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Old 03-28-2014, 09:39 PM   #1
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eat out! single life.

Ok, so here is what I learned this week. I am a hot mess in the kitchen.. to the point where it is affecting my plan. When I was away, having someone cook my chicken and then I came home and put it on a bed of lettuce with some onions totally made me happy.

I think it might have to do with my kitchen anxiety and not wanting to cook, but I tried to figure out how much it would cost me to just get a chicken breast or piece of meat every night, maybe 5 dollars-tops. I know at my local store, I can get one for 3. So, if could do exactly what I did when I was away, and reduce stress/anxiety, but for some reason, I feel like I am being lazy. On the other hand, I am single, noone to answer to and if I am going to be satisfied with the grill chick I get from WF or wherever, I bet it would help me to not overeat on other stuff. Just brainstorming here..

I think I spend more money trying to eat and eat to feel satisfied but this wasnt an issue when I was away. Weird.

I could spend 30 on food and be happy with my choice of having the opportunity to buy out for myself ( as long as low carb of course) or.. I could go to store, buy veggies and stuff I dont even want to make sometimes and then be unsatisfied.

What would you guys do??? I think this might have to be related to my mother never cooked for me and i never learned, nor do I WANT to learn...lol. Well, at least not now while I am in school.

Seriously, thank God for tuna or I would be lost.

sorry to ramble, but I realized tonight how much I struggle with eating anything when I am the one preparing it. I am quite embarrassed, but i guess I could look at my single life and EMBRACE it! right??
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Old 03-28-2014, 09:53 PM   #2
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Here's my very best tip:

Buy a George Foreman grill.

Add thawed meat, after seasoning it (start with 1/8 tsp salt and pepper and adjust from there).

Cook until it isn't raw. Add a sauce or additional seasonings.

Tada!



Seriously, no need to be a gourmet in the kitchen. I live off of hardboiled eggs, canned sardines, pepperoni, roasted turkey and ham that I freeze into smaller bags and thaw as needed, and the like. Most of my meals are highly deconstructed - an ounce of dark chocolate, a coffee, a bowl of berries with a tbs of cream, a salad, a tin of canned fish. Or a George grilled burger topped with a slice of cheddar on a bed of lettuce, some mayo, and mustard.

Can I heartily recommend the cookbooks of our own member, SugarFreeSheila? I purchased them just recently after being impressed with her free recipes and advice for *years* and they were a wonderful buy. The meals are all on the simple side, don't require any special cooking techniques or tons of exotic ingredients, and most are induction friendly. I am actually a marvelous cook but because I cook 3-4 meals a day for my children and husband, I have no energy left over to do anything fancy for myself, and I stay on plan best with simple food. A lot of her recipes are simple and tasty, not too much effort to put in. Highly, highly recommended by me, anyway.

And still, 80% or more of what I eat every day is uncooked or minimally prepared. I use a lot of small bowls. It hasn't impeded my happiness on low carb or my weight loss to not do exotic meal substitutes. Quite the contrary, I have to be very careful with low carb 'recipes' that are more involved because they can give me cravings and usually aren't worth the caloric bang for the satiety buck, for my body.

I hope this is encouraging to you. Low carb can be done with VERY minimal cooking if you prep once or twice a week. And yes, you can buy remade chicken or meat and work with that, but oftentimes they add sugar and starch to the brines and marinades, which you don't want to eat too much of. Just spending a day or two per week batch cooking your protein and then adding simple twists on it with sauces and seasonings is easy peasy, very cheap, and will give you a lot of options in the fridge for when your day is more busy.

You can do it! You don't need to be Emeril or the Pioneer Woman to succeed and eat taste food on low carb, I promise!
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Old 03-28-2014, 09:56 PM   #3
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Don't be embarrassed. You have the right to not cook! It means you spend your time in other ways. I would say if you can afford and can find healthy on-plan food do whatever works for you...success on the plan is more important than success in the kitchen. It doesn't make you a bad person...just a person who chooses not to allocate time to cooking. It can be very time consuming and if you don't like to eat your own food (I have been there!) then it is hard to get at all excited about it. That said, there are some things that are pretty fast and easy (like making instant ramen-level easy) such as egg drop soup etc. that could give you more options when you can't go out.

