And Now For Something Different: Adventures in the Kitchen
I am not a cook. I’m the daughter of a cook. And a baker. I grew up in a restaurant. But I’ve not inherited the genes that make one skillful at knowing what spices to combine with what bases.
I’m the one who tried to make her own coconut rice and had it described as “palatable.”
I tried to make a chocolate strawberry tart and the hubs needed a butcher knife to cut it.
Recently, I set a potholder on FIRE! 😀
And so, in our household, it is my partner, Joe, who does the cooking. And I remain ever grateful. But we’ve challenged ourselves to do things a little differently in our partnership and I’ve started making one meal a week with the goals of being health conscious and tasty.
Like a good little wi-fi (my husband’s nickname for me given my love of social media), I trolled pinterest for some recipes that looked good, easy to make, and were healthy. That means I was steering clear of recipes with a lot of dairy, red meat, or carbs. Here’s what the past 2 months have brought about.
*Note: All photographs are my own. I thought you should see what the food looked like when an amateur attempts to pinterest at home. Bon appetit!
Featuring the 30 Best Buddha Bowls, Yummy Mummy Kitchen included a winter bowl with curried chickpeas that I adapted at the end (scroll to the bottom of her post). I made the chickpeas as she described, then played around with my own vegetable options. I sautéed rainbow carrots and brussel sprouts in olive oil, ginger, and cumin until tender. And I added marinated beets and a thai cocount curry hummus which I purchased from my co-op to the top of the bowl. Everything was dumped on a bed of spinach. It’s a nice mix of sweet, spicy, creamy and tangy.
White Bean and Avocado Burritos
I am not the best burrito roller, but halfway through I got the hang of it! This dish was really filling and nice for leftovers. Our favorite part was the cilantro lime sauce. Bonus, the recipe from Ceara’s Kitchen is also vegan, so if you’re looking for some meat-free meal options, this one’s good.
Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes
Alright, so pancakes aren’t exactly at the top of the health food menu, but it was the weekend and I wanted to do something special. Plus we’d received super yummy Canadian maple syrup from my brother’s family as a thank you for dog sitting so pancakes were really the only option.
This recipe from The View From Great Island is a very delicious lemony treat and goes great with fresh blueberries and turkey bacon on the side.
*Notice my absolute lack of skill in pancake flipping. I made Lemon Poppyseed Pan-shmooshes.
Chicken Tikka Masala
When the chef preparing this dish says she eats chicken tikka masala multiple times a week, you know you can trust the recipe to be pretty good. Found on Savory Tooth, this chicken tikka masala recipe was indeed, tasty.
This recipe requires an Indian spice blend called garam masala, which for those of you who live in a smaller city, could be hard to find. You can buy it online, but I was lucky enough to find it in the bulk aisle of my co-op and prepare my own baggie full of the spice. Buy extra, cause the next recipe calls for it too!
Slow Cooker Butter Chicken
I have absolutely no idea why this recipe is called Butter Chicken when there is, in fact, no butter in it. But for folks who like spice, then this dinner from Damn Delicious is the ticket. It’s extra spicy if you pair it, as I did, with Fooduzzi’s recipe for Sriracha Almond Butter Roasted Brussel Sprouts. Zing!
If you’re trying to cut out excess carbs too, you can put the chicken over a bed of chopped spinach instead of rice like we did, and sprinkle with cilantro.
The Winning Favorites
The two best recipes, as favored by the hubs and I, were…
Crock Pot Thai Chicken Soup
From The Endless Meal, this recipe for thai chicken soup, which simmers in a crockpot for eight hours was DELECTABLE! Red curry paste mixed with chicken stock and coconut milk makes up the broth. Add chicken, plus whatever vegetables you want, and rice vermicelli noodles – which cook in 2 minutes! For veggies this time, I used red pepper, onion, mushrooms, and tomatoes. So savory and even the leftovers are delicious.
Roasted Chicken With Vegetables
And the other hit was Roasted Chicken with Vegetables from The Cookie Writer. Another easy one pan meal – hooray! The cook behind this recipe saved time by buying chopped veggies from the grocery store, but I did my own chopping with what we had on hand already. I substituted chicken breasts for the bone in chicken, since we had 3 frozen chicken breasts to use up. And the veggies I cut up were cauliflower, green pepper, and baby carrots. My hubs loved the paprika and basil spice blend.
There you have my adventures in the kitchen. It’s not going too bad!
