Tag Archives: cooking

Thanksgiving Meal Prep (or Hopefully Everything Tastes Great)

Soon, I’ll be heading down to San Diego to be with my family for Thanksgiving. It’s probably going to be a long drive (a combination of holiday and rush hour traffic), but I’ve got lots of podcasts to keep me company while I’m making the drive.

My mom is making pretty much everything for Thanksgiving this year (technically my family is hosting it at the house we are renting in San Diego), but I really wanted to help out. I know that my mom works hard to get everything done, so if I can do a little of that work for her I know that she’ll have some extra time to be with everyone.

I first offered to make the feta, pine nut, sun-dried tomato dip that I made last year. I know that it’s a pretty easy recipe and that everyone seemed to like it when I made it last year (although I personally think that my mom makes it better than I could ever do). I also said that I’d make the blueberry banana bread since everyone likes that too and it can be breakfast for a couple of days. Then I thought about what else I could make in advance that my family might like. And I decided to make the black bean dip that I love for veggies. I’ve personally been adding salsa to the dip to make it a bit spicy, but it’s doesn’t last as long that way (maybe it’s too watery?) so I made it the normal way.

The only time I’d have before driving down to make all the food was on Sunday, so I made that my cooking day (even though only one thing actually has to be cooked). The first thing I got done was the blueberry banana bread since I figured I could do the dips while it was in the oven. It’s simple enough to make and within about 10 minutes I had that recipe done and in the oven to bake.

Next I worked on the black bean dip. Again, it’s super easy to put it together. I think the most time consuming task was to drain and rinse the beans. I got that done and in a disposable Tupperware container to bring with me.

Then I ran into a big of a snafu. I only have one food processor bowl and both of the dips needed to be made in the food processor. I had washed the bowls for the bread and the food processor after finishing the bean dip, but I used my kitchen towels to dry the bowls (not sure why I did that but I did). So I couldn’t really dry my food processor. So I took a break while that dried and then about an hour later got started on the feta dip.

I’m hoping that the feta dip turned out ok. It seemed more difficult than last year to make. The food processor didn’t want to process it. I had to start and stop several times and try to mash things down myself. I finally got it to look the way I feel it should look (it’s a bit smoother than I like it to be), and it seemed to taste ok to me. It has a few days for the flavors to meld together. Hopefully it just gets better with time.

I know that making 3 things for Thanksgiving is much less than most people have to make. But for someone who has been struggling to make more things from scratch, making 3 things from scratch in one day is a lot! But I think that it all looks pretty good to me!

Thanksgiving Food

Hopefully when my family gets to eat them that they enjoy them! I’ll have to let you all know how it goes when I do my Thanksgiving recaps next week!

The next few days of posts will be written before Thanksgiving, so they won’t totally be Thanksgiving related. But I want to share with you all what I’m thankful for this year, the gift that I had made for my mom that she will be getting tonight, and what my mom, dad, and I worked on to give to everyone in my family this year for Thanksgiving.

Baby Steps Back To Cooking (or My Check In Kicked My Butt Into Gear)

I recently did a check in with myself on how I’m doing for my goals for the year. I’m actually pretty proud of myself on how well I’m doing on my goals and that I may get pretty much all of them checked off by the end of the year.

But the one goal where I would have to give myself a failing grade would be cooking more often for myself. I got into the groove of cooking for a while, but the novelty of it wore off (yes, it felt like a novelty and not a requirement) and I got lazy again. I haven’t been eating take out or at a restaurant all the time, but I’ve definitely been taking advantage of frozen meals and easy things.

I feel like cooking for myself on a regular basis is going to be a battle for the long run. Part of the problem is my eating disorder. I can forget to eat and then when I get hungry I’m starving and want something to eat now. I don’t want to have to spend time cooking something.

