Pizza is definitely one of my favorite things to make (and eat, for that matter). I make my own dough which, though pretty simple, is an extra step in the process. I love veggie pizzas so I usually have some work to do for the toppings as well (sauteeing mushrooms, roasting eggplant, etc.). Making my own sauce is an extra effort I just can’t get into. No more dishes!
I’m a little resentful of the powerful role that photography plays in today’s cooking. If I search a recipe on Pinterest, the results I’m most likely to click on are the crisp, bright, professional looking ones. Occasionally I’ll look over the recipe on the site I get sent to only to realize it’s poorly written, missing steps, or made with artificial ingredients I don’t routinely use (cake mix, seasoning packets, etc). Why do we make such a direct connection between good photography and good cooking? The two are actually completely unrelated.
I looked back at a few dinners on this blog from PB (pre-baby). I had no qualms about taking on a super involved recipe with tons of ingredients and steps – why not, I had the time and energy. Well I’ve always strived to keep this as authentic as possible, and all I have to share right now is a “cookie” that no one should eat except a teething baby, because it’s free of sweeteners. This means that this recipe only applies to probably 1 percent of you.
My daughter calls these “crunchy” and while they were in the house she’d ask me about every five minutes, “Mom can I please have another crunchy?”. I made a 9×13 of these for NYE and over the course of the afternoon we ate half. Half. Half of the 9×13.
I think my favorite part about the internet is that the answer (or, “an” answer) is just a click away. I ask Google questions all the time. I love typing in “how do you” to the search bar and seeing what their top suggestions are. Apparently a lot of people are trying to avoid Ebola, because that was like the top three suggestions. So maybe you bought way too much bread for dinner and you’re about to toss it but then you think, maybe I’ll make breadcrumbs? Maybe you typed that into Google, and maybe you’re reading this RIGHT NOW.
I love when food is fancy and easy; the trifecta comes when it’s healthy, too. These egg spirals are different from anything I’ve seen out there and I make them almost every time I have someone over for brunch/breakfast. Being a balanced eater means when I eat something sweet/baked, I’d also like something savory/full of protein. Anyone can bake up some muffins or coffee cake but figuring out the protein option is harder; heck no am I going to make omelets to order and a big vat of pre-scrambled eggs makes me think of summer camp. Egg spirals to the rescue!
I loved raisin bran as a teenager; I’d graduated from the sugary stuff and felt quite healthy and mature eating a cereal that touted nutrition. While meandering the organic aisle one day at the grocery store I saw a Bob’s Red Mill bag of “wheat bran”, which is the outer shell of the wheat kernel, removed during processing to make “white flour”. The bran holds most of the fiber and a lot of minerals; a whole bag of the stuff? Nice. You can cook it up like oatmeal but it’s fairly gritty – I like it best added to yogurt and cereal the same way I add ground flax, wheat germ or chia seeds. Needless to say I usually have a bag on hand, and you can’t make bran muffins without it so I suggest you get some!
I like spaghetti squash – it sort of astounds me. It’s amazing that you cook a normal looking winter squash and you end up with golden strands of spaghetti. I bought one at my farmer’s market and for whatever reason, it sat on my countertop for weeks. There are a hundred easy ways to cook it, but I just never got around to it and it started annoying me. I finally cooked it (I pierce with a skewer and place in 375 degree oven for 1 hour. Let cool, halve it lengthwise and scrape out seeds. Shred from stem to tip using the tines of a fork), and placed the golden strands in tupperware in the fridge, where it continued to annoy me and not get eaten. Pinterest to the rescue.
Two words come to mind with this recipe: church, and mom. One day last year when I was pregnant she rushed into church and handed me a bag with a quarter loaf of homemade bread inside, still warm. It was gone before the service ended. In between chews I asked for the recipe, and low and behold a few weeks later she thrusts it into my hand, again mid-church service. Wait, there’s more.
Oh, chicken breasts. I have a feeling that some of you read posts like this creamy corn and bacon spaghetti and think to yourself, “man, that looks good, but I’ll probably make some chicken breasts”. Why? They’re cheap, they’re healthy, and they’re generally well-received by family members. So here’s a recipe that zazzes (not a word) them up with just TWO INGREDIENTS. Salt and pepper don’t count.
This recipe comes directly from my “kitchen equipment” unit in level 1 cooking. We were learning about the pastry blender, as well as the term “cutting in”. I’ve said this before but if you beef up your knowledge of kitchen terms and recipe reading, you’ll blow the door to cooking wide open.
My family has made this recipe every Christmas since I can remember. Before I was of much use in the kitchen, my job was to unwrap the Andes Mints. Now I bark at people who come in my kitchen and eat from the bowl of unwrapped Andes Mints. Too much unwrapping has hardened me…
So, eating dairy free isn’t that hard when I’m in my house. I like a lot of foods, so I’ve just been buying and eating foods without dairy. It’s SUPER ANNOYING, though, when I’m out to dinner at a restaurant or a friend’s house. Cheese is great, and everyone knows it (except my 6 month old, apparently).
I read an article recently that recommended when going to a farmer’s market, do NOT bring a list. I’m a big time list girl for the normal grocery store but I realized I never have one with me on Saturday mornings. I buy whatever looks fresh or strikes my fancy most and then figure out how to cook it (or I talk to the farmers – they know what’s up).
I’ve said this before but I dislike super “involved” recipes or meal plans. I just saw a triple chocolate mousse cake that, while beautiful, was essentially three separate desserts eaten as one. I mean, I love food and it’s my passion, but I got things to do! These caramelized crispies were a GARNISH for a tart that would probably take four days to make; crispy chocolate candy is all I need – you can keep your tart.
Have you seen the movie The Family Stone? I love it. I file it under the category title “movies that make me sob uncontrollably but I watch every time they’re on TV”, right along with Stepmom and P.S. I Love You. I can’t hear the phrase “breakfast strata” without thinking of S.J.P and the neurotic woman she plays so well in Family Stone.
Cauliflower is getting it’s moment in the sun if you haven’t noticed – I haven’t tried the cauliflower pizza crust (on purpose), but I’m generally very pro-cauliflower. I typically just roast it like I do broccoli, with olive oil and salt and pepper in a high heat oven. When I came across a recipe for risotto that used chopped cauliflower instead of arborio rice, I was intrigued.
Back when I was a teenager and ate whatever fit my fancy, I drank a lot of hot chocolate. I’d fill a huge mug with milk and then stir in a tad too much Ghirardelli “Double Chocolate” hot chocolate mix. It was divine.
You can put pumpkin in anything (just ask Pinterest), but for me the classic pumpkin pie reigns supreme. This has nothing to do with the fact that it’s the “healthiest” of the pies – that’s just a lucky break. Now I can go on about the fiber, vitamin A and vitamin C this dessert provides but there’s no getting around the crust. Great news – we don’t need it!
Cataloging my kitchen endeavors with a blog definitely keeps me out of any ruts, but no ruts also means no traditions. I think if you asked my husband what his favorite dinner is, he wouldn’t have an answer – that’s because rarely will I make the same exact meal. Now there are plenty of flops in there, trust me, but generally a total lack of routine (i.e. we don’t do taco Tuesday). There are a few exceptions, which I usually note in here, of recipes that are so fabulously tried and true that my search has come to an end.