Finding recipes that fit

I just finished an absolutely delicious lunch,  plus it was healthy and wasn’t a lot of work. The one drawback is that my family doesn’t share my enthusiasm for it.

Sunday lunch is usually leftovers or sandwiches, so I figured it was a good time to experiment with something that they might not care for. I had cooked myself a batch of quinoa week before last, and it was reasonably good-tasting but not wonderful. This time I wanted to try Dr. Ann’s recipe for Quinoa Plus 4 P’s. The one ingredient I didn’t have was fresh parsley, so mine is actually Quinoa Plus 3 P’s. But it was so good I see no reason to add the parsley.

I’m not sure just what made it so great. The chicken broth I cooked the quinoa in? The addition of a spoonful of olive oil? The toasted pine nuts? (First I had to find instructions for toasting pine nuts, which turned out to be pretty easy.) The peas? The grated parmesan cheese? My husband took a taste and said it wasn’t bad, but nothing special. I disagree – it really is good.

Along with my bowl of quinoa, I also had some veggies with hummus, and a Jonamac apple. I just made a new batch of hummus yesterday, and I think it’s my best so far. I’m not sure if it was the fresh garlic instead of powdered (last week I used fresh but used a bit too much, as well as using too much lemon juice), or the fact that I’m getting to the bottom of my jar of tahini, where it turns out that perhaps I needed to have stirred it a few more times, because it’s thicker at the bottom. At any rate, the new batch is delicious – but no one else wants any.

I find myself wondering, Am I becoming like my mother? You have to understand that I have never wanted to be like her. She seemed to revel in offending people with her coarse language and her refusal to follow societal norms in dress and behavior. She was fanatical in her beliefs about health and religion and argued stridently against anyone who challenged those beliefs. She hated making decisions, virtually demanded frequent displays of affection, and tended to wallow in self-pity. And she insisted on eating her own foods, even when a guest at someone else’s table.

Now here I am eating hummus on a regular basis, baking with whole wheat flour and no white sugar and even slipping in some flax-seed (I made a loaf of zucchini bread yesterday), buying “special” eggs (with Omega-3), making my own yogurt, and serving dishes made from foods most people haven’t heard of (quinoa). I look at a chocolate chip cookie (at fellowship hour at church) and think not “mmm, delicious” or “too bad it has too many calories,” but “just think how it would mess with my blood sugar and insulin levels.”

I don’t plan to let me concern for healthy foods become an obsession (in a bad way), however. Friday evening (while my husband was in NC for his aunt’s funeral), I took Al to Burger King for a special treat. I chose apple “fries” (raw apples cut like french fries) over french fries and skipped the free soft serve ice cream cone, but I did try a California Whopper Jr. (though if I were to get one again I’d ask them to leave off the mayo). I can still go to a pot luck dinner and enjoy a variety of foods without worrying about what’s in them.

I also have no intention of eschewing all commercially processed foods. I discovered that it’s pretty easy to cook fresh tomatoes with sliced zucchini, but a can of Italian style stewed tomatoes tastes just fine if I don’t have fresh. I use canned garbanzo beans to make my hummus, as I’ve never done well with recipes that start with soaking dry beans. I buy frozen peas, and after one attempt at grating my own parmesan cheese I went back to buying it already grated.

Some recipes I’ve tried are not “keepers.” A couple of weeks ago I bought a half head of red cabbage, without knowing quite what I’d do with it. I looked up recipes online, and finally decided on braised cabbage – especially as I also had a red onion to use up. The resulting dish really didn’t taste bad, but I can’t get excited about anything that smells like sauerkraut.

Any recipe with too many ingredients doesn’t even get past a first reading. I’m just not going to try to stock all those ingredients in my kitchen, as I’d have trouble using them up while they are still fresh (even dry foods have a “best used by” date). I don’t try recipes that require double boilers or candy thermometers, or otherwise seem to require a degree of delicacy or precision that I don’t have the ambition to aim for.

I like “forgiving” recipes. Like being able to leave out the fresh parsley from my quinoa dish. Most soups allow for a lot of variation – after all, from what I understand soups were originally made by throwing in whatever was left over from recent meals. I remembered yesterday, halfway through mixing up my zucchini bread, that I had finished off the cinnamon in my oatmeal at breakfast. If I make the bread again I’ll make sure I have cinnamon, but a mix of cloves, nutmeg, and allspice certainly didn’t ruin it, even if it is a bit blander than I would like (and I generally like bland).

Healthy, not too expensive, and easy – that rules out a lot of foods. Oh, and it has to taste good. That rules out some more. I just need to find a bunch more that are as good as my hummus and my 3P Quinoa.

One Response to Finding recipes that fit

  1. modestypress says:

    Watch out. You may end up moving onto a little farmstead as we did, raising chickens, and growing your own vegetables. Our neighbors did, and they are devout Christians (if you accept ELCA Lutherans who are tolerant of gays and lesbians) as Christians.

    Not sure all your family would get on board.

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