Hello, fans, it’s Whiny Wednesday and I’ve got a humdinger for you today!
I’ve mentioned before that I love to cook. I enjoy finding new recipes and making them for my family. I especially like finding recipes that are quick and easy to make. I have a couple of cookbooks that are sort of my go-to books. If the recipe isn’t “healthy”, I try to find ways to cut down on the fat or calories. It’s not always easy, but if I can shave calories by skipping the butter, or make it healthier by using whole grain pasta or ground turkey, I do it. What makes it harder is finding “special” ingredients.
One of my new favorite cookbooks is the Biggest Loser Quick & Easy Cookbook. It’s where I got the lentil salad recipe from last Friday. I enjoy the cookbook, I’ve tried several recipes and they all turned out great. Even better, the kids actually ate them. There are two reasons why I bought this particular cookbook, mostly having to do with “quick” and “easy”. I liked reading about the eating plan, most of the recipes have a picture, and most of them sound like something I could serve my family. They also include serving sizes and calorie counts for each recipe, which I love.
What I wasn’t counting on was the amount of “special” ingredients that several recipes call for. Now, some of these things aren’t too bad, and I could justify buying something a little pricey because I knew I would use all of it, or whatever. But there are a quite a few ingredients that the recipes call for that are simply not going to happen. And it’s not just because this bottle of Meyer lemon infused olive oil costs $20. Yes, that’s right. $20 for a bottle of lemon flavored olive oil.
One recipe calls for “all-natural marinara (preferably low-fat, low salt, no sugar added)”. Another calls for all natural barbecue sauce sweetened with agave or honey. Nitrate free lunch meats. Salt-free seasoning blends-and we’re not talking Mrs. Dash either, but exotic flavors like a curry blend. All natural 100% fruit spreads in weird flavors. Tamarind flavored brown rice crackers. You get the idea.
My annoyance comes from the fact I can’t find most of that shit in this little town I live in, and I’m not driving an hour-plus one way to try to find it. I have to make do with what I can find right here, in my own town, at my local store. Do you know I went to 3 stores looking for all-natural plum jam? 3!! That’s when I decided to just settle and buy the only plum jam I could find-Smuckers.
I hate feeling like I have to settle for things, but if you live in a small town like me, or in a rural area, you may feel a little despair when trying to plan interesting and nutritional menus. I know, not everyone is into “fancy” cooking like me, and maybe it is just me. But I LOVE food. I like to eat-haha that’s how I got here. But just because I’m not eating a bunch of junk everyday and trying to eat clean doesn’t mean I have to sacrifice my taste buds. Just because I’m eating healthy doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy food that’s delicious and packed with flavor.
I can’t help but feel a bit defeated when I want to try a recipe and it asks for stuff that I just can’t find around here. But as I’ve come to try more recipes from this particular book, I’ve realized I have already ditched the “all or nothing” about the food. It’s weird to realize that, because in the past, I would have been completely hung up on the fact that “The Spice Hunter” seasonings are unknown in these parts. Or that I couldn’t find all natural barbecue sauce sweetened with agave, or tamarind flavored crackers. I buy and use what I can find. If it’s Heinz Chili sauce, then by golly, that’s what’s going on the meatloaf. If it’s Smuckers plum jam, then so be it. It messes with the calorie count, sure, but I’m not going to let it stop me from making the recipe and trying something new.
The lesson here is that there are always going to be things you may think keep you from trying something new or different. The answer is that there is always a substitute. Can’t find that special ingredient? Find something similar, use less. Too easy. Can’t do full squats because your knees feel hurt like the devil? Try a demi-squat. Can’t keep up with a challenging workout? Slow down, focus on your form, and do what you can.
See? There is always something you can do, so you don’t have an excuse to do nothing.