Guest post by Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla!

Guest post from Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla!

I am so glad that you’re here because you are just in time to see my very first guest poster here at Try Anything Once…for the sake of my piehole!

I’ve written guest posts and guest articles but never have I had a guest visit here.  Until today.  The only thing I asked for was trying something new or different and she has worked on doing exactly that!

Meet my new friend Camilla Mann!

Camilla is a real go-getter in the kitchen and she is willing to try almost anything.  She is very passionate about cooking, she is a freelance writer, jewelry maker and a photographer.  I’m very excited to have Camilla here guest posting today and be sure to head on over to check out Culinary Adventures with Camilla for recipes from all over the world!

 

Overcoming a challenge.

by Camilla Mann of Culinary Adventures with Camilla

In years past I have been wildly protective of my kitchen. Ridiculous even. Friends would come over for dinner and they would – literally – not be allowed to cross the threshold. They might make the mistake once and my husband would be quick to point out the daggers I was throwing with my eyes: get out of my kitchen! I’m smiling in this picture, but notice no one in there with me.

kitchen

But it wasn’t just friends; my husband and kids didn’t set food in my kitchen either. I still don’t know why I had that territorial attitude. I knew it was silly, but I just didn’t want anyone in my space.

Ironically, when we ended up doing a short sale on our house and moving into a townhouse with a postage stamp-sized kitchen, I finally opened up my kitchen…to my boys, at least. Maybe I just needed a change in venue. Or maybe I just needed a reason.

My opening up my kitchen coincided with my embarking on a Cooking Around the World Adventure with my boys and my deciding that they were going to learn how to cook. I had intended to get through all 195+ countries of the world in 2012, cooking and eating our way around the globe. That didn’t happen. We’re starting off 2013 in the L countries of the world. So, we’re a little bit behind schedule. But I know that this helped me overcome my fear of letting people into my kitchen.

Here they are…

Rolling Nacatamales from Honduras2

Pressing Homemade Corn TortillasTortilla2

Juicing Lemons for Lemon CurdLemons

Making Meatballs for Fisinjan Plove (Azerbijani Pomegranate Meatballs)Meatball1

So, there you have it, I have finally be able to allow people into my kitchen – with a smile. My solution: they have to be helping!

 

Well, Camilla you have definitely overcome your tendency to have your own space in the kitchen!  And you have done quite well.  It’s hard to let go of our preferences and allow our loved ones some creativity in the kitchen but as you have shown, it’s well worth it!

Be sure to stop by and say hello to Cam!  I’m going to try making lemon curd for the first time. 🙂 Thanks Camilla for the inspiration!  I really enjoyed getting to know you a little better and I know that when I visit your blog, you’re going to show me all kinds of foods from different parts of the world!  Thank you!

If you are interested in visiting here as a guest blogger please email me at yourstrulyewalani@gmail.com so we can talk it over. 🙂  Thank you for coming and I hope you have a good rest of the day!

What challenge have you overcome?

 

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What can I do with beets for a quick dinner idea?

beets sliced and ready to roast

What can I do with BEETS for a quick dinner idea?!

Beets and I have never ever been friends. I can remember eating some sort of beet when I was little. I think my dad canned them or boiled them, something awful from what I remember. (No offense dad.) It scarred me for life enough to bring out the toddler in me when I see beets on a dinner table.

I am extremely grateful for my fellow food bloggers and members of the food blogger community for the suggestions of what to do with these beets!

I’m sure you’re wondering, why would you buy beets if you dislike them so much?! The weekly food co-op that I buy from graciously included them in 2 out of the 4 juice packs that I bought last week. Yippee. We don’t know for sure what will be in them, only that there will be fruits and veggies that are good for juicing. Or in my case, blending. 🙂

How to roast beets.

The first suggestion was that I should roast the beets. Simple and very little time spent on these little pests so it sounded like a pretty good plan! Roasting it is!

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First I sliced red potatoes and put them in a bowl tossing them with salt, pepper, olive oil and onion powder. I mixed them really well before spreading them out in the pan. Then I sliced the brussel sprouts and did the same as I did with the potatoes.

