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Delicious Food Preparation Tips

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Over the past years, I've learned a great deal about cooking, but more so the past 2-3 months when I went to a Paleo type style of eating.  Some of the questions I had were:

1.  Give up grains & starches?  I'm Chinese.  How will I eat dishes with sauces?  see #28
2.  I love my sauces.  If I can't thicken with flour or cornstarch, what will I use?  see #25, #13
3.  I love eating gourmet and eating out.  I can't make these foods.  see #14, #21, #22
4.  Eating out is much easier.  Many of my meals can be prepared & cooked in less than 30 min. using high quality ingredients.  No tipping and little mess.  More flavorful & you can control what you put in the foods.
5.  I hate cooking.  Eating paleo is pretty easy.  When I find new recipes, often I have most, if not all the ingredients and can easily try new recipes.  This is simplified eating.
6.  I'm a lazy cook.  So am I.  I don't like things that have too many ingredients or steps.  
7.  I like comfort foods.  Many of the comfort foods you like, there is a simple, healthier paleo way to make it.  It's not for everything, but for many things.
8.  I like foods that taste great.  So do I.  All my foods are so incredibly yummy.  Every dish I make is kid-friendly and I often get from my kids, "Mommy, this is so good, I could eat this all day long."  
9.  Health food tastes like health food.  Well, if you're talking bland and cardboard, that's not health food or it's someone who just doesn't know how to make their foods taste good.  My food not only tastes incredible, but it's great for your body in promoting good health for longevity.
10.  Eating healthy is expensive.  It's no more expensive than what it costs you to eat crap, takeout.  You'll actually probably save money eating my way overall and can reinvest the difference for your retirement.
11. Eating healthy takes work.  Work is not a bad word, but in the long run, I'm sure poor health & fitness, you'll wished you had done SOME work.
12. But you like to cook.  Well, sometimes, but often, not.  That's why I cook in bulk periodically, teach my kids, keep recipes simple. I'm just as busy as the next person.
13.  I'm on the road a lot or travel a lot.  If you're on the road, you can pack a cooler or ice chest.  Refreezable ice packs do not cost a lot.  If you must order  your food, buy a protein and veggies.  If it's a burger, toss out the buns.  The mayo has yuck fats and the ketchup has too much sugar.  Ask for extra veggies instead.  Mustard is fine.  Nuts are great to snack on, but I usually put small portions in little baggies, as eating a lot of nuts means A LOT of fat & calories.  You cannot eat this in unlimited quantities.
14.  I like my soda.  If you cut the grains, starches, and go low sugar, I guarantee you will not want your soda.  Soda is just total crap.
15.  I'm too tired to cook.  Keep hard-boiled eggs on hand, raw cheeses, cut up veggies, or raw eggs.  You can easily in a few min. whip up some scrambled eggs, throw some spices in it and you have a gourmet egg dish in minutes.  Eat a hard-boiled egg and some veggies or raw cheese.
16.  I don't know what to buy.  Buy lean proteins/wild fish & seafood/free range poultry, raw nuts, fresh veggies and fruit, dried & fresh herbs, spices, raw seeds, goat's dairy, raw cheeses, and limited dairy, nut oils, unsweetened nut milks & flours ----> this is basically it. 
17.  I'm really picky about what I eat.  So am I.  Who isn't to some extent?
18.  I love my chocolate.  Good chocolate is expensive.  I really didn't care for chocolate before going Paleo, but now LOVE chocolate.  I eat chocolate nearly every day now, but just a little, dark 85% chocolate or unsweetened cacao powder in a protein shake or something I make using it.  I have some easy chocolate recipes that you can make.  
19.  I love ice cream, cheesecake, pies, cakes.  So do I.  I haven't made stuff in this area yet to this extent, but I have recipes or can direct you to recipes of these that others have successfully made that are paleo healthy for you.

