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GFreeMO

Anyone Feel Like A Full Time Chef?!

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I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE spending time in my kitchen. I practically live there! :P When I am not cooking or baking for us, I am teaching culinary classes or testing recipes. We have never gone out to eat much around here because there is nowhere to go so we are used to driving three hours to eat at a nice place. As I must lie down in our vehicle to go distances due to back pain, those times are wonderful treats because of the sacrifice to get there.

Cooking is who I am in ways! It is one of my ways to express creativity and experiment like wild with exotic ingredients. My cooking comes from my heart. Many people may spend money on shopping or other pursuits - we do spend a lot on the best ingredients but it is what I love and I refuse to allow my passion to fade away into oblivion...

I have taken culinary classes all over Europe and was going to go to culinary school, too, but decided that working in restaurants (or running my own) would involve too many hours and too much stress.

Did you know that tons of the top michelin-starred chefs on the planet are self taught such as Heston Blumenthal, Alvin Leung, Annie Feold and Ferran Adria? They are absolutely brilliant at their craft and are terribly inspirational.

I feel the same as you do in that I love to cook but I also work for a living and with my commute, do 50 hours per week. Between the exercise classes that I take to combat osteoporosis and my work schedule, plus the amount of cooking needed to maintain a healthy, gluten-free lifestyle, I was beginning to get less and less sleep and felt like I had no life. I think for most people who work for a living this is a common problem. As much as I like to create new things in the kitchen and the time I love spending there, a person can only take so much of this without feeling overwhelmed. So, back in March, I cut my work hours down a tiny bit and take 2 long week-ends per month. It was very hard for me to do because I have always worked my entire life and I actually felt like a slacker for a month or 2. Then, common sense kicked in and I love my added time off. I can shop and cook an entire day yet still have 2 week-ends a month where I can have a real week-end and I don't feel like I am playing "Beat the Clock". It was the only solution I could think of but it has worked out great. It's hard to be a Celiac when you work long hours because you have to cook for yourself and that takes time. The benefit is that I eat better than everyone I know and I am always getting comments from people on how healthy I eat. I can't imagine mainstream Americans putting this much effort into their food! :blink:

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I am frickin' tired of cooking everything.

Really.

I'm with you! and I used to love being a gourmet-type 8-course "experimenter" who threw elaborate parties for people to taste my stuff :lol: ...not now. Too tired, painful joints, hard to work up the enthusiasm. My appetite has suffered, of course, being ill for so long ...but hey, maybe it will come back to me!!?? So many of you guys seem to have recovered that joy. Hope so--at one time, cooking was my passion. :)

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I'm not sure if this amuses or offends me. pretend???

Why don't you get comments from people that actually do that instead of one skippy little week where you can do a bulk of the chores before, and after you start. The kind of thing where you throw a load of laundry in the wash one morning, and into the dryer the next. Where your morning eggs taste faintly of fish because you got home late last night and didn't have time to clean the pan, and by crap you aren't going to dirty another pan because those have to be hand washed and you won't have time till the weekend so you wipe it out and throw in your eggs. Where the sweeping and the cat boxes and the yard work and everything non-vital has to be done in the two days you have off.

Why doesn't your partner volunteer somewhere for a month, so she's really leaving the house, and really doing it for a reasonable length of time?

I used to be a single mom and work full time, so I'm well aware of the difference between actually doing something all the time and pretending for a week. I used to get really pissed off whenever someone said they were a "single mom for a week" because their husband was out of town - especially if they were a SAHM. So...

The assumptions you have made here are perhaps understandable, but also really offensive. My partner is not just cooking or sitting on her ass and doing nothing else.

She is in a masters program, which has meant class in the evenings. Until last week, my schedule was also totally booked in the evenings, home during the day. This term, she had a 3 day break between classes and the next part of her program is on-line for the summer, so she can do work during the day now and pretend to have a regular work week schedule.

We also are starting a business, which means that we can finally work on our own schedule. We are now making appointments during the day. She already goes and cleans/organizes houses, and we have appointments almost every day to do other things like measure properties (for garden design which I do the rest of) and meet with clients.

Plus, we homeschool our two kids, and she provides a bunch of their transportation to classes and activities.

We are also already very involved in our community and have both done tons of volunteer work on a regular basis. This summer we're actually taking a little break from most of our volunteerism so that we can focus on building our business before winter, when she starts her student teaching and it will be all on me.

Edit to add - of course you haven't seen the full details of the challenge since we haven't posted it yet - but part of the challenge is that the house will start in what state it's in. We will not be doing a big cleaning up first. She's also not meal planning for the week in advance, until the week starts. Also, she was going to do it longer, but we figured readers wouldn't be interested for more than a week.

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I feel the same as you do in that I love to cook but I also work for a living and with my commute, do 50 hours per week. Between the exercise classes that I take to combat osteoporosis and my work schedule, plus the amount of cooking needed to maintain a healthy, gluten-free lifestyle, I was beginning to get less and less sleep and felt like I had no life. I think for most people who work for a living this is a common problem. As much as I like to create new things in the kitchen and the time I love spending there, a person can only take so much of this without feeling overwhelmed. So, back in March, I cut my work hours down a tiny bit and take 2 long week-ends per month. It was very hard for me to do because I have always worked my entire life and I actually felt like a slacker for a month or 2. Then, common sense kicked in and I love my added time off. I can shop and cook an entire day yet still have 2 week-ends a month where I can have a real week-end and I don't feel like I am playing "Beat the Clock". It was the only solution I could think of but it has worked out great. It's hard to be a Celiac when you work long hours because you have to cook for yourself and that takes time. The benefit is that I eat better than everyone I know and I am always getting comments from people on how healthy I eat. I can't imagine mainstream Americans putting this much effort into their food! :blink:

You are so right. Things would be different if I had a FT job, that is for sure. I volunteer some mornings at a shelter, I teach cooking classes regularly, test recipes for big US magazines but this does not equate to FT work. Plus with such horrific back pain there is no way I could work FT hours. I have been off work due to chronic pain for over three years but am so blessed to now do what I love most which is cooking/baking. Believe me - I am very grateful that I am able to do this and extremely thankful for my husband's excellent job/career to enable me to get such joy from doing what I love.

When I was working FT (50-60 hours) I was not diagnosed with celiac yet. My husband is a tremendous support to me and when I am having bad pain days he happily prepares meals and cleans up after meticulously. He is not lazy - whatever he puts his mind to is always done super efficiently. He takes such great care of me! We're both pretty lucky people. :)

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You are so right. Things would be different if I had a FT job, that is for sure. I volunteer some mornings at a shelter, I teach cooking classes regularly, test recipes for big US magazines but this does not equate to FT work. Plus with such horrific back pain there is no way I could work FT hours. I have been off work due to chronic pain for over three years but am so blessed to now do what I love most which is cooking/baking. Believe me - I am very grateful that I am able to do this and extremely thankful for my husband's excellent job/career to enable me to get such joy from doing what I love.

When I was working FT (50-60 hours) I was not diagnosed with celiac yet. My husband is a tremendous support to me and when I am having bad pain days he happily prepares meals and cleans up after meticulously. He is not lazy - whatever he puts his mind to is always done super efficiently. He takes such great care of me! We're both pretty lucky people. :)

I have one of those keeper husbands myself. I do the cooking and he does the dishes and never complains. He also learned to make delicious gluten-free bread from scratch, so I would be lost without him. When you have a finely tuned team, conquering this change is much easier. I am glad you are able to do what you do, considering the pain problems you have. I do love to cook but wish I had more time for it. The biggest compliment I get from him is that what we cook at home is usually better than what we have in most restaurants!

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I have one of those keeper husbands myself. I do the cooking and he does the dishes and never complains. He also learned to make delicious gluten-free bread from scratch, so I would be lost without him. When you have a finely tuned team, conquering this change is much easier. I am glad you are able to do what you do, considering the pain problems you have. I do love to cook but wish I had more time for it. The biggest compliment I get from him is that what we cook at home is usually better than what we have in most restaurants!

