Every time I show up at work with a healthy dish I get inquiries for the recipes; some of these inquiries are so basic such as cooking beans that it worries me as to the future of Food.
Food as in the comida your mother made you growing up whether it was tortillas, bread, or naan on the side. More and more households rely heavily on eating out every night and also purchase their lunch at work! The bottom line is that no one will care as much as you should about what is going down your throat and into your body- or your child or partner’s body.
We all have grueling schedules that keep us away from doing a lot of the things we wish we had time for but I feel that cooking your own food and exercising are two fundamental necessities that you should never give up.
My mother used to drive me crazy growing up when I would wake up at 3:45 A.M. to the sound of pots and pans banging in the kitchen. She would set her buzzer (I can still hear the EEEEH EEEEEH in my ear) and start cooking while my father was in the shower. She already had her veggies chopped the night before so it was mostly mixing and cooking the ingredients together.
I used to hate her for being so good. Why couldn’t she steal some extra minutes of sleep for herself instead of making sure my father would have dinner waiting when he came home? Now I admire her and thank her for teaching me the valuable lesson in stretching a day to work to your advantage.
Anyway sleeping is for the dead as my father used to say.
Now I wake up at 4:30 in the morning when I was lazy the night before and didn’t prepare lunch alongside dinner. I drag my body, heavy with sleep, to the bathroom to splash some cold water on my face. I go to the kitchen and open the fridge, make a visual inventory of what I have and decide what to make. Here’s a few tips to making it easier.
Always make a pot of beans (or other type of filler/side dish that you eat every day) on the weekend to last you through most of the week. I usually soak pinto or black beans (depending on my mood) overnight to get them nice and tender. If I am running low on beans mid-week I do this on the night that I notice an imminent bean shortage. The next morning the first thing I do is rinse the beans again until the water is clear and fill it with the appropriate amount of water and place them on mid-low heat by 5 a.m.
I get my running clothes on and go downstairs to run 20 minutes on the treadmill. That’s all- 20 minutes every day. You probably stare at the wall longer than that.
I head back upstairs and check on my beans and turn down the heat to low. I prep my veggies and half an hour later I have breakfast and lunch ready.
I wake up the kiddos at 6 a.m. and they fold their blankets and change into the clothes I have laid out for them. Bella makes our bed and Iza puts their things (blankets/toys) away. Once they have their chores done they sit at the counter and eat the breakfast that I have served for them.
I hop in the shower by 6:10 and out in 10 minutes. I get dressed and check on my beans. I season them with oregano, cumin, garlic and salt (minimal) and keep the heat on.
I comb the girls’ hair and make sure they brush their teeth while I dry my hair and finish getting ready. By 6:45 I get our lunches ready in our containers, turn off the stove and walk out of my the door by 6:55. A ten minute walk later and we are catching the dash off to start our day.
Some people might say that they think it’s ridiculous to be waking up early to do this but I feel great when I get to work with the knowledge that I have a yummy lunch waiting for me and that I went for a run- so if I want to reach for a piece of dark chocolate as a snack- that’s okay. You can always make time- always.