CDGOLDILOCKS

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Why cooking has been a struggle for me.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


I am at a point in my weight loss journey where I now want to begin cooking healthy meals for my family on a regular basis. For some people, this would be easy, natural. For me, not so much. I come from a multi generation food issue family.

Both sets of my parents grew up in poverty. My dad tells of stories of wearing shirts made from old flour sacks. He was one of 10 children, and he spent many nights hungry. My mother came from a much smaller family, but the story was similar. Very limited income. My mother never learned how to cook much.

So for me growing up, I remember my mom making a handful of recipes, all unhealthy, most not very tasty. I remember 3 primary "seasonings" in my home: salt, pepper, ketchup. Several nights a week were TV dinners. At first they were heated in the oven because microwaves were just coming out, then on to fast food as they became more and more popular. Since the internet was not yet invented, one could not "youtube" or "google" a recipe. I also don't remember my mom owning a cookbook.

As I reached adulthood, I DID pick up a few recipes along the way. Not much though. Then I became a mother. Working full time and being a single mother at the time, I found it easier to eat out or repeat the cycle of tv dinners, sandwiches, or boxed meals when I "cooked". I WANTED to cook, but it was overwhelming.

As I took more interest in health an fitness, I realized that the meals I could cook were so bad for me that I would almost be better off getting a light item at a fast food joint.

As I took more of an interest in nutrition, I was embarrassed that I didn't know what romaine lettuce was, how to eat a kiwi, what spices for used for what types of recipes.

And I have a feeling that I am not alone.

In my job, I visit people in their homes with a variety of medical conditions. Many of their stories mirror mine. They come from poverty, didn't get raised exposed to healthy eating, using healthier seasonings/herbs. They ate/eat from boxes, bags, takeout. People just don't seem to know where to begin.

When I think of my own children, I want them to remember me cooking healthy meals, I want my kids to know what different fruits and veggies are. I want them to know you don't need tons of sodium to make foods taste good. I want them to be able to sustain themselves in good times and bad, to be able to cook from scratch so they can save money and be as healthy as possible.

It has to start with me.

So what have I been doing? I have been youtubing recipes, reading cookinglight's website, browsing Sparkpeople's recipes. If I don't know how to do something (julienne?), I can google it. In this day and age, there is just no more excuses for me to not at least try.

In all honesty, it hasn't been too bad. Most of the foods I have prepared, the entire family has at least attempted to try. Most have been pretty good.

I have been so afraid to reach out and try to cook, for fear that it would be horrible and I would be a failure, not to mention how much money I would waste. But since I can't live my life in fear, I continue on.

For anyone out there who MIGHT be reading this, are there any websites/magazines/ideas you might think I should try? I am still in the beginner stages of cooking, but I have almost everything a person could need to cook, I can read basic directions, and am motivated.

Part of change is being open to new things. I am ready to put the apron on and put some fiyah in the kitchen. Actually, putting the fire in the oven, not in the kitchen.....and yes, I DO have a fire extinguisher, so I am REALLY ready...
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • GIRANIMAL
    I can relate, and the good news is I am now practically an obsessed foodie! emoticon

    My mom was a fine cook and her meals were tasty, but we had a lot of "foods" like Rice-A-Roni. I grew up thinking I hated a lot of vegetables because I'd only had them canned. We couldn't afford tons of fresh produce and it wasn't always available at the stores at which we could afford to shop (like Aldi, back in the 80s).

    I also used to be afraid to cook because I have turned out some pretty bad meals. But now I am much better at it and love, love, love it! So emoticon too.

    Cooking Light is great. Try Real Simple magazine (you can even get a daily recipe email) for fast and simply prepared meals that tend to be fairly healthful. Rachael Ray uses far too much fat and dairy for me, but I used to like watching her show because she's such a real cook. And shows like PBS' America's Test Kitchen are invaluable! It is pretty fussy and involved and not always the healthiest, but it will give you the fundamental knowledge and techniques to make you more and more confident in the kitchen!

    Another show called Let's Dish on the Live Well Network combines solid cooking technique and demos with tips and tricks for healthier meals. I'm pretty sure you can even watch it online!



    2646 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/18/2011 4:57:16 PM
  • DDOORN
    Cooking can be such fun! My DW & I work together in putting together new recipes...not all are winners, but we've come across some nice, healthy "keepers!" :-)