When it came to the beets, I was really fascinated by the deep red color of the juice. If you eat beets often this is nothing new for you but keep in mind I don’t like them…and I was just in awe! What a great dye or paint that would make! 😀 Such a rich color and beautiful coloring in the beet that was worth documenting with a photo for sure!  I love to share my vegetable recipes with you (and you can also send me some too!)

beets3Curiosity got the best of me and I had to try a bite of raw beet. It had a firm and crunchy texture that reminded me of a turnip, but it was juicy and a little on the sweet side. Not too bad! Not a prominent flavor, but a slight earthy note along with the subtle sweetness. I would imagine this would add a bit of sweetness to a smoothy or juice.

I roasted the veggies at 350 F for about 40 minutes then at 450 for 20 minutes. The potatoes were crisp on a couple sides, tender in the middle. The beets were slightly tender and the brussel sprouts were roasted to perfection as far as flavor is concerned. Not crunchy at all, but the roasting added a richness to the vegetables. I was quite impressed! What a great suggestion!

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I did get a couple other suggestions that I really wanted to try, but since I was limited for time I combined them into one.

How to pickle beets for a healthy lunch idea:  a quick beet recipe.

For my little informal beet recipe, I took another beet, sliced it, then put it in a small container. I added vinegar, then I mixed in some salt, pepper and onion powder and let it sit for a few hours. This is a great way to quickly pickle getting the acidity of the crisp beet and the depth that onion powder adds. I use this same method when I pickle carrots for my bahn mi sandwiches. 🙂 No lengthy process and just a short soak to let the vinegar and seasoning soak in and work some harmony. In this case, the beautifully colored beets.

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This sandwich was a combination of the pickled beets and the beet, spinach salad. My other half went out and got a fresh baguette. If you are thinking of re-creating this exact sandwich I will give you the order from bottom to top and for maximum experience I would at least try a bite of the sandwich in this order:

  • sliced deli ham
  • spinach
  • pickled beets
  • raw rainbow carrots
  • sliced avocado
  • cheddar cheese

I must admit, it was not anything fancy but this was one of the best sandwiches I have ever made. If you prefer a light sauce or spread you can easily add it but I like to taste what I put in my sandwich and not usually add sauces or spreads.

The cheese balanced out the pickled beets and the beets had the perfect amount of acidity. They were tender and the carrots added a crunch that I go crazy for! The soft and rich avocado was perfection for sure. I could have done without the ham, but it did go well with the rest of the sandwich.

I do love the crisp, tangy flavor of the pickled beets and I must try the spinach salad with goat cheese! Maybe we will get more beets next week?  I would love to make more healthy lunch ideas and quick dinner ideas with beets!

As you know I like to grow my culinary knowledge and experience by trying new things and even unusual things so if you have any suggestions I always want to hear them!

Do you like beets? I’d like to hear about your favorite beet recipes!

Bacon and yellow squash pizza with scratch made ricotta and a handtossed crust.

by Dionne Baldwin

The triumph of making my own ricotta cheese and the sadness of Christmas past.

ricottahandtossed

I am so sad Christmas is over.  I get sad every year on Christmas night when the day is over and presents are opened and laying about the living room.  Some leftovers are put away while others are left out depending on how much room there was in the fridge.

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Someone got creative with the gift wrapping this year! I LOVE THIS!

One of the rare days I get to see all of my siblings is gone.  No more secret-santa-whispering and finding that “perfect thing” to give with anticipation.  No more talk of people competing with my other half for his undefeated title of first place for secret Santa wrapping.

Christmas lights at the end of our street!  Music, flashing lights and everything!  We look forward to this every year.

Christmas lights at the end of our street! Music, flashing lights and everything! We look forward to this every year.

A list of memories that were not made because we just did not have time to do everything I had hoped.  Pounding the cardboard down into the recycling bin as I take out my sadness on the boxes and packaging that brought the gifts safely home.  Once in awhile I wipe away a stray tear that hopefully no one sees.

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Time with my nephew! Ear squeezin’!

My three siblings and I work different schedules and two of them live over an hour away.  We don’t see each other much but when we do I always enjoy it so much and I’m so sad when it ends.  I don’t always get to buy presents for people because time is so restrained and Christmas is the one time we get to go all out and show our gesture of love in our own ways.

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Making brownies from scratch for a class auction. They were a big hit!!