I really should be on an eating schedule and set alarms to remember to eat at the right times. But my schedule can be a bit crazy so sometimes it’s not possible to eat when I want to. There are days at my day job where I’m on back to back customer calls and chats for a couple of hours. Sometimes, I don’t get a real break the entire shift. I can usually run and grab a protein bar or banana to eat, but microwaving food sometimes takes too long and my food might sit in the microwave for an hour after cooking before I can eat it.

The one meal that is easiest for me to control is breakfast. With the exceptions of Mondays (when I’m doing a workout at 7:30am because of my class), I always have at least an hour after waking up before I have to work. That’s more than enough time for me to make some sort of breakfast for myself. I’m still usually preparing something that requires minimum effort (avocado toast, peanut butter on toast, fruit, or ricotta cheese and honey), but it’s still better than other options that are out there.

With lunch on workdays always being something tough for me, I’m moving my focus on to dinner. While it’s not easy to cook after getting home from an afternoon workout (when I’m starving when I get home and need to eat pretty quickly), there are still plenty of evenings or afternoons that I can bulk cook or just make something that will have leftovers for a day or two.

I need to get back into the habit of doing that. Every time I say that, something is weird in my schedule that makes me say that I’ll start next week. Next week then has issues in it too. And it’s an endless cycle. I’m taking the baby steps into cooking dinner at home. I’m trying to get things at the store that make things easy to prepare. It’s not the cheapest option, but it’s still cheaper than eating outside of my house. And if the leap from where I’ve been to cooking is too big, these smaller steps can help bridge the gap.

I’m still working through this and like I said that it’s an ongoing battle. I hate that this is something that comes so easily to so many people and it’s so tough with me. But hopefully I can start transitioning back into cooking so that next year I can be closer to the goal that I set for myself this year.

How Is This Year Almost Over? (or Doing A Check In On My Goals)

I was on the phone with a friend the other day and it came up that this year is over in 2 months. I know I say this every year but it’s crazy how fast the year is going by! It feels like my birthday was just a few weeks ago!

I’m not the type of person to do quarterly check ins with my goals (so many friends are trying to get me to do this and I’m thinking about maybe doing it next year), but with 2 months left I did want to see how I’m doing with what I set as goals for this year.

My first goal was to do 175 workouts at Orangetheory this year. Not counting the workout I’ll be doing today, I’m at 142 workouts. I’m very much on track to hit my goal, but I need to get back to 4 workouts a week soon so I make sure that I get there. But it’s very possible and I’m really happy with myself that I’ve gotten this close so far.

My next goal was having at least 4 home cooked dinners a week. This one I’m not doing so great with. If you could microwaved dinners as home cooked (I don’t), then I’m doing amazing. But I’ve really gotten out of my cooking trend that I was in for so long and I’m struggling to get back in to. A lot of that has to do with working one of my jobs on the weekends when I used to do meal prepping or knowing that I won’t be at home many nights a week. This is a scheduling issue that I’m always working on and I know that I need to make it a better priority in life.

Next on my list was getting down to 2 main day jobs. This one I actually did! I now have my box office from home job (which I’ve been at for over a year) as one of those main jobs and my data entry job with my old boss as my other main day job. I also have my sporadic jobs (babysitting, the film festival, my weekend box office job with an old boss), but I’m definitely down to 2 main day jobs. I have to admit that I’m shocked that I accomplished this one since it was the hardest one in my mind. I’m now looking at some other day jobs with more flexibility (my main box office job isn’t as flexible as I’d like it to be), but I’m very happy for now with the 2 main jobs I have and I’m super grateful to have them both.

Getting into an improv class was checked off the list last week when I started at UCB and I’ll be doing those classes for 6 more weeks. Again, I’m super shocked that I got this done because I’ve been wanting to do it for a while and haven’t had the chance or money to do so.

I haven’t been able to travel a lot this year. I’ve gone to San Diego a bunch and I went to Napa earlier in the year, but I was really hoping to do another New York trip this fall. There were schedule and financial issues with doing that trip, but it’s looking like it might be in the works for 2016.

