What's health got to do with it?

Joined Dec 7, 2009

This group has helped me get off the ground with some great cooking and both my wife and I are feeling better already. She sleeps better and my acid stomach has quieted down.

I have made Shrimp Gumbo, Tilapia Soup, Quinoa w/ beans and corn, and Chicken Soup.

My next venture will be into fruits and vegetables but they will have to be enticing as we both have neglected these important groups.

Seasons Greetings newfound friends!
Joined Sep 16, 2009
That's good to hear. Cooking is a part of our daily needs, its where we take nutrients that we need everyday. In short you are what you eat. It's important that you gave a certain attention on cooking health food. Good luck and best wishes to both of you. Enjoy the yuletide season.
Joined Apr 17, 2009
Health has everything to do with it.

When you learn to cook with basic cooking methods over written recipes, you control the ingredients to your desires.

Instead of running to the grocery store to gather the stuff the recipe tells you to, create a recipe from your creativity and the items you have on hand. It's a lot more fun.

Congratulations to you and your new hobby. It will definately improve your health and wellness to improve your cooking skills.

If you'd like to learn how to cook like a chef at home in 16 weeks guaranteed, check out my site - WebCookingClasses.com
Joined May 26, 2001
Kevin, it's great that eating better is already having a positive effect!

Even at this time of year, there are still plenty of fresh vegetables around that are enticing all on their own, or with very little done to them. (Of course, I LOVE vegetables, never met one I didn't like; I can even stand overcooked Brussels sprouts :lol:). May I suggest that you buy whatever looks good -- bright colors, no withered leaves -- and try them cooked very simply, on their own. As you get used to the flavors of fresh vegetables, you'll come to appreciate them.

Take broccoli: at first, just use the florets, cut into small pieces, and put in a steamer basket over boiling water. Cover and let them cook just a few minutes, until they are soft but still bright green. (They'll actually be brighter than they were raw!) Or bring a BIG pot of lightly salted water to a boil, add the vegetables, and keep them boiling, again until they are softer but still bright in color. Drain and eat. Couldn't be simpler, and actually you will NOT lose nutrients, the way you would if you cooked them in just a little water for a loooooong time. (What can you do with the stalks that are left over? Peel the outside with a vegetable peeler and cook the same way. No need to throw them out!)

Or try some winter squash such as acorn squash -- cut open, scoop out and discard the seeds and strings, maybe put in a tiny bit of butter and sugar or syrup, and bake until soft. Even easier in the microwave, if you have one.

I could go on and on about different vegetables and how to cook them, but I'll let you ask more. :p

My point is: vegetables are easy, vegetables are good and good for you, in so many ways. If you have to get used to eating them, sure, it will take some adjusting. But it is so worth it!
Joined Feb 1, 2007
Kevin, the same basic rule applies to fruits and veggies as to all other cooking: Good techniques applied to good ingredients. That's all it takes.

Of course there's a learning curve involved, as you learn about what specific veggies taste like, and which techniques work best for them. So, initially, you might want to follow recipes---there are numerous vegetarian cooking books you can use as a start. Eventually you'll get back to the basic rule.

Several things to think about, in no particular order:

1. Although it's hard to tell, nowadays, seasonal vegetables are always better. Right now, for instance, many root veggies (carrots, turnips, rutabaga, parsnips, etc.) are in. The produce guy at your market can help you determine which are in-season and which are not.

2. Try and learn a little about the food distribution system, as this can lead you to better choices. For example, the way tomatoes get to market can mean that right now you are better off with canned tomato product than fresh.

3. Scraps. Don't throw away the scraps and trimmings. They can be used for making stock. I save them in zipper bags in the freezer until there's enough to work with. Note the use of the word "bags." That's becase I often break them down by type for specific dishes. All my broccoli trimmings, for instance, are saved seperately. When there's enough, I make a broccoli soup. What isn't usable this way can be used as compost, if you do any gardening.

4. As a general rule, if you're buying "preserved" fruits and veggies, frozen is better than canned when you have a choice. Indeed, given the modern methods, frozen is often better than "fresh." See #2 above for reasons why.

5. Don't neglect fruit as a cooking ingredient. Sure, fresh, raw fruit is both tasty and healthy. But fruit can really perk up other foods. Pork and chicken, in particular, have a great affinity for fruit. And, when it comes to desserts, nothing compares. One example: Poached pears with a chocolate/raspberry sauce is simple to prepare, elegant on the table, and good for you.

6. If there's a farmers market near you, start shopping there when it's operating. That will assure the freshest, most locally grown, in-season produce you can find.

7. If you don't already know them, learn home preservation techniques. Canning and freezing in-season fruits and veggies assures you a supply of them all year round.

8. Be adventurous. Fruits and veggies you've never had, or which you didn't like as a kid, can be happy surprises. Neither Friend Wife nor I ever cared for Brussels sprouts in the past, for example. But now we love 'em.

9. Be leary of overcooking. Most Americans, and Southerners in particular, grew up having veggies that were way overcooked---to the point of mushiness. Result: We don't like veggies. Try cooking them to the tender-crisp stage (there's that emphasis on technique, again) and see how much better they are.

10: Do not be quick to judgement. You might not like a particular vegetable when it's, say, steamed. But the same veggie, when roasted, might become a favorite.

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