Now that I am settled in my new place, and getting into a rhythm balancing my new job and grow up life, I have been able to start paying some more attention to a few things I have neglected lately. Mainly cooking.
My mom is a great cook. She has spoiled my family with a huge database (aka overflowing box of notecards and newspaper clippings) of delicious meals. She changed up her menu often so growing up, we rarely would eat the same meal twice in one month. Mom is a nurse and very tuned into what Dr. Oz, Oprah, and the latest health news, meaning our meals were balanced, nutritious, and delicious! Ever since I can remember Mom got us involved in the kitchen. We started out as her kitchen staff, setting and clearing the table. We moved on to become trusty prep staff, peeling carrots, chopping vegies, and stirring the pot. Years of observing and listening to directions has formed me into a pretty confident cook.
Since its just Mom and Dad at home these days, there is usually too much food for just two people. So when Mom cooks certain meals, rather than eating leftovers for a week, she freezes some individual sized portions to share with us. This is mostly what I have been eating since I moved in. I get a touch of home in the evening when I heat up a jar or mom’s home made chili, turkey soup, or spaghetti sauce (three of my favorites). I didn’t cook as much as I would have liked in college either, between classes, working, and homework the time (and money) for regular cooking just didn’t work out. I survived on mom’s meals along with salads, tilapia, simple chicken recipes, and chips and salsa 🙂
Cooking breakfast burritos with my friends!
I love to cook…well actually I love to eat. I love cooking by association. Cooking is much cheaper than eating out, and I love mixing flavors and getting what I want. I can add exactly how much or how little of an ingredient I want.
I think cooking is a lot like engineering. Both cooking and engineering usually have some types of steps to follow, an algorithm, procedure, or recipe. Even though there is a basic guideline, both result in a lot of critical thinking. Things never seem to go as planned. I get creative when I don’t have the ingredients the recipe calls for, or maybe want to substitute a few things to make the dish a little more on the healthy side. Both engineering and cooking also require many conversions, and when balancing the timing of your meal those conversions must be made quickly! Usually when I crave a certain meal, I look up a handful of recipes online and pick a choose a few elements to make a dish of my own. I love sharing my creations with my friends or family and invite them over to eat every chance I get.
Want to come over for dinner? Grab a seat at the table George and I finished together! Read about it here.
I have been whipping up a few things in the kitchen lately that I will be sharing with you soon once I can put my recipes on to paper. Some of these are pinterest creations, some I have come up with on my own, and (with permission) I might even share a few of my mom’s bests!
This leads me to one last point. A quick product review!
I stumbled across “Gourmet Garden” seasoning pastes by accident, and am totally hooked! I love cooking with fresh flavors as often as I can, but things like fresh basil, cilantro, garlic, and other spices can get expensive if you buy them all the time. Also cooking for just one or two, they usually go bad before you can use them all. For example, I LOVE fresh cilantro! I buy a bundle of it from the produce section to use in chicken tacos. I only use a little bit and struggle to find ways to use more of it all week before it eventually ends up going bad in my fridge. Then I have wasted money, and eaten nothing my cilantro flavored food all week.
I imagine I am not the only one that has this problem. Well I have good news, I have found a solution!
Gourmet Garden spices and herb pastes! I know, “paste” sounds a little bit gross, but I assure you they are wonderful! These toothpaste-like tubes are jam packed of delicious fresh flavors. Any one who cooks knows that dried cilantro or basil from the spice rack does not at all compare to the real fresh thing. These do! They are available in many flavors including basil, cilantro, garlic, hot chili, ginger, lemon grass, and coriander. I am not sure who all sells them, but I was able to find them at Wal-mart in the produce section near those cute little lemon and lime juice bottles.
Each tube is clearly marked on how much goodness it contains. For example, the Basil contains “3 bunches of organic chopped fresh basil”. This is helpful for recipes, and can also just be added based on your taste. The best thing is it tastes just like the fresh stuff, and you can store it in your fridge for much longer! (They are also gluten free).
I totally recommend checking these out! In the next few weeks I will share different ways I have used these in my cooking!
I would love to hear what meals you think Gourmet Garden might useful. Share in the comments below!