No I'm not a health nut, not a vegetarian, not a food professional or stuck on organic goodness.
What I am is a mother of 3 highly intelligent children whose educational background on food and nutrition includes 3 different semesters of Chemistry, listened to Alton Brown, since 1999 explain how certain foods react to heat and disperse its nutritional content, a self-taught cook since I was 17, a semester on Food Nutrition who wrote A papers on Pro & Cons of Organic and Current Farming, Malnutrition and its Psychological Effects, and 3 Psychology classes (Family, Educational and Sociology) and an avid researcher on the latest reports on healthy eating.
I don't stick to one study or school of thinking when it comes to food for my family. I respect one basic fact- they are different from me, therefore, their responses to food will be different from me and from each other. I don't go by recipes either, instead I take a recipe and give it my spin to cater it to how my family eats.
With basic knowledge about food nutrition and combinations, you can find countless meals that can please everyone. That is exactly what I bring to one of my friend's attention when I help her figure out how to best use what she's got in her pantry and fridge. I respect how others eat, but I also show them that if they "tweak" it a bit, like swapping sides instead of the "usual", they can double their nutrition without sacrificing taste and satisfaction. Here's how I approached my friend Heather's needs and wants when she asked for my help.
I listen to my friend first on how they normally eat. Then I suggested a different way of thinking without changing too much their lifestyles to alleviate any onset of shock. When people are shocked into changing how they eat, resistance occurs and damage always follows.
I reversed the dish title, I reversed their eating habits. Instead of Chicken with Pasta, I called what I made Pasta with Chicken. Why? I only used a handful of pulled chicken meat into the packaged pasta dish that they had for me to prepare. I added vegetables and suggested sides and drink to go with the pasta and they ended up savoring the dish and sides, and didn't look for big hunks of chicken breast.
I used what she had; nothing more, nothing less. By looking into what you can use, and use it, you truly see a pattern of how you eat, rather than just how you shop. If you don't eat what you bring home, it's a waste of money. And most likely, would not buy it again.
I made broth and sauce. Both are very good flavor base. Making a thick sauce and reduced broth intensifies flavor that you can easily "thin" out with water or extra broth to make tons of other dishes.
I showed her how to store it. By eliminating the extra air from the container, meals last longer in the freezer or fridge. Labeling for WHAT AND WHEN help to focus your menu and not tire out your palette.
We had a great "on-the-fly" menu today and we created several delicious and nutritious meals in under 6 hours.
Helping a great friend thru cooking, is like asking me to bask in the sun. It relaxes me; it helps me love that friend more. It's the best kind of service, if you ask me!