And my final goal (as it always has been) was to keep blogging. I’ve had people ask me how long I can keep up blogging 5 days a week every week and I’m happy that I haven’t quit doing that yet. There may come a day in the future that I miss a day or that I decide to go down in the number of posts a week. But I’m still happy with my schedule as it is and it seems that you all like reading my posts too.

So that’s my almost the end of the year check in with my 2015 goals. They aren’t all done yet, but I’m making huge steps and progress so far and I feel like on December 31st I will be looking back and realizing that I got most or all of my goals accomplished for the year.

Needing To Get Back Into The Kitchen (or Can I Blame The Heat?)

I’ve gotten pretty bad about making my own meals lately. Part of it is because of the heat, part of it has been a laziness thing (I’m embarrassed to admit that). The heat doesn’t look like it will be getting much better anytime soon, so I do need to look up some alternative solutions. I know that eating frozen and already prepared meals is not the answer.

So many of the things I know how to cook do require either the stove or the oven, so I know I don’t want to do those. I’m not a big salad person, but I’m trying to remember some of the salads that I liked to make during the cleanse so I can make those for my meals. I’m also looking at some alternative kitchen gadgets that can help me make healthy meals without having to use any heat appliances.

I recently purchased a spiralizer, which can help me turn vegetables like zucchini and carrots into pasta-like strips. This is very new purchase so I have not had a chance to use it yet. But it didn’t come with a free cookbook and I’m starting to get excited about some of the recipes inside there.

I’ve also been looking at some free cookbook downloads. I don’t have the money to spend on cookbooks right now, so these downloaded cookbooks are really great option for me. I’ve found quite a few of them and I’m keeping them on my computer desktop instead of printing them (maybe I’ll print one or two recipes, but I don’t want to print the entire book).

Cookbook Downloads

I think part of the reason I haven’t been cooking for a while is I feel like I’ve lost some of my inspiration I had in the kitchen. I enjoyed cooking when I was doing it. But now that I’ve stopped, it feels hard to start up again. It’s like workouts. When I was in a groove before, everything was fine. But when I took a break, I always found it very difficult to get back to a regular workout schedule. This may be one of the reasons I’m so scared to do fewer than three workouts a week at Orangetheory. I don’t want to lose the momentum that I’ve worked so hard to get.

Even with the heat making me lazy, I’m still trying to make the best choices that I can even with using frozen foods. I’m not getting the usual low-calorie frozen foods I used to get. There are so many chemicals and things I don’t want to eat in those. I’m focusing on the all-natural frozen foods that I can get at the grocery store (I like Amy’s), mainly those that have ingredients that I can pronounce. That seems to be a guideline that many health websites seem to use for which frozen meals are ok to have.

The one thing that I haven’t slipped back into doing is getting delivery food as often as I have in the past. There are those rare times that I realize that I haven’t eaten in a while, my fridge is a bit empty, and I need to get some dinner. And I don’t want to go to the grocery store with at empty stomach because then I will buy everything I see. In those circumstances, it’s almost safer for me to get delivery food than it is for me to go to the grocery store. But those situations are becoming less and less frequent because I’m getting better about going to the grocery store on the regular and finding things that are good choices to keep in my house.

I hate using the heat as an excuse, but that really does feel like the thing that is the setback for me. I want to believe that when it cools down, I’m going to get back into my routine of cooking at home. But I also know that it’s possible to get into the habit of not cooking at home again. That’s what I’m trying to prevent now.

Hopefully I can break out of my cooking rut (again) and get back on track with preparing my own food and eating as healthy as I can.

Week One On The Cleanse (or Temporarily Vegan)

Today is the last day of the first week of Nykki’s Cleanse. This first week was all about eating good, healthy, clean foods. The tonics and other cleansing supplements will be starting tomorrow (I’m a little nervous on how my body will react, but super excited too!).

The food plan for each day this week was pretty much the same. And the foods that we can eat each day are the same. Basically, the “allowed” foods are fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, and whole grains like brown rice and quinoa (no processed whole grains like bread allowed). Any meat, dairy, processed foods, salt, and canned foods aren’t allowed.

