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!

 

 

 

When you get the flu…

brown and white bear plush toy

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Over a week ago, I had been working on another post and I was really struggling with putting my thoughts on paper.  Although this is a daily issue for me, it seemed as if I was having more trouble than usual.  So, I put it aside and was feeling mad at myself for not being able to push through and get something “readable” on the computer screen.  Two days later I woke up with the flu.

Thank goodness it has been 18 years since I have had the flu this bad and by bad I really mean debilitating and miserable.  The morning I woke up with the flu I realized instantly that I had not done an adequate job planning ahead for such an event.  I am fortunate enough to have people in my life who help me out during times like these, but there is no way I am going to ask…………”hey, could you please put a whole chicken in the crock pot, add filtered water, celery, carrots and cook it for 8 hours then make it into a soup?” Nope, I wouldn’t do that plus I was so ill I couldn’t have spoken all those words at one time without taking a nap.

So, I have learned a valuable lesson.  I need to prepare for these dreaded times that I receive an extra illness.  I know that if I eat healthier while ill, I heal quicker.  I know the extra comfort that my favorite bottled water can bring me, or the soothing comfort of only cough drop that doesn’t make me sick to my stomach.  Did I have either of these things on hand, heck no!  So, planning ahead is on my list of things to do once I have fully recovered.

How do I plan on preparing for the next illness?  Great question!  I am going to have homemade chicken broth and soup waiting in the freezer.  I am going to put a bin in my closet and fill it full of things I so missed this time around………favorite bottled water, lip balm, the right cough drops, warm socks, paper plates and bowls, plastic utensils,  comforting teas and some puzzle books from the dollar store.

What do you do to prepare ahead for the cold and flu season?  I would love to hear your great ideas!