While I was feeling yucky, my darling husband rented the movie "Julie & Julia." This movie is based on a true story of a woman named Julie, who was inspired by Julia Child's love of cooking. She committed to go through Mrs. Child's entire cookbook, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" in a year, making each recipe. This was a wonderful movie, and I recommend it to anyone who loves to cook!
While I don't have the kind of commitment (or financial resources, for that matter!) to go through any of my cookbooks in a designated amount of time, I've been inspired to freshen up my cooking skills by simply choosing a cookbook and trying some new recipes I normally wouldn't consider for one reason or another. I LOVE to cook, and somewhat pride myself on being able to cook and bake a wide range of food, but there are certain recipes I stay away from...maybe because of certain ingredients, or an intimidating technique, and yes, maybe sometimes, too *simple*. LOL! Considering one of my ultimate goals is to cook more from scratch, this is a perfect "stretching" exercise for me. :)
So, last night, I began browsing one of my favorite general, go-to cookbooks, "The Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book." I was determined NOT to make a shopping list. I just wanted to see if there were maybe a few recipes in there that I already have all the ingredients for, and I did NOT want to try and come up with substitutes for ingredients, since I was determined to make the recipe AS IS, to see how it comes out that way first. Then, if something is off, I will work on making it more to our liking. My philosophy being, there's quite a bit out there that we've just never tried!
Anyway, I started in the Appetizer section and actually found quite a few recipes that I had everything for. So today, I got to work. For lunch, I made Potato Skins, which were excellent. I'm normally the only one in my family who likes tomatoes (especially those you can blatantly see sitting on your food), and everyone enjoyed these chopped-fresh-tomato-covered treats. I didn't even see any picked-off tomatoes laying around anywhere...nice! Then, right before dinner, I threw together some dill dip to chill for later, which I enjoyed on some crackers for an after-dinner snack. Sure beats that stuff we got once upon a time from Tastefully Simple, and was just as easy to make! Tomorrow, I will serve it to the boys with their fresh veggies for lunch (if there's any left...ahem!). I thought I was done, but found a huge bag of walnuts in the freezer after the boys went to bed. That meant I had all the ingredients for Sweet Spiced Walnuts! Whipped those together in less than 5 minutes, baked them for 20, and now they're sitting on the counter, cooling and waiting to be consumed. :)
Now, we have some interesting, and somewhat healthy (homemade is better anyway!) snacks for the week. I'm making notes in my cookbook of what we really like, so that I can integrate that into our staples, and work on my cooking in that area, if necessary. I LOVE to cook, and I'm so excited for what I'm going to learn! :)