Sunday, January 6, 2013

Cookin' At Home

Another goal I am working on for 2013 is cooking pretty much everything at home. This is probably the easiest of any goals I've set, because I already cook dinner from scratch most nights and I have a super cute kitchen to work with.

Yeah, I took a picture of myself in my kitchen. What of it?
The only real change is cutting out restaurants on weekends - maybe not entirely, but at least one of the nights. This is trickier than it seems, particularly in the winter in Wisconsin. If you're not from here, you might not know that we entertain ourselves in two ways during the winter: drinking and eating. If you plan to be social, you will likely end up going out to eat and following it up with a bar or many, many bars. I end up being really anti-social, because I have an aversion toward hangovers. Weird, I know. (Do not misunderstand me: I enjoy a nice craft beer as much as any other Milwaukee person. Don't get me started on how much fun the brewery tours are. Milwaukee Brewing is THE BEST.)

Back to the goal at hand: eating at home. I figure that this will be a good way to save more money and to have total control over my nutrition prior to all races this year. And honestly, I just really LOVE cooking. I think I spend an absurd amount of time fantasizing about the food I want to make. I work really, really hard to make sure that we're getting the best plant-based ingredients and that they are prepared properly. That sounds snooty, but dudes - don't ruin your food with bad cooking.

Roasted Beets & Veg, Cajun Bean Cake, Spinach Salad with all the fixin's
Another reason that I prefer to cook at home is that most restaurants in my price range and my area are not super inventive when it comes to vegetarian food. Most places offer a variety of salads and maybe a veggie burger, but those are typically frozen. That's ok sometimes, but I think a good rule of thumb is this:


I know, I know - that's not the reason why we go out to restaurants. It is just the guideline I use picking something off of a menu. Choosing your meal is a big decision and if you pick the wrong thing, well - then your night has just taken an ugly turn.

I do not claim to be some amazing chef, because I am not - but I do know how to prepare food for myself in a way that I know I will enjoy it. My family trusts me to cook for them and they're all meat-eaters, so I must not be terrible. I feel like you can't really go wrong if you use fresh, colorful and simple ingredients. For that reason, I have two veggie gardens in my backyard. I know I've mentioned it before, but it is a big part of my life. A garden is like a child in a lot of ways; it takes all kinds of time and tending otherwise you're going to be dealing with some bullllllllshit later on. On the other hand, if you take care of it, you will be rewarded with a bounty of healthy and pretty vegetables for most of the year. You cannot beat eating fresh tomatoes from the garden. Have you ever had carrots from right out of your dirt? Oh my god. You'll be mad you've been paying for those icky grocery store carrots. 
PaperMichelle Illustration for Growing Power

In conclusion, the reasons to cook at home are plentiful and they are as follows:
  1. It is both fun and relaxing (I could chop vegetables ALL. DAY. LONG.)
  2. It will save boat loads of money
  3. It is the only way to know what I am putting into my body
  4. It gives me way more options with my food choices and an excuse to experiment!!


  1. You "look" like a good cook to me!

  2. I want a garden! I kill everything I plant. Good luck with this goal.

  3. I love that slogan! "If you can make it, don't order it!" I should really remind myself of that, especially when it comes to salads and things. It's just so convenient in NYC, but I can still make things much cheaper than having them delivered. I'd love to see some great veggie-inspired dishes on your blog if you ever want to post them!

  4. Great post! I hope you'll post some of your recipes sometime - the bean cake sounds wonderful!