You. Have. Time.

If you are like me, you are chest deep in the kids school and fall work routine.  We are over the back to school hump, summer is definitely over, and now just chugging along.  With that, many of us are faced with increased work demands, kids activities, fall commitments, and more.  In other words, you are so busy right now that you barely have time for the things that you really never had time for to begin with.  Like cooking.  Sound familiar?

I admit that I am the anomaly here, having been raised in a we-cook-every-night kind of family.  So with these “good genes,” I can share with you some of my tricks.  Listen up people.  Stop NOT having the time and realize that YOU.  Have.  Time.

Backing up one step here.  This is not a competition, and you should NOT feel bad for the usual take out, dining out, frozen prepped meals.  Welcome to being human (and if any of you were paying attention this week, I fed my kids SpaghettiOs as part of an afternoon snack.  Yeah. I DID that.)  There is not guilt in convenience when we need it.  So stop apologizing for what you are doing wrong and realize that you are, can, and will do many many things right.

I want to applaud your efforts on the nights that you DO cook. Or make pancakes from scratch. Or make homemade pizza. Or ANYTHING that you did on your own.  Have you ever heard of the The IKEA Effect?  A few years ago, Harvard Business School published a little scientific paper which highlighted that people place more value on furniture or items when they were invested in building it.  I would suggest that the same value is placed on home grown or homemade food.  When we put in effort, it becomes our labor of love.

A few weeks back I was talking with fellow parents and the usual conversation of “I have no time to cook!” came up.  I felt inspired.  A challenge!! Lets do this!  So, this is what I did:

Vegetables from the market
Vegetables from the market
I took out the green vegetables that I had purchased from the market that day.  It was a Sunday and I was thinking ahead to what I would be cooking and preparing that week for meals and snacks.  I had kale, celery, lettuce and broccoli.

I got a strainer,  a chopping knife, and a cutting board.  Then set a timer and got to work.

14 minutes was all it took.  I managed to efficiently unpack, wash, chop, and bag each food item.

The amount of time it took to clean, chop, and bag each food, including time for clean up.
The amount of time it took to clean, chop, and bag each food, including time for clean up.
14:03 to be exact.  The amount of time to prep the vegetables AND clean up.

The broccoli was chopped in pieces the right size for steaming. The lettuce was diced and ready to be the base of my next salad.  The kale, deveined and chopped, ready for roasting.  The celery chopped and easy for after school snacks.

Washed, chopped, bagged vegetables in less than 15 minutes.
Washed, chopped, bagged vegetables in less than 15 minutes.
The final products and in less than 15 minutes.  I prepped vegetables for most of the week.

Was I moving fast as lightning with an already clean kitchen?  Of course I was. But the point is that I was ready and determined to do this well and quickly.  And SO CAN YOU.

You can do it!   (And tell us all about it!)