Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Nom Nom Nom

I had what I'm going to call a couple of cooking successes this week.

I've always seen the cooking process as a somewhat overwhelming thing. You buy things then you cut them and wash them and add things to them and put them in the oven while you boil other things on the stove while cutting and don't forget to sautee and broil and is your dessert setting in the fridge and you should probably be garnishing your plates by now and why isn't your husband home making martinis for the guests?

I've never enjoyed the process and have always found it too long for not enough reward.

As a side note, over the holidays I spoke with two family friends who have recently been widowed. They both spoke about how cooking for just themselves now that the kids were out of the house and their husbands had died wasn't fun anymore and how, in fact, it was quite difficult to cook for just yourself. I thought this was interesting insight.

I've had a slow cooker for more than a year, I'd guess, as people all told me they were as simple as you could get. But something happens to me whenever I open up a cook book or look at a recipe and it's something akin to panic and I just never start.

Well, that's not true, I often have good intentions and go out and buy the ingredients and then watch them sit in my fridge for so long they go bad, so my intentions haven't always been followed through on.

Time, effort, whatever it is, I haven't had it.

But this weekend, with the extra (glorious) day off (with added sunshine bonus) I found myself with the time and inclination to try.

Add to that the fact that C's Mom had given me these simple slow cooker seasoning packages that had, oh, I don't know, five steps to the recipe, I felt like I could do it.

So I shopped, I peeled carrots, I chopped carrots, I silced mushrooms, I opened cans, I mixed packages, I (ewwwww) cut up chicken (double ewwww with added cleaning frenzy) and then I threw them into the slow cooker, pressed a couple of buttons and that was it.

Fast forward four hours and I found myself with a meal AND four or five more to put in the freezer.

So I did the same thing the next day with a different package and now I have a freezer full of a couple of week's worth of meals.


So maybe this is my cooking version of "at least a walk around the block" or "I'll take a photo every day but it doesn't have to be great." It doesn't seem like real cooking to me, but it kind of is.

The preparation part of it was easy enough and the actual cooking part of it was as simple as using a microwave. Just not as instant.

I've learned something else about myself, and it's not a new lesson, just one I haven't completely learned yet.

I'm not good at selling myself. Not even to me.

I told C about having slow cooked the chicken noodle soup her Mom gave me and what I said was "well, I didn't really cook it, I just kind of stirred the package and cut up some vegetables."

I fully expected her to joke it off with me, but she said "Dude, you cooked. YOU did that, no one else did. You cooked."

So I guess I need to give myself more credit.

I didn't run a marathon the first day of run clinic, but I ran for 10 minutes and I was pretty damn proud of that.

I didn't cook a four course, five star meal the first day I cooked, but I cooked something that wasn't pre-frozen and I guess I should be proud of that too.

So the good news is, I've managed to use my slow cooker and I guess I cooked for myself. Go figure.


Anonymous Dominic said...

I can very rarely be bothered to cook for myself.

Funnily enough, I'm more likely to cook something for somebody else that I don't like, than I am to cook something I do like, for myself.

Go figure.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011 8:32:00 am  
Blogger "Just Sayin....." said...

I use to hate cooking for one.

I allocate an hour to cooking dinner every night. If it takes longer than that, I'm mad.

Plus I only buy my grocies every other day, so I use everything and nothing goes to waste. I couldn't imagine shopping for a two week stint and discover I do not want to eat any of those foods.

I've found that cooking for two is easier, I just use the left overs for lunch, whola its packed up at the end of dinner and I don't have to think about it again. Took awhile to find what worked for me.

I'll be investing in a slow cooker soon. Pretty excited at the thought of just plugging it in and having dinner ready when I get home. Woot! Must find one with a timer though....just in case.

For winter, get together with a few friends, split the cost of all the ingredients and make some stews, soups, preorgies etc. whatever freezes well, and everyone goes home with enough at the end of a kitchen party full of drinks, music and wine...much wine. :) I have one coming up soon, and if you want to make the trip to the mainland, you're welcome to come. :)

Wednesday, January 05, 2011 11:07:00 am  
Blogger Kas said...

I love LOVE my slow cooker (we call it a crock pot down here)! It is SO easy!

The basic standard recipe is:
Meat, veggies, salt, pepper, and whatever other spices smell good, a little bit if liquid (I use chicken broth), turn it on low, go to work and TA DA! DONE!

If the thought of finding spices is scary, use dried soup mixes (Onion soup for beef, chicken for poulty) and it will be fine!!

When you feel brave enough, lemme know and I'll give you my SOOPER SECRET RECIPE for Chik-n-dumplins!


Wednesday, January 05, 2011 11:32:00 am  
Blogger Victoria said...

Yeah, it's not something I'm usually bothered with either Dominic :)

Man, JS, spending an hour on cooking seems mega frustrating to me! Fifteen minutes and I'm annoyed :)
Your cooking fun evening thing sounds fun! I'll let you know if I'm brave enough (un-shy enough) to come over ;)

Huh, Kas, I always thought a crock pot was something else, although I must admit I'm not sure what I thought it was! And, for sure, I'll let you know when I'm ready for your magic secret recipe! :)

Wednesday, January 05, 2011 8:51:00 pm  
Blogger Elle said...

Haha, I feel the exact same way about chicken. My mom can't believe she raised me by how I act about having to touch chicken, lol. Anyway, the slow cooker sounds awesome. When I lived on my own I totally should have invested in one. Living with my parents has made me a lazy lazy cook (even though I probably cook half the meals, they are all super duper easy, take less than 5 minutes for prep type deals...we eat a lot of the same things over and over, haha).

Oh! and I'm totally the same way about "oh well, I didn't really cook". I had to laugh out loud there. I have to also work on giving myself a little more credit too so I completely understand what you're saying. Good luck!

Thursday, January 06, 2011 5:55:00 pm  
Blogger Victoria said...

Thanks Elle!

But I have no problem with 5 minute prep meals, I think that's perfect, good for you!

Thursday, January 06, 2011 6:40:00 pm  

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