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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Culinary Progress

It's been a while. I went out of town for a conference for work and it was great! So informative. They had awesome keynote speakers that talked about working with at risk kids and helped get me from that place in the summer where I think, no way can I go back to work to, yes I can do it and want to do it again. So it was great. We talked about drug trends among teenagers, teenage dating trends, how to talk to kids about dating and drugs, creating a positive culture at your school or in your organization, teen killers and other warm fuzzy things like that. That last topic was heavy and scary, but very informative and necessary in the society we're now living and teaching in.

Eating well proved to be a little difficult while I was gone. Access to whole foods was low as was my will power. And I decided beating myself up for falling off the wagon for a week was not really necessary. My body already felt bad physically enough. I could really tell the difference. It was VERY noticeable. But I'm settled now again and trying to get back into the groove.

I made my first two loaves of homemade bread this past weekend. It was work, but it was manageable. I felt very capable when I was finished. Here's a picture of me actually rolling dough! I've never done that before in my life. I had to go buy a rolling pin in the middle of the whole rising process.

And the finished product!

YAY! It was really yummy! I used a recipe from Musings of a Housewife and it turned out great even though I didn't have the all purpose flour. I think I'll try it with that next time. It's a mostly whole wheat recipe.

In other culinary feats, yesterday I roasted my first chicken. I looked at various suggestions online for what to do, but ended up slicing up a lemon and putting 3 slices inside the cavity and stuffing 3 inside the skin. Then I used 6 cloves of garlic and did the same thing I did with the lemon slices, (3 in the cavity, 3 in the skin) and then I took some dried tyme and sprinkled some inside the bird and some inside the chicken and used some to season the outside. Then, I salted and peppered that bad boy like there was no tomorrow. :)

Here's the little guy going in:

I roasted him at 325 for about 2 hours until the thickest part of the thigh was 180. And because I'm not very experienced with blogging about food, and also because I was fixing pasta at the time it came out of the oven, I forgot to take an after picture. But I can tell you that it was DELICIOUS. The skin was crispy. The meat was so juicy and flavorful, and my husband who is waayyyy more experienced in the culinary arts than I am kept telling me how much he loved it. I think that counts for something.

We had this with spaghetti tossed in pecorino romano cheese and spinach (recipe from Skinny Italian, great book). I was really satisfied with my dinner preparation last night. Before you think I sound a little proud of myself, a.) I am because cooking is still way new to me and the fact that I planned and pulled this off mostly by myself still surprises me and b.) it's not so much cocky pride as it is wonderment that I can actually do semi-not super easy things in the kitchen. I feel very capable in the kitchen and willing to keep trying new things. I'm really enjoying cooking this week. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a breakthrough. Hallelujah.

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