Originally Posted January 8, 2020 in the Archive
Day 0: December 31, 2019
Made a big frittata in the morning to serve as breakfast for at least one more day. COOK90 rules say that leftovers count for a max of two meals after the fact. Cheating a bit, I know, but breakfast is my least favorite meal of the day. I gotta get out ahead of it.
Did my grocery run. Focused on the ‘sustainability’ aspect of this year’s COOK90 challenge and only bought two meat products. Whole chicken from a previous shopping trip will supplement protein this week.
In the middle of festivities preparations with my husband, I roasted off a whole chicken to have access to cooked chicken throughout the first week of COOK90. I drank too much and ate too much. I was greatly looking forward to a new start when my head hit the pillow at 12:01 AM, Jan 1, 2020.
Day 1: Jan 1, 2020
Coffee first and always. During my last week as an unemployed woman, I have had my coffee around 6:00 am and haven’t ate breakfast until around 8. Won’t be able to do that next week, so I’m going to move my breakfast time earlier and earlier into the day. Day 1, though? Let’s just go for like, 7:45. Mornings are for coffee and contemplation. Coffee, contemplation, and writing.
Breakfast: that frittata I made yesterday. It counts. Ask Epicurious.
11 am: small bowl of rice with butter and salt. Technically cooking. My stomach was in revolt after going too hard New Year's Eve. Water, rice, butter, and salt. That's cooking, kids.
5 pm: Used some more rice and a little of the leftover chicken for dinner as my stomach is still not happy with me. Maybe tomorrow will be a better day for cooking.
Day 2: Jan 2, 2020
Coffee first. Coffee always. Slept like shit, so I’m awake late with very little idea what I want to do with my breakfast. There are some frittata slices left, but I’d like to do something else. Thinking of a breakfast scramble with some of the produce I bought.
9 am: Breakfast scramble with red peppers, asparagus, and green onion. Sprinkle of shredded monterey jack cheese over the top. Quick, simple, and nutritious. Could have probably cooked the asparagus longer. I also think I cracked in too much black pepper when I was cooking the produce down a little. Breakfast is my least favorite meal, so I think I’ll struggle here across the board.
11:30 am: lunch was a nacho platter with hot sauce, green onions, and sour cream. Got out of the DMV and wanted a no fuss lunch. Also, a drink. Two hours to get all my Wisconsin stuff done. Yikes.
7 pm: Dinner, a wisconsin old fashioned to go with campanelle pasta with broccoli, leftover chicken, and white sauce. Super cozy. I think I will have to adjust the ratios on the sauce at another date.
Day 3: Jan 3, 2020
Woke up at 4 am because my cat was sad and lonely outside the door. Learned yesterday that my shift at my new job starts at 7 am, so I gotta get used to waking up early anyway if I’m going to shower, eat, get coffee, etc before I go to work. Realized I left the milk out overnight after making a white sauce for dinner. So much for reducing food waste!
Breakfast was simple this morning, just a bagel with cream cheese spread. It’s on par for the laziest ‘cooking’ I’ve done for COOK90 so far, but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I. Hate. Breakfast.
11:00 am: Lunch was a baked potato with sour cream, butter, salt, and spring onion. Didn’t want to do anything too crazy.
1st Cheat meal was tonight when my husband and I went to Al’s Hamburgers in downtown Green Bay. More on that in another article.
Day 4: Jan 4, 2020
Woke up at 5 am not feeling tremendously great. Skipped my coffee since my husband and I had plans to go out in the afternoon. Don’t want to add any more stressors to my stomach.
By 7:30 I was hungry enough to ignore my previous notions of skipping stressors and whipped up the tiniest breakfast nacho plate with a fried egg over top the cheese and chips. Keeping this log all week has shown me that despite keeping my COOK90 methods going, I am eating poorly. Lunch will be aimed toward something better. I have the ingredients for a good salad in the fridge, and I feel like an idiot for not utilizing them sooner.
3:00 pm: Made Rob and I an orzo pasta with parmesan and basil. Had just one tiny bowl since we ate late. Spent the early afternoon playing warhammer 40k with new friends.
Dinner: 5 pm. Started the Roast Chicken Legs with potatoes from Allison Roman's Dining In. Won't actually eat til about 7. Roasted some broccoli on the side. Yum! Saved the elements that we didn’t eat which included at least one chicken leg, some broccoli, and some of the potatoes. I’m thinking we’ll wipe it out for breakfast.
Day 5: Jan 5, 2020
Woke up later than I’d like at 6 am. Got to set my alarm tomorrow for 5 am to get into the grove for my new job this coming week. IT’S MY LAST UNEMPLOYED SUNDAY, which means that if I’m doing any project cooking, I’ve got to do it soon. Coffee and contemplation time.
9 am, breakfast. I made a frittata again, this time with red peppers, green onions and asparagus. The red pepper/asparagus combo is one of my favorites in a frittata, and I'm hoping it will last long enough for me to have it as left overs my first day of work.
Noon, made another baked potato. It breaks the rule of always trying to have something new, but we are running a bit low on groceries. Tomorrow, I'm going out again. I rely on a lot of things that aren't in my pantry right now. Dinner will be fine, but my lunches have got to be small and light.
6:30 pm, dinner. Tonight was a slow night for a box kit of tacos doctored up with some grated pepperjack cheese, lettuce, and sour cream. Saving the leftovers for breakfast tacos.
