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It's worth it, right?


dividend
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The simple pasta thread would be a great place to start.

Can you link to it? I'm google retarded right now.

Quickest, easiest, tastiest pasta dish; what's yours?

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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1) Give the BF some KP. So he's working 70-80 hours a week. Boo hoo. So are you; probably more, if you count schoolwork. If he fights you on this, stop feeding him

4) Per #3, buy a rice cooker with a timer. I have this one and like it a lot.

5) Allow yourself one dinner a week with no time constraints.

I hope at least some of this is helpful.

Some particularly good points above; I have a very similar Sanyo rice cooker and find it wonderful for many things beside rice.

I'd also recommend "The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper" by Lynne Rossetto Kasper & Sally Swift Click Here!!. It's eminently readable, and a great idea book as well as a cookbook with many very doable weeknight dinners.

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My daughter and her husband both have very demanding jobs, and a newborn, but enjoy cooking, eating, and their time in the kitchen together.

They often use this book: Jacques Pepin - Fast Food My Way

Perhaps having some inspirational resources such as this one convenient and handy to turn to would be a help.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I'm coming back to this thread to say that I needed this kind of support and advice even more than I thought I would. Four weeks ago, I broke my wrist (in a freak snowboarding accident :raz: ), and that has severely limited my ability to cook at all. Rather than panic, beat myself up, and feel like a failure who can't feed myself, I simplified, compromised, and solicited help.

My cast makes it impossible (or painful) to lift pots and skillets, chop or cut things, open jars and cans, etc. So we've still been eating at home, and packing lunches, but I've let my expectations be different. Frozen pizza is ok, so is pre portioned yogurt, bought with fruit already added, or granola bars as a reasonably healthy snack. Lunches have been easy to assemble - simple sandwiches, chips/pretzels, easy fruit like grapes - but assembled from high quality ingredients that I feel good about eating. We've been heating up alot of stuff out of the freezer and just steaming a veg to round it out.

I've learned to say, hey, I don't feel like putting dinner together, lets go out, and at least attempt to not then spend an hour fretting over re-figuring the meal plan. Not worth it. I've become ok with letting myself buy lunch out at work if I want to, even if it is fast food or a food court, because it's easy and I need a break.

I've been teaching the boyfriend how to cook. He's made red curry 3 times, he learned to cook over easy eggs, and tonight he's making us waffles because breakfast for dinner is awesome. For this purpose, I bought Bisquick. And that's ok. He's been doing all the dishes because I can't. My mom brought a batch of Italian soup and a tuna noodle casserole (complete with cream of mushroom soup and Velveeta) the first week, and it was a totally luxurious feeling knowing that dinner was taken care of.

I get my cast off in two weeks. I will have finished my online semester (with the help of an ergonomic keyboard). I will have made it through five weeks of basically being unable to do any complicated cooking, having eaten reasonably well, and mostly at home. I hope I won't have to break another bone to keep future stress in prospective, and to know that giving myself a break isn't a bad thing.

"Nothing you could cook will ever be as good as the $2.99 all-you-can-eat pizza buffet." - my EX (wonder why he's an ex?)

My eGfoodblog: My corner of the Midwest

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Thanks for getting back with us. I've been thinking about you...

The best news, for me anyway, is the encouraging signs that your BF is not only willing to help - he's actually enjoying it.

And that you're relaxing a bit about the whole thing.

Kudos to you both.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I broke my elbow on my right arm last autumn, and that seriously killed my ability to do just about anything for three months!

What saved my life and sanity (and let me tell you, I spent a lot of time crying in the shower) was a) were simple recipes like pasta and tomato sauce, mapo dofu, and soup. We ate lots of soup. I designated my husband sous-chef, and taught him how to do everything, and then stayed in the kitchen with him for moral support as he cooked. I also got him to look through my recipe books and pick out things he might like to make. Now he still cooks once a week, and frequently chooses recipes I'd never have been inclined to try out. He's gotten a lot more interested in cooking as a result.

I have a long commute on some days, and I often get home around ten o'clock at night. I make a policy during the week not to cook anything that takes longer to make than the rice or the pasta. Fortunately, most asian dishes fit into this category. The worst part is chopping all the vegetables. I only make dishes with a long prep time on my days off, and then plan enough to make leftovers for lunches and onwards.

But cooking well is the perfect hobby for me. We have a food budget of about 8,000 yen during the week, and that includes good coffee as well. It doesn't include things like cheese or wine, since those are luxuries in Japan. We hardly ever eat out - maybe once a week, and we take our lunches. Some days, it seems like a big hill to climb. I allow myself five minutes of moaning in my head, then I just put my head down and do it. It's always worth it in the end.

