Posted by jules

chorizo & beans

Chorizo with White Beans recipe here

Is meal planning something you wish you didn’t have to spend time worrying about?

What if I told you there is a better way?

That inflexible, time-consuming meal planning, as you currently know it, could become a thing of your past?

I know it might seem a little ‘too good to be true’ but first a story…

I’ve recently become obsessed with Frances Mayes and her wonderful books on living in Tuscany. So I’ve been re-reading, (or rather listening to) ‘Everyday in Tuscany’ on my morning walk.

I love looking over Mayes’ shoulder as she shares what daily life is like in rural Italy.

The other day, she was talking about buying her house in Tuscany. She moved her favourite Italian cook books such as Marcella Harzan from San Francisco to Italy.

And then she said something that surprised me.

Over her 20 years of living in Italy, she realized that none of her Italian friends use cookbooks. Apart from the occasional fancy dessert recipe for a special occasion, they pretty much always just cook from the heart.

They go to the market or the ‘fruita et vedura‘ and buy what looks good. They have their pantries well stocked so they are able to get wonderful meals on the table without planning it all out in advance.

Sounds like a much better way to live, doesn’t it?

Today I’m going to share with you my 3-Step Framework for ‘reversing’ the meal planning process.

One thing I really want to stress is that this isn’t just another meal planning ‘tool’ or some software to make traditional meal planning a little bit easier.

It’s a completely different, I like to think ‘revolutionary’ approach to getting healthy meals on the table.

I also want to make it clear that it’s definitely not a ‘done-for-you’ solution.

To be honest, if you would prefer to ‘outsource’ meal planning and have someone else just tell you what to cook each week and give you a shopping list to follow, this probably isn’t the right approach for you.

However if a ‘done-for-you’ system is something that interests you, or if ‘not having to think’ sounds more your style, I recommend having a look at ‘Soupstones Meal Plans‘, which is a separate weekly meal planning service I offer.

If, however, you ARE someone who hates to be told what to do OR you’re interested in learning to cook without recipes, then you’re in the right place.

Now if you’re thinking ‘this all sounds very nice’ but I’m not sure it will work for me, I have good news!

And the good news is, it’s not as difficult as you’d think. I’ve helped hundreds of people learn to ‘reverse’ their meal plan and discover a more liberating, satisfying easy way to get food on the table.

Here’s what a two of my students have said about how their lives have changed…

“By far the most life changing class of yours I have done. Has totally changed how I work in the kitchen & my confidence towards cooking! Has freed me from my laborious meal planning on a Sunday. An unexpected result was it’s made me more intuitive towards food & in turn made me listen to what my body needs, rather than what my meal plan said.”
Nicole, Master Your Meal Plan Owner

“I already was a pretty experienced and independent cook before, but I tended to fail at the everyday, ordinary meals. I overplanned, which consumed horrible amount of time, and resulted in weekly menus, which were too complicated for my schedule and amount of work. I was too tired to cook according to plan, even when I did follow it, I usually ended up with many leftovers and ingredients that I didn’t use up.”
Clara, Master Your Meal Plan Owner

And the beauty is, you can learn to plan and cook that way too!

All you need is to follow my 3 simple steps…

3 Steps to Simplify Your Meal Planning.

STEP 1. Stop planning in advance.
Stop wasting your time and energy by ‘reversing’ the meal planning process. Instead of deciding what to cook first and then buying ingredients, we need to get you shopping first and THEN deciding what to cook.

If this seems a bit to scary, you can take baby steps. Instead of planning every single meal, or whatever you’re doing, leave a few nights free and see what happens.

STEP 2. Learn to shop for what you need.
You probably already have an idea of what you need each week for breakfasts and don’t plan them out in detail. So it’s time to extend this to dinners and lunches as well.

It may take a little bit of time to get used to this. And if it seems a bit too daunting, I have a solution…

As part of the Master Your Meal Plan online program, I’ll show you my ’2-Minute Planning Formula’ which will help you calculate exactly how much food to buy.

This will not only save you loads of time creating your detailed plan, it will make shopping more fun (!)

