cookbook challenge wrap-up
so, week #52 is happening in week #1 of the new year, but you're not counting, right? it's been a weird year around these parts, as most posts were part of the cookbook challenge, which is thankfully now over! woo hooo! i'm so happy to be back to regularly scheduled programming, and to not have the weekly deadline of cookbook recipes looming over my head. i'm going to try to keep up the weekly posts as best i can but without being so regimented or themed, me thinks.
on the positive side, i do have to say that i truly appreciated getting to know my cookbooks again, and found some real winner recipes that i know i will make regularly for the rest of my life. i always found myself challenged by having to select a recipe that fit our weekly meal plan, and my eyes were honestly opened to new ingredients and cooking methods along the way.
the scrappy lil' collage above shows most of my photo favourites from the challenge, including:
- pavlova with lemon curd
- s'mores cupcakes
- glazed lemon cookies
- 24 hour chocolate chip cookies
- chocolate chunk and chip cookies
- artichokes with hollandaise
- kale Caesar
- coconut macaroon popsicles
- boozy watermelon lemonade
- hazelnut crepe cake
- hot buttered love honey butter chicken thighs
- flank steak salad
- pot roast meat loaf
- lemony peach cake
- oven baked sausage risotto
- roasted kabocha squash with kale
- grilled polenta wedges with pine nuts
- lemon thumbprint cookies
another nice thing about this challenge was that it allowed me to get to know our "new" camera (which really ain't so new anymore) a bit better, although this year i'd really like to push myself further in that department. i'd like to try to time things a bit better so that there is still sunlight available when it's time to take pictures, as opposed to know when i am generally taking photos to moonlight. i'm still pretty dependent on the automatic settings on the camera, and would like to delve deeper into making my photos better, brighter, cleaner, and crisper.
52 things for 52 weeks update
these are my two fave outtakes (unedited) from #30 on my 52 things for 52 weeks list, which was "take pictures in the "mustard" fields. i have literally wanted to do this for ten years, and this list finally pushed me to get it done one week before the canola was harvested. the first pic i love because obviously the chef had said something funny, and i found it hilarious, and this a total reflection on our life; and the second is because we are goofballs, which is also a total reflection on our life.
overall, i feel pretty good about what i was able to accomplish on my 52 things for 52 weeks list. i would give myself a C+ rating overall, but with it being as busy of a year personally as it was, i may even deserve a B+. so, here's the update: i got 31/52 totally completed, so that's not that bad...right?
highlited in red = complete. otherwise, there are updates below in italics.
52 things for 52 weeks
- make more jam for freezing (this summer's crop just wasn't enough)
done! anyone need/want any jam? we have tonnes.
- make a recipe from one of my countless cookbooks once a week & blog it
so so done!
- continue with a pot of soup a week in the winter + morph it into something else for spring/summer (salad? sandwiches?)
i wasn't that great at this one, as i didn't morph it into anything else, but the remainder of the 2012 winter had lots of soup in it, and so far this week i'd say i've made at least a pot of soup a week.
- document craft/home decor projects better
- get another tattoo
done! left forearm, copy of grandfathers heart/banner/arrow tattoo - so happy with it!
- make at least 10 pinned projects come to life
ill give myself a pat on the back on this one, as many did come to life. i don't have photographic evidence, but i swear it happened!
- volunteer somewhere regularly
i organized a group of 55 (or so) people to partake in 'home for dinner' nights at the local ronald mcdonald house. we went 11 times in total, and it has been incredibly rewarding!
- print important pictures + compile some photo albums
nope - darn it!
- can tomatoes + maybe tomato sauce too?
nope - good intentions on this one though (almost happened)
- go to segovia + deseo. I'm still shocked that we haven't been to either yet?
- grow kale
oh i grew kale alright...so so so much kale + so so so happy about it!
- go completely wireless (including tv...gasp!) for an entire weekend (Friday night - monday morning)
shockingly, this actually happened! we got "stranded" at my cabin after a frightful camping trip to a yurt "haven" went south. my phone was left at home, and i avoided the computer and television (expect for a 15 minute dip into a terrible movie)
- have a fondue party
nope, and i'm sad about it
- learn a new skill that is applicable to everyday life
i thought long and hard about this one and never came up with anything worthy!
- take up/learn a new craft (i'm looking at your crochet!)
nope, but I'm totally not sad about it.
- read 5 books...real books...cookbooks don't count
sadly, no. i think i may have read 3.
- take a picture of the chef + i at least once a week
this totally happened. maybe not weekly exactly, but other weeks made up for it. thankfully, my real accomplishment is that the chef no longer scoffs at me every time i ask her to take a pic..only about 75% of the time.
