So Fresh

The grey days of winter are quickly moving out. As I walk around outside, I see spring flowers starting to peak through the ground. I think to myself, “these flowers don’t realize that this is winter in Indiana, where it can snow in May.”

I don’t allow my hopes to get up about early spring. Yesterday it was almost 60 degrees. Snow is falling this morning when I let our dog. But the birds are all chirping and the bunnies are hoping all over the yard.

There is something about spring. Almost is like a second new year. A new beginning. I feel like its a chance to start something new. It is also the time I start dreaming of flower gardens and vegetable gardens. The colors and the flavor that returns with the Spring/Summer fruits and vegetables. I get excited seeing the variety in the grocery store and local farmer’s markets.

Seeing plants grow is an amazing experience. From nothing into something. As a gift for Christmas I received an Aerogarden for herbs. I had heard of these products and expected them to be like “Chia Pets” from my childhood. (I believe I have seen Chia Pets at Target recently.)

After reading the instructions, I added water, plant food, and the seed pods. It has been about 2 months and I have a flourishing herb garden. The plants are beautiful and fragrant. I have always wanted to have indoor herbs and now I do!

Here is my problem, I don’t know what to do with these beautiful plants! I am not am experienced or creative cook. I am very much a beginner. And I do not want these plants to be just for looking at. I want to taste and experience them. I watch the Food Network in amazement at the detail of flavor combinations. The ease of the chefs slicing and dicing and the presentation of each dish. It all looks so simple. A Full gourmet meal in a 30 minute show. Some days it takes me 30 minutes just to chop my vegetables.

The thing I try to remind myself is that it is okay to be a beginner. And that I need to work with what I have. I am not a Food Network chef. Those people have been working at perfecting the skill of cooking and creating meals for decades. I have not. There is no comparison. I also have other responsibilities in my life that need to be my focus as I am learning to cook.

What can I do today?

Meal plan. I can look up one or two recipes that use these fabulously fresh herbs. I say one or two because more than two new recipes in one week is overwhelming to me. Because this is a new skill, cooking takes me longer than the recipe says. I add the ingredients of the recipe to my grocery list.

Meal prep. I can wash and cut my vegetables. As I said before, I am a slow veggie chopper. But if this part of the job is already done, cooking the meal doesn’t take near as long.

Remember the purpose. I enjoy the flavors of fresh, whole foods and I am learning. Everyday is a survey of what worked and what didn’t work. I believe the survey is an important part of the learning process. If I am not assessing then I cannot fully adapt this into my life because I will not see the benefit. When I take assessment, I can clearly see obstacles and potential strategies to overcome the obstacles. I am also able to at my growth and improvement which gives me confidence.

This process is going to take time but little by little, consistently over time I believe I will become a better cook. I am committed to this. I know there is a reason I love fresh, whole foods. I may not be Bobby Flay, but one day I will make food my family and friends will enjoy!

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