For me, like for many people, the food I eat falls into patterns. I’ll eat the same thing for breakfast every day for weeks on end. I’ll make the same sandwich for lunch over and over again. I have a handful of go-to dinner recipes and when I can’t think of what to make and I’m hungry, I’ll throw one of them together. And then, one day, I’ll be sick of having the same things repeatedly and I have to find something different.
It’s those times that I try to bring creativity into my cooking. I know in that moment that I’m ready for something new, but I don’t know what it is yet.
Back when I first started cooking, that not knowing felt discouraging. There were no good recipes out there! I didn’t know how to cook anything! There was no point to trying! Might as well eat cereal for every meal again…
But, over the years, I’ve realized that I CAN come up with new and creative dishes, and you can too! Today, I’m sharing my strategies on how to do that.
Jessica’s tips on letting your kitchen creativity flow:
- Take some deep breaths and let go of that what-to-make-for-dinner stress. When you’re less stressed, you have more space to create.
- Spend 2 minutes (set a timer!) with your eyes closed thinking about what foods you’d really like eat. What appeals to you? What are you physically craving? Use those as a starting point for grocery shopping and recipe selection.
- Shop seasonally! Check out a site like this one for what’s freshest all year round and what you’ll find locally during different months of the year.
- Go to a farmers’ market. If you live near a farmers’ market (and chances are that you do) stop by without a shopping list. It’s commonly said that we eat with our eyes first, so give your eyes a feast! If something catches your attention bring it home and start researching how to use it.
- Pair up with a friend. Twice as many minds is less than half the stress and double the fun. Partner with a friend for a recipe swap or for a joint cooking adventure. Trade off from one week to the next, it will up the fun quotient immediately!
Today’s recipe is one that I’ve been making a lot a home recently. I had maxed out on regular oatmeal and on Greek yogurt, so I started in on this…overnight oats. The beauty here is that once you get comfortable with the basics, you can add whatever you’d like!
- ½ cup of organic vanilla almond milk
- 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
- ½ cup of organic dry rolled oats
- 2 large pinches of cinnamon
- Combine the almond milk and protein powder together in a bowl, tupperware, or jar. Add 1 large pinch of cinnamon and mix well. NOTE: if making in a mason jar, just put the lid on and shake it up.
- Add blueberries and cut-up strawberries, stir gently.
- Add oats and stir again.
- Top with remaining large pinch of cinnamon.
- Store covered in fridge overnight.
- Enjoy in the morning!