Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cooking for Two

I love to cook. Growing up I used to watch my mom cook and she made dinner every night for us and we had a family meal (without Haley though cause she was usually at dance class). But I remember sitting on the countertops and watching her cook and just seeing how calm and serene she looked while doing it. The majority of the time my mother and I spent together growing up was in the kitchen. So maybe thats why I love to cook.

Before I started dating Bruce I probably cooked for myself once or twice a month. I just never really did it because I hated cleaning up the mess and cooking for one is just so boring and wasteful. So the first few meals I made Bruce were kinda meant to WOW him, I made things with lots of flavor, lots of flair and made sure the table was always really nice. In the first few months I made him Chicken Piccata, Green Enchiladas, a roasted whole chicken, countless breakfasts, Carrot Cake, Dump Cake and more.

I haven't been cooking as much this semester cause we've both been so busy. What I have been doing though is keeping lots of food in my fridge so there's at least always something to eat. I keep healthier food around and try to limit the amount we eat out. I am loving the healthier food, I find myself eating substantially less fast food and fried food and actually rarely even crave it anymore. I eat all three meals a day usually with a snack in mid-morning and mid-afternoon. Things I like to always have on hand are: eggs, wheat bread, low-fat cheese, low-fat yogurt, milk, various nuts, stuff for sandwiches, apples, lettuce, spinach, cottage cheese, granola, wheat thins, cranberry juice, tomato juice, avocados, wheat pasta, trail mix, apple sauce, frozen fruit (for smoothies) and red potatoes. I know not all of this is healthy but a lot of it is much healthier than what I'm used to.

For me it isn't so much the losing weight, it's just about eating more balanced stuff. I used to live on Whataburger like 3 times a week now I can barely have one without feeling super super sick. Part of why I want to eat healthier is so that as a side-effect I'm also helping Bruce eat healthier. I know I can't control what he eats when he's not with me but I can make sure that when I cook, I'm cooking healthy balanced meals that are good for him too. He's diabetic and so these last few months I've been really reading up on it and trying to cook things that I know are good for him. Left to himself his diet usually consists of lots of fast food and about gallon of Diet Coke a day. Through my research I've found that there are certain vegetables and different things you can cook with that are great for diabetics and help work to keep his sugars down and kidneys working, so I always try to incorporate those into meals as well. He's definitely noticed my new found interest in getting healthy and I think its starting to have the effect I want and rubbing off on him. He's eating a little less, not drinking as much Diet Coke and most importantly smoking less.

So this week I've taken it a step further. On Sunday I made my birthmom's Vegan Chili which was about 4 cups of beans (red and black), bell peppers, onions, celery, carrots, chipotles, adobo sauce and seasonings. I cooked it all day and it turned out great! Bruce loved it, even though at first he was at first skeptical of the lack of meat. It was Super Bowl Sunday so I guess as a man it is the day to crave meat. But he loved it all the same. I made some spanish rice with it (which was not healthy) but luckily the chili is so filling that he didn't eat as much of the rice. Then for the rest of the week I've been making my Green Smoothies as seen below and they have been great. They are filling and I really feel the difference in my energy levels. When I have one in the morning it helps me stay awake and alert for the rest of the day.

So yesterday morning I was making my 4th Green Smoothie of the week and I ran out of Spinach! So I will definitely have to double my purchase or maybe just get a much bigger bag. But last night I was getting ready for bed and Bruce asked if I would make him a Green Smoothie and stick it in the fridge for him in the morning. I was so excited! I hadn't even thought to offer him one because it just didn't seem like the kinda thing he would normal go for but I was so thrilled that he wanted to try it. I told him I'd run out of Greens but that I'd happily make him a smoothie, I'd just have to figure out a way to put the lowest sugar fruits in it for him. So this morning I woke up and put a banana, 1/2 and orange, 1/2 an apple a small handful of blue berries and blackberries and then a good amount of carrot in the blender for him and whipped it up. I tasted it after to make sure it wasn't too sweet and it tasted fine. It didn't taste nearly as sweet as the ones I make for myself so I stuck it in the fridge for him. I am just so happy he asked, today I'm gonna look up online fruits and their sugar contents and try to buy some that I can put in the smoothie that will be good for him. I would hate to be giving him these delicious smoothies that are healthy for me to him and have them be unhealthy for him. I'm just so thrilled he is making a conscious effort to add some healthy-ness to his diet.

So it looks like my strategy is working. If I eat healthier he'll see it and want to do it himself! I know I wouldn't have started all this healthy stuff if he wasn't in my life. I want him to get healthy and the best way to do that is to get me healthy at the same time. For me the important thing is just adding lots more fruit and vegetables to my diet. I'm not taking away things, except for fast food, I'm just adding good stuff. I can't wait to keep exploring all theses great healthy food options. The best part is, that healthy food often has much more flavor than fatty-fried foods. They're also a lot of fun to cook. One day I hope I'll have little kids in the kitchen watching me cook healthy wonderful meals so they can grow up to do the same.


  1. I think the key to eating at home is planning and prep - for whatever number of people. Whatever you can do to make it just as easy to say "Oh let's eat here" as it is to say "Oh let's go out". Now I admit that I'm very lucky that Jonah and Willy are perfectly happy to eat caldo 3 or 4 times a week. Which means I really only have to prep and cook 2 -3 meals per week. The main problem really is that I don't like to eat caldo every week.
    My plan for this week is to make a big pot of pinto beans, a modified King Ranch casserole (going to use Tomatillo salsa instead of Rotel), a batch of picadillo, grill some chicken breasts/fajitas and then some Portabello Mushrooms for a meatless meal. Then I just buy Central Market baby lettuces, lots of avocados and other salad fixins. Most nights we'll eat the same thing but sometimes Jonah's not in a casserole mood so we'll give him something else.

  2. we love green smoothies too! we use our feed me weekly meal planner at to help plan meals. jen :)

  3. Another great way to have smoothies in the morning is to put everything in the blender container, stick it in the fridge overnight, and then blend in the morning. Omnomnom...thank you, Alton Brown! :)

    Lizzymommy approves of cooking - I'll comment more later...