It’s no secret that I have a severe cookbook hoarding issue. I have zero impulse control when I am at the bookstore, and usually never walk out empty-handed. So, here’s what I bought this month:
I purchased this book after hearing the author on a podcast, and I’m glad I did. This book is absolutely fantastic, and I highly recommend it. Great stories and photographs, and some of the recipes are just bananas, like the Jersey Breakfast Sandwich Pie and the Pulled Pork Pie topped with Hushpuppies. She also includes stories and facts about each state and dedicates the pies to friends from those locations. This would make a great gift for the baker in your life.
This book is exactly as described. A lot of the recipes are similar to old southern staples that you would find in Junior League and church cookbooks. They are simple, straightforward, classics from the author’s upbringing. If you are just starting out with cooking, or need easy southern recipes, this might fit the bill.
This book is an absolute treasure, not just for the recipes but what it represents. After Hurricane Katrina devastated our state, families lost everything, including treasured family recipes. The Times-Picayune newspaper’s food column became a way to swap recipes and seek out those that were lost. This book is a compilation of incredible recipes that are part of our state culture.
This book is from the owner of a south Louisiana smokehouse and highlights some genuine Cajun cuisine. I love the seasonal approach to the organization of recipes, and the photos are excellent. If you are looking for authentic south Louisiana recipes, this is worth the purchase.
So, I mentioned that I got a new toy, the Ooni Karu multi-fuel pizza oven for my birthday, but with everything going on, I just finally got around to playing with it for the past two weeks. Now, before I get into my review, I want to be clear that ingredients and process matter for success, so there is a learning curve, especially concerning dough. I have a few pizza cookbooks, and settled on the 60% hydration Neapolitan dough from this book:
I highly suggest this book if you want a pizza science deep dive, but even if you don’t, here’s why I love it. It gives dough recipes for various Italian styles (Naples, Rome, etc. which are different), and the regional recipes are also adapted for home ovens, grills, and pizza ovens. It explains why the dough needs to be different for each. To put it simply, the dough needs to be adjusted for how hot and fast your oven can cook. Most home ovens can only go to 500 F, while grills and pizza ovens can heat to 700-900 F. The cooking temperature affects how much water dough needs to cook properly. The author has it laid out in extensive detail, so on my first try, my 3-day fermented dough turned out perfectly and to rave reviews. It’s becoming part of my daily routine to keep dough on rotation so we have weekly pizza nights. I also recommend The Joy of Pizza as well.
Let’s talk about the oven itself.
This is a wood-fired oven with an optional propane insert, which we chose to purchase as an additional feature. I knew that I would make pizza more often with the convenience of instant-start gas versus building/managing a wood fire every single time. I know that’s not as authentic, but I want to use this pizza oven regularly, and not as a special occasion when I am willing to babysit a wood fire in 105-degree weather in summer. Because my outdoor counter space is limited, I ended up buying a rolling kitchen cart so I can move it around as needed for both cooking and storage.
Thoughts on Accessories/Support
The two main accessories we purchased that I can get behind are the oven cover, and the pizza peel. The cover fits perfectly and is low-effort to use. The peel is easy to work with and maneuver for the oven size and shape.
The freaking door….So, they advertise the oven with no door, and suggest consumers purchase one. Well, we bought a door only to find out our oven came with a fully-installed door. So, I now have a very expensive door in my closet. Rather than return it, I’m just going to hang on to it in case of emergency, but I HIGHLY suggest you talk to customer service before ordering a door to see of it is included.
I’d hold off on the laser thermometer suggestion until you play around with the built-in thermometer. They obviously want to upsell ad nauseam but it’s up to you on how “Alton Brown” you want to go with it. I don’t think it’s necessary for starting out.
I like the app and find it to be very helpful. Outside of the video tutorials, I found plenty of recipe inspirations, more so than I expected. The company seems to have good consumer support for their products. The app is worth downloading.
