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I'm a foodie. There, I said it. Phew, it's good to get that admission out there. I just have to recognized and admit that I am a foodie and embrace that as a good thing. :) According to Wikipedia (that's totally official, right?), "A foodie is a person who has an ardent or refined interest in food and alcoholic beverages. A foodie seeks new food experiences as a hobby rather than simply eating out of convenience or hunger."
I've realized in the past 6 months or so that I really do seek out new food experiences as a hobby. It helps that as a nursing mom I'm hungry all the time! All. The. Time!!! So eating a lot of interesting food is not just fun, but I need to eat. What could be better?
So what do I do that has made me realize this? Well, I cook lots of new dishes. Every week I sit down with my wall calendar and pick what dishes I'm going to make. It really helps me to make good, interesting healthy dinner choices when I spend 20 minutes with my computer and cook books. It saves me from the 4 o'clock scramble/panic of what do I have that I can make for dinner. The amount of stress that this 20 minutes has saved me in the past 6 months is ridiculous. It also allows me to quickly look back and see what I made previously and decide if it's time to repeat that dish or pick a new one.
I also talk about food and recipes with friends, family and coworkers. If you work with me, I'm sorry! But hopefully, you've tried a new recipe or two and found some new family favorites. :) It makes me so excited when I hear from people that they have tried one of my favorite recipes and loved it too! If you have a favorite recipe please share with me in the comments. I also love trying your family favorites.
The final foodie thing that I'm still figuring out is what ingredients really are worth the extra money in the grocery store. I'm a bargain shopper. I will be the first to get the manager's special meat and store brand food for the saving. However, I'm discovering that there are certain ingredients that it's really really worth the extra money. I don't mean organic unless Joe and I can tell a difference in the flavor. I mean certain items. I'm going to share what I find is worth the extra money because I've found they just taste so much better. If you have something please tell me in the comments because truly, I'm on the lookout for good ingredients and mainly learn about them from friends and recipe blogs.
For my whole chicken dish, I've tried a variety of chickens. This is one time I specifically seek out an organic chicken. It's just so much more tender and juicer. I don't have a specific brand, just the best priced organic chicken. It's typically about 50% more expensive, but worth it because we actually eat it all and enjoy it!
Cinnamon is the next ingredient I've discovered makes a difference. I discovered this when someone gave me a Penzey's cinnamon for a gift. Wow! I didn't really have any clue that there could be a difference in the flavor of cinnamon. But it is amazing! I don't always buy Penzey's now, but I do spend the extra money for good cinnamon. I use less too because it just has so much more flavor. Are other spices this way? I haven't particularly noticed, but perhaps some of you know of more spices that are worth the extra money.
Pasta! We pretty much only use DeLallo brand pasta now. I discovered this brand from my favorite recipe blog, Skinnytaste. It is more expensive, but Joe and I were just discussing last night how their pasta is just SOOOO much tastier than any other pasta we've ever eaten that it's just worth it. It makes that pasta a feature of the meal as opposed to just a carrier for other flavors. It's buttery and rich tasting. Are you picking up on my love for this pasta? Their DeLallo Organic Whole Wheat Lasagna, Oven Ready? Oh my goodness! You'll never eat such wonderful lasagna. DeLallo also makes the best whole wheat pasta. (DeLallo Organic WW Orecchiette, 1-Pound (Pack of 8)) Usually if I have whole wheat pasta, I can tell it's whole wheat, but I eat it because it's better for me. With Dellalo it just tastes wonderful. There is nothing that makes you think of cardboard. And for those of you who don't eat wheat, they do have rice pasta. DeLallo Gluten Free Brown Rice, Penne Regate, 12-Ounce (Pack of 12)
These are the main ingredients I've discovered so far to make a difference in taste. What am I missing? Let me know please. I'd love to try out your favorite dishes and ingredients.