Are you doing anything to save time?

‘Cos ‘what are you doing to save time’ sounded too abrasive: like I assume everyone else is–and if you’re not, right? That would be a nice thing if you’re happy with your time and productivity!

I’m big into it with a FT job that has typically gone into overtime all month long, plus two toddlers, a wonderful husband, and the desire to have a little life of my own.

So on the OAMC front, our recent dinners this week were huge hits. with the addition of bouillon were a huge hit, as usual.

The new recipes: chana masala, alas, did not work out. It smelled terrific before the chickpeas went in. The UHT package of chopped tomatoes in sauce I used was organic but it didn’t taste good once I tried it. So it may not have been the fault of the recipe. But the was an off-the-charts hit with the family. We didn’t even have lowfat yogurt or fresh coriander when I made it and they still loved it. I used lowfat milk with 2TB of single cream to replace the thick yogurt consistency, and let it boil down. Personally I like dthe TVP tacos more and the korma less, I’m not such a fan of egg-based Quorn nor of a milk-based sauce but the important thing is everyone ate and liked it overall. Suffice to say that neither the tacos or korma had the leftovers I had counted on to freeze for work next week. So I made another recipe of TVP tacos today. But I made a single recipe and then realized I could have doubled it. There goes time-saving! Oh well.

Here in Belgium I finally heard about kettlebells, which seem to be a big thing in the US. Since January I’ve got more and more into them and they are indeed very time-saving because my strength work and high-intensity cardio are done at once. It did the trick and I’m losing weight after months and months of plateau. I am a bike commuter as well which keeps off some extra pounds but for safety reasons I never ride killer fast since there’s traffic, and furthermore I don’t want to arrive to work sweating. Taking a shower at work is not a time saver. But combining the time I’d need to commute and work out with cardio together it’s a shorter part of my week to go by bike in the city than to commute by car.

Now that I have some basics of kettlebell form in mind thanks to a colleague who is a KB instructor (talk about sheer luck!), some DVDs, and reading Pavel’s ebook ‘Enter the Kettlebell’, I tackled this check out the video below, but the link is handy because she lists the exercises. Very cool. I have some DOMs (delayed onset muscle soreness) today. Happy! Goodbye long weight sessions, hello fifteen minute workouts that have actually given me results.

Do you have any time saving ideas to share?


Weeknight vegetarian crockpot or freezer meals

Hi everyone, I just finished my last day of work today and am preparing for my new job which starts March 1. What better way to start a new job than to have easy dinners on the table all week?

Quorn light korma

For my crew that means using meat analogue veg dishes to entice them to eat. Most of the recipes on the Quorn UK site are freezer-to-slow-cooker friendly, such as this light Indian korma recipe. I’ve seen people advise preparing the entire recipe into a Ziploc freezer bag, shaking to mix, then freezing it flat. However my freezer is still a bit overloaded so instead I will keep the tomato passata UHT boxes on the cupboard shelf *but* will label them so they will not be pinched for another recipe before I cook the korma. Same thing for keeping the lowfat yogurt (I’ll use fromage frais which we have on hand) in the fridge. It’s still a “throw and go” slow cooker recipe, donc รงa marche ๐Ÿ™‚

March also has St Patrick’s Day on the 17th, so we will have a green dinner that night. Do you have special St Paddy’s day plans? Check out the for breakfast. I made this several times with tofu instead of soy milk: higher protein and less sugar-y taste. It’s a perfect way to start the day.

Ideas for March work nights so far:
Friday 1 March (first day!): , brown rice and salad

Monday 4 March: 10 Minute TVP Tacos plus taco fixin’s for a taco bar dinner this is not a slow cooker night. Perfect for Monday since I will prepare all of the veg on Sunday.

Tuesday 5 March: here it advises precooking the asparagus etc. but I will just put the raw ingredients in the slow cooker–and BTW plan to use trimmed broccoli stalks in place of โ‚ฌโ‚ฌโ‚ฌ asparagus + brown rice

Wednesday 6 March: = chick peas in a tomato-based curry sauce–nice easy recipe! For sure I am not going to freeze a bunch of dried beans though, that’s another ingredient to add in the morning. Call me crazy but I like soaking beans and will soak these Tuesday night to drain, rinse, and put the soaked beans in the slow cooker Wednesday morning. More of that brown rice unless the natives rebel ๐Ÿ˜‰
Thursday 7 March: not a slow cooker night again, two minutes in the microwave and it’s done!

Friday 8 March: although I might Americanize it and use mozzerella cheese which is also cheaper here than cheddar. This is not a slow cooker recipe, it’s for my little freezer tins that can be placed in the oven. I love Friday night lasagne! It says “weekend”.

What are your meal plans?

Freezer cooking

I dig this way of cooking. You’re free to cook whatever you want, as long as it saves well. No pressure to create a coherent meal, just cook based on what time and ingredients you have on hand. For example yesterday I made banana mini-pancake muffins and banana oatmeal Omega-3 bars. I put o slice of bar and a muffin in a small freezer bag and chilled overnight, they are in the freezer now to take out one at a time on work days. Presto, a bunch of overripe bananas put to good use.

What are you oooking? Any favoourite recipes?

Merry Christmas 2012!

Back! ๐Ÿ™‚

Both of my toddlers have the chicken pox so our pictures this year are spotty. DS has had 2 days straight of 40C fever, and then the spots showed up for Christmas morning. His ‘big’ sister had no fever two weeks ago, just spots. It took the whole 14 days to incubate in DS.

I celebrated Christmas by trying out the shampoo-free (aka ‘no poo’) method which was surprising! My hair is perfectly clean today, and silky to boot. This was my first time so I used a bit more than a tablespoon of baking soda with a little water to massage into the scalp, rinsed, then applied 1/2 of an 8oz spray bottle filled with water + 1T of apple cider vinegar and rinsed that off too. Some no poo users say they use 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of water but my scalp isn’t ready for that. This would be great if it does what users say it does: you can wash your hair less. Less styling time! Yes! Less heat damage, and much cheaper hair products too.

Am also dabbling in once a month cooking (OAMC), which should be more accurately called once a week (OAWC) or freezer cooking in my case since I still cook most days, but I do it now in bulk and I cook whenever I have time rather than counting down before a mealtime. Tips on cooking once a month

Hitch 1: I still miss more freshly cooked foods
Hitch 2: I really miss East Asian cuisine, which in general is cooked and served immediately

My LO is crying, poor little guy.