Tag Archives: Cooking

Is Home Cooking Worth It?

Do you eat home cooked meals every day? Many of us have learned that it’s healthier to eat food cooked at home so that we know what we’re eating and how much fat, salt or sugar is in it.

A according to a recent study, by Sarah Bowen, Sinikka Elliott and Joslyn Brenton at North Carolina State University, home cooking is a hardship for women today. The sociologists say it’s harder because most women work outside the home, and raising kids takes more time than it did fifty years ago. These scientists weren’t studying the health benefits of cooking from home, they are sociologists who study human behavior in cultures around the world. Their research looked at 250 families where both parents were working, one parent was working and single families.

ShortBreadRecipe3

Baking from scratch helps you know exactly what you’re eating.

Their research has sparked a lot of commentary on the great food debate we face today: whether to cook from scratch or eat prepared food. Many point out that it’s proof that cooking from home isn’t the best option for working mothers, especially single mothers. I know as a married mother, it was really hard for me to make the switch to more home cooked meals and less prepared meals. But, I did it, because the health benefits outweighed the time struggle.

I shifted my priorities and learned to cook meals faster and plan ahead so that all of our dinners are cooked from scratch. It wasn’t easy, and we had a few burned meals, but now even my husband will take over dinner duties. And, our kids are not only learning about what their food is but how to prepare it too. I look forward to when they’re able to cook us dinner once in a while!

I can honestly say it can be stressful to cook from home, but it can also be a good way to slow down and connect with your family. There are a lot of recipes that only take 30 minutes to cook from start to finish, and if you embrace it as part of your life like going to the gym, then it’s less of a strain and just part of taking care of your health and those you love.

Now, I know what you might be thinking, some of the recipes we’ve shared in the newsletter take time to prepare as traditional soups especially need extra time to cook compared to opening a can filled with sodium and MSG. But, we don’t eat soup every day!

If you’re not sure how to get started cooking from home and miss the idea of eating out with friends, let me share my advice for how to get started: host a cooking dinner party! I did this for my birthday and it was a lot of fun.

Letting your kids cook along side you helps them learn about food too.

Letting your kids cook along side you helps them learn about food too.

I asked my friends to bring one or two ingredients instead of gifts and to arrive about an hour before we were going to be eating a meal. Then, when they arrived, we organized the ingredients (like salad fixings and a meat dish), and everyone cooked together in little teams. Honestly, the meal was delicious, and it may have taken longer to eat than going out to a restaurant, but it was more fun and less expensive.

Do you already cook from home? If so, we’d love to share your tips and tricks for cooking without stress. Email your suggestions by October 20th and we’ll share them as we talk about cooking for the holidays.

Warmly,
Holli Margell, Editor

Cooking with Fresh Herbs without Breaking the Bank

One day you are so inspired to make a great meal for your loved ones all from scratch using only fresh ingredients. You don’t know why, but you feel like you just have to do it. So you look up a recipe that is not too complicated or too difficult, but you want to make something that would please everyone. So you decide to make chicken marsala and pasta that goes with it . As you go through the recipe, you noticed it calls some fresh herbs…basil, oregano, thyme and parsley. You say to yourself, “Not a big deal!” You write down all the ingredients on the piece of paper and drive down to your local grocery store.

You first put a loaf of nice Italian bread, dried linguine, chicken breast and a few other things in the basket and look for fresh herbs in the produce section. You are pleasantly surprised to see many kinds of fresh herbs available for you to choose from, but you are really shocked to see the price of those things. “Three dollars for this puny container of fresh herbs!” you scream. “If I get all the herbs required, that would cost me more than ten dollars. I just need a little bit of each, and I am probably not gonna use the rest of it for a while and end up wasting it. I might just as well go to the restaurant.”

This is a kind of dilemma many people experience when preparing a meal with fresh herbs. It sometimes costs more than dining out. But it doesn’t have to be this way. As far as fresh herbs are concerned, you won’t have to spend a fortune every time you cook. Here is how:

1. Buy a whole plant instead of packed pre-cut herbs. Many grocery stores now carry whole basil plants (It looks like a bouquet of flowers, or you can buy potted herbs of many kinds at a nursery).

2. If you buy a bouquet of basil at the grocery store all you need to do is get soil in a pot or any kind of containers and plant it. (see the picture above).

That’s all there is to it. Make sure you get a pot that is big enough for the roots to grow. You don’t need to get a fancy pot. The one I used for my basil is the free plastic container from Whole Foods. You might want to punch a few holes at the bottom for the drainage of excess water. Place a pot by the kitchen window for sunlight. It will last weeks and months as long as you keep the soil moist. Herbs really smells good in your kitchen, plus it is very nice to look at.

Happy Cooking!
Kaz Isogai