If you need to cook to save money, look at videos of how to cook stuff on Youtube...I tried frying steak for the first time last night and on my own it would have been TERRIBLE but I watched a 3 minute Gordon Ramsey video, followed it, and the steak came out perfect and took no time and only one dirty pan. Maybe eat mostly stuff you buy precooked and commit to trying a new low carb recipe every so often until you slowly acquire a set of things you like to make and eat.
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Old 03-28-2014, 10:02 PM   #4
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Amazing. I feel better already. So, I have a george foreman and was going to throw it away cuz it is sooo old.. and I feel like the teflon is wearing off and maybe making me sick? I could buy another one, you are right! I am like you... never anything processed. I have only fresh veg and meat in my house and right now" lettuce, asparagus and a lemon. oh,.. and 3 eggs. lol. No oils, no canned food and nothing in a bag or container. Seriously lady, I get so annoyed with making anything that I end up not buying anything!! So, need to reframe.

I could do a burger ( no cheese)or my chick on the foreman ( a new one). Hmm... I think you made a good point, I need to prepare more. I am not planning appropiately.

I always make sure the chicken breast is not marinaded or brined in anything, figured that one out.

Of course this helps!! I am going to buy some small containers as well... I dont eeven have tupperware except one bowl. This is obviously an area I need to dedicate more time to instead of just work/school non stop and the gym. Maybe I would enjoy eating more if I start to make more of an effort. You think?

Sounds like your family is lucky to have a great mom/wife such as yourself who is able to work/gym and balance the home! good for you

thanks again. I needed to be reminded that I am perfectly capable of doing this,even if I dont have a family. It just feels weird to cook and eat alone all the time. I seem to do better when I go out and bring my salad and even eat it at a cafe..or something.
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Old 03-28-2014, 10:06 PM   #5
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Willgirl- thanks for being empathetic to my situation. Yes, that is it, I dont enjoy what I am cooking and I think you are right that I need to do whatever it takes to stay on plan. That being said, I could split it up and do 3 nights of making my own food and 4 nights of purchasing the protein. It really is just the protein that throws me off. I cant say I really "can" afford it, but I think it evens out when I make something.. hate it, and then end up going out anyways and eating more by buying something. Stupid!! and I am in doctoral program, so if my time is limited, then so be it.

Arctic-- I do love your suggestions and appreciate your postiive twist on things, it might work so i need to try!! I have nothing to lose but 5 lbs.lol
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Old 03-28-2014, 10:15 PM   #6
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I get the limited time, I really, really do. Like I said, my days consist of a lot of items taken straight from bags and put into bowls. Almonds. Cheese. Berries. Celery. Sardines. Even my snacks are things like pork rinds or sunflower seeds. And my "meals" are me making a piece of meat edible and adding a veggie. I do a lot of nuking with butter and garlic/salt/pepper/curry powder/whatever. Frequently nothing more than a pan is dirtied, and that's only for a meal like dinner.

If you were doing weekly prep, it would probably look like making a large batch of hardboiled eggs (I make mine in the oven for 30 minutes at 325, shock in a sink of cold water to stop the cooking process, refrigerate), broiling or grilling up 3-5 steaks, fish fillets, chicken breasts, sausage links, etc. Then chop up veggies you actually like and store them in containers in the fridge. Or do what I do, and use a lot of frozen green beans, broccoli, stir fry veggies, etc, and then you don't even have to chop because the nice folks at the processing plant did it for you

This is maaaaybe an hour or two of cooking. Once per week. And then all you have to do is assemble it each day. Add salsa, jarred pesto, LC barbecue sauce, jarred curry sauce, soy and ginger, whatever floats your boat. Add in something simple like a hunk of cheese or some nuts if you need a snack. You get the drift. Think simple, fast, deconstructed, tasty. And if it takes more energy than grilling/broiling/crockpotting, ditch it! And ditch it with no shame.

