Can I let you in on a little secret? I am just a mediocre cook. I have cooking envy of many of my friends, including my friend, Jan. I long to cook with creativity and view cooking as an art form as she does at Daily*Dishin. I wish I could make a tiramasu like her's. (If only I had the nerve to attempt a tiramasu.) My poor family usually has to settle for chocolate chips or a piece of fruit for dessert. I know...it's pathetic!
I am a simple person who has been called to a simple lifestyle. When I cook for my family, I try to use simple, wholesome, ingredients in their original, God-given form, unchanged by chemicals and processing. I also try to use recipes that are inexpensive and don't take a ton of time to prepare. So, how did I go from cooking with ingredients like these:
To cooking with wholesome ingredients such as these:
What I discovered, in a nutshell, is that our Maker has given us everything that we need to live a healthy, productive life, and heal ourselves through nutrition. When we consume real foods, unadulterated by chemicals, we are giving our bodies exactly what they need to function.
So the journey began to come up with healthy food choices that wouldn't make my family turn up their noses. I began cooking with all natural products and making my own bread using 100% whole wheat flour. It was a slow process, but definitely worth it for mine and my family's long-term health.
It's not always an easy journey. At times, we still eat frozen pizzas and pop-tarts, but we're trying. My rule of thumb is 80-20. We try to eat healthy 80% of the time, and leave the other 20% open for splurges. My man....well, he follows the 20-80 rule, but he's trying too...bless his little fast-food heart!
Here's a quick, easy, tried and true recipe that I make up quite often around these parts:
Mama's Southwestern Lentil and Black Bean Soup
AKA: "Easy Weight Loss Soup"
(My kids call it: “Soup, Soup, Soup, Soup, Soup," because we eat so much of it!)
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic or 1 TBS minced garlic
2 cups dried lentils
2 cans black beans (Drained and rinsed) OR 2 cups cooked black beans or any beans of choice.
1-2 cans diced tomatoes with onion and garlic
2-4 cubes vegetable or chicken boullion or 2 cans vegetable or chicken broth/stock
1 TBS ground cumin
1 TBS chili powder
2 TBS Braggs Amino Acid (optional)
Kale (as much as you want in bite-sized pieces)
Sauté the chopped onions and garlic in a small amount of olive oil in a Dutch oven or soup kettle.
Add lentils and at least 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for @ 20 minutes.
Stir in the remaining ingredients except for kale. Add water to reach desired consistency. Reduce heat and simmer for @ 15 more minutes.
Straight from the garden. (Store bought canned tomatoes will do too!)
Beans were cooked in the crockpot and then frozen for convenience. This is a mixture of black , pinto, and great northern beans.
Braggs Liquid Amino Acid is a much healthier choice than soy sauce.
Stir in kale, turn off the heat, and pop the lid on until it reaches the desired tenderness. I like mine tender, but not too soggy. (Can you cook kale al-dente'?) If needed, add salt and pepper to taste.
Kale has been my best friend lately. My body must be craving the vitamins C and B6 needed to boost immunities!
Delicious served with brown rice and hot sauce and a little splash of Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar.
I make this soup every Monday and always have it on hand. I eat it for lunch everyday and sometimes for dinner as well. I have lost @ 10 pounds in 1 month and I owe it all to healthy eating, and primarily to the consumption of this soup!
Soup...it's what's for dinner. Eat your heart out Jan! I know it's not tiramasu, but hey....it's the best I got!