After playing around for a bit, I can say that I really love this oven. Yes, it was pricey, and there is definitely a learning curve if you’ve never made pizza before. But it cooks beautifully (in two minutes or less) and is easy enough to use on a weeknight. The Heathens love getting creative with toppings outside of the norm. It’s also useful way to transform leftovers, for example, we used the leftover food from our weekend barbecue to make pizzas the next day, which reduced food waste. Overall, I think it’s a great product and I am learning a lot.
So, we bought the thing, we love the thing, two thumbs up.
**A note/disclaimer–This blog is not monetized in any way. The links I provide ARE NOT affiliate links, they are just for your convenience. All reviews are of products I pay for with my own money, and I have no problem telling you the truth about them. If you see an ad on my site, that comes from WordPress, my site host, as the toll of free blogging. I have no control over the targeted ads they display to you**
It’s no secret that I have a cookbook problem…in that I will never, ever have enough. However, I am also guilty of being lazy AF when it comes down to meal planning for this circus. Rather than taking the time to go through my library of cookbooks throughout the week for inspiration, I often spend Sunday mornings scrolling online for fast ideas so I can get my grocery order in on time.
Well, as this year-of-improvement trucks along, I realize that expanding my culinary skillsets also means that I really need to spend a little less time on my phone, and a little more time amongst my bookshelves. So, I’m slowly attempting to build into the routine time to look to my books each week when it comes to meal planning and experimenting. Since I also vowed to cut down on my phone usage (a wee bit harder than I thought), this goal is doing double-duty for me.
Here are a couple of books I cooked from this week, or dove into for future planning:
The Woks of Life came to me via my Hardcover Cook subscription, and dang if I wasn’t the last to know about the authors’ fantastic food blog. I absolutely love every part of this book, from the family history and stories to the recipes that feel completely accessible to home cooks. On my first pass, I flagged at least 20 recipes I can’t wait to try. This weekend, I made some pork dumplings and chicken curry pockets, along with the ultimate dipping sauce. I wanted to keep going, but alas, we were all full at that point.
My dumpling assembly technique remains woefully inadequate, but everything was still dang tasty and I have plenty more dishes that I want to make soon. This book is a welcome addition to my library, and you should totally check it out at least the blog. I foresee pork buns in my future very soon.
I’ve mentioned previously that I’ve been baking up a storm, but picky eaters are still gonna pick. So, in addition to cake and pie experiments geared toward broadening my culinary skillsets, I’ve also been working my way through this King Arthur Essential Cookie Companion. This book has PLENTY of cookies that are easy to make and frequently utilize items I already have in my pantry. More often than not, I can flip through and find a new cookie recipe to crank out in a pinch before one of the boys gets home for the weekend. So, while I toiled away on a 2-hour caramel frosting that could not save a bone-dry caramel cake (from another cookbook I won’t mention), I at least whipped up a back-up bunch of chocolate-peanut half-moons (post-dip in chocolate not pictured).
Yeah, I am definitely putting some miles on this one, and I also recommend it if you like easy cookie recipes with clear instructions that have been thoroughly tested. I just finished up a batch of Chocolate Wake-Ups in between typing this and working on this weekend’s sourdough.
So, I technically have not tried any of the recipes in this book, but I still think it’s worth a look before summer’s bounty starts rolling in. I cannot for this life of me remember where I heard about it, but I am always on the lookout for books to add to my canning/preserving/skill-building library. This volume covers a lot of bases, from water bath and pressure canning to meat curing and beginner cheesemaking. I have been wanting to branch out into pressure canning for a while, and after reading this, I feel a somewhat less intimidated to get started. Also, after perusing the chapter on curing/smoking, I am about to start the process of turning a lovely pork belly I got at the farm into bacon, so I’ll follow up in a later post on how that goes. Overall, this book is very well-written and thoughtfully laid out, so check it out if you are so inclined.
Well, that about covers it in the time I have before the dough needs more attention. Hopefully, Operation Cook the Books continues, because my habit for acquiring new cookbooks will probably never be tamed. In fact, I wonder what’s new at the bookstore this week……
It’s already February 1st y’all, and for the first time in a hot minute, I ended January on a very high note. I don’t know what lit the fire under my ass this year as opposed to the past several, but I’ll take it. I’ve seriously settled in to my 2023 intentions, and I feel like a new penny as my grandmother used to say. So, let’s take a look back at this month and review:
I’m trucking along on this one and the results are evident. I did Dry January, and the improvements in my energy, sleep, anxiety, and mood were off the charts. So, it looks like a 90-95 percent reduction of the hooch is the plan going forward.
