How learning to cook can improve your health and increase your financial freedom.
This article will discuss the most empowering thing you can do for both your budget and your health. This action is the key to unlocking both physical and financial health and wellness:
Learn To Cook
As I was standing in my kitchen last night making homemade garlic/dill bread, it hit me. I realized as much as I tire of being in my kitchen at times, it has also become an empowering oasis for me. Since I have learned to cook, I discovered you can truly make something out of nothing. This has been incredibly empowering for me, knowing that even if we only have $10 or $15 for groceries for the week, I can come up with something. Often people complain that cooking is too difficult or time-consuming. However, with the use of crockpots, batch cooking, and plan-ahead freezer cooking, making food from scratch doesn’t always have to time or labor intensive
With just a few basic pantry ingredients, you can make a million different combinations. For example, eggs, flour, baking soda, salt, butter and milk can become biscuits, pancakes, waffles, noodles, tortillas, quiche, or pie crusts. Add sugar, and you can create sugar cookies, short bread, and much more! Once you learn the basics an inexpensive world of culinary freedom will open before your eyes. Here are a few ideas on how you can improve your cooking skills:
- Start with a few staple recipes
Find a few basic recipes with panty staple ingredients. Beans and rice recipes are great places to start. In order to save cost, I often replace dried herbs with fresh if it is not garden season. Work on perfecting simple recipes like beans and rice, spaghetti, tacos, chicken pot pie, and chili. Starting small will prevent you from becoming too overwhelmed and will build your confidence. Learning how to roast a chicken is also a simple yet valuable skill. One chicken will provide you with meat for multiple meals, plus you can use the scraps and bones to make homemade broth.
- Harness the power of the internet
You can find almost any recipe for any ingredient online. You can also find recipe reviews, cooking tips, and meal plans. I suggest planning meals based on store sales (Hint: view your local store’s weekly ad online before planning). I also use the internet when I need to substitute an ingredient.
- Don’t neglect your cook books
Although the internet is amazing, I still find the best recipes for baked goods such as cookies and cakes in the classic cookbooks. These cookbooks often also have helpful tips. Many cookbooks also have introductory sections that cover basic cooking principles. Reading these sections can be very helpful for the beginner.
- Learn from a friend or family member
If you did not grow up in a family that cooks, don’t be afraid to ask a friend or neighbor for lessons. Often people love to share family recipes, and cooking together is great bonding time.
- Don’t be afraid to experiment
The goal of cooking is not to be prefect. View this as a learning process, and something that takes time to learn. Once you begin experimenting, you will discover you personal likes/dislikes as well as confidence in yourself. There will be flops and failures; it happens to everyone. As I always say, “We can always order pizza.”
- Visit your local farmers market for tips on cooking in-season foods.
Often local farmers markets or organic grocery stories will have displays or expos that explain ways to cook seasonal ingredients. The farmers market is also a great place to get tips from the farmers themselves.
- Consider taking a class
Check out your local community center or college to see if they offer a basic cooking class. Taking a class can help you understand the underlying scientific principles behind food preparation. This will help you avoid mistakes and allow you to get creative!
Although there is a bit of learning curve, cooking at home can increase you health and financial freedom exponentially. Once you jump into the exciting world of at home cooking from scratch, you will never look back! You will discover inexpensive alternatives to pricey pre-prepared meals, and will begin to eat less processed food.