We’re back in the kitchen! American eating habits are changing.

Referencing the old saying, Everything old is new again—all of a sudden, cooking at home is trendy! A recent article in Bloomberg Business with data about current eating habits says,

“Home cooking would be making a comeback if it ever really went away. Restaurants are getting dinged by the convenience of Netflix, the advent of pre-made meals, the spread of online grocery delivery, plus crushing student debt and a focus on healthy eating. Eighty-two percent of American meals are prepared at home [emphasis mine]-- more than were cooked 10 years ago, according to researcher NPD Group Inc. The latest peak in restaurant-going was in 2000, when the average American dined out 216 times a year.” Read the full story.

Way back in the day, you just didn’t have a choice! You grew and cooked your food or you starved, with none of the distractions or choices that people have today. Being in the kitchen, cooking and feeding a family was a necessity. Things started shifting after World War II when convenience features and choices like frozen TV dinners manifested. Now we’re eating IN by choice, because it’s more economical and because we’re more concerned about our health and well-being.

We’re getting back to the kitchen.

One of the best ways you can take control of your finances is by getting behind the stove, at least a couple days a week. Not only are you saving money and helping your health, when you are engaged in the act of cooking you are feeling empowered! Women used to be slaves to the stove. No longer. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be assembly cooking, putting things together. There are lots of shortcuts. Getting involved in even a little meal planning is so smart.  

It’s smart to be intentional about where we want to spend our money. The more we cook, the more we see that spending some quality time preparing meals serves a lot of different purposes. You get to control what  you’re putting in your body. You’re spending more quality time with your family, and nourishing your family, on multiple levels.

Cooking with loving intention 

Recently, I had my lovely family over to dinner to celebrate my stepson’s birthday. That meant I had my grandson in the kitchen. :) His family cooks at home, so he rolled up his sleeves, washed his hands, and said, “I want to help.” 

I had him watch how I was seasoning the vegetables I was putting on the grill, then turned over the seasoning and the olive oil to him. “Ah!” I noted, “You are putting so much love and energy into that food.” He said, “I know that’s what makes it taste better.” 

From the mouths of babes!

When we do something with loving intention and put a piece of ourselves into it, it looks better and tastes better and nourishes better. Read The most overlooked ingredient: Vitamin L.

Fast, Go-to recipes

Both of these main dishes work well with the salad. And you just might want to treat yourself to the cookies, too. :)

Round out this nice one-pot meal with a salad, that swings both ways. For vegetarians, eliminate the turkey. I love this chili straight up, topped with avocado-cilantro cream (optional recipe included), while my my colleague and recipe-tester Catherine likes it best topped with poached eggs. Talk about a protein hit! And for a brain boost, there’s nothing like the choline that both black beans and eggs provide. Make plenty and freeze some.

Craving a burger? In this recipe, I opted for dark meat turkey because it’s so flavorful, and because the tryptophan in turkey’s is a natural stress buster—and isn’t that what indulging a yen is all about? Serve these with pita pockets or buns, or sans, with the Avocado Lover’s Salad to round out the meal.

Purchase a great avocado and you’re assured success with this delicious recipe, which will go equally well with either main dish. With their satisfying flavor and texture and their incredible anti aging and brain-boosting properties, avocados help our bodies thrive! Have them often.  

If you want a sweet bite, try these. Lola, my overly-curious Goldendoodle certainly did! Fortunately, the chocolate content was low enough, and Lola was big enough, that she survived just fine. You might like the fact that they are a gluten-free, flourless blend of almond butter, egg, vanilla, cocoa nibs, and chocolate chips. The chocolate is guaranteed to elevate your mood. It sure elevated Lola’s!

THE MAIN POINT: GET SKILLED IN THE KITCHEN! THERE ARE A MILLION GOOD REASONS WHY. NOT A CONFIDENT COOK? TRY COOKING WITH A FRIEND WHO’S GOOD AT IT!  THAT’S A TWO-FER: GOOD COMPANY AND GOOD FOOD. :)