Home Cooking for Your Health

Posted by on Apr 29, 2013 in Cooking at Home, On My Soapbox, Wellness Ideas | 0 comments

I recently read an article in the New York Times where two of my favorite writers covered one of my favorite topics: cooking. Not a celebrity chef cooking but US cooking in our homes.

Here’s one of my favorite quotes from the article … “[Michael Pollan] says: “Cooking is probably the most important thing you can do to improve your diet. What matters most is not any particular nutrient, or even any particular food: it’s the act of cooking itself. People who cook eat a healthier diet without giving it a thought. It’s the collapse of home cooking that led directly to the obesity epidemic.”

In my house the main cook is my husband. His grandfather was a chef / short order cook /restaurant owner. He learned to cook because that’s how the division of labor worked when he was growing up. He was bad at waking everyone up in the morning, so his sister took over those duties. And he took over her duties in the kitchen. And thus … he loves to cook. Early in our marriage I did some regular cooking, but after a year or two we discovered that everyone was happier when he cooked most of the time. I know I am super lucky! Not only does Cris like to cook … he makes delicious, interesting meals!

Cris especially loves to cook for a crowd!

Cris especially loves to cook for a crowd!

Given this situation, I especially thought it was interesting when the article quotes Pollan saying, “We need to complete that uncomfortable conversation about the division of domestic labor, which the food industry deftly exploited to sell us processed food,” he says. “But if we’re going to rebuild a culture of cooking, it can’t mean returning women to the kitchen. We all need to go back to the kitchen.”

Although Cris and I are invested in being healthy, we don’t count calories or obsessively exercise. And most of our health-indicating blood tests come back in the “healthy” range most of the time. We believe it’s because we rarely eat food just from boxes or drive-up windows. In fact, I’d estimate that 90% of our food is home-cooked.

Contrast this lifestyle with some folks I know. For example, I have a massage client who has never used her stove in the 7 years since she bought it. One day I was talking to the friend who helps us keep our house clean (super grateful for her help too!) about how much work it can be to clean our kitchen. I happened to ask her if this was pretty common among her clients. She said that as many of her clients don’t cook as do cook. Wow!

One of my favorite wellness authors, Marc David, says this in his Eater’s Agreement:

“I recognize that at its deepest level eating is an affirmation of life. Each time I eat I agree somewhere inside to continue life on earth. I acknowledge that this choice to eat is a fundamental act of love and nourishment, a true celebration of my existence.”

Don’t you love that idea? Our fridge has an important sticker on it … too important for the car bumper. It says, “Love People. Cook Them Tasty Food.” Even if you are just cooking for yourself today, aren’t you worth that love??

 

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Fabulous GF Cornbread

Posted by on Feb 3, 2013 in Cooking at Home, Gluten Free, Recipes | 0 comments

If you were considering going gluten free, what would be the hardest food item to give up? My guess is that at least 50% of us would say bread! Tasty gluten-free bread is the Holy Grail of the GF eater. Either the bread crumbles before it reaches your mouth, or it is just to bland to even swallow. My strategy has been to find non-bread items to replace the outsides of my sandwiches with – for example, a GF wrap or tortilla. It keeps my disappointment level to a minimum. But there are some days when nothing but a bite or three of bread will satisfy!

A client of mine shared this terrific recipe with me. She is vegan and also eats mostly gluten free. I have to say this is probably the best gluten free bread I have tasted. Of course, you can’t make a sandwich with it … but it tastes and feels EXACTLY like cornbread made with white flour. The recipe is modified from one in Jane Brody’s Good Food Gourmet.

Here's the 8 x 8 pan version.

Here’s the 8 x 8 pan version.

 

 GF Cornbread

1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup millet flour (or 1/2 cup millet flour and 1/2 cup sorghum flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
3 tablespoons oil (can replace with 3 tablespoons apple sauce)
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
1 cup buttermilk (or non-dairy milk of your choice)
1 egg (for vegan, replace with 2 tablespoons ground flax and 2 tablespoons water)

Mix dry ingredients gently. Add wet ingredients and mix thoroughly. Pour into a greased 8 x 8 inch pan.

If using oil: Bake at 425° for 20 minutes or until golden brown and tester comes out clean.
If using apple sauce: Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until golden brown and tester comes out clean.

Can be used to make corn muffins (makes about 11). Bake muffins at same temperatures for a few minutes less or until golden brown and tester comes out clean.

And these are the finished muffins!

And these are the finished muffins!

Let me know what you think when you try the recipe!

 

Looking for support in going Gluten Free? The best way to determine what program is right for you is scheduling a FREE 45-minute initial health and wellness consultation. Simply call or email me today to get started!

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The Great Rhubarb Juice Experiment

Posted by on May 17, 2011 in Cooking at Home | 3 comments

 

I think there are certain foods I love because they remind me of my childhood. Rhubarb is one of these foods. My dad had an organic garden back in the 60s and 70s … and it flourished! I remember huge rhubarb plants and hundreds of zucchini every summer. Over the last few years, I’ve rediscovered the joys of rhubarb. And I finally have a little rhubarb plant in my garden, courtesy of a client whose plant got large enough to share.

I usually find my rhubarb at the farmer’s markets or sometimes friends give me stalks because they know I love it! I think even the stalks are beautiful. Some are pale green, but the “traditional” color is more of a dark ruby red. However, rhubarb is poisonous when raw … so never, ever eat it without cooking!

It’s great to make a strawberry rhubarb crisp or pie – they just taste like summer to me. I’ve found lower sugar recipes that bring out the tart flavor of the fruit. But I’ve always heard that rhubarb must be cooked with some type of sugar to break down. Wrong, wrong, wrong!

I recently saw a link to a recipe for Rhubarb Juice, and I think this is a fantastic way to enjoy rhubarb flavor without added sugar. It’s super easy to make and has a couple of different uses. Plus the article includes some additional links to other rhubarb recipe ideas.

First you chop up your rhubarb. Then cover it with water in a saucepan and boil until the rhubarb is soft. This took my small batch about 10 minutes, so watch it closely. The original recipe suggests you include a split vanilla bean in the boiling process, but I didn’t have one handy. It still works … and you could add a teaspoon of vanilla extract to the completed juice if you choose.

Once the rhubarb is soft, use a strainer to drain the juice and collect the pulp. I have to say, the pulp from my mostly green rhubarb stalks was pretty ugly. But the juice is a beautiful pale pink.

If you taste the juice by itself, it’s quite tart. But take about a tablespoon and put it into a glass of water. The flavor is lovely! Or take the juice and freeze it into small cubes.

I’m also planning to use the pulp in banana smoothies. I did something similar to this last summer and liked the flavor combination of sweet with tart.

Enjoy this wonderful fruit in a whole new way this year!

 

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