It All Starts with Buttered Carrots – The Granny Plan

It All Starts With Buttered Carrots - 12 Steps to Real Food Mastery

Today is the day …

The day we start practicing step #1 of “The Granny Plan”! We’re all ready to dive in but before we do let’s take a moment to consider what we’re working to achieve with this plan. I think there is a little confusion about what we’re working for … some think we’ll be learning the fundamental dishes of real food cookery, or that the plan will be so very detailed that it won’t be a good fit your specific situation. Nope, not the case. Let’s consider what “The Granny Plan” is and isn’t about.

What “The Granny Plan” isn’t

Just to be really clear about what we’re working on here, we are working on habits. Routines. Making the whole thing as mindless as driving is to you today. Remember when you were learning to drive? How complicated the whole thing was! How could anyone do this everyday? Without wrecks? It took sooooo much concentration. But before you knew it you were whipping in and out of traffic, talking with friends, listening to music, all without a hitch. “The Granny Plan” isn’t about specific recipes, or must-make-dishes and exactly how to do them. Sure we’ll cover a few basics here, but for the most part I’ll be directing you to try some of the recipes you have stashed away that your family will like, or to make something you already make more often. We’ll be working on the routines that keep you ready to cook mostly. And routines that make the family happier with that cooking.

“The Granny Plan” is about getting the basics down

I’m a amateur hobbyist guitar player. And I love to read :-). Something that James Taylor’s brother Livingston Taylor wrote in his book Stage Performance comes to mind here. He urged all performers to stick with the level of playing they were VERY comfortable with on stage. Most beginning performers do the opposite, trot out the hardest thing they know in an effort to impress the audience. Then they’re nervous, mess up, act embarrassed and alienate the audience. When a performer sticks with the basics things are easy and the performance is smooth, the audience loves you for your easy confidence and familiarity. Same thing when learning to cook regularly. Sticking with the basics first, then slowly venturing out into new territory brings your audience on board with this whole real food cooking eat at home thing. Often we think we need to replicate restaurant meals or make something so good they’ll just have to rave about it to get them with the program. But we have no practice at it, it gets messed up, they pick at the meal or worse complain, dinner is exhausting and stressful, then we don’t feel like cooking and they don’t feel like eating :-). Next dinner everyone wants to order pizza and we give in exhausted from the struggle of it all.

Truth is Granny didn’t make elaborate meals everyday. She made basic fare everyday with a few special dishes thrown in from time to time to spice things up. We need to learn to mindlessly make the basics. When we can do that, we’re ready to add the spice.

On that note lets get started with this week’s lesson!

It All Starts With Buttered Carrots …

We’re going to start out slowly with just one small task. I know you have the energy and enthusiasm right now to take on so much more but I’m going to ask you not to. Trust me that one small task is the best way to start. I don’t want you to flame out by overdoing it or scare the family with too many changes at once.

Let’s start with a bowl of simple buttered carrots. Some of us have never cooked anything before other than microwave meals. Some of us can turn out a gourmet meal for a party of 8. Most of us are somewhere in between, like me. It doesn’t matter. We can all start with a bowl of buttered carrots.

We are starting with a simple routine of buttered vegetables because everyone can do this quickly and feel a sense of accomplishment! Every evening when you make some buttered veggies you will know you are making real progress! Grandma would be proud!

Steps to kick off this weeks habit

  • Today when you go out or tonight on your way home from work stop and buy a big bunch of carrots from whatever grocery store is handiest. Doesn’t matter if it’s the Piggly Wiggly, Walmart, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods or Kroger. Don’t dwell on the quality of the carrots you are buying. Just get a lot of them. Thinking too much about quality at this point will only sidetrack you. If you know you have a carrot hater to feed substitute any other veggie that you know they will eat.
  • Next at that same store pick the best quality butter they have handy. Again, don’t worry too much about quality! Just check the ingredients to be sure it’s real butter. I give you permission to not be discriminating :-).
  • Do you have a vegetable peeler, a knife and a pot? If not, mosey on over to the housewares aisle and get them. You’ll be using them a lot. Get a stainless steel or enameled pot. As you build up your chops and supplies these simple tools will likely be replaced. Or maybe not, I still cook with a stainless pan I bought at Kroger’s for $3 when my 24 year old was a baby. Point is to get started today as cheaply and easily as possible. Get a wooden spoon too!
  • When it’s about 30 minutes before dinner that night start preparing the carrots. Doesn’t matter if you’re having pizza, take-out burgers, a delicious new recipe you’ve been dying to try or hamburger helper. Don’t worry about whether the carrots go with whatever you’re having. Nutrition goes with everything! Use the peeler to remove the outer skin from the carrots, slice them and put them in a pot of water. Add a little bit of salt (1 tsp) and put on the stove to boil. Boil till tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the water, then melt a tablespoon or so of butter over them.
  • Just casually mention the carrots to your family, suggesting that they try them. Eat a heaping helping yourself.

