But I’m No Chef
When I speak to people about cooking healthy meals most often I receive sighs and slumped shoulders and a muttering, “I don’t really know how to cook…” I find that for many people cooking is a dark hairy monster that instills feelings of dread, anxiety and inadequacy. But here’s the good news! You don’t have to be a Master Chef to prepare healthy food for yourself. It is quite possible to get by with a few simple cooking techniques
Once again here comes the weekend. This time of year we are often out on our bikes or the tennis court, so I like to have a meal or two ready to eat in the fridge for a quick post fun snack. The beauty of this dish is it’s pretty much hands off, and hardly any chopping. While the cauliflower roasts, the fuscilli boils, and the marinade is mixed into a large bowl. When the bits are all cooked, it all comes together like a dream.
Cauliflower was never one of my favorite vegetables, but over the years it has wend it’s way into my heart. Now I adore you cauliflower with all my heart! Most people put it off because it’s not a veg of “color”, and therefore believing it’s not as nutritious. The fact is that cauliflower is loaded with Vitamin C, folate, and fiber- all in a low calorie package.
There are lots of ways to prepare cauliflower and roasting is one of my favorite. Aside from the ridiculous ease, I love how the florets caramelize and get gorgeously delicious. Like magic!
I’m so excited! Welcome to day 1 of my new ongoing series: Your Whole Life. I will be posting regular tips and ideas to help you live a whole healthy lifestyle that makes real sense. My goal is to help you get past some of your barriers with easy to manage and digestible tips and insights. No preaching here- just simple doable ideas that you can fit into your busy life.
Let’s start with #1-
This first tip has been a blessing for me. I am one of those people who gets excited and inspired by beautiful fruits when I’m at the market. I’ll load up my basket and very proudly unpack them at home and stash them away. But then a terrible thing happens. I get hungry. I have no problem grabbing a banana or apple, but fruits that need washing or trimming have a tendency to stick around too long- and sometimes end up in my smoothie bin rather than being eaten fresh. Am I alone here?
The Barrier: “But I want to eat something NOW”
The reason for this occurrence for me is simple, it’s a barrier I like to call, “But I want to eat something NOW”. During the course of my day I sit at my desk for long stints at a time. It’s usually not until I am dying of thirst or hunger that I get up and head down for a refreshment. Because I have been thinking and using my brain so hard I don’t want to have to tackle another task in order to get my treat. My excited self yesterday when I bought the fruit had no problem taking the few minutes to cut up and wash the fruit- but my fatigued brain today says…. uh.. I’ll have a few nuts instead…
It’s sounds blasphemous doesn’t it? A dietitian who doesn’t like kale? Well the truth is, I hardly ever eat it.
There was a time that I felt very guilty about it. After all kale is quite the super food. It’s packed with antioxidants, gorgeous vitamins, iron, and you get a big ol’ curly bunch of it for pretty cheap. I’ve purchased it many times with all the intentions of creating a love relationship with this bitter green. I’ve stood in the produce area of my market, and with great earnest (and a slight sense of self righteousness) I grab that kale, plunk it into my cart, and think to myself as I wheel away- THIS time it’ll be different. I am going to cook up this kale and it is going to be so amazing it will change my life! People will want to be me!
And then it happens. It’s what happens to many of us, and probably you too- that perky, bright hope of kale sits there in my crisper day after day. Each day it gets a little limper, and a little sadder, and as is loses it’s shine and it’s glory wanes, so goes my gusto. Eventually, it leads to the inevitable, the horrible, painful walk of shame to the trash. All that self righteousness, all that leading the charge, all that holier than thou attitude is replaced with guilt, and shame, and the tragedy of waste. Sad, but all too true.
So here is the good news, are you ready? I stopped trying to eat it. Yup! I don’t even think about it too much anymore. Instead I’ve done something completely radical and so outstanding that I am over-the-moon delighted to tell you about it. I only eat what I love. I’ll say that again. I don’t eat foods that I “should” eat, I only will eat the healthy foods that turn me on and get me excited. I purchase the best, freshest and absolutely the most stunning foods I can get- and guess what? It makes me joyful and happy.
Spring is at last really truly happening, and if you’re like me, my days are spent heading outside and enjoying the sun. It just feels so good to be out in the air with life happening all around again.
As many of you now know, as much as I enjoy cooking, I try to come up with as many ways as possible to make my time quick and efficient in the kitchen. Here in Louisiana we have had an incredible chilly and wet spring. I am not one to complain much about the weather, but man has it been messing with my tennis game! Our league season is about 2 1/2 months long and the rain has caused us to miss matches as well as the reschedules! So between the raindrops we are scurrying to yet again reschedule and complete our requisite matches before the deadline.
