Welcome back!! I’m back!!

And have I got some news (and a confession) to share!

1. I’ve officially moved into my own bachelorette pad last weekend!!!!! I now have a view of this.

NAVY PIER!!!! (It is absolutely gorgeous watching the sunrise and sunset)

Navy pier

Why doesn’t anyone ever tell you how awesome and independent it feels when you move out on your own?!? Even if you’re only renting. πŸ˜›

2. I’ve been pulling off a birthday party or 2 for a special person! It was Nick’s birthday last week and there were festivities…including lots and lots of yummy food!

There was…Dinner at Spring (Review to come, but pictures are too ugly to post for now)…

Home-baked fudgy mint chocolate chip cookies

…(still SERIOUSLY chewy and soft 1 week later)

Mint chocolate chip cookiesKinda indulgent, as you can tell from the ingredients. πŸ˜›

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 (3.4 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips & handful of Andes mint chocolates crumbled
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour and baking soda, set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter & sugar. Beat in the instant pudding mix until blended. Stir in the egg and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture. Finally, stir in the chocolate. Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven until shape is set. Take out when still soft but not raw!

Mint fudge cookies

And last but not least, Our Custom is, a Home-Cooked Birthday meal…even if it’s Semi-Homemade!

Starter #1: Miso Soup in an Instant!

Here are the dry ingredients! The orange pouch contains dried seaweed, dried beancurd, and dried spring onions. The silver packet holds the miso paste. Here they are emptied into a bowl before you pour in the hot water.

Japanese Miso soup mix

To enjoy, simply pour in hot water and mix to combine! Taste’s JUST like restaurant miso soup.

miso soup with water

There’s nothin better than hot, comforting miso soup to kick off a meal!

Entree #1: Oven “grilled” Wild Salmon

Clearly, I cheated. Gorton‘s makes an incredible line of frozen seafood products, and I’m a BIG fan of their grilled fish.

You all already know how good salmon is for you, but did you know that all Gorton’s salmon products are Wild caught??

Gorton's Grilled salmon

This particular flavor is the Roasted Garlic & Olive oil. There are 2 flame-grilled fillet’s in a box and wrapped in separate plastic wraps. You can microwave ’em, bake ’em, steam ’em, or fry ’em on a pan. I chose the oven method, so after popping them in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes, they came out like this.

Gorton's grilled salmon close up

MY GOSH, it was ridiculously flavorful. The garlic and herbs were fragrant, but not too overpowering. The sauce was rich and a tad on the greasy side, but hey, salmon is an oily fish! I only wish I hadn’t baked it for so long because the fish texture came out a little too dry and tough, not as flaky and tender as I normally like my salmon. The dryness might also have been because the salmon were previously cooked before packaging. However, this is a great tasting product overall.

Each patty came out to be $4 or so, pre-seasoned and packaged. (They are ~180 calories each but you can also get the regular grilled salmon that only have 100 calories per piece)

Entree #2: Green Bean Clam Chowder Casserole – The guiltless version!

Simply combine the two ingredients in a casserole dish with the beans as a base. Sprinkle pepper over the top and wet with 1/4 cup milk (I used unsweetened almond milk).

Green bean corn casseroleBake in a 400 degree oven covered for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 20+ minutes.

(You can even sprinkle cheese over the top for a nice gooey crust! Or the traditional fried onions)

Green bean clam casserole

Remove from the oven, And Tada!!! You have a main!

I would call it a soupy casserole because this was quite a liquid-filled dish.

green bean casserole close up

And of course, serve with Steamed corn and edamame in a giant blue bowl, as seen below. πŸ™‚

Dinner is served

It looks like a lot of food…and I think it probably was, but we finished it all! Plus, no meal can go without dessert!

What better to end a meal than with Home-baked almond chocolate cupcakes!?!

Yup, the recipe gave me 22 big cupcakes and I stuck a 1/4 piece of mint chocolate inside as a surprise…good thing we had a BBQ the next day huh?

Birthday Chocolate cupcake!

GUESS what the “frosting” is??!!??!

Cupcake follow up

Did you guess right? Frosting was toasted almond dessert hummus! The best part was that none of the guests were able to guess that it was made of chickpeas! muhahaha (BTW these Late July cookies are not my favorite, but more to come on that…if you do buy Late July brand, the chocolate cookies are WAYYY better!)

The Adults Corner

So now that I’ve talked about all the fun stuff, I just wanted to apologize for a little bit of a lack of inspiration in blogging lately. Heres my confession. For all you bloggers out there, Do you ever feel like no one cares about what you’re blogging about and that it wouldn’t matter if you stopped blogging…and no one would notice? Well. I’m feeling it. And it’s really kinda…disheartening.

If anyone out there cares, I’d love to know if you’ve ever felt this way, how you dealt with it, and what I can do to improve Lucky Taste Buds for you!

Not to turn this into a giveaway, but I have 2 FREE ZenSoy pudding coupons to share with 2 of you out there.Β  What motivates you to blog, and what makes a great blog (One that you’ll keep coming back to read)?!