Cooking for busy people: an introduction

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Okay! So cooking has been something I’ve been doing since Colin and I were attached. I was always somewhat of a baker, but cooking was something I picked up more of only after we got together.

I’m starting this series because people often ask: “how do you wake up so early in the morning to cook?” and for tips and hacks for how we cook so fast and still make it to work on time.

Also ah, this series of blog posts are going to look and feel cui because seriously… when people ask me to blog about this, I’m already rushing to finish cooking in one hour every morning lehhhhh, who got time to so hipster document everything and make pretty pretty handsome handsome??

So this is HASHTAG #reallife #attainablegoals #nofilter okay. Just sayin.

Moving along~

The background story

(can skip, not important)

For context, Colin and I practice having a heavy breakfast (we cook in the morning, pack food to work and eat at our desks) and skipping lunch. This generally has nothing to do with us wanting to lose weight. (People often ask us if skipping lunch helps us lose weight.) It’s just our efficient way of fighting the post-lunch coma that plagues many people. And when you have a heavy breakfast, you won’t feel hungry at 11am (distracted, snack), eat a heavy lunch at 12.30pm (because hungry), then fall asleep after lunch (distracted), leading to a generally unproductive day.

Colin and I have personalities that value efficiency and high-productivity. So. Yes.

What time we endeavor to reach the office: 9am

What time we endeavor to wake up to cook: 6.45am

Actual time I physically roll out of bed: 7am

Actual time we leave the house: Between 8-8.30am (Commute takes us 30-45mins on most days)

Colin and I have devised a system of kitchen tango where I’d get out of bed first, head to the kitchen to cook, and he’ll come out a little later to start washing up when I’m almost done cooking, which is when I go back to the bedroom to start applying make-up.

So my caveat to you if you want to cook in the morning and make it to work on time: IS YOUR HUSBAND GOING TO CLEAN UP? NO? ARE YOU WILLING TO WAKE UP AT 5AM? NO? … You have your answer there.

Question: So why don’t you just cook at night instead? 

Because I hate microwaving my food lor, that’s all. It just tastes better freshly prepared in the morning. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Tools of the trade

Some things you’ll need to make life easier to #mealprep for work in an hour:

  • Airfryer
    • Yes, the Philips one is superior, we have tested others, and the Philips model is still hands down superior in terms of power, speed, etc)
    • Most days the airfryer is my BFF for morning meal preps. Why? Because you can toss something in and go prepare something else without having to worry about the house burning down. +100 points for efficiency.

  • A decent non-stick pan
    • I prefer the wok variety (that’s deeper) for frying Chinese vegs/saucy stuff e.g. Happycall is pretty good
    • Easy to clean!

  • A silicon spatula
    • Doesn’t hurt your pan surface
  • Chopsticks
    • For poking and tossing things around in the airfryer, because I AM ASIAN. I hate to fulfil stereotypes but seriously, I use chopsticks for everything.
  • Ziplock bags
    • IKEA’s are superior. Hands down. The Daiso ones are utterly nonsense
    • For marinating food overnight, portioning frozen food into different baggies for use over multiple days (when you cook for two, portioning food is an art. Especially when your husband is the type that cannot eat the same thing two days in a row and needs variety = cannot #mealprep same thing for the whole week.)
  • Aluminium foil
    • For the oven! For the airfryer! So you don’t have to wash so many things afterwards. Yay.

Food hacks

Useful things we keep in the kitchen to make things tasty, fast:

  • A variety of herbs and spice mixes/rubs (quick and fast marinating!)
  • A variety of instant sauces (lee kum kee also my friend)
  • Olive oil (cause psychologically feel better about eating it lah hor)
  • Your mother’s kitchen staples: light soy sauce lah, oyster sauce la (we use the vegetarian one. Why? Dunno leh my mother say healthier so I buy lor)
  • If you want, you can also use bottled/pre-peeled garlic (my sister will judge), and I use bottled hae bee hiam (shrimp paste) too

Foodie connoisseurs, please judge all you want. Are you cooking at 6.45am in the morning and have to be at the office at 9am with a full face of makeup and appropriately dressed? No? No? Okay. (Some of these guys will feature more in subsequent posts with recipes!)

Other tips

AKA: Don’t be lazy, prepare some things the night before.

  • Marinating meat? Chop ’em up and marinate them the night before
  • Roasting root vegetables (e.g. carrot, pumpkin), chop ’em up the night before

Okay! That’s all on the practical tips side (before we get into any actual recipes) for how to #mealpreplikeaboss in the morning before work!

If after you read this and you feel very chuan, sorry lor. Maybe you can still use these easy recipes for the weekend or an evening meal!

Coming up next: Recipes!


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