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June Round-Up

So, there was not a lot of cooking going on in the month of June.  However, I have a plan for the month of July that I hope will work better than the one for June.

I’ve come up with a total of 8 recipes: 4 baking and 4 cooking.  I have the intention of baking one thing and cooking one thing each week.

Here’s what I’m cooking:

  • Shells with Fresh Tomato-Tarragon Sauce, from the July/August issue of Everyday With Rachael Ray magazine
  • Farro Spaghetti, from the July/August issue of Everyday With Rachael Ray magazine
  • Sausage with Garlic Lentils, from Rachael Ray’s Big Orange Book
  • Cold Chicken Satay Noodles, from Rachael Ray’s Big Orange Book

And here are my baking plans:

  • Simple Vanilla Cupcakes, from the Joy The Baker Cookbook
  • Peanut Butter Birthday Cake, from the Joy The Baker Cookbook
  • Browned Butter Peanut Butter Crispy Rice Treats, from the Joy The Baker Cookbook
  • Cookie Cheesecake Bars, from The Better Crocker Baking Magazine

Clearly, I’m inspired by Joy the Baker and Rachael Ray this month, but that’s okay with me.

Now, onto something important.  I’ve been thinking about the twice-a-week posting schedule.  I like it, and since I’ll be making a couple things a week, I’m going to stick with that.  However, posts may be on the Monday/Friday schedule, but they might not be.  I’ll be blogging twice a week, I just don’t know which days.  The Monday/Friday thing isn’t working too well for me, so I want to see how a much more flexible posting schedule works out.  I’ll actually have 3 posts this week: this one, plus two others, so I’ll be back with something yummy to share!

Candyfreak And More Required Cooking

I finished Candyfreak this week, and it was interesting.  It’s written by Steve Almond, and it follows his journey through regional candy factories.  It’s definitely an interesting look at candy, and how the smaller companies are getting edged out by the bigger companies.

You have Nestle, Hershey’s and Mars (the big 3) and then you have everyone else.  I hadn’t even heard of most of the treats mentioned in the book, and it was a little sad to see that the smaller companies are slowly disappearing.  There wasn’t as much history as I thought, because the book focused more on Almond’s stories and experiences with candy.  It was still interesting though.

As for required cooking, I flipped through Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson, and found a couple things that looked really good.  There’s this risotto-style barley that looks really good.  And the fried rice millet look really good.  Unfortunately, the millet wasn’t at the grocery store, so I’ll have to look at the local health food store to see if they have it.

I really like how it’s organized.  While it’s not set up in the really cool table format like the other cookbook I looked at, it’s still easy to understand.  Each chapter focuses on a different ingredient, and I can’t wait to look through it some more.

That’s all for today, so have a great weekend!

June: Required Cooking

A lot of people do required reading, so I thought I’d do my take on that, with required cooking.  Or menu planning, if you will.  I like the idea of required cooking.

Here’s what I plan on making this month:

  • Cheesy Beefy Mac, from Never Enough Enough Thyme
  • Browned Butter Peanut Butter Crispy Rice Treats, from the Joy The Baker cookbook
  • Peanut Butter Birthday Cake (because I never made one for myself last month), from the Joy The Baker Cookbook
  • Simple Vanilla Cupcakes, from the Joy The Baker cookbook
  • Cookie Cheesecake Bars, from Betty Crocker’s Best Baking Recipes magazine
  • Coconut Swirl Brownies, from Betty Crocker’s Best Baking Recipes magazine
  • Chocolate-Glazed Pecan Pie Bars, from Betty Crocker’s Best Baking Recipes magazine

So, right now, it’s focused on baking, because I’m still waiting to pick up Supernatural Cooking by Heidi Swanson from the library, so I’ll be cooking from that cookbook this month.

Speaking of required reading, though, I’m almost finished with Candyfreak, which is an interesting read.  I’ll either post a link to my review or talk about it here when I finish it.  Maybe even both.  I think it’s time to make to sure I have all the ingredients I’ll need, so I’ll have to make a list and head to the store.  It’ll be fun deciding what I should make first.

Let’s Listen In, Shall We?

I think I’ve found some new podcasts to listen to, and more importantly, they’re food-related.

So, there’s a podcast called America’s Test Kitchen.  I’ve only listened to a couple episodes, but I think it’s a keeper.  The hosts answer questions, talk about kitchen gadgets, and go into the test kitchen to test out recipes.

There’s also the From Scratch Club podcast, and while I’ve only listened to one episode, I think I’ll keep it.  Granted, there’s only 2 episodes so far, so I should probably listen to their 1st one.  I think I’ll give them a few more episodes since they’re pretty new.

And the last one is the Salt And Fat podcast.  I’m not sure about this one, so I may have to listen to a few more episodes before I make my decision.

