Meal Planning

For the past year I’ve been an expert meal planner. Originally used to save me time and stop wasting food, I would plan out daily lunches and dinners on Sunday. I found time to grocery shop and then cooked the meals on Mondays and Tuesdays. Leftovers were shuffled during the rest of the week and with a variety of dishes (usually 3-4), it didn’t feel repetitive. It was a great way to plan up until now.

The thought of changing my methods didn’t truly hit me until last week when I made turkey piccatta. It was so late at night when I found time to cook that I didn’t bother eating the dish and saved it for the next day. I knew the recipe was good by the smell, but when I actually got around to eating it, my turkey was a little dry from reheating and the delicate lemon flavor had all but disappeared. I was so dissatisfied with my food that an entire turkey’s breast wound up in the trash. Throwing out this bird upset me so much (which another post will be dedicated to, I promise) that I knew it was time for change.

At this point in my life, almost nothing about my schedule is consistent besides its inconsistency. I work different hours every week for my two jobs, friends want to hang out, exercise is carefully blocked out and I squeeze in things on my to-do list whenever I’m not mentally or physically tired. The meal plan I described above perfectly fit senior year life when I had set class times and club meetings, but now I need to embrace change and see what will fit my needs and wants.

What I’m planning on now is probably doing what most people already, well, do. I’ll be buying my food as I need it so I know I have the time and desire to cook. I’m going to cut down recipes so I don’t have to worry about eating so much food before it becomes bad. And for some dishes like the Tuna Melts with Avocado or steak, spend the extra 10 minutes to remake some parts. A little extra time tastes so much better than one minute in the microwave.

So after all this, what I’m getting to is that there is no one way to go about meal planning or cooking or eating. Hold onto what matters to you and find the best way to fit it into your current lifestyle. That goes for anything you love, and I think it makes life a much happier journey.

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I’m Back!

After a very long hiatus, I’m starting to post again. Last summer, I was told that my blog had no direction; that it should be better thought through before I do anything more with it. That kind of negativity hurt, but I followed along and stopped.

Well I’ve had plenty of time to think about it, and this is my direction: continue doing what I was doing. I like trying new recipes, and sharing what I find with y’all isn’t hurting anyone. If anything, it’s helping us expand our creativity, challenge our cooking skills, and put tasty things in our bellies. How much more direction do I need?

So I guess here is some food for thought, especially at the start of this year. If it makes you happy (and doesn’t harm you or others), keep doing what you’re doing. You can’t please everybody and you don’t need unnecessary negativity in your life. When what you do is genuine and comes from a good place, people will notice and that positive energy will carry over. Now back to the food.

Traditions

With the holiday season officially starting (yesterday with Hanukkah, today with Thanksgiving, and soon Christmas, Kwanza, and the new year), I want to give myself and whoever reads this, a  simple reminder to cherish your traditions.

Each Thanksgiving, my family always adds something new to the table, whether its a new dessert or side dish or after-meal activity. And this year is no exception. But some things remain the same, and in the face of all the change our world sees, it is nice to see the beauty in those old traditions. Like having your uncle come over early to help fry the turkey. Or making your grandmother’s incredible, beloved noodle pudding even after she is gone (sorry, but that recipe is family-only). And we can’t forget that after-meal digestion session where family and friends catch up, your grandma makes comments about how your hair shouldn’t be dyed so dark, and sometimes fall asleep.

I think traditions are what brings and keeps families together. You can feel the love and  that accumulates through the years and share in the laughter at past stories. So even though we now have Black Friday shopping at 7pm Thanksgiving day (really…), remember that some things should be protected so we can stay connected with our roots. Happy Holidays!

Eating the Best

Today I made black bean brownies and was really excited to try them, love them, and then add them to my recipe collection. As they were baking, the smell of chocolate goodness filled the air. They looked beautiful. But when I tried them, to my disappointment, they were just okay.

Now, I’m not saying that I won’t finish that batch of brownies. Nor am I saying that they were completely dissatisfying. But it is my opinion that if you are going to eat something, you might as well eat the best whenever possible. I had a conversation with my roommate the other day about how little a percentage of their dollar Americans spend on food, compared to other developed nations. It really blows my mind when people try to find the cheapest food out there, sacrificing one of the best actions we do all day.

Think about it; you essentially are what you eat. The components of your food breakdown and are absorbed into your body, used to fuel your cells, build muscle, and so much more. Before that process can begin, however, you have to eat. Humans are blessed with the capability to experience pleasure through food, to find joy in that beautiful bite that satisfies all your senses. Why would you waste that opportunity on something mediocre?

Of course, you can’t always eat the best because it may not be available or it is just out of your price range, which is fine. But if you have the means, I don’t think you should cheat yourself with what you eat. If one recipe does not yield the best brownies, you toss it and try another until you find the perfect one. You’ll know you’ve got it when you take a bite.