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

Tag: challenge

Our First Christmas Dinner | ONE COOK, TWO BOOKS | Greek Fava and Grape Salsa with Mint

When it comes to December, my family goes all out. Christmas music is always playing, Christmas decorations are everywhere, and we all wear Christmas-Themed clothing.   I had quite an exhausting day. When I did finally get home this night, I decided that it would […]

A Brief Photo Diary of Missed Recipes!

Well hello there viewers! Welcome back to my blog. Today I’m just writing a very brief post that I promised to write. Though I continued on my journey with the cook-through challenge, I began to post less and less. These following pictures are of recipes […]

The Hottest Day of Vacation So Far | Spanish Style Gazpacho | One Cook, Two Books

Well my friends… This is it. Thursday, August 17th was the hottest day of the Summer so far. Or at least, that’s how it felt.


I’m guessing it’s because we have had guests over for the past week and we’ve been spending the majority of our time outside on the patio. Our timing seems to correlate to when the sun is at an angle in which our umbrellas are deemed useless. I watched from the kitchen on countless occasions as the umbrellas would end up being shuffled around, and my family was huddled in the small section of shade that they could get.


Anyways, I happened to put on a cute outfit yesterday. It was a nice flowy top with long sleeves and an open back, nice platform flats… and jeans. When we arrived home from our excursions and sat down to relax, I regretted my outfit. I also happened to be too lazy and not motivated enough to move, even as the sun slowly crept its way onto my already hot body.


Okay, enough is enough. Time for lunch to cool us down.


I have to say, I could not be more relieved that I had scheduled Mina Stone’s Spanish Style Gazpacho for lunch today. What better day than the hottest day of the summer to enjoy a cold, refreshing soup?


We make gazpacho all summer where I work. It turns out… we make it quite wrong. Mina’s recipe called for soaking bread that would then be added to the soup. I had only heard of this once before, when a customer asked if we do that with our gazpacho. Our answer was no.


That sounds a bit silly, right? A bread bakery not using bread in their gazpacho?


We try to keep our soups free of gluten, so that’s the only reason why I see us not doing it. I’m alright with that because it gave me the opportunity to experience something new! The recipe was super easy. I also went to my garden and used the first San Marzano tomatoes of the season in the soup. I let it chill a bit, and then it was time for serving!


Something else I had never heard of doing was putting ice in the gazpacho. I questioned this and was a bit concerned, relating it to how some people put ice in their milk and cereal, but followed the recipe.


Boy am I happy I did.

The ice truly cooled down the soup even more than my refrigerator did.

That was a dumb statement. Obviously it cooled it down more. It’s ice.


Anyways, the now even more chilled soup was perfect in the midsummer heat. Everyone devoured their soup, and I even sent our guests home with some.

This is going to be a new summer staple.

Soup’s On! | Red Lentil Soup with Cumin and Lime | One Cook, Two Books

Note: the events discussed in this post occurred Tuesday, August 1st. 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!   If you were only allowed to […]

Sometimes My Meals Truly Come Out Perfect | Smokey Spiced Chicken Kebabs | Raw Corn Salad with Toasted Almonds and Lime | One Cook, Two Books

Note: the events discussed in this post occurred Monday, August 31st. 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!


It is rare that I can say (type) something so true, but it happens to all of us. Sometimes our energy is just right. Sometimes we are in the zone. Sometimes it’s just by chance. Whatever it was that happened, somehow I created the perfect meal.


I made two recipes for dinner tonight. Mina Stone’s Smokey Spiced Chicken Kebabs and her Raw Corn Salad with Toasted Almonds and Lime.


Mind you, I was very apprehensive about making the chicken. The seasonings seemed very familiar to me for I had just used the majority of them making the fish tacos, and really did not enjoy the flavour that the fish had. Too spidy, too pasty, too… eh. Knowing that I had to use these spices all over again made me nervous but… I’m doing a cook-through. I have to follow the recipe.


So onto skewering and seasoning the chicken. Not only was this the first time I ever recall handling raw chicken all by myself, but it was the first time I’ve ever had to trim chicken fat. Did you even know that was a thing? I sure didn’t… I’m used to seeing the chicken already cooked. No carcass to handle. No fat to trim. No hands to wash over and over and over (because who wants to get sick from all the nasty disease raw chickens have? Not this girl.) The process was rather easy, and I could not be more happy when I was done. Handling chicken is just something I’m not a fan of.


I let it marinade for however long it needed to. Then came the real challenge…


Lighting the stove.


My parents have this antique propane stove top that is so old that turning the knob doesn’t always light the burner needed. The only burner that really works 90% of the time is the front, regular burner. If it doesn’t light all the way I usually just put the pot on top of it which causes the propane to get trapped and light anyways.


The grill is a little different. Quite a process, actually, and a process that terrifies me.


Remove the grill tray. Turn the propane on. Take a match. Light the match via pilot light. Stick your hand into where the flames will eventually be. Prey. Ignite the propane and get your hand out of there as fast as possible. Place grill tray back. Cook. Drink.


I’m a bit spoiled. My mom usually does this all for me.


Today, not so much. I was on my own, promising to cook dinner for my family single-handedly. That meant that I had to light the grill on my own.


The first two times, the match wouldn’t catch. I was convinced I was letting enough propane into my house that the next time I lit it I was sure I was going to cause an explosion.


Luckily enough for me, third time was the charm. I lit the dang thing, covered it up, and thanked the gods and goddesses for not letting me turn a loving gesture into flames (literally.)


Grill heated. Chicken grilled. Here’s another fun fact: I’ve never cooked chicken. The recipe called for a certain time frame for cooking that chicken, but knowing my luck I went into the process knowing I would need more time to cook the chicken than what was directed. I think it’s something about my house. Every time the family cooks chicken per directions it’s under cooked.


I essentially made myself forget I was grilling the chicken. That’s when I knew it was going to be cooked through.


So, as the chicken grilled, I began to make the corn salad. One of the easiest salads ever. The picture in Mina Stone’s book is a little deceiving because there are huge portions of avocado in it, which is only listed as a variation. Gurl. I added that avocado, and I added it good.

Boy am I glad I did, too. The avocado added just the perfect texture needed to mix with the crispiness of the corn and the crunch from the toasted almonds. When we finally sat down for dinner, I recall filling half of my plate with that salad alone.


Oh, and those kebabs I forgot about? They turned out absolutely perfect.

Just cooked through.

I think my favourite part about the chicken was that it looked exactly how it did in the picture from the cook book. That’s one of the most satisfying feelings ever.


I could not have been happier with the outcome, and let me tell you one thing…


There were no leftovers.

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 […]