Read the Book, Eat the Meals: Simply Scratch
You read their recipes. You drool over their photos. Now eat their food! We’re excited to be partnering with several of our favorite authors and bloggers, helping you cook some of their most popular meals through PlateJoy.
Glyphosphate. Butylated Hydroxyanisole. Tartrazine. They might sound like aliens from a bad sci-fi book, but these chemicals show up in our food all the time. That’s why Laurie McNamara’s book, Simply Scratch, immediately won us over. When Laurie’s daughter was born, she started making baby food herself–and began a quest to cook from scratch for herself as well.
Sound time-consuming? Her recipes show that it doesn’t have to be. We chatted with Laurie by email about some of the tricks she uses to make fresh meals simply (and involve the whole family too).
* * *
What’s your healthy eating philosophy?
Fresh is best! I try to incorporate fresh, wholesome ingredients into whatever it is that I’m cooking. I am a huge fan of knowing what is actually going into the meals I’m eating and feeding my family, so I avoid using processed prepackaged, boxed or jarred foods. And cooking a homemade, from scratch meal simply tastes better.
I also believe in the all things in moderation rule. I love dessert like the next person, but it’s something my family doesn’t indulge in too often. It is all about having balance and a healthy approach to food.
Simply Scratch starts with the basics that many people don’t think to make at home—even ketchup. What’s the recipe that cooks new to from-scratch cooking should try out to make them new converts?
Homemade broths, hands down. It’s as easy as throwing chicken and/or vegetables into a pot, cover with water and simmer. Homemade broths will elevate your soups, sauces and gravies, not to mention the money you’ll save. I freeze my homemade chicken and vegetable broths in 1 and 2 cup containers and defrost when I need them.
You mention being a picky eater growing up. As a mom now yourself, do you have any tips to share for getting kids excited about healthy food?
If at all possible, involve your kids in the kitchen. My youngest daughter is a picky eater (getting better by the day!) but she also is the kid who is always willing to help me; stir the vegetables in the pan, pour the batter etc. Having her help me along has made her want to try the food she has helped to prepare. I also talk passionately about healthy foods (if my daughters hear me call raisins “natures candy” one more time…). I think if children hear the positive attributes of, let’s say, roasted broccoli from their parents they are more likely to try it.
You just got home and want to make yourself something quick and comforting. What do you go for?
Definitely oatmeal. Since I was little I have loved oatmeal and it’s actually one of the first things I learned to make myself. Depending on what I have on hand I usually top my bowl of with bananas, fresh berries, toasted coconut and dark brown sugar or almond butter and a splash of almond milk around the edges.