Even though we are only 6 days into November, I’m still excited that my November Challenge is going well.
Since my review of making a recipe a day would be a rather cumbersome read at the end of 30 days, I thought that I’d break it into smaller posts and fill you in on how it’s going along the way.
Indoor lighting and food photography are both areas in which I’ve spent little time, perhaps I’ll get the hang of it by the end. I still prefer outdoor lighting if I can manage to take the finished product out to photograph!
I’ll be including the Pinterest link to the recipes that I’ve made and will include what changes or substitutions I made, along with my general thoughts on the recipe.
I mentioned in Friday’s post, that the process of making it had some interesting mishaps.
The reason that I started the month with this recipe is that Miss Sunshine was bringing this for her Spanish Class party.
Dia de Los Muertos, Day of the Dead, is a holiday similar to All Saint’s Day. It is a time of remembrance of friends and family who have died. The recipe that she signed up to make is actually an Ecuadorian recipe and they celebrate Dia de Los Difuntos or Day of the Deceased, and it is celebrated on November 2nd, the day of her class party.
Finding the ingredients was not an easy matter. We do not have many nearby Latin groceries. After two specialty grocery stores and a Latin grocery, I made substitutions to part of the recipe.
I could not find lemongrass leaves or lemon verbena leaves, so I substituted the zest of 1 lemon along with 1/8 tsp of ginger. I did not find cinnamon flower. And I omitted the star anise. I do have star anise extract from a recipe Mr. D made for Spanish Class. It smells like black licorice, which we did not enjoy.
I also substituted passion fruit juice for the naranjilla. The recipe does list this as a possible substitution and I purchased it at the Latin grocery store.
The last substitution I didn’t know was a substitution. I got very excited that the Latin grocery store had Azul (Blue) corn flour. I thought I was looking for Purple or Blue (not black).
The recipe took me close to 2 hours to prepare. Interestingly, this was for a grade in Spanish Class. Miss Sunshine was toward the end of the line for sign-ups, hence the intricate recipe. While I was working my way through the recipe, I was quite jealous of those who signed up to bring cups.
Colada Morada is a spiced berry drink. It has a thickened consistency. Miss Sunshine likens it to a ketchup consistency. I’m not sure if that’s accurate or if smoothie might be a better word.
I found it to be quite tasty. Miss Sunshine didn’t love it. However, our connoisseur of all drinks sugar, Mr. D, said that it was so good that he might have to drink the entire pitcher.
When Miss Sunshine got home from school, she mentioned that somebody had brought in Mexican Rice and that it was sooo tasty. We were having tacos for dinner and I decided the rice would be a perfect complement.
She mentioned the tasty rice was yellow. Not one recipe I found for Mexican Rice was going to produce yellow rice, but I forged ahead.
I made no substitutions to this recipe. The rice was a little stickier than I would have liked, but overall it was good.
I am not a big fan of rice but am trying to find recipes that can make me a fan. The hubby and Mr. D liked the rice. As I suspected, Miss Sunshine did not. She is not a fan of tomato-based foods (yes, she eats ketchup… but no, she does not like spaghetti or pizza).
When I saw this recipe, I thought… yum, yum, yum!
I love Key Lime Pie.
If you don’t make it yourself and you’re ever in Florida… Publix grocery store makes the best Key Lime Pies. They also make amazing sub sandwiches in their deli
….makes me miss home.
My food processor has a juicer attachment, otherwise, you might go through tons of limes (I don’t have access to key limes in Virginia, just regulars) to get to 3/4 cup. I used 4 limes.
My consistency looked pretty watery so I added more ice. It still did not look like the author of the recipe’s photo.
After I photographed it (paper straws, ya’ll…still avoiding plastic straws), I had my first taste.
It was so sour that I could feel my stomach puckering from the tartness. There was no way that I could drink the entire thing with it tasting like that. I added some more almond milk and it did not cut it enough. However, I had spent $3 just on limes, there was no way that I was dumping this thing out. So I added 2 Tbsp of Almond Butter and that cut down the tartness enough to make it palatable.
Conceptually, I love the thought of this smoothie. I will probably tweak it more (way less lime, maybe some banana to thicken….) until I find a version that I love.
Assessment: Fail, but hope for the future.
Spaghetti Squash with Bacon, Spinach, and Goat Cheese.
I felt bad that the smoothie was only for me, so I decided to make a second recipe that day. Only the hubby and I ate it. The boys weren’t home and Miss Sunshine refused on the grounds that she thought it looked gross.
