Tag Archives: Healthy Eating

Cooking

I love to cook. I love the ingredients, the flavors, the smells, the history, and the tastes. I spread my ingredients out and chop and prep running several dishes at a time until I have a meal or several meals ready. My goals are to have good food within a certain flavor profile for as many servings as I need and to have no ingredient waste if possible. I try to prepare lunch for several days and take the remainders for my meal that evening I prepare them. I want colors and flavors textures and scents. Food starts when you smell it and see it and the richness of the flavor is increased by the richness of the colors, scents, and texture. Some things I love the flavor of do have troublesome smells or textures but they are worth it.
I really learned to cook here in Hawaii the first time I lived here. Obviously, since I was in my 30s I did cook prior to that. But food wasn’t the same kind of interest. There were times I worked hard to prepare and learn complicated dishes and meals but I didn’t’ really understand them. I didn’t understand flavor profiles, cultural distinctions, the historical and cultural reasons certain dishes are what they are, why some substitutions work one place and not another. I loved good food but had not yet developed the love of ingredients, history, cooking, and the rich value of food and sharing food.
After I moved back to the mainland I had a really hard time adapting to what was available in stores. They are the usual things to people there and to many of the dishes I ate but not to how I learned to relate to food. Since I have returned here I find myself once again enjoying my time picking vegetables in China town or visiting the various stores I love to find ingredients at. I am coming back in to the pleasure of just cooking something because I want to not just so I can feed my family. I don’t come home too tired to think about cooking or to a kitchen I am unwilling to cook in. The kitchen here is small but clean and decently stocked with pans and needs.
Now I buy a few ingredients and spread them out to prep. I can take a couple vegetables, a protein (today it was tofu and mushrooms), a base like starch or purple sweet potatoes or kamut, and whatever I happen to have in my cabinet for spicing and flavor extras to create a series of different dishes for the week. Each is put into it’s container and sealed for the freezer and a bit is put on my plate for dinner. I spent $7 today and made dinner and 4 lunches by adding rice I made while I ate lunch and some spices from my cabinet.
I love that feeling when I finish eating something really good and know I have several meals ready for lunch in the freezer and when I look back to check the kitchen it is clean and ready for the next person with no sign I have been in there. I had only a few vegetable tips to discard and I could use those for broth if I had a way to store them.

Last week my flavors were mostly Italian leaning and this week they are more Thai or like those you see in Buddha bowl recipes. The week before I made each one different (to be able to do that with the same few ingredients pleases me.) Sometimes I have an ingredient I don’t know the name of because all the signs were in Chinese. I have used some of them many times and am familiar with them even if I don’t know what to call them. Others are new and that is always fun. I have learned usually to tell how to substitute or how to cook/prep something new by examining it.
I love food and cooking. Good food is calming and pleasant to enjoy. The ingredients have a history and a story. They are connected to cultures, people, and history of our lives. These foods rose out of cultures and impacted the changes in cultures. Food are the foundation of sharing and communication in many situations. They can be a way to connect or smooth interactions. Food is important and it is a foundation of society.
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Flu Shots and Food

Well, today I feel like doing something different. They are doing Flu shots at work this week and I have to be careful of my diet and stress to prevent getting sick during these times in my experience. As such, I have been working on ingredients and recipes to send my husband since he has to do this week’s shopping. I thought I would share some of that process and thinking and maybe a couple total recipes. Usually, I work of a concept or culture not a specific recipe so it can adjust to what I have and my time/tools available. – this may be a bit long with the lists and recipes.

from healthnutrix.com
from healthnutrix.com
Resistance tea from sunshineandthekiltedchris.blogspot.com
Resistance tea from sunshineandthekiltedchris.blogspot.com

First, let’s look at the basic ideas I am considering:

Immune system and flavor family – that is where this started

I need foods that boost my immune system and I need cultures that fit the ingredients I have or need.

Dealing with flu, cold, and similar things the first things that come up on food lists are the following, among others.

From Healthy Living
From Healthy Living
  • Mushrooms – usually the stronger flavor dark ones like shiitake, minaki, and reichi.
  • Ginger – fresh is recommended not dried, there are pastes available also
  • Garlic – again fresh is best, dried doesn’t really work for this
  • Carrots – the finer you chop them the faster they cook – this is something my mother taught me cook food faster to keep more in it when working on immunity. Slower if in liquid you are going to eat like soup.
  • Egg yolk – I usually use the whole egg – personal preference
  • Lemongrass – useful in everything from drinks to dinner, desert to breakfast
  • Yogurt – unsweetened Greek is best
  • Chicken
  • Fish – they usually recommend salmon but most would work for this
  • Cinnamon – interesting
  • Dark greens like kale or beetOld worn and scratched cutting board. Perfect background or texture.
  • Red peppers – the hot ones
  • Red onion – sometimes I see green onion
  • Tomatoes – especially vine

 

Ok, so that is the basic list we start with and we have to add a few things I know I have at home or want because it is in best season at the farmer’s market. There is more but these are specifics I want to use.

