What's to Eat? - Make it yourself, save money and enjoy

Published December 5, 2022 by Joyce
Toast, apple butter, and a cup of tea on a table
Poached Eggs any time of day, toast, apple butter, and a cup of tea or coffee.

What’s to Eat? 

Cooking does not need to be difficult, expensive or overly time consuming. 

Aside from making food more digestible (in many cases) there are many benefits to cooking your own food:

A conjoined tomato
A conjoined tomato! How cool is that?

1) Preparing food can be a wonderful way to reconnect with the earth. Every bite you eat comes from the earth in one way or another. You simply could not survive without plants. 

But it is more than survival. 

2) Humans have developed millions of ways to adapt their foods to their needs and tastes. The best way to prepare food for flavor and nutrition is to start with fresh food and prepare it yourself with minimal processing and no preservatives or chemical additives..

3) We have created tremendous social and cultural meaning and history around food and its preparation. Dipping into tradition and history by continuing the craft is a wonderful way to connect to what it means to be human. 

4) To experience involuntary attention where you are at ease, interested, enjoying yourself is very restorative. 

 Here are some tips for enjoying this ongoing adventure with food:

A green pepper cut in half showing all the seeds.
How many seeds inside of one pepper would grow how many peppers in all?

 As you prepare your food, notice with your senses. The scent of the onion, the smoothness of a radish, the loveliness of a perfectly red tomato, the sound of chopping celery on the cutting board. Enjoy the wonder of the food you are preparing.

To experience involuntary attention where you are at ease, interested, enjoying yourself is very restorative. 

When I learned to slow down and pay attention to my food at every stage, my relationship with food changed.  I began to experience food preparation as very soothing and grounding as well as a great way toward a healthier and delicious diet. 

You may be wondering how you could ever make this work in your busy life.  Start right where you are,  even if you are pulling a grocery store pizza out of the freezer, begin to notice the food, the preparation, the serving, the company if others are eating with you.

Come back often for more tips and ideas on what to make for supper (or lunch or breakfast).

Don’t know where to begin? Consider an ingredient 

which might be in abundance because of the season, your garden, a sale or a gift from a neighbor. For example, 

The Incredible Edible Egg 

Sometimes at my homestead, eggs are in abundance and I shift to using more of them in my meals.. 

There are so many delicious foods you can make from eggs. Per serving, they are an inexpensive way to get high quality protein. Here are a few specific ideas of what I do with this particular abundance.

Whip up an omelet from your produce drawer

Saute up some mushrooms, broccoli, diced onion, whatever veggie you have that are good cooked (leave out the lettuce). Set aside. Grate some cheese. Beat up a few eggs and add a splash of milk. Warm a clean skillet with butter until it begins to sizzle. Pour in the egg mixture and immediately turn the pan down to medium low. Cover the pan with a lid and let it cook until the eggs are set. Spread the sauteed veggies over one half and sprinkle the cheese on top. Flip one side over to achieve a half circle. Put the cover back on and let the cheese melt. Serve with toast if desired.

Note: If your omelet breaks when you flip it, don’t flip out. Serve it however it comes out and call it a scramble. 

There are many egg dishes that can make a meal 

Poached Eggs on toast with mashed and salted avocado worthy of a nice brunch
  • Fried egg sandwich with ham, bacon or sausage
  • Egg salad
  • Deviled eggs
  • Hard boiled eggs 
  • Poached eggs
  • Baked eggs
  • Goldenrod eggs on cornbread
  • Souffle 
  • Custard

None of them take a lot of time, money or ingredients.

Consider a cooking method such as…

The grill - especially if you particularly enjoy grilling and grilled food

Check out that produce drawer again and see what you could toss  on the grill beside the meat?

It can be helpful to have a heat safe rack or pan for cooking veggies on the grill.

The oven -

Save money and energy and prep ahead

Roast two squashes at once and set the second aside for a dish later in the week or freeze it for next week.

If you are roasting a chicken, slide in a tray of veggies to roast. 

If you are baking some bread, have the squash ready to roast when the bread comes out to prevent needing to heat up the oven twice. 

Crispy, delicious meringue cookies made with leftover egg whites left over from another recipe.

The Slow or Pressure Cooker -

Beans and rice are very inexpensive food as well as being fast and easy in a pressure or slow cooker. How else could you use the tools you have to make your cooking easier?

Consider who you have with you

How could you use this time of food preparation with someone you love? 

Making food together is bonding. And it is also a wonderful way to teach children where their food comes from and to give them tools for making delicious, high quality meals. 

Or maybe you would like, sometimes, to cook all by yourself. The solitude can be quite refreshing. 

Maybe those with you don’t want to be involved. Sit them down with a snack or beverage and chat about their day while you cook. 

Stop wasting Food

Tomato, feta, walnut salad with balsamic vinegar, oil and a sprinkle of salt

For your wallet and for the planet, stop wasting food. 

Compost all food scraps, trimmings and food that goes bad in the fridge.  Food that is put in the garbage  takes a very long time to decompose inside of a garbage bag. It releases methane into the air all that time. Food in the trash is a major contributor to environmental damage. Composting is efficient and easy. Nature does all the work for you.

If you have chickens, they will love your vegetable trimmings. I often hear that avocado and solanaceous vegetables (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplant) are not good for chickens.

Plan out your meals ahead of time so you don’t purchase too much food. Keep an eye on the contents of the refrigerator.  Shift your plans when you see something that needs to be used while it is still fresh. If you see the mushrooms won’t last much longer, saute them up while you are cooking your meal and save them to toss into the gravy or pizza later in the week. 

Lunch in a wrap!

What’s in the produce drawer? Some things lend themselves to cooking. If they don’t, consider a salad.

 If they do, how about fried rice or an omelet? 

Make it ahead and take it with you!

It takes only a few minutes to spread some pesto on a wrap, toss on some veggies, maybe some cheese, whatever you would put in a salad.

Slow down and enjoy the process

Produce drawer pizza on flatbread with sour cream, herbs, sauteed vegetables and cheese

Making food can be a very pleasant part of any day. Slow down. Turn on some music. Chat with people near you. Pour a glass of wine or cup of tea. Notice the foods you are working with. Are they smooth? Hard? Soft? Notice your senses - sight, sound, scent, taste, sensations. Enjoy this very moment while you prepare for one of the most delightful parts of being human - eating delicious food. Enjoy your efforts. Enjoy the company, even if it is solely your own. Enjoy this relationship with the earth’s plants, for even if you are eating meat, the world’s plants are sustaining your life. 

With attention, you will continue to grow more creative and more efficient in making your own food. Questions? Drop us a line. 

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