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You can get through this!

To answer the original question, as a poverty-ridden poor student, I often feel kind of like an alien life-form for my food habits. Most of the kids I know and hang out with survive on frozen pizza, Easy-Mac and dining hall buffalo wings: I just can't live that way. For me, it's easy to justify why I make myself cook and eat "real" food - if I don't eat that way, I'll feel like crap, I'll look like crap, and the primary joy of my life (eating tasty things) will be severely diminished. Therefore, I have to make it a priority. Cooking for myself does seem to come out in the wash to be cheaper then the diets of most of my friends, though - I can always bring my own lunch to class instead of dumping 7 bucks a day on gross, overpriced cafeteria sandwiches.

I did have a bit of a debate with myself at the beginning of this semester about whether I was limiting myself by heading home to cook a real meal every night - but I tried living on convenience foods and lasted roughly two days. It's a priority to me so I'll keep on doing what I'm doing, and I think it'll pay off in the end. And nothing (almost) is more fun then cooking!

Far as convenience food goes...hell, instant rice noodles, Kashi frozen veggie bake and Cedarlane veggie enchiladas save my butt sometimes. I usually doctor them up big-time but I don't feel too gross if I eat these things when need be.

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Because of the world-wide recession that seems to be hitting everyone these days, I have not been able to find work for about a month and a half now. Cooking has been my saving grace, it calms my nerves and prepping the ingredients and doing the actual cooking most of the times gives me a Zen-like state. I try to do everything homemade like broth, pasta, stews, etc. Not only do we save from eating out but hubby and son get a healthier, not to mention tastier meals.

Sometimes, hubby would ask if I have to slave an hour or two in the kitchen everytime I cook. I tell him its worth it and I enjoy it. It is not a chore for me, that would washing dishes (a chore I do absolutely abhor). Cooking is one way you show your love. And it is definitely worth it.

Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

"Nobody loves pork more than a Filipino"

eGFoodblog: Adobo and Fried Chicken in Korea

The dark side... my own blog: A Box of Jalapenos

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  • 2 weeks later...

I feel a bit guilty even replying on this thread as I am possibly the world's most lazy person *blush*. Dividend, your original post made me feel very sad for you, you sounded like you were under so much pressure and that life in general was stealing the joy from your cooking, you sounded almost lonely :sad: Then I read the rest of the thread....what a lovely lot of people there are on eG :smile: I've only just read this so that's why I'm replying so late. I think your urge to cook good, wholesome food is a wonderful thing, I wish I had your energy! On a more serious note, who would ever have thought that something as annoying as breaking your wrist could have such a beneficial effect! You sound like a different person in your last reply and I'm so glad things have worked out for you. At least if you fall into your old ways and worries once the csst is off you will have this thread to refer back to.

As a side note, I am finding more and more that cooking is becoming a chore, not so much the cooking itself but the thinking about what to cook, if I have a good idea and can source quality ingredients at a reasonable cost (increasingly difficult in Scotland at the moment IMO) I am quite happy, but otherwise.... The one thing I find helps my enthusiasm enormously is having somebody else in the kitchen with me, not necessarily to actually help, more for companionship. On my own I bore myself :wacko:

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Wow, Div, sorry I somehow missed this - I'm glad someone bumped it. Also sorry to hear about your wrist (although one must wonder how, with all of the things on your metaphorical plate, you found time for a freak snow boarding accident :laugh:). It sounds like life handed you lemons and you made homemade, organic lemonade though. Funny how sometimes an additional hardship can have a buoying affect. Glad the BF rose to the occasion and you were able to take some good away from a bad situation.

BTW, I have been known to do meals on wheels in the metro area. Drop me an email the next time you're frazzled. And get your wrist back into shape before July - we need you at The Gathering!

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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Because of the world-wide recession that seems to be hitting everyone these days, I have not been able to find work for about a month and a half now. Cooking has been my saving grace, it calms my nerves and prepping the ingredients and doing the actual cooking most of the times gives me a Zen-like state....

I have long since decided that an evening alone in the kitchen is cheaper than an hour with a therapist.

Cooking is one way you show your love. And it is definitely worth it.

Yes. For yourself as well as your BF, family, friends...

Hang in there!


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It's taken me three attempts to read this thread -- I don't have the time to spend on food I once did -- and boy, did I see myself here.