You won’t be following a strict list, you’ll be free to choose the seasonal produce that looks the most appealing on the day. And of course, it will allow you to make the most of any ‘special’ discounts on the spot.

Imagine yourself being able to enjoy your trip to the market, just like an Italian house wife.

STEP 3. Stop cooking from recipes.
One of the keys to getting this ‘system’ to work is to break-free from traditional recipes.

Now before you start thinking ‘there’s NO WAY I could cook without a recipe’, you don’t have to turn into a master chef overnight. It’s not as crazy as it sounds.

The way I taught myself to ‘cook without recipes’ was to start thinking of recipes in general terms instead of specific ingredients.

I started by coming up with ‘template’ or blueprint recipes I could adapt depending on the ingredients I had or what I felt like cooking. It’s like taking the ‘Variations’ I include with all of my recipes to the next level.

When I want to make a quick stir fry, for example, instead of coming up with a recipe from scratch, I think back to my ‘template’ and go from there.

Next week, we’ll go much deeper into exactly how you can stop cooking from recipes, so don’t worry if it seems like something you’d never be able to master.

Before I go, I want to live in a world where eating healthy, home made food is the norm.

Just like in Tuscany. Where most people just buy ingredients and cook them, without being chained to inflexible recipes. Where cooking dinner is seen as a joy and a privilege, a chance to relax and unwind not another chore to face when you’re tired at the end of a stressful day.

MYMP 2015 square logo

If you share this vision, I’d love you to join me for Master Your Meal Plan.

Click on the link below to find out more:
http://thestonesoupshop.com/mymp17/

With love,
Jules x

ps. If you want to simplify and make your planning and cooking easier, healthier and tastier, then I’d love to become your cooking coach!

For more details go to:
http://thestonesoupshop.com/mymp17/

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Check-In – Day 25

Sep. 25th, 2017 07:30 pm[personal profile] samuraiter posting in [community profile] writethisfanfic
samuraiter: (Default)
Like a pair of comfortable house shoes, I will be with you until the end of this month. :-) What have you been doing?

— Thinking. Maybe a little, maybe a lot.
— Writing.
— Planning and / or researching.
— Editing.
— Sending things to the beta.
— Posting!
— Relaxing, taking a break, etc.
— Other stuff-ing. Look at the comment.

Silly question: What footwear do you have when you are writing? Do you prefer to be barefoot, are you more of a bunny slippers type, etc.?

Posted by jules

chorizo & beans

Chorizo with White Beans

This is a classic Spanish combo that I’m equally happy eating for breakfast with a poached egg as I am having it for dinner on its own.

You might be surprised to see ketchup as an ingredient but it really adds a lovely hit of tomatoey sweetness that is hard to beat. Although if you prefer a sugar-free option, see the variations below.

Enough for: 2
Takes: 20 minutes
1 onion, peeled & chopped
2 chorizo (200g / 7oz)
1 can beans (400g 14oz), drained
4 tablespoons ketchup
1 bag baby spinach

1. Heat a little oil in a frying pan. Add onion and cook over a medium heat for about 5 minutes or until starting to soften.

2. Add chorizo and cook for another 5 minutes or until the chorizo is well browned.

3. Add beans and ketchup and cook, stirring until everything is hot.

4. Taste. Season with salt. Serve with baby spinach on the side.

Wine Match: A spicy Tempranillo.

Variations

vegan – replace the chorizo with 1-2 teaspoons smoked paprika and increase the amount of beans and ketchup.

vegetarian – replace chorizo with 1-2 teaspoons smoked paprika and serve beans with 1-2 poached eggs per person, or try replacing the chorizo with sun dried tomatoes and some crumbled feta.

sugar-free – replace ketchup with 2-3 tablespoons tomato paste and 2 tablespoons butter.

different meat – feel free to replace chorizo with any spicy (or mild) sausage or chunks of bacon.

different legumes – I love butter beans or cannellini but you could use chickpeas, black beans, red kidney beans, or any lentil. Home cooked beans are even better, you’ll need about 250G (9oz) drained cooked legumes.

more substantial / carb lovers – double the beans and ketchup or serve with warm flat bread or tortillas. Or serve beans on hot buttered toast.

more veg – add grilled red peppers, eggplant, zucchini or cherry tomatoes.

