Learning to Cook at 40

Good Morning,

It is humbling to admit that at almost 40 I am learning to cook. I had a few moments in my twenties where I would make elaborate international recipes, but mostly, what I called cooking involved heating up preprepared food. Having children really threw me for a loop. Not only did I have to get something hot on the table, but suddenly it also needed to be healthy and agreeable to picky eaters. My husband and kids joked that the smoke alarm signaled dinner on my first attempts at cooking from scratch. The real kicker came last year when we learned my youngest has a gluten allergy.

Several years ago I started growing lots of my own vegetables and buying healthy meat from farmers I know. This year I decided to finally learn to cook all those healthy foods in a way that my family would eat them and that I could actually get done around busy schedules of school and soccer. Our Real Food teacher at the Homestead, Marion Sansing, was my inspiration. She said, "My grandmother only cooked about 20 things, but there was nobody who could do them better!"

"20 meals," I thought. I can do that. I can learn 20 meals that my family likes! But to make me happy they had to be 5 ingredients or less, and to make my daughter healthy they had to be gluten free. That is a lot of requirements.

So began the great Buehler food challenge. I wrote 20 common meals up on our white board. Each week I wrote five down to try. For example, chicken and dumplings, meatloaf, salmon, chicken tacos. Then I would search online for a five ingredient recipe that was gluten free and cook it for the family. If everyone liked it, it went on THE LIST. 

Let me tell you, this is taking longer than I thought. Not every recipe is good. I had to make pork chops three times before I got one good enough to go on THE LIST. After three months of my food challenge I have about twelve recipes. 

TWELVE things I can make for dinner that are healthy and that I know my whole family will eat. I will keep trying. Every family is different, but here are a few from my list if you are interested. If a recipe calls for something with gluten, I substitute with Pamela's flour or rice or lentil noodles. I use Annie's organic soups and our own organic veggies and meat. I think the ingredients are the key to a healthy meal. 

Tuna Casserole

Beef Stroganoff

Salmon

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Peach Pork Picante

Sausage and Peppers

For those of you who want more. There is a real food recipe database on the Membership Pages. I'll be adding my list to it when I hit 20! And for those of you who really want to delve in, I've added Marion Sansing's videos on How to Make Bone Broth and Yogurt to the How To Video Pages.

Alison