One-Month Challenge: All Cooking, All The Time, The End

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[Everyone’s got a vice, a bad habit, something they know they need to change. Unfortunately, everyone also has a million excuses why they just can’t do it. Not anymore. Every month we will be following a different CollegeCandy writer as she takes on a personal challenge. For April, Jill gave up restaurants. Things started off slow, then got tricky, and now she’s done. Insert life lesson here!

Well peeps, I did it.

30 days. 90 meals. Plenty of late night snacks. All cooked by yours truly.

And no fires, burnt dishes or kitchen snafus to speak of!

Mazel tov to me! Brava! A job well Done! Magnifico! 5 stars! Watch out, Food Network – we’ve got your newest star!

If you’re reading this wondering why I’m patting myself so hard on the back that there’s a permanent hand-print back there, thinking BFD (big freakin deal) that I cooked for 30 days… you haven’t seen my addiction to weekend brunches or my lack of knowledge when it comes to various kitchen utensils and appliances. (I had to Google what a saucepan was this month….it was that bad.) So yeah, I deserve some major praise.

I’m so proud of my will power that I’m actually considering making (and presenting) myself with my own bedazzled paper plate award. Lord knows I deserve it. That, and a large and in charge meal cooked by anyone other than me. Preferably a cute, tall and witty man with fabu cooking skills. But let’s be real here – after 30 days, I’m really not going to be that picky. At this point, in the realm of who’s cooking my grub, I’ve got my cooking beer goggles on so securely that everyone with a frying pan in hand is pretty much a Jake Gyllenhaal/Bobby Flay hybrid in my eyes.

And while I’m excited to be able to not have to plan ahead for every meal and will no longer have to have the supremely awkward conversation with dates that I really don’t have an eating disorder but that I can’t go out to eat (oh how I’ll miss those fun little chats!), this challenge was worth way more to me than just the extra cash in my bank account. It made me aware at just how much I spend without thinking, and after all these years blaming cooking on taking up too much time that I didn’t have, I quickly learned how fast and easy it really is to cook. It was fun getting friends excited about my challenge, sharing recipes or saying they wanted to try it themselves. And while I can’t say it was the most fun spending my Sunday Fundays watching others eating scrambled eggs and drinking mimosas, I survived… and learned to make my own killer brunch, too!

While reflecting on this whole experience I remembered that while on my Super-Fun-even-if-all-that-is-involved-is-green-tea-and-a-friend-who-makes-you-laugh Sunday Funday last week, my friend my pointed out that us girls like to do our big social gatherings over dinners out… and not only are we usually stuck shelling out big bucks, but we’re stuck chatting with the people we are seated directly next to at a long table. So, he (wisely) suggested, Why not skip the pricey dinner and all get together and cook?! The fun part isn’t just the sitting down and eating, he said, but the real fun is in the process of cooking together.

And so, as I look back on this past month, I realize that not only was my friend right on with a great idea for an upcoming weekend dinner, but this whole challenge was less about the end result and more about the process; the ups, the downs and the learning to strike a balance. And while I can’t wait for a waiter to take my order at lunch today (daaaaamn straight I’m not wasting any time), I can honestly say this 30-day challenge was both challenging AND rewarding. And I got some new routines, cooking skills and a soon to be paper-plate award out of it all, all of which I’ll be taking with me into May and beyond.

Now where the eff is that waiter!?

[Check out the other One Month Challenges we’ve taken on. ]

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