Staying Vegan Tips and tricks for the rest of your life Fri, 28 Jan 2011 14:34:22 +0000 en hourly 1 Saving time with a little help from your friends Fri, 28 Jan 2011 14:34:22 +0000 Jason

I wanted to wrap up saving time in the kitchen week with something a little more fun than a relentless push for efficiency, so here’s a great way to make more elaborate meals while getting to spend time with friends:

The book I mentioned is called The Millennium Cookbook: Extraordinary Vegetarian Cuisine [affiliate link], which is actually a vegan cookbook, but it’s not one I’d recommend for your first vegan cookbook ever, since it’s a little fancy pants, but that brunch was pretty darned tasty.

By the way, the concept I’m introducing in this video is called “stacking” and it’s an alternative to multitasking.  Multitasking has been shown to suck majorly for humans, mostly in business environments but also pretty much everywhere else.  We’re just not as good as computers at it, and even though the “it lowers your IQ more than marijuana” study has been discounted, the productivity experts I’ve studied seem to advocate one thing at a time.  Of course, a kitchen environment usually means a lot of bouncing between tasks that are all happening at the same time (you chop the celery while the onions cook and somehow you’re also mopping up a spill, etc) but bringing in friends can at least reduce some of that.

Where stacking comes in is the layering of complementary tasks together, so one doesn’t take away from the ability to do the other – think going for a walk while listening to an audio book, versus checking your email while having dinner with your family. In this case, you’re cooking a great meal and spending more time with friends (although the two are separate if you’re bringing the food to someone else’s house, the actual meal is a combination of your efforts.)

What else, in the kitchen and in your life, can you do at the same time without sacrificing the results of each activity?

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Saving time in the kitchen, part 4 Thu, 27 Jan 2011 14:28:37 +0000 Jason

As part of saving time in the kitchen week, here’s the second example I promised you that demonstrates the concept that if you do one action to accomplish a specific goal (saving time in this case) it often means stopping another action, which might be something you actually enjoy doing.

Which brings me to today’s example – and the internet’s got to be big enough that I’m not the only one with this particular value system!  Even if you think I’m a freak after watching this, realize that you’ve probably got some unique quirks of your own that you’re not going to see identified in any book, video, or guide on saving time.  That’s why I’m working on the principles this week – how you enact them is going to be up to you and your situation.

Oh, and someone’s going to mention it if I don’t – yes, I’ve actually looked into water use by dishwasher and hand washing, and I haven’t been able to find any credible comparisons yet, but it seems to be fairly close from some reports I’ve seen (plus I’m not the most efficient hand washer.)  I’m not trying to play the “vegans use less water in food production so this is OK” card but this is certainly a case where I’m taking advantage of a modern convenience (much like indoor plumbing) to meet my goals, and I’m aware that there’s a footprint, but I suspect that my choices of how many dishes to use in a meal has more impact on resource use than my cleaning technique.  If anyone has any actual info though, I’d love to learn more!

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Saving time in the kitchen, part 3 Wed, 26 Jan 2011 15:02:08 +0000 Jason

It’s time management week here at SV where we talk about saving time while preparing delicious meals, and today I’ve got the first of 2 real life examples of what I talked about yesterday: doing something for the purpose of saving time often means not doing something else, and you might enjoy that other activity, so you’re going to have to decide what’s important to you.

In this case, I like working with a chef’s knife, but my time is more valuable right now, so I’m making the effort to use my mandolin slicer. I’m not doing this example to sell slicers, but I know people are going to ask and they’re really useful tools that not everyone knows about, so here’s a link to the Borner model I use, which is a little under $40 right now, but like I said, you can get a simple slicer for under eight bucks if you want – I’m pretty sure that’s the model I started with years ago before moving up to the Borner. And yes, both of those links are affiliate links, I make money if you buy from them, which like I said wasn’t my goal here but the links took time to find so I figure that’s fair – if you don’t want to send me a commission just go to Amazon (or your local cooking store) and find something yourself.

Don’t be too alarmed by the “people also bought” links showing armoured gloves, by the way. If you pay attention while you’re slicing and use the handle properly you’ll be fine. I still have all my fingers, but yes, the blade is very sharp, just like your knives are, so use the appropriate amount of caution…

I’m happy to answer any other questions about mandolins in the comments, but while you’re in there, has this given you any ideas of a “do this not that” that you can put into action in your kitchen to save time, even though it’s replacing something you don’t mind doing? I think that’s the key – not so much that you’re giving up something you love to do, because it might make sense to keep doing that, but there are so many things in our lives that we don’t mind doing that we never take the trouble to optimize because it doesn’t seem like a big deal – let me know what you come up with in the comments, and tomorrow I’ll show another example from my life!

