Tuesday, January 21

Food for Thought (Corny Title That is Literally About Food)

I love food. If there is one thing I think humans should be able to indulge in in this life without consequences, it's good food. (Unfortunately, too much food, like all things in excess, is not good for anyone but that's not something I trouble myself with). That's why I am not as careful as I should be when I go grocery shopping. It's like the one thing I think it's okay to splurge on. (Also, since I'm not buying clothes or pretty much anything at all apart from food and necessities right now, it's the one thing I get to have fun buying). And if nothing else--if we're poor and living in a little shack somewhere one day--the one thing I really care about my family having is good food to eat.

In the last two or three weeks, I've received several compliments on my cooking causing me to feel like I'm a pretty good chef. This is a big deal, guys. I have always wanted to be a good chef. Something about wanting to have a big family has made me feel like I have to be a good cook or I'll be screwed in big trouble. So those compliments have really meant a lot to me and I'm also talking about that nice comment someone left me recently about loving my recipes and wanting me to post like a week of dinner ideas I would use. I was thinking about that and wondering why someone might like my recipes and the main thing I realized is that I am picky. I'm not a picky eater per se--I'll eat anything--but I'm a picky chef. I just am not going to put effort into meals that aren't going to be delicious. No joke, I'd rather not eat than eat something that doesn't appeal to me (just ask Dalin).

I believe I'm the good kind of picky though. I love eating, like a lot, and I only want to eat things that are delicious. I am somewhat of a choosy dessert eater because I don't want to eat sweets that are just decent. I would rather save my appetite for the most delectable dish. For example, between brownies and a sundae or a strawberry cheesecake, I'd take one of the latter. Brownies are good, but I just don't love them. It's a weird thing about me, and I'm not sure when it came about but I only realized it about myself recently. If you look at my Cravings board on Pinterest, you'll notice that I hardly have anything on there (at least compared to some people) because I only like to include recipes that A) I'll actually use, and B) That sound delicious enough to be worth putting in the effort. If you check out my board, you'll also probably notice that I love meals that have a healthy look to them. I love vegetables in dishes. I'm really into fresh produce and I'm not even sure it's for the sake of being healthy or more because I just love fruits and veggies. Probably the latter.

So anyhow, having had that ambition to become a great cook ever since I knew I wanted to have a lot of children (which was like, middle school, people), I have always paid attention to how people cook. It's maybe the one thing I'm great at observing (and kind of sneakily, I think). I'm kind of a backseat Food Network watcher, meaning I don't put it on that station, but whenever it's on I can't help but listen and sneak peeks at the techniques being used. Basically, one thing I've learned from watching Chopped (which Dalin used to watch all the time) is that you can make something good with almost nothing. You may feel like you have no ingredients, but you probably could make an amazing meal with what you do have if you knew how to mix them.

I only really started cooking a lot (and "well") since I married Dalin. It's a lot easier to try cooking when you have someone you want to cook for I've discovered. And since the beginning of time of me trying to cook well, I have taken photos of my meals in case they came out so well that I wanted to try and duplicate them. As you could imagine, I have taken a lot of food pictures over the last two and a half years that Dalin and I have been married. So many in fact that I have a "Food" album in iPhoto. Here are a ton (like, a ton) of photos of meals I've made. And it's not even half of the photos I have, but anyway... If you want to ask me about a photo, go for it! And I'll try to write a post about it (or at least give you my recipe) if you would like. Also, notice how I am in love with vegetables (especially colored peppers...) in like every pic.

Enjoy. Oh! And consider drinking a glass of water to fill yourself up before you start, because these pics will probably make you hungry (they did me).
The makings of fancy meat and veggie tomato sauce for spaghetti
Really delicious spaghetti sauce (better than the plain canned/jarred stuff)
Fish and "chips" (kale chips!) with summer squash and zucchini, yum! 
Back when I made over-achiever meals....
This is white cheddar shells, corn, fresh salad (and fresh veggie sticks), fresh berries, with juice. 
Steak and veggies 
Spaghetti with chunky sauce and a side salad
Orange-juice pork chop (the only way we like it), peppers and spinach (my favorite!)
Chocolate covered strawberries. A dessert I actually love.
Chicken and asparagus stir fry
Close up
Fruit smoothie (back when I made them frequently)
Orange-juice pork chop, baked potato and cucumbers
Fish, asparagus, and summer squash
Orange-juice rosemary pork chop with mixed peppers
Made from scratch pancakes
Peanut butter chocolate chip bars
Broccoli pasta with summer squash, zucchini, and fresh tomatoes
OJ rosemary pork chops with spinach and rice
Grandpa French's french toast
Beef stroganoff on egg noodles (first time I ever made it)
Spicy sausage and fresh tomato spaghetti sauce
OJ pork chops (we used to have this a lot--it's one of Dalin's favorites) with buttery mashed potatoes and spinach
Beef stroganoff, another time (I think it got even better)
Taco stuff
Make your own tacos
Fresh tomato spaghetti sauce with canned green beans and bread
Homemade buttery sweet rolls! 
horrible picture-- AMAZING fresh salsa recipe for a party. Seriously, we ate it all. 
Chicken salad sandwiches with grapes, cucumbers, spinach, etc.
Pork chops, spinach, rice, peppers, corn
Rice and veggie stir fry
Crock pot ribs, potato, and carrots 
Chicken, rice, and veggie stir fry
Steak and veggies over rice
Steak, mashed potatoes, green beans, squash and bread 
Mexican buñuelos (fried cookies) - love them.
Spicy sausage penne
Fresh tomato, basil and Queso fresco bruschetta
Scrambled omelette with tomatoes and peppers, crispy bacon, and toast with homemade jelly and fresh pomegranate seeds
Are there any recipes/pictures you want to know more about? 
What is your personal favorite recipe?
Have you tried any of mine? (Or are you going to?)

In other news, Tenley just nailed me with her spit up which landed perfectly (or imperfectly) down the gap between my chest and my shirt. Ah, the joys of motherhood. I knew I shouldn't have showered today...


  1. What are orange juice pork chops? Jordan loves pork chops as well, but I've never heard of these!

    1. Hey Allyson!
      So basically, just buy pork chops (with or without the bone--sometimes I like the taste the bone adds more...) and stick them in a baking dish. Set your oven to 350. Poke holes in the pork chops with a fork (this is optional, but it helps the flavor soak in more) then pour Orange Juice (we like pulp but I don't think it matters) over it until it covers the bottom of the dish. Then I sprinkle dried rosemary, seasoned salt, pepper, onion powder (and sometimes other stuff) on top and cook for 40-50 minutes (until mostly white--sometimes there is still some pink on the outside but that's okay--we've eaten it like 100 times and never gotten sick). The OJ flavor is subtle, but it's pretty much the only way we like our pork chops now. Plain is too plain for us.


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