Monday, August 24, 2009

Preparing for the week

I will be honest with you here: eating well does require commitment, time, and planning ahead. I probably spend 2 hours per day preparing food (this includes 3 meals and sometimes packing a lunch for Hugo), and this doesn't include planning and shopping or cleaning up. I could do it more quickly, but I enjoy my time in the kitchen with Oliver playing at my feet, so I do things at a somewhat leisurely pace. I realize, of course, that I am pretty spoiled to be able to take time preparing healthy meals from fresh ingredients, but most of the things I make are far from elaborate and with a little prep work on the weekend it's possible to enjoy delicious meals all week without too much labor.

The picture above shows seeds (all beans, nuts, and whole grains are really seeds) of various kinds soaking in water and either salt or whey. Soaking neutralizes phytic acid in whole grains and de-activates enzyme inhibitors found in all forms of seeds. Soaking also renders seeds of all kinds more nutritious and digestible. For this week I am preparing the following:
1) black beans (which must be soaked with something acidic, like whey or lemon juice -- 2 tbsp. per cup of beans, and enough water to keep the beans covered as they swell)
2) peanuts (soaked with plenty of water and 1 tbsp. sea salt for about 4 cups of peanuts; later I will toast these in the oven for about 12-24 hours at 140 degrees, and make them into peanut butter with some coconut oil and sea salt)
3) quinoa (soaked with whey or lemon juice: 1 tbsp. per cup of grain. The longer you soak quinoa the better the results when it's cooked! Five days is great, but it should be at least one day.)
4) brown rice (also should be soaked overnight with lemon juice or whey: 1 tbsp. per cup of rice)

Other tasks for the week include:
-washing, chopping and taking the lettuce for a spin in the salad spinner
-cutting up the cantaloupe and melon
-making stock from the leftover chicken bones of last week's roasted chicken (I use carrots, celery, and onions for this, plus a big pot of water and 2 tbsp. raw apple cider vinegar to bring the minerals out of the bones and veggies). When the stock is done I will season it with sea salt and strain everything into freezer containers to be used later (such as, when cooking the beans and quinoa). I will also reserve the cooked carrots from the stock to use in the stuffed peppers.
-making bean dip after the beans are soaked and cooked (I use sour cream and spices and mix everything together in the food processor)
-making ice cream
-making salad dressing
-making peanut butter (when the peanuts have been soaked and toasted)
-marinating the tuna (rinse & pat dry the raw fresh tuna; then slice as desired and marinate in 2-4 tbsp. lime juice and an optional 2 tbsp. whey -- the bacteria found in raw lime juice and liquid whey will crowd out any dangerous bacteria on the raw fish so that it will be totally safe to eat. It also begins invisibly breaking down the tuna which makes it much easier to digest and absorb.)

I will also make mayo at some point this week, and chicken liver & onion pate (recipe to follow at some point soon!). Stay tuned for stuffed peppers with quinoa, and khoresh bademjan later in the week.

Please share about what you will be cooking (and/or eating) this week. What types of food preparations do you do early in the week so that you can eat well all week long?

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