Well, I didn’t try 31 new recipes, but I did try 14! Plus I tried a few new recipe creations using 2 new veggies – Kale Attempt #1 and #2, and Eggplant Attempt #1 – that I didn’t count towards my total.
I think I didn’t meet this goal because I don’t often use recipes. I’m lucky to be married to a guy who knows more than I do about cooking, and he’s taught me a lot over the last 10 years… namely the ability and confidence to cook with what you have, on the fly. So I don’t often get out a recipe book and follow it word for word because I usually just make it up as I go! Tavis says I should have counted all those times as instances of trying new recipes too, but the stickler for guidelines in me says those weren’t really recipes that I was trying, but recipes that I was creating! To-MAY-to, to-MAH-to.
Anywho, I did try 4 additional recipes that never made it on here with full reviews and pictures because I ended up cooking/baking them last minute and didn’t have the time to capture lovely shots, and because I didn’t have pictures I didn’t create posts to go along with it. Nevertheless here they are:
1. S’more Tarts!
I came across this recipe by accident searching for something else on Skinnytaste, but they looked so good! So when I needed to make a dessert for my brother’s birthday I decided to give them a try. I made my tarts in regular-sized muffin tins, so to compensate a mixed more graham cracker crumbs together for the base. For the meringue, this recipes says the tarts are only good for 4 hours because the meringue is not actually cooked – just browned. Well I couldn’t have that! So I cooked the pudding layer halfway, then added the meringue and cooked for the remainder, and they came out great! Find the original recipe over on Skinnytaste.
2. Shrimp Corn Chowder!
Oh. My. Gosh. This was SO good! I came across this recipe when I was trying to find a new way to cook shrimp – often I use similar or identical seasonings and then just fry the little buggers, and I needed some inspiration to break me out of that routine. The Gouda Life has some incredible recipes, and the presentation on the blog makes the recipes look incredibly fancy and impressive! I found a recipe for chowder, which I’ve never attempted, that put some interesting spices on shrimp, so I had to give it a try. The only things I changed were due to what I had on hand, so ham instead of bacon, smaller shrimps, and coconut milk instead of regular. Two thumbs up from both me and my husband! Check out the tasty recipe on The Gouda Life.
3. Lemon Bars!
I love desserts with lemon, which might make you wonder why I’d never made lemon meringue pie before! I have made lemon squares before, but it was so long ago that it was high time to make some again, and I had a recipe in my inbox just waiting for the right time… which turned out to be my Mother-in-law’s birthday. I decreased the sugar in the lemon filling from 1.5 cups to 1 cup, and I added the zest of one of the two lemons, and the filling turned out perfectly tart yet sweet. These didn’t last long. I often turn to AllRecipes when I need some recipe inspiration because there are lots of useful reviews to go with most recipes there. Check out this recipe for “the best lemon bars” on AllRecipes.
4. Beef Bourguinon!
I’ve never really known what beef bourguinon is, so when I came across a recipe for it on Better Homes and Gardens and it just looked like stew, I knew I needed to try it! It’s super easy… yet again another recipe that has a complicated-sounding name but is really quite simple. I left out the bacon because I didn’t have any, and I really didn’t measure anything, and I totally put in almost a whole bottle of wine because it seemed like the thing to do, and it turned out great! Oh and I didn’t use marjoram because I’ve never owned that spice. I would have added salt, but for Tavis’ sake I kept it out and just added to my own taste at the table. If you’re looking for a new way to make stew, check out this recipe on Better Homes and Gardens.
So when all was said and done, I tried 18 new recipes during my 31st year. That’s pretty good! But I learned that forcing myself to try a number of new recipes specifically was unnecessary, as I’m experimenting all the time in the kitchen anyway. The only exception is when I’m trying a new cooking style or when I’m baking, because both tend to require proper instructions and/or measurements!
The bottom line is: food is yummy. And sometimes it’s even more yummy when the process of making it is new and exciting. But whether I’m following a recipe or making it up from scratch or just watching Tavis work his magic, it’s all good.