Chrissy Teigen Changed The Way I Think About Cooking

Home, Lifestyle

I grew up in a big family, and it definitely influenced the way I view food and cooking. If you grew up in a big family too, you probably know what I’m talking about. Cooking often felt like a chore. After a busy day at work, and then out on the farm, my family would come crashing into the house hungry, and my mom made a homemade meal almost every night. Even writing that sentence exhausts me.

There were definitely times where I was asked to help out and make supper for my mom. And honestly, it wasn’t something I enjoyed. It was tiring and just another thing on a long list of things to do. I can’t even imagine how my mom felt.

Now as an adult living on my own, I always have to cook for myself. For awhile, I found myself dreading cooking constantly. Then, I realized that this was an unhealthy way to look at something I would have to do for the rest of my life and so I sought out ways to make the experience of cooking more enjoyable for myself.

One of the first ways I did that was buying Chrissy Teigen’s cookbook, Cravings. I love Chrissy so I knew buying her cookbook was a no-brainer. And actually it surprised me by make me fall more deeply in love with cooking than I even knew possible. Part of it was reading how Chrissy felt about cooking. She talked about it being an enjoyable activity. At first I laughed and brushed it off, thinking, “Of course, we can’t relate – she’s a model.” But I knew that models were real people too with busy lives full of important obligations. So I dug deeper.

As I made my way through Chrissy’s cookbook, I tried emulating her – not rushing the process or getting frustrated by passing time. Instead, I enjoyed what I was doing and I committed myself to the meal I was preparing. And guys, it worked. I actually started cooking more. It goes without saying, that all the meals in the cookbook were stunning as well. So much so, that I bought Chrissy’s second cookbook when it came out, and I’m equally obsessed with that one.

Maybe what I appreciate the most about Chrissy’s cookbooks and words on cooking is this: she gave me a love for the cooking experiences I had growing up. Honestly, my mom is one of my favorite people on earth. She has done so much for me and she is a crazy hard worker. Many of our experiences together have involved cooking, and now I’m so glad I get to treasure all of those even more deeply since I have a new fondness of cooking. Now, I don’t just get to look back on cooking as times spent with my mom, which is still meaningful, but I get to take it a step further and appreciate the cooking that my mom taught me so much through. It gives me a deeper appreciation and understanding of our relationship.

So in celebration of Chrissy Teigen, her cooking, and my new appreciation for all that cooking brings, I’m going to show you my go-to Cravings recipe:

Chrissy Teigen’s Mexican Street Corn

3/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

3/4 cup crumbled cotija cheese

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 ears of corn, husked and halved

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

Cayenne pepper

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

1 lime, cut into 8 wedge

Directions:

  1. Preheat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. On a plate, combine the Parm, cotija and black pepper.
  2. Use a brush to coat the pieces of corn with oil, or get them greasy with your hands. Season with the salt and lay as many pieces as will fit comfortably in the skillet. Cook, turning every 2 minutes, until some bits are blackened and the corn is cooked, about 8 minutes total.
  3. Working quickly, brush each piece with a thin layer of mayonnaise, then roll the corn in the cheese mixture and sprinkle with cayenne to taste. Put all the cheesy corn on a platter, garnish with the cilantro, and serve with lime wedges for squeezing.

 

That’s it! It’s so simple and so good. I’m honestly obsessed with it, and everyone I’ve ever made it for immediately wants the recipe. Then they make it all the time too. This includes my parents who love sweet corn in its simplest form. But they like this even better! It’s the best. Honestly. And so is basically every other recipe in the cookbook. It’s by far the best cookbook purchase I’ve ever made.

Ok, so I think you get it now. I love Chrissy Teigen. I love her cookbook. I love my mom. And because of all these things, I’ve learned to love cooking.

sign off

Joanna Gaines’s Lemon Bars

Home, Lifestyle

One of my favorite desserts of all time is Lemon Bars. I’ve loved them for as long as I can remember, but they especially gained significance for me during my freshman year of college. My mom shipped a care package to me around Valentine’s Day, and guess what?! The package contained lemon bars. I’m a sucker for thoughtful gifts and this one was one of the most thoughtful. I wasn’t expecting any kind of gift at all, and when I received a mail slip my heart exploded in happiness.