With us, it’s not about getting a bigger tv every year so people will be impressed with how much we spend.  We don’t buy the latest and newest gaming systems for the kids.  We certainly don’t buy designer clothes.  We love getting together even just to hang out and we laugh hard, cry hard and even yell.  We cook, bake, make messes and tell jokes.  We plot about how to help someone that is having a hard time without it seeming like help.

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L o v e s

We plan surprise get together’s with themes to make people laugh.  It makes new memories.  We love to get presents for each other that we need (so it’s paid for and taken care of) and that we want (because we don’t spoil ourselves enough).

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Gotta find that darn pickle! This year it was a real pickle…

I don’t rush around to get my obligation list crossed off, I rush around to avoid the jerks that don’t enjoy Christmas.  At times I stress about not having enough time to make these little memories but I do slow down to enjoy them.  I don’t want to waste any of my time here and that includes being with my family and plotting how to cut down expenses for someone going through a financial hard time. 🙂

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The sad little Christmas wreath I made!

I am so grateful that I have siblings that I love and enjoy being with.  I am so grateful for two kids that choose to do things with me and not by themselves in their rooms.  I am thankful for two dogs that watch over this house and play so well with the kids.  I am even more grateful that the kids pull on my arm and beg me to play video games and board games with them.  I am so grateful that they get upset with me when I have to get work done because that means they want to be with me.  I am thankful that my other half is healing and no longer in danger, but he is not well enough to work so we get to see him so much more.  I am grateful for a teenager who loves to talk to me about what is on his mind and a little girl that teaches me new things every day.  I am thankful to have a supportive network of people that teach me things even when they don’t realize it and they step up to take care of things when I have a family emergency.

For me, Christmas is a time to celebrate those things and sit listening to sappy Christmas music and make Christmas cookies.  I hate Christmas for passing so quickly and leaving me here to sulk and kick wads of wrapping paper in my last display of disapproval.  But I can enjoy all of these things every day and I fully intend to.  I’ll never wait for Christmas to enjoy things.  The things that matter.rollingdough

While the abundance of yellow squash is something I should be grateful for, I am quite sick of it.  I had never had it on a pizza before so I thought to myself, why not?

When we make this Semolina Pizza Dough from Kim of Liv Life(or her pie crust recipe!) I talk about Kim and how involved she is in Liv’s dance competitions.  My other half likes to hear about her culinary adventures in Italy and the kids really like hearing about her little doggies and how cute they are.  I always think about how sweet and thoughtful she is.  It makes the recipe meaningful and it becomes a part of our time together.  It isn’t just a recipe it’s a piece of our friends here with us while we prepare our food.

My other half offered to help make these pizza’s and he ended up really enjoying it!   He slapped the dough, rolled it out and loaded it up with yellow squash, olive oil, salt, pepper, crispy bacon and sliced almonds.  Oh yes, and my made from scratch ricotta cheese!  It was so easy, you really should give this a try!  (And not just because my other half ended up doing most of the work!)  It didn’t bring Christmas back but the four of us sat around and enjoyed this pizza and just talked.  And crunched.  And we enjoyed every minute of it.

This is my go to pizza dough recipe.  I love it since this crust can be rolled thin and made into a crispy crust or a thicker crust with a crisp outside and a soft inside.  It’s very versatile and I had to make a few adjustments since I don’t always have semolina flour but it can easily be substituted for regular flour and baked in the oven just as I did!

This made a really good healthy dinner meal and would also make a healthy lunch idea!

baconyellowsquash

Recipes:

Liv Life’s Semolina Pizza Dough (click for recipe)

  • I used all regular flour since I did not have semolina
  • I used Hawaiian sea salt which is a requirement in our house. 🙂
  • I mixed and kneaded without a bread machine and let rise for about an hour.

Ricotta Cheese (click for recipe)

  • Be sure to let it come to a simmer, gentle low boil, and then let it do so for about 2 minutes.

How was your holiday?  Are you sad to see it end?

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Pear Danish in a Pan. No regrets.

easy pear danish dessert

Merry Christmas eve, friends!

Oh my this year has been quite a ride, hasn’t it?  Some really great things happened and by great I mean some of them sucked at the time.  I ponder and analyze a lot.  I like to take a step back and take a look at the bigger picture and what I can learn from both experience and observation.