Awesome. It is heartwarming to hear of such excellent spousal support. My husband has yet to make gluten-free bread like yours! It is a huge compliment that you eat better than many restaurants. We do, too, in all seriousness. And the risk of CC is far less at home, too.

As far as the pain goes, I force my way through it. Part of the reason why I push myself is that I sometimes fear what the future can hold - if I am this bad at my young age, how the heck will I be later on? So, I struggle a lot with pain - it is always there but I do what I need to do to feel better. Being in the kitchen is also extremely therapeutic for me.

I wish you had more time for cooking, too. Are you able to cook much on weekends?

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One thing that really helps save time is to cook large batches of things so that you don't have to cook every day. Huge roasts and whole chickens in the crockpot, large pots of beans, big bowls of salads (they keep pretty well if you put them in a gallon size ziplock bag and squeeze out all the air), several pounds of ground beef fried up that can be frozen in separate bags for quick meals later, and large pots of stews and soups, etc.

These form the basis for a lot of meals. I cook maybe 3 times a week (sometimes less) using these techniques. The other nights are reheating and/or mixing and matching things already cooked into a quick meal. Now that it is summer I also bbq a big platter of meat, some corn, some potatoes (wrap some cut up potatoes, chopped onions and salt and pepper in foil and put on the grill), make some potato salad, cole slaw and beans, etc and you can eat for days :)

On the weekends I make a big batch of pancakes so that I can reheat them the next day. Frying up some eggs to go with them takes minutes. If I want sausage or bacon, I make sure to make extra so the next day I can reheat.

The main thing to make this work is to realize that it doesn't take that much more time to cook extra for later. Most of the time it doesn't take any extra time but the payoff is wonderful.

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My full time job seems to be shopping for food, cooking from scratch, and cleaning the kitchen. Other parts of my life are suffering. But it used to be in reverse. I was scrambling to get things done, and would grab a piece of "whatever" to eat for lunch or dinner. So I know I'm eating the way I'm supposed to. Luckily this summer my 8 year old daughter is starting to contribute to cleaning up rather than just making a mess for me to clean. I also go in spurts. Sometimes I find cooking very relaxing and enjoyable, and other times (like today) it's just a huge pita.

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My partner is not just cooking or sitting on her ass and doing nothing else.

I never suggested she was doing nothing. I suggested she wasn't going to be away from her house for the 9 hours. There's a difference.

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I never suggested she was doing nothing. I suggested she wasn't going to be away from her house for the 9 hours. There's a difference.

You were right. She totally cheated. I'm not that kind of girl (I have a will of steel and overblown sense of personal pride when I say I'm going to do something) and was totally surprised when she started doing things like packing lunches for the kids rather than making them do it so she wouldn't be "late to work." A big part of the problem was that she switched from a normal bedtime of midnight or later and wake up of after 8:30 AM to trying to get up at 6 or so. Sigh. She's planning on trying it again, though. We'll see how that goes ;)

Oh, and the rest of the posts are on the blog linked from my profile. I think I'm going to stop updating the one here since I'm not allowed to link to it any more, and I was only doing it so I could link to stuff I'd posted and not do a bunch of rewriting.

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I so agree....... I feel like I spend my life in the kitchen and like jestgar wonder what it was like years ago, but then am thankful for things like micros and all of the convience that we do have. I feel like I should put on a stupid apron & change my name to Donna Reed or something. :o I have never liked cooking and now with no choice.... grrr. But this is one darned healthy household. :D

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I am frickin' tired of cooking everything.

Really.

One thing I try to do is every two to four months I take a Saturday and I BBQ a lot of meat (rare). Top Round, pork blade steak, marinated flank steak, roasts, chicken thighs and drums. I put portion sizes in 1qt ziplock baggies, fill up a gallon ziplock bag with portion the 1qt ziplocks, and freeze them. Takes about 3-4 hours to do everything and clean up and we've got a few months worth of quick entree portions of meals.

Then if we're hungry and don't want to take time to cook anything we throw a red or yellow potato in the microwave on high for a couple minutes, throw the contents of one of the baggies on the plate, cover with a wet paper towel and microwave at 50% for another 3 or 5 minutes, and voila; 6 minute dinner.

