So if you recall on my last blog post, I told you my New Years Resolution is to learn to cook. And by that I mean mostly meat and vegetables in a healthy way. While I do know how to cook—my repertoire is limited to things like Easy Chicken Casserole mixed with canned chicken, sour cream, Ritz crackers and other things of that nature. Trust me–it’s good. It just isn’t that healthy. I have tried multiple times to learn to cook over the course of my life with no success. Yet I find myself in a battle now that is mine to lose. The battle to lose all this weight. To not regain it. To change ONCE AND FOR ALL the way I am living my life with food.
I have always believed that food is pretty much evil. Like inherently evil. A necessary evil—but evil nonetheless. At least FOR ME!
I love it. It loves me. And we are abusive to one another. It draws me in. I fall back in love. I gain too much weight. And we break up. It’s a never-ending love story of twisted proportions. I truly believed that for me the best thing to do was stay away from it as much as possible. Spend little time and little thought. I am after all the person who had 80% of her stomach cut out in an attempt to break free from it. Nothing good could ever come from me spending time around food I had decided. Honestly if I could I would just hook myself up to a feeding tube where I could continue to stay alive but not have to actually interact with the food in any way. And not because I don’t LOVE FOOD. But because I love it too much. And I felt that some version of that was the best way to lose weight. By just limiting what I eat to a few very simple things and trying to get the nasty job over with as soon as possible so I could move on and remove it from my mind.
To be honest, this worked pretty well for quite awhile. I did after all lose 240 pounds. And I did it eating a small rotation of about 5 things. I kept it simple. And it worked. So if it was just me in the world, I could live off my Atkins shakes, microwaveable fish and Rotisserie Chicken. But I have kids. And that’s not doing it for them. After many more efforts of attempting to make healthy meals that we could ALL eat, I just gave up. I decided I would cook for my children separately from myself. Luckily my kids don’t really have a problem with overeating. I guess I was a lot more careful with them in this area than I was with myself. So I would continue to serve them the things I could cook. And I just wouldn’t eat them. Like hot dog and nachos pie. Some kind of casserole concoction I learned a long time ago that sounds terrible but is actually pretty good. Easy to make. And terribly unhealthy. It’s all mostly from cookbooks and recipes that limit everything to 5 ingredients or less.
But I realize now that I have a problem which must be solved. I cannot cook these things for my children and not eat them. I cannot buy them frozen pizzas without downing a few slices myself. If there is any chance at all of me winning this game, I am going to just have to learn to cook. And for me that is scary. I don’t like engaging with food. I feel it is dangerous. And yet by not having ever learned to cook well, I am essentially handing over my power to others. McDonalds. Pizza Hut. And whatever “recipe ready” or frozen foods I can locate. It’s all a big mystery still and due to that fact I am left vulnerable. Easy prey for whatever easy recipe or conveniently frozen but unhealthy food comes my way. If I want to win the war with food, I may have to find a way to make friends with it. And then fill my head with enough knowledge and skills that I can finally become in control of it. Instead of it having control over me.
So my New Years Resolution is to learn to cook some things in a healthy way. And I cannot tell you how enormously grateful I was for all the feedback you gave me!! It was absolutely wonderful. I filled up my amazon cart with several suggestions and I can’t wait to try them out. But in the meantime I decided to start with Round One–Broiling Steak.
I want to tell you first of all that in researching, googling, and you tubing methods to cook steak I found one thing to be true—-cooking steak is almost religious to some people. I can’t tell you how many different opinions, arguments and discussion forum battles I found on the subject!! People were arguing over everything from whether you should flip it once or multiple times in a pan to whether you should have it sit out for an hour before cooking it. That only adds to my confusion but that’s ok. I have found in the last few years especially that the topic of food is quite personal to people. They all have opinions and they will battle people to the death over it! So what’s new there, right?
I finally stumbled upon what I felt was the absolutely easiest video ever on how to make steak. It did not involve multiple steps . It did not require me to both cook it on the stove in a pan and then also in the oven. I watched it probably 6 times before trying it. Here is the video that I used:
Seems easy enough, right?!
I also decided to attempt to cook a baked potato. My daughter LOVES baked potatoes. She gets them at school (of course) because surely not here!! But I finally found this website which I thought was awesome. It’s called Start Cooking and it’s extremely simplified. Perfect for me. I intend to hang out there a lot and learn how to boil an egg too. So here is a video where she tells you how to cook a potato in the microwave. I figured that was probably too simple to screw up so I decided to try it.
I’ll tell you right now that this was the most exciting part of the night for more reasons than one but more on that later.
Back to the steak!
So it told me to put it on a broiler pan. What that is I have no idea. I’ve heard of them before but I’m still not really sure what they are or how to use them. I found this in a drawer though. It came with the smart oven. I think it’s the broiler pan but I still really don’t know if that’s what I should use.
I decided to just go with what the video said and throw down aluminum foil over a cookie sheet instead. Because broiler pans I don’t know much about. But cookie sheets?! Oh yes! Those I am intimately familiar with!
This is the meat that I bought. It said it was good for broiling so I just went with it.
