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Learning How to Cook at 50!


IslandBetz

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I'm starting "officially" March 1, 2016, but have been prepping for the past month at least. The hardest part of this is going to be learning how to feed myself without frozen boxes or drive-through windows.

 

These will be notes to myself on what I'm learning. Here we go!

 

 

23 Feb Notes

 

  • tried prepping 4 eggs in electric pressure cooker (epc) at 4 minutes with a few cups of water, Didn't have a strainer to corral them and one cracked, but not badly. Didn't cool with cold water. The cooker took some time to warm up, so next time I may just use the stove. They are a bit overcooked (rubbery and the yolk is gray on edges) but edible.
  • made a mix of black tea and TJ's Mango, drinking with bottled lemon juice and I don't miss the sweetener much at all
  • spent past two days more or less hermitting in bed due to lots of pain, depressed and disappointed with myself for recent over-indulgence and totally slacking on self-care
  • concentrated on taking my supplements and not beating myself up while reading the Whole30 book (have already listened to most of It Start's With Food)
  • it has seemed to help and my mood and energy is coming back - no drinking or non-wf since Sat night except half and half in my morning tea
  • thought briefly about wine but reminded myself of the pain and quickly set the thought aside (easy to forget about self-care once/when I start feeling better - ADHD?)
  • still did not get to the store - hard for me to sit and read and especially plan, so it's probably for the best
  • decisions about what to make, when, what and how to store, etc are daunting
  • still reading through the recipe portion of the book, though have been browsing and collecting for some time now
  • TOMORROW: would be great to be able to say unequivocally that I am ready to start prepping. I guess I'd better decide what "ready" means to me. ^_^

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hey IslandBetz

 

If recipes seem dauting why not try some batch cooking? Many of us who have been eating this way long term find it much faster & much more simple.

For instance, I cook only on a Sunday, and I'll always put one whole chicken in my slow cooker, and prepare two other dishes - generally one in the oven, and on on the stove top - for instance maybe curried chicken thighs and a chocolate chilli (both very simple to make). Then I'll also roast a large oven tray of mixed veg, and braise some vegetables in a large pot on the stove top, and boil up some baby potatoes. I'll ensure I have salad veg on hand, eggs, and some tinned fish. Plus I'll make a batch or two of mayo.

Then at each meal I pick a protein, pick a choice of vegetables & add some fat - so maybe I'll have some roast chicken with braised kale & olives for meal one on the first day, then say a salad of tomatoes, cucumber, scallions, peppers, spinach, blueberries & tinned mackerel with mayo for meal two, then some chocolate chill & roasted veg with mayo for meal three...... Next day I might have scrambled eggs with spinach, tomatoes & pickled cukes with mayo for meal one, chocolate chilli with braised kale for meal two, and maybe some roasted veg or baby boiled potatoes, sliced & sauteed in a pan to crisp them up a bit, with fried eggs & complaint bacon for meal three.... or those potatoes will work well chopped up cold in a salad the following day.... etc etc etc

What I'm trying to say is don't go prepping a different recipe for every day & giving yourself work on top of stress - keep the fancy schmancy recipes for when you have guests but on a day to day basis keep it simple.

Hope this helps  :)

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For convenience, I love my Cuisinart Egg Cooker, which makes up to 7 perfect hard-boiled eggs at a time, and they are easy to peel. The secret is that you poke a pin-size hole in the bottom and then the cooker steams water into the holes.

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Thanks for the tips! I do plan to cook in advance - there is no way I could cook everyday - once a week will be tough enough!

 

jmcbn, how do you store the roasted veg/boiled potatoes? One of my "things" is that I have an aversion to cooking/using frozen ingredients/meals for some reason. And also with items stored in the fridge - "leftover" or not. I've been reading up on storage techniques, defrosting, etc. so have picked up a few tips that may help, such as date labeling and using freezer paper. 

 

Xandra, somewhere way, way in my distant memory I recall a tip about poking the pin-size hole in the bottom. Thanks for reminding me - I will try it with the eggs I just got at Wal-Mart. Under $5 for a cage-free 18-pack! 

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24 Feb Notes

 

