The First Real Dinner I Cooked!

Tonight, I made history in my kitchen.

I made a meal that was healthy, delicious, and filling. Just for myself!

A zoodle caprese with chicken and fresh mozzarella and Parmesan. I had gathered some of the ingredients last weekend but hadn’t found time to make it yet. Tonight I went and got the chicken and some sparkling grape juice, and said a prayer.

And ya know, it was relaxing. I put on some Prince.

I put on my cute new apron! I assembled the ingredients, the bowls and plates and pans I would need– washed and prepared everything. And just followed the directions. I’ve never cooked meat beyond sloppy joes prior.

But tonight the chicken turned out wonderful.

I used to feel so intimidated by cooking, I couldn’t even try. But lately I’ve been feeling brave and excited to search for new recipes, shop for ingredients, and prepare some simple meals for myself.

It helped that I bought a cookbook specifically for runners, and everything is healthy. I started with that and now I’m garnering ideas from Pinterest!

I took pictures and sent them to my parents and my friends by text. They were so encouraging and said it looked wonderful and asked what I made.

Diane called me and had the best reaction: “Don’t get too fancy, now!”

She was impressed and it made me laugh. She was joking because she doesn’t cook really herself. She makes sure my Dad is fed but mostly microvwaves, uses the crockpot, and just does basic things. She’s domestic herself but in a different way: she likes to clean, organize, decorate their home. Water the plans and feed the animals in the backyard.

I used to always think that I’d learn to cook when I was in a relationship, to please and attract a man. But now I’ve decided to cook for myself– because *I want to be healthy and well-fed.

I’m so tired of crap fast food. And though I’ve only made a few simple meals, all of them have been edible! 🙂

It feels good to provide for myself in this way. To connect with that domestic femininity I’ve always envied in other women and wanted to cultivate in myself.

It’s happening. One meal at a time. Thank you, Lord.

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A Coloring Party!

Tonight I attended my first coloring party!

I told my Dad about it and he asked, “What’s the point?”

“To relax,” I said.

As I was driving home I realized that was exactly the point. My friend Daisy had mentioned this and I jumped at the invite.

There were six of us total at Daisy’s table. I hadn’t met the other ladies prior.

All of us brought our own coloring books and coloring materials– crayons, colored pencils, markers, sparkly gel pens.

At work I had mentioned my evening plans tonight to a male co-worker.

“Adult coloring books are a thing now,” I said.

“ADULT coloring books? What kind of pictures *are* they?” he teased.

“Shut up,” I laughed.

What’s the difference between regular (kids) coloring books and those for grown-ups? The adult patterns are more intricate– lots of swirls and opportunities to really have fun with your imagination. They would take the average adult probably more than one sitting to complete.

Kids’ designs are simple and can be done quickly.

I had three kids’ coloring books given to me by a friend when I was in the hospital a few years ago: Lisa Frank being my favorite!!

My favorite “grown-up” design book has a faeries theme.

The ladies chattered a bit.

But mostly, we all just sat quietly and became absorbed in completing our pictures.

No pressure to talk. Rather, artistic freedom in community.

Daisy’s two dogs were underneath the table, whipping us with their tails and demanding to be petted.

One is a Chinese-crested and the other is a Pitt mix.

Her Pandora station provided the soundtrack.

When Bon Jovi came on, all of us sang under our breaths,

“Take my hand, we’ll make it I sweeeeeeearrr…”

“That’s what Bon Jovi does to you!” I said.

At 9 we packed up and returned to our lives.

We had tea and nuts and pretzel bites.

I am so hooked on coloring with friends.

Honey-Lemon Water and Cooking for Me… Yum!

This week has been great!!

I tried a new grocery store that has better foods– and shopped with a plan. Just a few choice ingredients for a planned meal, and a few things I thought would be good otherwise.

I started a new routine for myself in the morning: hot water with honey and lemon. I read that HONEY-LEMON WATER has benefits that it’s got oodles of health benefits, but what sold me is that it’s a healthier replacement for coffee.

I’m pretty much over coffee. I’ve been drinking it for years– black. I’ve been transitioning slowly to teas. But I like the idea of a healthier(cheaper!) and practical alternative. This woman drank hot honey-lemon water it for a year every morning and she said it woke her up faster, she stopped getting sick, and her skin was glowing! When I tried it yesterday morning, I was EXCITED to wake up and make this honey-lemon water! It helped me get out of bed faster– knowing I had something yummy to concoct and sample. I was shocked that indeed, I was woken up in minutes.

With coffee, it takes me awhile. I have to wait for it to cool down, since I don’t like it too hot. Then there’s that bitter aftertaste. I seem to be able to drink hot water faster, for some reason. It also sustained my energy throughout the day, and I slept better last night. It keeps me fuller too!

I also got some basic pasta along with a few spices. Some salted cashews. Some milk chocolate “discs,” to replace my Raisinets (they’re expensive!). Tonight I cooked the pasta, just winging it. I also made some asparagus, and put lemon on both. Loved it!

I’ve always been so afraid of cooking. Then this week a friend explained that cooking and baking are different– baking needs to be very precise and measured. But with cooking, you can throw ingredients together and experiment.

I’ve always thought of cooking as so COMPLICATED! But it really isn’t. Actually, I think I may have a knack for it! Tonight I just improvised with the lemon and it turned out great. I have a very small kitchen with small counter space. But I’m tired of eating out all the time– and mostly fast food.

I see now that cooking is an act of nourishing yourself in a concrete way. It’s self-care. I understand how people might find cooking relaxing. And eventually, it something social that you can share with those you deem worthy.

I’ve always been so cerebral– always reading, thinking, writing, trying to figure everything out.

Focusing on a meal, or even just a cup of hot water, gets me out of my head a bit. It makes me happy.

Today I’ve had three cups of hot water– two with just honey after the morning cup with lemon also. I feel that I’ll be able to sleep well.

It’s wonderful. I feel happy and confident and open to what’s next!

One little meal at a time.

The Comfort of a Good Book

So I just bought “Gone Girl,” (I know, EONS late!) and it’s glorious.

I saw the movie last weekend. I thought it was wonderful but crazy. I didn’t think I’d want to read the book.

It seems like everything I’ve been reading lately has been something with purpose, something non-fiction.

I need to give my mind a break and just let it wander! I love getting lost in someone else’s imagination.

It may seem like a boring hobby– it’s not rock-climbing or knitting or something active or social.

But I’m realizing now just how relaxing reading truly is for me. You’ve always got a friend with a book.

Reading is quiet and solitary, and that’s WHY I like it!

It keeps my mind sharp. It allows me to travel all kinds of places.

It gives me things to talk about! I love when people ask what I’m reading. I wish more people did.

Sometimes I find myself recommending books to people when they’re telling me about their lives, like a prescription. They are usually amused and it’s a good way to connect with them.

I have a talent. I can find a book for anyone, even people who hate reading.

Really, it’s one of the world’s most popular activities! I’ve got good company. 🙂

Nerds are the best, and I’m proud to be a book nerd!