Cooking Spree: Homemade Applesauce

It’s a question that paralyzes me every time. That summons the angel to one shoulder and the devil to the other.

“Would you like chips, bread or an apple with that?”

I try to behave when I eat at Panera Bread, and choose that apple to accompany my meal instead of more bread (delicious!) or potato chips (decadent!). But, instead of keeping the doctor away, I just collect a lot of tiny apples that I never eat.

Then last week I came home with a bag of apples someone brought my family from a nearby orchard. So I stared at those, alongside my Panera stash, perplexed. What do you do with such abundance?

I could have made a tart or a pie, but I was trying to eat decently healthy. Continue reading

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Cooking Spree: Lemon Feta Dip

There are two things you should know about me.

One, I love a good food publication, whether a blog, a cookbook or a food magazine.

Two, I cannot stand to waste food. It pains me to throw week-plus-old casserole or decaying vegetables or moldy cheese in the trash. Pains. Continue reading

A cure for what ails you.

I went to the grocery store yesterday, which is a frequent but not especially momentous occurrence. But this was my shopping list:

Because my name is Sicky McGee.

For the second time in two months, I am wrestling with that unpleasant affliction known as “the common cold.”

(By the way, I’m not totally sure what the celery is for. Maybe I thought I would make soup. Or perhaps a medieval poultice sounded like a good idea. Who can know.)
Keep reading »

Cooking Spree: Lemon Garlic Chicken with Parsley Rice

It won’t surprise many of you that most of my food inspiration comes from television. I do enjoy a good food blog, and I peruse many a food section in magazines. But nothing captures my attention quite like watching a meal come together in action. Especially when it’s prepared by Ina, Giada, Nigella or Tyler.

If I’m not watching something in particular or if I’m just puttering around the house on the weekend, chances are my TV is on and tuned to the (new-ish) Cooking Channel. It’s the comforting background soundtrack to my life at home. Cooking Channel skews to a bit younger demographic, focuses on organic and artisinal cooking and highlights more global cuisine than its sister channel, the Food Network. I just couldn’t watch one more cupcake challenge, cake decorating competition or “meal” prepared by Sandra Lee. She just opens four cans … that’s not my kind of cooking.

I discovered or was inspired to create many of my favorite recipes — see beef stew or Shepherd’s Pie — from TV cooking shows. And I recently found another winner:  lemon chicken with parsley rice. It’s very nearly a pantry meal, since I had lemons, garlic, frozen chicken and even remnants of a bottle of white wine already on hand. It has also been a nice, light escape from the Italian feast leftovers currently overloading my fridge. Keep reading »

Sick of being sick.

Hello, readers. I’ve unexpectedly been away for a long, eventful couple of weeks. Mostly I’ve been knocked down by the worst cold known to man that won’t respond to antibiotics, Mucinex, antihistamine, Sudafed, Robitussin, cough drops, lemon tea (see below) or even my old friend Nyquil. I’ve spent much of the last two weeks laying around in my bed or on the couch partially buried in a mound of used tissues. (You’re welcome for that lovely mental image.) When I was little, my family went to these Saturday library sales,  and I found an old book called “The Sick of Being Sick Book.” Inside were dozens of games you can play while bedridden, like shooting a basket from across the room with your balls of Kleenex or cough drop wrappers. I sure could have used that self-entertainment recently, and I wonder where that book could be …

In the midst of all of that, my mom had unexpected, emergency surgery the week before Thanksgiving. I ran down there in time to check her out of the hospital and wait on her for a couple of days while she regained her strength. (Well, until I became the patient.) I was completely amazed at the generosity of family and friends, a whole community that came out of the woodwork to help us. They cooked meals and even organized a food delivery schedule to get us through Thanksgiving. They’ll pick up again with more deliveries on Monday. Keep reading »