Week 5 – Rituals and Rhythms (part two)
I’ve always disliked the word ‘meal prep’. Put it up there with ‘chores’ and ‘homework’. They sound like must do’s and lack the exciting vibe I love to infuse my kitchen time with. After all, cooking can be more than survival. It can be an outlet of de-stressing after a long day, it can be a source of nourishment when you feel the winter scratchy throat approaching, it can be an ego booster when you invite your friends round and snack on home-made labneh cheese and crunchy crackers.
I find with my cooking journey (or with anything really) I want it all now and don’t value the step by step process it takes to learn and build on my skills. I guess this is the ‘instant’ society we live in, but it’s not the way anything works (unless we’re talking about UberEats, then it just a 40 minute wait).
BUT… what if we put a different spin on it.
Getting your shit together to prep even some chopped carrots for the week is better than nothing.
And… what if….. you knew how good you felt when you were relieved to open the fridge and remove said carrots and know you didn’t have to chop them. OK replace carrots with whatever you like.
The point is this is the place we cook from, the place we come from when we’re tossing up going to the pub early or using that extra 1 hour to set ourselves up.
Future you is going to thank you more than just the relief of not needing to cook dins that night. Give it a whirl.
Once you do the thing enough times, it just becomes what you do. It’s like when you start a new job and get invited to Friday lunch, then you realise it’s just what happens on a Friday. Or birthday morning teas with special cakes. Same deal, different situation.
Lesson 1 - Meal Prepping, Lou Style
About this class: we are exploring how we spend our time in the kitchen and making 2 meals at once.
Watch the lesson
LET’S COOK: MEAL PREPPIN’ LOU STYLE
My style of meal prep is to not plan.
Maybe this is because there’s just 2 of us. So full blown planning isn’t required, I can see how this will be helpful later on.
I can also see that the biggest part of me being able and willing to cook every night, is that my priorities are in order. The option for takeaway doesn’t cut it. Don’t get me wrong, I love to go out and usually it’s a Wednesday night thing for us. We never go far or get dressed up. We’re usually home by 7pm. We’re old at heart.
As I work from home, I usually average 2 meals out per week. The rest is simple food cooked by me.
The thought of having takeaway delivered urks me. Plastic containers, food that’s been cooked and waiting for a good 30 mins or more, delivered by a random person. By the time it arrives I always have the same though – I could have made something 1000 times more delicious in that time!
The takeaway thought doesn’t excite me. So my priorities shuffle themselves into alignment and I think about my go-to meals I can create – we’ve talked about this prior.
If you don’t have a list yet, they’re the meals you can make on auto-pilot without requiring much thought. Make a list – stick it on your fridge – use it for times of busy.
I believe a big part of cooking is being flexible with what’s going on in our lives. If it comes down to it and all I have the energy for is roasted potatoes with salt and rosemary, so be it. At least I’ve made it and I’ll eat more greens with the next meal.
Same goes for if I mess it up or burn something (still happens) – so be it. I’ll cook it perfectly next time.
Our mishaps in the kitchen mean nothing, except the meaning we place upon them. For most of us, it’s ‘I’m such a shitty cook’, ‘this is really hard’ ‘it’s always hard’. If I applied this thought for every time I stuffed up on the kitchen, this course wouldn’t be here.
A certain amount of GRIT is required. This goes for eating leftovers too. What’s your stance on that?
I’ll happily eat dinner, then leftovers for lunch again the following 2 days. This doesn’t bother me in the slightest, because it’s easier than making a new meal. Again, I’ve aligned it with my willingness and in this case, I’m not always willing to make a new lunch – I’m happy to eat the same thing twice. I might just add a different topping.
So about that prep…. This is how I do things. It’s not a full meal plan, it’s a bunch of ‘ingredient’s’ which allow a bit of freedom in my week.
A dressing – only then needs some yellow rice, quinoa, roasted veggies.
A soup – eaten as is, or the leftovers for brekky with an egg.
Crunchy nuts – amazing snacks, curb that 5.30pm pre-dinner hunger, salad toppers.
Noodles – can be eaten as is, or as a ‘side’ to another bit of lunch, served in a steaming bowl of broth.
Lesson 2 - What should I prep?
I have zero rules about what I prep. Which means, some weeks it’s nothing and some weeks it’s lots. My one caveat is that I must be excited to cook it. If I’m not excited to cook it, I won’t be excited to eat it and it’s just not going to work. I also find this refreshing because I don’t need to make myself feel bad if I miss it, go away for the weekend, too tired etc.
