The hubs and I joined Weight Watchers at the beginning of the year, (more on that later), around the same time we started trying to stick to a budget, and a funny thing has been happening.
We started avoiding restaurants like the plague.
Makes sense, right? Restaurants are expensive, and total calorie bombs.
Here’s the thing though – we’ve always been restaurant people. Like, dining out was a full-blown hobby. Maybe even more than a hobby. It was a way of life. There was no sit-down chain that was exempt. Drive-thrus were our meal plan. Bad day? Quesadillas and bottomless chips and salsa are the solution (full disclosure — I still believe this).
When we took a good loooong (ok it wasn’t that long it was more of just a quick, painful glance) at our finances, we got the answer to the most-asked, usually-yelled question in our house: “WHERE DID ALL OUR MONEY GO??” with “WHY DON’T MY PANTS FIT?” a very closer runner up.
Dining out. Restaurants.
That was the answer!
To both questions!
Bye bye, pizza pie.
So, we grumbled about it for a while and then we faced the music and started actually buying groceries and eating at home. At first, that meant microwaving every meal (and honestly, still does a lot of the time). But gradually, as we grew sick of watching yet another mediocre frozen tray spin around, we started turning to recipes that required the use of our stove, the crock pot, and sometimes even the oven!
We’ve found it serves us best to keep it simple – a protein to last us several days, some basic staples like veggies and salad greens, brown rice (Trader Joe’s frozen brown rice is a GAME. CHANGER.), etc. But lately, I’ve been itching to spend a little time in the kitchen.
Justin got me an Instant Pot as an early Valentine’s Day gift and I’m officially obsessed. We made pulled pork a couple of nights ago and what I thought looked like a pretty small amount of meat has turned into a seemingly endless supply of pork. We will be feeding ourselves on this batch of pulled pork until we die. We’ve made tacos, we’ve made pork “fried” cauliflower rice that lasted 4 meals, tonight stuffed peppers are on the menu, and I bet there will STILL be leftover magic pork.
Like meditation, but with food after.
I’ve always wondered why people spent time in the kitchen. Why cook when you could just call someone and they will bring that thing you were going to cook to your door and then you can watch TV or write or do anything else but cook?
I wonder no more.
I know so many of you are thinking “Um…yah. Duh.” But I had NO idea how therapeutic being in the kitchen could be! And not just the cooking part…finding the right recipes to meet your needs. Shopping. Experimenting with seasonings and flavor combinations. I used to think it was rigid, but it’s all so creative, and it’s satisfying a need to be creative that I’ve really been struggling to fill these last few months.
Oh and also, our budget is writing us love songs. All those times I just called someone to bring us food to our door? Turns out that was why were so broke. Who knew? (I KNOW I KNOW EVERYONE KNEW BUT US.)
What about you?
So friends, my question for you — do you cook?
Do you love it? Hate it? Have any amazing hacks you’d like to share? (Please. PLEASE SHARE. I may be enjoying it but I still need all the help I can get.)
I’d love to hear in the comments!