A Working Vegan Household Cook – Survival Tips

5 oclockSo, if you have been reading daily this month: first, bless your heart and then second, you may have noticed that I missed yesterday. I’m finding it a challenge to post daily all month, mostly because I don’t cook vegan food daily. Yep, that’s what I said.

Like many of you, I work outside the home and am also engaged in the activity of feeding my family. And that requires some negotiation of expectations (mine more than theirs) about what it means to provide a meal.

There are a number of strategies that I use to cope with the multiple challenges of working, feeding my family, getting some exercise time, doing household chores, and not losing my mind.

First, I have let go (mostly) of the idea that I need to be the cook every day. I don’t like to order out, but about once every week to ten days, we do. Last night, I was bone tired, busy, and annoyed. Mr. non-VeganAsana recommended we order pizza or something. I felt a little bad because Ms. VeganAsana Jr. was home from college and I thought I should make her a home cooked meal. But, ultimately, we ordered the pie. For the vegans, we got this great pizza from a local place, Stella’s, that is called the Salad Pie. It’s a salad on pizza crust. I meant to take a picture, but I ate it instead.

Second, I plan the week’s menu ahead so that I don’t spend a lot of time each day trying to figure out what to make. I don’t assign meals to days, because I like the flexibility of being able to decide which item to make which day depending on my time and energy level. The only exception I made to that is that I typically make the “meat” (sorry) meals early in the week right after we grocery shop.

Third, when I make something really labor intensive, like lasagna or eggplant non-parm, I try to make enough to freeze a second batch. Knowing you have a homemade meal in reserve is a good feeling.

Fourth, but related, I have embraced the leftover. When there are leftovers in my house, if they are vegan, they¬†will be eaten. I’ll use some for lunches, but the rest will be served for dinners. I have no hesitation in repurposing items to serve them again. Chili becomes nachos or chili dogs. Spaghetti with marinara becomes spaghetti casserole. Recycling rocks.

Fifth, I have stopped feeling like I have to feed everyone, or even anyone, all the time. Three evenings a week, I have a yoga class pretty shortly after I get home and don’t want to eat beforehand. Now that Ms. VeganAsana is away at school, I just don’t bother to make a vegan meal, necessarily, on those days. If the meal I’m making happens to be vegan, that’s great, but if the omnis want something more omni (and especially if that something is also easy), then that’s what I make. I am also willing to let people forage now and then. Remember those leftovers? Those are fine to be eaten, and if the teens don’t want them, they will not expire from eating PB&J or making themselves another type of sandwich or some quick nachos from canned beans.

Those are my key strategies for making it through a week.

They are also part of why I started having VeganMoFo burnout at the end of the month, because I just don’t cook enough vegan items each week to post pictures of. I’m pretty ok with only having missed one day this month! As always, it was good to participate in the MoFo and to see what everyone else is making and writing about.

What are your strategies for making it through a week of cooking?

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