Making Peace with Simple Food

While Still Stretching Your Culinary Muscle

by Abra Pappa Add
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When I began this blog nearly 2 years ago it was really important to me that the recipes I posted reflected my food philosophy of gorgeous healthy and creative food, that stretched one’s culinary boundaries, just a little. I am always committed to whole food ingredients, focusing on mostly plants but including high quality animal protein to reflect my deep belief of a well rounded, whole diet.

This meant I spent a lot of time creating (sometimes) complicated recipes, but recipes that always spoke to my foodie sensibilities. I also spent a lot of time dreaming of glorious food photography, knowing full well my photos would always fall short (way, way short) of my food blogging idols on Sprouted Kitchen, Cannelle et Vanille, Roost, and Love and Lemons.

I’m not a photographer, I would tell myself, this will have to be enough for now.

Then this weekend I sat with a recipe for 5 hours, questioning if I should post it or not. The recipe, while delicious, is time consuming. I thought about you, my readers, and where this blog has come in 2 years. Do you want time consuming recipes? Or are you really just looking for that 5 minute healthy recipe that you can “fix and forget”?

I have had to make peace with simple food from a blogging perspective, knowing that it’s an integral part of one’s journey to adding health supportive foods into their life. I know everyone isn’t going to jump right in with a roasted garlic cashew creme collard green and farro risotto (although that recipe is so damn killer you will love me forever) but you may try your hand at a simple sweet potato fry and then explore from there.

In my own life simple takes precedence most nights of the week. Although I am a flavor girl I sometimes love the simplest meals.

kale + purple potatoes

Dinner for One

Last night this was dinner. Kale, purple potatoes, garlic, and a few raisins. Was it earth shattering delicious? No. Was it exactly what I felt like? Yes. Simple. Took 5 minutes and truly satisfied.

I am making peace with the fact that you want simple food, but I still want to encourage you to push the boundries just enough.

Cooking will save your life. Simple food, after awhile, will feel.. well.. too simple. I know this, because I have seen it with clients hundreds of times. When beginning this process of radically transforming your health I want you to feel empowered to get in your kitchen. This usually begins with learning some basic 101 recipes and techniques. But then what? I have never preached a short term diet, nor do I believe they work. So if this is a lifetime solution what happens when you outgrow the simple food? You need to stretch your culinary skills and imagination, and that’s when more complex recipes find their place in your kitchen.

Simple food will never go away. Allow yourself a few nights a week to create very simple food. But when you are craving more,  dig into the complex and create zen around your time in the kitchen.

Find a few recipes that take a bit more time, require more ingredients, and challenge your current culinary skills. Put on amazing music, carve out the space and time to create. Chop,  sauté, stir, smell, bake, roast, taste. You created it. You are changing your life through food. Your kitchen is your vehicle for radical change. Whether it took 5 minutes or 50.

So here it is. The complex, time consuming recipe + a full video tutorial to take you through each and every step.

When you are scooping out the center of your artichokes and cursing me, know that on the day I shot this video I made 15 artichoke recipes. 15 videos. 15x the amount of work and dishes. So mulitply your aggravation by a sweet 15.

Do you have a time consuming recipe that is oh so worth it? Share below.

Happy Cooking Warriors!

Quinoa and Feta Stuffed Artichokes

  • Ready Time: 1 hr 25 mins
  • Prep Time: 35 min
  • Cook Time: 50 min
Servings: 4
Level: Intermediate


  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 3 3/4 cups of veggie stock
  • 4 large globe artichokes
  • 1/2 cup of whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup of chopped dill
  • 1/3 cup of feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup of pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup of scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
    plus 2 tsp additional for drizzle on top
  • 8 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice


Directions: 1. Quinoa Using a fine mesh sieve, rinse quinoa thoroughly until water runs clear.  In a medium saucepan over medium high heat add quinoa and 1 3/4 cup chicken stock.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a low simmer.  Cover and cook for 15 minutes.  Turn off heat and allow to sit for 5 more minutes.  Fluff with fork 2. Prepare Artichokes: *Cut off the top 1 inch of leaves from artichoke *Snip all remaining spiky tips from the outer leaves *Cut off the stem to make a flat bottom. *Starting at the outer layers and moving inward, pull the leaves apart to loosen. Remove inner soft leaves to gain access to the choke. *Using a melon baller or grapefruit spoon, scoop out choke.  Squeeze lemon juice into the heart (to prevent browning) *Add lemon halves to bowl of ice water and submerge artichoke while you prepare the others. *Keep all artichokes submerged in lemon water until you are ready to stuff. *Remove artichokes from lemon water and drain upside down on a paper towel, gently open leaves.  3. Prepare Stuffing Combine cooked quinoa, breadcrumbs, dill, feta cheese, pine, nut scallions, black pepper and 1/4 cup olive oil in a medium bowl.  Using a fork stir well to combine. 4. Stuff Artichokes Stuff the center of each artichoke with filling and places small amounts in crevices of leaves 5. Cook Stuffed Artichokes *Heat oven to 375 *In a large dutch oven combine 2 cups chicken stock, 8 smashed cloves of garlic, and 2 tbsp lemon juice. *Place artichokes in liquid standing straight up. *Drizzle a bit of olive oil on top of each artichoke. *Cover and bake for 40 minutes.  Uncover, bake for an additional 10 minutes until hearts are tender when pierced.
This recipe also contains a video which can be viewed on its recipe page.

Abra Pappa
About Abra Pappa, Health and Wellness Expert

Abra is a wellness expert that has inspired thousands of people to reach their health and weight loss goals through whole, natural food and mindful lifestyle shifts. Her food philosophy is simple; keep it real, keep it simple, and it sure as heck better be delicious!