Thursday, January 24, 2013

First post. Here goes.

My husband and I (recently married in December) moved to our new apartment last August when I started grad school. While the first semester was light, just 15 credits, no research or TAing, this semester is starting to pick up. When we got married, we were essentially gifted every kitchen appliance known to man (well, not everyone, but all the essentials and then some). Our families were very gracious, and we also got some cook books. One of my aunts, who cooks a ton, gifted me a bunch of dessert books and an appetizer book awhile back. I was/am psyched I can use them now since I have all the necessary kitchen tools and appliances. And on top of that, I got the Joy of Cooking and a slow cooker cook book. I'm pretty much set with recipes (forever, probably).

So I'm also 23 and have never really cooked much more than I needed too. I can cook some pretty awesome pasta, and I know how to cook meat (so it won't kill me, or anyone else). I made many mixtures of beans and spices and veggies. And ya, did ya know you could toss that on rice?

Anyways, I never made anything from scratch. I mean, who would bake their own bread when they can just buy it for $1 at the grocery store? Who has time to make dough for tortillas? Biscuits? French bread? For some reason I never thought about making the basics. But I am a chemist. And chemistry is very similar to cooking (more toxic, in some cases...). For example, an overnight reaction is similar to making a pot of chili. So naturally, I am now addicted to cooking, which is difficult for a graduate student. First off, I am only cooking for two so I have to scale down a lot of recipes or freeze a lot of food (which is an option I will explore in later posts, but as of now, I lack the proper amount of storage containers). Second, I don't have a ton of time now. Research and 5 classes, plus household chores. It adds up pretty quickly. Third, I'm going to work on a budget. Not out of necessity, but out of curiosity. I find this also makes me think of what I am going to get, so I don't waste food. Nothing is worse than tossing half the fresh veggies I bought because I didn't plan my weekly meals out the right way. I'm already starting to plan my meals out like I plan out an experiment. (1. slow cook whole chicken with veggies 2. use juices for stock 3. make lentil soup using stock 4. use stock to make a curry, etc.)

So I mentioned my cookbooks. They help keep me organized with my planning. I like to call them cooking textbooks, because they really are. The Joy of Cooking is a resource everyone should have, a reference material that belongs in every kitchen. In just the past week, I made my own tortillas and biscuits and they were delicious!!! Plus, in the long run it saves me a trip to the grocery store, and it's much cheaper. I never thought I'd actually put time into making these, because for the most party, they already ARE cheap items and I felt like they'd take forever to cook. But they didn't take up my whole day and yes, you can make them even cheaper than what they offer at the grocery store. But that's not really why I'm going to write this blog.

I really love to eat healthy, tasty food without sacrificing ingredients I love. And I want to share that with my family and friends. Because I know a lot of you like to eat too :) This blog can be a way to exchange recipes and share ideas. For instance, my biscuits weren't perfect. Why not? Maybe someone else made them and can tell me what I did wrong. I also think this will promote healthy eating, as I am trying to change my lifestyle to incorporate more veggies, less fat and not as many (but still some) carbs (I'm addicted to pasta, so we'll see how well it goes...). And when you make your own food, you know what goes into it. You can keep track of calories (if you want to) and modify recipes so they're lower or higher in caloric content, fiber content, etc. I'll be keeping track of what I make, the costs and calories, including carbs/fat/protein per serving via Eventually, I hope to create a list of basic ingredients everyone should have to cook with. Especially for cooking from scratch. Until then, let's experiment!


  1. I love this Jen! I'm impressed you made your own tortillas! I should try that myself sometime. Can't wait to read the rest of your entries :)