Summer Lovin'

The 90 degree weather earlier this week has caused me to pretend it's actually summer time. Therefore, I am in grilling mode. It was quite chilly this evening...but I was out there grillin' anyway.

Because I love my grill.

I love it with my whole heart.

I love it so much I took its picture:

Isn't it beautiful?

Grilling is fast. You can make delicious food when you do it right. And it fascinates me...like when the oil from the food drips down into the grill and a big flame comes up. It excites me every time.

You can obviously do all sorts of fancy shmancy stuff on the grill...I don't really know how to do that yet since I have only grilled since last summer. However, I thought I would share a simple grilled meal with you.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken and Pepper Kabobs
  • 2 or 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 3 peppers (I used a red one, a yellow one, and an orange one)
  • Jamaican Jerk Seasoning (I use the one sold by Pampered Chef)*
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Skewers (I use metal ones, but you can buy wooden ones that you need to soak in water ahead of time)
  1. Begin preheating the grill.
  2. Fill as many skewers as necessary with peppers. Then fill as many skewers as necessary with chicken. I skewer them separately in case one is done before the other, but I've also skewered them together before with good results.
  3. Drizzle olive oil over the peppers and chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle Jamaican Jerk seasoning on the chicken (I'm pretty generous with it).
  4. Place skewers on the grill and turn every few minutes until the peppers are a bit blackened and the chicken is cooked through (10-15 minutes)
  5. I made Spanish Rice (one of Lipton's "Fiesta Sides") to go on the side. I let the rice cook while the chicken and peppers were cooking.
  6. Remove the peppers and chicken from the skewers and plate them up with some rice.
*You can really use whatever seasoning you want. I've used Mrs. Dash seasonings...I've also used Moroccan, Greek, and Italian seasonings on grilled chicken, too. Yum.


Simple Summer Dessert

I got the grill up and running this weekend. Actually my husband did all the work of getting the tank refilled and the grill cleaned off. But I pressed the button to make it turn on...that counts for something!

I can't wait to share some fun grilling ideas. I'm relatively new to grilling (just got one last year), so if you have some ideas to share please email me or leave comments.

Anyway, my sister-in-law brought over a dessert that was fabulous and so easy to make I just had to post it immediately. I would have taken a picture, but we devoured it within minutes. She said she got the recipe from Giada de Laurentiis (the really pretty girl from Everyday Italian on the Food Network...although some argue that her head is huge and her arms are short...)

Strawberry Sugar Cookie Bars
~This is seriously easy~
  • 1 package of store bought sugar cookie dough (in the refrigerated section)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of strawberry jam (do it by feel)
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries (hulled and sliced)
  1. Smooth out the dough onto a small rimmed baking sheet (she used the medium Pampered Chef stoneware bar pan...7 3/4 X 11 1/2 inches*)
  2. Poke holes in it with a fork and then bake according to the time and temperature on the package (don't overbake it...let it stay soft and chewy)
  3. Allow to cool and then a layer of jam over the top. Then layer the fresh strawberry slices on top. Cut into squares and enjoy!
*You could totally double this and just use two or more packages of cookie dough. Then you could use a larger baking sheet.

More to come on grilling in future posts. Happy unseasonably hot weather, everyone!


Friday Night Feast

We had an out of the ordinary week. My husband got into a car accident which, for the record, was not his fault (he's fine, thank goodness...the car is not so fine). I got suddenly sick and had to take the morning off of work on Thursday (I'm fine now, too).

By the time we both got home and settled tonight, we were worn out. We watched our DVR'd shows from Thursday (The Office and 30 Rock) and then I figured I might as well attempt dinner since we didn't have the money or energy to eat out. My meal plan from earlier in the week got pushed back a day due to the craziness that was the car accident and illness, so I still hadn't made the pork tenderloin I had thawed. I'm glad I got off my butt, because dinner couldn't have been simpler and we enjoyed a nice Friday night feast.

I must be some sort of idiot. I kind of thought that the pork tenderloin seemed a bit on the huge side and thought twice about buying it because it was pricey due to its weight. I decided to get it anyway because it was on sale and stuck it in the freezer. Meanwhile, I open the package today after thawing it and out pops two pork tenderloins. I didn't know they packaged them in pairs. I've been avoiding buying them at Giant all this time because I thought they were tenderloins from some mutant pigs because they were so big. Now I know...

