Sunday, August 16, 2009

What's my motivation for LOP?


I hope you have been enjoying the recipes this far. I just thought I would spell out the what got me started with Leftovers On Purpose.

It all started with a desire to eat better. I made a decision to lose weight, but more importantly, to eat healthy even if I didn't lose weight. This really got me reading the nutrition labels on all the packages I had in the house and what interested me at the store. It's eye-opening.

I then started to think about the food I was serving the toddlers. It wasn't bad, just processed, convenience foods. I then started to think about why I was resorting to that. Well, it all boiled down to my time. I really enjoy cooking, but not under pressure. I have a busy week and no guarantee that I can cook from scratch on a daily basis depending on the moods of several infants and toddlers. By the time my work day is over, I'm ready to rest, not cook

So, how can I make cooking homemade food work for me? Well, I need to have meals 'ready to go'. If I can make up a bunch of meals ahead of time and freeze it, that would be like making my on convenience foods. Most of the time I make up one or two items on a Sunday--generally I make four to six meals' worth and that should last me up to two months for that item. In just a few weeks, I have a couple of months' meals ready to go. Sometimes I will make a big batch of something on a weekday. If I'm going to go to the effort to make a meal, I may as well make a big batch.

The most often method I use to reheat my foods is to use mini crock pots. I look for recipes that will hold-up well with being frozen, then tossed in a crock pot and seem as if I've prepared it on that day. I am continually amazed at how well this works. Just a simple hot dog will come out perfectly roasted, hamburgers come out warm and flavorful, the burritos have a crispness even after being in the crock pot for a few hours! I plan to experiment more. If this method is not practical for you, a microwave or heating on the stove or in the oven will work, too.

One drawback I've noticed is that it can be more expensive. But, just as I shopped for a good deal on convenience foods, I look for sales on the ingredients I use.

An example is the burritos I made cost roughly 75 cents each. I was able to find frozen prepackaged burritos on sale for 25 cents each. The homemade burritos were about double the size of the prepackaged ones. Even though the homemade ones are more expensive, they have more nutrients in them, so the serving size is smaller and more satisfying. So, even though cooking from scratch may seem more expensive, it will go a lot further than the processed foods in the long run.

The serving sizes are something that I have been paying a lot of attention to lately. Who knew nine baked potato chips is all one serving? Since I'm watching my weight, I have been trying to stick to the suggested serving sizes (another shocking piece of info.). It took a while, but now I'm satisfied with the suggested sizes, whereas before I could have eaten double or triple what was suggested, mindless eating. This is a major reason I package items in meal-sized portions--I serve one serving size to each person. What I make available all the time is vegetables. If someone is hungry, they can have as many veggies as they want. I keep canned, frozen, and fresh veggies on hand. I follow the same rule for myself--if I've had my protein, carb, veggie, and a fruit, but I am still hungry, I get more vegetables until I am full.

One way to keep the the cost down is to shop the sales. I keep a list in my mind of ingredients of my favorite recipes. When that items goes on sale, I will stock up on it even if I don't plan on making that recipe right away. I just stash it for later.

So, why a blog? Why share? -- Why not?

I enjoy blogging. I've had people ask me about certain recipes and my methods. Blogging is fun for me and an easy way to share. My child care clients ask me for recipes I serve the toddlers. I have online friends ask how and what I feed the toddlers and what I make for myself. It's nice to have a blog to point them to.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for a lot more . . . .

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