23 July 2012

Healthy Living 101

"Dude, this is going to cost us at least $250!"

My friend's little brother is in town for the summer and he's the type of person who is content with eating Coco Puffs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I'm not one to tell someone how they should live but I do try to encourage a healthier lifestyle, especially when it comes to food. Don't get me wrong, I'm the type of person who grabs a burger and frozen margarita for lunch after the gym but moderation is key. When I noticed all he was eating was cereal and milk for a few days straight, however, my nurturing instincts, domesticity, and love for cooking all came rushing out at once so I dragged him over to Trader Joe's to grab some groceries.

He clearly lost that bet.

Coming from Miami, which is apparently void of a Trader Joe's, he was staring with his jaw dropped to the floor as we filled up our shopping cart. "Jehanlos, how much do you think all of this is going to cost us," I asked him. He bet the entire thing would cost a good $250 to $300, but clearly lost the bet. Like many teenagers, he is fairly particular when it comes to the things he does and doesn't like to eat - among them being spicy foods and vegetables. I respect the former but did not allow his dislike for vegetables to go on for too long so I made sure to load up on non-starchy vegetables and other goodies. The trick is to hide them from sight and sometimes from taste and texture.

simple stir fry recipe

We got back to the apartment with four bags of groceries which would usually last a good month for most people but with three growing boys in the house I knew that would realistically only last a good two weeks, or less. I announced that I would be making stir fry that night, much to his disdain, but he ended up loving it despite my packing it full of veggies.

penne pasta with tomato basil marinera, broccoli, and cauliflower

He requested pasta a few nights after so I decided to have some fun with the recipe. Cooking the chicken was simple enough but I decided to spice it up a bit with some broccoli and cauliflower. My best friend, Jason, would usually serve pasta with spiced veggies so I ran with that idea and decided to try baking the broccoli and cauliflower with a few random ingredients. It luckily turned out delicious, without a single leftover afterward.

ground beef with couscous and carrots

It's always fun to start making up recipes as you cook, especially if the people for whom you are cooking have specific requests for what they do and don't want in the meal. I have a recipe for Moroccan spiced ground beef and couscous but since Jehanlos isn't a fan of anything remotely spicy I had to play around with a new recipe for ground beef and couscous.

It's always a slight fear that others won't like my cooking, especially if I make it up as I go, but I fortunately haven't had that problem yet. It's all about gauging which ingredients go well together, how much of an item to add to the rest of the recipe, and of course experience. I spent a lot of time bothering my relatives in the kitchen when I was younger, so I learned a lot back then. I'll be sure to add the recipes for these and other meals soon so stay tuned!

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