This is just to give you ideas, but seriously a can of smoked oysters or some pepperoni isn't the end of the world if you enjoy it and it makes your meals interesting and easier to plan. Batch cooking and prep might just be worth a look see, so you're not feeling like you're spending an hour in the kitchen every day and still coming up with stuff you don't like.
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Old 03-28-2014, 10:26 PM   #7
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Thank you. Tell me about these eggs?? I was buying them at the coop off the salad bar cuz they tasted so good and the guy told me they put them in the oven?? Do I just crack them and put in pan? Oh geez... I gotta get a pan?? Lol


I could always bake the chicken or fish? I think chopping the veggies and lettuce ahead will help me as well. It's not like I eat much variety..

Here is my staple list: lettuce broc broc slaw onions zucchini garlic ( maybe) eggs celery

Super excited days I will make: kale chips or have a red pepper but pretty much done with my pepper addiction! Thank god cuz it was not healthy


Flavour: I need some! Spices ... Maybe something easy like a steak seasoning?

You are superwoman! Lol
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Old 03-28-2014, 10:34 PM   #8
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I know what you mean! I don't love cooking either, and I much prefer the foods that others prepare. I fully anticipate the day when there is only my husband and me at home. We will eat out much more! But for now, there are four mouths to feed. It takes too much time and money to eat out very often.

One thing I've noticed is that food preparation is more stressful when I'm busy. I don't think about things ahead of time. Just takes too much mental energy!

When I was single, it wasn't uncommon for me to just eat an avocado for dinner--or guacamole and chips. Or a bag of popcorn and a wedge of cheese, but that was pre-low-carb.

Now, when my husband travels for work and I'm "single", I make simple things that I really like and let the kids eat frozen foods that we stock up or whatever they want (the "kids" are actually young adult children). Tonight I had stuffed jalapenos. Earlier this week I threw together a super quick broccoli cheese soup. Another night I made chicken tortilla soup. It's yummy enough that sometimes the kids even eat what I'm having! (It's still cold where we live....)

Prep is what I dislike, so I pay a little more to keep things on hand that I will actually use: simple ingredients that are already prepped like frozen broccoli, frozen bell pepper & onion strips, frozen grilled chicken strips, canned rotel, canned chicken broth, etc. Everything I make throws together quickly. I frequently work long hours, so if it's not quick, I won't make it. I try to eat nutritious food, but sometimes I just don't have the desire to bother with it. A couple of nights ago, I microwaved a small plate of pepperoni slices topped with cheese. I thought of it as a guilty snack, but it killed my appetite for the rest of the night!

The foods I mentioned are not necessarily things you'd eat. Just think about what it is that you enjoy and see if there are some shortcuts to get you there. Eat to satisfy yourself! But more than anything, remember that cooking is not about character. If you don't like it, that's nothing to be embarrassed about!
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Old 03-28-2014, 10:46 PM   #9
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Peace...you are so cute! I mean that in the nicest way. You don't crack the eggs, you cook them in the shell. That's what a hard boiled egg is. When I do mine in the oven, I use a muffin pan and just stick an egg in each muffin hole and stick it in the oven. Hope this helps. Cooking LC meals is the easiest to cook yourself. I know it's easier said than done if you've never cooked before though. My Mom taught me to cook from am early age which I am very grateful for. You can do this. You just need to build your confidence. Here are the spices that I keep on hand and use on just about everything: granulated garlic, onion powder, mineral salt, black pepper. I use dill on my fish. I also keep on hand:basil, thyme, oregano, an Italian seasoning blend, parsley, ginger, and some other weird things that you would probably never use. One of my favorite ways to fix chicken is to cut up a boneless chicken breast, heat up some coconut oil in a pan, season the chicken with the first spices I listed, and fry in the oil. It's super fast because you've cut it up into chunks, and it's as close to real fried chicken as I'm going to get. I like to make it crispy to get the fried chicken taste. You could season it in other ways too. I have done a Cajun seasoning before and made a wonderful chicken salad out of it. I always keep frozen hamburger patties in my freezer. It literally takes 10 minutes to cook a piece of meat and a veggie. Stick a fried egg on top and you've got a completely different meal.
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Old 03-29-2014, 07:16 AM   #10
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Omg. Cracking up a about the eggs how long and what temp?