So basically I’m vegan right now. I’ve gone vegetarian briefly in the past and I know that it’s not right for me. This is the first time that I will be vegan for a decent amount of time (28 days). And while I know that after the cleanse I will add animal products back into my diet (I’m really missing egg whites and greek yogurt right now), I’m intrigued to see how my body reacts with them.

I hate to admit this, but I’m a little boring in my food choices right now. I’m eating very similar things every breakfast, similar things every lunch, and similar things every dinner. But that’s what I’ve gotten used to with bulk cooking and I’m fine with that.

But even though my meals are similar from day-to-day, I’m loving them because by eliminating so many foods from my diet I’ve been spending this past week rediscovering foods that I love. And in some cases, I’m learning how to cook them on my own for the first time!

My meals have been looking pretty beautiful this week.

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I’m also rediscovering how much food I really need to eat each day. It’s ok to be hungry sometimes and I have to teach myself that. I’m eating less than I have, and while I have moments of hunger sometimes, I’m not feeling sick or lightheaded really.

I’m also learning how to not snack. Snacking is something that I’ve had issues with in the past. And more recently, I’ve been eating a snack right after work on the days that I workout. Those snacks are usually pretty small and healthy (like a banana), but sometimes I eat more than that. And while it hasn’t affected my workouts, it does affect the total calorie count for my day. I can’t completely eliminate snacking pre-workout (I need the energy and calories especially now when my protein intake is lower than it has been in the past), but I’m trying to limit those snacks. And I’m avoiding snacks altogether on days that I don’t workout. I’m getting enough calories in for the day (even though it’s lower than normal) and I don’t need them.

One of the most helpful things that I’ve found with this cleanse is that Nykki has set up a private FB group for all of us who are doing this 28 day program. We can share how we are feeling and share recipes and ideas with each other. I’ve talked on here in the past about how much I love having a community around me when I’m working on my weight loss, and the FB group has been perfect.

I haven’t technically had any slip ups yet. I did sample about a teaspoon of ice cream at the Local Ice event (my friend who was there guessed that it was less than a teaspoon). But beyond that, I have been following all of the instructions exactly as they were written.

And I’m sure that you are all wondering about my weight loss this week. Yes, I have lost weight. I don’t share specific numbers on here but I will share with you what my goal is. Technically, this is my goal for the national weight loss challenge at Orangetheory, but that is only 2 more weeks than the 28 day cleanse. I want to lose 10% of my weight. There are tons of articles about how losing 10% of your body weight does so much good for you. And I like that goal. And so far, the amount that I have lost on the cleanse makes it seem like that goal will be achieved.

I’m starting week 2 tomorrow. Weeks 2 and 3 are the most intense weeks that include a few detox drinks and tonics. I’ll update you again next Friday to let you know how it goes!

Starting The Year With A Lot Of Transformation (or Who Will I Be By Next Year?)

I’ve been doing a lot of transformational work in the beginning of this year. I wasn’t expecting this all to happen at the beginning of the year (that’s a little cliché for me), but the timing of it all just happened to all be in January.

The first transformational thing I have been working on is increasing my workout days. This was something that was planned in my goals for 2015. Now I’m just making sure that I’m doing what I set out to do. I’m tracking all my workouts in a simple calendar checklist app, and I’m on pace to meet my monthly goal right now (it’s way too easy to think that I’m on pace to meet my yearly goal).

The only minor setback I’ve encountered is that there are so many people who want to go to Orangetheory now that if I don’t set up my classes over a week in advance, I run the risk of being put on the waitlist! That happened to me for this Saturday. I wanted to add the noon workout to my schedule and asked if I could get in that class when I was working out on Monday. The class was booked and there was only 1 spot left on the waitlist! I’m still on the waitlist now and hopefully I can get into the class. If not, I’ll have to add another workout to next week.

