As the world gears up to celebrate Food Revolution day next weekend, MyFamilyClub’s Communication Executive, Diana Yeboah, spends her Saturday making all her meals from scratch. Here’s what she has to say…
To say I was confident about this challenge would have been an understatement.
When MyFamilyClub decided to get involved in Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution campaign I was thrilled as not only am I a bit of a foodie but I also try very hard to be healthy while making sure to keep an eye on my pennies.
Food Revolution day is all about promoting real food, and cooking from scratch makes a massive difference if you’re on a budget as processed foods and takeaways not only put pounds on your hips but can be much more expensive in the long run.
All in all I was excited about the challenge and as I breezily left the office on Friday, the only thought running through my head was how much I would stun everyone with my home made and healthy concoctions. How wrong I was….
After a quiet Friday night in I woke up to sunshine streaming through my windows. My first thought was to get outside and get some vitamin D immediately. Unsurprisingly, Mr Yeboah had similar ideas and we both began to discuss possible brunch options. As we excitedly rattled through some of our favourite places, a dark shadow descended. “I can’t go out for breakfast, I’m doing the Food Revolution challenge,” I said. So slightly defeated, I went into the kitchen to rustle something up.
I opened a cupboard. Four bars of chocolate, one unopened jar of peanut butter, cous cous and packet of dried mushrooms that I once brought five years ago after being inspired by a ‘super easy’ Nigella recipe, and a bottle of chilli sauce. The fridge wasn’t much better. Yes, I had some strawberries but no breakfast could be made with the remaining contents of my fridge (two bottles of wine, some beer, hummus, some vegetables that were past their best and one lime).
So as I stomped to the shops I suddenly thought of how much planning it takes to cook all your meals from scratch. As I paid up, I made a vow to start using our meal planners and to get into the habit of doing a weekly shop, making use of our best buys table to keep the price down.
Breakfast sorted (rye bread with peanut butter and strawberries), I started to think about lunch.
Having watched Mr Yeboah paw at the door and make sad whining sounds, I knew that it was time to go out. But wait! What will we eat? This time I was prepared. I quickly rustled up a dish I like to call ‘Bottom of the fridge beans’. Basically it consists of a couple of tins of beans (brought on my breakfast trip), onions, garlic, chilli, stock and selection of vegetables that were slowly dying at the bottom of my fridge.
Once cooked, I packed up our lunch, grabbed a loaf (again brought on the breakfast trip) and Mr Yeboah and I made our way to the nearest patch of green to pretend we lived in California.
After my slightly cocky demeanor I was moderately shocked by how much a presence convinience food is in my life.
I’m a newly full-blown veggie and after my father passed away of cancer last year I make a real effort to be as healthy as possible. However, when it comes to food, though I eat healthily, a large percentage of meals consist of pitta bread and hummus and, uh… wine.
Back from the park I start to think about dinner. I put on an apron and began opening and closing cupboards all the while shouting to Mr Yeboah, “Shall we have a kind of cous cous chocolate concoction? Shall we have wine? Shall we have wine and cous cous and chocolate?”
Eventually, he’s saved by the bell as Mr Yeboah’s pals have all come over to drag us to the pub. A couple of hours later I realise that we’ve yet to have dinner and I’m worried as Mr Yeboah and his friends begin eying up the pub menu.
I hatch a hasty plan and invite everyone back to ours for dinner. They agree and I make burgers for them and roast sweet potato with chilli and a green salad for me. Yum.
So what did I learn? Well, always cooking from scratch is really HARD. But once you get into the swing of things it can be easy. Also, I spent much less money this weekend even though I didn’t plan my meals in advance.
Cooking healthy, cheap meals can be done; all that’s needed is a little bit of forward thinking and lot less chocolate.
If you’re feeling inspired why not check out the Food Revolution eBook full of 30 ideas to get you started.