I followed the recipe but used feta instead of goat cheese. Once, long ago, I tried goat cheese and didn’t like it. I would not have ruled out trying it on a portion of this meal, but the store I was at did not have goat cheese so that ruled that out.
Also, I used more feta than the recipe calls for. Probably about 3 1/2 oz instead of 2 oz. Why? Because I love cheese.
The hubby and I love, love, loved this. We will be adding this to our dinner lists.
Assessment: Major Win.
Zucchini Fritters and Creamy Lemon Aioli.
The hubby had to go out looking at cars with Mr. D so I took Miss Sunshine to her soccer game. The town is about an hour and 45-minute drive from us and the game was in the middle of the afternoon. It was raining on the drive there. It started raining again during the last 25-30 minutes of the game. While I was lucky to be under an umbrella, wearing my Hunter rain boots, and covered with an afghan throw (since it was about 45°F), Miss Sunshine was playing in the pouring rain. They beat the other team 10-0 and finished their season in first place in their league.
To warm our insides, we stopped at Starbucks on the drive out of that town. Miss Sunshine got Hot Chocolate and I opted for a Pumpkin Spice Latte. We both ordered them “No Whip Cream”. We could see that hers did have it and had them scoop it out. I could not tell if mine had melted or if it had been made correctly. We order them “No whipped cream” because the whipped cream causes a tickle in the throat and (at least for me) that tickle creates heart flutters. I still don’t know if there was whip cream in it or if something else in the pumpkin spice (I don’t drink fancy coffee often) triggered it, but I had an issue with the drink.
The last thing I wanted to do after driving 2 more hours in the rain and feeling off was to make a giant recipe. I followed the recipe on the fritters, except that I fried them in avocado oil. I had leftover cilantro and I love cilantro so I used that instead of parsley in the aioli.
The hubby and I ate them for dinner. In the future I would use them as an appetizer or a side, which was my original intention… but, you know….tired. He didn’t love the aioli. It wasn’t anything about the recipe. I just don’t think he would love aioli unless it was used on shrimp or something similar. I’m often not a fan of mayonnaise-based dips. I did like the dip but would have liked multiple dip choices for the fritters.
Assessment: Try again and with differing dips.
Whole Wheat Butternut Squash Banana Bread.
This was the recipe that I was originally going to make the day before.
I roasted my own butternut squash and made a puree (my squash took closer to an hour to be tender). I could not find Whole Wheat White Flour. After some digging, I found a post where the author had reached out to King Arthur Flour (which is the brand that I happen to use) to find the difference. The difference is in the type of wheat berry that is used and would be a lighter colored flour. It stated that they could be used interchangeably in recipes so I used Whole Wheat Flour.
I also made my own pumpkin pie spice, since I already had all the spices needed. The oven was already preheated to 350°F for the bread, so I put the crushed walnuts in the oven while I mixed up the other ingredients. I haven’t toasted nuts before, but I put them in for about 10-12 minutes. Being toasted definitely added to the overall taste.
Loaves of bread are where my love of recipes reside. My paternal grandmother taught me to make banana bread when I was young. I learned over time how the batter should look in order to create the bread with the perfect level of moistness. How to know when the bread was done.
To savor the scent as it wafted through the kitchen.
To taste the balance of sweet, but not too sweet, in the warm, buttered slice.
And to feel a sense of pride when my family devoured the bread and proclaimed its appetizing appeal.
Banana bread is still my go-to bread of choice, but I do enjoy branching out and trying other creations.
I found this recipe to be delectable!
Assessment: Win. To be added to my bread recipes.
Did any recipes catch your eye?
Any that you might be tempted to try?
Stay tuned for the future rounds of recipe trials!
Those can be found here: Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, and the final set in lessons learned.
Let your light shine!
26 thoughts on “Recipes Tried in November – Round 1”
So y’all liked the spaghetti squash with the bacon? I’ve wanted to try it, but wasn’t sure the hubby would go along. I’m showing him this! Thanks for sharing.
We really loved it. We tried spaghetti squash one other time about 2 years ago in a Buffalo chicken casserole and liked that as well. I’m not sure why it took me so long to try another recipe using it. Let me know if you try it! 🙂
I’m going to give it a try then. I’ll let you know!
I’ve tried spaghetti squash once with traditional meat sauce and didn’t care for it. I don’t think I cooked the squash long enough b/c I’ve had it before…made by someone other than me and it was wonderful.
