Friday, January 29, 2010

Cooking Challenges

I love cooking, but a lot of my cooking is done out of necessity. I certainly cannot afford to eat out every night. Who can? But I also have a serious problem with onions.
Some people call it an allergy, but it is actually a food intolerance, much the same as being lactose intolerant. But, unlike a lactose intolerance or a food allergy, people don't recognize this onion intolerance. Therefore, I generally tell people that I am allergic to onions. For some reason, that makes them understand better that I cannot have onions. Otherwise, they assume I simply do not like onions. On the contrary, I love the flavor of onions in many foods. My mother used onions very liberally when I was growing up and I always loved her cooking. But even as a child, I had problems with eating raw onions. As I have aged, even cooked onions, dehydrated onions, minced onions and onion powder can have adverse affects on my digestive system.
It is very frustrating because I have to be so careful about what I eat at restaurants and parties. Even worse, I have to read all food labels of the foods I buy at the grocery store, including the components of anything I use in cooking a meal. I will sometimes allow some onion powder if it will truly be minimized as part of the overall meal. But I will still have to suffer a small amount.
The only way to eliminate the gastric distress from onions is to prepare EVERYTHING from scratch. I simply do not have the time for that. Let me just list a few of the things that most people would never consider making from scratch. Spaghetti sauce, soup, salsa, refried beans, meatballs, eggrolls, barbeque sauce, steak sauce, salad dressing, rice-a-roni, sloppy joe mix, taco seasoning, gravy, baked beans, soup mixes, dips, stuffing mix, hamburger helper, pizza, frozen meal in a bag, alfredo sauce. The list goes on and on. What I do is find a few things that I can buy that don't have onions (or only have a little onion powder) and use those things to make my sauces and soups.
So,I have been cooking a lot from scratch because I have to. I use Prego Traditional sauce for many Italian recipes, including pizza and spaghetti. It does have a little onion powder, but I go easy on the sauce and add unseasoned diced tomatoes. My family loves all kinds of Italian cooking.
Another popular item is salsa. Try making that without onions. I have to keep my homemade salsa around all the time. I have several variations. One uses nothing but canned tomatoes and canned peppers and a few spices. That's the easiest one because I don't have to do any chopping. While it is good, it is not the best, but it will do when I'm in a hurry.
Soups without onions have been a real challenge. Vegetable soup, chicken soup, chowders, chili. Imagine them without onions. Well, I think I have come up with some pretty tasty soup recipes. I love soup, so I always make extra to freeze for later.
On top of this onion problem, I cannot tolerate much garlic either. Sadly, this is common for people who have problems with onions because the two are related. So, most of my recipes are garlic free or have very little garlic.
Now, on top of all of that, I am trying to develop recipes that are lower in fat, cholesterol, sodium, sugar and calories. That's right,folks, healthy foods without the flavor enhancement of onions or garlic. I may be the only person in the world who needs these kinds of recipes. Who knows?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Blah, blah, blah....

Ok, so I've had a little set back this week. Some stomach thing has been messing with my insides, but I'm still trying to stay focused. Missed work Tuesday; tried to go in yesterday, but had to leave early after not being very productive; tried to make it in today, but had to turn around and come back home. I can't stand to waste another day! I still have a little energy now, so may as well blog, right?
I am definitely going to write a cookbook! As I am eating healthier, I am developing and recording recipes that go along with my new healthy lifestyle. I have plenty of "before" pictures to show me at my top weight. I will have to take a new picture every month, or so, to show my progress. Then, when I make it to my goal weight, I'll be ready to put together my own healthy eating cookbook.
Keeping myself focused on my health and cookbook goals is already making a big difference in my attitude toward life and work. I am very excited about this journey and, I think, it would be really fun to share this with others as I go, and maybe more after I am done.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Making Progress

I have refocused much of my attention and energy on becoming healthy. Planning meals, preparing meals, shopping for meal components, eating meals and recording meals takes a very big chunk of my time. And I'm trying to find time to exercise and record that too. Plus, I am trying to do more around the house and be a better employee at work. And it all seems to be working so far! I have lost my holiday weight gain and I'm already feeling much better. I am thinking more clearly and staying focused longer. Almost like a regular person! Life is good today!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Fresh Start

I'm a few weeks late but I am beginning my New Year attitude today! I have started this blog to help me clear my brain every now and then. That's very refreshing! I am cutting way back on my facebook time. That just eats away too much valuable time. I will still use FB to keep track of my people, but those games are just way too addicting! You just can't expect to fully participate in all of them. So I am setting myself free from the chains of FB gaming. That is going to be a huge relief! I am going to recommit myself to my work. I have struggled to stay focused but I am determined to do my job with more gusto and perseverence. It doesn't have to be fun. It's definitely not hard, so I may as well do what needs to be done every day as quickly as I can. That will make me feel better about myself! The biggest part of my attitude change is going to be creating a healthier me! I have let myself go for too long. I am changing my daily routines to include more movement, and I am going to make healthier food choices. I know from experience that this will require me to spend more time and energy on planning and preparing and tracking my food and exercise. In the past, I have become weary of the effort and the obsession required to really make myself stick to these kinds of routines. But I am determined to keep going with it for the rest of my life. I cannot afford to ignore my health any longer. It's too important. Being healthy will make me better able to do things that I really want to do in life. I'll have more energy for fun! It's a brand new attitude!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I'm blogging!

My brain never stops chattering. It gets very distracting when I am trying to work and this chatter pops up and interrupts my concentration. It's kind of like an IM box popping up on your computer when you are trying to type a letter or something. You lose your whole train of thought.

Lately, the chatter is filled with things I would rather be doing. Not just at that moment but for my life. I still haven't figured out what I want to be when I grow up. Why did I choose accounting? How did I get to this point in my life? Where has my life been leading me? Do I need to leave the path I've been on and find a new path? Is there a fork in the road here? What other directions are there? Why am I so tired? Change is scary. Where will I get the energy and the courage to start something new?

I have thought about being a writer my whole life. I would like to write children's books. I have tons of ideas based on my own life growing up on a farm. I would love to write a cookbook, too. I also have ideas for short stories or novels. Where would I start? How could I find the time and energy to take on a writing project?

Another fun idea I've entertained is having a craft business. I love doing all kinds of crafts. I could make quilts and afghans. I could make wind chimes. I could make greeting cards. I could make beaded jewelry. I could make wreaths. First I would need to invest some time and money into creating some inventory. Then I could sell online or at craft shows or at flea markets. Maybe I could eventually have my own shop.

I have also thought about having my own little diner/cafe/sandwich shop. Or a bakery. Big draw back to that is the hours. I would only do this if I had someone else helping me.

And there are still more ideas bouncing around in my head!

I'm a blogger.

I need to have a place to dump the brain chatter in my head, so I created a blog. Kinda hoping that no one reads it. But it's probably open for anyone to see since this is Google and the world wide web. Oh well....