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When I am trying to block out the world and its toxic information, trying to block out my own thoughts, I look for a distraction. Following a recipe is a great way to focus on something else for a while and you get a (sometimes) tasty reward. This is one of my favorite activities because I absolutely love food. I. Love. Food. There is not much that I won’t eat and probably enjoy, so the standard is very low which is helpful. However, I’ve not had much diversity in my cooking history. The majority of meals I cook are meat and potatoes or rice because that is what the family likes. I love casseroles, pasta and saucy dishes and I’ve been incorporating interesting finds here and there along with desserts which everyone likes.
As per tradition, my daughter and I had our annual July, fresh-squeezed, lemonade stand. We sold lemonade and chocolate chip muffins. For the lemonade, we never use the simple syrup method because using a stove is too much work. The real “simple” solution is mixing the sugar and lemon juice and then adding the water. Of course, you can add sugar and lemon juice to suit your taste. I think it’s delicious, here is the recipe. The muffins were alright, a little bland and rough-textured, I thought. My daughter loved them and she made $22.
We ended up having bags of extra lemons, so I was looking for recipes to use them up. I am really excited to make lemon squares, the ones with the powdered sugar on top. I’ve never made them before. But I promised my mom some lemon-blueberry loaf, so I did that first. I read a really good article on how you can freeze lemons in different ways to use over the next three months. You can freeze slices or wedges, the juice can be frozen in ice cube trays for later use and the zest can also be frozen.
This lemon loaf is so delicious! I can’t even express the level of goodness. It’s basically cake in a loaf form. It is so lemony with lemon juice and zest in the recipe and my house smelled so good when I was zesting all those lemons. The blueberries were an add-in and, of course, they sunk to the bottom but it was still so good.
Desserts are usually my most successful recipes. I spent hours peeling and coring apples for these two pies. Don’t they look good? They’re not. I set the oven too low and they never got done in the center. Around the edges was delicious but no one wants to eat raw dough. I had to throw it out. My only consolation was that the apples were given to me and I didn’t pain myself to make the crust myself. It was store bought crust because years ago I vowed to never again deal with the annoyance of making my own pie crust when I can buy it already made. To me, it’s worth the $2. I bet you I’ll try it again, though, because I really don’t like buying processed, packaged food. I’m just lazy.
These stuffed shells have become one of my favorites and this was before I knew Chrissy Tiegen made them. I like to use this recipe with ground sausage and spinach although I forgot the spinach on this occasion. You can also freeze this recipe which is great for a quick weekday meal. I’ve made these three times now.
Another good recipe that I managed to kill recently was the turkey burgers. I have been using ground turkey for a lot of things lately like tacos, spaghetti or chili. I really like these dressed-up turkey patties to just eat plain but I keep using different recipes and I can’t find the original that I liked. This recipe called for feta cheese and spinach in the patty. My bad, I didn’t squeeze any water out of the frozen spinach and it was a falling-apart mess on my pan. I managed to keep it together by flipping them with two spatulas and the kids ate it, so mission accomplished.
I love some eggs and ever since I discovered this combination of eggs, tomatoes, spinach and goat cheese it has remained a staple in my diet for the last five years. SO. YUMMY. On my new favorite recipe blog I saw a version of this that was baked, so as to keep the yolk runny and that sounded amazing. Just one problem, you are supposed to bake it in a cast iron pan. I definitely do not have one of those but how different can it be from a pie plate? I used a pie plate and it is definitely not the same. That’s probably why the recipe didn’t say put it in a “pie plate”. But, you know, I REEEEEALLLY wanted that breakfast. So, that was my biggest lesson in the last few months. You must have the correct equipment. Cast iron pan, zester. There really is no good substitute for these. I ate part of that snotty disaster and felt sick all day. Later, I made my old scrambled version and felt satisfied, taste-buds beaming.
Last but certainly not least, the cinnamon rolls were probably one of the most complex things I’ve attempted to make and they were delicious. I would’ve liked them to be a bit more fluffy. Perhaps the dough was too dry or rolled too thin. They were a lot of work and my first experience baking with citrus zest. These rolls have orange zest in the dough with brown sugar, coconut and cinnamon filling and an orange glaze. They have great flavor and the possibility to be pillows of heavenly goodness if I can get it just right. I will try again for sure.
I hope you enjoyed my adventures in distraction, I mean, cooking! Let me know if you have any favorite recipes or share with me your favorite distractions from the real world.