I like to cook.
I used to be such a mess in the kitchen that I am sure there are people that are shocked by this “cooking” I claim to do. It started in Florida during my junior year of college. I decided to start eating healthy and bought the South Beach Diet book from Books-a-Million. I worked there in the cafe as a barista and had a lot of time to read cookbooks since they were in close proximity to my coffee bar. I also had to say things like “Thanks a million for shopping at BOOKs a MILLION!”…(more on customer service jobs later.) It then dawned on me that this eating healthy means I will actually have to cook meals. So my foundation in cooking comes from the South Beach Diet Cookbooks …which are quite tasty if you are considering a diet plan by the way.
I can’t claim that my recipes are as healthy as they began–obvious by the title of this post–but I am enjoying cooking more than ever. I have a decent kitchen set up now, too. This helps a lot. It is not always just about the dish I am making, but a lot about the process as well. I like hanging out in there with all the ingredients and my spice friends. I am a good friend with Garlic. I like when it chatters away in the hot olive oil and the beginning of most of my meal preparations. OH, and my buddy Cheese. I ❤ you, Cheese. Another kitchen friend is Porpus. She likes to hang out on the perimeter to see if I will drop butter. She sits there all fat, squinty and cute and then smells whatever falls on the ground. Usually with disgust because it is not butter. How dare I not drop butter? Another favorite thing is when I have gone to the farmer’s market and have a huge bag of farmer’s cheese, tomatoes and herbs to work with. Then there are the smells. Smell is a big deal for me. I have always had a heightened sense of smell. It can alter my mood and nothing is more homey or comforting than the smell of bread baking or spicy Italian sausage soup simmering on the stove. It can transform the whole house into a happier place when things are brewing. Justin told me the other day that one of his favorite things is smelling dinner cooking from the living room.
If I don’t get to cook dinner at least several times a week, I feel kind of thrown off. This is why I would rather come straight home after work on the weekdays, rather than go out most of the time. I am lucky that my job is on a fairly regular schedule and I don’t have to work at all hours like many advertising agencies would have me do. It is one of the reasons I like the job…because I can do more than just the job and that keeps me a sane person. I like being home. I like cooking meals. I like eating dinner with Justin.
Since I have started cooking more, allrecipes.com has been my favorite place to get new recipes from. My first successful Thanksgiving dinner is largely due to some of the fine recipe contributors on that site. When I am cooking everyday meals I tend to just wing it and whip something up based on recipes that I have made before or I just mix flavors I think smell delicious together. It usually all works out deliciously. Baking however is not as forgiving. Since it is such a different science than “cooking,” I stick to the book (internet).
Today, banana crumb muffins were on my mind. I have been curious to make THE top rated recipe on the site. 3,107 ratings. 5 stars. This surpasses the 2nd highest rated recipe Clone of Cinnabon by almost a thousand votes. These muffins better be insanely good. So I made them. And they are pretty awesome. Justin liked them even though he doesn’t like muffins or bananas…which are clearly a big part of this recipe. Porpus even took a nibble, and she is not into people food unless plain butter counts. She and Paula Deen would have much to talk about.
Although the muffins were a good recipe, I am sticking to my belief that nothing tops fresh baked bread, and not too many breads top this rosemary bread. It is the best recipe I have tried from the site. If you eat the whole loaf in one night, it is OK. You are in good company.
Here is a visual banana muffin journey for you: