real cooking.

So due to the fact that I'm not working and have all the time in the world... I've been spending a great deal of it cooking. I always thought I'd enjoy cooking. You know, real cooking. But I never felt like doing all the prep work required after working all day. I would buy a good bit of fresh ingredients that would end up expiring in the fridge before I ever had the chance to use them, because Johnny and I would be so tired, we'd fall back on the "quick" meals I'd reluctantly keep stocked in the pantry for those nights we didn't feel like making a huge effort. But as a kid, when my mum would take me to the library, I was always taking home at least one book on cooking for kids. They're always really easy with very few ingredients. In fact, they rarely use cooking at all. They typically give out recipes of things you can throw together and serve just so. All that aside, at best I tried one recipe per book I borrowed. You can look on my kitchen counter even now, and I have a huge stack of cookbooks. But I never used them because when I read how many ingredients there were, how long it took to prepare, and especially after all of that how long it took for it all to cook, I'd put the book down and resort to a grilled cheese.

I can't believe I've spent years thinking that pouring a can of sauce over boiled noodles was real cooking. I'm being completely honest. I feel bad for my husband. My cooking, has not been cooking. I blame it partially on my serious aversion to touching raw meat. So, I hardly bought it. (Except for bacon. I've always been willing to touch bacon.) My years of lacking in practice with cooking meat has made all the dishes I've attempted come out rather poorly. This only discouraged me from practicing more. I think the biggest problem is I haven't really known how to handle it. Little random things that are common sense to every day meat cookers, were completely unknown to me.

I'm happy to say, I've taken these meat cooking informational tidbits to our advantage, and I've been having a lot more fun in the kitchen! I've been buying all of those fresh ingredients and using them!! And... I've been touching a lot of raw meat, and it's totally paid off. I've been really proud of the things I've been cooking, and I actually enjoy the lengthy prep time. I love using fresh herbs, fresh vegetables, and being able to smell each individual one as you prepare it. And even once it's all together, you can still pick out all the flavors. It's completely rewarding... Not to mention the fact that the sodium intake I was used to from all of those extra processed food items has caused me to retain unnatural amounts of water. So by losing just the water weight, my clothes fit comfortably, my rings aren't hard to take off...

Not only that, I feel so much better. I've not been having all of the headaches and sensitive stomach issues I've been used to. If I would have known that it would essentially help me as much as it has, I would have made the effort a long time ago. I've been making an extra serving with each meal I prepare so that Johnny can take the leftovers to work, and gets to enjoy a home cooked meal rather than some packaged product that makes you feel like crap a whole hour after you eat and then hungry after that for the rest of the day.

Maybe I'll start posting pictures and recipes every now and then? Maybe not, I don't know. But I really have been enjoying it. I love cooking as much as I always thought I would, I just had to get into it. So I encourage you to do that same. Make the effort, cook with fresh veggies and meat. I assure you, you'll really love it!

And one last thing... If you're really trying to stay healthy, I totally recommend what I've been practicing when it comes to sweets. I don't keep them in the house. However, I do keep some basic staple ingredients around that if it so happens that Johnny or I get a sweet tooth, I can produce something sweet. But it requires a lot of effort and waiting. So sometimes, we give up the craving  for the sake of what's required to satisfy it. But for instances like tonight when I decided to make the effort, I took out a couple of graham crackers, a pear, sour cream, a little bit of butter and some brown sugar. I made a thin graham cracker crust in the bottom of two small bowls, caramelized the chopped pear with the butter and brown sugar and poured them over the crusts. I topped the pear with a spoonful of sour cream, and it was delicious. This is not a recipe I read somewhere. I just experimented with what I happened to have on hand, and I didn't make a whole pie of it either... I made two servings! With my exercised restraint, the other serving will stay in the fridge for Johnny.

Sweet tooth, cured. Goodnight. :)