- 1½ tablespoons light agave nectar
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1½ tablespoons bourbon (plus more to drizzle)
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a medium sized bowl, toss the blueberries with the cornstarch until they're evenly coated, then add the remaining ingredients.
- In a separate bowl, combine the topping ingredients. It's easiest to incorporate the coconut oil with your fingers.
- Pour the blueberry filling into a 1 quart dish (or 4 cup-sized ramekins). Spread the topping evening over the berries and place in the oven.
- Cook for 1 hour, then drizzle a small amount of bourbon over the topping after removing it from the oven. Allow to cool for 30 minutes.
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