I also a few ideas for dinner!  The Chorizo And Eggs look really good, and it would be nice to have real breakfast.  Plus, I have some soy-rizo in the freezer that I need to use.

This Cheesy Beefy Mac looks really good, and I can’t wait to make it.  And the Veggie Chili Beans and Rice look good too!  This chili looks intriguing, and so does this Southwestern Macaroni Casserole.

The only question is which one I want to make first…so many ideas, it’ll be hard to choose!  I may have a busy weekend ahead!

On The Look-Out

I haven’t made anything this week, but I’ve decided to do some menu-planning.  And I’ve been spending some time on Pinterest.

I love Pinterest.  And I’ve found some cool dinner and dessert ideas.

Like these margarita cupcakes.  And nutella pudding?  That sounds yummy!

I’ve actually been looking at ideas for lunch and dinner, since I don’t need anymore dessert ideas.  But if there’s any dessert that catches my eye, I repin it.  Because I love baking, and sometimes, I just can’t help myself.

I came across this Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup, and it looks good.  The Cheesy Taco Pasta Toss caught my eye, as did the Zucchini Cakes.

And the Cheezy Broccoli Fritters, Garlic Butter Rolls and Chicken Enchilada Spaghetti?  I’m really starting to get hungry!  I think I should do some menu planning!

More Holiday Talk

There’s no recipe for the blog today, but today I am getting a head start on Thanksgiving baking.

My plan was to make mashed potatoes, rolls, pumpkin pie, and apple pie for Thanksgiving. 

But my grandma decided to go with ordering a turkey, mashed potatoes, and pretty much the whole meal from somewhere, so I don’t really need to make anything.

I’m making rolls anyway, and they’ll go into the freezer.  I still need to make some mashed potatoes, so I’ll make those on thanksgiving day in the crockpot.  I also need another pie, so I’m making apple pie.  I’ll probably make the crust over the weekend, and refridgerate until Wednesay, when I’ll make the actual pie.  But I do have a couple boxes of refriderageted pie crusts that you roll out and bake like a normal pie crust, so that’s my back-up.  Plus, I have all the ingredients for pumpkin pie, so if the apple pie doesn’t work out, I can always make pumpkin pie!

Nervousness about making pie crust aside, I’m looking foward to making it, and I feel pretty excited about it too.

I’m also learning how to crochet, and I’m comfortable enough with the stitches to make stuff.  So while potholders and placemats and dishcloths aren’t actually food, they are food-related.  If I ever take some pictures of the coasters that are starting to show up all over the house, I’ll put those up.  And any kitchen-related craft projects that I crochet.   

I’ll be posting pictures of everything I make, and I may make a few other things too.  

Have a great weekend!

This And That

I love peanut butter.  I love it so much that I’ll take a spoon and eat it right out of the jar.  But I’m curious about all of the other nut butters out there.  I’m determined to try some of them, because while I love peanut butter, I know there’s a whole world of other nut butters.  Like almond butter…and I’m sure there’s more out there, but almond butter and peanut butter are the only ones I’m aware of.  I’ll have to check the grocery store the next time I go to see if they have anything.  If they do, I’m grabbing a jar of something.

And speaking of jars of something, I have a jar of Nutella.  I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned Nutella before, but a quick search of my blog shows I haven’t, so here we go.  I really wanted to see what the fuss was about.  And I’ve seen it in a few recipes too.  I got a small jar a few weeks ago, tried it, and fell in love with Nutella!  I get why people love it…it’s so yummy!  The mix of chocolate and hazelnuts…yum!  Actually, that small jar of Nutella is what spark my need to try other nut butters.  While Nutella is a spread (and not an actual kind of butter), it still set me on this new obsession with Nutella.  And finding almond butter.  And any other nut butter you can think of.

The holidays!  Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming up, which means all of the holiday baking will soon be upon us.  My baking thoughts are turning to everything pumpkin and sugar cookies and pie.  I have a pumpkin pie recipe that I’m planning on testing out before Thanksgiving; it’s complete from scratch.  I’m confident in my ability to make pie, but I’ve never made the crust from scratch before, and that’s really what I want to test.  It doesn’t look too hard, so I’m hoping it turns out okay.  I definitely want to make pumpin bread and pumpkin muffins, both of which I made last year, so I should probably go looking for those recipes.  I wish I had bookmarked them…oh well!  I know I can find more.

I still haven’t given a thought to what snacks I’m going to have ready for next month.  I’ll be making a trip to the grocery store sometime this month.  At least I hope I am; if not this month, then maybe early November.  I’ll probably figure it out when I’m actually in the grocery store, but I’d like to have a general idea of what I want to snack on.  I’m thinking pretzels and maybe some raw carrots but I don’t have anything else.  Crackers maybe?  Maybe I should make pumpkin muffins and pumpkin bread and freeze them!

I think that’s it for now, I should have a new recipe on Monday!