Teaching myself to cook, one recipe at a time.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

and life goes on...

When I began this blog three and a half years ago, I read somewhere that you should never begin a blog post by saying, “It’s been so long since I posted.” It takes away from the content without adding anything, and honestly, no one wants to read a description of the things that kept you too busy to write.

So I’m not going to describe how difficult it is for me to find a few spare minutes these days, or how 90% of my cooking efforts go toward making baby food purees, or how all I want to do when I do have a break is to eat a bowl of ice cream and go to bed.

But I feel as though I owe it to anyone who’s read this blog over the years to write this post as a bit of explanation. I’ve made the decision to suspend this little project of mine, much as I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve got a few reasons.

1. I accidentally deleted the majority of pictures that appear throughout my old posts. I was cleaning up the host site and did something stupid, and now most of the pictures are gone. I have the originals all on my hard drive, but the thought of going back through 3 1/2 years of posts to add them back in is just daunting. The whole issue makes me want to cry. Anyone up to doing this for me?

2. Many of the meals that I have cooked lately have appeared in some form on another blog. Maybe it’s the academic in me, but there’s a very big part of me that feels squeamish writing about recipes that someone else has already written about, even if I assign full credit to the original source. Besides it not being my own content, my version is also typically an amateur version of something that’s already been beautifully done. If my cooking and my photography aren’t as good as the original, I’m not adding anything creative or new by posting about it.

3. I truly struggle with the fact that days are only 24 hours long, that I work full time, that I want to be with my baby every moment that I can at home, that she isn’t a great sleeper and that I'm always hoping for a better night sleep tonight.

I’ve really, really enjoyed writing this blog. I have learned a lot and have expanded my knowledge, and I’ve enjoyed sharing with other people. I love when people tell me that they’ve read the blog and that they enjoy seeing new posts. So thank you, those of you who have kept up with me. It means more than you know.

I would like to resume posting at some point, several years in the future. It kills me to join the ranks of defunct blogs that never got off the ground, and I hope this doesn’t get forgotten like so many of them do. I put a lot of my heart and soul into this project and I really believe that I’ll come back to it when my life allows it.

Until then, this is it.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Classic Lemon Pepper Chicken

Hey, a new post! It’s been a while. Sorry about that. It’s not that I never cook anymore, but rather that it’s pretty hard to find the time to cook and take pictures and then blog about the experience when you’ve got a baby. Normally, whenever I get a few free minutes, I spend them trying to frantically brush my teeth, clean the dishes, and do whatever else I can do around the house before Baby wakes up or needs my attention again.


But Baby is sleeping peacefully in her crib right now, and the dishes are done (because hubby picked up dinner on the way home), so I’ve got a little time. So I’ll share a super simple recipe that I found and tried out a few days ago.

When I’m strapped for time, baby or not, I look for recipes with few dishes to clean, few ingredients to use, and few steps to go through. This is one of those recipes.

First, start with a little bit of all-purpose flour.


Add a tablespoon of lemon-pepper seasoning, which you bought several years ago for a recipe and have barely touched since, and won’t toss out even though you’re not supposed to hold onto spices for long because hey, there’s nothing wrong with it.




Mix the flour and seasoning up.


Next, prepare some chicken breasts. Mine were big, so I used a big knife to cut them into thinner pieces. I failed at making them similar sizes. Oh well, you win some and you lose some.


Throw some butter in a skillet…


And then, one by one, dip pieces of chicken in the flour. Turn it so it’s coated on both sides.


And drop them in the pan. Don’t overcrowd the pan too much; do the chicken in shifts if you have to (and I had to).


After a few minutes of sizzling, turn the chicken over.


And that’s it! Take it out of the pan when it’s cooked through, and you’re done. Serve with some green beans and potatoes or something like that, and you’ve got a fairly healthy (except for the whole frying-in-butter part) and easy meal.


A nice way to use the chicken breasts that I always seem to have on hand and not know what to do with.

Source: Classic Lemon Pepper Chicken

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Runner's Salas or Quick Hummus Salad

So Jolie hasn't posted in FOREVER, which must have something to do with having a baby or whatever ;) So I, Jacki, am taking over to share this awesome recipe I saw in Runner's World magazine which I changed a tiny bit.  It's a perfect balance for everyone's meal, especially athletes, vegetarian athletes (me!) even more so.  The gluten free folks can chow down too!

Here is the original recipe from my copy of Runner's World.

This is so easy that I feel no instruction is necessary except to chop the parsley as small as possible.  You'll see what I did differently.

First I chopped up some broccoli, carrots (yeah I bought them that way), red bell pepper and I used a whole jar of feta, which was at least 1 1/2 cups.

Next step was to chop parsley, halve Cherry tomatoes (it was way better the first time when I bought a variety of small tomatoes, lots more flavor), add chopped walnuts and golden rasins.

Finally, add a can of chick peas and one can of black beans. 

Now mix it all up.  Warning: it makes a ton of food!

I put this on spinach and used a balsamic vinegar dressing and it was delicious.  But, I also eat it right from yhe bowl plain and it's so good!  Josh used his on top of tacos, on his meat, and basically on everything he are until it was gone.  This huge bowl lasted 2 days at our house.  That's how good it is!  

Happy eating!