Recently, one of my favorite pages on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/foodrenegade posed the question, “What are your time saving cooking secrets?” My main secret: Prepare Ahead!
Not only does it save you time; it saves you money too!
1) Cooking- Season Your Oil:
Olive oil; or any oil for that matter, is best seasoned, because it infuses into the food faster. In our home, we generally use grapeseed oil because it has a higher smoke point, and is relatively flavorless. Regardless, whatever I buy, I season it myself. I like to add crushed red pepper, maybe throw a bay leaf in, thyme- add whatever you like. For the most part, I won’t add salt or black pepper. I like to add freshly ground pepper as I cook, and salt to taste when necessary.
In addition, I’ve used seasoned oil when making popcorn, and I get nothing but compliments on the savory flavors it brings out!!! Tip: Use the same pan to melt your butter. The toasted seasonings post popcorn will help double up on the flavor.
Grapeseed oil before & after:
2) Drinks- Save with Smoothies:
I love, love, love smoothies! That being said, it’s only recently that juicing, juices, and smoothies are becoming easier to find in Boston. Even then, when you do find them, they can add up quickly. To help with unintentional and frivolous spending- albeit for health purposes, I started making my own smoothies at home. You can use anything that will blend, so don’t think you need some fancy pricey blender to be healthy!
I love that I can buy local, farm fresh, and/or organic, straight from the farmer’s markets etc. and even use produce that is ‘extra ripe’ if you will 🙂 You also get to custom your drinks to your particular tastes, and add-ins (seeds, oils, etc.) won’t cost extra!
I make enough to fill my 32 oz container (see photo below), and then divvy it up into smaller 8oz mason jars and freeze them the night before. This way, they defrost throughout the day, and I don’t have to stress if I they’re unrefrigerated in my purse for a bit. (Keep them wrapped in a towel though!) Also, I’ve calculated that making enough for a 32oz bottle can be as little as $2.19 per 8oz serving depending on what you use!!!
Smoothies before & after with flax seed:
3) Meals- Manage Yourself:
The overall theme is this: make enough to divide into individual servings throughout the week.
On Sunday, chop enough romaine for 2-3 servings. Keep in an individual container. Make enough tuna salad (or whatever you like obviously!) for 2-3 servings and keep it in a separate container (so it doesn’t wilt the lettuce). Morning of, combine add toppings and go; instead of having to prepare an entire lunch.
I do this with oatmeal too. Make enough servings that each morning is a simple, scoop, microwave, and add toppings!
Whatever plan of action you take, the point is to plan. Make life EASIER on yourself, by giving yourself time and preparing ahead. Don’t be the person that grabs an overpriced coffee and donut. Those are treats, not a way of life. Save your time, save your money, and invest in yourself. You deserve it. Furthermore, it will give you time to Elevate Your Everyday and enjoy all that is around you.
Until then, keep finding ways to “Elevate Your Everyday”