Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Failure

I guess since I like to post about all the successful meals I have made I should also post about my not so successful food moments.

Today I friend was texting me asking about how I make cheesecake. I pride myself over my cheesecake! It's one of my favorite recipes! So since she was making one I checked my fridge and realized I had all the ingredients for a cheesecake!

Now, as I have written about in a few other posts back in St. Louis I always had an electric stove and oven, and now that I have moved here I have a gas stove and oven. It has not been an easy transition. Plenty of burned food. I have officially mastered my stovetop, but the oven is still a mystery to me! It cooks way too hot and I can't ever get the temperature right! Everything I try and bake is either under cooked, or burnt! So I stay away from baking, but I was really motivated to make this cheesecake!

I got everything together, the batter was heavenly and I put it in the oven. Right away I could tell it wasn't baking right... Usually after 15 minutes the top get lovely golden brown, but this time the top got dark freckles!! I let it bake a little longer and finally turned the temperature down according to my recipe. Then the top started getting too brown! So like I have done in the past I put a piece of aluminum foil over the top to keep it from getting too dark. I checked it a little while later and it had risen so tall it was sticking to the aluminum!! It has never done that before! So I took that off and kept baking it.

With 10 minutes left the side were tall but the middle was sinking in.... I baked it a little longer to make sure it was baked through.

It was hideous. My BIGGEST food pet peeve, ugly food. I understand something can taste good even if it doesn't look good, but I just despise ugly food. I tasted it and honestly it did taste fine.

My husband came home and saw I made his favorite dessert. Of course being a guy he was not put off by the abomination and refused to let me throw it out.

I got passed him and dumped it in the trash.

Some might think that was completely ridiculous of me, but honestly looking at that horrific cake was just defeating. It was my oven's way of laughing at me. I will try again! I have to adjust the temperature a bit and get a light silver pan instead of my dark one.

So oven, you win this time, but I will defeat you eventually!!

Crockpot Black Eyed Peas

When I first started typing this I originally started with, "I love Black Eyed Peas..." then I realized 99% of the time I start by stating that I love the food I'm about to share a recipe about. I think I just love food, as I have stated before as well....

Black Eyed Peas are one of my favorites. Of course I learned to love them from my mom.

Beans are always a great healthy side, but I love eating them as a snack! Not to mention they are cheap! I buy dried beans as opposed to canned beans. Dried beans are generally about 1/2 or even 1/3 the price of canned beans. Not to mention they taste better!

Ingredients:
1lb bag of dried Black Eyed Peas
1 Yellow Onion - Chopped
3 Cloves of Garlic - Minced
1/2 of a Package of Bacon - Chopped into small pieces
3 Chicken Bouillon Cubes
2 Jalapeños (optional) - Minced


First place you dried beans in your crockpot with 8 cups of water. Put the lid on and let them soak over night or for at least 6 hours. Make sure your crockpot is OFF! Once your beans are done soaking add in the chopped onion, garlic, bacon, bouillon cubes, and jalapeño if you are using it. Set your crockpot on low for 8-10 hours.

And that's all! I like to put the finished Black Eyed Peas into a tupperware and just reheat them throughout the week! A whole bag says it has 12 servings, so if you aren't planning on eating all of it or reheating it throughout the week just divide the recipe in half!

Whenever I make this I can't resist eating a bowl right after I make them!


I got the Black Eyed Peas out to look up the serving size and I guess they made a good pillow for Chance while I was typing this up! Don't I have just the cutest dog ever??

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

My Pho Adventure

If you asked me what my favorite food was I would have no idea... I just love food. But, one of my favorites is Vietnamese Pho! Such an amazing soup! 

I did some research about Pho and it has such a history! Apparently in Vietnam it's more typically sold from street vendors. It's probably a good thing it's not sold like that here or else I would be eating WAY too much. If I read everything correctly, typically Pho broth is made by boiling not only beef, but the beef "extras." Yes, it might seem a bit gross to some people, but how great is it that this is a meal where no part goes to waste?? 

I have tried a couple times to make my own Pho, but I probably take too many short cuts and it never tastes quite right. It's always close, but just never the same... 


It always looks pretty good, but the taste isn't there. I tried some Lettuce Wraps as well and that pretty much bombed. So yes, this was a failure of a meal. 

