Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Simple Cooking

There is so much information out now about the importance of eating mostly organic fruits and vegetables (especially staying clear of the "dirty dozen") and if possible, buy local. And there are all kinds of fascinating grains in bulk bins that I know would be healthy additions to our diets. I am finding that healthy whole food eatin' is wonderful in theory but what do you do when you don't know how to cook all of those pretty veggies? And if the bulk bins of quinoa are a bit intimidating? And I loathe watching that beautiful produce going to waste in our refrigerator because we don't know how to prepare it in a tasty and wholesome way?

That is the problem I have been running into. I have 5 lbs of millet and don't know what to do with it. I bought a bag of gorgeous looking kale that didn't taste half as good as it looked! I keep finding that there are sooooo many cookbooks out there, but where do I begin? I think I need to demystify grains and veggies and learn some quick and easy ways to prepare them that we all will enjoy.

So I did some Net browsing and found a few websites that may help you as I am hoping that they will help me!
  • This link is a small wealth of ideas of eating whole foods with lots of time-saving shortcuts and quick meals ideas. It's also a good reminder to pull out that Wonderfriend ...the crockpot!
  • Whole Foods' website has a wealth of wonderful recipes and has this guide to cooking beans, peas and lentils. Beans are a wonderful alternative for protein (especially if you are seeking to reduce your meat consumption like we are), but they have to taste good, right? :) These bean recipes look to offer some of the flavor and kick that we love.
  • And let's not forget the online mecca of recipe finding...All Recipes. Whenever you are contemplating your menus, seek to add a new seasonal veggie or an interesting grain...use the search engine at All Recipes by putting in the name of the food and see what pops up. I just found these Millet Muffins and look forward to putting my filled pantry to use!
  • I can't wait to watch these groovy looking videos and learn more about why eating healthy is so important. Her recipes look simple and the site is very entertaining. Combining good food with good fun is always what I am looking for!
  • I checked this book out from the library and it has a lot of unconventional veggie recipes written in an unconventional cookbook style by an unconventional woman! It is teaching me to use what I have on hand, to experiment, and to keep it all simple.
  • And finally, this site has a bunch of basic vegetable cooking how-to's with links to recipes to spice it up a bit. It makes me realize that all of this is not as hard as I have made it out to be.
I hope something in here inspires you in your journey of simpler eating. Simple eating doesn't have to mean a drive-through or a packaged product (although we all need this quick fix sometimes!) Simple eating need not be bland or boring. God has given us glorious vegetables and grains along with amazing spices for flavor and texture...we just need to learn how to use them!

photo courtesy of .michael.newman.


Pieces said...

Great links! Thanks for sharing all your research.

Crystal said...

It's all too much thinking for me! LOL I am at least 80% raw food at this point and it's so much easier. I find that cooking for the kids is so much more challenging than making a green shake(although they do love my green shakes). I enjoyed getting to meet you-how great! Wanna come over and hang out sometime..hehe LOL

Marianna said...

I've struggled with this issue too. I have a box of quinoa and a bag of sweet brown rice that I have no idea what to do with them so that my family will actually eat them!

I do have a very good black bean recipe:

Saute a chopped onion and bell pepper, add cumin and chili powder to taste (I let these cook for just a second before adding the other stuff to bring out their flavor), a can of black beans (rinsed), can of chopped green chilies, and as much salsa as you want. Serve with rice and/or tortillas.


yeah! thanks...its so funny because I have the same problem. I will be at the store and remember reading about how good_____ is for you, so I buy it and it sits in the fridge for a couple days. I can't figure out what to make with it!! or I make one small thing and don't know what to do with the rest so it goes bad.. that always makes me so sad.:( good job doing your research, it helps all of us out :)

Sarah Joy said...

Thanks so much for the links. I agree wholeheartedly with you. Glad to find someone I am on "the same page" with so to speak! :)

christy said...

Thanks for the great links!

denise said...

Great links!

I try to experiment with just a few new ingredients per month. That way I can build recipes slowly, find out what we do/don't like, and always try something new. Recently we have added Komba (dried seaweed for soup stocks), different types of miso paste, and we tried spelt. Not a fan of spelt. The other two are great.

The kids eat *some* pre-packaged foods...crackers, yogurts, etc. But all meals are from scratch, so there is plenty opportunity for experimenting.

We have a CSA for the summer and visit farms often, summer is for new veggies, winter is usually for new grains or base ingredients. I love to experiment! :)

Clair said...

Talking about simple eating makes me wish I had a garden...and makes me think about how I can garden as an apartment dweller. I have had tomatoes in past years and maybe could expand that.

AIMEE said...

Crystal...wow...that's awesome that you eat so much raw!
Marianna, LOVE the black bean recipe...thanks!
Denise...how I wish we had more CSA's here...last year i tried to get into some and they were all filled immediately! Must check on it again.
Clair...even though you are in an apartment you can still do lots of containers...even herbs are simply wonderful!