With Thanksgiving days behind us, it is officially time to start celebrating the Christmas Season. We brought out the Christmas tree and decorations tonight, turned on some Christmas carols and broke out the egg nog. It's hard to believe that Christmas is less than a month away now. This month is going to fly by with all that we have planned... Let's hope that we also get some time to just enjoy the season together. <3
Friday, November 27, 2015
This year in Colorado, we saw a cold and snowy Thanksgiving Day. We spent our morning battling the crowds at both the YMCA and at our neighborhood gym, just trying to find an open treadmill somewhere! We finally were able to both get in our full workouts, and headed home for a day filled with cooking.
On the menu this year: 12lb. Turkey, Grandma's Stuffing, Mac & Cheese, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Pretzel Knots, Turkey Gravy and Pecan Topped Pumpkin Pie.
I was trying out new recipes for both the Mac & Cheese and Garlic Mashed Potatoes this year. And I think I learned that sticking with the traditional recipes that I know work great is really the way to go. My potatoes turned out a little too garlic-y and the macaroni was a little greasy for my liking. But everything that hit the table was delicious and it was devoured in fractions of the time it took to prepare it all!
For the turkey this year, we decided to rub it down in butter and season with some of our cooking rub. We also stuck some of that butter under the skin, and it made for a perfectly browned, crispy skin with really tender meat. We have a gallon-sized bag of left-over meat, and I'm guessing it won't really last that long in the fridge...
For the Pumpkin Pie this year, I'd found an idea in a magazine to create a chopped pecan pie crust to go along with my maple pecan topping. So I rolled in some pieces of pecan into the pie dough before baking, and the pie this year is really amazing. I don't know that I've ever had a better pumpkin pie.
Thanksgiving for two has proven to be an interesting day these last several years. On one hand, it is crazy hectic to do all of the cooking, cleaning and work all by yourselves. I scrubbed down my kitchen four different times yesterday between cooking steps, and the dish washer ran three times. Then, on the other hand, there is no stress to make sure the meal is done on time, or that everything is made to perfection. You don't have to be on your best behavior and we don't spend hours traveling to or from our destination. Because it's just us, it makes the holiday feel a little more personal and perfect for just how you love it.
That being said, one of the highlights of the day is always spending some time on Skype with our families. Getting the chance to see everybody in our own little way is what makes me grateful every year. Their understanding of our own traditions and support for us to be following our dreams out to Colorado is more than we could have ever hoped for. We love you guys - Happy Thanksgiving!!!
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Another Thai dish on our list to make was Drunken Noodles. Rice noodles in a sweet and spicy sauce, this time with chicken. The dish turned out pretty good, although not as good as the Pad Thai we made a while ago. Happily, it introduced us to Asian Chili Garlic sauce, which we were both liking a lot. So that will make it into some future dishes for sure.
This week being Thanksgiving, we're using the big day in the kitchen as our cooking adventure this week. I'm hoping that the meal turns out great this year, since I can put a little more love into it, not being totally jet lagged like I was last year! I'll be sure to update on that soon...
December holds not only Christmas and New Year weekends, but we're also spending a weekend in New York with my favorite chef on the planet. So I'm hoping to get some great cooking hints, tips and secrets revealed while I'm there. Also, this only leaves us two more weekends for adventurous cooking!! I'm thinking we need to do 1) Whole, live lobsters and 2) Duck. They seem to be the two dishes that I really wanted to tackle this year, and haven't gotten to yet. So expect to see those on here in the next month, too. Exciting!!
Monday, November 16, 2015
I came down with a nasty little head cold yesterday morning, and ended up passing off the cooking adventure to the hubs last night. Before starting to feel under the weather, I'd found a perfect package of two 4oz. Ahi Tuna Steaks at Costco. We were able to cook them up using one of our favorite cook books' recipe, which also included instructions to make a lemon oil and honey sauce.
In our first adventure cooking tuna, we probably over-cooked the steaks a little. I think we were both a little nervous about it being too raw on the inside. Not because that would have been bad for us to eat, but just because of the way we prefer our fish.
Ultimately, the sear on the steaks and the pairing with the sauce turned out an amazing dinner! Not only was it delicious, but it was quick and fairly easy to make as well. Something that we'll definitely put on the menu again.
Sunday, November 8, 2015
Last night, we took our love for burritos to the next level. With my parents in town visiting, we thought that it would be best to pick one of our most consistently successful recipes, and turn it up a notch to make it new. So we slow cooked some chicken all day, and added it to some fresh chorizo we'd picked up at the farmer's market yesterday morning. Some of us added beans and onions, and we threw together a pretty standard (but delicious) burrito. Then, we fried them. Voila, chimichanga! A little sauce on top and rice on the side made for a fantastic dinner at home.
They were very delicious, but filling. We ended up with more leftovers than I was anticipating, but that just leaves us more options for delicious meals later this week. I've really enjoyed starting to cook for people, and this was a big success. Hooray!
Monday, November 2, 2015
I'll admit that tonight's dinner was more of an excuse to have brinner... But we decided to figure out how to properly cook a berry compote to go over some fluffy, delicious waffles. Not a ton to say here, as the compote came together pretty easily. Mash up some berries with cinnamon, sugar and juice, and let it cook down. Admittedly, the harder part of the dish was getting me to remember how to use the dang waffle maker! I tend to try to pull the waffles out before they're actually ready, and I also tend to make a giant mess. So it took a couple rounds to get it just right, but I devoured my food. It was delicious!
Last weekend, I did something that you're never really supposed to do if you're a good wife... I went out and make a pretty big purchase without consulting the hubby. I bought a new smoker, along with a bag of chicken wings and a beautiful bone-in pork shoulder. I don't recommend doing this, but I'm lucky to have the kind of husband who ultimately likes to make me happy. So even though I broke some rules, he was game to be a weekend BBQ master and cook up some amazing food!
We started out with a very early morning wake-up call (5:30am!) to put together the new equipment and make a quick run back out to the 24-hour grocery store. We'd already marinated the wings and coated the pork in rub over night. After about one and a half hours of prep work, we got the shoulder on the smoker, and split up the morning for our workouts. I was relegated to the trainer (which I gladly accepted as punishment for my bad behavior), and then transitioned quick into a run. As soon as I got back, I got the smoker run-down from the hubs and he went for his turn on the bike and run routine. (We had to make sure we were deserving of a big BBQ dinner).
Every bite of our two meals was delicious. I couldn't have asked for a better day of cooking, but what was I going to do about whipping up something new?!? So as a side, I decided to make brussel sprouts. Not only have I never cooked them before, but I'd never even eaten them... Some people love them, some hate them, and I have to say I leaned more toward the hate group here. I'm sure there was a better way to make them taste good, but my recipe didn't seem to pan out. Luckily, I also made some seasoned red potatoes, and devoured every bite of them with my pulled pork sandwich.