Updated: May 29
One of the most common excuses we give to ourselves when starting a new restricted diet is: I don't have time, it is too expensive and...My children/husband/wife doesn't like it!
For all of this reasons i would like to share with you that cooking a meal at home is not just a duty, it is a privilege and it should be considered as an ultimate act of love, reflecting the goodness of God that has created us to be creative in His image and ressemblance.
If you are struggling with adapting your needs to the times and needs of the rest of your family, i want to encourage you to see the assertive communication of your nutritional goals as an act of self love and as modeling with the example, so when one of your loved ones is in a position when they need to assert their own needs, they have learned from you that their needs are not just valid but also important and that the abundant love of the family would make a way to adjust the individual needs, feelings and perspectives of everyone. After all, that is exactly what a healthy family should be doing!
Now, as a mother myself i know it is easy to say than to practice, specially when you find resistance among your loved ones with a particular diet and this is very common when you are transitioning to be vegetarian, vegan, gluten free or sugar free/keto. You may feel exhausted to have to cook for yourself something different than for the rest of the family and following your dietary plan may become a real up the hill situation.
For this reason, i recommend having not only a compassionate, active dialogue with all the members of your daily table but also to research and have handy some transitioning meals recipes like this one i will share with you today. Take in account that we don't just love something new at once and this is true for children and for elders too. We need time to get used to something new and that is why starting slow but steady will help you with your long term goals for the nutritional changes you want to do in your household. Allow yourself that grace period when you can pick your battles and maybe introduce changes one day at a time and congratulate you and your loved ones every time you have been able to successfully add a recipe to your kitchen that is aligned with your health goals. With patience and time, everyone would find the goodness in whatever plates you want to bring to the table, but you need to make sure the favorite ingredients are there: Love and Healthy communication.
This recipe has two versions, a vegan and a vegetarian one and it also includes a third version for the ones that are "too busy to cook". It is not gluten free because the crust has more likely gluten and it isn't keto friendly either, but i will come back soon with a pay crust version that it is, which you can probably have frozen, ready to go in those days that you are running.
You can also use your home made pay crust of preference but i will simplify today sharing only the ingredients that have given me great results in introducing a vegetarian/ vegan diet to my children while still not having "enough time" to cook something elaborated.
For the vegan version you would need:
Butternut squash or other squash of your preference
Half an onion (or a full one if your family loves it)
Chia seeds 1/4 cup
Vegetable milk (1/4 cup)
One spoon of Olive oil (or other oil of your preference)
6 slices of Vegan cheese (optional)
Salt (preferably himalayan pink, but not necessary)
Cut the onions in the shape your family prefers (Some kids like them tiny and others want to pick them out of the pay, i let that to your discretion) and fry it in the olive oil with the butternut squash chopped in tiny pieces.
Add salt considering your family needs and preferences.
Once the squash is soft, you can chose to mash it with the electric grinder or by hand (the grinder works specially good for the kids that don't want to "see" the onions or feel them but do like the taste).
Add 1/4 cup of Chia seeds to allow the mix to have a better consistency and add protein and other important nutritional benefits to the meal (i will post about this wonderful seed in another recipe coming soon, stay tuned!) Let it sink for a little bit or allow the seeds to rest in water/ vegetable milk 5 min before you add them.
Then, put the mashed squash and onions in the pay crust, that should be sitting on a little bit of olive oil to prevent sticking.
Add the washed Spinach raw on top (and if your family does not love Spinach you can also avoid it).
Give the final touch adding vegan cheese (That sometimes helps with the ones that don't feel very attracted to the green of the Spinach and holds the raw Spinach in the crust).
Sprinkle Thyme on top of the cheese for a final aromatic touch and bake in 350 for 20 min or until the pay crust is golden...Bon apetite!
Chia seeds are a substitute for eggs, but if your family has a really hard time or are new to "healthy diets" you can also use eggs in the preparation, mixing it with the squash or adding it at the top of the Spinach layer.
If your family does not like the vegan cheese you can use regular cheese and if your pocket allows you, choose goat cheese or an organic cheese as a healthy option for dairy.
Let it bake in 350 for 20 minutes or until the crust is golden and enjoy!
Remember that every penny you spend on healthy food is surely an investment in your long term health and the health of your family.
The "I have no time for pay" version:
If you are one of those modern days hard working person, you may complaint about how little time you have to cook healthy. If that is the case you can buy pay crust and add a full case of raw spinach mixed with 1 egg or chia in a little vegetable milk and cheese (vegan or with dairy) and add some salt and thyme to the mix.
Then put it in the oven with a tiny bit of oil behind the crust to bake in 350 and forget about it for the next 20 minutes or until the crust is golden!
I hope this recipes can be a cornerstone in your transition to a more healthy food habit, i will come back soon with more version of pay crust and what you can add to make it delicious, affordable, nutritious and healthy!
God bless you and everyone sitting at your table...
The Butterfly Path