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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!


Required Cooking: Flop Or Not?

So.  Required cooking.

It was a success, in that I have made a couple of the things I said I would.  But looking over all of the baking I wanted to do, I felt overwhelmed.  With a week left, there’s no way I could get through everything.  And even if I did, I’d spend most of my free time baking.  I love baking and all, but it’s too huge of a task.  I’ll make what I can, of course, but I definitely need to rethink how I want to do my required cooking.  Maybe cook and bake 1 thing a week?  That seems much more manageable than just listing random stuff and seeing what sticks.  `

I don’t have to know which things I’m making which week, but 2 columns and picking them every Sunday or something, could work.  Maybe I just need to try different things and see what works best.

I haven’t really looked through Super Natural Cooking a lot, but that is a project for the weekend.  And trying to find millet.  I really need to do that too. My other weekend cooking plans?  Make what I can over the next week, and just save what I don’t get to for next month.  Hey, that sounds like a plan!  Only time will tell if I actually stick to it, but I am determined to bake something!

Have a fantastic weekend!

Food For Thought

Here’s something that popped into my mind the other day: why is it so much easier to eat fast food/processed food than actually cooking something and using fresh ingredients?

There is the convenience, you know?  It’s easier to heat up a cup of noodles or a t.v. dinner than it is to make something.  Right now, it is a little bit strange to be cooking during the week, mostly because I just want to relax.  And on the weekend?  I get a little bit lazy- but I’m hoping my required cooking will help me out with that.

But back to today’s topic.  It feels like it’s cheaper to eat all the processed stuff.  I don’t mind it every once in a while, but do I really need a candy bar and a bag of chips everyday?  Of course not.

I seem to go through this really random periods where I do my best to eat healthy (but still enjoy things like chocolate) but then I’ll just go through this period where I don’t care at all.

It’s something I struggle with, and I definitely want to find a good balance between cooking and eating well, and yet still enjoy junk food.  It doesn’t have to be one or the other for me, and I do think it’s possible to do both.

Honestly, I can’t think of anything else for now, but with only a couple weeks to go, I really need to get started on that required cooking!

Cookbook Roundup

Today…is all about cookbooks!  I thought I’d share my thoughts on a couple of cookbooks I checked out from the library recently.

First is The Vuluptuous Vegan.  I looked through it, and didn’t make anything.  Nothing really stood out, and it seemed more dinner party/entertaining than everyday cooking.  I liked that there were several courses but at the same time, I’m cooking for one, so I’m not going to several different things for one meal.

As for Purple Citrus and Sweet Perfume, I never got around to looking at it more carefully.  I ended up returning it, so I may have to check it out another time.  Like when I don’t have 11 other books to read.

Speaking of other books, I have a couple other cookbooks I haven’t even looked at yet.  One is The Conscious Cook, which is either vegetarian or vegan…I can’t remember.  It would probably be a good idea to look at it soon.

The other cookbook is Into The Vietnamese Kitchen.  I haven’t even looked through it yet, but like The Conscious Cook, I should probably do that soon.

Hopefully I’ll get back to cooking and baking this weekend.  I’ve been exhausted the last couple weeks, so I may have to rely on my crock-pot a little more.

Have a lovely weekend!

A Brief Look Back At 2011

This is definitely the time of year when there are all kinds of lists coming out.  And I thought I’d do my own list, and take a look back at some of the cooking and baking I’ve done over the last year.

  • I made bread!  With yeast!  It didn’t come out like I had expected, but I definitely want to try it again. 
  • Lemon meringue pie.  I made it months ago, and I got the lemon part down.  But I had some problems with the meringue.  I suppose I’ll have to give it another try one of these days.
  • There was the not-so-good ice cream jello.  Sometime in January or February, after seeing a recipe for ice cream jello, I decided to make some.  But it didn’t turn out very well at all.  With a somewhat unclear recipe, it’s no surprise it didn’t come out right.
  • I made my very first pie, completely from scratch!  It terrified me, but it turned out I was scared for nothing.  I haven’t made a pie since, but pie is good, so more pie-making is definitely in my future!
  • I discovered a lot of food blogs this year, and I’ve found some really good recipes through them.  It’s always an adventure seeing what they write about.

I’ve gotten more comfortable in the kitchen and I’m glad that I’ve started to branch out and make things like pie and bread and rolls, instead of sticking to my usual good-ol’ standby of cookies.

Some Inspiration

As far as cooking goes, I’ve been feeling pretty inspired lately.  It’s pretty unusual for me, because I like to stick to the original recipe as much as possible.  I’ll adapt it (barely) if it’s not vegetarian.  But to be like, “what will happen if I add peppermint extract?”  That’s usually not what I’ve done, but I’ve been feeling like I need to be more creative with my cooking.

Unfortunately, that inspiration will have to (mostly) wait until Christmas is over, because I’ll be baking up a storm this week! 

I definitely have an idea for a chocolate chip cookie variation, and I want to make some cookies.  Gingerbread men, gingersnaps,  jellybean cookies and pumpkin cheesecake bars.  Maybe even some lemon coconut bars.  It’s not Christmas-y but I do have some coconut I’d like to use up…

I’m definitely excited, and I’m a little sad that I’m not making pie for Christmas.  But I’m also glad because it means I get to focus my attention on cookies, which is something I’m really good at.  

With all those cookies I plan on making, I’d better get started!