I love to cook. Always have. I'm not sure which I love more: the end result or the whole process. Something about slicing, dicing, squeezing, sauteing. It's peaceful to me. I love the colors, the textures, the smells. While some women dream of Louis Vuitton bags and diamonds, I have a dream kitchen in mind. Oh, the thought of all the counter space, gas stove, tall pantry with glass doors, deep double sided sink and an island in the middle really gets me going. For now, my 1970s kitchen that overlooks the garden works just fine. And that just goes to show, granite counters and Viking appliances don't make the meal, a whole lot of love does. And I've got that. Okay, but let's get real. Cooking is generally not so romantic. Most of us have kids pulling on our leg, babies crying, water boiling over, and hungry mouths that we just need to feed. I know. But still, I fight for it. I try to plan our meals in advance, prep what I can when the girls nap and set them up with something fun while I put it all together. Most nights they watch me cook with a smile on my face. Most nights.
I think half the battle is deciding what to cook. Whether you're a wannabe chef like me or hate cooking but still have to feed your family, we've all been there. It's 4:00 p.m. and you're wondering what to make for dinner. You stroll down the supermarket aisles clueless, tired, hungry, a little annoyed and end up grabbing take-out. Been there. The dinner rut is no fun. While there are a bazillion recipes online, that alone makes it a bit overwhelming. One of my favorite go-to sites is Whole Foods. They have an incredible recipe section. It's super user-friendly and they have tons of great recipes to chose from (with pictures). I also like the way you can search for recipes by dietary needs (gluten free, dairy free, low fat, vegan, etc) or by category like kid-friendly, entertaining, etc. You can even create your own recipe box for all your favorites. I have made several of their recipes over the years and they're almost always a hit. For some reason, they're also super quick and relatively inexpensive, which you wouldn't expect if you've ever shopped at Whole Foods.
Tonight I made a vegetarian chili (courtesy of Whole Foods). It's a family favorite that I make at least twice a month. Most people don't realize the "meat" is tofu - yup, it's that good (not that tofu isn't yummy, but you know what I mean).
I wanted to do something a little different with our veggies tonight so I grabbed some of the beet tops, kale and swiss chard that we harvested over the weekend, chopped them up, and sauteed them in a little olive oil, garlic, crushed red peppers and a touch of butter. Yum! I like my cooked veggies a little crunchy so I literally cooked them for less than 30 seconds.
Check it out. So fast, easy, and yummy. And believe me I'm honest about the way things taste. If something tastes like dirt, it tastes like dirt. I'm not going to smile and pretend it's delicious. Don't get me wrong, I'll still eat (or drink) it because it's good for me (and I try not to gag in front of the kids). Anyway, the point is, this was yummy. No lie. :)
Here's to a little more love and inspiration in your kitchen.