I’m also starting another Orangetheory Weight Loss Challenge this week. It starts on Friday and this time, it’s a national weight loss challenge so there will be people from all the Orangetheorys around the country participating. There is a lot of money for the winners, but I’m just going into it thinking of it as a personal challenge. I looked at how much weight some of the past winners have lost and for me to equal that I would have to lose weight at a very unhealthy rate for me. Some of the winners had lost over 25% of their starting weight! That’s just not realistic for me.

Then, continuing on my cooking trend, I’ve got my 4 week cleanse coming up. I just got the materials for it and while most of it seems very simple for me to do (lots of fruits and veggies), part of the cleanse is to spend the 4 weeks cutting out  dairy, meat, and processed food like bread. I can probably cut dairy without missing it at all. But I’ve gotten very used to having peanut butter on toast for breakfasts and having chicken or pork with my dinner. Fortunately, the cleanse comes with a bunch of recipe ideas so I will be taking advantage of those (and posting my favorites on here!).

Then yesterday, I saw a bunch of my friends posting on various social media sites about the Money Love Challenge. I checked it out and within minutes of reading what it is all about, I signed up. It’s a free 21 day challenge (it started yesterday so it’s not too late to sign up) to help get in control of your financial situation.

This is something that I totally need in my life. Every year I say that I’m going to get rid of more and more of my credit card debt. While I’ve brought it down, it’s not nearly as low as I’d like it to be already. And I want to see how much I can bring it down in 2015. Hopefully by doing this challenge, I will be inspired to find ways to accomplish that goal.

This is a lot of change at one time, but all of these things pretty much came organically to me and I chose to do them. I’m excited to see what the next few weeks and months bring to me!

Another Bombshell Partnership! (or Doing A Healthy Detox)

I’m super excited to announce that for the next month, Finding My Inner Bombshell is going to be part of a partnership with Nykki Hardin and Nykki’s Cleanse!

Before I go into what the cleanse is all about, a little backstory.

At Orangetheory, they sometimes have special guests who come in and speak for free on issues that are related to healthy living. They’ve had a couple of different fitness clothing companies and some nutritionists. But they have usually been in the studio either on days that I’m not there or during and after my workout class (and when I’m done working out I usually just want to go home).

Last Wednesday, Nykki was the guest speaker and my workout buddy Sarah convinced me to stay and hear what she had to say. I’m so grateful that Sarah peer-pressured me into staying!

I usually hesitate when I hear the word “cleanse” or “detox”. They usually are things like juice cleanses or similar programs where you don’t eat any normal food. I’ve gone through that with the UCLA RFO program in the past and I don’t want to put myself through that again. I’ve learned that any food changes I make need to be changes that are sustainable and can be something I do for the rest of my life.

And that’s exactly what Nykki’s Cleanse is all about!

Her program is all about eating whole and clean foods (which is something that I’m doing with my bulk cooking). You supplement the whole foods with tonics that are designed to help to rebalance your system and get rid of any toxins. You add the tonics for 14 days to your balanced meals. And afterwards, you continue to eat whole and clean foods (as you really should).

Nykki provides recipes for the balanced meals so you can try new and healthy foods and to help build up your personal recipes that you will continue to make after the cleanse ends. And the program that I’m going to be a part of also includes 1 week before the cleanse doing prep work to prepare for the 14 day cleanse and 1 week after the cleanse to help continue living a balanced lifestyle outside of the cleanse. There is a group about to be a part of this 4 week journey so I will have a community around me (which I love!) and there will also be webinars about various healthy living topics.

I’m going to be starting this 4 week journey on Friday, and similar to how I post weekly recaps about Orangetheory, I’m going to share with you updates each week on what I’ve been doing on the cleanse and how things are going. I’m so excited to start this next month and to get more inspired to eat clean and cook at home more!

It really feels like this came into my life at just the perfect time. I’m now very comfortable cooking in my home and have been spending a lot of time online looking for inspiration for more recipes and how to improve my food choices even more. Now, I have a wonderful coach in Nykki to help guide me through this healthy food world that I’ve just started to explore.

