Food and the Start of School

Food blogging is hard.

Not that I thought it would be particularly easy, but because I have a lot of stuff to say in general, and because I cook all the time (or throw together meals all the time, if they’re high raw), I figured I’d have a lot of fodder.

The truth of the matter is, I don’t enjoy taking pictures of my food, nor do I take good pictures. It’s really about laziness… my camera is usually next to my computer (convenient when I’m supposed to be uploading photos but rarely do…), and my kitchen where I’m preparing my food is all of 8 feet away (livin’ in luxury in my odd apartment).

My promise to you, loyal readers, is this: I will try harder. Even when my food is ugly.

I guess I don’t have to follow the food blogging paradigm that one posts several beautifully plated photos of the food they prepare and eat, but I do think it’s nice and some of my favorite blogs have some of the most beautiful pictures (and of course, the best recipes). Also, I want you to know that I don’t just make up shit, post it, and then don’t eat it. It takes a lot longer to prepare a blog post (if you give a crap about what you post on the internetz), than it does to prepare most of the food (which should be comforting for anyone feeling like they cannot bust out a healthy meal with a heavy schedule).

Some favorite food/lifestyle blogs:

Choosing Raw

Daily Garnish

Fitnessista

Health Happy Life

Next week is when school officially starts back up, and that’s when my meal preparation skills will be put to the test. I’m confident that I can make it work, but there was definitely a learning curve back in the day (one of them being that I believed I couldn’t cook at all and my main goal in life was to marry someone who could… my mom taught me that! ;-P).

I fully acknowledge that it’s hard to keep certain standards with the food you’re eating when you’re running around like a maniac trying to make your life work. But, you CAN do it, and you really must do it if you are to do you work well. You can only be functional on a shitty diet for so long. It’ll take its toll eventually, sometimes in really subtle ways. So, my tentative plan for next week looks something like this:

I’ll prepare a lot of things ahead of time—clean/store vegetables or fruit if necessary, chop things up, cook various dishes and store them, sometimes pack lunches ahead of time (I’m not the best at that, but the preparing everything the weekend before allows me to throw together a lunch easily 5 mins. before I leave):

  • Wash, de-stem a few bunches of kale to make kale salad (lasts a long time, portable, tastes good)
  • Cook up some rice to have in the fridge
  • Scones if I feel so inclined
  • Lentils for burgers
  • Cook up curried lentils and quinoa or curried lentil soup (things I can do while reading/prepping for class)
  • wash, cut-up various veggies in the fridge to add to salads, sandwiches, whatever my little heart desires
  • maybe make a salad dressing to have all week
  • pre-pack nuts, or other snacks to grab quickly
  • make sure my dishes are clean (important to have dishes with which to prepare meals…)

All of these things are extremely portable, easy, and sustaining. The weekends or nights out (rarities) are the times when you can get a little more creative with your cooking, and spend hours and hours on a meal if you so choose. But the fact of the matter is, this will more than likely be more than I need for the week and easy for me to mix and match.

I find that the first week of school is also a good test week to see how much I need. The first week is never terribly unmanageable the way that things can get mid-semester, so I have time to tweak or even run home and grab something if I didn’t bring enough to eat (those of you who live in bigger cities may not have that luxury, so when in doubt, pack an extra apple, some nuts, coconut water, or something else that isn’t just a major hit of sugar).

Also, when in doubt, keep it simple. The most complicated thing I do in the kitchen is put a ton of spices on EVERYTHING. Even my oatmeal. It’s to the point where often I won’t make salad dressing ahead of time because I don’t mind just making it up right then and there to switch up my spice profile. That’s just what I prefer, and that’s how I get variety (which feels decadent… which I like).

Luckily, as the season changes, that becomes your variety. There will be more apples in my future (assuming the drought didn’t completely kill apple-picking and cider season), and expect to see pumpkin in EVERYTHING come October. This will also change my prep, because I’ll have to bake squash and other similar vegetables ahead of time, but you can do a ton of things with them and one usually yields quite a few meals.

                                                                           

Lastly, though the preparation may seem quite tedious considering how little time it takes to put together a sandwich with deli meat and cheese, for me it’s a way to wind down, and appreciate my food. If paying attention to what I put in my body and where my food comes from has done nothing else for me, it has certainly made me appreciate the work that was put into growing that food and what it takes to prepare some foods (because some you just can’t eat raw). Conversely, the simplicity of just eating an apple is a thing of beauty too. Interestingly enough, it’s a lot more time intensive in some ways to make Snickers bar, but the nutritional impact if it obviously pales in comparison to an apple and will not sustain through a few classes (or more, if needed).

So, by the end of this week I’ll give you a run down of what I end up making and then by the end of next week I’ll give you an assessment of how well that worked out.
Apropos of nothing:

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