I've been on hiatus while midterms happened. My last one was last Friday, and I've been on break ever since. I'm staying at my dad's house, where I had books from B&N delivered, and finished two books in three days. A couple days ago I decided to cook dinner for the house because I got a craving for a friend's chili recipe, and she kindly gave it to me.
I started that morning with reading the recipe, making a list of ingredients for the chili and for chocolate chip cookies, and searching the kitchen for necessary items. We had everything for baking except chocolate chips, and about half of the things I needed for the chili.
I even managed to go shopping and be back at the house by 12:30 in the afternoon, which made me feel extremely accomplished. This was my first time planning a fairly complex meal and shopping for it without input from parents or other more experienced adults.
Cookies, which I've made many times before, came next. Everyone who had one went back for more and sang praises, which made me really happy. I use the Tollhouse recipe with a few modifications: add slightly less vanilla extract than the recipe calls for (I just discovered that the fake stuff tastes just fine), don't add nuts, and use a bag of Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips, plus ~1/4 bag of some other kind of chocolate chips, in this case Hershey's dark chocolate. When I first started making these, I would add some extra choc. chips I had just for the hell of it, and discovered that I like having two different kinds of chocolate chips in the mix for varied flavor.
Later on, I started the (mild) chili, and actually managed to time it so that it was done more or less when people were ready to eat. I split the recipe my friend gave me between two pots so that I ended up with one pot of vegetarian chili and one pot of meat chili sans corn to account for various dietary needs. (I, for example, try to keep kosher-by-ingredient, especially when I'm cooking, and like to add cheese to my chili, so I needed the vegetarian one. Other people in this house *coughdadcough* won't eat a vegetarian meal, so I also needed a meat pot.) My step-mother told my aunt while they were at work that I was making chili, so my aunt showed up for dinner, too. Luckily, the chili made enough for a group--though by the time dinner was over, all of the meat chili was gone, and there was barely any veggie chili left, either.
I am well satisfied with how both pots of chili turned out, especially since it seemed like everyone loved it who tried it, including those of us who are picky about chili (myself included).
The best part? This was the most complex recipe I've ever cooked (I've had more difficult/more involved baking recipes, but that's a different skill set), and I did almost all of it by myself. The exception being, I had to ask how to peel the onion because I'd never done it before. I did the prep work, including chopping and cutting, I kept an eye on both pots and managed not to screw up the order I did things in even though the two pots had slightly different instructions and were cooking at slightly different rates, and I did the final taste-testing.
It's amazing how different the starting products looked than how the final product looked. I'm so excited! Further proof that I need to start cooking for myself more often...