Monthly Archives: July 2011

Not really a non-cooker anymore


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About one month ago, I made a commitment to myself, a challenge even, that I would learn to cook real meals. Not hamburger-helper, or rice-a-roni, or freezer-to-oven breaded chicken fries. My boyfriend begged me for help to get him eating healthier. Taco Bell every day for lunch was killing his self esteem, and mine too. I had gained an enormous amount of weight when we met – he’s an ogre of a guy, broad shoulders at 6’3″ – Trying to feed him resulted in me overfeeding myself.

I needed to embrace the one thing ( besides having kids ) that I sworn I did not do – cook. I needed to stop ordering takeout and drive-through, I needed to start cooking healthy meals.

One of my best friends pointed out that I can’t really call myself a ‘non-cooker’ now that I’ve been going at this for awhile. I’ve slowly graduated from packaged/canned/frozen meals into all fresh/organic/healthnut ingredients.

I’ve become mildly obsessed with cooking. I think about recipes and ingredients all the time, what could I mix with that, changing things up, being completely sporadic and going off-recipe. And being successful.

I’ve started eating a lot more veggies, and I’m slowly working on getting more meat into my diet. Since I’ve started cooking, I’ve added eggs, mushrooms, bell peppers, artichokes, asparagus, eggplant, and zucchini/squash to my diet. My mom’s mouth is hanging open as she reads that.

I’ve had a few bad experiments, some that I couldn’t even eat. Asian cuisine is not my specialty apparently, but that is no problem now, since I’m trying to cut out pasta and grains.

I’ve been reading a lot of cooking blogs, and healthy lifestyle feeds, and I’ve stumbled across a lifestyle diet called the Paleo diet. I’ve found a few great sites that I will be linking soon. Essentially I’m trying to live without grains. Or at least enough to weigh significantly less than I currently do, and not be starving.

I don’t want to just be skinny and lose weight. I want to feel great and healthy. I want to help my boyfriend achieve his goals too. Mikey (7 – Mike’s son) has not complained at all about our meals like he used to – he hates hamburger helper! In fact, he compliments every meal, even if I don’t think it was that great. ( Has he already learned how to manipulate women with compliments?? )

24 Hour Fitness

I started going back to the gym, focusing on weight lifting instead of Cardio. I bike there and back, its a 4-mile round trip, with some nice hilly resistance.

I can count on 1 hand the number of sodas I’ve had this month. Unbelievable. With the exception of 1-2 cups of coffee a day, I have no other caffeine intake.

My goals now:
Learn to cook raw chicken ( x1 successful attempt )
Learn to cook fish ( x0 attempts )
Pork chops! ( x0 attempts )
Clean out cupboards by cooking whatever is left, instead of going to grocery store every day ( also saves $$ )

Stay tuned!


Parmesan Veggies, Chicken Strips and Pesto Mashed Potatoes

Fresh Veggie and other ingredients. Didn't use Flaxseed meal.

Peeled and cut up potatoes to boil.

Sliced veggies and unwrapped chicken

Heating butter and boiling potatoes

Cooking the chicken, getting it white on both sides before adding chicken broth and veggies.

The southern belle in me comes out with the fried veggies... "This can't be healthy" --Mike

I failed to take a picture of me coating the veggies, but just imagine a bunch of parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper in a big ziplock baggie, also filled with egg-white covered veggie chips.

Steaming the veggies and chicken

Mashed the potatoes, waiting for butter to melt.

Browning the chicken, because white boiled chicken just looks scary.

Still 'marinating' the veggies while browning the chicken, potatoes are waiting...


Parmesan Chicken Strips

Pesto Mashed Potatoes

Eggplant Parmesan recipe – modified, Fried in a pan instead of oven baked.

Pan Fried Veggies and Chicken

Rating: “super awesome”


  • 1 bag of chicken ( pictured )
  • 3 mini sweet peppers – sliced
  • fresh sliced mushrooms
  • fresh green beans
  • 2 red potatoes
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter/margarine
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar


  1. Heat 2 tbsp oil and butter in large skillet. Cut up red potatoes into small squares and add to oil and butter. Cook on medium-high for about 20 minutes, keeping it covered and stirring occasionally. Allow potatoes to brown before really stirring up. (Watch for grease pops! ouch! )
  2. In a separate skillet, heat on medium-high: remaining oil, balsamic vinegar, peppers, mushrooms, and beans. Stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.
  3. Add chicken to veggie skillet and cover. Cook for 15 minutes.
  4. If your potatoes are done ( see if the biggest ones squish easy with a fork ) then you can chow! Otherwise just put chicken veggie skillet on low & covered until potatoes are done.