Tag Archives: bulk cooking

Home Cooking (or Getting Into A Routine)

I haven’t really written about food on here lately. Meals used to stress me out so much and I knew I needed to work on it. So many nights I would either forget to go to the store to get groceries or got home so late that I was too lazy to cook. So I’d order delivery food or get some take out from a quick service type place. I know that I wasted a bunch of money (and ate a bunch of calories that I didn’t need) doing that, but I just couldn’t get into cooking.

I tried cooking a bunch of different times and different ways. I thought meal planning would work for me, but I ended up losing inspiration or not feel like eating what I was supposed to eat that night. Bulk cooking worked for a bit, but I got really bored with it and if I didn’t have time to bulk cook I couldn’t seem to get back on track. I would hear about what other people would do, and it would seem so simple. But for so many reasons I just couldn’t get into cooking. A lot of it does have to do with the amount of work and cleanup required to make a meal for just me, but that really is laziness.

I knew something needed to change and I set my monthly challenge in March to be to not get delivery food for the entire month. The last time that I ordered delivery food was actually in the middle of February and I’m happy to say that I haven’t gotten delivery food since. I have gone out of dinners and I’ve gotten take out from places like Chipotle or a salad place, but since delivery food was the bad habit I wanted to break I’m pretty happy that it’s been this long since I’ve gotten it. There have been a few times where I’m feeling super lazy and think it would just be so easy to order something in, but I have been working really hard at keeping easy to put together foods or ok frozen dinners at my house for those nights. While frozen dinners aren’t the best option, they are significantly better than anything I could get delivered to me.

My cooking hasn’t been anything too crazy. Most of my dinners have been a turkey burger and some veggies like broccoli or sweet potatoes.

Healthy Dinner

If I start cooking the potato in the microwave and finish it in the toaster oven, I can put that meal together in less than 20 minutes. I also do make more recipe type dinners from time to time. A lot of time I make meatloaf because it’s pretty basic to put together. The last time I made it, I did about half meat and half chopped veggies so it made a lot of meatloaf for not as many calories.


I make meatloaf in muffin tins so it’s easy to portion out and put some aside for leftovers for the next day or so. After the prep work, there’s not that much cleanup since the muffin tin is a disposable one. So I’m usually able to clean up while the meatloaf is in the oven and I don’t have to worry about cleaning up after I’m done with dinner.

I have no clue what really got me to cook more often. Nothing really has changed in my life, it just happened. But I think a lot of things in my life have happened that way. I would have been trying to kick a habit that I didn’t like for years (like chewing gum or drinking soda) and then one day it stops and I don’t really think about it. I don’t missing chewing gum at all, but there are the rare occasional times that I do miss soda. Fortunately, that craving goes away pretty quickly so I’ve been soda free for several years now.

The same thing happened with cooking. I was trying to force the change to become a home cook for a long time. And while I would get into a habit of it for a bit, it never stuck. This time, it just feels natural and right for some reason so I don’t see any reason for me to stop. I do still have so many changes that need to be made about my food habits, but I’m so glad that I’ve been able to make this change now and hopefully other changes will fall in line too.

Baby Steps Back To Cooking (or My Check In Kicked My Butt Into Gear)

I recently did a check in with myself on how I’m doing for my goals for the year. I’m actually pretty proud of myself on how well I’m doing on my goals and that I may get pretty much all of them checked off by the end of the year.

But the one goal where I would have to give myself a failing grade would be cooking more often for myself. I got into the groove of cooking for a while, but the novelty of it wore off (yes, it felt like a novelty and not a requirement) and I got lazy again. I haven’t been eating take out or at a restaurant all the time, but I’ve definitely been taking advantage of frozen meals and easy things.

I feel like cooking for myself on a regular basis is going to be a battle for the long run. Part of the problem is my eating disorder. I can forget to eat and then when I get hungry I’m starving and want something to eat now. I don’t want to have to spend time cooking something.

I really should be on an eating schedule and set alarms to remember to eat at the right times. But my schedule can be a bit crazy so sometimes it’s not possible to eat when I want to. There are days at my day job where I’m on back to back customer calls and chats for a couple of hours. Sometimes, I don’t get a real break the entire shift. I can usually run and grab a protein bar or banana to eat, but microwaving food sometimes takes too long and my food might sit in the microwave for an hour after cooking before I can eat it.

