Culinary goals for the summer months

*Picture above: completely random. Relevance of that image to this post: zero. But aren’t my Dad and sister looking especially adorable?

During the summer I tend to fall off the cooking wagon. A combination of travel plans, weird summer schedule type things, and the anti-stove sentiments that one experiences on a hot day all merge together, and somehow when September rolls around I realize in amazement that I don’t remember having cooked a single dang thing. This is already starting to happen, as the only meal I’ve cooked in the past ten days has been that Beef Stroganoff I shared with y’all yesterday.

This summer, things shall be different. So I have set some culinary goals for myself that are designed to:

a) Make me stay on track

b) Make you make me stay on track

c) Provide clear guidelines for the guilt trip I will engage in when, in fact, I achieve none of the stated objectives

d) Provide clear guidelines for the invectives/reprimands/diatribes you will heap upon me when, in fact, I achieve none of the stated objectives

So help me help you help me, folks. Here we go:

1. Make a birthday cake for my husband. Yes, his birthday was back in March, but somehow this delusional man is under the impression that I owe him two Barefoot Contessa glazed lemon cakes. I was pretty sure I had done something awesome that reduced my debt to only one of these cakes, so we need to hash that out amongst the two of us. But I’ve really got to hunker down and get a cake plan going, because if not, the age of 105 will find us side by side on a couch masticating our dentures and arguing at the top of our feeble old lungs: “But you owe me twooooo cakes! Twooooo cakes I tell ya!” *swat* “But diddn’ I do sumthin’ and now I just owe ya ooooone? I think it’s just oooooone!” *spank* “Whaaaaat? Whadja say old woman?” *spank*

2. Get around to making Biltong. It’s not that hard, children, I tell myself. And then I go sit on the couch instead.

3. Months ago, I created a page that divides my recipes into categories. Two of those categories have remained conspicuously empty: Pizza and Sandwiches. I find this very ironic, since my husband’s favorite food is pizza. And his favorite ‘on the go’ food is Potbelly’s Classic Italian sandwich. However, since I rule the stove, I gravitate towards my favorites–Asian food. Stir fries. Things with mushrooms. Mine, mine, mine! I can’t help associating sandwiches with the oh-so-boring lunch my paternal grandparents had every single day. They were wonderful people–but perhaps lacked a certain culinary inclination? I need to overcome my sandwich hangups, because there really are some great creations out there I could replicate, to the ooohs and aaahs of the man in my life. Sigh.

Thus endeth the list–and now, please participate in a campaign of constant nagging until I get this stuff done.


The Hopefully Soon-to-be Birthday Cake-Making Machine

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24 Responses to Culinary goals for the summer months

  1. OK, Jenna….I got my eyes on you this summer to make sure you stay on track. But I have this sinking feeling that track is going to be like a roller coaster ride. Hmm…… :) Love you, girl!

  2. Layla says:

    Jenna for a cake try this recipe…I’ve made it so many times and it gets compliments like you couldn’t believe, also after you moved to Chicago I made it for IC a lot, it was a huge hit. I also sold 2 of them for $7 each at a bake sale to raise funds where I volunteer:

    Chocolate Chip Banana Cake:

    Preheat Oven to 350 Degrees F. Grease a 9 inch. square cake pan.

    in large bowl, beat together 1/2 cup vegetable oil, and 3/4 cups sugar. Add 2 large eggs slightly beaten, and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, beating well to combine. Add in 2 bananas with hand held mixer.

    In a medium bowl, whist together 1cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt

    Add flour mixture to banana mixture in 2 batches, stirring each time just to combine.

    Stir in 3/4 cup chocolate chips, pour into prepared baking pan, and spread evenly, Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until light and golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack before slicing and serving. 

    *Note* To increase fiber you can substitute up to 1/3 of the white flour called for with whole wheat flour.

    From the Complete Idiot’s Guide to High Fiber Cooking

  3. Circe says:

    I never cook over the summer, I live on laughing cow cheese spread on things like crackers, celery, cucumbers, carrots and cherry tomatoes. I have no tolerance for the heat! I’m such a northern girl. That being said, I did try to make muffins monday night (when it was super hot) they didn’t turn out. very dissapointing.

    • Jenna says:

      Man, I hate it when baked goods don’t turn out. Especially because (for me) it takes so much will power to even start making a baked good of any kind.


    hahahaha…. glad i have something to nag you about, too! :)

  5. Great, now I have images of old people spanking each other! Bahahaha! :)
    Here are 2 of our faaaaavorite sandwiches:
    I have recipe (somewhere) for a killer Philly Cheese Steak pizza, but alas, it has not been located for some time now….lost in a stack of 300 recipes waiting to be organized and put in notebooks. {sigh} Poor, poor lost soul.

  6. Erin says:

    Out of curiosity, what do you make for lunch/dinner on non-cooking summer days?

    • Jenna says:

      Rice with something-or-another on top (a fried egg) and raw veggies . . . English muffin ‘sandwiches’ with an egg and some cheese . . . leftovers? . . . wow, I’m having trouble remembering what the heck I eat on those days!

  7. NanaBread says:

    Wait… his birthday was in March and you’re still trying to get motivated to make his birthday cake? Are we talking about 2012 here, or THIS year’s cake? If it’s this year’s, well then you definitely owe him two cakes. I vote for making it in layers, and then serving him two layers on different days. Problem solved!

    For summer, we tend to gravitate more towards salads and sandwiches. It’s just easier, and we’re not as hungry when it’s 100 degrees with 100% humidity down here. TCP makes an awesome flank steak sandwich with soy-ginger mayo. Everyone who eats it falls in love. With the sandwich, that is. Since you love Asian and he loves sandwiches, it would be perfect for you two. It’s on my blog, if you’re interested.

    As for the photo, yes… your dad and sister DO look adorable! I love that photo.

    • Jenna says:

      Well . . . um . . . you see, we spent his birthday at his parents’ house in Indiana, so his Mom made the cake this year . . . yeah, I don’t know what that says about me as a wife. Okay, I accept my responsibility of owing him 2 cakes.

  8. Twinky says:

    DO indeed keep cooking….
    DO NOT forget that this IS an EVERYTHING Blog, so rather than heap on piles of guilt about not having any recipes to post, just blog some fun OTHER stuff. I am still voting for some of your stories from high shcool even though they will need to be translated from Spanish–heck, post ’em in both languages!! And what about some of your college poetry? There are also your “comic book” illustrated stories….

    I supppose I could even get around to supplying you with a guest posting on painting…. What? ME do something???

    As for summer recipe ideas, how ’bout gazpacho, or our open-faced chapata pizza/sandwiches, or a cheese fondue or something fun like that?

    • Jenna says:

      Gazpacho sounds divine . . . so does a cheese fondue! And you should consider becoming a recipe contributor, nudge nudge. And posting on painting would be terribly welcome!! Terribly!! =)

  9. Jen says:

    I myself was not very interested in sandwhiches at one point…and then I discovered the amazingness of a good piece of bread, sauteed onions/mushrooms/bell peppers and a very nice cheese. I think you should venture into the world of sandwhiches there are some delicious ones that await you. (Granted all the good ones include cheese and pan frying the sandwhich or grilling it.) Ooh! And aioli with plenty of garlic and a touch of mustard is always a nice touch.

    • Erica says:

      Mmm. That reminds me of a certain sandwich that we made in Spain together two years ago. Ohhh it was soooooo gooood. Mmmmm.

      • Jenna says:

        Spain? Two years ago? On the Camino? WHAT WAS THIS SANDWICH?? It is your moral duty as my sister to give me all the details.

  10. Veronica says:

    I do the same thing! Summertime is so busy, there’s not as much time for cooking. So are you going to frost the lemon cakes with chocolate? I remember you telling me on one of my posts that’s how he likes his lemon cake and I have to agree, very strange! But…I think it could work. I mean, orange and chocolate are pretty good together, right? But lemon….I don’t know….I’m trying to dig it….I don’t think I can. Yo hubby is crazed! lol

    • Jenna says:

      Wow, you have an awesome memory!! Yes, he loves the lemon cake with chocolate icing thing. I might try to do just that instead of a straight lemon cake with a lemon glaze.

  11. Joanne says:

    Nag nag nag nag nag! I love your food. So keep on producing it!

    I wish someone would have baked me two birthday cakes…that would have been excellent.

  12. Kimby says:

    Hi! I’m coming out of “lurkdom” just long enough to nag you to KEEP IT UP, GIRL! Time flies, and all that — as evidenced by belated birthday cake(s) confessions :) — stick to “the plan,” but have FUN! (By the way, I vote for Italian Cream Cake.)

    Summer Sandwich Suggestion: invent an outdoor sandwich! Maybe Asian-marinated veggies — including your favorite fungi, of course — grilled to perfection alongside slices of artisan bread oozing with melty cheese? (That sounded more like an assisgnment than a suggestion, sorry!) No pressure, no pressure… Sandwiches need not be boring, nor spank inducing. :)

    In the meantime, keep posting excerpts from your childhood journals — and your MUSIC. I enjoy your EVERYTHING blog, too!

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