Honey-Dijon Pork (or Inventing My Own Recipe)

Since I was getting a little bored with basic chicken every week when I did my bulk cooking, I decided to spice things up a bit this week. I did a lot of searching online for ideas that seemed yummy and easy.

I found a lot of great ideas, but they all took so many ingredients! So I decided to take the ideas that I was finding online and simplifying them to make it something that I wouldn’t have to buy a ton of ingredients for.

And this is what I came up with.

Honey-Dijon Pork Chops

What You Need:

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Dijon Mustard

Honey

Garlic

Pork Chops

Here’s What To Do (it’s seriously so simple!)

Put the pork chops in a zip bag.

Measure out about 1/4 cup of Dijon mustard and pour into the bag.

Measure out about the same amount of honey and pour into the bag.

Finely chop some garlic (I used 2 cloves because I love garlic!) and put that into the bag.

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Zip up the bag and let most of the air out. Then massage the mustard/honey/garlic mixture all over the pork chops.

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Put the bag into the fridge and let it sit for about an hour or two.

When you are ready to cook, pre-heat the oven to 425.

Take each pork chop out of the bag and place them on a foil-lined baking sheet.

Pepper the top and bottom on each pork chop.

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Cook in the oven until they are done (for me it took about 25 minutes).

Take them out of the oven and set them onto a chopping board or other surface to rest (you don’t want them to stay on the hot baking sheet or they will continue to cook).

Since I was doing this for bulk cooking, I portioned out my pork into my dinner containers (I forgot to get a picture of how beautiful they looked before I cut them up).

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Seriously, that’s it! They were so delicious, flavorful, and juicy! When I made them, I used closer to 1/2 cup of the mustard and honey and that was way too much. There was so much marinade on the pork when I removed them from the bag that I had to wipe them off a little.

I’ve had this for the past 2 days so far, and I’m really enjoying it! You can probably use the same marinade for chicken and maybe for fish as well.

This will totally be a part of my regular food planning from now on and I hope that you enjoy it as much as I have!

Seriously, I can’t believe how far I’ve come in my cooking over the last month. I started out scared to cook at all and now I’m creating my own recipes!

Home Cooking (or Getting Used To Making What I Eat)

Since my first attempt at bulk cooking, things have been going pretty great so far.

I’m getting into a groove with my food, and for once it’s almost all food that I make myself. I know that boredom is going to happen eventually, but for now, my focus is to just get used to cooking on a regular basis.

My focus on cooking has been my dinners as that is my weak point in my day. 3 days a week, I’m getting home from my workout at dinnertime. And I don’t want to think about making something then. So it’s been really easy in the past to run to Subway on the way home for a veggie sub or to make a microwave dinner.

My dinners are pretty simple. My first week of bulk cooking, I put each food in a container and each night I would take out what I needed. But after that first week, I learned that doing things that way make my Fridays full of doing dishes. So now, I make dinner boxes (each container is a full dinner).

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I always have chicken breast for dinner. I’m going to start exploring other good protein options, but this one works for me right now. I get skinless boneless chicken at Trader Joes and season it with some Trader Joes seasoning or another salt-free seasoning. Then they go into the oven until they are done. Then I put the amount of chicken I want for each night (right now it’s 4 oz cooked chicken) in the container.

I also have always had sweet potatoes in my dinner boxes. The first week of bulk cooking, I made them whole, but they got a little slime toward the end of the week. The next week, I tried cutting them into rounds, and those were ok. But this week when I went to Trader Joes to get my food, I saw pre-cubed sweet potatoes and made those instead. I think cutting them up myself is a better plan for me, but it’s good to try something else.

The last thing that I have had each week is roasted/caramelized red onions. I love onions, especially red onions. I’ve quartered them and roasted them once but this week I cut them into rings to roast them. No matter what, they are so delicious and I know that I will keep having onions in my dinner boxes.