Minus, you know, that ONE potholder. 😛
What are the recipes you love and return to?
See any on this list you might try?
ROWmodels: The Lessons Learned From You
Hello ROWers and Readers! It’s December 5th and this round of ROW80 is wrapping up (pun intended) this holiday season! And I am sooo impressed with the hard work you all have done!
I think there are several of you deserving of a round of applause, so let me introduce this week’s…
Kat Morrisey had me giggling with delight at her very upbeat post about completing NaNoWriMo – I Didn’t Win the Lottery, But I Did Something Better! That girl is a dancing fiend now that she’s finished her novel draft! And she’s inspired me to create some new goals for myself this ROW round. Thanks, Kat!
Nicole Nally is another NaNo winner! She completed her novel draft and is anticipating the edit process. I’m excited for her and the thrill of completing such a powerful word goal! Go rock those edits and keep us posted, girl!
I hope all of you have come to know Ryan King because he has been a fabulous ROW Sponsor! Seriously! This guy has been leaving many comments of support and I know how much a kind comment means to me on my posts, and Ryan leaves aplenty! Kudos to you, Sir, on your successes with writing projects and weight maintenance during the holiday season. I am envious.
Ruth Nestvold’s post about her plights and processes as an indie author is post you CANNOT miss! She’s got some interesting info out there about our industry, what she’s tried, what’s she trying, and shares the successes she’s achieved along the journey. I found this post particularly interesting and really appreciated her sharing. Thank you, Ruth!
My ROW Goals this week:
Inspired by many of you, but knowing I’m COMPLETELY strapped for time, I’m making my end goals very manageable. I hope.
- Clean my desk. Find the wood underneath it.
- Clean my room. Find the carpet underneath it. 🙂
- Finish reading The Language of Flowers, On Writing, Football Sweetheart, and Geek Love this month.
- Journal at least twice a week.
A Couple Announcements:
Long overdue is the announcement of the comment/twitter winner of a free copy of Come Sunrise, reggae album by TUGG. Thanks to all who left comments and tweeted for my musical guests !
The winner is Jenny Hansen!!!
And it’s another edition of the Holiday Yum blog fest today featuring Natalie Hartford’s French Lace Cookies! What are you waiting for?!
Have You Checked Out Holiday Yum Yet?
It’s the Holiday Yum Blog Fest!
Looking for the perfect recipe to share at a family dinner? A dish to pass at the next work potluck? Well check this out and stay tuned for much much more! Many of your favorite bloggers are sharing their best holiday recipes with you in this very tasty blog hop!
So Get Ready to Savor the Flavor!
- On November 17th, Jenny Hansen kicked off the hop with her Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Meal. There are lots of great tips for folks who need to eat GF, including some sneaky foods to watch out for!
- On November 19th, I shared the salty-sweet, super-easy Spiced Pecans appetizer.
- Ellen M. Gregg has us all drooling with The Chocolatiest Chocolate Cake – Evah on Monday, November 26th.
- Jenny Hansen introduces us to her luscious Almond Roca, famed of song and story, on Wednesday, November 28th.
- Estee Lavitt shares her mouth-watering Baked Latkes on December 2nd, just in time for Chanukah!
For the full Holiday Yum schedule check out the tab at the top of the blog!
And from all of us to you and yours, have a very Happy Holiday Season!
What’s your #GuiltyPleasure #Food?
All of us have our favorite foods, delectables, and comfort dishes. And of course it’s fun to try new foods too! Here are some of the dishes I tried while visiting South Korea.
Twiggem is any kind of fried food. My first night in Seoul we walked through the streets and alleyways till we found a little spot with a large assortment of twiggem to try. Each guest is given a basket to fill with whatever they’d like to try, then it’s weighed and you pay by the pound. *Don’t think too hard about it!* I tried fried kimchi, mushrooms, fish, leaf wraps with rice and ham, fried zucchini, and fried lotus root.
My favorite dish! Bulgogi is Korean barbecue. It’s cooked right at your table in a broth of vinegar and soy sauce with some pear zest in it. Add onions, mushrooms, and leeks. I ate it twice while on my travels and with it was served an assortment of green leaf salad, kimchi soup, a wasabi slaw salad, glass noodles with chilis and nuts, fish, and more kimchi (cabbage in a vinegar/chili sauce).
