Thursday, 10 February 2011

Making life easier: the blender

One of my goals for 2011 is to make life easier for myself.  If I can save time and effort on the minutiae that doesn't really matter - like housework - I'll have more to spend on the things which do, like improving my health.

The first step was a new blender.  My old one was the usual 'bowl with blades in the bottom' arrangement, and came apart for cleaning. Sounds fine, but with my ropey motor skills I usually cut myself on it while trying to pull it apart and put it back together. There was also some knack to making it go together properly which I never mastered, which meant sometimes I'd get half my ingredients in and realise the damn thing was leaking.

No more. I've binned it in favour of a stick blender.

It's much easier to wash - just give it a quick 'zzzt' in a sink full of suds and a rinse under the tap, and it doesn't take up the whole drying rack, either. Paired with a thick glass jug it has made blending a lot easier.

So what?

Well, when things are difficult (or painful, in the case of my cut fingers) by and large we avoid them. If you have the nagging feeling that the world and everything in it was specifically engineered to cause you discomfort or pain anyway, that tendency can be even more pronounced.  For me, avoiding the beastly blender meant fewer smoothies and less soup, which in turn meant a reduced fruit and vegetable intake.

I really struggle with fruit and veges. Even things that are generally considered to be yummy, like strawberries, I usually find quite bitter and unpalatable. But through smoothies loaded up with bananas and berries, and pureed soups full of vegetable goodness, I can manage something vaguely approaching the recommended daily dose of vegetation.

One of my favourite soups recipes isn't really a recipe at all. It's just an assemblage of whatever vegetables I happen to have handy at the time, fried up until caramelised and then blended with chicken stock.

This particular batch is more substantial than most, often it'll be little more than onion, capsicum, garlic, and other condimentish things that you wouldn't usually use as the base of an entire meal.

Once it's all nicely cooked up (note - those big chunks of carrot will take forever!) then the lot heads blenderwards with some instant stock...

And there's dinner sorted. This is one of the simplest fixes I've made, yet it has made a genuine improvement in my life. It wasn't expensive, either - it's just a cheapie which cost less than $40. So for the cost of a restaurant meal, I've made a real improvement to my day to day diet.