Saturday, August 25, 2007

I used to hate cooking...

I've noticed a very strange thing happening to me lately. I've been wanting to cook. For most of my life I have hated cooking. Maybe I just absorbed the attitude from my Mom who has always hated cooking. It isn't that I'm a bad cook either. I am a fully competent cook who can make tasty food. I just hated spending my time in the kitchen making yet another meal. There are just so many other things that I would rather spend my time doing. At least that used to be how I was.

For some reason (I think I can blame my last pregnancy), I started wanting to eat lots more baked goods (pies, cakes, cookies, home-made yeast bread, cupcakes ... you get the idea). But, this craving didn't go away. I still have it. I still want to bake. And now, my cooking desire has expanded. I am using my crock pot a lot, since that is easiest with the ages of kids I have, plus the fact that I have all day to just let it cook. I've always been pretty good with soups and don't need a recipe to put a good one together. I've also found, pot roasts can be really yummy. BBQ chicken or pork for sandwiches is an extremely easy meal. I find myself thinking ahead to another good meal to put together. I've been more experimental, throwing together a Thai curry to go over rice that my husband loved, even though it contained winter squash.

The yeast breads, especially, have been fun. This summer I dug out a box that we hadn't unpacked since we moved here nearly four years ago. It was a heavy duty mixer that my Mom had since the 1970's that she used when she would make homemade bread (she went through a super nutritional kick when I was in elementary school). I love that mixer. It has a huge bowl that can easily quadruple an oatmeal cookie recipe (a thick one), without showing signs of overheating. It comes with a wisk attachment for light items (like meringue), a beater attachment for most mixing jobs, and a dough hook for kneading bread. It's one of those machines that could potentially have two dozen attachments for nearly every specialty gadget you would need in the kitchen. In the manual, I remember other attachments listed (a juicer, a meat grinder, a veggieslicer and a blender to name a few). I have found that this machine makes most baking jobs, including home-made yeast bread, easy. I just throw the ingredients in and mix with the beater, then switch over to the dough hook to knead it. Then I take the bowl out and let the bread rise in the bowl. After the bread rises, I punch it down and then roll the dough in my hands into appropriate sizes and pop them straight in the pan. I don't ever have to get that annoying pastry mat out at all. And home baked bread is soooo yummy!

The problem with all of this cooking is that although my appetite is unchanged from when I was pregnant, I haven't been able to get the exercise I need to get my metabolism back to normal and drop those last 15-20 pounds. Added to that, I've been having problems with one of my knees, and walking (which was my usual exercise) aggravates my knee problem. So, all this extra cooking combined with the lack of exercise results in me struggling to lose weight for the first time in my life. Yes, I know, most people will have no sympathy for that. I suppose that I can now understand the majority of the population. But even so, I keep coming up with ideas for new meal ideas.

I also feel fall in the air a little early this year; wouldn't an apple pie taste nice?

I can't seem to help myself.

Sigh... well, at least my husband is enjoying being well fed with tasty things. He doesn't mind the new me at all. Although he does keep asking, "Are you sure you're not pregnant"?

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