Birthday Bucketlist: Try a new Food

Quiche

Okay, is it fair to put a quiche in here as “try a new food”? I mean, I have tried everything used in the quiche I’ve tried lately, just never together and never as a quiche. Like the ham and Swiss or the spinach and mushroom. I’ve decided though, a quiche itself was new for me. And it was A-Ma-ZING! A local bakery offers a quiche of the day which comes with a hot fluffy crescent roll and a “taste of fall salad.” I may or may not have had the quiche special twice in one week. If you are ever in the Decatur area, find All Wright Bakery during the week before 2 p.m. and try their Quiche Special!

swiss-chard-quicheThis is not my exact dish, but it is exactly what my mushroom and swiss quiche looked like when I picked it up.
 

Gyro

For the record (and in displaying my southern ignorance in all its glory).. I learned after eating this that it was pronounced “euro” NOT guy-roe. HA. Regardless, I love them. A new restaurant has opened up one street over from where I work. I have never tried Greek food and this was a great first impression. A gyro consists of meat that is roasted over a vertical spit. I could actually see this in the restaurant I visited. I found that interesting and cool enough. I went pretty basic with the first visit, just to be on the safe side. I did not want to end up hating it and have to buy lunch twice. Everything was great. I even loved the sauce they provide, even though I ate it with the fries and it might have possibly been intended for the gyro.

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52313383eca59.preview-300This is the Gyro Uno location in Decatur, AL now!

Rabbit

I saved this one for last because I didn’t want to scare you away. Ha. Man of the House is very self sufficient and likes to use a pellet gun to shoot rabbits, dove, etc. (He also hunts, fishes, and bowfishes.) I made the mistake of letting him know that I had NEVER eaten rabbit. I’m not sure it had ever became an option during my childhood? We always had deer meat, or venison, plus store bought chicken and our own beef and pork. I wasn’t sure how I felt about eating an animal close enough to the ground to be similar to the rodent family. Okay, kidding, I do not consider rabbits a part of the rodent family, but still. We have cooked rabbit for dinner as of last night. I had printed 4 different recipe choices so that we could decide what we really preferred. Man of the House wanted Rabbit Stew, but I just couldn’t go for stringy rabbit the first time. We used a recipe that had the fewest ingredients. 1 whole rabbit, 1/3 cup of honey, mustard, salt, pepper, butter. (I substituted the butter with Coconut Oil so that it wouldn’t be so greasy.) We added extras of both the honey and mustard until the sauce tasted how we wanted. It baked for an hour at 350 degrees. I’ll admit, I was too much of a chicken to try one of the thighs. But I did eat a piece of the tenderloin and it was alright. Not my favorite dish ever, just reminded me of dark meat chicken. It just felt so thick trying to chew it up, or maybe that was me being paranoid. Either way, I definitely tried a new food with this dish! And can attest to the fact that if something gets real crazy here in America, I will not starve. Unless the rabbits are all gone. Not sure where I could go from there. Ha!

First Ever Rabbit REcipe

So, I am just trucking right along marking things off of my Birthday Bucket List. Yay me!

How about you? Are you getting some yearly Bucket List things done now that we are a quarter of a way into 2014? Are you trying new foods as well? Share them with me so that I can try them as well if I have yet to do so!

Learning to NOT Make Dinner from a Box

Over the last year and a half, we have fallen into this terrible habit of cooking something out of a box with directions and everything preserved in small packages. For example: the first full year that we lived together in our own apartment (when Khloe was thankfully still young enough to be eating baby food) we cooked and ate every version of Hamburger Helper and Chicken Helper available. Oh, and spaghetti. We ate A LOT of spaghetti. I am not putting down Hamburger Helper or spaghetti meals, obviously we aren’t the only family to purchase them or the companies would have already went under. Ha! BUT I was so tired of feeling like we always ate the same things, and never anything truly healthy. FYI: browned hamburger meat and packages full of preservatives are not much more healthy than fast food in my opinion but what can I say, we were young and broke and this was a new experience for us.

Now I do want to make this clear, this is not a rant about eating truly wholesome, pesticide-free, antibiotic-free, whatever-else-you-want-to-claim-is-dangerous-free foods, etc. This is just my adventure in attempting to provide our family with varieties, albeit sometimes more healthy, and definitely a more flavorful menu.

**Corn Chowder  This inspiration came from Myra over at http://www.myblessedlife.net She is always cooking up something amazing and I definitely have acknowledged my lack of baking/cooking expertise since following her blog. Haha! This just sounded good from the recipe, but turned out amazing!! And the man of the house was happy it was a soup recipe that actually called for meat and “substance” as he called it. (: http://myblessedlife.net/2013/02/corn-chowder.html

**Easy Crock Pot Potato Soup This recipe actually came from a close friend of mine. She is a busy mom with 4 kids (two sets of twins!) who works a full time job outside of the home, so I think she knew I would love any recipe with the word EASY in the title. I had to try it out when she recommended it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 30 oz. bag of frozen, shredded hash browns
  • 3 14 oz. cans of chicken broth
  • 1 can of cream of chicken soup
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1 8 oz. package cream cheese
  • bacon, shredded cheddar cheese, green onion, sour cream for garnish

Directions: Combine everything (except cream cheese) in your crock pot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. About one hour before serving, add cream cheese and cook until thoroughly melted.

