It’s hard to believe that it’s been more than a year since my and DH’s weight loss surgery. We’ve incorporated so many new things into our lives, and it’s been challenging to figure out how to balance it all: Healthy cooking, marathon/triathlon training, full time jobs, homekeeping, and of course keeping up with our various interests and social clubs. Some weeks I look at my calendar and all the Facebook invites and I wish I could clone myself!
I used to save up all homekeeping chores until the weekend. But after a long run and socializing I never seemed to actually get anything done, which was super frustrating. So at the beginning of the year I developed a routine where I do laundry and cleaning during the week in small bits so it doesn’t get overwhelming, which leaves weekends for running, socializing, and time in the kitchen.
The time in the kitchen serves a couple of purposes. One, it allows me to prep for home cooked meals during the week. I can’t tell you how much easier it is to avoid takeout and restaurants when I have a meal plan and most things all prepped and ready to go! Secondly, since I do have several hours at home, I am able to relax and enjoy the cooking process. I turn on some music, get out the knives, and it’s very therapeutic. Lastly, it has allowed me to incorporate several things that I’ve tried and failed over the years.
I’ve written before about how trying to do the Real Food thing led to guilt, overwhelm, and disordered eating. Well, I’ve been dipping my toe back into things that are healthy and enjoying it. I have incorporated a few things into our diets gradually. I am doing it out of a sense of curiosity and wanting to eat well, not out of guilt or “should.”
In the spirit of the Friday Five Linkup, here are five things that I’m going to do in the kitchen this weekend that I enjoy doing and that make life easier the rest of the week:
I have recently started experimenting with sprouting. The alfalfa was very successful. My mung beans seem to be taking longer than expected. No worries, though! It is so fun to see them grow, and they are so yummy. My goal in the kitchen on weekends is to start a batch of sprouts. It is really easy, I just soak them overnight and then put them in the sprouting tray. Throughout the week I just rinse them in the morning and at night. It takes about a week for the sprouts to be ready, and when they are I transfer them to a bag in the refrigerator. I know there are lots of health benefits to eating raw sprouts but I haven’t researched it much. I eat them primarily because they are tasty.
2. Bone Broth
I like to take the bones out of the freezer earlier in the week and put the thawed bones in the slow cooker on Friday night, or at the very latest on Saturday morning. By Sunday morning/afternoon I have delicious bone broth that I can use for cooking or just drink straight up. If I make more than I need it’s easy enough to freeze.
I am so excited, I started a rye sourdough starter on Monday and it’s ready to roll for this weekend. Since there are only two of us, it doesn’t take much for our bread needs. I look forward to making this a tradition.
I’ve been having fun collecting sourdough recipes/tips. Let me know if you have any to suggest!
4. Meal Prep
I’ve written before about meal prep, which usually means getting things out of the freezer as well as chopping vegetables, making sauces, and storing them in the refrigerator until needed. I use CookSmarts meal planning in conjunction with Plan to Eat so I have everything planned for the week. On weeknights it’s just a matter of getting out the pre-prepped ingredients, throwing it together and cooking. Because I’m doing it in bulk, I can take my time and there are lots of efficiencies. For example if I need 10 cloves of minced garlic for the week I can peel them and throw them in the food processor and give it a whirl. Done!
When I started having ITB issues and I didn’t really want to take NSAIDs on a regular basis, I remembered that kombucha has anti-inflammatory properties. So I bought a kit and discovered it’s actually pretty easy to make! If I start it on Saturday or Sunday it’s ready by the following weekend. That allows me to bottle the completed batch and get the next one started over the course of the weekend.
By doing these things on the weekend, I’ve been able to develop a rhythm and it’s become fun rather than a chore.
Your #AddJoy challenge is to do something fun and new in the kitchen this weekend!
Do you have any weekend kitchen rituals? Share in the comments below!