I worked out 5 days a week (except once when I had to support my neighbor during a hospital stay), and watched/recorded what I ate. As a result, I lost 11 dang pounds!
I reduced my phone/scrolling time by about 50 percent, and I think there still room for improvement there.
Finally, I stuck to my “Three to Thrive” and hit my target every day. I defined these as skincare, hitting my water goals, and taking my meds and vitamins every day. Good times, all around.
I have been rocking it in the kitchen, which is making the Husband and Heathen’s very happy.
I also put together a sourdough starter to try my hand at it, and Bear promptly killed it and an OXO container by blatantly ignoring the warning sign taped to the small oven (where it was hanging out) and preheating it to 400 degrees. A lot of melted plastic and swear words later, I restarted it, and it’s trucking along according to plan. Bread will be in my future soon.
I checked off my pasta experiment for the month by making fresh mezzaluna. The filling and sauce needed improvement, but the pasta worked perfectly.
I read six books this month, (not pictured is a romance, Twisted Games that I read on my Kindle).
When in Rome-Cute, lighthearted, low-stakes romance loosely based on the movie Roman Holiday, but with a happy ending. Fluffy beach read.
The Comfort Food Diaries-a memoir of recovering from toxic family and alcoholism by travelling to friends and extended family, cooking, reconnecting, and letting go. Kind of an Eat, Pray, Love vibe. I liked it overall, but felt some parts were rushed/glossed over that made the pacing a little uneven. Otherwise, I enjoyed it.
Heart Bones-I thought this was ok, but not my favorite by this author. Damage childhoods and coming of age romance typical for this author, but uneven character development in my opinion.
Other Birds-I’m biased because I love Sarah Addison Allen novels. A little magic realism, uncovering secrets of the past, finding a place to call home, beautiful settings.
Abandoned in Death-Despite how formulaic these books have become, I’ll always come back to them. This one, however, was better than some recent volumes.
Twisted Games-Steamy princess/bodyguard romance, ’nuff said. It was the second book I’ve read in this series. It was ok enough that I’m on the third, so take that for what it’s worth. Not shouting from the rooftops about it though.
Still working on that damn sweater, but I am about 30% through the second sleeve, so the finish line is in sight. I also wound the yarn I ordered to hopefully finish my Shift cowl once the fu%&ing sweater is complete. So, that fits under my intention to finish at least two WIPs this year.
I got my spinning wheel set up and tried to practice with the Malabrigio Nube fiber I ordered, and promptly felt like an abject failure. I watched dozens of videos and could not figure out why I was struggling so much. Well, a little time on Ravelry promptly educated me as to why this particular fiber needs to be pre-drafted into submission. Because if the dyeing and prep, parts were damn near felted, and the rest was compacted like crazy. So, pictured above is how it arrived, versus several hours of pre-drafting. It also shows that the dye only hit the outer layers of the fiber, and there was a lot more undyed than the braid would lead you to believe. Now that it’s (in theory) workable, I’m going to try again later this week.
Made progress on the Christmas stocking, but will need to pick up the pace if I want it done in time to submit it for finishing, thus making it ready by the holidays.
Best part? We booked our hotel for Rhinebeck, aka New York Sheep and Wool Festival in October! This means I’ll have to miss DFW Fiber Fest this year, but I’ll somehow survive. Excited doesn’t even begin to cover it.
So, that’s the January Recap. I’m using my Commit30 planner to its fullest, which helps me keep track of how I’m doing. Highly recommend, as always. Now, I need to keep the momentum going.
So, wrapping it up, it’s February, and we are deep into Mardi Gras season, and crawfish are coming on (though it’s still a little early so prices are a little high). I better pick up a King Cake before Friday, because the Heathens may riot soon, and we have a crawfish boil/oyster roast fete to attend this weekend. Now, if I could just figure out what I need to bring, but that’s a conversation for another day.
