Friday, December 28, 2012

Slow Food Fast

When I was a new SAHM with Audrey, she and I went to visit my Aunt Kalyn and her family in North Carolina for a week.  It was mind-blowing.  Kalyn is an amazing home economist.  She has perfected the art of having a variety of nutritious food at the ready for very low cost.  Growing up Mormon, I knew about the principles of a revolving pantry of basics food items (and food storage for two years!).  But Kalyn manages to take that principle to the next level. For example, when she made rice, she mixed wild rice, brown and white (so that it had a variety of nutrition, she told me), then she put the leftovers aside to use in fried rice for Chinese night later on in the week (with homemade eggrolls from the freezer).  Every dinner she made enough for leftovers, and she would immediately put it into individual serving size tupperware dishes with a scoop of frozen veggies and then labeled and into a specific spot in the freezer.  Her husband grabbed one each morning before he left for work - instantly a variety of homemade, delicious, and nutritious lunches.  Seriously, Kalyn makes an art of home economy.

What it made me realize is that if I thought things through a little bit, I could certainly make good food more often and easier. Here are a few things I now do for good slow food faster/easier:

  • Mire Pioux - (fancy French word (probably misspelled) which means onions, carrots, celery mix) - I like to buy organic produce and buying a bigger bag is usually cheaper, so I will cut up most of the bag at once.  It doesnt take much more time to cut up the additional carrots, celery, or onions.  I usually just do one type at a time.  Then I spread them on a cookie sheet on a layer of parchment paper and freeze them.  Once they are frozen I put them in a freezer bag in the freezer. And when I make soup I just grab a handful and throw it in the pan.  Souper easy.
  • Dehydrated kale - I love kale in my soup and my garden made a whole bunch, so i washed it cut it in strips and dried it.  It works wonderfully.
  • Meats - Ham - I will cube a bunch of ham and freeze it in soup size portions and use it in split pea soup or 16 bean soup mix or quiche.  I save any leftover bacon pieces and crumble it into veggies.  
  • Freezer chili - I save leftover steak (cut into bite size pieces prior to freezing), leftover tomatoes, tomato paste, sauce, taco meat, beans, etc.  Anything I think will work well with chili flavors gets thrown into a freezer bag together and every so often becomes chili.  It is usually really amazing chili because it has better quality meats than I are typically used for chili.  
  • Batches - As mentioned previously, I try to cook twice as much as I need of everything and I freeze the other half.  

As a side note - Kalyn worked for years to change my recipe for KA cookies into something healthy.  She says she finally achieved success and that the kids love them.  They now contain shredded zucchini.  Pretty impressive.

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