Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hey Good Lookin' What Ya Got Cookin'?

Hows about cookin' something up with me?

Sorry, you know how much I love good old country songs. That song always reminds me of a cooking show Florence Henderson did way back in the 80s on TNN, called "Country Kitchen." Did you watch it? No? Hmm, maybe I was the only one. Yep, I probably was. At least among those in the 10 year old age bracket. She sang the aforementioned (theme) song and used lots of Wesson Oil. Odd television choice for a kid, I know. But normal has never been a category I've ever been classified under.


If you've read my blog at all, it doesn't come as much of a surprise how much I LOVE to bake.
I LIKE to cook, but I LOVE to bake. However, (wo)man cannot live on brownies alone. Lately my desire to cook dinner has been on the low side. Craig's odd work hours and his desire to drop a few pounds before is marathon in October coupled with hot weather, the intrusion of Caroline and her gang of loud friends and a general lack of enthusiasm on my part, are all contributing factors to my current uninspired kitchen woes. I grew tired of Craig suggesting that I was trying to make him fat, so I quit cooking. Even though I'm hardly the type to turn out unhealthy, fat laden meals. Hrmph. Such a fickle dude.

So for two months or so I didn't cook dinner food during the week and turned out some half hearted dinner attempts on the weekends when Craig was home. He ate sandwiches and an alarming amount of kidney beans at work. I ate an equally alarming amount of beans, but of the chick pea variety. I must confess, it was a nice break.

I used to menu plan at least a month in advance. I 'd lug out my huge binders with handwritten recipes on them and my white dry erase board and planned until my heart was content. I scoured the internet for new recipes, my pantry and freezer were well stocked and I cooked just about everything from scratch. I even tried to make homemade steak sauce once. That was a HUGE mistake, but an interesting experiment, nonetheless. I still cook from scratch, but since Craig isn't home for dinner five nights a week, requiring me to think and plan food way in advance, my enthusiasm was waned. I sort of lost my cooking juju.

With fall around the corner, I'm feeling a bit more interested in cooking again. The cooler weather lends itself to comforting pots of bubbling goodness on the stove. Soups, stews and crock pot meals are generally easy to reheat, which makes things much easier when feeding Craig. With school now in session, instead of spending our late afternoons at the pool, I now have all the time in the world to put something together.

And that is what I shall do.

Even though my cooking love was on hold, my baking love has never waned. Not once. I'd bake every day if I could, but the military has weight standards, you know. I'd hate to be responsible for placing Craig's soldiers on the "fat boy" program. If you're the baking type and aren't afraid of a little, a lot of butter, sugar and an occasional preservative laden cake mix, I thought I'd link up some of the recipes I've made in the past couple of weeks in the event that you'd like to bake up some yummy goodness, too. Thankfully Craig's civilian workmates are hungry beasts and seem to work more efficiently when properly fueled with refined sugar, real butter and white flour. I'm thankful that they indulge my hobby. My thighs are thankful too. I get all the pleasure of baking, the wonderful aromas included, but my pants still fit! Win-win situation.

Gram's Best Brown Sugar Cake

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies (I'm not sure they were "perfect" but the browned butter in them makes them quite tasty.)

Banana Bars with Browned Butter Pecan Frosting

Honey Bun Cake

Oatmeal Praline Cookies

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Blondies

I'm sure that's not all, but my recipe box is currently not within reach. You get the idea, anyway.
I'm so excited to pull out the pumpkin and apples and get started on some fall baked goods. Just the idea of fall makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. What ?!? ALISON warm and fuzzy. Oh, you better believe it. I heart fall. Who doesn't? It's in the 80s today, but the leaves are starting to change and just today, I found myself informally planning our trek to the pumpkin patch/corn maze/farm next month. Of course, we have to plan around soccer and Craig's running schedule. Two, maybe three races in October plus his usual Sunday long run day. Maybe we'll squeeze in a trip on the Columbus Day weekend.

I seem to have food on the brain today. Tomorrow I'm making a big batch of bourbon chicken for Craig and his workmates. They're reprising the "Asian Night" theme they started a couple months ago. You know, since I don't really know what Craig does at work, being the secret man of mystery he is, I like to joke that he's an event planner. Pot lucks, birthdays, treats for morning meetings, bake sales; he's the go to guy. I end up spending $$$ on butter and my beloved Kitchen Aid gets worked into a frenzy, but everyone wins. I guess it's safe to say that they're a well fed bunch of people.

Just to insure your confidence in the US Army, let me just say that I'm really quite certain they actually do accomplish some work tasks in between all the eating and talking about eating they do. Craig has simply taken it upon himself to keep the office morale high.

And the cholesterol levels, too.

No comments: