I’m super cheap. And we eat a lot of food. We live in a place that definitely isn’t known for being a Vegan Mecca, so there’s lots of cooking going on in our house.
I’ll confess something, I’m not a huge fan of the actual cooking. The eating, I adore. The shopping, organizing, cooking, kitchen cleaning, not so much. Well, maybe that’s not fair. When things are peaceful and I get to cook at my own pace… without reminding one kid 50 times to do his homework and when I don’t have a toddler pushing his stool to the counter and screaming “help! mama! help!” and frantically signing “cook” over and over and over… and when bedtime deadlines aren’t looming… and I’ve actually managed to procure food from the grocery store, then yes, I do enjoy cooking. But weeknight, chaotic cooking is not my favorite thing in the world.
Once the food is on the table and all 4 of us are eating together, laughing and chatting and shooing away cats, that I love.
I’ve been slowly trying to adjust to batch cooking so I can make these nights less frantic. So my future chef can help without making my head explode because of his (adorable) attention to detail (read: mega ultra slowness). And so I can remind Shae to finish his homework, in a non-screamy, non-naggy tone of voice.
One thing that I’ve been doing weekly, for a few months now, is making a huge double batch of seitan. I love Joanna’s from Yellow Rose Recipes. So much so, that I wrote the doubled recipe in multicolored chalk on the inner doors of my pantry. We get lots of questions about that from visitors. I’ve tried other recipes, but this one just sticks. I’ve served it to so many non-vegans who have loved it, including tons of kids. And believe me, kids will tell you when they don’t like something.
Not only is seitan delicious, but it’s also super versatile and really inexpensive to make. I order my vital wheat gluten online to keep the price down. One double batch feeds our family for a few dinners scattered through the week, plus sandwiches for Shae and my husband Matt’s lunches every weekday. The huge amount of money we save makes up for how sore my hands are after all that gluten kneading.
And since I cook this ahead of time, I choose to do it at a calm part of the day, when it’s just Silas and I at home and the house is quiet. My little kitchen helper was able to “help! help! help!” as much as he wanted. And I definitely enjoyed that.