Blog by Danila Ardé
Sustainable Merton Operations & Volunteer Manager
It may seem an overstatement to say The Batch Lady has changed my life, but this is not an exaggeration.
During the pandemic when all our lives were turned upside down, I found myself trying to juggle a job, home-schooling two primary school children, a work-from-home husband and a house full of hungry people. Instead of calmly sending everyone off with packed lunches in the morning, the new demands on my time became almost unbearable and I knew a needed a new plan! I turned to the internet (as we all do) and that’s when I found “The Batch Lady”...
THE CONCEPT 💡
We’re all familiar with the basic batch-cooking principles of cooking once, and eating twice. Making a double batch of something and then freezing a portion for later. I’ve always done that, but it didn’t quite give me the free time I had hoped for. And that is where Suzanne Mulholland, aka “The Batch Lady” really transformed the entire concept of batch cooking.
What’s the difference, you may ask? Well, it’s quite simple, and pure genius! Suzanne used her time management training skills to move batch cooking from “making one extra” and upscaled it into a production line of productivity and produce. I watched her make ten meals in one hour, on one of her early YouTube posts and thought I’d give it a go. The idea rests on planning and setting aside time to not just batch cook a little extra, but to batch cook for a family of four for a week, freezing a mix of either part-cooked or fully cooked meals, which are easy to defrost, reheat or prepare.
THE TRANSFORMATION 💫
Admittedly, my first try took me an hour and half – and that’s mostly because I have a kitchen which is smaller than my bathroom, however I did it! It was such a success I’ve never looked back. I tweaked a few recipes and added a few changes (which is par for the course), but all her recipes allow for that level of flexibility which is great for adding in extra veg or dealing with fussy families.
After the first success, I decided to try a few other batch-cooking sessions and it was so much fun! I was so enthusiastic with my batch-cooking, we went so far as needing to buy an extra second-hand undercounter freezer off a local marketplace! The freezer is now full of all sorts of food, from curries, soups, bolognese, casseroles, cakes, muffins, hamburgers, vegetarian burgers, quiches, traybakes, waffles, pizza, lasagne, sauces to school lunches. If everyone wants a different meal this evening, it’s OK. Never thought I would ever say that!
For freezing, I re-use large plain yoghurt tubs, ice-cream containers and takeaway containers, instead of freezer bags, however using bags does mean you can fit more in your freezer and defrost more quickly – the choice is yours.
THE ADDED BONUSES ✅✅✅
What I had not anticipated, in trying to save myself time, was the other added bonuses…
Our grocery bill reduced dramatically!
We now have zero food waste, as we only buy what we eat and can cook
Everything is portioned out, so even if everyone wants to eat something different, I know we’re all having a home-cooked healthy meal.
I’ve been inspired to try new recipes, and new vegetables and my baking bonanzas last a bit longer because you can even freeze cakes.
We eat more vegetables than we did before, and our energy usage has dropped too.
Now that the children are back at school I also batch-prepare school lunches which has been a game changer.
I’ve taught the children these new techniques and they’ve mastered more than I could have imagined. The large batch of waffles in the freezer was made by the children!
If you want to change your life, free up time, save money, eat healthily, and reduce stress, I’d highly recommend “The Batch Lady”!
Find out more at thebatchlady.com/about