Love. It’s the driving force why we really do anything. Love for God, ourselves, and the ones we hold near and dear. The reason I don’t cook for a living is because I love it and one of my favorite parts of cooking is blessing others with my cooking. For me, doing that for money would take some of that joy away from it. A roast chicken can cheer you up after a long, cold day. A fancy cake can serve as a significant part of a celebration. A taco bar can tell you that it’s time to relax after a busy week. And all of those events are infused with love. It makes all the difference!
I think about this when I’m not motivated to cook. I try to slow down and focus on the moment. Maybe it’s the weight of the knife in my hand, or the cold water running over the vegetables. All of these small moments are amazing and come together to make a meal that nourishes!
I hope your weekend is filled with love!
(Not my photo)
“What is a duffin,” you say? Why, it is a doughnut-muffin combo. Not a combo, like the cheese substance filled pretzel snack, but like mash up, similar to the cronut. I used to live near a bakery that made duffins regularly and I loved that bakery. They had delicious things and really cute windows. It was quintessential small walking town with a train.
Go here for the recipe, because I did nothing to make it my own, other than change the name and used heavy cream instead of milk. Because, use what you have. Anyway, these are a delight since they have pumpkin and are rolled in melted butter and cinnamon sugar.
Dessert for Two is generally a delight because if I make a whole cake, I will eat it in its entirety and that is not a thing that should happen with regularity. I’m trying to make more small batches because I miss baking but I don’t need all that stuff at home. Also, I am baking more things to take to work because I love my coworkers.
I’m a planner. I like planning trips, my week, and especially meals. It really gets my motor running to plan a theme meal. I might like it better than eating it. I get it, I’m a little strange.
When I was a single lady, I didn’t cook a lot on a regular basis. I’m sad to say that I lived on quinoa, chickpeas, and Kashi cereal. I’ve come a long way in my cooking. But I do have a great Greek quinoa salad if you need it! I digress.
When I got married, I had someone who was really hungry for real meals! Every. Day. The man can eat and is very active so he needs proper nutrition. Enter: meal planning. Back in the olden days, I would sit down with my food magazines, newspaper clippings, cookbooks, and random printed recipes to plan the meals for the week. I learned a few things:
- I really didn’t need to plan everything out for every meal. I think if you have more than 2 people you might but this is meal planning for 2 adults who eat a fair amount.
- Pick 2-3 main dishes for the week that can be repurposed into a new meal or used in a new way. The best example of this is a roasted chicken.
- Salads that improve over time- hearty greens, cabbage, root vegetables tend to improve as they soak up the dressing.
- Pick something new to make. This eliminates boredom. Plan to make it on a night that you have more time or on a weekend.
- Also, have some tried and true recipes that you can make in your sleep. A fried egg will suffice!
- If you work/go to grad school/have a life, the crock pot is your new best friend. I know I wouldn’t have eaten nearly as well without it.
- Plan to go to the grocery store one time in the week. It saves a ton of time. Plus, the grocery store is not a place you want to be. Ever.
- Pick a theme for your meals for the week. It will help you use up all your produce before it dies a slow death in the crisper. My go to theme is tex-mex.
- Don’t be afraid to go outside what you are used to. My mom wouldn’t have ever made breakfast for dinner but that doesn’t mean I can’t! Plus, you probably have all those ingredients right now.
In the last three years, I have converted to the meal planning program, “Plan to Eat.” It works really well for me. I also like that my husband can reference it if he wants to help me out. Yes, it costs a bit of money, but it’s very low and to me has been completely worth it. That’s going to be a personal choice if you need or want to use something like that. It’s a lot easier and less clutter to not have tons of clippings scattered around the house!
How do you meal plan?
(but really, just beets). (name that quote). Beets might be my favorite vegetable. Gosh, that hue alone is so enticing, isn’t it? I make them every week. I think I have found the easiest and most delicious way to prepare them and we just don’t get tired of them.
This recipe is from my mom, she went to a fancy cooking class and passed this recipe along. I usually prepare the beets this way and throw them on salads and things throughout the week. The sherry vinegar is what makes it extra special. It has a nice sweetness to it and retains the acid. Yum yum!
Beets and Red Onion Vinaigrette
1 lb very small beets
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
1 T sherry vinegar
2 T EVOO
1 shallot, chopped
1 t finely chopped thyme
1 t finely chopped parsley
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Trim and peel beets, and wrap individually in foil. Bake 45-60 min, until a knife goes through without resistance.
Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette. I’ve omitted honey and used dried thyme and it is just fine.
When the beets have cooled enough to handle, chop into pieces and throw in the vinaigrette. It’s great if the beets are a bit warm, the vinaigrette soaks in better.
I was turned onto this bread about a year ago when I read this post. The gorgeous photos alone were enough to intrigue me and the description sounded lovely. I actually endeavored to make this yeasted cake last Christmas, but in the mix of too much going on, I didn’t have the time to devote and it was abandoned. Then, my lovely mother in law gave me a copy of Jerusalem (I may have hinted strongly). Oh what a book it has been. I have been cooking out of it for the past 2 years and still don’t think I have scratched the surface. If you enjoy cooking and trying new flavors, please give it a whirl. It is the best.
Onto this cake (bread). I didn’t grow up eating Chocolate Babka, but this is what that is. Think, giant cinnamon roll in loaf form with chocolate instead of cinnamon. To make this into french toast would really take it over the top. The instructions on the post that I linked above are perfect, so go there and follow along. It’s more time consuming than difficult, and a lot of the time is resting time.
One note, this doesn’t travel super well. It’s a pretty delicate bread, so I would keep it local for savoring. This is a perfect bread to make for special people in your life for Christmas or any other holiday.