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Friday, August 25, 2017

Preparing meals when I don't feel like it

One of the difficulties with depression is that every last chore feels like so much more work than it ever did before. For me, putting on shoes felt like a lot of work. (That's hard to imagine, isn't it?) So, for most of winter, spring and summer, if I didn't need to go somewhere I just wore slippers all day, even outside in the garden, in the yard, or on the deck. It was just simpler.

Now if this is just shoes, can you imagine what cooking feels like? It's been a struggle to make high-quality meals while not feeling myself, and while taking on some added work in the form of classes and seminars to prepare to go back to work and/or start a business. However, I do like to eat.

My solution has been to take the simple route as much as possible. We've had a lot of hot dog dinners. I have been buying bread and buns instead of baking regularly. I'm not scavenging in the garden as much, but buying produce instead. And side dishes for meals are simple but delicious foods.

Some for instances of simple but delicious sides this week. . .

fresh figs from the garden to top cut up fruit

a dressing to top a green salad -- pureed basil, cherry tomatoes, garlic and the tail end of a vinaigrette, using a stick blender in a cup to puree

blueberry coffee cake, where the tiring part was picking the blueberries; otherwise, to make coffee cake, I add less liquid and more sugar to my standard scratch pancake recipe, then top with a cinnamon crumb topping -- no recipe or cookbook to get out.

just plain strawberries, delicious, fresh, but plain. It is so unlike me to not even slice the strawberries.

I have had to be selective in how I use my time and energy. Good food matters, but fancy food does not.

Not every day has been hard. I don't go around with a glum look on my face all of the time. And I do think that I am having more positive days than I had been.

A different take on my Cheap & Cheerful menus. What was on your menu this past week? The summer fresh foods will be yielding to autumn comfort foods soon. Is there any particular summer food that you will miss? Have a great weekend!


  1. Sounds like you are doing what you should be....being kind to yourself. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the way you are preparing meals. Most people with depression would just hole up in the corner and not be able to function at all. You are wonder woman! You do what you need to do to get back to feeling like our Lili! Big Hug!
    Around goodies...but my husband is the gardener...not me. We ate out once as we were out and about at lunch. Otherwise I have cooked big on main dish and reheated...did this three or four times. Fresh peaches have graced our table often. Pulled pork and chicken and a roast....those were the meats of the week. Keeping it simple does not mean you aren't taking care of your family.

    1. Thanks, Linda.
      I think cooking extra and reheating is a good way to go, and I will try to do more of that. When I was pregnant with my twins, toward the end of the pregnancy, that is how I cooked. I would bake a ham, whole chicken or roast and we'd eat that for several days. I think I will go back to that.

      Yum, fresh peaches. I bought some in July and we really enjoyed those. Have a great weekend, Linda!

  2. Obviously, you couldn't be superwomen forever. I think your body and mind were telling you that. I hope that they are also telling you that you're still doing a terrific job with your meals and you're getting your priorities in order by paying attention to yourself first and how you feel.

    Here's to even more positive days. They are coming. :)

    1. Thanks, live and learn. Better days ahead, I keep reminding myself. Have a lovely weekend!

  3. We've been on survival mode here all summer, so simple meals are also happening at our house. Lots of eggs in different forms, grilled Kirkland brand (Costco) chicken tenders with grilled zucchini from the garden. The chicken tenders are a splurge item, but when I consider the cost of eating out, they are not. And my sanity required the simplest of meals this summer. Lots & lots of cheap paper plates were used as well. Melissa

    1. Hi Melissa,
      You've had such a busy summer. Are your niece and nephew still with you?
      I think that you've made the right choices with meals and paper plates. It's what needed to be done in order to get everyone fed, and as you pointed out, far less expensive than take-out for your family. Have a wonderful weekend, Melissa!

