What’s Cookin’?

23 Nov

Although we aren’t hosting this holiday, there has been lots of cooking and baking going on here lately. I’ve finally gotten back into the swing of planning our meals (see my menu planner and grocery list template here), which is a good thing. We almost always cook at home but, as I’ve gotten pickier about what we’re eating – less meat, less dairy, more veggies, more non-meat protein – I prefer to be the one who does the planning (no offense, Pete.)

I actually don’t normally do a lot of baking (there are only two of us so baking 24 cupcakes just isn’t a good idea) but as I’ve tried to cut back on red wine (also known as my favorite beverage), it seems my body craves more sugar. Or maybe just comfort. Regardless, why can’t I crave something better for me, like tea? But I digress.

So, here are a few favorites and a few new finds:

Chicken and Vegetable Pot Pie – This one is an old favorite. I guess pie crust isn’t ever necessarily good for you, but at least I can feel good about the rest of it. I made it as written except with almond milk (see above about the dairy), extra peas, and garlic. Yum.


As a public service announcement, this is what happens when you leave an oven mitt on hot burner. Luckily, the house did not burn down and the oven came clean. But oops.


We made tacos last weekend but the store was out of my favorite taco seasoning (aka the only one I’ll use.) Pete bought another one but I figured this was a good time to try a homemade mix. It was amazing. Before declaring I was never going back to store-bought, I decided to check the back of the label we had. I figured maybe the ingredients were essentially the same. I mean, what preservatives could you possibly need in seasoning? Yeah. There was a lot of stuff I couldn’t pronounce on there. Officially never going back to store-bought.

Minestone soup. On the stove, not the crock pot. My proportions were somehow all wrong and I had to add a second batch of broth (and it was still not very soup-y.) But it was really good regardless.

We’re in charge of bring an appetizer to my Aunt’s tomorrow (this part’s for you Krishann!) Whenever we bring something to a party I try not to need to use the stove or oven, figuring the host will already have enough going on. I was also in the mood to try something new that wasn’t based in cheese. After a bit of searching, I decided on Curried Crab on Crackers. I think it’s going to be good.

Of course, I wasn’t sure it was going to be good, and didn’t want to bring something no one would like. Or maybe I just wanted an excuse to make one of my favorites. Cream cheese (I know, I know…I just said I didn’t want cheese, but I love this. So I figured better to make it and share.) covered with cranberry sauce. Literally. That’s all you do. Super easy. I smashed the cream cheese onto the serving tray instead of leaving it in a big brick but just so the sauce had more to cover. Sometimes I just leave it. Serve with crackers. Also great on bagels. 

And, as for the baking, this blueberry cake is to die for. I used frozen blueberries and I’m so glad I have a giant bag left in the freezer and *have* to make more cake. Charise’s S’mores cookies are also amazing. Unlike a lot of cookies, they are definitely better when they get a little mushier on day 2+. I also have all the ingredients to make cookie dough brownies, but figured I should hold off until after Thanksgiving. And I just saw this recipe for a homemade cookie skillet. OMG. I’m going to need to start exercising.

And there’s more planned where all that came from. Perhaps I’ll have to start posting about food more often if all I’m doing is eating. :)

5 Responses to “What’s Cookin’?”

  1. Krishann November 23, 2011 at 10:58 pm #

    Baking a batch of cupcakes for 2 or 3 in my case is dangerous. I will eat them for breakfast, snack and dessert. You have been cooking some delicious meals and you should certainly blog more recipes!! Tomorrow appetizers sounds delightful (ha! Yes I wrote that!)! I love crab! Oh and just about anything sweet so yes please to the cake. Chris is in charge of an appetizer too and we are also making pumpkin bread (Thank you Trader Joe’s).

    I enjoyed this post and am not hungry again :)
    I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!

  2. Liz Sablich (@lizzysabs) November 24, 2011 at 12:18 am #

    wow! this all looks/sounds delicious!! i’ve decided that at 25, it’s definitely time i start cooking a bit more seriously. it seems an appropriate age to learn how to truly nourish myself and those i love. thanks for the inspiration!

    • pleasantandhome December 6, 2011 at 9:17 pm #

      Yes! It’s a nice thing to be able to do. Perhaps your speciality can be the dessert! :)

  3. Bridgette December 14, 2011 at 4:27 pm #

    All your food pictures are making me hungry! Hope you are enjoying the holidays! Let me know if you want me to send you an Amy Grant Christmas Album! Wink, wink!
    Can you believe Christmas is next week?

    • pleasantandhome December 16, 2011 at 11:47 am #

      Yes! I’ll e-mail you!

      I can’t not believe Christmas is in a week. particularly since I have (very uncharacteristically) not even started shopping yet! But I blame it on the warmer than usual whether we’re getting here in Chicago. That must be it….

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