I hated cooking. I hated everything about cooking. I particularly hated going to the grocery store to get the stuff to use while cooking. I hated planning the meals, I hated preparing the meals. It was such a chore, and half the time, my kids turned their noses up at whatever I made. If I’m being honest, I wasn’t all that crazy about what I made either. Cooking was never my thing.

But EATING? Well. Eating IS my thing.

A few years ago, I discovered that watching cooking shows relaxed me. I could turn on Food Network and let the quiet voices of Giada or The Barefoot Contessa lull me into a state of mental Zen that helped me forget the chaos that was my life at that time. They would chop and julienne and mix and saute, and I could just forget my troubles for 30 minutes at a time. At the end of the 30 minutes, all their precise work would come together in a delectable creation that anyone would love to savor.

So I started looking up recipes on Pinterest – which I also found relaxed me. I would click through each one to read the entire recipe and cooking instructions. If they looked easy – because you know, I hated cooking – I would pin them and think, “Well, maybe SOMEDAY when I don’t hate cooking so much, I’ll try this one or that one.”

Meanwhile, I noticed that while I was cooking my old stand-bys, I was being a lot more deliberate in how I prepared them. I wasn’t as pissed off when I went to the grocery store to buy the ingredients. I was planning meals and enjoying it. And then one day, I added one of those Pinterest recipes to my meal plan for the week.

It was a slow cooker lasagna that required making red sauce from scratch. There was a great deal of prep work, but then you could put it all together in the crockpot – uncooked noodles and all – and come home to a delicious meal. I carefully minced the garlic and chopped the onion. I browned the ground meats and cooked the tomatoes. I worked steadily and methodically and found my mind and spirit relaxing. My house smelled like an Italian restaurant. MY house.

You guys, I was COOKING and LIKING it.

That lasagna was delicious, and everyone who sat at my table that evening enjoyed the hell out of it. My daughter even requests it from time to time. That lasagna was the first of many other successful creations from my kitchen. Miraculously, I can’t think of any that I’ve totally bombed or that were inedible. From crockpot buffalo chicken to spicy parmesan shrimp pasta to Key lime pie, I have learned to enjoy cooking. It’s well and truly a miracle.

I don’t even mind grocery shopping anymore.

Just in case you’re interested, you can find that lasagna recipe here.

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