DSC_0300Though we do not define ourselves strictly as “southerners,” there are certain things that remind us of “down-home” cooking that we not-so-secretly enjoy indulging in. In the months after we’ve moved, we’ve become increasingly more interested in cooking things from the South and expanding what we have always enjoyed about Southern cooking, into a strictly-vegetarian palate. It sounds like a contradiction, but it’s true! Not everything is chicken & waffles or BBQ. In doing so, this was one of our first ventures into pairing Southern-style foods to make a fully vegetarian meal, not lacking a meat-focused central component. This ended up being dinner AND lunch leftovers one week and while it makes a ton of servings, it certainly fills you up every single time.

Ah, the food subscription box. It gave us a baking pumpkin as a surprise one week and Will was at a total loss what to do with it. Per usual, he went to his faithful cooking blog, The Kitchn, to figure out what to do. While this ultimately was not our favorite recipe ever, I chose to blog about it because a) someone with a pumpkin might be inspired to try it and b) someone could probably figure out some improvements on the recipe. Either way, this recipe has a lot of promise that we did not tap into enough, but perhaps you can! Or maybe our pumpkin was just lacking in personality and with the right pumpkin, this is heavenly. Who knows – that’s for you to tell us! Either way, if you’ve got a pumpkin and you don’t know what to do with it, you could consider giving this a shot to get your creative juices working.

How is it only Tuesday? Yesterday was probably the longest Monday there ever was and I feel like it should already be Thursday. There is so much change going on at work with the merger, still. Which the continuous change is to be expected, but it’s just difficult when it’s still technically part of my first year on the job. People are finally moving up and moving on, which will cause an even bigger shift than the overall cultural change of the work environment. Departments have moved out and the new ones have yet to move in. Our on-site staff has shrunk from 25 to 11 and will continue to shrink in the forseeable future, before adding new friends to our House. There’s so much going on and it’s hard to keep up!

This recipe is easy as easy can be! Drudged up from the “forgotten files” (so to speak), I’m going to do my best to reminisce about how good this was, way back in October or November, when we actually made it. A simple, straightforward salmon recipe, it’s hard ignore how easy it is to cook a recipe like this one. Taking a simple liquid combination, pouring it in your slow cooker, then tossing in salmon and having dinner in just about two hours? Tell me what’s not to love! The flakiness this recipe achieves through poaching the salmon, creates a succulent seafood delight that is only complimented by the lemon and dill. This melt-in-your-mouth fish course is a worthwhile investment of your two hours to allow it to cook into flaky, juicy heavenliness. There is something about this that calls for summer with a glass of white wine out on your back porch (maybe that’s just me). Compliment it with a vegetable of your choice, like the couscous & carrots mentioned below, or try your pan-searing techniques to add a bit of a crunch to your meal. Whatever you do, give this a shot!

I was about to start typing this post when it occurred to me that not everyone may be familiar with the term po’ boy. “Okay,” I thought to myself. “I can come up with a definition.” And then all I could remember was that once I ate a gator po’ boy in Tallahassee and it was pretty good. But what it meant? Nope, not a clue. So I did a little research on all our behalves, to figure out exactly what a po’ boy is. The answer? As I already kind of knew, its origins are based in New Orleans and it references a particular type of sandwich. Read on to learn more (or skip ahead to just read the recipe):

A few weeks ago, we had the great pleasure of going on a camping trip with my best friend and her boyfriend, in the Shenandoah (pre-government shutdown). The trip had originally been planned to celebrate her birthday, but ultimately ended up celebrating much much more. Not only had my bestie scored a great new job that week, but to her surprise, her boyfriend proposed the first night they were camping! He even made her a beautiful wood ring engraved with silver (he’s a blacksmith) with a special message for her 🙂 Will and I went up on Friday and spent the evening celebrating with them, which definitely included the consumption of lots of libations. So what better to have the next day than a huge dutch oven full of tasty breakfast food, cooked over a campfire? Not much is really better than that, particularly if it’s a cold, rainy mountain morning like we had.

I came up with this! Yay for me! Will’s mom had left clementines in the fridge and I recalled seeing recipes for orange and rosemary chicken, so I did some research and decided to give this a shot! Well, technically I didn’t make the recipe, but I left instructions for Will and he threw it together for me. And the best part is, this actually turned out well! The flavors of the clementine and rosemary together are quite enticing and the slow-cooked chicken breasts make it easy to shred the meat. The chicken absorbed the competing flavors  really well, particularly the clementine juice, which gave it a really nice tangy flavor without being overwhelming. If you’re lucky enough to have afternoons free like Will, but still want to slow cook your dinner, I recommend a recipe like this!

As I just began typing up this recipe, I didn’t realize how simple it actually was. I know slow cooker recipes tend to seem simple because you usually just throw everything into the pot, but sometimes they have more preparation work than you may imagine. However, in this case, I assumed this recipe was more complicated because of the flavor it was bursting with by the time we ate it, over and over for several dinners/lunches. But while typing up the recipe and running it by Will, I realized this fantastic meal was really as simple as 1-2-3. Chop a few things, toss it all in, slow cook it for several hours, then enjoy it for several days. Quite honestly, the homemade naan bread was the hardest part, (which Will has long-since perfected) and if you really wanted, you could just buy it. What could be better?

Long phone calls with mothers make for very late blog posts on Sunday nights. Oops! I’ve even had a stay-at-home lazy day too, just enjoying catching up on some TV and listening to the rain fall outside. Le sigh. Anywho, since we were super busy prepping for our Aziza! potluck yesterday, I was too busy helping out in the kitchen to actually blog about any food. However, I couldn’t go another moment without sharing a new recipe with my readers! This slow cooker recipe was fantastic in flavor and fed us for a couple days, as any good slow cooker recipe should. Slow cooked meat is always the best and this was no exception. The blend of spices looks pretty familiar, but the addition of the orange made a major difference in the overall zing of the quality of flavors. The molasses also made a major difference in how the chicken turned out; we had never slow-cooked (or even cooked) chicken with molasses before, which gave it a sweeter flavor, as you would expect. If you’re bored with chicken and have a busy day coming up where you need to slow cook, I recommend this recipe (warning-it’s spicy)!

Every once in awhile, you need to make a crockpot recipe because it just makes life a little bit easier that day. Throwing all your ingredients into a pot, setting it for a few hours, and coming home to a prepared dinner? Can’t get much better than that. So for those weeks where we know we want an easily-prepared dinner, we turn to crockpot recipes. The one we tried this time, came from our Crockpot: 5 Ingredients or Less cookbook that my mom gave me awhile back for when I didn’t know how to cook. I picked out this particular recipe because I had never heard of one of the ingredients (vermicelli) and we like sausage. This ended up being pretty good, although ours looked creamier than the picture in the book (I may have added too much broth). The only bummer about it was we accidentally left it out in the crockpot overnight and totally forgot to refrigerate it! Therefore, we only had it for one night and were disappointed that we couldn’t enjoy it more!