Was I dreaming…

Or did I really hear that imperfection is the new perfection?

In a world where we are bombarded by social media and advertising that only seems to accept the “best of the best” is it okay to talk about what we cook for dinner every night? Why do we find it so hard to feed our children what we want, or should, be feeding them? No matter how young or old your kids are, their tastes and likes make them hard to feed. How do we reconcile this, accept it, and keep everyone happy?

My rule is, keep it simple. As much as I advocate the imperfect meal, I also maintain that what makes it imperfect is the simplicity. Our house rule is….one protein, one veggie, one carb and a salad. I try to cook from scratch and not open a box and then I know that preservatives are minimized. Agreed, we don’t all have the luxury of time to do that, but I do think that if my body recognizes what I eat, then there’s a good chance that it will break it down and use it, rather than store it in places where it could hurt me later.

Protein is a simple grilled meat or fish, or something I marinated and froze. Vegetables are always crisp, sautéed in a little olive oil, knob of butter, garlic and ginger. You can prepare these in advance and freeze, defrosting as much as you need, as and when you need it. A carbohydrate is usually a grain cooked in chicken broth in the rice cooker. Salad can be anything that’s in the fridge tossed with a little apple cider vinegar and olive oil – according to taste. The only real planning is the protein. That can be decided the weekend before, and frozen in individual zip locks for the week ahead. Grains always work best if they’re soaked in the morning and your chosen salad dressing can be made in an old mayonnaise or jam jar and stored in the fridge.

This is the standard guideline to dinner in our house. I have three children with varying likes and dislikes. Simple protein ideas can include steak, pork chops, tenderloin, butterflied chicken breasts, chicken thighs, lamb, any sustainably caught fish including prawns, shrimp etc. Marinate in olive oil, garlic, herbs, salt & pepper. Balsamic vinegar adds a wonderful flavour to meats and if you can get the white balsamic it works well with fish too, imparting a wonderful sweetness. If you don’t have time to make your own marinade, make sure you look at the ingredients of a store bought brand to ensure that it is free from preservatives and additives, like our own DIVINE marinades. Grains that work the best are brown rice, black rice, red rice, barley, quinoa and lentils. Potatoes, carrots, peas and sweetcorn count as reliable and satisfying carbs. Vegetables can be anything from string beans, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, snap peas, celery,zucchini, kale. Anything green and leafy is good. Salad can be simple with just lettuce, tomatoes and a sprinkling of sunflower of pumpkin seeds, flaked almonds or cashews. I like to roast them first for a richer flavor. Also add a few dried cranberries too for extra antioxidant supplement. Keeping it simple makes it delicious and healthy!