Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Foodie Thoughts

I've been mulling over a foodie post. Food is something I get excited about, bored about, frustrated about, etc. It's exciting when I'm inspired, feel energetic or have a real appetite for something we actually have in the house. Often I find myself getting bored or frustrated when it comes time to eat something and my options are so narrow. Same old, same old....

I've always considered my diet to be "healthy", but in recent months we've turned up the notch to make things even healthier. I'm finding that my health seems to be much better when my diet is very strict and regulated. That's where the boring and frustrating comes in.

It takes time to make healthy food interesting, appetizing, and exciting. I remember a Korean friend asking me how long I spent making dinner each night. 30 minutes was my reply. It took her on average 2 hours each evening -- she had to chop up numerous vegetables into tiny little piles, make soup stock, steam rice, make a rice drink, etc. etc. I'm trying to get myself to come to grips with the fact that good eating takes time.

And then there's the whole struggle of trying to get 5 servings of fruit and veg into each of us every day! For our household of 7, that's 245 servings of fruit and veg that I should be buying at the grocery store every week. Somehow I'm thinking I'm not making that goal, although I'm trying hard.

Anyway, here's a few pictures from some recent cooking. Some days when I have lots of energy I'm excited about good food, and other days (not pictured) it's just food. :)

Here's a pot of Scotch Broth I made with some lamb stock and meat leftover from Easter. It was lovely -- with onion, carrots, celery, kale and barley.

I was craving a good roasted chicken this past week and so I decided to make one for Sunday. I love the smell of the chicken roasting, the onion, rosemary, sage, and thyme creating an irresistible aroma. And the gravy is just about as good as the chicken, all lovely and brown and plenty enough to pour over baked potatoes.

All the cookbooks rave about how simple it is to roast a chicken. In fact, they say, can anything be simpler? Well, it may be easy to roast a chicken, but, as evidenced below, it's not easy to clean up the aftermath! I don't know why, but it seems to take me an enormous amount of pots and pans, roasters and utensils to put a roast chicken dinner on the table. No wonder I only do this once in awhile!

And then, after all that work, here's the response: (well, actually, this is the response we get at every dinner table)
It was refreshment night at church Sunday so I decided to make some quiches.
Some lovely onions and mushrooms getting ready for the quiches:
I'm trying to do better about salads -- they are one of my least favorite things to make. This must be due to the time it takes to wash and chop up all the ingredients. I usually "cheat" and buy bags of spinach which can just be dumped into a bowl. Here are some of my recent variations:

Spinach with grapefruit and sliced almonds (dressing of grapefruit juice, canola oil, salt and pepper)

Spinach with oranges and sliced almonds (dressing of orange juice, canola oil, salt and pepper)
Spinach with apples and almonds (dressing of lemon juice, canola oil, salt and pepper)

"Plate Salad" -- cut up tomatoes, avacados, cucumbers, spinach leaves, olives and cilantroI made some yummy all wholewheat bran muffins to go with our Scotch Broth.
I decided to bring a pie to church as well, since I had a bunch of "rotten" (but not literally) apples that could only be cooked. Apple pie is so comforting -- I love the smell of cinnamon and lemon juice when you mix the filling, and then the aroma of it all baking together.
Confession: pie crust is about the only thing that I haven't gone "whole wheat" on. But, seeing as I rarely make pies, and when I do, they are usually sugar-free too, I haven't worried about it yet.

The week seems to be going by quickly already. We are still enjoying Spring! Yeah! Rachel treated us to a tea party today as part of her Rosebuds projects. I'll post pictures sometime soon.


Monica said...

You are an amazing cook.

I know what you mean about your Korean friend chopping up everything. When Krystal's mom was here she insisted on making our meals. I was astounded by the prep that went into this and how perfectly she cut all these vegetables into different shapes. Incredible. Incredibly delicious.

I never thought about fruits and vegetables in sheer numbers like that. It's overwhelming. I'm thinking a glass of VH juice might be in order:)

willow said...

Your food all looks good and I'm sure it is healthy.
I find it difficult to get five portions of fruit and veg into one of my sons and always have, but don't forget that a glass of pure fruit juice counts as one, and that the apples in homemade pie, raisons in your muffins, vegetables in soups and even the onions in your quiche count. I've found that including lots of vegetables in a recipe is the best way of sneaking them in (add grated carrot and/or courgette to mince when you are making a bolognese sauce and as long as you don't put too much no-one will know and they'll eat it anyway!!). I'm sure your family are getting enough fresh food, they certainly look healthy.

I agree about the flour for pastry, I can do wholegrain rice and wholegrain pasta but always white flour for pastry.

Alaina said...

Yum! Everything looks so good. I have similar food struggles - excitment, creativity and boredom and lack of inspiration. :) I'm contemplating some big changes for the summer - we'll see. I just finished reading a book entitled "Plenty" and have been thoroughly inspired - it's about a couple that spent a year only eating things from a 100-mile radius of their home. Fascinating.

Laura said...

Oh Heather... your food looks so good!!! great job !!! making all those wonderfully healthy meals.... oh , wish i could have tasted the apple pie... I loved the hummus pie I tasted tonight... yum.... :) MOM