Monday, March 15, 2010

Jennie can cook and so can you

I don't really like to cook. I think I have made that abundantly clear here. That being said I cook daily. I don't use prepackaged foods because they taste nasty, not at all cost efficient, and full of God knows what. I care about my family and believe in actual food for them, not cutting corners that will add up later. I had some friends in high school and their mother was a manager at a local grocery store. I remember being at their house and listening to them complain about there being no food, just food parts in their kitchen. (I remember in high school as having way too much Dinty Moore in the house and then wondering why I always had stomachaches.) Annoying as it is as a teenager not to have loads of snacks to just munch on, it is better for your body. Having some food company put together your food for you may seem convenient but in reality you're not getting much but chemicals, corn and soy. I am not a fan of soy at all! So in the Jennie household it is "food parts" and we put them together. I don't have a problem doing this daily, others find it to be difficult. I have a friend who recently made a ton of meals on a Saturday and froze them all, to which I say good on ya' mate. But if you are ingesting something you may want to put some effort and thought into what it is you are actually ingesting. Especially if you have growing kids. You have to look at your life and decide is it more important to run errands for things you may more may not need on a Saturday or spend time making food for the week? You can make healthy meals for your family daily, it just takes a bit more thought. In my personal, not so humble opinion, it is worth it.

We eat a lot of beans around here, sometimes canned, sometimes dried. The dried ones you find in a bag taste so much better. You just have to soak them overnight.

Jennie's very easy bean soup recipe:

1. purchase bag o' mixed beans at grocery store (or buy bean mix in bulk)
2. soak said bean mix overnight which means put beans into dish (I do about two cups) cover with water
3. next morning pour off water and put beans in crock pot.
4. I put in a ham hock (please be picky about your meat people it was a living being, don't go buying nasty cured meats and tossing them in just because they are cheap, your body will thank you) or some bacon strips you could put in some left over bacon grease if you have it. This adds wonderful flavor to the beans. (If you are vegetarian, sorry you can add fake bacon maybe, not sure how good it would taste. If I don't add the little piggy I put in onions, diced tomatoes, garlic, salt (all to taste), and a bay leaf. It is still good, but there is something about pork and beans.)
5. I add vegetable stock to the beans between 4-6 cups. You could do water. I wouldn't do chicken or beef if you have the ham in there.
6. Leave it alone all day on low. About a half hour before you are to ready to get dinner ready throw in some greens, I like collards or kale. I've never tried spinach but collards and kale are incredibly good for you. They take awhile to cook but are really quite nice and not at all bitter. My picky three year old eats them when boiled plain. You make have to add a bit more liquid to get the greens to cook properly. The consistency I prefer is not soupy but more scoopable.
7. Voila you have dinner.
~Yes there is EVIL greasy pig product in here, it is for flavor, like anything a little goes a long way if you eat too much and then sit on your butt for a week you will gain weight, if you eat just enough and move around you probably won't.
If you serve the beans with rice (I like brown) you have a complete protein which means all of your amino acids are covered. Costco has a nice precooked brown rice bowls (ingredients are brown rice and water) and take 90 seconds to cook if you don't have time to cook brown rice or plain white rice. Or you can serve as a side and freeze the rest.

I think serving it with homemade bread is rather tasty. Homemade bread is quite simple to make but is rather temperamental.

Here is my bread recipe that I can get to work every time. That being said some days it takes longer to rise than others. Like last night it took three hours because it was snowing.

1 3/4 cup very cold water
1/4 cup olive oil
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1 3/4 tsp salt (don't leave out salt it won't rise well)
1 tbs of gluten *not sure if you have to do this at sea level but at altitude it really helps to add gluten. Sorry if you are gluten free, we don't have issue with it in the Jennie household so I use it in baking*
3 tbs of flax seed
*flax can be a little oily you may need to add a bit more flour*
There is no need to go to Whole Foods or similar to buy flax or gluten if that is not where you normally shop. I have seen both (Bob's Red Mill) at Walmart in the baking aisle.

I use a bread machine, but you could mix this together very easily, knead it and put it in a loaf pan. With the bread machine I let the bread machine mix and then when it is time to let the loaf rise I pull it out and put it in a pan. I am not a big fan of having the bread machine bake the bread. Depending on the weather it make take an hour to rise or like last night it may take three. Once it looks like an actual loaf in the pan it is time to bake. 450 degrees for 15-20 and it should be brown and crunchy on the top. Very easy, my kids love to help add the ingredients and then watch the bread maker mix.

None of this is difficult, if you cut out the processed food you WILL feel better. I certainly can tell a huge difference. Big food corporations are in it to make money and spend the least amount of money on the ingredients, they could care less about your family. Good health starts at home.

~For good nutrition info on beans and collars or any other food for that matter check out WH Foods. Also go rent Food Inc.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes, it really isn't that hard. Just planning. Beans are great and we love them too. I love my black beans and rice and use it as another meal where I cook an egg in olive oil and serve it over my beans and rice. Sprinkle a little Pimenton (spanish paprika) and it's VERY tasty. For a vegetable, I'll saute spinach and serve it too. I haven't seen Food Inc. yet, but it's on my list. - Melissa :)