I do love cooking, but I am the first to admit that after a long day of work – I do not always look forward to spending time in the kitchen. In fact, last Thursday I looked at my son who was completing school work at the kitchen table and said, I don’t want to cook – any ideas? We settled on ordering sushi for the three of us.
Then yesterday, I made the most amazing veggie-filled, perfectly seasoned turkey meatballs with zoodles. This scrumptious recipe took some extra prep time as I diced onions, chopped mushrooms, shredded carrots, and minced garlic. I then sauteed, mixed, rolled, and baked a meal that was not only healthy, but it was filled with love. A meal that was truly delicious and soul filling.
There is a natural ebb and flow to the time I spend in the kitchen.
Home cooking does not need to be time consuming and complicated. Home cooking is really about preparing and enjoying food at home. Most of my standard dinner recipes are quick and simple – that is what works for me coming home after work and after enjoying my lap swimming at our local aquatic center. Dinner needs to be healthy, satisfying, quick, and easy – meaning not too many ingredients.
Finding joy in home cooking comes from the understanding the purpose of home cooking and looking at it through the lense of self care. Food is fuel for our bodies – healthy food choices nourish our body with the nutrients it needs to perform well – filled with energy, clear thinking, and a vibrancy for life. Home cooking is a form of self-love.
We all know that food prepared at home is superior to the meals picked up at drive-thrus and chain restaurants. Now mind you, I love a great meal at some of my favorite restaurants – but I cannot eat that way every day. Those nights are treats out and feed my soul in a different way.
Finding joy in home cooking starts with meal planning. Taking the time to think of the week ahead and how to balance your time with being able to nourish yourself and family with a well balanced, healthy menu. Home cooking can be as simple as a snack of sliced apples and nut butter. The key is to be intentional – you are feeding your body, mind, and soul with your choices.
Finding joy in home cooking is also about shopping for your groceries. One thing the pandemic has changed for me – is that I now primarily shop at a local farm store for produce, eggs, and dairy; and I shop at a local butcher for meats, chicken, and fish. I love going to these establishments because they are locally owned and run – they are here working to bring our communities some of the best and freshest foods. There is a level of care and love that you can feel when shopping in these places. Especially when I take the time to chat with the clerks about what I am buying.
Time spent in the kitchen can feel like a chore, but with a mindshift to looking at this time as a supreme act of self-love, compassion, and nourishment you will come to see home cooking as a joyful event.
Once upon a time I used to spend a chunk of time on my family’s weekly ironing – a chore that I did not relish. Until I found a way to change my thinking – whatever piece of clothing I was ironing, I said a short prayer for the owner. Likewise, when I am cooking in my kitchen – I think of the food producers and give them thanks, I think of myself and my family – anyone that I am cooking for and how this food is meant to feed us. Feeding us with not only healthy nutrients but with love and compassion.
It is easier to invest time into home cooking when you look at it through the lense of self-love, care and nourishment. Home cooking impacts your health in a number of ways. Taking time to plan and prep is the first step. But understand that a journey to better health is a journey, and at the end of the day it is about progress not perfection. So take it one day at a time as you learn to look at home cooking as an act of self-love.
It all starts when you love yourself.