About, Food, Musings on Life

What I’ve Learned This Fall

This post is newly written, about the previous season. As the year came to a close, I found myself busy and unable to reflect. I have found these posts to be some of the most fun to write. So in that spirit, I am writing it delayed, the reflections are still from that period, but the writing is brand new.

I am responsible for my experiences and emotions.

One of the things I learned over the fall was that I need to take responsibility for myself in my current situation. I have the power to respond to and meet my own needs rather than expecting this of others. If I am picking up the phone in a passive aggressive way, that is about me, not the person on the other end. I can choose to not pick up the phone, or to call back when my head is in a better place. The same is true for in person situations, I am responsible for taking breaks, for taking care of myself when it is overwhelming. Rather than putting the blame on the experiences or other people I really need to own the fact that I am responsible for myself. When I know and acknowledge and take responsibility for myself everything seems to work better.

Just because I can deep fry food at home does not mean I should.

This is one I have been trying to learn for a long time. I was attempting homemade tempura, and the first time it ended in disaster. None of the vegetables were fully cooked, and as I was trying to store leftovers in plastic containers, the circular lids rolled out of the cupboard and into the hot oil, where they proceeded to melt. This was about a year ago and I had still not learned this lesson. Over the summer I deep fried chicken with minimal success, I had to bake it in the oven to finish cooking it fully. Then this fall I attempted tempura again. I made food that was deep fried, but it was not glorious. This was edible, and fully cooked, but the process was not worth the effort, my kitchen still smelled like oil for days, (if you have any suggestion for how to fix that I would love the advice), and the process was lengthy and exhausting. In the end I have decided to, for the most part, avoid deep frying in my own kitchen. I find it easier to eat it when I am out than at home. Weekly date night will be my only opportunity for deep fried food heading forward and I am glad of the progress, and that I have truly accepted this.

Trust your instincts when cooking

I have slowly been learning this for years. I started really putting this into consistent practice this fall. I stopped eating foods I do not like. Some might say that I am limiting myself. I have come to realize though that there are flavors I enjoy and there are flavors I do not. Rather than trying to force myself to eat things I dislike regularly, I am instead focusing on shifting the flavors of things I do not like to those I do. For example, swapping goat cheese or feta for blue cheese. I have found that when I take the time to do this I enjoy my food more, and I waste less. I do still try new things, when we eat out we go to a different restaurant every week, but I am trying to keep my home cooking to be something I think I will enjoy or my husband will.

Brussels Sprouts with Feta instead of Blue Cheese

More of a good thing isn’t always better but is just more

A few years ago, I would have told you that I could eat nachos every day and not get sick of them. This was tested this year when I made carnitas for my husband’s birthday in October. Turns out, there is such a thing as too many nachos and it just made me feel gross. Treats are treats for a reason, because when eaten daily they lose their magic and they start to taste blah, at least for me.

Nachos with carnitas, cheese, lettuce, avocado and tomatoes

I love the beach, but I don’t need to live there

I find this one to be a challenge. I love the beach, and having access to the beach, but I always thought I would want to live right on the water. We had an opportunity to live on the beach in New Hampshire and I realized I care more about a yard than I do a beach. I can live without a beach, but I do not want to live without a yard, which is surprising, but also true.

Soup Feeds My Soul

Not only does soup feed me, but I love soup in a way that is hard to explain. I find it feeds me not only physically but emotionally in its warmth and comfort. The soup below is one that made me realize it, the recipe was not remarkable, but the feeling that went with it was out of this world. There is something about soup that makes me feel warm and at home and excited for the world around me, especially with bread to dip in it.

Minestrone soup, with bread for dipping

How to Make Good Homemade Pizza Dough

Pizza dough has been something I have been on the hunt for for a few years. We had Pizza Friday in part so I could test a new dough each week. I finally found a basic pizza dough I like, it doesn’t cause me to smoke up the house (because of burnt bits, unlike another dough I like) and can be topped with just about anything. The recipe is here and is worth the time it takes. There is a chewiness that is perfect and it gets crispy but not too thin. Just perfect!

Pizza with aforementioned pizza dough

Just because it looks good doesn’t mean it tastes good- Taste Is Paramount

For Thanksgiving, I tried a new pie dough recipe, the pies made from it looked amazing, I spent time and care on them, but they tasted…. terrible. Rather than using dough that creates beautiful pies, I would rather it taste delicious, so I will go back to my standard pie dough, thank you very much. In the photo below the first two are made with a new dough and the last with my old dough.

What have you learned in the last season? Any takeaways or things you want to share?


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