Thursday, July 17, 2014

Home Cooking

Home cooking has individual meaning. Here in the South, "home" can be an adjective ("what kind of?") or an adverb ("where?"). For me, home style refers to both grammatical constructions, as well as the legacy of my grandmothers and my mother.

Cooking evolved for me from being complete novelty to almost forty years of experimentation and creativity based upon the health needs and taste preferences of family members. For my grandmothers, cooking was survival. For my mother, cooking was genuine love. Always for me, cooking was utilitarian...but still tasty.

Today I associate home style cooking with the words "yummy" and "comfort," words that described my grandmothers' and my mother's cooking. However, those results were not always dictated by a written recipe. For the most part, I too became an intuitive and creative cook to make the task fun. [That explains why I am a terrible baker; baking requires precision.]

Life has changed drastically now. I must cook for one, so I rarely had been cooking. I have a Pinterest board where I collect favorite cooking inspirations, but to be honest, I titled it "Cook? As Needed." One day when I was calculating my overspending, I discovered my great cost of eating out - mostly takeout food (I am not going to mention the extra pounds that were adding up). I had seen on Pinterest how pinners were cooking for their families in one day and freezing meals for a month of menus.

Thinking about the one-day-cooking-for-a-month strategy, I devised a plan that I proposed to my daughters who live independently and work long hours or extra jobs. To keep us healthy and on-budget, I would purchase groceries, cook healthy recipes, and divide the selections into "the all-important" portion sizes for weight control. We would divide the cost of groceries to stay on our individual household budgets. The results? After six weeks, we have saved money and calories. We are happy with the results!

Here are the meals for this week:

For my favorite recipes for weight loss and management, see my Pinterest board.

I buy fresh and frozen produce and meat selections based upon food preferences, low-fat and low-sugar recipes, and what is sale-priced and available. I prepare mostly from memory and in an assembly line of crockpots, one saucepan, and one cutting board. Cleanups are easy.

This week, I cooked the following portions in one day for $90. We divided the following dinner options three ways: $30 each for this week...WOW..and delicious!

We are individually responsible for our healthy breakfast and lunch choices. My lunches are salad, soup, or one of the week's menu selections. This is my favorite breakfast meal for four days. Here is one recipe on-line.

Overnight, No-cook Refrigerator Oatmeal

Another great lowfat breakfast recipe is here.

I still eat out but choose special times with friends and family. Cooking for my daughters is fun and creative...And I get to eat well and save money and calories!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Traveling Shoes

Since April I have worn a variety of traveling shoes to many wonderful places. The last trip was a pilgrimage, a last request of my late husband. Traveling back to locations we loved to visit as a family, I can best describe the sites, as did John Muir, "where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike."

The 2070 mile road trip from Phoenix, Arizona, to Grand Rapids, South Dakota was exactly what I needed to fulfill his wishes. As a Marriott Vacation Club owner, I was able to trade for this trip through Collette. The adventure began in in June with my youngest daughter: Phoenix, Scottsdale, Sedona, Lake Powell, Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona; Bryce National Park, Zion National Park, and Salt Lake City in Utah; Jackson Hole, Grand Tetons National Park, and Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming; and Cody, Sheridan, and Keystone in South Dakota.

We met wonderful people on the trip, as well as along the way. The tour was thorough, informational, fun, and safe. My daughter and I spent twelve days of laughing, crying, photographing, and sharing. 

All created wonderful memories for us both, as well as for the close loved ones who knew and understood our journey. Thanks to you all! Enjoy my video made from my photographs.

[Song Credit: "He Walks with the Wild and the Lonely," by the Bar-J Wranglers, P.O. Box 220, Wilson, WY 83014; (307) 733-3370]