30 Day Homecooking Challenge Week 3, 4 & 5 FOOD THOUGHTS + RecipeLinks + Reflection

30 Day Homecooking Challenge Week 3, 4 & 5 FOOD THOUGHTS + Recipe Links + Reflection


Wow!! Can't believe it's already the last post for the challenge! 

Day 16 (9/30)

I look forward to Tues & Thurs because I get to attend my Global Poverty class. It's a mind-opening class that talks about different forms of poverty alleviations, different ideas and practices of the institutional framework governing poverty, and social and political movements that seek to change structures of poverty. So woo! Yay to Tuesday today! :)

During noon, I made a super EFFORTLESS dish, lentil soup. It literally took about 3-5 minutes of me frying onion, garlic, and lentils, adding some ingredients here and there, adding 6 cups of water, and then covering the lid. I came back 35 minutes later and my pot of lentil gold was perfectly cooked! Woohoo!

See? Cooking doesn't need to be hard or intimidating! :)

Click HERE for my Lentil Soup recipe!

Day 17 (10/1)

I love cooking for other people. Makes me happy when people actually think my cooking tastes good. ^_____^

Today, I made Balsamic Vinaigrette pasta and served it with my Cajun chicken! :)

My only mistake was that I assume all pasta boxes are spaghetti, but the box I picked up today wasn't spaghetti...it was lasagna. *face palm* So, I did my best to slice the lasagna noodles into thinner strips. Despite my mistake, I still think it tasted good! :D 


Day 18 (10/2)

Today was a poopy day. For some reason, I'm feeling unmotivated with school and things are just going blah. I'm just tired of studying all the time. But I know, if I want to become a kickass RD, I have to struggle through harsh science classes and keep pushing onwards! 

Felt like making a no-effort-required dish today so...for today's recipe, I present to you Yo MaMa's MacMac! Pasta is one of the easiest things to make. Cook pasta. Make a sauce. Add bulk (meat, tofu, veggies, etc). & BAM! You're good to go. :)

Click here for Yo MaMa's MacMac! 

Day 19 (10/3)

YESSS IT'S FINALLY FRIDAY!!!!! Fridays are the besttttt because it's the start to the freakin' weekend~! ;) 

Spent a lovely night at Grizzly Peak today! It's high up a hill and the night view there is spectacular. You can see both stars and city lights! Especially on a super hot day (like today), it's a great location to cool off. Only con is that a car is necessary to get up there (unless you like walking for a few hours). 

Cooked up a spicy cauliflower curry today. It was missing a little something so I'm not going to post up this recipe until I fix it up! Until then, you can just look at this picture below. :D

Hope you all are having a wonderful Friday night!

Day 20 (10/4) 

Today was definitely a lazy day. So lazy I can't remember what I did, but I did eat lots of protein according to my Instagram picture. 

Ever since I bought this vegan chocolate protein powder, I've been obsessed with making protein drinks! To the protein powder, all I add to it is banana, nut butter, almond milk, and ice~! It's an awesome protein-packed chocolate milkshake that actually tastes good! :)

Day 21 (10/5)

Today is yet another lazy day. School is so busy busy busy. I like how cooking is my de-stress activity. Although, on somedays, like today, ya gurl ain't got time for nothin' but an easy mix-and-serve recipe aka Tuna Salad.

You can find my Tuna Salad recipe here! :)

Day 22 (10/6)

I promised there would not be another lazy day this week so guess what I made???

VEGGIE AVOCADO COUSCOUS!!! Holy cow this is hella good. 

Why must you try this recipe? Couscous you can! - Maria my pun-generator & twin roomie

Click here for Veggie Avocado Couscous!

Day 23 (10/7)

Need a simple lunch or dinner meal? Well then, Avocado Egg Salad is the dish for you!

Okay so even though this is a very simple meal, TRY IT! I promise it will be very tasty. I love how you can use avocado to replace the mayo that is typically in a traditional egg salad. With this dish, your body will be thanking you for serving it lots of good-for-you vitamins and fats. :)

Because the Avocado Egg Salad is so simple, I'll just post it here. All you need is 6 boiled eggs + 1/2 very ripe large avocado! Like this, it already tastes amazing to me, but you can definitely spice it up to your preference! :) 

Day 24 (10/8)

I must admit. I've been obsessed with couscous lately! It's so easy to cook! Easier than rice. Just as easy as pasta! 

Today I made Mushroom Couscous. You mush try this recipe! (Thank you roomie Camille for this pun!) If you're following me on Instagram, you'll probably notice that I love using puns for each day that I post a dish. :) 

Click here for Mushroom Couscous!