    Don
    2647 days ago
  • CDGOLDILOCKS
    Thank you for all the advice! I am open to trying to new things. At the moment, I try to make it a "goal" to cook on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. I don't work those evenings and I have more time to cook. Remember, being a new cook I do EVERYTHING slow. Peeling, chopping, moving through the steps. But it is all worth it, because my family has liked almost everything I have made, and I choose dishes that fit in with my SP plan. It is part of the journey I guess, trying new things.
    2649 days ago
  • COOKWITHME65
    Just came across your blog. I love your honesty and your willingness to get in the kitchen and experiment. You will be setting a great example for your kids. Do you have a crockpot? I use mine at least once a week. There are tons of recipes on the internet. I visit www. weightwatchers.com almost daily. They give a free recipe daily Monday thru Friday. I save these to a WW folder on my computer. Also for free on the WW website you can visit the message boards. I especially like the Recipe Review section in the message boards. There are a ton of recipes. For example each day they pick a different ingredient and different members post a recipe using it. Also there is a thread also just on crockpot cooking. I have gotten hundreds of recipes of this message board and most are healthy although they are not allowed to list the points value. Another thing I do for inspiration for new recipes is read food blogs. I have over a hundred bookmarked that I read frequently. There is one in particular that comes to mind that is really done well. The blogger is Ree Drumand and her blog is ThisPioneerWomanCooks or something like that. Just google it. She has actually become famous thru this blog and has been on several talk shows and I have heard they may be making a movie about her. What I love about her blog is that she takes you step by step. Starting by taking a picture of the ingredients which is very helpful to me and each stage there after. You will become addicted to this blog. It is awesome. I even got her cookbook last Christmas. Not all her recipes are fiqure friendly but I adjust as needed. Check it out. You wont be sorry. Let me know how you like it.

    Have fun in the kitchen!

    -Kristan emoticon
    2650 days ago
  • COOKWITHME65
    Just came across your blog. I love your honesty and your willingness to get in the kitchen and experiment. You will be setting a great example for your kids. Do you have a crockpot? I use mine at least once a week. There are tons of recipes on the internet. I visit www. weightwatchers.com almost daily. They give a free recipe daily Monday thru Friday. I save these to a WW folder on my computer. Also for free on the WW website you can visit the message boards. I especially like the Recipe Review section in the message boards. There are a ton of recipes. For example each day they pick a different ingredient and different members post a recipe using it. Also there is a thread also just on crockpot cooking. I have gotten hundreds of recipes of this message board and most are healthy although they are not allowed to list the points value. Another thing I do for inspiration for new recipes is read food blogs. I have over a hundred bookmarked that I read frequently. There is one in particular that comes to mind that is really done well. The blogger is Ree Drumand and her blog is ThisPioneerWomanCooks or something like that. Just google it. She has actually become famous thru this blog and has been on several talk shows and I have heard they may be making a movie about her. What I love about her blog is that she takes you step by step. Starting by taking a picture of the ingredients which is very helpful to me and each stage there after. You will become addicted to this blog. It is awesome. I even got her cookbook last Christmas. Not all her recipes are fiqure friendly but I adjust as needed. Check it out. You wont be sorry. Let me know how you like it.

    Have fun in the kitchen!

    -Kristan emoticon
    2650 days ago
  • ONECATSHORT97
    Also, eatingwell.com has a lot of healthful recipes that are pretty easy to make. Another idea is to decide to do one new veggie or fruit per week and look up ways to serve that particular food. It's always an adventure to try new foods or recipes and even those of us who cook are on the lookout for something new. When I was cooking for the family, I always asked "is it a keeper?" after we had tried something new...kept it not personal (as to my cooking ability) but gave much needed feedback and sometimes a little tweaking (more spice, more garlic, less salt, etc) made a so-so recipe into a good one. Good luck and enjoy your kitchen journey! emoticon
    2650 days ago
  • MJROBB
    allrecipies.com! I live by that site. People post their recipes, and other people add comments. Usually the comments are things they changed about the original recipe to make it better/healthier. You can make a (free) account and then there's this handy feature called the "recipe box" to save recipes you like so you can find them again easily. I also get a daily e-mail from them with two featured popular recipes in it; it's an easy way to get new ideas. Without it, I'd probably end up eating the same few things over and over and over... Another neat feature is it allows you to search recipes by ingredients you want and don't want. Say you have chicken, spinach, and feta cheese, but you don't like peppers? You can put all that in and it'll find you recipes.
    2650 days ago
  • JONICACALDWELL
    Great blog! I was interested in reading it because I come from a dissimilar background, my mom loved to cook, but similar in that none of it was healthy. Sure we had fruits, in the form of pies or buckles and vegetables, coated in cheese sauce. When I started dieting I was shunned and was constantly harassed for eating healthier foods and my mom was deeply offended.

    I know all of her recipes but for healthy cooking I turn to allrecipes.com. You can search by lowfat, or whatever you are looking for. Once you do a search make sure you reorder it by "rating" so all of the 5 star recipes are at the top. I'd recommend to pick out recipes that you have some ingredients on hand and then add a few different spices and/or seasonings that you can pick up on the way to be part of your arsenal.

    I make my own taco seasoning and buy lean beef or turkey for the taco meat and pile on as many veggies as I can stand. I do some slow cooker recipes and have a serving and a nice big salad on the side. I make my own oil and vinegar salad dressings so I know whats in them. All of the recipes are right there and you can search by ingredients you have or like.

    You are probably familiar with the site already as it's usually at the top of a Google search. I wish you luck and commend you on this new part of your journey. Cheers!
    emoticon emoticon
    2650 days ago
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