Today we’re doing things a bit differently on the blog. I write a lot about Tim and our adventures together, but he’s never actually contributed content beyond his help with recipe creations to F&F before. Please welcome this new little series and Tim today!
Since we love cooking together, participating in a CSA, trying new restaurants, etc. Tim and thought it would be fun to come up with some foodie goals for 2015. Tim really came up with his on his own, and he verbally told me what he wanted to include in this post. Since writing is not his strong point, I took what he said and turned his thoughts into grammatically correct English. I’m still trying to convince Tim to write a guest post for F&F (I seriously think it would get the most hits out of any post I’ve ever written because story of my life), but we’ll settle for baby steps first. Here we go!
1. Make homemade red pesto. Red pesto is something that’s pretty new to me. Athena gave me a small jar of red pesto in my Christmas stocking, and we recently used it as the sauce on a grilled eggplant and arugula pizza. Due to being more tomato based instead of herb based like a green pesto, it had a higher acidity level, but still tasted fresh. I really like making different types of sauces, and since I enjoyed the jarred version of red pesto so much, now I just have to make it myself.
2. Smoke a large piece of meat. Over the past couple of years, I’ve tackled a lot of different cooking methods. We grill all the time, but I’ve never really done the traditional BBQ thing. I really want to just smoke a brisket or something. I like smoky flavors, and I recently made a chipotle BBQ sauce, so I want to bring it full circle. Might as well give it a shot. Maybe Athena will even let us register for a smoker along with my #1 coveted registry item, a deli slicer.
3. Bake more of our own breads. Finding healthier bread options is a difficult area to navigate if you are uneducated. For example, whole wheat bread doesn’t always mean whole wheat bread just because it’s labeled that way. I made homemade rolls with our Kitchen Aid mixer once, and they were pretty good. Seeing that sandwiches are still my #1 favorite food, and I actually wish every meal could be a sandwich, hopefully making our own bread more often will open up the opportunity to eat more sandwiches without feeling as guilty or gross afterwards.
4. Order more mindfully when out to eat. When I’m cooking at home, I have no problem staying away from salty foods and making meals that use fresh ingredients. However, when I go out to eat, my first reaction is to always order French fries, a bacon topped burger with lots of cheese, or a chicken cutlet sub (see sandwich obsession above). Something I need to be more mindful of is bringing my healthier habits from home into restaurants when we’re out to eat. The first step is probably just switching up my order of French fries for a side salad more often.
5. Pickle something. This one kind of stems off going out to eat. When I do order something healthier at a restaurant, I like when my entrée is topped with something like pickled onions or when there’s a pickled side option like beets. With the CSA program that we do, pickling the vegetables is a great way to both make them last longer and bring in a new depth of flavor. This will help us continue to be creative with our recipe creations, and I know Athena will like this so we have an excuse to buy more mason jars.
1. Make more homemade items. Last year, Tim and I started making a lot more food at home instead of buying it at the store. Doing this helps us have more control of what goes into our food! Some examples of what we stopped buying include chicken broth, salad dressings, jarred salsas and guacamoles, sauces, and granola. This year, I just want to expand this list. I really want to make my own nut butters, hummus, and ice cream, as they are three things I’ve never made from scratch before. One of MY most coveted registry items is the ice cream maker attachment for our Kitchen Aid mixer!
2. Feel more comfortable cooking meat and fish. I blame this one on Tim. Before we moved in together, I used to cook chicken and ground turkey/beef all the time. After moving in together, we kind of just settled into a routine in the kitchen, where I’m responsible for the packed breakfasts, snacks, and baked goods we take to work each week, and Tim tackles most of our dinners. We kind of split lunch up depending on the week and what it is, but somehow I find myself making the vegetarian dishes more and leaving the meat ones for Tim. I want to get back to feeling comfortable cooking meat and fish without needing Tim to adult supervise everything I’m doing. He always tells me I need to get my confidence back!
