Finding My Inner Julia

Ever since moving into my new apartment (blog post to come) I have become something of the aspiring cook. Maybe it is my new open kitchen or how light and bright it is, but I have been trying some delicious new recipes. Here’s what I’ve been cooking.

My new favorite dish comes from my girl Maria Menounos’s EveryGirl’s Guide to cooking. I never thought I would enjoy Cauliflower Patties but they are incredible. Mine weren’t exactly picture perfect so image to come. I also substituted carrots for onion. I ate the patties plain as a side for breaded tilapia, as well as on a slider bun. It doesn’t taste anything like a burger but it’s still an amazing meal in every form. It’s tricky when you’re first starting but once you get the hang of frying the patties, it’s a breeze.

Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 10.46.28 AMI have never been a big fan of seafood aside from the occasional crab and spinach dip (Back Porch has the best). However, in my effort to be healthier I discovered this Honey Garlic Shrimp recipe. This recipe is a total Rachel Ray (takes 30 minutes or less). Excluding marinating time, it takes about 5 minutes to prepare the sauce and 15 minutes to cook. I served mine with quick and easy white rice. Next time I plan to use some (also quick and easy) garlic quinoa. I’ve never had it before, so I’ll let you know how it goes.

Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 10.45.56 AMThis Tomato Avocado Melt has revived my love of Roma tomatoes. This recipe is surprisingly simple and the perfect meal or snack for any time of day. The trick is to make sure you can get tomato and avocado in every bite. I used colby jack cheese mainly because that’s what the recipe used, but any cheese will do. You should also be sure to use cheese slices. I bought a block of cheese at Central Market thinking it was slices and it made covering bread equally a chore.

Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 10.46.06 AMI’ve never been a huge red meat fan aside from burgers. However, while on a diet last year, I found myself seriously craving red meat. This stew meat was the perfect solution. The last time I bought it, I added a little soy sauce and tossed it in the ban. I then added roasted red potatoes and cherry tomatoes to make these cute kabobs. Peppers optional. In retro , I should have baked them on the kebab instead of assembling it after. I have many kebab plans to come, including actually adding the pineapple.

Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 10.46.50 AMWhen it comes to tacos, I always opt for chicken. I usually just make them shredded chicken tacos, but in order to fit into these cute taco cups, I used ground chicken. If I make them again for a larger audience, I plan to make a combination of beef and chicken. I combined this recipe with a Buzzfeed video. I used fresh tortillas from Central Market which I didn’t slice and were not ideal (aside from taste). Next time I will definitely try wonton wrappers. My biggest tip is to make sure you mix your ingredients well so that every bite is cheesy and spicy (I did not put peppers in).

Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 10.46.36 AMIf you know me, you know that I have a weakness for cheese fries. Every since I moved to Austin I have been all about them. It’s pretty hard to justify going to get them when they are so unhealthy and all together unnecessary. Luckily, I came across this recipe for Cheesy Potato Crisps. Cooking for myself means I control the portion and stop those extra calories and salt from sneaking in. One potato is plenty for the perfect side or snack. I like to bake to potatoes by themselves for 10 minutes before I add the cheese so they’re nice and soft.

Fresh summer produce also means fresh ingredients for drinks. I’ve been enjoying some delicious Strawberry Cucumber Basil water as well as making my own margaritas sans sugary mixes. This peach recipe is one of my favorites and is a great start for a night out or a day by the pool.

If you want to see what I’ve been cooking, check out my “Successful Makes” Pinterest board.  My “Soon to Try” board shows what I hope to make soon so let me know if you have any tips on these recipes or tricks. I hope you will be getting in touch with your inner Julia this summer and exploring those decorative cookbooks.

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