Back in St. Louis my aunt and I love to go to Pho. I'm sure the restauraunts we go to are pretty "Americanized" but they are soooo yummy!

Now that I live in California I was set on finding some good Pho out here. I was at our grocery store and the cashier told me that I live in a huge Vietnamese community and there are TONS of good Pho places!! I was beyond thrilled. So I went out and tried "Pho House." 

Pho House was a little hole in the wall restaurant, which is always really exciting to me because they tend to have the best food. I kept it simple and ordered the Pho Tai, just the typical noodles and beef. But my friend ordered something even better. I wish I remembered the name, but his came with everything! The beef, tendons, and tripe! Thanks to all the cooking shows I watch I have always heard about tripe (the animal stomach), but have never gotten the chance to try it! 


Mine was phenomenal! Unfortunately we had ordered appetizers so I couldn't eat all my soup, but I already can't wait to go back! 


Our friend was awesome and gave me some of the tripe to try! It tastes just like the broth but its a bit chewy. It looks a bit weird, but next time I will for sure be getting the "fully loaded" Pho and not my lame beef only Pho. 


And just for a second can I talk about how big their Thai Basil was?? I have never seen Thai Basil that big!! 

I was in heaven. I have missed Pho so much since I have moved out here. When I took Jared to Pho in St. Louis he wasn't a fan so I was bummed we wouldn't go much. But when we went he found a chicken dish that he loved! That means we will get to go back and make it a regular stop!! 

So I really encourage you all to go out and try not only Pho, but Vietnamese food! Such amazing food with great taste! 

Cinnamon Roll Waffles

So here's a little bit of a secret.... As much as I LOVE cooking.... I LOVE cheat meals. Those meals that look amazing but took zero to possibly negative amounts of effort. People think it looks amazing, it tastes fabulous, and I didn't do a thing. What can be better than that??

Here was my most recent cheat meal, Cinnamon Roll Waffles.


I got lot's of Ooo's and Ahh's over this one. Part of me wanted to keep this my own personal secret that just makes people think I'm some kind of breakfast goddess... But I will share this with you all!

Ingredients:
Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls

Yup, that's it. Like I said, no effort. 

Go get your waffle maker. Heat it up. Spray a little pam on there. Take a Cinnamon roll and stick it in the middle and then squish the lid down tight. Depending on how your waffle maker cooks it shouldn't take long... but you might have to experiment to get just the right amount of cooking. And when I say it doesn't take long, I'm talking 30 seconds! 

Pour the icing on top and WAH-LA! People will be running to your house from miles. 

Feel free to claim this as your "old family recipe" so people think you are Wonder Woman of the Waffle Maker, but I'll know the truth.... 

Good luck and Enjoy!!

Crockpot Pot Roast and Gravy

So sorry I haven't posted in a while!! My schedule just got a bit crazy which meant I wasn't cooking much. Though it was nice having a break from the kitchen, it has been nice getting back to some home cooked meals.

I love crockpot recipes. You throw a bunch of stuff in and a full meal comes out! I don't think I know anyone who doesn't like crockpot meals!! So here is a new favorite recipe!

Ingredients:
5 lb Roast
1 Large Yellow Onion
2 Large Carrots
1 10oz Can of Cream of Mushroom (you can use any of "Cream of" soup, but I like mushroom)
1 McCormick Pot Roast Seasoning Packet
1 1/4 Cup of Water
Fresh Rosemary (Optional, if you have it great, if not, it will taste just as good!)

First mix the Cream of Mushroom soup with the Pot Roast Seasoning and water. Cut the onion into 1/8 wedges. Cut the carrot in half, and then cut those pieces in half again lengthwise (basically cut them into big carrot sticks). Place the pot roast, carrots, onion and rosemary (if using) into the crockpot and pour the soup mixture on top. Cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for 4 hours. I really recommend cooking it on low instead of high, it tends to end up being a bit more tender. Every so often I would spoon some of the soup mixture over the roast as it was cooking, but if you aren't home to do that it will be perfectly fine! Once it's done you can use that soup mixture as the gravy! It's so yummy!


And that's it! If you want another side to go along with the carrots and onions, I would recommend my Australian Style Potato Wedges found HERE, or you can do just some simple Green Beans found HERE.

Hope you all enjoy! I promise this is super simple and anyone can do it, give it a try!