    2. My niece & nephew will head back to school tomorrow, so I'll only have them a few days a week after school now. Probably on school break days, too, but we havent' worked all of that out yet. Melissa

  4. I'm all about making it easier in the kitchen! And I think your "easy" would be right up there with my "complicated!" I've been ripping out my bathroom floor all week so food has consisted of fried eggs, grillers (vegetarian burgers), sandwiches, cucumbers (just cut up and eat - bumper crop this year) and frozen veggies (dump, heat and done.) Even Mac 'n' Cheese felt like too much work!

    And in terms of shoes - I can totally relate to it feeling like too much work to put them on, depression or not! With the exception of biking shoes (which actually fasting with a ski-boot type deal), all of mine are the slip on variety, because I just can't make myself deal with laces!

    1. Hi Cat,
      well, if I were tearing out a floor, I think I would need super easy meals. I find that when I tackle a big project like that, I lose track of time and go beyond the point of normal hunger where I can wait while I prepare something. Instead I need to eat immediately and that usually means spoonfuls of peanut butter followed by a banana or apple. So even heating frozen veggies would be a lot for me in those circumstances. You're doing great, IMO.
      Have a great weekend, Cat! Hope you have time for a long bike ride.

  5. For me, baking bread is a "special" item and I often wondered how you found the time and energy to do it all the time for your family. I'd like to do it, but .... as you know, sometimes ya gotta find corners to cut. Aldi has some good quality bread loaves with whole grains and fiber for a price I don't mind paying, and that's my solution.

    Honestly, most of my meals are on the easy-peasy side. Breakfasts? Weekdays, we all get our own breakfasts, usually cereal or oatmeal--Saturdays are our "big" breakfast days. Lunches? PB&J, grilled cheese, or grilled PB and honey with fruit that I might actually cut up if I'm so inclined. Saturdays again are our "hot" lunches when I might actually do grilled ham and cheese and heat up soup. For dinner, often the whole meal is simple simple simple--if I make something more complicated, that typically is the ONLY complicated part of the meal. Tonight I roasted turkey sausage and vegetables in olive oil with a few herbs thrown on top. I cooked up polenta which is marginally harder than cooking rice. I rely heavily on cottage cheese as "filler" with a growing boy. I do make baked goods often, but that usually is an energy boost for me (and not just because I'm licking the bowl!) whereas cooking often tends to drain me. I also choose meals based on how awful cleanup will be.

    All to say ... your "simple" is probably my "normal". :) And that's ok!

  6. Big hug to you :) We have had a lot of frozen food this summer. Sammys salads with purchased greens and cereal,toast and smoothies. We moved this summer and will be moving again when we can find a place. We currently have a microwave,toaster, crock pot,bread machine,(gas stove is broken not in budget) and want to buy a little 2 burner electric hot plate. Good for you taking care of yourself. This summer we say food is food and that is just fine. We even did the dollar hamburgers too many times. Your food looks wonderful. I wear flip flops and slide on garden shoes and they work just fine. It is OK to simplify our lives.
    hugs and blessings to you,

  7. I think we lived on baked potatoes this summer and I love how easy they are to make. Simple dinners help to make things easier. Your strawberries look so good. :) :)

  8. I have fallen off the track this year, too. Lately, my obsession has been crafting. I do it everyday, morning to night. I barely remember to pay the bills or even look at my calendar.

    Though it feels like falling off, I think we may actually be gaining ground in other areas. Though my progress is slow and unproductive at the moment, and there are days I feel like giving up, I remind myself that I need to trust my instincts. If I am determined to learn art, despite all the logical reasons why I shouldn't, no talent, too left brained, too practical etc., I have always wanted to live the life of an artist. I think what draws me is the continuous experimenting with techniques/results and using intuition to guide every moment. It is so meditative and fun.

    Have a wonderful weekend!!


  9. I'm finding that we are doing a lot cook once and eat many times. I cooked a roast with potatoes, etc. We ate a meal of it as a "roast", a meal of it seasoned different in wraps, and then a meal of hot sandwiches with tomatoes and cheese. It just seems easier right now.

    I miss the flavor of fresh berries when summer is over.


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