I’ve been cooking up a storm lately. In the past, my cooking has consisted of whatever pre-packaged items I could whip together and call “homemade.” When I’ve lived alone in the past, I lived on soup, salads, grilled cheese and the occasional stir fry.
On the other hand, I’ve always been quite adept at baking from scratch. The precise measurements and chemistry behind it are perfect for my temperament. And really, anything that results in cookie dough or brownie batter is worth the effort.
But in the past few months, as I’ve begun eating clean and cutting out processed foods, I’ve realized that cooking isn’t actually so bad. In fact, it’s kind of fun. And when you get the hang of it and feel comfortable enough to experiment, it’s even better. Not needing to be precise with measurements or ratios of baking powder to baking soda is liberating.
I’ve started subscribing to Clean Eating Magazine and love, love, love their recipes. Beyond those, here are some of my recent favorites:
Scrambled Eggs – I’ve figured out that I can indeed actually MAKE breakfast in the morning, provided I don’t hit the snooze button. I typically scramble two eggs with some spinach, onion, mushroom and feta, then throw it all into a corn tortilla. I’m getting better at planning ahead and chopping extra onions or mushrooms with my dinner so the mornings are super quick. This breakfast fills me up so much better and starts the day off right.
Countertop Salad – I’ve started making big salads using the farmers market veggies that pile up on my kitchen counter. While I’ve always done this, I’ve stopped bothering with lettuce and instead give these a Greek twist, using cucumbers and green onions as the base, with plenty of tomatoes and whatever bell peppers I have on hand. Then I dress with lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt, pepper and – most importantly – feta. I top it with quinoa and sunflower seeds to add some extra protein and heft. Simple and refreshing on a hot day, with nearly infinite variations depending on what’s on the counter.
Eggplant Caponetta – From the Primal Blueprint Cookbook. Anything that involves grilling eggplant (yum), frying bacon (double yum) and using garden fresh tomatoes is a win. I served it over grilled Italian chicken sausages for even more yum.
Garlicky Lime Fish Tacos – I adapted this from my How to Cook Everything bible that I’ve loved over the years as a reference. Now I’m actually trying more of the recipes. Basically, you simmer thin fish filets (I’ve been using tilapia because it’s so cheap) in lime juice and lightly browned garlic, sprinkle on cayenne and sea salt, then top the whole thing with fresh avocado and cilantro. It’s such a summery beach meal and reminds me of the fish tacos I had in San Diego last winter.
Popsicles! – When I was little, we used to make Kool-Aid or lemonade popsicles. I’d forgotten how easy it was, and how refreshing a popsicle can be. Inspired by a recent blog post by Jenn of The Whole Kitchen, I made her chocolate banana peanut butter pops. Though I burned my finger and set off the smoke detector while melting the chocolate (oh, the irony of doing so while making popsicles), they turned out wonderfully. Since then, I’ve made cantaloupe-lime popsicles and have plans to try plenty of other combinations.
And of course, I’ve been baking – zucchini bread, peach oatmeal muffins and more zucchini bread.
What have you been cooking lately?