Tag Archives: cooking

I’m basically a gourmet chef

I’ve been cooking so much edible food lately! Clearly this is not a major achievement for most functioning adults, but it’s a big deal for me. Every weekend I make something in my slow cooker, and then I have about four or five meals. I still can’t believe how easy it is! I save time and money…seriously, cooking basic meals is like the highlight of my life right now. Check out the last two things I made!

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First, I made a whole meatloaf. And it’s a fancy meatloaf, too – it has bleu cheese and cherries in it. I thought it was pretty good, but usually no one else eats my cooking, so I wanted to be sure. I made my parents try some, and they agreed – definitely a really good meatloaf. I got the recipe from the same site where I’ve gotten all my recipes so far. I think I’m going to branch out and try a new site this weekend, we’ll see.

575650_786755075575_2097098261_nThe other thing I made was this chicken casserole. It might be my favourite thing I’ve made so far – possibly because it involves mozzarella and salsa, so really, how can you go wrong.

I also learned how to make a stir-fry last week. Yes, that is a thing I had never made before. IT TURNS OUT IT’S PRETTY EASY! I didn’t take any pictures, but it just looked like a stir-fry, so imagine that and you’ll know what I made. Cooking: even dummies like me can do it!

 

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Pretend you’ve got it together!

I know I keep writing about how I basically do nothing on the weekend and then I temporarily feel OK because during the week I feel all rundown and crazy, but I’m gonna do it again! This past weekend I went to my parents’ cottage after promising to go for weeks and then not going. It’s actually super nice once I’m there, but for some reason it’s hard for me to get up the momentum to drive a whole hour away to St. Andrews just to hang out on a couch and play Scrabble with my parents (I beat them twice; all my online Scrabble playing has paid off). I would like to post pictures of the cottage, but my parents are crazy afraid of the internet and they won’t let me take pictures of their stuff for some reason, so I’m going to have to wait until some day when I’m there without them or they go for a long walk without me or something. I did manage to take one picture of me in a nautical-inspired outfit, and you can at least see a glimpse of my mom’s homemade seashell decor that basically covers every square inch of the place.

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The best thing about the cottage is that I feel so drowsy when I’m there. I pretty much slept the entire time, so when I got home on Sunday I was feeling totally rested for the first time in a million years. It turns out that sleeping properly is a good way to feel like things are OK! I already knew that cleaning, a thing that I hate to do and will probably always hate to do, is another good way to feel like I’ve got it together. So I did that a bit when I got home. Also! Flowers!

Tulips!

Tulips!

A person who has flowers is totally stable and calm and not stressed, that is just a fact, obviously. And check out my adorable new owl vase – it was a birthday present from my friend Natalie. Love it!

Also, I cooked again. The good thing about cooking in a slow cooker is I can make a ton of food and then I have lunch for the whole week and then that’s another thing I don’t have to think about and I love not thinking about stuff! This time I made chicken meatballs using this recipe.

Yum!

Yum!

Once again I replaced turkey with chicken because I can never find turkey at the goddamn grocery store for some reason! Maybe I don’t completely have it together yet. I’ll know I’ve really made it when I successfully buy turkey, I guess.

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Weekend recharge

Last week was not the best! I was just so exhausted and sick and cranky, and it all led to me having a minor breakdown. SO! I decided to spend the weekend doing low-key but productive things, and I was pretty successful. Actually, in addition to cleaning my apartment, watching a couple movies for my AFI project and buying groceries, I accomplished TWO major things. That’s a lot for one weekend!

First, I used my brand new Crock-Pot for the first time and made chicken stew. Now, if you know me, you’ve probably heard me claim to be incapable of cooking on numerous occasions. Obviously that’s not true, and anyone CAN cook; I just really dislike expending much effort, and cooking seems like effort. But lately I’ve been getting tired of eating the same three or four things all the time, and I decided the easiest way to expand my repertoire was to buy a slow cooker.

Ingredients!

Ingredients!

It turns out it was pretty easy! I just had to cut up a couple things and dump them into the slow cooker for about seven hours and then I had stew and now I will have lunch this week! It actually tastes pretty good, too. I think I cooked it a little bit too long, and I possibly filled the Crock-Pot a bit too much, but in general, I’m pretty impressed for the first time. Here is the recipe I used. I pretty much followed it, except I used chicken instead of turkey, and I basically just used less broth since I have a smaller slow cooker. That whole site is pretty great, I will probably try some of the other recipes soon.

STEW!

STEW!

The other thing I did this weekend was finish cleaning out my storage closet. I have been putting this off for sooo long. Remember back in January when I went on an organizing kick? Yeah, I kind of lost momentum for a while. This was mostly because I only have one actual closet in my apartment, and it was a total mess. Here’s what it looked like before:

Oh. My. God.