Which brings me to this pale lovely salad. There is not one drop of heat or flame necessary for this dish. I opened a couple of organic canned beans and tossed them into a bowl with the rest of the ingredients and boom! done and done. Several days of lunching or snacking for The Wife and I with no fuss. I can wander in from my rousing morning of wacking that green ball and not have to stop to chop or prepare a thing. Trust me, this is a blessing because you know how it is- tired, hungry and nothing to grab=a pretty good chance I will make less than favorable choices (chocolate I’m looking at you). It also has that satisfying chew from the beans, crunch from the cabbage and cucumber and the bright fresh spark of dill. Just so yummy and fresh tasting.
What I also love about this salad is I use it as the “base” for several meals. I always make up a weekly batch of a whole grain such as brown rice or sorghun, so some days I might toss a little of that in, or throw the salad over some arugula or greens. Got some leftover chicken? Yup, toss that right in there. You’ve got the idea. It’s a way of keeping the interest up at mealtime without having to reinvent the wheel every day.
Healthy fresh food does not have to be a chore, nor does it have to be a bore. Really people, there is just too much good stuff out there.
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- 2 14 oz cans organic canellini beans, rinsed
- 1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
- 1/2 small red onion, minced
- 1 cup finely shredded red cabbage
- 3/4 cup Green Yogurt
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- juice of one lemon
- 2 Tablespoon minced fresh dill
- Salt and pepper to taste
- This is an easy one. Add all the salad ingredients into a large bowl.
- In a separate small bowl combine the yogurt, oil, lemon juice and dill and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the dressing to the bean mix and stir to combine.
- The yogurt may weep a little bit as it sits, please don't be dismayed by this. This is just the whey separating and not a bad thing and very nutritious to eat. You can pour it off if you would like, or simply toss it all again and incorporate it back into the mix.
The Spring feels like it needs to be dragged out of the winter grays. This Spicy Minted Citrus Salad , with all it’s bright colors, is just the thing to do it.
I love to combine different levels of citrus together. The sweet pay compliment to the more tart, and their colors both shine and rejoice in each other’s company. To make things more interesting I’ve added some torn dates and a dusting of red pepper flakes. The sweet chewiness of the dates are a nice contrast Continue Reading
One of the best parts of traveling is gathering with others around tables and eating delicious food. On my recent trip to NYC I had dinner with my eldest daughter at a small restaurant in the East Village. We sat in a dark restaurant after walking the frigid sidewalks of the city and snugged in with bourbon and this simple dish.
I am a huge fan of eggplant, and my daughter, a vegetarian for years, is likewise an addict too. I will say that I am not always satisfied with the preparation. I think the trick to good eggplant is to create a creamy interior without over saturation of oil, and flesh with little bitterness. I have worked on my method and have been able to produce a non-oily lovely dish that I will happily share with you.
Facts About Eggplant
Known by several names, including melongene and my favorite, aubergine- the eggplant is a member of the nightshade family. It is most often grown with a regal purple skin but you may also find varieties in white, variegated purple/white, variegated green/white, yellow and red. The shape may be a pear shaped eggish globe, a long thin shape or a round orb. All equally delicious.
Eggplants are a good source of dietary fiber, yielding 10% of your daily needs in a 1 cup serving. They are also a good source of the Continue Reading
I find it so wonderful that there are more and more organic foods being offered, but I still think there is a bit of confusion as to why, when, and what you should spend your extra cash on. My handy pocket guide of the The Dirty Dozen and The Clean Fifteen will help you choose wisely.
Why is Organic Important?
For many people “organic” means more expensive and less appealing. We know that pesticides are not good for us, but how bad can they be? After all, we’ve been eating Continue Reading
Snacking is an area of your life where you can either boost your nutrition, or sabotage your efforts. Here are some basic guidelines to help you navigate how and what to eat for the best healthy snacking.
Is Snacking a Good Thing?
When I was a kid, other than milk and cookies after school, snacking was frowned upon. My Mother would chide us about eating too much with the threat, “It will spoil your appetite!”. Depending on your eating pattern and levels of daily exertion, snacking can be an integral and important part staying properly nourished.
After a strenuous workout a light snack is essential for rebuilding stressed tissues. If you are a powerhouse at your computer, or in meetings all day, your brain could benefit from a healthy boost too. But there are pitfalls that you can fall into.
The problem with snacking is they are often enjoyed on the run, away from home and jammed into our mouths somewhere between inhale and exhale. This is a fact of life that no one can deny, so it’s important to prepare in advance so that when the hunger pangs hit you don’t reach for junk foods and load up on empty calories.
The Definition of a Healthy Snack