- be what we consider "financially locked down"
done, and i feel really adult about it.
- do at least 1 new vignette a month
yay! did it! i've even done one for this month, so i've over achieved on this one.
- go to a yoga class
no to yoga class, although yoga happened at home.
- go to a spin class
no to spin class.
- bake 30 loaves of bread (or bread like items)
this one didn't happen, as i realized that we really don't eat very much bread at home, so why would i bake 30 loaves of bread and eat more of something i don't eat very much of? i probably baked 5 though.
- finish at least 1 year of the q&a book
yay! done! and still going!
- do a juice cleanse
nope - but i have done lots of research and have pretty much determined i don't think i am the full juice cleanse type of people. i may be a 2 juice a day kinda gal though...we shall see.
- go camping. like the real kind of camping.
nope - and i never really actually wanted to do this.
- go on a road trip with gertie (and the chef, of course)
we did take gertie on a road trip of sorts, but ended up at the cabin anyways - so a for effort on this one!
- write a will + instruction for death (how morbid, blech)
done like dinner!
- make our yard less of an eye sore (the back yard too...)
front yard - check!
back yard looks like the earth's asshole, so that will need some work this summer. we fenced it in though, so only we know it's an asshole.
- build something that i would normally have someone else build (guidance from others allowed, but not physical help)
i can't think of anything that i built at all this year, so no.
- take a picture in the "mustard" fields
yay! did this! and didn't even come into contact with any rodents along the way!
- "finish" the front porch
- make ketchup from scratch
- while in new york - be a real tourist, including taking at least 10 super touristy photos
we were total tourists
- eat at WD50 while in new york
we did this, and it will go down in history as a super memorable meal (and at a $600 price tag, it better have been!)
- go on a couple weekend getaways
we were at the lake on the weekends a lot, does that count? i think it does.
- have a picnic
did it! it was such a beautiful day, and we had olive tapenade, seedy crackers, beet and cherry salad, and iced tea.
- make a snowman
i'm not sure how with this winter and all the snow we have had i didn't make this happen, but whatever.
- have a dinner party with three sets of friends that don't know each other (who am i kidding, none of my friends know each other, this shouldn't be difficult!)
i honestly can't remember if this happened or not? but i think it did - so yes.
- surprise someone
totally happened! the bff was definitely surprised at her surprise engagement party!
- write letters to my nearest and dearest
i haven't done this yet, but i am determined to do it.
- spend more time with my bff, just the two of us
ha ha, what a sad, sad friendship, as i don't think this happened even one time! bad friends, the worst.
- run gertie really well at least once a week
this little doggie has lost 10% of her body weight, mostly thanks to the chef being very focused on running her and me being very focused on keeping her on track with her kibble allotment.
- go to the library
we went to the new york city public library - so check!
- eat completely clean for 30 days (no dairy, no red meat, no grains, no sugar)
check! january was empowering, brutal, and excellent - all wrapped into one!
- incorporate veggies into breakfast
i do this regularly, so i'd say this one is completed. smoothies get spinach, i'm no opposed to salad for breakfast, tomatoes and avocados on toast (i know that's technically a fruit...), etc.
- submit recipes to contests more regularly on food52.com
well, this post then this post should sum this one up!
- spend more time in the sunroom
we have spent some nice evening and morning hours up there, chatting with the in laws or watching the world go by with the gert. it's just hard to get up there when the covered porch is also an option.
- draw our house/property on autocad + design my dream garage + house layout
house and property are drawn as a result of the fence and planter box construction. designing my dream garage is cancelled, as I have officially given this dream up in hopes for other things. i've come to realize that our house is already laid out 90% the way i would want it, so i'm ok with giving this task up.
- do a blog post about our chemical free house
ahh shit, totally forgot about this one.
- take a picture everyday. (and take more pictures not of food)
this one has been tough to judge, but if i had to bet for a million dollars i'd say i'm probably pretty close to successful on this one!
- make candles
hrmph, no, and i wish i had!
- do something of the chef's choosing, that i would typically say no to
this one is funny, as it just never happened, as i am just so darned agreeable to everything she wants to do (hardy har)
so, asides from maturing my photography skills, let's talk about moving forward.
i still love this lil' blog of mine, and i love having this little hobby of recording favorite eats and life moments, but the new year has made me feel like it's time to expand and revamp a bit. time to spruce things up, do some decluttering, and get a face lift of sorts. so, I'm bracing you to expect some newness, as a change is gonna come to the food, albeit hopefully for the better.
stay tuned, mon amis - and brace yourselves!