Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Lazy Girl Lunch

Instead of going with my default of frustration every time I have someone tell me they "wish they had time to eat well", I thought I'd try something new. So, here goes. I'm going to show everyone how truly lazy I am in the kitchen. Yes, my name's Tara and I'm a lazy chef.

Take exhibit a. Here we have my lunch. How long did it take to make? Five minutes. I swear, just five minutes. Last night for supper, we had bison hump roast with roasted veggies consisting of brussel sprouts, cauliflower, shallots, and mushrooms. I make bone broth every weekend and have loads of it in my freezer. It's a definite staple in our home for everything from sauces, soups, curries, and just to sip out of a mug.

So, I threw the stock in a pot, put in some cubed leftover hump roast, threw in the leftover veggies and cut the tops off my beets to get some extra green stuff in there. I then snipped up a piece of wakame seaweed directly into the pot and heated it up for a couple of minutes. That's it. Super nutritious, filling, incredibly satisfying in that soul-comforting type of way, and delicious.

Take away message: a.) always cook more than you need so you have leftovers for a couple more meals  b.) bone broth is your friend  c.) eating well means planning ahead not slaving in a kitchen.

Stay tuned for my incredibly complicated meatloaf soup recipe.


  1. Soo... I have to play devil's advocate... because as someone who has complained to you about this a lot (haha) I don't know if this is as helpful a blog post as you might thing.

    The lunch only takes 5 minutes IF...
    - you make broth on the weekend, which isn't hard but it does take time and isn't something I'd be able to do on the average weekend. I do try to take time to do it in big batches when I can (but I don't even know if I'm doing it right, as silly as that might sound).
    - Is this the several (?) hundreds of dollars worth of bison from Alberta you drove to the airport late at night to pick up? It's not something I'd do for my average grocery trip, and I'm not sure I could afford bison.

    I guess the last thing I struggle with is that it means planning ahead and not slaving in the kitchen, but part of the planning ahead involves slaving in the kitchen to prep things. I find that very helpful during the week, but it usually takes me an entire Sunday to prep for the week ahead.

    Anyway... sorry if it sounds like I'm arguing, but don't be so surprised when people marvel at how well you eat :) It is truly amazing. There is so much ground work that went into that 5 minute meal, not only what I've mentioned but the years of research and learning you've done, the hours (and money) you've put into going to farms and getting good quality ingredients to make your food with, and the time you put into food prep. It's second nature to you, so it feels easy, but for "newbies" or the ignorant it sounds almost impossible! I admire it, a lot, and just haven't figured it out yet. So... let people be amazed... because it IS amazing, don't underestimate it!!!!

    You're an inspiration to those of us who haven't quite figured it out, and just want to eat better. Some people just simply don't make the effort, but others are willing but aren't sure where to start. :)

  2. I hear what you're saying. The point I'm trying to get across is that with preparation, meals are easy. I could never, ever make the meals I do without having put in some preparation time beforehand. So, let's look at your points one by one.

    Regarding stock: it is easy. Period. You put your bones in water, throw in a piece or two of garlic, an onion (you don't even have to peel it), a carrot and a splash of apple cider vinegar. You bring it to boil, then a low simmer and that's it. I throw all my stuff in a pot, and go to bed. In the morning, there's stock waiting to be bottled. I usually get five or so litres out of every batch. I keep one out and freeze the rest.

    "The grocery trip". This is an interesting point. Yes, I drive, on average, a couple of hours to pick up my bulk orders of meat. I do this so I can get good quality meat at a reasonable price (we're on a tight budget just like a lot of families). So, I make these pickups a couple of times a year. This summer, I think I visited the grocery store once or twice for a couple of random things. I don't think it's a time saver to go to a grocery store a few times a week over picking up meat a couple of times a year.

    And now, the bison wasn't several hundreds of dollars, it was well over $1000. But, let's break that down. That was for an entire bison, custom cut. That was for a bison that was pastured on grass and lived an essentially wild life. That bison was raised by my dearest of friends, my sweet farmers extraordinaire, who do it all right. So, because this was their last year raising bison, we decided we wanted to experience that glorious meat one last time. So, at $4.50/lb, we got premium bison. $4.50/lb bought us the healthiest meat possible, including packages upon packages of t-bone steaks, prime rib, all the organ meat, rib steaks, and roasts galore. I used the ground to make sausages that we eat every morning for breakfast. I don't know how much meat costs at the grocery store, but I do know that the meat there is not even in the same category as the meat we buy and I'm sure that if I filled my freezer with the crappy stuff, it would far exceed the price of our bison.

    You're right, it means planning ahead, but you learn by doing. You develop systems that work for you. Like I mentioned with the stock. Tonight, I threw a bunch of stew meat and veggies in a slow cooker so tomorrow, after I get back from the gym, I'll have breakfast warm and waiting and there will be enough leftover for the kids' thermoses the day after.

    Continued below...

  3. Continued..

    Thank you for saying what I do is amazing, but I started out like anybody else. It's just trial and error. I don't want to be amazing, I want everyone to eat real food that nourishes them and the planet. I want everyone to know that yes, it takes preparation, but without health, what is there? What could possibly be more important?

    I'm telling you, throwing a rock hard, frozen roast in the oven at 250 degrees before you head to work in the morning, guarantees an amazing quick meal when you get home. Slather it in some butter and a couple spoons of broth, salt and pepper and that's it. Veggies thrown in the oven when you get home and voila!

    So, I know that my five minute meal took a lot of preparation. That's the point, I guess. You can have quick, fast meals, but yes, there's preparation involved. Just like anything that's good and worth having, Health requires our preparation and effort. I know some great coaches who put a lot of time into their sport, people that like their hobbies find time to do them, athletes always find time for training, because it's important to them. It's all about priorities. To me, health is paramount for me and for my family. I put aside leisure time and other fun things I could be doing at times so I can make sure we have the foods we need to support our health. It's one of my 'non-negotiables' and I operate under that principle.

    Nobody has time during the week. Nobody has more time than anybody else. We're all operating under the same 24 hour clock. We just do different things with it. I think you're making great strides. You said that some just don't know where to start, but you've already started.

    All the best,

  4. :)

    I am just still in awe of you, that's all. You make it seem so easy, when to me it still seams so hard. Your post just seemed to take for granted the great knowledge and connections with people that you have, which a lot of people don't. So, in the meantime, we have our normal food prep (as unhealthy as it may be) as well as our learning, connection-making and trial-and-error toward something more like this. It might be lame, but it does get discouraging. No, overwhelming, which I end up finding discouraging sometimes!

    But, as usual, I agree with everything you've said and you are totally right. Like all important lifestyle shifts, it's not easy but definitelyyyyy worthwhile.

    :) Thanks for the thoughtful response. xo

  5. And... I suppose it sounds lame... but I don't know how to do any of this. Well, that's a lie, I do know how to make broth NOW.

    But we just didn't do it in my house, and no one ever taught me, so it's just not in my "common knowledge" so it all sounds like a lot. But, you're right, I know that broth is probably the easiest thing to make, ever. :)