I was not known to really be a cook while I was growing up. My mother and father were always the ones cooking for me and I really didn’t learn how to do anything except bake muffins when I was a child. That slowly changed when I started college and especially when I met KristaRose. She’s always been a great cook and to this day I’m still kind of baffled that she can just take whatever items are out there and create great. I think it probably comes from experience and probably she picked it up from Mom and Dad.
In any case, I started to learn to cook a few items in college. Mostly around baking more items but I also learned how to cook some Filipino food. Lumpia, Pancit, Adobo, those were all staples of date nights that we would have from time to time. Then I guess I sort of regressed once I got out of college and was living on my own in Chicago. It was hard to really cook for one person and almost impossible in my first apartment. Let me tell you, that first apartment I moved into was a complete mess! I had bug problems all the time and I still remember just the sheer number of small little roaches that kept appearing even after having the landlords come in and spray. Anyway, to say the least, that deterred me from really cooking. My second apartment that was in Arlington Heights on the other hand had a nice kitchen with a nice island countertop. I did do more cooking but I think I relied too much on frozen TV dinners still.
Fast forward to the present and now the need to cook most meals is more evident than ever. KristaRose has a lot of allergies and we have been trying our best to avoid them. The biggest one and really the hardest one to avoid is corn. Think of everything that has some form of corn in it. It could be corn flour, corn syrup, corn starch or just plain pieces of corn. It’s everywhere! When you go and eat out, you will find that corn is almost in every single item that you eat. To avoid this, we tend to cook and eat at home more often. It’s easier and it leads to less reactions for her which is always a good thing.
Now even when we got to South Bend, I was still not an expert cook. I knew how to cook spaghetti pretty well. I also did a mean bowl of cereal. Slowly though I started to experiment with other items. I would buy just some plain chicken thighs from the grocery store and mix it with various herbs and spices. I learned that it’s pretty easy to just get some garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper and olive oil and slap it onto the chicken and bake or fry it. It creates an easy meal that doesn’t take too long and you can pair it with rice, couscous, veggies, you name it. The same can be done with steak. You don’t really have to throw in a ton of things and simplicity tends to be the key.
After discovering that, I started experimenting with other types of dishes. I’ve made chicken marsala and different types of stir fry that I must say can taste better than what you can get at a restaurant. I’ve also really gotten into making easy dishes for breakfast. A quiche is fairly easy to do if you prep it easily. Also, if you want to have a nice snack, stick slices of apples in croissant rolls and add some cinnamon sugar. It’s a healthier version than some of the pies you can get at stores and restaurants.
It’s especially easy nowadays to go on the internet and find some recipes matching what mood you are in. I find that eating home cooked meals is a lot healthier and it just somehow makes you feel better. I guess the worst part or the hardest part would be finding the time to do this. I have a weird schedule nowadays because of various appointments and how work is going. But I try to find time during the day to put something in the oven or on the stove and keep doing my work while food is cooking.
We started tracking what we eat on an app called MyFitnessPal. When I say we, I really mean KristaRose. I’m still not 100% there since I have a million things on my mind usually. It’s a great little app that allows you to enter in what you’ve eaten for the day and it has a huge database that’s populated by its users. You just select what you’ve eaten, what portions or serving size and voila. You can set your target goal calorie wise as well.
Something seems to be working because as of right now, I’ve lost a good 10-12 pounds and KristaRose has lost about 6-7 pounds. I’m hoping that if we continue this healthy trend of eating and I discipline myself to cook instead of eating out that we’ll continue to see these results and most importantly not see the weight come back. I think if maybe we can add some more exercise to the equation especially when Krista is feeling better, we might in turn feel a lot better and have more energy.
So really my ask to all the readers is to really take a look at your diet and see where you can make some improvements and take out a fast food meal here and there. Look into making simple dishes for yourself and watch the savings weight wise and on your pocketbook. I think you’ll be glad when you do!