Shabu Shabu is a Korean take on a Chinese Hot Pot. It involves a pot of boiling broth brought out to your table and an array of foods that are cooked in the broth. We tried everything from meatballs to beef slices, various greens, a whole plate of different mushrooms, peppers, rice cake, broccoli, and dumplings. At the end, the remaining broth is mixed with rice and a fried egg, which was tasty but I barely had any room left!
Dakgalbi is typically chicken in a chili sauce with a mix of greens, mushrooms, and rice cake in it. We added baby octopus. Neither my friend or I had tried it before. I like it! Tastes like squid – a bit on the chewy side. 🙂
My first experience with Korean desserts. Hotteok (pronounced Ho-duck) is dough filled with brown sugar and nuts and fried till slightly crispy on the outside. Mmmm.
Doncasu is pork cutlets, breaded and fried. The side dishes with it included rice, corn, soup, and a spicy sauce. The top left dishes hold different kinds of radish which are common sides that have been pickled and will cut the spice of the main dish.
One of the vegetarian dishes I tried. Bibimbap is rice and fried egg with various mushrooms, zucchini, carrots, corn, sprouts, and seaweed and a hint of a chili sauce that you mix up. Yum!
Ahh, for Easter Sunday, my lunch was ojinga sundae! Literally it translates as “squid sausage”. It’s squid head that’s been cut off and scooped of any organs, filled with rice and vegetables or glass noodles, then breaded and fried. Messy, but very tasty!
Those were my food adventures while traveling overseas. But tell me about your favorite food experiences! When was the first time you tried something out of the ordinary? What are the foods you love? What foods can you NOT stand? What does your guilty pleasure plate look like?
Around the World: Archives and Advice Columns
Hello Everyone! I’m currently bumming around Seoul, South Korea right now! Annyeonghasimnikka! That means Hello/Good Morning in Korea. If all goes well, I hope to share some photos from the trip later in the week, but for today, we’re doing a little blast from the past with my blogging archives. Believe it or not (cause I’m leaning towards not), I’m almost to my 200th post! Here are a few I like that many of you may not have seen. You can click the blue links for the full post. So glad I have the Life List Club to hold me more accountable than I had been with my goals. Yikes!
From the post I Write Like I Eat Potatoes, With Cheese originally posted January 24, 2011
Writers beware. If you’re going to start changing your diet to see how it impacts your life, don’t begin that process the weekend of your niece’s 2nd birthday.
The Weekend Begins
I was supposed to start out early on my three hour drive home, but instead, I slept in, and was lured to stay when my boyfriend offered to cook breakfast. Inventory: egg and cheese sandwhich on toast, hashbrowns, milk, and blueberry flavored coffee. Ok, pack up the car in -11 degree temperature, clear snow off of windshield, check. I was doing really well so far. I only stopped once on the drive to use the restroom, and I wasn’t planning to buy a thing. But the lonely man behind the counter stared me down in his bowling shirt and disheveled facial hair. Inventory: gatorade and cheez its – -damn! Saturday night I successfully finished writing a 10 stanza long rhyming birthday poem of all things Sonja to be read for her party.
The Party Day
The family oohed and aahed before we began to eat. Inventory: Brown sugar french toast, apple cinnamon squash, eggs, bacon, cheesy potatoes, mixed fruit, and broccoli and cauliflower salad. Oh, Lord, so many tasties! I made sure to take extra broccoli, and ok, I also took extra potatoes, but I wasn’t planning to write directly afterwards. I was planning to watch my two year old niece unwrap presents in a quick half hour and then cheer on the Packers during the game. Oh the game!!! Inventory: tortilla chips with chili cheese dip and black bean and corn salsa. No judgement, I needed to replenish myself, the Packers needed all of our cheering help, and salsa as you know helps the vocal chords immensely. On a side note, since some of you have gotten to hear about my father, I’ll have you know he did a rather spastic touchdown victory dance that was something of a combination between churning butter and the hokey pokey.
From the post Dear God, Writing is Hard. Love, Writer originally posted February 4, 2011
Don’t you wish writing was as easy as talking to God? No matter where you are, it will find you. Blessed is she who writes, for she shall inherit a publisher. Do not covet thy neighbor’s writing. Do unto other’s writing as you would have them do unto yours.
It would be great if good writing was as simple as talking to God, or writing your priest a letter, but it takes a lot more hard work, and often it won’t receive as kind and accommodating a letter in reply. But good writing, like religion, can speak to your soul.