Oh. My. God.

So that’s not normal probably! First I got a shoe rack to take care of my disastrous shoe problem. I have a tiny area of free space by my front door (yay!) so I put it there.

shoerack

Shoes!

Then I threw out a whole bunch of stuff, and it turned out like this:

So much better.

So much better.

Seriously, did I mention this is my only closet? I’m pretty impressed with myself. Now I just need to fix the cords around my TV. Currently they are masking taped together, and let’s just say if I ever need to unplug my DVD player for some reason, it isn’t going to be pretty.

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So, like, what do I actually eat?

I’ve been thinking of doing this post for a while, but I’ve been hesitant, because I don’t want anyone to think I actually know what I’m talking about. But after eating way too many Mini Eggs and movie popcorn over the weekend (seriously, what are they putting in Mini Eggs, is it crack? I think it’s crack) I feel terrible and I need to get back on track food-wise. This is going to be totally inspirational…for me!

So, first I should probably say that I’m totally embarrassed every time I tell people I’m not eating gluten. I mean, I don’t have celiac disease, I don’t have any serious reason to think I have a gluten intolerance, so I know it’s stupid. I recognize that the whole not eating wheat thing is the trendy diet of the moment, and I’ve never attempted to follow a trendy diet in my life until now.

But all that said, it does seem to work for me. Basically in September I read the book Wheat Belly, which I thought made some interesting points about how modern wheat isn’t great for human consumption. I’m not going to go into a whole explanation of the premise behind the book, because – did I mention I really don’t know what I’m talking about? Anyway, I had been feeling tired and bloated and junk, and I wanted to lose some weight, so I figured I would try giving up wheat to see what happened. It wasn’t that bad, actually! Like, the first couple of weeks were kind of rough, but then I just didn’t really think about it that much, to be honest. And I don’t have much willpower or self-control, so I think that proves that it’s really not THAT difficult. I haven’t lost that much weight – about 15 pounds in total – but I also haven’t really, like, tried. I haven’t been exercising, and I eat all the time (though if I keep eating Mini Eggs I’m going to gain all the weight back in the next week, seriously, I’ve been eating so many Mini Eggs, this is a cry for help).

The thing that makes me think there’s something to this is that, when I DO eat properly and have breakfast, lunch and dinner with a couple snacks, I don’t feel insanely hungry throughout the day in between meals like I used to. In the afternoons after lunch, I used to feel like I was STARVING and I would have to eat chips or pretzels or something, and now I just feel…fine. I will maybe eat some sunflower seeds, but if I don’t have any, I don’t feel like I will die of hunger. I have been feeling tired lately due to my whole unrelated insomnia thing, but most of the time I feel like I have more energy, and I don’t feel bloated after eating.

OK, so, what DO I eat? Well, I am a terrible example because I hate to cook and there was never much variety in the things I ate, so I basically make like, three different things. I mean, this is fine for me, I have always been like this. There was one year when I basically lived on Kraft Dinner and Wal-Mart brand pizza pockets (gross), and there was that summer where I pretty much only ate spaghetti and peanut butter sandwiches, so like, this is definitely an improvement. And if you DO cook, there are approximately a million things you can make. But anyway, I said I was going to tell you what eat, so here we go. I even took pictures! These are not good pictures and this is not interesting food, but I don’t know, I like looking at pictures in blog posts.

breakfast

This is what I eat for breakfast literally every single day! It is vanilla greek yogurt with mixed berries and crunchy flax. It’s so delicious, it’s basically like eating a sundae YES I KNOW HOW LAME THAT IS but seriously, it tastes super good and I literally never get sick of it ever.

dinner2

This is my favourite goddamn dinner ever; if something has avocado in it, it is automatically amazing. This is a salad with salmon, avocado and feta. I sometimes get SUPER creative and use chicken or tuna instead of salmon. For lunch every day, I eat some kind of salad, sometimes with avocado, usually with sliced chicken. It turns out basically all salad dressings have canola oil in them, which is like, bad, so I just put basil-infused olive oil on my salad, which I buy from the insanely amazing olive oil tasting bar across the street from me.

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This is the other thing I eat alllll the time: chicken and asparagus. See also: salmon and asparagus. As I recently explained to my friend Molly (who doesn’t like asparagus, which is weird), not only is asparagus delicious, but it also makes your pee smell funny for some reason! It’s the gift that keeps on giving. Anyway, yeah, I eat this a lot.