I don’t bother worrying about things I cannot change, but I really am addicted to learning and applying new things to my own life and sharing them with people.  Kind of like what I am doing now.  🙂

Taylor and I were having a tearful conversation last week and we talked about how we think we should deal with things that hurt emotionally.  Coming up with an emergency plan can really help us when we don’t know what to do.  We can’t solve it and we might not even be able to change any part of a circumstance but we can control what it does to us.  When I am really upset about something that I have no control over here is a couple of things in my emergency plan:

  1. Admit that I don’t like whatever it is.
  2. Cry about it.  Alone or with someone that won’t expect me to talk about it.
  3. Be conscious of my behavior towards others while I am the most upset.
  4. Apologize if I act out unfairly.

We love food at our house, but I don’t want it to be a sole source of comfort when there needs to be healing.  Taylor and I talked about that too.  We want to make an effort to be open and learn as we go through life and instead of hiding from emotional pain we need to heal from it so we are healthy enough to help people around us that are also hurting. 😦

And then we can truly enjoy food for the smells, the flavors and enjoying the people we share it with!  Sound cheesy?  Well, it’s true.  This danish is anything but cheesy and I will tell you that this is the best kind of danish to make because it doesn’t require the time to roll and cut and fuss over individual danishes.

I adore rosemary and there was the perfect hint that was so heavenly.  Oh my…

The glaze was just the kind of danish frosting I needed!  Since I was craving a danish.  That’s what inspired this danish along with a recipe you can find by clicking here.  I didn’t follow it exactly but it was pretty close.  I didn’t roll out the crust either but I shaped it with my fingers and it still turned out so flaky and perfect for embracing the beautiful fruits that really made this danish worth writing about.

I loved sitting down to a piece of warm danish and enjoying it quietly with my girl.  She had her thoughts and I had mine, we just sat in complete peace and contentment knowing that we will remember this pear danish for a very long time.  And not only because it was delicious.  The nostalgia of sharing these foods is so priceless and it becomes a part of things we remember on the days we try to heal.

From Taylor, Yannick, Ethan and I we would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas.  I hope you get to spend some time with someone you love this holiday and please don’t worry so much about the things money can buy.  Think about the things we will miss when we grow older and look back on all the times we smiled together.  That’s worth baking for!

What’s your emergency plan?

Just in case you didn’t read the post to find the link for the recipe, you can click here.

Christmas Treat Chocolate Mint Sandwich Cookies

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Just spread melted white chocolate on both sides of chocolate sandwich cookies (you know the ones) and crushed peppermint candies on the top and YOU have an addictive festive treat!

Thanks Lucy for these!

Chicken Meatloaf as a Thanksgiving Leftover Inspiration

Chicken Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes and Mushroom Sauce
Chicken Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes and Mushroom Sauce

More is better, right?

Just about one month ago I ordered a 40 pound case of chicken.  Those of you that know me aren’t surprised, but if you are just meeting me you might wonder why I would even purchase that large quantity since I don’t own a restaurant or a food kitchen?!

The price per pound for organic, boneless and skinless chicken breast was way too good to pass up.  I had purchased my first case and had several people say- Hey!  I wish I would have known!  Can I buy some of your case? (sigh)

I never turn away anyone who is hungry so I said yes and went to the web site and ordered a second case.

I was sick that week so my other half had offered to pick up our large supply of chicken and we were packing chicken in smaller packages for much longer than we would have liked…but it’s great to have!

Oh the irony…

Oddly, not a single person came through with their desire to take part in this chicken opportunity so we had 80 (eighty) pounds of chicken in our freezer.  I’ve gifted pounds and pounds of chicken to people in my family that cook and we still have a massive amount.

Chicken Meatloaf with Potatoes and Mushroom Sauce

Chicken Meatloaf with Potatoes and Mushroom Sauce

What to do with it?

I feel obligated to get creative with all this poultry.  I remembered the pate that my other halfs father had made a couple years ago…

With chicken and bacon and a few other ingredients Ethan and I made a meatloaf that was the best I have ever made.  Seriously.

Ideal for Thanksgiving leftovers, this meatloaf would be a great pair with leftover potatoes too!  You will need to finely chop your cooked turkey meat and bind it together as you probably are aware.  Using raw chicken versus cooked turkey is easily adaptable. 🙂

Remember, I don’t measure for my recipes I just cook.  So when I give you the inspiration below please keep two things in mind.

