As much as I love food, most of the things I cook day-to-day during the week, by necessity, have to be able to be made and enjoyed in one hour or less. Cooking makes me extremely happy 99% of the time, but I will be the first to admit that the 1% of the time that it doesn’t almost always involves trying to cook something overly ambitious after getting home from work and yoga at 9pm. This inevitably always results in me rushing around, spilling things, cursing, and generally wondering why I even bothered in the first place. Needless to say, I try to avoid these sorts of unpleasant situations as much as possible.
One of my favorite foods in the entire world is homemade granola. If you find yourself thinking that sounds weird, or random, or strangely healthy, I hate to break it to ya, but you’ve never had good granola. Good, homemade granola is slightly sweet, wonderfully crunchy, and chock-full of delicious extras – nuts, dried fruit, warm spices, coconut, or pretty much anything else you could think of that would be delicious smothered in a little butter and sugar and baked up to crispy perfection. It’s fake health food at it’s finest, and it’s absolutely delicious served in a big bowl with milk and berries, eaten stranding at the counter over the container by the handful, or my personal favorite, as a topping for Greek yogurt and fruit for a wholly satisfying breakfast that’s quick enough for any workday morning but also indulgent enough for a lazy Saturday.
Guys, GUYS. I have a problem. I’m totally, completely, and helplessly addicted. To a SALAD.
What’s wrong with me?
Before you all start freaking out, taking my temperature, and generally worrying that I’ve lost my mind, let me clarify. Panzanella is a bread salad. (“Ohhh,” you say. “That explains it.”) You take hunks of fresh bread, fry ‘em up in a skillet with olive oil/butter/both (insert sheepish grin) and toss those babies with fresh veggies, some protein if you want, and homemade vinaigrette. It’s my new favorite summer meal, a perfect blank canvas with a whole world of possible combinations and customizations. Sometimes it is a struggle to make anything else for dinner, because I just. Want. Panzanella.
Chocolate chip cookies will forever have a place in my heart as one of the first things I ever “baked.” Nothing would make me happier than buying break-and-bake chocolate chip cookies with little peanut butter cups in them, throwing 11/12 onto a baking sheet (I’ll let you figure out what happened to the 12th), and under-baking them by about 2 minutes. I’d have a perfect dessert ready in less than 20 minutes, hot and gooey and met with praise and excitement from everyone around the house. Making those cookies was what made me realize I love baking – the ability to make people so happy with a combination of butter, chocolate, and love was, and continues to be, my favorite feeling.