Well for the first time I have had a request for a very specific blog post, so far be it from me to ignore it! (Yes Miss Ashely...this is for you). Suffice to say I have been meaning to grant this request for awhile now, but it seems I start every blog talking about how lame I am with my infrequent postings - so it just goes without saying at this point that I do not post as much as I would like to.
So the big news this month is this push to cook fresh food - not to succumb to the oh so easy box+ microwave frozen fare whose siren call lures me in practically every night I have to admit. So what made me do it, you ask? Why forgo that which is so easily made and eaten with great enthusiasm? A couple of things, I guess...
As you probably are aware if you follow this post at all, since I was separated from my last office gig I have been cooking, well, 100% more than I used to. It turns out I'm not too bad at it. By my family's standards, anyway - so with the positive feedback I've been getting, I am putting more effort into/paying more attention to this particular endeavour in general. Really, lately, us McVicars are not that bad as far as our eating habits are concerned. Not great...but comparitively speaking, not bad. But we could be better.
In the past I have tried to like processed foods, like I have REALLY put effort into picking out something just right from the frozen section, the kids fundraiser food sale (Market Day) or from Omaha Steaks or whatever - but whatever I would buy and heat up always tasted "off" to me. People would rave about a certain boxed Chicken Kiev...I would try it...and never really enjoy it. So I have been predisposed to not loving this kind of food anyway. Don't get me wrong, my kids are fine with it and are the first ones to request Chicken nuggets with french fries if given the choice but I suppose it's all about not giving them the choice anymore isn't it?
I have realized something very important about myself. I cannot cannot cannot diet. I just like eating way too much. It never feels like I eat a whole heck of a lot and I exercise more than anyone I know except maybe Michael Phelps or someone like that but I never ever lose weight. So I'm thinking that if can't manage to cut calories, maybe I can keep my food intake to things that have as few chemicals in them as possible --- it might help matters some. OK I'll be honest I'm looking for the magic bullet, and who knows? Maybe this is it. But I should probably consider that:
1) I'm over 40 years old. Metabolism-ly speaking, this is no man's land. You eat one raisin and you gain 4 pounds.
2) I quit smoking and more importantly stopped chewing the nicotine gum not THAT long ago
3) Birth control hormones. Need I say more??
4) I continue to eat cookies and ice cream on what is probably a daily basis
Yet I wonder why I don't lose weight. I really do!! Anyway, I do know in my heart of hearts that keeping it fresh and "from scratch" certainly isn't going to solve my weight issues but if I'm going to be chubby, at least I will be a healthy chubby person. If there is such a thing...I am it.
And of course, Mr. Jamie Oliver. We have had his cookbooks forever and actually Tom (my husband) has been on this "fresh/from scratch" kick for a couple of years now. He read The Twinkie Deconstructed by Steve Ettlinger (lots of petroleum in those gems! yum yum!) and Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser and got sufficiently freaked out by what we, as a nation, actually eat. And by what the government considers edible. He wanted to change things around here so true to "Tom form" he went out and bought loads of books on the subject. We have some cookbook from Jamie Oliver's predecessor...I forget his name but he's some barefoot hippie dude that has two piglets under each arm on the book's cover. Hmmm where might he be heading w/ those?? We also have volumes and volumes of "how tos" on vegetable gardening in its various forms but also the much less sedate topics of how to raise your own chickens, beekeeping and how to start a grass fed cattle farm (?!) So I was a little freaked out by the overall concept, it seemed a little extreme to me...especially when he started talking about buying our own cow or 1/2 of a cow. So I would nod, smile and say "Honey I do love you, but you are a weirdo."
...Little did I know...
Back to Jamie Oliver - I believe my long-winded point was that he has been around our house for quite a bit now but has recently gotten tons more exposure with his new Food Revolution show. And my dear friend Kelly got sucked into it - and she was truly affected by it and told me about it. So I decided to check it out for myself and I was so totally and completely disturbed by the family that Jamie showcased - what they ate (omg piled on the table like that! All beige...no color AT ALL), their health issues the doctor revealed for them and the sheer SIZE of all of them! When that little girl said she was 4 I almost passed out. She was about 5 times the size of Charlie! What this diet and seemingly subsequent lack of activity did to these people horrified me. Horrified me right into action. Not that I was afraid Charlie or Max would suddenly grow to 10 times their size like one of those little toys you put in water (usually an iguana or something) and within 2-3 days it becomes this frightening, squishy form of monster proportions that vaguely resembles an iguana. No, that wasn't my fear...my fear was what ELSE is this food doing to them? What is it doing to me? It can't stop at just making you fat...We already know it is flinging my husband into Barnes and Noble to whip out his credit card and buy books like "Barnyard in Your Backyard"...heaven knows what else it is capable of.
So I have been keeping it real for a few weeks now and have generally been pretty darn successful. I'm not perfect - I fell off the wagon a couple of times - giving in to chicken nuggets and frozen french fries and once a month, a treat of McDonalds (it really is just SO GOOD). I have some favorite easy recipes with all fresh ingredients that I would be happy to share if anyone would like them. Evening practice/activity schedules are always a problem so I try to do as much prep early in the day as possible or I shoot for a slow cooker recipe that is sitting waiting for us. I have made vats of bolognese sauce and chicken stock to freeze and use instead of canned/jarred. While I do not yet have my own chicken coop, I am growing my own herbs and some vegetables. What I'm not growing I buy at the farm market (no more canned), Meat is a little more difficult, we do have chemical/hormone free venison and pork in our freezers from Tom's hunting adventures but I love a good burger and that stuff just doesn't cut it. I think perhaps we should look into getting that 1/2 a cow...
...oh how Tom is doing the "I told you so dance" right now...