In the last two weeks, my personal time has been filled with two activities: cooking and education.
Naturally, these two things are what I want to talk about most, so today, I’m going to talk about my cooking endeavours from last week… and then in my next post, I’ll talk about my educational feats and fears.
Cooking, here we go!
First off, on the evening of January 11th, I took a tally of all the new things I’ve cooked from recipes I’ve found in cookbooks, and online. I wrote every single thing down, and it totaled 11.
11 new meals in 11 days. Crazy, right?
That wasn’t one of my annual goals, but now it sorta is.
No, I’m not committing to making one new thing every day, but maybe one month this year I will do a 30 meals in 30 days challenge, and then blog about my journey, because that actually sounds fun!
Then I’ll swear off cooking for the remainder of the year, and maybe my house will get back to normal.
Remember, “normal” is where I stay out of the kitchen for the most part, and only cook when absolutely necessary.
Being Healthy Across the Board
This whole change started because I purchased two cookbooks: The Joyous Cookbook and 10 Meals in an Hour… as well as a number of Pampered Chef items.
My goal this year is to finish what I start, and it seems strange to me to invest in things and not use them. Since I invested in two books and Pampered Chef, I’ve been spending all this extra time in the kitchen.
If you want extra healthy, organic and nutritious, I recommend the Joyous Cookbook.
So far, I’ve only made one meal from that book, though. I don’t have many of the ingredients it calls for, and substitutions will change flavours and make a nutrient heavy meal unhealthy.
The meals I’ve made have been from either the Pampered Chef website, mostly because I want to use the stuff I bought, and the 10 Meals PDF that I printed and have in a handy binder.
The 10 Meals in an Hour book is great for so many reasons! I’m going to just refer to it as “10 Meals” from now on though, because that ‘in an hour’ part is untrue.
When a meal says “prep time = 30 minutes” for me, that usually means 1-2 hours.
I’m slower. I’m methodical. I double/triple check things. I wash dishes. I read the recipe ten times.
The bottom line is, I can’t do prep in the time I should be able to do prep.
I know this. I’m ok with this.
10 Meals teaches me/you how to make meals that you can put in the freezer and cook at a later date. So I can prep whenever I want, and know that I don’t have a hungry family waiting for the end result.
That, for me, is reason #1 why this book is awesome.
Reason #2 is because the author (Ruth Soukup, who I’m sure I’ll talk about in many future posts, not just for cooking reasons) breaks down the “10 Meals” into 5 easy recipes.
Each recipe calls for enough ingredients to make two future family meals, so 5 recipes times 2 meals = 10. Hence, 10 meals.
The first week of January, I made 4 of the 5 recipes under ‘winter cooking’.
At the time of writing this post, my family has tried all 4 (we still have 4 future meals in the freezer), and they have been liked by everyone.
Side note, there was one meal that we all ate, but only my husband liked. The rest of us ate because it wasn’t terrible, but we didn’t enjoy.
I don’t think I’ll make this one again.
Breaking Down Steps Helps Our Mental Health
Reason #3 for this book being awesome?
Easy, there’s a grocery list for all five meals including quantity. You know how great that is? This alone, has taken a lot of anxiety out of cooking.
I know exactly how much I need of all ingredients when I’m in the store, then the next day I make all the recipes I set out to make, with the intention to freeze them.
During the week, we just take a bag out of the freezer in the morning, and cook per instructions – which are simple “bake in oven for 30 minutes” or “cook in slow cooker for 2-3 hours”.
That means, I don’t have to think about it. I always have food. And I never have to order takeout (which I can’t do anymore anyway, since there are no local restaurants).
One slight problem with this book, is that all recipes include meat. Keep in mind, I haven’t read the whole book yet, only 10 recipes.
But each recipe is basically ‘marinate meat and stick in freezer’.
My family really enjoys vegetarian meals. So if anyone wants to send me a link to a website that offers some easy vegetarian cooking, please do!
So far, I’ve found two vegetarian recipes on the Pampered Chef site that I’ve tried and enjoyed.
One was a spinach lasagna, which Danny and I devoured and didn’t even bother sharing with the kids. We could have, but they made their own lunches that day, so we didn’t have to share.
The second was a butternut squash pasta… which was hit and miss.
Since this post is getting a bit lengthy, I’m going to save the squash story for another day… it’s a good one. A story where my meditation practice came in handy!
I’ll end the article here, but if anyone wants to have the link to the 10 Meals book – email me!