Now you’ve got the first day under your belt … congrats :-)! Feels great doesn’t it? And it was pretty easy to do. Next we need to carry this habit forward and do it every night this week. Doesn’t have to be carrots each night … any buttered veggie will do. Even if you’re eating take-out still take the time to make your 10-15 minute bowl of buttered veggies each and every night. At the store pause to consider just these buttered vegetable bowls and ensure you have the vegetables your family likes and plenty of butter for the coming week.

Let’s get this habit down this week, then we move on to #2!

Let us know how it’s going in the comment section below.


Just Getting Started?

This post is part of a series. It’s important to start with the first post and work your way thru step by step. If you’d like to get a general overview of where we’re going with “The Granny Plan” you can subscribe to my blog post update list and you’ll be able to download “10 Steps to Cooking Like a Modern Day Granny”. We’ll be very loosely following the steps in that booklet, adding and taking away as it feels right. There are a few steps I plan to change up, but I’ll leave that as a surprise ;-).

Links to the rest of the series:

The Nourished Metabolism

"A good strong metabolism is about so much more than losing weight. A strong vibrant body depends on it! This book will give a good foundation for understanding how to support yours."

The Granny Plan

A review from Dawn at SmallFootprintFamily.com
"Your Granny Plan ebook is revolutionizing my kitchen. I’ve always been so daunted, overwhelmed and depressed about cooking. Now it’s becoming so easy: buttered vegetables, protein… simple, delicious, easy. I really needed that! … Your book is like the Rosetta Stone of the fridge for me."

Learn More on The Granny Plan page →

This post is shared at Homestead Barn Hop, Make Your Own Monday, Weekend Gourmet, Fat Tuesday, Show Me What Ya Got, Traditional Tuesdays, The Gathering Spot, TALU Tuesday, Party Wave Wednesday, Works for Me Wednesday, Whole Foods Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Tasty Traditions, Thank Your Body Thursday, Pennywise Platter, Simple Lives Thursday, Fight Back Friday and Old Fashioned Friday.

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lives just outside of Austin with her husband of 20 years Barry, youngest son Jake, three cats and about a dozen chickens. She has another older son and a beautiful daughter-in-law who live in Austin. While not a Grandma yet, with two grown kids she remains hopeful. Kathy wants a world where everyone has fresh wholesome food and feels that cookin' like a granny woman is the surest way to get there.


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Granny LOVES a great discussion! A thoughtful, in-depth look from all angles benefits us all. If you disagree let us know! But please remember you're in Granny's house and be respectful of that. If you wouldn't say it in your Grandma's hearing please don't say it here! No name-calling or foul language. Those comments that don't respect Granny's home will be deleted.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Brittany February 25, 2013 at 6:32 pm

I took my first bite of my buttered carrots and said, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!!?”

Peel chop boil add some butter? Are you KIDDING me?!? THESE ARE DELICIOUS AND THAT’S ALL YOU HAVE TO DO?!!

Seriously this is revolutionary.

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Kathy February 26, 2013 at 10:55 am
tiffany February 26, 2013 at 9:39 am

Thank you for doing this with us. I think this buttered carrots thing is something I can do. Because of family issues I’ve lost my nerve lately and staying with the real food thing has been the hardest thing. I have thought what I needed was a bunch of condiments and exotic spices to get interested in cooking and eating the food. When there’s stress I don’t eat much so it’s easy to eat pizza and then not think of food because I feel full. I know this is unhealthy, the feed yourself first step is crucial for me. I feed my son and husband then stand in the kitchen picking at a small plate of food contemplating the pile of dishes and wishing I had more motivation to keep going. I’m dealing with my own issues and trying to help my husband lose weight and do my best for my son. Not easy but worth it. Tiffany

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Kathy February 26, 2013 at 11:40 am

Some people eat more under stress and others don’t feel like eating much at all. I’m like you I have to remind myself to eat when I’m under pressure. It’s so very important though! You can really run yourself down by not eating … I speak from experience.

