So I've had carrots sitting in my fridge for a while. Carrots last a while, so it's not a big deal, but I really wanted to get rid of them. For some reason when I was trying to think of a way to use them up, my mind went to hummus.
I love hummus. I love anything with chickpeas. But I think store-bought hummus is pretty terrible so I always make it myself. Apparently authentic hummus is really creamy and smooth but I like mine to have more texture in it. One of my best friends also really likes hummus. She's the same one who occasionally makes gumbo and lets me have some. I had planned a hang-out with her on Saturday, and I wanted to do something nice.
Now I like to make different variations of hummus, and this time I went with jalapeño cilantro hummus. The last time I made this, my friend told me it wasn't jalapeño-y enough. Which really just means it wasn't spicy. I usually de-seed jalapeños when I use them, but for this batch, I used two jalapeños and I mostly kept the seeds in it.
The verdict? It was delicious. Seriously, this is like the best my hummus has ever tasted. I brought the hummus and some pita bread over to my friend's place and she finished it all the same day.
Oh, but I also used some in Mediterranean Hummus Bowls. This recipe has become one of my go-to's.
I know what you're thinking! What about those carrots? Well, don't worry, I didn't forget about them. I had to make more hummus anyway, so I cut up some carrots to dip in the hummus. And I considered taking a picture of it, but it's literally just hummus and carrots, and that's kind of boring. Delicious though.
Today I cooked lunch for my dad. I'll be honest, this stressed me out. My aunt told me I should make something for him, but I had no idea what to cook. I honestly don't know what my dad likes to eat besides burgers, noodles, and coconut macaroons. Work has exhausted me and stressed me out, and I didn't want to think about making a meal. But I had to.
So I went through my food blog. My whole food blog. And I settled on a couple of stir fry dishes: Thai Basil Chicken and Sauteed Green Beans and Eggplant. I made a grocery list and we went to the Korean store. And you know what happened? They were completely out of basil and green beans! So I was freaking out, trying to think of a Plan B, but then my dad said we could stop at a different Asian grocery store.
Okay, so it's already past 1pm, and I'm starting to prep for lunch. I've gotta chop up green beans, eggplant, bell pepper, garlic, onion, ginger, and chicken. I'm really slow. I don't think I actually started cooking until after 2pm. But if my 大姑 (dua go) were here she'd say "Oh, it must be snowing!" because I never cook around my dad's family and they live in the south.
It's one thing to cook in your own kitchen. It's another thing to cook in a kitchen you're unfamiliar with. I know, it's my dad's kitchen. I should be more familiar with it. But neither his stove nor his oven have any numbers on them! I have no idea where "medium heat" is. I couldn't even really use measuring spoons.
But, I made it work. I'm happy. My dad liked the food.
Since I didn't go and see my family on Thanksgiving, my friend invited me over for a (very small) Friendsgiving. Small in the number of people, but definitely not in the amount of food. I offered to bring dumplings, which ended up being a huge hit. I had fish tacos during Chinese New Year last year, so I figured dumplings for Thanksgiving was appropriate.
I actually already had dumplings in my freezer, because of course I did, but I decided to make more because you can never have too many dumplings. At this point, I don't really even use a recipe anymore. This is what I put in the filling this time:
And for the sauce (No measurements, because who knows how much of everything I added):
Of course, the key to making good dumplings is to just microwave a small bit of filling and try it, and if it needs something, add it.
I also had to buy a new non-stick pan because my last one was ruined when we brought it on our last camping trip. This is the first time I attempted to arrange the dumplings in a fancy circle. It did not end up that fancy. I don't know how my sister makes it look so nice.
But as always, it was delicious.
Look at the bottom of that dumpling! You don't want to know how many times I attempted to take a close-up picture of one.
This past week was weird. It's the first time in my life that I'm not home with family on Thanksgiving. To make it feel more "Thanksgiving-y", I decided to cook a bunch of Thanksgiving food this past week! And by that I mean I cooked a bunch of American food, and after about two days of it I remembered something: I don't really like Thanksgiving food that much.
Anyway, I started off with some pulled pork because turkey is too much work, and it doesn't taste as good. And the pulled pork was delicious.
And then later that day I made some mac n cheese. I've had mac n cheese on my "to make" list for a while, and I've also had a pound of elbow pasta sitting in my pantry for who knows how long. I've always been a fan of baked mac n cheese, but after I cooked it, I totally regretted cooking a whole pound. Also, I'm definitely making a stovetop version next time.
Yeah, that was a lot. It's still a lot. The recipe said this was more like a casserole, and she wasn't kidding. Once you put it in the fridge, it just hardens and I feel like I have to microwave it for two minutes just to make it not shaped like a block. I've eaten about a quarter of it by now, and I don't think I can eat any more, so I cut it all up and threw it in the freezer. I'll figure out how to repurpose it.
I also made some collard greens. When I was talking to my aunt on the phone, she suggested it and I thought it was a great idea. The recipe I used wasn't bad, but I made a few tweaks. I cut the bacon before cooking it. I also added about a tablespoon of brown sugar to the recipe, which made it much better.
And finally, I made some sweet potatoes. I went with this cumin lime recipe because I have a bunch of lines in the fridge, but I also thought it was kind of weird to have a lime-y dish in my Thanksgiving meals. Oh well.
Yeah, I'm totally sick of Thanksgiving food now.
Day 33 (Monday): Every once in a while I feel the need to make a fried chicken sandwich. Because who doesn't love fried chicken sandwiches? I actually found a recipe on Budget Bytes for a baked chicken sandwich, but it looked like it was fried.
This meal was way bigger than I meant for it to be. We marinated the chicken in pickle juice overnight, which meant we had a jar of pickles with no juice, so we made fried pickles as well. My sister even made the buns from scratch.
But it was worth it. These sandwiches were really good, though I don't think they're quite as good as actual fried chicken sandwiches. I would definitely make them again.
Day 34 (Tuesday): So we actually were going to include sweet potato fries in Monday's meal, but we realized that was way too many things to cook. We moved it to Tuesday and paired it with a pork tenderloin. And...various leftover veggies because veggies are important.
I never actually posted this dish on my blog, but back when my sister was living with me last year, we baked pork and it was the best pork I've ever tasted in my life. We were hoping to replicate that here, but last year we used a pork shoulder and this time we used pork tenderloin. It was kind of dry. Lesson learned, never buy tenderloin. Always go for the butt. The pork butt, I mean.
Now those sweet potato fries were delicious. I'm definitely making them again.
Day 35(Wednesday): I was scrolling through food blogs and I saw a picture of some Bibimbap, and I don't know, but those fried eggs on top always get to me. So we decided to make some Bibimbap.
Bowl meals are great. Just get whatever ingredients you have on hand and chop them up and put them into little bowls and have a bowl party.