The one meal that is easiest for me to control is breakfast. With the exceptions of Mondays (when I’m doing a workout at 7:30am because of my class), I always have at least an hour after waking up before I have to work. That’s more than enough time for me to make some sort of breakfast for myself. I’m still usually preparing something that requires minimum effort (avocado toast, peanut butter on toast, fruit, or ricotta cheese and honey), but it’s still better than other options that are out there.

With lunch on workdays always being something tough for me, I’m moving my focus on to dinner. While it’s not easy to cook after getting home from an afternoon workout (when I’m starving when I get home and need to eat pretty quickly), there are still plenty of evenings or afternoons that I can bulk cook or just make something that will have leftovers for a day or two.

I need to get back into the habit of doing that. Every time I say that, something is weird in my schedule that makes me say that I’ll start next week. Next week then has issues in it too. And it’s an endless cycle. I’m taking the baby steps into cooking dinner at home. I’m trying to get things at the store that make things easy to prepare. It’s not the cheapest option, but it’s still cheaper than eating outside of my house. And if the leap from where I’ve been to cooking is too big, these smaller steps can help bridge the gap.

I’m still working through this and like I said that it’s an ongoing battle. I hate that this is something that comes so easily to so many people and it’s so tough with me. But hopefully I can start transitioning back into cooking so that next year I can be closer to the goal that I set for myself this year.

Honey-Dijon Pork (or Inventing My Own Recipe)

Since I was getting a little bored with basic chicken every week when I did my bulk cooking, I decided to spice things up a bit this week. I did a lot of searching online for ideas that seemed yummy and easy.

I found a lot of great ideas, but they all took so many ingredients! So I decided to take the ideas that I was finding online and simplifying them to make it something that I wouldn’t have to buy a ton of ingredients for.

And this is what I came up with.

Honey-Dijon Pork Chops

What You Need:


Dijon Mustard



Pork Chops

Here’s What To Do (it’s seriously so simple!)

Put the pork chops in a zip bag.

Measure out about 1/4 cup of Dijon mustard and pour into the bag.

Measure out about the same amount of honey and pour into the bag.

Finely chop some garlic (I used 2 cloves because I love garlic!) and put that into the bag.


Zip up the bag and let most of the air out. Then massage the mustard/honey/garlic mixture all over the pork chops.


Put the bag into the fridge and let it sit for about an hour or two.

When you are ready to cook, pre-heat the oven to 425.

Take each pork chop out of the bag and place them on a foil-lined baking sheet.

Pepper the top and bottom on each pork chop.


Cook in the oven until they are done (for me it took about 25 minutes).

Take them out of the oven and set them onto a chopping board or other surface to rest (you don’t want them to stay on the hot baking sheet or they will continue to cook).

Since I was doing this for bulk cooking, I portioned out my pork into my dinner containers (I forgot to get a picture of how beautiful they looked before I cut them up).


Seriously, that’s it! They were so delicious, flavorful, and juicy! When I made them, I used closer to 1/2 cup of the mustard and honey and that was way too much. There was so much marinade on the pork when I removed them from the bag that I had to wipe them off a little.

I’ve had this for the past 2 days so far, and I’m really enjoying it! You can probably use the same marinade for chicken and maybe for fish as well.

This will totally be a part of my regular food planning from now on and I hope that you enjoy it as much as I have!

Seriously, I can’t believe how far I’ve come in my cooking over the last month. I started out scared to cook at all and now I’m creating my own recipes!

What I Plan To Do This Year (or 2015 Goals)

Now that I’ve reflected back on my 2014 goals and how well I accomplished them, I really thought hard about what I want my 2015 goals to be. I think I’ve got a good list going for this year and I’m excited to see how well I get them done over the next year.

My first goal is workout related. I want to get 175 workouts done in 2015. That’s pretty much 3-4 workouts every week of the year. I’m not allowing myself workout vacation time (even though my dad did suggest it). I’m sure a majority of the 175 workouts will be at Orangetheory. I have every intention of going at least 3 times a week (and trying to add in a 4th day every other week). But I’m also going to include any 5Ks that I chose to do this year as well as other fitness classes (SoulCycle and maybe trying yoga again). I will also consider including hiking, but I don’t think I’ll have a lot of hiking days except when I get to Tahoe in the summer.

