Saturday, January 29, 2011

Simple is good.

Sometimes the good things in life are simple.

I'm not sure if anyone else can relate to this, but often I browse food blogs and find myself wishing for a certain ingredient/food that is simply unavailable and/or extremely expensive. I'm thinking of things like peanut flower, canned pumpkin, almond butter, Greek yogurt, chia seeds. Most of these ingredients seem to be "healthy living staples" for most food bloggers, but sadly they are out of my reach :(

Not to mention all the fruits and vegetables that are not seasonal in this part of the world, and thus unavailable to me - fresh berries , zucchini, squashes of all kinds, spinach, kale. Unfortunately, because I am on a very tight budget at the moment I am limited to mainly - carrots, apples, bananas, beetroot, potatoes, broccoli, green beans, corn and cabbage. There's always the occasional special deal on eggplants, tomatoes and the like. But for the most part it's pretty repetetive.

But you know what - simple and cheap can be yummy! Take my meals today for example. They are simple, cheap yet tasty and healthy at the same time. And they all take a relatively short time to prepare.

( Disclaimer :This does NOT represent my food intake for an entire day. There are snacks and add ons/seconds that are NOT pictured here. I will not be posting everything I eat in a single day simply because it would cause me to compare with other food bloggers and their portions. I am a unique individual and my body needs different things then others, and I am learning to accept that fact.)

My day started with a popular breakfast: oats!!!!!
(I know this is unoriginal, but I can't help myself. Oatmeal is yummy :))

This bowl is something I call "chocolate cake" oats. It's just a name though, because they don't REALLY taste like chocolate cake, but they are yummy all the same. I can actually kind of taste the egg white in there, but it adds a sort of "cakie" flavor to the oats. And its super thick as well (just how I like it). Here's how I make'm

1/2 cup of oats
1 egg white (you can add more, but I find the flavor too overpowering then)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1/2 - 1 tbsp of DARK cocoa powder (it has to be really good quality stuff, if it isn't you need to add more)
sweetener to taste

Mix everything together in a pot stirring vigorously to make sure that the egg whites have "dissolved" evenly through the oats (otherwise you are left with little white strings of egg white and that is NOT cool). Turn on low heat, stirring from time to time until the mixture is thickened to your liking. Watch out though, because the bottom may begin to burn if you leave the heat on too high. Leave to cool for a few minutes (it'll thicken even more)and add your desired toppings ( I personally am partial to coconut). Enjoy!

It's as simple as it looks, yet it's full of protein and yummy as well.

Let's move onto lunch. I had bean burger ala Kath (she has an awesome tutorial/recipie here)

This is also cheap (way cheaper then making it with meat in any case - especially if you're cooking for a crowd). If you make a bigger batch I'm pretty sure you can freeze them if you need something easy to grab on the go. Just pop em' on the pan and they're good to eat.

They require no special ingredients and you can top them any way you like. I had mine with pickles and mustard, and the other with spicy salsa.

After taking this picture I realized I had forgotten an ingredient that would make these burgers complete - cheese. So before I finished my meal I quickly rectified the mistake. And I made a priceless discovery - cheese + bean burgers + salsa are like peanut butter + bananas + bread. A match made in heaven :P

Then I had a driving lesson and went out to do a few things. I got home and was feeling just a tad (alright more then a tad) bit hungry. I decided to try something new with my afternoon snack today (yes I eat more then one), and take the time to sit down and really enjoy it. And I sure did enjoy it.

Coffee (REAL Italian coffee mind you) with a pear with cereal and cinnamon sprinkles.

Again nothing fancy, but really good.

Dinner came none too soon. I was "tasting" my food the whole time I was cooking - I was so hungry. I snapped a poorly lit shot and dug in.

(I wonder how professional food bloggers manage to set up their shots perfectly, take a beautiful picture and eat before their food gets cold. It so does NOT work for me.)

Lazy girl's stir fry - brown rice, egg, broccoli seasoned with chicken spice and a bit of soya sauce (be careful about combining the two - my food was too salty)

I think by now I've made my point. As much as I'd love to, I can't eat gourmet vegetarian/vegan food like this:

But I do the best with what I have. And I think I do a pretty good job too :)

I still want to get my hands on some almond butter and chia seeds though ... someday

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