Some say: "I hate cooking." Why is it so? Is it due to the influence of the many cooking shows which seem to make food preparation so involved?
Back to basics
... We know we need to eat. And we want to be able to perform all the activities we like each day without having the body get in the way - for example, without any digestive issue, or setback back due to hunger or dehydration.
I realise some of us have developed conditions over the years which are temporary or permanent and which can be difficult to manage such as Diabetes, IBS, Crone disease, Gilbert Syndrome (affecting the liver), ... These conditions will affect our choices
but we still need to eat and we still want to be able to perform all the activities we like each day without having the body get in the way. So it comes down to choices.
: A friend of mine who is an insulin-dependent diabetic went to Asia and ate the same food on each day of her trekking trip. At the end she reported that she had not felt so well in a long time. She was able to do the trekking and her blood sugars were fine. But she found the food boring after a while.... so back home, she returned to fancier foods and sicker body.
For most of us, it comes down to choices
: feeling great and eating a fairly plain diet which works well or dealing with bodily issues on a fancier diet. I now know that I choose the plain food. In this section, we explore the basics to get ready to feed our body.
- If you have health conditions, make a list of the food which is safe for you. If not, skip this step.
- Keep the weekly shopping simple: develop a list of your staple food. Place it on your fridge and as you run out, add it to your shopping list to ensure you always have enough of your staple food at hand - whether in the pantry or in the freezers where it keeps longer and isn't likely to be wasted.
- Keep the skillset simple: learn to fry, boil, gril, and steam.
- Keep the ingredients simple: there is no need to have all kinds of spices and sauces which are used once in recipes, then left rotting in the fridge.
- Keep the recipes simple: grilled fish or meat or eggs and add steamed vegetables or cold salads.
- Keep the planning of the main meal simple: know what you will eat at least from one day to the next so you can thaw your ingredients in advance, or soak the dry legumes in advance. You may also want to develop a list of nice combinations and rotate your 7 best combinations each week so that every day you are looking forward to that special next nutritious meal.
- Keep breakfast simple: same healthy food every morning to sustain you all morning or until a mid-morning snack.
- Keep leftovers as the basis for the 3rd meal of the day - whether noon or evening.
- Keep snacks simple: for example, a slice of orange, a strawberry (ie just as much as you need, not necessarily the entire fruit), a handful of nuts, a hard-boiled egg, an anchovie, a couple of rice crackers.
We do cook a little more than the above basic list. We do have an oven and do bake quiches, cakes, and roast meats. But you don't have to. And we often use 3 steamers to steam 3 different vegetables for our main meal.
In this section we share some of the combinations we often use and some Gluten Free recipes because if you have to eat Gluten Free, the products which are available in supermarkets tend to be expensive and full of ingredients you may not want to ingest.
- steamed vegetables: choice of brocolli, cabbage, cauliflower, peas, potato, pumpkin, snow peas, sweet potato.
- fry pan vegetables: choice of kale, steamed cubed white potato, raw sliced sweet potato or white potato, halved tomatoes.
- cold salads: choice or mix of green beans, cubed beetroot, grated carrot, steamed potato, sliced tomato.
- meat and vegetables: (pan fried) salmon, or chicken legs or chicken livers or chicken breasts stuffed with cheese and lightly battered with egg and rice/lupin flour or (grilled) meat - with cooked vegetables or salad.
- pastry based dish: bacon quiche served with cooked vegetables or cold salad.
- casserole: chicken legs with carrot and (just steamed) peas, and fried cumin seeds.
- casserole: lamb or beef with chick peas, pumpkin, carrot, zucchini, cabbage, with fried fennel seeds and cardamon seeds.
- stir fry: fish.
- Cook the rice in the morning so it is drier for the stir fry.
- When meal time comes, use the big frypan, and start by cooking the omelette, then set aside in a medium stainless bowl so it keeps warm.
- Fry the hoki, and some fennel seeds.
- Add the rice to fry it a little so it is drier, and slightly crunchy.
- Add the leftover vegetables.
- Add salt and pepper along the way to suit taste and health conditions.
- Add the omelette so it warms up again with the lid over the pan. Wait a few minutes and eat.
- meat balls:
- Mix about 250g mince (lamb, beef, pork, or a mix?) with an egg, salt and pepper.
- Place some flour in a big cup. I use home hand ground lupin flour.
- Use a fork to grab just enough of the mixture to make one ball sized slightly bigger than a golf ball.
- Place it in the cup, against the side of the cup ,and move the cup from side to side. It will form into a ball. The cup trick is courtesy of my mother. It is pretty handy else the meat balls may not keep their shape and you end up with bits of mince instead of nice juicy balls.
- Place it gently on a plate so it keeps its nice round shape.
Check a photo of the setup here.
- Check the flour left in the cup and ensure you always have enough flour in the cup to slightly cover a meat ball.
- Make the other balls until you run out of meat. The 250g makes about 12 meat balls.
Check a photo of the formed meat balls here.
- Use the casserole dish, add some fat (I use lamb fat), place the 12 balls, on medium heat so that they dry and brown.
Check a photo of the meat balls browning here.
- Turn them over.
- You may throw in tomatoes at this stage whether already made in a sauce or just cut up. Place the lid and leave on low heat for half an hour or so. Towards the end of the cooking, remove the lid for the tomato juice to evaporate and the sauce to thicken a little.
- Eat with some pasta and a peeled zucchini either raw or fried for a few minutes.
- Gluten Free recipes including Bacon Quiche and Lemon pie.
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