My problem was that I would get up in the morning and decide to go to the farmer's market and then bring the food home and lay it out, photograph it, and then store it away. Some of the food went to some long-term food project like candying or soup, etc. This was really pleasureable until I decided that spending at least half of my precious weekend time on food wasn't moving me forward in other aspects of my life.

Like weight loss.

So I've let food go for a while, and changed my relationship to it.

I have a freezer full of stuff from Trader Joe's -- there are a variety of foods I really, really like from the frozen section. The French green beans, the artichoke hearts, the flatbread porcini mushroom pizza, the balsamic vegetables . . .

And this may sound like blasphemy here but: I like having the time and moving forward better than I like having a freezer full of fresh soup.

AHHHHHHHH! The shock!

I like to bake nice things. And then I eat them. Then I can bake some more.

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I'm glad that your wrist is healing, and that it gave you a little perspective.

I understand your urge to cook. With all you're doing, it's self-nurturing and grounding - and nurturing for anyone who's lucky enough to eat your good homemade food. Cooking is joyful, not a drudgery like the rest of our day, it's creative, fun, fills the senses, and offers immediate gratification.

It sounds like you're finding your way to a good balance. Good for you!

“"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"

"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"

"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully.

"It's the same thing," he said.”

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  • 2 months later...

Always worth it. Nothing like a little "cook therapy" to get me through a rough day. Turn on the music, pour some wine, cook up something good. And in that order. Now there are times when school is in session and work is going full blast my crock pot has saved me from eating out, takes some forethought, but there was many a days I would have been stuck with take out without it....

"I eat fat back, because bacon is too lean"

-overheard from a 105 year old man

"The only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook" - Julia Child

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Yes, always worth it. If not just for therapeutic reasons. Uninterrupted, I could chop, mince and do prep work standing @ the counter for hours ...

But preparing meals, snacks and food for consumption away from home is not just helpful and healthy, but economical. My husband works weekend and some nights and requests things [anything] to take in, rather than to be purchased from take-out. It's fresher and better, a way to stretch your $100/week in groceries, rather than add to the cost.

~ elisejames08.blogspot.com ~

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The other night, the BF and I were talking about how busy we've been lately.  Working has me away from home 11 hours a day with my long commute, I just started back to school fulltime (online, which helps a little), and he's starting to have 70-80 hour workweeks because of cutbacks and layoffs at his office.  He commented, "It seems like you've been spending a lot of time in the kitchen."  When he suggested that I could cut food related time, I almost cried.  I don't cook for both of us because I feel obligated to cook for him.  I'm trying to feed us the way I fed myself when I lived alone, because I love the process, and because I love real food.

I'm trying.  Trying to balance having next to no time, with wanting to eat home-cooked food 95% of the time.  Trying to balance a not-exhorbant food budget with my beliefs about ethical omnivorism (to use an unapologetically pretentious term), and what's really healthy.  So that means working at eating lots of fresh, seasonal, local, (and organic when it matters) fruits and vegetables, high quality dairy products, grass fed/pastured/free range meat when possible, and almost no processed food at all.  I feel better when I eat this way.  I know that I will deal with being stressed and overscheduled much better when I take the time to eat right.  We spend $100 a week on groceries.  That includes really really good coffee beans.  That feeds us each 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, and 6 dinners.  I know that I could spend less if I was willing to sacrifice quality.

It's hard.  It's hard to come home after 11 hours, knowing I have 3-4 hours of studying to do, and contemplate cooking dinner, and then packing breakfast, lunches, and snacks for the next day, and then cleaning up after it all.  I'm not a particularly fast cook - alot of recipes seem to take a lot longer than they should once you factor in prep like chopping and marinating.  Even on nights when I plan a very simple fallback dish like pasta with pesto (homemade, frozen) and chicken, it's at least an hour spent in the kitchen, not including sitting and eating.  I do a little batch cooking every Sunday, so I've got really good homemade food in the freezer, but I'm not content with just reheating food every night of the week.  Plus we do that for our lunches, because mostly I prep stuff on Sunday to put in our lunch boxes.

I love eG. You're all normal people who love quality food, and the process of creating it.  Some of you make it seem so simple, balancing a busy life and lots of cooking for pleasure too.  How do you do it?  I feel like a failure because I haven't baked bread in a month, and because I take shortcuts and still get stressed.  How do you have time and energy to take care of everything?  And how do you handle the people in your life who tell you that you're manufacturing stress by wanting to eat healthy, delicious, home cooked food?  We've got support threads for weight watchers, and for eating cheap.  I thought we could use this one to remind each other that it's worth it when we're tempted to take the easier alternatives to feeding ourselves and our families.  Because I don't have that support among my family and friends.  So tell me that I'm not alone in feeling this way, that I'm right, that it is worth it, even that I'm just a little overwhelmed at the moment and should stop whining.