By the way, I never realized that you could cook something with the “broil” button. For some reason I thought broil was more like toast. The only times I have used “broil” in the oven was to cook the top of something. Like the onion cripsy things on a green bean casserole. Or to make a cheese puff on toast. You know….a piece of bread with a slice of cheese on top. You put it on broil for not very long and it becomes a big brown toasty bubble. Yes–I’m fancy.
So as much as I hate to admit this—I just thought broil was like toasting things. Not cooking them. Evidently I was wrong!
It said I needed to place it so many inches from the broiler I didn’t get out my ruler and I wasn’t sure so I was hoping I got it right.
I had no clue what to season it with so I picked up what looked like steak seasoning at the store
I followed the directions and put them in the oven. I waited the allotted time before flipping them. Now here is where it gets interesting again. I read a whole thread on how you should never flip your steak with a fork. I found this thread because a different recipe had said three times NEVER put a fork in a steak. It didn’t say why though. It just said don’t EVER EVER do it. It was so scary and ominous sounding that I had to google what would happen. As it turned out it was not dangerous but rather a way to let the juices out I guess. So I was instructed to use tongs.
Believe it or not I had some. The only reason is no doubt because when Amanda and I went shopping to stock my kitchen with some things she probably threw them in the cart. It’s also the reason I found a peeler in the drawer too. Or whatever you might call it. Something one would use to peel potatoes for instance. Amanda probably thought these were standard things one should have. So surprisingly there they were!! I will say that the tongs were plastic though and I think I was probably supposed to use them for salad maybe?? At any rate, I set out to use them regardless. And that is why my son came into the room to see what was happening. Why the oven was on. And why I appeared to be trying to cook something other than a casserole or something microwaveable.
More than likely my kids enlisted him as the little man of the house to put out any fires as well. By this time I’m sure the kids had all discussed where the best emergency exit would be and were prepared to drop and roll in the case of a disaster. Mom is trying to cook again. Let us pray.
Since he had involved himself, I gave him the job of trying to flip the steak over as the directions had told us to do. Here’s a little video of him laughing when I told him why all this was happening.
By the way, I have no idea why You Tube automatically plays every single video from my channel after you watch the one I post. That is probably really annoying and I don’t know how to fix it. Sorry about that. So back to the steak….
When we took the steak out, it was strange. Parts of the steak were black and burned looking . Other parts seemed ok. It wasn’t evenly done. Over all it was edible.
SCORE! But not any more edible than anything I’ve tried to cook before in this department. It was too chewy. Way too chewy. I didn’t want to eat it to be honest after having to work so hard for just a few bites. Annabelle almost choked at one point so that’s probably not a good sign.
As usual this was frustrating because I followed the instructions. Yet something was lost in translation YET AGAIN. Story of my life with cooking. It takes money, time, effort and usually ends with me heading back for something frozen like a hot pocket because it failed.
Here is what the kids thought of it:
However, I decided that the microwaveable potato HAD to be something I could manage. So Charlotte and I set out to make this happen. I even learned something. I learned that there is a baked potato setting on the microwave!!!! Who knew?! We used that and it worked out perfectly. Charlotte was very happy with the end result.
It went SO well in fact that it gave everyone hope. That maybe….just MAYBE….Mom could follow instructions and cook something. I didn’t even explode the potato in the microwave! So at this point, CJ decided maybe we could slice a potato up and put it in the oven too. Like a healthier version of potato chips or french fries. I figured why not? So we googled doing that and by this time I was really feeling happy. I mean sure the steak was the equivalent to eating a tire. But I had tried. And as I said before, I am determined this time. It was my first attempt broiling steak and at least it was edible. The baked potato went well so maybe there is hope yet!
CJ even got creative and decided to peel the potato. This is when we amazingly found the peeler in the drawer. Thanks Amanda!! We had no idea how to use it but figured it out. And here he is peeling the potato
But this is when it all took a serious turn for the worse. CJ noticed his potato was GREEN and he asked me what I thought about it.
Since I don’t have any remote clue AT ALL about things like this….I googled it. And you know what it said!!!
That is what it said. I googled several other pages and they all said the same thing. Someone even commented that their sister had DIED from eating a green potato!!! What the heck???!?
Now everyone was in an uproar. And then all attention turned to Charlotte. Who had already eaten her entire potato. Silence ensued as no one wanted to say out loud what we were all thinking. We hadn’t peeled Charlotte’s potato before cooking it. What if her potato had green in it too??? Is she going to die now?? Is she going to get sick??
Have I poisoned my child by once again trying to COOK?!
All the potatoes were tossed out and paranoia set in. We decided to monitor Charlotte and make sure nothing happened. Aside from some brief panic episodes she lived. No one died. And another day dawned.
But seriously. THIS is what happens when I cook.
I start out just trying to make a healthy dinner for my kids and almost kill my child with a toxic potato.
I had no idea potatoes could be TOXIC?? I’n not sure I’ll ever touch one again.
And that’s round one of me trying to cook. The children are traumatized yet again. But no one died and I didn’t set the kitchen on fire.
I’ve ordered a cast iron pan for my next effort at broiling a steak but I’m going to take a few days off. The kids are still pretty worked up about the potato incident and don’t want to die young. So I think I’ll give them a few days before I try again.
You know….and maybe therapy.