Feels like the first time

Everyone knows that I bake a lot. Brownies, cookies, cakes...But I don't cook actual meals while I'm at school. Maybe that's because I live on a college campus where I can get free food if I walk 5 minutes to the BLUU. Maybe that's because I have limited money, and therefore limited supplies to work with. Maybe I'm just making excuses. But that all changed last week. I made my first meal in my dorm's kitchen for me and my boyfriend. And I chose chicken parmesana from this recipe at Delightful Delicacies . So without further ado, here are the results from the night.

The recipe was pretty easy to follow, and being the little experimenter that I am, I made a few small adjustments. Most of them were simply for convenience (using bagged frozen chicken breasts instead of fresh ones) or because they were cheaper (using already shaved parmesan instead of an expensive block...remember I AM a college student). But I followed the recipe pretty closely other than that.

I served the chicken parmesana with a salad (bagged...gasp!) and some yummy rolls I got on sale at the bakery section of Kroger.

Final Price: a little less than $15. Not bad considering we would pay at least that much (probably more) if we had gone out to some Italian restaurant (take that Olive Garden!). And as a plus I had a very satisfied boyfriend who was more than willing to pay me back in kisses. :)

Here I am world, here I am.

It is January and in less than 100 days I will be finished with my undergraduate degree at TCU. This also means that in less than 100 days I will have at least $10,000 in college debt. So I immediately began thinking of ways to earn money for the growing mass of loans calling my name. I've looked up and applied for a few scholarships, but most are tailored to high school students. Not much luck there. I work as an office assistant in my dorm but that only pays enough for gas and a few miscellaneous expenses. I am desperate for money and will do anything to get it...well...not ANYTHING (if you know what I mean). Hey some college girls make good money doin' that sort of thing and more power to 'em. But I don't think my boyfriend would appreciate that very much.

I've always enjoyed baking and cooking. My mother stayed at home and as a result I was always helping her out in the kitchen. She's an amazing cook and I hope that I can rise to her level someday. My dad, although he isn't the main chef in our household, enjoys cooking as well. But he takes a different approach than my mom. He's more of a, "let's take this, this and this, combine them together, and see if it tastes good" kind of chef. You know, the experimental kind? And I got that food-scientist gene from him. Combine those two together and you have me: Skills in the kitchen with a rebellious side. I've been baking and cooking for parties and get-togethers, family and friends, school projects...You name it, I've probably done it.

I wanted to go to one of those fancy-shmancy arts schools to study culinary arts. I wanted to open a bakery or work in a high-class hotel restaurant. But my parents discouraged me, saying that it's "not practical" and that I "can't make a career out of it". And to some extent, they're completely right. I don't think it's particularly easy to break into the food business unless you're on one of the many Food Network Top Chef shows or whatever. And even then not many of the contestants actually get anything out of that show except TV time and a Rachel Ray sighting.

But I need money. And I'm good at making yummy treats. And I'm surrounded by hungry college students who probably don't even remember what homemade food tastes like anymore. Anytime I use the dorm kitchen I get at least 3-4 visitors (sometimes more!) who poke their nose in the kitchen and say "Ooh this smells good are you baking?" No duh smarty. So I've started this blog to chronicle my cooking and baking throughout the rest of college, and the business that may or may not result from this.

I am the Brown Sugar Brunette, and I'm about to start a baking business. Wish me luck!