New Year • New Mood • New Food

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My attempt at trying Joanna Gaines’ recipe for Magnolia Table Chocolate Chip Cookies. I added walnuts, because I didn’t have enough chocolate chips.

While I could never reach the same level of expertise that some of my favorite chefs have, I still dream about the day that I work up enough courage to bake macarons. “Wait … Hold on a hot chocolate! I thought that this blog was about fashion and makeup?” It’s true that I do write an awful lot about fashion and beauty (and I promise there will be more of that next year), but I also have a passion for cooking and baking!

To start from the very beginning, my grandma was the one to teach me the basics that I needed to know about cooking and baking. When I was younger, she would teach me everything from baking cookies, chopping celery and coring apples for Waldorf salads, making cinnamon rolls, and ham and cheese croissant rolls. If you couldn’t find us in the kitchen, it was most likely that the two of us were watching another episode of The Barefoot Contessa!

It wasn’t until my high school years, when I took a Foods and Nutrition class, that I learned the importance of room temperature butter and eggs, folding dough to avoid over mixing, how to make pizza dough from scratch, and make fondant for a layered cake. I even challenged myself to make crème brûlée for my French class project! (I made do using the broiler setting on a small convection oven, because I didn’t have a culinary blow torch.) Back in those days, my mom had a huge collection of The Taste of Home cookbooks (which were mostly useful for when she had to bring a dish to church pot lucks).

While cooking wasn’t my mom’s favorite thing to do, and she didn’t share the same obsession of watching cooking shows like my grandma and I did (aka huge fans of Ina Garten. Love you, Ina!), occasionally she would get into macaroni moods where she would break out my grandparents’ recipe for macaroni salad. Other times, on special occasions, we would flip through pages of recipes in The Taste of Home and decide what we would make for dinner (which usually ended up with me cooking everything).

Fast forward to college, and it was one particular winter break that my best friend convinced me to make my very first Pinterest account (which was the much-needed introduction to the world of food bloggers)! I love to read a good cookbook, but the ones that I tend to gravitate towards and order online (without being able to flip through the pages to preview before buying) usually have those restaurant-worthy recipes (that I really want to try) with ingredients that are hard to find.

One possible exception to this may be Joanna Gaines’ new cookbook called Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering. (If you don’t know who Joanna Gaines is, she was on HGTV’s show called Fixer Upper.) From what I’ve heard about the new book, a lot of the recipes are a twist on a lot of favorite comfort foods (which makes me hope that it means that the recipes are simple and the ingredients aren’t hard to find). In so many words, I may need to buy this cookbook in the future (because I really ended up loving her recipe for chocolate chip cookies). I was just lucky enough to find a copy of the recipe on The Kitchn’s website (here)!

The more time I spent on Pinterest, the more I discovered a handful of recipe gems among food blogs and even YouTube (much like the Magnolia Table Chocolate Chip Cookies) that had food that wasn’t too complicated to make (that was photographed beautifully and tasted like something you would order from a fancy restaurant or bakery)! What I loved the most was that most of these food bloggers and YouTubers weren’t diving into what I like to call the over-twelve-ingredients-danger-zone (where you take one look at the long list of ingredients and instantly change your mind)!

One of my favorite YouTube food channels (that I keep up with every week) is Everyday Food (a Martha Stewart Living channel). The two main series within the channel that I find myself going back to every time are Everyday Food with Sarah Carey and Kitchen Conundrums with Thomas Joseph. Sarah Carey is pretty much the sunshine to any rainy day with her wit and charm! She’s so talented with cooking, baking, and incorporates a spin on classic recipes. What I appreciate the most is that she also breaks down more advanced cooking techniques in a way that’s easy, fun, and delicious in the end result!

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Whole wheat toast topped with hummus, cilantro, poached eggs, crushed red pepper flakes, and sea salt. I followed Thomas Joseph’s method of poaching eggs with the whirlpool method from Kitchen Conundrums. I tried the hummus from Cookie + Kate’s recipe for The Best Hummus.

