Cooking is a wonderful time to think about what what it is we are putting in our bodies, but it also does take a significant amount of effort, which I'll admit is not always an available luxury. But a good education can also be a beautiful thing. That is, if 11 years of post-secondary education is put to good use (and I say this as an aside from it's actual importance) like say, taking the time to enjoy the rituals of wherever it is you are studying. Whether it's the ice cream shop, or the pho across the street, or wandering through different neighborhoods while attempting to learn the metro, but ultimately, on a secret search for the world's best baklava. But it is of course, a secret, yes? Now that I'm a teacher, I do know the importance of organization, especially when it comes to being organized before school begins, well that is general idea. Not that I am really that organized, but I do try to be organized when it comes to the kitchen, and indeed, food. I try to stock the pantry, and especially the freezer with meats, and pre-cooked meals of stocks, soups, and stews, as well as pizza dough, and of course, cookies (all homemade of course!). I like to be somewhat healthy, whatever that really means anyways, but I do like to feel good. Which generally implies healthy, but also combined with a bit of foods I find comforting. Chocolate anyone? It's my go-to pain relieving friend, and never a bad friend at that. One of the best ways I've found to stay organized, when it comes to meal planning, is by maintaining a binder of plastic sheet protectors, from an office supply shop. I fill the protectors with recipes I've collected from friends and family or printed from my favourite food websites. The sheets not only help to keep the recipes organized (well that is the idea anyways), but also to remain clean from spills or benevolent cocoa explosions, not that I ever happen to spill in my kitchen, ever. (In reality it is probably more like a bomb went off, or that is what my mother would say, never mind what my father would say). Then, when I use the recipe, I simply remove it from the binder. One of the most useful features is to be able modify and update recipes with alterations in timing, temperature or ingredients. And I don't feel guilty about recycling recipes, when I decide their life has been lived to the fullest; that is of course if they have even survived my occasional kitchen disasters. Every fall, I like to select several recipes which should help to keep me motivated in the kitchen for low energy days, which happens more often than I would like. Everyone experiences stress in differing ways, but we do still need to eat well. As a teacher, and probably more so as a musician, healthy food is also a necessity. My days are long and physically demanding. It is often hard to grasp inspiration from my surroundings with little natural beauty, or architectural marvels. There is also hardly a single moment of downtime, so I need to be able to stay focused. I need beautifully healthful, energizing food, imbibed with love, and care, as to help keep me going. Not only for lunch, but certainly for dinner, when it is finally time to relax and unwind. These are recipes mostly require only a few ingredients, are healthful, and for the most part only require a only little effort and patience from me when I have none left. The idea is for these meals to be enjoyable in every sense. Most importantly, I am also creating a go-to resource that is handy, for days when I am plum out of ideas for dinner. It is easy to pair most anything with a green salad, a baguette and some cold cuts, but a little effortless dish to tie everything together, certainly makes dinner a little more endearing. Here are a few of my fall collection of recipes which I hope will keep me inspired, and hopefully you as well: Coddled Eggs with Bacon and Goat Cheese Pan-Seared Jumbo Prawns, Grana-Garlic Crust Eli's Asian Salmon Cherry Tomato and Fava Bean Salad Cannellini Bean, Fennel and Shrimp Salad Lemon-Lavender Cake *not easy, but good for inspiration!