Graduate School Cooking

Who doesn’t love eating food? Cooking, I guess, is a completely different story. Personally for me, I’m at a point now where I almost like cooking more than I like eating the actual food. And I feel like that is really weird, right?

I can’t really remember when I first started getting interested in cooking. I definitely had excellent cooks all around me growing up; all three of my grandmothers, my dad, and my mom (at least in some cases… even though she won’t admit it herself!) all made really good food. Maybe their influence on me as a child is what is finally showing up now in my interest in cooking. Or maybe I just follow too many food accounts on Instagram.

Either way, I’ve been finding that cooking is not only really fun for me, but also an activity that really helps me relax and wind down because it takes my mind off school and other stressful things. Even when I come home late from work or class, I usually feel excited about cooking something instead of just wanting to eat something quick and easy. The best thing is that now I finally have a pretty spacious, well-equipped (after cleaning out the kitchen department at IKEA and buying absolutely everything) kitchen to use whenever I want!!!

I’ve been actively trying to eat healthier food for the past two years or so, and since part of that is limiting my meat consumption I’ve been cooking a lot of vegetarian and even vegan dishes. It’s fun to experiment with ways in which to exclude meat from a dish that typically has meat in it, or to think of new things to eat that is just a combination of different plant-based ingredients. It’s a shame that people seem to think that it’s either all or nothing in terms of vegetarian/vegan food: either you’re a vegan/vegetarian who NEVER “cheats”, or you don’t think about what you put into your body at all. My personal opinion is that there is a very healthy in-between of cutting down on meat/dairy intake to a point that you’re comfortable with (it is SO easy to just cut down!) but still having a balanced diet where you eat meat/dairy in moderation. Just thinking about what you’re eating makes such a difference not just for your body but for the planet too.

Either way, I’ve been really excited about some things I’ve cooked these past weeks (ranging from super healthy to pretty unhealthy but oh so delicious). I figured I’d share a few highlights:

VEGETARIAN SPINACH & LENTIL LASAGNA 

This lasagna almost made me cry. That’s how good it was. And even though there’s no meat in there it still has that traditional, meaty lasagna taste. I think this is probably the best thing I’ve ever cooked, and the best part? I still have 5 more pieces of it waiting for me in the freezer. So convenient if you have a busy schedule and need to bring lunch to work/class!

Made with: homemade béchamel sauce, whole grain pasta plates, and a filling with baby spinach, lentils, sundried tomatoes, basil, and onion. YUM.

 

BREAKFASTS

Okay so these aren’t necessarily meals I’ve “cooked” in the traditional sense. More like assembled. But I love making different breakfast bowls with yoghurt or oats and smoothies, and they usually end up so colorful and yummy that it would be a shame to not share them!

 

SWEDISH PANCAKES

I was feeling a little homesick the other day and decided to make pancakes (not the fake, fluffy American kind – I’m talking real pancakes. Swedish pancakes). I even bought some raspberry preserves so I could have them exactly the way I did growing up! So incredibly delicious, and so easy.

 

MUSHROOM RISOTTO

This is a favorite of mine. Especially this time of year when it’s starting to get cold and dark out, what’s cozier than a warm batch of creamy mushroom risotto with baby spinach? Let me know if you think of something.

 

APPLE CRUMBLE

I had been craving making this fall classic for several weeks, and after I got a whole bag of Granny Smith apples when I was visiting my grandparents (thank you, Sue!) it was time. Made this by sautéing sliced apples in some (a lot of) butter, raw sugar, cardamom, and cinnamon, and then making the crumble with whole wheat flour, raw sugar, rolled oats, coconut flakes, flax seeds, and butter. SO YUMMY. So fall-y. Just so f*****g good.

 

VEGAN DINNER BOWLS

Been using different leftovers in the fridge to put together some meals, which often just happen to end up being vegan. This one from this weekend had roasted carrots, zucchini & potato fritters (biffar), some baby spinach, and baba ghanoush in it. So very tasty. IMG_3981

 

Really looking forward to making more exciting meals this week!