Friday, January 06, 2012
I Resolve to Cook...
Technically I don't - I cook enough as it is - but you might resolve to cook more and I would like you to know it's not crazy - and better yet it can be done in one day - sort of.
Sundays around here have become my cooking day - it is the one day in the week where I do not open a book - not even a for "fun book" and rather I spend my time sleeping and trying to untangle myself from the previous week so I can focus on the upcoming. Part of that process is cooking a week's worth of meals for me to take to school on Monday morning. I understand that most people do not have to cook 8 to 10 meals (5 lunches, 5 dinners) for themselves in advance and pack all those along with snacks and fruit for a week of work or school. However it has definitely changed my relationship with cooking/food - sometimes for the better, sometimes not so much. It's is great to eat beef and broccolini in a peanut sauce for one even two meals but when it's your 4th time, if you're awake enough to notice, it's not that amazing - though that recipe will be making an appearance around here because it is good.
Right now I'm just going to suggest some ideas for your week meals as you get back into the realms of healthy eating, we'll work on the whole cooking thing later.
Plan Ahead or have a basic stock of ingredients - honestly I have both. I believe everyone, even poor graduate students should have a basic supply of the following - every week.
Milk - whatever form works for you - I prefer almond milk, I get it in the unsweetened tetra pak version - goes on sale and the size is right for myself. Btw with some chocolate sauce it can make a half decent warm milk/hot chocolate if it's one of those nights.
Perishable Protein - tofu or eggs specifically - I think eggs are vile personally but that is more from a childhood of being subjected to them while unbeknownst to all of us being mildly allergic - but I will on occasion by a half dozen. They are a good cheap protein source - though for the love of all things beautiful please buy free range organic. I prefer to buy the extra firm tofu - it's cheap and it's small so I know I can find a use for it somewhere before it goes off.
Non-perishable protein - peanut butter and beans. I am aware that peanut butter, the good stuff does go off - but I guess because it rarely survives a week once it's opened here I never consider it perishable. It's good in everything savoury or sweet. Beans - well I think we all need a better relationship with beans:
Chickpeas - not just for hummus - consider VeganDad's chickpea tacos and Szechuan chickpea stirfry, or roasted root vegetables with chickpeas seasoned with Indian curry paste, or if you're not GF my all time favorite chickpea cutlets from theppk.com
Black Beans - I throw them in almost everything where I use ground beef - split the beef by half and add a can of beans.
Vegetables - my local market has dollar items - they are always a bag of peppers, mini tomatoes and some other vegetable - be it romaine lettuce or cucumber. Those always go in the basket first, followed by cilantro, onion and garlic. Beyond that it's whatever is on sale - if it's eggplant - then it's Indian or Italian for the week or even just through roasted eggplant in your hummus... pick your core and work from there.
Canned Vegetables - Tomatoes - ideally whole and paste
The rest? Well depends on who you are - rice, pasta or potatoes - I'm none of the above - don't get me wrong I love my carbohydrates and I think they're lovely I just find that they don't travel well in the long term - aside from rice which I'm not a huge fan of, though now that I have a rice cooker it's growing on me. I would say in this category, find what works for you and know that if they're not in your meals it's okay but don't make a habit of it if you're training for a race.
I skipped animal meat and dairy - they're luxuries in my book. Sure meat is great - but I struggle with purchasing non-organic meat and well a $6 chicken breast works out to 2.5 Americano mistos in my books and well I seem to live off those better. A moment of honesty - a moment of failure but I much rather pop a can of beans than look at a $6 organic free range chicken breast on my plate.