This is the first in a series of Lessons Learned.
Last night, I learned how to cook.
For those of you who know me, that’s bigger than Romney choosing and sticking with one platform for longer than one fundraiser. For those of you who don’t, well that’s bigger than Romney choosing and…well, you get the point. This was first man on the moon big, HD recording of Big Foot big, and quite possibly on par with finding Atlantis.
So here is what I made: lemon and pepper tilapia with garlic bread. (I will wait for the applause to cease). Like I was saying, not only did I cook and manage to do so without burning down the apartment (one time I boiled all of the water out of the pot), it was also edible. Scratch that, it was delicious!
I won’t lie, I had to learn how to cook and I can just hear little 12-year-old feminist me ranting against my domestication (yes, I was one of those kids), but it was either that or pay a thousand bucks for a meal plan. What really tied the apron though, was realizing that the restaurants around my apartment closed early, and weren’t even open Saturdays, or late night Fridays.
Plus, I don’t think I could’ve handled another year of pizza, fries, and subs. My heart has been acting up lately and so I’ve been trying to lean away from the foods that want to submerge my heart in delicious oils and greases. Of course, I write this with a huge McDonald’s bag sitting next to my laptop but hey, I got the chicken!
So, for all you other college kids suffering in silence here is my no-fail guide to grocery shopping, which will, in turn, help your eating habits work for your schedule:
1.) Get three items for each meal. That means you get three different kinds of breakfast foods, three different kinds of lunch foods, and three different kinds of dinner food.
Bonus Tip for my on-the-goer’s: get food you can easily toss in your backpack in the morning. While oatmeal may be good for you, it can take 10 minutes to make and eat. Your body will cherish the sleep much more. Opt for bananas, plain donuts, and granola bars and pack them away for class. Grains are especially good for waking you up and keeping you awake.
2.) Only get as much as you will eat! My great-grandma tells me all of the time that my eyes are bigger than my stomach. Don’t worry, my first week of grocery shopping, almost everything spoiled. You’ll quickly realize how much of your money is being tossed out on the heels of that spoiled lettuce and you’ll accommodate for it.
Bonus tip: Shop the way you eat. If you know that you don’t have a lot of free time don’t buy foods that needs hours of prep time! If you have nothing but time, get these kinds of food because it’ll make you less likely to snack as you wait for that meal to cook and you’ll save money.
3.) Go home. If you’re local and you have a car don’t get swept up in the idea that you have to get away from your parents. Go home, and grocery shop for free. I often drive home and look through the fridge and cabinets just for the random extra foods I need. I know I won’t use a whole thing of honey-mustard, so I took a half-filled (and free) one from home.
Bonus tip for my fellow leeches: Tell your parents ahead of time that you’re coming and they’re more likely to make extra for dinner. You can pack away some left-overs and not have to worry about lunch and/or dinner the next day!
My newfound Wolfgang Puck skills couldn’t come at a better time. It’s getting to be winter and I hate driving in the snow. Now, I don’t have to labor through the snow for dinner, I can make my own in the comfort of my pajamas and even have enough for lunch the next day.
So, here I am ready to admit that I was wrong. Cooking is awesome. I felt so proud of myself eating my self-made dinner. I kept looking at my hands and saying “I did this. I wrought this incredibly delicious meal.” Trust me, it’s a great feeling.
Talkback: Do you have any favorite easy-peazy recipe(ezies Sorry I couldn’t help it)? Let me know! I only have two and I would love to try something new!