Writings of a teachermom, choosing to stay home with her kids, while loathing all domestic responsibilities! In late Aug. 2008, I was diagnosed with Triple Negative breast cancer. After surgery, chemo and radiation, I was given theall clear. However, in the late summer of 2008, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor, which metasticized to other areas.

Monday, March 05, 2007

A change...I hope

Today I had a life changing moment……

I stepped on a scale.

Because ours has been broken (thanks to Max of course), I haven’t stepped on one in a couple weeks, and somehow, in the past 2 weeks, I’ve gained 8 pounds!!!! Now how does one do this? Especially when one has been working out more, semi-training for a ½ marathon on March 25th?

Oh yeah, I’m getting older, I eat like total crap, and I’ve been drinking red wine every night, accompanied with a whole bunch of salty munchies…like last night I had an entire bag of Orville Reddenbachers Movie Theater Butter popcorn. Yeah, that might all be contributing to my sudden weight gain. The strange thing is, I sorta felt my jeans were getting tighter, but I honestly was thinking that they had shrunk a little. Funny how ones mind can do that.

So today I decided to do something about it.

Melvin said it is MY responsibility to make sure HE works out every other day. So I made the rule that WE canNOT have any wine until we work out. And I’m very serious about this!

I went to the gym, which I usually do on Mondays. I did my Boot Camp class and ran 3 miles afterwards. And then tonight, I even did a 10 minute abs workout from Comcast On-Demand. (and right now I’m sipping my wine!)

I bought only healthy snacks at the store today. Now I just have to figure out what to do with all these Girl Scout cookies we ordered from all those darlings who graced my doorstep.

I bought a couple cookbooks (Sandra Lee), so instead of Burger King, Tyson’s Honey-battered chicken fingers (SO GOOD), and hotdogs, I would start cooking better meals.

Now, as I completed this last step today, I was very motivated. But you know me…cook? Come on! That’s so domestic! So I tried to find a book that a.) would have recipes that my picky self and my kids would eat, b.) had pictures for every recipe so that I would want to cook it, and c.) had fairly quick recipes. Choosing the book wasn’t hard. But actually using the book…well today I was reminded yet again why I prefer take out to a home-cooked-by me meal.

1. Ingredients….I do NOT have most of the items needed for a particular recipe. So that means a trip to the store.
2. Once I’m at the store, then I need to actually find the ingredients. In fact, after looking at every single sign posted, I had to just break down and feel like a fool, asking a customer near me in the produce department what a scallion was. She quickly pointed to these weed-like things that looked like what I used to pull from our backyard when I was little. They said onions, not scallions…who knew! Then I had to find things like sesame seeds, and sesame seed oil. And I couldn’t find for the life of me Kikoman Asian Chicken salad dressing mix. I had to completely guess what this might be and find some alternative, since it seemed to be the main flavoring ingredient for the rice. It took me over an hour to shop for one dinner…plus a few extra things for the week.
3. The recipe itself could be very confusing for a noncook like me. For example, I had NO IDEA what it mean to bias slice the scallions, nor did I know what it meant to place something on a “prepared” baking sheet. But I had resources, and thanks to Sara’s friend Sheena, I learned that to bias slice something, you actually are cutting in an angle (yeah, but am I just cutting the green part, or the white onion looking thing at the bottom as well?)
4. The chicken recipe said it would take 20 minutes total….10 minutes to prepare it, and 10 to bake it. Baking it was fine. But 20 minutes to prepare it was a joke…yeah, maybe if all those ingredients were pre-measured in little glass bowls (like on TV), 10 minutes might have been a close estimate. But it took over 10 minutes just to chop up four cups of pretzels! Then I had to cut up chicken, brush it was mustard (except I had no brush), roll it around in the crushed pretzels and place it on that baking sheet that I “prepared” with foil and cooking spray. It took over 30 minutes to prepare the meal for the oven…and this was mostly with no kid interruptions since Sara was here.
5. I think what I hate most about cooking is the clean up. I HATE cleaning anything. Take out requires little if any cleaning…restaurants require none! So all the plates and bowls and utensils accumulating around me to make this dinner required cleaning time…uggh!
6. If it is turns out to be good, there will be no leftovers to force on anyone tomorrow, and I’ll have to figure out what to do for dinner again.
7. And if it is a hit, I will actually be expected to make it again…plus more from the same book! I’ll be expected to hang up my undomestic crown and possibly dawn an apron! I’m not sure what I think of that! Plus, I’ll actually have to plan out meals to make sure I get to the store for all the ingredients….oh I’m getting woozy just thinking about it.

