Friday, December 2, 2011

Intro Tips For Grocery Shopping and Cooking (for the Young, Natural and Busy)

We talk a lot about hair here at YAIS, but this is also a blog for the twenty-somethings who are navigating adulthood. It can be really rough sometimes and although we are "adults"  we do need some guidance and life lessons, especially in time management, how to to deal with emotional issues, etc. For those of us who graduated high school and work or have recently finished college (like myself) we have been thrust into the "real world" and expected to fend for ourselves-- the big question is how? But it isn't all bad, if you have direction and some resources to help you out! First, let me share a picture of a recent cooking experiment SP and I had a couple of weeks ago. We made a garlicy alfredo sauce over Angel Hair pasta and spinach with garlic bread and some wine--it was a quick and delicious meal!

Our tasty pasta dinner
Cooking for oneself is a crucial skill which doesn't require culinary expertise, just an area to make your food. I'm talking about everyday eating, with food you can afford and the time set aside to cook it.  At one point I was taking a full schedule of classes, working two internships and commuting about 4 hours daily and I kept my eating out to a minimum - partly because I was a broke college student, but also because I like cooking. I wasn't preparing gourmet meals and shopping at Whole Foods, but I made rice, simple stews, and casseroles. These days I work full-time and work on projects on the side; it seems to me that I really only have one day of "rest" and that varies but my meals come from home on average 6 days out of the week; most of my meals take less than an hour to make. I even bring lunch from home, which is a combination of left overs and sandwiches. What helps me cook is basing my meals off of what I have in the house, which comes down to buying what I normally eat. I started keeping a log to help with grocery shopping. Here is a screenshot of my Google doc that lists the "staples" I try to have:

I don't always have everything on this list, and this may be anal for some, but it really helps me. (And I'm sure you're wondering what I make using this list, recipes to come!) I should mention that right now I don't cook with meat: I was a vegetarian for about 9 months after Turkey Day '10, then went "Pescatarian" (one who eats fish) and now I eat meat maybe once every couple of months, but have opted not to cook with it because it saves money and has made me more creative with cooking. It's easy to use a search engine for an idea or use resources from blogs and cooking sites. My two personal favorites at the moment are Poor Girl Eats Well and Cheap, Healthy Good. I've adapted recipes to my taste and what I have in the kitchen and they use ingredients that are easily attainable.

Eating out all the time really adds up quickly and if you're "frugal" like me, money disappearing like that can upset you. But if you're busy working, raising small children and/or going to school cooking may not be something you can do all the time and that's understandable. If you can boil a pot of water, cooking will be fine with practice. Taking some time to make sure that you eat and can take care of yourself is truly important however, and your body (and wallet) will definitely thank you for it later.


  1. ooh girl this was so helpful! lol i cook sometimes and always have to go out to buy all the ingredients. i miss being at home lol thanks!

  2. @Melyssa thanks! I'll be posting more "food" stuff, glad this could help!


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