From the post Silent Protests Against My Mother originally posted March 14, 2011
Ever wonder why your parents made some of the decisions they did? No, you cannot take the turtle into bed with you! No, you may not watch Pink Floyd’s The Wall with your brother! No, you may not eat double stuff oreos, and I don’t care if Liz’s mom lets her!
My mom is a great mom. She writes in perfect cursive penmanship, has impeccable spelling, pays attention to detail, writes long letters and mails them with real stamps and envelopes and everything. She likes to sing, read mystery books, bake a variety of coffee cakes, and spy out the windows.
But I have one bone to pick with my mother. Throughout my childhood, on countless trips to the grocery store, she would never let me get double stuff oreos! This woman who rarely enforced rules about vegetables, or clean plate clubs, who married a baker, son of a woman who enforced dessert before dinner, wouldn’t let me eat double stuff oreos! Hell, I had coca cola in my sippy cups!!! (That may be why I stopped growing in eighth grade.)
This anti-oreo rule never made sense to me. I was a child who liked milk. I had contests with my father over who could drink their milk the fastest at dinner. I don’t know if you’re aware, but milk and oreos are like made for each other, best friends forever, kindred spirits from the galactic orbs of destined to be together soulmates! I bet if you eat an oreo without milk, your heart shrinks a little.
From the post Do You Have a Favorite Book? originally posted May 18, 2011
Another magical book club meeting. Two months Another magical book club meeting. Two months ago, I joined up with a coworker of mine and attended her book club. At the end of that meeting, hoping to insight me to return, they asked me what my favorite book was, and I said The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.
Now why on earth would a book about cells and science and medical advancements appeal to a girl who only walked through the science building on campus during winter when it was the shortest route to the English building? It’s because the author, Rebecca Skloot, spent a decade researching the subject and uncovering the family that belonged to Henrietta Lacks.
Do you ever look back on your old posts and laugh that you’re still struggling with eating too many potato chips? No…just me…
Ok then, do you ever look back on your old posts and think “Damn, I may stubborn, but I’m also good!”
Feel free to share an old link from your past blogs in the comments! I’d love time travel with you!
And the Oscar for Best Writer Goes to…
Welcome to the 83rd Academy Awards! If you missed the second most watched television event of the year, here are the highlights!
The day went by very quickly, as did my whole weekend. Amidst the rushed grocery shopping, dish cleaning, counter wiping, gift assembling, and cooking *whew* I was able to completely restart my story, beginning the book in a totally different place and adding more dialogue. Woohoo! I read the first page to my mom and best friend and asked for feedback on whether or not it hooked them. Generally, they both really liked it, but did give me one place I could embellish the relationship between characters more intensely and that was appreciated. So that gives me exactly one hour after work tonight to madly edit the first page, print it out, and mail it in to the writing contest at the Writers Institute conference I’ll be attending in April. Nothing like a little deadline madness to tell your procrastination pixies to buzz off! If they’re flying around your work space, please take time to check out Kristen Lamb’s Blog, she has helped me immensely with realistic goal setting, hooking your reader, and gives FREE advice on what to watch for in your story that may make an editor pass on your project.
Since I’m still in a celebrating mood from my Oscar party, “Cheers to Writing Weekends!” that also involve your BFF making asparagus soup, squash risotto with gorgonzola, and chocolate peanut butter cupcakes and your BF helping chop blocks of cheese and doing the dishes! Yay!
I actually had some time to get back into reading blogs by you wonderful fellow writers! Here are my favorites from the past week!
Jillian sparked up a great debate on the mash-up of classic literature with sci-fi themes. What do you think about this new wave of publications? Check out her post, Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Slayer Seriously?
Discovered through Freshly Pressed, C C Lester, had a great post on the times she argued over whether she was a writer, or an author, or neither at all. In the end, it was having a loyal reader that meant the most to her, but she’s certainly struck a chord with many of us so check out her post, So am I an Author Yet?
Wendy Matheson just kicked off Women’s History Month for me in her entertaining post, Strength, Thy Name is Woman! It details many inventions that are often accredited to men, but were actually made by women.
For your laughing pleasure, The Hack Novelist writes a letter to the guy holding a conference call in a crowded Starbucks cafe’. I think he eloquently pens what we would all be thinking. 8 Pages and the Conference Call
I’ve also been following the very funny Mark, from Mark My Words as he battles the unemployment offices, takes on the world of freelance writing, and has to fire his maid and buy clothes at a second hand store. Well… you’ll see. Champagne Wishes on a Sparkling Water Budget
Happy writing and reading, friends! Tell me about your weekends! What writing goals did you accomplish? If you found some great blogs this week, what are they? I’d love to cheer you on and check out the posts you love!
