When my husband and I talked about what he needed to do to improve his health so he could avoid having a heart attack like his two brothers have had recently, one of the things he said he needed was a personal chef. He just doesn't have time to cook for himself. Hell, most days he barely has time to even eat. (Seriously. He'll go all day long until he gets home after 6 or 7 p.m., and not have eaten a thing because he was "too busy." Oy.)
Since we aren't Oprah, there was no personal chef to be hired. So I appointed myself as his new food preparer extraordinaire.
This is no small feat. I'm not a natural cook. I usually only get enjoyment from cooking when it involves sugar, flour, butter, eggs, chocolate, and the oven (I like to bake. A lot). I do, however, have a vested interest in keeping my husband of 13 years and the father to my two young children alive and healthy for as long as possible.
And I'm learning to love cooking. I'm cooking with love. Even if that means the only time I can cook is at 10:30 p.m. on a Monday night.
The weekend being what it was, I didn't have time to grocery shop. So after the kids were in bed last night, I headed out with my mile-long list and bought healthy food at 9 p.m. at night.
Home and with groceries put away by 10 p.m., I was ready to collapse but knew that if I didn't make something healthy, I would be falling down on my commitment to the hubs' new lifestyle.
So I put on the rice cooker (extra long brown rice) and set to opening cans and measuring spices. It was a simple recipe I found on foodnetwork.com, for Black and Red Fiesta Beans and Rice. I've never made it before, but I found two cans of red beans in the cupboard and needed to use them since they expired in August of 2008 (what? they were fine).
I think it only took me about 10 minutes to assemble the food, and I let it cook about 20 minutes or so. The rice cooker did its thing while I watched Alton Brown on Good Eats. And by 11:30ish everything was done and put in the fridge, ready for several meals over the next few days. (And the beans and rice ROCK. I had some for lunch and I highly recommend this recipe. I tweaked it a bit, thanks to the comments on the website. I used 6 oz tomato paste instead of tomato sauce, and I used a can of Rotel Original instead of salsa. And instead of cayenne pepper I used paprika.)
This is the third new recipe in a week that I've made. Last week it was Roni's turkey burgers and turkey chili (both turned out awesome, as all Roni's recipes do).
And I'm secretly starting to enjoy cooking, even though it doesn't involve dropping cookie dough by rounded spoonfuls. I even looked for butternut squash last night at the grocery--they didn't have any, what's up with that?--and if I ever find some, I'm going to make Roni's butternut squash soup.
Why the new found joy of cooking? Perhaps it's the thrill of taking a bite of something *I* made and having it actually tastes good. And knowing I'm doing my husband some real good by feeding him healthy meals. And realizing I'm hopefully giving my kids the gift of more years with their dad by helping him get healthy.
It's a strange thing, learning to love to cook at age 38. But then, it was strange for me to become a runner at age 37, too. I'm learning to love the strange things in life.
Which better include a N. man who lives well into his 90s.
*I had a massive migraine this morning. One of the worst I've had in ages. I think I know why, and I'm embarrassed to admit I had 8 Oreos in the middle of the night. Yesterday was a stressful day, I still feel kind of crappy from last week's sinus infection, and I woke myself up with a coughing fit. I went to pee and then the Oreos sang their siren song. I've never had an Oreo headache, but I have had dark chocolate headaches, and I'm thinking my body is developing yet another aversion to food that's bad for me. First it was Taco Bell, then McD's salads, now it's Oreos. It's a bloody bad food mutiny, I tell you!
Okay, so here's the reason for the * in my title today. Even though my head was about to explode, someone had to get Sophie off to school, and that someone was me. I weighed after my first morning pee, as usual, and got 149.6. After Sophie got on the bus, I lost it and had to lay down with an ice pack on my head. Mark took Luke to day care, and I napped for about 45 minutes. 3 advil and 3 tylenol later, the pain was mostly all gone. And before I got in the shower, I weighed again, because it's what I do. As I've seen before, napping causes weight loss. My 2nd weigh in was 148.4. Isn't that a hoot? The body is a mystery wrapped in an enigma.