Can Cooking Have a Character?

15 Sep

I know mine does.

Like most things in life, what we eat is informed by a number of characteristics or themes. I’m sharing what I eat so you have a sense of what informs my menu planning and my recipe selection. Where you live, your culture, your body type,  your life style can all influence your own eating ethos. Give some thought to your cooking character as you follow along with Savvy Single Suppers. Please consider sharing yours with the rest of us.

1.    Predominately fresh food. I do use canned tomatoes, fish and beans (rinsed to rid them of salt and gas-inducing juice). I buy pickles, jams and strained tomato sauce in jars. Weekly, I splurge on organic, fair-trade coffee roasted and ground.

2.    My body needs protein at every meal to maximize my energy and to curb my carb cravings. My body seems totell me when it needs red meat, but the rest of the time I eat from lighter protein sources. I do admit to more steak-eating in the summer, when it can be grilled on my Q for maximum flavour.

3.    I have tried to increase the amount and variety of vegetables in my diet and reduced the volume of starchy foods. The more vegetables I eat, the lower my cravings for snack foods (sweet and salty). I adore bread, pasta, rice and mashed potatoes. When I have grain products, I try my best to eat the whole grain versions. It seems to reduce my consumption because I feel fuller faster. Brown rice is a snap to prepare now that I have a small ($20) rice cooker.

4.    I like a balanced colour palette in my pot or on my plate. I aim for a combination of red, green, yellow and orange. This applies to vegetables and fruits and sauces. I find I eat as much with my eyes as my taste buds.

Eat Your Colours!

5.    Salads are good for you, but fall into the ‘too fussy, too much work’ bar for my solo cooking. I do eat salad, just not every day. I am careful to include dark leafy greens (spinach, chard, beet greens) on my plate when I don’t eat salad. When I toss a salad, I make my own dressing and include lettuce, at least 2 veggies, a (dried) fruit and cheese/beans/seeds as a standard, but ever-changing, combo. I like cole slaw and broccoli slaw and do buy the bagged varieties!

6.    I love a hearty breakfast. Eggs (poached, fried, scrambled, soft-boiled), omelets, French toast, pancakes, home-baked muffins, English muffins, toast & jam or honey. And once (or twice) a month, bacon! But my usual breakfast in the winter is hot plain oatmeal dressed with fruit and nuts, brown sugar or maple syrup and milk or yogurt. In the warmer months, breakfast is one or more fruits topped with plain low-fat yogurt (Greek or Balkan styled) dressed with vanilla extract, maple syrup or honey and a handful or two of Farm Boy Granola Deluxe. I sprinkle this with ground flax seed. Filling and delicious.

7.    Lunch is my problem meal. I am happy with a bowl of homemade soup, a bun and a piece of cheese and fruit in the cool seasons. After years of boring brown bag lunches for school, I really do not like sandwiches. Exceptions are tuna and salmon salad and grilled cheese. They are great on whole grain breads or sometimes rye bread. In warm months, I like hummus with pita and cut veggies and a fruit. Sometimes it will be simply low-salt Triscuit crackers and cheese with grapes. If I am inspired, I will turn left-over couscous, rice or noodles into a salad with beans or feta cheese and vegetables. What do you eat for lunch? 

8.    The pie-chart that is my dinner plate is generally 1/4 (or less) protein, 1/4 grain or starch and ½ or more vegetables. During the rest of the day, I try to eat 1 – 3 fruits, 2 more servings of protein, 2 – 4 grain servings and 1 – 2 vegetable portions. I eat a sweet almost every day (cookie, dessert or chocolate).

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