hearty winter staples

by malta notebook

Being a stay-at-home/work-from-home mum, I spend a lot of time thinking about, planning for, preparing, eating, and then cleaning up the meals for my family. This is not a chore, but something I enjoy in my day. I do not plan ahead — I decide what I'm going to cook a few minutes before I leave to go to the market. I make a short list and pick up what I need for that particular meal and then maybe a few extras. I wish I could be a bit more organised and plan for the whole week, but alas, I am not.

A lof of my inspiration comes from Pinterest, a great resource for finding and sharing recipes. Food bloggers are just as much photographers as chefs nowadays, snapping gorgeous, magazine-worthy photographs of their edible creations. Looking at the beautiful photos (a.k.a. 'food porn') is half the fun.

I tend to look for recipes that are 1. healthy, 2. easy, 3. use whole foods, 4. gluten, corn, sugar free (as a general rule, we stay away from those three in my home). Oftentimes, I will even pin a recipe that can be altered or edited to suit my requirements.

I have decided to create a feature, which I will affectionately name the 'Recipe Roundup' because I like alliteration and my daughter is currently going through a cowgirl phase. This feature will have a handful of recipes that are either tried and tested or on my 'to-do' list. My friends and fellow mum's often ask me to share my recipes or sources of inspiration and so I though I might as well share with everyone!


1. Baked Honey Mustard Chicken via Good Life Eats // Although I am a vegetarian, I make sure that the carnivores in my house get their daily meat fix. This recipe might sound indulgent, but with no flour and no dairy, it seems like a good hearty alternative to other more 'sinful' baked chicken recipes. 


2. The Winter Abundance Bowl via My New Roots // My favourite restaurant in Toronto is undoubtedly Fresh, which are known for their bowls which are packed with both flavour and superfood ingredients. The Winter Abundance Bowl offers just that — rice, vegetables, lentils, topped with a Garlic-Ginger Pumpkin Seed Sauce. Yum, yes please. 


3. Kale and Wild Rice Casserole via Half Baked Harvest // Like the baked chicken above, I really love a good baked dish. The reason is three-fold: one, Baked dishes tend to feel heartier and more filling, especially in the winter months; two, I like the fact that I can pop it in the oven and then clean up while it bakes; three, one word: leftovers. Also, you can never go wrong with Kale — it is delicious and probably one of the best things for your body. Cooking tip: leave out the flour.


4. Roasted Garlic, Pumpkin, and Leek Soup via Goodies à Volonté // Soup is one of the classic winter dishes — a good soup can warm even the coldest body. Whenever I go to visit my Dutch grandmother in America, she almost always has a huge pot of bean soup waiting for me. I seem to have inherited her love for cooking soups; so much so that my partner will probably start dining out if I serve him another soup. This recipe checks all my boxes — most importantly, it is healthy and easy to whip up (only six ingredients!)

Stay warm this winter — fill your tummies with good food and feed your soul with good books, warm slippers, a fireplace (if you're lucky enough to have one) and lots of cuddles.