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Update on the Cooking Adventures

I posted a few weeks ago about starting to take more responsibility in the kitchen. I thought I’d post an update to let you know this adventure is still alive and well. I have now had cooking duties two more times and I think this weekly trade-off is here to stay.

Want to know what I made in my last two weeks of cooking?

Sorry, I don’t have links for everything. We usually eat leftovers or salad for lunch. I made this delicious beat salad both weeks I think.

Food I had never purchased or cooked with before:

  • Bok choy
  • Leeks
  • Shrimp
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Eggplant

Um . . . and I got to say – Spaghetti Squash – seriously, who knew? It really looks and acts like spaghetti! Apparently gluten-free people often use this as a pasta substitute. I loved it. We’re definitely doing that again.

I think my favourites were the Spinach Artichoke Chicken (full of cheese!) and the Pork Tenderloin with the Cilantro pesto was really good too. The Vegetarian Ratatouille turned out amazingly flavourful, considering I forgot the onion and didn’t have the fresh basil you’re supposed to add before serving. I was really proud of myself because John wasn’t even home for dinner that night so normally I would have just had a quesadilla for dinner. Instead, I actually prepped the whole meal and started the crock pot during Canon’s nap.

The Cuban Rice Bowls are a staple in our meal rotation. We don’t do a ton of vegetarian meals but this is one that John really gets behind.

While we’re talking food, I wanted to share the recipe I use to make my homemade granola bars. I gave up on store bought ones ages ago. I can never find what I really like. Too gooey, too crunchy, too sugary, too dry, too soft, too much filler, not enough nutrients etc. I’ve made this recipe 10-12 times now and I will say, getting it to stick together is a little difficult. Let’s just say you don’t want to skimp on the wet ingredients. Plus, I often add a variety of other nuts and seeds so I do a little extra honey and coconut oil to compensate. This last time I went a little overboard and it was the first time they were really glued together but I felt like the honey flavour was rather overpowering.

This recipe is adapted from Chewy Almond Cherry Granola Bars by Iowa Girl Eats (picture below is hers as well)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole almonds
  • 1 cup pecan halves [or walnuts or cashews]
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup dried cherries, chopped if large [I do raisins and/or cranberries]
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame seeds [sometimes I do 1 tbs pumpkin seeds and 1 tbs sesame]
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons honey [I add a little extra of this if I've added more ingredients]
  • 3 Tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract [I just do 1/2 tsp vanilla because I don't have almond extract]
  • dash of cinnamon [I'm pretty liberal with the "dash"]

Directions:

Add 1/2 cup each of almonds, pecans, and old fashioned oats into a food processor. Process until fine (not too long or it will start to turn into nut butter!) then pour into a large bowl. Roughly chop the remaining pecans and almonds, then add the bowl. Add remaining old fashioned oats, cherries, and sesame seeds, then mix well and set aside.

Combine honey, coconut oil, salt, vanilla & almond extracts, and cinnamon in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the mixture melts, then foams, then cook for 15 seconds longer. Pour over nut mixture and mix thoroughly to coat all the ingredients.

Line a half sheet pan or 8×8 pan with enough saran wrap or parchment paper to let it hang far over the sides, then pour in granola. Press very, very firmly with your hands or something with a flat bottom (may need to spray it with non-stick spray.) Wrap the overhanging saran wrap or parchment paper up over the sides and refrigerate until firm, about 4 hours.

Using a sharp knife, cut chilled granola into bars. Wrap individually in saran wrap and store in the fridge.

Depending on how thin you cut the bars you can get anywhere from 12-18 bars and I usually go about 3 weeks between making the recipe.

Have you been cooking anything good lately?

 

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  • Nisa

    you are so adventurous with your recipes. bravo to a girl who “doesn’t like to cook”. those look tasty and quite the variety. we are much more boring at my house though i do love to cook and bake. just not as easy these days being mostly grain free (minus rice, quinoa, and corn tortillas). i may have to be a little braver though.

    • http://www.mycallingiq.com/ Natasha Crozier

      Thanks Nisa! I definitely like the slowcooker – that’s my kind of cooking! We are heading in the Paleo direction to we’re testing out ditching grains as much as possible. I usually research some blogs the week before I cook to find some recipes that I want to eat. Since I rarely cooked before this – they all feel adventurous!

  • Kelsie

    Go Tash! I love that you are venturing out and buying new ingredients! Isn’t it fun? Watch out-you’re about to become addicted. :)