We are more than halfway through January, so it may be a little late in the game to talk about New Years Resolutions … buuuuut I feel like I am actually succeeding for once, so I want to share my winningness with you, dear readers!
This year, instead of cut and dry, do or die resolutions having to do with my weight (a favorite for me and every other person in America according to current TV commercials), I made a promise to myself to work on some more general things.
- I will yell at my kids less (already failed spectacularly, but hey it’s an every day battle)
- I will get back to crafting (I have made 6 batches of goats milk soap and cannot wait to make more while also boring everyone to death with details about soap making. Look out, that post is coming soon, dear readers … i.e., captive audience)
- Learn some new recipes…
…I am a mediocre cook (and that is being nice). Don’t get me wrong, I love to eat delicious food and I appreciate that cooking is an art form … mama just don’t have time for all that nonsense. For years the only “spice” in my cabinet was salt and my usual goal is to have a protein, vegetable, and starch on the plate in under 30 minutes. Edible is what I aim for, adjectives like “tasty” and “flavorful” are out of my reach. But recently my husband and my oldest daughter have been voicing their … let’s say concerns … over my recipe repertoire. So this year I decided to try something new. I checked out a few cookbooks from the Library, found recipes to try, and then (this is where it gets interesting) … I read them. I didn’t just glance at the ingredients, substituting half of them with what I had on hand. I made lists, I purchased things and I followed the directions. And do you know, it worked? So far I have made three different meals from three cookbooks that my husband and kids ate, and then … ASKED FOR MORE. Not for something else, mind you, but for more of the thing I cooked. It. Was. Amazing.
The Best 30 Minute Recipe (suggested by my boss Ian!)
From this cookbook, I made a skillet version of shepherds pie. Even with peeling and mashing the potatoes myself (my kids had a field day with the peels, creating “witches stew”) this really did only take 30 minutes and it was delicious. (Sadly this was also the only meal I remembered to photograph.) I plan on making several more recipes from this book. I may even go out and buy my own copy, and that is saying something.
I Didn’t Know My Slow Cooker Could Do That
This one I just pulled off the shelf on a whim. I love my slow cooker and the few passable things I do make are made in the slow cooker, where all I have to do is dump the ingredients in and walk away. I have tried to find different slow cooker recipes before but generally get annoyed because they mostly seem like variations on the same 10 to 15 recipes. This book had a couple new things I have never tried before and the beef and broccoli recipe that I made was great.
One Pan, Two Plates
This was another one I found on the shelf. I really like the idea of those “4 or 5 or whatever random number of ingredients” recipe books, but when I’ve flipped through them I don’t really see anything interesting. I picked this one up hoping it would be similar in theme given that the recipes were limited to one pan and meant for weeknights. But that it would offer more flare; and while the recipes were a little more involved, I liked that the directions were simple and ingredients were kept to a minimum. Also, technically I have four plates I need to fill nightly, but my seven-year-old eats like a bird and the toddler can only put away so much before passing out in a food coma, so it worked for us. I made Hungarian beef goulash, mainly because I have always wanted to try goulash; it’s a great, fun word to say. I will admit I may have liked this more than my husband and kids, but I don’t care. It was yummy. A lot of the recipes in this book seem like things outside my ability level, but they also sound delicious, so I am going to try and stretch myself by making a few more recipes. If things go well this might be another title I actually go out and buy for keeps.
I am going to try and keep this resolution. There is a certain amount of pride I felt making things that my family liked instead of something that just met their basic dietary requirements. If you have any suggestions for other recipes or cookbooks I should, try leave them in the comments, and I will report back any triumphs, and failures, from your suggestions.