Preparation (Part Two)
An Inner Shift
How did you get on with the preparation Inner Shift about planning a week ahead and doing all the shopping necessary on the same day?
In this second part, I am going to give you some ideas to make that shift easier and to extend it as painlessly as possible.
This is like a 'top tips' list. Scan it and pick which ones appeal to you the most.
Are there ways to make your life easier by planning ahead? For example, when I plan in a big cooking session it is usually early evening. So on those days both my kids have school dinners and they have beans on toast for tea. This way I clear a psychic space that says "this cooking session is important". I have days when I do absolutely no cooking at all.
The first time I did this week's planning my inner resistance went on strike. IMPOSSIBLE! it yelled. So I craftily got round it. I imagined I was hosting a party and planning a big buffet for everyone - each meal being a dish for the buffet. Of course it was a healthier buffet than your usual party platters, but this worked. I even drew a big oval shape on a piece of A3 paper and added the names of the dishes, almost like drawing a picture with words.
Can you save time by batch cooking?... Make two dishes then freeze them instead of one.
What is the best time of day to cook? I often find that for batch cooking early evening is good. However, the pre school get the kids up and ready period between 7 and 8.30 is a good time to fit in making some bliss balls or smoothie or an omelette, or chocolate soup. This was not the case in the past, but I applied my organisational experiments to the morning routine so now that is saner and there is elbow room to make a bit if extra food as necessary. You need to find by trial and error the best time of day to do different tasks.
Look at your week's menu. Can you have make more of some evening meals and then eat the leftovers the next day for lunch? Can you add extra ingredients to make a new meal with very little effort? For example, if I have rice or pasta with my evening meal, I can boil a couple of eggs and add some salad veg plus cashew nuts to make a substantial salad. I can have a bit of superhero dressing on it.
Once you have done a week's planning ahead, I suggest you do another. At the end of that time you have a two-week menu. If your second week looks too similar to week one, then swap any meals you have twice for new ones. Next, see what having that two-week menu twice over the course of a month feels like. When you have settled on the right menu, this will make life much easier, because you know what you will be eating.
If you have kids, make one meal out of the 14 or even once a week a meal you cook together. Teach your kids to cook. Benefits: they can make dinner for you AND you teach them a valuable life skill (notice how I put the lazy Harriet benefit before the good parent one there? There will always be that compulsive in me, trying to get me to abdicate responsibility, saying "Well I'M a food compulsive. Why should I have to cook for others?")
Feeling resistant to this 2 x 2 week menu? OF COURSE you are. However, you can only really say how good or bad an idea it is if you try it. You are allowed to discard it only if you actually put it to the test. What will probably happen is that you will find a variation on it that works for you, or you will keep it but realise you need to buy more store cupboard staples because certain meals do not last two days (this is always the case with korma in my house. My plan for leftover korma next day for lunch is ALWAYS scuppered by my kids, who finish the whole lot!)