I had the chance to go back to Lansing last weekend for my friend Melanie’s bridal shower. I also got the chance to have a joint birthday party for my mom and grandma. Every time I come back ‘home’ I always eat like crazy. There are so many food I miss from Lansing, from my parents home cooked food to many unique-to-lansing eateries. I mean, in the car ride alone the husband and I named off like 20 different places we wanted to go to for a specific meal. I need to just spend a week in Lansing to cover all the different places I miss. I miss my parent’s classic dishes soo bad! It just makes me realize that a person becomes known for a classic repertoire of dishes. I like to think I’m developing my repertoire. I have watched Giada for awhile now and haven’t tried anything myself until, oddly, I got inspired by the fist episode of Aarti Party. Aarti winning The Next Food Network Star was quite thrilling for me as big fan of Indian cuisine. And she was just so down to earth that it really made me think ‘if she can do it so can I’. Next thing you know I’m printing off recipes and grocery shopping. Let me tell you cooking food network dishes isn’t exactly cheap, easy or fast. The grocery shopping alone took time (and two trips), and I still couldn’t find Garam Masala. This week I set out to cook a meal from Giada’s Monday ‘Playdate’ episode – Penne in Almond Sauce and Peach and Strawberry Crumble. I must say the crumble reminded me of a dish my mom makes- ‘Cherry Goodie’ which is basically a box of Jiffy white cake mix, butter and a can of cherries. The Peach and Strawberry Crumble was a nice change of pace, utilizing the season’s fresh peaches. This is defiantly a comfort food. As for the Penne in Almond Sauce, I was pretty amazed that I actually made that. It tasted pretty gourmet in the scheme of things. (Well it better have I used lemon zest and fresh ground pepper for the first time). Some of the reviews called it tad ‘bland’, but I wasn’t going into this thinking it was going to have a kick, I was looking at it more from an almost macaroni or fettuccine stand point. I finished this meal off with some nice fresh lemonade a la The Joy of Cooking. Next up for me: Aarti’s Bombay Joes and Massaged Kale salad. (Oh and did I mention I am finally on track to having a pampered chef stocked kitchen?) Oh yes. I’m ordering some classics-serving utensils, classic batter bowl, and an assortment of other neat chef’s tool’s including a new set of measuring cups since my el-cheapo 1 cup measuring cup got warped in the dishwasher. Also looking forward to a bottle of Raspberry Habenero sauce which I plan to drizzle on warmed brie cheese at my next (and first?) dinner party. Do you find yourself coming back to a regular rotation of meals you know and like or are you constantly trying new things out?