How to Host the Superbowl Party of your Dreams
If you ever find yourself in a room full of misfits that includes five burly men, one toddler, and one sappy dog, then here’s how I suggest you throw down a Superbowl party.
Step one: Sleep until noon. Stay in your pajamas until 2 in the afternoon. Cheetos for breakfast is perfectly acceptable when it’s game day and your team is in the Superbowl!
Step two: Mix the broccoli with the craisins, cheese and sunflowers. Mix up dressing, toss. Add the onion dip and soup to the potatos. Bake at 350° until golden brown and bubbly. Prepare taco salad. Sprinkle with lettuce and tomato.
Step three: Invite significant other’s father to party. He will bring all the meat. What’s that deliciousness you smell? BBQ cocktail wienies, herb chicken, roast beef, brats, raspberry chipotle pork loin. (We didn’t even make all this, it was just unloaded straight from the grocery by his dad!) Chop veggies, dump in bowl, chips too!
Step four: The decor. Again, significant other’s dad proves handy. Have him stick the Packer flag he brings in your yard, so glorious while it’s a-waving in single digit temperatures. Place only in yard for 2 days maximum. You don’t want the neighbors to assume you’re one of those people. Next thing you know it’ll be wooden geese and flamingos with spinny wings! Egad!
Step four and a half: Remember you’re with burly men. Quickly cut out a skimpily dressed model and tape onto bathroom mirror. Give her a conversation bubble that says something like “Remember to wash your hands, I don’t want to shake your dick. Thank you!” Don’t worry, the toddler can’t read yet, and this is an effective way of ensuring there aren’t “penis prints” on all your furniture; I’m very OCD about this.
Step five: The seating. Now that the food is ready, let’s take a look at our cheering corner! To the far left sits one of my roommates who lives in the attached efficiency. He might start falling asleep halfway through the game, but don’t fear, he’s brought along his three year old toddler daughter who thinks it’s immensely funny to scream “Daddy!” in a high pitched soprano and bust into giggles. Note* Enforce the rule of “If you touch it, you must eat it” early on when children who pick their nose are present.
Next to him sits a friend who you, as host, must designate the human garbage can because someone has to finish this food. Here’s what I recommend: Early on in the game instill a rule that if he doesn’t have a full plate in his hands during game play at all times, the Packers will suffer in their scoring. Allow for 10 minutes of resting time, then politely say things like “There’s chicken still warm on the stove,” “There’s cheese and grapes on the table in front of you,” “If you don’t eat at least five more cocktail wienies, I’m cutting you off from the beer.”
Moving between couch, wooden chair, and one of those floor chairs with no arms that gamers use is my roommate. He has done his duty and gorged himself into an antisocial being who has to leave, lay down, cheer from afar, then return to play games with the toddler that only involve him sitting down and not having to bend any which way. Ah, the perfect guest.
On the other couch sit the final three guests. Your significant other, you, and significant other’s father. The dog that looks like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh lays in front of the TV and periodically gives the toddler a nice facial bath after she repeatedly blows in his face.
Step six: This is where it starts getting painful. Everyone is very full. Blankets are distributed for those who want to be warm and comatose. An egg shaker and a maraca must be given to the toddler cause we won’t let her play the organ just now. The dog will have exceeded his maximum treat capacity. Significant other’s dad has moved to laying on the floor below the TV and is threatening to take his Packer t-shirt off and sport the Steelers shirt he is wearing beneath it! Sacrilege!!!
Step seven: If there’s still taco dip left, as host, you must finish it. You’ve doled out all the witty remarks you can think of to force it on your other guests, but hey it’s tasty, and you’ve got a little room left. If you sit with the whole tray on your lap and the bowl of tortilla chips next to you, I think you can finish it. Don’t worry, everyone is too enthralled in the game to notice your thighs curdling before your very eyes!
Step eight: Celebrate glorious win by using all your energy to stand up and high five the other guests. Immediately sit back down. That was work.
Step nine: Begin the tedious job of after party pan scraping and the guest paraphenalia pack up.
Step ten: Put on some green pajamas pants, baby, you just won SUPERBOWL!