Unexpected Perks Of Home Cooking, And A Five Ingredient Meal

Not everyone enjoys cooking, but everyone enjoys being healthy, and since a steady diet of processed food is hazardous to our heath many of us are reluctantly becoming everyday chefs.

Unexpected Perks

Though we may never list cooking as a favorite activity, taking the time to make more meals from scratch can come with some unexpected perks.
For instance:

  • Appreciation. Cooking from scratch creates, or deepens an appreciation for the time and energy our grandmothers, and mothers - or grandfathers and fathers - spent preparing two or three meals every day to feed the family.
  • “For is there any practice less selfish, any labor less alienated, any time less wasted, than preparing something delicious and nourishing for people you love?” ~ Michael Pollan, Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation
  • More Appreciation. Cooking from scratch deepens our knowledge of, and appreciation for nature’s amazing array of herbs and spices that subtly, or dramatically turn simple fare into a fabulous feast.
  • Maybe Some Calm. Cooking from scratch can be a calming, meditative experience if we slow down, surrender ourselves to the time required for meal preparation, and keep our attention focused on the task at hand.
  • Awareness. Cooking from scratch reignites our awareness of what we are putting into our bodies day after day.
  • When eating a diet of largely processed, packaged foods we don’t really know what we’re eating, where it came from, or how it reached our table. Home cooking gives us more control over our meals’ ingredients, and where those ingredients come from. This awareness can even help us make better choices when dining out.
  • “... the way we eat represents our most profound engagement with the natural world. Daily, our eating turns nature into culture, transforming the body of the world into our bodies and minds.” ~ Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma
  • Awesomeness. Cooking from scratch makes us an awesome healthy-lifestyle role model for our kids, and by sometimes having our children help with the cooking we are passing on an invaluable life skill.

Despite these unexpected kitchen perks, many of us do not have the luxury, most days, of spending a couple hours assembling a meal. So, we reluctant everyday chefs are wise to accumulate healthy, simple recipes that can be prepared in 30 minutes or less—like this five ingredient bowl of goodness.

5 Ingredient Kale and Quinoa Bowl

You will need:

  • 1 cup quinoa (uncooked)
  • 1 bunch kale, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 ounces sun-dried tomatoes (about one cup), diced
  • Juice from half a large lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional toppings: Parmesan cheese, slivered almonds, or nutritional yeast

Preparation:

  1. Cook the quinoa according to package instructions.
  2. Heat half the olive oil on medium heat in a large sauté pan. Add the kale and toss to coat. Add 1/4 cup water, cover, and let it cook 3 to 5 minutes. Uncover, toss, and reduce heat to low. Cook the kale another 10 to 15 minutes until tender; stir occasionally and add more water if needed. Salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Add the cooked quinoa and sun-dried tomatoes; toss to combine. Add lemon juice and remaining olive oil; toss to coat. Salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add one of the optional toppings if desired. Serves 4.

One serving (without toppings) contains: 43g total carbs (5.7g fiber, 8.2g sugar), 9.4g protein, 14g total fat, 0g cholesterol, 301mg sodium.

Source: Kara Lydon / the Foodie Dietitian; Recipe Calculator
Photo credit: Kara Lydon

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