How can you make food more exciting without breaking the bank and without spending tons of time that you don't have? You don't have to spend hours watching the food network if you don't want! It's really much simpler than you'd think and my answer is: Spices! Cooking with spices can seem daunting at first because there are so many out there. I try to keep things simple by always having the essentials below in stock. I use the same spices over and over in my food, but I've strategically picked spices with health benefits that are packed with a ton of flavor and that work well in most recipes to give your food that extra kick. Keep reading below for three dinner recipes to get you started!
Black Pepper, Pink Himalayan Salt, Turmeric, Cayenne, Curry, Chili Powder, Ginger, Garlic
Honey, Parsley, Cilantro
Skinny & Co Coconut Oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil
What you will need:
Lean Organic Ground Beef
Spices (black pepper, salt, red chili powder)
Grated parmesean and/or romano
Hemp oil (optional)
Grill up a burger. I prefer to make them in a skillet on the stove on low to medium heat. I cook them with black pepper and an all purpose seasoning. When the beef is done to your liking, top with a fried egg. I make these by placing a tiny bit of butter in a small bowl along with an egg, place a plate over, and microwave for 50-60 seconds. I then topped the egg with fresh mozzarella cheese until it was slightly melted. I added the spices above to taste and sprinkled grated cheese over.
As I side I made polenta. I bought the creamy spinach and carrot polenta from Trader Joes. But I added crushed raw cashews which I blended in a blender as well as a tiny bit of hemp seed oil. You can use whatever oil you like, or skip it. I added grated Parmesan and Romano cheese over.
Tip: Check out the bulk food sections in your grocery or co-op. This is the section with dry goods that you can scoop out our put into a bag and you pay by weight. There is a good chance there is a spice section. I take just what I need for about a month or so. This is also a great way to experiment without breaking the bank. Buying from the bulk sections, but buying smaller quantities can save you money and give you some new options to experiment with while getting fresher spices.
What you will need:
1 can light coconut milk
1/4 cup cashews
2-3 cloves garlic
1 inch piece of ginger
Spices: cinnamon, cayenne pepper, chili powder, turmeric
Lemon (4 slices)
Lime (2 slices)
1/4 cup walnuts
6 yellow gold potatoes
1 head cauliflower
2 tbps extra virgin olive oil
4-6 pieces uncured nitrate free bacon (cook and then crumble bacon over)
Blend cashews and water to make cashew milk. Add coconut milk and cashew milk together in a big pot along with 1/2 cup of water or chicken broth. Add in potato pieces which I cut into pieces before putting in the soup. I then added then cauliflower and kept on simmer. Add in spices to your liking and taste. Start out with 1/2 teaspoon and taste test as you go. Add in olive oil closer to the end. Lastly I cooked 4-6 pieces of uncured nitrate free bacon and added some of the bacon and bacon grease (couple tablespoons) into the recipe and cooked for about 20 minutes. The whole cook time is about 1 hour. You can eat as is if you like chunkier soups (or add almond milk to think out) or you can blend once it's cooled. Save a couple pieces of bacon to crumble over. Add some garnish and eat!
What you will need:
Nitrate free turkey
Whole grain bread
Butter the bread with your Coconut Oil. Read more below for information on coconut oil and which brand I recommend and why. After that, I applied 1 pear slice, then turkey slices mixed with pears. I topped with some cheese and baked in the oven for 5-7 minutes at 350-375 degrees (ovens vary). Once done, I sprinkled black pepper for taste and added some pesto paste. All these flavors blend together so wonderfully. This is such a quick and yet nutritious snack.
I use Skinny & Company because it is unique and of the best quailty. First of all, the color is snow white and when heated up it becomes a crystal clear liquid. The smell and taste is amazing. There is a more noticeable taste because it is 100% raw. In clean eating, I always strive to find the food in its rawest form (when safe) and eat as close to the source as possible. It makes a world of difference. Do a smell test when possible. If there is very little scent or taste or taste/smell like toasted coconuts it has probably been processed or heat up in some way.
Why Coconut Oil?
I use coconut oil because it has numerous uses from a high heat cooking oil, to a hair conditioner, makeup remover and skin conditioner. I've also started practicing oil pulling where you swish oil in your mouth for 10-20 minutes to remove crap from your teeth, whiten teeth and improve gum health. Unrefined coconut oil, sesame or sunflower oil are good oils to try oil pulling with. Coconut oil also has a lot of nutritional benefits. Although it is higher in fat, this is good fat. Obviously with anything, moderation is key.
Left to Right: Unrefined v. Refined (cold pressed, organic)
"Most coconut oils either have very little scent/taste or smell like toasted coconuts, which can tell you one of two things: if they don't have smell, they are likely refined (ultra-heated/processed) and have lost much of their nutritional benefits. If the oil smells "toasted" it means that the oil has likely been moderately heated, which renders the medium-chain-fatty-acids (MCFAs) less effective...
MCFAs are the reason coconut oil is considered a good fat, and can help in weight loss by boosting the metabolism. Most companies will heat the coconut to extract more meat, then "cold press" in the final process, which is actually not "cold pressed". Heating and low quality coconuts are the reasons why most coconut oil solidifies to look like cellulite, and melts a murky white/grey/yellow color.
Our oil, when melted, is as clear as water, and solidifies pure white and uniform, not chunky. The smell is the closest representation of cracking open a coconut in the jungle and smelling inside. The standard "pina colada" scent we (as a society) attribute to coconuts is, in fact, not how a raw coconut smells!" -Chris, Skinny & Co
For cooking, I use coconut oil over olive oil when I'm cooking to a higher heat. I use it when I need an oil that is spreadable, I use it to make popcorn on the stove and have that extra noticeable fresh flavor to it. If you can't afford Skinny & Co ($24.99), at least look for an organic oil that is whiter in appearance and has gone through the least amount of processing.
Comment and let me know which recipe above you'd most like to try! Also, don't forget to follow me on Twitter and we can do some tweeting!