Wednesday, November 7, 2018

What I learned from posting all of my meals on the internet for a year

Something happened this weekend...

The 52nd weekly eats post went up.  You've seen an entire year of my life in food.

Why I started this series
  1. Because I love reading other people's blogs and learning what they're doing with their lives and what they're eating.  It was time to pay it forward and put my own stuff out there.  Huge shout out to Sweet Tooth Sweet Life and Peanut Butter Runner and FANNEtasic Food and so many others for writing about their meals.
  2. Now that I have a family, I wanted to get better at meal planning.  I knew that putting it all out there would keep me on track and inspire me to go further.
  3. I wanted to cook for my family more.
  4. There is a lot of awesome food on the internet.  In the past I've tweeted about awesome recipes I've tried, but I wanted to go one step further and tell you the tweaks I made to the recipe and how it turned out. (On the flip side, if I make something that doesn't turn out so well, I assume that it's my fault and keep the recipe source to myself).
  5. I wanted to talk about non food stuff.  What kind of workouts I'm doing.  What I've been watching.  What I've been reading.

Here's what I learned

Whoa, we use the freezer a lot.  
I've relied on the freezer since my single days, but I honestly didn't realize how much we use it until I started writing about our meals and every other word was "freezer".  At first I cringed.  And then I said to heck with it.  The freezer makes home cooked meals possible.

We don't have time to cook.  We do it anyway.   
Sometimes we go out to eat and you've seen a few pizza and Chipotle nights, but for the most part we eat home prepared food at home.  One of my goals in writing about our meals was to figure out why we always seemed to have mac and cheese on Mondays and Tuesdays.  Now I know the answer...that's what works for our family.  There is a very short window on those nights between the time that adults get home and kids have places to be.  Until I started writing it all down, I couldn't see the pattern.

Now I know that our problem isn't a problem.  It's not going to change and we don't want it to.  Work = our bills get paid.  Kids activities = the kids are doing awesome stuff that they enjoy and getting experiences that they will value for the rest of their lives.  Leftovers and the freezer make this possible and we'll continue to focus on having good leftovers on hand.

We eat the same foods over and over again, but not as much as I thought.
  • As I suspected, our most frequent dinner is what I lovingly call "Dad Food", the staples from my husband's single parent days.  Nuggets or hot dogs, mac n'cheese or noodles, and veggies.  But we don't eat it nearly as much as I thought.  In January we joined Costco and one of our first purchases was an 18 pack of Kraft Mac n'Cheese.  I thought that would be a two months' supply, but we still haven't finished the box.

  • Stepson #1 is very happy with our #2 most frequent dinner of tacos.

  • 3rd place is tied between hamburgers and grilled cheese/soup.

  • My most frequently consumed meals:
    • #1 is no surprise.  You've seen me make 14 batches of breakfast burritos this year.  Can't stop won't stop.

We don't have the same taste in foods and that's OK. 
We usually eat the same things at meals but not always.  My husband and I have mismatched taste buds and kids are kids.  We've come a long way since we first became a family and ate "Dad Food" every night.

Veggies Much?
If I was shocked at how much we use the freezer, I was equally shocked at how few veggies and fruits I was eating.  For some reason I was leaving them out as a shortcut to getting food on the table.  You see things like that once you start writing it all down and taking a few pictures.  There's still a lot of room for improvement, but at least I'm taking the time to peel the occasional orange and nuke up frozen veggies for dinner at night.

Mic Drop
8 pounds gone and 7 to go.  For reference I'm 5'5"...145 isn't a terrible weight for that height but 137 is a much better one:-)  It's not unusual for me to lose weight at the beginning of the year but it is unheard of for me to still have it off at this time of year.   My weight loss/maintenance is 98% being aware of what I'm eating and keeping a food journal.  Posting my meals has forced me to be consistent about food journaling.

Here are the best of the best things that I learned about this year

Favorite new recipes
#1 by a landslide: Taste of Home's Chicken Fajitas
#2 Chrissy Teigan's Actual Drunken Noodles
#3 Sweet Potato, Corn, and Black Bean Enchiladas

Best Cooking Tips and Techniques
Shredding chicken with a hand mixer
Not stirring rice during cooking
Reheating pizza in a skillet
Baking tofu
Themed Meal Planning

Food Crushes
Glass noodles
Green hot sauce (this and Trader Joe's Green Dragon Sauce)
The thing that I never ever ever thought I would be into: protein smoothies

Best Fitness Stuff
Popsugar's 100 pushup challenge (NOTE: I only went through day 19 and restart the program whenever I get off my pushup game)
Power Buns! (seriously, my hair never gets in the way of a workout now)

Best TV shows
Glitch (Netflix)
Call the Midwife (Netflix)
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)
A Place to Call Home (Library DVDs, it's also on Acorn)

Best Date Night TV shows
Ash vs Evil Dead (Netflix and Starz)
Halt and Catch Fire (Netflix)
The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)

Best Family TV show
Cobra Kai (Youtube)

Best Books
In Farleigh Field
The Good House
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
The Death of Mrs. Westaway

The most important thing that I learned from posting all of my meals on the internet for a year
It's a ton of fun!  Thanks for reading and we'll be back next week and the week after that with more weekly eats.