As I’ve been feeling better, I’ve started to get back into the swing of things in the kitchen. I missed it, but I’m still being cautious with my energy. Instead of making elaborate meals from my collection of awesome cookbooks, I decided to do a mini vegan reset where all my shopping lists and recipes were laid out for me. All I had to do was buy the ingredients, prepare the food, and enjoy. I don’t need to reinvent the wheel every week with labour-intensive meal planning? Who knew! Many of the recipes were either familiar or simplified versions of meals I’ve made before, but the ingredients challenged me in a way I didn’t expect.
I buy almost all my veggies fresh. If a recipe calls for squash, I buy the whole damn squash, peel it, and prepare it accordingly. Tasty, yes, but as someone with a full-time job and a penchant for side gigs, not always practical. This shopping list included frozen squash and other veggies, and like a crazy person, I seriously debated buying fresh instead. I stood in the grocery store and spent way too much mental energy debating what would happen if I bought and cooked frozen veggies. There is absolutely no reason I need add more time to the recipes like some kind of weirdo kitchen martyr, but I seriously contemplated doing it anyway. Time spent preparing is not directly related to deliciousness, and no one would fault me for eating frozen broccoli (at least no one I cook for). My food still tasted great, the veggies were still nutritious, and Martha Stewart did not come storming into my kitchen and rip my apron out of my hands. Maybe my old days of not knowing my way around the kitchen and my desire to be taken seriously as a ‘real’ cook caused this weird compulsion to make things harder on myself, but I definitely do not have time for that.
These recipes also called for a lot fewer ingredients than my go-to meals. The more complex stuff is great, but it is 100% okay to have a meal with less than 10 ingredients once in a while. The world did—and will—continue to spin.
I used to buy bulbs of garlic and grumble every time I struggled to peel each stupid little clove. Then I discovered the produce stand near my house sells little packages of peeled garlic and I cannot overstate how happy this makes me. I detest peeling garlic and now I never have to peel another clove of garlic again! It’s okay to stop doing things you hate and stop making things harder than they need to be. Always buy the peeled garlic. That’s is a pretty great mantra, no?