3 Tips for Sharing Food with Others (Even When Life is Crazy)

It's so important to offer hospitality and to bring food to those going through hard times. But how do you do that when your life is crazy? I'm with you there. I share 3 tips here on how to get it done. -- The Nourishing Gourmet

We’ve had some very peaceful time periods. But if I’m honest, more often than not life has seemed very busy, hectic, and at times, stressful too. During the midst of stressful times, it can be hard to rip your eyes off of your own situation and share and serve others. I know it is for me.

But I want to share food with others (and serve them in other ways too). Why? Because people have done that for me. For example: When I was 16, I was in charge of my younger siblings while my mother recovered from a serious surgery and my dad helped take care of her and worked regular long hours. Our community rallied around us by bringing us dinners for weeks on end. To this day, I remember the support and help that brought us during a stressful time and am thankful for it. Years later I was pregnant with my second child and went through premature labor. I was hospitalized for two weeks until I stabilized. Friends brought me dinner every night so that I wouldn’t have to live off of hospital food. Once again, I still remember and am thankful for that tangible support.

That’s why for my very first Periscope, I shared on the topic of Sharing Food with Others During Busy Times. It’s a topic dear to my heart not because I am a rockstar in this area (I’m not), but because I have been greatly blessed when others have done that for me.

I loved sharing these tips on Periscope, so I wanted to share them here too!

(You can follow me here to watch future scopes! For those who aren’t familiar, it’s an app that allows you to broadcast live stream videos, and it allows you to respond in the text box in real time too! It’s very fun.)

Don’t be a perfectionist when sharing food

It can be easy to allow fears to derail our good intentions. We may wonder if others will like our cooking, or whether they will think our food is good enough, for example. When you are known as a “good cook” or (the horror of it) are a food blogger and cookbook author, expectations can be high, and that can put a lot of pressure on you. Once we invited a couple over for dinner, and when the husband walked through the door he said, “I feel like I’m in a dream. I can’t believe I am eating dinner with The Nourishing Gourmet.” I just about died right there and hoped that dinner was especially good. (I think it was a success, or perhaps my guests were just very good actors as they talked about how yummy it was!).

Sometimes that pressure has held me back, because, in all honesty, we eat plain and simple food most of the time! Nothing fancy! But then I realized that it was my pride holding me back. I don’t have a responsibility for people’s reactions to my actions, but I do have the responsibility to share and serve those around me. And you know what I’ve found? People are always thankful for you sharing food with them. I think our fears are unfounded. Even if they don’t love the food you brought to them, they will love the heart behind it.
Sometimes it takes a small amount of courage to share with others, and that’s okay. It’s worth the bravery to share life and love with others.

All you need is one meal

Some of the people who are the best at bringing food to others during times of need have one meal they always bring. It’s delicious, they know the meal so well they could make it in their sleep, and it’s generally frugal and family-friendly. For example, one lady I know cooks up a pot of rice, steams some vegetables, and bakes teriyaki chicken. She then layers the cooked rice, vegetables and chicken in a casserole dish to bring to someone. It’s delicious! Another brings makings for a healthy taco salad, and that’s always popular too. Another brings a big pot of hearty soup and homemade bread. Homemade pizza is popular as well.

The point is this, if you just figure out just one meal that is well-liked and that you can fit in your budget, it won’t be stressful at all to share that meal with others – whether they are coming over for dinner, or you are bringing them a meal.

Bonus points if the meal is allergen-friendly, as then you can serve it to a wider base of people. For example, it’s easy to make gluten-free teriyaki and even soy-free and gluten-free teriyaki!

Make it serve you (and your family) too

My sister recently had a baby, and although my life seemed very chaotic at the time, it was important to me that I offer help and support. While I wasn’t able to do all that I wished to do (I also have a nine-month-old baby, and she had a runny nose at the time, so we didn’t want to expose her newborn), I at least wanted to help provide meals for her during that happy, but fragile newborn stage.

So this is what I did. I set aside a couple of hours and got in a good cooking rhythm. I whipped up some hearty soups from my cookbook, Ladled: Nourishing Soups for all Seasons. I made a homemade marinara sauce with Italian sausage, and bought some nice organic noodles for her husband to cook up to go with it. I made teriyaki chicken and rice. I made granola and bought a whole milk organic yogurt to go with it for breakfast or snacks. I picked up some fruit too. My sister-in-law made another soup to add to the box, and then I was able to send over a whole box of food for her.

