I’ve talked about my recent cooking slump, which I think is partly a result of our move and partly my adjusting to a new schedule. Before, I always waited until I came home from work to cook, so my repertoire during the week consisted of simple to make meals, leftovers, and a regular Friday night date with our local pizza parlor.
Now that I’m home, though, I have lots more time to cook and tend to get a bit ambitious. I’m also more concerned with what I make because my girls are not longer getting a five-course lunch at school everyday, so I need to pack all that nourishment and nutrition into our evening meal. Combine that with new ingredients and products in a new country, and I think I’ve just become overwhelmed.
Luckily, I think I may have found some help. I’ve been a regular reader of the 100 Days of Real Food blog for a while now, and when I saw that its author, Lisa Leake, had put out a cookbook, I decided to check it out from the library. And it has kind of saved me. Lisa’s emphasis is on making real (not processed) food, something I feel strongly about, too. Although technically a cookbook, 100 Days of Real Food is also a kind of “lifestyle” book. She has a whole section in the beginning that explains how to make the shift to eating real food, as well as food budget tips and meal plans. She addresses all the kinds of issues and questions that people may have and presents her plan in a way that makes it seem do-able. There are so many helpful tips and concrete examples that I came away from reading the book feeling completely inspired–just what my lackluster cooking mojo needed.
But does it really work? Well, I’ve only been following her plan for a week, but I haven’t felt so good about my cooking in a long time. I took her advice and did my grocery shopping at a local farmer’s market-type store instead of my usual supermarket, and I spend HALF of what I normally spend for a week’s worth of groceries. I also have my meals planned out until next weekend thanks to her Winter Meal Plan, and I have a ton of ideas for the girls’ school lunches.
I realize that I’m gushing here, which is very unusual for me, but honestly this book helped me so much. It remains to be seen if I can sustain it in the long run, but so far it has made my life simpler rather than more complicated. If you read her blog you’ll see that Lisa is pretty hardcore when it comes to cutting out processed foods, but I think you can take her ideas and adapt them to your own lifestyle and house rules about food. And if you’re still not sure, I highly recommend reading the cookbook, which lays everything out in an easy-to-follow format.
Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs…