The Healthy Heartfelt Gourmet

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It’s almost the beginning of a New Year, and for those of you who know me, and what I have been up to during the month of December with my bake sale, you may think I focus primarily on desserts and sweet treats. While I love to bake, and unfortunately have very little discipline around chocolate, nutrition and healthy eating are things I do my best to prioritize the rest of the year.

I once read an article titled “Gourmet Nutrition,” and it so perfectly embodied my thoughts on food. Growing up in an Italian American family,  and having spent my teen years living in Italy, I came to appreciate delicious food, and have continued to value food, not only as a means to fill the void, but it is also a way to connect with friends and family, which is priceless. The difficulty around the enjoyment of good food is that it usually shows up in your waistline. What to do..

Many people think the worlds of gourmet cooking and healthy nutrition live in  contradiction to each other. Those who enjoy eating gourmet food think they have to sacrifice nutrition and beautiful presentation in order to eat nutritious food. Those who want to be lean think they have to sacrifice taste and enjoyment of food. At least, that is what I have observed.  I believe the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

I think you can have it both ways, which is why I love the term “gourmet nutrition.” Food can be flavorful and visually appealing, and nutritious, which is what my focus will be on as I provide dinners to my family and yours.

I will go into more detail about gourmet nutrition in my next post, however, I would like to briefly sum up my philosophy on food. I do my best to avoid extremes, and shy away from the latest trendy diets. Maybe they work for some, but not for me. I want to enjoy being creative with what I prepare, and want to love what I eat.

For me, the most important value I have around food is cutting out the processed stuff.  While it is impossible to cut out processed foods 100% of the time, I do my best to use real foods with the fewest number of ingredients possible.  It is important for me to know what is going into the foods I prepare.

Gluten free options will sometimes be available on my weekly menu, however I also have a weakness for freshly baked honey whole wheat bread. When I do use flour, I attempt to substitute whole wheat for white, maple syrup for white sugar, etc…in order to keep things on the healthier side without sacrificing too much flavor.  Several years ago, my friend Kim introduced me to a website called 100 Days of Real Food. The recipes cut out processed foods, and there are hundreds of easy and delicious ideas in the cookbooks and blog. It didn’t take me long to embrace this mindset, and incorporate these recipes into our lifestyle.

My dear Italian friends, Patty and Pamela introduced me to website they use called giallozafferano.it. The recipes are authentic, Italian ones I love to make. To prepare some of these is a true act of love, as they can be very time consuming, however, they are so much fun! The website is in Italian, however, it can also be translated into English. The challenge is learning how to do the conversions if you are not used to that. Patty and Pamela always tease me in regards to how complicated our system is with all of these measuring cups and spoons, etc…while I watch how they weigh everything, and it boggles the mind!

I will be the first to admit that I am not one to invent my own recipes from scratch. I admire anyone who can write their own cookbook. I want to always be careful to give credit where credit is due. After making a dish a time or two, I may give it my own twist according to what I like, however I will always tell you where I get my ideas. I was mentored by an amazing chef named Traci, and she always shared freely, and I want to do the same.

Well, all for now! Time to get dinner for my crew.

“For the happy heart, life is a continual feast.” Proverbs 15:15b

 

 

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