I do it because I enjoy it and because cooking gives me pleasure.

I'm single and I don't have any real responsibilities. I have a great deal of spare time in the evenings and on weekends. I also recognize that other people have different circumstances, like yourself.

To you, I would say -- make time if and when you can. It doesn't have to be a complicated effort. Cooking as therapy has an immense value that cannot be overstated.

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:biggrin:

A reminder of what I bet you already know, friend: Cooking with friends is one of the most happy and comforting and reinforcing things you can do. The yummy leftovers can be a tremendous assist for the coming week, but the payoff is the admiring remarks -- not only from your buddies, but from your office colleagues though the week as they smell the aromas coming from the microwave -- as you rack up enough good meals to see you past Friday.

I suggest that you set up a potluck at your home for a Sunday afternoon a couple of weeks from now: doesn't need to be for more than one or two people if that's what's comfortable for you. Make sure that you specify that each person needs to bring a dish that not only will be yummy that night but will produce leftovers that can be parcelled out among the rest of the attendees for enjoyment sometime during the rest of the week.

Between the laughter on that afternoon and the delicious results stretching into the future, you may find that you don't feel as alone as once you did. It is worth it. Keep slugging.

:biggrin:

Me, I vote for the joyride every time.

-- 2/19/2004

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  • 5 months later...

GAH. Feeling a little overwhelmed again. Classes are in full swing. CSA season ended, so it's back to the grocery store (Whole Foods) for everything, and I've been really uninspired, and like I fall back on the same few dishes over and over. We're eating peanut butter and jelly for lunches this week (althought honeycrisp apples make my whole world better), and I seriously don't want to do anything more complicated than reheating something, or going out.

Yesterday, I had one of those moments where I remember why cooking is important. I defrosted a package of meat from the CSA that just said "Beef Roast" on it, intending to just stuff it it in my crockpot with broth, wine, and herbs all day, and eat off of it for a few days. Easy, which is good, since I had homework to do all day, and class until late tonight. Once I got it defrosted, it became clear that it was a 3-bone cut of prime rib. Which I had NO idea how to cook, and which was obviously too nice to crockpot. It got to be 4:00, and I set it out to come to room temp, and paced around the kitchen, anxiety building. I needed to cook this peice of for dinner, or it would throw off the whole schedule. It was stressing me, in a most disproportionate way. I tried to talk DBF into tossing the roast and going out for sushi - he told me I was being silly. Finally, getting hungry, I slapped down my worries and trusted my best instincts. Debone, salt/pepper/olive oil, sear, into the oven with the probe thermometer set to 135 degrees. Wait. And you know what? It was delicious. The potatoes alongside and the improvised butter-glazed carrots were also good. I sat down to dinner, and relaxed for the first time all day. DBF took one bite of the beef and said, "You could serve me only this and I would be happy." So why do I let myself forget pleasures like that? It shouldn't take an accidental delicious prime rib dinner to remind me, right?

"Nothing you could cook will ever be as good as the $2.99 all-you-can-eat pizza buffet." - my EX (wonder why he's an ex?)

My eGfoodblog: My corner of the Midwest

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GAH. Feeling a little overwhelmed again. Classes are in full swing. CSA season ended, so it's back to the grocery store (Whole Foods) for everything, and I've been really uninspired, and like I fall back on the same few dishes over and over. We're eating peanut butter and jelly for lunches this week (althought honeycrisp apples make my whole world better), and I seriously don't want to do anything more complicated than reheating something, or going out.

Yesterday, I had one of those moments where I remember why cooking is important. I defrosted a package of meat from the CSA that just said "Beef Roast" on it, intending to just stuff it it in my crockpot with broth, wine, and herbs all day, and eat off of it for a few days. Easy, which is good, since I had homework to do all day, and class until late tonight. Once I got it defrosted, it became clear that it was a 3-bone cut of prime rib. Which I had NO idea how to cook, and which was obviously too nice to crockpot. It got to be 4:00, and I set it out to come to room temp, and paced around the kitchen, anxiety building. I needed to cook this peice of for dinner, or it would throw off the whole schedule. It was stressing me, in a most disproportionate way. I tried to talk DBF into tossing the roast and going out for sushi - he told me I was being silly. Finally, getting hungry, I slapped down my worries and trusted my best instincts. Debone, salt/pepper/olive oil, sear, into the oven with the probe thermometer set to 135 degrees. Wait. And you know what? It was delicious. The potatoes alongside and the improvised butter-glazed carrots were also good. I sat down to dinner, and relaxed for the first time all day. DBF took one bite of the beef and said, "You could serve me only this and I would be happy." So why do I let myself forget pleasures like that? It shouldn't take an accidental delicious prime rib dinner to remind me, right?

