I think that I am going to write a bestselling dieting book and I will just call it, “Leftovers and herbal tea” because I feel like when my diet is on track, that’s all I ever eat. And I was thinking to myself today that I’m really dialed into my diet and
Someone (who shall remain nameless) asked me today where I get my recipe ideas from, or whether I just cook meals from habit. First of all, I had to laugh at this question. How many times did I declare on this very blog that I do not cook? But… over the past year or so, that has definitely changed. So I thought I thought I’d share some of the places that I get my recipe ideas from.
But first… I do cook largely from habit at this point. One of the things that I’ve learned from my Lean Eating journey is how to plan a meal, and I think that’s an even more fundamental skill than cooking. I can make a full meal without cooking and minimal preparation. Yes, I’ve learned how to cook but still I eat a lot of cottage cheese and raw vegetables. And in a pinch, I’m okay with throwing some protein powder in a blender to make a meal. But there’s a reason I’m keeping a food diary: I am aiming for a lean protein, a serving of veggies (or fruit), a starch and a serving of fat at every meal, and I want to see what’s sneaking in beyond these guidelines. And even without a food diary, I’ve already got the building blocks for every meal I make.
One of my biggest issues is that I need a lot of variety in my diet. When I was growing up, my mom had what I called her “4-day supper rotation”. Without fail, we’d eat balsamic chicken breast with potatoes one night, shrimp with basil with rice the next, then Shake ‘n Bake chicken with carrots, and finally steak and potatoes. Repeat ad infinitum. And if I never have to eat those any of those meals again, it will be just fine with me. Now that I’m responsible for my own meals, I will do everything in my power to maintain variety in my diet and stay interested in what I’m eating – in fact, I am hoping I might be able to teach my parents a recipe or two while I am home. While I tend to eat a lot of mustard chicken thighs with sauerkraut and eggs with sweet potato hash, I’m always looking for a new way to cook whatever’s in season. Some of the best resources that I’ve found:
- Diane Sanfilippo’s website, Balanced Bites, as well as her two books: Practical Paleo & The 21 Day Sugar Detox. Both of her books are worth buying, I swear. Most of my “standard” recipes originate from her books. I also follow her on pinterest, facebook and instagram. Which makes me sound a bit like an obsessed fan. But I’ve gotten some really good meal ideas as a result.
- The Kitchn – I admit that when i was employed, I was guilty of browsing this site during slower times at work. Not only do they have a ton of recipes in their archives, but they are always providing new recipes that are seasonally appropriate. Whenever they review a cookbook, I proceed to check it out from the public library – and I try to make at least one recipe from every book that I borrow.
- Whenever I have to cook for others, I find myself stumbling on to nom nom paleo for recipe ideas, and this approach has never failed me. And I realize that this is the second Paleo resource I’m recommending. I eat beans and whole grains (though I try to keep whole grain products to a minimum) but I still follow a fair number of Paleo food blogs. When I’m planning I meal, I tend to choose my protein and my vegetables first and they provide the flavour – then I can add in a serving of complex carbs without following a specific “recipe”.
- Finally, the last blog I’ll recommend is stonesoup. I first stumbled across this blog when I made my way through Practical Paleo and I was looking for more recipes that were as simple and delicious, and this fit the bill better than anything else I’ve found. With every recipe, she includes ideas for modifying the recipe, which guarantees that I continually find recipes I want to try.
Although not a specific resource, I will say that I am still subscribed to what is basically a CSA and on Thursdays I receive a large box of vegetables that I have to incorporate into my meals for the next 7 days. Again, starting with an ingredient and not a specific recipe has the best approach that I find works best for me. Last week I had to google “cabbage and leek recipes”. But one thing I’ve learned is if I google an ingredient, I will find a recipe that appeals to me. Maybe the first hit doesn’t quite make the cut, but then I just add the term “Paleo” to my search. If I cook it and it’s inedible, then I don’t have to eat it and I never have to make it again – but this rarely happens. And if it turns out well, then I’ve learned a new recipe that I can make again.
7:10 – Breakfast –
- 2 fried eggs
- 1 cupped handful of Bubbie’s Sauerkraut
- 1 Pumpkin Pancake (1/4 cup of batter = 1 egg, 1/2 tbsp coconut flour, 1/8 cup pumpkin puree, 1/2 tsp coconut oil)
- 1 smear of almond-hazelnut butter
- Black Coffee
- 2 probiotic capsules
- 1 tbsp fish oil
11:05 – “Snack”
- Black Coffee
- 1/2 granny smith apple w/o peel
I started making muffins and had leftover apple. But then I realized that I didn’t have enough eggs in my fridge for the recipe and switched tactics…
12:05 – Lunch – Pre-workout
- 1 palm-sized serving of cottage cheese
- 3 thumbs of Roasted Cauliflower “hummus”
- 2 mini cucumbers
- 1 really fat carrot
4:50 – Post Workout –
- 1 palm sized serving of lean ground beef with tomatoes and kale
- Dairy Free Chocolate Mousse: 1/2 avocado, 1/2 banana, 1/8 cup almond milk, 1/8 cup cocoa powder, 1/2 tbsp cocoa nibs
- Cup of dandelion root tea
- 1 apple streusel egg muffin (1 egg, ~1/4 of a granny smith apple) + about 1/2 a muffin’s worth of batter
This was mindless eating. I wanted one as soon as these came out of the oven, when I should have waited until I had a meal ready.
- 1 palm-sized chicken thigh with mustard & sage glaze
- cupped handful of steamed green beans
- cupped handful of sweet potato baked with 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 thumbs of homemade ketchup
- 1 cup of dandelion root tea