Thomas Joseph’s Kitchen Conundrums is another favorite series of mine! The first time I tried to make a poached egg, it turned out to be a cloudy nightmare! I tried it a second time using Thomas Joseph’s whirlpool method (here) and it worked out perfectly! Kitchen Conundrums is the perfect series for more of the science behind cooking, taking you through a step-by-step process of achieving a flawless dish to understanding why sometimes things don’t turn out to be exactly like the picture in the recipe.

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These lentil tacos are simple to make! I just cooked about 8 oz (1/2 lb) of dried lentils on the stove in water, drained, and then pulsed in a food processor to give it more texture to help the legumes stick together better. Next, I used one McCormick Taco Seasoning packet (sometimes I use 1 1/2 packets depending) and mixed it in with the pulsed lentils and water according to the instructions on the packet. If the mixture seems a little dry, you can also add salsa for more flavor. I usually serve my lentil tacos in white corn tortillas and top with shredded iceberg lettuce, diced tomato, and shredded cheddar cheese (but you can also use vegan cheddar shreds).

If your food preference leans more toward Vegan, don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about you! This year, I added more plant-based foods to my diet which involved a lot of research about different sources of plant protein. In the beginning, I really didn’t know where to start and what to search for. Let’s just say, I ate a lot of lentil tacos during Lent and quickly realized that I needed more variety for meals! Along the way, I discovered Rachel Ama and her recipe for Vegan Tuna which has turned out to be one of my new comfort foods! Who knew? Rachel recommended trying the vegan tuna salad as a tuna melt and topped on a jacket potato (aka baked potato). I’ve tried it both ways, and it’s just pure joy! This is one of the recipes that I make several times a month because it’s just so good!

Mina Rome, Liv B, and Pick Up Limes are some of the newer food channels that I watch, although I still have yet to try their recipes. One of the things that really caught my attention about Mina Rome’s channel is her film and editing style. It is gorgeously done! Everything about the angles that she films from to the music in the background, creates a relaxing café vibe. Pick Up Limes is a unique channel, given that Sadia was a Registered Clinical Dietitian and is also a vegan food blogger and YouTube content creator. Being able to see a former dietitian’s opinion of what a well-balanced vegan meal consists of and learn new facts about nutrition is an eye-opening experience. Lastly, Liv B is a YouTuber and vegan food blogger that I recently found who has a variety of recipes ranging from holiday meals, desserts, pastas, and more. I’m looking forward to trying out her recipe for Vegan Apple Crisp soon, because it looks delicious!

Last, but not least, is one of my favorite vegetarian food blogs called Cookie + Kate! I was scrolling through Pinterest one day and found The Best Hummus Recipe. Much like the name, it really was the best hummus recipe I have ever tasted! The hummus is so creamy with a slight hint of garlic and lemon; it can’t even be compared to Sabra or Athenos because it’s in a league of its own! If you love hummus, you’ll have to give her recipe a try!

So, now you guys know my secret … if I’m not blogging, I’m probably watching the Food Network channel, YouTube videos, or pinning a gazillion recipes on Pinterest. (Sorry, people of Pinterest, for filling your Pinterest feeds with food!) On the bright side, I always feel like I’m learning something new! If you love food, I hope that you’ll love some of these food bloggers and YouTubers, too!

 

See you guys next year! Have a Happy New Year!

 

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Sources

Everyday Food. “The Trick to Poaching a Perfectly Round Egg – Kitchen Conundrums with Thomas Joseph.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 27 Sept. 2014. Web. 6 Nov. 2018

Gaines, Joanna. “Recipe: Magnolia Table Chocolate Chip Cookies.” The Kitchn, 27 April 2018, https://www.thekitchn.com/joanna-gaines-chocolate-chip-cookies-recipe-257520

Liv B. “Vegan Apple Crisp | Easy Dessert Recipe.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 17 Oct. 2018. Web. 13 Dec. 2018

Rachel Ama. “How to: VEGAN TUNA RECIPE | Vegan Grilled Cheese.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 24 Aug. 2017. Web. 22 Feb. 2018

Taylor, Kathryne. “Best Hummus Recipe.” Cookie + Kate, 23 May 2018, http://www.cookieandkate.com/2018/best-hummus-recipe/ .

FTC: Not sponsored.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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