100 Recipe Challenge
Up until my mid-twenties, my culinary experience was limited. I could make you a meal of Shake N’ Bake Chicken and some warmed up canned green beans on the side. Maybe even some instant mashed potatoes if you were lucky. When I was twenty-six years old, I moved in with and married my now husband; a guy who loved to cook and experiment in the kitchen. We live in a house in the middle of the woods in central Michigan.
If my husband wasn’t cooking for us, we were eating boxed meals from the grocery store. Stouffer’s lasagna. Hamburger Helper. I realized that to be a true modern homesteader, I needed to work on self-sufficiency – not just raising our own chickens, growing our own vegetables… I needed to cook some awesome food from scratch and not rely on the frozen section of my local grocery store to feed us. Just to be clear, I’m not docking the frozen section of the local grocery store. My parents worked a lot to support my siblings and I and were short on time. I grew up often eating Michelina’s and Lean Cuisine meals, but appreciated my mama’s home cooking even more because of this.
Another reason I wanted to work on my cooking is I wanted to make the food I was used to. Coming from a large city, my daily routine used to consist of swinging by Starbucks to get a latte and breakfast and eating dinner at a local restaurant with my friends. Almost everything was within a five minute drive. Out here, we have a few select fast food chains and mom and pop restaurants. We are twenty minutes from the nearest small town grocery store, forty minutes from a Wal-Mart, and over an hour from an area with multiple grocery and restaurant options. I grew bored of the boxed meals and, as silly as it sounds, really missed my lattes, amongst other things.
Here is what I learned over the year:
Don’t be afraid to fail.
One of my very first recipes was the ever-so-simple guacamole. Had I made guacamole before? Absolutely. Was it from scratch? Absolutely not. Was it absolutely delicious this time around? No. I improvised with things I had on hand and did not thoroughly enjoy it, but I learned how to make it properly. I’m guessing about a third of the recipes I made did not turn out how I expected them to. You can blame the recipe itself or chalk it up to user error, but either way, I failed. A lot. Each failure was a learning experience and I took skills with me to the next recipe.
What have you been inspired to cook from scratch? Share with us below!
Written by Kendra
Write out recipes you want to try. Or don’t.
When I started on this journey, I wrote out a list of “must-try” recipes. I think I lost it after week three and never looked back. I made what I was in the mood for that day or cooked something just because I wanted to try a certain technique, like frying. That being said, I think making a list and staying on track would be beneficial, but this is all about you and your self-improvement.
Stuff got weird sometimes. I made a french toast burger. 10/10. Would recommend. Don’t be afraid to experiment. You might Frankenstein a dish you really like.
Go at your own pace.
I took a long hiatus from the challenge. I felt like I had writer’s block for home cooks. Between the never-ending dishes and all of the other parenting and homesteading responsibilities, I was burned out! After my break, however, I was ready to take the challenge on and finish strong. Don’t focus on the destination, just enjoy the journey and take it day by day. If you don’t reach one hundred recipes but you reach fifty? That’s amazing! Fifty new recipes, fifty lessons learned!
Let’s be honest here, you’re really only cheating yourself out of an amazing learning experience. Don’t do it for the gram. Do it for yourself.
The 100 Recipe Challenge is what you want to make of it. What it means to me is committing to trying one hundred new recipes from scratch in one year. Start in January. Start in June. Start whenever it works for you. Just take some time out of your busy schedule every once in a while and attempt something new in the kitchen. If anything I hope this article inspires you to bust out the cookbooks or browse the internet for a new recipe to change up your routine. Happy Cooking!
I began my sourdough journey as a way to root myself to a simple, ancestral morning tradition. I’d fallen into the nasty habit of starting every day with my cell phone and overwhelming amounts of not-so-mindful content. I felt drained before I’d even gotten out of bed.
Our gift of instant internet connectedness has a very valuable place in our communities, but we also need to balance such connectivity by tending to ourselves, our families, and our homes so we can make healthy decisions and differences once we step outside.
Baking bread became my way of anchoring to a tangible schedule void of screens and distance. It provided a necessary dedication to something greater than my own immediate satisfaction. Steady, consistent, delicious sourdough helped break through my involuntary evolution into a morning tech-addict and allowed me to focus my mind on the present. My hope is that by sharing my routine, sourdough baking can do the same for you.
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