Hello all my Foodies out there. Where have I gone and what have I been up to? Life has been crazy and thought I had posted an update about my whereabouts for the end of October and November, sadly it did not go out as it should of. I was lucky enough to be able to travel to Japan for 2 1/2 weeks. While there I did sample many different foods and even was lucky enough to have a cooking class. Getting back from Japan and having the holidays begin led to more craziness. While I did cook and have some future blog entries for what I made. The new year has had me busy organizing and researching for the blog. I chose not to make resolutions this year but a list of recipes I had not made before. Today I have 60 different recipes on that list. Two of those I have made in the last week and will be posting about soon. Hopefully I will be on track and post every week with some new surprises. Including some treats from Japan.
Easy Potato soup in the crock pot and it’s done in a couple of hours. This is one that you can make ahead and take to pot lucks. It was a part of my Crock Pot week of recipes. I paired it with some homemade bread that I did put into the oven. Dessert was Baked Apples in the crock pot, which will be a post at a later date.
2 cans Cream of Chicken Soup
1 can Cream of Celery
1 bunch green onions chopped (reserve some for toppings)
1 pint of Half & Half
4-6 peeled and chopped potatoes
6 tablespoons of butter
Pinch of pepper
Mix all ingredients and cook on low for 6 hours. Add grated cheese and onion on top of serving. Bacon could be a good topper as well.
Last week I ended up browsing through Pinterest for some time. I was looking at recipes to try out as I knew it would another busy week. So I tried out several Crock Pot recipes. There were several good ones and lots of links to sites. I was not looking to store food in the freezer and do a full month of recipes but something simple and easy for the week. My favorite was this one for chicken tacos. I ended up adding extra to it and think this was the reason for such a tasty dinner. It was so good my husband practically licked his plate clean. I was very hungry as I had only eaten breakfast that morning and got in late from a meeting that I did not get a picture from that night. Yes I admit that I too licked my plate clean. It was so good that I had for lunch the next day. Which is what the picture is from. My flour tortillas are from Trader Joe’s and they are the closest thing as I can get to tortillas from where I grew up in Arizona. Probably because they are made in a factory in California.
1 ½ pounds chicken breast (boneless skinless)
1 packet taco seasoning
1 10 ounce can Rotel
What I added extra
3 cloves of garlic diced up
1 chopped onion
¼ jar of Cilantro Sauce from Mexican food aisle
I simply added all ingredients and set on low for at least 6 hours. Shredded the chicken when I got home. I mixed it all together and served on flour tortillas with taco toppings. It is super simple and easy.
So how does one make a food blog good? Research of course. Well that seems to be all I have been doing the last week. Recently I talked with my Mother and she felt my food pictures needed to be better. She suggested that I do not use my beautiful blue plates, use some linens instead of my counter top and try photographing from a different angle. So I thought about this and looked at my pictures so far of food and think that my mom might have a point to what she was saying. She is a photographer after all. The next thing I did was buy several books online about food photography and styling, and some on food blogging. I looked at so many food blogs, tons of post on Pinterest and lots of food photos online. It was so much information out there and it was all very informative. The next thing I did was shop for some linens, plates and photo equipment. Now I did not go out and break the bank for this because this is just a hobby for me, A journey in expanding my culinary education. So in the next few post I will be using my camera and not my Ipad, which is what my first few photos were taken with. This weeks menu will be cooking some new things in a crockpot and baking as well. Yes I fully think Pinterest is an evil place that I go to look at food stuff and loose half of my day. I know have business cards and a new Facebook page as well that has been keeping me busy.
Tea is such a soothing thing and what is better than tea? A Tea Party of course. Yes my cookbook collection grows yet again. Went to the Le Creuset store to see if they carried any fuel for my fondue pot. The day I made fondue I ended up using a sterno can to heat up my fondue pot. I was out of fondue fuel and unable to locate any locally. So I stopped by the outlet store to see if they had any, which of course they did not. However they did have this cute recipe book and was easily given into buying it. My daughter said to me that why yes I did need another cookbook. I needed one to make her tea sandwiches and other goodies. She is like me and loves the idea of taking tea and having others over for it. A tradition in the United States that is just not common anymore, but there are tea houses are now popping up instead. So the plan is to have a tea party and invite guests for tea. Serve several pots of tea, eat cute little sandwiches and tasty desserts, and of course have lots of fun. Now to plan the menu as this is not the only book on tea parties I own. Wonder who I will invite?
Last week I was out shopping Michael’s craft store and was lucky to find a local used bookstore. They were small and charming. I love books and have stated before that I am cookbook addict. So of course while in there I picked up these three babies. The Julia Child book I had never seen so of course it had to go right into the shopping basket. The Joy of Cooking was another one that I have been looking at getting for years, but had wanted to get an older addition. This one was from 1986 and was loved well. The last was something I could not resist. Potatoes are my favorite vegetable and I can never seem to get enough of them. While I do have a tried and true family recipe that I use to make potato salad, I feel it is time to step out of the box and try some new potato salad recipes.
I have been really excited to try out Julia Child’s recipe for artichokes and hollandaise sauce. I have never made hollandaise sauce from scratch before, I had only ever used a packet from the store. I will never every buy a packet that says it makes hollandaise sauce. Making from scratch is the way to go and it is ever so tasty. Really I have no idea what I was thinking when I used that packet, why had I not tried to make it, truthfully I think I was afraid I would mess it up and that I thought it would take forever to make. Reality it was quick and simple. Artichokes were only ever purchased in jars for salads. I really wanted to try making them. So they too were a purchase from Trader Joe’s, a nice 4 pack and looked really lovely. Boiled them like Julia suggested and they turned out great with one exception. The artichokes I picked were not very big so there was not very meaty. So next time bigger artichokes and not the baby ones. Which is good so now I learned this wonderful lesson of not to be afraid to try something new in the kitchen even.
I also made Swiss fondue to accompany our artichokes. I love fondue, you might say I am an addict. While I know it’s not something I can have every week, I do so look forward to making it. In my pictures you can see my latest fondue pot from Le Creuset. Currently I have five different fondue pots that I have acquired over the years. Which I love pulling out at holiday parties and special occasions. It is also one of my Mom’s favorite things to have when she visits. Friends and neighbors say they enjoy coming over for enjoy it at the parties as well. I think the draw is that it’s fun and unusual.