Simple. Delicious. Mealtime.

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Thai Sweet Potato, Garlic, shallot sauteed in coconut oil, cumin, paprika, fenugreek, pepper,

Tomato, celery, bok choy, cashews, hot sauce

I have been asked many times about how to prepare meals that are Healthy, Fast, Inexpensive, and especially Tasty. The current food world can sometimes make it seem impossible to excel in all 4 of these categories, but I have been putting in some serious (mostly fun) kitchen hours working on acheiving the ultimate (one-pot) experience.

Good Goodies is my term for foods that are delicious treats which are also good for your health. Does it have to be wildly overpriced? No, though the pioneers in this industry have a reputation for being expensive, this does not have to be the case. You will have to put in some kitchen time, but bring a friend, put on your favorite music, and get ready to create something wonderful in under 30 minutes.

Let's get started. Your first concern is your cooking artillery. Less is more here because what you use will have to be washed when you're all done. One pan (higher edges fit more goodies), a spatula of some kind that won't scratch the pan, a solid cutting knife (serrated, teethy edges not so good for veggies), and maybe a cutting board if you want to get fancy with it.

Cooking Oil. Super important because, along with keeping your food from sticking to the pan, oil delivers the flavor to all of your food, and to your taste buds. Coconut oil is simply the best. Good for your body and brain, it doesnt burn easily, it's thick and it tastes great. Order some on Amazon; it's a great investment for cooking, skin care, and other slippery slathering fun. Ghee is a healthy, cookable form of butter which I also like to use. For now, any oil you have will work, but know that oil is the one ingredient on which spending a little more money will bear much better results.

Food. For now, let's assume we are not using meat. Meat can always be added to any dish, but there are many alternatives that may surprise you. Think about the heavier roots and vegetables that will add substance to your dish. Sweet potatoes, eggplant, cauliflower, etc.. These are excellent ways to start a meal. They generally take a bit longer to cook, so they will be added first.

Let's use sweet potatoes, for example. These nutrient packed underground roots take a while to break down so toss 'em in ASAP. (Don't look at the clock and fret, because as soon as these are done, your entire meal will be ready to eat.) Cutting your veggies smaller will help them cook faster and add to the dining experience, but do what you can with the time and tools you have. (TIP: Boiling SP for a few minutes first makes them easier to cut. If you use cauliflower, it cooks more quickly and produces water.) Get those orangey cubes of life into the pan and add a little water (1/2 cup if you're messing with a measuring cup, but I think eyeballs work just fine). Water helps cook your sweet potatoes faster without them drying out, and will also help to form that saucy goodness that we all love so dearly. (TIP: If it's an extra special evening, add a can (or even just a half can) of coconut milk. This will create an abundant, creamy sauce that mixes great with that curry or Thai inspired taste you may be longing for, minus the $40 check at the end of the evening.)

Spices and Herbs. Flavor loves oil, so introduce your spices before the potatoes absorb it all. Salt and pepper are tried and true, but feel free to experiment! Smell your spices and imagine what would be best. (TIP: Curry is basically a mixture of cumin, turmeric, coriander, any any combination of fenugreek, cinnamon, and pepper. Jerk seasoning is generally hot/black pepper, garlic, and brown sugar.) Any and all of these are fantastic, as well as herbs like basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, etc.. Some like it HOT! Cayenne or chili powder is great here, or if you have any fresh peppers, hot or not, and onions, scallions, shallots, ginger, and/or garlic. Cut them small and let them simmer. This is your creation, so have fun with it!

By this time, you should start seeing the resemblance of something delicious starting to form. The colors, the sizzling, the aroma; you may even start to feel like a real chef. This is normal. In fact, it's entirely true, and most of the work is already done! Time to reach for more food to add. I am sure that I can come to your kitchen right now and whip up something fantastic as long as there are fresh vegetables and a few spices in sight.

What's around? Let's see if we can limit our scope to those ingredients that were created by the Earth. If it's been manufactured, or comes in a package with pretty pictures on it, someone invested time and money into it, and so the contents are most likely compromised, and/or overpriced. So, in this example meal, we are using sweet potatoes: orange, sometimes white. So, let's diversify! Green (broccoli, zucchini, kale, spinach, etc..), Red (tomatoes, red pepper, kidney beans, beets, etc..), Yellow (squash, chick peas, mango.. yeah I went there.. fruit can be an excellent addition, especially in combination with hot spice. Pineapple, pear, apple and citrus zest/juice are fun to play with, just don't add the actual citrus fruit :P trust me.)

Think about the consistnecy of these foods before adding them. Some things need to cook longer, others, not so much, and a large part of this is your preference. Do you like your beets/celery/carrots to be tender, or do you prefer them to crunch? Do you want a tomatoey red sauce, or would you like more chunk? If I'm using broccoli, I like to soften it up, so I'd throw them in next. Leafy greens/mushrooms can go almost dead last to preserve their crisp (kale and some mushrooms need a minute to tenderize). If your beans are in a can, they can go in anytime. (TIP: Just like the colors, texture is nice to contrast with, so let some things cook down, but don't be afraid to leave others a little raw. Stir and add water occasionally if you see your goodies drying out. Feel free to taste and add whatever you can imagine it needs.

Finishing Touches. Once your ingredients are to your liking, take it down, you're done! Add anything else that sounds good; it probably is! Add a dollop of yogurt (goes especially well with a spicy dish), a handful of crunchy nuts, garnish with fresh herbs, avocado, sesame seeds, and/or hemp protein powder, break out your favorite salsa or hot sauce (excellent for covering up any imperfections). Wrap it up, serve it on a plate, maybe on a bed of greens, maybe with a slice of sprouted grain bread with a shiny layer of coconut oil. Don't be afraid to get weird with it! As long as your ingredients are good, they will get along with each other, and it will be All Good! Enjoy!

Jerk Mint Mango Eggplant Lentil Burrito w/ yellow pepper, celery, sweet potato and beets Topped w/ peanuts, cilantro seeds, chili ginger salsa, and greek yogurt

Practice makes Yummy. Continue to learn what goes best with what. Your cutting technique will improve, as well as your ability to cut corners and save time. The same general rules apply for health; don't overeat or eat too fast. Don't talk with your mouth full, be nice, and HAVE FUN!

Stay tuned for more about specific dishes, salads, pancakes etc..

Feel free to message me anytime JCoop7882@gmail.com


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