living our best life possible – comfort food

photo of grilled barbecue

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“Sometimes a little comfort food can go a long way.”  ~ Benjamin Bratt

 

As the holidays are fast approaching, the subject of food tends to be pushed to the forefront.  We start to think about or plan what we would like to eat during the holiday celebrations.  Even if we do not celebrate the holidays, the cooler weather, at least here in the North Hemisphere, makes us think about comfort foods.

Being chronically ill, you tend to think a lot about food (or maybe it is just me).  Many of us are on special diets and encouraged to suck down endless supplements and medicines while dreaming of being able to eat a gluten and dairy filled pizza (or maybe that is just me too!)

My question for the week is, what food is your go to when you want to eat something that adds a little cheer to your life?

 

Thank you for sharing!  Who knows, you may just “find” your new favorite food.

10 ways I feel like Julia Child while living with chronic illness

food healthy wood table

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My husband actually came up with this title, probably because he wanted to see just how creative I could be………..or maybe because he secretly wishes I was related to Ms. Child  and some of her cooking genes were in my DNA.  Nope………..and add a chronic illness or three…….cooking is not something I usually enjoy.

So, my friends, the bar for me to feel like a gourmet chef is set really low –

  1.  There is food in the fridge that can be eaten without any cooking at all – yogurt, salad mix, fruit, cut up veggies – hey isn’t eating raw all the rage?!
  2.   There are fruits and veggies on the counter that can be eaten just as they are – bonus points if they are in multiple colors – I know vegan is in!
  3. There are vegetables that can be eaten after being heated up in the microwave – my kids are starting to love sweet potatoes – at least this is what I choose to believe!
  4.   There are still freezer meals  available if you are able to reach deep enough into the chest freezer without losing your balance.
  5.   My pantry has items that can be eaten just by being heated up in the microwave – a can of soup and a can of veggies – hey,  mix those together and I am pretty sure it would taste good enough to try it again.
  6.  There is something cooking in the crockpot.
  7.  There are enough leftovers from the day before to feed everyone another meal!
  8.  I actually cut up fruit and veggies to eat with a meal.
  9.   I prepared something edible with more than three ingredients.
  10.   I have the energy to eat the food once I have prepared it!

 

And there you have it my friends………… if any of those 10 things are happening, I feel like I am rockin’ it in the meal prep department.

 

one in the freezer

supermarket refrigerators

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I usually don’t post two days in a row but I wanted to add on to what I posted yesterday regarding putting meals in the freezer for later use.

This afternoon I taught my youngest daughter how to make meatloaf.  I already had ground beef thawing in the fridge and knew I had to do something with it soon.  So, I used this meat as a wonderful opportunity to teach my daughter and to put an extra “meal” in our freezer.  I had my daughter prepare all the meat which fit into two loaf pans, with some left over.  One loaf was for tonight’s dinner and the other went into the freezer for a later date!

Since there was still meat left over from the meatloaf, we made meatballs and those also went into the freezer.  Although it took a little more time to prepare the extra meat for the second meatloaf and to make and bake the meatballs, it was much faster then if I had to start the process from scratch.

I have to admit, I am super tired tonight after spending 3 hours in the kitchen teaching my daughter to cook an entire meal which consisted of baked potatoes and green beans and she just had to make cupcakes…..but…..we were able to get goodies in the freezer (including cupcakes) and enjoy a healthy dinner.

So, I am encouraging you, if/when you are able, to plan ahead while grocery shopping and purchase extra ingredients so you too can put some food away in the freezer for your less than decent days!

 

You can’t live on bread alone.

photography of sliced bread

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……..and some of us can’t have bread at all!

Food, it is the bane of my existence!  You have to shop for it,  put it away, store it, drag it out and prepare it and then clean up the mess you made while preparing it!  Unless you are fabulously wealthy, you too have to deal with the entire food prep system that starts at the grocery store (or your backyard if you are able to homestead) and ends up on your counters.  This whole process can be exhausting, especially for those of us with chronic illnesses.  For me, just going to the grocery store is tiring………driving, walking into the store, walking through the store with those god forsaken prison lights above, moving around people, bending over to look for items, trying to find my list in my purse to realize I left the list on the counter, again.  Then you have to wait in line, load the vehicle and then unload at the house……….then after all that is done NOW it is time to make dinner!?  Seriously?

So, how can we make this whole arduous process easier for ourselves?  I will be discussing different aspects of food gathering and prep in posts to come, but for today I want to discuss freezer cooking.  I have read many books that tout cook for a day eat for a month, or cook one day for a week’s worth of meals.  Many of these books were well written and provided good information, but they were obviously not geared toward those who are chronically ill.  I know, right now you are thinking there is NO WAY I have the energy to spend an entire weekend cooking from sun up to sun down just to put food in my freezer, and I completely agree.  But there are things we can do to make life easier and healthy for ourselves.  We all know the drive thru is WAY easier and saves so much energy, but the food quality tends to be poor and it gets expensive, so eating home prepared meals are better for our health and our pocketbook.

When you have the energy to cook a meal, make two.  I know this will take some planning ahead but if you have to be in the kitchen you might as well get the most out of it as possible.

Let me give you an example, this morning I was happy to wake up and realize I could prepare breakfast for others.  So, I toasted English muffins, fried eggs and ham and made as many egg and ham muffins as I had ingredients.  I assembled the muffins, let them cool, put them in individual sandwich bags and then into a gallon zip lock bag.  I then went on to toast lots of slices of bread and made pb and j sandwiches, again let the bread cool and placed each sandwich in individual plastic bags and then into a gallon size zip lock bag.  Now when my kids are “starving” there are sandwiches waiting in the freezer.

Earlier this week I made burritos, again, I made as many burritos as I had ingredients and wrapped each extra burrito in a small amount of waxed paper and put into a gallon zip lock bag……….I was able to fill two bags.  Although I was tired after making the extra burritos, it was worth the extra 30 minutes in order to have food in my freezer.

Eventually I will post all the items that I make ahead because, for me, they save me time and energy in the long run.  I have not found this true for many freeze ahead meal recipes as they required too many ingredients, too much prep time and/or cooking time.  My motto is to keep meals as simple as possible and you can too!