Last weekend, Andrés and I watched the documentary Fed Up as per recommendation of one of the most fabulous people on the planet, Lynne (ex)VB.
Fed Up is on Netflix, and I am passing on the recommendation. It really opened our eyes as to the quantity of sugar we consume daily versus what’s actually recommended as well as what happens in your body after your consume sugar. Just an FYI, it’s not great news. And consequently, not such great news for my relationship with Coke Zero. I won’t be the bearer of all the bad news, just watch it.
Besides replacing soda with water at all meals and drinking coffee with no added sugar/sweetener, I have started spending a significantly greater amount of time in the kitchen. Since moving to Chile nearly 3 years ago, I have recycled the same 4 or 5 recipes week after week, and as you may be able to see from this sad statistic, I’m not great at introducing diversity into our family meals (also a fierce creature of habit). My poor husband had grown used to chicken enchiladas, chicken tortilla soup, tacos, spaghetti and stir fry.
So, beginning in early June, I started trying some new recipes and found out that spices other than salt exist. I have now also discovered that the smell of cilantro takes me to my happy place.
My new go-to site is Budget Bytes, as she has tons of great recipes that also contemplate price.
I have made the following from her website (CAA – Curry Addicts Anonymous):
Chana Saag:I made the Chana Saag with lentils as we didn’t have any chickpeas, still very good. The evaporated milk was a little weird to dump into our dinner, but it mixed with everything else nicely. I read people have also substituted coconut milk with evaporated milk. I would try this again and add chicken.
This is my other favorite, I make it at least once a week:
Mexican Tomato Rice and Beans – I’ve turned up the spice and added an additional jalapeño, and also included a chopped onion to the garlic and jalapeño, just because who doesn’t like a little extra onion breath, right?
Sometimes it’s hard for me to find everything (especially spices) that recipes require in Chile, simply because not everything is available, or the selection is limited. So, when I find a recipe that doesn’t use too many ingredients and all of the ingredients are available at the supermarket (at a reasonable price), it feels like I’ve hit the comida jackpot. Hence why I’ve repeated the same 5 recipes for 3 years.
The documentary does make a good point. It states that some people say that cooking at home is more expensive than eating out, but they show that it is usually to the contrary. Andrés and I would spend the equivalent of $30.00 for one dinner of sushi, but I have spent the same amount at the grocery store for at least 2 nights of dinner + leftovers. I have spent much more this month at the grocery store, but significantly less on takeout.
My next challenge is how to separate and cook a smaller portion of what I’m preparing for Joaquin, as most of what I’m cooking is pretty spicy and not so toddler-friendly.
My friends at Fitness Blender always tell me to eat real food and avoid processed “food”, and so far my greatest accomplishment is 1 week off soda. The last time I didn’t have soda for such a long period of time was probably 15 years ago. Talk about an abusive relationship.