A College Girl's Guide to a Happy, Healthy Lifestyle!

Month: July 2017

I Used to be Afraid of Parsley | Herb Salad with Feta and Toasted Almonds | One Cook, Two Books

Note: the events discussed in this post occurred Tuesday, July 25. Being a stressed out college student, I’ve been wrapped up in school work and have not been able to post to my blog until today. My apologies!   As with many of the lovely […]

Dessert for Breakfast Isn’t Always a Bad Thing! | Maple Yogurt with Berry Compote | One Cook, Two Books

Note: the events discussed in this post occurred Sunday, July 23. Being a stressed out college student, I’ve been wrapped up in school work and have not been able to post to my blog until today. My apologies!   Brunch: The best meal of the […]

Dinner for One | Seared Duck Breast with Roasted Grapes and Sour Cream Mustard | One Cook, Two Books

Today was another one of those days this summer that contained a lot of firsts. It was quite fun, if I do say so myself.


Tonight, I was cooking dinner for myself. This is the first time I’ve done this in a long while, because I am either cooking for a crowd, or eating leftovers from that crowd. Today was my day. I was cooking for me, myself, and I. My family decided to gather together to go out to a jazz show, one that I thought was going to be “eh” but all throughout the day was secretly grumbling about out of jealousy. I should have just told them yes from the get-go, but that’s besides the point… My mom made lasagna for the family because we were not sure how long the duck was going to take to make.


We also only had .8 pounds of duck, and that was not going to feed five people.


Now, you see the title of the recipe? Sounds intense, right? I thought so too. In fact, I was a bit nervous to make this recipe because I assumed it was going to be incredibly time consuming to make. Fortunately, I was wrong.


Roasting grapes was another first for me. I had never even really heard of roasting grapes before! In fact, the only other time I’ve seen it was on my pinterest board which contained a recipe for a roasted chicken that was surrounded by grapes. I decided to start with the grapes because they were going to be the most time consuming part. Even so, it was all inactive time. All I had to do was basically place them on a cookie sheet then forget about them until my timer went off.

The duck itself was a little more time consuming, but again very easy. Today was also the first time that I’ve ever cooked duck. My older sister Fay walked up to me as I was removing the breasts from their packaging. We just stared at it, read the instructions, then stared again. Neither of us were exactly sure what to do, which side was considered the fat side, and how to properly score it. After all questions were answered by Mama Bear, I simply started frying up the duck! Again, it was something that I would set a timer for, then could forget and sit down for a few moments. The only troublesome part of this was the constant removing of the fat that was rendering out. I had no idea how much fat was in duck!


So, grapes were in the oven. Duck was resting. I finally got a moment to sit with my family when I realized I forgot to make the sour cream mustard that was supposed to go on the duck. I hopped out of my seat, ran into the kitchen, and within two minutes I was done.

See? Super easy recipe. Like seriously. When I got back to the table with my plate my sister was awestruck that it had taken such a short amount of time. To be honest… I was too.

For such a quick recipe, this dish had just the perfect flavours all mixing in. The roasted grapes gave a deep, sweet, charred flavour that was offset by the tang of the sour cream mustard. And the duck? Well… let’s just say I’m going to be splurging on more duck breast to make this again!


Mina Stone, my love. Your flavour pallete is SPOT ON. Girl.

Taco Party! | Fish Tacos with Lime Crema and Mango Salsa | One Cook, Two Books

I think that my favourite time to cook food is when I’m cooking for a crowd.   Yes, cooking for myself is nice. I can take my time and I don’t have to worry about what other people think. But… there’s something about making food […]

A Single Recipe with Multiple Lessons | Kotosoupa | One Cook, Two Books

Of all the recipes in this book, this is the one that I have been waiting the most anxiously to do.   The first time I ever had Kotosoupa, was just within the past year. I was visiting my dad’s family in long island. There, […]

Saying Goodbye with a Falafel Party | One Cook, Two Books

Today’s meal was certainly bittersweet. It was nice to get to the end of an adventurous, food-filled week, but that also meant that it was time for my cousins to pack up and say goodbye.


We ended our festivities on a wonderful note: We had a Falafel Party.

Falafel is something I’ve made twice before in my life. One time I made fried falafel, aka the best way to make falafel, and another time I made baked falafel, aka the healthier, boring way to make falafel. Mina Stone’s recipe called for frying the falafel. Happy Annie.


I started making the falafel after I got back from a (rather short) shift at work. I was grumpy and tired because customers were a little on the weird side, but didn’t have much to complain about. The only thing getting to me was that I had spent so much energy the past two days making massive amounts of food that, frankly, I didn’t want to have to do it all over again.


Nonetheless, I relaxed for about an hour and a half and then got to cooking. I’ve come to the conclusion during this entire week’s process that I’m not a fan of having an audience while I cook. At least… not in my kitchen. It’s too long, narrow, and small. I feel claustrophobic. People get in my way. Conversations that would normally not annoy me became too distracting as people talked to each other on either side of me.


Luckily, my family is full of respect and moved their pow-wow to the outside table.


Lanski fam, I promise that when I get my own place, and have my dream kitchen, I will literally be forcing you to sit around my island as I cook food for you. This will be a thing, and it will be happening soon. Maybe.


This was a good recipe to end with, because I had to make the falafel and then let the mixture sit for a few hours.


Happy Annie. Again.


So, we let the mixture rest. I rested as well (yay comfortable nap-worthy furniture) while part of my family went out to adventure. When they returned, we sat, drank, and then I made my way back into the kitchen.


With a little bit of liquid courage now resting happily in my stomach, I honestly felt confident with my skills of making falafel patties.


Unfortunately that skill was just something I had in my head. When it came to actually creating those delicious balls of chickpea and seasonings, I suffered gravely. It just kept. Crumbling. In. My. Hands!


Luckily, Mina Stone (now a Saint, in my mind) was prepared for this. The recipe simply explained to add more flour in case the mixture did not bind. I did just that, and everything turned out just dandy.


The frying was simple enough as well. Got the oil hot enough, placed those meatless balls of awesome into the liquid of doom, then watched them slowly brown.

Of all the recipes this week today was, by far, the easiest. As the falafel cooked I made the incredibly simple Tahini Dressing in a matter of minutes.

Falafel was cooking. Dressing was made. Time to prep the other ingredients! Along with the falafel we served two types of hummus, leftover beet tzatziki, cucumber, radishes, shredded carrot, Pita, and plain yogurt.

All of it was absolutely amazing.

Of all the days, today consisted of the least amount of talking. I’m not sure if it was because we’ve all spent so much time together that we had run out of things to say, or because the food was so good.


Let’s go with it being that the food was so good.


I definitely plan on making this meal again when my family comes back to visit. I promised my cousin, Katie, that next time she can help. Now that I’ve apparently mastered the art of falafel making!


And to my beloved Lanski Family, I hope that you have safe travels. Can’t wait to see you next month!

Dinner Party Round Two | One Cook, Two Books

After yesterday’s meal prep, I was quite terrified to dive into tonight’s cooking. Though the family explained it was okay for us to eat out, I was determined to cook them yet another delicious dinner. I knew that nothing would match up to how laborious […]