Week Four of #Cook90… and DONE!

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Epicurious issued the #cook90 challenge to cook 3 meals a day for 30 days in January and I decided to accept. (Read: Why I’m Going to #cook90.) But now it’s the end of the month. Which means, I did it!

Done!

img_9032Post-dinner on January 31 and that’s a wrap! I’d love to claim “where did the month go?” but I can’t. This challenge was surprisingly difficult. I even missed some of those pre-made foods – after all, they’re tasty! And I buy them because there are some things that I just don’t want to make myself. (Bring on the Trader Joe’s potstickers!)


Lessons Learned

So what did cooking and Instagram-ing so many meals in one month teach me?

  1. Weekend prep is KEY. There is no getting around it. Coming home on a weeknight knowing there’s roasted veggies, washed and chopped lettuce, and cooked chicken in the fridge, makes dinner seem less daunting. Pasta, sandwiches, wraps, and tacos can all the made from those ingredients in less time than it would take me to decide where to call for takeout.
  2. Meal planning is a must. To keep from getting bored with everything I’ve cooked on the weekend, a meal plan with pre-determined variations is necessary. It also helps in dealing with the inevitable leftovers.
  3. The freezer is my friend. Much of my weekend meal prep goes into Ziploc bags and into the freezer so I can easily thaw sauces and sides in minutes. This has helped keep the variety up and the leftovers to a minimum.
  4. A lot of people like pictures of food. I am still surprised when complete strangers leave encouraging comments on my Instagram posts. It’s oddly motivating and definitely appreciated.

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Goal Reached

When I started this challenge, the goal was to get back to truly enjoying cooking. Last weekend, after sampling some fresh-from-the-oven blueberry banana bread I declared out loud “I love cooking.” It was completely spontaneous, and definitely told me that this little experiment has been a good one.

Upkeep

Now comes the really hard part – keeping it up. At least in some capacity. While I have no doubt that some pre-made food will sneak back into rotation, my new goal will be to keep up some version of the weekend prep and planning for as long as possible. Who knows, maybe I just spent 30 days creating a new habit!

Recipes from this week:

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