Well, the good news is that I’m half-way across Sleeve Island! I finished up the first sleeve of my never-damn-ending Scottish Ale pullover.
I’m so dang sick of this sweater, it’s unreal. But I am not allowing myself to touch another project until it’s finished, because if I don’t get it done soon, I never will. I am ready to put this one in my rearview mirror for sure. I can already tell the sleeves are not sized very well, and it looks like other knitters had similar thoughts based on project notes in Ravelry. I don’t care at this point, though. I will finish it, and if it doesn’t fit, oh damn well.
In unrelated news, we’ve been going strong on our 20% better initiative. I put in an order to the farm that included beef, pork, chicken, sausage, and local butter (Morrell Dairy Farm) and honey (Hummer & Son).
These quiet January days let me slow down and be a little more methodical with cooking and menu-planning, which has helped keep the waste to a minimum and given our budget a break from the frenetic entertaining of the holidays. I’ve been leaning into all the comfort foods. I used the smoked ham hocks for a big pot of purple hull peas, the sausage for Monday red Beans and rice with cornbread, and the ground sausage for Saturday morning biscuits and gravy (with bacon, eggs, and cheese grits…well, because). At the Husband’s request, the chicken took a decadent gravy bath and landed on a pile of buttery, fluffy mashed potatoes, while the honey added sweetness to a new roll recipe that I test-drove during a baking binge. I’ll smother the pork chops in a mushroom mustard-cream sauce tomorrow night, and the local butter will jazz up carrots that need to evacuate my crisper drawer. Overall, I would say our kitchen energy feels both cozy and intentional.
Speaking of the kitchen, my goal to bake more this year is in full swing, and I’ll give an update at the end of the month, but here’s what was on the menu this week:
I made this Brownie Cake with Cookie Butter Frosting, which was a big hit with everyone. I will note that the brownie took a wee bit longer to bake than the recipe stated, but otherwise, anything with cookie butter has my vote,
I also baked these Nutella Cookies, leaving out the chopped nuts so the kids wouldn’t riot. The Husband absolutely loved them, and I think they will make the permanent rotation.
So, that’s the Wednesday update. I’m off to get dinner started. Oh, and guess what? Good thing Bean and I did not murder each other in the making of her science fair project. That booger won first place. Will wonders never cease…
Whelp, it’s 2023, for better or worse. 2022 flew past like a wild wind, and while I didn’t accomplish many of my personal goals, I can’t say that we didn’t have a pretty full year. So, here’s the recap of the highlights:
Books Read: 43
I read a little bit less than my goal, but I did better than I thought I would. My top three G-rated reads were:
Paperback Crush. This is a non-fiction work that takes a retrospective look at the teen novels of the 70s-90s. If you grew up on Babysitter’s Club, Fear Street, Sweet Valley High, etc., this walk down memory lane is definitely worth it.
Kitchen Front. I’m not usually a fan of historic fiction, but I ended up really enjoying this one. Set during WWII, it follows a group of women, each trying to win a recipe contest, but the recipes must be based on the government’s wartime rations.
As a side-note, I read plenty of trashy romance novels this year, but that’s between me and my Kindle.
New Baking Recipes Tried: 14
While I am a pretty confident cook, I’ve never been much of a baker. I have plenty of recipes I grew up with, but I tend to get terribly impatient with baking. I did not attempt nearly as many new recipes as my set goal, but something is better than nothing, I suppose. My top two favorites were the Basque Lemon Ginger Cheesecake I saw on Food Network and the Jam Thumbprint cookies from Cheryl Day’s Treasury of Southern Baking. (Yes, that sounds basic, but I ate those damn things for breakfast for a week)
Finished Knits: 9
Obviously, that is way lower than my usual year, but this queen-size beast of a blanket damn near killed me. My finished objects included two baby blankets, one sweater, two hats, one pair of slippers, one pair of mittens, and a novelty business card holder. I also won five first place ribbons and one second place at the state fair.
