4 Items to Always Have in the Kitchen

Putting together a meal can be a struggle when you’re caught in the fast pace of our busy lives. To be sure I’m never without the the basics for a healthy meal no matter the time of day, here are four essentials I always have on hand:

oatmeal to the rescue

oatmeal to the rescue

1. Oatmeal: Instant or old-fashioned oats are perfect for breakfast, or even lunch and dinner when you’re really in a pinch. Oats are ideal for busy mornings because all you need to cook them in is water. You can dress up your oatmeal with whatever you have on hand; berries, dried fruits, nuts, or seeds. Full of protein and fiber, oatmeal is your best bet when you’ve got just a minute to get out the door.
2. Frozen vegetables: Some days you come home and all you see in your vegetable compartment is a wilting bunch of green onions. Keep a bag of frozen spinach, broccoli or mixed vegetables in your freezer so that you always have a vegetable on hand.
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3. Beans: Beans combined with a frozen vegetable from above come together to create a healthy, filling meal when dinner is the last thing on your mind. I like to have both canned and dry on hand, but canned beans are especially nice to have when all you can think about is satisfying your growling tummy after 10 hours in the office.
4. Grains: My favorite grain is quinoa because it’s filling and tastes yummy all on its own. White or brown rice is an excellent substitute if you prefer. Grains are a blank slate to serve up with some spices, a can of soup, or a side of sweet potatoes.
A final bonus is that you can stock up on each of these items when they’re on sale.
There you have my four essentials for plant-based living. Which items are you sure to have in your kitchen each day?
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Modern Art in the Kitchen

Doesn’t this looks neat?

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Smoothies are so pretty. And it came from this:

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A cup of frozen pineapple, a handful of frozen raspberries, and 5 frozen strawberries. A half cup of water.

Blend. Enjoy your edible art.

A note: I like to make my smoothies extra thick, think enough to eat with a spoon. Add more water to yours if you’d like to drink it.

An Indulgent Morning

This Friday morning, I woke up craving something sweet for breakfast. Something a little more sophisticated than the cloying Cocoa Puffs I usually reserve for dessert. I was hungry and knew that a bowl of cereal would’t satisfy my growling stomach.

Rummaging around the cupboards, I saw a box of oats. Then it dawned on me–chocolatey oatmeal. Grabbing the dark chocolate I always have on hand, I quickly went to work. It was surely a rich breakfast, and one that I’d easily whip up again for a leisurely morning.

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Serves 2

Ingredients

One cup of oats (steel-cut or old-fashioned, whichever you prefer)

Two cups water

a few squares of your favorite chocolate

Mix-ins like chopped fruit or nuts

Directions

Bring two cups of water to a boil

Add in oats and cook until soft

Break chocolate into small pieces and place into bowl

Serve cooked oatmeal in bowls while still warm but not hot

Swirl chocolate and oatmeal together

Top with your favorite fruit and/or nuts

Indulge and Enjoy!

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What’s your favorite breakfast meal? Do you save it for special days or make it frequently?

P.S. A huge thank you to my readers who took the time to comment on last week’s post. I’ve been thinking a lot about your insightful responses.

Thursday 2Go: Breakfast Ready When You Are

Eating healthy can be a challenge in today’s fast-moving world—trust me, I know. I’m studying for a graduate degree in the evenings while working a full-time job during the day. Between work and class, sometimes I barely have time to think about cooking a fresh and healthy meal.

Today’s Thursday 2Go features a breakfast dish you can make ahead and keep refrigerated for up to a week or frozen for a few weeks. Eating a healthy and nutritious breakfast ensures that you have a solid foundation to face the day. Beat the morning rush with this recipe.

Thursday 2Go: Wheat Berry Cereal

Wheat berries are used to produce whole wheat flour, but offer many more nutrients in their whole seed form. Because wheat berries are unrefined, they retain nutrients and fiber that processed wheat products do not have. My favorite type of wheat berry to use for this breakfast cereal is called Khorasan wheat, or commercially sold as Kamut

My recipe here uses Khorasan wheat, but you can use regular wheat berries in the same way.

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Bring two and a half cups of water to boil and add in one cup of your grain in a medium-sized sauce pan. I soak my Khorasan berries overnight to reduce cooking time, but it’s not necessary.

After two minutes, reduce heat to a simmer for around 30 to 40 minutes, or until berries are chewy but not tough. It’s important to be flexible with cooking times when cooking with whole berries, as it can vary depending on the type you use. After about 25 minutes of cooking, you can begin to taste a few pieces to taste for readiness while you leave it simmering on the stove. Because wheat berries take a while to cook, the most time-efficient way to cook these is by the batch. One dry cup of wheat berries creates four servings.

I store my cooked grains in the fridge. In a separate container, I store washed and chopped fruit for my mix-ins.

In the morning all you need to do is scoop your wheat berries and favorite fruit into a bowl, mix and enjoy!

My favorite combination is chopped pear and raspberries.

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Now that you’ve got a healthy and filling breakfast in your stomach, you’ll be ready to face the new day ahead.

What types of breakfasts do you eat to start your days?

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