Another one of my list items is to learn at least 10 new recipes each year. This is probably my favorite list item yet. :) Well, I'm probably exaggerating, but... for those of you who know me, you know how much I LOVE to eat. And you probably (unfortunately) know that I'm a "limited" cook. That is a nice way of saying that I can cook a few meals, but not much else, unless it comes in a box, can, or the frozen food section. Can you say preservatives? :) I can... and unfortunately, my kids love them. Not something I'm proud of, but something I absolutely admit to.
I actually CAN cook if someone shows me how or if I get a good recipe with good directions. Not directions like my grandmother always gave me when I first got married. You know, she'd say, "Just mix in some sugar and stir it until it gets hot, add some water... you know until it gets to the right consistency." I would always ask her how much or what was the right consistency and she'd tell me she just knew. lol. So, how do you follow that? I tried to make her fudge once and she forgot to tell me about a critical step, leaving me with hardened chocolate and peanut butter mixture that was so hot and hardening so fast that it nearly broke the motor on my electric mixer. It was probably the funniest cooking experience of my life. Ah... yes, how I miss my grandmother when I cook. Sometimes I feel like she's standing over me watching while I screw up yet another recipe... laughing because she knows that I forgot just one little thing. :)
But, I digress... I just don't have a lot of recipes that I want to cook. Most cookbooks are filled with fancy shmancy recipes with ingredients I can't find or don't even know where to begin to look for or how to shop for (you know, what is a good lamb chop supposed to look like - and could I really eat a lamb? Probably not.). I'm from the country and I like meat and potatoes. I like some other things, too, like pastas, stir fry, and anything mexican. Call me uneducated in the ways of cooking classy, restaurant-style meals... and I'll agree. But I know how to fix some great fresh green beans with bacon grease... the kind that will make you die from a heart attack at the age of 35, but will make every single day of summer worth living for. :) Primarily and most importantly to me, I guess, is that I like red meat. Beef. It's what's for dinner. Or what I want for dinner on most nights. Also, heart attack waiting to happen... but I'm running now, remember? :)
So... when my best friend got me totally addicted to this thing called Bloglines and sent me a dozen or so of her favorite blogs, it was easy for me to see that one of the things on my list that I would be focusing on next would be food. My goal in putting this item on my list is to build up a collection of recipes that I really love to eat... expanding what we eat so that I can actually go more than a week without cooking spaghetti or lasagna. :) Two blogs in particular have started changing my life. Okay, I'll admit to being a little dramatic there. But, still... these are by far the best recipes ever.
The Pioneer Woman and Once A Month Mom have the best recipes I have found in at least 7 years of searching (oddly enough the length of time I've been married). :) And while I have tried four new recipes, three of them are completely fabulous. One of them was OK, but not enough for me to add to my collection of recipes that I want to fix regularly. I won't say which one so that I don't hurt any feelings here.
I would not even begin to post photos of my cooking of these meals. These people are fabulous at doing that and I'm sure that you would all crack up at the amount of Dixie plates that are used in our home regularly, and especially when I'm cooking things that need to be separated into bowls and sections. lol. I also need new knives and there's almost always a toy or two on the counter while I'm cooking. So... there. You can just follow these fabulous instructions. Plus, I don't see how it doesn't take them like a year to cook a meal. My hands are always covered in whatever I'm cooking... too much to actually pick up my camera, as small as it is, get it focused and take a picture.
So, the first recipe that I tried was from Once A Month Mom. It is a recipe for pork tenderloin. FABULOUS. I actually think that it came from Floyd the Food Guy, but I found it through Once A Month Mom. When I cooked this, I wasn't sure what to expect. I haven't had much luck in the past with recipes for pork tenderloin. After eating it at a Christmas party a couple of years ago, I was bound and determined to find a recipe for it that involved cranberry sauce. Epic fail. So... I was just really happy to find a new way to fix pork... the other white meat. :) It was so good that I kept munching on it while I was fixing veggies. I really didn't even want any on my plate by the time it came around to actually sitting down. I had already had about 6 pieces (they were small). The next time I cook it (probably this coming weekend) I am going to also fix fettucine alfredo. It's on Pioneer Woman's site, so if it is as good as it looks, I'll post more about it later. :)
The second recipe I tried last night. Oh. My. Gosh. Have any of you eaten at Steak Escape in Charleston, West Virginia? It's a chain, so it doesn't have to be that one. Well... it was one of my favorite places to eat when we lived there. And our steakery at the mall here is good. But just not quite as good for some reason. When I saw this recipe on the Pioneer Woman's website (I'm tired of adding links, so you know you can go to the one above if you want to go to her home page!), I thought of two things - Steak Escape and how much I would impress my hot hubby who loves steak sandwiches. :) This steak sandwich was, ah-hem, better than the ones I have eaten at either steakery. Maybe I was just starving by the time I got it all ready, but it was so delicious. Bailey even loved it. I didn't think she'd even try a bite because of the onions and the strong smell of spices, but she does love her steak (like mother, like daughter... or like both of us... we love red meat). I couldn't help but laugh at how much Bailey went on and on about it. She kept telling me how awesome it was... how I am the most incredible cook ever... and how we should have this for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, everyday. :) So... there. It's good. :) Next time, I'm adding mushrooms to the onions though. We love mushrooms and it would be even more perfect with them.
Okay... I know I'm being long-winded here tonight. :) I told you... I'm passionate about my food now. :)
The last recipe was tonight. I love stir fry and this recipe hit the mark. I've struggled to find the right combination of soy sauces and peanut oil and sesame oil, etc. etc. to make a sauce that I like for stir fry. And, it wasn't exactly perfect, but it was definitely and by far the closest I have ever been. I think it helped that I actually cut up the veggies and added the spices instead of depending on the frozen veggies and mixing it all in at one time. So... success here. Of course, the kids wouldn't even try it and Brad liked it. Although, I'm pretty sure it paled in comparison to the success of the steak sandwich (now forever referred to as Marlboro Man's Sandwich because of her recipe title). I am not sure Brad could pull off being called Marlboro Man, what with his constant attachment to his phone and computer... but for some reason, Computer Nerd's Sandwich doesn't have the same ring to it. :) Sorry honey, but I just couldn't resist. I love my nerd more than anything (except my kids and probably food).
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