I find this post immeasurably cheery.

Thanks.

:rolleyes:

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Finally, getting hungry, I slapped down my worries and trusted my best instincts. Debone, salt/pepper/olive oil, sear, into the oven with the probe thermometer set to 135 degrees. Wait. And you know what? It was delicious. The potatoes alongside and the improvised butter-glazed carrots were also good. I sat down to dinner, and relaxed for the first time all day. DBF took one bite of the beef and said, "You could serve me only this and I would be happy." So why do I let myself forget pleasures like that? It shouldn't take an accidental delicious prime rib dinner to remind me, right?

Instinct is a wonderful thing, isn't it? Cooking improvisationally reminds us: things don't have to be structured, organized, analyzed, or optimized in order to be fundamentally delicious. Keep on keepin' on, and challenge yourself to be creative with the peanut butter, bread, and Honeycrisps...how about apple slices spread with peanut butter, with buttered toast & jam on the side?

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What's saved me in the past is prepping ahead when I can.

That includes the obvious things, such as cooking double amounts and freezing some. This is an especially good thing to do with soups. Many soup recipes consist of chunking up some vegetables, throwing them in a pot, adding water, and cooking for 45 minutes, then whirring in a blender and adding cream. You can freeze them without the cream and add it as you warm up the soup. Lots of downtime during that process, and you can study or do something else.

To take the pressure off, pick one night a week for BF to cook. Pick a second night for dining out.

My husband and I often have a "snacking around" night. We each fend for ourselves, and dinner could consist of leftovers from a previously-cooked meal or restaurant "doggie bag", or something simple for me like an apple and some good cheese. It's also an opportunity to have some of those ridiculous childhood leftover faves, such as a sandwich I make on bread slathered with mayo, to which scrambled eggs into which some canned deviled ham has been added. I've never read the ingredient list on that stuff, and I don't ever intend to. That ridiculous sandwich is comfort food for me and I will not give it up. Another fall back is spaghetti, butter, and grated Parmesan.

If you have soup in the freezer, you're set for a soup and sandwich night. It doesn't have to be lunchmeat on white bread. One of my favorites is grilled cheese made with comte, which is too hard to slice, so I grate it. OMG it's good. Another is an onion roll, turkey, smoked Swiss cheese, lettuce and mayo. You probably have some concoctions of your own. If you have a favorite pannini but no pannini grill, a frying pan will do. It's just as good without the 'stripes'.

Finally, it's time to learn to prep ahead. For example, plan to fix vegetable soup the night after an easy meal. After the easy meal, chop up all of the vegetables you're going to use (except onion and potato; they just don't keep well after they're chopped). If you'll be combining something like tomato sauce and a few seasonings, combine it, label it WELL (meaning with all ingredients and the name of the recipe; believe me, you'll be glad you did) and put it in the fridge. The aim here is that when tomorrow night you come home from work, all you have to do is put things together in the pot because the chopping is done, the measuring is done, and most important of all: the cleanup is done. Run a sinkful of soapy water while you're doing this, chuck the measuring cups and spoons in as you use them, and when you're done, a few swipes with a dishrag, a quick rinse, and lay them out to dry. Or before you leave for work, unload the dw, and that night, chuck the prep utensils into it as you go.

I have back and knee problems, and prepping a night or two beforehand has saved me. Last fall, one weekend a month, I was driving 150 miles, spending 2 days grocery shopping and cooking for my elderly parents, and driving another 150 miles back home. On Saturday night, even though I was dog-tired, I forced myself to prep ahead for the next day, and the Sunday cooking was much easier to face. It's looking like all this may start up again soon, so I'll have more opportunities to practice what I preach. Part of the beauty of prepping ahead is that it's not bad when you know it's the END of your time in the kitchen, not the beginning, and then when you're ready to put it all together, even that time is much easier to face if a lot of it is already done.

Don't lower your standards. I know what you're talking about; a couple of years ago when my husband went from 2nd shift to 1st, I started cooking like crazy because I was so excited to have the opportunity to do it. But after about 3 months, I'd made all of the recipes I'd been dreaming about making, and I was burned out. That's when it's time to get realistic, work smart, and still insist on having good food.

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