Saturday, February 1, 2014

8 Things I've Learned in the Kitchen

Hmmm...this worked out like past journaling attempts with very large breaks.  Oops.

My husband and I have been talking about some of the relatively small changes that would create large dividends in our life. One of these, gulp!, is curbing the take-out. I have an allergy to the kitchen. There are few things that I would rank lower on my enjoyment list than cooking or preparing meals. That said, eating at home would help make the arteries and wallet feel better. So I am putting on my big girl pants (proof of the need to say good-bye to fast food) and figuring out how people crank out lots of meals and manage to be happy doing it.

I am now one week into my challenge and have cooked every night except one. Did you know when you regularly cook you get lots of leftovers? I am going to try to document my journey to becoming Betty Crocker with a smile.

Some of the things I have learned this week:
1.  Keeping the dishwasher empty and reloading immediately makes cooking much more enjoyable.
2.  Starting this challenge the same week a snowstorm shut down the streets of Atlanta gave me a serious advantage. This is probably a serious understatement.
3.  There is really a difference in having higher quality utensils, pans (saving up now for more Le Creuset pans).
4. Having the right tools makes things easier!
5. Preparing the meat for the week at the beginning of the week is another serious help.
6. In the same vein, washing all produce on market day was also a big help.
7. I do not like having a rigid meal plan. It has been much easier having a variety of ingredients ready and choosing which meal sounds good that day rather than saying  Tuesday is taco night even though I am more in the mood for chicken fried rice.
8. I do not have enough Pyrex storage for leftovers.

We have been regularly eating oatmeal for breakfast. Cooking it on the stovetop and adding vanilla and cinnamon makes it somewhat like eating an oatmeal cookie. Well, if you are willing to use your imagination a bit. We actually are so happy with it that I just ordered a 50lb bag of organic oats. Our arteries will be singing!

We have had such an assortment of leftovers that lunches have been very easy.

Dinners have been a variety of hits and so-so's. Very little variety because well....I am using training wheels. This week's meals were: pork fried rice, shepherd's pie, slow cooker honey bourbon chicken (this got mixed reviews), chicken fried rice (have an ok recipe but will try a new one next time), hamburger soup, ranch chicken (yum, yum), and tacos with homemade tortillas. I think tortilla making must be an art that requires practice, I am very talented at making pieces of lace. I tried a gluten free flour recipe but will try a corn tortilla recipe next. With the tacos I added tomato sauce, pinto beans and ground turkey with taco seasoning that I made myself. The insides were great!

My weekly grocery run had a bit of a complication, the produce section was picked clean and the shelves looked like the zombies had attacked (I live a few minutes from where they are filmed, so maybe they did get loose!). Apparently there had been a mad rush when the snow word was used followed by semis that could not get through Atlanta.  I will go back to replenish my fresh produce for the week, otherwise I am ready. My goal for the week is also to take pictures, I need evidence that I am really doing this!

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