With Valentine's Day around the corner, I thought I'd share some info on a little affair I've been having with my kitchen. The local restaurants are really upset about it, but oh well, I'm over those relationships.
So, cooking. I love to cook when I know what to make, have all the ingredients and am not starving or exhausted. I hate to cook when I have to come up with something to make, I don't have everything I need and I'm hungry, tired and cranky.
I know that a really large portion of the bad stuff I eat comes from restaurants and processed foods, so I know I need to cook more at home. I also know that a meal out for my family is a $50 deal every time but eating at home costs a fraction of that. I need to love cooking. All the time. Here is what I do to get over my issues and enjoy myself in the kitchen.
Starting with recipes...my recipes are a disaster. I have boxes, books, magazines, files with handwritten notes, electronic files saved on my all-recipes account. I rarely know where to look for something good and end up going to the same recipes over and over, so I took a few hours a while ago and went through everything (well aside from all the cookbooks). I pulled all of the recipes that sounded good and clean and put them on the computer. Some were already there and they are all different file types, but I can better organize that later. I printed everything, and put them in page protectors in a binder. That way they are a little more spill proof because I make a mess when I cook. Best move I made when doing this is creating a table of contents. I add recipes as I find them now and update the table of contents now and then.
I sit down every Sunday or Monday morning with my binder and a note pad. I go through and choose five meals for the week. I only plan five so that I can eat left-overs or something else the other two nights. I write these down (being sure not to plan them out Monday, Tuesday, etc as I never know what I'm going to feel like eating) and hang them on the fridge. Then I go back to the recipes and make a shopping list. I always double check it with the fridge and cupboards so I don't end up with four boxes of chicken stock or something.
I shop every Monday. I hit up Trader Joe's first, then Whole Foods on my way back for anything I couldn't find at TJ's. I pick up The Whole Deal (Whole Food's monthly newsletter, coupon book thing) every time and use all the coupons I can. This month there is a $1 off the gluten free bread I love, so I've gotten a loaf every week. It freezes fine. I take advantage of the coupons as well as the recipes in The Whole Deal. There are some really good ones.
Now I am ready to cook for the week. I know what to make and I know I have everything I need. I have a snack around 3:30 so I'm not starving before dinner. I can't do much about being tired after work. I try to get enough rest, but some days are better than others. I get home, change into comfy shoes and get to cooking. I love it. I am trying so many new things and it is a lot of fun. Now if I can figure out how to love the clean up afterward, I would really be in business.