- fair-trade coffee
- raw sauerkraut
- chia seeds and hemp seeds
- bananas and apples
- coconut oil
- frozen berries
- frozen wild-caught sockeye salmon
- wild planet tuna in a can
In my quest to improve my cooking skills, I’ve come across a few books that have helped immensely. Call me a little geeky, but I read cookbooks like they’re treasured novels. They totally romance me. :)
The following books will definitely help make you a master in the kitchen. And, they make great gifts for the person who loves to cook, or for that person, who, ehem, might need some help.
The Flavor Bible – This award winning book is a best seller on Amazon.com and for good reason. Learning to mix flavors, in an easy-to-look-up format is extremely useful. You can look up complementary flavors and combinations for a particular ingredient. For example, over 100 are listed for oranges.
Melissa’s Great Book of Produce – My family eats a lot of produce and this book helped me learn how to recognize the produce, pick the best ones, cook them, and how to store them.
Herbs and Spices – Knowing how to use herbs and spices is a smart skill for improving cooking. Herbs and spices take any simple dish and elevate it to a party in your mouth. Not only that, but by mastering herbs and spices you can create an immense variety for everything from burgers to plain pasta dishes.
The Science of Good Cooking – A popular classic that breaks down the science of cooking. This is useful because learning how and why certain cuts and varieties of meats/vegetables/etc cook the way they do, gives you confidence in approaching anything you want to cook.
How to Cook Everything (The Basics) – This is the latest book I’m reading and I love it. It’s filled with easy recipes using ingredients most of us have on hand, and is filled with 1000 useful photos. Each recipe uses two pages where the final product is shown plus small photos of the various steps. Mark Bittman smartly includes tips for variations of ingredients and also tips of what not to do in some cases. I even found use for the recipes I didn’t care to make because they included tips or variations that were useful.
I REALLY enjoy this book and damn near tabbed every page. Once you make your way through the delicious recipes you will be a much improved (and confident) cook.
- A Choice to Eat Home Cooked Meals. I Love Scratch Cooking.
- Smoothies, Juices, Elixirs & Drinks – Now Available in Print!
- EASY Raw Vegan Recipe Books – Two More Available in Print
- Get Zen In Your Kitchen For The Ultimate Cooking Experience And The Best Food Ever.
- EASY Raw Vegan Transition Recipes – Book (and/or Ebook) Release! Now Available
This was my five year old daughter’s lunch.
- Vital Choice Sardines with mustard
- Kalamata black olives
- Organic blackberries
- Organic orange bell pepper
My lunch was the same, though my portion bigger. I opted for sardines at lunch as advanced penance for the pasta I plan to have at dinner. Mac-n-cheese to be exact (homemade at least, eh?).
Here’s a day in my life.
700 am Wake up naturally. Sometimes I oil pull at this time.
715 am Drink some spring water with organic lemon juice squeezed in. I’ve heard about people doing this forever. I never got into it… til now. I read recently that drinking it on an empty stomach does something to help digestion, which helps you better absorb nutrients from your food later. Interesting. Okay, I’ll try. (The rule is that it’s on an empty stomach and you don’t eat for about 30 minutes.)
717 am Rebounding to start moving, getting the kinks worked, blood flowing, and because it’s fun. (Bellicon is the best rebounder.)
740 am Brew Upgraded coffee in my groovy Technivorm coffee pot. While that’s brewing I get other ingredients ready to make Greg’s and my Bulletproof Coffee (Greg likes his in a cold shake form), or I grab my Bulletproof Frozen Cubes.
745 am Make Kamea’s breakfast (usually gently scrambled eggs – something like this)
When I look at my diet, sometimes I see the day going by without much in the way of vegetables. Cooked green vegetables, to be more specific.
After having Bulletproof Coffee Shake or my Bulletproof – ish Matcha Tea, I’m filled up for a bit. Then, I might toss down some raw (pasture-raised, of course) egg yolks like here. Sometimes an Upgraded Collagen Bar (<– we love those!) finds its way into my belly. Maybe some other snack-y things like sauerkraut and raw cheese, etc. Actually, sauerkraut is a veggie. ;)
Before you know it, I’m getting ready for dinner and I’m realizing that in the day I might have only had a serving or two of leafy greens or veggies.
It’s true, there are times I have a green smoothie or salad at lunch, but that’s not all the time. And besides, those are raw ingredients… with the green smoothie, I tend to make them with things like avocado, celery, cucumber, herbs, lemon or lime, and a light leafy green (romaine, broccoli sprouts, etc). That doesn’t help if I want to get some more (cooked!) dark leafy greens in my diet outside of dinner.
I found a solution.
I have an easy way to incorporate cooked, dark leafy greens in my diet (like in the picture above) more regularly.
We went to Art Cafe Hemingway for breakfast every day of our vacation (that they were open) on the verdant island, Kauai.
The food was that good.
The attention to detail and the flavors in their food were such that I savored every bite. Truly. Each forkful kept me mindful effortlessly.
I was at mom’s the other night with my daughter and it was time for dinner. I didn’t have too much planned, but I did want Kamea to have sardines (we try to eat them once a week, along with a meal or two of wild-caught salmon roe and a meal of wild-caught salmon).
She likes sardines enough, but it’s not like she loves them. I can’t blame her though I’ve come a long way in
loving appreciating them. I will say this… she likes pulling out the little spine of each one and munching on that separately. #Calcium. :)
Why do I modify my foods at restaurants? Probably because I won’t truly enjoy my meal if I don’t. Simply put: most restaurants aren’t cooking with ingredients or methods that optimize health (i.e., burgers on grills or health destroying oils like canola oil). I know you might think I’m a bit … errrr … extreme. Hello, my name is Kristen, have you met me?
Here’s a relatively quick lunch I threw together for Kamea.
We eat a lot of eggs (pasture-raised only) in our house, because they give us important nutrients for our brain (and body) – choline, retinol, vitamin E, vitamin D, and more. Oh yeah, they taste delicious, too. In fact, I was dreaming about scrambled eggs when I first considered leaving my vegan life behind and end that chapter of my life.
On this day, I had leftover roasted brussels sprouts (my favorite roasting method here), and decided they’d make a nice addition to an egg scramble.
Eggs are great any time of the day. Proof: I was watching Family Feud the other day and they surveyed 100 people to ask what food is good any time of the day. The answer? Eggs.
I have a very special place in my heart for lunches that are quickly put together. If I don’t get breaks in my day, for myself, then I’ll pull my hair out and scream. I’m no wonder woman or super mom. :) I do have some red boots, though, so I can pretend.
I’ve become quite comfortable putting quick meals together. This easy lunch is no exception, and it’s great for kids. Here’s a post I wrote with a bunch of other Real Food Fast Food ideas.
I find, more often than not, that I don’t worry about getting a fabulous lunch put together for my family. I usually spend more attention on breakfast and dinner. I let lunch be a little more flexible, cuz I just need to. Of course, that doesn’t mean I feed junk. It means having things that are easy to grab and put on a plate without much fuss. Okay, I admit, I fussed with the almond butter a tiny bit, but sometimes I can’t help myself. Don’t expect that of me every time though!