Monday, March 26, 2012

Fast cooking slow food

Like you, I have a job, a child, a thousand and one things to do everyday. A long list of chores, errands, commitments, etc. Life is busy busy. Most times I feel like I am just keeping my head above water. Don't get me wrong, I actually like being busy. I like having things to do. My point here is this: just because we are busy, doesn't mean we should neglect our health and specifically our diet. We should strive to eat whole, nutritious foods that will give us the gasoline (the energy) to help us be at our very best! And so this post is about the ways in which by doing a little extra work once every two, or sometimes even three weeks, you can actually make your everyday life easier. Here is what I mean.

I cut and cube all kinds of veggies (including calabaza [pumpkin], eggplant, peppers, onions, garlic, cilantro, parsley, etc.) and I freeze them. When I need any of these for my dishes I just pull them out of the fridge and add them directly to my food. 
 Exhibit A: pepper-medley ready to be frozen.
 Exhibit b. Onions
Exhibit c: Garlic (with the garlic you have two options: 1. you can freeze it or 2. if you plan to use garlic everyday, you can put it in a small bowl, drizzle a bit of olive oil and salt over it and put it in the fridge).

Now, on the matter of grains: as I have mentioned before I also like to buy bags of dry grains (beans & garbanzos), soften them using my mom's "old fashion" method and freeze them in separate containers that will be ready for use. See below.

 Submerge the dry beans in water over night. Do not salt water.
Boil beans for about 45 minutes (or until they feel soft, but not soft enough that the disintegrate). Do not salt water.
Let the beans cool off, drain and place in a container and freeze. One bag of dry beans will yield three of the containers pictured here. These containers each make about 1 1/2 cans of grains. I should mention that I also freeze tomatoes, tomato sauce (salsa), and tomato paste. Obviously, the freezer is my best friend in the kitchen.

If you get in the habit of doing some prep-work up front, you can save a lot of time when it comes to cooking your daily meals! It will be one less thing to do in your already busy life. 

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