Welcome to Smoke Alarm Oven Timer

Ready to make salsa

Thanks for visiting the Smoke Alarm Oven Timer blog. I'm an older guy just doing his best with what he has, willing to share and gain knowledge as I make mistakes.
I created this site to share some of my newfound recipes and things that keep me off the streets since my divorce. Life changes and you never know how it's going to go but you can always count on one thing; yourself. It will probably be mostly about my cooking, for better or worse, but I'm sure I'll throw in a few non-cooking posts once in a while. 

Since I find myself single after many years of marriage and kids, I now have to make all of the decisions; to buy or grow all the food, to go out or cook all of my own meals and clean up all of the mess. That was a lot to take in at first but now I think I've got it better figured out.

Taking a Second Look at Food

Along with minor recent life changes, I also decided to change the way I look at food. Since we were children, we were always conditioned to eat by the clock. We would get up in the morning and it was time for breakfast. At noontime, it was always time for lunch and around six at night it was always time for dinner. For me, it was time to make a change. My weight was 225 and 240 pounds at one point. I'm only 5'8" so that wasn't good. Now I'm around 180 and feeling much better.

Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with a regular eating schedule for families and couples but now that I'm single, I'm in control of what and when I eat my food. I feel that listening to my body works better than going by the clock. 

Just go on a Diet

One of the biggest problems I feel is that people go on diets expecting that this will be the time, this will be the diet that fixes my body. Of course, the word diet implies that you're going on something only to eventually come off of it. I've had friends who have tried every diet that's come down the pike with varying results. They've been fully invested into Weight Watchers, South Beach, Paleo caveman diets, Atkins, Zone and more recently, keto diets among many others

I'm pretty sure that you know as well as I do, that most of the time when people come off of these diets, they gain the weight back plus a pound or two if not more. I believe the problem is in our heads and not our stomachs. The freedom to think differently about my eating habits has changed my life. Because I've deprioritized food a little bit it's giving me more options. This is no crazy concept, it's just me trying to separate the logical from my emotional reasons to eat.

Food, I Love you

I feel our emotional relationship with food causes most of us to eat not just the wrong things, but those wrong things at the wrong time. I'm not nearly the junk food junkie I was, but I also eat burgers and potato chips and fries or whatever I want, but only when I want to. I don't need to eat a whole bag of chips because firstly it isn't necessary and secondly, we all know how bad we feel afterward.

I now can take a fish and chips dinner to go and get three meals out of it with no problem. When my weight was staying around the 225 lb.mark, I could eat a whole fisherman's platter which is everything from scallops to shrimp and clams and fish with onion rings and fries. It's a massive heart attack on a plate but so delicious. So if I really want a fisherman's platter I will go get one but I won't eat it all at once.

But I don't do that. I often put off things like that as a future prize and say I don't need it yet but the fish and chips dinner is a lot less money and a lot easier on the body. It gets me the fried foods that I do like in small quantities at a time.

Knowing the Score

One other thing I do every day, first thing in the morning is to weigh myself. I track my weight at least every other day. I feel it's always important to know where your stand to know where you're headed. When I mention that to people many say "oh no, I can't weigh myself that often, I don't want to know". They can't stand to see the constant rise and fall of the scale over time only to see it never really change much. If it does change for the worse, maybe that's a clue to take a second look. I'm sure that's disappointing but isn't that just the wrong way to think? I mean sure, we can go by how tight are pants fit but only to a point. There's a saying, knowing is half the battle.

Shop Like a  Pro

The other thing I do is shop smarter because I have to. Because I'm the only one making any money here, I'm on a budget like anyone else. I have had to learn the hard way, that because it's only me and the dog if I'm not careful I'll have too much food and it goes to waste. That makes it very counterproductive.

I do have some basic rules for my food purchases. While I do shop the entire store, I do stay around the outside perimeter for the most part. That's because your vegetables, your bread, meats, and dairy are all located on the perimeter of the store. That's where you're going to find the best ingredients you can use to make your own meals. I also recommend a good chest or upright freezer to store your extra food. If you are single, you can make meals that are easy to reheat during a busy work week. I like to cook on Sundays when I can.

Get Fresh

No matter the time of year, there are certain ingredients I always buy fresh or have on hand in the freezer. I really enjoy working with onions, mushrooms, and peppers and incorporate them into many of my recipes. Mushrooms don't store well but I always take the leftover peppers and onions, slice them or chop them and freeze them for later use. Using small Ziploc type snack bags I find is a perfect size. I also keep frozen chives and basil leaves at the ready. My point is to know exactly what ingredients you're buying, so you know exactly what ingredients you are putting into the food that you make, so you know exactly what is going in your body. It's the best head start you can give yourself. It also allows for some cheating.

I Know Joe

I'm a meat eater so I'm always looking for a good deal on most anything I can use in a recipe. I know my local butchers. They know me and that's what I also consider to be an important shopping point; these people along with your produce people are professionals and they can help you and they enjoy sharing their knowledge. My butcher, Joe (they all seem to be named Joe) at my local Shaw's market taught me how to make top round roast beef like they do in the deli. I'll post that recipe sometime, it's amazing.

Let it Grow

Earlier I mentioned that I do grow some of my own things. Each year was different, and this last summer I only grow basil, tomatoes and a few peppers. As I keep working hard on myself and my garden, I'll share my recipes as time goes on and I welcome all comments.

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