Monday, December 7, 2009

Easy Peasy Veggie-neasy Part Two: Quick Meal Tips

"The devil came to me last night and asked what I wanted in exchange for my soul. I still can't believe I said pizza. Friggin' cravings."
- Marc Ostroff

When I started on my path to better eating, it became very clear very quickly that I would have to do a lot of my own cooking. Though many restaurants with many delicious meals exist, the options are not among the healthiest choices for food. Not to mention the fact that I am not independently wealthy and able to dine out all the time (I wish!).
I quickly found that many of the healthy recipes I found took FOREVER to make and were way too complicated. So, I needed ways to make delic
ious meals that didn’t take 4 hours to make. Here are my insights in the world of healthy fast food:

Bamboo Steamer: I CAN’T SAY ENOUGH ABOUT THIS! Who hasn’t experienced boiled vegetables that evoke the inner child yelling “No, get these gross, mushy things away from me!” Well, what if I told you there was a device that cooked you food quickly while keeping texture, flavor and and nutritional value intact? You’re in luck! That is EXACTLY what I am telling you.

How to use a Bamboo Steamer:
- Fill a sautee pan or a wok with an inch or so of water
- Turn the heat to med-high, and put your bamboo steamer in (make sure the water covers the bottom edge of the steamer)
- Steam veggies until just tender to fork

The steam lightly cooks the veggies in very little time and doesn’t leech out the nutritional benefits. The best part is that you can buy steamers with 3 trays…meaning you can cook three different veggies at the same time with no added mess or hassle! GENIUS! Toss your veggies with a little salt, pepper, olive oil, and spices of your choosing and you’ve got yourself a delicious meal! For information about buying bamboo steamers, check out this link:

Quinoa: A cheap, easy, and tasty grain that has a great health profile! Sub this stuff for pasta or other grains and have a delicious meal. It is also a gluten-free g
rain, which is great for us because our diets are chock full of way too much wheat.

How to cook Quinoa:
- Thrown 1 cup of quinoa and one cup of water or veggie stock in a pan.
- Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, and cook for 20 minutes until it is al dente.

Since this grain only takes 20 minutes to cook, so you can turn it on whilst your veggies are steaming. Or, you could cook a big pot of it on a Sunday and heat it up in a sautee pan with a little veggie stock or water when you want to serve it. For more information about how great quinoa is for you, look at this link:

Mix Up Those Veggies
: If you buy in season, you save money-bottom line! So buy those veggies that are in season and they will most likely be deliciously ripe and ready to go. This m
eans that they should be good enough to steam, lightly salt and pepper, and eat.

Also, if you are an easily bored type person like me, you get a ton of variety (read all kinds of different vitamins and minerals) in your diet. You’ll be surprised at how good veggies tastes when they aren’t boiled within an inch of their lives. For a listing on what foods are in season in your area, look at this link:

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