But here’s the deal. While I was doing all of that cooking, I doubled everything so that my family also had plenty of food for the upcoming week. It was heavenly to have all of the food already prepared and ready to be enjoyed. I was able to serve not only her but my family as well.

If you deal with health issues, or just have a busy lifestyle, being able to kill two birds with one stone will be very helpful.

Finally, this list of gluten-free freezer meals may come in handy as well when sharing food with others. I often share freezer meals with others. This allows me to cook when I am able and then share when a need comes up.

What meals do you like to share with others? Has there been a time when people brought you meals? I’d love to hear about it!

Spaghetti Squash Pizza Pie

Spaghetti Squash Pizza Pie

By Andrea, from It Takes Time

With just four ingredients, you can create this kid-friendly real food Spaghetti Squash Pizza Pie for $10!

Spaghetti squash is the basis for this simple kid-approved recipe. This popular alternative to pasta is a variety of winter squash with a mild taste and is low-carb. It is quickly transformed into a crust that can be topped with a variety of vegetables, cheeses, and tomato. This recipe is gluten-free, grain-free, and dairy-free!

I purchased all three ingredients at a local health food store. I like Bionaturae tomato paste because it’s organic and packaged in glass. I love Applegate meat products for their commitment to real food and label transparency.

Spaghetti Squash Pizza Pie ingredients for $9.46

Where ever you derive your ingredients for this meal, your family will love it!

Spaghetti Squash Pizza Pie

  • 1 medium/large spaghetti squash
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter or ghee.  (Olive oil may be substituted.)
  • 1 egg
  • 4 ounces tomato sauce or diluted tomato paste
  • 4-6 nitrate-free pepperoni
  • sea salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • optional pizza seasonings

Directions

Pierce whole spaghetti squash with knife or fork.

Place in shallow baking dish with water.

Bake at 400 degrees till soft.

Cut and remove flesh. Discard seeds and skin.

Place squash in nut milk bag or cheesecloth. Squeeze to remove moisture.

Place squash in a bowl. (You’ll need 3-4 cups of flesh. If you have extra, save for another use.)

Add lightly beaten egg and desired seasonings.

Blend thoroughly.

Press into pie plate.

Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and top with tomato sauce and pepperoni. (Feel free to add raw milk cheese, onions, or vegetable toppings.)

Cook in the oven for another five minutes till done.

Enjoy!

Spaghetti Squash Pizza Pie
 
 
This kid-approved recipe is readily made with just 4 ingredients. Add or subtract depending on dietary needs and preferences.
Ingredients
  • 1 medium/large spaghetti squash
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter or ghee. (Olive oil may be substituted.)
  • 1 egg
  • 4 ounces tomato sauce or diluted tomato paste
  • 4-6 nitrate-free pepperoni
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • optional pizza seasonings
Instructions
  1. Pierce whole spaghetti squash with knife or fork.
  2. Place in shallow baking dish with water.
  3. Bake at 400 degrees till soft.
  4. Cut and remove flesh. Discard seeds and skin.
  5. Place squash in nut milk bag or cheesecloth. Squeeze to remove moisture.
  6. Place squash in a bowl. (You’ll need 3-4 cups of flesh. If you have extra, save for another use.)
  7. Add lightly beaten egg and desired seasonings.
  8. Blend thoroughly.
  9. Press into pie plate.
  10. Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 20 minutes.
  11. Remove from oven and top with tomato sauce and pepperoni. (Feel free to add raw milk cheese, onions, or vegetable toppings.)
  12. Bake for five minutes till done.

 

Homemade Instant Noodle Bowls

Homemade Instant Noodle Soups (with Paleo Options) - The Nourishing Gourmet

By Natalia Gill, from An Appetite For Joy

Mason jar salads are a healthy and handy lunch idea. But as temperatures drop and we crave more warming foods, how about instant noodle bowls? Simply pack a few jars with savory Asian fixin’s. When you’re ready to eat, add hot broth and you have a satisfying umami-rich soup on the spot.

This quick meal idea was born when my husband and I caught a cold after a fun, rainy wedding weekend in Savannah. We needed something fast but even more so, we needed something restorative. This soup was perfect, two key ingredients being comforting stock and powerful turmeric.

Since then I’ve lined up a few in the fridge for easy lunches on busy weeks.

Incidentally, I like to eat the noodles with a fork or chopsticks while taking sips of broth straight from the jar or bowl. This is how my Japanese colleagues (from my previous life) ate noodle soups when I was in Tokyo. Pictured here are rice noodles, but there are a number of delicious gluten-free pasta options with which you can experiment!