My next goal is a food goal. I want to have home cooked dinners at least 4 times a week. Since I started bulk cooking, I’ve been eating something home cooked most weeknights. I usually prepare food for 4 nights and then on weekends I’m out. And many times on Tuesdays or Thursdays (when I don’t workout after my day job) I don’t necessarily eat dinner. I’ll have a big late breakfast (since my shift doesn’t start until 10am) and then have another bigger meal around 4 or 5pm. Both of those meals are home cooked, but I don’t know if it counts as dinner. So I’m saying home cooked dinners 4 nights a week. If I do more than that, all the better for me.

Next is a day job goal. I want to be down to 2 main day jobs (not counting babysitting or running the film festival). Right now, I have 1 main day job and 6 sporadic jobs. I don’t make enough each week (to the point that I’m still collecting unemployment to make up for the fact that I don’t make enough to not be eligible anymore) and this needs to end. I’m enjoying my box office from home job and if I made enough doing that job I’d be so happy. But I don’t think that will be a reality even with the raise we are supposed to get this year. And while I love being able to make some extra money babysitting, I don’t see that as something that will make enough to make up for what I’m lacking. So I need to find one more steady day job that has regular hours to help me make enough to pay all my bills comfortably. There is a chance to make the film festival another main day job, but there is no guarantee with that.

And I’ve made this a goal in the past, but I really want to get into an improv class this year. I think that now that I feel secure with my day job and have a steady schedule with it, I will be able to pick out a class time that will work for me. I’m working on saving up the money for the class right now.

Again, another repeat goal from last year, but I’d like to travel again this year. I have a trip to Napa planned in 2 months and I’m really looking forward to that. And there is a possibility of another New York trip in the fall this year. I don’t know if I’ll have any other trips (besides visiting my parents or grandparents) but 2 trips in one year sounds wonderful to me!

And my final goal which is a goal every year is to keep blogging. Not just on here, but on other sites as well. I freelance on two blogs and I’ve written a few guest posts on other sites. I had no idea when I started this blog how important and therapeutic writing would become for me. It’s an amazing journal of the past few years of my life and I love going back and reading some of my old posts to remind me how far I’ve come. And I can’t wait to track 2015 the same way.

So those are my main goals for 2015. And in a year, I’ll let you all know how I did with them.

I Really Am Doing Everything Right (or It’s Frustrating Not Losing Weight)

First of all, Merry Christmas everyone! I hope that you are all having an amazing day doing exactly what you want to do today! My recap of Christmas will come soon.

I’ve been on a very good path lately. My exercise routine is getting to be in a very good place. I’m going to Orangetheory 3 times a week every day and I’m even adding a 4th day every so often. I’m thinking that for 2015 I will do 1 week of 3 workouts and then 1 week of 4 workouts just to push myself.

I’m getting so much stronger and I know that I’m getting much healthier. While I haven’t necessarily tested my cardiovascular abilities, I know that I don’t feel as tired as I did my first few weeks of workouts after the cardio section. And I can row much farther than before without having to take a break.

There are some things that aren’t on the right track. My hips are hurting more and more each day. They aren’t nearly as bad as I know that they can get, but I do sometimes miss my pain-free days as now they are much less frequent than they used to be. I’m also starting to lose a bit of flexibility that I had worked very hard to get back after my hip surgery. I’m not sure what exactly is causing this, but I think it’s a combination of the pain and maybe my muscles being stronger and bigger. I’m going to be interviewing new orthopedic surgeons soon and this is a concern that I’m going to bring up with them.

And finally, I’m starting to get my food in control. I’m getting very comfortable with cooking and in fact am planning on spending some time today reorganizing my kitchen to help make things more efficient when I am doing my bulk cooking.

I still have some food setbacks, but they aren’t as often or as crazy as they used to be. Having my food ready for me the moment I’m hungry really does help stop me from needing to run to the store to buy something in desperation.

So why am I frustrated?

I’m really not losing weight at the pace I feel like I should be. I know the saying that muscle weighs more than fat and I could just be gaining muscle, I should be seeing the scale go down in more significant increments that they are doing right now.

I know that sometimes it takes some time for the weight loss to show up on the scale so I’m trying to be patient. But having that instant gratification of knowing that I’m doing the right things really does help with motivation. And I have some clothes in 1 size smaller that I’d really like to start wearing.

