A Convert by Lois Hewitt

It seems official, I am a veg convert thanks to the cooking style of Jamie Oliver. He has inspired me to cook as many things as I can from scratch and add veg to every dish. I can feel myself getting stronger. After being so anemic this summer that I walked with a cane for a while, it is wonderful now to feel so much better.

Since I am cooking every day, I have tried to come up with some easy ways to make the veg prep go faster.

I put red onions in almost everything. I love them but hate cutting them. What I do now is put on a mask ( a great use for them) along with my glasses and I cut upwards to six at a time. The mask and glasses protect me from burning eyes and such. I can cut them all up in less than 20 minutes and pop them in the freezer. Ready to be cooked at a moment’s notice.

I also keep bread ends and stale bread in the freezer. When I get enough I make buttery garlic croutons out of the thick pieces. I save the thinner pieces in a separate freezer bag for bread crumbs. When I need bread crumbs I will throw the thin pieces in the food processor and grind them into crumbs.

I also slice multi-colored carrots along with celery and mix them up and freeze them. They work great in soups, casseroles, and other cooked dishes. I don’t know how many times I’ve bought celery for one recipe, then ended up throwing the rest away after it went bad. No more waste, which means my food dollars are going further.

Today I cleaned and cut leeks to put in the freezer. Another great veg to add to so many dishes, cut and ready to go with little to no waste.

Tomorrow I’m planning on making a batch of fresh basil pesto to freeze. After it’s been in the freezer for an hour, I take it out and slice it. Then when I need pesto for a recipe, take a couple of chunks and start cooking.

My freezer used to be cram packed with unusable leftovers I was too embarrassed to throw out, unhealthy processed tv dinners and useless scraps of bread that only ended up in the garbage. Now it is full of useable, healthy food that makes cooking a joy. Now I can concentrate on creating and not spend so much time chopping.

The funny thing is that when I ran away from home, my intent was to not cook again. I hated it, it was a chore. Now I realize that just throwing things in a pan doesn’t constitute cooking. What I made was okay but not necessarily tasty. My meals today, for the most part, taste so much better and are making me healthier. I am so thrilled that I found someone to inspire me.

My hope is to get my energy back, lower my blood pressure naturally, lose some weight and just feel better. The difference is like night and day…and I just started.

I hope that today you are inspired in whatever you want to do. I was so unhappy without inspiration in my life. What a wonderful surprise this has been. Find your joy today!!


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