Cooking

Every so often, I find myself on a recipe rampage, looking for anything quick, healthy, and most importantly, delicious to cook. A lot of the time I wind up printing out and collecting recipes from a plethora of online and print sources, and never get around to cooking them. That’s the problem with this whole full-time job thing; it cuts into all the fun!

I frequently complain about not having enough time to do what I want – work out, cook more elaborate meals, and just spend time relaxing.

That being said, I think I have perfected the art of creating weekly staples that can be modified, and made within about 20 minutes from start to finish. Yes, they aren’t always the healthiest of choices, but they get the job done, and you can always pair it with a quick salad or frozen veggie.

I’ve made everything from a South-Western style stir-fry, a regular stir-fry, different variations of burritos (of course), chicken parmigana, huevos rancheros, apple streusel pancakes, chili dogs, and more tame things like veggie burgers or grilled cheese with four cheeses.

I have had a lot of luck on the internet alone. I subscribe to Vegetarian Times, Fitness Magazine, and check-in with HungryGirl and Kitchen Monki often for suggestions. I even somehow found myself getting mailings from TheKnot.com and TheNest.com, which sometimes provide great meal suggestions. Though I don’t really appreciate all of the wedding and baby information shoved in my face. But that’s neither here nor there.

At any rate, I think we as a society spend too much time running around, and when it comes to eating, we really don’t take the time to enjoy not only the eating process, but also the cooking process. I’ve started to embrace food, cooking, and eating as much more of an art-form recently. It truly is a creative outlet that allows someone to bring happiness to not only themselves, but others. Can you honestly say that when someone brings you a cupcake when you’re feeling down, or makes you some soup when you’re sick, it doesn’t make you feel just a bit better? Even if it has no true “healing powers,” it speaks volumes to someone’s mental well-being.

In theory, on the outside, I’d much rather have my meals prepared for me. By the end of a long work-day and trip to the gym, the last thing I want to do is begin cooking. I’d much rather just have my meal ready and waiting. I often joke that I now understand why the men of the 1950’s expected dinner on the table for them after a long day.

Since I recently bit the bullet and moved out, I find myself cooking more often. Granted, weekends are usually left to more quick and casual fare, I make sure to cook at least two to three times a week, depending on the week’s activities. When you know someone else will be eating and enjoying your food, I really think it adds something special. Seeing the look on the other person’s face when they bite into your first accomplished Chicken Parm, or re-invented a Crunch Wrap Supreme brings a sense of pride to your work. It really is like an artist showing off their piece at a gallery.

It sounds ridiculous, but you really need to have a relationship with your food. There can’t be anything left in the dark. It needs to know what you’re capable of, and it also needs to let you know what it’s willing to do. For example, a Vidalia onion works well when it’s sautéed, but a red onion doesn’t. These are the types of things you and your food need to work with. Granted that sounds just as ridiculous, but it’s true. If food is something you love, and are passionate about, I don’t think it should be treated too differently from a pet, for example. It needs to be taken care of properly; whether it be refrigerating it, using it by the proper date, preparing it in a specific manner, etc. Your food will be able to give to you only as much as you give to it.

That being said, I’m thinking about beginning at least a once-a-week entry about my adventures in the kitchen. I’ve found so far I really have just written about things and deliciousness I’ve experienced outside my kitchen. I think it’s time for my own personal bragging rights, and more likely than not, entertainment at my expense. If I follow a specific recipe, (like HungryGirl’s re-do of Taco Bell’s Crunch Wrap Supreme) I’ll post it along with a re-cap of my adventures and a picture. I can’t promise everything will come out as expected, or I’ll even like it. But that’s all part of the fun, isn’t it?

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