Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Finding Happy in the Kitchen

As you can probably tell from the long absence of posts on this blog, I've been in a bit of a cooking rut. After returning from San Fran, my focus was on work, a French exam, and training for a 10k race. Although I was still eating some great homemade foods (zucchini bread, overnights oats, and my go-to quinoa+edamame+avocado+broccoli combo), it felt like I lost my cooking mojo.

Although my cooking motivation usually lies in realm of trying to make healthy meals on the cheap, I can't stop thinking about this short article, which talked about one cook's happiness in the kitchen. Then it hit me; my cooking mojo's missing ingredient, is Happy! Instead of being the task master 5000, I need to find ways to make my cooking experiences less about checking-off boxes, and more about making things that make me smile.

That being said, I've already put some of the items below into action (1 to 5), but in this "Ways to find "Happy" in the Kitchen" list, I've also included some additional thoughts and ideas to keep the stove running and the smiles coming:

1) Playing with food! Who says that only kids can have nori smiles on their rice?

2) Baking inceptions. As the cronut has proven, people love when two different desserts come together.
Easter cupcakes in a chocolate chip cookie shell

3) Being shallow in the produce department. There's nothing wrong with buying a veggie just because it looks good.
Heritage Carrot Slices
4) Accessorize. Fun picks and props may lead to inspiration, to assemble something great.
From Daiso
5) Decorating the kitchen. Even a cute little sign or window decal can help make time in the kitchen more enjoyable.
Sakura decals
6) Accept a challenge. Having a friend provide a challenge to cook with a weird veggie, or recreate a dish.

7) Dressing swap. It's hard to get through an entire jar of homemade sauce on your own (unless it's this delicious eggplant sauce). Ask a fellow foodie to partake in a sauce swap.

8) Recipe book exchanges. Not only does this make economic sense, but friends can also give the DL on what's good or not.

9) Feed more mouths. Invite friends over for dinner more often, or offer to bring homemade goodies to their place.

10) Themed foods. I find that getting an abstract theme forces you to be creative and have fun. A great example is when I helped with these Gravity themed tethered cake pops.

Happy [grease] trails ahead!

- LC

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