Wednesday, October 5, 2016

End of the summer update and how to make batch cooking your new best friend!

Picture from last fall in our woods.
Fall 2015 
It is now Autumn here in the great soon to be white north.
It surprises me every year. It comes on so fast and lasts only a couple of weeks. I mean it, really. One day it is green and 3 days later it is full on color, and a week and a half later it is bye bye leaves on the trees!
So I am making plans for a series of videos for this fall and it includes a couple I have already added to the channel.

Garden tour part 1

I am doing a tour of the homestead series. 
I want you all to see what we have done in the gardens, coop and our orchard! As well as a few projects and new infrastructure we have been working on.
I hope you all like it and feel a bit caught up on all that we have been doing here this summer.

Now we have been harvesting our tomatoes and making some wonderful products for our food storage.
We made a pineapple peach salsa last year that we are planning on making again. I have made a small batch of low sugar catsup, and I am hoping to make another batch of piccalilly and zucchini relish.
I only grew two zucchini plants this year but I got a great abundance of fruit from it. I am still processing it to this day!
We grew some sweet corn and some jewel dent corn, but I planted the dent corn too late , so I won't be getting any seed from it. I am going to use it as an ornamental on my mail box and for an Autumn wreath!
I hope that you all had as wonderful and productive summer as we did here on the homestead... Let the planning for next years gardens begin!

Triple batch, all ready for the freezer!
Salted Caramel Pecan Bars

This made enough for three meals for two people!
Zuppa Toscana(LCHF) 

Now as for all this produce and putting up food for the winter and hopefully beyond, it got me thinking.....about batch cooking.
What? you don't know what batch cooking is?
Well for me and my new way of eating(LCHF,Paleo,Keto) I batch cook as much as possible.
Like the things pictured above and the following:
  • Main Courses ie; Soups, Stews and Casseroles
  • Ingredients for quick meals: Bacon (for meals but also to get a large quantity of grease)
  • Hamburger ( patties, crumbled, meatballs etc.)
  • Hard boiled eggs( for salads and quick on the go snacks)
  • Muffins, biscuits and pancakes(all low carb)
  • Veggies( for snacks or dishes I am going to make)
  • Yogurt (from fresh raw milk)
  • Cereal( I have an amazing recipe)
  • Snack bags ( nuts, seeds, chocolate, dried fruits)
  • Fat bombs, No"grain"ola bars and Crumble topping

The list could go on and on, I just want you to get a feel for what I am talking about.
I would have a very hard time working here on the homestead if I didn't have a system for meals. I mean we have to eat.
We like to eat a couple times a day, and snack in between.
If I didn't make batches of food to have at the ready I would have a hard time making my new way of eating work for me.
I try to spread my batch cooking days out, one day I will do all the meat, one day I will do the yogurt and no grainola bars and snack mixes. another day I will make the baked goods and yet another day I will make the veggies and fat bombs. I may go a month between batches of fat bombs or no grainola bars, because they are snacks and when I make them I make 2 or more batches.
I do the same thing with the cereal and crumble topping but I do have to make those more frequently. I make yogurt 2 times a week, and I will make my meats about once a week.

What this does for me, is it gives me fast, healthy and delicious foods that I can grab in an instant. I don't have to agonize over what to eat because I have it all in the fridge, shelf or freezer waiting for me to grab and be on my way to my next project.

The homestead just runs better when I have done my batch cooking.
I maintain my weight loss and health journey.
I get to do the things I need to do on a daily basis, without missing meals or worrying about the time it takes to prepare an entire meal from scratch, multiple times a day.

If you have meals, snacks, deserts, breakfast items or even breads and cookies that you prepare on a daily or weekly basis. Consider making double or triple and putting it away for next week or next month. Create a stockpile that you can fall back on and save yourself some time in the future. It doesn't take that much more time to make two batches when you have everything out to make the one batch.
If you're short on time, make the doughs for two batches of cookies and only bake half now. Freeze the other batch in pre formed shapes so you can take only what you need for the next time. 

I have been doing batch cooking/freezing for years. It is a great time saver and helps you to be more prepared for times when you don't have a lot of time in the day to make your family a healthy home cooked meal.
Don't go out or order in, go pull out that extra tuna casserole you made two weeks ago and pop it in the oven!
It's also nice to have things put away for others in need, or loved ones you may want to support in a time of need. Often we want to take a fresh meal, but if many people are taking someone fresh meals, you can take a premade and frozen meal that they can reheat or cook for the first time weeks later, when people have moved on to the next needy individual.

Thanks for being here and reading /watching our story unfold.
We really appreciate you all!

Love from the homestead, Victoria