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My, how things have changed.

January 31, 2009

I went to a potluck last night. My mom has these potlucks every month. I usually am helping out with stuff so I never bring anything. Usually I wouldn’t bring anything because I hated to cook and lots of people brought other things that I could just binge on: seven-layer dip with nummy kettle chips, Fritos, fried chicken, macaroni salad, lots of sugary desserts, the list goes on.

Now that I am changing my lifestyle – eating healthier, getting active, slim, and trim – I no longer want to fill up on the stuff that is usually served there. So I learned a new trick: take something to the potluck (nice of me to contribute, eh? LOL) and make it something I can and want to eat.

So yesterday I made up a four-bean chicken chili slow cooker recipe. I literally made. it. up. I didn’t follow a recipe, and I just grabbed things that were in the cupboards. I had a busy work day (here at home) and didn’t want to go to the store, nor spend the money.

I threw a variety of things in the crock pot: dried beans (black, red kidney, pinto, and white northern), fresh cilantro, chipotle salsa, frozen chicken breasts, fresh sweet red pepper, onion, chicken broth, corn, stewed tomatoes. I stopped at the store on the way to the potluck and picked up some shredded cheese and fat free sour cream. (Tip: Think your guests will balk at fat free sour cream? Take it out of the container, put it in a bowl with a spoon, no one knows the difference.)

I made some mistakes – too many dried beans, not enough juice, so I had to pull out some beans and add tomato sauce and packaged seasoning – but people LOVED the end result. Seriously. I had people coming up to me after the potluck asking for the recipe. Um, really? You’re asking ME for a recipe I made up?

Me – the woman who hated to cook.

Me – the woman who thought food was a necessary evil and wished there was a way to be healthy and slim without it.

Me – the woman who had an aversion to going to the grocery store and made her daughter go for her.

Me – the woman who thought she was the world’s most unimaginative cook ever.

Me – the woman who looked in a cupboard full of food and couldn’t see a thing to eat so she raided the potato chip bag or made popcorn and baked potatoes.

Now, I’m tossing stuff into crock pots and “playing” with flavors, textures, and combinations. Sometimes the result is blah, sometimes it’s fabulous. The point is: I’m doing it. I’m trying, learning, growing, changing, and you know what? It feels fabulous.

And best of all, I only ate my chili at the potluck (one cup of it) and was satisfied and didn’t overeat. I saved room for a quarter of a mammoth Costco cupcake with frosting – which really wasn’t all that great – and a small serving of ice cream and didn’t feel deprived or guilty even once. And today I’m going for a long walk to work off the cupcake.

What are you doing that’s out of your comfort zone? What are you trying that’s new? What have you found you are really good at doing that you never thought you could do?

  1. January 31, 2009 12:08 pm

    I love it! Great idea to just throw together stuff you like (healthy stuff!) and see what happens. Sounds like you have good cooking instincts. I’m not much of a cook, but that’s basically what I do too, and it works!

    I didn’t know you could use dried beans like that though. Don’t you need to soak them first? I never used dried beans for anything because I don’t really know what to do with them, and I have no patience for soaking them! I’m also afraid of them giving me gas, LOL. That’s why I’m so anal about rinsing the canned beans too.

    Hi Birdpress – I don’t know if I have cooking instincts so much as I’m reading a lot, lots of recipes and seeing what they put in, and just trying new things. I made something with pork this weekend and it totally bombed. It was awful. LOL.

    I didn’t soak the beans. You don’t need to, I don’t think, if you are slow cooking them. I rinsed them of course. I’ll have to read up on whether you need to soak or not. You could always put some gas-x in your recipe! Beans are such a great source of protein. I love them.

  2. February 3, 2009 11:22 pm

    Mmm good for you. This is a very inspirational post because we always have those types of things to go to where the food is just out of control. YOU DID IT THOUGH. I wish I could tell you things I’m doing out of my comfort zone, but I think having healthy things made and available just avoids a big pit fall. I’ve written this before, but I plan on having a treat every now and again, and I’m not going to beat myself up and play the “on the diet wagon, off the diet wagon” game anymore. I’ve come a long way and it helps to read stories like this one. Keep up the good work!

    Thanks, JQ. You’re doing it right – you can’t deprive yourself. You have to plan the treats into your eating or, I’ve found for me, I just obsess on that “forbidden” item and then have more of it eventually than I really wanted. By having those treats I don’t feel deprived and I hate that on diet/off diet crap. It doesn’t work for me. This does. Thanks for the support!

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