I Really Hate to Cook

I don’t use the word “hate” lightly, but when it comes to making dinner on a nightly basis, it’s the perfect word to use.

Unless we’re talking about baking a box of Duncan Hines brownies or a batch of chocolate chip cookies made from a tub of Tollhouse Cookie Dough, then I don’t want to make it.

All the meal planning websites and menu organizing tips won’t inspire me to actually put food to pan and cook the fool thing. Even the best meal kits services won’t help me find the motivation it takes to prepare a healthy meal for my family night after night. Now if it showed up at my door, ALREADY COOKED, then THAT would be a service I could get used to. But not a service I can afford.

And yet, somehow, I feel like I am all alone on this.

I want to WANT TO cook, if you know what I mean. I WANT to feel the desire to provide for my family. It isn’t that I’m a bad cook necessarily. My food is edible. No one has ever complained of food poisoning from eating one of my meals. I can follow a basic recipe. I can even time things so the side dishes finish at the same time as the main dish. So, it isn’t that I’m a terrible cook, or that I don’t know what I’m doing.

I just DON’T WANT TO. I know…I’m whining here. But I really can’t get past it.

When I met my husband, my mother-in-law bragged to me that all three of her boys knew how to cook, clean, iron, and even sew on a button. In fact, on our second date, my husband made me a beautiful pot roast dinner from scratch.

If I was a smart woman, right then and there, I should have pretended that I couldn’t even boil water. Then we wouldn’t be in the mess we are now, because then he would be the one cooking dinner. He’s better at it than I am. It’s a fact. (Messier, but better). But he is the main bread winner and works full time, so it isn’t fair that I ask him to cook as well. He has enough responsibility. I can’t ask him to cook when he gets home from a long day at work.

It’s become a running joke with his co-workers when I text him at 5:45 asking to pick up dinner (usually fast food). They hassle him to no end.

When I go to the grocery store, I buy for the whole week, including leftovers. But by Wednesday evening (if not before) I’ve lost all motivation to prepare any of it.

I don’t know what is wrong with me!

I’m not depressed, I’m not stressed out (unusually), I’m not even particularly lazy, except when it comes to cooking every day.

If anyone has any suggestions on how to get motivated to cook dinner, I’d love to hear it. Or if anyone would like to commiserate, I’d love to hear that too.

Thanks for listening.

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I Have A Complicated Relationship with Food

Actually, it’s mostly lunch that I can’t stand. If I have another turkey and cheese sandwich, I think I’ll scream!

I generally eat to survive. I look forward to the day when we’re living like the Jetsons and can pop a “lunch pill” and be done with it. Don’t get me wrong…I will never turn down crab cakes, or a gourmet meal, and most definitely anything chocolate, so long as I don’t have to cook it. But the rest of it is just sort of…meh.

I’m not a “cooker” and as I’ve mentioned before, if I could skip the whole cooking process, I would in a heartbeat.

I tend to be a creature of habit: cereal for breakfast, mid-morning fruit bar, sandwich and chips for lunch (Yuck), a snack in the afternoon (usually something chocolate) and then dinner of whatever I can get the inspiration to cook or convince my husband to bring home (which happens way too often). If I could survive on coffee and croissants, life would be easy.

Add to it, I am 5’10” and tip the scales at 125lbs…on a good day. There’s nothing wrong with me. It’s the way I’m built. But being a skinny woman, I need to pack on the calories. If I miss a meal, I pay for it and it shows.

Which leads me back to lunch.

Help! What can I make to take to work?!

When I read articles on “bulking up” or maintaining weight, their first go-to is always nuts and yogurt. I don’t like either one of those. I’ve started drinking Ensure hoping to make up a few extra calories, but those things are expensive! I also am not wild about cold lunches (as I said, I’ve had enough of turkey sandwiches), and I don’t always have access to a microwave at work. My weakness is that there is a McDonald’s across the parking lot from my work. It’s a hot meal, but…well, it’s McDonald’s. Need I say more.

So, what is wrong with me? Why don’t I want to be bothered to eat? To think up something new every day? I must tell you that I’m kind of at my wit’s end!

Am I alone with this one? Am I going crazy? I’ll take any suggestions in the comments below for lunch ideas (so long as there are no legumes, nuts or yogurt).

Thanks!

A Lesson in Grocery Shopping

Let me start this post by saying that my husband is a wonderful man. I love him with all my heart. We’ve been married 18 years, as of next month, he’s a good husband, father and provider. But a housewife, he is not.

When he changed jobs last year  our monthly income went down quite a bit, as did the way we get paid: I get paid bi-monthly on the same dates, and he gets paid every two weeks, regardless of the date. Which makes it hard to figure out a budget since every month is different.

