Kitchen boredom, yes it's a thing!!! I am sure we have all experienced it in one form or another. Making the same things over and over again, not that it's a bad thing, makes things easy and we like what we like. There are those days when you sit down to the same breakfast as the day before and the day before that and... and would love something different to be sitting in front of you. This is where going out would change things up for you, but right now that is not an option. So time to get creative in the kitchen. I just read a blog and learned this in my teachings, it is referred to as the Fab 4, developed by celebrity nutritionist Kelly LeVeque. It is a great go to approach to meals, the Fab 4 are: protein, fat, fiber, greens, the goal is to get all 4 of these in every single meal. The approach is designed to balance your hunger hormones, not spike your blood sugar and keep you satisfied in between meals, all while optimizing your energy and fat burning potential.
Now your job is to look at your meals you are preparing and see if you have covered all 4 in each meal. If so, then figure out what you can use to replace some of those items with other foods in the meal. Example; what is your protein in the dish, then find another protein source to replace it. This goes for each item, your greens, fiber and fat. This is an easy way to change up some of the routine dishes you make. Look at your Fab 4 sources, then get creative on other foods that fill that arena. Google can help you if you are stuck.
If you are not getting that in every meal, start adding the things that are missing. Keep in mind there are overlaps...for example, greens often have great fiber, some protein sources also have good amounts of healthy fat...make sure you have all 4 and switch it up.
There are so many ingredients that we've never even heard of. Make it a goal to get 1-3 new ingredients per week. One new ingredient will start to create new neural pathways in your brain. Even if you buy the same ingredients you've been using, you can mix up the way you prepare them. This will also bring in other new ingredients in the form of condiments, spices, or sauces that you would use for one method or recipe, but not another.
I hope this helps with a little bit of your kitchen boredom, if you need more support with this I've got your back, let me know where I can help.
vietnamese spring rolls
12 rice paper sheets (8 1/2 inch diameter) - plus a few extra for practice
3 oz rice vermicelli
¼-½ lb cooked shrimp - I cut them in half so about 12 shrimp
leaf or boston lettuce - 12 small or 6 large leaves torn in half plus a few more for practice
julienned carrot and cucumber or grated
peanut dippings sauce
1/2 cup peanut butter - smooth or sunbutter
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp sriracha
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1/4 cup water
Make the peanut sauce
Combine all the ingredients in a small sauce pan. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for about 2 minutes. Set aside to cool. Yes, it's that easy. Which is good because rolling spring rolls is a little more of a challenge.
Make the spring rolls
Do not overstuff your spring rolls. Just don't do it. It will make you crazy. You don't want them too thin but overstuffed is just a mess waiting to happen.
Place the rice vermicelli in a large bowl. Pour hot tap water overtop to completely submerge.
Let stand around 10 minutes or so. Check. You want them a little chewy but not hard. They are probably good to go at this point. If they aren't let them soak another minute or two. Drain and rinse under cold water.
Prep your ingredients. Stem the mint leaves and cilantro. Have your lettuce and shrimp at hand. If you are using carrots or cucumbers keep them close as well.
Fill a large bowl with warm(almost hot) tap water. Not as hot as it goes but pretty warm.
You are making little rice paper burritos. Think about it like that. You want to be able to fold the ends over and then roll them up. Just like a burrito. You have to move fast. Make a couple practice rolls before you start adding the shrimp.
Put a lettuce leaf flat on a cutting board. Put a little rice vermicelli on top. Now add a few sprigs of cilantro (be generous) and roll it into a little lettuce cigar. You want it about 4-5 inches long. Set it to the side of the cutting board.
Top with julienned carrot and cucumber.
Dip a rice paper sheet in the warm water for about 2-3 seconds. It will still be firm but that's OK. Lay it flat on a cutting board. Place a couple mint leaves about a 1/3 of the way down from the side furthest away from you. Arrange the shrimp around the mint. Make sure the cut side is up.
Place the lettuce cigar in the bottom third . Carefully peel up one side (your left or right) and fold it over the filling. Repeat on the other side.
Peel up the side closest to you. Place it overtop the lettuce wrap. Now roll the whole thing away from you. Be careful. The rice paper sheet will be very soft by this point. You want to start fairly tight and then relax as you roll over the shrimp.
Serve the rice rolls with the peanut sauce to dip or drizzle.