Friday, August 24, 2007

what i have learned so far...

i have strategized a lot about how to make myself more likely to cook nourishing food for myself and not constantly want to order out or just eat things which will not meet my needs (like all fro yo, all the time). these are my time-saving ideas to date:

  • when i get home, put my frozen foods into (reusable) freezer bags, so i can just unseal and reseal them and not stress about time as much when cooking ("omg, i have to open this bag? and then figure out some way to close it?"). also, that way i can see all my food, and how much of it there is, easily.
  • similarly, unbag grains and put it in easily openable/reclosable containers (that are airtight! no more moths!), like jars and tupperware.
  • this is one i haven't done yet, but makes sense to me. buy some onions, and chop like 3 or 4 at a time. freezer bag them, and then use as needed, frozen.
  • something i have been doing for years, that i learned from a cookbook is to always keep broth powder on hand. put it in rice or anything else to flavor things up really quickly.
  • one thing i want to do is have making-things-parties. i would like to have someone (or multiple people) over, and we could contribute our own supplies to share, to make a bunch of marinades/sauces and jar or freeze them. if we got little ball jars, we could totally have enough to last, and could split it really easily. some ideas: sesame-ginger, peanut sauce, coconut-curry sauce, garlic-lime, marinara sauce, some sort of hickory smoke thing, etc. my old roommate and i are also supposed to have a waffle-making party, where we make a bunch of kinds and then freeze them. i thought a soup-making party might be good too, as they freeze well also? maybe a seitan-making party, so it tastes better and is more affordable? does anyone have more ideas? local people, want to come over and make stuff with me?
  • prepared herbs and spices. crushed ginger and garlic (the ginger is the cheapest that i have found at super 88, and least preservative-y at trader joe's, though you can find it at the grocery store too), frozen cubes of basil and cilantro, etc.
  • when there are sales on those morningstar farms bags of food, i think it makes sense to stock up. you can easily throw them in things, and they are tasty! they are expensive when not on sale, but also go a lot further than refrigerated fake meats, i find.
  • i am planning on buying a block of tofu at the beginning of the week, and cutting it up and throwing the cubes in a tupperware of water. if they aren't used by the end of the week, i can throw them in the freezer (no longer in water, obvi).
  • i bought like two bags of greens that can be used for salads or in cooking (baby spinach, arugula, etc.), and am eating some at every meal so that i get at least something fresh.

there are things i totally don't know how to deal with, though. shopping is the biggest one at this point, but i know other things will come up, too. but, i want your suggestions! what are some ways you motivate yourself to cook, when it is just you around? how do you keep yourself eating balanced and tasty meals when mac and cheese is literally your favorite food, and the kind with actual protein and fiber is not economically feasible as an every-meal kind of thing? what are your favorite things to get at the grocery store? do you want to come over and help me make good things for myself?


why this blog?

after years of living cooperatively, i am now, somewhat reluctantly, faced with the task of shopping and cooking for myself. i find this task very daunting.
so, what better way to address such a challenge than documenting all the choices i am making, and getting input from you--many of whom have been cooking for yourselves for far longer than i have--to help me make the best choices i can?
a little bit of background about my cooking guidelines:

  • i have no patience for process. i want to finish cooking my food in 15-30 minutes. between the fact that, come september, i will be working/going to school pretty much every day from 7:30 am - 8:30 pm, and the fact that i am totally lazy, i just am not going to do something that takes more time than that.
  • i have been vegetarian for 18 years. all the food that i make will be vegetarian. tips that involve any meat-based products, such as worchestire sauce (which has fish in it) won't help me. if you want to take my recipes and substitute meat in them, they might still taste good. i do it the other direction all the time. however, it is not recommended.
  • on the other hand, i am not vegan. some of the food on this site may contain egg or dairy products. not all of it, and probably not a majority of it, but some.
  • i don't like spicy food. not even a little spicy. i do like the tastes of raw garlic and ginger--i mean spicy like hot peppers.
  • that reminds me, i don't like peppers. or some other vegetables. i am not promising this will be well rounded or involve a lot of different foods.
  • i am trying to eat as much organic food as possible, which means more frozen food than usual because it is more affordable. the fact that it is pre-cut is also an enticement.
  • i do really like fake meat products. it would be fair to say i love them. they may factor heavily into my food posts.
  • i love food. i will not eat things that do not taste really, really good.
  • although i try to be concientious to get my nutrients, i do not refer to food i eat as healthy. as a fat person, that word has way too many "diet" connotations for me--which i think is bullshit--and that is not where i am at, at all. i will say nutritious, or good for my body, which are, for me, more to the point.
  • on that note, most of my meals follow the same basic format: whole grain (often whole wheat pasta), protein, green vegetable, other vegetable, flavoring. it might get boring. i am just warning you.

ok! enough intro for now! on to the ideas i have had so far!