Day 6: January 6, 2020
Breakfast: Those breakfast tacos were a hit with the husband. We made a small pan of scrambled eggs to supplement the meat and tortillas from the night before. The frittata from yesterday morning has to wait.
Lunch: grocery trip made, I whipped together a toasted turkey sandwich with mayo, shredded lettuce, and muenster cheese. A side of wavy chips rounded it out for me.
7 pm: We made mushroom stroganoff for dinner to get my two boxes of mushrooms out of the fridge and use some egg noodles that I bought at the store today. This recipe is one I found on pinterest awhile ago, and I think it may return to the rotation once COOK90 is over. The goal is to not repeat a recipe, so that's going to stick.
Day 7: Jan 7, 2020
First day of work. My stomach is CRAZY messed up this morning, which could be anxiety or just not agreeing with what I ate yesterday. Despite wanting to make all 90 meals for the challenge, I have decided to forgo breakfast in order to feel more comfortable going into the orientation for my new job. Lunch is provided, so this is going to be a bad day for COOK90. I would rather cook every meal that I do eat rather than make something for the sake of cooking 90 meals.
Lunch: At Noon, they wheeled in a catered lunch of salad, chili, and pasta. I had a bowl of chili despite my rough morning because I can't make it at home. (Looking at you, tomato hating husband). Had a nice lunch with my new supervisor discussing our cats and my future at the job. Turns out I beat internal candidates. I feel very accomplished for that.
Dinner: 6:45 rolled in and to honor day seven we used an Epicurious recipe for white chicken chili. It went down so fuckin well my husband told me every other spoonful how 'tasty' it was. This one is going into the repertoire for the end of COOK90.
Originally posted January 25, 2020 in the Archive.
You may have noticed that the week two food log for COOK90 hasn’t gone up, much less a week three log. The reason why is this: I failed. My stomach took a turn for the worse when I started my new job, so there was honestly no way I could make a new meal every day and expect to have a normal day every day after that. It was a fun journey, and one that has taught me a lot about cooking, but I don't believe we will keep going while I am getting over the latest spell of my stomach conditions.
COOK90 is not a challenge for someone like me, an IBS sufferer with stress triggered attacks. I've been nauseous more days than not in the last two weeks, and even when I did cook new food, I didn't want to eat it. It didn't matter what I did or did not eat. I had attacks starting in my sleep, waking me up in the wee hours of the morning, and continuing their assault well into the afternoon. I didn't want to eat anything, much less make new meals every time I sat down to eat when I didn't want food at all. So, I threw in the gauntlet late last week while I tried to work out what was causing my stronger, more aggressive attacks.
What I can say is that COOK90 has forced me to be more creative with what I buy at the grocery store. A new recipe every night had turned up some smash hits in the last two weeks, such as the white chicken chili from Epicurious. I've stretched a container of chicken breasts across three meals, and I probably could have made it four. I have found multiple ways to cook a whole chicken, learned what to do with the carcass. I don't have the time anymore with a new job to make stock every time I get a whole chicken, but knowing I can do it feels good.
A big thing of rice can carry a girl through a whole work week, especially on a bad stomach, and there is nothing wrong with that at all. What I do know is that I need a real rice cooker so that I don’t keep screwing it up on the stove top. Rice cooker suggestions are highly welcome, fellow home cooks.
Although I haven’t followed through with the ideal of the challenge-- to cook something new every meal but breakfast-- I have found that getting to the root of what’s going on with my stomach is as much an exercise in trial and error as COOK90 itself. Not that any of you come here for my medical problems, but there may be posts in the future about my efforts to figure out just what is helping exaggerate my tummy troubles during times of high stress. Diet has as much to do with this stuff as the stress, I’m told, so we’ve got some work to do there.
Keeping a meal log through the first two weeks of COOK90 did teach me that I am not eating as well as I should be for someone with diagnosed IBS. I have a lot of work to do toward being a healthier human being not just by going to doctors and addressing problems that I’ve had for much of my life, but also by taking better care of myself. Reading my own logs in my own words showed me that I KNOW that some of the things I’m eating aren’t doing me any good, but I do it anyway. Why?
Because I like it? Because it makes me feel good for the five minutes I get to experience an endorphin rush when I eat a plate of tortilla chips smothered in mediocre bagged cheddar cheese with hot sauce and green onions? Over the course of this journey, I finally hit the wall where I realized that while food can be pleasure, it shouldn’t ALWAYS be pleasure. I can do better for myself with this lesson in mind, and I very much intend to try during 2020.
So even though I failed to carry out this journey through the entire month, there we good lessons to be learned. I am hoping that by this time next year, my mysterious stomach problems are mostly ironed out so that we can give it another go. This was another attempt to engage the small community I have built here that largely didn’t turn out due to my own failures to follow through, and I’ve got to face that moving forward.
For those of you that did comment on the near daily pictures we started out COOK90 with, I sincerely appreciate your support and interest in what I do. You keep me coming back to this project whenever I start to lose hope.
I want to draw some attention to the Eating Normal Patreon, which has been dormant since we have no actual supporters. I want to create extra content for the people that love and support me, and by pledging even a few dollars a month to the project, you’ll keep me motivated to make new recipes and write as much as a woman possibly can. You can go to our support page for other ways to help me keep going.
I promise not to shill patreon or Ko-fi more than once a month. No one wants to read or see that every single post. I love you. I won’t do that to you.
An idea born in Normal, Illinois, Eating Normal hopes to chronicle the eating Experiences of a Red bird. Pledge monthly to our patreon!