Stuff My Husband Cooks

I think I’m going to have to rename my blog Stuff My Husband Cooks!

Fruit Salad with Lemon and Mint

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to have a foodie for a husband?

Well, I recently realized that my husband has in effect disabled me in the kitchen! It is ridiculous how little I cook these days. I would like to take steps to change that…. Basically, I’ve lost my confidence because I want simple, simple, simple, easy, quick meals, and his style is always, “Well, we could add this, and we could whip that up in the food processor…”

The pic above is a beautiful fruit salad he made with the pears (that I thought were rotting),  apples, strawberries, and raspberries that we had on hand, plus lemon juice and fresh mint from his herb garden. We whipped this up when we had his parents and another couple, their good friends visiting from Iowa, over for breakfast last weekend. He also made scrambled eggs with fried onions on the side (which only the two of us ate on top of our eggs, along with hot sauce) and English muffins. His parents brought over bacon and I ate veggie breakfast sausage.

Below is the pasta he made tonight for dinner, Cacio e Pepe, which he had recently seen in the New York Times.

Cacio e Pepe

For this cheesy, peppery pasta, he used freshly grated Romano and Parmesan cheeses, fresh chives from his garden, frozen peas, and frozen edamame because he couldn’t find fava or lima beans at the market. On the side he made a salad of sliced kohlrabi with olive oil, fresh mustard, salt and pepper.

Oh! And I cannot forget to tell you about the pan bagnet!

It was such a production that I feel guilty that I did not document the process and devote a whole post to it. Apparently, he’s been wanting to make this sandwich for a couple of years and he was inspired by yet another recent New York Times food article. He made such a fuss about this sandwich for two days before he made it. He used leftover salmon that he had grilled when his parents were here. I wasn’t excited about it because I had just had the revelation that I do not want to eat fish again for a long, long time and now he wanted me to eat the leftovers.

 Pan Bagnat, a French picnic sandwich

He wrapped the sandwiches up in saran wrap and waxed poetic about how traditionally you would have someone like your children sit on them to press them. He took one to work and left one for me to eat while I was at home writing. He texted me to remind me to take it out of the fridge and let it get to room temp before I ate it.

And it was pretty awesome.

I enjoyed it with my espresso and a piece of chocolate afterwards and pretended I was at a cafe. All in all, I cannot complain about having a foodie for a husband. 😉

However, I’d like to someday be an adult myself, and cook for my family more…. We’ll see how that goes.

 

 

 

Quick and Healthy: An Alternative to Fried Rice

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Quinoa with black beans, sesame oil, soy sauce, raw carrots, and raw snap peas.

I’ve been taking baby steps toward keeping healthful, whole foods, and tons of veggies prepped and ready to eat.

My current goal has been to keep a batch of cooked beans, and a batch of cooked whole grain, such as quinoa, in the fridge at all times. We cooked these black beans with a bay leaf and salt and they taste pretty good on their own.

My husband has been eating the quinoa and beans for breakfast with a little bit of sesame oil and soy sauce. We originally got the idea to eat savory whole grains, instead of oatmeal  for breakfast, from Mark Bittman. Wheat Berries are delicious prepared this way. We also try to keep some sliced green onion in a bag in the the fridge so that he can sprinkle them on top. (FYI – he ate breakfast at the hospital today, eggs, potatoes, with green chile and fresh fruit, and he texted me at 11:00 saying he was WAY more hungry than usual. So skip the potatoes and eat whole grains instead!)

I had been eating the black beans and quinoa for lunch and having cut up veggies on the side, when I had the idea to put the raw veggies in the quiona.

The result?

A perfect 2 minute meal!

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This has been my lunch for the past two days:

3/4 C. Quinoa

2/3 C. Black beans (made from dry beans cooked with bay leaf)

2 tsp. Sesame oil

Splash of Soy sauce

1 Raw carrot, diced

6 or 7 Raw snap peas, sliced

This is the perfect 2-minute-meal and a healthy alternative to fried rice! It really did taste like fried rice, and the black beans were a surprisingly fine substitute for the scrambled egg that it usually contains. We cooked a large batch of both beans and quinoa at the beginning of the week and I am able to microwave a portion while chopping carrot and 6 or 7 snap peas (and in the future I’ll do this ahead of time too), WHILE holding Sebastian on one hip.

