My parents did not force me to eat—anything. They lived by the general rule that if I was hungry I would eat, and perhaps more importantly, I would not starve myself. As a child, I spent many dinners at restaurants happily waiting for everyone else to finish their steak, fish, or chicken so that I could pick something out at the local grocery store on the way home. I never had any desire to eat meat, fish, or poultry. It never appealed to me, and my parents did not try to change my mind.
However, both my paternal and maternal grandmothers worried about me—how could any person possibly survive without eating the staple animal products that keep every ordinary Jane alive and healthy? Different schemes to entice me to eat meat were undertaken during my formative years. Total refusal and a choking incident that involved quarter-size “vitamins” put these efforts quickly to rest. Visiting school friends presented an additional problem, as their well-meaning parents found it more difficult to accept my parents’ philosophy. I became a master at moving food around on my plate, and when that did not work, my parents and I decided together that “overnights” would be one-way only—good friends spending the night with me at my home.
I was not called a vegetarian, growing up in Worcester, MA. Instead, I was called an all-around picky eater, otherwise known as a pain in the neck. To make matters worse, I refused to eat anything that came out of the freezer or in a can. Natural, fresh ingredients were the sole staples of my diet (perish the thought, right?) And so cooking for myself was my only option. As soon as I could reach the stove, perched atop our tallest kitchen stool, my vegetable-focused food education began.
Decades later, being a vegetarian is somewhat normal, even popular. Thankfully, my days of being unable to order off a menu are virtually gone, and vegetable-focused cookbooks abound. This week, a client hesitantly inquired about adding more vegetables, grains, and beans to her diet (one of my favorite topics). As a heavy meat eater and afraid of adding more time to her already-packed schedule, she requested some easy vegetarian recipes. I was excited for the challenge. In fact, I was already in the thick of this challenge for myself.
First, don’t be misled by my passion for good food. My interest in cooking any recipes with more than a handful of ingredients, 3 to 5 steps, and taking more than 30 minutes is virtually non-existent. Wanting to use the same fresh ingredients I craved as a kid, but without the time commitment, I needed to define my go-to recipes. This is my latest project. I’ve been cooking up a storm over the past few weeks and plan to continue down this route until I have six recipes. Just to be clear, go-to recipes are the ones you cook so many times that you no longer need the recipe (and you don’t need the recipe because it is so easy). They are the ones you love the most. Strapped for time? Go-to recipe. Want to host a stress-free dinner party? Go-to recipe. You get the idea.
So, I’m in the thick of this project. But I want to share my progress as I go. So every few weeks I’ll send out my Sunday letter with my latest recipe. I’d love your feedback and opinions on whether the recipes I share are truly go-to-worthy in your eyes. I invite you to use my email on the site or send me a message via Facebook or Instagram. Whether you’re looking to add more vegetables, grains, or beans into your life, or you’re just looking to spend less time in the kitchen, I hope you’ll come along with me on this journey. Here is healthy food, less cooking, and more time for you.
In honor of spring, I’ll start with my favorite smoothie recipe. I actually named it my “go-to satiating smoothie” years ago, because that’s how often I make it, enjoy it, and recommend it to clients. Smoothies can be tough when it comes to calling them healthy, because they are often filled with low-fiber fruits, which translates into a lot of sugar surging through your body before a heavy crash. This tasty smoothie combines high-fiber fruit with high-fiber and protein-rich vegetables to keep you satiated through your morning or between lunch and dinner. Let me know your thoughts!
Make A Change Today,