  • felt pretty good today, not much pain, less stiff. overall not much in the way of pings and zaps. left foot/arch (unusual) was the only thing I felt that was significant on waking.
  • called DW, talked a lot about ups and downs, avoidance, adhd w/depression vs bipolar, etc. Feeling good and then setting aside self-care, then burning out. 
  • beach w/B - why don't I do that every day - or at least more often?
  • "went with it" today - busy and and doing all kinds of everything, but generally going in the right direction, but also aware that I'm not being deliberate - more implulsive
  • bought almost $300 at Wal-Mart - a third each of household stuff, perishables, and non-perishables. They actually have a lot that is compliant - but it has taken me many trips of wandering around to figure this out. Some of the non-perishables were mini-sized kitchen implements - a whisk, spatula, and even a tiny silicone basting brush - all in bright colors. Hey - I live on an island! Was thinking I'd better not let all this go to waste, as I have in the past - but this time I am going to cook in advance every week, or bi-weekly. 
  • did a few things to organize and incent me to get up out of bed and get going, take time to relax and stretch, etc. Bought rug/yoga mat w/store credit, created space to hang out my clothes for the next day (working on this habit!) and...prosciutto y melon for breakfast!
  • did buy wine - am drinking it now. wine is nice. right now. probably not doing me a bit of good in the long term. not probably, actually. not. doing. me. any good. now, or ever.
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jmcbn, how do you store the roasted veg/boiled potatoes? One of my "things" is that I have an aversion to cooking/using frozen ingredients/meals for some reason. And also with items stored in the fridge - "leftover" or not. I've been reading up on storage techniques, defrosting, etc. so have picked up a few tips that may help, such as date labeling and using freezer paper. 

I have a HUGE amount of tupperware, and I've gotten pretty good over time at estimating just how much I need to get me through the week. I have a good local farm shop that I can buy fresh veg from if I run out so I don't go over the top on salad veg etc so that it doesn't spoil. There are quite a few things I'm happy to eat at room temp, so I'll pack my lunch from the frisge in the morning and set it out in my office (maybe near the heater in winter) so that by lunch time it's room temp - or I'll bring a salad for lunch that doesn;t require any heating. Other things I can heat over a oan of water, on the stove top or in the oven - I'm not a huge fan of the microwave but I'll use it in a pinch...

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Feb 25

 

Almost forgot to post due to the GOP debate. Some of those dudes need to get off sugar.  :P

 

  • I didn't batch cook as intended today, but did cook
  • Pre-debate spent a few hours roasting spaghetti squash (I overcooked it) and trying to figure out whether to try to use the veggies I've had around for too long. Made chicken soup which actually turned out pretty good.
  • Figs and nuts are triggers for me, so I'd better keep them off my Whole30 plan.
  • Quite happy without drinking tonight as I had low energy today due to drinking last night. Started work on my website.
  • Tomorrow need to go to store for some more items, hope to batch cook tomorrow eve since I have guests this weekend, and Monday (Day 0) I mighty not feel up to it. Plus I'll need to weigh and measure, etc.
  • Really happy that I am learning to listen to my body more.
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Feb 29, Monday

 

  • Feeling good but tired after having company over the weekend, and having a lot of fun!
  • Shopped for fresh fruits and veg
  • Bought compliant multi-vitamins
  • Froze meat
  • Think I decided I want a counter-top Foodsaver instead of the handheld. Seems I can get an attachment to make salads in a jar which sounds awesome - I can make a bunch at once
  • Trying to figure out a way to track what food I have in fridge and pantry - looks like it will be an Excel spreadsheet for now.
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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm on Day 10 now. 

 

What isn't so great:

  • I'm anxious about social situations where there will be wine and beer, and so I'm avoiding them,  I haven't been too bored or lonely, but spring is here and there are a lot of events coming up where drinks will be flowing. I don't think I'd break down, but I'm getting tired of the whole conversation in my head about whether this is worth it or not. Luckily there is kombucha. I am probably using it too much as a crutch.
  • Can't stop snacking on nuts and dried fruit. I saw a suggestion to put them in the freezer, so I will see if that will keep me out of them.
  • I'm kind of sucked into the debates and some work stuff, so am sitting around a lot  - I'm not practicing the healthy, peaceful lifestyle I want to have. I've also been doing a bit too much online shopping in the name of Whole30 and buying gadgets, etc. Ugh.
  • My friends who got me into Whole30 are finished and have forgotten it. Some had said they were going to do a mini but haven't seen that yet. Kinda lonely.

 

What is good:

  • I've really upped my confidence in the kitchen. I've been pretty creative and most of what I've made has turned out pretty well.
  • I am stocked to the gills with ingredients, tools and recipes. I cook, but then I eat it up. I understand now what people say they take a whole day to prep/cook for the week. 
  • I took pics, weighed and measured (the pictures - OMG!)
  • I'm taking action!

 

Next steps:

  • Off track a bit, don't beat myself up, just regroup
  • Tomorrow pic up FoodSaver ($30 off at Sam's Club right now!)
  • Pick up meds, get missing supplements, fill tray for week and set reminder alarms
  • Go through recipes and pantry, plan what I am going to make and eat (have sort of been winging it so far)
  • Freeze the nuts and dried fruit (what's left!)
  • Get organized to start and stick to a daily stretching/PT set of exercises
  • Look into green veg vs squash, potato, etc.

 

I guess I'm kinda beating myself up for some stuff - from having let myself gain so much weight in the first place, to ignoring it for so long, to all of my recent snacking. I feel fat and want to hide and/or numb. I need to keep remembering that I've had a lot to deal with, and to treat myself with understanding and compassion. And be patient with life. There are no deadlines, just opportunities.

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