Monday, November 12, 2012

Sprout and Cook

I hope all you lovely readers are in the mood to cook, because I have a feeling that my next few posts are going to center around the kitchen.

As I've shared previously, I've been experimenting with new recipes the past two months. Mostly, this is due to my temporary restrictive diet, but the results have been (mostly!) so yummy that I think these recipes will find a permanent place in my "favorites" list. They are all super healthy, too, so I'm excited to share them with you!

One of the main reasons most people in America don't have a healthy diet is because of the extra effort and time involved in eating right. (Of course, "right" depends on what your own body needs, and what your state of health is.) Preparing nutritious food does take a bit of extra effort, but I've found a few ways to speed things up.

The trick is two-fold; number one, think ahead. Not "think ahead" as in "four hours before supper," but as in two days before supper. Sound hard to do? Like everything else in life, it's habit. The nice thing is that if you do form this habit, you can cook supper on the spur of the moment; you just walk into the kitchen, warm up your food, and eat it! Sounds just as easy as prepackaged convenience food, doesn't it?

The second trick is going to be the key in a lot of the recipes I plan to share. It's this: sprout and cook.

Whether you're going low-carb, gluten-free, or just want to add some extra nutrients to your baked goods, "Sprout and Cook" is the way to go. It's also super, super, super cheap. I'm all about cheap. Forget those complicated health food recipes that require trips to special stores and spices I've never heard of. Or flours that cost $5 a cup. (Well, almost.) "Sprout and Cook" won't break the bank, and you can even shop at WalMart for your supplies. 

So what is Sprout and Cook?

It's the basic idea of using beans as a foundational ingredient in recipes that usually require flour. (Think muffins, pizza dough, etc.) It's also the idea of coming up with brand new casseroles, soups, and fried foods that feature beans as a major component. Yummy beans, not tolerated beans.

Beans have carbohydrates, but they are on the low end of the carb scale. Thankfully, I've been able to tolerate them throughout this diet (some can't). They can be a bit hard on the body's digestive system, though. The concept of sprouting them before use gives you a huge wallop of extra nutrients (sprouts are the most compact source of nutrients!), and essentially turns a seed (hard to digest) into a plant (easy to digest!) .

Now, if you're like me, you're not too super excited about sprouts. Maybe once in a a sandwich...but not as a basis for all my cooking, thank you very much! In Sprout and Cook, the sprouting process is halted at the first stage, just when the beans are starting to grow minuscule tails. After they're cooked, you can hardly tell the difference between the sprouted beans and canned beans from the store.

Healthy? Check. (They're SPROUTS!)
Cheap? Check. (Dried beans from the grocery store!)


Really. Yes, if you sprouted and cooked beans for every recipe, it would be a PAIN. But don't do it that way. Too hard. You're going to love this method so much that you'll be constantly sprouting and cooking. All my recipes call for pre-cooked sprouted beans. The key is to sprout and cook a big batch ahead of time, then keep them in a big bowl in the fridge. (Or freeze them, if you make enough to last longer than a week.) Whenever you're ready to bake, there they are; your lovely friends, the sprouted beans. Already cooked. Just scoop and use. Easy-peesy.

I've been living this way for over a month now. Trust me; you need a bowl of beans in your fridge.

But how do you Sprout and Cook?

Stay tuned for my next post!

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