Enjoy!
Jules x

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Check-In – Day 24

Sep. 24th, 2017 07:50 pm[personal profile] samuraiter posting in [community profile] writethisfanfic
samuraiter: (Default)
*coughs* I missed two days. Inexcusable. But let us say that this post covers the entire weekend. What have you been doing?

— Thinking. Maybe a little, maybe a lot.
— Writing.
— Planning and / or researching.
— Editing.
— Sending things to the beta.
— Posting!
— Relaxing, taking a break, etc.
— Other stuff-ing. Look at the comment.

Standard Sunday question: What are your projects for this week, if any?

Out of F*cks Couscous

Sep. 23rd, 2017 04:05 pm[personal profile] lizcommotion posting in [community profile] cookability
lizcommotion: Lily and Chance squished in a cat pile-up on top of a cat tree (buff tabby, black cat with red collar) (Default)
I first made this couscous when I was more regularly going to pot-lucks and I wanted something that was quick, cheap, easy, could be served at room temperature, and was vegetarian. (So many pot lucks full of sad vegetarians eating carrot sticks and cookies.)

My disclaimer is that usually my (Arab) girlfriend doesn't eat it because it tastes nothing at all like her family's actually authentic Middle Eastern couscous.

However, the higher-energy version gets the spices closer to right.

Skills used (out of fucks version)
- knife (optional)
- opening a can
- boiling water
- opening containers
- stirring a bowl

Skills used (don't fuck with me version)
- knife (less optional, food processor might work as alternate)
- opening a can
- boiling water
- opening containers
- active cooking at stove

Out of Fucks Couscous

Read more... )

Don't Fuck with me Couscous

This is the version I prefer but it requires slightly more energy so I'm listing it here as an alternative. Also, maybe you prefer Out of Fucks Couscous. IDK! Maybe you will riff off these and invent your own!

Read more... )

Other variations I've been meaning to try that probably require more energy:
- Microwave a sweet potato and cube, add instead of tomatoes
- Add raisins to saute mixture?
- Some way to do this with quinoa so it's gluten free, but also doesn't take forever

Check-In – Day 21

Sep. 21st, 2017 09:10 pm[personal profile] samuraiter posting in [community profile] writethisfanfic
samuraiter: (Default)
"Well, it's useless to be popular with the enemy."
— Bowman Jean, Star Ocean: The Second Story

What have you been doing today?

— Thinking. Maybe a little, maybe a lot.
— Writing.
— Planning and / or researching.
— Editing.
— Sending things to the beta.
— Posting!
— Relaxing, taking a break, etc.
— Other stuff-ing. Look at the comment.

Question: What is the worst grammar goof that ever got past you (and your betas)?

Public Call 2017 - Doctor Who Exchange

Sep. 21st, 2017 11:03 pm[personal profile] navaan posting in [community profile] doctorwho
navaan: (Public Call Mod)


Schedule:
Nominations: 18th September - 1st October
Sign-ups: 4th - 18th October
Assignments: sent by 20th October
Deadline: 26th November
Posting period: starting 1st December

Description:
[community profile] public_call is a secret santa fic exchange for Doctor Who and its various related fandoms, run through LJ/DW and AO3. Participants sign up to write a story of at least 1,000 words involving a relationship between two or more characters someone else has requested. In return, they receive a story of at least 1,000 words with a relationship they have requested.

Nominations now open

Check-In – Day 20

Sep. 20th, 2017 09:35 pm[personal profile] samuraiter posting in [community profile] writethisfanfic
samuraiter: (Default)
"You turn the page, you wash your hands. You turn the page, you wash your hands."
Rocko's Modern Life

What have you been doing today?

— Thinking. Maybe a little, maybe a lot.
— Writing.
— Planning and / or researching.
— Editing.
— Sending things to the beta.
— Posting!
— Relaxing, taking a break, etc.
— Other stuff-ing. Look at the comment.

