Thursday, March 30, 2017

Full Tummy, Full Heart

Speaking again of books - I skimmed the cookbooks at our library recently and came upon this one called Tex Mex from Scratch. The photos were just what you hope food photos would be and I quickly jotted down a few things I wanted to try.

The funny thing about what I chose is that it doesn't seem Tex Mex to me! But at any rate - we had a completely from scratch dinner with homemade sandwich buns, pulled pork - I followed the recipes for the meat rub and from-scratch bbq sauce. We had apple cabbage slaw and a grilled corn recipe from the book as well.

Once in a while, I really love trying a big new meal like this - spending extra time and effort, expanding our horizons at the dinner table {in a way that I don't think will be a big waste!} and enjoying the process of knowing everything is homemade.

I think my expectations were pretty high, though, considering that everything was made from scratch. I expected it to taste off the charts and like I could really tell that the homemade time investment mattered. Um, I'm not really sure it did that for me - it was good don't get me wrong, but I think it would've been good with bottled sauce and purchased buns as well. I already thought I was not a slaw loving person and I was right, and two of my three children aren't either {wink}.

After seeing so many of my southern friends enjoy slaw on their pulled pork I thought I had to try it at least once. It was fine, it was not amazing or horrible - but nothing life changing for me - proof once again that I was not raised in the south!!

It was a great meal though and my favorite things were honestly gathering around the table on our porch! Hearing the chatter of my family from their experiences through the day, laughing and talking together and yes, trying something new.

As I said that evening on Instagram, it filled my tummy and also my heart!

This right here: elbows on the table, talking with mouths full, reaching for things instead of asking for them to be passed, bumping each others feet, having things to share and ears to listen, sharing a meal together, gathering meal after meal, day after day - this is SUCH a gift!!!

What is your favorite go-to-extra-trouble meal?

* Amazon affiliate link used.


Lisa M. said...

I generally cook. But twice a year, my husband will make his grandmother's chop suey recipe. It's pricy, as well, but worth it.

Charlotte Park Creative said...

I love that you experimented with new recipes! I am surprised that was in the Tex Mex cookbook. Your menu sounds more BBQ than tacos and salsa. Funny. It looks delicious.

My family also loves a nice home cooked meal. I like to make salmon with rissoto and steamed veggies or steaks with baked sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli. Yum! The kids love breakfast for dinner. It is hard to make that one fancy but it is so good.

You inspire me to try something new. I will have to research a new recipe for next week's menu plan. Happy cooking!

Kimberly Lottman said...

As a born and raised Texas girl who knows a little bit about Tex-Mex, I'm a little snobbish, I suppose, when it comes to cookbooks and recipes that claim to be "Tex-Mex". I did a little research when I saw your post and discovered that the author is actually a Brit who fell in love with the cuisine when he visited Texas. Now, I'm not saying that has a LOT to do with with your underwhelming results, anyone CAN learn to cook anything well, maybe he just hasn't "perfected" it yet, or is putting his own cultural spin on things which immediately deems it not true "Tex-Mex". There is a lot of controversy about exactly what "Tex-Mex" means, even among Texans, but for me, authentic Tex-Mex originated around San Antonio and El Paso, some even call this "Authentic" mexican food, but in my mind at least, you have to cross the border into Mexico for that. But if Tex-Mex with a LOT of taste is what you're looking for, I would suggest checking out The Homesick Texan,, she has a couple of cookbooks as well, and I've never been disappointed with anything I've made following her recipes, and I'm picky! As for slaw on your sandwiches, I had never even heard of that until I moved to Virginia, definitely not a Texas thing, at least, not in my family. I did learn to appreciate it while I lived there, but honestly, I always found the ready made container from your local deli to be the best! I hope you'll venture into Tex-Mex again!

Anonymous said...

My extra effort meal is Meat Loaf, Mashed Potatoes, Lima Beans with chow chow, sliced tomatoes from the garden and Sweet Cornbread with sweet tea and/or lemonade. Just like my grandmother use to make. Jenny Goldsby

Sara said...

Monica, I aspire to be more like you and see elbows on the table and talking with mouths full as a gift... I usually see it as something to be corrected... :)

Mrs. Chrissy T said...

Your table and meal look yummy. I have a couple from scratch meals that I love to do when time permits. I do a half and half as far as meals go from scratch. But my top one is Chicken and Dumplings. I do this from scratch in the winter. I just love it. I roll the dough out and cut the dumplings, boil the chicken and debone, and use the broth. This meal speaks cozy and comfort.

Second meal would be Fried Pork Chops and helpings such as mashed potatoes and a veggie with homemade skillet cornbread.

I also really like Christmas side dishes I make from scratch.

Monica Wilkinson said...

Loved hearing all your special meals too!
@Sara - ha, well I do correct too my friend :)
@Kimberly - a Brit doing Tex Mex, hmmm, well yes that could explain a thing or two ;)

Mary Ann said...

Our favorite more time-consuming meal is roast chicken with mashed potatoes, gravy, several veggie sides and homemade rolls, maybe a special dessert. Or even a ham or turkey instead of chicken. It takes time to get all that meat sliced up/pulled off the bones and tends to be a a very messy meal to clean up the kitchen after! But so yummy! Meatloaf is another favorite at our house!

I was intrigued that BBQ would have been considered Tex-Mex, although BBQ brisket and such would be popular in Texas. Just maybe not Tex-Mex!