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Archive for the tag “food”

Day 105 of Isolation: Food Anxiety

I fear I’m on the verge of a serious eating disorder. I know it’s happening and yet…

The problem is I’ve developed a new symptom of whatever is wrong with me that makes me extremely sleepy any time I eat. Doesn’t matter how much I eat or when, as soon as I’m done, I’m falling asleep.

Think after-Thanksgiving food coma sleepy. Every meal. Every day. I could eat a sandwich or a bowl of cottage cheese or a handful of popcorn and instantly be nearly comatose.

I don’t know what’s causing it. Could be part of the anemia or maybe the hypertension or perhaps the beginning of diabetes?  I don’t remember exactly when it started, but I’ve been complaining about it for several weeks now, and only just realized last week how bad it was.

It’s so bad that I’m now avoiding eating because I don’t like napping all day. And by “napping” I mean lying in bed like a slug, unable to do much of anything but also not sleeping because my brain won’t shut off. I end up just simmering in anxiety over everything and get up four hours later just as tired as when I laid down and usually with a killer headache.

It’s actually, funny enough, exhausting. My whole life is exhausting. Being awake is exhausting, being asleep is exhausting, being alive is exahusting. WTF body? Why?

So now I don’t want to eat. I have so much anxiety over the lethargy that comes after eating that I can’t eat even when my stomach is rumbling and I feel sick from hunger. I wait until dinner and even then I don’t want to eat because 5pm is too late for a nap and too early for bed. I hold off eating until 7pm if I can then try to stay awake a couple hours after.

I managed the other night by downing half a pot of coffee at 8pm. Caffeine really does nothing for me.

My husband says I should just eat and sleep if that’s what my body needs, but I don’t know how to explain this lethargy/exhaustion. It’s not a fun kind of sleep. It’s more like being trapped in a body that can’t really do what I need it to do (stay awake) but my mind is racing all over. It just causes so much anxiety that I don’t rest. I can’t rest. I lie there, tossing and turning (when I can gather the energy to roll over) with my thoughts tumbling all over.

Normally, I fall asleep by thinking of story plots to focus on. I can’t even do that. I can’t grasp on to anything in my head. It’s a tornado of thoughts that won’t ever settle. Occasionally, I pass out from exhaustion but wake at every noise. I wake randomly in a sheer panic (heart racing) over nothing. I started taking old anxiety pills at bedtime just to get any rest.

I’m stuck in this cycle of being too exhausted to stay awake but too awake to sleep but not awake enough for my brain to make sense.

I literally cannot explain it. I feel like I’m going crazy. More crazy than I already am. I’ve suffered from severe chronic insomnia before (lasting years). This is different. It’s terrifying. And food seems to trigger everything so I’m afraid to eat now.

On one hand… that’s bad. You need food. On the other hand, I weigh 263lbs so I could stand to eat less. Except I know it’s still bad because starvation diets are just bad for your health. But but but… ugh.

I go back to the doctor on Thursday. I mentioned the food/sleep thing right at the end of the last appointment, but I’ll be bringing it up more this next time because it’s out of control and scaring me. I am no longer a functioning human.


Day 70 of Isolation: Family Dinner

My oldest daughter decided to cook dinner for the family. She can’t really cook, but at least she wanted to try, I guess. I was not home when said cooking was being done.

When we got back from grocery shopping, I was worn out and looking forward to sitting down in my quiet room with a bowl of leftover chicken and rice, but my daughter wanted us all to sit at the table.

We never eat that the table except for holidays because it always ends in arguments (with or without yelling). It’s emotionally and mentally exhausting for me, and I almost never enjoy the meal because I’m stressed out. But after her blow-up yesterday, I felt obligated to join.

Despite my already bad mood because of depression and the fight yesterday, I tried to participate in a family thing. I even ate her food. It’s not that I didn’t trust it or anything, I just really had a taste for my rice. She made chicken wraps with some kind of cilantro-lime sauce and my black bean & corn salsa.

It turned out surprisingly well. I probably would have added rice to the chicken to make it go farther. She ended up cooking three of my six chicken breasts I had left. Those had to last us until… who knows when. Now we’re almost out of meat. I wanted to cry when I found that out, but held it together.

The best part was Jack actually ate two of the wraps, and he normally hates flour tortillas (says he doesn’t like the texture) and liked the sauce and even the avocados. The baby did not like the avocados but enjoyed mixing the sauce in with some of my leftover rice and the chicken from the wraps.

