RSS

Tag Archives: inspiration

Summer Reading

Look at what I just picked up from our library!

In line with my “try before you buy” philosophy, I reserved a copy of “The Best Mexican Recipes” from America’s Test Kitchen a few weeks ago. As with most of their cookbooks, there was a waiting list, and I finally got the email saying it was my turn. I’ll have it for four weeks (unless I luck out and get to renew it), so I need to come up with a must try list ASAP. Andy has already requested drunken beans, which appear to be the Mexican version of baked beans, so we will be trying that soon. If I’m organized enough to get some pictures, I will be sharing them here!

In other food-related reading, I also picked up “Never Out of Season” by Rob Dunn. The tagline on the cover says, “How having the food we want when we want it threatens our food supply and our future.” It sounded interesting and timely to me, as our CSA should be starting up soon, and that’s all about seasonal eating! 

Speaking of seasonal eating, our garden is all planted (minus the dill seed, which will wind up in the flower bed since we ran out of room in the garden again), and I have been harvesting rhubarb for a couple of weeks. Yay for seasonal desserts! I  planted two new-to-me types of basil this year, lemon and Thai, along with the regular Italian basil. I cannot wait for the plants to grow a little more so I can start picking leaves. Our garlic is going strong, and I am ready for scapes to appear. Edible plants are the best. 🙂 Happy almost-June, everyone!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 31, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , ,

What We’re Eating: 5/1 – 5/6

Look at this! A meal plan two weeks in a row. We’re making progress, people. 😉 I’m including Saturday again since Andy’s parents will be in town, which means we’ll probably be home for dinner.

Monday 5/1 – Chickpea tomato pasta – starting the week off with Meatless Monday!
Tuesday 5/2 – Carnitas bowls, made possible by this weekend’s instant pot experiment with my friend Kelsey. She sent us some with some of the leftovers, so I’ll make some rice and saute some onions and peppers to go with the pork. (A couple thoughts on the whole instant pot experience: The flavor was incredible, but it took MUCH longer to prep than the recipe said. I bet I could have the same results with my crockpot. I’d just have to put the meat and marinade in before work, rather than after.)
Wednesday 5/3 – Roasted broccoli, squash orzotto and steak – the weather looks decent, so we’ll probably throw them on the grill.
Thursday 5/4 – Breakfast for dinner! We didn’t have the egg sandwiches last Friday, so I’m moving them to this week’s menu. I made a loaf of onion-bacon sourdough bread over the weekend, so we’ll use that for the sandwiches.  (And yes, the bread is about as wonderful as you’d imagine something with three-quarters of a pound of bacon would be.) 
Friday 5/5 – Salmon, corn and carrots.
Saturday 5/6 – Roast chicken, vegetables and bread / biscuits. This is the current front-runner for the bread, and I may try spatchcocking the chicken. I have a few days to make up my mind on that.

Have a great week, everyone!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 30, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: ,

What We’re Eating: 4/24 – 4/29

A few weeks ago, we cleaned all of the clutter off the front of our refrigerator. It’s amazing how big of a difference that makes in our small kitchen! The only downside is that I ditched the dry-erase board that I used to write down our weekly menu, and not having a menu board seems to be derailing my dinner plans. So, in an attempt to get organized again, I figured it was time for me to put a menu together.

Monday 4/24 – Italian Pot Pies and salad
Tuesday 4/25 – Mexican Quinoa (I was going to make this on Monday, but when I checked the pantry shelves this morning, we were all out of black beans. How does that even happen? Guess it’s time for a run to Aldi.)
Wednesday 4/26 – Pork chops and roasted beets
Thursday 4/27 – Chicken bruschetta bake (I’m making this to share with a friend who just had a baby, so I plan to make enough for us to enjoy as well.)
Friday 4/28 – Egg & Bacon Sandwiches on English Muffins
Saturday 4/29 – Carnitas! I typically don’t plan meals for the weekend, but we plan to spend Saturday evening with some friends. Kelsey and I are going to experiment with her Instant Pot, and carnitas seemed to be a good place to start. (I’m skeptical about the entire instant-pot process, so we’ll see if this changes my mind.) I still need to come up with a dessert for us to enjoy as well.

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 24, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: ,

What We’re Eating: 3/13 – 3/17

Happy Monday! It’s been a while since I shared a meal plan post, so I figured that would be a good way to kick off the week. (Plus, I haven’t had time to finish writing about any of the things I’ve been baking lately.)

Monday 3/13 – Roasted red pepper penne with sausage and salad
Tuesday 3/14 – Black bean and cheese quesadillas (I know it’s pi day, but we are finally going to see Hidden Figures that night, which means no time for baking.)
Wednesday 3/15 – Salmon, asparagus and couscous with cilantro and carrots
Thursday 3/16 – Chicken bruschetta bake, salad, applesauce and dessert (We’re having some new friends over for dinner, and this is my go-to “first time” meal. It’s easy, and almost everyone loves it.)
Friday 3/17 – Homemade pizza! I have been using my discarded sourdough starter to make pizza crust, and I recently discovered that I can throw the pizza dough in the freezer. Now I have a steady supply of pizza crust on hand, which is perfect for lazy Friday nights. I just have to decide if we’ll have BBQ chicken or pepperoni and sausage pizza.

In other food news, I baked a chocolate stout cake for a friend’s 30th birthday last week, and it was incredible. It was a dark, moist chocolate cake with delicious, stouty (is that even a thing?) undertones. It’s definitely a keeper. Of course, we were too busy having fun to take any pictures of the cake, so it’ll be a while before it appears here.