Thank you for your thoughts and suggestions. Def going to do this... Will comment more later after I get gym done but had to laugh about the eggs. I told you!!!!so clueless.
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Old 03-29-2014, 08:11 AM   #11
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darn, and i was hoping this thread would be for single people going out to eat....harumph.

I love ArcticMama's deconstruction approach - you don't need a dish as much as you need food. Maybe 1/4 c. olives and sardines and some cheese makes a meal. You could portion them out on a plate, light a candle and feel pretty darn special.

dgidaho - that sounds a lot like what I do.

cfine also had a lot of great ideas.

Last edited by sbarr; 03-29-2014 at 08:12 AM..
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Old 03-29-2014, 09:14 AM   #12
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I've had great success with 30 minutes in the oven at 325 degrees. The eggs might have one or two brown spots under the shell but they taste great. Once they're out of the oven just put them in a sink of cold water to cool down and you're good. I think they peel easier and cook easier than stovetop boiled eggs, much less hit and miss and more reliable. I also use a muffin tin, just so the eggs don't roll around.
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Old 03-29-2014, 09:22 AM   #13
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That makes sense that baked eggs would be easier to peel - shells are permeable and even a little bit of drying would add space between the shell and the egg (also a good reason to eat older eggs when you need to peel them).

Ahhhh, LCF is so wise....
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Old 03-29-2014, 10:04 AM   #14
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My egg method: put eggs in cool water, bring to a boil, cover, turn off heat. Let sit for 12-15 depending on size of eggs. Remove eggs - can put in ice bath to help with the peel and to stop cooking. With this method you can actually leave in the water like 1/2 hour and they still won't be overcooked. Actually probably takes less time than the oven. Some say adding salt helps with peeling.

Another great kitchen gadget that you might consider is a crockpot. it's throw the protein in there, some broth or jarred sauce (salsa/verde/etc.), turn it on and forget about it for awhile. When done you can dish over some veggies (if you didn't throw any in the pot). My favorite is chicken or pork with green chile sauce (watch the carbs tho). This is the easiest "omg I hate cooking" method IMO)

I also love my contact grill (like a foreman). I cook my bacon on it - saves splatter, catches the drippings, cooks both sides at once and crisps up nice. A lot of my friends do it in the oven which seems less work involved but I don't want grease spatter in my oven if I can help it lol. I also grill hamburger, chicken, pork (I love grilled meat easy peasy.

But on the other hand I also eat out often cause I'm lazy, tired, etc. - for fast food I'll go to McD's get a side salad with Ranch, and a grilled chicken patty - did I mention I was also cheap lol and a side salad/side chicken patty is cheaper than buying their premium salad and there's not much difference .. and sometimes I'll add cheese to it. Or I'll just order the quarter pounder patty (make sure they don't try to sell the whole QP and take off bun or it will cost you more. make sure tell them just the patty.) If there's a regular restaurant you like then most have nutrition info online. look before you go - make a list of places and options so you don't have to wing it so much. I eat out all the time and we eat gluten free - it can be a challenge but very doable.

Bottom line you don't have to do either or mix it up
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Old 03-29-2014, 11:01 AM   #15
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OMG, you can bake eggs to hard boil them?! Who knew? Thanks for this tip Arctic Mama. Geez, I learn so much here.

Funny too, I had bought a mini muffin tin to make fat bombs months ago. They weren't for me. Hubby just asked if he could get rid of the tin since I never use it, and I said no, there will be something to use it for.

