There are some pretty big, crazy, awesome changes (and I can’t wait to tell you about them) that have had our family dining out more than usual. While I’ve really enjoyed some of the meals we’ve had and restaurants we’ve visited, I miss routine and creating simple meals at home.
There are some people who lose weight during stressful times. They lose their appetite completely. I am the polar opposite of that. When things get stressful for me, I want sugary, fatty, filling, sweet, salty, ohh so ooey, gooey, food. My 20 something body handled those moments with grace and barely a blip on the scale. My 40 something body punishes me immediately. I gain weight, feel sluggish and get grumpy with a capital B. Anyone that spends time with me wants to avoid that as much as I do.
I don’t think the craziness in my life is going to end soon, so I am taking steps to eat real food and identify a few simply perfect foods to eat every day. Just like fewer options in my closet has drastically improved my life, I think fewer options in the kitchen will help too.
Simply Perfect Food
Green veggies (leafy and crunchy)
Crispy kale, soft baby lettuce, arugula, fennel, and broccoli are my favorites.
Creamy, good-fatty, chameleon like in smoothies, beautiful with beans and salsa.
Colorful fruits and veggies
Orange peppers, all berries, tomatoes, clementines, bananas, lemons.
Noodles, rice and beans
Not the main course but the glue for stir fry veggies, mexican delights and light pasta dishes.
Dark, salty, spicy and just a little bit.
If you want to eat simply perfect food, mix and match some of the above along with your healthy favorites.
I reached out to my expert foodie friends and their cookbooks to find delicious recipes that require no oven, little equipment and simply perfect ingredients for any time of day.
- I start almost everyday with a Green Breakfast Bowl from David and Luise at Green Kitchen Stories. It’s a creamy blend of avocado, banana, fennel, spinach and pineapple, topped with chia or hemp seeds. I don’t know if this recipe is in their new cookbook, The Green Kitchen: Delicious and Healthy Vegetarian Recipes for Every Day, but it should be.
- Paul Jarvis and I are on the same page with our affection for simple, clean, plant-based food. His ebook Eat Awesome is awesome because there are no hard and fast rules. For example, his Mexican feast calls for rice, beans, avocado, salsa, cashew cream and corn tortillas, but how much of what you include is up to you. I’ll be adding crunchy greens and making this one of my go-to lunches. I’ll probably include Kris Carr’s Green Chile Guacamole too from Crazy Sexy Kitchen: 150 Plant-Empowered Recipes to Ignite a Mouthwatering Revolution.
- Heidi Larsen is one of my best girlfriends and she lives right around the corner. That comes in handy when she needs an honest opinion on a new recipe! I asked her what she recommended for fast/easy/healthy meals and she offered some variations on the classic caprese tomato sandwich and this delicious, spicy quinoa and avocado chimichurri salad.
- I love light pasta dishes and have been hooked on Vegetarian Times’ spaghetti with bok choy, poached egg, and romano cheese and am really looking forward to trying this lemon ricotta spaghetti with arugula from Food 52.
- When the lovely Jules Clancy sent me her new cookbook, Five Ingredients, Ten Minutes, I knew it would have at least a temporary place in my collection. (until I implement the just one cookbook project) I can’t wait to try her soba noodle salad with tofu and lime.
One day, with a little help from Jules’ 30 Dinners in 30 Days, I might become more streamlined in the kitchen, but for now, I’ll just keep things simple. Salads, stirfrys, smoothies and an occasional treat will make up the bulk of my meals.
When things get busier than usual, or crazier than I like, I am going to reach for the simply perfect food that doesn’t require fancy equipment, recipes or preparation to enjoy. It will be a great reminder that some things are always simple.
I would love to hear about your favorite simple food and recipes and if you are going to try any of the recipes I mentioned above.