I think it was a little easier to enjoy the meal when I didn’t have to spend two hours cooking first. I even helped clean up when normally, I retreat to my room as soon as we’re done eating because I’m barely awake at that point. My daughter, on the other hand, was super tired and stressed and finally understood why I don’t eat with the family. Usually, I’m not even hungry by the time I finish cooking (especially on holidays).

Anyway, I’ll have to get her to write down her sauce recipe to add to the tin.

I’m also guessing we’re going to be having more family meals because she thinks that’s what’s wrong with the family (they just don’t really work for us, but I guess we can try once a week or something).

Day 60 of Isolation: Beef Stew

I decided to make one of my newer (and favorite) recipes again tonight to make up for not getting anything on Mother’s Day. I’m pretty sure the kids are already sick of having this all of the time.

I don’t actually have this recipe written down anywhere. Every time I make it, I have to Google Instant Pot Beef Stew and then I combine a couple of the recipes. Every. Time.

Some day I might add the card to my recipe box, but for now I’m writing it down here the best I can because I improvise a lot when I cook and don’t really measure anything.

Instant Pot Beef Stew for Big Families


  • olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs stew meat cut into bite-sized pieces
  • garlic powder and onion powder to taste
  • 2 tsp jarred garlic
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 2 carrots, coarsely chopped (or use baby carrots, also cut up)
  • 2 1/2 lbs yellow potatoes, cubed
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups water
  • small can tomato sauce
  • thyme, salt, pepper to taste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  1. Heat olive oil in Instant Pot using the sautee setting, add meat in batches and sprinkle with garlic and onion powder, browning on all sides
  2. When all meat is browned, add it all back to the pot along with the garlic, stir for a minute while scraping the bottom
  3. Add flour and stir until meat is coated, again scraping the bottom of the pot (you don’t want anything stuck to the bottom or you’ll get a burn notification)
  4. Add beef broth and water,  stir until mixed and turn off sautee for now
  5. Add onion, carrots, celery, potatoes, tomato sauce, bay leaves, thyme, salt and pepper, stir until everything is well mixed (adding more water if needed)
  6. Close lid and make sure valve is closed; cook on high pressure for 30 minutes then slow release for 10 minutes before quick release
  7. Return to sautee and add frozen corn and peas, cook a few minutes until veggies are done


If the stew isn’t thick enough at the end, you can mix a little flour or corn starch with water and add with the peas/corn to make it more stew-like.

Add as much vegetables as you like or your instant pot will allow.

Peas and corn are optional, but we really like the added veggies in our stew.

Cutting everything into bite-sized pieces makes sure everything gets cooked quickly and at the same time.

The meat comes out so tender, our 11mo grandson was able to have some, and he only has two teeth. (I guess he had two bowls!)

The amount of thyme is up to you–I just sprinkle it on top and hope for the best, lol. You can always add other seasonings if you like.

This could also be made in the slow cooker but you would have to brown the meat in a pan first then add everything to the slow cooker on high for 4 hours or low for 7 hours then add the peas and corn and let simmer for another hour or so.

Could also be made on the stove but would need to simmer for at least an hour to get the meat tender.

Day 44 of Isolation: Weight Watching

I’ve gained a lot of weight over the last couple years as my fatigue has worsened. I don’t have the energy to do normal things around the house (like dishes and cleaning up). Even before I was diagnosed with this critical hypertension, I had informed my husband I would be cutting back on my food.

This two-week quarantined has helped tremendously because I have no access to food in my room, and my kids forget to feed me. I’ve decided not to text them through the day and just wait to see if/when they remember to bring me some food.

I will say, when they have brought me stuff, they’ve done a pretty good job. Like this:


It was 10pm when they finally gave me some dinner which was grilled cheese and a salad. It looked so pretty, I just had to take a picture. And it tasted amazing. My 17yo made the sandwich and the 14yo made the salad. Good job, ladies.

(This was not the only thing I ate today–I also had some leftover Tuscan mac & cheese and veggies for lunch.)

Day 36 of Isolation: Chicken & Dumpling Soup?

Still reeling a bit from that work I did on Thursday so decided to go with a relatively easy meal tonight. I’ve made this soup at least five times over the last year and it usually turns out pretty good.

