To me, I always feel nothing beats home cooked food. At the end of the day, it will be good to have home cooked food for dinner and I ask nothing more!
This is not the first time I am preparing dinner. I used to do exactly the same when I entered D’s life since 1999. I remembered him telling me his health was so much better after I have been cooking. Of course, it is much easier without Yvette and FIL.
Nothing is impossible in a way of another. With the right mindset, many things can be done. I found many shortcuts and ways to make my cooking more efficient and faster.
Before I go into details, here is our menu for tonight.
The first week when I started working, the cooking is still manageable with D around. D will fetch Yvette at 6pm and back home around 6.30 pm. He will be the one taking care of Yvette while I will be back home around 6.30 pm. I will start to cook those dishes I want to cook and dinner will be ready by 7pm.
The second week, D was away for his Biz trip for 2 weeks – it’s like crazy. I can’t serve dinner till 7.30pm or even 7.45 pm. Poor FIL got to wait for so long. Luckily, I accepted some imperfection and this was resolved by the mid of the week. This week was a breeze. I could serve dinner almost 5-10 mins when we got home.
The trick is, cooked or half cooked every single dish in the morning!
Food preparation usually starts in the night before. I manage to catch up more sleep now because I manage to get all the ingredients ready for the next morning. I chop, I marinate and I store them in the fridge. In fact, the time I spend to wash, to clean and to prepare those food by myself has shorten for this week. I am getting a hang of it.
I shared some tips here before. I am getting more and more realistic. My menu can’t be fanciful. I know I can’t cook dishes like Sweet and Sour Pork/Fish. Anything dish relating to deep fry is also no, no! I can’t cook spicy food too. My cooking method again is only limit to boil, steam, bake and grill. And cooking time have to be fast. Not much choice left? I will also buy some ready made food if I know I don’t have a lot to serve in the evening too. (Eg. My sister bf joined us on last Thursday.)
These are the food we have for dinner.
Another round of food preparation starts when the moment I reached home after fetching Yvette. I will take out the meat to thaw. Marketing is done a week before. If I ever miss out anything, there are 2-3 supermarkets around my office, it is definitely easy for me to pick up groceries during lunch.
I will heat up the (cooked or half cooked) food prepared in the morning, while I attended to Yvette’s need when we were back home. Usually Yvette will be doing her biz which this free up some time. I will quickly wash those plates which my FIL left in the sink and also at the same time dished up the food and served FIL dinner. I will then go back to Yvette, bathe her and then her free expression time.
For the first 2 days without D, I practiced the same. I cooked one last dish when we were back home and ended up we have very late dinner. I accept the fact I won’t have that much time in the evening and didn’t want to let my FIL wait, I decided to cook everything in the morning and i just need to heat them up while I will attend Yvette.
Thing picked up on Wednesday (19th Jan), I find it easier and not too stressful to cook. More shortcut I took was to save as many plate as possible.
In the past, I will dish up the soup, the dish into another plate and serve them on the table. Now, I put the pot on the table. As for soup, I just scoop them into my bowl and eat together with my rice. (D can’t eat in this way, he prefer dry version of rice.)
So in the end, I properly wash 2-3 lesser than usual. With one rice pot, one soup pot, another pot where I keep the veg or meat, plus another 3 to 4 dishes to wash. To speed up the process, I am thinking to invest a washer…hmmm…
Another adjustment I have made for this week, I decided to eat dinner with Yvette in the hall using her little white table. While eating, I can read, do activity with Yvette or even play with her as we eat. This add on the quality time I have with her.
My sister will probably back at 8 pm. Then she will have dinner. She will accompany Yvette and this free me up to wash and get the ingredient prepared.
For the past two week, I manage to keep her bed time routine.
At 10 pm, we will chase Yvette to bed. There was one particular day, where both of us knocked out at 9 plus and Yvette woke up at 7 am in the morning. But usually Yvette will sleep by 10.30pm, sometimes close to 11 pm. There was one day she slept at 11.30pm which I have no idea why she got so much energy to stay at wake. While lying down on the bed, we will talk to D via MSN.
She will be up at 8pm in the morning but sometimes as late as 8.15 am. I have lower my expectation in the morning for Yvette. I allow her not brushing her teeth, just clean up her face will do. I even allow her to sleep while I carry her all the way to school.
Before I end this post, there is one more tip to share. Remember I need to cook porridge for FIL and put them in the thermal pot.
To speed up the process, I will cook more rice and keep in the cooker. I will use the rice to cook the porridge in the morning. If not I will just boil the rice till the water is boiled. I will switch off the fire and keep them in the pot. The next day, the rice is already cooked by the warmed heat trapped in the pot.
Keep his porridge simple is my key too. And the basic menus are :
- Carrot + minced meat
- Sweet potato (purple or orange) + minced meat
- Pumpkin + minced meat
- Potato + minced meat
My FIL likes braised peanut. I got the can braised peanut from the supermarket and added them in for him. Sometimes I will also add fishcake, tomato, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, etc…Sometimes I will switch the meat to chicken but rarely fish as my FIL doesn’t like fish.
I haven’t tried cooking one dish meal like pasta, fried rice, chicken rice, for dinner… I think I should try one day and see whether will it be so much faster!