Herb Pesto Pork Tenderloin
  • 1 pork tenderloin (or 2*)
  • 1 bunch fresh sage leaves (about a cup)
  • 1 small bunch of Italian parsley (about a cup)
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts (lightly toasted in a dry pan)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Red potatoes, washed and cut into even sized pieces
  1. Combine sage leaves, parsley, olive oil, garlic cloves, pine nuts, salt, and pepper in a food processor or blender until smooth (creating a pesto).
  2. Clean the pork tenderloin and remove the silver skin. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a skillet and brown each side of the tenderloin for a minute or two. (you can skip this step, if you want...but I like to brown meat before roasting it to lock in the juices).
  3. Transfer pork tenderloin to a roasting pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Spread the pesto all over the top of the tenderloin.
  4. Toss the potatoes in a bowl with some olive oil, salt, and pepper** Scatter around the pork tenderloin in the roasting pan.
  5. Roast in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes until cooked through (some like it a little rosy in the center, some like it completely done). Let it rest for 10 minutes and then slice and serve.
*Because I ended up having two pork tenderloins, I went ahead and cooked both. We are going to chop up the other one and add to salad or rice tomorrow. This is a great strategy...use left overs to your advantage!
**I added some Mrs. Dash Italian seasoning for extra flavor

Recipe loosely based on one from Robin Miller...I modified it by adding parsley, instead of using only sage, and using pork tenderloin instead of turkey tenderloin.


Salad Savvy

Spring is here. Summer is coming. It's time to lighten up my meals and get my body moving.

Salads have always been thought of as "diet food". It's true that salads can be a very healthy choice. You have to watch it, though. Some salads that you find in restaurants can be packed with high-fat dressings and high-calorie toppings.

Salads provide endless opportunities to get creative. They are also a great way to use left-overs. Got chicken in the fridge from last night's dinner? Cut it up and throw it on a salad. Is there produce in your drawer that's about to go bad? Chop it up and add it to your salad. Fruit is delicious on salad. So are nuts, veggies, and cheese.

Sometimes all I need is good balsamic vinegar to top my salads. Other times, I prefer to make something a bit fancier. Here are three basic dressings you could drizzle over your colorful creations.

Italian Vinaigrette
~This could not be simpler~
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano or 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Combine the vinegar, garlic, mustard, and oregano in a small bowl.
  2. Add the olive oil in a slow steady stream while whisking constantly until incorporated (or use an immersion blender*)
  3. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to use or for up to a week.
*An immersion blender is not a necessary tool...but it's pretty awesome to have. It's pretty cheap (between $20-$30 for a decent one) and can be found at places like Bed, Bath, and Beyond or Target. I love my immersion blender because I can blend soups right in the pot (as opposed to transferring the soup to a blender or food processor). I can also use it to make salad dressings, obviously. It looks like this:
Caesar Dressing
~Classic and delicious~
  • 1 1/2 tbsp anchovy paste (don't leave this out, the dressing's not the same without it)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp Sherry vinegar
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 dry mustard or Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 olive oil
  1. Mix anchovy paste and garlic in a bowl. Mix with vinegar, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard.
  2. Add olive oil in a stream, whisking until emulsified (or use an immersion blender).
  3. Drizzle dressing onto romaine lettuce with some croutons and curls of Parmesan cheese.
Bleu Cheese Dressing
~A bit "heavier", but wonderful when used in moderation~
  • 1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk (not as fattening as you might think)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (low fat is fine)
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 salt
  • 1/4 flat leaf parsley
  • 2 oz. crumbled firm bleu cheese (1/2 cup)
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives
  • pepper
  1. Blend buttermilk, mayonnaise, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and salt with a whisk or immersion blender until smooth.
  2. Add chopped parsley.
  3. Add bleu cheese and blend until incorporated but slightly chunky.
  4. Stir in chives and pepper. Tastes great when served over iceburg lettuce wedges.
All three dressings learned at The Kitchen Workshop

I'll leave you with an excellent Protein packed salad recipe.

Tuna and White Bean Salad
~This is great for a simple and very healthy lunch~
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 (15-19 oz.) can cannelloni or other white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 seedless cucumber (hothouse) quartered lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/3 inch thick slices
  • 1 lb tomatoes (3 medium) cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 (6 oz.) can tuna packed in olive oil (or water), drained
  1. Mince garlic.
  2. Whisk together garlic paste, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a small bowl then add oil slowly in a stream while whisking (or use an immersion blender).
  3. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.
  4. Gently toss beans, cucumber, tomatoes, and parsley with half of the dressing.
  5. Transfer to a platter or bowl over lettuce and arrange with tuna on top.
Recipe learned at The Kitchen Workshop


Random Things #1-5

1. My life has been a bit out of sorts lately. I've kind of felt like saying this:

Just kidding...sort of. Hey, everyone feels that way once in a while!
(Picture is Created and Copyrighted by Ann Taintor Inc.)

