Flax On, Flax Off…

When we are young, we cannot even begin to imagine what the world has in store for us.  God leads us on paths way different than what we could’ve ever expected.  Growing up, I never thought I would be marrying someone who is studying to become a Greek Orthodox Priest, but look at me now!  Another thing happened to me today, that I never thought would happen. I bought Flaxseed Meal from Whole Foods.  Then I used it.  Two years ago, I had no idea what flaxseed was (except that it was often referred to on Gilmore Girls as being a staple in the Kim household).  Actually, let’s be honest, until about two weeks ago I didn’t really know what flaxseed was.  So how did a girl like me end up buying a product like that in a store like Whole Foods?

It all began when I started experimenting with those Two Ingredient Cookies.  I loved the idea of having healthy cookies that I could eat many of (as I’ve said, I really need to work on portion control).  After making them once, Michael suggested using flaxseed in them.  I didn’t hate the idea, I just had no idea where to go to buy it.  While in the regular grocery store one day I looked around and ended up buying a granola mix that contained flaxseed.  The mix was delicious but not exactly what I was looking for.  I continued to make the cookies without flaxseed until today.  While in Whole Foods picking up some  frozen Amy’s Burritos (which are really healthy, tasty and quick to make in the microwave when you are in a rush), I saw flaxseed and flaxseed meal.  Not really knowing what the difference was, I took a leap of faith and purchased the meal.

I then made the Two Ingredient Cookies (which now have more than two ingredients) with: 2 bananas, one cup of Fiber One Original cereal, one cup of Flaxseed meal, two spoonfuls of crunchy peanut butter and a sprinkling of cinnamon.  The flaxseed makes the cookies look very unappetizing but they taste good.  The key is to not expect it to taste like an ooey gooey delicious cookie but to accept it for what it is and really appreciate the crunch of the cereal and the banana flavor.  In fact, I packed away a few to take to school tomorrow for breakfast! (I also added some chocolate chips to a few and those are a nice touch).

Experimenting…

I have always been hesitant in the kitchen.  Perhaps it derives from the fact, that I tend to have perfectionist qualities and like with most things, cooking needs practice in order to be perfect.  Early on in life, I accepted that I wasn’t a cook.  One of my best friends is an awesome baker (check her out at misspetitesweets.com), my future sister-in-law can make treats of all varieties and my mom’s cooking sustained me marvelously for the first 23 years of my life.  I figured that I had all these cooks around me, I didn’t need to be one.  Cooking just made me nervous.  I went to a small school for college where it was the norm to live in the dorms until your senior year.  Therefore, the first time I really had to cook and fend for myself was when I moved into an apartment with 7 other girls my senior year of college.  Due to being busy and not really knowing what to do in said kitchen, most of my meals consisted of frozen pizzas or leftovers with the occasional baby cupcake on the side.

Though this may have been acceptable for a college student, when I moved to Boston this past August into my first “grown-up” apartment, I realized that I couldn’t survive on frozen pizzas alone, no matter how delicious they may be.  I was thinking about how in June I would be getting married and to me that meant that I needed to get over my fear of the kitchen.  One of the first things that helped me was a George Foreman grill.  My George Foreman is a plus for many reasons.  First, growing up, grilled chicken was a staple in our household.  My mom would grill a bunch at a time and we would have it in the fridge for salads, sandwiches etc….  Since I do not have an actual gas grill outside of my apartment, the George Foreman is the next best thing.  Secondly, cooking meat was always intimidating.  The George Foreman allowed me to grill chicken in a healthy, easy and quick way.  This enabled me to build my confidence.  The second thing that really helped me was joining Pinterest.  It may seem crazy, that something as distracting as Pinterest could help me become more productive, but I got really excited about many of the recipes on there.  So many of them seemed so much more real and doable than those in traditional cookbooks.  For example, I have been trying out different versions of these Two Ingredient Cookies that I found on Pinterest.  My favorite one so far is:  2 cups of Fiber One Original Cereal, a spoonful of peanut butter, 2 bananas, and cinnamon to taste baked at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

My mom is an excellent cook and until I started cooking on my own, I never realized how much I picked up from her.  I do not, by any means, mean to say that I am anywhere near as good as her, but by watching her cook for years I have been able to pick up quite a few things, especially in the vegetable preparation department.  She is always cooking vegetables in new ways, and I have learned to use the ingredients that I have and make it up as I go along.  I will never be Wolfgang Puck, but at least I can now sauté a breast of chicken without worrying that the fire department will have to come.