Yesterday, we sat down, and really worked on a manageable budget plan (thank you Dave Ramsey). It’s tight, but do-able.

One of the things included in the budget is, of course, food and grocery shopping, which has always been my department, except that he is forced to go to the grocery store with me, since I don’t drive. But he’s never really been part of the planning process for weekly meals, other than to eat the meals. I’ve always been the one to figure out how to stretch one meal into the next using leftovers, and things like that. But after doing our budget, his eyes are opened to our food budget.

There’s nothing worse than making my weekly meal plan only to find out the grocery store doesn’t have the particular cut of meat that I planned on using for several meals. That’s when I have to do some quick planning in my head, on the spot, to come up with a different idea, and still stay in budget. That happened today. They didn’t have the cheap cut of beef that I was going to use to make chicken fried steak, much to my husband’s disappointment. But they did have some bottom round cuts that I could tenderize the heck out of, but I didn’t want to spend the money. I wanted a cheaper option. Remember…trying to stay on budget.

He suggested a parmesan pasta (from DamnDelicious.net) that I make which is very easy, only he wanted to add sausage or peppers to the recipe. Mind you, sausage doesn’t agree with my daughter or me, and he is the only one who likes peppers, of any color. So, the “additions” would strictly be for him, and I wouldn’t be able to use the sausage for any other meal. I mentioned that by the time we bought the noodles, the peppers and the sausage, we may as well buy the steak. He didn’t believe me, so I challenged him.

The steak, was on sale for $5.94 (I told you, it was a cheap cut). The pasta: $0.79, the peppers (any color) were $1.79 each, the sausage (and here’s what pushed him over cost) was $4.99, and that was the cheapest one he could find. He doesn’t like the uncooked, sausage in a tube…he wanted premium kielbasa or something similar to that, bringing his “Noodles Parmesan” total to $7.57!

Now, my husband and I can be a bit competitive at times, in the nicest of ways, and I can tell you it felt great to win! For once, I got to explain what is going on inside my head while I’m shopping for food. Sometimes it’s not as simple as following a list, and throwing things into a cart. In fact, it’s NEVER as simple as that. And any corporate mogul would be lucky to have a SAHM who can think on her feet as part of their team.

By the way, we STILL got out of the grocery store $22.00 UNDER budget, thank you very much. AND we get to enjoy steak, baked potato and green beans for dinner tonight. Just don’t tell my daughter about the green beans…she hates them. You can’t please everyone, right?

Another Dinner Fail

As I’ve mentioned many times before, I’m not a fan of cooking dinner. I have no problem eating it…even planning it doesn’t bother me. It’s the actual execution that trips me up.

And nothing throws a wrench in my dinner plans worse than when I open the meat, and it smells rancid! That’s the worst!

I’m not good at throwing things together. That’s my husband. He can make dinner from virtually nothing! It’s amazing and awe inspiring. But he was at work, and it was my responsibility to cook.

I had planned Easy Beef Stroganoff, made with ground beef, cream of mushroom soup and sour cream, for the most part (thank you fellow bloggers for the recipe).

So, I quickly searched the internet for some sort of pasta dish made with the same ingredients, so as not to mess up my weekly meal plan. But the only one I found called for a shredded 3-cheese blend, of which I had none.

Needless to say, I basically ended up with Stroganoff Noodles, minus the beef. Yuck! Stroganoff really needs either beef or chicken to make it taste decent.

Chalk it up to another dinner fail. #dinnerfail

I wonder what my kids will say about my cooking in the years to come. Will they remember these fails fondly or will my culinary short-comings be things of legend that they tell their kids: “One time, my mom made us eat ____________. It was horrible!”

Either way, I will own the dinner fails.

Besides, it was National Fast Food Day today (didn’t know that was an actual thing until I saw it on FB – so it must be true – LOL), so it was only fitting we ended up at the drive-thru.

Hope your dinner was better than mine 😊

The Results of “A New Approach to Dinner”

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This is a follow-up to my previous post.

In brief, I cooked some chicken breasts, and left it up to the kids and my husband to make their own dinner, the only rule being that they had to use the chicken in their dinner.

My daughter made a “meal” out of a chicken breast, leftover black beans, and tortilla chips smothered in Rondele spreadable cheese. Nothing “green” in there, but at least there was protein.

My son cut up his chicken, grated cheddar cheese, and used the tortilla chips to make his own version of nachos. Again, no “greens,” in fact he didn’t even have any beans or salsa. But he did it himself, and used a paper plate which spared him (and me) a dish to wash.

My husband also went the “way of the nacho,” also just cheese and chicken.

I had a chicken breast and a baked potato with sour cream.

