Friday, 10 August 2012

What's for Dinner?

How many times do you come home after a long day and grumble at the thought of having to come up with something quick and healthy to make in as little time as possible? If you're like me, every day of the week! I work part-time, am physically active and always try to have a social life in between...I'm going back to school soon and I'm really anticipating having to make my quick go-to recipes most times I need to cook.

So, you have a bunch of things at home, but they're all kind of random and you have no idea what to do with them to make a proper meal. Here are some rules I live by.

1. Ask yourself what you are craving
For example, some days I'll be craving some nice, healthy, complex carbs to really satiate my hunger. I have urges for noodles a lot. So I may start my base as a noodle dish and then decide what kind of flavours I'm craving: Sweet or savory? Creamy or light? Do I want to add some protein or just some steamed veggies today? Let your tummy be your guide and then you can decide what spices and sauces to add to your dish from there.

2. But I don't have any scallions...
So, let's say you're craving one of your faaaave dishes you make all the time. Let's say it's a leek and potato soup. But you have no leeks. Well, just go for something in the same fam and you will surely still get a pleasant (maybe better?!) result! Try using green onion, add some more veggies in there and throw in whatever else tickles your fancy. If you're usually not experimental, I would say stick with similar flavours and quantities of what you're making. But if you're bold and don't mind experimenting, throw new stuff into your recipe as you please!

3. Find new uses for old faves
I love coconut. It's my Frank's - I put that sh*t on everything! So let me try weird and experimental stuff with it...maybe throw it shredded on a sweet potato, coconut water in my fruit juice, or marinating my tofu with coconut milk and some other spices. Stepping outside your box with something you already love can be a lot less intimidating and a lot more're more likely to like the result.

4. Cut corners wherever you can, sista
Like I said, you're busy, you're tired, you just wanna EAT...And this damn recipe is saying "boil for 15-20 minutes"? Oh, hell no. Just look at your recipe and see what you can do to speed it up - No time to cook the lentils for your soup? Cut twenty minutes by buying them from a can (and rinsing them to take off all that icky extra salt). If a recipe calls for something to be boiled for a while just to soften it, such as sweet potatoes, you can just steam it - healthier and faster.

5. Repeat after me: do NOT be afraid!
So let's say you make something and it honestly tastes worse than cardboard...then so what? Do you have a pet? They would probably gladly eat your mistake! (Assuming it's a healthy and unprocessed vegan mistake. :)) If not, they do have composts here which will recycle it. And you learned something. Maybe adding shredded carrots to your Cheerios isn't a great idea.

Happy cooking! Remember - ask not what you can do for your food, but what your food can do for you. ;)

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