I find that one of the healthiest things people can do for themselves is to cook at home. I find that cooking brings me peace, balance, and allows me to activate my creative side- in addition to being the healthiest way to eat.
Nutty Pumpkin Bread- recipe below.
Why Home Cooking is Awesome
1) You know exactly what you are eating. You choose the ingredients, you measure the portions- so you know the quality and quantity of what’s going on your plate. You will not likely add the amount of sugar, salt, and fat to your food that would be added at a restaurant or in a frozen, prepackaged meal.
2) You know where your food comes from. Cooking at home allows you to choose local, sustainable options that are fresh. It’s hard to know how many stages of processing food has gone through in a package or at a restaurant before its ready for you to eat. Some restaurants don’t freshly prepare all of their foods. Some just reheat frozen, bulk purchased foods. I was shocked one morning when I saw a popular bagel shop unloading tubs of flavored cream cheese into their store. I had assumed these were created and made fresh on premises, but they were bought somewhere else, possibly far, far away…
3) You save time. This one might surprise people because people often don’t cook because they don’t believe they have the time. It takes me 90 minutes to prep and clean up 5 days of breakfasts and lunches. Over time, you become more efficient. You also don’t need to follow an elaborate recipe- eating simple is best. By the time I would go to a restaurant for lunch, stood in line, ordered my food, and waited for my food, this would amount to far longer than 90 minutes of my time over the course of a week.
4) You save money. Stocking up on staples and buying fresh fruits and vegetables often allows you to make a variety of dishes at any time. Rather than spending $7-10 on just lunch each day, I am spending $30-$35 on fresh produce, fresh fish and eggs, and about once a month buying additional staples like grains, beans, and spices.
To get you started on a healthier path, I want to share some of the items I keep stocked around the house so that when I am inspired by a new recipe or new fruit or vegetable at the farmer’s market, I am able to prepare a delicious meal with it.
What’s in My Pantry?
Dry and Canned Goods
|gluten-free, old-fashioned oatssteel cut oatsmillet
garbanzo bean flour
rice: brown, black, wild
|Red lentilsdry beans: kidney, garbanzo, white, blackcanned beans: black, garbanzo, kidney, pinto
tomato sauce (1 ingredient)
|raw walnutsraw almondspepitas
raw sunflower seeds
raw almond butter
|coconut oilolive oilcooking spray
soy sauce/ tamari
vinegars: apple cider, balsamic, white, rice
chili/ hot sauce
|cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, cardamom, powdered ginger, allspice, vanilla bean, cinnamon stickslavender, fennelcumin, smoked paprika, cayenne, chili powder, red pepper flakes
basil, oregano, parsley, garlic, tarragon, chives
curry powder, turmeric, coriander, bay leaves, dill
sea salt, black pepper grinder, all seasons salt
|raw cacao powderraw cacao nibsbaking soda
unsweetened shredded coconut
extracts: vanilla, almond, lemon, peppermint
*I steer clear of most of the common condiments like ketchup, bbq sauce, mayonnaise and sauces which are full of salt, sugar, and fat.
This recipe, after buying some fresh eggs at the farmer’s market, was created with items from my pantry.
This bread is hearty, not a dessert. Sugar and gluten-free with healthy fats and superfood ingredients like chia seeds, flax, and coconut oil- high in essential omega-3 fatty acids. Healthy fiber and protein makes this a great option for breakfast or a snack.
nutty pumpkin bread
- 1 cup buckwheat flour
- 1 cup old fashioned oats or 1 cup oat flour*
- 2 eggs*
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1 cup pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)
- 1 T chia seeds
- 2 T ground flax seed
- 2 T pepitas
- 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1/4 cup almonds, chopped
- 1 t baking powder
- 1/2 t sea salt
- 1 t cinnamon
- 1/2 t nutmeg
- 1/2 powdered ginger
- 1/4 t cloves
Preheat oven to 350. If using old fashioned oats, pulse in food processor or blender. Combine all dry ingredients in medium bowl. Combine wet ingredients in another bowl. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients until a dough forms. Add batter to greased bread pan. Top with additional nuts, seeds, and oats if desired. Bake 40 minutes. Cool at least 30 minutes before cutting.
*To make this vegan, substitute flax eggs (1 flax egg- 1 egg: combine 1 T ground flax with 3 T water- chill ten minutes)
**To make this gluten-free, use gluten-free oats