Dithering. Many people wring their hands and can’t quite wrap their head around getting started making Chop. They worry. They put it off. They concern themselves with the details. They simply don’t know how to begin. Well, I guess you should begin at the beginning.
The easiest way to handle what appears to be a daunting prospect is to divide the workload into two days. Day one, you cook all of the grans, rice, pasta and beans. This makes things easier right from the get-go. Because on day two, you are simply adding to the cooked stuff by chopping all of the produce. If it feels easier, then it is easier. It doesn’t seem like such a huge proposition.
I didn’t do it that way my first few times around and it’s a long day. By dividing the workload into two days, it’s easier on your feet and your mind. Another positive about cooking the starches the day before and storing them in the fridge is that it keeps the vegetables chilly while you are chopping, mixing and bagging them.
I learned something else: You know how I put newspaper down on top of the grates in my Grey’s cages to keep things easier to clean? I do that to the counters of my kitchen now before I make Chop. Cover the whole damned thing with newspaper. All of it. Don’t worry about the floor; a quick sweep and a mop will take care of that. But it is so much easier to simply wad up the newspaper and toss it when you are through with the Chop. All your counters need is a quick going-over with a soapy cloth and you’re good as new.
You needn’t be afraid of making Chop simply because it seems like such a daunting task. Start small with just one each of a few vegetables, add some cooked quinoa and see how it goes over. Adjust your ingredients to their preferences and to their specific needs as you do more research on what that species requires. Here is one of my smaller batches from years ago:
It really looks more difficult than it is. And the payoff is wonderful. Do your cooking on day one and “Shop and Chop” on day two. The best part of day two is waking up and realizing that half your chop is already completed.
Dry ingredients at the bottom before adding chopped stuff.
I made about 220 portions of Chop this past weekend for my three Greys. It’s very likely not all of it will be going to my Greys, because I have a couple of friends that like it for their birds. But this batch came out really nicely, with a dark green, robust color with touches of red, orange and yellow. Because I used a lot of wheat grass in it, it has a rather shaggy appearance to it. The long strands were appealing to my birds when they taste tested it. I think it added texture and interest as well as the nutrition.
Pot #2 closeup before being added to the batch.
And when you’re shopping, you never know who you’re going to meet! Yes, I met my friend Barbara over at Whole foods in the pasta aisle!
I don’t know when I’ll have to make Chop again, but in all honesty, I don’t think I’ll have to pull that food processor out again until about February.