Cooking More, In Frequency and Variety

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Chooch, Cooking, Firsts, Friends, Health, Household

I was making a shopping list, and the recipes I’m shopping for made me reflect on recent-ish changes. I decided to write a quick post on this topic.

Not surprisingly, when I was working full time with a three hour daily commute my interest and time for cooking dropped off tremendously.  Partner that with a general recipe rut of cooking what I knew Chooch and my sons would like and you’ve got a couple years of routine dishes and a lot of boredom with cooking. We ate out a lot, I used a lot of cooking shortcuts and in general was borderline resentful of the entire process.

In the last six months or so, primarily due to a tightening in our budget, I’ve been cooking more. Add to this my renewed love of fruit and vegetables and I feel as if the whole culinary world has opened up to me again. I’ve been experimenting with new dishes, and while some were lousy, most were either perfect for us or close enough that some tweaking made them work.

I’m having a lot more fun in the kitchen and we are eating more wholesome foods as a result. This makes me extremely happy, especially with my fascination with Eat This, Not That lists.  We rarely venture into the extremely unhealthy realm of restaurants anymore, partly due to cost and partly due to my unwillingness to eat that unhealthily except in the most extreme situations. It’s just too hard to find whole grain options, and they add so much salt and fat to the dishes that it’s obscene.

In fact, thanks to a recent and delicious meal made for us by friends Heather and Marc, I’m going to attempt my first ever Indian dish. No, I’m not going to mix my own curry, and while I know this will offend some I have two words for you –  baby steps!

I’ve also been baking bread and am almost at the point where I ready to write a post on that subject in the next week or two. My love of whole grain/whole wheat is pushing me to find more and more options, and so far it’s been a lot of fun, even when the results are more brick-like than bread-like.

One very surprising turn that I’m taking is towards vegetarian and vegan foods. I have some odd food phobias, namely anything pork, anything on the bone, anything that lives in water, and any “exotic” meat (not sold in grocery stores) makes me squeamish as well.

While I still love beef and chicken, I am eating it less and less. This is partly because we have vegan and vegetarian friends that we do pot-lucks with fairly regularly.  I prefer contributing something that they can eat but that I will enjoy as well. I hate nothing more than testing a recipe on friends, so am seeking and testing recipes for future meals with them. This is leading to some interesting and healthy places, and for the first time I can really see the possibility of going vegetarian. I don’t think I’ll ever give up cheese, so vegan is probably never going to happen. I’m already maintaining a tenuous grip on eggs though, but for now couldn’t live with hubby’s delicious omelets. And it certainly simplifies baking, although I did get an egg-replacement product to test out for my vegan buds.

I’m off now to get some honey for bread and curry for dinner. It occurs to me a wonderful side effect of the new cooking jag is that my house usually smells AWESOME!

4 Responses to “Cooking More, In Frequency and Variety”

  1. Nuchtchas Says:

    Don’t let anyone make you feel bad for not mixing your own curry, good cooks know when to take shortcuts. I use premixed curry, vindeloo and even cake mix when baking (cake mix is just flower, sugar, baking soda and what you would need for cake just pre-measured and mixed, then I add my own wet ingredients.)

    I have been wanting to bake bread myself, the selection up here is kinda lame, not nearly as tasty as back home in NY.

  2. vividmuse Says:

    Too true! I’ll likely give it a try at some point, once I have a few successes under my belt.

    This has definitely been a great jumping off point into making bread. It has me inching towards more traditional baking at this point. Although I’d like to perfect what I’ve got left in this book, like whole wheat cinnamon rolls! I hope to be testing those out soon.

  3. Chooch Says:

    Hopefully you meant to write that you “couldn’t live with OUT hubby’s delicious omelets” 🙂

    I’m very happy to be the primary benefactor of your cooking experiments!

  4. vividmuse Says:

    Ummm… yes… that’s what I meant.

    Words are hard!

    I was actually thinking about that nomilicious egg white omelet you made and wishing for another. *hint*hint*

    The experiments have been going pretty well! Last night’s turkey meatloaf with homemade whole wheat bread crumbs needs more flavor, but it at least it wasn’t bad.

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