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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Declining QUALITY of Dinners

For the hens

(No one is declining my dinners. The quality of my dinners over the years has declined.)
Today, exbf was here to help me. Usually, I cook a good meal with lots of leftovers so he can take plenty home. At the very least I make a plate for him to take to work the next day to give him a delicious and nutritious meal, to help him so he won't have to pack lunch.

When he is here, I do more than on most normal days. Of course, I was busy and stressed most of this week, so I was still tired when he came. Today, we were busy and I was on my feet too much and we went out to do chores that had to be done. This was not a good food day. I mean "good food" as in nutritious and home made. Poor nutrition is all I could think.

When I first met him, I cooked lunch and dinner for him but never sent food home. Gradually, lunch became pb sandwich, grilled cheese, hot dog, chicken/turkey, lettuce, tomato sandwich from meat I cooked. Rarely did we eat lunch out. If we did, it was with a coupon. The coupon was my idea, but he likes coupons.

Thursday, I bought a $1.36 cheese pizza and put extra cheese on it for us for Friday lunch. I enjoyed it more than he did because I put Parmesan cheese on it--bitter he claimed. ???

A turkey had been out of the freezer for two weeks, thawed for about a week. I baked it in a turkey bag. However, I forgot to put on the pot of cabbage, carrots, and onions. So, at the last minute, I made boxed mashed potatoes and opened a can of green beans.  These were cheap, nasty tasting boxed potatoes that I was going to give away or use to thicken chicken food. I put some powdered cheese sauce in to salvage it. He did not like the cheese! Except for the turkey, I think he gagged dinner down. I ate seven hours ago and the turkey did not kill far.

This may have been the dinner with the poorest nutrition I have ever served him. But, he seemed so happy that he got two freezer bags with dark turkey meat. I took a clean dish cloth and ripped off the thighs and legs and dropped them into two bags as he held the bags. One goes into his freezer and the other will be eaten over the next few days. Several years ago, I picked the meat from the bones before I gave it to him. Now, I cannot stand that long after cooking and ripping the turkey apart. He does not mind this picking-the-meat-off-the-bone chore at his house.

I feel guilty because I thought the meal was so comforting. We did have cherries.

Next Tuesday when he comes, a casserole will be on the menu. Okay, maybe I will cook dinner the day before. Maybe I will freeze some of this turkey breast to top a salad. He would love that.

We did have cherries and chocolate chips.

Your turn
Have you ever served a dinner that lacks fresh or nutritious/frozen/home-canned vegetables but just fills you up? Did you find at the same time that the meal was tasty? Have you ever found that pain exhausts you?


  1. Pain is completely exhausting. On bad days, I get up as tired as when I went to bed.
    And on those days, any meal I cook is a bonus. Toast is sometimes an effort. I hope he realises just how much it costs you.

    1. EC,
      I have a few, okay, a lot of days where I know I slept but I do still feel exhausted. He does know it takes a toll on me. Cooking a whole meal once a week is about all I can handle. I do cook other times, but not a full meal.

  2. Yep. We had a similar dinner this evening. I baked a chicken in one of those contraptions and made gravy. We had an assortment of leftovers as sides. None of them fresh. I had scalloped potatoes, John ate rice. we both had peas and corn. I bought rolls but we forgot to eat them. I need to be more diligent about serving salad but so much of the time it just seems like a big pain in the rear end. Before winter is over we may both have scurvy! (naw...I served lemon with the fish a day or two ago)

    1. Janet,
      Oh, good for the lemon. I am going to go get some salad greens right now, at 4:30 am. It is pouring rain and the wind is threatening to finish off the house. Leftovers are okay, better than wasting them. Some days, to get my greens, I just put some on the plate, not even pretending they are a real salad. I just look for colors.

  3. Oh, please. Almost every casserole dinner in this house lacks vegetables. If I have the fixings for salad, great, if not, I justify the meal by remembering that my kids can help themselves to carrots, celery, bananas (if we have them) applesauce and home canned grape and apple juice at any time.

  4. Over the past few years I have been able to tweak a monthly menu so that most meals are easy for me to prepare by myself. (There is always room for fine tuning, though.) My husband helps with food prep when a meal requires things I find hard to do like de-bone chicken, peel potatoes, wedge cabbage or halve a squash. When neither of us feels like cooking we'll pop a frozen pizza in the oven and of course it's tasty, but knowing how unhealthy it is really takes the shine off for me.

    1. Sue,
      I am sure I am in better shape than you, just don't have a sous chef and full use of hands. Sigh...pizzas are not so healthy but oh, so tasty. Then, the guilt sets in.

  5. I've eaten some unhealthy meals to keep the machine running; including peanut butter and jelly wrapped in a flour tortilla.

    Lately, I've been making healthy soups and dishes for the freezer. I place servings in freezer bags and pull them out for microwave preparation.

    Pain? Yeah, it is exhausting. I have occasional bouts, but it's never chronic. When it bothers me enough, I'll make a stiff alcoholic drink, take an Aleve, soak in the bath, go to bed and hope for the best.

    1. Jess,
      For about three weeks I worried about how many pbj sandwiches I was eating. Then, I snapped out of it.

      I rarely freeze soup, but I need to get more single-serve meals in the freezer. I should have frozen some turkey for chicken/turkey dumplings.

