Kitchen adventures

Friday, March 15, 2013

Somewhere along the line, I discovered I love cooking. The girl who once went through an entire apartment lease without turning the oven on once now enjoys preparing food for fun.

I like finding recipes that sound good, usually accompanied by some mouth-watering photography, and pinning them for later. I like turning on some tunes, getting all my ingredients together, mixing everything up, and sampling the finished product with my boys. Eli is a good cooking buddy and loves to run around the kitchen with me, playing with cookie cutters, wrestling the dog, and dancing. Some of my happiest moments are hanging out with him in the kitchen, just watching him bop around while I make some food: simple, happy stuff.

Weekdays we're pretty crunched for time, so not a lot of cooking happens. Breakfast is always cobbled together quickly, and I pack my lunch for work the night before. Dinner is usually something pretty simple: stir fry, soup and grilled cheese, veggie burgers and oven fries, some kind of one-skillet situation involving pasta or rice, vegetables and chicken or tofu. Lately we've started having breakfast for dinner on occasion since Eli is such a big fan of pancakes and waffles and not much else.  

But on the weekend, I like to spend a good chunk of time in the kitchen. A good Sunday afternoon for me involves baking some kind of sweet treat and a big pot or pan of something warm and filling for dinner and leftovers. I don't experiment too much. I mostly just follow the recipe pretty closely and will omit things here and there, like too many onions or funky spices. 

Peter tells me to relax and sit down and that I don't have to spend my Sundays "working" but honestly, it's not at all like work for me. Cleaning up afterward: that's work. Cooking is fun, it's relaxing, it's time to just concentrate on nothing except making something awesome to eat and share. And maybe sneak some bites of batter/cheese/sauce. Cooking calories don't count, didn't you know? 

Here are some of the things I've made lately: 

-Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin - not a bad little side dish, kind of breakfasty.
-Skinny Peanut Butter Brownies - definitely making these again. They do not taste "skinny" in any sense. 
-Soft Pretzels -these get five stars. DEEELISH
-Crepes - love these and I only ruined one mid-flip. I made them with Nutella and bananas. Remember the batter needs to sit for at least an hour to let the air bubbles settle out. A good idea is to make and refrigerate the batter the night before.
-Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken - this was good, and easy, but it didn't taste like I expected. Kind of more like "generic soy sauce chicken" with some nuts sprinkled on.

And some things that will hopefully be on the menu in the coming weeks:

-Rosemary Chicken Lasagna
-Light Cajun Chicken Pasta
-Southwest Sweet Potato Hash
-Crispy Avocado, Bacon, and Tomato Salad
-No-Bake Chewy Granola Bars - no weird ingredients!
-Really curious about these pancakes - only a ripe banana and two eggs? Seems too good to be true.

Happy Friday! 

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  1. That's why I get Matt to clean up! I cook, he cleans. I know what you mean though, sometimes the cooking is work, but on the weekends it's family fun time. Some of my favourite days are when I've put a lot of work and love into a meal.

    1. Same here, especially when it's something the three of us all enjoy. That's more and more of a rarity since a certain small boy is getting pickier and pickier!

  2. That Sweet Potato Hash and the Avocado salad look amazing!

    1. I think so too. I can eat sweet potatoes and avocados every single day!

  3. My kitchen is my happy place. Cooking, eating, feeding people... It's a talent I have that I'm very proud of. My ideal weekend, at the age of 26 is seriously spent in my kitchen cooking up a storm. I love reading cook books and watching FOOD Network, that's where all of my inspiration comes from.
    Baking, not so much.