The other thing I eat (not pictured, sorry!) is omelettes. Usually I make them with mozzarella and prosciutto and feta and they’re really frigging good. I also eat snacks! At work I usually eat a whole whack of baby carrots, occasionally some cheese and I usually have a bunch of sunflower seeds with me. And I swear I don’t usually eat Mini Eggs as if my life depended on it, but I do regularly eat some dark chocolate, sometimes with natural peanut butter, which is basically the best most delicious thing ever.

And I mean…that’s pretty much all I normally eat! I do go to restaurants maybe once every week or two and I don’t always ask if things are gluten-free, so it is very possible I have eaten things with traces of gluten. I’M SORRY I CAN’T BE PERFECT. Still, I think I’ve been doing a pretty OK job, and as I say, it just seems to be working for me, so I plan to keep it up, at least for now. At some point in the next few months, I do want to step it up and lose another 10 pounds, but I’m not too stressed about it. I think I can make it happen once the goddamn Easter candy is off the shelves.

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Resolution

I didn’t make any New Year’s Resolutions this year, because I am really bad about thinking ahead or planning for things that I should be doing or changing or whatever. Although, actually, I didn’t do TOO terribly with last year’s resolutions. In 2012 I resolved to drink more water and less coffee, floss and stop buying lunch every goddamn weekday.

I’ll tell you right off the bat that I have not been flossing. Maybe it’s left over from my childhood dentist trauma (can’t get into that now, too traumatic), but I absolutely hate flossing. I did recently get an electric toothbrush…as a Christmas gift…from my mom…so maybe that will be good for my teeth? I don’t know. I’ve only had probably five cavities in my life, so I think my teeth are fine, probably.

On the bright side, I did completely stopped drinking coffee. I had managed to get mildly addicted to it by 2011, and I really have no idea why, because it makes me feel absolutely terrible – all jittery and anxiety-ridden and prone to panic attacks where I’m convinced I’m having a stroke and have to email my friend who’s a nurse for reassurance that I’m not about to drop dead. So yes, I gave that up, and I have probably been drinking a little bit more water, but still not enough. Drinking water is so hard! Maybe I’ll start doing like Maria Bamford does in that routine I can’t find a clip of right now and just open my mouth in the shower for hydration purposes.

maria

I did do a great job with that last one. I used to buy my lunch literally every goddamn day. This was a problem because it turns out that is a lot of money! When I moved at the end of June, I gave it up almost completely, and now I buy my lunch once a week at the most, sometimes not at all. Honestly, this is probably 90 per cent because my new apartment has a dishwasher so now I can bring Tupperware to work and not be filled with rage about needing to washing containers by hand later, but I’m still impressed with myself.

As I said, I don’t have any really specific resolutions I’m working toward this year, I just want to keep doing small productive things that make me feel happy and healthy. For example, I stopped eating wheat/gluten/whatever in September. I really hate talking about it because it sounds sooo obnoxious and EVERYONE has stopped eating gluten and no, I don’t have a gluten intolerance or celiac disease or anything that I know of, I admit it. That being said, it’s made me feel better than how I felt before, so I’m going to keep doing it and just try not to talk about it if I can avoid it. Basically my thoughts are: yes, it’s dumb, but it works for me.

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I’ve also become really interested in improving my budgeting skills. This is because I am obsessed with Gail Vaz-Oxlade, and every single time the shows ‘Til Debt Do Us Part or Princess are on, I’m compelled to watch them. If you’re Canadian and have cable, you totally know what I’m talking about. Mostly they make me feel great about my own finances, but they also inspire me to get my shit together. Plus, I read The Billfold every day, which is a super excellent and educational website filled with genuinely interesting articles and thoughts about money.

I actually ended up creating a budget back in November…but then it was Christmas and I totally blew it off and went way over. That’s OK, though, I’ve paid off my credit card and I’m starting over. I have historically been kind of a disaster with money, so I feel like budgeting is a necessity for me, and I think I’ve made a realistic enough plan. Basically I just want to pay off more of my student loan than I had been, and also put more money into savings every month.

OK, these are good but really boring things, and obviously I want to do fun things that are fun too! So, I would also like to challenge myself a bit more. That’s why, as I previously mentioned, I’m going on a short ski trip with my dad at the end of the month. This is pretty scary for me, since it’s been almost exactly 10 years since I last hit the slopes. Gross, I just wrote “hit the slopes,” who am I? Anyway, I’m cautiously optimistic that it’s going to be fun, and I’d also like to start doing other things I used to enjoy and haven’t done in a million years. Like skating! And swimming! And maybe I’ll do new things, too, like get a pedicure or learn how to cook one thing. Just one. Let’s not get crazy.

So what’s the theme here? I’m going to do good things that make me feel good! It’s vague enough that it should be hard to fail, and if I end up achieving even a couple positive things, I’ll be filled with feelings of success. Win-win.

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