Cooking Well for YOU
Participants of the Serenity Retreat programs* learn about key principles of balanced nutrition, try and embed easy tips and habits when it comes to eating well to support health seamlessly (remember, it doesn't have to be THE PROJECT!).
Some have asked me - "Alright, but what about the recipes?". In this blog post we look into
how to develop a habit of cooking for yourself and have fun with it - jump here
how to save money - jump here
where to go for some inspiration and healthy recipes - jump here
Essential Habit - Cooking for Yourself (and Your Family)
If you have interacted with widowed seniors or single businesswomen (and men) you might heard from them: "I can't be bothered to cook for myself only". What it means: "I don't care about myself; I don't love myself enough". This is the signal one gives to the body. If mind doesn't care - neither your body would do.
The change can be originated from either side - from a place of love to organizing your nutrition well or from mechanical action of cooking. The latter is actually easier.
Some of us can afford having home support staff who could assist with cooking, others - would opt for selecting an appropriate meal plan company who will be cooking and delivering to them daily.
I cook all meals for my small household during the weekdays and we have a few meals out during the weekend.
I often get asked wouldn't it be more practical to delegate cooking to a helper and focus my time on business or time with family - the mantra of time optimization we are exposed constantly.
I find the cooking therapeutical - you can't have negative thoughts while cooking as the energy you cook with goes to the meals and then goes back to you and those consuming those. - wisdom of my grandma.
Spending time cooking with a nice podcast or lecture on the background, it a pure mind relaxation after a busy and often stressful day at work. It is time for yourself, not interacting with anyone, rather relaxing.
Being Cost Effective
What I am not saving money on - the quality of products. Not the most expensive or the most organic - but the highest quality I can find and afford.
I do meal planning and prepping in advance - not perfectly, but regularly.
The process starts on Saturday (when I do my digital detox - of no work / no emails / no mobile phone day):
I check the cookbooks, those I purchased and handwritten recipes from my mother.
I use a table for a rough planning of 3 meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) for the next 2-3 days for me and my partner. We eat similar yet not the same meals, determined by personal preferences and cultural differences).
I create a grocery list of items to purchase. When there is an option to buy produce directly from farmers - it's ideal, otherwise - pantry stock I order online and fresh product & meat & fish - by going to the store, checking the source, quality, and packaging date.
I do meal prepping in advance: boiled grains, legumes and roasted vegetables that are easily stored in glass containers for 1-3 days and make salad dressing in a jar (usual mixture to go - olive oil, grape or apple sider vinegar, zesty sumac, dried oregano, a few grinds of black pepper and a pinch of salt) which will last a week when refrigerated.
What I am saving money on:
Planning meals so no ingredients to be wasted (see section above).
Using my Freezer - freezer is the great invention of.. which civilization have invented those cooling places in the ground to keep milk cool? Cooked a quiche and a half left after dinner? - portion it and put in a freezer, tomato passata left? transfer from a tin to container - and to the freezer. Made nice bone broth and some left after cooking that carrot soup? - into a glass jar and to the freezer. This works with virtually everything (maybe some exceptions exist yet I haven't encountered those in my cooking routine yet).
Do one off exercise of identifying places (markets, physical stores, online delivery services) that have staple ingredients for your cooking so not to waste time running across the city.
Use internet resources to generate recipes for the ingredients left in the kitchen. There is plenty of websites and mobile apps where you can insert a few ingredients left in your pantry and fridge and they will give you an idea of recipe to utilize those.
Sharing is caring. When I happen to cook a big batch of food - there are always people I can share meals with - from co-workers to security personnel.
Recipe Inspiration - Resources to Check
The resources to go to for recipe inspiration - 8 resources that will help you to get inspired with healthy and nutritious cooking:
The Mediterranean Dish founded by radiant Suzy - a go to Youtube and IG account to get Mediterranean inspiration - youtube channel | IG @themediterraneandish
Kylie Flavell - an Australian adventurer settled with her family in beautiful Tuscany, on her Youtube channel Kylie shares some delicious Italian recipes | IG @kylieflavell
Entertaining With Beth - an American youtube creator with a great passion for French cuisine and elegant and easy hosting people for breakfasts, branches, lunches, and dinners - youtube channel | IG @entertainingwithbeth
Gennaro Contaldo - Maestro of Italian cooking, a man of charisma and great sense of humor - website | IG @gennarocontaldo
Kitchen on the Cliff with Giovanna presents scrumptious Sicilian recipes - youtube channel
Pasta Grammar - by Eva and Harper - source of a great entertainment and authentic Italian recipes - youtube channel | IG @pastagrammar
Pick Up Limes by Sadia is the place to go if you are looking fall in love with vegetables-based dishes full of flavor and color - youtube channel | IG @pickuplimes
Stay inspired, love yourself.
During Serenity Guide programs (all retreats inclusive) we have talented chefs cooking the meals. Focus on flavorful Mediterranean recipes with a hint of Middle East. We are always giving preferences to the locally sourced and seasonal produce. Some of our participants have a chance to visit local farms and meet hard-working farmers cultivating vegetables, fruits, and honey. If you would like to attend one of the retreat - check section "Retreats" of this website with all available programs.