A Journey of Weight Found and Lost: Day 13

::: This post is part of a 30-day series of posts by G&G guest contributor LA. :::

Slimming down my pantry.

I grew up in a large family. I grew up cooking for a lot of people. In my adult life I often was the de facto cook at church or social events. I had the gigantic pans and six racks in my double ovens that allowed me to make a whole lot of things in not a whole lot of time. I was used to buying in bulk and stocking up.

No idea what a reasonable portion was and taught my children to overeat and had a mentality of some is good, more is better. My pantry reflected that, absolutely.

So when I initially began with my life changes, I still had the equipment I’d used in my old life. Even with one ravenous teen at home, the amount of leftovers when I served myself a reasonable portion, were staggering. And so my husband and I sat down and had a heart to heart one day about making an investment in smaller cookware and bakeware.

Smaller Cookware = Smaller Meals

Pampered Chef Stoneware Bar Pans. Image via Pinterest.
Pampered Chef Stoneware Bar Pans. Image via Pinterest.

I still have most of the gigantic pieces, there are certainly times I have many people to feed. But we use a two-cup baker for the meals we eat more nights than not. The difference in prepared item size makes a huge impact on MY size. Having a number of smaller pans for stovetop cooking did, too. I can’t begin to count how many times I made far too much simply because it looked like so little in the pan. And now, there are times I think WOW, I am making way too much food. And it is a fraction of what it once was.

When our youngest moved out and it was only the two of us (and let me tell you, that’s a wonderland all its own!), we found we used our countertop oven more than the regular one. Why heat that whole oven for a small pan? I had bought my husband a Pampered Chef bar pan the prior year for snacks. It is now what he makes his lunch on almost daily. He mentioned recently it is his favorite pan. I’ll admit…it made me smile. We each had our own eating devils to send to back to hell from our childhoods. We dealt with them in different ways and converged on the path of healthy selves.

 Having smaller pots and pans, smaller baking dishes and smaller plates might seem like a great way to waste money as someone once said to me. But my husband and I saw it as an investment in ourselves.  

Sure, I could make a 9×13 dish and discipline myself to eat only the right amount. But why?

Why purposely have too much on hand? Why be wasteful on purpose? Why have the same thing over and over because I’d made far too much to begin with? There is also something psychological for me about seeing half of a dish emptied when I have my portion instead of a tiny corner. I feel like I am eating a lot when the former happens and that I am eking out a meal when the latter occurs. Why on earth would I purposely make myself feel like I’m being denied? That’s not my style. If it works for others, hooray—but for me it was a recipe for disaster.

Favorite quick meal for two
  • Can of chili beans-drained
  • Can of black beans-drained
  • ½ cup cooked ground beef/pork
  • ¼ cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Mix first three ingredients, top with cheese, bake at 350 degrees until bubbly. It’s enough for two dinners and two lunches. I usually take the lunch portion, heat it and toss it with romaine for a great warm salad. I can take this from pantry to table in less than 30 minutes…many times closer to 20.

 

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