Back in January this year, my life drastically changed. The decision was made for me; I was laid off from my full time Accounting Manager position due to budgetary cutbacks. So what’s a creative person to do with all this sudden time on their hands? 1. Organize 2. Be the best “Soccer Mom” or in my case “Dance Mom” I can be 3. Surf the internet 4. Catch up on 4 years of TV shows I missed 5. Start watching “Downton Abbey” and 6. Go back to cooking real, fresh homemade meals, the kind that take all day to prepare and days to plan, why? Because I can.
I have always loved reading and researching recipes. Clipping them out of a magazine, printing them from online, hand copying family or friends ingredients and instructions, because it was just so good I had to take the time to scrawl it on some scratch paper. What always ends up is a pile of papers, in no particular order just sitting in a binder calling me, whispering sweetly to me, “Tikaaaaa…. Tika, TIKA! Come create me.” Then my regular life takes over and I just stick to the basic meals I know. When you only have 20-30 minutes to get some food on the table for your clan, you tend to choose what you know and what’s easy. Let’s face it I have stuck my fair share of microwave frozen meals the speedy machine to cook up a super fast meal.
For the past few years I have started to adopt the thinking that we need to eat freshly made, unprocessed foods like our grandparents and great grandparents used to eat. While I have a huge challenge in that regard, because my husband is a vegan. I grew up with a mother who cooked home homestyle comfort food and I still crave things like meatloaf, pot roast, roasted chicken and spaghetti & meatballs. I do like to use some vegetarian mock meat options when cooking to substitute for the real thing. When cooked properly, they taste great and work well in most recipes. Out of respect for my husbands beliefs we eat mostly vegetarian at home, only cooking fish once in a while for my daughter and myself. But after 4 years of dedicating a lot of time to my past employer, I realize that when I did have time to cook (when I was not too exhausted from a 1-2 hour commute each way), I would choose one of about 10 standard meals we all liked.
- Spaghetti & Meatless Meatballs
- Taco/Burrito Night
- Chinese Chicken-less Salad
- Make your own Pizza night
- Stir Fry
- Tortilla Soup/ Chili
- Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes
- Coconut Pineapple Curry
- Baked Potatoes with all the fixin’s
To be honest, we really like all the choices above. And there were days when I would have more time, or get more creative with things like Vegan Shepherds Pie, Lasagna with Tofu Ricotta, Enchiladas, Roasted Vegetable Bruschetta, or Caramelized Onions & Mushrooms Tartlets. But one can only have so much of the same thing and when your brain is drained, it is very hard to be inventive. I have already tried several new recipes since my recent friendship with unemployment began and my family and I have been loving it.
I have recently decided that I really want to start to get away from canned goods. I realized most of what I bought in cans was beans and corn. Well, it turns out with a little foresight, homemade beans are pretty dang easy and they taste 100 times better then what comes in a can. Also YOU choose what goes in your food, no extra sodium or chemicals lining the walls of a can leaching into your food. I really try to buy organic when possible, call me a chemical snob, but I truly think that most organic foods simply just taste better. Here is a link on how to make your own beans from scratch. It’s so easy a monkey could do it! Here is a link from Simple Bites on to how to make beans from dried: http://www.simplebites.net/a-simple-guide-to-cooking-dried-beans
This new blog is only the tip of the iceberg for me. I want to share my creativeness, ideas, fabulous finds with all of you, especially for the extremely busy, working or stay at home moms, dads, college student, who just need a little inspiration or push in the right direction. I have so many recipes that I will try out for you and give you advice or my take on. Also when I discover a restaurant or store, I love to share the experience with my friends, especially when they go above and beyond what is expected.
I have always (seriously always – at least as long as computers have been around) wanted to have a blog. I feel that I have a lot of different skills, talents, and information to share. Some I learned on my own and some if it researched, explored or learned from a friend. If you choose to take this journey with me, we can learn all about the so many wonderful things our modern world has to offer.
So raise a glass or high five someone in the room with you, and lets get going on my biggest adventure yet. As they say, “When one door close, another door opens!”