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Old 01-31-2007, 08:14 PM   #1
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In a slump

I feel like I'm in such a slump with my cooking lately. I'm getting bored with our usual stuff, even though some of it we haven't eaten for a long time. I want something fresh and delicious. Any ideas on how to shake things up a bit?

What do you do when you get like this?

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Old 01-31-2007, 08:19 PM   #2
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So am I. I've been in the mood to make soup, since it's so durned cold outside, but DH isn't that fond of soup, and he's been pushing other things. I can't do much without his help, so I'm kinda mullygrubbin.
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Old 01-31-2007, 08:21 PM   #3
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Maybe you need to shake things up atmospherewise. In your post about what you were having for dinner you mentioned serving dinner after the little ones were down.

If that's the case, set the table with different/special dishes. Eat in another room. Change the lighting. Add/change the music that is on during dinner. Lose the TV.

Sometimes something as simple as changing the environment can make a difference. Even a bologna sandwich on a pretty plate with candlelight can be interesting.

Maybe it's not the food, but the attitude/ambiance. It's worth a try.
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Old 01-31-2007, 08:24 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Constance
mullygrubbin.
I've never heard that word, Constance, but I like the sounds of it! What does it mean?

I'm right there with you two--DH is working hard to drop some weight so I've been trying my best to cook the stuff he wants (mainly South Beach) and not have any temptations around. I get so tired of the same few things so fast. I love my carbs so this is hard on me. It's just so hard to be creative and I quickly lose pretty much all desire to cook. Add to that how we've all been sick on and off since November and DH's crazy, late work schedule, and it's just about impossible to enjoy the kitchen.

What I'll probably do this weekend is pull some leftovers out of the freezer for DH and whip up something I want to eat when he's around to watch Sofie long enough for me to "play" for awhile. That usually gets the creative cooking juices flowing again!
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Old 01-31-2007, 08:27 PM   #5
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when I get in a slump, I buy something I've never done before. So once I bought fresh squid. Another time I bought goat. Buy some ingredients or find a recipe and just do it.

With the squid I made a calamari pasta sauce. WIth the goat I made Jamaican curried goat stew. Both were fantastic btw, and past of my repetoire.

Or invite some friends over for a shared meal (every body bring something) or to make something bigger than you need for yourself.

Get a new cookbook and get some ideas. Change your pasta sauce around. Use sausage instead of beef, or chicken caciatore style.

If it doesn't turn out...get a pizza and chalk it up to experience. Hey, it's your kitchen.
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Old 01-31-2007, 09:32 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by corazon90
I feel like I'm in such a slump with my cooking lately. I'm getting bored with our usual stuff, even though some of it we haven't eaten for a long time. I want something fresh and delicious. Any ideas on how to shake things up a bit?

What do you do when you get like this?
Cora,
I find we tend to eat heavier types of foods during the cold months. After a few weeks of starches with sauces I find myself wanting to have something light, fluffy, different. I begin to get bord with what we've had and the next time at the store, i look at the fruits and veggies and pick out something I've not had in awhile. I'll go from stews and pastas to a nice steak and a tasty crisp salad, from a heavy cake or pie and ice cream to just some sweet juicy tangerines. Get dh to watch the boys next time you shop, take your time, look, sniff, try something you've never had before..You will find, not having to rush through your shopping you will enjoy it more and ideas will jump out at you. Having lots of Mexican dishes lately? Then try a simple pastie and a salad of just a wedge of iceberg with a yummy blue cheese dressing on it. It doesn't have to be so fancy you're pooped when done fixing it..Just something that makes your mouth water in anticipation If dh is like mine he will go for anything set before him..Mine loves a quarter of a french loaf hollowed out and filled with meats like salami,mortadella, ham and cheese
then topped with shredded lettuce dressed with a little evoo an vinegar, some slice avocado, roma tomatoe, some soup and he's set..Yes even in the winter!
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Old 01-31-2007, 11:46 PM   #7
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I get like that sometimes - kinda lose my cooking mojo. A new cookbook or magazine with new recipes that I want to try usually does the trick.
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Old 01-31-2007, 11:59 PM   #8
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Smile

Have a Happy Time with a steam cooked Loose Meat Hamburger Sandwich and a Dutch Letter.
This works everytime to brighten your meal.
Of course you could alway fly Barbara and I out and then you would be all better
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Old 02-01-2007, 01:42 AM   #9
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Oh most of us are in that cacoon slumpo. So getting out and seeing other people doesn't work that well because they are slumpo too.
I found myself complimenting a retail clerk's hot dog snack. It really looked like last summer's reject but I said that it made me hungry. She said "it's not too good." Then everybody nearby laughed at that stupid hot dog.
I am pulling out my spring projects (or at least thinking about them) and that helps to get out of the winter bla.
All the landscapes here look like old jigsaw puzzle pictures. I hear that people are hanging by their fingertips at Walmart waiting for the garden season to reopen.
I made a spumoni dessert that was outrageously rich. Family was eyeing it slow and suspicious. It lasted longer than usual and I thought the brownie was going to get up and riot after all the cherry and pistachio were gone first.
I am in the mood to visit with distant friends and family sending cards & letters. I spent some time shredding all the holiday mail offers.
All the post here seem to be coming together now so maybe I will be making some fresh fruit themes and perking up the atmosphere with something besides air freshner!
I guess I should not be so mean to the winter. After all it's snowing tonight and I could almost go for a walk.
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Old 02-01-2007, 03:05 AM   #10
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I don't knopw what the seasons are doing where you are but here, despite a sudden cold snap, spring produce is creeping into the shops, steadily. Eating seasonally helps deal with that "here we go again" feeling, as you know you only have that produce in season for x amount of time.Of course, nowadays its easiest to apply this to vegetables but Mussels are a big one for us in UK. We all ways RUN for the first mussels of the season and sometimes eat them twice in the first week and then drop down to once a week for a while...until the next thing!

In the depths of winters that feel never ending its different ofcourse, and its time to look at a couple of magazines with new things to do. If you can get some foreign ones maybe that would jazz it up? Yesterday I got a package including some clippings from my Mother's newspapers! If you like Cora I could mail you some translations of my monthly Italian one?
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Old 02-01-2007, 06:25 AM   #11
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Quote:
when I get in a slump, I buy something I've never done before. So once I bought fresh squid. Another time I bought goat. Buy some ingredients or find a recipe and just do it.

With the squid I made a calamari pasta sauce. WIth the goat I made Jamaican curried goat stew. Both were fantastic btw, and past of my repetoire.
I agree. You know it depends on what you like and dont like. It also depends on where you SHOP. SOme places have the same ol' stuff. If you can, going to a multi-cultural store would really help. Going through the isles you get some good ideas. I like the word 'fusion'. Different spices in the same dish can be great.

Think about open base ingredients. Like rice, potatoes, pasta and meats / fish. These all can be combined with different spices and vegies. Beef Stew with a dash of Apple Cider Vinegar and cilantro, crushed garlic clove and crushed tomatoes with a VERY little dash of curry powder. Different and fantastic!

One last thing. Fresh dried spice as opposed to standard store bought spice makes a WORLD of difference!!!! This place: https://www.penzeys.com/cgi-bin/penzeys/login.html has the freshest and best spices!! I cant even tell you the difference in my food using their stuff.
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Old 02-01-2007, 11:35 AM   #12
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The one quick-inspiration place I go is the Farmer's Market. You can't go to one with grabbing a few beautiful ideas for dinner. Pack up the kids and go - there's usually some fun stuff for them too :)
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Old 02-01-2007, 12:27 PM   #13
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I think we must been on the same plain Cor because I too have been pretty bored and uninspired lately.....I think its because of the dreary/cold weather here though.

This week I just didn't know what I was going to make.....so I went into the store and went straight for the meat area to get inspired and saw some shrimp and immediately thought oh shrimp scampi.....even better shrimp scampi with linguini....haven't made shrimp scampi in over year so since I didn't have a recipe with me I just thought what I'd like in it. To my surprise I couldn't find the recipe I did last time so I just winged it and it turned out amazing.....too bad I didn't write down exactly what I did though....kick myself for that one.
Then last night I made swedish meatballs. I've never made these before and they turned out really good and it was a wonderful change.