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hsmominmo February 27, 2013 at 10:56 am

(stopping by from WFMW)
We love buttered carrots around here! and you are right – doing things Granny’s way means making the most with what you have, sticking to the routines as best you can, and providing the best way you can provide. I look forward to poking around your site. Thank you for sharing!

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Linda @ Axiom at Home March 1, 2013 at 9:12 am

I love your comment: “nutrition goes with everything”! Such a great point. :)

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Kathy March 1, 2013 at 9:39 am

I think we tend to get hung up on making sure everything works together as a planned “meal” too early in the game. At first it helps to just focus on single dishes that are nutritious … making the meal blend comes a bit later.

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Sage March 1, 2013 at 9:43 am

I have 3 daughters here – one with 3 little ones of her own so we all got together and made carrots last night. Now all of them are without excuse! The little ones enjoyed the carrots better while we were cutting them up than they did cooked but at least they got some into them.
I am enjoying this process. I grow produce for farmer’s market but last year during the season we maybe had 5 meals that actually had veggies in them! Just too busy but now everyone knows how to cook up at least some carrots so this is a good start to eating better this year. Thanks so much.

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Kathy March 1, 2013 at 9:53 am

That’s wonderful! I’m busy teaching my youngest the same stuff so when he moves out to go to school he won’t starve :-). It really helps to start with baby steps. When I was first learning to cook I made steamed broccoli most everyday. My eldest ate broccoli everyday as a toddler and he loves it now as an adult. Most veggies taste good cooked very simply with some added fat … butter is perfect!

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Michele March 1, 2013 at 5:45 pm

Thank You! This is just my speed. I am 40 something and have never really cooked much. Sure, I can throw together a casserole or maybe throw something very simple into the crock pot but I get hung up on the “whole meal” planning so I just give up (including how to get it to all be ready at the same time). It all just seemed like too much. This may be just what I need to get into the habit of cooking. I love it that you acknowledge that many of us still get take out or fix hamburger helper, and for now that is OK:) We CAN build habits from there and improve and some day get to where we don’t need that “quick fix” anymore.

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Kathy March 1, 2013 at 9:43 pm

Little things done daily add up to big changes :-)

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Lea H @ Nourishing Treasures March 3, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Thank you for your submission on Nourishing Treasures’ Make Your Own! Monday link-up.

Check back tomorrow when the new link-up is running to see if you were one of the top 3 featured posts! :)

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Amy April 1, 2013 at 8:01 pm

Any suggestions of easy veggies to try besides carrots?

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Kathy April 1, 2013 at 9:08 pm

Broccoli or cauliflower are really good with just butter, so is summer squash, green beans and corn.

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Amy April 2, 2013 at 6:39 pm

Thank you! I love this idea – building on baby steps – and am excited to start. I am just not a huge fan of carrots. BUT, husband loves them, and he is who I really need to win over, eventually. So today after work I picked up fresh carrots, and some frozen corn and green beans to try too. If we can make it the norm to have vegetables, maybe we can branch out from there. :)

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Karen April 2, 2013 at 9:32 pm

I saw “buttered carrots” in this series and had to read the post…since I just discovered my all-time favorite way to eat carrots, sauteed in butter!! Mmmm-mmmm, so yummy! Practically as easy as boiling them and honestly, way better in flavor (IMO at least :^)). I throw in some chopped chives and a sprinkle of brown sugar and am generous with the butter I saute them in. I hope you’ll try them this way too sometime. :^)

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Kathy April 3, 2013 at 8:46 am

I have made them this way minus the brown sugar and you’re right they’re awesome!

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Lisa June 6, 2013 at 7:23 pm

I love this approach. I love the non dogmatic attitude. I’m looking forward to implementing these steps. I already make my own chicken soup and I’m going to use that as something to add to whatever else we’re eating as well as adding the buttered veggies.

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