GRAIN-FREE OPTION
Try mung bean threads, found in the Asian section of many grocery stores. They look and taste a lot like thin rice noodles.

PALEO OPTION
Season with coconut aminos instead of tamari, and use kelp noodles. (If you haven’t yet tried kelp noodles, they are silky, soft and neutral in taste!)

Homemade Instant Noodle Bowls - The Nourishing Gourmet

HOMEMADE INSTANT NOODLE BOWL
Serves 1
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons tamari (or coconut aminos)
  • 1 cup cooked noodles (rice, mung bean or kelp)
  • ¼ cup chopped cooked chicken
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons diced green onions
  • hot peppers such as jalapenos or habaneros (sliced thinly, to taste)
  • 1 cup hot broth
  • unrefined salt and pepper (to taste, optional)
Fill a mason jar with all of the ingredients except for the broth, salt and pepper. Store in the fridge. When you are ready to eat, pour in the hot broth. Stir very well. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Homemade Instant Noodle Bowls
 
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Asian-inspired
Serves: 1 serving
 
If you liked instant noodle bowls as a kid, you will love this easy healthier option. Perfect for quick, make-ahead lunches. Enjoy!
Ingredients
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons tamari (or coconut aminos)
  • 1 cup cooked noodles (rice, mung bean or kelp)
  • ¼ cup chopped chicken
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons diced green onions
  • hot peppers such as jalapenos or habaneros (sliced thinly, to taste)
  • 1 cup hot broth
  • unrefined salt and pepper (to taste, optional)
Instructions
  1. Fill a mason jar with all of the ingredients except for the broth, salt and pepper. Store in the fridge. When you are ready to eat, pour in the hot broth. Stir very well. Adjust seasonings to taste.

 

 

White Bean and Polish Sausage Stew with Greens

White Bean and Polish Sausage Stew with Greens-www.thenourishinggourmet.com

By Katie Mae, From Nourishing Simplicity

Fresh juicy tomatoes, white beans, nourishing chicken broth, and slices of savory sausage are the foundation of this hearty stew. It is the perfect meal that ushers summer into fall.

My counter tops are covered in tomatoes straight from the garden. It is wonderful to enjoy them raw but when there is an overabundance they are just begging to be made into a warm dish.

Warm days are slowly giving way to fall. I love the cool mornings that hold a promise of blustery days to come. As soon as I feel a hint of crispness in the air my mind turns to nourishing soups and stews.

Simple meals like this white bean and sausage stew with greens is easy to prepare yet filling making it the perfect weeknight meal. Pair it with a slice of crusty sourdough bread spread with garlic butter (or herbed garlic butter) and maybe a side salad and you are good to go!

I love how the most basic ingredients like onions, garlic, salt, and traditional fats can transform a dish. They add wonderful flavor without hurting the pocket book and are the foundations of this stew. I prefer to use homemade chicken broth, fresh tomatoes, and beans that I have soaked and cooked myself but feel free to used canned if that is what works best for you. I try to keep a few jars of broth in the freezer or fridge so that they are ready to use.

White Bean and Polish Sausage Stew with Greens

1 quart chicken broth
3 cups white beans, that have been soaked and cooked
1/2 pound polish sausage, sliced
4 cups spinach, kale, or other greens, roughly chopped (if using kale, remove the stems)
4 cups tomatoes, diced
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp unrefined salt
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, sprinkle with salt and saute until almost translucent for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Add the sausage and garlic. Cook until the sausage in lightly browned, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes.

3. Add the broth, beans, tomatoes, salt, thyme, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Simmer for 15 minutes.

4. Add the greens. If you are using spinach or another soft green cook for about 1 minute. If you are using kale cook for an additional 10 minutes or until soft.

White Bean and Polish Sausage with Greens
 
Author:
Serves: 8 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 3 cups white beans, that have been soaked and cooked
  • ½ lb polish sausage, sliced
  • 4 cups spinach, kale, or other greens, roughly chopped (if using kale, remove the stems)
  • 4 cups tomatoes, diced
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 TBS olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp unrefined salt
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, sprinkle with salt and saute until almost translucent for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the sausage and garlic. Cook until the sausage in lightly browned, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the broth, beans, tomatoes, salt, thyme, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Add the greens. If you are using spinach or another soft green cook for about 1 minute. If you are using kale cook for an additional 10 minutes or until soft.