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Eating Wisely

Homemade "Fast Foods"

Sara Roos
Los Angeles CA USA
From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 21 No. 1, January-February 2004, pp. 27Tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich on the side was placed in front of me-this indicated that my mother knew how sick I felt. Thick, warm and flavorful, the soup gave me the feeling that I was being cared for.

Until recently, it seemed too difficult to make homemade soups and other tasty treats. I thought that I was beholden to the canned/packaged or "fast food" versions. I was surprised when I learned that a lot of delicious, flavor-packed foods take about as long to make as it takes water to boil. Why spend more money when you can make tastier, cheaper, healthier (and sometimes even faster) alternatives?

The following recipes are surprisingly quick and easy to make. Get creative and concoct something tailored to your family's taste buds. For additional healthful recipes, see theses LLLI-published titles: Whole Foods for the Whole Family (No. 151-12, $18.95), and Whole Foods for Babies and Toddlers (No. 1002-12, $15.95).

Tomato Soup

Boil together in a soup pot:

  • a couple handfuls of tomatoes (you can skin them if you're ambitious)
  • a bunch of greens (e.g., chard)
  • 16-32 oz. of soup stock (commercial is fine)

After about 15 minutes or when everything is soft, puree in a blender and reheat before serving.


Have you ever taken a close look at popcorn purchased from the store or bought at the movies? It is coated commercially with toppings. This is why anything you make at home will most likely be healthier.

You don't need a microwave, an air-device, or even oil to make this traditional movie-accompaniment. All you need is a quart-size pan with a lid that won't come off when you gently wave the two back and forth across your heat source. Scantily cover the bottom of a lidded pot with popcorn and after five minutes of gentle shaking, you'll find yourself with a big pile of popcorn. (Popcorn kernels can be purchased from the bulk food section of any health-food store.)

Want flavored popcorn? Grate some hard cheese over the top while it's still hot. Some salt and butter are tasty additions, too.

Tamari-Sunflower Seeds

Stir a handful of raw, unsalted sunflower seeds in a skillet (preferably iron) over medium to high heat. Remove from the heat when they are toasted golden-brown, and stir together with a few drops of tamari sauce, which will be seared onto the seeds by the heat.


Try stocking your freezer with purchased vegetable, salmon, or crab patties, and your favorite hamburger buns. When these things are already at home, it takes you about as long to grill them as it does for somebody else to. Keep a variety of condiments together in a tray in your refrigerator so you have only to grab them all at once.


Cut any type of potatoes (baking, red, sweet) into thin wedges (scrub well and peel only for heavier-skinned varieties such as baking or sweet).

Toss with salt & pepper, a little olive oil and any green herb-rosemary is nice.

Spread across a cookie tin or onto an open grill. Cook at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 15 minutes on each side. (Using thinly sliced potatoes will require less time to cook.)

Breakfast Smoothie

Blend together:

  • 1 banana (peeled!)
  • 2 heaping tsp. orange juice concentrate
  • any type of milk (cow's, soy, almond, rice) to taste (8-12 oz.)
  • Protein powder (or your favorite nutrient supplement), if desired
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