It’s on my to “try again” list.
I’d try your bread. I love quick breads too.
Would have an apple juiced cut the tartness of your Key Lime drink? When He-Man was in his juicing phase he used apples as the sweetener for all his drinks that needed a bit of sweetening. He made the best lemonade with lemons and an apple.
We tried spaghetti squash about 2 years ago when I made a buffalo chicken casserole. We liked it then too. I always meant to find another recipe with it and never did until now.
I often make pumpkin bread in the fall so this was a fun change.
I wonder if apple juice would have helped! I’ll have to try that. I still think the 1:1 ratio of lime to almond milk may have been too much, but I think the recipe is definitely a good start to work from.
Spanish/Mexican rice you get at a restaurant has the all-veg in it and I am not a fan of that. Fried rice in many Asian restaurants come that way too. Any recipe that can impart flavor without the veggies is OK by me.
I didn’t think about that. This was definitely better than something with peas and carrots (I’m not a fan of those).
Oh Amy…I would like to come to your house right now and try any of these! I’m very hungry…but feeling lazy. What’s for dinner tonight? 😉 😉 😉
Thanks Nikki! Most were tasty. Tonight was an eclectic mix. I grabbed some stuffed mushrooms that my grocery store makes (I may attempt my own at some point this month) and my recipe was a chickpea salad. 🙂
Stuffed mushrooms are yummy and pretty easy to make too. 🙂
I like how you are tryin really different and interesting things! I never heard of Colada Morada. It makes me want to taste it.
Definitely trying that yummy pasta but I’m a huge fan of both goat cheese and feta so maybe try both. Actually I always like feta cheese in pasta. It goes great together.
I had not heard of Colada Morada until my daughter said she needed to make it. It can be served warm or cold. I tried it both ways and am not sure which I prefer.
I was planning to try a portion with goat cheese and may do that the next time I make it, but I am a big lover of feta.
I totally Love Zuchinni fritters! and I’m a fan of anything that has Aoili on it. I wish I wasn’t. Haha…I eat way too much of it.
The zucchini fritters were so good! I saw a few other recipes for them that I may try as well, just to see which I prefer. I do love a good aioli. 🙂
I love zucchini fritters (with cocktail sauce) and spaghetti squash with butter and salt and pepper. I would totally try any squash bread. Love squash.
I laughed at your rejection of anise, because oh, how I looooove licorice! And I’m the only one in the house who does, poor me!
Bummer on the key lime smoothie. I love key lime. I forget the place in Florida I go for key lime pie, but I know exactly where it is! lol
I dunno about the thick Mexican drink, I’d have to taste that.
To make rice yellow, add tumeric. Tumeric and spices and a bit of veg make delicious, like-Mexican-restaurant rice!
Overall, this post makes me remember living in the south of nowhere and how hard it was to get rarer, fresh ingredients — makes me grateful to be back home in the city!
Ohhh… I must try them with cocktail sauce. That sounds like it may have been the angle I was looking for. I have not tried spaghetti squash with just butter, salt, and pepper, but I don’t think I would dislike it. I find it to be a tasty vegetable (fruit? seeds?). We often grill yellow squash and zucchini and sprinkle with parmesan, so it was nice to expand the squash recipes.
Red licorice…yes! Black…noooo. lol
The key lime smoothie has so much potential. I have Florida family waiting for me to find the perfect tweak!
The spices on the colada morada added such a nice fall taste. I would not like it so much in the summer. It’s a “heavy” drink.
I thought about adding turmeric because that was all I could think of as yellow, but I knew tomato paste was already going to make the girlie rule it out.
I was at a box store for some of these recipes and have found some at my local grocery (just the whole wheat white flour and a spice for a future recipe that I ended up ordering on Amazon), but I know that bigger cities would have so many more ingredients that would be so much easier to find!!
Best of luck tweaking that key lime smoothie. If you perfect it, I hope you’ll share it! 😛
I used to get so frustrated in rural Georgia, looking for things we take for granted in the city. It sounds like it’s better there.
Yes, try the cocktail sauce. It’s not for everyone, but I like it.
I love how honest you are about the assessments, “meh” happens more often than folks like to admit!
Thank you! Yes, “meh” seems to happen often! I’ll make it a “meh” recipe again if someone else in my family loved it, but otherwise some aren’t worth my time when there’s so many recipes out there that I haven’t tried. 🙂
I usually dump the “meh”s pretty fast! I agree that life is too short and there are too many great recipes to try!