Monday, September 29, 2014

cookin' for a couple weeks all in one day

a couple months ago at one of our church potluck meals one of my friends said to me, "is that all you ever eat is salad?"
i said, "yeah, pretty much. it's easy, cheap & too much of a hassle cooking just for 1 person."
he said, "yeah, i know what you mean -- i mostly eat junk because it's easier. hey, we should cook together! we could shop & cook & it'd be easier, cheaper & we'd eat better meals....."

so we looked up recipes & did a lot of research on the internet. we decided to "go paleo" -- it's not a diet, it's a way of eating. it's basically eating good, natural, fresh food rather than prepared, packaged garbage. i've also decided to go totally gluten free in hopes of getting my system working properly. i had already cut out sugar & dairy, but still had some bread & wheat in my diet, even though i deep down knew i should cut it out. sometimes it just takes a little push from someone else to get you going!

we made some meal plans & grocery lists. we went shopping together, and started cooking.

we've found some things we like, some things that we didn't like & some things that were just plain no good!!!! we vacuum sealed portions for lunches & dinners & breakfasts. it makes it real easy to grab a bag & heat it up at work rather than go out, spend $ on junk food, or not eat right. and we've portioned it so we have enough for dinner - easy to come home & eat good -- then have leftovers for lunch the next day.

last saturday night we had grilled chicken that i had marinated, sweet potato rounds & roasted cauliflower. we shared dinner with one of his co-workers & the guys went crazy over the sweet potatoes! they were the easiest thing too! slice the sweet potatoes, coat them with coconut oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper & cinnamon, then bake til tender. EASY!!!! no butter, no sugar, but fantastic!!! the chicken & cauliflower was good too, but the cauliflower had a little too much oil so it was a little mushy instead of crispy roasted. (the other guy being 1.5 hours LATE might have had something to do with the mushiness!!)

it was time to shop & cook again, but it's "tax season" right now & he's a CPA -- yes, there are several "tax seasons" a year, not just "the big one which ends april 15" -- so he's been working tons of overtime & weekends. no time to shop or plan meals OR cook together, so i just went ahead & did it myself this weekend. i needed to cook anyways & it was a yucky rainy cloudy day (even though MY yard got no rain!), & it's just as easy to cook for both of us as it is to just do it for myself. (isn't that funny? before it was too much hassle to cook for just 1, but it's easier to cook for 2!!!)

the CPA had to work late friday night so i planned meals. he was going to be at the office all day saturday, which turned into part of saturday night. saturday i had planned to sleep in a little before our card making/stamping workshop. geronimo had other plans!!!! that crazy dog can tell time - he knows EXACTLY when it's 4am, but he doesn't know what day it is!!! he doesn't know we're supposed to sleep in on saturdays!!!! he barked for a 1/2 hour straight til i got up & took him walking!!!!

we walked 3.25 miles with kenny chesney!!! (glad i've got that dog & glad i've got that iphone!!!) when we got back, i cleaned the dog pool, pulled some weeds in 1 of the flower beds, took a bubble bath & shaved my legs, got ready & went to the stamping workshop, then went grocery shopping. it's amazing how much energy you can have by getting up at 4:30 & walking!!!!

i went grocery shopping - spent $95.88 for this:

there's a lotta meat there!!!!! got some really good deals at krogers. i spent 4 hours cooking. some of the meat i just froze for later. here's what i made: tortilla soup, cajun spiced beans, beef stew, pepper steak, and a honey butter pork tenderloin.

here are some pictures of the "process":

here's a tip: when cooking meat, you need a meat thermometer. lots of recipes say "cook for 1.5 hours" or whatever. some recipes say "cook til meat reaches 145 degrees in center" -- you need a meat thermometer for that!!!! i've never had a meat thermometer. the pork was in the oven & i wasn't sure how long it needed to bake. i went next door to see if my neighbor had a thermometer -- nope! i went to another neighbor - she wasn't home, but her 10 year old said, "is a meat thermometer one of those needle things you stick in the meat to see if it's done? yeah, we've got one!" so i came home, stuck it in the meat, got a text from the CPA, was answering the text & thought, "oh, why did i leave the oven door open?" so i shut the door. 20 minutes later i remembered the thermometer!!! when i opened the oven door, this is what i found:

a MELTED thermometer!!!!! whoever invented a PLASTIC meat thermometer was an idiot!!!!!!!

so since i couldn't tell what the temp of the meat was, i sliced it up -- it was done. it was tender. it was juicy!!! it was so easy!! it tasted SOOOOOOOO goood!!!!!

for the tortilla soup, instead of tortillas, i used shredded carrots. same crunchy texture (& they don't get soggy!), none of the bad stuff that i'm not eating!

i also put these carrots in the stew (at the end of the cooking, along with frozen peas & sweet potatoes.) i am not a big fan of crockpot cooking. i hate roast cooked in a crockpot--especially when you put the potatoes & carrots in & cook the heck out of them! it all has a certain taste that i don't care for. BUT THIS STEW TURNED OUT FANTASTIC!!!!! the stew beef was so tender, the flavor was perfect. we had some of it for lunch with "faux-tatoes" -- cauliflower "mashed potatoes" -- they were so good!!! amazing how they had the texture & flavor of potatoes, with less of the calories & bad things.

forgot to take a picture of the finished stew-- it looked as good as it tasted! here are the "faux-tatoes":

after we ate, we sealed up all the food -- some of it in jars to freeze & some in the vacuum bags.

i also have a couple things in the, a few hours work on a gloomy saturday means i don't have to cook for quite awhile. and the tax man can eat too!

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