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inspiration for cook lacking energy!

 
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Amber



Joined: 31 Jan 2005
Posts: 29
Location: Brisbane

PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2005 4:51 am    Post subject: inspiration for cook lacking energy! Reply with quote

I live with my older brother who generally refuses to cook anything but packet ravioli and toasted sandwiches Sad I love to cook and bake. However, I have recently suffered quite a hefty illness and do not have the energy to make complicated meals. I do not like to eat too many processed or preprepared foods, but am finding myself out of ideas for simple, but tasty and healthy things to make. Help!!
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2005 5:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Amber, do you, by chance, have a clay pot cooker? I cleaned out a cupboard recently and became re-acquainted with mine. I've been using it a lot lately and wondering how I forgot and let it languish in that cupboard.

The concept is you put in whatever veggies, rice, etc. and top it with whatever meat. You put the whole thing in a cold oven and turn it on to a really high heat and let it roast for 90-120 minutes depending on the cut of meat you use. At the end you can remove the roasted veggies (put in a rack if you want them dry roasted) and meat to a heated platter to rest while you thicken the juices into a gravy.

For a very tiny bit of trouble you get meat that is very moist and tasty.

Tonight we had fish roasted over lemon potatoes. Mid-week we had chicken parts roasted over potatoes, carrots and onions while I made dumplings stewed/steamed in chicken broth on the rangetop. Earlier I did a half turkey breast over root veggies. They were all simple and delicious.

Hope you're feeling better soon!
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Dairy_Queen



Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 342
Location: Chicago and other places

PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2005 5:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Amber!
I sure hope your big illness is short lived and that soon you'll be doing hand-springs around the kitchen again.

I'm going to guess that what you mean by "complicated meals" are meals where you have to tend them and stand by them for a length of time.

What I do, that aids me greatly is to use my crock pot; how I love that darn thing! In fact, at another website that I belong to, I started a Crock Pot thread and it's now 53 pages long, with many, many new devotees!

Buy the largest one that you can (we sell a 7 quart in Amercia) and when you're preparing your meals, plan to stuff it to the brim. That way, you're not only cooking for NOW, but for days in the future.

I don't mean that you'll be eating the same minging soup or curry for 5 days straight. What I'll do is buy a 10-12 pound pot roast and fill the spaces between with veggies, and then place a roasting pan FULL of vegetables in the oven, to roast. Eight hours later, I have a stunningly tasty roast, and the root vegetables, which roasted for 1 hour before hand, go nicely with the roast. Then, with the left overs, I process the meat into 1 cup portions, and the vegetables, likewise, and freeze them. That way, I have roast beef or chicken or pork, PRE-COOKED and ready to through into soups, stir fries, etc. What I do with the roasted vegetables is save them for soups, where I chop up the tasty vegi's and either use them as is or puree them for extra flavour.

With your crock pot, you can make soups, stews, main dishes, rice, pasta and desert. Let's say your sickness makes you really tired after 30 minutes; start the chopping process the night before you want to turn the crock on and when you're tired, place the crock in the frig. The next morning, take the crock out and finish the job, then turn it on. This way, you don't have to strain yourself by doing it all at once. That, in fact, is exactly the way that I do it: I put everything together the night before, get a good night's sleep and then place the crock in the heater the next morning when I'm making tea and away you go. Eight to ten hours later, you have a wonderful meal.

By using the crock and making loads more food than you'll need, you're essentially cooking in advance of what you'll need, and then freeze the rest.

I hope this helps you and good luck with the healing process.
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dash



Joined: 31 Jan 2005
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2005 6:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi there,

Sounds like you could use a boost!

Scrambled eggs are full of nutrients - stir them with a fork in a bowl while the butter/oil/shortening heats up, add a shake of salt and pepper and pour into pan. Only move enough to allow the liquid part to get firm - do not keep on stirring - this makes the moistest, most delicious eggs.

Varieties are endless and effortless: you could fry onions or scallions before adding the egg, add chives and/or parsley and other fresh herbs - if added at the end they maintain more flavor and nutrients. You could add cheese or sour cream to the eggs before cooking.


Asd to dinner: being a lazy gourmand, I have lately taken to marinating. I let frozen chicken, for example, defrost in a marinade such as for example a mixture of frozen orange juice, mustard and ketchup. Then you can broil it, or bake it at 350, basting it with the marinade.

Roasted vegetables are easy and delicious - toss with oil and salt, pepper, vinegar, rosemary if you have, and bake in oiled pan until done and a bit browned - works with just about everything: potaoes, peppers, broccoli, onions, garlic - anything you have.

Good luck and feel better!
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Barbara



Joined: 13 Nov 2004
Posts: 899
Location: Gold Coast Australia

PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2005 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Amber - I can totally relate to your situation as I have been undergoing chemotherapy for the past 6 months (1 month to go). Food and cooking have been an issue as I don't have the appetite or energy, and food smells really upset me. My husband, despite being hopeless in the kitchen, has taken over the cooking. We stocked the freezer with different store bought frozen vegetables. Each day he buys some chicken, meat or fish (depending on my mood) which he stir fries with the vegies, serves mine and then adds some bottled sauce mix to his. Not wildly exciting but it is simple and reasonably healthy.
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Amber



Joined: 31 Jan 2005
Posts: 29
Location: Brisbane

PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2005 10:41 am    Post subject: ta! Reply with quote

Thanks for your suggestions! I must invest in an earthenware pot like you have suggested. Because I need to gain weight it is very important that I eat - perhaps I can train my brother to cut up meat and vegetables for me ? (have been secretly hoping someone might nominate him for a Queer Eye makeover :p) Barbara, I hope <em>you</em> you feel better soon!! Sometimes when I'm nauseated and can't seem to tolerate food, a little grated apple or some nuts are the way to go.
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Sarape



Joined: 15 Dec 2004
Posts: 583
Location: Anniston Alabama USA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2005 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dairy Queen -- your crock-pot-cooking recommendation is a good one. I'll only add that you don't need to use a crock pot. An ordinary aluminum or stainless steel pot on a burner set to the lowest flame works just as well.