Places Traveled: 7
This was certainly the travel year because we celebrated a lot of milestones. G-Man graduated in 2020 amid Covid so he missed out on all the things, Bear graduated, and the husband and I celebrated 20 years. I loved the Italy Trip, and DFW Fiber Fest. Cancun was an impromptu but super-fun. Bear finally got to use the concert tickets he received for his 16th birthday…in you guessed it, 2020.
We had so many other things going on throughout the year that by the time we hit this week, I think we were all feeling ready for some quiet. Or maybe the past week of Hell has me thinking so. Yep, it’s science fair project time, my friends. That veritable torture chamber for parents. In related news, I’ll never get ice from a fast-food ice machine again:
As for 2023, I have set some goals and have my planner in order (Commit30 if you are wondering):
Continue expanding my baking skills, both savory and sweet. I hope to try at least 30 new recipes this year.
Expand my pasta skills. Italy inspired me soooooo much and I would love to dive deeper into this one.
Finish the family cookbook revisions and re-print it for everyone. This will be a big project. Now that my favorite software is defunct, I’m struggling to find one I like.
Be a little more adventurous in recipes and cuisines.
Source more locally (I’ll talk about this in a future post).
Say it with me: KNIT FROM STASH. My yarn stash is ridiculous, and I’m committed to knitting from it exclusively. However, my husband is taking me to Rhinebeck this year, so…
Learn to spin. I received a spinning wheel last year and have been too intimidated to really get into it.
Finish at least two UFOs that have been languishing away.
Finish Bean’s needlepoint stocking.
Fix this trainwreck. ’nuff said.
Less phone time. I did not realize just how much time I waste scrolling when I could be doing things that actually bring me joy.
Realize skincare is a thing.
Not use profanity during my mammogram. (yeah….we can dream, can’t we?)
So, there ya have it. I’ve posted before that I actually like setting resolutions/goals at the beginning of the year. Some years were complete busts, but some actually worked out. It doesn’t hurt to try. 2022 was amazing, but now that I’m past the busiest year I can remember, I’m ready for some quiet time to focus ahead.
After I get past this science fair bull$**t.
**Usual disclaimer: This blog is not monetized or sponsored. The links I provide ARE NOT affiliate links, they are just for your convenience. All reviews are of products I pay for with my own money, and I have no problem telling you the truth about them. If you see an ad on my site, that comes from WordPress, my site host, as the toll of free blogging. I have no control over the targeted ads they display to you**
So, I’ve shared Mom’s Hot Sausage Cornbread recipe in the past, but I confess, it was not my favorite. The Husband (and most guys in my life) love it, because between the sausage, corn, and spice, what’s not to like? I still felt like the recipe itself was a wee bit weird. Was it an appetizer? Was it a side dish? Was it the product of too many cocktails on a Saturday night? Originally, Mom baked this in a 9×13 casserole and served it in squares, so it’s easy to see my confusion. The sausage and peas lend enough protein that I felt it never really fit into a main dish or side dish category, and serving it in squares with a fork definitely didn’t seem like an appetizer either.
However, as I was doing extensive recipe testing in anticipation of both the holiday season and the big family party, I had the idea to see if this could work as a handheld appetizer. I was worried because honestly, the filling-to-cornbread ratio made me question the structural integrity of the finished product. I rounded up the troops (i.e., the neighbors, Husband, and Heathens) and got to cooking.
Whelp, I am happy to report that we absolutely love this iteration so much more than the original. By cooking the cornbread in the mini muffin pans, we had more browning on all sides (rather than just top and bottom), which added better texture and flavor in comparison to the first recipe. If you are an edge-piece-eater of the things, you already get it.
Now, here’s the deal. This works if you follow some basic rules and suggestions:
You must spray the mini muffin tin with nonstick spray
DO NOT be tempted to try to remove muffins post-bake prematurely. They will fall apart. There’s just enough batter to hold to them together with a wing and a prayer. Letting the muffins set up is crucial to success.
Once you let these cool, the best way to get them out is to run a butter knife around the edges then use a spoon to scoop them out. Don’t expect appearance perfection, so refer to the picture above. I promise the taste makes up for the less-than-Instagram worthy appearance.
