REAL, FRUGAL, HEALTHY, and FUN!!!
I’ve been a goofy girl in the kitchen for quite some time now. It’s evolved with practice and through my nutrition studies. If you follow my blog and have checked out my healthy recipe pages, you probably think I eat non-stop. I definitely cook and bake more than the average person. I love food! I really do. I love food and I eat all day long. I don’t buy convenience food. I don’t even buy the good convenience food made with wholesome ingredients very often. I’m a very real girl, a wife, a mother, and I have a tight budget. I can stretch my dollar a whole lot further if I skip the convenience food. I start my grocery shopping in the produce section. By the time I leave the produce section my cart is 1/2 full. From there I add some grain free flour, coconut milk and butter. I buy herbs and spices, maple syrup, honey, and/or dates. I buy some quality meat, but not too much. My 7 year-old opted to go vegetarian this past June, and I only eat a little bit of meat. I also often buy nuts and seeds. Oh, and eggs. I buy a lot of eggs.
As you can see, not much of what I buy is ready to eat. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen cutting veggies so they’re easier to grab and eat. If fruit needs to be prepped, I do that too. It’s amazing how much more produce the family eats when it’s prepped and ready. I’m constantly baking and making bars, cookies, muffins, and cakes because I like feeding my kids real food. It’s a lot of fun coming up with ideas. It’s actually my stress-relief to go into the kitchen and cup, chop, mix, and blend ingredients together. The creative process is so enjoyable to me. It gives me the chance to clear my head of any stress while I focus on the ingredients and the flavor combinations. I love the aromas of food baking in my oven. I get so excited when I’m done making something and I get to enjoy it. I love sharing my creations with the family.
I may spend hours in the kitchen, but I’m able to get a lot done in that time. While something is simmering, baking, blending, or cooling, I get dishes done, laundry, and sometimes vacuuming. It all depends on what I’m making and what needs to be done. I suppose I’m a bit of a 50’s house wife. I really enjoy it, though. I love a clean house and I love real food. I love that my kids don’t think of Little Debbie when they want a treat. That’s actually really huge to me! My 7 year-old actually loves having a green smoothie with me every single day. I love that!
Not everything I make turns out well. I’ve had many flops. Most flops are only flops because they don’t look pretty, but still taste amazing. The flavor is typically the easy part. You know what flavors you’re combining. If it works in your mind, the flavors will more than likely also work in your mouth. The hardest thing can be texture. For example, when baking, you might need baking soda or something to make it rise. You will probably need something to bind it. For example, you might use eggs, gelatin, or flax. It can be tricky to determine how many. That’s something you always have to play around with. You might need a flour. I choose to use grain-free flours. I have celiac, and for a time I chose any gluten-free flour, but grain-free seems to work better for me. There are a ton of grain-free flours. They all bake up differently. Understanding how they work comes best through trial and error. You may need moisture, which can come from mashed fruits/veggies or from fats. The hardest part of creating a baked treats is determining the best ratios. You can see how flavor is usually easier to achieve than texture. Because of this, most failed creations don’t have to go to waste. More often than not, a flop is still edible. Not only are they usually still edible, but they are the best learning experiences.
Cooking savory dishes is easier. Something I love to do is to pull out all of my spices and smell them one by one. It really helps you associate flavors and anticipate what would taste the best with what. In my post about just a few of common herbs and spices, you’ll see that this is no area to be stingy. There are so many health benefits! You can read more about those here. When cooking, you may attempt a sauce. Sauces, are pretty simple. If you have something in mind, mix it up, taste, and adjust. If it’s too thin, you can add an egg, which will thicken as it cooks. You can also add a little flour or something like tapioca starch. You can also add mashed veggies, though, the mashed veggies could alter the flavor. One of the toughest things with cooking, is making sure everything cooks properly. Pay attention if you’re not sure. You can always pull something out early or put something back in to cook a little longer. As with baking, most flops are still edible. You get better with practice.
I get inspired by things I see. Some of the things I see are things I would never eat because they have no nutritional value or have ingredients that my body does not tolerate. Sometimes, I get inspired by someone else’s creation, and I make it my own. The way I see it, I will only become a better baker and chef with practice. As it is, I make things now that I never would have thought I was capable of. If you have an idea, I say go for it! I hope that when people read my blog and check out my recipes that they not only try my recipes, but that they are inspired by my creativity. I hope I inspire people to take whole foods, and create their own delicious, healthy recipes.