Another thing that is really good is to do up a big pot of mashed potatoes (plain, garlic, sweet, herbed, whatever you like) and freeze portion sizes in the ziplock or rubbermaid screwtop containers. (putting saran wrap over the top prior to putting the lid on helps prevent long term freezer burn). Instant side dish!

* Edited: Man a missing comma can make things read a whole lot different!

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One thing I try to do is every two to four months I take a Saturday and I BBQ a lot of meat (rare). Top Round, pork blade steak, marinated flank steak, roasts, chicken thighs and drums. I put portion sizes in 1qt ziplock baggies, fill up a gallon ziplock bag with portion the 1qt ziplocks, and freeze them. Takes about 3-4 hours to do everything and clean up and we've got a few months worth of quick entree portions of meals.

Then if we're hungry and don't want to take time to cook anything we throw a red or yellow potato in the microwave on high for a couple minutes, throw the contents of one of the baggies on the plate, cover with a wet paper towel and microwave at 50% for another 3 or 5 minutes, and voila; 6 minute dinner.

Another thing that is really good is to do up a big pot of mashed potatoes (plain, garlic, sweet, herbed, whatever you like) and freeze portion sizes in the ziplock or rubbermaid screwtop containers. (putting saran wrap over the top prior to putting the lid on helps prevent long term freezer burn). Instant side dish!

That's great advice! Thank you!

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I leave home at 6 am and return at 7 pm. My dinners are either frozen fish or eggs, or something from the freezer. I spend all day Saturday and Sunday cooking so I can fill my freezer with meals for the week. Lots of crock pot food, but some oven stuff too.

I suppose it's worth adding an occasional grill day to the mix, but I doubt it would last a month, since I do no other cooking.

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I leave home at 6 am and return at 7 pm. My dinners are either frozen fish or eggs, or something from the freezer. I spend all day Saturday and Sunday cooking so I can fill my freezer with meals for the week. Lots of crock pot food, but some oven stuff too.

I suppose it's worth adding an occasional grill day to the mix, but I doubt it would last a month, since I do no other cooking.

Wow that is a brutal work schedule. Hat's off to you for doing it. I hope you enjoy the long weekend.

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That is a brutal schedule. I used to work like that, too, and would have to be completely desperate to do it again. I vacillated between completely miserable and mania. Not good. My kids' dad has a schedule like that, but he does it three days one week, four days the next (12.5 hour shifts). Used to be nights. The improvement in his health working days vs nights was dramatic. Anyway, cooking everything for yourself from scratch with a schedule like that is truly a feat! I think in your shoes I'd try to find the $$$ to hire some help :)

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I get in a slight exasperation sometimes when in a hurry and packing the travel food box for the car trips.

Like my house, but the kitchen is very "TV dinners" generation sized.

Then again, I've seen a lot of brand new $$$ expensive houses with larger, but even more poorly laid out "trophy" kitchens.

Not having a dishwasher would nearly be a tragedy.

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I leave home at 6 am and return at 7 pm. My dinners are either frozen fish or eggs, or something from the freezer. I spend all day Saturday and Sunday cooking so I can fill my freezer with meals for the week. Lots of crock pot food, but some oven stuff too.

OMG, that is a brutal schedule!!! Hopefully you have a cleaning lady...or are a lot more organized than I am!

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OMG, that is a brutal schedule!!! Hopefully you have a cleaning lady...or are a lot more organized than I am!

:lol: :lol: I've just learned to appreciate "organic" living.

No extra dollars, I'm trying to save for grad school.

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:lol: :lol: I've just learned to appreciate "organic" living.

No extra dollars, I'm trying to save for grad school.

Hmmm...never thought about living "organically". I'll have to remember that. :D And pass it on to my daughter, who is in grad school racking up student loans. I told her that not only did she inherit celiac (she said, "Thanks a lot, Mom!"), but she also lives "organically" and it's genetic, too! :lol: :lol: :lol:

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One thing that helps me is cooking larger portions and freezing some. You can grab something out of the freezer when you don't feel like cooking.

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