Saving Time with Char
I’m not Martha Stewart or Katie Brown (two of my kitchen idols), but I do have some tricks up my sleeves. And although I am the Queen of Shortcuts, I do have some other scaffolding in place that helps me save time on my plant-strong journey. This organizational skill makes me feel like Martha or Katie, but the reality is that on most days, I cannot even tell you where I last left my car keys. But, I can tell you exactly what I am going to be eating for a month, based on my “Plant-Strong Action Plan.”
Make a grid on your computer—seven days—four weeks. Fill in each grid with your dinner for a given day. Your grid rotates by Week A, Week B, etc. Week A is first, Week D is last. Simple.
At the bottom of each sheet, there’s a place for you to enter your shopping list for the week. You can easily stroll, walk, or run through your grocery store and get what you need without being tantalized by things NOT on your list or on your “Plant-Strong Spectrum,” as I like to call it.
SAMPLE DINNER WEEK “A”
|Veggie Burgers, Brown Rice, Braised Kale, bean/cilantro salad
|Minestrone Soup, WW Bread, Salad||Cauliflower Steaks, Brown Rice, Salad||Veggie Burgers, Ezekiel Rolls, oven fries, salad||Grilled Portobello steaks, baked broccoli, salad||Raise the Roof Lasagne, salad, side of broccoli||Minestrone Soup, Mashed cauliflower and white beans, salad|
Make a dozen veggie burgers for the week.
Four Portobello Mushrooms, broccoli, salad items
Frozen Italian Veggies (2 bags)
Lasagna Noodles (WW), ½ cashews, nutritional yeast, Roma tomatoes
2 jars FF Tomato sauce
Preplanning like this gives you the opportunity to peruse cookbooks, websites, etc. for new and different recipes. Because let’s face it, you can easily set yourself up if you create the same, boring, anticipated meals. While I often make big vats of things, I never, ever eat it night, after night. But, I freeze it and use it for lunch, take it to a friend, etc.
If you are in a time jam and have nothing planned, there’s always a salad bar that can be the basis for your dinner, soup, or sauté.
Some Final Quick Time Savers…
- I shop everyday…shorter lines to check out AND less to carry into the house. You are in and out of the store in minutes.
- Keep spices in alphabetical order…this will save you SO much time while cooking.
- Frozen is fine for soups, casserole, etc. HUGE time saver. We’re talking veggies here.
- Bake a whole bag of potatoes and store in fridge—great for salads, grilling, snacking, etc.
- Soak your pots and pans while you are eating dinner…this way, clean up will be a breeze.
More than anything, keep it simple. Beautiful, clean, healthy food doesn’t require complicated recipes to taste delicious.
Time is on your side.
Grocery Fact: Did you know that 12% of all grocery sales occur at the Point of Sale (POS, checkout)…that’s where you are tantalized by candy, magazines, and sodas. Try using the self-checkout, you will avoid all last minute visual persuaders that might be in the express lane. You will save time, money, and temptation.
Time is still on your side.