I really don’t think I can do more than I’m doing right now. I guess I can work on adding more workout days, but I do need those recovery days for my hips to stop hurting. And I don’t want to decrease or increase my daily calories. The number of calories that I’m eating right now is something that my old therapist/nutritionist set up for me and I know that it’s a good number for me.

So for now, I just have to keep doing what I’m doing and hope that my scale pays attention one day.

Home Cooking (or Getting Used To Making What I Eat)

Since my first attempt at bulk cooking, things have been going pretty great so far.

I’m getting into a groove with my food, and for once it’s almost all food that I make myself. I know that boredom is going to happen eventually, but for now, my focus is to just get used to cooking on a regular basis.

My focus on cooking has been my dinners as that is my weak point in my day. 3 days a week, I’m getting home from my workout at dinnertime. And I don’t want to think about making something then. So it’s been really easy in the past to run to Subway on the way home for a veggie sub or to make a microwave dinner.

My dinners are pretty simple. My first week of bulk cooking, I put each food in a container and each night I would take out what I needed. But after that first week, I learned that doing things that way make my Fridays full of doing dishes. So now, I make dinner boxes (each container is a full dinner).

IMG_4296 IMG_4322

I always have chicken breast for dinner. I’m going to start exploring other good protein options, but this one works for me right now. I get skinless boneless chicken at Trader Joes and season it with some Trader Joes seasoning or another salt-free seasoning. Then they go into the oven until they are done. Then I put the amount of chicken I want for each night (right now it’s 4 oz cooked chicken) in the container.

I also have always had sweet potatoes in my dinner boxes. The first week of bulk cooking, I made them whole, but they got a little slime toward the end of the week. The next week, I tried cutting them into rounds, and those were ok. But this week when I went to Trader Joes to get my food, I saw pre-cubed sweet potatoes and made those instead. I think cutting them up myself is a better plan for me, but it’s good to try something else.

The last thing that I have had each week is roasted/caramelized red onions. I love onions, especially red onions. I’ve quartered them and roasted them once but this week I cut them into rings to roast them. No matter what, they are so delicious and I know that I will keep having onions in my dinner boxes.

Then there is always a vegetable. The first week I had broccoli and green beans. Those were awesome. Last week I had asparagus, and they didn’t turn out so great. I ended up going out and buying more asparagus so I could make some each night for dinner. This week, I tried to roast carrots. But something went seriously wrong. They never felt cooked (they felt really hard), but they turned white in the oven. I have no idea what I did, but they went straight into the trash. Fortunately, I had some frozen veggies that I hadn’t used so I microwaved those and put a cup of the veggies in each dinner box.

I’m still working on more lunch ideas, but I’ve been having hard-boiled eggs and turkey meatballs a lot. And on days I don’t have a workout, I sometimes have a sandwich. But I’m looking for more easy options that I can eat while I work (I don’t get a lunch break at my day job).

This week, I know that Thursday will be a “bad” food day since I will be ordering Chinese food. But hopefully since I’m doing really well the other days, I will still be able to make some progress. After all, isn’t this how I’m supposed to live? Mostly eating the right foods but allowing myself to have a splurge every once in a while?

If you have any bulk cooking things that you love, I’d love to hear them in the comments! I know that boredom will happen soon and I’d like to have some ideas to be ready for that!

Upgrading My Kitchen (or Time To Organize)

After my day of bulk cooking, I realized that I don’t have some things that I can really use in the kitchen. And I have a lot of things that I definitely don’t need (or are expired and I never noticed it).

So on Monday (my day off from my main day job), I set out to remedy this problem. The first thing I did was go through all of my cabinets and throw out any things that had expired. I had a lot of oils, sauces, and dry goods that I don’t use that often and many of them had expiration dates of a year or 2 ago! While some of it I know I will be replacing, many things in my cabinet were things that I bought for just one recipe and never used it again. That’s such a waste of money (and cabinet space for me). I’m really going to work on only restocking things that are more than one-time-use items.

My next clean out was my storage containers. As pretty much everyone does, I had a ton of storage containers that didn’t really go together. I had a lot of lids without containers and visa versa. And while I do like the “disposable” storage containers you can get at the store, I wanted to make sure that if I was going to bulk cook that I had good quality containers.

I got rid of many of the disposable ones (since I pretty much never use them) and saved all of my Snapware. I have the plastic Snapware that I got a long time ago and have always liked how they sealed so tightly.

My last clean out stage in my kitchen was to move things around to be in more convenient places for me. Until this week, I stored several pans in my oven because I didn’t know where else to put them. I almost always remembered to take them out before heating my oven, but on the occasions that I didn’t, it was always a pain to lift super hot pans out of my oven and find a place to store them (usually on the top of my stove). After moving some pantry items around and having more space since I got rid of expired things, I found a new home for those pans.

Then, it was time to add a few things to my kitchen to make sure I’m prepared to bulk cook again.

The first was to get more storage containers. I didn’t have that many to begin with and I wanted to get some more Snapware since I know I like those containers. I know many people don’t like plastic containers, but since I do not plan to microwave in them I figured that they would be ok. I looked online for prices and found that Costco had a great deal on them. So I headed over there and ended up arriving even before the store opened (am I the only one who didn’t know Costco didn’t open until 10am?).

I found exactly what I wanted pretty quickly.


I also was looking to get a second cutting board for my house. I only had one and during the bulk cooking I had to wash and dry it multiple times. It’s not the easiest thing to wash and it was slowing me down a lot. But while I was looking at cutting boards, I found something pretty awesome.


This bamboo cutting board has a groove cut out in the middle to place different liners in. There are 7 different ones to be used for different food products. While I might not always use the meat liner for meat, this basically gives me 7 cutting boards to use when I’m cooking!

While I got rid of more things than I added in my kitchen, I think that I am now more prepared to do more cooking at home. I’m made my tiny kitchen space as efficient as I can be and I’m looking forward to seeing what other things I can cook and store in my bulk cooking.

It’s so weird. I’ve never enjoyed cooking that much. I’ve tried to force myself to like it because my mom is an awesome cook and I see what can be created at home. But it never really clicked with me. I don’t want to say that I’m been completely transformed, but I’ve never felt this way about cooking or meal planning before. I’m excited to see where my food journey goes next!

First Time Bulk Cooking (or Making My Kitchen Smell Yummy!)

Inspired by my cooking confidence that I gained while making the salmon dish, I decided to try something else new.

Bulk cooking.

I looked up a lot of ideas on Pinterest and various websites to find some basic things that should be easy enough for me to do. I decided on one basic protein (chicken breasts) and a couple of vegetables. I hadn’t completely decided on the vegetables prior to going to Trader Joes because I wanted to see what I would find and if anything inspired me.

I ended up buying the chicken breasts as well as broccoli, green beans, red onions, red peppers, and sweet potatoes. I also got some baby carrots, sugar snap peas, and hummus to have as snacks.

It was one of my more expensive shopping trips, but I was buying food for the week. Plus I usually don’t buy meat (at least not meat I have to prepare) so that was a bit more expensive. But considering that this should be my only shopping trip for the week and that I’m not eating take out or delivery this week, it actually is less than I would usually spend.

Before I knew it, my kitchen was looking like this.


I cut each chicken breast in half lengthwise and put a little olive oil and some Trader Joes seasoning on them. Then they baked until the insides weren’t pink anymore (about 35 minutes). The sweet potatoes went in the same time that the chicken went in, but they ended up taking a little over 2 hours to bake (starting at 400 and then ending at 450). The broccoli, onions, and green beans went in when the chicken was done. I did learn my lesson with the green beans that I overcrowded them and they steamed more than they baked, but they were still yummy. And the onions were perfectly caramelized!

Overall, I think my first try at bulk cooking went really well. My timing of things was a bit off, but that’s to be expected when you aren’t a big cooker.

All the food went into storage containers to cool before going into my fridge.


With everything in the fridge, it looked more crowded than it usually is, but since it’s just me at my house, that’s fine.


I made my first reheated bulk dinner the next day after a workout. I put everything on a plate and microwaved it (I’ve since learned that I need to smash up the sweet potato otherwise it doesn’t heat all the way through). My first plate looked beautiful and was very yummy.


I’m not sure if I’m going to bulk cook every week. I’m going to see how this entire week plays out. In a typically week, I can cook on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays so I’m toying with the idea of doing some bulk cooking but then cooking a recipe on those days and having leftovers on the day between cooking days.

Either way, this is a major step for me. I don’t know why I’ve been holding back on cooking for so long. While it’s a bit tough considering how small my kitchen is, it’s not impossible. And now I’m eating much healthier (and much more food since everything is lower in calories than frozen dinners). Hopefully I can make this trend continue just like my workouts have been.