Pantry Fridge Leftover Experiments

Hubby is gone for the rest of the week, so somehow I feel a little more adventurous in making disgusting looking food for myself.

Today it is dumplings (for protein), over random pasta, plus zucchini (leftover and cooked in the remaining potsticker juice cause I’m lazy like that and why not), and this olive oil garlic sauce except without the anchovies ha ha which are probably a main ingredient, but whatevs!  Topped it off with panko, because I read the recipe wrong.  Whoops!   🙂  So we have an Italian-Asian fusion going on here.  Cause that’s what I meant to do….  😉  Bon appetit.

Verdict?  It doesn’t taste bad!  I overcooked the zucchini though.  I wouldn’t mind eating this again if I had random ingredients to get rid of.

The end.

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Food Bill and Budget

I LOVE sushi.  With that said, I’d like to see if we can cut down on costs and waste less.  I’d also like to learn to cook more, of course.

Therefore, this link of best food blogs for eating on a budget is going to be of use to me in the future.

Eat By Date

I have this weird thing where when I have leftover groceries from a recipe, I don’t use them up immediately because I don’t want to eat the same thing two days in a row.  What happens is that the grocery, in this case, asparagus, sits in the fridge.  It sits in the fridge for maybe a week before I realize, “OMG, I forgot about that.”  I immediately wonder, “Is it still good?”  and because I’m too scared to check, I LEAVE IT IN THERE to check later.  It’s the most illogical thing ever, but the fear prevails.  -_____-  I know, I know.

So days pass, and the asparagus is nagging me from the bottom of our fridge, but I can’t bring myself to look.  I’m afraid of what I might find.  Finally, when it’s time to clean out the fridge because we’re going on a trip, I take it out, and Google “How do you know if asparagus is bad?”  The asparagus doesn’t smell so good, but the texture isn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  The appearance has definitely changed.  It’s definitely not firm anymore, and I even found one stalk that had what looked like mold!  (OK, it was definitely mold)  But some of the stalks seem like they’re firm enough to still eat?  Maybe?  Do I risk it?  So I go through the asparagus, and think to myself, well maybe if I cook it, it’ll be okay, because I hate throwing out food.  I rinse them, even snap them up into bite sized pieces.  But a twinge of doubt is there.

So then I do some more Googling and ask, “When is it okay to just cut off moldy parts and eat the rest?”  Apparently, according to USDA, hard veggies and hard cheese where mold is part of the process are O-K.  Everything else, nope.  The asparagus?  I think it’s hard but porous enough to be considered a soft veggie, which is what USDA considers cucumber.  Bah.  I guess I’m throwing my asparagus away.

So I guess this is my umpteenth lesson that I should just use up everything, but then I end up with oddly ratio’d meals.  What is a girl to do?  Have asparagus two days in a row?  Does it freeze well?  That’s a Google search for another time.

Meanwhile, I have some sirloin (I think?) defrosting.  What to do with it?

Cooking for Guests

I WANT TO CRY.

Today was supposed to be my menu planning day.  Well it is 1:24pm, and here I am, with my bowl of macaroni and cheese, and wondering “What in the world do real adults want to eat?!” and “How am I supposed to make it?!”

Seriously.  Rotisserie chickens and salad, I’m coming for you.

What else?

I’ve been noticing a serious lack of really good food blogs about Hong Kong style food in ENGLISH.  I’ve been thinking about it from time to time, because that is what I grew up on, and now I feel like I have little way of replicating it.  I’ve asked my mom to PLEASE write a recipe book with the stuff she makes for Daddy.  My mom is very health-conscious, especially because my grandparents on both sides have diabetes, and my father has high blood pressure.  This means that everything she makes is low on sugar and salt, two things that are difficult to come by in modern cooking, I think.  We love sugar, and we love salt, and who can blame us?  I can’t say her food is the tastiest food I have ever had, and it would probably never survive in a restaurant setting, but it is home-cooking in all its authenticity and comfort.  Where do you find that?  Not at an expensive Yelper approved restaurant, and probably not on the Internet.  Mother is not tech-savvy, and I suspect many other mothers are the same.  In an age where anything less than a 4.5 star rating makes me wonder if I should even bother trying to cook it, sometimes it’s easier to just get things straight from the source without hearing other’s critiques.  And in an age where anything with a 4.5 star rating often includes heavy whipping cream and other ingredients I don’t have, well….. anyway.  I exaggerate.  The point is.  Mom’s recipes would never make it on the Internet in the way recipes are rated today–primarily by taste–but they make it in the way they make me feel after I eat them.  Healthy and nourished.  Sometimes, the combinations are plumb strange.  Mom has taught me that anything goes, as long as it’s good for the body.  Does it have vitamins?  Does it have protein?  Does it have calcium or is it good for your eyes?  Will it ward off a UTI?  Then you eat it, even if it tastes like liver, or IS liver.  Does it fit in your mouth and is it packed with antioxidants?  Then we’ll fit it in a salad.  Dear Mom, I hope you never see this.

