My husband was brainstorming ideas for my blog and he said, “You should showcase your favorite things for the month of December.”
“That sounds boring.”
So I asked some friends and they said that I should.
Here I am, the 1st of December kicking off my “Favorite Things” Month. Please bear in mind, I’m not Oprah, so unfortunately I won’t be sending each of these items to my readers, if I could…I totally would.
My family will tell you, I never cooked when I was little. I could make Macaroni and Cheese and that was about it. I never baked anything, it just wasn’t something I did and had very little interest in it.
My husband will tell you that I did not cook or bake for almost the first year we were married and I for sure never cooked/baked before that.
I was never really inspired to cook. Until I went to Williams-Sonoma and saw All-Clad Stainless. I had a perfectly good set of really nice Calphalon Pots and Pans at home, so my husband said ‘No. Way.’ So I started cooking, baking using my oven and stove as much as possible, because I was sure he said No because I never cooked (it was not the reason). I also started cooking because he deployed and if I didn’t cook, I was either going to starve or go broke from ordering pizza everyday.
Then the Environmental Working Group came out with a study on Teflon or…PFC’s not ‘Teflon” directly. I had a meltdown. Literally. I should probably mention, I have a tendency to overreact when it comes to my kids. This may very well have been an overreaction, but I really was blown away by the studies conducted by UCLA and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Most cookware that is coated with Teflon has PFC’s that breakdown when the cookware gets hot. That chemical transfers to food and…you get my point. PFC’s are also linked to ADHD. It freaked me out. While they are working at phasing out PFC in cookware, they still have a ways to go.
I should also note, during this deployment I watched a show about microwaves and got rid of my microwave, so if you’re reading this thinking, “OMG, this lady is crazy!” You are probably right and my husband would agree with you 95% of the time. My sister-in-law doesn’t have a microwave either, which is exactly why, this Christmas, we are going to play a prank on her and send microwave popcorn, hehe.
Right. So I ended up with the Stainless pots and pans and kept my Calphalon because something in me tells me I need two complete sets of cookware, but when cooking for my kids, I always use All-Clad.
This is when I completely fell in love with cooking. I was reading about a lady who was completely inspired to cook after picking up a set and I know how she feels, there is something really special about these pots and pans.
So for my first day of my Favorite things. All-Clad Stainless. I LOVE these. They are used daily. The cook great, distribute heat wonderfully and clean up quickly. Though I realize these took some seriously budgeting to purchase, I’m glad we did, they are worth every penny (and All-Clad as a company is fantastic, something went terribly wrong with my 10 inch frying pan and they replaced it, no questions asked). They are one of my most loved kitchen items. I even have all of the original boxes for them so when we move they have the best chance of making it to the next destination.
One thing I miss most about New England is sitting inside with a cup of cocoa and watching it snow. Or coming home from a day of sledding…and drinking cocoa with TONS of mini marshmallows.
I have to be honest, I have not felt that type of peacefulness since we moved, and I am unbelievably excited to get back to it.
My favorite cocoa:
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons of dutch processed cocoa
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
2.5 cups milk
1 tsp of pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup heavy cream
Heat it all on the stove.
Don’t boil, but simmer for about 20 minutes.
Then enjoy with whipped cream (with the rest of the heavy cream) or marshmallows.
It’s not snowing here. Nor do I believe it will this winter. But this definitely hit the spot.