Mandy's Marvelous Meals

Recipes, tips, tricks, and my journey into cooking fabulous food!

Raised Garden Bed Project Part 1



Last year I decided I wanted a small herb garden so Hubby & I worked together to dig up the land and make it happen…and much to my surprise everything actually grew. This was the first time I ever did any type of gardening (and basically any type of “yard work”) so I didn’t really expect much. When everything grew and I was able to go out each day and get fresh herbs for my cooking I was hooked. Fast forward through the winter and it’s time to grow some real food! I decided to do a raised garden bed because that seemed easier than working the land, so I emailed Hubby a picture of what I wanted…he did a little measuring and we were off to Home Depot for the supplies.
So today he’ll be making the bed and helping me with putting the posts in the ground. Then I’ll do the rest and get to planting my herbs & veggies!! Wish me luck and stay tuned for “Part 2”!!



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Time to Throw in the Kitchen Towel!?!?

Sometimes things just don’t turn out the way you thought they would.

Whoa! That is one big kitchen disaster!

Have you ever had one of those days in the kitchen where you think you’re doing such a great job and then the result is something like the picture above? I’ve always been a good baker, but I suppose that is because I’ve always been one to follow directions and follow them well. But now that I’ve been getting more adventurous and trying things on my own either by altering a recipe or attempting my own recipe I am finally seeing that it’s not as easy as I thought it would be.

Yesterday I was so motivated to try out some new stuff and serve Hubby a great Friday night dinner. I was actually excited that I had lots of extra time to spend in the kitchen. I started by attempting a new muffin recipe, but the result, as seen above, was quite scary. I didn’t let it get to me though…I tried again and this time the result looked pretty good.

Moving along to make dinner I  decided to try this recipe for Vinegar Braised Chicken which I came across in Food & Wine Magazine.  I made Hubby chicken thighs as stated in the recipe and followed it pretty much exact except that I did not add the Leeks. For mine I used boneless skinless chicken breast and substituted lighter ingredients (such as no butter, only 1 tsp. of olive oil and fat free sour cream instead of creme fraiche). It seemed like things were going along ok, but then as I began to cook and the kitchen started filling with a smoky haze it seemed like everything was beginning to go down hill. My attempt at making a side of pasta (which I’ve made before) tasted strange so I ended up throwing it away and just threw some Green Giant veggies & sauce in the microwave.

Whenever I make something new I always ask Hubby to rate it on a scale of 1-5.  I’m sure a lot of husbands out there would not dare tell their wives what they really thought about certain meals, but my Hubby has always been completely honest with me about it. I love this about him…even though I may get a chip on my shoulder for a minute or two I like to hear what he says and see how I can improve.  When we ate dinner last night, I could tell he really didn’t like it and this was confirmed when he said his rating was about a 2.8 (and I’m thinking he was just being generous rating that high). Disappointment overwhelmed me and I don’t know why….I never considered myself a perfectionist. I’ve never really excelled at anything…I was always just average and completely happy with that. But over the years when it comes to cooking I’ve started to become a little neurotic. I can’t even remember the last time Hubby gave me below a “3” rating and I always strive for at least a “4”. Nonetheless, I got over it.

Personally I thought the chicken was ok….it did have a unique flavor due to the tarragon and incase you didn’t know Tarragon tastes like black liccorice….so this dish may not be for everyone.

When we were all done I said to Hubby,  “well at least you’ll enjoy dessert.”

Or so I thought…

Hubby took one bite and made a face. I asked him what was wrong and he said he didn’t like it. He put a paper towel over it and pushed it away. Wow, really? That was a first and that was the point I became absolutely defeated.

You may be wondering why did I share this harrowing story of cooking disaster? I guess to reach those of you out there who have had “bad kitchen days” and to remind you and myself that when you fall off the horse you have to get back on. Don’t give up…there’s no need to go back to ordering pizza every other day…you can do it!

So today is a new day and I’m already thinking about what I will make to redeem myself. Remember…one bad day in the kitchen doesn’t mean you’re not a great cook…

Shake it off and try again.


25 Diet-Busting Foods You Should Never Eat | Yahoo! Health#0

25 Diet-Busting Foods You Should Never Eat | Yahoo! Health#0.

Good article….not too surprised with some of it, but I have to say I was sad to see Reese’s Puffs and Brown Sugar Pop-Tarts…love them!!!!

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Welcome to Mandy’s Marvelous Meals! An exciting new blog with a wide variety of recipes, cooking tips, and my experience of going from hopeless to accomplished in the kitchen. Check back soon for meal ideas, entertaining ideas, desserts and much, much more!


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