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Hi! My name is La Tache and I am a new-ish wife and I love to cook! I grew up in a home where most every meal was home-prepared and we would all eat together. That being said, I hardly helped my mom in the kitchen, she is a very particular cook (I guess that is where I get my habits), so when I left for college I was pretty happy to have the Housing Dining Center (I know, have you ever heard anyone admit to that?!)
The summer after my first year of college, my mom would teach “cooking” classes for my high school friends and I. She taught us the basics: spaghetti sauce, chicken, vinaigrette dressings, Caesar salads, burritos, and chili – you know, all of the things that you first learned to cook. She would tell us the menu and before she got home, we would have everything peeled, chopped and ready to go so we could get cookin’! At the end of the summer, we had all of our parents over and we made them a beautiful spread of yummy foods! We all went back to college for our second year ready and with a full recipe book! (Thanks Mom!)
Alright, fast forward to about 2 years ago when I started living with my husband. We moved in together and had the “How do we want to eat moving forward” talk. We decided that, whenever possible, we wanted to buy and eat organic food and make a point of making the snack foods we craved – if we wanted hummus, let’s make our own, etc. This is much easier said than done, especially when you are working and involved in the community, but we made it work!
Now, fast forward to about 6 months ago, when we decided that we were going to cut down on our meat intake – no, that does not mean milk and cheese 😉 – just meat itself.We made this decision for environmental reasons. Research it through lots of sites, read articles defending both sides, get educated! Anywho, this dietary change has prompted a whole new outlook on food for us. I grew up in a meat eating family – so if I am not eating meat, what do we eat?? This is where pinterest has come in handy! It is introduced me to new food ideas and for the most part, everything has turned out great!
For me and my schedule, I have to menu/recipe plan. I head over to my handy-dandy google calendar and I map out our menu for the week. I be sure not to have too many recipes from one food group in the same week, ie. We only have pasta/carbs 1-2times per week – because we all know what carbs do once digested! Now I am sure you are wondering, “Where do you get your protein?” Great question, reader! We eat a lot of beans, legumes, grains and other high protein foods!
While planning our weekly menu, I jot down what ingredients I need to buy at the store and grocery shop on Wednesdays. While I am taking notes, I have to remember to only get enough ingredients for dinner and leftover lunches, for two. Does anyone else have this problem? Recipes are for an entire football team and you are only cooking for 2? We will sometimes have leftovers for an entire week – and who likes that?! I also have to double check on the total time for the particular meal. My husband always gives me a hard time because I choose this intricate and labor intensive meals for a night that I get home late from work and have a 2-hour meeting (or something like that) and we end up eating dinner at 10:30 at night! So, I have been working on choosing menu items that don’t require a lot of work or I prep over the weekend for those labor intensive meals that just look oh.so.good – ie. I roast the veggies over the weekend, make that pasta sauce, and prep dishes so all I have to do is throw it together and sauté it, or pop it in the oven.
When grocery shopping, did you know that Wednesday nights are one of the best days to shop because usually grocery stores restock on Tuesday nights! Also, most stores will deploy their coupons/update their sale items to begin on Wednesdays as well. For me, I need to have a list of ingredients or else I will have to go to the same grocery store 3 times because I forgot “key” ingredients.
On that note, as you get more comfortable in the kitchen, you will find that you don’t have those “key” ingredients and learn what you can substitute for it, or what you think would taste better in the recipe – only you know what you and your family like best. I find myself doctoring recipes all of the time! Don’t be nervous – cooking is so easy to change up the recipes and there is a lot of room for playing! Baking, on the other hand, is a whole different story!
Another tip, from my kitchen to yours, use the microwave only for the time 😉
Homemade cooking can be very simple. Learn the basics, and then recipe plan. Don’t bite off more than you can chew – no pun intended – and have fun with it! I know it may seem like a daunting task, but as long as you follow the instructions (not necessarily the ingredients), you will be fine and eating delicious foods!
I just started a food blog Weir Homemade. Check it out and enjoy!
See one of my most recent recipes below.
Quinoa with Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Leeks and Slivered Almonds
This was soo good!
I have come to love leeks!
I cooked the quinoa in 1/2 water and 1/2 chicken stalk.
I know that a Brussels sprout stalk looks intimidating, but don’t let it fool you! Just cut off the sprouts and toss the stalk out!
I only use the white and lightest green parts of the leek.
I used whole almonds that I chopped up, instead of blanched/slivers almonds.
After I roasted the veggies, I poured a balsamic reduction that I had made a few weeks ago over the top.
It added a little sweetness to the dish.
Added in the parsley and voila!
This dish was delicious and ever tasty cold the next day in my lunch!
Melissa Schollaert is a Holistic Health & Nutrition Counselor and founder of Real Nutritious Living. Helping others achieve their health goals to attain their healthiest, happiest life is her greatest ambition.