Healthy cooking....with a toddler
Tuesday, November 07, 2017
The plan was to cook a potato and pea curry that I had cooked before. So, it wasn't a new recipe and I had a good idea about how to do it. I had also done it before with the toddler running around, so I felt fairly confident I could accomplish it again.
I got the oil heated up, added the first spices to get them sizzling and began chopping the onion. Toddler wanted me to sit down with him on the floor and watch him play with my spice rack. So, I sat down and continued chopping (don't worry, the onion wasn't on the floor!!) Toddler then wanted to help chopping, which, of course he could not do, so he took the onion and put in the spice rack. It was then that the onion reacted with his eyes and he started crying.
So, I took the onion, the toddler came and sat on my lap for a cuddle, and continued chopping.
Finished chopping and went to put it in the pot only to see that the oil had burned!!! (Toddler is still in my arms at this point - so I'm explaining to him that we've burnt the oil and will need to start again, and not to touch the pot because it is hot!!)
Fortunately, I have another pot, and this time, at least, the onion is chopped. So, we get to the point where the onion is in the pot frying. Toddler seems occupied scrubbing the burnt pot clean (he was scrubbing for some of the time, he was also delighted to be playing with water). I begin blending the tomato, garlic and ginger. Toddler is, of course, fascinated. So, he wants "up" to see what is happening. (Usually he is happy to stand on a set of steps, but last night he wanted to be held instead). This was okay as he didn't touch anything. I finished blending and added the sauce to the pot where it very quickly started burning (I have since read that the recipe calls for a medium heat - not high heat, which I shall bear in mind in future).
Desperate not to have another burnt pot, I put the toddler down and begin stirring frantically, trying to save the sauce. I throw in the water and potato's (which I had fortunately already chopped) stirring viciously, while the toddler is pulling at my legs having a very good moan and, suddenly, he manages to pull my trousers down!!! (I kid you not).
This gets my attention.
No! I say, trying to pull up my trousers whilst still stirring the pot. Toddler looks at me, realising that this wasn't a light hearted "no", this was an angry one, and slowly moves away.
I return to the pot, eventually deciding it will be okay and then leave it to simmer. Finally able to give the toddler the attention he needs.
It is one thing to plan to cook for healthy meals. It is another when a young child is added to the mix. It can become quite stressful and pots can get burned!
The food turned out really nice after all, and my pots will be cleaned. But the amount of energy that went into one night of cooking makes the idea of doing it all again tonight not all that exciting. It is understandable why so many mom's turn to ready cooked meals.
I know there is the option of pre-cooking and freezing. I have already frozen one meal that I cooked earlier in the week, which I will defrost and try out on Friday.
I have planned a schedule and I will stick to it this week. But I see why I have shied away from this. A recipe that should have taken half an hour to cook took much longer, which of course affected bath time and bed time. I will bear that in mind in future cooking episodes. I can also understand why ordering in is so much easier in my mind, now. Cooking is not the relaxing experience it once was!