Problem is I’ve never written down the recipe so end up making it differently each time. And it causes me undo amounts of anxiety each time, yet I still keep forgetting to write down what I do.

Anyway, here’s the basic recipe:

Chicken & Dumpling Soup in the Instant Pot (for a large family)

  • 3 or 4 frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • onion, chopped
  • celery, chopped
  • carrots, chopped
  • olive oil or butter (for sauteing vegetables)
  • garlic, jarred or chopped
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • yellow potatoes, diced (optional)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • extra water
  • rosemary, thyme, sage, salt and pepper to taste
  • frozen corn
  • frozen peas
  • dumpling dough (make from scratch or use biscuit mix)
    • 2 cups flour
    • 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 2 T. butter, cubed
    • 1 cup milk
  1. Using saute function on Instant Pot, saute carrots, celery and onion until tender (use as much as you like or have on hand). Add garlic.
  2. Coat with flour and stir until the flour is absorbed, making sure to scrape from the bottom of the pot. Add broth, continuing to stir and scrape bottom (if stuff gets stuck to the bottom, you’ll end up with a burn warning from the pot).
  3. Add potatoes and more water to fill to about the 1/2 mark on the pot. Sprinkle with spices to taste and stir.
  4. Place frozen chicken in pot, adding more liquid if you’d like.
  5. Cook on high pressure for 15 minutes; natural release for 10 then quick release.
  6. While you’re waiting for the pressure to release, make the dumpling dough. Roll it out to 1/4″ thick and cut into squares.
  7. When pressure is released, return pot to saute setting, break apart chicken with fork, and add frozen peas and corn (however much you like). Add squares of dumpling to the top and stir gently.


If the soup starts to burn to the bottom of the pot at the end, you can turn it off and just cover it–the dumplings should continue to cook (this will, of course, take a bit longer).

I don’t really measure vegetables when I cook. I just toss frozen in by the handful and cut up fresh depending on how much I have on hand. Any amounts in my recipes is a guess or based on the original I took the recipe from. Just use however much you like.

Same goes for spices. At least a teaspoon of each (more for the salt).

I like to add some rosemary, thyme and sage right to the dumpling mix for a little extra flavor.

This can also be made in the slow cooker: add everything except frozen veggies and dumplings; cook on High 4-6 hours or Low 8-10 hours; when chicken is done, tear apart and add frozen veggies and dumplings.

Can also be made on the stove by simmering everything except frozen veggies and dumplings then adding them at the end just like with the Instant Pot or slow cooker.

Soup should be somewhat thick. If you added too much water, it can be thickened by mixing corn starch or flour with a little water or milk then stirring it in while the dumplings are cooking.

Careful, though, because the flour on the dumplings will also thicken the soup some as will breaking apart the potatoes while you stir (if they got overcooked like mine did).

You can also add a little bit of milk or half & half to the soup to make it creamier.

Can use whatever veggies you like. I used to make a chicken and dumpling recipe where I used broccoli, cauliflower and carrots (because I ran out of regular mixed veggies) and my kids loved it.

Basically, this recipe is a standard creamy chicken soup you can modify however you want, topped with dumplings.

Day 33 of Isolation: Instant Pot Burrito Bowls

I got a little bit of sleep last night so I’m feeling better today. Not by much, but I was able to organize the dishes and then load the dishwasher. That’s a lot for me. I also managed to cook lunch for myself and dinner later for everyone else (I just ate leftovers from my lunch).

Lunch was one of my favorite meals I make because it’s easy, fairly quick, and high in iron (which is essential for me). Everyone else, though, is sick of eating it so I mostly just make it for myself and eat it over a few days.

Originally, the recipe was for the slow cooker and included a box of instant brown rice that never seemed to cook right. It was either not done or so overcooked it was mush. Then I got the Instant Pot a couple years ago and retooled the recipe for that. And it comes out perfect every time.