      When I do too much, I suffer with severe pain. I don't drink, can barely get in and out of tub. Nothing the doctor will give me helps. He said he cannot give me much for pain because if he does, then he cannot control the pain after back surgery. Some days just resting and hoping for the best is the best it will get. Thanks for the comment.

  6. Pain always exhausts me. I worked in my yard for a while this morning. My back hurts, so I'm especially tired. I've fixed lots of dinners that weren't nutritious, because sometimes cooking is beyond me.


    1. Janie,
      Working in the yard hurts me so. I can do about one thing each day, and then I am done and exhausted with pain.

      I suppose half nutritious is better than a whole cake or something like that.

  7. I am so sorry you are in such pain. Pain is exhausting both physically and mentally.
    Yes, I've served some not so healthy but oh so comforting dinners - canned tomato soup (way too much sodium) and grilled American cheese sandwiches (way too much fat) and take out pizza - too much fat & salt but gosh, it's good.
    You can doctor boxed mashed potatoes by adding some bacon fat or cream cheese and black pepper. I think it's more the consistency than taste.
    Not having any real physical problems, just being old, if I'm too tired to take care of a chix/turkey carcass I'll freeze it and make stock later. There always seems to be enough meat on it, after making the stock, to have at least one regular meal like chix/turkey with dumplings or over biscuits/toast. With the stock I make soup - lots of veggies especially those sprouting onion, limp carrots & celery and some meat, about 1/3 cup per serving. I keep a container in the freezer for those last spoonfuls of veggies, rice, potatoes, pasta, soup, tomato sauce, etc. Makes a great 'garbage soup' and it's never the same twice!
    I freeze lots of single/double sized servings - baked meatloaf in muffin tins, preformed hamburgers, precooked ground meat for tacos, rice, mashed or baked potatoes, chopped green pepper and bags of equal parts of celery, onion & carrots for soup/casserole/side dish.
    I have a recipe for "Any Casserole" that lists the amount of protein, starch, liquid and veggies (chicken, rice, cream of mushroom soup, peas or ground beef, Macaroni, cheese sauce and topped with tomatoes and green peppers) that will work in about any combination, serve with fruit or salad. Searc for Impossible Pie both savory and sweet, they've been a life saver for me many times.
    I keep a jar of roasted red peppers in the frig and frozen broccoli, spinach & green beans at all times. Keep meals simple -protein, starch, veggie or fruit, bread/roll if you have it and maybe some pickles or olives as an extra.

    1. Bellen,
      Impossible Pie? Got it. I did not think of bacon fat for the time. I put pepper, cheese, and extra butter.

      Usually, I can put together a stress-free, nutritious meal. Somehow, nothing was coming together. We both like cabbage, potatoes, onion, and carrots cooked together. Plus, we like store bought frozen field peas and Brussels sprouts for a quick meal, slaw and anything. I just hurt too much and was not "with it" on Friday. I have bunches of stuff dehydrated and frozen, just nothing was working for me.

      Bread is rarely on the menu for dinner. But, homemade bread would be a meal in itself.

      You have a good plan that sounds nutritious and easy. Now, you made me Oh, I usually have the cooked portions of brown rice, all ready for a meal.

      But, we each ate 8 cherries!

      Thanks for the pie idea.

  8. Linda,
    I am afraid my dinners would not pass muster for your exbf. I do make the occasional nice dinner, but we have our share of dinners which are grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup, "breakfast for dinner" of an omelet and pancakes, or a salad with blue cheese and dried cranberries and apples. I also make a quick meal of reconstituted canned tomato soup combined with one can of turkey chili to make chili soup served with fresh homemade bread. Most of our meals are not tremendous.

    1. Jane,
      He is really easy to please as long as there is no canned soup on his chicken, no cheese anywhere except on a grilled cheese sandwich, no potato salad, no tuna salad, no pimiento and cheese, no tuna, no eggs, no bananas in anything, no breakfast for dinner, no bowls of canned soup. <---hates it all. (I do not eat canned soup either. Okay, maybe once a year.) Poor guy cannot cook at 60--his fault, I know. I was put out that I gave him cheese both meals and he did not like it. I thought I was improving his pizza and mashed potatoes. ???

      However, I can bake sweet potatoes every week, serve slaw every week, same with field peas. He is happy with a peanut butter sandwich for lunch--no jelly.

      He is diabetic and just started insulin after not needing it for years. I would bake chicken, cook blackeyed peas, sweet potatoes, turnip greens, slaw, and cornbread. He looked like he was in heaven. Often, we have chicken or turkey for six weeks with not a word from him. We both love turkey and chicken.

      All the stuff he won't eat is a trial, but I would like to not eat things I cannot stand. sigh

      He will gladly eat a salad anytime.

      It is funny that he will tell me about his "soup" he makes--Progresso, or some kind of nasty looking beef srew, canned tomatoes, canned potatoes, VegAll. He brags he can eat for a week on that and take it to work. I sort of gag. I think he just really appreciates a home cooked meal. He does so much for me that I like to at least feed him.

      We had a talk about what he should and should not eat so I would not kill him. He hesitantly told me that there were too many carbs and sort of told me what was what. He hesitated telling me because he did not want me to quit baking cornbread and having tasty food. He loves what I cook, but agreed less of what he should not have would be better.

      Thanks for the comment.


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