Welcome to Tasty Tuesday's, where we talk about f-o-o-d.
Why, you ask? Quite simply, I'm getting sick and tired of looking at my recipe box in my kitchen, collecting dust, feeling left out as I bypass it for a cookbook or reach for my iPhone and navigate to my "it's what for dinner" board on Pinterest.
I've collected so many recipes over the years. Some I've made, some I've promised to make, and some I've made so much I need to re-write or risk losing them forever due to too much food being on them. Yeah, I'm a messy cook.
Funny thing is, as this idea was born and I started making some recipes and bringing the cards upstairs to write about, I realized a few things:
1) I reach into my recipe box a lot more than I thought I did.
2) I'm a messy cook.
3) Photographing food is hard.
4) There is a lot of white noise I need to think about when composing said pictures.
Quick side note: white noise are those places in pictures where the photographer does not want your eye to go... think of sunset picture, but your eye keeps going to a white plastic bag that someone left on the beach that's in the corner of the picture. You can't really enjoy the picture, because your eye keeps going to that damn bag. THAT is white noise ... and apparently my kitchen counter is full of it. But, it was also the holidays when I was making some of these recipes, so most of what I was pushing out of the way was Christmas decorations.
I should also specify about my relationship with food. I grew up picky. Not extremely, but enough to remember that Beef Raviolis and Campbell's soups were a consistent part of my dinner menu. As I got older and was given the task to make a meal for the family once a week, that menu extended to include Chicken Parmesan (yes, the frozen kind) with spaghetti. Of course I had other staple foods you think of when growing up: hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza and such. I'm saying when it came to trying anything new, I would take and eat my no thank you portion, and then go make myself some Chef Boyardee.
I practice and teach yoga, and when I was going through my Teacher Training, I remember thinking when the food portion was presented to me that I had to stop eating all meat and go Vegetarian or Vegan For Life. I really stressed about this decision too, and how much more work it was going to be with my family. My B likes meat, my Boo and Bubbah have inherited my picky gene and their diets mainly consist of Mac N Cheese, pasta, ramen noodles, Chef Boyardee and Campbell's soups. I had visions of moving our bed to the kitchen because I was going to be spending all of my free time in there, cooking four different meals for four different people.
I've given this a lot, and I mean a LOT, of thought and consideration. I've started and stopped writing about food at least five times, because I've falsely believed that if I practiced and taught yoga, I had to live into a stereotype of how a yogi should eat. I've held off on ordering what I've wanted to eat at restaurants and have instead ordered what I thought I should eat just in case a student or fellow teacher might be in the same place at the same time. I mentioned looking forward to eating turkey on Thanksgiving to a student in one of my classes and then immediately freaked out (in my mind, of course) because I had just admitted that I eat meat.
Seriously????? Yes, seriously. Then I remember the words of my fellow yogi, Kelley (shout out!!!!!!), when she told me that all of this stuff that we are/were introduced to during our training was simply an introduction into a different/new way to think/act/eat/react/be, and we can either take these nuggets into consideration for further exploration, or try it and come to the conclusion that while they might work for others, they might not work for me. She told me this in March of 2014 and I remember the moment like it was yesterday, and it is a moment I hope I never forget. I cannot tell you how many times I've called up those words since hearing them.
I've taken steps in changing my diet since then. I have tried foods that I never thought I would, I try to make a vegetarian or vegan meal at least once a week (though sometimes that doesn't work out!), and I try my best to be more mindful about what I'm about to eat instead of eating mindlessly. I'll try my best to buy healthier options, and will try to make my own marinades before using store bought ones, although not all the time. I've increased my water intake, as well as my fruit and veggie intake, and have eliminated a lot of the snacks that I thought were healthy but were actually packed with crap.
I'm also comfortable (for the most part!), admitting that I teach yoga AND eat meat. That there are times my mouth will actually water when I think about having Campbell's Beef Barley soup, completely processed and chock full of preservatives. That one of my easy meals that my husband, kids, and I enjoy is frozen, processed chicken patties with spaghetti. And yes, my family LOVES pizza, wings, and Chinese Food.
I'll try something, hope it works, but if it doesn't, I'm comfortable enough in my skin (now ... and finally!), to be ok with it, instead of feeling like I failed at eating the right way.
Bearing all of this in mind, some of the dishes I make might not appeal to your particular food palette... and maybe, at one point, they didn't appeal to mine either, but I tried them and liked them. Then there will be the dishes that I've never tried but have wanted to. There will be epic fails, positive and negative feedback from my B, Boo & Bubbah, and tips that might save you time and energy on the way. My dog, Lucia, really wanted to be a part of this too, so I've given her the very important task of Professional Cleaner Upper. She's pumped and ready for the challenge.
Alright... enough already with the intro, let's get to the FOOD!!!
The first bowl I'm writing about is for a super easy soup. I can't remember how this landed in my recipe box, but it was one of the first dinners I attempted after our kids were born. Once we (kinda sorta) figured out how to operate in the world with two newborns, we usually prepared and ate after our kids went to bed, which was closer to eight-thirty most nights. When I finally decided to attempt making dinner when the kids were up, this was one of the first meals we made and quickly became one we made often.
Tortellini & Broth with Escarole ... AND Cinnamon Buns! Serves 4
3 cans chicken broth (14.5oz)
2 cups water
1 Bay Leaf
1 Head of Escarole, roughly chopped into bite size pieces
1 lb cheese tortellini (yes, it's ok to add if it's been chillin' in your freezer)
Salt & Pepper
Combine chicken broth, water, & bay leaf in a large stock pot and bring to a boil. Add the escarole and cook until wilted, about 15-30 seconds. Add tortellini and cook about 9 minutes. Cooking time might be a few minutes less if using refrigerated tortellini as opposed to frozen. Discard the bay leaf, season with salt and pepper & BAM!... you're done!
The cinnamon buns are NOT handmade, but rather, bought by my hand. :) For us, their sweetness is a really nice compliment to the taste of the soup. I usually preheat the oven as I'm bringing the water to a boil, and I pop them into the oven when I add the tortellini to the broth. The soup is great as a leftover.
Nine-year-old feedback: Boo wasn't a fan of the soup but loved the cinnamon buns. Bubbah said he liked the broth 'without the green stuff', and was also a fan of the cinnamon buns.
Sound like something you might like? Be sure to let me know what you think about it! Enjoy!
Love, Happiness & Coffee,
~ Heather ~