Breakfast. It all started with breakfast. But first let me back up a bit.
After 17 years of being together I left my then-husband and went to live on my own. It was scary in many ways. It was the first time in my life that I ever lived alone. I was 39 and I went through a multi-year learning curve on the simple and complex aspects of being independent. One of the major adjustments I had to make was to learn to cook for myself – and only myself. I was used to cooking for us.
At the very beginning I was all about convenience foods that I could heat up and serve with steamed rice or quinoa. I didn’t have a stove at my place – only an electric wok and small steamer.
Once I got a stove I tried some recipes for one person, but found they required me to buy large quantities of specialized ingredients that would go to waste.
At one point I tried batch cooking, but I found it overwhelming to shop for large quantities of food. If I didn’t make the recipe in time the produce would go to waste. Plus, I found it depressing to have a lot of food. It emphasized how alone I was.
Later I went through a lengthy ordering-out phase and soon after had the bills and waistline to show for it.
Clearly these were not the strategies for me. Then I realized there was another way. I could take what was working for me and see if I could apply it to all of my meals.
So what was working? Yes, it was breakfast and it was always the same thing.
Oatmeal with blueberries and ground flaxseeds
Yves Veggie Sausages (the only processed soy I can digest – wacky, I know)
So I looked at other simple meals I enjoyed and asked myself if I could also make them my standards as I did my oatmeal breakfast. After a little trial and error I discovered I could. Not every recipe clicked, but the ones that involved minimal preparation and cooking became my classics.
A favourite turned out to be a poached egg, a big bunch of steamed spinach drizzled with a tiny bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and a side of baked beans.
Here are 5 other of my simple meal classics.
– vegetable curry made with coconut milk
– lentil Bolognese (or if I switch up the spices it is a Sloppy Joe)
– tomato bisque *
– mushroom soup *
– tempeh cassoulet *
My favourites snack is a cold Granny Smith apple and some almonds. I also really love a sandwich made with a nut butter and some blackstrap molasses. I grew up having molasses as a treat so it is part nostalgia and part taste bud familiar.
I have eaten this way for over a year and feel so much better. The simplicity makes my to-do-list much shorter and a meal all the more pleasurable. From time to time I get fancy and make something from a cookbook, but it is no longer a chore or a challenge. It is a delight. As it should be!
From the book Breaking the Food Seduction: The Hidden Reasons Behind Food Cravings—And 7 Steps to End Them Naturally (disclosure Amazon affiliate link).