This is a growing section, but I’ve heard a number of questions from friends during the cultivation of this blog, so I thought I’d dedicate a place to answer the most commonly asked ones.
Q: Why start a blog?
A: I’ve been cooking at home for a while, especially after moving in to the cozy apartment with my boyfriend. It started with constantly posting photos of everything I was eating. I realized that I should have a place where people could come and get the recipes instead of just lusting over the final product.
Also, so many folks my age are in the same boat – a desire to cook something simple and healthy with limited space and resources – I wanted to provide a place to start for those who want to cook but just don’t know where to start.
Q: You use so many ingredients – how do you afford such a grocery list?
A: I try only buy items at the grocery store that I will be using during that week of cooking. Since storage space is limited, I can’t build up too much of a pantry. I work around this in a few ways:
- I use my freezer to my advantage – I freeze anything that is freezeable: meat and vegetables in particular. This frees up cabinet space and requires me to not have to buy those items every shopping trip.
- I use a lot of the same condiments – A lot of the recipes I like to use repeat condiments. Buying a a bottle of soy sauce or a large box of brown sugar may seem excessive, but I try to choose recipes to cook that utilize what I already have. By using a tablespoon here and there, those items last for a long time and their cost per use goes down.
- I only buy items for the week – Due to the limited pantry, I can really only buy what I will be using for the week. I plan out the meals before going to the store, so it cuts down on guessing.
- I try to shop strategically – Regular grocery stores like Giant or Safeway outside the city are good for regular, generic items. A shop like Trader Joe’s is good for nonperishable staples. Whole Foods is perfectly convenient to me and has a great gluten free section, but can add up, so I try to use it sparingly.
- Lastly, I am fortunate to be able to split my grocery bill. This may not be the case for some people, but if you make large portions, it’ll serve you some roll over meals into lunches and dinners that will cut down on costs.
Q: How do you choose your recipes?
A: It’s part strategy and part cravings. I review cookbooks and Pinterest recipes for things that look interesting and/or delicious. I try to utilize ingredients that I have in the cabinet as well as items that are perhaps on sale or less expensive.
From there, I look at my schedule for the week. If there are days I have to work late, a crock pot recipe may be the way to go so it’s done when I get home. If I am planning for a meal on an open Sunday, I might take on a greater challenge. I do my shopping on Saturday or Sunday mornings, depending on other commitments and then plan the week from there.
The idea of this entire project is to provide a way to balance cooking healthy dinners with all my other life obligations, so I try to work the recipes around the rest of my commitments.