I’m starting off the year by still wearing the same clothes I wore for the past couple of days, which means I’m wearing the same clothes as last year – hehe. It’s just been one, or two, or three of those days.
All good though, because my lack of changing into clean clothes meant more time for me to plan our move abroad, in the sort-of (not sort-of) near future. So much more detail on that throughout the year as we plan our epic adventure, and OMG I’m beyond excited to Worldschool Kamea.
In other news, I am not loving my dark hair and feel the need for some highlights… And… I’m becoming a Hands Free Mama to spend more quality time with my daughter and husband.
Being a Hands Free Mama means more active listening and less thinking about snacks while people talk to me. Or, maybe that’s just plain being polite.
I stumbled upon this author’s website last week and it hit home.
I immediately started implementing the ideas.
I took my Hands Free Mama-ness seriously when I
forced shined a smile while Kamea threw those pom-things everywhere and rolled in them, scattering them even more. My old normal reaction of, “Ok ok, cute, um ok can we clean those up now?” was put on hold for a good ten minutes while I played with her. Rolling in poms.
Sadly (because I didn’t do this with her until now) yet excitedly (cuz I see how I can be in the future), Kamea had one of the best times of her life giggling into fits as we played with the poms on the floor.
We will have a lot more funny crazy moments.
Case in point.
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
I know I’m probably a bit weird, though I know I can’t be totally alone, when I say that I get super excited at the farmers’ market. Seeing all of that fresh organic produce, quite frankly, makes me want to pee my pants. (I’m the same in a bookstore.)
You’re probably not surprised though, after I shared with you how I can’t get enough of scratch cooking. It’s my passion.
This past week, I was particularly smitten by those gorgeous carrots you see above.
And, then there was this purple sweet potato that I had to cut into wedges and roast with ghee, garlic, rosemary, spices, and sea salt.
- Ghee Rubbed Roasted Carrots – Keeping It Simple
- My Favorite Way to Roast Brussel Sprouts (with carrots. Oh, and onions)
- Rosemary Infused Purple Cauliflower Mash – It’s Purrrrrty
- Roasted Asparagus w Blood Orange (a strangely hypnotic fruit)
- I Used My Soup-Making Genes From Dad For This Roasted Cauliflower n Carrot Soup Recipe
I’m watching Cooked, the documentary series on Netflix featuring Michael Pollan, and I was inspired to share my life with respect to some of the ideas presented in the show.
Namely, home cooked meals.
My family eats most of our meals at home, and almost all of them are made from scratch.
Scratch cooking means the meals are made from fresh ingredients. Therefore, we don’t eat a lot of meals made from ingredients that are pre-cooked or processed, except a few (canned sardines/tuna, organic salsa, BBQ sauce, etc).
Sadly, it’s not what’s going on in most American homes anymore. Michael Pollan points out in Cooked that as the amount of time cooking went down, obesity went up. I’m not surprised.
Maybe I’m a bit strange, but I get such a rush from cooking this way. I think making meals from scratch is beautiful, especially when I’m connected to my food by knowing my farmer, fisherman, and rancher. When I cut into an orange that was grown in my mom’s yard, and the light hits it just right so I see the misty spray coming from the peel, and I smell the intense aroma… I get chills from the thrill.
In fact, my Amazon wish list is filled with pots, quality utensils, and other kitchen gadgets I want in my collection. When a birthday or holiday comes around, I ask for these things. Do I ask for clothes, purses, or shoes? No. I ask for a Le Creuset pot or a fancy ice cream machine or a beautiful salt collection.
I’ll admit not every meal I make is a success, in spite of the time I put into it. I also recognize that making all of these meals isn’t always easy. I experience a large part of my life in the kitchen preparing food, shopping for food, cleaning up after cooking (there are so many dishes to wash!). But… At least I know what’s in my food. I approve of the ingredients. I don’t have to wonder.
Scratch cooking, for me, was a process that occurred over the years as I learned more and became more confident in the kitchen. I took classes, I asked mom and dad questions, I read cookbooks, and I practiced. I didn’t read just any books on food though, I read books about how to shop for produce, what spices go well together, and the science behind cooking.
As a result, my comfort level in the kitchen has grown tremendously. For the most part, I can fix my messes, and if I can’t, I still know the meal was made with wholesome organic ingredients, which compensates for any culinary mishaps, at least in my opinion.
My meals are pure, organic, and prepared just the way I want. And, aside from the obvious nutrition reasons, it comes back to Chop Wood Carry Water for me. I enjoy the process. The kitchen draws me in… if I’m not making something I’ll find something to make.
I’m excited to share my newest Kindle ebook, Matcha Hacks, 55 Clever Recipes for Adding Matcha to Your Life for Energy, Health & Longevity.
As you know, I love matcha green tea powder.
We drink it because matcha green tea powder gives us a luscious energy and makes us feel so good. It makes us mentally alert, while feeling calm and chill at the same time. So good. It also has a powerful punch of nutritional benefits from being anti-viral to anti-cancer to being an overall kickin’ superfood. It gives that extra edge.
In my quest to inject more matcha into my life, I have taken matcha beyond its traditional role as merely a tea by creating these 55 recipes for adding matcha as an ingredient to all kinds of foods, including smoothies, soups, sides, salads, desserts, breakfast, snacks, condiments, beverages (tea and non-tea), and even beauty mask recipes!