Salmon and Mushrooms and Broccoli, Oh My!

Well, now that my life is settling down, it’s probably time to get back to my cooking adventure. I’m slightly ashamed to say that it was way too easy to let cooking for myself be the first thing to go when life got even a little hectic. But one awesome new development is having another (and better) cook in the house!

Still, I’ve remembered occasionally to take pics when I do cook something (or when my fella does), so here are some new faves:

Mushrooms + herbs + balsamic

Mushrooms + herbs + balsamic

Roasted Mushroom Medley

This one was inspired by Pinterest one night when our fridge was running on empty and I needed to get creative. Instead of a medley of mushrooms, I only used the baby bellas I had in the fridge. I went nuts with the garlic, pulled some fresh herbs (rosemary from our garden and sage from our neighbors), and splashed as much balsamic as felt right. Instead of parsley, I used a small bit of cilantro, since that’s what we had readily available. I usually hate the taste of cilantro (I’m being forced to adjust to it since my boyfriend eats it on almost everything), but with this is worked. Definitely a new go-to appetizer!

 

 

 

 

Salmon + Broccoli + Zucchini... on the grill!

Salmon + Broccoli + Zucchini… on the grill!

Grilled Salmon and Broccoli 

My boyfriend decided to surprise me when I got home from work one night. I have no idea how he spiced the salmon. All I know is, it was amazing. Along with the broccoli (wrapped in tin foil and placed on the top of the grill while the salmon is going), some deliciously juicy zucchini, it was perfection.

Grilling makes everything great.

 

 

 

Do Chives Have Flavor?

This morning I woke up and realized I hadn’t prepared my lunch. Welcome to the adjustment period after a long-weekend.

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I don’t even remember why I bought these

While I made my standard egg & provolone breakfast omelet, I defrosted a salmon filet and sauteed some mushrooms, onions and garlic. Salmon has always been one of my go-to favorites. Honestly though, with my limited maneuvers around the kitchen, I only know two ways to cook it: throw it in the pan with the sautee, or plop it onto my George Foreman.

In my morning rush, I opted for the former. Despite not knowing how, I REALLY wanted to spruce it up. So I rummaged around my small spice collection and opted to toss in some freeze-dried chives instead of the usual dill.

Well, I just finished eating my lunch and… I have no idea if I even tasted the chives. It really just tasted like salmon with mushrooms and onions. Am I missing something? Are chives just for decoration?

Pasta vs. Veggies: Spaghetti Squash Alfredo

For better or for worse, some of my childhood memories are intensely vivid. Up until quite recently, I’d feared one experience in particular had scarred me for life: my mother forcing a very young me to eat half a corn squash before I would be allowed to have dessert.

Throughout most of my young adult life, the trauma from that night could not be overemphasized when exploring the reasons for my abhorrence of squash. How dare my mother insist upon literally force feeding me – I mean standing over me, shoving fork-fulls of such a grotesque vegetable onto my sweets-craving taste buds!

OK, so perhaps that’s a bit hyperbolic. Still, as a child, in that instant, I remember feeling a unique sense of having been wronged, not only by my mother, but by the squash itself. It would be years – this time literally, for real – before I would ever allow squash the dignity of sharing space on my plate again. When I did, it was a complete accident…

Fast forward a few more years and here I am, a squash-liking, veggie-eating mostly grownup who still loves her dessert, but in a crazy twist of fate actually self-imposes “eat my veggies or no dessert” rules.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I go out of my way to eat squash; I just don’t avoid plates that contain it either. Generally, it has to still be mixed with something else I like to be appealing to me. Which is why this new dish was an absolute win in my book:

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Frittata Discovery

I learned how to make some fancy eggs! Honestly, this thing just looks like a giant baked version of my scrambled eggs, but hey, it’s a new skill, right? If this blog were a video game, I’m sure I’d have just unlocked some sort of achievement.

Side note: Since I had no clue where to start with this whole cooking journey, I decided to take advantage of a Groupon deal and bought 12 months of weekly meal planning from eMeals. I opted for the low-carb option since I was already attempting to eat that way, and so far, I’m really liking it. I haven’t actually made any of the meals, but I like the recipes they’re sending me!

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My Garlic Love Affair

In my family, there is no such thing as “too much garlic.” That applies both to the amount of garlic used in a dish, as well as the variety of foods to which garlic may be added. My problem is that while I love garlic and indeed put it in almost everything I eat, I HATE the chore of peeling and cutting fresh cloves. Yet, as even my confused self knows, fresher is better.

  • The dilemma: Improve my cooking by using fresh ingredients, starting with fresh garlic.
  • The solution: Get over myself and just peel and chop the dang gloves.
  • The method: A new trick I discovered, courtesy of one of my aunts.

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Confusion Sets In

I’m generally not just a bad cook, but also a lazy one. I suppose there could be a direct correlation between the two, but I’ll not dwell on that right now.

This weekend I decided to tackle both of these issues head on, and learn to cook. I love home-made meals, but it’s gotten to the point that I genuinely look forward to visiting my Mom because (I love her a lot and) it means I get really good food. Recently I’ve been wishing more and more that I could cook like her. The combination of trying to eat low-carb and not really knowing how to spruce up some chicken or beef is making the endeavor monotonous and uninspiring, and I’m not getting anywhere by not practicing. Plus, I’ve heard that good cooks are creative, so maybe this will be right up my alley. I have to get creative anyway since I probably only have about half of the stuff some the recipes I’m reading call for…

So without further ado, welcome to my world of confusion that is my kitchen. It’s about to get messy up in here.