Posted by: Kara @ The Foodie Dietitian | September 2, 2010

…Eating In

Last week I talked about my philosophy on eating out. This week I would like to show you some of the “eating in” I’ve been doing lately. When it comes to cooking at home vs dining out there needs to be a healthy balance. Dining out should be a special occasion, not a regular routine. When you prepare meals at home, you have complete control over what you will eat. You choose the ingredients you choose the cooking methods and ultimately you’re the chef of your own creation! Unfortunately, when dining out, you lose some control over what ends up on your plate.

Preparing meals at home can be a challenge for many who struggle with finding the time and money to do so. Fortunately, there are simple solutions to make cooking quick and inexpensive, for more information, read my post on Help! How do I eat healthy with little time and little money!? Cooking can be intimidating but it doesn’t have to be. If you are new to cooking, try recipes from cookbooks or online. Following precise measurements and instructions can help a novice chef to become familiar with different spices, herbs, and cooking methods. Once you become comfortable enough in the kitchen, you can start improvising and throwing together some meals on your own. For myself, I’ve found it really helpful to follow recipes to make dinner at home. I’m now much more familiar with how different spices and fresh herbs taste and smell. I now know what onions, garlic, and lemon can add to a dish.

Based on my experiences, here are some suggestions to make cooking at home a pleasant experience:

  • Relax! Cooking doesn’t need to be flawless, and mistakes will happen. But it’s important to remember that practice makes perfect and don’t give up.
  • Have the right tools. You could be a top chef but if you don’t have good quality utensils, it’s gonna be a rough journey. In my eyes, a sharp sturdy knife for chopping veggies is key.
  • Ask for a little help. If you’re not riding solo, have a friend, child, or significant other join in on the fun. It will take some of the pressure off of you, speed up the prep time, and make for an overall enjoyable experience.
  • Crank some tunes. I love having soothing music in the background when I’m cooking, especially if I’m cooking for one. It can especially help you relax if you’re feeling tense in the kitchen.
  • Plan ahead. Pick out recipes you’d like to try for the week then hit the grocery store in advance so that you’ve got all the ingredients you need to make your dishes.
  • Make a little extra. Having leftovers is a blessing for nights that you want to take it easy or you get home late from work or the gym.

So what have I been cooking lately?! Well, I just bought a new cookbook called Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson. I eyed it up back in December when I bought a cookbook for a Secret Santa cookbook exchange. Ever since then, it’s been on my mind and I finally bought it! The book focuses on five topics:

  • Build a Natural Foods Pantry
  • Explore a Wide Range of Grains
  • Cook by Color
  • Know Your Superfoods
  • Use Natural Sweeteners
In each chapter, Swanson educates on how to expand the list of foods in your cupboard in order to prepare for some serious whole foods cooking. She then goes on to include recipes that fit each chapter, for example using millet as the main ingredient for a recipe found in the section Explore a Wide Range of Grains. This cookbook is a must-have for anyone looking to find ways to cook with less processed ingredients while maximizing nutrition and taste.

So far I’ve made…
Millet fried rice
Millet

The veggies

Grated ginger..a little ginger goes a long way!

Drying out the tofu

Can’t have fried rice without the egg

The minimally processed oils and seasonings…
learned that shoyu sauce is a less processed version of soy sauce!

Ta da!

Close up action on millet. Great dish!

Giant Crusty and Creamy White Beans with Greens
Bought these babies dried from the bulk section! A first for me!
Quickly learned that once soaked these beans still take a good hour or so to cook,
so make sure to give yourself ample time!

Swiss chard! Excellent source of vitamins K, E, and C.

Voila! Serve with freshly baked bread and olive oil.

Green Packed Stir-Fry
Veggies heating up

Now for the tofu and sauce

Bon Appetit! An extremely flavorful dish which I served over brown rice.

Eating in can be a rewarding experience. You spend time and energy combining foods and ingredients to make a masterpiece which you can then sit down and savor. Give it a shot. Try one new dish each week and add to your culinary experiences. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

Peace, love, and food,

Kara
Do you have a favorite cookbook? Do you have any tips to make cooking a positive experience?

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Responses

  1. You should probably move home just so you can start cooking for me!


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