Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Domestic Duo

Daniel and I started off really well as far as the cooking at home goes. Almost four years ago, we were taking turns cooking for each other. Different kinds of pasta dishes. Pad Thai. Lasagna. Peanut Butter & Jelly w/ Cheetos. We bought a grill and I made some fabulous swordfish with mango salsa. I made a childhood favorite: Tuna Casserole. We made tons of Tuna Melts. When we moved into this house almost two years ago we resolved to cook more meals at home. We've hosted some friends over for dinner. We experimented with a few new recipes and made some of the stand-bys from the past, but it's been so hard to stick with it. Don't get me wrong: Every time we've cooked for and with each other, we have enjoyed the results...but it never feels like we have enough time or inclination to spend our time in the kitchen prepping, cooking and then cleaning after.

See, that's our first problem - the cleaning. As charming as it is to live in an old house, we lack the luxury of a dishwasher. Daniel grew up without one and said it wouldn't be a problem...but the dishwashing duties often get put off for as long as we can stand it. Note: Daniel can stand it longer than I can. So, we've gotten into a rut where when we do cook at home, we make easy things that require little clean up. We also eat a lot of Chipotle (oh, those Burrito Bols!) and sushi (not anymore, what with our "project").

And that brings me to our second problem: the time. There never seems to be enough of it. At least not when we're doing theatre or wanting to get together with friends. Also, we're just a little lazy about it all. It's fun to eat out with friends. It's fun to go out on dates to our favorite restaurants. It's easy. We like easy. We like it a lot.

Of course, change is on the horizon. Our serial eating out lifestyle needs to change.
  1. It's expensive. I'm not even going to get into the amount of groceries we could buy with the money we spend on restaurants (even Chiptole starts to add up).
  2. It's fattening. Even if we don't order the most caloric item on the menu, we eat more than what we would normally eat. The portions are always so darn big...and sometimes it's hard to push the plate away.
And getting back to the money thing: we could stand to cut some corners. You know the fertility treatments don't come cheap and I have a sneaking suspicion that our baby (babies or theatre troupe) is going to cost us some serious moula along the way. I mean, Duh.

So, I picked up a Rachel Ray magazine last week and poured over the pages. I'm a sucker for a pretty cooking magazine or cookbook. I love the pictures of what the food could and should look like. If there aren't any pictures for inspiration, I tend to lose interest in the recipes all together. Rachel Ray's mag delivers easy recipes on colorful pages with bright photos. I checked out her cookbooks expecting more of the same, but alas...with only a few photos to gawk at, I've decided we're just going to subscribe to the mag.

On Monday night, (after some take home Chipotle) Daniel and I sat down with the magazine and picked out three recipes to fix this week. We made a shopping list and went to the grocery store. It was kind of fun to fill our basket with all sorts of veggies and fruit and healthy ingredients. Tuesday afternoon I went to Bed, Bath & Beyond to exchange a tiny little chopper (that we'd never taken out of the box) for a Food Processor/Blender. Our old blender had gotten messed up when we tried to blend up an avocado in it last Christmas.

Old, broken blender in Blah White


In a side note: We don't have a good track record with appliances. When we were making soup last month, we lacked a large enough pot so we got our never before used Crockpot out. We transferred half of the ingredients in to the pot and plugged it in. We were good to go. Then Daniel came up with the idea to put the ceramic pot on the burner on the stove. I asked him if he was sure we could do that and he said "Sure. Why not?" Well, the pot couldn't handle the flame and after less than a minute we heard a loud pop and then a little sizzle from the leaking soup. We cracked our brand new Crockpot. Kitchen goofs: US.

So anyway. The old blender is being retired after suffering our misuse and we're being very careful with our new "toy":

RED! Food Processor/Blender


We unwrapped it and set out to make dinner last night. Using the food processor, we made Mango Salsa to go with our ground turkey Taco Salad. We had to call Daniel's mom to make sure it was OK to put some bowls in the oven to act as molds for the shells. We were worried we might make them explode or something and knew she would know what to do. The bowls came out great....and here is the end result:

Taco Salad for Two


They were very yummy. Light. Healthy. Tasty. Oh, and fun to make. We're looking forward to cooking tonight too - unless we end up going to the movies with our friends Brock & Melissa. Gah! It's so hard to cook at home!

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