Ready to create your very own perfect capsule recipe collection?
I’m excited, this is the fun part.
In order to build a recipe collection of your dreams, you need to become really clear on what it is you are trying to achieve here, and most importantly: Why!
There are so many reasons why this can be useful, but to be clear on what it means for yourself makes it easier to put it in to practise.
Maybe you want to
– be healthier throughout winter and dodge the colds.
– avoid the weight gain in the colder months.
– spend less time in the kitchen after a long day at work.
– stop feeling guilty about the food you eat.
– enable your spouse to help out more with shopping and cooking.
– save money.
– feel excited about the food you feed your family.
– be clear on what to cook without having to spend hours recipe searching.
– introduce more variety into your cooking.
They are all good reasons and there are plenty more.
It can change over time too. For me it started out with wanting to create nourishing home cooked meals with ease, but lately it has also shifted towards wanting to create café style meals at home because we can’t afford to eat out as much and I miss that.
Take a piece of paper and write down your why. It will help you stay focused. Then go through the next three questions and note down your answers as well.
Question 1: What are your culinary challenges?
This can mean allergies, intolerances and preferences.
You may think that you know them in your head, but it really does help to put pen to paper and write them out. Just to keep it front of mind, even if your family is not as complicated as we are :).
Our family of three is an allergy nightmare and gives me headaches all the time.
Combined, we have to stay away from the following:
- capsicum (and paprika in all forms)
- raw carrot
- raw coconut
- curry spices
- legumes (beans, chickpeas, lentils etc) and seeds only in limited amounts
Also note down what you like to eat less of, even if it isn’t an allergy. For us that is meat. But it can be anything that you feel doesn’t serve you in your diet. And if you hate a particular food, write that down too.
Now you have a list of problem foods that you can refer back to when you work on your recipe collection.
Clarity is good!
Question 2: What is your lifestyle?
This is important because it is so easy to get trapped in what we would like our life to be like. Being honest about how much time you have and what you can realistically achieve is key.
That was a really tough one for me. I used to cook a lot, fuss about in the kitchen for hours and loved it. But my life is different now. I have a two year old, I am often tired, I have less time to fuss and don’t really want to. I need to consider lunches to go for my husband and feeding a toddler. There will be a time when that changes again, but for now this is the reality and that’s ok.
I need simple, easy, quick and nourishing meals during the week. On weekends I have a little more time but don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen then either.
Honesty is good!
Question 3: Which recipes do you already have?
Looking through the recipes you already have and often make helps shine a light on your preferences. This can be quite the eye opener. It can help you walk away from bad habits and form good ones instead.
I went through my entire recipe collection and chose those ones that I really love making based on last weeks blueprint. A few things became obvious very quickly. In winter I love hearty meat based stews, often cooked with wine. I’m very partial to French cooking, coq au vin, boeuf bourguignon and the like. That’s not necessarily bad but needs to be balanced out with some lighter dishes. Unsurprisingly raw foods are in the minoriy on my winter list. In the cold season I crave warm, comforting dishes but I also know that I feel best if I eat a good amount of raw fruit and vegetables. The vegetable side dishes I chose were all cooked and rather heavy. I think that needs a bit of reviewing.
Interestingly, even though I would say I am hugely fond of asian cooking for its flavour and freshness, I didn’t have a single dish on my list! Time to find some asian meals to add to my capsule and kick out some of the stews.
I use a wide variety of vegetables and that came out in my summary as well (looking at all dishes combined). It is quite common for me to come home from the market with 20 different fruits and vegetables. If you struggle with choosing different types of vegetables and revert to the same ones over and over, this is a great chance to introduce more into your diet.
And here we are, ready with our first draft of our capsule. Next week we want to review it based on the guidelines and finalize our personal winter capsule recipe collection.
Let me know which vegetables you’d like to add to your capsule but don’t know how, I’d love to help find the right recipes for you!
Be kind to yourself!