Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Challenge presented...Challenge Met

So we reached the end of the two weeks and no one starved to death.  The house was not burned down. The grill did not explode and I only suffered two minor burns and they were both on the second to last day!  Ta da!

Things I did not do during the challenge...
1. Cook complicated meals.
      As I was first looking at the planning for the two weeks I realized I was making things very complicated.  Lots of things from scratch, or with a lot of steps or babysitting that would need to be done. This is part of why I tend to get frustrated with cooking. I like to cook things like that. I really do.  But with having one car it's not possible for me to be creating complicated dinners while at the same time picking Brent up from work. On days that I don't need to go anyplace this works just fine, he can take the car, I can stay here, but on any other day it's just not convenient.

2. Pre-plan most meals.  
    I know when I started that I said one of the things I was going to do was plan and then that would prove how little of a deal planning really was and I would have this miraculous epiphany and all of a sudden I would realize that planning was no big deal and I could totally do it without feeling like I was being shackled to a draconian menu plan that some heartless despot was forcing on me...Yes I do understand that in this case I am both the despot and the despotted...just ignore that part and stay with me.  But in the words of wisdom handed down from my husband..."have you met you?" Basically I was setting myself up to fail with that one. I don't like rules, as a rule. (see what I did there?) I really don't like being told what I can and cannot do, even if I am the one doing the telling. I will self sabotage, I will make excuses, I will find a way to wriggle out of any situation that feels like pressure or has the potential to make me unhappy. And as ridiculous as I know it sounds, making a strict menu would in fact tend to make me unhappy.

  Instead the most I planned ahead was a day. C and I went to the store almost every day over the two weeks. What sounded good that day was what we had for dinner. If two things sounded good then we planned for one day in advance. That's it. And I discovered that going to the store and picking up dinner for that night wasn't that big of a deal. We live right down the street from one grocery store and a 10 minute drive away from the other. Run in, browse a little, pick up, check out, back home within 30 minutes.  Easy.

3. Stress
  This was the biggest one for me. We had simple, easy, not pre-planned meals and if they were good great, if not then we could make sandwiches. We didn't have to resort to sandwiches so that was nice, but we could have. The busiest stretch of the day cooking wise for me was weekday morning breakfast. I would be making coffee, cooking breakfast and packing Brent's lunch all at one time and needed to get it done quickly so we could get on the road and get him to work on time. This was the area I thought would trip me up the most. And it was the area that I ditched this morning. I packed him leftovers for lunch and we grabbed breakfast at Starbucks on the way.  But after two weeks of having something a little more filling I realized that I will be back to the morning rush tomorrow. Because it's busy, but I can totally do it. No stress....

So Monday we could eat out again and we did. Sort of. I made breakfast sandwiches and Brent cooked steak on the grill for dinner, but we grabbed lunch out between going to the movies and going shopping. And that for me was the best part. Eating out is convenient. Coming back home to eat breaks your flow if you are out running errands. It was nice to not have to sweat that detail. And that's the biggest part of my challenge I hope to hold on to. Treating eating out as a convenience to use here and there instead of the fall back normal. Because the basics are still there. I think, even as simple as I made it, I am better cook than a lot of the food we grab because it's quick and easy. And I know I pay more attention to the ingredients than they do so the food is better for us. And the couple pounds we all lost over the past two weeks shows that we were probably eating way too much of that convenient food as well.

So now that this mini-challenge is over I can see a few more things I need to get done. I need to finish changing out the basement in to a usable space instead of the half-way old studio/PT room it is right now. I want to do a super deep clean on the house and get everything all shiny and sparkly.  And of course I need to get writing more regularly. I was thinking back a few years ago when I did the blog a day challenge.  What do you think? At least a few words on the screen every day in June? I'm not committing to that yet, but I am thinking about it.

Now if you'll excuse me I'm headed to McDonald's to grab some lunch....

Kidding!  I will be having leftovers and thinking about what to make for dinner tonight.

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