Funny story. I accidentally typed “busty” instead of “busy” when writing the title for this post. I’d like to know how to feed myself when I’m busty, but I bet I will never find out.
Pour yourself a cup of tea and relax for a minute. That’s what I’m trying to do while writing this.
This week is my first week of REAL grad school. If you’ve been keeping score, I’ve technically been taking grad classes for a year now; however, I’ve been easing my way into my MFA by taking classes that I knew would be the easiest ones to knock off my program of study (POS) while I’m still working my full-time job. Those classes didn’t have homework — just tests. The classes I’m taking this semester require me to read, do additional research, write papers, and do projects. I’m also starting to do research on my thesis topic, which is yet to be determined, but research is how I’ll figure out how I want to focus my thesis.
And in case you’re wondering, I’m still doing my Wednesday radio show at 7 AM, but the station has been closed while classes were on winter break. Next week I will resume with a David Bowie-flavored playlist. It’s going to be chock full of music geek Easter eggs.
So, yeeeeaaaaah. To say I’m busy at this juncture is an understatement.
Furthermore, for the first time in my adult life I’m fending for myself. That’s right. I lived in the comfort of residence halls in college: dining hall cooks and custodians doing all the work. I’ve lived with two different significant others since college, both of which picked up the slack when I got busy. I’m nearly 30 and now have to figure out when I have time to feed myself, clean, and do all the other fun adult stuff in between all my responsibilities.
I don’t eat out a ton because A) it’s expensive, and B) I have way too many food allergies. Fortunately, I’m a huge fan of Sunday food prep day. However, I only get one of these every few weeks because I travel to see Mark frequently. I’m trying to institute a food-prep Sunday while I’m visiting, but that hasn’t happened yet. When I do get a prep day, I try to make meals for a few weeks and stock the freezer. I also always try to keep eggs, frozen fruits and veggies, some sort of easy-to-prepare protein (turkey dogs, bacon), cereal, bread, apples, crackers, hummus and sunbutter on hand for breakfasts and snacks. This stuff doesn’t get monotonous if I sprinkle in some well-prepared dishes from the freezer.
This last Sunday I prepped meals to put in my freezer to feed me for a week or more. I made a large batch of beef stir fry, a roasted red pepper soup, some refrigerator pickles, and I had planned to make roast turkey with vegetables, but made that last night instead.
My beef stir fry is possibly the simplest thing I make, and I am thankful my friend Amanda showed me this method for stir fry, which goes a little like this:
Cut up some meat, mince a buttload of garlic, and douse it all with a bottle of soy sauce (or sauce of choice). If you don’t eat meat, skip to step two.
Cut up a bunch of vegetables. Maybe some fruit.
Heat oil, cook meat, add vegetables, stir until cooked to perfection. If you like a thicker sauce add tapioca flour or corn starch.
See? Stir fry is pretty freaking simple. I typically use beef, mushrooms, broccoli, peppers, and whatever else is in my fridge. Toss it all in! Make sure to top with sriracha when it’s ready. 😉
Next up was a soup. The soup I made was based on this red pepper soup from Simple Bites but without the onion and with extra garlic since I’m allergic to onion. Instead of using chicken stock I actually made beef stock. I had a bone in my freezer (hahahahaha, sorry, I’m twelve) and wanted to get rid of it. I also can’t do store-bought stock because it always has “vegetable flavoring” in it, which is code for “Calee allergens”. Making a stock / bone broth is simple: put a bone or a carcass (I know that sounds kind of gross) in a pot of water and boil / simmer until it reduces and the liquid changes color a bit.
As it turned out, the soup was the EXACT same color as one of the bowls I got for Christmas.
On Sunday I also made some refrigerator pickles since I almost impulse-bought an $8 jar of pickles. Instead, I quickly figured out how much it would cost to make pickles (less than half the price to make twice as much if you’re wondering), and got the ingredients.
Finally, I didn’t get around to making my turkey with vegetables on Sunday, so I made it last night. It was too late to eat dinner and I wasn’t hungry by the time the dish was ready, so I’ve packed it away for future meals.
I lied. The stir fry isn’t the easiest “fancy” meal I make: it’s roast bird and veggies.
Chop up a bunch of root veggies and place in an oiled cast iron skillet.
Put some meat (preferably skin-on and bone-in for juiciness) on top.
Season with salt, pepper, and other seasonings (I love rosemary).
Place in a preheated 350° oven for an hourish until the meat is done.
Technically my roast bird is more complex than the stir fry with four steps, but it’s much easier to make than the stir fry because you don’t have to monitor and stir it while it’s cooking.
That’s it people. When I’m busy, I prep a bunch of random foods that sound good, toss stuff in the freezer, and eat things in rotation for most meals. After a while, the freezer is stocked with an assortment of things so I don’t have to eat the same thing twice in one week. Toss in my kitchen staples, and I’ve got an easy-to-manage mostly healthy meal plan.
How do you make your life easier when you’re busy? I need some pointers.
Linking up to What I Ate Wednesday at Peas and Crayons.