Tag Archives: cooking

My Favorite Food Network Shows

Justin and I loooove cooking shows. We love cooking, ourselves, and have hopes and dreams involved with the culinary arts. We’ve also worked our teenage, and early college years, in food service. So, we feel pretty confident, as amateur home cooks who have never gone to culinary school, when it comes to cooking shows. So, today, we thought we’d talk about our favorite Food Network shows.

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Kitchen Nightmares
This is a Gordon Ramsey show. Ramsey goes to restaurants (not chain ones) that are falling apart and failing. We discovers what they are doing wrong, and helps them fix it. He recreates menus for them, redesigns their restaurant, and remotivates them. There is a lot of yelling and cursing, especially from Ramsey, but I can completely understand–he is so frustrated that people who should know the ins and outs of owning and working a restaurant don’t. I mean, I find myself shaking my head in frustration as well. But, under the hard core, Ramsey really is a softie and cares deeply for the people and wants to see them succeed.

MasterChef
We love this show! Homecooks compete to be the best and have the opportunity to make their own cookbook. They are given mystery box challenges, in which they receive a mystery ingredient to base a dish around, and team challenges. Gordon Ramsey, Graham Elliot, and Christina Tosi judge each dish and decides who is eliminated each week. I love seeing all the beautifully plated dishes they come up with!

MasterChef Junior
Same basis as MasterChef, but for kids 8-12. It is absolutely astounding to see what these young kids can make! The judges are a little more lenient (meaning they are nicer and calmer), but still expect the same high standards as the adults. But, the kids also have fun competitions which typically end with some sort of food product being poured onto the judges.

Chopped
Four chefs compete against each other in three rounds: appetizer, entree, desert. Each round, a chef is eliminated. For each round, they are given a mystery basket with four random ingredients, which they have to use and repurpose in their dish. They are judged by three famous chefs, but the judges differ per episode. It is so interesting to see what the random ingredients are, and Justin and I love to pause it when they reveal the basket and think of what we would do in that round. We like seeing the innovation of the ingredients, and it makes us feel good when what we imagine is close to what they create. 

Cutthroat Kitchen
Four chefs compete against each other in three rounds. They are each given $25,00 at the beginning. But, with each round, the host gives them what he expects (French Toast, soup, Hamburger and Fries, Poached Egg, etc) and they are given only 60 seconds to grab their ingredients. If they don’t make it in time, the host takes away an ingredient. Then, the host gives all sorts of “sabotages” for the chefs to use their $25,000 to auction off. Some of these sabotages include a chef not being able to use heat to cook, or switching out their fresh ingredient for a processed one, or having to peel 10 pounds of potatoes before being anything else to do, etc. The judge differs every episode, and he doesn’t know or care about the sabotages, just judges solely based on taste and presentation. Each round, a chef is eliminated. The chef who wins, takes home whatever amount of money they have left. Justin really likes this show because it includes a lot of strategy and he likes seeing how those who have sabotages work through them.

The Great Food Truck Race
This is a fun show for us since Justin and I love foodtrucks! We go to food truck round ups at least twice a month. This is a competition between different groups of burgeoning food trucks, and each round, they are given a different city and a different challenge to compete in. At the end of each episode, the food truck with the least amount of profit is eliminated. What we love about this is that the show also focuses on preparing and teaching these groups how to run a successful foodtruck (which Justin and I would love to do one day).

Honorable Mentions:
Drive In’s, Diners, and Drives
Man vs. Food
Chef’s Table
Worst Cooks in America

What Food Network Shows do you like and why?

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

October 2015 Goals | Homemaking Skills

Holy cow, September went by too quickly! But, I was able to enjoy ushering in fall with decorations, candle scents, a trip to the Farmer’s Market, and some rain!

Last month’s goal was to Work From Home. Here is how I did.

Sub Goals:
Find a sell-from-home job and learn all there is about it
I haven’t done this yet…I see that most starter packs a bit on the pricey end, and I’m not ready to pay some to get some just yet.
Find work-at-home freelancing or transcription jobs
This is where I rocked it! I have 1 continual tutoring job, helping a senior with SAT and her English and history classes for the entire school year! Hello Black Friday deals on iPhone 6! I’ve also signed up and applied to about 5 other free lancing and transcription sites. I’m waiting on approval for a few and still need to take the transcription test for a few.
Join blogging campaign sites and participate in campaigns and join affiliate sites and learn all there is to it.
I joined US Family Guide Moms Connect program which allows me free tickets to different local activities or museums, etc. in exchange for a review on the blog. I know there is a lot of debate about whether or not bloggers should be paid in addition to free products, but I am just fine with free products! Other than that, I haven’t joined any affiliate sites yet. What are your favorite campaign groups or affiliates to work with for smaller bloggers?
Learn more about couponing and money-saving skills
I haven’t done couponing just yet, but we are currently working on different money-saving strategies, especially with grocery shopping. I also joined swagbucks for a few extra $$.

October 2015 Monthly Goal: Improve Homemaking Skills

October–Improve My Homemaking Skills
The house is organized, we have a routine set down, I’m getting to work on WAHM stuff, I’m learning more with my camera, my blog is growing and I’m on top of my game, and the holiday seasons are coming quickly. So, I want to take this month to do all I can to prepare for them, so that I can get ahead of the curve for December (and have a lot of posts to share for the Christmas season).

Sub Goals:

– Finish and mail off my ornaments for the Morrell Ornament Exchange
– Bake some fall treats
– Decorate for Halloween
– Redo picture wall in the living room
– Make a new recipe a week
– Make sure the house is clean and a treat set out for when Justin gets home every weekday
– Create at least three DIY activities for Rhys
– Actually use and update a family calendar/planner
 

What are your goals for this month?

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Making the Most of Your Kitchen

Justin and I love to cook and experiment with recipes as well. Most are original recipes, or our own variations of recipes we’ve researched. I tend to combine multiple recipes into my own (or go by feel and taste sometimes), and my husband doesn’t believe in measuring when he cooks. (Sometimes this is hard for us to write recipes withe measurements!) But, there is no way I’d call myself a food blogger or a home cook, although I’d absolutely love to! 
Some of my favorite shows are MasterChef, Kitchen Nightmares, and Food Fighters. I am inspired by these home cooks or local restaurants owners and their fares. Coming up with recipes in thin air and cooking without instruction. I’d love to be able to do that someday. I keep telling my husband that someday (in my fantasy world where I can have a billion careers at once) I’d like to go to culinary school. And he has a dream to open a food truck. (We’d tell you with what, but we’ve discovered when my husband puts his ideas out, they’re always stolen. But, I will say this food truck would be a success!)
So, although I have no real budget for culinary masterpieces, no real experience, and no quality equipment for artistic pictures, I still indulge in my kitchen dreams and pretend to be a home cook. And here is how you can, too!
1) Keep you kitchen clean and organized! This is the most important thing! You don’t have to have a beautiful, huge, dream kitchen like these:
All you have to do is have a place for all your cooking equipment and have an organized fridge and pantry. Our first apartment was tiny. We had a “one-butt” kitchen with hardly any counter space. But, 90% of our recipes were created in that kitchen! We have since moved and have an actual kitchen! Although I haven’t used it to its full extent (I had a baby a month ago and have barely gotten back to cooking), I keep it clean–I do dishes after every meal, and clean as I cook.
2) Decorate your kitchen and make it a happy atmosphere. The kitchen should be the center of the house. It should be open and inviting and fun to be in. We have a color scheme of red, orange, white, and black. We definitely chose red because psychologically, it invites energy and hunger! I love how I’ve decorated my new kitchen and you should enjoy decorating yours, as well!
3) Find 3-4 dishes that you can make very easily to become a staple in your family’s menu. These dishes can also very easily be changed, like with the type of grain or spices you use. For example, some staples in our house are:
Chicken Casserole–variations include spices and herbs, crusting, cheeses, soup bases, veggies
Pasta–variations include include spices and herbs, pasta types, veggies, sauces
 Fish–variations include types of fish, sauces, spices and herbs, sides, styles of cooking it
Smoothies–variations include bases, fruits, and mix-ins (sometimes it’s even a green smoothie!)
This way, you can have plenty of variation in a comfort zone and you’ll always have groceries and ingredients to make them!
4) Make a weekly dinner menu. Not only will this help expand your cooking repetoire, as you’ll only have 1-2 staples a week, but it will save you money. By have a weekly dinner menu, you’ll know what ingredients you have and what groceries you need to get, allowing you to make a shopping list. It’ll also help you to use your produce before it spoils. For instance, I have some week old zucchini, spinach, and bell pepper still, so I know I’ll be making a Veggie Primavera this week to use it all up.
5) Take note of how you cook it. Like I mentioned previously, sometimes Justin and I don’t use exact measurements. But, we make note of what ingredients we use and a guestimate of how much we used. We begin writing our recipe post as soon as we are done eating dinner (or even while it’s cooking) so we don’t forget. That way, we can make it quicker next time and have the option to experiment with it.
6) Take pictures and post to social media! You don’t have to have an expensive DSLR or a premium package of an online editor or your own editing program. I don’t. I have a 6 year old, $200 Cannon point and shoot and use the free version of picmonkey.com to edit my photos. What has really improved my food photo was Elizabeth’s post on editing them. I still have work to do, but the point is to have a picture to entice readers. (Or just to have and glory in pride that you made that!)
7) Follow blogs that post recipes and have a “want to try” recipe board on Pinterest. This way you can get ideas and variations. A few of my favorites are: 
So, follow these 7 simple steps, and in your own right, you’ll be a “home cook”, too!
How do you make the most of your kitchen?

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Blogger Men Tell All // March

Ready for more sarcastic Justin? I definitely am! I hope you enjoy these posts as much as I do!



1) Do you like to cook? If yes, what’s your favorite thing to make?
Yes, very much so. And by cooking, I mean “grab things in the fridge and throw them into a pan with some BBQ/Soy sauce and see what happens”.

In reality though, I’m pretty decent. I can’t bake though. Requires too much precision and I never measure. Most of my baking adventures normally end up burnt on the outside, doughy on the inside, and either imploded or growing extensively out of its intended shape…

IT. IS. ALIVE.

I did successfully make cream puffs once. They were delicious. I ate them in roughly 1/4 the time it took to make them. Not sure if it was worth it.

2) What is the last movie you saw in a theater?
I haven’t been to a movie theater in around a year. I can’t remember, and Tayler can’t remember. Andif Tayler can’t remember, then all is lost. (Tayler: It’s because we are new parents.1..we haven’t had the opportunity since before July 2014! But we have been doing a lot of Red Boxes!)

3) Can you name five makeup brands?
Maybeline, Sephora, Revlon, Avon, Mary Kay.

Combination of stupid commercial jingles and the amount of Project Runway Tayler watches.

No Judging.

4) What are your biggest pet peeves?
Oh boy, here we go…

-Not finishing food/beverages in a decent amount of time. I’m sorry, but if you have a half-finished glass of lemonade, and you set it down, and its not drunken in 1 hour, I’m drinking it. You had your chance. Clearly my desire for lemonade outweighs my fear of germs and your ability to finish a beverage.
-People who order their steaks Well Done. If you want a steak well done, you order the chicken. In fact, throw Medium Well in that category too. I like my steaks Blue Rare. If I poke the steak, I want it to Moo. I want a veterinarian to still be able to bring it back to life. Take the steak, show it to the grill, let it cower in fear, and then serve it to me.

-People who order food at a restaurant that is atypical for said restaurant. Go to a pizza joint and order a salad? That’s a sin. If you wanted a salad, then go home and throw some ranch dressing on the leaves and grass outside your house so I can get my pizza faster. I’m also gonna drink your lemonade that you left on the table.
– When playing Fire Emblem, getting hit by an enemy multiple time in a row when their hit percentage is less than 30%. Yes, I’m aware there’s technically a chance that it happens, but its still annoying.
– People who invite me to play candy crush. If I have time for candy crush, then I have time for Fire Emblem. Or Zelda. Or drinking lemonade.

We went the entire month of March without eating anything with added sugar, give or take a day. I had a pie shake on Pi Day. Its a family holiday so it didn’t count. I just had a lemonade from Chik-Fil-A today for the first time in what feels like forever. Kind of on a lemonade kick. No shame.

5) What are your biggest goals in life right now?
-Beat my English Teaching wife at Boggle.
-Reach my goal weight for the year. New Years Resolution is still going strong.
– Make some serious goals for my life.

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Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Our Obsession with Cooking

Justin and I both love food. We love to try new recipes, explore different culture’s foods, and experiment in the kitchen. I like to somewhat follow recipes, whereas Justin doesn’t believe in measuring. I have a collection of recipe books and have started a list of my own recipes. Two of my favorite movies are Ratatouille and Julie and Julia. I love the food presented in them. I also love the idea that, “Anyone can cook.”
This quote really excites Justin and I. We can be great. Right now, we are limited due to budget, time, and space. But, as we continue to grow, so will our cooking experience. Our passion for cooking is fired up. We’ve had a dream since we were just dating to open up a Bed and Breakfast when we retire. We still plan on that. But, the food truck scene in Provo has gotten Justin thinking more and more…he loves food, he loves food trucks, he has an idea for one. We won’t divulge what it is because it seems that every time Justin shares his ideas, the next time we turn around, someone has already put it into production. But, we are seriously considering putting money away for this amazing idea for a food truck (having him watch Shark Tank doesn’t help either).
And, this reawakened passion I blame on my baby sister. Last year I wrote a post on her 13th birthday bragging about all her abilities. Well, since then, we could add: dancing, cheerleading, tumbling, and cooking. She has taken numerous cooking classes in Jr. High, makes gourmet desserts, and her favorite shows are on the Food Network (namely, Master Chef and Cupcake Wars). 
Gourmet cupcakes made by my 14 year old sister (who was 13 at the time and had one arm in a cast!–ANYONE CAN COOK!)
Well, she’s got me hooked. I now watch Chef Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares and Master Chef.Justin and I have both worked in food service for years! We know the business. Kitchen Nightmares is about restaurants that are failing. Chef Ramsey comes and shows them why and helps them turn it around. A lot is family drama, but the way they run their business and take care of their food is a big issue as well. A lot of times Justin and I turn to each other and think, how in the world did they pass inspection? are they really that dumb? we could do that!
Master Chef is about home cooks–people who haven’t gone to culinary school, food bloggers, etc. They compete against each other and the winner gets their very own recipe book. How cool would that be! Now, as much as Justin and I would love to go on that show, we aren’t as experienced as these people. But, it’s still a lofty dream.
We still love to cook, and that will never change.
Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.