Tuesday, September 17, 2019

I Am Taking A 30+ Year Hobby Of Mine To A Whole New Level

I published a blog column the other day about having to give up a hobby of mine after 8 years. You can read about that here. As I mentioned in that particular blog column, it's hard and I'm sad. However, I have already found a new hobby to replace my obsession with household plants.

I also mentioned in the blog column that my new hobby isn't something that is new to me. In fact, it's been a passion of mine for well over 30 years.

Cooking and baking.

You're probably wondering how something I've been doing passionately for over 30 years can be considered a "new" hobby.


I'm taking it to a new level.

I'm thinking outside of the box.

Outside of the usual mundane lines.

Ditching my comfort zones.

The inspiration behind all of this stemmed from receiving several big baskets of freshly picked garden tomatoes last month.

Since 2012, we have always received an abundance of freshly picked fruits and veggies from a few of our neighbor friends.

We have never received this many tomatoes.

Lisa suggested I run the tomatoes through the food processor and freeze them to make homemade spaghetti and pizza sauce.

That's what I did.

Normally, we buy quality canned tomatoes so I can make homemade spaghetti and pizza sauce.

But, let's face it...

Nothing beats fresh garden tomatoes.

Since we have received all of the tomatoes, I have made several batches of homemade sauce.

For reasons I can't explain, that ignited a fire in me. All of a sudden I found myself taking a few steps back and examining the meals I make for Lisa and myself.

Although they are homemade, they've become repetitive. It's not just dinners. It's also snacks and desserts.

I've noticed recently there has been a decline in enthusiasm when eating meals and snacks.

For example, over the Summer Lisa and I utilized the grill a lot, but it was the same fare over and over again along with the sides.

Another example is the homemade baked goods I make for Lisa's work lunches or to have on the weekends. Over time, I found myself freezing more and more because I didn't want them to go bad.

The proverbial light bulb above my head went off.

I need to make some changes.

I need to veer away from making simple homemade meals and snacks.

I need to make homemade meals and snacks that require more time and effort.

I need to broaden lengthier cooking methods and diversity.

I need to stop shunning meals and baked goods that require, again, more time and effort.

That fire is lit and burning.

Today, I needed to make Lisa a homemade snack for her work lunches for the rest of the week. I have all of the ingredients to make cupcakes, cookie bars, cookies, brownies, and a fruit crunch pie, but I decided to step out of the box.

I made something that I would have normally deemed "Something I Make Only During The Christmas Season."

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake Truffles.

For dinner, instead of making simple cheeseburgers, I took it up several notches.

I sauteed onions and mushrooms with fresh herbs and garlic. I made a smoked dry rub for the burgers that was out of this world. I toasted the buns with grated sharp cheddar.

When Lisa got home from work, she ate a truffle.

Lisa ate her gourmet burger with gusto.

And, she loved it.

Total. Work. At. Home. Dog. Mom. Pride.

I already have dinner planned for tomorrow and it's going to be awesome.

I'm going to make a homemade creamy marinara sauce made with freshly picked garden tomatoes and lots of garlic and herbs. Then, I'll be tossing in bite-sized boneless chicken breasts that are sauteed in more garlic and herbs and fresh cheese tortellini.

I haven't figured out the rest of the week yet, but I've got lots of fresh seasonal ingredients that include a big bag of fresh garden peppers.

It's almost time to make my weekly dinner menu.

I'm excited about this new adventure.

I mean, hobby.

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