Thursday, October 4, 2012

For the Love of Cooking

As I said in my previous post (if you actually read the entire thing), I am in love with cooking right now. I know this will make my grandma and my mom happy, who have both taught me well. I love everything about cooking. I love the shopping, the preparation, the final product, and have even learned to enjoy the clean up. Grocery shopping is such an enjoyable thing for me. I can wander around the aisles looking at things and thinking up wonderful dishes. I have also developed an unhealthy obsession with Trader Joe's. If you haven't been, go. RIGHT NOW. It is fabulous. Some people have the misconception that it is expensive, but they are wrong. Some things might be, but some things are actually cheaper and yummier than in grocery stores. For example, their hummus is delicious and only $1.99, where it is around $2.99 at Kroger.

A few Trader Joe's products I love:
-whole wheat pizza dough
-lavash chips
-guilt-free guacamole
-yogurt pretzels
-roasted coconut chips
-veggie sticks
-sun-dried tomato hummus

I have learned that cooking for a boy is a lot different than cooking for myself. Jake loves his meat. And he loves his comfort foods just as much as I do. He likes to eat clean, but he also likes to eat very hearty. He can afford tons of calories because of how much he works out, but I cannot. I have learned how to cook healthy and still make things he likes. I secretly do enjoy the nights when he works late and I can cook some things that I know he won't like or won't be hearty enough for him.

As much as I love my comfort foods like mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese, I figured that with my newly acquired free time, I had no excuse not to eat healthy. I have been religiously scouring blogs and pinterest for healthy eating tips and recipes. I have learned that eating healthy really isn't that difficult. It is all about cutting out processed foods and incorporating fresh, quality ingredients. My main problem is that I really hate recipes. I think I got this from my mom. I like to do my own thing and wing it. I hate having to go to the grocery store to buy very specific things for a recipe that I might never use again. I like to take what I have in my pantry already and make something. I kind of put my own spin on recipes, which sometimes works and sometimes does not.

Here are some wonderful, healthy meals that I have made recently

Trader Joe's whole-wheat pizza dough, low-fat turkey pepperoni, reduced-fat cheese, and garlic. Pizza is one of my weaknesses, so this recipe gives it a healthy spin without losing any flavor. Not to mention the pizza dough is only $1!

Quinoa pizza bites

Greek-yogurt chicken broccoli Alfredo. Yummm. I found this recipe on pinterest and kind of did my own thing with it. It turned out a lot better than I expected. It is also one of the first pastas I have cooked completely from scratch. I have made it a couple times now. 

The past couple of days I have given in and made some not so healthy but oh so good baked goods

I had seen a very easy recipe for a crusty bread on a blog I read. Check out her recipe here. I am a serious sucker for bread, and when I saw how easy it was, I knew I had to try it. I burnt the bottom a little bit, so I can't wait to try it again.

This picture does not do it justice. I need to work on my food photography skills. 

Fall is here! Of course pumpkin anything is a given. These pumpkin bars are fabulous!!  I had a hard time not eating the whole pan by myself. 

I don't plan on becoming a food blogger or anything, but I do want to share some of my kitchen success, so stay tuned!

If only I could go to culinary school. A girl can dream.

Until next time,
J and M


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