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Saturday, 11 May 2019

Cooking From Scratch | My Experience

If you follow me on Instagram, you may be aware that I have recently started cooking a lot more of our meals totally from scratch. I've ditched the convenience food, hardly ever pick up a jarred sauce, and instead cooking with more fresh ingredients. Last month, I officially rejoined Slimming World, and a big part of that is cooking from scratch. I had always been slightly scared of the kitchen, with very little confidence in my ability, so cooking from scratch has taken some getting used to. But I thought I'd share my experience, to show that if I can step into the kitchen somewhat successfully, anyone can!

My first step towards building my confidence in the kitchen was finding recipes that were easy to follow and didn't take too long. If there's one thing that will instantly put me off cooking is if it's going to take numerous hours to make one meal that'll be finished in the space of half an hour. No, sorry, I'm not about that life! The Slimming World website itself has a great selection of recipes. Divided into different sections per meal, it's really easy to navigate and there are so many recipes to choose from. I also love the Slimming Eats website - this is where I find the recipe for one of mine and Stephen's favourite meals, Cheeseburger Pasta. And the final place I can rely on is Pinch of Nom. Their website is great, and when they released a physical cookbook, I knew I had to have it. The Sloppy Joes from the book (see above) are great, and I've got my eye on numerous other meal ideas!

Batch cooking has become my new best friend. After a full day teaching, I find it quite tiring to then come home and cook for 45 minutes or so (first world problems, I fully admit). So to counteract this, I spend some time over the weekend cooking up some meals, usually to feed 4, which I can pop into the freezer to reheat at a later date. This is great, and my freezer is often filled with spaghetti bolognese, chilli, curries and soups, just waiting to be defrosted at a later date. Admittedly, it can make for some long hours in the kitchen on a Sunday afternoon, but that's better than doing it after work for me - that's when I'm more likely to want something for convenience.

Meal planning is essential for me. I have to have a clear idea in my mind of what I'm likely to cook over the week, so that I can do the food shop appropriately. There's nothing I hate more than absentmindedly writing a vague shopping list and then not using the items I've bought, or deliberating over what to have for dinner. It's much better to make my plan ahead of time and then I can make sure I've got all the right ingredients and I know where each recipe can be found. I've recently picked up a large calendar from Fox and Moon, along with my planner, to have a visual reminder of what meals I'm planning on for the week.

As I said, I'm by no means a pro, but these three things have really helped me, and I've really seen the benefits of it. I'm more organised, and we're eating better. Here's hoping I can keep it up!

Do you like cooking from scratch? Where do you get your recipes from?

Love Lexie

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