Creative Food Combinations

Making ordinary foods interesting again

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Grilled cheese with pickles

Some days I have a lot of trouble figuring out what to eat, or making myself eat in the first place.

Thanks to my digestive issues, I’m nauseous a lot of the time.   On top of that, I have to be really careful about what I eat.  When I let my guard down and start getting way too creative with my ingredients (I’m looking at you, quinoa), I end up paying a price later on.

I can’t just go the market and pick up any old pre-packaged frozen entree… I have to really stop and read all the ingredients first, to make sure there isn’t more lactose than I bargained for hidden in the middle of a list of 50 ingredients.

I can’t just walk into a sandwich shop and order whatever it is on the menu that looks best for me.  I have to think about lactose.  About fiber– both the amount and the type (see my post about safe vegetables for IBS).  And about the bread– all those really healthy whole grain breads that are chock full of nuts and seeds are, unfortunately, not for me.

Obviously, a lot of people have it way worse than me.  The point I’m getting at is not that my life is some horrible tragedy.

The point is that I have to be smart.  I have to be constantly calculating, and I have to plan ahead.  As long as I am careful, and I exercise some self-restraint, I’m ok.

But it’s hard to exercise self-restraint when it’s 10:00 pm and I got home from the gym, and I’m starving, and the only thing in the refrigerator is a really delicious mac ‘n cheese that I know was made with milk.  That’s the point when my resolve starts to break down, when I start to think, hmm… this might be ok with a couple of Lactaid…

The reason I wanted to start a food blog is, well, why anyone starts a food blog– to have a place to save recipes they’ve tried and liked, and recipes they plan to try.

The difference with my blog is that the emphasis is not going to be on trying as wide a variety of foods as possible.  I love health food, and being healthy, but I simply cannot be eating a salad full of beans, lentils, and nuts.  I tried that approach, and it made things worse.

So the emphasis on my blog is going to be making something out of nothing– aka making delicious, novel dishes out of the list of things I can eat.  A list that’s shorter than almost everyone else’s.

I will also be putting emphasis on recipes that take relatively less time, effort, and money.  If you’ve read my other blog, Sunlight in Winter (it’s about living with chronic pain) you probably won’t be surprised to hear that making a huge shopping trip and lifting tons of heavy shopping bags isn’t really my thing.  I know this is likely to be true for most of my readers.

So my goal for this blog is to come up with recipes that are healthy and incorporate as wide a range of nutrients as possible, while avoiding the (many) foods that I’ve learned through trial and error to avoid.  I will also be putting an emphasis on cost-effectiveness and efficiency.

Grilled cheese with pickles

The picture at this top of the post is of the grilled cheese with pickles that I made for dinner last night.  I came home starving from the gym and didn’t have many ingredients.  I knew I should just make a grilled cheese and get on with things, but I didn’t have enough of an appetite.

So I came up with the idea of putting pickles in to change things up.  I can’t completely take credit for this idea myself– I think I probably saw something like this on another blog recently.

I’ve spent a lot of time in the past few months browsing other food blogs, and trying to mentally store some of the smartest little tricks I’ve seen.  Putting some pretty basic, easy foods together that we don’t automatically associate with each other.  Like putting pickles, or pesto, in a grilled cheese.  Or putting bacon in guacamole.

My goal is to become better, and more intuitive, at pairing things like these together.  It definitely wasn’t natural for me at first, but I’m realizing that’s simply because I never really spent a lot of time focusing on cooking before.  Cooking, like anything, is a skill, and if you’re really motivated to get better at it, you will.

So I hope you’ll join me, and come along on this new journey I’m on.  I’m hoping the recipes I post, as well as the lessons I’ve learned along the way, will be helpful to you.  Please don’t hesitate to let me know what you think!

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