Question for today: Do you ever flip a coin, roll a die, etc. when you are not sure what you should do next in a story?

Check-In – Day 19

Sep. 19th, 2017 05:40 pm[personal profile] samuraiter posting in [community profile] writethisfanfic
samuraiter: (Default)
Another hurricane. And another. And another. My heart is with you if you are in path of any of them. ... Hurricanes aside, what have you been doing today?

— Thinking. Maybe a little, maybe a lot.
— Writing.
— Planning and / or researching.
— Editing.
— Sending things to the beta.
— Posting!
— Relaxing, taking a break, etc.
— Other stuff-ing. Look at the comment.

A relevant question: How many different ways do you back up or save your writing for the long term?

Beef & Carraway Kofta

Sep. 19th, 2017 04:22 am[syndicated profile] stonesoup_feed

Posted by jules

Beef & Carraway Meatballs with Tahini Yoghurt

Beef & Carraway Kofta (Meatballs)

One of my favourite things to eat are meatballs. And while I love a traditional Italian-style meatball, I like to mix it up with meatballs from different parts of the world like these Moroccan meatballs, these Green ones or this giant meatball / meatloaf.

My latest obsession are these Lebanese-ish ‘kofta’ (middle eastern meatballs) which were inspired by a recipe in the book ‘Honey & Co. – Food from the Middle East’ from the London based restaurant. This is my simplified version.

Carraway seeds are a really underrated spice. I’ve been using them in my sauerkraut for ages and loved their fresh flavour but hadn’t really experimented with other cooking. Until these kofta. They go really well with beef but if you’re looking for more places to use your carraway seeds they’re also lovely with cabbage in any form.

enough for: 2
takes: 30 minutes
500g (1lb) minced (ground) beef
2 teaspoons carraway seeds
100g (3.5oz) tahini
100g (3.5oz) Greek yoghurt
1 clove garlic (optional)
1 bunch coriander (cilantro), leaves picked

1. Preheat your oven to 200C (400F). Combine beef and carraway seeds in a medium bowl and season generously with salt and pepper. Scoop tablespoons of the beef mixture and roll into meatballs. Place meatballs in an oven proof dish large enough to hold them in a single layer.

2. Roast meatballs for about 20 minutes or until well browned and cooked through.

3. While the meatballs are cooking combine tahini and yoghurt in a medium bowl. Smash garlic (if using) and chop as finely as you can and add to the tahini yoghurt sauce.

4. To serve, spread yoghurt tahini sauce over two plates. Top with meatballs and coriander leaves.

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Variations

5-ingredients – skip the garlic.

vegetarian – add carraway seeds to these lentil balls.

no carraway seeds – just skip it or use 1 teaspoon cumin seeds and 1 teaspoon ground coriander instead.

more substantial / carb-lovers – serve with warm pita or other flat bread or tortillas. Or serve meatballs on a bed of creamy mashed potatoes.

no tahini – either replace with mayo to make a yoghurt mayo sauce or just use extra yoghurt. Or use hummus instead of both the yoghurt and tahini. For more ideas to use tahini see here.

more veg – the guys from Honey & Co serve their kofta on a bed of roast veg including onion, eggplant and capsicum (bell peppers). They toss in some cooked white beans as well.

no coriander / cilantro – flat leaf parsley or mint will work. Or use baby spinach or other salad leaves. A shaved cabbage salad would also be a lovely accompaniment.

short on time – skip rolling the beef into meatballs and just brown in a pan with the carraway seeds and serve the spiced beef on top of the tahini yoghurt sauce.

Enjoy!

With love,
Jules x

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Posted by jules

Beef & Carraway Meatballs with Tahini Yoghurt-2

Beef & Carraway Kofta recipe here

Today I have a little confession for you…

Even though I write cook books, have two food blogs and have an online cooking school, I didn’t start out being a confident cook.

And I certainly wasn’t good at meal planning…

When I first got into cooking I was in my early 20s, living in Sydney, working in my first job as a Food Scientist developing new snack products for Kellogg.

