On Food

A great point about the single life from a friend: you get to eat whatever you want. Which in this particular friend’s case has meant creating a wide variety of healthy meals and in general taking admirably good care of herself. Would that we were all so disciplined. In my own experience, it means that I have (at least once) simply skipped dinner and eaten a bowl of ice cream when I got home from work because it was all I had that I could eat quickly and without cooking. Or skipped dinner altogether. Or eaten out for lunch too many days in a row. And I could probably take out stock in Starbucks…

Occasionally I’ll get on a good streak and plan a few meals, do some heavy duty weekend cooking and freezing, and keep my fridge well stocked with healthy vegetables, etc. (I’m thankful that I can cook, even if I don’t do it nearly as often as I should. If you don’t cook…you might consider giving it a try. It’s a good money saver, it’s healthy, and–believe it or not–it’s a lot of fun.)  

Lumped in with all the half-resolutions I’ve made for this new year is the determination to learn some new recipes. It’s easy to fall into a “food slump.” I know what I like, I know where it is in the grocery store, and I know that I’ll use it up before it goes bad. (I feel like I’m constantly cleaning out my fridge and throwing away half-rotten tomatoes, dried out citrus, and molding jars of spaghetti sauce.) So I inevitably return to the same aisle, stock my refrigerator with the same items, and cook and eat the same things. I spend so much time planning ahead for other aspects of my life that it’s almost a relief not to plan ahead for food. I realize that this is a mistake–and that, like all the other important things (you know, prayer, exercise, spending time with loved ones), you don’t have time for it…you make time for it.

But I’ve got a catalogue of excuses I’ve been making for the past three years on this subject. “I can’t fit good grocery shopping habits into my budget.” “I don’t have time to cook.” “I don’t have time to shop.” “My kitchen is too small.” “I don’t have the proper appliances.” “My roommates are always in the kitchen/making a mess of the kitchen.” The list goes on. And on. And on. I’m also a little hesitant because, as with all new things, I’m a bit scared. With new recipes there’s always the possibility that they won’t turn out. And then what? Well, I’m going to try to focus on even the not-so-good meals as “adventures.” And being single is a helpful fact in carrying out this resolution–I can cook whatever I want, and I won’t have a hungry spouse trying to keep a brave face on as he swallows each disgusting bite.

So I turn to you, my readers. How do you manage your menus, grocery shopping, et al? Any suggestions for people like me who can’t seem to get organized in this area? And I would welcome any and all recipe suggestions! If you have anything you’d recommend, please post the recipe in a comment to this post.

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4 thoughts on “On Food

  1. I sympathize with all this. I did much more cooking last year, however, when my roommate and I did our food shopping and most cooking together; surprisingly, I found it to be quite fun and, as you say, adventurous. I’m glad to know, though, that I’m not the only one who goes on ambitious shopping sprees, only to throw out rotting veggies and shriveling lemons that I haven’t used in time. *sigh*

    Brinny and I used to sit down at the start of the week, riffle through our cookbook and pick 3 dinners we wanted to make, write out needed ingredients, purchase them (with some fill-in dinners like frozen pizza, mac n’ cheese, and the breakfast-for-dinner staples like eggs, milk, butter, bacon, bread), and then practically VOW to actually make the meals early enough in the week to enjoy them (and then have convenient leftovers for end-of-the-week-review!) This generally worked, but, as you say, leave yourself open to adventure!

    Freezing things like meatballs and such works nicely – ooo, fun project for the meal planner in you (perhaps a better summer-time project, when these are easier to find): chop up a bunch of some fresh herb you use often (parsley, cilantro, basil), put a small amount in the compartments of your ice cube trays with a little water, and freeze them into herb-cubes. Voila! Thaw, and you have fresh chopped/minced herbs when needed.

    As a side note, can I just say that I LOVE reading this woman’s blog about the food she makes? Especially as she refers to her hubby as “The Evil Genius” – haha. (http://www.foodiewithfamily.com/blog/)

    I pass along some of these quick recipes that I received in an e-mail recipe exchange:

    Greek Chicken – easy, quick, delicious. (from H.Schafer)

    6 boneless Chicken breasts
    olive oil
    2 onions, chopped
    3-4 cloves garlic
    3-4 potatoes, sliced
    1 pint sour cream
    salt and pepper to taste

    1. coat bottom of 9 by 13 pan in olive oil
    2. sprinkle one chopped onion over bottom of pan
    3. place chicken over onion
    4. crush the garlic over and around the chicken
    5. salt and pepper liberally
    6. spread the sliced potatoes on top of chicken
    7. cover with sour cream
    8. cover w/ foil
    9. cook at 350 for 45 minutes of until chicken juices run clear and potatoes are done.

    ————————————–
    Tomato/Bean/Potato Soup…sooo good! Adjust proportions to amount of people, and personal taste (from C.(Bratt)Polak) – always nice to have a new soup recipe in the winter!

    1) cut up fresh beans, bite size..handful per person
    2) slightly more-than-cover with water, salt, and bring to boil
    3) add 2 or 3 cloves garlic
    4) thickly chunk about 3 tomatoes, put in still boiling water
    5) add 3 medium potatoes, with or without skins, cubed bite size. Cook this until potatoes are done, reduce to simmer.

    6) In saucepan, melt 1tbsp butter/cup soup, on medium heat. Stir in 1 heaping tbsp flour/4 cups soup and whisk thoroughly. Cook over medium until butter is browned

    7) Add this mixture to the soup, cook about 3 minutes. Let set 10 min, done. ENJOY!!!! This has such a great flavor…

  2. With cooking, as with everything else, things won’t always turn out perfect. I’ve made cakes that were a little lopsided. But, I think that anything done with love is valuable and irreplaceable. Making someone smile makes me happy even if the cake isn’t perfect.

  3. Best easy salad ever:
    Bacon, Romaine Lettuce, Tomatoes, Avacadoes, Red Onions. Dice and chop, etc. Then dress with sour cream. N.B. I like to add salt.

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