So as per request, from time to time I’ll be switching it up and writing about food.
It took me a long time to become comfortable in the kitchen.
I grew up in a house where dinner magically appeared on the table, and the most I ever got involved in the kitchen was to help lick cake batter out of the bowl. Believe me when I say that I’ve had more than a few kitchen mishaps (a particularly gingeriffic fish recipe and fried chicken legs that were completely raw near the bone come immediately to mind). But living with a man whose idea of an ideal diet consists of steak, potatoes, and French bread for dinner every night has brought out my inner Rachael Ray.
I cook dinner at least five nights a week, and the husband kicks in for one or two. We often wind up having friends over, and I enjoy having dinner parties. Through necessity, I’ve discovered a love for cooking I never thought I’d have.
For a while when I was in grad school, I’d just go to the grocery store with just a basic idea of what we’d eat for the week. Meat, milk, snacks, and some quick, easy side dishes. Then I’d come home from class exhausted, not wanting to cook, and I’d either throw something together or often, we’d wind up ordering in. That led to weight gain and throwing away lots of fruit and vegetables.
One Christmas my mother-in-law got me a subscription to Cooking Light, and it struck a chord with me. I stopped buying recipe bakes and six-minute noodle side dishes. I learned what quinoa and kefir and aspiration (AKA broccolini) were. I became completely obsessed with eating healthy, and I became a total dork about cooking.
Now, to avoid the “I’ve just come home from work and don’t know what to eat for dinner” dilemma, every Sunday I write up a detailed grocery list/menu for the week. I look at magazines, websites, and cookbooks for recipes that are healthy, delicious, and reasonably easy to make.
I have a shelf of cookbooks, but my three stand-bys are Betty Crocker’s Cookbook (I have the Bridal Edition), the Naparima Girls’ High School Cookbook (just about every Trini has a copy in their cooking arsenal), and a beautiful bound collection of my mom-in-law’s favorite tried-and-true recipes, that she made and sent to her kids. (I use it all the time, Mom!)
I find a lot of recipe and menu ideas online. I’m always looking for fresh and yummy salad recipes, like this incredible Summer Spinach and Strawberry Salad recipe from the Whole Foods website (pictured above), which I made this Monday and served alongside French bread and poached salmon with a dill sour cream sauce.
On my most stressful days of the week, I rely on my slow cooker and prepare something in the morning before I go to work. Still, I’m not completely blown away by most of the recipes I’ve made. I’ve made some delectable Carolina pulled pork (procured from the amazing Jancee Dunn’s website), and a great chili. But I need healthier options. So if any of you know of a truly great slow cooker book or website, holla!
I don’t exactly follow the regimen, but I love the new Weight Watchers magazine for it’s detailed recipes and weekly menu suggestions. I got an AMAZING recipe for jerk turkey lettuce wraps from the first issue, which made for a super healthy dinner last week. If you want the recipe, let me know! Also, I always look at Weight Watchers’ online recipe of the day.
Sometimes websites that aren’t necessarily all about food will feature a delicious surprise.
Recently I’ve discovered some incredible food blogs. Cooking with Herb St. Absinthe specializes in Cajun cuisine, Minimally Invasive features yummy recipes like this Moroccan Chicken Stew that I’m planning to make tonight, and Smitten Kitchen features sumptuous writing.
My favorite of all favorite food blogs is Trini Gourmet.
Where do you get your recipe ideas from, bellas?