I used to spend hours pouring over magazines and cookbooks deciding what to make and compiling lengthy shopping lists.

Then I’d head off all over town. To my favourite veggie shop or the farmers market. To my butcher, the deli, sometimes to Chinatown and a stop at the supermarket for staples.

It took hours.

While I enjoyed these excursions, they weren’t without their frustrations.

There would often be one or two ingredients that were sold out or I just couldn’t find. Since I didn’t have a clue about ingredient substitution, I’d have to go to multiple stores trying to find what I was missing.

It took a lot of time.

It also cost a lot of money.

Slowly, over the years, I got better at the whole process. As my cooking confidence grew, I started knowing which ingredients I could skip or substitute. My food bills came down and my ingredient waste decreased.

The biggest game changer came when I was living in the beautiful Barossa Valley, Australia’s equivalent of Napa.

As a young wine maker, most of my waking hours were spent in the winery. I no longer had time to plan my meals in advance or much time for cooking.

The highlight of my week was the Saturday morning Barossa farmers market.

I’d grab a coffee. Then I’d wander around tasting, chatting to the farmers and buying whatever took my fancy. I wouldn’t have had time to make a list so I’d just buy what looked good.

When I got home, I’d figure out what to cook based on my market bounty.

Sometimes I’d consult my cookbooks. But often I’d just make things up. I started really cooking from the heart and cooking with the seasons.

It was incredibly liberating.

And better yet, I was able to feed myself really delicious, healthy meals that took a fraction of the time.

I came to realize that just as we can all learn to cook with a recipe, we can also learn to cook without them.

It’s easier than you think, if you have the right guidance. I’ll be going into much more detail on how you to can become someone who cooks without recipes the week after next.

But now it’s time to talk about the biggest mistake most people make when it comes to meal planning…

What is the most common meal planning mistake?

Basically, it’s following the traditional meal planning method.

You know, deciding what to cook in advance and then building your shopping list around that plan.

This approach causes problems for many reasons:

1. Time
First, it takes a lot of time to plan in advance. Trawling through recipes and writing detailed shopping lists.

2. Lack of Freedom
Having a set list means you aren’t free to choose what looks best (or cheapest!) when you’re shopping.

3. Lack of Flexibility
They also lack the flexibility to cope with the changes that naturally come up with modern life.

How do you avoid this mistake?

You just need to learn how to ‘reverse’ the process.

It may sound scary, but in practice it’s a liberating approach to meal planning. And it’s actually much quicker and easier than traditional meal plans.

I’ll be sharing you my Easy 3-Step Framework for avoiding this meal planning mistake next week. It’s all about how you can learn to shop first and then cook based on the ingredients you have in the house.

What it would be like if you didn’t have to plan ahead?

How would it impact your time? Your health? Your waistline? Your energy levels?

Imagine coming home after a long day and cooking dinners you truly enjoy without repeating the same dishes over and over.

Imagine not buying a bunch of ingredients that ultimately go to waste because your schedule changed.

Imagine revolutionizing how you cook and growing your kitchen confidence!

If you’re an experienced cook, imagine avoiding the trap of taking on weeknight meals which are too complicated for your schedule and energy levels at the end of a long day.

Imagine being able to listen to what your body needs, rather than what your meal plan says.

Imagine not following recipes to a ‘T’ anymore – being able to substitute ingredients based on what you have.

Imagine wasting far less food.

Imagine being able to look in fridge and pull together a healthy meal with ease.

Sound too good to be true?

This isn’t a crazy dream.

Next week I’ll show you how to turn these dreams into reality. I’m going to give you a clear, 3-step framework to help you stop making the biggest meal planning mistake and reverse your meal plan.

Stay tuned!

Before I go I’d like to share my vision with you…

I want to live in a world where eating healthy, home made food is the norm. Where most people are able to just walk into the kitchen and throw something delicious together.

Where cooking dinner is seen as a joy and a privilege not another chore at the end of a stressful day.

With love,
Jules x

ps. I’d love to hear from you!

How would your life change if you were able to reverse YOUR meal plan? Let me know in the comments below.

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