It’s better to let them cool, get them out of the tin, then reheat them in a warm oven or microwave for serving. If you aren’t too concerned about perfect appearances, go ahead and evacuate them at the 20-30 minute rest mark. They will still be plenty warm.
You can absolutely make them ahead. Store in the fridge, then reheat in the oven or microwave. They are best warm, not piping hot.
Finally, serving ideas: Mom traditionally suggested salsa and/or sour cream, but Bear swears they are better with the tiniest hint of a honey drizzle. Either way, it’s still guaranteed to be unique, tasty, and not yo mama’s cheese ball.
Spicy Sausage and Black-Eyed Peas Cornbread Mini Muffins
Preheat oven to 375 degrees (or 350 for convection ovens). Spray two 24-count mini muffin pans with nonstick spray.
In a skillet, add the sausage, chopped onion, and minced jalapeno. Cook over medium-low heat, breaking up the sausage as you go (like browning ground beef). Season with salt and pepper. Cook until sausage is browned, and onions are translucent. Set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, whisk together corn muffin mix, eggs, buttermilk, and vegetable oil until blended. Stir the cooled sausage mixture, cheese, black-eyed peas and cream-style corn.
Using a cookie (aka 1-ish-inch) scoop, divide batter into 44 of the muffin tins. These muffins really do not rise much so they can be filled to the top of the cups. Bake for 30 minutes or until nice and browned (see pictures).
LET MUFFINS COOL AND REST 30 MINUTES or they will fall apart. Run a butter knife around the edges and lift out gently with a spoon. Serve warm with salsa and sour cream on the side, or a tiny drizzle of honey on top. It's better to let these cool completely and rewarm them than to try and evacuate them from the pan early. Store leftovers in the fridge, and reheat in a 250-degree oven or in the microwave until warm.
I finally planned out the Easter menu, because procrastination is apparently my thing this Spring. The days are flying by this year, for sure.
While I know that ham is traditional on many a southern Easter table, we usually opt for lamb. My family goes bananas for my grilled lamb chops, and with such easy prep and a fast cook time, I’m not juggling cook times and oven space as I often am on other holidays. I also aim for dishes that I can prep ahead, then just toss in the oven or on the grill come lunch time. I’d rather be hanging out and visiting with everyone than stuck in the kitchen on a holiday.
As for dessert, I will probably whip up a carrot cake, assuming my lost motivation shows up sometime soon. Or maybe break with tradition and do a chocolate fondue-type spread. Now, here’s hoping that I can actually get my hands on everything I need, as the grocery store has been looking a little on the lean side lately.
**Remember, my blog is not sponsored or monetized in any way. No link in my posts is an affiliate link, and these ideas are all my own. None of these companies know who I am, and all of this is crap I buy with my own dang money. I’m just not that cool, y’all**
The husband has recovered (mostly) from the ‘Rona, and through careful quarantining, the kids and I did not contract the virus. He has pretty sick there for a while, and is dealing with a lingering cough and fatigue, but we got lucky. Thanks for the well wishes.
So, as I have been shopping for the holidays and planning for the new year, I thought I pass along some of the things that I really enjoyed this year (other than the endless warmth of the 2020 dumpster fire).
I really love Knife Aid. It’s like the Netflix of knife sharpening. You pick how many you want sharpened and they send you the materials to pack up your knives and mail them in. Then, they send them back to you perfectly sharpened. It’s only about a week in turnaround time and very convenient. I have used them twice, including last month.
I love OXO containers. My pantry is out of control, and these are helping me tame the chaos. I still want more.
A bluetooth meat thermometer was game changer. Yes, I use it when smoking meat, but I also use it for so much more. For example. I used this on Thanksgiving for the turkey, which meant I could watch the temp in real time, and also not lose heat from constantly opening and closing the oven to check on the bird. I also use it for cooking roasts, prime rib, chicken and more. You can go about your day without worrying that you are going to overcook an expensive piece of meat or undercook the poultry.
