Girl Scout cookie season may be one of my favorite seasons of the year. As a kid, I was a Girl Scout from Daisies up through the first year of Cadettes, so I have an intimate relationship with Girl Scout cookies. And each year I was a Girl Scout, I was a top seller. I don’t think I ever was “the” top seller, but we always had a lot of customers and some very large deliveries to be done. I had my neighborhood on lockdown (other Girl Scouts knew it was my turf) and I was the only Girl Scout in my dad’s office, so the majority of those orders were pretty easy to get. Then my grandparents would order a case of Thin Mints, and somehow manage to hold onto them the entire year that followed. I would go down to visit them in Birmingham over the summer and would be able to eat those perfectly frozen, delectable little Thin Mints, long after Girl Scout cookie season had passed.

Will was out of town for a few days, so obviously I was left alone to cook. However, I have to say that I am quite proud of myself for selecting recipes that a) I could handle and b) were delicious! The first of that series of recipes is this Tanzanian Milk Beans recipe. Similar to Tanzanian Chick Peas in Coconut Milk (and actually off the same page in the same cookbook), this was ready in about 20 minutes and apparently foolproof enough for me to cook! I even managed to get my rice to cook in a timely and proper manner AND cut half an onion with (too much) crying. So basically this recipe was a huge success for me and the best part was having the leftovers long enough for Will to taste and be impressed by!

We had only used half the Carolina rub last time we made Pork Chops with Carolina Rub, so Will decided it would be a great idea to use the rest on some tilapia for a super simple dinner dish. This turned out being pretty similar to our No Money Tilapia, with several spices overlapping. However, because of the hint of sugar in the mixture, this Carolina rub gives a bit of sweetness with its spice, reflective of the states that are the origin of its name. This ended up being a fantastic use of the spice mixture, as well as a less-than-boring way to eat tilapia, and a slight variation on how we’ve been making it most recently. Then, Will wondered if it would be a good idea to toss the green beans in the butter/rub mixture after the tilapia was done? It ended up being a stroke of genius.

Woo-hoo! February is almost over and I feel like I’m in a blogging marathon trying to catch up to it! This one is back from the first full week of February, so bear with me as I try to remember everything about it (my notes were sparse, unfortunately). I remember that we tried this dinner out with Courtney and while we all anticipated it being pretty good, I don’t think it quite met any of our expectations. The goat cheese really made the dish (what else is new?) and I remember some of the potatoes had been finicky when being cooked-some got too squishy and some weren’t fully cooked! But I think we could all agree that the right idea was there, and with some minor adjustments, this dish could be pretty good. I would also definitely be interested in trying it for breakfast as opposed to doing the whole “breakfast for dinner” thing, and perhaps have a few more spices besides just S&P, to offer a broader flavor palette. A good starter recipe, though, with room to improve!

Pretty much every American I know gets that occasional craving for Asian food, or more specifically, Chinese take-out. Personally, when that craving hits, I’m a chicken fried rice girl all the way-I hardly ever order any other kind of dish at a Chinese take-out place. However, Chinese take-out is not always the healthiest option, nor is it the most satisfying (anyone else get a salt coma from all the soy afterwards?). Okay, well maybe the “not most satisfying” part of that statement is a bit of a lie, but I think we can all agree it’s not the greatest food you can put in your body. So when that Asian food craving hits, it’s probably safer for your body and your wallet to have some ingredients on hand that can be thrown together in under 30 minutes to help you indulge. This is a great recipe to help you do just that. Ready in the blink of an eye, with noodles, Asian-style veggies, soy sauce and a kick of chili paste, this sweet/spicy soup will keep you warm and assist you in satiating that Asian food desire!

I know I say this every time we make ice cream, but we are having so much fun with this machine! Once you get the basic recipe down (or memorized in my case), it’s really easy to come up with whatever concoctions you want make. I see why places like Nuberri are so popular, because it’s really easy to have one base ice cream/frozen yogurt as your base and then add on for there. However, instead of ours being toppings, we get to dictate the actual ice cream flavor! We have experimented with vanilla extract, peppermint extract, and caramel sauce, but not much beyond that. We have a Torani hazelnut bottle in the cupboard that I think we might tackle in the near future, once we run out of Girl Scout cookies, which is our most recent ice cream addition!

I feel really bad that I have been withholding this recipe from my blog readers for so long. Will is SO proud of making the perfect version of this stromboli, that I feel really guilty that I have not shared it with the world yet. But if there’s any recipe I haven’t been typing recently that is worth waiting for, this one is it! This is the type of recipe that after you have it the first night, you crave the leftovers the entire next day. And I mean the entire day. Will and I e-mail back and forth at work every day, and after he made this, the next day almost every e-mail included: “I just want to go home and eat the leftover stromboli.” So it really was that good. I’ll let the pictures really speak for the quality of this meal 🙂

You know how you hit those points in the year (or semester, specifically) where you just don’t want to do anything anymore? Now that my recital is over, I’ve kind of hit this wall with school where I’m going through the motions, but I don’t really care anymore. I’m taking one fairly easy class and working a lot, but as far as being motivated to practice clarinet as much, I’m not doing so great. The only bad part about this is that I’m taking an audition for a job in a couple weeks, so I really need to continue concentrating. It’s hard! I would love to have some sort of little break, but I don’t really forsee that happening until graduation, which even still, I will teaching my full schedule through the end of May. So really I won’t get a break until we move back to VA? Lovely.

This dish reminded me so much of our Summer Vegetable Tian, but with more flavor! It was super easy to make, extremely healthy (well, minus all the cheese) and involved getting lots of your required veggie consumption in for one day. The taste was what Will and I like to describe as “natural” because you don’t feel like you’re eating anything that’s been processed of filled with chemicals, but instead plucked straight out of the ground or off the vine. It combined simple flavors, which were highlighted by the caramelized onion flavor that all the other veggies absorbed (I love me some caramelized onions). Because of the onions, there was a slightly sweet flavor to the dish as a whole, balanced beautifully by the pure vegetable flavor that it was infiltrating.

Dear heavens. These tacos. They are the best tacos that have ever graced the face of this Earth. I wish this were a joke, but these are seriously better than any restaurant or Chipotle taco I’ve ever eaten. The best part? Will came up with the recipe. It’s genius. I mean, for starters, there are very few ways to cook meat that are better than slow-cooked, especially when it comes to large portions of meat. So when you add in all the spices, let it absorb and cook for 8 hours, you’re pretty much guaranteed a success. Add in a little homemade pico de gallo and some black beans, and you are set for a week.