It’s Official, I’ve Lost my Mojo

In the kitchen that is.  My food mojo.  I’m having a hard time right now.  I don’t know what it is.  This transition from fresh foods to preserved foods is messing with me.  Not to mention that it seems like I go into the kitchen and look around and draw a blank.  I can’t figure out what to cook.

This didn’t happen to me a month ago.  Or even in the spring when there wasn’t much to choose from.

I think part of the problem is that my freezer is so full of vegetables that I haven’t been able to stock it with as many meat products as usual, and that has forced me drop into a hoarding mode where I don’t want to use something because I only have 4 of them, or however many.  This seems to lead to some kind of mental block on what to cook instead. Not to mention that I have a lot more choices when I have some beef in there, and right now it’s all pork and chicken.

Part of the problem is that we do try to go meatless 2 or 3 times a week, but my vegetarian cooking hasn’t kept pace with this desire.  Most of the time it’s pizza, pasta or just a whole heap of veggies.  I have a vegetarian cookbook, but it’s too foo-foo (ie fancy) for me.  I’m a simpleton and I like simple dishes with fresh ingrediants.

Maybe part of the problem too is that we’ve been busier than normal of late so it’s hard for me to sit down and spend some time cooking.  Especially on the weekend when I do most of my best cooking.  When you work full time using the weekends to prep for quick meals to be prepared after work is essential.

Winter is a hard time for me anyway when it comes to cooking.  Half the people here don’t like beans so that takes away most of the potential soup dishes.  Winter squash isn’t a huge hit either, so that takes away two pretty large parts of eating through the winter.

I don’t know.  It’s hard to figure out.  What about you?  Are any of you having some difficulty in the kitchen putting fun interesting dishes on the table with what you’ve put up?

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9 responses to “It’s Official, I’ve Lost my Mojo

  1. I’ve been trying to work some more vegetarian meals into the rotation too. On those nights when I’m at a loss, I just throw on some pasta or rice, heat up or stir-fry some vegetables, and mix it all together. Maybe with some tomato sauce or soy sauce or whatever. Lately I’ve taken to adding a handful of nuts to whatever I’ve got, to give it some more texture and flavor – like the nuts fill in where I’d usually use meat.

  2. I can’t say we have any food stored, but cooking in a different country can present some challenges. There is a serious lack of “good” vegetables. mix some soy sauce with some other sauces and flavors until you have a good sauce for your vegetables. I usually mix it with ketchup, brown sugar, garlic and/or ginger, andsometimes BBQ sauce. you just adjust everything to taste how you want it, and it usually turns out to be quite good with chicken or pork. Just try it with different things such as carrots, green bean, broccoli. It’s pretty simple to create a different stir fry type sauce just by changing 1 or 2 ingredients. I am sure you could add many other flavors as well, pineapples and juice, orange juice/zest, lemons/juice. You can adjust the thickness as well.

  3. 10 million different ways to do potatoes. I think I know all of them! The favorite in this house is mashed with a raw grated onion, grated cheese and munched fresh parsley. I put frozen peas through the last lot as well and some garlic salt because the cheese was too mild. No leftovers here.

    viv in nz

    ps. an end of bacon chopped into little bits and fried and stirred through makes for heaven and stops complaints of ‘Where’s the meat?’

  4. will they do blended lentils? I make something similar to this for my son frequently-little effort on my part and quite tasty. The only spices I actually use are garlic, ginger, cumin, and a little turmeric. I also throw in some dehydrated onions when I am cooking the lentils. It goes over because it has more of a creamy texture than a beany texture.

    http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipes/9938?section

  5. Oh yeah-and tacos. My son actually prefers to skip the shell or tortilla and have taco pile. 🙂

    A layer of rice, a layer of meat or refried beans, some stir fried veggies, some cheese, a little sour cream, and salsa.

    Pile it up and enjoy. Works well with any kind of meat (and I frequently mix in some lentils with the meat and he never notices) You can also use a tortilla or taco shell if prefered.

  6. I’m the opposite – I love this time of year when I can cook hot food again and run the oven after trying not to heat up the house all summer.

    Try the “More with Less” cookbook. I think it will be right up your alley – simple foods, not strictly vegetarian but definitely a focus on using much less meat.

  7. What vegetarian cookbook do you have? Have you tried any of the Moosewood books? We’ve been vegetarian for a while and I find myself turning to Moosewood Cooks at Home and the Moosewood Low-Fat Cookbook. There is a huge focus of fresh ingredients but the recipes also make it easy to incorporate pantry foods. Also, they’re mostly fast and easy to get on the table. As a bonus, I don’t think I’ve ever disliked anything made from one of their cookbooks–and I’ve never had a family member turn anything down either!

    Barbara Kafka’s Vegetables is another great book–the recipes aren’t all vegetarian, but vegetables are the center of attention. It’s set up by dividing the book into Old World and New World Vegetables and then devoting a section to each vegetable. Some of these recipes can get a little more involved than is necessary for a weeknight meal, but many are very simple and they’re all great inspiration.

    You should be able to find them all at your local library.

  8. I love soups and stews but I feel like I need to add more variety to the offerings. The odd thing is I have more time to cook now than I do in the summer, just less ideas. I went back to chicken and noodles last night and that worked out great. Maybe if I keep plugging away I’ll get out of this funk.

    I looked for the recommended cookbooks at the library yesterday but they weren’t available. Our main library branch flooded this summer and they lost about 75% of their books. It will be a long time before they are back in business with the selection they had before. I will check the used book store though.

  9. One of my first veggie cookbooks was Quick Vegetarian Pleasures by Jeanne Lemlin. It has a lot of good, quick recipes without too many hard-to-find ingredients.

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