Instant Pot Burrito Bowls

  • 4 cups uncooked brown rice (I like Jasmine brown rice the best)
  • 4 cups chicken broth (or half water, half broth)
  • 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (no need to drain)
  • 1/2 jalapeno (chopped or use half a can or more if you like spicy)
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 2 (or more) frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • salt
  • cumin, paprika, chili powder, cayenne pepper
  • sour cream
  • shredded cheese
  1. Add the rice using the scoop that comes with the Instant Pot and broth; stir.
  2. Add beans, tomatoes, jalapeno, and frozen corn; stir to combine.
  3. For the spices: the recipe I have calls for 2 to 3 teaspoons for each. I no longer measure and just kind of sprinkle enough to cover the top of the food. In other words, to taste. Two teaspoons is probably a good place to start, though.
  4. Stir everything then place frozen chicken on top; push down until they’re mostly submerged.
  5. Cover and cook on High Pressure for 16 minutes then let the steam release naturally for 5 to 10 minutes before doing a quick release of the rest.
  6. Use a spoon to break apart the chicken breasts (they will just fall apart) and mix into the rice.
  7. Serve with cheese, sour cream and anything else you like.


If the rice is a little tough, add more time to the natural release or just put the lid back on and let it sit–the rice will continue to cook and soften over time.

Because the rice continues to soak up moisture, this will get really thick as it sits, especially the next day. Add a little water and stir before warming it up. This also keeps it from drying out if you use the microwave to heat it up.

Even though this is called burrito bowls, the mixture tastes great in taco shells and flour tortillas or with chips.

This could also easily be made with less rice if you are cooking for one or two people that don’t want a week of leftovers. Just keep the broth/rice ration 1:1.

If you have a big family like I do, you can also increase the rice. When I cook for the whole family, I usually do 6 or 7 cups of rice. I just add extra water instead of more broth and also add two cans each of tomatoes and black beans and increase the jalapeno to a full one (or a full can). I usually do three big chicken breasts then, too, although that really depends on how much chicken we have on hand. We have an 8qt Instant Pot so it fits a lot. Just remember to not overfill yours (read the manual).



so yummy

Just had one of the most delicious meals ever and it was super low in calories and almost no fat.

We had pork roast (sirloin tip so basically fat free), smashed red potatoes (made with fat free sour cream and fat free half & half), broccoli, sweet corn and green beans.  Jack also got himself some baked beans (the way my dad taught me to make them: Bush’s original recipe, some brown sugar and yellow mustard) because he LOVES them.  And everyone else is getting potato rolls.  I passed on them to save on fat.

There was a bit of guess work on how many calories were in the potatoes since I didn’t actually figure out how many servings were in the amount I cooked (5lbs of potatoes) but I took a big scoop and with a 1/2 to 1 cup of each veggie and 4oz of meat I was somewhere between 400 and 450 calories and like 4 grams of fat.  For a full meal.  I’m actually pretty full but I’m considering having a little bit more of each.  It was so good.

random thought of the day…07.26.08

Tastes change.

Another true fact from me to you.  When I was a kid I couldn’t stand when my dad would make asparagus.  I think he was the only person in the house that ate it and I just wanted to gag.  Here it is, some 20+ years later, and what did I make with our Italian chicken tonight?

Asparagus…on the grill.  A technique I learned on the 4th of July.  Just make a foil packet out of heavy duty aluminum foil, place frozen asparagus and some butter, close and toss on the grill with the chicken.

It was so tender and yummy.  Oh, that brings me back to my point that tastes change.  I had TWO helpings of asparagus tonight.  All three of my kids (that are here, my oldest is at a friend’s house) devoured it.

random thought of the day…7.22.08

To make the perfect batch of Kraft boxed mac & cheese…FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS!

I made the kids some mac & cheese today.  Here’s how it turned out:

  • Don’t overcook the pasta….FAIL! (I got sidetracked doing a scrapbook page and let it cook to the bottom of the pot)
  • Use the correct amount of butter…FAIL! (I didn’t feel like wasting my good real butter so I just tossed in a big spoonful of vegetable spread)
  • Use the correct amount of milk…FAIL! (I never measure the milk)

Not that the kids care or anything.  They still ate it and said it was good.  I even ate some of the leftovers.  It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great either.

Of course, now when I want to make really good mac & cheese I do it from scratch.  My dad gave me the recipe.  It’s simple, fool proof almost…almost.

  • 1 16oz box of pasta, cooked (not overcooked!)
  • 1/2 brick of Velveeta cheese, cubed
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1 package of skinless smoked sausage, sliced
  • 2 TBSP milk

Here’s the super simple part: Mix all ingredients and put into large baking pan or casserole dishes.  Bake at 350° for 30 minutes, stir, bake another 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted.

See, simple, and oh so delicious.

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