However, I will say this: I know that if I don’t prep for the week, I’m going to cook something anyway. I am grounded through the process of cooking, cooking is art for me, I love nothing more than being in charge of exactly what I’m eating. PS: I’m not a diet freak, I do have high standards of food or possibly my standards are normal and others have lower standards? I know for a fact, I can’t do the work I want to do in the world if I don’t feed myself good food and not just because I’m a cook, even if I was a computer programmer – I need to show up and be a certain way to achieve what I want and act how I want for you and my clients. I can’t do this eating takeaway, packet meals, junk food, sugar on the regular.
One particular way I get around this is to always make extra! Especially of cooked meals like soups, curries, bolognese, pasta sauce. We eat half and half goes in the freezer for future us.
I don’t treat our meals as a gourmet experience every night. We eat simple food that’s good for us. Delicious, but simple. I draw on condiments in my fridge any my flavour bombs that I love. We eat a lot of curries, slow cooker meals, rice, home-made pizza, flatbreads.
If you follow me on Instagram, I’m always showing you my messy kitchen – for a reason. It’s a real life messy place (although clean, you know?). Things happen. I’m not a Domestic Goddess, although my priorities for my life are in order and get reordered on the daily.
I take zero BS on whinging, if you don’t like it, don’t eat it but at the same time I accept all feedback and really do look at this constructively. For example, Pierre says he hates quinoa, I don’t totally believe this, but I understand it’s a change in habit of what’s he’s used to eating and yes, quinoa on its own is really boring. I take it as a challenge to make it taste good for him. I just succeeded with the Quinoa Falafel in the Savoury cookbook. More on this in Week 7.
My ‘delighted to prep’ list
Nut milk – I’m a big fan of cashew milk, coconut milk and oat milk (sometimes, although its a bit high maintenance)
Roasted nut butter
Soup – Chicken broth / pumpkin soup
Rice / quinoa etc
Falafel / fritters – this is more of a sometimes when I have extra energy, like today, I made Pumpkin + Apple Fritters recipe coming soon
Spinach veggie sausage rolls
Dip / dressing
Slow cooked meats
Pickles and ferments: at the moment we have capsicum pickles and kimchi
Open the SAVOURY cookbook and check out the MIX + MATCH BRAINSTORM on page 29. Pick a few ingredients and get to prepping.
Zucchini Goats Cheese Open Omelette (done for you recipe)
ZUCCHINI GOATS CHEESE OPEN OMELETTE
Kitchen Saucery – Breakfast
1⁄2 tbsp coconut oil
1 medium zucchini
Heat small pan on medium heat, add coconut oil.
Slice zucchini in half length ways, then dice. Throw into pan, cook for around 6 minutes. I like to get a little charr on my zucchini.
Turn heat down to low/medium. Crack eggs into pan and whisk with a spatula to combine. Cook for 2 minutes.
Crumble over some goats cheese, dried herbs, salt and pepper – place lid on top. Allow eggs to cook through, you can put this in an oven too but I find it works just as well on the stove.
Once it’s cooked, you’re good to go. You can serve with toast, but I just eat it by itself.
Caramelised Banana on Sourdough (done for you recipe)
CARAMELISED BANANA ON SOURDOUGH
Recipe from Kitchen Saucery – Breakfast
1⁄2 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp coconut sugar
Pinch of cinnamon
1 slice sourdough
Place a pan on a medium heat, add coconut oil to melt.
Chop banana in half lengthways.
Sprinkle sugar over banana (both sides). Place in pan – you need a nice sizzle in the pan. Cook around 5 minutes on each side. You want the banana to be caramelised and dark before flipping over.
Toast your sourdough. Lather on some fresh nut butter and top with banana and cinnamon.
Weekly Review Worksheet
How to use this worksheet:
This worksheet is a reflection tool for you to get the most out of each week. It should take you around 5-10 minutes to complete, (it may take longer in the beginning) once you’ve watched the classes.
This isn’t mandatory and I won’t be checking up on you.
If you’d like to email me your worksheets (email@example.com), I’d be so excited to take a look at them. I love learning everyone’s lessons, their AHA moments and what really landed in the class.
Use this as a chance to review what you’ve done each week. Reviewing our actions helps us retain information we’ve learnt. It also acts as a nice reminder when you go to make these recipes again and you can’t remember a certain step you added from your past cook.
I recommend for each class, printing the ingredients list so you can take notes during each class.
To edit: You will need to save a copy of this worksheet to your computer.