“Nasty,” my husband says.
“It’s just so heavy, you know?” he says.
For the entire 14 years of our relationship, my husband has been a victim of my various weight-loss schemes. Whenever he wants to remind me of how much he loves me, he brings up the muffins I made the first week I moved in with him. It was a Dr. Andrew Weil recipe and one of my first attempts to change his eating habits from Carnation Instant Breakfasts to real food. Not only did he eat the dry, tasteless muffin, he also tried to eat part of a second one. Without complaining. And if you ask him, he will insist he even made a yummy sound.
But it’s been 14 years since those muffins and he’s no longer so eager to prove his love by eating food he doesn’t like.
“Yeah. Thanks, honey, but do I have any instant breakfast?” he asks.
The bulk of our relationship endured the Weight Watchers years. I have binders crammed with recipes printed off the internet and torn from WW Magazines. Even when I wasn’t exactly counting Points, I would still turn to Weight Watchers for new recipes. Coke chicken, salsa chicken, chicken enchiladas, Salisbury Steak, spaghetti – I developed a core set of quick and easy meals I’d make week after week…
…until I’d hear the inevitable words, “Nasty” and the scrape of the plate being pushed away.
Back to the drawing board.
Once I started CrossFit, my meal planning became less calorie-driven and more focused on whole, unprocessed foods. This was an unexpected change for my husband who saw his skim milk swapped out for whole milk, and normal chicken replaced with more expensive free range meats.
And I found the Pioneer Woman. Through her website, she became my cooking companion. And because I could now use butter, I became a big fan. I pooh-poohed all those people who left comments and reviews on her recipes like Ree, this would be good, but is it possible to lighten this up? or Ree, I can’t believe you use so much buuuttttterrrr…I loved how she embraces the joy of cooking for her family and her rancher husband, whom she calls the Marlboro Man.
My cooking became more labor intensive, and I taught myself how to make sauces and use seasonings. The Pioneer Woman even has a Cowboy Food category which includes the Marlboro Man’s favorite recipes.
I knew I had scored when my husband devoured the Pioneer Woman’s meatloaf (side note: Ree’s meatloaf is wrapped in bacon…and she did it before the bacon craze. Yeah, she’s that good.).
But that was the crest of my success.
It started with a casual inquiry: “Looking up Pioneer Woman recipes?” my husband would ask.
Or “What Marlboro Man favorite is planned for tonight?”
And the traitorous, “You’re using that much butter?”
To the inevitable word.
This is what happens when Mr. Instant Breakfast marries the Beef Queen.
“Honey, remember that Salisbury Steak recipe? You haven’t made that in awhile. Or Coke Chicken. I don’t remember the last time we ate that.”
We have come to an agreement: He is no longer allowed to use the word Nasty to describe my (delectable) cooking, and I am limited to one Pioneer Woman recipe per week. The rest of the time, it’s back to the old standbys.
And instant breakfast. Which has been on my weekly grocery list for 14 years.