When I found out Joanna Gaines was publishing a cookbook, Magnolia Table, I knew I wanted a copy. Joanna does so many things well, and her passions for her business and family always inspire me. She puts her family and faith first and everything else follows. I’ve read the Gaines’ previous books, and they always provided me with great perspective. For instance, in this season of my life, I’ve really been struggling with focusing on the present. Joanna wrote about the importance of finding happiness in each season of life, and she even spoke about her own struggles.

So, when the cookbook arrived at my doorstep, I eagerly paged through it (I haven’t even had a chance to read it all yet, but I’m so excited to get to it). However, even though I haven’t had the chance to read all of it, I did find the lemon bar recipe, and I couldn’t resist. I had to make them right away.

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Isn’t the picture from Joanna’s cookbook gorgeous? One of the things I loved most about this recipe is how simple it is. It was easy to make and didn’t take a thousand ingredients. I’m so used to getting a cookbook and finding a relatively separate dish made super complex, but Joanna doesn’t do that. Her recipe only takes seven ingredients, and I already had them all at home – no special runs to the grocery store necessary.

And no surprise, when I was done, the end product was perfection.

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I know, I know, it’s not a beautiful picture. It was dark and I had no natural lighting, but if you guys could only smell my kitchen! Also, I need to acquire a sifter. My powder sugar is embarrassingly clumpy. If you want to donate to my cooking cause (in the form of a sifter), you can click this link here. I wanted to eat them immediately, so it was torture to wait for them to cool. However, I persevered and it was so worth it.

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Yum, so good, right? Snacking on these is a treat. So what’s my take on Joanna’s cookbook? Well, I’m only one recipe in, but my review is in: the cookbook is great. It’s thought-filled, practical, and tasty. I can’t wait to try all the recipes!

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Recipe Review: Chrissy Teigen’s Cheesy Jalapeño Tuna Casserole

Lifestyle

I’m feeling so much better about my whole dress fiasco now, but I’ve got to admit that going home and cooking helped me get through it. There’s something cathartic about following simple instructions laid out before you.

Since moving, the apartment is short on ingredients so first I had to go shopping, and I really wasn’t in the mood for it. I sucked it up, went home, dug around for my cookbooks, found the recipe I was looking for, and headed out to brave the grocery store.

One of my favorite parts about this recipe is that I got to use my own jalapeños, and I knew Eric would be excited about it too. See, I love gardening and growing things so Eric and I decided we would plant our own vegetables this year, but since I have a knack for killing all things green, Eric does most of the actual care. I am so lucky to have him!

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Chrissy’s recipe is pretty simple. You grease a pan, you cook the noodles, you mix all of the cheese, tuna, peas, and seasoning together. You add the noodles. (For this part I chose to forgo the celery. I’m not a huge fan of the texture.) You pour it all in a pan and then cover the mixture with the chips and cheese topping.

So to start, while I waited for my noodles to cook, I chopped up my peppers. I picked a couple of the bigger ones that Eric had been telling me needed to be picked.

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Chrissy says to leave the seeds (all the extra heat is stored there) in if you’re feeling brave, and since Eric and I love spicy stuff, I took the dare. I’m so glad that I did. The hot kick is the best part.

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By the time I was done chopping, the noodles were ready so I drained them. Next, I took a shortcut, and I actually combined all of our ingredients, minus the celery, in the pan itself. We only have one mixing bowl right now, and I needed to use that for the topping, but as you can see from the picture, everything turned out just fine anyway.

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Yum, yum, yum! At this point, I was ready to dig in, but it actually gets better with the topping. The topping is a simple mixture of jalapeño chips and cheese. Chrissy says that she can’t stay away from the chips and now neither can I! Guys, if you like spicy things, you’ve got to try these!

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When the casserole comes out of the oven it looks gooey and crisp (all at the same time!), and it’s simply perfection. Is there anything better than cheese and chips?

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As I dished some up, I couldn’t help taking more pictures. It looks great on a plate with so many textures and colors.

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It tastes so good too! This is my second time making it. It definitely turned out better looking this time, but it tasted deliciously both times.

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I keep the leftover chips in the cupboard, and I will top off the leftovers with them to give each serving a fresh crunch (as long as I don’t eat them all first).

And there you have it! That’s my review of Chrissy’s recipe. It’s so easy and so yummy, if you love spicy food, you should definitely try it.

I’ve had Chrissy’s cookbook since it first came out, but I haven’t had too many opportunities to test some of the recipes out. The recipes I have tested out have all tasted wonderfully. And now, I’m going to get busy on testing more of them as I impatiently await her next cookbook (which she’s already working on!!!).