Nipping out to the store to shop for a day or two or grab dinner is a thing of the past right now. Going out for dinner… pah, that now looks like setting up a table in another room of your house. Making a new recipe and getting halfway through and realize that you need ONE ingredient to make it work… damn, damn, damn. Got a mini freezer that you’re trying to keep all that frozen veg, smoothie fruit and meat in like me? We are in challenging times, and with it brings problems that I think we can work together to solve.
On this week’s EAT THIS with Lianne – answers to the challenges and problems that you’re facing right now when it comes to meals, food, ingredients and shopping.
I asked “What is your biggest challenge while isolating about food, cooking, or meals?” on Facebook for some real life challenges. I got some diverse answers from a bunch of different people, all in different life situations. One widower who is 89 living on his own and has ALL that’s on the list of diseases that are most concerning should he get COVID- 19. How is he managing? Here is Pat to share a thing or two with us…
Pat Bryan – my 89 year old uncle living on his own:
“Well, I have been living on my own for about 10 years now, and have always relied heavily on my freezer, making single-sized meals in advance and freezing them. I buy my meat fresh, in large family-size packs, then freeze it in individual servings. The only prepared frozen food I sometimes buy is chicken strips or shrimps (raw). I also buy frozen fish, since I avoid meat on Fridays. I make [lasagna], chili, gumbo, sausage gravy (a Southern dish), steak/mushroom/tourtiere/cheese/onion/pies. And I make up my evening meal menu in advance each week.
“Self-isolation – well, I have started freezing milk. It takes a day and a half to thaw, but it tastes fine!”
Kimmay – living in Oklahoma with her husband:
Kimmay recently moved from NYC, where she could get healthy lunch, juices, and dinner on every corner and had a meal plan and delivery service.
“I want to make meals ahead of time in batches and freeze or stock in the fridge to eat all week. I did this with the help of a meal plan with recipes before but doing it myself is new to me! I don’t want to stop everything midday to cook and don’t want to rely on frozen meals made by others. Help! How can I meal prep?”
Luckily another friend stepped in and recommended my book! But Kimmay wouldn’t have thought of it because she doesn’t have kids.
Angie replied: “A lot of the recipes in her family cookbook are good for like 3-5 days after making (I’ve been making a recipe or two every day).”
Kimmay answered: “I never would have thought to look in a “family” cookbook since it’s just me and Trent (and Sunny cat). I consider [us] a family but most cookbooks are for families of 4 to 8 and with little kiddos! Thanks babe.”
Angie is a new mom with an 8-month-old baby:
She wasn’t much of a wiz in the kitchen before, so she is feeling more confident with feeding her baby, and making all kinds of recipes from my book. She lives in California and usually buys fresh produce from local markets, and now is wondering what to do with all the frozen!
“Learning how to utilize frozen fruits and veggies! And it’s the first time I’ve frozen meat. Took some ground beef out to defrost at 8 am and it was still rock hard around noon 🙈”
“Lianne, you’ve really helped me feel equipped. I felt completely clueless and worried before. Now I am EQUIPPED with tons of knowledge and resources all from that one text. I was glancing over the school lunch section last night and [felt] relieved I can just reread when it’s time for us.”
Natalie has a family at home and isn’t loving missing out on that ONE ingredient to make a recipe:
“It kills me when I’m missing that *one* ingredient that I can no longer just ‘pop out to the shops’ for. Some tips about… ‘missing ____? Try swapping in ______!’ might help!”
“I’ve made an entire chili using black beans and chick peas instead of kidney beans and corn niblets. And swapped peanut oil for sesame oil in some recipes.”
“[Be] creative with what you’ve got.”
“Oh! [And] I find so many recipes call for “heavy cream” – I can sometimes get away with sour cream in its place, sometimes canned coconut milk.”
Angie has had the same issue: “CORNSTARCH. My neighbor and I periodically check in when we’re making our respective weekly grocery run and I wanted to try a pot roast that required cornstarch. She was like, ‘there are a lot of healthier alternatives like arrowroot powder.’ My mind was blown. Also I can’t find paprika! The stores were missing soooo many spices because I think a lot of folks were cooking for the first time in a long time.”
Lana is home with her two kids and husband:
While meal planning hasn’t been hard for her, planning for 3 weeks is new. I think she’s out front in the “Reduce Food Waste” movement!
“Because I have started shopping with ‘Curb-side Pick-up’ and the only open pick-up slots tend to be two weeks out, I have started meal planning in 2 1/2 week chunks and shopping for about 10 days at a time. I post the meal plan on the fridge and work from it. While it is a bit of hassle to set-up, I am shopping very efficiently with very little waste.”
These challenges are real and hearing the stories of others can offer the ‘a-ha moment’ that you need desperately to get you unstuck, just as Angie had with the cornstarch. Just as everyone I spoke with learned a thing or two for their next adventure in the kitchen.
Get more recipes in my book Sprout Right Family Food.
More recipes are available in my book Sprout Right Family Food—plus everything there is to know about getting your family off to a nutritious start, from birth to school age and beyond.
Get Sprout Right Family Food now!