I am totally OBSESSED with this one. So, it’s basically a murder-mystery subscription box you get each month, but think of it like a limited tv series with episodes. One “season” lasts a few months, or you can purchase past “seasons”/mysteries in their entirety. You get all kinds of clues and documents to investigate, but they also have cool online components to enrich the experience. We are currently working our way though the Blair Witch season and the Cadence Theater season. If you are stuck in quarantine, pouring over clues in order to catch a killer is a great way to pass the time.
I am in love with Hue-It Hand Dyed Fibers. This local-to-me Louisiana artist specializes in small-batch dying, and has an incredible portfolio of colorways. Most of her stuff sells out fast but she takes preorders if you missed out on a colorway. I recently snatched up a couple of skeins that are just waiting for the right pattern to come along.
My neighbors gifted me this book after we had a mini-Thanksgiving this summer (they are in our “pod/quarantine bubble”). This book is LEGIT cool. These recipes are not for those looking for basic pies. These guys compete around the country and their ideas are complete bananas. Favorites so far are the Strawberry Margarita Pie and the Caramel Popcorn Pie.
This cookbook was written by the founder of the Mosquito Supper Club restaurant in New Orleans. It’s beautifully shot and showcases Louisiana food traditions that are slowing being lost. If you have any interest an authentic Louisiana cuisine, this needs to be in your library.
So, my go-to recipe software, Living Cookbook quietly went out of business and has basically ghosted it’s customers. So, I spent part of the year test-driving Cook’n, MasterCook, and Paprika, which came out the clear winner. I think it was the easiest to learn/use out of the three, and with a more intuitive interface. I was able to import my Living Cookbook files, though I will say that some things did get lost in translation. I had to go back and check each recipe to correct some things that got garbled in the transfer, but the same thing happened with the other two as well. Otherwise, I’m happy using it, and very grateful for the cloud sharing ability.
This herb stripper was featured on Food Network’s The Kitchen, and host Sunny Anderson loved it so much she immediately said she was taking it home with her. I LOVE this. It strips those pesky thyme and rosemary leaves off of their stems in two seconds flat.
Welp, we finished up the first quarter of the school year, and while virtual learning is the definition of the fifth circle of hell (rivaling my nemesis known as the school carpool line), Bear and Bean kicked ass and took names. Their report cards were a huge weight off of my shoulders. I’ve struggled with the decision to keep them virtual while so many of their peers returned to full-time classrooms. Would they be able to keep up? Would they resent missing out on the fun parts of school? Would they still learn with equal quality from home? I’ve been more stressed than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. But, in the end, they ended up being pretty dang good at managing it.
Meanwhile, at some point, it occurred to me that, if all they needed to do school was an internet connection and a workspace, well, that did not necessarily have to be at the house, right? Two margaritas later, I threw together an impromptu trip to Destin, Florida. October is pretty much the end of beach season, and hurricanes have been like “Hey 2020, hold my beer.” So, I easily found a condo, we hopped in the truck, and that was that. Despite G-Man being off to college, the remaining four of us have been together all day loooonnngggg, every day. Just experiencing a change of scenery made all the difference in the world. The only downside was tire issues on the way back that transformed an 8 hour drive into 13 hours of no fun. Regardless, fresh air, good food, and quiet days made it all worthwhile.
Other than the last-minute trip, we’ve been cooking, baking, and sharing time with our neighbors.
But now, I’m looking forward to the holiday season. Normally, I am the drill sergeant that refuses all Christmas until after Thanksgiving. Thanks to 2020, I’m like, “Turn on Hallmark. I need cotton candy for my brain!” So, I’m throwing my arbitrary holiday rules out the window.
I went to order my yearly planner as I always do in November (my favorites are from Commit30 fyi), and it dawned on me that maybe I am jumping the gun. My 2020 planner sits on my side table, mostly blank or full of plans that never happened.
Is ordering the new one inviting trouble? Us Louisianans are a notoriously superstitious bunch, so I am hoping I’m not daring the universe to up the ante in 2021. In the meantime, it’s time to break out the Thanksgiving binder, hunt down the turkeys, and accept the fact that, yes, we are all still in this for the long haul. But I live in the land of the drive-thru daquiri, so it’s all gonna be ok.