Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Hippie Method: Food Philosophied

A philosophy is simply a belief. But it sounds more sophisticated. I have a lot of philosophies. And a belief or two, also.

I love to cook. And I love to write. And I love to home school. I don't love to clean, but I love to have a clean house. I love to run. I love to be outside. I love to eat. I love to sleep. I love to read. I love to drink coffee. I love to talk with people.

Obviously, I have a lot of love to's. How do I fit in all my loves with limited time?

Well, I like to live simultaneously. I try to live simply. I am learning to say no and to rest. I live by a rhythm/schedule. And I am learning to let good be good enough.

In our home schooling posts we have talked about juggling home schooling & alone time as well as home schooling & cleaning. Today we are going to cover juggling home schooling and cooking. Because home school moms are premier jugglers. Circus level performers. Maybe more illusionists than jugglers.

My personal food/cooking philosophy is to make delicious food that looks nice without it taking my more time to prepare than to consume. I also strive to make (relatively) healthy food. And I attempt to keep my dinner menu rather varied and fresh. And, the closest I get to using pre-prepared food is frozen ravioli and canned beans.

I have four key strategies for fulfilling my cooking/food philosophy and to be able to juggle all my other loves and responsibilities.

1. Same old-same old, for breakfast and lunch. Our breakfast and lunch menu is the same, every day. The kids eat oatmeal every morning except Thursdays and Saturdays. Those two mornings they have eggs or pancakes or something like that. I eat granola for breakfast everyday. Granola and raisins. Quick and delicious.
See, doesn't that look good?=)
Lunch for the kids is sandwiches (usually peanut butter and jelly), pretzels or chips and cookies. If we have leftovers, I will heat those. For me, lunch is milk and cookies and fruit. I know. I am the epitome of healthiness. I occasionally eat a sandwich-mostly on the days I have run and swam and need the extra uummph.

A boring, but easy, breakfast and lunch menu. And the kids haven't complained, so, I am not changing it. Not that I would even if they did complain...

2. Crock Pot. I am a whole hearted crock pot advocate. Here's why: I can make a fabulous dinner when I have a window of time in my day (morning for the low setting, or early afternoon for the high setting) and not be crazy woman during the witching hours of 4-6 p.m.. I have shared my favorite several of my favorite crockpot recipes on this blog. Recipes like Chicken Tacos, Coq Au Vin, Scarpariello, and Pulled Pork. If you go to my Small Kitchen Adventures tab, you will find links to these and many other  easy and delicious recipes. For a list of 51 meal ideas, check out Why Didn't I think of That?

3. Simple. Most dinners I make take between 30-60 minutes to whip together. I'd say that over half of them are much closer to the 30 minute mark than the 60 minute mark. It is possible to make delicious, varied and healthy food, in a small chunk of time. All the recipes shared on my Small Kitchen Adventures tab fit within this 30-60 minute window.

Not only are they simple, time-wise, they don't have 110 steps or 110 ingredients. Less is more. Way more.

4. Leftovers. I plan my dinner menu in 2 week segments, and I usually plan for 1-2 dinners a week that are leftover dinners. It may be the leftovers of one meal, or the leftovers of a combination of meals, but we eat leftovers for dinner. If I make soup or chili or marinara sauce, I make a BIG batch-enough to feed our family at least 2 meals. Usually 2 meals, and then some. I must say that my leftovers are fewer these days. What's with preteen boys and their appetites? Crazy!

Do you have a food/cooking philosophy? What are you tips for juggling cooking with life and home schooling?

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