1.  Use "unsweetened" nut milks and coconut milk.  You don't need the added sugar.
2.  If you want to make a smoothie or drink creamy, you can add avocado to it.  It has essentially no taste and gives your drink a creamy texture.  This also includes making ice cream.  It has healthy fats and is super low in sugar.  You can use a banana, but that has a lot of sugar.
3.  You do not need any milks to make a smoothie.  You can cut calories here by using water and ice.  This gives you more of an icey feel, but it's still yummy.  If you use a milk, make sure it's unsweetened.
4.  When using the crockpot, it's best to brown your meat prior.  This doesn't take very long, but gives the meat a richer, yummy flavor, allowing the spices to come out more in the crockpot.
5.  Carmelizing onions prior to putting them into a crockpot also better brings out its flavors.
6.  Tongs are amazing at flipping food that is awkward with a spatula.  If you don't have these, get them.
7.  You do not need bread crumbs in meatballs or meatloaf.  You can use nut meals (ground up nuts), ground flaxseed and egg for binding here.  They work great without giving these dishes ANY starches.
8.  Nut and coconut flours work great in lieu of regular flours, but they do not work exactly the same.  Coconut flour is very heavy and a little goes a long way.  For cakes, you use more eggs to give it a lighter, fluffier taste and feel, otherwise, you will have a very dense cake.
9.  You can make creamy soups not only adding avocado, but some of the meatier veggies, they can be steamed or cooked, then you can puree this with some broth.
10.  Cook bacon under BROIL in the oven on a baking sheet with lips.  Much easier than in a pan or grill.
11.  Save fat cooked from bacon in glass jars.  This is now lard that you can use later when you want grease or a bacon flavor.  No need to buy something that was sitting on a shelf for weeks or months.
12.  To make a meat broth or vegetable broth, save the bones or vegetable scraps.  Throw in a big pot with filtered water and let boil, then simmer.  No waste.  Tastes yummy.  Way less expensive than buying all the canned stuff, and you can control the sodium & ingredients.
13.  If you want to thicken sauces, use coconut flour (a little) instead of corn starch or flour.  
14.  Chocolate is great, so as long as it's mainly chocolate and little to no sugar.  So, this would not be milk chocolate, rather dark chocolate.  Go for 85% dark chocolate or higher.  You can add cacao powder using it as a spice for some of your dishes.  Gives it an amazing richness & flavor and you cannot taste the chocolate.
15.  There are ways to make many unseemingly unhealthy foods healthy that will help your body burn fat rather than store fat readily.
16.  Use a variety of natural colors of vegetables in your meals.
17.  Don't overcook proteins or veggies.
18.  Cooking at lower heat, putting a lid on items helps better steam veggies, making them tender (for those who have kids that like their veggies more tender).
19.  Using a non-stick pan, you don't need to use oil or use very little.
20.  Pancakes, waffles, etc. do not need ANY grains.  You just need a batter, a spray oil, and for things to not stick.  
21.  You can make pestos for a fraction of the cost to buy them, as well as all types of salsa.  The vegetables don't cost much.  Nuts are a bit pricier, but you can get walnuts, pecans, almonds, pinenuts at Costco less than you can buy at bulk at Sprouts on sale.  You don't need to add a lot of nuts, but adding some does help give it flavor.  Basic pesto sauce:  olive oil, garlic, at least 1 green veggie, nuts, sea salt & ground pepper.  If you want to add parmesan or other finely grated cheese, you can.  Your greens can be cilantro, basil, artichoke, asparagus, dandelion greens, mustard greens, kale, chard, etc.  It just depends what kind of flavor you want.  You can also do roasted veggies like eggplant, zucchini, red/yellow/orange peppers, or even avocado pestos.  But, then the name changes to other things like babaganoush, etc.  There's no limit to the pesto sauces you can create.
22.  Keep 1-3 different pestos on hand.  These work well all types of meats and makes a simple meal taste very gourmetish.
23.  Hummus does not need to be made with garbonzo or chickpeas.  What is required in hummus is tahini, which is a sesame paste.  You need at least tahini, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, cumin and you can use zucchini in place of chickpeas to make this flavorful dip.  If you want it to have a roasted red pepper taste, then add this to it.  Similarly if you like it with jalepeno, chipotle, garlic, or other types of spicy peppers.
24.  You can go grainless and still eat and have your cake, pie, cupcake or muffin.  However, if you have egg or nut allergies, this will greatly limit this, but it's still doable.
25.  Chia seeds can help thicken heated fruit that you want to turn into sauces or preserves.  It sorta acts like a gelatin, and is super healthy for you.  Here are 40 ways to use Chia Seeds.
26.  Coating use for fried chicken, chicken nuggets (or tenders), etc., you do not need to use bread crumbs or even panko bread crumbs.  You can use finely chopped nuts (use a food processor) that is turned into a meal or not quite that fine if you like crunchier with seasonings, herbs (fresh or dried), spices.  If you're allergic to nuts, you can use a finely grated cheese like parmesan or romano.  If you're a allergic to cheese, then you can use coconut flour, unsweetened coconut flakes, or crushed pork rinds.  Make sure to drench meat in flour/meal first, then in whisked egg, then topped with whatever you want for the outer coating.  
27.  Though I'm not a low-fat eater, I don't like dousing my foods in oil either.  To make things sorta appeared fried without all the grease, fat & calories, I spray my baking pan with oil, put my food on the pan, then spray again with oil, and BROIL.  You can also pan fry, but I tend to use more oil this way.  The thought of filling a pot with oil and drowning my foods in oil repulses me.
28.  Cauliflower can be used in place often where rice was used.  It had way fewer calories and is very nutrient dense.

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