Cooking then vs. now

THEN: I have always had a tight grocery budget so I planned my meals based around sales and purchased many foods in bulk to keep costs down. When it came to meat, I would buy large quantities on sale and then divide them up into dinner sized portions and freeze. I would count on this frozen inventory while making my weekly meal plan. I had a formula. Dinners consisted of a meat, a salad, and a starch (flavored rice pouch, french fries, baked potato, garlic bread). * y a w n * I made a weekly list and put it on the fridge. Each day was accounted for. Whomever came home first (me or my husband) could look at the list and get dinner started. But how many times did I forget to pull the frozen meat out of the fridge in the morning? Um…you guessed it – many times. Trying to thaw 6 frozen chicken breasts all stuck together is a REAL pain. I remember getting in a constant food rut. I dreaded making the menu, the list and then doing the shopping…I dreaded cooking the same boring food over and over.

NOW: Wow. What a difference a plant-based lifestyle makes. I am trying foods that I thought I would never have. My eyes have been opened to sections of the grocery store that I used to pass by. All of the wonderful fruit and vegetable selections…the International food aisle loaded with thai, chinese, and latin fare. Meat alternatives like tofu and seitan. I no longer have to freeze food items! I purchase most of my food from the fresh produce section which means I don’t have to thaw food all day. Food is ready to grab and cook as soon as I get home. I now have a freestyle menu. I always have items to whip up a stir fry, a pasta dish, a soup or a burrito bowl…to name just a few. I follow recipes, but I also make things up as I go with whatever I have in the fridge/pantry. One of my newest creations I call “impromptu stir fry” (Sign up to receive our newsletter and get this recipe for free!) which is super easy, super fast and …super delicious! My husband and I also tried a food delivery service called “Purple Carrot” for a few months. I was pleasantly surprised. Combinations of foods I would never put together, tasted so delicious. While I am no longer subscribed, I visit their website for the recipes which are available to download for free. ((https://www.purplecarrot.com/plant-based-recipes)). And the best part…my budget did not change! The money is just dispersed differently. I choose seasonal produce which is generally on sale and I have discovered I can buy large quantities of veggies, fruit, beans, and grains like rice and quinoa at Costco for way less!

I now look forward to cooking dinner. I feel more creative and challenged in the kitchen. And my tastebuds are thanking me!

Until next time!

Jacqui

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