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kalisah’s Entries


You should be proud of yourself challenger Kalisah! This is an incredible testament to the benefits of cooking at home. Congratulations to you for bearing the burden of introducing this new habit to your family and congratulations to your husband for making such vast changes to his lifestyle.

I am so excited to report that after two months of cooking at home, my husband has lost more than 20 pounds!

Chip has never had very good eating habits. He is a rather…focused worker, and he will work all day long without ever taking a break to eat, sustaining himself with coffee and diet sodas. By the time I arrived home from work, he was hungry and grouchy, his blood sugar levels completely wacky. Too hungry to wait for dinner to cook, we would rush out to some mid-range family restaurant for dinner.

Extreme hunger forced us to order appetizers, and you know they were never healthy. Fried cheese, nachos, chips and salsa, cheese dip. Chip would practically inhale it. Then he would eat his entree and whatever I didn’t finish of mine, washing it all down with several diet sodas, of course. We’d often order a dessert for the family to split. It’s hard to resist a chocolate brownie sundae with the photo of it right there on the tabletent.

This has been Chip’s eating pattern for all of his working adult life.

When I lost my job, cooking at home was to be one way that we would cut household expenses. I’ve never been much of a cook so I was dubious at first. But I found some recipes online and I set at it. It went well, actually. Both Chip and our 16-year-old son Elijah approved of my efforts and it boosted my confidence. I spread my wings. I ventured out. I bought lunch food.

I began making turkey wraps, caesar salads, soup, or just heating up leftovers for Chip’s lunch. He’d be toiling away with his head down, often never even looking up or acknowledging the plate of food I put beside him. But he ate it. I brought him snacks of apple slices, cubed cheese, grapes, whole grain crackers, Crystal Lite tea, and he ate it.

And come dinner time, he wasn’t starving and cracked out on caffeine with loopy blood sugar levels. And his portions changed substantially. He ate one chicken breast instead of two and a half. He never went back for seconds. At first I was offended — I thought he didn’t like what I’d cooked. But then I could see he was completely satisfied by one serving.

Then one day, Chip — ever the obsessive weigher — told me that he’d lost more than 20 pounds. He wanted to go buy a new bathroom scale; he thought something was wrong with ours. But I can see it in his face, which is a completely different shape than it’s been for the past 15 years. His metabolism is no longer all out of whack from the starvation he had forced upon it. And he did it without removing any particular food groups from his diet. No wacky fad diets. Just cooking at home. I’m so proud of him.

I’m proud of me.

The Corny, Simple Things We Do

Challenger Kalisah is very right, there’s nothing menial (or corny) about doing things that make our families happy. And for that matter, healthy. This is a great testimonial to how taking on a cook-at-home lifestyle, even in baby steps, yields grand results for everyone in the home.

When I began to be at home during the day, I also began a conscious effort to start cooking and eating at home. Partially as a way of saving money, and partially just because I could. Eating out has been the bane of my family’s existence — and budget — for years. We literally spend more money eating out than we do on our mortgage every month. This may sound shocking to some of you, but I think a lot of you know exactly what I mean.

It’s hard when both parents work. You don’t get home until 6, 7 or later, and you don’t want to start cooking then. You want to EAT then. It very quickly becomes the norm. My poor son would ask for home-cooked meals the way most kids beg for Happy Meals. We had a constant resolve to change it, but our efforts always fell short.

But freelancing is different. Not only am I working at home, but I can make my own hours. So I can take off in the middle of the afternoon to go grocery shopping. Or cook dinner. And it’s worked out wonderfully, even for this non-cook.

I think the thing that I’m most pleased about is the amount of whole foods we’re eating, as opposed to packaged foods. Don’t get me wrong — we’ve still got a long way to go. FIVE servings of fruits and vegetables a day?? There are days (many days) we don’t get one. And I wish I could say I’m preparing more organic and locally grown foods, but that’s not really happening yet either. Baby steps, people.

My husband, who also works from home, but without the ability to make his own hours, is actually eating in the daytime for the first time in…maybe ever. Turkey sandwiches and Caesar salads and apple slices and cheese cubes. So much more healthy than his former diet of drinking coffee and diet sodas all day and eating anything he could get his hands on into the night.

The other day I was preparing to go to the grocery store, and feeling a bit like I’d hit a dead end in supper ideas. I asked Elijah, “Is there anything in particular you’d like me to cook for dinner?” And he said, “No, I really like everything you’ve been making.” I know this sounds corny and a bit simple from someone who’s spent her son’s whole life as a career woman, but I was feeling rather proud of myself at that moment. It’s often the corny and simple things we do that make our families the happiest, and there’s nothing menial about that.

Cooking! Who Knew?

We’re thrilled to welcome Kalisah to the Cook at Home Challenge, and to her kitchen! Her story resembles that of a lot of families, and we’re glad to see hers reaping the benefits of home-cooked meals.

For years, we have literally spent more money eating out than we do on our mortgage. It’s just so hard, when you don’t get home from work until 6 p.m., to then START cooking dinner. Our poor son used to beg for home-cooked meals the way most kids plead for McDonald’s.

When I lost my job recently, cooking at home became a priority for the first time in 17 years of marriage. Now that I’m home during the day, I have time to grocery shop, search for recipes and COOK.

It’s not as easy as it sounds.

For one thing, I’ve never cooked. But I’m a smart girl – I can follow a recipe. The trick is finding the right recipes. My goodness! So much to be taken into account! Cost of ingredients, difficulty of preparation, prep time, cook time, nutritional value. And of course, it has to be something my boys will actually eat.

The internet has been a wonderful tool for finding usable recipes. My son couldn’t be happier with the nightly meals. He plays on the high school rugby team and I honestly don’t know how he’d have the energy for the practices if we were still eating out every night. My husband couldn’t be happier with how much money we’re saving. And I’m kinda proud of myself for what I’ve accomplished. Cooking! Who knew?

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