Voila! It will be perfect for hard boiling our eggs in the oven. I'm particularly happy to hear they peel better this way. I've tried all kinds of tips to make that happen consistently, and none really work. Hope this does, hate it when the shells come off in tiny pieces dragging the white w/it.

But in any case, this just sounds so much easier when doing a dozen at at time, which I like to do.
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Old 03-29-2014, 11:12 AM   #16
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Oh and one more thing, Peace. I buy a rotisserie chicken a week. $7 gets me 4 or five meals, usually salads w/chicken on them, I have a bunch of different variations of this and love all of them. My fave: romaine, w/warmed white chicken, sliced roasted almonds, blackberries and crumbled blue cheese. W/a rotisserie chicken it takes about 5 minutes to make.

Also imo, it's good to make your own dressings. Vinegarettes are easy and you can make a big batch to last---oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper, basil, shake. Add a bit of mustard and you have a dijon vinegarette. Fresh and delish, no added sugars.

I have NEVER been a cook, got spoiled w/a husband whose a great one. But since going LC I've found so many easy quick ways to make myself a satisfying meal. As you grow into this woe, you start collecting them, and before you know it, you're doing a lot in the kitchen, fast, easy and satisfying.
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Old 03-29-2014, 11:25 AM   #17
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You will get the occasional awful egg that refuses to peel, but I have many, many less of them this way. I do a batch every two days or so, because among me (2 eggs) and the four kids (4-6 eggs) we go through them very, very quickly.
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Old 03-29-2014, 11:27 AM   #18
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I still haven't found a foolproof method for hard boiled eggs but this works pretty good, add in about a tablespoon of baking soda to your water to help them peel easier.
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Old 03-29-2014, 11:49 AM   #19
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Most people would cringe at my way of eating. I live alone and only have to worry about myself. I eat fast food almost every night, the insides of tacos, burgers without buns, grilled chicken from KFC, and the toppings off of a pizza. I might cook once or twice a week. I have managed to lose nearly a hundred pounds eating this way and the only thing wrong with my health is low Vitamin D. My cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure are fine.
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Old 03-29-2014, 12:04 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ocean View Post
Most people would cringe at my way of eating. I live alone and only have to worry about myself. I eat fast food almost every night, the insides of tacos, burgers without buns, grilled chicken from KFC, and the toppings off of a pizza. I might cook once or twice a week. I have managed to lose nearly a hundred pounds eating this way and the only thing wrong with my health is low Vitamin D. My cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure are fine.
lol. I hear you. I mean, I don't eat that way but nobody would want to eat the way I do either. As long as it works for us, tho!!
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Old 03-29-2014, 12:52 PM   #21
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If you have a Trader Joes near you they are handy for easy food prep. One of my favorites is their "Just Chicken." It is exactly what it says- grilled and sliced chicken breast, ready to go on a salad, on a plate with some veggies or in a stir fry.

They have pre washed and cut veggies in packages. I buy whatever strikes my fancy, dump in a ziploc and toss with some olive oil, spread on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper, grind salt over it all and bake at 375 until it looks good. They are great hot as a side dish and good leftover on a salad.

They have salad fixins so close to being ready to eat I barely have to slice anything.
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Old 03-29-2014, 04:00 PM   #22
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Wow-- thanks for all the suggestions! I am excited to try the eggs for some reason..lol

Rot chicken- I think they have some added ingredients for some reason? I feel like I tried one before and was sick? Remember... I posted on it.

I do have a TJ's and I forgot about the on the go section! Yep. Going to try this.

I also think prepping is going to help me alot. I am so grateful for everyone being supportive. I am starting to feel better about things.. no reason to sweat the small stuff. Whatever works for me is what I am going to do. I will worry about the cooking issue when the time is right! For now, keep it simple and deconstructive. My focus is school and work and keeping it low carb. That is ok... I need to remind myself of this everyday!!

TY again!
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