Day 25 (10/9) 

If there's a Genius Recipe of the Week, Kale-sadilla gets the award for Genius Recipe of the Week. Not only does it have a cool name, it takes less than 5 minutes to prepare, cook, and serve, TASTES AMAZING, and is portable. Kale-sadilla, you're the real MVP.

Click here for Kale-sadilla!

Day 26 (10/10) 

This Friday was a chill Friday. My roomie Joti and I decided to kick it with movies and homemade Tortilla Pizza. (Joti you're a genius for this idea! :)) If all you have is tortilla, cheese, and a bunch of random stuff in the fridge, you NEED to make Tortilla Pizza! Super easy and super delicious!

It's also fun for get-togethers too! Just put out a lot of different toppings and sauces and tortillas and tell everyone to assemble their own pizza!

Click here for Tortilla Pizza recipe!!!

Day 27 (10/11)

I went home today to visit my family, mainly grandma. She's the cutest! Tonight, mom and grandma made a delicious homecooked meal filled with lots of veggies grown from our backyard! Mom is a total gardener. I can't even keep up with what she grows in the back! Currently, I think we have tomatoes, beans, green onions, Goji berries, and Chinese plants that I don't know the name of in English, but we use these Chinese plants in our soups. 

Day 28 (10/12)
Took on a spontaneous shift to work today and didn't make it home until late at night. But I couldn't fail you guys and not cook!!! 

So I threw together a very simple crepe recipe, courtesy of Alton Brown, that you can find here. Alton Brown is such a genius. It's always fun and educational to watch any of his shows. :) I think in the future I'd add a little sugar for sweet fillings and a little salt for savory fillings, which Alton Brown totally recommended but I failed to read his instructions correctly...Haha...

Day 29 (10/13)

Wow! So close to the end of the challenge now. It felt like just yesterday when I started this challenge. Time goes by way too fast. I wonder: should I feel relieved? happy? sad? I don't know how to feel honestly. 

Today was one of those days that I remembered how very very valuable SLEEP is. If I get 7 hours of sleep, LIFE IS AMAZING. If not, I become Grumpy Cat. 

Grumpy Cat (Source: http://dailytwocents.com/)

I need to learn how to avoid caffeine and get my priorities straightened out so that I'm able to sleep a good 7 hours each night.

Today, I made Egg White Dried Scallop Fried Rice! It was quite tasty, but it still needs a bit of touching up. (B/c k
ale does not go well with this dish...I've been trying to perfect it this since summer, but it just isn't quite there yet. I will hold off on sharing the recipe until I get it just right so stay tuned for this in the future!

Day 30 (10/14)
TODAY IS THE LAST DAY OF THE CHALLENGE!!! WOO! Made it to the end and I feel so happy to have made it! :) For the last dish, I made Cheesy Breaded Kabocha! Since it's fall now, I want to make sure that I'm taking advantage of the best veggie this season AKA squash squash squash. 



Although my challenge has evolved from eating only homecooked meals to eating at least one homecooked meal a day, I feel good about my challenge because it taught me how to be a better cook, savor eating dinner with my roomies, and enjoy cooking for others! Another bonus? I've saved a butt load of money not eating out.

The hardest part about this challenge was when I was out of the house for long periods of time. It gets a little annoying to carry containers upon containers all over campus. Another challenge for me was that since I work food service, I get free food all the time so it was easy to just grab food from the cafe versus carrying around my food from home. (Yay free food!) As predicted when I started this challenge, navigating around the social norm of eating out was a BIG challenge. Not as predicted, I was not able to get around eating out. The reason for this is that I associate eating out with joyous moments, especially for celebrations! That's why, even though it meant altering my challenge, I did my best not to be the party pooper. :)

On a good note, I have cooked for others more than I've ever done so in my twenty years of life! I'm glad my love for cooking has grown even more this past month. My favorite part was working with different veggies, grains, meats, etc and creating new dishes out of them each day. Now, I have many go-to dishes that I can cook up in the future! I also feel more connected with food now that I prepare, cook, and shop for it myself. 

As for packaged foods/items in general, I still feel disconnected because I don't know where it comes from except that it sits neatly on top my supermarket shelves probably shipped over by truck and produced by a factory somewhere. But one thing that made me feel more connected was a documentary film I watched in my Globlal Poverty class called Black Gold, which documented the life of coffee from farmers to middle men to roasters to retailers to consumers. It's a great documentary that brings awareness to the paradox of how the coffee industry can make billions of dollars yet coffee bean growers only receive an infinitesimal amount of this large income. I highly recommend this documentary! It'll make you think twice about how you spend your money. 

In the future, you'll definitely find me experimenting in the kitchen more often than not. So if anyone needs a homecooked meal, my home is open to you! :) 

Thank you for all the support through this challenge! I hope you all had of fun because I sure did! Let me know your thoughts on this challenge! 

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