Here is a guest post for you do-it-all moms out there! Jacq is a wonderful inspiration to me, both professionally and personally. We met a couple years ago at a vegan event we were both speaking at shortly after I moved to Chicago and I knew instantly that I needed to find out more about this cool mama. She’s shared some of her work and home life musings with me over many a lunch date at Native Foods Cafe. I love having a living, breathing example of a strong working mother who is a real human that keeps things simple.
I don’t like putting the words “busy”, “parent” or “working” in the same sentence. I mean, DUH, we’re all busy.
Also, no one cares.
If you care about your kids eating less cereal or drive-thru food on weekends, you need to read this.
After getting really tired of nuking frozen veggie burgers for dinner, or spending 30 minutes making dinner and another 30 cleaning up (WTF Rachael Ray???) I was desperate to find another way.
A cheaper, easier and healthier way.
I wasn’t into Crock-Pot cooking – everything comes out tasting the same. Which is fine for a big batch of chili – it wasn’t going to become my cooking staple.
The #1 question other moms ask:
How do you guys eat so healthy when you have kids, a job, a business, and a book?
Answer: I got sick of eating shitty food and spending my entire evening in the kitchen so now I cook on the weekend. Oh, and I feel absolutely no guilt for ordering pizza or eating cereal when life demands it.
If I can do it, you can do it. To feed a family of four, I spend roughly two hours cooking on Sunday (it doesn’t necessarily need to be a Sunday either, it can be an hour on Saturday and an hour on Monday).
How you can cook like its 1959 and have a job and a life
Spending just 20 minutes thinking about your meals for the week can save you at least 5 hours in the kitchen each week.
Most nights, I can assemble dinner in 5 minutes. Bump this up to 15 minutes if it’s pasta night and I need to boil water.
First, some reasons why bulk cookers will never look back:
- Save time. We save about 4-5 hours a week for our family on chopping, cooking, clean-up, and last minute grocery store trips.
- Save money on takeout, last minute trips to the grocery store which also means more impulse buys.
- Clean kitchen. Your kitchen will stay cleaner during the week because you’ll make a big mess of it on the weekend.
- Hot leftovers are better than sucky cold salads for lunch.
- Face it, cereal sucks. Leftovers beat cereal for dinner.
- Work like a boss. You’ll be more productive at work because you won’t be scrolling Pinterest for dinner inspiration at 2pm.
How to do it without losing your head
Veg out. Veggies rule and need to be used up first, so plan around these. Use what’s in season and what’s on sale.
Take Stock. Once you know what fruits and veggies will fill the fridge, take stock of fridge and pantry stuff you need to use up or restock.
Dinner’s on! Choose your dinners for the week. Use cookbooks or Pinterest for inspiration. There’s nothing wrong with eating tacos every Tuesday, pasta every Wednesday, and burgers every Thursday. Routine is cool because you save your brain for other, much more important decisions.
It’s just lunch. Once you’ve planned dinners, plan your lunches. These will be repeats of dinner or remixes. Think taco salad instead of tacos, pasta mixed with greens.
Make a list, check it once. List the sections of the grocery store you’ll hit, in the order you hit them, then fill in what you need. Digital, paper, keeping it all in your head – the method you use doesn’t matter. Do what works for you.
Prep party. For real – have a freaking party. When you get home from the store, blast some of your favorite music, or put on Friends reruns and get to work fun.
- Wash and air dry washable veggies.
- Prep for snacks and quick cooking. Chop carrots, celery, peppers, etc. Package some for quickie snacks and some for easy assembly into pasta sauce, pizza, tacos or salad toppers.
- Roast veggies – potatoes, squash, carrots.
- Cook grains like rice and/or quinoa – cook a big batch for the week (I usually make about 2 cups dry) – use for stir fry, rice bowls, soup, burritos, or salads.
- Dips – if you’re DIY-ing, make hummus or bean dip – great as a base for pizza, in sandwiches, salad dressing, and for veggies or chips.
- Same goes for salad dressing. Make it now – it’ll keep for 1-2 weeks.
- Pasta sauce. Get this going with your prepped veggies. Use on pasta, pizza sauce, or on top of roasted potatoes.
Welcome to your fast food kitchen
Once your foods are cooked and in your fridge, you’ve transformed your kitchen into a fast food restaurant. A healthy one. There’s NO food delivery faster than your custom-built assembly line.
Having leftovetvers makes you feel like a rock star. Get more life-simplifying tips in my book; Unfussy Mom; simplifying your life, staying [mostly] sane and working like a boss.
Hi there. I’m Jacqueline Fisch.
But you can call me Jacq (sounds like “Jack”, but spelled way cooler, almost French-like).
I’m an aspiring minimalist, especially when it comes to work and life.
I help busy working moms unfuss their lives and daily routines, keeping things so simple, the single ladies crane their necks wondering, “How do they do it?”
When I’m not whittling down run-on paragraphs by day, find me devouring books about selling all my crap and vagabonding, and cuddling up with cabernet and chocolate.
Find more unfussy posts from Jacq at jacquelinefisch.com. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.