Then there is always a vegetable. The first week I had broccoli and green beans. Those were awesome. Last week I had asparagus, and they didn’t turn out so great. I ended up going out and buying more asparagus so I could make some each night for dinner. This week, I tried to roast carrots. But something went seriously wrong. They never felt cooked (they felt really hard), but they turned white in the oven. I have no idea what I did, but they went straight into the trash. Fortunately, I had some frozen veggies that I hadn’t used so I microwaved those and put a cup of the veggies in each dinner box.

I’m still working on more lunch ideas, but I’ve been having hard-boiled eggs and turkey meatballs a lot. And on days I don’t have a workout, I sometimes have a sandwich. But I’m looking for more easy options that I can eat while I work (I don’t get a lunch break at my day job).

This week, I know that Thursday will be a “bad” food day since I will be ordering Chinese food. But hopefully since I’m doing really well the other days, I will still be able to make some progress. After all, isn’t this how I’m supposed to live? Mostly eating the right foods but allowing myself to have a splurge every once in a while?

If you have any bulk cooking things that you love, I’d love to hear them in the comments! I know that boredom will happen soon and I’d like to have some ideas to be ready for that!

Upgrading My Kitchen (or Time To Organize)

After my day of bulk cooking, I realized that I don’t have some things that I can really use in the kitchen. And I have a lot of things that I definitely don’t need (or are expired and I never noticed it).

So on Monday (my day off from my main day job), I set out to remedy this problem. The first thing I did was go through all of my cabinets and throw out any things that had expired. I had a lot of oils, sauces, and dry goods that I don’t use that often and many of them had expiration dates of a year or 2 ago! While some of it I know I will be replacing, many things in my cabinet were things that I bought for just one recipe and never used it again. That’s such a waste of money (and cabinet space for me). I’m really going to work on only restocking things that are more than one-time-use items.

My next clean out was my storage containers. As pretty much everyone does, I had a ton of storage containers that didn’t really go together. I had a lot of lids without containers and visa versa. And while I do like the “disposable” storage containers you can get at the store, I wanted to make sure that if I was going to bulk cook that I had good quality containers.

I got rid of many of the disposable ones (since I pretty much never use them) and saved all of my Snapware. I have the plastic Snapware that I got a long time ago and have always liked how they sealed so tightly.

My last clean out stage in my kitchen was to move things around to be in more convenient places for me. Until this week, I stored several pans in my oven because I didn’t know where else to put them. I almost always remembered to take them out before heating my oven, but on the occasions that I didn’t, it was always a pain to lift super hot pans out of my oven and find a place to store them (usually on the top of my stove). After moving some pantry items around and having more space since I got rid of expired things, I found a new home for those pans.

Then, it was time to add a few things to my kitchen to make sure I’m prepared to bulk cook again.

The first was to get more storage containers. I didn’t have that many to begin with and I wanted to get some more Snapware since I know I like those containers. I know many people don’t like plastic containers, but since I do not plan to microwave in them I figured that they would be ok. I looked online for prices and found that Costco had a great deal on them. So I headed over there and ended up arriving even before the store opened (am I the only one who didn’t know Costco didn’t open until 10am?).

I found exactly what I wanted pretty quickly.

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I also was looking to get a second cutting board for my house. I only had one and during the bulk cooking I had to wash and dry it multiple times. It’s not the easiest thing to wash and it was slowing me down a lot. But while I was looking at cutting boards, I found something pretty awesome.

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This bamboo cutting board has a groove cut out in the middle to place different liners in. There are 7 different ones to be used for different food products. While I might not always use the meat liner for meat, this basically gives me 7 cutting boards to use when I’m cooking!

While I got rid of more things than I added in my kitchen, I think that I am now more prepared to do more cooking at home. I’m made my tiny kitchen space as efficient as I can be and I’m looking forward to seeing what other things I can cook and store in my bulk cooking.

It’s so weird. I’ve never enjoyed cooking that much. I’ve tried to force myself to like it because my mom is an awesome cook and I see what can be created at home. But it never really clicked with me. I don’t want to say that I’m been completely transformed, but I’ve never felt this way about cooking or meal planning before. I’m excited to see where my food journey goes next!