Always on the go, I sometimes find it difficult to cook my meals at home. However, eating-on-the-go is hard not only on the body and mind, but also on maintaining the integrity of a healthy budget.
We all know that food made with love is more beneficial to body and soul than it’s quick-grab counterparts. We also know that the act of sitting down to enjoy a meal increases our ability to absorb nutrients as well as our feelings of satisfaction during and after eating the meal. Perhaps what women need more than restrictive diets and the practice of “self-denial” is permission to indulge in satisfying, loving, heart warming, home-cooked goodness more regularly, more mindfully, and more heartily.
Over the past year, I’ve been learning to practice the art of self-care by learning to cook for myself. I’ve discovered that the benefits of eating home-cooked meals make balancing this time-consuming skill worthwhile. When my Ayurvedic Doctor recommended making my own meals, I thought: how is a girl going to conquer the world when she has to be home in time to cook dinner?
My secret weapon: The Crock-Pot
If not for my crock-pot, I might still be dependent upon quick-grab granola parfaits, smoothies, energy bars, and pre-packaged, store-bought sandwiches to supplement my on-the-run style of daily nutrition (or the lack thereof). Thankfully, the use of this tool eliminates the time-consuming and location-inhibiting constraints of “cooking” by allowing me the freedom to leave the kitchen for hours at a time, hit the gym, go to work, volunteer, garden, etc, without having to monitor the stove! What more, I return to the house to find a warm, home-made nourishing, balanced meal ready to eat! Even if I don’t leave the house, cooking with “the pot” can be managed with bite-size steps, spaced hours apart.
Most of my “soups” are invented on the fly. Thankfully, I’m well past the stage where everything, no matter how different, tastes the same! As with anything new, there is a learning curve. With practice and growing skill, I am learning how to make delicious meals that respond to my body’s ever-changing nutritional and spiritual needs. Each soup has a slightly different theme based on the foods that are in season, what is currently stocked in the house, and (of course) mood!
What follows is a soup I made to support the energy and health of my body by boosting natural immune response following a kidney infection.
Fresh Brussels Sprouts, halved;
Sliced Carrots or Yams
(pre-cooked the evening before to save time);
Raw Pumpkin Seeds;
Raw Flax Seeds;
(reduced sodium recommended)
(I couldn’t find the Hemp seed oil!);
Quinoa (or rice);
(I chose to not use the stewed tomatoes pictured above…)
Step 1: Three Hours on High Heat
Add Broth, Vegetables, and Seeds to pot
Note: If the carrots are raw, add these approximately two hours ahead of the sprouts as they have a much longer cook time; the alternative is over-cooked greens (i.e. gross mush that nobody likes to eat).
Step 2: Dinner’s Cumin!
Add various spices. Copious amounts of your favorites recommended!
I added chopped Garlic; ground Cumin; ground Coriander; Tsardust (an awesome favorite that is a mix of salt, garlic, cinnamon, black pepper, nutmeg, and marjoram; I find it tastes very “grounding” and my exuberance over which is the reason that many of my earliest soups tasted the same); and Bragg’s Organic Sprinkle (a mix of 24 herbs and spices)
Step 3: One hour to go!
Reduce heat; Add Quinoa!
Note: If using rice, add at the very beginning with uncooked carrots or yams; rice cooks much slower than Quinoa (which needs only about an hour in a heated mixture).
Step 4: Dinner is served!
Enjoy! Share with a friend, or take a quiet moment for yourself.
A Note About my Crock:
I use a petit version with a temperature dial. To me, this dial is an imperative feature as it allows me to time the process better. This pot makes four servings, and will feed three people comfortably.