|My week. Coffee shop, grade/write, rinse, repeat.|
Things have been 100% crazy in my life as of late. School is really kicking my butt, and I find myself doing something I very rarely do under pressure…shutting down. For me, one of the top signs I’m really stressed out is poor eating. I get “too stressed/busy” to cook, and, instead, clean the grout between my tiles after eating a ton of tater tots. While cleaning that grout can be very rewarding, making meals at home from whole foods is one of the best things we can do for our bodies, and for the environment.
Here is the pitch (it might sound familiar). When you prepare foods using simple ingredients it become a lot easier to know where those ingredients originate. I also find it’s a lot easier to avoid unnecessary packaging when I’m cooking from whole foods and simple ingredients. And, as I really needed someone to remind me this weekend, cooking for yourself really doesn't take that long and is so much more rewarding than ordering a pizza. Also, it’s just better for you! I don’t really want this to turn into a nutrition blog, but I am sort of obsessed with nutrition, and if you want to know some cool sites to refer to, let me know in the comments.
Long story short, I want to commemorate the last real meal I cooked before I let stress get the better of me. This is a simple meal you could make without much effort during the pre-Thanksgiving week. It also uses lots of ingredients that you can buy with little to no packaging, score! This Roasted Eggplant Pesto comes from one of my favorite vegan cooking blogs. For the non-vegans in the house, my boyfriend, a committed omnivore, generally loves things from Susan’s blog. I doubled the garlic because…that’s what I do. I also didn't take a picture of the finished product because it just didn't look very photogenic. Refer to the picture on the original blog. She really gets its good side.
You don’t like to cook you say? Ah, dear friend, I was once like you. Literally, my parents were worried about me when I moved away to college because they were “afraid I wouldn't feed myself.” It took me years to get to the point where I thought roasting an eggplant was a step in a “simple” recipe. My advice is to start slow. Cut out some easy processed foods first. For example, if you love making burritos, buy some bulk beans and cook those things up yourself (you only need a sauce pan and some water). Love pasta night? Skip the sauce in those plastic/glass containers, and buy a can of tomato sauce and spice it up yourself. The key is to set yourself up for success in the beginning so you don’t get frustrated or discouraged. And for those of you out there who love to cook, think of some ingredients you could sub or tell us a story about something you are already doing, I would love to hear it.
That being said, I now love to cook myself. Check out these nummy ingredients! We ate this on pasta twice, and I used it as a spread on many a piece of toast. I loved it!
|Look at this pretty basil! And the only plastic it came with was that silly little |
twist tie they up around it at the store. Totally kept that bit to reuse.
|Look at this beauty! Roasted eggplant from the farmer's market. YUM!|
FINAL WORD: I know not everyone loves to cook, but it’s a skill that will really serve you well in your journey to help the planet (and yourself) stay happy and healthy. Remember, baby steps are the best way to make real, lasting changes in your life. Give yourself a break! Try upping your home cooked meals by one day (or even one meal) per week. Keep track of the waste you create, and see the difference!
What do you think? Do you live near a farmer’s market where you can buy your produce? Do you like to cook? Any favorite cooking tips or websites to share with us?