Tuesday, July 29, 2014

feed thyself (thy family, too)

Since moving we've been doing a lot more cooking at home, and it's such a relaxing way to unwind in the evenings. Our kitchen is easily my favorite room in the house--bright and light, with plenty of room for everyone.

When I lived in Germany, we ate all three meals together as a family every day. Breakfast was simple, usually some sort of spread/bread combo and coffee. Lunch was the big meal of the day and almost always hot. Around 4pm we'd have an espresso break, sometimes with a small piece of chocolate or a cookie. In the evenings we'd have our abendsbrot (bread with cheese or a savory spread) accompanied by soup or salad. (When there was a good mystery show on we'd eat dinner in front of the TV, which is about the only similarity to my American upbringing.) If we'd gone out for kaffee und kuchen (coffee and cake) earlier in the afternoon we'd skip dinner altogether. I loved the simplicity, routine, and ritual of it all. I'd like to raise Caleb with a version of this German approach to mealtimes.

Today was a success, and the more I meal plan, food shop, and recipe hunt, the easier it all becomes. I also enjoy it so much. I find having a routine to be really freeing, actually.

This morning Caleb enjoyed a banana while I drank a smoothie based on one served at our local juice bar. Their version uses dates, coconut, and vanilla almond milk with lots of ice. I subbed coconut almond milk for the vanilla, skipped the ice, kept the dates, and added banana, frozen spinach, and flax meal. It was SO GOOD! Extremely filling and energizing.

For lunch, I made a cauliflower soup adapted from a slew of recipes I cobbled together. I started with a mirepoix, added an entire head of cauliflower (cut into florets), and used vegetable stock for the liquid (hence the orange-y color). Before serving I stirred in a spoonful of Greek yogurt for a little creaminess, then topped it off with crumbled goat cheese and chives. Satisfying without being overly hearty. Caleb gobbled it up, too. On the side I had a pretzel roll with avocado and havarti.

Once dinner rolled around I wasn't that hungry. A small serving of hot salt-and-vinegar potatoes was plenty (and delicious!). I followed the recipe in the link but subbed tricolor potatoes, since I already had them on hand. And once again, Caleb was a major fan :) We all especially loved the purple potatoes.

I've got a few more recipes already chosen for the week centered on ingredients we already have. I'd also like to try something unlike anything I've done before (not hard, as what you see here is pretty much my first real and consistent foray into cooking). Garlic scape tempura, anyone?