A couple of days ago, when we were on what felt like our hundredth walk of the day, I asked my son a question….
“What are your top 5 most favourite restaurant meals?”
I find that asking a child a “Top 5” question will usually get the conversation flowing, quarantine or no quarantine, but this time the exercise prompted an hours-long drive down memory lane and around the world. While we walked around, we spoke about the perfect lobster roll we enjoyed at the beach in Connecticut. Or pasta in Spain. Or fries at the public pool in Germany. Or Schnitzel in Austria. It felt therapeutic talking about the restaurants we miss and the time we spent at my parent’s house last year.
Before quarantine started, I would regularly write weekend to-do lists that in retrospect seem to have encapsulated the most ambitious pursuit of the person I wanted (or thought I wanted) to be. I am really trying here. Among the usual asterisks to populate the to-do list were art projects using natural ingredients such as coconut flour to make Play-Doh and turmeric to dye it. The desire to read (to him) a lot. More tidying exercises be it for the bookshelf, a pantry, his room, and of course, there is always this weird desire to cook or bake something. These days, whenever I set out to cook, a deluge of excuses would interrupt the effort: Don’t waste the chicken soup. You just had lunch. For this recipe, we just need too many ingredients so let’s go to the store. This seems too complicated to bake. Can you relate? I am just so f****** tired of cooking. I used to love cooking. I used to, before Corona.
I am not into fashion at all but what I am realizing now is that cooking is not so different from it in that anyone can do it. From the outside, it seems so damn intimidating, like it is impossible to break in, but eventually, you realize the only barrier to entry is yourself. As far as fashion goes I guess you just have to be proud that you like to wear clothes, and then wear them. To get good at cooking, you just have to try. Then you keep trying and definitely will fuck up, over and over, until you learn the language and boom: a new skill is born.
I didn’t always enjoy cooking but I love healthy food and trying new things. It is way less soul-crushing than I thought it would be. Worst case scenario: Just toss it in the garbage. All I am really doing is chopping shit up, then assembling it and turning on fire. Sometimes, without fire. Just as fresh as it gets. Really, that is it. To be clear, I am usually exclusively making very easy recipes. I love recipes with fewer ingredients that don’t require ten special spices that are not in my pantry. I need something simple, fast, and nutritious. My son and I are dairy-free, eat less meat (and if, just local, organic meat), enjoy more plant-based meals, and local fish once in a while. Which we actually had yesterday. Food always tastes better if someone else cooks it for you. Someone who knows how to enhance the flavor by adding a bit of white wine and a mountain of butter to fry those fishies. Of course, while drinking wine. And talking.
I love vegetables but my son sticks to what he knows. If you have questions regarding food and how to feed your kids veggies, send me an email or leave a comment below and I will help you out. I am a Certified Holistic Nutritionist and have a healthy collection of simple, approachable breakfasts, snacks, lunches, and dinners that they will enjoy and appreciate. Instead of getting frustrated that your child does not get excited about a kale salad, how about you flip the script. What do they like? And how can you add veggies into that? My son loves meals between bread. I would like to share his favorite veggie burger.
Vegan Veggie Burgers
(Makes 6 patties)
8 oz. (250g) mushrooms, cleaned and well chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
1 cup cooked (brown) rice
2 tablespoons flax seeds
1/4 cup oats
salt, pepper and whatever herbs you desire
(I love to add 1 tsp. chili powder and fresh parsley)
3 medium-size potatoes (just grate those uncooked)
1 cup cooked black beans, drained well
I use avocado or coconut oil for cooking. In a medium pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chopped mushrooms, onion and garlic, along with a pinch of salt. Sauté for a moment, then leave it all undisturbed for a few minutes, so the mushrooms release their water. Sauté again, until browned in some parts and excess water has evaporated. Set aside to cool completely and add into a large bowl. Add the egg, tamari, rice, flax seeds, oats, 1/2 tsp. salt, chili powder, and herbs and then (with your hand) you mix, mix, mix your Corona anger out. Mix, mix, mix your anger out. Mix, mix, mix your anger out. Add grated sweet potatoes, black beans, and cooled mushrooms for another minute until everything is in tiny pieces.
Set aside mixture. Add some coconut oil into large pan and preheat. Now start forming the mixture into patties. If they are too sticky, add some flour. Pan-fry and turn patties in pan until golden brown on both sides.
Use any bun or bread you desire. I like whole-wheat sourdough buns or English muffins. Then I add avocado slices, lettuce, cheese slices or a bit of tomato sauce. Leftovers make an awesome lunch in a lettuce wrap with some avocado and tomatoes.
Stay Sane. Stay Happy. Stay Healthy.