Food Staples & Upcoming Recipe Posts

So I've had this idea for a while, - to share some of the most tasty and healthy recipes that Malcolm and I have been trying out over the past few years.

Our eating habits have changed dramatically over the past 3 years. When I think back to how we used to eat 3+ years ago, it boggles my mind how we managed to go without eating the healthy and delicious food that we eat now. Sure, we always had a side of vegetables and a salad for 'dessert' (we almost never have actual sweet dessert), but the main staples in our daily meals back then included pasta, rice, potatoes, steak, chicken, beef, pork, and a number of fast food restaurant meals per week or month (unfortunately!). The A&W Teen Burger just couldn't seem to be resisted back then. :) Our main staples now are completely different. They consist of lentils, black/kidney beans, chickpeas, brown/long grain rice, and a huge load of veggies. I never thought I would 'survive' eating pasta only once every week and a half or so, but it seems that I have [survived this]. I can't remember the last time we made pasta here at home.

The thing about cooking (for most people, I presume), is that often the motivation to do so just isn't there. Excuses range anywhere from "I don't have enough time", to "I don't have the groceries I need at hand in the house", to "I'm not a good cook", to "I don't know what to make aside from spaghetti, pizza, lasagna, and meat & potatoes". If your excuse is any of the above, then hopefully the recipes that will follow over the coming days, weeks, and months, will give you that little piece of motivation to start cooking at home more often that you've been looking for.

One thing that is important to realize is that anyone can be a good cook. By this, I don't mean that anyone has the natural intuition about which foods go well with which food and drinks, or that everyone can simply whip up a new, creative, and scrumptious (oh, how I love this word) meal off the top of their head, or that everyone knows exactly how long to boil something, how long to bake something, or how long to fry something off the top of their heads. I simply mean, that everyone can follow a recipe and make a meal as delicious as what it looks like on the given photo that is being shown in the recipe heading. Agreed?

The second thing to remember is that it does take a number of 'staples' in your kitchen to have at least the basis of ingredients for many recipes (especially vegetarian). The majority of these items include spices and food that can be stored for a while, either canned, bagged, or otherwise. Of course there are always those ingredients (such as fruits, fresh veggies, and so forth) which you will need to pick up a a day or two prior to making your meal, but there are certainly a number of "must-haves" in your kitchen that will make the grocery shopping part of your recipe-following cooking experience that much more quick, enjoyable, and motivating.

I may add some more items to this list, but here is a core list of items/ingredients which Malcolm and I always have at hand in our cupboards, ready to be used.

Spices (my favourites have a * by them)
- Cumin*
- Thyme*
- Turmeric*
- Coriander/Cilantro

- Cayenne Pepper*
- Chili Powder*

- Cloves
- Nutmeg
- Cinnamon

- Oregano
- Basil

- Paprika
- Rosemary (though I would suggest getting it fresh rather than the dry - more taste in fresh).

I recommend just going out and buying one of those handy spice racks (if you don't already have one) that come with the spices themselves - it will make it easier/more fun to start using them!

(Canned or otherwise)
- Lentils (canned or dry)
- Garbanzo Beans/Chick peas (I suggest canned, as it is much easier and takes much less time)
- Black Beans, Kidney Beans, Haricot (white) Beans (all canned)
- Garlic Cloves (I recommend getting packs of 3 at a time - you will use them, guaranteed)
- Onions (depending on what we make, we usually use red onions or sweet onions)
- Ginger root (I've come to love cooking with this)
- Red/Green Bell Peppers (they last a while in fridge; we usually have up to 4 at any given time).
- Quinoa (a great substitute for rice)


- Bread crumbs (you can just buy these in a little container)
- Extra Firm Tofu (a great substitute for any meat dish, especially where diced/cubed, but also a great addition to any other meal such as stir-fry or rice paper wrap meals)
- Rice Paper Wraps

I could probably go on and on, listing things that I would recommend as being a 'staple' in your kitchen, but I think I'm starting to just list food that I like cooking with and that I like eating... so I will simply stop here! :)

Check back for some healthy, yummy recipes in the days to come!


"Head in the Cloud, Feet on the Ground"

This is a little late in coming, but I want to openly congratulate Malcolm on his new job at Upstart Industries as their newest full-time employee. Here is a little blurb that his new employers wrote up about him after he became a part of their team.

"Upstart Industries Hires New Senior Software Engineer"

I am sure great things are to come.

Congratulations, Malcolm!


Ringing in 2011

"An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves." ~Bill Vaughan

Every New Year's Eve, people make resolutions, look back fondly (or not so fondly) on the past year, and look forward to the new year with high expectations and a large amount of hope.

I had thought about listing all of the significant events of 2010 - the friendships made, the nieces gained, the 'firsts' and the 'lasts', the hopes renewed, the dreams which came true - but instead, I will simply say "HAPPY NEW YEAR and all the best" to all of you out there. Cliche, but it is from the heart.

All the best for 2011 - there will be good news, there will be bad news, and there will be a lot of in-betweens. May we all make the best of each day, as we should each year.