Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Reader Advice Day: Aspiring Nutritarian Doesn't Like to Spend Time in the Kitchen

It's time again for another installment of my favorite type of blog posting: Reader Advice Day.

I think we can all benefit from the answers to this reader's concern:

"Hi! Thanks for all your work . . . I have a couple of questions for you. First, Can you tell me where to find the cookie recipe you mentioned today? Secondly, I'm not a person who likes to spend a lot of time in the kitchen naturally. I'm having trouble coming up with a menu for my family that my kids and hubbie will eat. Hubbie has just agreed to try Eat to Live as I'm starting out but he can be a tough sell. My kids are 22 months and 4. Baby girl will eat almost anything but my son has become a picky eater of late. Help! Any suggestions?

Thanks for any help you can provide."

First off, here's the "cookie" recipe that Sharon McRae gave me, but I warn you, these don't taste like any "cookie" you have ever had! Your kids might like them, but mine wouldn't even try them. My husband was not a fan, but I thought they were great. To each his own I guess!

Healthy Breakfast "Cookie"
makes 12 small cookies

1.5 cups of Oats
2 to 3 Ripe Bananas (lots of black spots)
1 cup of unsweetened applesauce
a handful of dried fruit (think dried cranberries, dried cherries, dried blueberries, raisins, currants)
a dash of of cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a cookie sheet by lining it with parchment paper.

Peel bananas and place in a bowl. Mash with a masher or fork (I love my avocado masher!).

Stir in remaining ingredients.

Place a heaping tablespoon of batter onto the lined cookie sheet and pat down with the back of the spoon. Repeat until all of your batter is on the cookie sheet. You should have about 12 cookies.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.


HGK Reader, consider yourself lucky that your children are so young and can still be influenced. You can start them on this path right now and never look back. Your children will be healthy and well fed on a simple diet of fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains (think oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa and whole wheat or brown rice pasta), white and sweet potatoes, and nuts and seeds.

As far as your larger issue goes, my advice would be to keep it really simple on most days. I've written a lot on the subject of how to keep your family fed while not driving yourself crazy, but the reality is that this does take a certain amount of time and consistent effort in the kitchen each week. Since you don't love being in the kitchen, I think you owe it to yourself to collect enough really simple meal ideas to get you through at least one week, and then you can repeat those ideas every week.

No Recipe Required
Maybe your kids won't eat the finished product, but they very likely would eat the base ingredients you are prepping while you and your husband can enjoy the final product.

(1) Simple Wraps
Start with a whole grain tortilla and spread some hummus or avocado on it. Stuff it with salad greens and other raw or cooked veggies or any leftovers that you might have in your fridge. I especially love this with a veggie burger like this example.

(2) Stuffed Sweet or White Potatoes
This seems to be a bit of a mini craze on the Internet. Here, here and here are links (omit any oil or Earth Balance in the recipes) to stuffed sweet potatoes. They look gorgeous and tasty, don't they?

(3) Meal Sized Salads
You're going to need The Big List of No-Oil Salad Dressings and this blog post to get yourself educated.

(4) Rice and Beans
It doesn't get any simpler than that. Brown rice of course. Any beans you have on hand. Throw some spices in and make it even more filling and nutritious by serving it with a big helping of steamed greens (think kale, Swiss chard or spinach).

(5) One Bowl Pasta or Brown Rice or Quinoa with Veggies and Beans
Load this baby with more beans and veggies than grain and you are all good to go. The pasta, brown rice or quinoa can be more like a condiment to the veggie and bean loaded mix that you are creating. Examples include Chef Aj's Quinoa Salad with Currants and Pistachios, or just make up your own simple blends like this:
  • Cook a grain
  • Throw in a can of rinsed and drained salt-free beans (kidney, black, garbanzo, black-eyed peas, cannellini, etc.)
  • Cook a frozen vegetable (or two) and throw those in (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, corn, kale, spinach, etc.)
  • Sprinkle some seasoning over the top (seasoning blends work great for this--think Southwest, Italian, Moroccan, etc.--you can get these just about everywhere these days but Penzey's is a great source

(6) Jeff Novick's Series
And don't forget to check out Jeff Novick's videos: Fast Food Shopping School and Fast Food Volume I and II-Burgers and Fries. They are an invaluable resource when learning how to stay on a Whole Food Plant Based diet easily and cheaply!

Some Recipe Required

Soups and Stews
Yes, these take a little bit of effort, usually on the weekend, but the payoff lasts all week! Here are some examples to get you started on your soup making journey: Sweet and Sour Cabbage SoupEnergy SoupCurried Cauliflower Soup, and Split Pea and Barley Soup. Once you and your husband decide that you are totally in love with soup, consider purchasing an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker so that you can make soup in a fraction of the time.

What's your advice for someone who doesn't love to be in the kitchen and wants to feed her family the healthy way? To leave a comment/view the comments, please click on the title of this post (the orange text above).
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