Not too bad, definitely better than fast food, but could use some improvement. But sadly, no budding “foodie” appeared before my eyes, at least not yet. #fingerstillcrossed

The Big Take-Away from my experiment? Left to their own devices, vegetables won’t make it to their plates without some encouragement. (Of course a potato can’t really be considered a very healthy vegetable either, so I’m guilty too.)

But it did take some pressure off of me, and made dinner a whole lot easier. I may actually consider doing this from time to time, but add to the rules that they need to include a vegetable…even if it’s a few carrot sticks.

Overall, it was a good experience and it gave them the responsibility and choice of what they put into their bodies, and it also showed them what it takes (sort of) to put together a meal.

I think it might build some character for them, and restore some sanity for me.

A New Approach to Dinner

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I hate to cook…okay, hate may be too strong. My mother always said you should never “hate” anything. But it comes awfully close.

I’m not “foodie,” unless eating the food counts. But as far as planning, creating, and cooking fabulous meals for my family goes, well, let’s just say I lean on fellow foodie bloggers for helping me survive. #thanksfoodies

Dinner time around our house is a chance to sit together and discuss our days, but it rarely involves praising the cook. In fact it’s usually a swift “mowing” of the food, and then 10 minutes later (20 minutes if I’m lucky) I’m cleaning it all up.

Tonight I got out chicken breasts for dinner, and that’s as far as I got. Nobody (except my husband) wants to eat tonight. They’d rather have “lunch-dinner,” which is our family term for making your own sandwich or heating up a frozen burrito. And I’m not far behind them. But my husband has worked a long day and is expecting hoping for a home cooked meal when he gets home. (He married the wrong gal – LOL)

Now fortunately, I have leftovers in the fridge (black beans and a rice/bean/tomato dish I made last night). We also have some fancy cheese my husband bought on a whim, crackers, tortillas, and various other “side dishes.”

So I’m trying something different tonight.

I put the chicken breasts in the oven with some olive oil, lemon wedges, garlic salt, and onion (I know the gourmets are cringing right about now). Boring, but it’s edible.

And here’s the kicker…THAT’S IT.

They are now responsible to make some sort of dinner out of whatever they can throw together, but they have to include the chicken. It will be interesting to see what they come up with. Maybe they’ll invent something worth blogging about. Maybe I even have a “foodie” right in my own household. Maybe one of them will find they actually like getting involved in the cooking process. #icandream

Ah, who am I kidding? I bet one of them will have a few bites of chicken, a chunk of cheese, and a couple of crackers and call it dinner.

What do you do when you just can’t cook another meal? I’d love to hear your creative desperation.

I’m a “Clean Eating” Failure

 

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I can’t take it anymore!

We’ve been eating clean for the past few months (Yeah…it’s only been a few months) to support my husband and his effort to cure or at least lessen the symptoms of his plaque psoriasis.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, his diet is sort of a vegan-paleo-vegetarian mix. No red meat, no sugar, no white foods (potatoes, white rice, pasta), no processed foods, no peppers…these are all manageable. Nearly everything in these categories has good, if not better, substitutes.

I’ve found that I actually like veggie pasta (the zucchini artichoke blend) better than plain white pasta. And I have learned to adapt to brown rice, even though it takes twice as long to make, which has been hard to change to since I’m not the biggest “planner” when it comes to cooking. Did I mention I hate to cook?

My husband has been very understanding on nights when me and the kids eat steak while he eats his bowl of soba noodles and veggies. #goodhusband

tomatoes-1476093_1280But what I wouldn’t give for a TOMATO once in a while. My husband’s diet also includes no “night shade” vegetables. Do you realize how many sauces, soups, stews, and even one dish rice and bean dinners have TOMATOES in them? Yeah! Nearly ALL of them!

And I can’t tell you how tired of CHICKEN we are…ALL of us! Even the kids are noticing it. They’ve been very good about adjusting to the new diet (my daughter hates tomatoes anyways, and my son is a light eater). But we’ve had chicken every way imaginable and I’ve discovered something…no matter what you do to it, IT STILL TASTES LIKE CHICKEN!

Pinterest has been my saving grace for recipes, but even Pinterest can’t keep up with ALL the restrictions…especially the tomatoes. I’m telling you, it’s the worst!

I am a failure. I HATE to cook…even more so now. I’ve never had to diet (yeah, I’m that girl – sorry), except I did go without sugar one year when I was early in my epilepsy diagnosis. I was willing to try anything at that point. But when I finally decided the diet had no impact on my form of epilepsy, you can bet I went out for pie and never looked back.

My heart goes out to any of you who have had to diet. I wouldn’t survive…I’m sure of it. Somebody better come up with a substitute for tomatoes that’s also not in the “night shade” category and quick! #loosingmygrip