Sunday, November 7, 2010

Good Eats

I am not sure when I decided that I liked cooking. It certainly wasn't in my youth. I kind of shudder at the nonsense I would eat back in those days. I did have a knack for making spaghetti on the days that I would get my braces tightened (I had those bad boys for FIVE years, that is a LOT of spaghetti my friends!), but other than that I would get most of my nutrition from vending machines.

Blaine was nice and always told me I was a good cook even back in the days when we were first married and my dinner rotation consisted of three recipes I learned from my mom and a wide variety of cold cereal.

At some point in life I mastered the art of making my mom's chocolate chip cookies. It was a proud day, and actually it is a proud day that I got to relive about seven times since every time we moved across the country I would have to relearn how to make chocolate chip cookies in our new elevation.

But that was about it...chocolate chip cookies, a handful of newly acquired recipes, and so on. Then when I moved to Texas and showed up to my first social function with a plate of cookies I was a little embarrassed. Ralphie and Janssen had brought amazing delicacies, I can't remember exactly what, but they were good...and they looked way more impressive than cookies. Knowing Ralphie and Janssen they probably even had special serving dishes for their culinary masterpieces.

I knew that if I were going to fit in I would need to step things up a notch. It was then that I discovered I love that website. I still love it. I love the star rankings by the recipes, I love the viewer suggestions, I love that you can do a search based on the last three ingredients in your fridge and that it will find something for you to make. Love it. And eventually through the grapevine I heard of new cooking blogs and branched out and tried new things.

And all of the sudden I realized that I really like to cook. I'm not always good at it, for example two nights ago for a family function I served key lime soup that, at one point, was intended to be key lime pie. I have all sorts of disasters on a daily basis, but when I succeed......oh man, nothing makes me happier than getting a nice compliment on a meal.

A few posts ago I discussed things that people say that change your life. Well, one time while visiting Texas my Mother-in-Law and I decided to make bread. Even though I had branched out and really started to love making things like dessert and dinner...bread still baffled me. I had tried, oh how I tried! My bread usually turned out like something between a brick and loaf of flour flavored chalk. I don't know what the problem was. So I asked my Mother-in-Law to help me make bread. And I was scared out of my ever loving mind. Anyway so we are making the bread, and the bread is sitting in the Bosch all in one hard lump spinning around (which is where things always started to go wrong for me), and she told me to add more water. I was concerned because the recipe did not call for more water. Anyway, in a profound moment that completely changed my baking life she said, "It's just bread dough, it's nothing to be afraid of". It's just bread dough. It was a total epiphany. I could add more water, I could add more flour. Gosh I sound like a freaking moron, but that....that... is when things turned around for me in the bread department. I stopped being afraid of bread dough.

And soon I was the one bringing rolls to important functions, and one time Janssen said she didn't normally even love bread but she loved >>my<< bread. And obviously that compliment meant a lot since I am still talking about it as we approach the two year anniversary of the compliment : )

So for today's nablopomo post I am just going to throw out a plug for my recipe blog (thanks fo the idea Jo!)

I started it a couple of years ago. It's not really a pretty blog. I don't always post pictures, but I post real recipes. Ones that I actually use, and I tell you what I change about them. If there are funky ingredients in the recipes it is because I actually have those funky ingredients and recommend you get them, but really there aren't even too many of those. I tell you what I change about the recipe, what I substitute, what I omit, how I would do it better the next time. And you can post there too, I would love it if you did.

I just tried some pumpkin chocolate chip muffins from there today, posted by a friend of a friend, they were absolutely delicious.

So anyway, hop on over if you like. And if you feel like you've got recipes to share shoot me an email and I can add you to the list of contributors, I would love to see what you are eating for dinner and try it myself!

And for Pete's sake, if you try a recipe and like it leave a comment, it makes me (or whoever posted the recipe!) feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

And if you are overwhelmed by the selection of recipes, here are some of my favorites to help you get started....

Let's see here, for dinner how about...
Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Broccoli and Bowties
Italian Beef Sandwiches
Santa Fe Veggie Wraps
Black Bean Soup with Cilantro Lime Cream
Pesto Pizza with Feta and Pine Nuts
Lettuce Wraps

Or if you have no regard for calories you should definitely make this alfredo or this one.

And, since you don't care about calories, go ahead and try these dessert recipes

Magic in the Middle Cookies
Chocolate Eclair Cake (um, you could so make this one low calorie!)
Andes Mint Brownies

And for breakfast don't forget to try Blender Pancakes or German Pancakes

And don't worry, if you are counting calories know that I always am too (well, sometimes more than others). And I post lots of healthier recipes as well. Like light lemony chicken.

And this always gets lots of attention at parties, and this will just knock your socks off.

Let me know in the comments if you want to be added to contribute!


Karina said...

I love love love too. But I hate hate hate cooking.

BTW, You are the second person IN MY ENTIRE life that I've heard use the idiom "all of the sudden" instead of "all of a sudden." And since I'm a court reporter by trade I listen hard to those kinds of things.

The other person used it 100 times in the book I just finished reading.

So I looked it up. I know; I'm a nerd. Turns out, neither phrase is proper. We're "supposed" to say "suddenly." Ha!

Sierra said...

I love looking at recipe blogs and am finding that I really am starting to enjoy cooking. BUT I don't like spending hours and hours in the kitchen making a good meal. I'm actually in the process of making a recipe book mixture of all my books because I'm tired of digging through them for the handful of recipes I like out of them. Anywho, I don't know how much I could contribute, but I know of someone who also has started a recipe blog, and her site is She has all health-conscious low fat recipes that are delicious! I go there all the time. Anyway, I wouldn't mind contributing but I'd probably just take a lot of her recipes :)

Janssen said...

I think of those rolls every Sunday. Seriously.

Tom and Tami said...

Bread scares me too. I think it's the yeast I'm scared of. First, it moves and I don't know the difference between instant and other yeast as far as what the recipe is calling for. Once I made a loaf of bread in college. I added too much yeast and forgot the salt. It was a bad experience.
I might have to try some of your recipes. Although everything I think sounds good, my kids hate.

Stephanie T said...

Your Bowties and Broccoli was a great suggestion. I loved to read about your cooking journey. You are inspiring! I love to cook, so maybe I'm biased, but it has always bugged me when I hear moms complain about how much they hate cooking but never try to fall in love with it. Because really, you can hate laundry and cleaning bathrooms and find ways to not do the disgusting chores, but honestly what are your chances of avoiding cooking every single day for the rest of your life.