EWW Don't Make Me Eat That!
If you’re like me, you dreaded going plant-based because you thought eating vegetables would be boring. I knew I needed to eat healthier, I knew I needed to lose weight, but I just couldn’t figure out how to eat more plant-based. Does this sound familiar?
To compound the problem, once I had a child, I wasn't sure what I was going to do. Most of the vegetables I had seen just looked grey and mushy. There was no way I could make a daily habit out of eating that and for a long time, I just thought I was doomed.
At some point along the road, I started seeing more plantbased cooking and was also discouraged because I didn't consider myself a chef and all of those recipes looked quite complicated to me. I didn't want my life to be all about cooking. I needed to eat healthier, but did not want to be under a load of shopping and chopping.
When I first began my journey towards becoming plant-based, I was taught intricate recipes that would take a lot of prep time, not to mention time to prepare the actual meal. In addition to that, the ingredients that were normally called for were really expensive and could only be found at an exclusive health-food market I would have to drive an hour to get to.
I am determined to make your journey easier. There is no need to spend a ton of money or go out of your way to buy ingredients. Not only is that a pain, but it is also unsustainable. If you want this way of life to stick, it needs to be doable.
After years of being in the kitchen, cooking for myself and others, I have come up with a few tricks that I use over and over. You see, I am of the belief that a meal should never be boring.
You see, if a meal is boring, it isn't going to satisfy, and if it does not satisfy, then you will still want to eat. So, I try to go for tasty and satisfying when I am thinking of cooking a meal. I am not only wanting to help you eat more vegetables but I also want you happy about it!
These combos were also created to save me time in the kitchen.
Over time, I came up with some flavor combos that fit all of the requirements I mentioned above. I will go through each one and let you know how I usually use them.
If you aren't familiar with tahini, it is an amazing ingredient to use in cooking. It's kind of like a peanut butter but instead of peanuts, it's made with sesame seeds. If possible, try to get organic tahini as it'll be a bit tastier. If you don't find organic, just check the label to make sure there's no other ingredients other then sesame seeds.
What I really love about tahini is that it will help me "stretch the fat." What that means is that it will mix with water, and I can use less of it. Less tahini means less fat in my recipe. So, I just love that!
Bragg's amino acids are actually like a soy sauce except they're real. In fact, all of the products that Bragg's makes are real and I am confident in recommending this company to you. Most soy sauce on the market now is either heat-treated, has chemical ingredients or MSG in it. Most also have gluten and colorings to give it that smokey taste and feel. The issue with that is after eating, you might not feel so good.
Bragg's Aminos are actually real soy sauce. It is fermented over time which means that you can get all of the probiotics that you need without doing any harm to the body. The Amino Acids are really a healing food. The flavor is quite rich also and won't have that any aluminum taste that most soy sauces do. The smoky flavor combines well with sweet vegetables like carrots as well as bitter ones like broccoli.
When you combine tahini and Bragg's amino acids together it creates a really rich creamy sauce. I usually combine both of these ingredients together in a bowl with a bit of water. Or I heat up my cast iron skillet on low and mix them in there with a bit of water so as not to burn it.
This savory sauce works well if it is drizzled over vegetables or to use in a stir fry. Sometimes I will toast up some yummy bread and spread it on that. It can be spread on crackers for a great appetizer too.
It will last a couple of weeks in the fridge to use for later. I will pour it into a mason jar and it will keep well like that.
Combo #2 Spice, Tomatoes, Coconut Cream and lemon
This is about as complex as I get. If I cook a big soup, enough to fill up a soup pot, I will usually use a whole can of coconut cream, a whole can of crushed tomatoes, 1 heaping tbsp of Thai red curry and one or two lemons. This makes the most amazing flavor and it only take minutes to create.
The combination of these four ingredients is pretty special. You can play with the percentages of each ingredients. I will also mix these ingredients in a separate bowl and pour over vegetables that I am stir frying. They do nicely over udon or ramen too. Taste what you are making before you add any salt. It might or might not need it depending on your preference but I find that the cream and tomatoes are more "alive" with a bit of salt added.
Most people eat salads to stay healthy. Trouble is that most also douse their salads with heavy dressings that kick up hunger and cravings. That is the complete opposite of what they want, right? Dressings can taste good while they heal. You just need to have a good list of ingredients to use.
Bottled dressings not only have chemicals and colorings in them, a lot of them also contain thickeners and sugar. No wonder the salads taste so good. But, when you go that route, you are kind of shooting yourself in the foot. Salads should taste amazing, but if you want to get the most out of them, they should also be detoxifying and healthy.
The combination of these simple ingredients really makes for an amazing salad dressing. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. Dressings do not need to be complex or difficult to make at all. This combination is super fast and easy to make. The ingredients aren't expensive at all.
Make sure your oil is cold pressed and organic making sure it has not been heat treated. Once it is heated, the nutrients in the oil are rendered useless. That is the main reason that "delicate" oils like olive oil are best used as a condiment after cooking or preparing, rather than used IN the cooking.
Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar is naturally fermented which makes it an amazing probiotic with natural enzymes. Talk about a superfood for the gut!! This powerful vinegar not only is healing, it is tasty too.
What is interesting to note here is that even though the vinegar is acidic tasting it is actually alkaline in its effect on the body. I never use white distilled vinegar or rice vinegars in my cooking as they are acidic. I substitute in this apple cider vinegar into any recipe that calls for a vinegar, and it always has turned out well.
This apple cider vinegar has a hint of sweetness to it. You won't need too much of it.
Here too, please play with the ingredients. I usually mix 1 cup of olive oil with a half cup of vinegar and a half cup or water. Then I squeeze a lemon into it. I add the spices last. If you want it to have more of a bite, just add more vinegar, more mellow, add more oil or water. Usually I add water since I like to have as little oil as possible.
You can get more fancy with this dressing and put the ingredients in a blender. You can add dates to this to make it sweeter and thicker. A tbsp of tahini might also taste good. As with everything, just try it! They are hard to mess up!
I have a few different salad dressing bottles at home. These bottles either make it easier to mix the ingredients, or keep it pourable without making a mess. If you don't have one of these, a mason jar with a lid is just perfect.
The taste of this dressing allows for the flavors of the vegetables to come out. Why that's important is that not only do you want to get used to those flavors, but most of those flavors in itself are healing. The bitterness of the greens will help keep sweet cravings at bay. So, this dressing will help you on a few different levels.
I never use white iodized salt in my cooking. That kind of salt has anti-caking agents and chemicals to make it pourable. Go for something that is healthier. I have a black salt and pink himalayan salt in the picture above. Both of these are more flavorful than white salt and you will end up using less.
This is a sweet, savory and smoky sauce. The flavor is so intense that I mostly use this for a marinade. I use to use it for fish when I was eating animal products, but now I use it for tofu!
I also use it to pour over things that are already cooked. It goes quite well in a stir fry in fact. I will mix the ingredients in a bowl with a little water to make up for the burn off. And, once the vegetables have finished cooking, I will pour this over them.
Remember that the Braggs amino acids are a healing food as they have probiotics in them. If you can look for a "Grade B" organic maple syrup as most of the time, it is a bit more nutrient dense then a regular syrup.
When you create a masterpiece, please let me know!! I want to hear all about it! Send me a picture too!! Good luck and have fun.
Remember that I have created Organic Yerba Healing Blends. If you are looking for a seasonal blend to get you in the mood, shop our Pumpkin Spice flavored blend! or go to see our other blends.
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