Saturday, August 20, 2016

Welcome to the Jungle

Last night I had a dream that I made cookies. When I woke up, I realized that I had, indeed, made cookies! My dream had come true, so I raced into the kitchen and grabbed one for breakfast. 

I then drove out to Lawrence to surprise Sidney at the Market. When I got there, I went straight to the burrito guy to see if there were any left. It was pretty late in the Market, so I wasn't holding my breath....

Success! I got the very last one!

And by the time I made it to the Market, Sidney had practically sold out of everything! All she had left were three muffins.

Sidney's mom then ordered us some Chinese food for lunch, which Sidney and I split. It was beef and broccoli and lo mein with crab rangoons and spring rolls.

I then headed back to my parents' house to spend my last free week ever with them. When I got there, I had a brotein bar. I found it in enemy territory.

I then had a chocolate covered pecan and a Brazil nut.

We then made dinner, which consisted of tortilla chips...

...taco seasoned ground beef...


...ranch made with heavy cream...

...a little cheese...

...and some fresh cilantro!

I have absolutely fallen in love with cilantro recently. It's just so good. I'm even thinking about making a salad that replaces all of the lettuce or spinach or whatever greens with just cilantro. How great would that be?!?!?!?!?!?!

After dinner, feeling as though I didn't eat all that much, I had some ice cream...

...and some more cake!!!

Oh, I also added a cookie on top, again, because cookie.

Beat that!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Cookin' Cookies!

This morning I decided to grill my breakfast. 

I then wanted to make yet another attempt at making cookies at my parents' house. The last time I tried it they turned out kind of bland of crunchy. This could be completely my fault, but having nothing else to fall back on I blamed the ingredients. After all, I was able to make good cookies at home, so it made sense to me. My mom and I went out and got all new fresh ingredients. I then proceeded to mix up some cookie dough.

In tasting the dough I was pretty confident that these would be good. But there was still the baking to do. I scooped out the cookies and arranged them neatly on baking sheets. That's the easy part.

I then decided to lightly smash down the cookies on the right sheet to see the effects of doing so. I then baked them until they were just starting to look dry on top and slightly brown around the edges. That's the hard part. Too long and the cookies will be dry and crunchy. Not long enough and the cookies will be overly doughy in the middle. I wonder how I did.

In regards to the smashing versus not smashing, in the picture below, the trays have been switched, but the effects of smashing are obvious.

The smashed cookies came out much more round and flat. After a brief cooling period, I had to sample one for judgement purposes. This is where I find out if I over or under baked them and if the cookies themselves taste good.

Success!!! These cookies were as good as ever. That means that my past cookie woes were simply the result of outdated ingredients. Such a simple thing had me perplexed for months!

My mom then whipped up some fresh guacamole, and I helped her taste it.

I then helped her eat it!

I then had a piece of the eclair cake that she had made with the left over Bavarian cream from my cake.

It was so good too. I washed it down with a cookie, because cookie.

There was also a cookie that had very few chocolate chips in it, so I wanted to try it to independently judge the taste of just the dough.

The dough, I can confirm, was really good too!

I then had some brotein and fat to offset all the sugar I had eaten today.

But I had too much, so I had another half a cookie.

My mom then made some barbecue grilled chicken thighs for dinner for a much needed brotein boost.

Meanwhile, I had thrown some rosemary potatoes in the oven.

I had a salad with a bunch of carbs and cheese and ranch. We made the ranch with heavy cream just to see what it would be like. Of course, it was really good!

Dinner was good, too.

For dessert, I had to have another cookie. Come on, they were fresh! I couldn't resist.

For dessert, I had to have another cookie. Come on, they were fresh! I couldn't resist. It was the perfect compliment while watching the Olympics.

There is nothing like sitting on the couch and eating cookies while watching the fittest humans in the world.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Butter Chicken Cook Off!!!!

Falling into a pattern, I again went light in the morning to save room for dinner. 

On the way back to my parents' house, I came across a truck carrying my dumbbells to my house for me.

Once I got to my parents' house, I had another brotein bar for lunch.

My mom and I were then about to leave to play tennis, so I carbed up with some white cheddar bunnies.

I made it a little interesting by adding in some Boursin-esque garlic and herb cheese.

This was delicious, and the perfect fuel for some good ole' fashioned tennising.

When we got home, we quickly started on our Butter Chicken cook off. After our last attempt at Butter Chicken, I wasn't satisfied with the results. I vowed to try a different recipe, so I found one. In the meantime, my mom had also been searching for a recipe. We both wanted to try our respective recipes, so the Butter Chicken cook off was born! Her's was a faster version, involving making the sauce and then cooking the chicken with the sauce. Mine was a little more involved in that it included marinating the chicken in yogurt (which I did for a few hours), cooking it in the oven and under the broiler, and then making the sauce. When we were both about finished, this is what it looked like.

My mom's, on the left, looked like what I always expect Butter Chicken to look like. It was a beautiful orange color and looked and smelled downright amazing.

Mine, on the other hand, was much darker. It didn't look to my eyes anything like Butter Chicken. It also smelled really heavy of ginger, and I was then worried that it would taste too gingery, which is the same problem our previous attempt suffered from.

But I forged on, and we cooked some rice and heated some naan to go with our Butter Chicken.

My first plate was a sampler of both recipes. My mom's is the one that looks obviously like Butter Chicken. I also grabbed some rice and naan.

Here's a closer up view of the Butter Chicken. Which one looks better? You be the judge.

So, I proceeded to try them individually with no rice or naan. After I sampled one recipe, I cleared my palette with a little naan, then I tried the other. To my extreme happiness, they were both outstanding! The recipes had a slightly different taste from one another, but they were both so good. My parents and I tried for a while to determine which one was better, but just when you started leaning one way, tasting the other brought it back to even. We concluded that they were equally good, although different. In the end, we decided that the next time we make Butter Chicken, we'll prepare the chicken according to my recipe (marinated in yogurt then baked and broiled) and the sauce according to my mom's. But I can honestly say that both of these Butter Chickens would be perfectly at home on good Indian restaurant's buffet or menu. These really were that good. They were so good, in fact, that they are making me reconsider what my favorite homemade meal is. Is it the lasagna that Sidney and I made? Or is it the Butter Chicken that my mom and I made? Again, it's too close to call, and I concluded that I liked them both equally and appreciated their differences as uniquely amazing. I would gladly make either again in a heartbeat!

Of course, when eating good Butter Chicken and good naan, you simply must experience the Dream Bite:

It was so good that any thoughts of portion size control were lost. I had more.

It turned out that this didn't matter too much, because after dinner we had some cake and ice cream!

What a wonderful way to cap a wonderful dinner. Mission accomplished.