Side Note: From experience, definitely make sure ALL of the cream cheese is completely melted. We’ve made this a few times now and definitely have made one set that didn’t get melted completely……

**Taco Soup This also came from Myra at My Blessed Life. I cooked this earlier in the week.. it was great! I will add:  we crushed small round tortilla chips and placed them in the bowl before adding the soup. http://myblessedlife.net/2012/01/taco-soup.html

**Tomato Pie I came across this on a random blog stroll. And guess who the guest post was from? I’ll let you click and find out! (She is a kitchen genius. Pretty sure I should just print every recipe she’s posted and be set for months. LOL!) This was SO good. I had my reservations, but it turned out absolutely amazing. Even the man of the house was very skeptical and then admitted he really like it. This is one of the simplest recipes for an easy meal. Please check it out if you have time!  http://goodcheapeats.com/2010/05/tomato-pie-guest-post/

**Chicken Bacon Club Sandwiches How funny that I actually found this recipe in a Wal-Mart sale paper. They always have a few recipes listed and advertise the ingredients needed, all available at Wal-Mart, of course. This was SO, SO easy and more tasty than our usual chicken sandwich meals. We added some oven baked fries and called it a day.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup Hidden Valley Smoked Bacon Ranch Sandwich Spread & Dip, divided
  • 2 cups cooked chicken
  • 8 slices of sandwich bread, toasted
  • 4 leaves lettuce
  • 1 large tomato, sliced

Directions:

  • Stir chicken and sandwich spread together.
  • Spread 1/2 chicken mixture on 4 slices of toast.
  • Top with lettuce, tomato and remaining toast to create sandwiches.

**Cream of Tomato Soup and 3 Cheese Grilled Cheese This was actually the first recipe I started with on my drive to make more things homemade. I really loved the way it turned out. I will say, I accidentally added too much garlic and had to compensate with extra puree tomatoes and milk to even out the flavor. When we first tried it it was STRONG. Hey, living and learning. This was such a wholesome meal with the three cheese grilled cheese sandwich, made on cheese bread by the way!! Oh my goodness it was so amazing combined with the soup. It was like having a Panera Bread meal at home. (:

http://www.ohsweetbasil.com/2013/02/cream-of-tomato-soup-and-grilled-cheese.html

I’m not even sure how I came across her website or the recipe now, but I will tell you that I am subscribed via email and definitely looking forward to receiving more of the recipes on her page. Go check out Oh Sweet Basil and see what yummy recipes you come across.

Are you a natural in the kitchen, or are you like me and need a little nudge in the right direction every now and then? I’m hoping all of this practice can uncover some long lost skills I just had yet to discover. Ha!

I now realize that we have eaten a lot of soup lately. What can I say, it has been so cold out, I think it fit the occasion (;

The Caramel Glaze Pumpkin Pound Cake Adventure

Wednesday after work i knew i needed to get started on making the cake I was baking for Thanksgiving Dinner. I gathered all of the required ingredients and stood there looking at them for a moment.

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It was a little daunting since I’ve never made the recipe before, had to gather my thoughts. It honestly was not so bad. And goodness did it start smelling good in the kitchen with all the cinnamon, sugar, pumpkin and vanilla in the air!

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I was making progress and moving right along. Yay!

I did learn butter, sugar, and eggs start developing a cake batter substance that just needed flour and flavoring. Good to know for future endeavors.

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I was nervous for a moment when the timer went off and the cake wasn’t done. After adding an additional 5-7 minutes a few extra times, it came out perfect. Don’t you think?

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Okay, I know something happened that looks like it is the victim of a back alley cutting, but I was still pretty proud!
The caramel glaze waited until Thanksgiving morning. It only took about 20 minutes to make. The cake turned out really great! Every one loved it.

pumpkin cake

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving Holiday spent with your loved ones.

The latest of many firsts: Baking for family Thanksgiving dinner

Oh. I guess I forgot the part where I’m an adult now and I’m supposed to contribute to the food supply at the family Thanksgiving get-together. No, honestly, it never crossed my mind that I am 23 years old and have always arrived at my grandmother’s house with my mother and all of the food she made. So when my grandmother asked me, “Hey, I have everyone’s food items they’re bringing next week, what are you planning to bring?” I literally had no answer off the top of my head. I wish I had some quick reply similar to, “You know, that awesome dish that everyone loves that I always bring, of course.” HA.

I told her I would have to get back with her. I literally had no idea. All the basic things were already being provided along with a few specialty casseroles and other foods. What the heck was I going to bring? Paper plates? I have too much pride.

I went home that night and dug through a folder/stack of recipes (half of which I have yet to attempt) and found a recipe for Caramel Glaze Pumpkin Pound Cake. The recipe is completely homemade. Let me make a list of the amount of homemade cakes I have baked in the last 23 years:

*cue crickets beginning to chirp*

Exactly. It’s not that I cannot cook or that I am a bad cook. (I don’t understand how you can be a horrible cook if you just cook whatever YOU like.) I’ve made homemade blueberry muffins with amazing blueberries from our local farmer’s market! My pink-dyed pancakes have resulted in squeals and giggles throughout breakfast. I can run a grill and fry up some pretty darn good homemade fried chicken fingers. But, baking. Let us just all agree that baking is not in my list of natural instincts, talents, or abilities. If it comes with a box, directions, and requires 2 eggs and cooking oil, then you can call me Master Chef. Hey, it was made at my home and not bought at the grocery store bakery. That’s homemade. (;

Tomorrow night I will jump head first into my first ever truly home made cake. Cross your fingers.

My baking pride is at stake.

If this turns out successful, I need someone to buy me a really cute apron for Christmas.