If you’re like my sister and you don’t use the microwave, it will still take very little time to heat them up on the stove.

What’s the big deal, you ask? Well, try as I might, I continue to hate cooking and it is a constant effort for me to be motivated to do it. And I couldn’t believe how quick, easy, and delicious this was!

Also, my husband and I are trying to lose weight. I joined Weight Watchers a few weeks ago and he has been trying to eat foods with a low Glycemic Index. This is an excellent meals for both weight loss strategies.

(For those interested in Weight Watchers Points Plus, 1.5 cups of fried rice is 15 PP while this is about 9-10 PP for almost 2 cups of food!)

This meal is a win, win, win, all around!

 

 

On Doing and Lethargy

Ever since I took physics in high school, I’ve joked that my intertia is at rest. I’ve never been a “doer.” I’m more of a … sitter. And, I suppose, a thinker. Nevertheless, I’m quite prone to do-nothingism.

(A surprising amount of people Google do-nothingism, I’ve discovered. One of my most popular posts is Battle Do-Nothingism With a Stew and Feel Better, in which I was feeling pretty depressed, forced myself to cook, and felt better in the end.)

The idea is that when you are not in a mood to enjoy or do anything, if you do something, anything, you will feel somewhat better.

But what do you do when your stike against do-nothingism fails?

Last week, I had finally motivated myself to cook something again, something more exciting than whole wheat mac and cheese, and I made a very fancy quinoa salad. Though I wasn’t feeling particularly good that day, I took the little one shopping, almost gave up when the first store didn’t even have zucchini, forged ahead, even when Sebastian tried to thwart my efforts, and produced a finished quinoa salad, with currants, dill, zucchini, and lemon …

… that sucked.

I felt bad, I pushed myself to do something, and I still felt bad.

Almost worse. There was an angry moment of failure where I wanted to cry. Just for a moment. So I lashed out at my husband (sorry, Tim). Then I went to bed.

During my many night-time awakenings, I kept envisioning drying the soggy quinoa in the oven somehow. And maybe it would have been enough to spread it on a cookie sheet and dry it that way, I don’t know. But I still needed to “do” something.

So, as I’ve already chronicled, I got up the next day and turned my soggy quinoa into muffins (which honestly, were, meh – still a little soggy in the middle, and not my favorite flavors).

And, that day, I was flying high with my “doing!” I thought,

“This is it! This really is the solution to all my mood problems! I need to “do!” And the more I do the better I’ll feel. I’ll cook all the time. I’ll spend all day in the kitchen! And because I’m in here all the time, I’ll keep it clean. I’ll have more energy, I’ll exercise more,  I’ll throw in a load of laundry here and there, clean the bathrooms, and every day I’ll just get better and better at this thing called life!”

I was all excited about posting about my new epiphany and my raised energy levels.

And then yesterday – I felt like CRAP again.

I’m not giving up on this “do something, anything” idea, though. I do think it’s essential in fighting depression. So, yesterday, I strapped Sebastian into the mei tai baby carrier and I cleaned as much as I could of this messy house, even though I was feeling terribly overwhelmed. I put some clutter away, I washed a few pots and pans, I did a load of laundry, I broke down several boxes, and put most of the tower of recyling in the garage. And I felt alright come bedtime.

And I feel somewhat better today.

I guess I’m proud of myself for not letting my cooking failure get the best of me. I kicked do-nothingism in the butt, and it did make me feel better for awhile.

It’s just that there isn’t a an accomplishment in the world that will make me feel good all the time.

My days are a series of exaggerated highs and lows in a sea of lethargy.

I mean, I know that’s pretty normal. Most “mommy bloggers” admit to being quite a moody bunch. But, then, there are also a lot of people who have a ton of energy, and aren’t overwhelmed by every little thing that must be done to keep a house clean and food on the table.

I dunno. Maybe I just need to cut out caffeine, or sugar, or gluten.

If you know the answer, please let me know!