Hi wise mamas. I am new to the forum and have enjoyed reading lots of the threads already. I really enjoy eating food as (in my opinion) it was meant to be eaten. I am still learning though. I would love to really start sprouting and soaking, but it seems like a BIG task to start. I also need to see how to work it into a real meal plan. It is only me and my 2.5 year old son, Skylar at home--so we end up doing lots of leftovers and freezing. I just need to get into the cycle of planning out our meals for shopping and prep. purposes.
Would anyone be willing to share some meal planning tips and examples with me? Any other advice that makes this undertaking seem less daunting would be appreciated!
Weeell, I'm not hardcore TF (I don't sprout, or soak everything), but I can give you a few tips.
-Do you like roast chicken? Have it once a week. When the meat's nearly all gone, pop the carcass in a crockpot full(ish) of cold water, add a splash of vinegar and any eggshells you have lying around, and cook for 24-36 hours. Strain out the bones, and you have a whole yummy bunch of chicken stock. That night (plan it one, two or three nights after you eat the roast chicken, depending how long it takes you to get through the meat and so on), use some of the stock to make soup, or to cook brown rice for a rice-based dish, or to cook (presoaked) kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils or whatever. Freeze the rest of the stock in muffin tins (very convenient!) and use them to put in sauces and so on.
-Meal planning is pretty much a necessity if you soak things. I don't soak everything, but I do soak my own legumes rather than using tinned ones - way cheaper! So, last night we just popped some kidney beans on to soak, and our flatmate will cook them tonight into beans and rice.
-Sourdough's also a pretty easy thing to get into (she says, sadly aware of the batch of bread starter that's been hanging out on the kitchen table for a week - first trimesters and housekeeping are not friends!). There are heaps of tutes online. Kefir's also an easy one, although we eventually gave it up because we don't love the taste (and again, pregnancy!). Even sprouting grains is dead easy - it just feels scary to start off with all these things, but they're no-brainers once you've mastered them. Remember, housewives have been doing it for millennia, and they weren't all super-talented at cooking or super-smart! Once you get into the routine it's no more mysterious or difficult than sweeping the floor.
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I do a lot of making extra and freezing, and I know there are some nutrients lost, but I don't have time to cook 3 full meals every day. I make broth pretty much once a week. I throw in vegetable scraps. Carrot peels, celery, tomatoes, zucchini, onions, and leeks all make great scraps. Don't use too much broccoli or anything too strong tasting. The egg shells idea is new to me. I'll have to try that.
I freeze the extra chicken when I roast chickens. I usually do 2 at once. I can take out enough chicken to last a couple days so that it's not sitting in the fridge losing nutrients for too long. I also do this when I cook ground beef, making at least a couple lbs at a time and storing in the freezer until I'm ready to use it. (I try to eat fish faster rather than put it in the freezer, but I've been known to do it.)
I also make one or two soups each week from NT. These are my lunches, sometimes with some added chicken.
About once a week, I make a big pot of rice. I set it to soak in the morning and then cook it in broth in the evening and freeze it in smaller containers so that I can always keep a container of rice in the fridge and have the rest in the freezer. I make more when I take the last container out of the freezer.
Vegetables, I handle each night. I keep around some veggies that are good for eating raw (so I just have to cut them up), some that steam quickly, and some that take longer to cook so that I can make dinner quickly if I need to or have collards on the stove or beets in the oven for an hour before dinner if I have the time.
Then, the immediate prep before dinner is just heating up rice and meat in the oven while I prep veggies (or get veggies going first, depending on the veggies), season, add a fat slice of butter, and serve.
If you want to do more complicated things, you can plan further in advance, but this is a good way to just get TF food on the table.
Every soup I make I make a double or triple batch so I can freeze it. I also really like to make big batches of spaghetti sauce to freeze. Steal cut oats also freeze well. I make a big batch in the crock pot and then put leftovers in the freezer. Also quiche (sorry if I misspelled that!) freezes well. You can cook up veggies and put them in a muffin time and then cover with beaten eggs. Bake and then have individual servings ready to freeze. Durring the summer we get a bigger share in our csa than we need and find ways to preserve things. Cutting and freezing, canning, and fermenting. Bacon is another good cook and freeze item. Meatballs, homemade sauces, cauliflower rice, mashed potatoes, lasagna made with zuchinni strips instead of noodles, spaghetti squash... really just about anything can be frozen. When you make a recipe just look up some of the ingredients and see if they freeze well. It takes a little bit of practice but after a very short time you get good at going through no extra effort and still having extra meals in the freezer!
mom to DS 9/8/8 , married to my best friend since 10/15/05 , ,, After TTC #2 for a really long time we're expecting #2 in December! Hope to , Doula in the Indianapolis area, PM me if you want to talk!