Wednesday, December 16, 2009

If at first you don't succeed...

I never did tell you how my contribution to Thanksgiving dinner went. It certainly wasn't anything to brag about.

As it turned out, we had too many cooks in the kitchen on and I ended up only being in charge of (more like only being allowed to make) the corn. Without any supplies to "doctor it up," I put two bags of frozen corn in the microwave with a bit of water, set it to 5 minutes and hit start.

Actually, I then forgot about it for 15 minutes. When I finally checked the corn, it was already cold – or never warm enough. Sigh... Another 5 minutes and a generous portion of butter later the corn was ready.

At first I was quite pleased to receive a few compliments, but days later when my "famous corn"(as it had been dubbed) was still a hot topic of conversation, it was apparent the fam was mocking my cooking skills (or lack there of).

My Type-A, slightly obsessive, definitely competitive side kicked in and I set a new goal for myself: must get family seal of approval on something I make.

Fast-forward to last Sunday. We had an early Christmas celebration at my aunt and uncle's house. I decided I'd go all out and bring a side dish, a few Christmas cookies and a hostess gift.

For my side dish I made Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon Pecan Crunch. And (drum roll, please) they were a big hit! There was suspicion that I bought them or Fiancé made them, but by the end of the night it was all praise (and not mocking kind).

I also made two dozen of my very own cookie surprise. There's no recipe for this, I simply wrap a piece of bite-sized candy in sugar cookie dough and bake for 10-12 minutes. I use a variety, so when you eat a cookie, surprise! It might be a peanut butter cup, butterfingers, crunch bar, chocolate mint, etc.

Now I'm already plotting what I can make for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. As always, suggestions are appreciated!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dish Dilemma

Help! Which Dishes?

I'm looking for a more casual set of dishes that can be dressed up if necessary. I've narrowed it down to two - both earthenware (which apparently doesn't scratch from silverware as much as porcelain or stoneware), both are microwave and dishwasher safe, and both are the same price. Plus all of the pieces are roughly the same size (including bigger mugs than are shown in the pics).

Which setting do you like better?

Butler's Pantry Gourmet Set by Lenox

Emma Dinnerware from Pottery Barn

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Hello Sweet Success!

After five days heavy on the carbs and fried goodness (as any vacation should be), we were itching for something healthy to eat. So I headed out to the grocery store where I picked up just about every veggie in stock before making my way to the seafood section.

Tilapia was on sale and happens to be one of my favorites. I was ordering my fish when it happened.

Lady at the grocery store: The Tilapia always looks good, but I have no idea what to do with it. How do you cook it?
Me: Actually it’s pretty easy. I just cover both sides with olive oil and a generous portion of fish rub. Then I bake it.

Albeit it isn’t exactly the most difficult recipe, it is still exciting that somebody actually asked me what to do in a grocery store. Even more exciting, I had an answer for her!

Another of my favorite simple white fish recipes:

Put butter on both sides of the fish. Then crush up Ritz crackers in a baggie and sprinkle the crumbs over the top until the fish is completely covered. Season to taste and bake. Couldn’t be easier!