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The Easy Dinner Template

by | Oct 16, 2018 | Journal | 0 comments

The only thing that is more challenging than spending all morning at a Mexican government office waiting for your visas to be processed is spending the whole morning at a Mexican government office waiting for your visas to be processed with a toddler…whose parents forgot her snack.

There is very little one can do about this kind of situation besides take a number, go to the bodega across the street, buy a couple bananas, and wait.

And wait.

And wait.

Of course, there are little games to be played, such as peek-a-boo behind mama’s scarf, practicing what it will be like to do her first set of fingerprints, or drawing pictures with crayons — me, creating images of various people and places she requests and then her promptly scribbling over them. These games make the time pass, and they sure beat the endless hours scrolling social media I would be doing without her. She saves me yet again.

Our number was called just before 1:30, a good hour past our typical lunch time. I signed the final paperwork with her at my breast, nursing to fill her little tummy. We finally got to eat lunch around 2:30, which then threw off everyone’s appetite for dinner at our typical 5:30.

(If you’ve never heard me talk about the power of a daily routine, you know that when we eat at about the same time each day and go to sleep at about the same time every day it puts us into a rhythm with life. This rhythm not only feels right, it reduces the number of decisions we have to make each day. The fewer decisions we have to make about small things, the better our decisions are for the big ones. Things happen, like Mexican visas, so we maintain flexibility when the situation calls for it, but we stick as close to the routine as possible every single day.)

We usually start cooking around 4:30, but no one was terribly hungry yet. So we all relaxed a bit. When I finally tied on my apron, it was almost 5:30. To keep bedtimes on track, I knew we would need something easy to make and easy to digest.

Enter the Easy Dinner.

This recipe is what I made after our day with the Mexican government, but it could just as easily be what you eat when the kids are at soccer practice too late, or after you got stuck in traffic, or on the day you forgot to soak the chickpeas. Whenever life happens, this is an easy dish to accept what is and get something warm and nourishing on the table in about 30 minutes.

Here’s the best part: You can use whatever spices and vegetables are on hand. This dish should come together from a decently stocked kitchen without any advance preparation. I’ve included the actual meal I made, but also below I’ve created a template that you can use whenever you need to pull something nourishing together in a short period of time. Put this on your fridge and use it as your go-to whenever you need it.

The Easy Dinner
Serves 4

Into a pan add:
2 tablespoons ghee or sunflower oil
¼ teaspoon. mineral salt
2 tsp. fresh, chopped ginger
1 teaspoon fresh, chopped turmeric (or ½ tsp. powdered)
½ teaspoon cumin powder

Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant.

Then add:
2 ½ cups chopped zucchini

Saute until just beginning to soften and becomes slightly translucent, about seven minutes.

Then add:
2 cups chopped cabbage

Stir to coat in oil and spices. Add enough water to cover the vegetables by about two inches. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, into a rice cooker add:
1 cup white basmati rice
2 teaspoons ghee or sunflower oil
½ teaspoon mineral salt

Press start. When the cycle is complete, allow to steam for five more minutes. (If you don’t have a rice cooker, you can use a pot with tight-fitting lid. Bring it to a boil, then turn down the heat to simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to rest for five more minutes. While you’re waiting for it to come to a boil, order a rice cooker.)

When the veggies are well-cooked, turn off the heat and ladle 1 cup of the cooking water into a glass jar. Allow to cool for about five minutes, then add ¼ cup miso paste and 2 tablespoons tahini. Whisk until fully combined. Add the miso mixture into the main soup and stir well. Serve alongside rice.

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The Easy Dinner Template

Into a pan add:
2 tablespoons oil of your choice (ghee is a good choice, use coconut oil in the summer)
¼ teaspoon mineral or sea salt
2 teaspoon powdered spices of your choosing

Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant.

Then add:
2 ½ cups chopped sweet vegetable (ex: carrots, zucchini, squash, sweet potato)

Saute until just beginning to soften, about seven minutes.

Then add:
2 cups chopped bitter vegetable (ex: kale, collard greens, swiss chard, cabbage)

Stir to coat in oil and spices. Add enough water to cover the vegetables by about two inches. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, into a rice cooker add:
1 cup white rice of your choice
2 teaspoons oil
½ teaspoon mineral or sea salt

Press start. When the cycle is complete, allow to steam for five more minutes.

The process is the same no matter what you do:

When the veggies are cooked, turn off the heat and ladle out about 1 cup of the cooking water into a glass jar. Allow to cool for about five minutes, then add ¼ cup miso paste and 2 tablespoons tahini. Whisk until fully combined. Add the miso mixture into the main soup and stir well. Serve the soup alongside the rice.

Aprovecha!

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