  1. Cook, don’t stress over exact measurements.
  2. Improve this recipe to suit your preference and come back and tell me what you did. 🙂  I always love improvement!

The beautiful brown sauce you see atop this dish photographed is a sauce that was nice to pair with the meatloaf but it was definitely not worth reproducing.  You will not find the inspiration on that sauce here.  Not even if you paid me.

Chicken Meatloaf with Potatoes and Mushroom Sauce

Chicken breasts, deboned and deskinned.  I mixed ground chicken with diced chicken, you can chose all ground if that works better for you.

Bacon, about 1/3 pound chopped and 1/3 pound sliced

Cognac

Herbs de Provence

Salt, pepper, garlic

Mushrooms

Dark beer

Mashed potatoes

Mix chicken and bacon in a large mixing bowl with a little Cognac (not too much it is strong!  For two pounds I added 1/4 cup and the flavor was just noticeable) and season with salt, pepper, chopped garlic and Herbs de Provence.  When thoroughly mixed, pat down into large pan and cover with sliced bacon and bake at 350 until done.  be sure to use a meat thermometer to check!  Time will vary according to the size of your meatloaf.

Add sliced mushrooms to a pan and saute with butter.  Add beer and let it simmer.

Serve and enjoy!

By the way, did I mention that this is also the only meatloaf I have ever made? 🙂  I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving!

Seafood Lunguini because it’s not Thanksgiving yet!

 

Are you ready for Thanksgiving?  Right now you probably have your turkey thawing in the fridge, your shopping list done with a couple of small last minute items to purchase fresh the day before.  Arrival times set, ingredients prepped and decorations a’plenty!

As for me, we have not even bought a turkey yet and we don’t have a clue what we are making besides mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and stuffing to go with the turkey that we hope to pick up today. 🙂  Thanksgiving at my parents on the real day and the day after we are having one at my house and neither one have been planned nor shopped for.  Ah yes, life on the edge!

But I just had to take the time to wish you a happy Thanksgiving week and if you are in my area and don’t have a place to land for Thanksgiving you are welcome to join us.  Believe me when I tell you there will be more than enough food.

Since there will be an abundance of traditional Thanksgiving foods for the next week I just had to make something that would be completely different.  Seafood linguini sounded like the perfect opposite of turkey and potatoes!

I had never made pasta “to order” before so I decided to try my hand at it.  It also gave me the perfect chance to develop the flavor I was looking for.  My other half and I had different suggestions as to how I should do it but the beauty of making each plate by itself was that he could have it his own way with [minimal] resistance! 🙂

Don’t tell him his idea was better…

This is a recipe inspiration since I don’t cook much with exact measurements.  You have to feel the food and know what different ingredients will add to the dish.  I have made enough mistakes to increase my success rate.  YAY!

When you purchase your seafood make sure it is fresh and not precooked.  Watch your seafood department select the good pieces and chose muscles that are of good quality.

This gave us a great chance to taste the $3.00 wine that was on sale at Tacoma Boys and I was pleasantly surprised!  Next time we will get a case.  For cooking of course. 😉

Seafood Linguini

Linguini cooked until firm but not completely. 

Fresh raw muscles

Fresh raw scallops whole or chopped.

Fresh raw shrimp or prawns

Chopped green onions

Chicken stock

White wine

Minced garlic

Sliced mushrooms

Preheat your pan (always preheat your pan) and melt butter.  Add garlic and saute for a moment.  Pour in chicken stock and white wine letting it simmer for a couple minutes.  Add muscles letting them cook until opened.  If they do not open, flip them on the other side and they should open.  After about a minute add shrimp and scallops, we chopped ours so it would cook along with the shrimp.  Then add mushrooms and enough noodles for one serving.  Let it simmer together for a couple minutes and you can even spoon the juices over the muscles.  YUM!  I would suggest adding enough stock and wine at the start to make a nice sauce to cover your ingredients as adding more at the end should be ok but when you allow it to simmer more at the end you don’t want your seafood to get tough.  Repeat with the next serving and alter the process to create your ideal flavor.

I hope you enjoy your holiday week!  What are you cooking tonight?