I still aspire to someday be able to churn out amazing tasting food and chop veggies razor thin at lightning speed and be able to survive an episode of Chopped with random and sabotaged ingredients, but seriously, if I could just be like my mom and feed a family of four every day with fresh, healthy food and make it look EASY, that would be pretty awesome too.

Anniversary

Yesterday was our one year anniversary.  I was going to write a post about it, but I guess I got busy with other things.  We took a weekend away which was nice, but by the time we got back, there were a lot of things to do!  Laundry, work, and finding a nice “romantic anniversary dinner” recipe that would be easy enough to pull off.  Apparently there are lists of these things on the Internet, you know?  So I tried to make steak for the first time by myself.  Well it wasn’t exactly stellar.  I cooked it longer than I intended to and put too much salt.  But it was okay.  I think Hubby was touched, which is what counts.  Today I’m trying another one on that Internet list.  It’s a baked chicken with tomatoes and garlic and kale, and it was pretty easy, so far.  We’ll see how it turns out!

I’m kind of pooped now, after two part-time jobs during the day and feeling the kale bits on the kitchen floor with my feet while prepping.  Yes, something about that tires me out.  My head is aching, but the chicken is in the oven.  Phew.

So seriously, what am I supposed to write?  Oh boy, what is a girl to do!  Marriage is a strange and funny thing, and there are some things that just have to be kept between the two peas.  That’s the hard thing about it.  On the one hand, it’s my marriage right, so I should be able to talk about it?  But on the other hand, we’re two and yet one.  It’s all intertwined and yet not.  That’s the funny thing about marriage.

I seriously have arm cramps from whatever I did today (blowing bubbles for kids?  throwing a bouncy ball?  I have no idea..) so I will continue this line of thought later.

I’ll leave you with a quote I found that resonates with me.

A happy marriage is a long conversation which always seems too short. – Andre Marois

HomeChef Day 1

I received my HomeChef box today!  First thing I noticed was the weight of the box.  It was heavier than my Marley Spoon box.  When I opened the package, there was a soft insulated wrapping and a lot of ice.  The food was also bagged, and there was no cardboard divider where the meat was, just meat lying between ice packs.  That’s fine with me, but what I did notice was the meat portions seemed smaller than what I had received from Marley Spoon.  Just kidding, I think it was just the packaging. At 9.95 per serving, we’ll see.

Today I’ll be making Chicken Scaloppine with Mustard Cream Sauce.  Yes I had to copy and paste that name.

Here’s the recipe card for those of you who are curious.

Things I like about the recipe card so far —

  1. The note from the chef.  Last time I made meals from Marley Spoon, I felt like I was a little bit left in the dark.  It’s nice having some explanation in the cooking realm.

OK, gotta cook, see you later!

//edit//

Verdict– Intermediate level is pretty tough for me!  Hubby says it tasted like restaurant quality but it definitely took me a long time to make.  Also, I don’t know if it’s my cast iron pan that is the problem due to residue, but lately all the food boxes are too salty!

Eating out less

Today’s dinner was a messy conglomeration of half defrosted chicken that baked in the oven for so long and was still pink (but safe to eat, we found out) and salad.  There was rice too, but we forgot about it.  Life has been tricky in the cooking department.  Meal planning is still not my forte,  I mean, preference.  I mean I think about meal planning, and I just don’t want to do it.  The idea of making food that I possibly wanted to eat a few days ago but may not want to eat the day of seems miserable.  Is it more miserable than finding out we spent too much money on pho and In-N-Out because we didn’t feel like eating dumplings that night, and there was nothing planned?  I’m not sure.

I haven’t balanced last month’s money ins and outs yet.  Being grown up is hard sometimes.  As a teen, I hoped to be grown up by 18.  But when 18 rolled around, I felt quite juvenile.  Now, I’m a lot older than 18, and if I consider my age and what I thought I would accomplish by now for too long, well, it can be discouraging.  Often times, I look for inspiration to start something new.  Guidance of some sort.  Tips, rules, someone’s past experiences and knowledge, anything I can hang onto.  It’s nice that we live in the age of Internet now, where so much information is readily available.  But I think for me, sometimes it results in analysis paralysis and a perfectionism that might not have been as common in a world less connected.

I’m pooped.  Goodnight.