2. My graduate reading comprehension class is coming to an end this week and I will finally be able to get a little time back because I won't be writing one million papers. Parent teacher conferences will also be over by next week, which should free me up a bit.

3. I haven't been planning new and exciting meals...or even doing a lot of grocery shopping for that matter. I've been relying on my stocked freezer for many meals. That's why I'm all about the freezing. In fact, I have all sorts of wonderful freezing tips and ideas that I will eventually compile into a post or posts and share with you.

4. I would love some feedback on what you like seeing on this blog...

would you like to see on this blog?
What has been helpful?
Would you like to see more of an emphasis on planning ahead? recipes? local sales and specials?

Do you have any recipes or tips you want to share?
Comment or email me at cookingwithaplan@gmail.com

5. What I've been cooking to survive this week:

Monday - Turkey Bolognese Sauce that I pulled out of my freezer atop whole wheat spaghetti. I also made Chocolate Chip Cookies for my friend's birthday on Tuesday (see recipe below)

Tuesday - Apricot, Goat Cheese, and Prosciutto Panini's with Roasted Red Pepper Soup (I had a bag of the soup in the freezer and leftover goat cheese and apricot preserves in the fridge)

Wednesday - Turkey Chili (because, believe it or not, we haven't had it in a little while)

Thursday - I thawed a pork tenderloin from the freezer and plan to make a parsley and sage pesto to spread on it for roasting. I'll see how it works out and post the recipe if it's a keeper.

Friday - Go out to eat in pure celebration that the hectic-ness of parent teacher conference week is over. Perhaps to the The Olive Tree because I ate there last week and thought it was absolutely Heavenly.

Saturday - I got a whole pile of new cookbooks from the library...I plan to choose a recipe and give it a go on Saturday.

Chocolate Chip Cookies*
~Room temperature butter is a must for this recipe~
(not the best picture...it was taken with my phone while at school)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 12 oz. semi-sweet choc. chips
  1. Place sugars, butter, eggs, and vanilla in mixer bowl. Attach bowl and flat beat to mixer. Turn to Speed 2 and mix about 30 sec. Stop and scrape bowl. Turn to speed 4 and beat about 30 sec. Stop and scrape bowl.
  2. Turn to Stir Speed. Gradually add baking soda, salt, and flour to sugar mixture and mix about 2 min. Turn to Speed 2 and mix about 30 sec. Stop and scrape bowl. Add choc. chips. Turn to Stir Speed and mix about 15 sec.**
  3. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls onto greased baking sheets, about 2 in. apart. Bake at 375 for 10-12 min. Remove from baking sheets immediately and cool on wire racks.
*This recipe is from the Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer's instruction manual. Therefore, it's written to be used with the mixer. You certainly don't need a stand mixer to make this recipe. You could use a hand mixer or mix it with a spoon.

**At this point, I typically reserve some of the dough and roll it into teaspoon sized balls. Then I line them up in a freezer bag and freeze them flat. When I need cookies, I just pull them out the of the freezer, break them apart, and stick 'em in the oven. They just need to be baked a bit longer than unfrozen, but turn out just the same!



I finally created an email account for this blog! I realize that sometimes people don't always feel like leaving comments for all to see but would rather email directly. If that's you...email me :)

Although I love sharing my recipes, tips, ideas, planning, and so on....I would also like to start posting things that have worked for other people, too.

So now you can email me if:
  • You have questions about what I've posted
  • You've tried a recipe and loved it....or didn't love it so much!
  • You have a great idea or recipe and you'd like me to "guest post" it
  • You have a great idea or recipe and you just want to share it with me
You can pretty much email me whatever you want....except for mean or inappropriate things, because that would just be mean and inappropriate.

Even if you're not so inclined to comment or email, I'm still glad you stopped by!

Let's Talk Tools - Part II

A while back, I did a post on some of my favorite cooking tools. I thought I would follow up with some more tools that I can't live without in my kitchen.

Dough Knife
I use this pretty much every time I cook. No...I'm not always making dough...it's the perfect picker upper of various food items. On the cooking shows, you always see the chefs use their knifes to scoop up chopped veggies, garlic, herbs, etc. However, scraping your knife across the cutting board to collect such things can really dull your knife. My cooking teacher at The Kitchen Workshop would always say, "Don't dull my knives...use your dough knife!".

Not only does it scoop up way more food, but it's much safer than using your knife. I just scrap the dough knife across the board, scoop up whatever I'm chopping, and then dump it into the pan or pot. It cost mere dollars at Target or other similar stores (I believe mine was $2.99).

