No shortcuts in my cooking

November 23, 2009 at 10:34 am (Cooking, Family, Opinion, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

I’ve tried.  Really, I have.  I have tried to use the boxes and cans and the jars and it doesn’t work for me, I can’t do it.  I taste the difference and it just doesn’t feel right to me.  I love cooking.  I enjoy spending an afternoon making a homemade meat sauce for my lasagna.  I think my caesar dressing is better than any I’ve had at a restaurant.  Mac n cheese is so easy to make from scratch – why use a box – same steps, boil, add ingredients, and stir. No need for salsa from a jar when fresh ingredients are readily available.  Cooking like this takes longer, I know that, but it’s also more enjoyable to me.  I guess if i didn’t like cooking then I wouldn’t want to spend MORE time in the kitchen, but to me, it’s relaxing and enjoyable.

I did recently try to streamline my processes in the name of brevity and it did not work.  I made stuffing one night as a side dish.  I got a box of stuffing – very popular brand that is made on a stove top – figuring it must be good b/c this is what people use all the time!! Well – it was inedible.  I could not do it.  I even added some embellishments to it and still the bread was mush and had a processed taste.  Don’t get me started on Mashed Potatoes.  I love mashed potatoes, but can taste a mix from a mile away.  This, too, I can’t fathom – using re-hydrated potato flakes and calling it mashed potatoes.  This is one dish that is time consuming, and a lot of work – peeling, boiling, mashing is labor intensive but so worth it in the end!  There is no mystery meat in my pork dumplings or fried rice.  I know the grocery stores are full of things that make our life easier – the pork and chicken come already marinated, ground beef is pre-made into hamburger patties, etc.  I can appreciate how this does save time and makes it possible for people to make dinner at home every night.  For me, I want to know and choose exactly what goes into a marinade, I want to add the spices for my cheeseburger, I don’t need a packet of seasoning for meatloaf, I have everything I need in my pantry and fridge.

If you were to look in my pantry you will see my attempts – i have jars of pasta sauce, the canister of remaining stuffing mix, and more.  I may use them again one night (not the stuffing) to see how the sauces are, but more than likely they will sit there.   I don’t judge others for their time-savers in the kitchen.  I don’t turn my nose up at jar pasta sauces.  It’s just not my choice.  I cook the way I do b/c I enjoy it.  It makes me happy to have a finished product that people really like eating and I know that it was made by me, the way i wanted it t come out. I also think part of it was how I grew up.  My dad is the same way I am.  He loves cooking and making big elaborate meals, he’s a great cook.  That’s what I was used to.  That wore off on me.  i hope to pass along my love of cooking to my daughter – i would love for her to grow up as my sous chef and use cooking as a way to relax.  It’s true what so many chefs say – you can taste the difference when food is made with love and I like to think that my food is made that way!!

And I don’t mind sharing any of my tips or recipes – feel free to ask!!

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Let them eat cake!!

April 28, 2009 at 2:47 pm (Baby, Cooking, Eating Out, Family, Opinion, Parenting) (, , , )

Disclaimer: this is only my opinion – no offense to any mommies out there.

I was just reading one of the message boards I frequent filled with moms of Toddlers from 12-24 months and a mom posted a “dilemma” her word, not mine, because she didn’t know what to give her daughter for her birthday cake.  Come on! Give her cake.  I am all about being health conscious and teaching Alexis to eat healthy.  I buy organic when I can and make sure that she eats fruits and vegetables every day.   It has paid off because she is a great eater.  She loves broccoli, asparagus, corn, tomatoes, etc.  Not to mention all variety of fruits.  She has fish once a week and all the other meats.

However, I do allow her to have “junk food” also.  When we go out to eat I will give her french fries – not an entire order but a few.  I control what she eats not her.  So as long as she is eating whatever food I got her then she can have a few french fries.  She likes them.  She has also had cookies, chocolate, cake, and (gasp!) cake batter!  I believe in moderation and I know how happy chocolate makes me so why not allow my daughter to indulge a bit.  Again, as long as it is in moderation and as long as she eats the healthy food as well.  I think it’s important to have variety and that includes the bad stuff!  There are a few things that I will not allow – soda is one of them.  I do not think there is anything even slightly good about drinking soda so I will keep her away from that as long as possible.

I know there is an obesity epidemic and kids are heavier than ever which is why I do believe in moderation.  When I take her to fast food places, I opt for the healthy options for her – the apple fries, milk, I take half the bread off the cheeseburger and make sure she has tomoato on the burger.   When she’s old enough, I will enroll her in sports to make sure that she is not a sedentary child.

Anyway, I say, Let them eat cake!!!!! They are kids after all 🙂

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Organics and Natural Products

July 29, 2008 at 9:50 am (Baby, Cooking, Opinion, Parenting, Pets, Shopping) (, , , )

I’ve been using Green Works cleaning products lately and I’m very happy with them.  They are not more expensive than the regular cleaners but they’re better for you and your family and the environment.  They clean just as well as anything else.   What I like about them is that they do not have a harsh chemical smell I don’t have to worry about the baby or the cat ingesting chemicals when they put something in their mouth.

I have also started giving Alexis baby foods and I’m feeding her the Gerber Organic stuff.  I just feel better about it.  I am going to start making my own baby food as soon as I test out each flavor and make sure she doesn’t have any allergies.  I wish that I lived closer to Whole Foods or Fresh Market I really would shop there.  I feel like being a parent has made me more aware of these things.  I buy organic at Publix but the line is limited and there are still a lot of non-organic food that I have to buy.  It’s a little more expensive but I feel that the benefit outweighs the cost.

:::Stepping off my soapbox:::

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Yay! (sort of)

July 24, 2008 at 12:22 pm (Weight Loss) (, , )

Weekly weigh-in check.  I lost the 8 ounces that I had gained, but nothings else.  So yay! But not really b/c now I’m back where I was 3 weeks ago.

Marc and I went out to dinner a few nights ago for a date night.  I had a chicken caesar salad.  It was so high in sodium that I was drinking water all night long.  And of course that means I was retaining water the next day which was reflected on the scale.  I thought I was being good by having the salad.

This sucks I seem to be stuck at this weight, I need to kick start myself into gear again!!!!! I’m thinking of trying Alli but they’re kind of pricey.  Of course if they work then it’s totally worth it.  I may check it out.

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