7 Easy Ways to Cook More at Home

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The truth is most of us are obsessed with yummy food.

We lustfully gaze at Instagram photos and dream of creating something Pinterest-worthy and delightfully wholesome in our own kitchens (however small)… taking screenshots and making plans.

But the truth also remains that we are busy. And that all that social media cooking fantasizing often remains just that, a fantasy.

But it doesn’t have to.

Cooking at home is a skill that we can learn, and habit that we can form. And, besides… eating out/ordering in can get viciously expensive, and it’s also decidedly less healthy. (We really can’t be 100% sure what they put in that Pad Thai.) Cooking at home is the sure fire way to know what you are eating, and that it’s 100% natural, and hopefully, organic.

Take it from someone with a kitchen the size of a phone booth — if I can do it, so can you.

Here we go…

7 Easy Ways to Cook More at Home

1. Cooking grains in bulk

Make a big batch of quinoa/brown rice/etc., keep it in the fridge for the next few days, and you’ll always have a solid base to use in salads or to serve with stir fry, or in the “magic formula.” (See below.) This makes cooking three times as easy/quick throughout the week.

2. Preparation + cook once, eat trice

Choose a day per week (Sunday, perhaps?) and cook up a storm. Preparing for the week makes a world of difference. Make your favorites (this mushroom stroganoff is a winner, or chili sin carne or veggie pot-au-feu — yum) and you’ll be set for the week. Use your freezer, too. The key to keeping your palate unbored is to reinvent your dish every day. So, say you made a bunch of stir fried veggies… day one could be stir fry over brown rice, the next day you could make a stir fry wrap and pair it with a side salad, and the third day maybe you toss the stir fry veggies in an Asian soup. (Asian soup = hot water + miso paste + soy sauce + garlic and ginger. And some cayenne pepper. Always.) Add in some rice noodles, bam.

3. Use the magic formula

Whole grain + veggies + sauce. Why reinvent the wheel? Especially when you’re starting out, or if cooking just seems all shades of daunting. Quinoa takes 10 minutes. Sautéing onions, veggies, and garlic, takes about 15 minutes. Put your grain on first, start sautéing the veggies while the grain is cooking, and decide on which sauce suits your fancy. It’s really easy. Here are some sauce ideas:

Lemon: Lemon juice, olive oil, onions, garlic, a bit of agave, salt/pepper, (capers, maybe?)

Asian: Soy sauce (we like tamari or nama shoyu), olive oil (or add sesame oil when you’re done cooking,) ginger, garlic, a bit of maple syrup, cayenne pepper. (Add sesame seeds to garnish. Healthy, elegant, delish.)

Indian: Curry powder, cumin, ginger, garlic, coconut oil, coconut milk, a bit of agave. Cayenne. Salt/pepper.

Italian: Thyme, oregano, parsley, basil, tomatoes. Salt/pepper. Chili flakes? Mmmm.

Get fancy with the spices! We LOVE them. (Want some more spicy fodder? Check out Chloe’s recent post on the ayurvedic variety.) But you don’t have to. If spices are just too overwhelming to think about, just start with salt and pepper. Truly. It’ll still be good if you taste as you go and don’t go crazy with either.

4. Make a full meal by adding an easy appetizer.

I suggest fruit. Fruit is best eaten before meals because when eaten after meals, it can start to ferment and turn acidic in your belly as it waits to get through. Start your meal off with a melon, a juicy mango, or an avocado drizzled with olive oil, salt/pepper, lemon juice and cayenne pepper. Mmmm. But, also, an avocado can be a whole meal…

avocado-bowl-veggiemagnifique

5. “Cook” with avocado

I am SUCH a fan of avocados that I have already written a whole post about 5-Minute Avocado Meals. Check it out. It’s truly the easiest and quickest way to have a wholesome, home-prepared meal that’s nutrient-rich, filling, and wildly delicious.

6. Internet research the ingredients you have

I do this all the time. I look in my kitchen, see what random offerings it provides, and then I google recipes involving the foods I have. So, say for example, I’ve got sweet potatoes, onions, tomatoes… I’ll google “recipe vegan sweet potatoes” or something like that. I often end up finding two recipes that I can fuse into something either entirely, or at least partway, delicious. (Just always remember to have quinoa on hand. But, then… you have it in a container in the fridge, right? 😉 )

7. Remember the “third time’s a charm” rule

Seriously. This is a real thing. We discussed this in my nutrition studies. Basically, when cooking, the first time you try a recipe/dish, it’s probably going to be… “meh”, the second time it’s “not bad”, and the third time it’s either “awesome” or “pretty darn good.” Just expect this, go through the motions the first few times, and then voilà, suddenly you’re cooking pretty good food. If it’s fantastic on the first try, well, then… tant mieux. 🙂

Hope these tips prove helpful to you. Let’s cook more at home, shall we? Save some bucks, and boost our culinary confidence!

Have y’all seen Ratatouille?

“Anyone can cook.”

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2 thoughts on “7 Easy Ways to Cook More at Home

  1. margot says:

    are you generous or is it a light dusting with the cayenne pepper? it seems to be a staple on your dishes so i’ll give it a whirl. would it be equivalent to a drop or two of the old hot sauce?

    1. Ann says:

      Hi Margot! I’m extremely generous with cayenne! I not only “like it hot” but it’s also incredibly good for your body – especially your circulation. (I do love hot sauce, too, of course… as long as it’s organic and not filled with ickies… but I feel that cayenne pepper is just a superstar!) And you’ll have to experiment with it to see how much to add. It’s difficult for me to say what the equivalent would be since hot sauce varies in spiciness. Here’s to heat! 🙂

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