Parchment Paper

I always keep a roll of parchment paper in my cupboard. It's useful in ever so many ways. You can put it on cookie tins and, for some reason, they seem to bake better. They don't stick to the paper and it helps to prevent burning. I also use parchment paper as a liner in cake pans for particularly sticky batters. I use it to line the pan for my Lemon Yogurt Cake and Tortilla Pie. I have also heard of it being used as a little packet to put fish or veggies in...although I haven't tried this yet. You can find it in most grocery stores now and I know they sell it at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

Fancy Can Opener
This multi image picture shows it all. You just put the One Touch Can Opener on top of a can. Then you press the button and it wiggles around the can, stopping on its own. When it stops, you just pick it up and the top comes with it. It takes the whole top off, so you don't have those sharp cut aluminum edges that have cut my finger on more than one occasion.

I have to say that I was resistant to this luxury kitchen item, thinking "I have a regular can opener...why would I need a fancy can opener?" My cooking teacher always uses one and I did think it was rather nifty. Then one day, my very generous Mother-in-Law just bought me one on a whim! She got it at Bed, Bath, and Beyond with her 20% coupon.

I find that when I'm in the middle of a recipe, it's kind of a pain to stop and open all the cans the old fashioned way. It's much more convenient to just press a button and have it done. It takes a couple of batteries, which last a while.

Do you have to have fun or fancy kitchen tools or gadgets to make great meals? Nope.

Is it fun to fill your kitchen drawers with them anyway? Yep.


Catch Up

Sorry...I took a brief hiatus from blogging this week.

I was on Spring Break (I'm a teacher) and had all sorts of plans for blogging and reading and cleaning and projects. And I would have done all those things if I hadn't been watching lots of TV, hanging out with friends and family, eating Easter cookies, and playing Scrabble with Sonny. And you know what? I have chosen to embrace the laziness and not have guilt over all the things I didn't get done this week.

I did do some cooking and tried a few new recipes. Here's a sampling of what I've been cookin' up in my kitchen these days...

Pineapple Teriyaki Salmon
~This can be filed under "Quick and Easy"~
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1 (6 oz.) can pineapple juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 4 salmon fillets (about 1 inch thick)
  • pepper
  • Additional orange zest for optional garnish
  1. Combine first 4 ingredients and 1/4 tsp of the salt in a small saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat, and simmer until reduced to 1/4 cup (about 15 minutes). Set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  4. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Sprinkle both sides of fish with salt and pepper. Add fish to the pan and cook 3 minutes. Turn fish over and place in the oven.
  5. Cook in oven for a minute or two until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Sprinkle with orange zest if you desire.
Recipe taken from Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2007

Garlicky Roasted Potatoes with Herbs
~These went very nicely with the Salmon~
  • 2 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/4 pounds quartered Yukon gold or red potatoes (about 4 cups)
  • Cooking spray
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (Italian parsley)
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees (because I made these with the salmon, I lowered the temperature so that the salmon wouldn't get overcooked...it worked just fine at 400).
  2. Combine garlic and oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook 2 minutes or until golden, stirring frequently.
  3. Remove garlic with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  4. Drizzle remaining olive oil evenly over potatoes in a large bowl and toss to coat (I actually just toss them in oil directly on the baking sheet).
  5. Arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet (coated with cooking spray) and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes or until potatoes are golden. Combine reserved garlic, parsley, and lemon zest in a small bowl. Sprinkle garlic mixture over potatoes.
Recipe taken from Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2007

Apricot, Prosciutto, and Goat Cheese Panini*
~This is delicious and beautiful..I wish I had taken a picture~
  • Loaf of Italian Bread
  • Butter for spreading on bread
  • Thinly sliced Prosciutto
  • Apricot Preserves
  • Goat cheese
  1. Heat up a panini press or a skillet over medium high heat
  2. Spread butter onto two slices of bread. On the other side of one slice, spread apricot preserves. On the other side of the second slice, spread goat cheese.
  3. Put a few slices of prosciutto onto one slice and put together to make a sandwich (buttered sides on the outside, obviously).
  4. Place sandwich on panini press or skillet and let cook until golden brown and crispy. Then flip to cook the other side.
  5. Let cool for a minute so that the preserves don't burn your tongue! (I learned this the hard way)
*My friend, Jill, made this sandwich for me when I went over to her house for lunch. I liked it so much I made it for my sister when she came over a few days later. Prosciutto and goat cheese can be a little pricey, but a little goes a long way and they both keep in the fridge for a while.

