Saturday, January 9, 2016

Let Us Remember to Nourish Ourselves

I got to the end of the work week yesterday with the kind of headache that I don't usually get.  I waited for it to go away, and then took 4 aspirins.  An hour or two later, it was worse--so I took more aspirin.  Happily, since I don't get headaches often these days, I can handle that much aspirin.  And still, my headache receded but didn't go away.

I was also exhausted.  I just wanted to curl up under my desk and sleep.  But there were many meetings yesterday, and so I just slogged on.

Still, it was a week that had many good moments.  Our Tuesday of meetings was broken up with a departmental potluck lunch.  My department brought so much food that we ate it again on Wednesday.

One of our colleague friends brought her famous beans.  She makes them the old-fashioned way, from dried beans that she soaks overnight.  Then she cooks them for hours, and then adds a finely diced jalapeno pepper and a can of petite-diced tomatoes and a diced onion.  Then she cooks the pot some more.

I used to make beans this way.  Perhaps I will again.  I will also always keep cans of beans in the pantry.  For a processed food, they are lightly processed and full of nutrition.  But they are easy-ish to make from scratch.  I should remember this.  I tend to think of lentils as the only bean worth cooking at home (for my favorite lentil recipes, see this post).

I used to make granola by a time-consuming method that involved cookie sheets and long time in the oven, with stirring every 10 minutes.  But Mollie Katzen showed me that there's a better way.  You can make granola in single serve batches or make enough for the week, if you have oats, nuts, and a skillet.

The easiest way is to put long-cooking oats and nuts (quick cooking will work too, but not steel-cut) in a skillet.  Heat the skillet and stir until they toast.  Put in a bowl and serve with milk.  It's good hot or cold.

I also sprinkle some sugar; one could use brown sugar, honey, or any other sweetener too.  I like a sprinkle of cinnamon, along with other sweet spices, like allspice, nutmeg, and cloves.  Ginger gives a nice kick, either dried or grated.  I've put coconut in the skillet with good results.  I've used seeds, like sesame and flax seeds.  I've used dried fruits, like cranberries or currents.

It's a high-carb breakfast, yes.  But they are nutrition-packed carbs.  For those of us who love cold cereal for breakfast, it gives us a less-processed, more nutritious choice--and for many of us, this fiber-filled, protein packed cereal will keep us going longer.

Many of us are already back at work, but the work week will intensify this week, I predict.  So this week-end is a great time to make plans for how we'll have nutritious meals.  Homemade granola is one approach.

And for those of us who want a good lunch, I'd make up a casserole today or tomorrow and eat on it all week.  This post has a great veggie-risotto bake that is amazingly versatile, and this post has a Mexican casserole and a broccoli-veggie cheese soup recipe.

Let us remember to nourish ourselves--good health begins with healthy food.

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