Monday, January 24, 2011

Simplifying Cooking

I enjoy cooking, and love eating even more. Breads and pastas are my favorites. It would be easy to get caught up in spending a lot of time cooking and not focusing on my relationships. Once again replacing previous work time for cooking time.

Goal for cooking: Provide at least one nutritional, home cooked meal for my family a day with the focus being on family not the food.
Cooking is fun, especially when shared with friends. 
Tasks to include in reaching this goal include:
"Thank You for limiting meat!"
  • Use frugal food tips, you can find them here.
  • Bake (at a maximum once a week) snacks, breakfast foods, breads. 
  •  Limit convenience foods—they are not a frugal purchase and usually not nutritionally sound
  •  Limiting frequency of cooked meals; related to family not always home at the same time, all can cook and fix their own meals and quick alternatives are available i.e. fruit, baked goods.
  •  Keep foods simple; eat raw vegetables and fruits, limit condiments and time consuming recipes
  • use a Crock Pot.
  •  Limit meat purchases, which are expensive and time consuming to cook.  
  •  Have my family spend time cooking with me, if they are available. 
  •  Prepare mixes for pancakes, cakes, muffins in advance. Just add liquids to mix and cook.
  •  Plan out a menu with family on a weekly basis to decide which meals to cook, coordinate schedules and decide when to shop together for foods.
  •  Plant a family garden. (Ours will be planted at the end of May beginning of June because of  weather. )
  •  When a large fancy meal is desired, make it a family affair and invite guests.
  • Try once a month cooking. Cook all meals for the month in one day and freeze. 
    Grandma's cooking, the best!
    Food is wonderful and needed for life. Being consumed by food to the point it alters your health and relationships doesn't lead to a simple life.

    Goal Setting for a Simpler Life

    Burney Falls, California 
    I have been reviewing and evaluating my steps toward a simpler life. Trying to figure out where I started and where I am going now.  I believed I had made a lot of baby steps toward my overall goal of simplifying. I had performed some tasks, planned and cut things out of my life. But I never wrote my actual goals down in words to keep me on track.

    I sat down today to write those goals; guidelines for achieving a simpler life. When writing goals I decided I needed to ensure they were: defined, realistic, measurable and had a final deadline time or date.

    Defining a goal is deciding what I really want to accomplish, what the end result will be. Defining what I thought my goal was, I envisioned what a simple life would look like for me. I realized simplifying my life is not really a goal, but an end result of several other smaller goals. Defining these goals actually helps me get a real grasp on what I want.

    Realistic—Can I truly accomplish this goal? Is it within my means to do it: financially, academically, emotionally; Do I have the will power?  Can I perform the smaller goals to get to the peaceful place I want to be? I believe I can by setting smaller goals and following goal setting criteria.

    Measurable—How do I know I'm on track? Have I met some of the smaller goals; such as I will clean out one dresser drawer a week? One drawer is the standard I am measuring.

    Deadlines help us finish tasks in a timely manner to meet these goals. Deadlines can be set by a certain date or amount of time, such as 10 minutes or one week.

    After setting the criteria I wanted, I chose to breakdown my life into different areas. This way I could set smaller goals for each area and feel a sense of accomplishment.

    The areas at present time I want to set goals and tasks for completion are: spiritual life, family relationships, housework, cooking, scheduling and errands and crafts/extra activities. As I go through these areas I may choose to include more as time goes on. But, for now I will start here and blog my progress.

    Please share some of your goals, struggles and tips for a simpler life.
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