  • Fresh black eyed and purple hulled peas (soooo much better than dried)
  • Winter squashes – acorn, pumpkin, and several others are in now – pretty much all interchangeable in recipes
  • Black rice
  • Curry
  • Coconut milk (can use instead of yogurt or milk in many things)
  • Frozen berries
  • Nuts
  • Spices

 

from www.freesurvivalist.com
from http://www.freesurvivalist.com

This leads us to what to do with them and I think Thai is my major focus first but Moroccan, Indian, and Chinese among others may have ideas.

First I modified a Thai soup recipe for a good chicken soup a roommate made me in Hawaii – she was Korean and made some great food for when you were sick. The prep is from a cooking light recipe but I modified the ingredient list to fit my preference and pantry.

My notes are here and by ingredients. I left prep alone you can modify depending on what you have. This is based on a Thai chicken soup recipe. You can add anything you want really, as long as the basic stock is there. This makes enough for a couple days, can use for lunch if you don’t want soup for dinner. Rice or pasta with it or alone all work. Squash would be good with this. A citrus based desert with little sugar recommended.

12 ounces Mushrooms quartered

also from healthy living
also from healthy living

3 lemongrass stalks, bottom two-thirds of tender inner bulbs only, thinly sliced (if not there try lemon zest or something)

4 cloves garlic, chopped (can add if not strong smelling)

1 (4 inch) piece fresh ginger root, chopped (see if we have some, it would be old so would need more)

 4 cups chicken broth (vegetable broth also works but we may have some)

 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

 2 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs cut into chunks (any chicken)

from www.10and9.com
from http://www.10and9.com

2 teaspoons red curry paste – I may not have this, I may only have the Indian yellow or green

 3 tablespoons fish sauce – if you can’t get this, juice from a can of tuna would work ok – bit different but ok

 1 lime, juiced – and another 1 lime, cut into wedges, for serving

 2 (14 ounce) cans coconut milk

 1 red onion, sliced

 1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped (add more to serve fresh with it)

1 fresh jalapeno pepper, sliced into rings – can do another if desired

 

from Real Simple
from Real Simple

PREP

15 mins

COOK

1 hr

READY IN

1 hr 15 mins Directions

Stir lemon grass, garlic, and ginger together in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Stir in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.

Strain chicken broth and set aside. Discard lemon grass, garlic, and ginger.

Heat vegetable oil in a large soup pot over medium heat; Stir in chicken; cook and stir for 5 minutes.

Stir in mushrooms and cook for 5 more minutes.

from blog.wellwisdom.com
from blog.wellwisdom.com

Stir in red curry paste, fish sauce, and lime juice until combined. Stir in chicken broth and coconut milk; return to a simmer and cook on low for 15 to 20 minutes.

Skim off any excess oil and fat that rises to the top and discard.

Stir red onion into the chicken mixture; cook and stir until onion softens, about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and add about 1/2 the cilantro.

Serve with plates of cilantro, lime wedges, and fresh sliced jalapenos.

 

 

After that I began to make combos, this is my personal recipe method.

I make a list of ingredients or flavors I want to use and try and then I come up with various ways to combine and cook them.

The following is 2 combo lists based on the previous discussion process.

Combo 1

From Epicurius
From Epicurius

 

  • Fresh Peas – black eyed or purple hull
  • Carrots – cut small or thin
  • Mushrooms – dark
  • Onion – red
  • Cilantro or parsley
  • Ginger – fresh or paste
  • Garlic
  • Chicken or salmon
  • Squash – acorn or pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • Mint
  • Yogurt or coconut milk
  • Coriander
  • Mustard seed
  • Red pepper

 

from www.nutritionletter.tufts.edu
from http://www.nutritionletter.tufts.edu

Combo 2

  •  Mushroom
  • Rice
  • Cilantro
  • Garlic
  • Edamame
  • Carrot
  • Egg
  • Onion
  • Shrimp
  • Possible
    • Pork
    • Fresh peas

 

 

So now we have a base of ingredients and a shopping list; what do we do with it?

The nice thing about doing it this way is I can adapt to time and the form I have ingredients in.

from healthnutrix.com
from healthnutrix.com
  • I can bake it using the chicken as the main ingredient
  • I can make lettuce wraps using the greens
  • Stir fry or fried rice is easy with this combo
  • Using a grill is good with either skewers or a basket
  • Soup is easy and doesn’t have to have a main ingredient same as skewers or stir fry
  • One pan dishes are an option or I can use them in small groups in a couple dishes to serve together.
  • I can also use some of them in tea or other drinks for meals.
  • I love soups like pumpkin soups and these are good mixes for that