Time, Money, and Food
Happy Monday blog friends! I have some happy business news to report: my fictitious business name papers have gone through! Yay! I’m beginning to really see the light at the end of the red-tape tunnel.
In the process of doing all this, I’ve lost a little bit of my focus on actually creating things — or rather, I just haven’t spent much time in production. In addition to the stresses of life (I seem to have more than the usual amount lately – boo) I’ve spent some time trying to stop being impatient (you can waste a lot of time agonizing over when some paperwork will go through) and just go with the flow. This is great sometimes, but not when you’re trying to hold down a full time job AND start a business on the side. Oh, and I took up a semi-vegan lifestyle, which has led to an endless amount of blog and recipe surfing — a huge, albeit enlightening, time suck.
I have gotten some great meals out of it though: in addition to the tofu lettuce wraps I made (twice) last week, I’ve found a recipe for amazingly delicious chewy vegan chocolate chip cookies (my vegan life is now complete), I found my new favorite vegan big breakfast recipe – potatoes and soyrizo, I found a way to make cold quinoa that I like (mostly I just cook and use it like rice), and I haven’t cooked with meat, eggs, or dairy in a couple of weeks.
My latest internet time-suck? Methods of batch cooking and freezing meals. This idea seems to be really popular amongst the mom-blogging world — and for good reason, putting dinner on the table for 4+ people every day is a lot of work — but it can be adapted to any household size and diet. Basically you pick a day and all you do is cook and freeze meals…it’s quite the operation.
I’ve become interested in this for a few reasons: first, it would make it a lot easier to make a healthful food choice when I’m not in the mood to actually cook. Right now my go-to lazy meal is a big ol’ salad piled high with vegetables and a homemade dressing with flax seed meal mixed in…not necessarily a bad choice, but not necessarily something I want to eat three times a week. The other downside to this is I don’t have leftovers to take for lunch the next day (this lazy cook lives off of leftovers), which makes it tempting to just eat out…where it’s harder to make vegan food choices. This directly relates to another appealing point of batch cooking…the cost.
Eating out will ALWAYS be more expensive than cooking at home, it’s as simple as that! But I am trying not to give myself free reign at the grocery store, either — convenience foods, trying something new, and other impulse buys can add up. Eating whole, fresh foods can sometimes be less expensive and sometimes more expensive, but in general they are all perishable — stocking up on whatever is on sale (2 for 1 berries!) is difficult to do if you don’t start cooking and/or freezing them, because they will go bad and throwing food out sucks. I figure that if I can buy things that are on sale and make a bunch of it, I can save some money AND if I’m planning out meals better and have some pre-made meals in the freezer, I’ll avoid all of the unnecessary eating out. That way I can save my eating out budget for more meaningful things, like catching up with friends or celebrating a birthday.
Lastly, cooking ahead saves time. As I really start to ramp up the side business, I have a feeling I’ll find myself with less and less time to spend in the kitchen each evening. I’m okay with that, as long as I’m not eating food that makes me feel like crud.
I’ve never been much of a freeze-your-food fan – currently my freezer houses things like ice, bags of frozen fruits and veggies, ice cream, and “desperation meals” aka boxes of Lean Cuisines – so I’m planning to make a few recipes and freeze them and see how it goes! Maybe the freezer and I will become friends!
What’s your take on leftovers and freezing food? Do you live off of leftovers, or always crave new tastes and flavors? Do you have a different cost/time efficient way of making food? I’d love to hear about it!