The meal, Pretzel--Crusted Chicken with Honey Mustard Sauce and chicken with Sesame Brown Rice (from Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Cooking Made Light, p. 146 &199) and some broccoli was G—O—O—D! Max and Ella liked it, Cameron tolerated the chicken but didn’t like the rice (no surprise there), and Melvin really liked it…as did I. Usually when I cook something from a cookbook, it neither looks like the picture, nor does it seem to have any flavor. But I must say, I really enjoyed this meal.

So like I said, now I have to problem of having to keep this up. We’ll see how this goes. I always have the greatest of intentions…it’s the follow-through that I need to work on. Tomorrow night? What meal might I attempt?

None…Tuesday night is date night…whatever restaurant Melvin and I end up at. Or since we plan to see a movie…REAL movie theater popcorn, with extra butter will probably be my dinner….so much for my life-changing moment.


At 7:37 AM, Anonymous dana said...

Cari....it looks good!! I am impressed. Dana

At 8:35 AM, Anonymous Kate said...

A few tips:
Take some time (i know...what is that??) and look for a few recipes you are interested in trying. Write these out on a piece of paper that can be stuck on the fridge. Include the page number and name of the cookbook for reference.

Make a shopping list as you jot down the recipes with what you need to get at the grocer for what is on your menu list.

Once you have shopped and found what you need, you will be better prepared to make an item from the menu list. And do yourself a favor, ignore the times listed on the recipe. They are never exact.

The chicken looked wonderful, and that's great that it was well received. Keep trying and keep working at it, it really does get easier as you go. Your jeans will thank you.

At 2:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay Cari- you're getting too complicated. I know it's supposed to be an easy cookbook but it's still a cookbook. As Bernie calls me, I am the "Queen of Easy Cooking." I do have some very simple recipes (will send if you like- most involve chicken and none take more than minimum prep and minimum clean up and minimum ingredients as I do not like to spend time there) but I also do a lot of semi-homemade things that are even easier. For example, last night (and do remember that I was the child of a teacher who got her masters while I was in elementary school so I learned from the master of quick and easy cooking)...
Here are the steps I took for a healthy and good dinner from start to finish:
1. started rice in pot
2. sliced chicken breasts into small chunks (cooks faster that way) and threw into a skillet to brown
4. put bag of frozen veggies with "asian medley" spices into microwave and pressed "cook for 5 minutes" as directed on bag
5. added a little oyster sauce (that's a Chinese brown sauce) to the almost done chicken
6. popped the veggies out of the bag, added them to the chicken, stirred, checked that the rice was done, and turned off stove
7. Put rice in rice bowls on table, served the chicken and veggies on top of the rice, poured some milk for us and viola! @15-20 minutes total from complete start to finish
Dessert was girl scout cookies (okay- not so healthy but good for the soul) and apple slices

Queen L
P.S. Other easy and quick and healthy and kid-friendly things- chicken adobo, healthy quiche, "turkey with capers" (a family recipe with turkey burger- easy schmeasy!), tacos with t.burger, 3 old ladies on a bus chicken with noodles, sausages in buns and "fried" broccoli (pan-fry it in Pam and a touch of flour so it looks a little like it's been fried but the big step is to let the kiddos dip it in ketchup- got Bernie to eat more broccoli actually!), baked potatoes with the works, Zaterman's (sp?) mixes and you just add some meats, I can keep going....

At 2:58 PM, Anonymous Auntie Nita said...


I can't stand you! If only 8 pounds was all I had to worry about, if only I could break the habit of being a couch potato and work out! Please, pleae don't write anymore blogs about weight, they only make me feel bad!

Auntie Nita

At 4:03 PM, Blogger Kimberly said...

You're SO not alone in this challenge, Cari. Maybe we should get together and make our menu plans for a couple of weeks and see if that helps. :)

It was good to see you and your crew today. :)

At 9:40 PM, Anonymous angela said...

You, go, sweetie! All that and you didn't even need to use a measuring spoon I bet! (Good thing...hee,hee!) Hey, will you work some of my weight off while you are training?

At 10:38 PM, Blogger Undomestic said...

Wow, so many comments! Thanks for all the great advice and encouragement!

At 10:43 PM, Anonymous Rosalyn said...

call me girl, not only am I the queen of quick meals, I can guarantee you that your husband will eat and like them...I used to feed them to him when he was a child. I can out chop, dice and slice the best of them. Will share tips (smile).

At 10:49 PM, Blogger MommyKnows said...

Just two words: Crock Pot ... or is that one word: Crockpot

Any way I find it is easy and I usually don't like it so I don't eat that much :)

At 8:02 AM, Blogger Jaye said...

Cooking light magazine has great recipes (and tasty, too), and they have a feature called "And in Under 20 minutes". They also have great recipes on their website. Most of my recipes/cooking comes from them and the only reason my jeans are a bit tight is because I haven't been running like I need to (and it's snowing again today - no treadmill, but DDR will be used!).

See you on the 25th!


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