3. Eat five new to me items. I tried more new foods and products in 2014 than I ever have before. I tried sushi for the first time and actually enjoyed it. While out to eat, I wasn’t afraid to order something like octopus cooked in its own octopus ink. I expanded my palette and can now handle spicier foods, so I introduced items like Thai chili paste into our cooking. Through various blog partnerships I got to try new products such as Ancient Harvest quinoa flour, and I’m always scoping out the new items at Trader Joe’s. One of my favorite Trader Joe’s finds this year was coconut sugar! The CSA program at work also helped us branch out, as I had never eaten collards, tangelos, lemon balm, black radishes, or dandelion greens before. I want to continue expanding my palette and foodie knowledge in 2015, so I’m setting out to try at LEAST five new things!
4. Learn to cook traditional Greek dishes. Despite growing up in a Greek family, I never really learned how to cook some of the traditional Greek meals. There aren’t many of them that are healthy, which is probably why I haven’t tried, but this year I want to learn how to make a few… and then make my healthy take of course. We have some of my grandmother’s and great aunt’s homemade favorites at home, so maybe my mom will share?! If you are looking for some Greek inspired dishes to hold you over, check out my lightened up moussaka, my avgolemono soup, and these spanakopita bites.
5. Snack more mindfully at home. In the past few months, I’ve really embraced a morning workout mentality. I’m loving getting my workouts out of the way before the work day starts, I feel more energized and productive all day long, and it is thrilling to come home right after work and have free time to spend blogging, wedding planning, or just hanging out with Tim. However, one downside to my new schedule is that I come home and snack on everything in sight! I do a great job with making mindful decisions throughout the rest of the day and when out to eat, so I really want to adopt similar habits from 5-8pm as well. Two strategies I’m trying out are to 1) eat a high protein snack at the end of the workday, and 2) do some foam rolling/light stretching as my post work “workout” to hopefully negate just wandering aimlessly around the kitchen.
Readers, let’s chat! What are your 2015 foodie goals? Make sure to leave some love for Tim today so he’ll do this again! 😉
Great post, Tim! I would love to try pickling as well.
I love that you both set goals and I love seeing Tim’s side of things! I have a pickled apple recipe I am dying to try! Athena – I made my homemade version of nutella this weekend! 2/5 is Worldwide Nutella Day! I also have a nut-free, grain-free granola recipe for you! You will have a blast cooking when you get the items you’ve registered for! Thank you both for loving the CSA as much as I do!
I make all our bread, bagels, tortillas, pizza dough, pancakes, waffles, muffins, ice cream, cookies, and sauces from scratch! I finally started making my own seasonings (taco, fajita, etc). I still buy dressing, but definitely can look to expand into making those homemade! I started making beans from their dry state and we even make homemade whipped cream (no cool whip for us!).
Goals would definitely echo Tim’s of eating healthier when out and both my husband and I have agreed to this! We definitely need to eat more vegetables. That one is tough though because we both are picky when it comes to veggies, but we’re working on it! All your CSA posts have definitely been inspiring!
I don’t think we could do it this year, but to have my own garden and invest in a grass fed cow for beef are definitely on my goal list. And to have my husband successfully get us some venison this year would be amazing!! He’s been good with fish, duck, and pheasant, but he wasn’t able to get a deer 🙁
I am just starting to learn my MIL’s Greek recipes, and I’d love to learn more! I need like a month of straight cooking lessons from her! Can’t wait to try your lightened up versions as well 🙂
I need to be better about making our own bread too! My goal is to make healthy choices most of the time, my last pregnancy gave me a raging sweet tooth. This time it’s more savory but my food choices are not as good as I would like 🙂
Such a fun idea! Roberto has actually mentioned a number of times how he would like to guest blog- he’s working on a recap of his Whole 30 and then wants to post about his yogurt making. It’s cute when the guys want to get involved. Both of your goals are really fun things to work towards this year- can’t wait to “follow along” 🙂
Tim, I highly recommend the smoking of meats. I bought Ryan a smoker for his birthday and he LOVES it. Maybe you two can wander up to NH in the warmer weather for a delicious smoked meal. 🙂
I am the same way about preparing fish and meat! If there is a choice, I always have someone else do it.
For some reason, I BAHAHA’d out loud when I read “smoke a large piece of meat”. And onviously, now I’m hungry after reading this.
I guess my goal would be to try out a bunch of new recipes with my vitamix. With my upcoming mat leave, I would love to try more new recipes for snacks and dinners (and obviously desserts) but who knows with a more limited budget and a ummmm BABY!