Besides letting the produce and meat department inspire me I find myself cuddling up on the couch with a blanket and my cookbooks for inspiration.
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Old 02-01-2007, 02:47 PM   #14
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When I feel like I'm in a slump I tend to go back to basics. In other words, pasta with a good light lemon/olive oil drizzle - garlic, and some chili peppers if you are so inclined. Maybe some shrimp or scallops and some cut asparagus, and a shallot or two.

Basic stuff - good old-fashioned vegetable soup - the kind made with tomato juice and hamburger

I find I get slumpish when I've been eating too heavy. We may have a night of Vietnamese Summer Rolls or lettuce wraps to "lift" us. And a night of bruschetta with some crumbled parmesan, fruit, and a glass of wine can make a perfect meal. A meal doesn't always have to be a protein, a starch, and a vegetable/fruit.
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Old 02-01-2007, 02:49 PM   #15
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When I get in a slump I make my kids and Ken pick out some meals for the week. That way they get to eat what they like and I don't strain my brain. Soon enough I find inspiration and get on with my usual routine. I'm thinking your kids might be a bit young yet for that plan, but you might want to try it anyway.
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Old 02-01-2007, 03:28 PM   #16
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I was getting like that a while ago and I started doing things a little different, kind of in line with a Spanish tapas theme. Tonight for example I will be making up an antipasto platter with hot gardinara, a variety of olives, spring green mix with a little olive oil and balsamic, fresh mozz drizzled with balsamic and fresh basil, variety of Italian meats as one palte. French Baguette with seasoned olive oil for dipping. Mussels with a garlic and white wine sauce. And finally a little broiled Escolar from the local fish house. This might sound like a lot of work but it takes 20 minute to put it together. I light some candles, turn on the Gypsy Kings, open a bottle of wine and my wife and I enjoy an hour of talking, laughing and eating with or fingers.


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Old 02-01-2007, 04:16 PM   #17
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Hey, anyone within a 1,000 mile radius of Madison, Wisconsin - LISTEN UP! We're meeting at JDP's house tonight - please bring a hostess gift - his wife is NOT expecting company! As we don't know her favorite color diamonds are neutral!
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Old 02-01-2007, 04:19 PM   #18
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Wow. Drooling here JDP.
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Old 02-01-2007, 05:48 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by kitchenelf
Hey, anyone within a 1,000 mile radius of Madison, Wisconsin - LISTEN UP! We're meeting at JDP's house tonight - please bring a hostess gift - his wife is NOT expecting company! As we don't know her favorite color diamonds are neutral!

A nice chardonay or a suav. blanc will be the cover charge. Try this it's simple and fun. And if you have kids you could also add some pigs in balnkets...they love finger food to.
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Old 02-02-2007, 01:24 AM   #20
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Thanks everyone for your suggestions! They are very helpful! I have mad spring fever right now. I'm ready to eat a lighter faire. I think I will start there.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkath
The one quick-inspiration place I go is the Farmer's Market. You can't go to one with grabbing a few beautiful ideas for dinner. Pack up the kids and go - there's usually some fun stuff for them too :)
I love love the farmer's market, jkath. Ours doesn't begin for another 2 months though. Can't wait for it to start up again!
Quote:
Originally Posted by JDP
I was getting like that a while ago and I started doing things a little different, kind of in line with a Spanish tapas theme. Tonight for example I will be making up an antipasto platter with hot gardinara, a variety of olives, spring green mix with a little olive oil and balsamic, fresh mozz drizzled with balsamic and fresh basil, variety of Italian meats as one palte. French Baguette with seasoned olive oil for dipping. Mussels with a garlic and white wine sauce. And finally a little broiled Escolar from the local fish house. This might sound like a lot of work but it takes 20 minute to put it together. I light some candles, turn on the Gypsy Kings, open a bottle of wine and my wife and I enjoy an hour of talking, laughing and eating with or fingers.
Wow, JDP! That sounds lovely! Maybe I'll try that out with dh. I'll take Katie's advice along with it. Put the kids to sleep and relax with my husband with some candles.
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