Friday, November 29, 2013

Quinoa Challenge

So my first cookbook is Quinoa 365, promising over 170 delicious recipes using this "everyday superfood." I'd love to say that I selected this for the challenge of trying quinoa, but honestly I eat quinoa all the time. I selected this one because it looked like less of a challenge! I'm not sure I'm sold on "superfoods," but I do like the flavor/texture of quinoa over rice.
The cover on my copy is falling off, but all the recipes are inside!
So I've highlighted a few recipes I want to try--using things I have on hand, and I'm already very tempted to experiment. There is a recipe for a broccoli, chicken, quinoa casserole--that I know would be better with mushrooms, and I don't have any sour cream, so I could just use...! See, I am bad at following directions. I think this means I need to try something more different from what I've made before, so I have to rely on the recipe!

So tomorrow I'm going to try Thai Cashew Chicken and Broccoli on Quinoa, from page 88.There are at least 6 ingredients I don't have, though I may be able to borrow some so I don't have to buy a whole bottle of oyster sauce.

I also might try sprouting some quinoa--the book has directions--it could be good in a salad, or I could find a recipe to use them in!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Cooking Challenge for 2014

Look at me, acting like I know what I'm doing, I'm not fooling anyone!
Early this year I found myself with a real grown up job, (where people looked to me for answers!!) and found that I was still basically living like the college student I was for 10 years. Most of my meals were fast food, frozen meals, or lunch meat sandwiches (I ate like a Sim with no cooking skills!) So I decided I needed to start cooking meals that didn't come from a box.

Over the past 8 or so months, I've cut out my fast food habit, explored an unknown world of veggies, whole grains, and packed lunches. I've also lost almost 75 pounds--yay for swapping hamburgers and french fries for zucchini and spinach! It has been a good year for me food wise, though my attempts to start running have trashed my knees.

My first and last run, now I hobble around.
Since my career as a long distance runner has stalled out of the gate, I thought I'd work on developing my talents else where! My cooking efforts so far have mostly been going to the grocery store, co-op, or farmer's market and buying whatever looked good and then trying roasting, stuffing, or sauteing it to see what would happen. Sometimes it will be great, while other times I'm left tossing a whole eggplant in the garbage as inedible.

So for this next year, my goals are not just to continue eating/cooking real meals and keep this weight off, but to learn to cook and to follow directions. The last is the hardest for me--one of the reasons I like to be in charge! But I think I need to know how to cook better before I experiment as much as I have been.

With this in mind, I've raided my library's book sale and bought 40-50 cookbooks, which is basically 500 times more cook books than I already had, but at around 50cents for most I couldn't control myself! So to fulfill my goal, I am challenging myself to cook at least one recipe from each cookbook, trying some new technique or ingredient or flavor combination I wouldn't ordinary have used. I want to follow the directions as much as possible, though with substitutions to make them as healthy as possible.

Here is hoping that 2014 will be as successful a food year as 2013 has been!