I'll cook my vegetable stew in a pot on the burner for about 8 hours on a Saturday or Sunday while I run around and do my chores. Makes the house smell nice as well.

As others around here already know, I'm a minimalist and would rather improvise with what I have than buy something specific to a task.
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Dairy_Queen



Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 342
Location: Chicago and other places

PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2005 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sarape: I agree, that a person does NOT need a crock pot for slow cooking....if that person is staying at home. I do the same thing on the weekends when I make chili or a nice soup. However, when I work, I can be at a job site 150 miles from home and there's NO WAY in God's Green Earth that I'm going to leave a flame unattended on my stove for 8 hours! Hence, the beauty of the crock pot, 'cause I can leave the house at 5:00 am and come back home at 8:00 pm to a nice, cooked meal.....AND a home, still standing! Laughing

But, you're right that a person doesn't need to buy anything additional if they stay close to the nest.
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Sarape



Joined: 15 Dec 2004
Posts: 583
Location: Anniston Alabama USA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2005 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dairy_Queen wrote:
However, when I work, I can be at a job site 150 miles from home and there's NO WAY in God's Green Earth that I'm going to leave a flame unattended on my stove for 8 hours!


Yes, of course, to be safe, you need a crock pot. I do leave the house with a low flame going on the weekends and return 3-4 hours later. However, I always leave the kitchen windows open and the ceiling fan spinning. If the flame goes out and the gas continues to flow, at least it won't get too concentrated to explode.

This is one advantage of an electric stove top. Though electric burners are terrible in every other way.
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2005 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I go out and leave a stock pot simmering all the time too. Just like I leave my breadmaking to primarily take care of itself while I tool around Los Angeles living a life. But I'd hate to tell you how many times I've forgotten or lost track of the time and come home to find the bones turned to smelly cinders and a good heavy bottomed pot wrecked. Of course, most of the time it works out fine but you don't want to delaminate too many of those good pots! Shocked

I've got a beef stock going in a crockpot right now. At 57 I'm better off relying on the slowcooker than my memory... Wink Makes you respect the early Americans who figured out that it was best for the kitchen to be detatched from the house proper.

But, mostly, I hope Amber and Barbara are able to extract some helpful suggestions from everybody's contributions. You guys take good care of yourselves!


Last edited by Rainey on Tue Feb 01, 2005 6:46 am; edited 1 time in total
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2005 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Amber, other things that might help you minimize your time in the kitchen and maximize your output are a pressure cooker for stews that you can cook once and serve twice or slow roasting in your conventional oven. A whole roasted chicken can make several meals warm & cold. You can put a seasoned chicken in the oven at 250 degrees F and leave it for 5 hours and still enjoy a juicy, tasty meal.

After all, you might not have the clay pot cooker or the slow cooker or the pressure cooker but I'm guessing you'll have one of them.

The first thing I taught my daughter to cook when she went off to college was risotto. It takes time to stir a risotto, but I pull up a stool and sit while I do it. A risotto will use up all kinds of interesting things and make several meals as a main course and then as sides to something else. Meanwhile, it's hearty, delicious food that shouldn't challenge a delicate, recovering stomach too much.

Still wishing you and your recovery the very best.
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dash



Joined: 31 Jan 2005
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2005 6:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Amber,

Time for dessert.

If it is chemo you are having, follow the advice my mother's doctor gave her: ice cream and cheese cake are dense nutrition, and you can buy them ready-made.

An easy sweet treat: on a scoop of Haagen Daasz (?did I get that right?) vanilla ice cream, pour some strong black hot coffee. This has always been a hit.
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2005 7:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey dash, welcome! And have I got a thought for you! I'm always on a diet and looking for some new flavor. I recently made my own coffee "extract" and it sounds like it might be something that you could try over that ice cream.

I took strong black coffee (just as you suggest). I added a little bit of Kahlua, a splash of vanilla and some Splenda. I threw in a 1" stick of cinnamon. Then I let it sit in a shallow bowl for a while. I forget but it might have been a week or more. It evaporated down to a reallly rich, syrupy flavoring element.

I used mine to flavor a "dessert" of low fat ricotta & cottage cheese whirled smooth. What I was hoping for was a flavor that would be strong enough that I wouldn't have to use so much it would turn the finished "dessert" all runny. I think this syrupy approach might suit your ice cream well too.
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brighidsdaughter



Joined: 02 Oct 2004
Posts: 233
Location: Canton, TX USA

PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2005 11:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Amber, Barbara & others with low-energy -- you may want to check the thread on "Cooking Resolutions". Learning how to adapt cooking to my health issues was my main resolution. I don't have all the answers, but I'm not as frustrated as I was at year's beginning. I just mad a "progress report" post there. It's on page 3 of the thread.
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