Hygge of Cooking

Hygge of Cooking

Yesterday I posted a recipe for my Keto Ramen. As I took my full bowl in my hands, the warmth of the broth drew me into the moment. I love to focus on heat. It calms me, it soothes me, it makes me feel secure. I closed my eyes for a moment to savor the comfort.

 

With my eyes closed I could smell. I imagined the cartoony cloud of scent, swirling over my bowl and around my nose. I began to feel the difference in my mouth. The lovely aroma had triggered my salivary glands, and my body prepared for delicious food.

 

I was excited to finally taste it, and it was delicious. It warmed me from the inside- yes, obviously the heat from the broth, but more than that too. I was warmed by the accomplishment of making something delicious, something nourishing. Being successful and fruitful, providing for my family- there was more satisfied in that moment than my hunger.

 

Giving up processed food has been difficult for my husband, less so for me. I like knowing what’s going into the things I eat, and I enjoy therapeutic art of cooking. Similar to meditating, cooking lets me slow down and focus. It’s grounding and centering. It has a clear purpose, (feed and nourish) but also allows room for creativity (flavor, texture, temperature, plating.)

 

The need for producing food has been around since the dawn of life. There’s the obvious perk of cooking your own food to make healthy. There’s also a bonus of saving money, versus eating out. Cooking can be so much more than that.. So much more than checking that dinner box on your to-do list. It can be an opportunity to work on *you.*

 

Preparing meals for the family is a necessary task, so it’s a good chance to turn it into a positive, mindful experience. Being present in a small task, such as chopping vegetables, keeps our brains working with small motor movement. When our bodies do something mildly physical, the brain naturally wants to focus on what’s in front of us, resulting in organic mindfulness.

 

Creativity found in cooking has been shown to improve memory and intellect. Preparing food in a low-stress environment boosts happiness and confidence. Being able to take your time and focus on the preparation strengthens your bond with your meal, inducing feelings of both physical and emotional fullness.

 

Recipes and techniques are typically learned from observation and modeling. Preparing food can often become nostalgic as we reminisce about the friends and family who taught us our skills. Family traditions begin to surface in our minds, even happy memories of family gatherings and meals. Making dinner can increase your connection to family, and even become a platform for bonding with your cultural roots.

 

The best part for me is the appreciation for the food I have, for I know what it has been through. I do not take it for granted. It can not be replaced by reheating another box from the freezer. It may be replicated again with the same recipe, but it will never again be exactly like this one. It is mine, and it is my effort.

 

I find all of this incredibly helpful in overcoming my binge eating disorder. Slowly, mindfully preparing food reduces my desire to overeat. I appreciate what is on my plate, instead of mindlessly rushing for seconds. Being able to immerse myself in the process, from preparation to consumption, elongates my time with the food. I feel more satisfied and often like I’ve eaten more than I have because I’ve been exposed to the aroma for so long. I’ve been able to leave the “clean plate club,” stopping when I’m full instead of when we run out of food.

 

You have to eat today, so try making it a positive experience. What can you take from your meal aside from nourishment? How do you feel eating your food? What did you think of as you prepared it? Try it, and see if you find mindfulness like I did.

 

With healthy hearts,

Kate and the Kids.

 

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Not Your Mama’s Ramen. (Recipe)

Not Your Mama’s Ramen. (Recipe)

For many years I’d only heard of Ramen in the 10/$10, college staple meal kind of stereotype. It wasn’t until recently that I was introduced to the beautiful world of authentic ramen.img_0337

 

First of all, these dishes are beautiful. We eat with our eyes first, so I try my best to plate our food nicely. Second of all, it’s a great way to cram in veggies, protein and good fats in a family- friendly meal.

 

We took our ramen in a Keto direction, swapping traditional udon noodles for zucchini noodles. The starches weren’t missed. This ended up being a major hit in our family, and Jacen asked to add soft-boiled eggs to our “common use” menu!

 

Typically traditional Ramen starts with making a fatty soup base by boiling a whole chicken (usually about a 3lb bird.) Personally, I hate tediously fishing bones and cartilage out. I chose to use 1 package of skinless, boneless chicken thighs and they worked perfectly!

 

Ingredients:

Dark meat chicken, thighs preferred

Oil- grapeseed, avocado, olive oil, or coconut oil. (optional, recommended for keto followers)

Green onion

Canned baby corn cobs

Frozen asian stir fry veggies

Eggs

Rice vinegar

Chicken bouillon

Pepper

Seasonings to taste

12 cups water

Zucchini noodles/ udon noodle/ shirataki noodles/ pasta.

 

Directions:

In a pot, slow boil 12 oz of water, dark meat chicken and a cube of bouillon.

(we chose to boil on the lowest heat setting for about 3 hours to extract the most fat from the chicken.)

 

When broth is oily, remove the cooked chicken temporarily.

Increase heat to a rapid boil.

Shred cooked chicken and replace into broth.

Add green onion – we like the aesthetics of long pieces, but cut them smaller for picky eaters!

Add frozen veggies

Add baby corn cobs

Season to taste- we love Mrs. Dash’s asian blend.

Add more oil if desired  (grapeseed, avocado, coconut or olive) this is especially important to Keto followers!

Continue boiling until veggies are soft.

 

 

 

In a separate pot, soft boil eggs.

( I didn’t know how to do this before today, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to share the directions. )

Bring water to a boil.

Add a splash of rice vinegar.

Carefully add 6 cold eggs to the boiling water using a slotted spoon or wire basket.

 

Boil for exactly 6 minutes.

 

Immediately move to ice bath, let sit for about 6 more minutes.

 

Peel when cool.

 

 

Finally, cook your noodles. I prefer to remove my eggs from the boiling water with a wire spoon, then use the same boiling water to cook my noodles. (I hate washing dishes.) Zoodles and udon noodles only need to boil for about 3 minutes. If you’re using any other noodles, follow directions on the package.

 

Last, go on and plate!

 

I like to put our noodles first, then our veggie and chicken mix. Flood the bottom of the bowl with broth, add a halved soft boiled egg on the side.

 

Enjoy- it’s amazing.

 

With healthy hearts ( and full tummies!)

Kate and the Kids.