I’m still enjoying the sourdough adventure. Sourdough pancakes are becoming one of my new favorite things with the starter. King Arthur Flour has become my go-to source for new sourdough ideas, and I haven’t had a recipe fail me yet.

I’m working on cooking from cookbook closet more often as well. I pulled at least one new recipe this week from my Everyday Food archives, and I have a couple more bookmarked for next week.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 13, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: ,

What We’re Eating: 1/30 – 2/4

January has been unusually busy for me this year. Between a work trip to Florida and a wedding in Ohio, I spent a lot of time NOT cooking this month.

I’ve been trying to make up for lost time over the last week or so though. I finally got the ball rolling with my sourdough starter (which we’re affectionately referring to as “Fester”), and it seems to be growing nicely. Last night was the first time I had to discard some of the starter as part of the feeding process, and I decided to use the discarded portion to make some cinnamon raisin bread. It’s rising now, and I can’t wait to see if it’s a keeper. Andy came home from work, observed the bread-making process and declared this sourdough adventure a “good thing.” 😀

We also celebrated Andy’s birthday this past week, and he wanted to stay in, rather than go out, so we invited Andy, Bethany, Judah and Sadie over for birthday burgers. I made the fried onion burgers from Cook it in Cast Iron, and we finished off the meal with the monkey bread from Bread Illustrated and vanilla bean ice cream. (The monkey bread, by the way, was incredible. I will never make monkey bread any other way again.) 

Here’s what we’re eating this week:

Monday 1/30 – Ham and cheese pie and salad
Tuesday 1/31 – Salmon and root vegetable gratin  (I actually made this in November and froze half of it. I figure now’s as good a time as any to eat the second half!) 
Wednesday 2/1 – Pasta e Fagioli (New recipe for the week!) 
Thursday 2/2 – Chipotle chicken tacos
Friday 2 /3 – Homemade pizza (It’s Friday, after all!) 

It’s safe to say that I’m glad to be back in the kitchen again. 🙂

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 28, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: ,

New Reading Material

Look at what I have for two weeks!

I’ve had this on my library wish list for several weeks, and I finally made it to the top of the waiting list. I will probably read through it, and hopefully get to try at least a few recipes. I am so excited! If I’m on top of things, I will get a few pictures too. 🙂

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 3, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , ,

Cast Iron Love

Two weeks!! 14 measly days! That’s how long the library let me have a copy of Cook It In Cast Iron from Cook’s Country. You can usually check out books for four weeks, but new books are only available for a “short loan,” especially when there are 10+ people behind you waiting to get their hands on the book.

Ugh. Sharing is not always my strongest point.

In true dorky fashion, I literally read through the entire book before I made anything out of it. (It helped that I picked it up from the library the night before a weekend road trip.) I thought all of the tips and techniques were helpful, and I can definitely see why you’d want a 12″ skillet for several of the recipes. I managed with my 10″ skillet, but the pan was just about overflowing with some things.

I did my best to make the most of the time that I had the book, and I think I did all right. We tried (in this order):

  • Chipotle chicken tacos (4 stars!) 
  • Skillet mac and cheese (3 stars from both of us; this is still my favorite mac and cheese recipe. It’s also a lot simpler!) 
  • Blackened chicken with pineapple salsa (5 stars from me; 3-4 from Andy, who may have met the only fruit salsa he’s hated in this dish. Lesson learned: Serrano peppers are too much for him. Whoops!) 
  • Hot fudge pudding cake (4 stars. It goes great with beer ice cream!) 
  • Sausage lasagna (5+ stars. We were so sad when the leftovers were gone… I almost licked my lunch dish clean at work the next day.) 
  • Baked brie with apricots and honey (5 stars, but I made the mistake of only making 1/3 of a batch…) 
  • Skillet chocolate chip cookie (5 stars. I mean, there was browned butter. Need I say more?) 
  • Mexican layer dip (2-5 stars, depending on who you ask. As written, it’s kind of spicy, thanks to the 1 1/2 tablespoons of chipotle chili powder, which means it’s hotter than Andy likes. However, it was well-received by half of the adults at taco night, and Andy said that if I scaled the heat back a bit, he would really enjoy it.) 
BakedBrie&Apriocts

Since I made a small batch of baked brie, I thought it’d be perfect in my mini-skillets.

I snapped a picture of a couple of the appetizer recipes, so I’m hoping to make those sometime in the not-too-distant future. Of course, there are recipes in there that I’ll probably never make (Meatloaf with mushroom gravy? Umm, no thanks. Paella? Not until I can get over the cost of saffron, thank you very much.), but overall, most of the recipes sounded like things we’d enjoy.

I did feel like some of the recipes could be streamlined to use fewer dishes, but when you consider the source, that really shouldn’t surprise you. I also wish the book had more of the science behind some of the recipe steps. I’m sure there’s a reason why I had to whisk the cookie dough for 30 seconds and then let it rest for 2 minutes before repeating the step two more times. I’d just love to know what that reason is!

If we rated cookbooks on the Andy scale, I’d give it a solid 4, which means that it might be worth getting a copy of my own someday. What I loved most though, was rediscovering how many things I can do with my cast iron skillet. It hasn’t gone back in the cupboard in two weeks.

Off-topic, have you seen the Apple commercial with Cookie Monster? THIS IS SO ME!! (Except for the iPhone part. I’m an Android girl.) My friends make fun of me for watching cookies bake through the oven door! I laughed so hard when this came on TV the other day.

Full disclosure: Cook’s Country / America’s Test Kitchen has NO idea that I’m writing about their latest cookbook. I’m fairly certain that no one there even knows that this little blog exists. I wasn’t compensated in any way for my thoughts; I just happened to really enjoy the cookbook. 

 
1 Comment

Posted by on March 26, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , ,