Branching Out

I don’t know about you, but when it comes to cooking dinner, I tend to get in a rut. I stick to the same salad, or turkey burgers, or salmon, or chili that I know and love, and I don’t often get out of my comfort zone. I do like having a repertoire of dishes that I can come back to day after day and week after week. I know I can trust these dishes, that they won’t let me down. They’re easy to make, they’re healthy and best of all, they taste great. Well, they do the trick, and that’s what counts.

Sometimes though, it’s just time to try something new. Time to throw the pasta out with the bath pasta water and move on. So yesterday, while shopping at Whole Foods all hopped up on a cappuccino and an exploratory spirit, I decided to really throw caution to the wind. Screw those boring tacos I had planned for dinner. I was going to branch out. I was going to attempt something wildly new, something so different, something truly phenomenal. No, I wasn’t going to attempt to Master the Art of French Cooking.

I was going to try to make a curry.

An Indian curry to be exact, using a spice packet that had really already done all of the work for me. The thing is, I like Indian food, but actually cooking it myself has always seemed completely out of my range. All of those spices and sauces and exotic ingredients have the ability to intimidate a relatively boring cook such as myself. But when I saw the Kitchens of India Chicken Curry paste I thought what the hell, it was worth a try.


It turned out to be a piece of cake. Cut up some chicken breasts, mix the spice packet with a cup of water, and simmer for 25 minutes. Serve with whole wheat naan and some sauteed spinach (makeshift saag I guess) for a healthy, delicious dinner. John and I both loved it so I think we’ll definitely be trying this one again. And now that I know Indian food doesn’t always have to be so difficult, maybe one day I’ll even move out of pre-packaged spice range. For now now though, this little cook is stretching herself, and that in and of itself is a good thing.

Dinner tonight? The options are endless… Thai, Brazilian, Nepali? Or maybe I’ll just stick to an omelet. Even Julia Child loved those. 

Candied Walnuts

These candied walnuts are perfect for a nice fall salad, crushed on top of oatmeal, or even just as a simple afternoon snack with a cup of tea.

You’ll need:

1 cup of walnuts (almonds and cashews are also nice)

3TB sugar

1.5 TB water

Salt and Pepper to taste


First, mix the water and sugar in a pan and bring to a boil.



Then, stir in the walnuts and coat with the mixture. Stir continually.


Once the mixture has mostly been absorbed (probably 3-4 minutes) remove walnuts from pan and lay on foil to cool.


Yum! We had these tonight with a spinach salad with roasted chicken, butternut squash, and apples. It was delish.