Chicken with Lime Sauce
~I served this with Cumin Roasted Potatoes and Steamed Green Beans~
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup reduced sodium chicken broth*
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp lime juice, divided**
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp butter
  1. Pound chicken breasts so that they are 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook 4 minutes on each side until browned. Remove from pan and keep warm.
  3. Add broth, sugar, 2 tbsp lime juice, and mustard to pan. Cook over medium heat, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.
  4. Combine 2 tbsp water and cornstarch in a small bowl. Add to pan and stir well with a whisk.
  5. Bring to a boil and cook 1 minute or until slightly thick. Whisk in 1 tbsp lime juice and butter, stirring until butter melts.
  6. Return chicken to the pan and simmer until chicken is cooked through (about 5 minutes).
*I buy little jars of chicken broth paste called Better than Bouillon. You just scoop out 1 tsp for every cup of broth you need. The paste will dissolve in the water and tastes great! This product keeps you from wasting leftover broth from cans or boxes. It's sold near the broths and comes in lots of varieties
**I got limes at Produce Junction for very cheap

Recipe taken from Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2007

Cumin Roasted Potatoes
~A great way to "turn up the volume" on roasted potatoes~
  • Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
  • Cut 2 large unpeeled baking potatoes (I used Yukon gold) into chunks or 1/2 inch slices.
  • Combine 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp ground cumin, 2 minced garlic cloves, and a bit of salt and crushed red pepper into a bowl.
  • Spoon mixture over potatoes and toss to coat. Roast for 20 minutes or until golden.
Recipe taken from Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2007

My very good friend, Mary Beth, came to visit on Friday. She and I were roomies in college and she was a bridesmaid in my wedding. I served up some Island Chicken with fresh pineapple, Roasted Vegetables, and Couscous. When dessert rolled around, I enjoyed making her uncomfortable by forcing her to pose for a picture.

Butter Cake with Seasonal Berries
~Doesn't Mary Beth look happy?~
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Scant 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 whole large egg and 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 tsp orange zest
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 whole milk
  • Mixed berries mixed with a bit of sugar to serve alongside (I did strawberries and blackberries)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Butter a 9 inch round cake pan, then line the bottom with a round of parchment paper and butter parchment. Lightly dust with flour. (You don't have to do the parchment paper, but it ensures that it will not stick).
  3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Beat together butter and sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add whole egg, yolk, zest, and vanilla and beat for 1 minute.
  5. At low speed, mix in flour mixture and milk alternately in batches (by thirds)
  6. Spread batter in cake pan and bake until golden brown and a wooden toothpick comes out clean (35-40 minutes). Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes and then turn out onto a rack.
  7. Serve with mixed berries.
I also did some serious research (i.e. checking out books from the library and reading them while watching episodes of Friends on DVD) on freezer friendly foods and will devise some sort of post on that topic in the future.

Happy Easter!


8 Cookbooks for $14.00

~The Lesson for Today: Second hand bookstores are awesome ~

In my ongoing quest for kitchen inspiration, I often spend my down time paging through cookbooks of all sorts. My sister has loved cookbooks for a long time and I used to make fun of her for "reading" cookbooks like regular books. Now I do the exact same thing! I find them endlessly fascinating and will sometimes read them cover to cover.

As I've stated in previous posts...nothing pleases me more than going to the library and paying zero dollars to borrow and use as many cookbooks as I would like. But sometimes I just want to own certain cookbooks so I can use them whenever I want.

That's why I'm SO EXCITED about the store I discovered today. I was with my Dad and asked him about a second hand book store I had heard about in West Chester. He confirmed that it did indeed exist and that he even had a "Buy 2 Books Get 1 Free" coupon for it that he'd clipped from the paper. My Dad loves coupons...and I love that he loves coupons. The apple doesn't fall far...

Sonny and I drove over there today, coupon in hand. It's call Second Reading II and it's a donation based store that benefits the West Chester Area Senior Center. It was awesome! It was perfectly organized, had a large selection, and the special this month was 50% off of all cookbooks. I was in my glory.

In case you are interested, for a grand total of $14.00 I got...

~ All about how American cooking has evolved into new flavors from around the world~

~Recipes for stuffing anything from salmon to cupcakes~

~Recipes for eating with the seasons, the senses, and the soul~
~Annual recipes from Gourmet Magazine in 2000 with a special section on Thailand~

~ Cooking Light is awesome ~

~ If it tasted good in 1998, it tastes good now ~

~ All the recipes from Bon Appetit Magazine in 2000 ~

I also got a book called A Clove of Garlic by Katy Holder and Gail Duff (couldn't find a picture online). It gives the history of garlic, its health benefits, and tons of recipes for how to incorporate it into your diet.

I can't wait to try some new recipes in the weeks to come!