Monday, January 28, 2013

2013 Cookbook Challenge: Week 3

Since we did main dishes for the first two weeks, I moved on to the side dish sections of my cookbooks and found a recipe that contained something we already had in the fridge. We stocked up on groceries last week and I didn't feel like going shopping for anything new (read: I'm lazy), but luckily my Sur La Table Simple Comforts book delivered!

I had a craving for sweet potatoes during our last grocery trip, which is weird because we don't eat them outside of holidays and even then they're usually provided by Dave's mom in the form of a marshmallowy, buttery yam casserole. So we're switching things up with apple and ginger spiced sweet potatoes!
I was going for artsy but ended up with blurry

The recipe was super simple:
  • boil sweet potatoes
  • peel and mash 'em
  • add stuff
  • eat
Who could ask for an easier side dish? Haha.


Friday, January 18, 2013

2013 Cookbook Challenge: Week 2

I published a confession on Facebook a few months back about never having made potato soup. Some made fun, others were surprised, even more shared recipes! My sister-in-law sent me a few recipes for soups/chilis she recently made in her slow cooker, and a few weeks later I got this Cooking Light Slow Cooker recipe book in the mail from her - so sweet!

There are a ton (well, a majority of the 105 recipes included) I want to try, but the first one we chose is Chinese pork tenderloin with garlic-spiced noodles.

I deviated from the recipe a bit by dumping everything in the Crock-Pot at once (except for the Chinese-style noodles) and let it cook all together. Crock-Pot recipes are supposed to be set-it-and-forget-it but this one was a little more high maintenance, so I rebelled a bit. :)

Ours looks a little different than the photo in the magazine (don't they all?) because I threw in the carrots and green onions with everything else rather than adding them at the end. Still tasted awesome! Plus the whole house smells like peanuts and soy sauce, and that ain't bad at all.

Let's see if I can make this work!

You know I like Pinterest, right? I have successfully completed several projects inspired by Pinterest posts (like this and this and this), but have also had some fails (like the coffee bean votive combo that caught on fire). In addition to my Pinterest addiction, you can put black thumb down on my resume. Other than some lilies on the back deck, I haven't been able to grow much in my adult life. I'm working on it.

We're making an Asian dish tonight that calls for most of a bunch of green onions and I didn't want to throw the rest away, so my mind drifted to all those photos of a cute mason jar full of onion roots perched on a windowsill glowing in the sunshine!

So I grabbed a Mason jar from the cabinet and threw the bulbs in, and instead of staying vertical, they started swimming.  Size match fail.  So I grabbed a mini wine glass we used for the candy bar at Sharon and Agnes' shower, which turned out to be the perfect size for this bunch:

According to a few of the 2,643 blog posts available about this project, it should take about a week for them to grow back. The best part of this is that you can continue the process of cutting what you need and allowing them to regrow!

Wish me luck! I'm off to google recipes containing green onions... :)

Related: Check out how Bonnie handles her green onion situation :)

{EDIT} If you grow your own onions, be prepared for the strange smell that pops up as they start to sprout.  It smells (to me) like laughing gas feels - I know that sounds strange, but it's a very medical/chemical smell.  I only noticed it for a few minutes when entering the house after being away for a while, and after a few days didn't notice it at all.  But it freaked me out.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A-tisket, A-tasket

Occasionally we have people over. And occasionally said people need things. Things we store in our bathroom, which usually looks like a tornado hit it. Seriously, it's bigger than our spare bedroom so things tend to pile up - like laundry and trash. We're pigs sometimes. Ok most of the time.

So I thought it would be nice to have a little collection of necessities tucked away in our guest bathroom  off our kitchen to avoid sending the guest into harm's way in our bathroom. :) I looked through my trial/vacation-size toiletries and pulled out some things that people (including us) may need:
Trying to pull off a thingsorganizedneatly, but #fail

I've had this ceramic strawberry basket (here or here) for a few years. It has floated around the house - first in the kitchen to hold eggs while I'm baking, then on top of my jewelry box holding makeup. I stole it from my makeup for this purpose because it's the perfect size to corral a few small items.

Perfect fit!

I wouldn't normally post pictures of tampons on the internets, but who hasn't had a guest ask for one? Side note: when I was in middle/high school and my brother and I went anywhere that carried tampons, he'd yell "HEY KRISTEN - DO YOU NEED TAMPONS?  THEY HAVE TAMPONS OVER HERE! DIDN'T YOU HAVE TAMPONS ON YOUR LIST?" I was mortified. Every time. I guess when you're 14 you don't realize every woman uses feminine hygiene products and it's nothing to be embarrassed about.

Once it was full of goodies, I tucked the basket into the drawer of the bathroom's wall cabinet.

Right next to the hand towels. :)

I'm thinking about adding a mini first aid kit in the back for emergencies. I've cut my finger many times in the kitchen and had to direct Dave where exactly in our linen closet he can find a band-aid, Neosporin, and/or a tourniquet. Having one closer would be much easier.

These are the random things I think about/do when I'm procrastinating on other things - like cleaning my bathroom :) And it was free since I used things I already had.

Friday, January 11, 2013

2013 Cookbook Challenge: Intro and Week 1

We eat like shit, y'all. I've been writing down everything that goes in my mouth this week, and it's not a pretty picture. This habit of eating out instead of cooking because we're lazy explains my svelte (ha!) figure, our lack of savings, and the loneliest cookbook collection this side of Appalachia.

The picture does not include my super awesome recipe book, filled with favorites, that Bonnie got me for my birthday last year! Nor does it include some random magazine tear sheets containing recipes I'd like to try someday. It does include some cookbooks I forgot I owned until I went to take this photo. Sad.

So I've decided that we need to use these cookbooks more often! We have all this tasty goodness right at our fingertips and we ignore them like that guy selling roses on the 95 off-ramp.  #truestory

Our 2013 resolution challenge goal thingy is to make something from one of these books at least once a week. That's 52 recipes to try - and 52 fewer nights we eat out. Everybody wins, right? Any dish from any book counts, but I'm going to try to stay away from anything involving cupcakes, cake, or whoopie pies, since those have seen way more use than the other books containing actual food that won't give you a coronary.

Speaking of a coronary, our first contender is Pampered Chef's Family Burrito Bake from their Deep Covered Baker cookbook. We've made and loved a few recipes from this book before, like the three cheese mac and cheese and Chinese-style baby back ribs, so it has a good track record so far. :)

Supposedly this dish is 340 calories per serving, but tastes much more decadent than that!