Sunday, February 1, 2015

How I went from hating cooking to loving it...

I used to rely on frozen food and restaurants to provide me with my nutrition. The extent of my cooking skills was making a bowl of cereal. Maybe some guacamole. But in this new year, with us re-vamping our budget and priorities, I've gotten to enjoy an unexpected side-effect....developing a love for cooking. Its now a *gasp* hobby of mine. Here are the things that created the perfect storm for my conversion from loathing cooking to actually enjoying and spending my free time doing it...

1. Placing ourselves on a tight budget this year leaves little resources to spend on my old ways (eating out, shopping, etc.). This has forced me to enjoy the mundane and necessary things in life...and find contentment and joy in them. Food is one of those things that I've had to find a new joy in.

2. Since I "can't" eat out any more, I survived a few weeks on rudimentary cooking and the bare minimum of food prep (think frozen food). However, after awhile that got really old and I decided to devote myself to preparing more high quality food that I may actually enjoy.

3. I found a couple of youtube channels/bloggers that I was inspired by, and found that I could trust. Thanks Chef Buck, for ALL your recipes. I've made 10 of his recipes so far, and all have been really easy and delicious. I really appreciate that he is budget-conscious too, so I'm not stressed out trying to shop for obscure/pricey ingredients for his dishes. He's by far the best "cooking inspiration" I've found. His stuff really resonates with me. Also, I've made Lily Pebbles' brookies 3 times in the past month...they are the best. The measurements are in metric, but someone in the comments section converted them to customary for us US folk.

4. Making "compartmentalized" grocery lists really helps the weekly grocery store trips less migraine-inducing. I'm actually kind of OCD about my grocery lists....whether I'm using pen and paper, or my list app called "List Ease". I like to order my lists in the way that I'd be walking through the store.
5. Prepare/chop all my ingredients at once. Economies of scale, baby. Only bust out that knife and cutting board once. It's much easier for me to cook when all my stuff is prepped and put away in an easily accessible manner. Instead of having to chop my stuff the same night I'm cooking something, I can just move right into the "cook" phase by reaching into the fridge for my pre-chopped veggies and fruits.

6. Just doing it...not over thinking it. I used to obsess over the recipes and wonder what the hell "golden brown" was supposed to mean. Just try to trust yourself and cook your ingredients to where they look appetizing to you. If something doesn't turn out right the first time, you'll know for next time. And keep building on the knowledge through practice.

Here are some things I've made during January....
brookies, buttermilk biscuits, thai quinoa, margherita pizza, stuffed "fancy pants" frech toast
pesto  and pesto pasta, vegetarian chili (approved my my meat-eater husband), indian style deviled eggs, spicy hummus

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