hard-earned money

Too Busy To Cook? Not An Option

"As God is my witness, I will never go hungry again!" -Scarlett O'Hara

Say what you will about this iconic scene in an iconic film (it's ok. We can say the film and the book it's based on is extremely racist, among many things) but I really identified with Scarlett this past week or so.

Here's the play-by-play:

After my surgery in August, I came home and got to sit around and twiddle my thumbs. A lot. Lots of thumbs. Lots of sun. Lots of spending time with friends.

And then, the party was over. Time to get back to business which, for me, included a huge soar in business combined with part-time grad school AND some other side gigs that make my heart happy. READ: booked schedule. No time to shop, no time to eat (3 night meetings in one week) and no time--no time--to cook. This, my dear readers, is not an option.

About mid-week, I found myself facing this plate (brace yourselves):

that's canned tuna and frozen spinach (warmed-up)

You know what that's called? Pathetic. Yep. Pathetic.

That's what happens when I don't make time to prepare real food for myself. And guess what else was happening? I was shoving anything I could find into my face because I was starving (real food has the nutrients we need, so technically I was starving myself while also being ravenously hungry) which led to two realities:

1) I was gaining weight 2) I was pissing away a lot of my hard-earned money on a fraction of the food I could make myself

When I peeked into a pot of chili in a store and heard myself say aloud, "I could make that. And better, too." I knew it was time.

You might have thought the canned tuna on a plate would be the rock bottom. It was damn close.

So, I woke up bright and early today and prioritized work that needed to get done, emails that needed to be answered, friends who I had plans to see (love love) and, most of all, cooking myself some damn food for the week. I did some simple math for a recipe which you can find right here: TURKEY 2-BEAN CHILI. About 8 oz of it at a cafe or another locale cost me ~$5.00-$7.00. The last place literally made me cry. About 5 oz of broth, a few pieces of meat and some corn. $5.39 I can't get back.

Here's the breakdown of my meal:

TURKEY 2-BEAN CHILI

2 lbs fresh dark ground turkey meat: $11.00

1 can organic diced tomatoes: $2.69

1 can black beans: $2.39

1 can adzuki beans: $2.39 (the Eden brand costs a bit more, for good reason. Their cans are safer without BPA lining and they add kombu to their beans, adding to their nutrient density and it helps to digest them, too)

1 onion: $ .67

1 carrot: $ .28

= $19.42 divided by about 9-10 servings is------------ $2.15 per serving.

This is why being too busy to cook isn't an option for me.

The sheer savings of money, alone, is good incentive to say nothing of the pleasure I derived from taking charge of my damn health today AND filling the house with incredible smells and some damn fine food, if I do say so myself.

That panicked feeling of grasping for crap? No more of that, thanks.

Cooking TOO OFTEN Is a Good Problem to Have

I'm really lucky. I have a partner who prioritizes home-cooking as much as I do. Our schedules are different so sometimes her kitchen creations outpace mine, but our relationship started with this shared interest and value.

We both like to go out from time to time, sure, but it has become a special treat whereas it used to be something each of us did far too often.<

Here's something that happened last week, and I wanted to share it for the comedic value it holds.

We cooked too much. So much, we had to throw food away. We weren't able to actually eat all the leftovers and we began to lose track of what we made, when, and how long it had been in the fridge.

This, my dear friends and readers, is what we call a "good problem to have".

Life is going to be like that, as we grow and evolve into our new healthy habits. We are going to make mistakes. We are going to mess up. We are going to make too little or too much. Weekends will pass without trips to the grocery store and Monday night arrives with no game plan.

Yeah.

Weeks when you planned ahead and cooked your little heart out and ended up with a little too much food? You're in good shape. It means you're not grabbing prepared, over-processed meals on the run on a regular basis from someone else pocketing all your hard-earned money. It means you're finding your center, finding balance in this aspect of your life.

A good problem to have.