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Saving time in the kitchen, part 2 Tue, 25 Jan 2011 15:03:28 +0000 Jason

It’s time-saving week here at Staying Vegan, and today we’re digging a little deeper into saving time preparing your delicious vegan meals.  As I said yesterday, there are some simple tricks you can do to save time (and there are some great ideas in the comments) but I want to take this a different way and present some concepts you might not have considered before.

Why haven’t you thought about them?  Because they’re blindingly obvious, but only when said out loud: the key to saving time preparing meals is to spend less time preparing meals, and doing one thing means not doing another thing.  Cryptic much?  Here’s a better explanation:

Tomorrow I’ll give the first of two examples of something I’ve chosen to do, at the expense of something I actually enjoy, because my goal is to get to that magic 2 minutes of savings that’s going to yield me 12 hours of extra time over the course of the year.

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Saving time in the kitchen, part 1 Mon, 24 Jan 2011 15:44:03 +0000 Jason

This week we’re going to be talking about saving time in the kitchen – both because it’s the number one thing people ask about when they subscribe to the newsletter, and also because it’s been on my mind a lot! Between running a company and raising a baby, it’s been a real challenge to find time to make these videos, so I’ve been thinking a lot about how to optimize my day so I can spend more time on the things that are important to me.

Guess what? It’s not about the recipes you pick:

So yes, it’s not about making food in big batches, or using a slow cooker, or managing leftovers, but that’s all part of it, which we’ll explore later in the week. Key theme: save 2 minutes a day in the kitchen, and you get 12 hours of extra time this year. If you can save more, you get even more, but let’s start with something that’s achievable for everyone.

Today’s homework question: how much time do you spend on the average dinner? Let me know in the comments!

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The best of 2010 Thu, 23 Dec 2010 15:01:48 +0000 Jason

OK, the original plan was to push right through the holidays, and then I got… the flu.  Not The Swine Flu, but something nasty, and forming complete sentences, while standing up, while using an audible voice, well, that was too tricky.

I’m better now, but I think I’m going to take this as a hint, slow down a bit for the holidays, and come back strong in 2011.  Lucky for me, the last video’s ask for the best videos so far makes for a nifty list to round out the year, so here’s some stuff that other people found really helpful and you might enjoy also:

No matter what you do at this time of year, I hope you and your family do it well, and let’s focus on an amazing 2011!

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Which videos have made the biggest impact so far? Sat, 18 Dec 2010 04:34:34 +0000 Jason

OK, it turns out this is video 71 in the series, so yes, more than 60 like I said in the video, but “more than 70″ sounds so much cooler.

I make these videos for you, but also for me, and honestly, mostly for me.  They’re things I need to prepare for as I go about my life, and I’m happy to share them, but as I pointed out in today’s video, I need to watch them as much as anyone:

So here’s what I want to do this weekend: which videos of the past 70 have made the biggest difference for you? Was there one that really clicked, or helped you right away with a problem you were trying to work out? Let me know which one it was in the comments, because I want to turn this into a top ten list of sorts, as chosen by you – not to make myself look awesome, but to figure out what’s working and help other people find the best stuff.

You don’t need to put the links, just say which video has been the biggest help and I’ll link it up later. I’m taking a bit of a risk here, so please don’t leave me hanging! :)

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Vegan celebrities have their uses Fri, 17 Dec 2010 03:24:17 +0000 Jason

OK, I get it, finally.  For years I’ve rolled my eyes when I saw animal rights ads featuring vegan celebrities (especially once they stopped being vegan) but I’m starting to see the light.  After filming yesterday’s video about vegans in business, I can finally see how vegan celebrities are useful in some contexts:

Where are you in that particular belief cycle?  Has your opinion changed (in either direction) over time?

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Defending veganism in business Thu, 16 Dec 2010 02:19:15 +0000 Jason

We’ve talked around this one in previous videos and comments, but there’s a perception out there that it’s hard, if not impossible, to be vegan if you do a lot of business networking and the associated meals. Naw. In fact, I’ve got a new comeback at the ready in case it ever comes up:

The story I’m talking about is The Rise of the Power Vegans, which I kind of made fun of here [URL NSFW, content fine and dandy], but hey, in the right setting, it’s possibly useful.

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Being vegan at catered events Wed, 15 Dec 2010 03:04:24 +0000 Jason

I’ve been to a few catered events over the years – some weddings, sure, but also a golf tournament banquet, some business functions, and some other stuff too.  They were all fun events, and I met some great people at my table, but the dinners weren’t vegan, and if I didn’t take a chance on getting something other than the rubbery chicken (and risk having an empty plate) I wouldn’t have had those experiences.  Here’s what I’ve learned about going to catered events:

Some fun trivia about my last catered meal: I forgot to ask for a vegan option until the morning of the meal, but the organizer made it happen.  The next day, she asked how it was, and I told her how amazing she was for pulling that meal together – even the wine was vegan! (It happened to be a Barnivore-approved wine, but I suspect she didn’t know what I was talking about.  I thought it was a good compliment though.)

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