I am sad to report that, as of this writing, I was not the winner of any exciting sweepstakes that I entered during my June monthly challenge. I quickly discovered why I don’t do more of the “take a survey to win” opportunities at the bottom of my receipts. First, I evidently make too many trips to the grocery store, creating a back-log of possible entries; second, the surveys get really long and repetitive, especially when there is the aforementioned large backlog of them. So I confess that I kind of stopped those after a couple of weeks. However, I did enter some other contests on Facebook and on company websites, though I have not reaped any rewards of those efforts yet. Who knows; maybe my lucky day is still in the works. šŸ™‚

Time to move on to July already (egads). This month’s challenge takes me into the kitchen, a place I have oft enjoyed being, but of late has been a little uninspired. Maybe it’s the summer heat, maybe it’s working a bit later these days. Either way, I’ve been in a bit of a cooking (or possibly even lack-of-cooking) rut lately. I think it’s time to spice things up a bit. Therefore, I propose that in the next month I will try four new recipes. Not only that, I hope that all four will be something quite different than my usual repertoire, not just one more way to marinate chicken before I grill it. The good thing is that I’ve already got a few ideas, and I’ve even already accomplished one!

Sunday, I ventured into a brave new world of Indian cuisine. I attempted this recipe for chicken tikka masala by Pastor Ryan from The Pioneer Woman. I made a few modifications based on what I had on hand, but I largely followed the whole thing. It turned out just fine, but it lacked a little somethin’-somethin’ that other tomatoey-chicken dishes I’ve had at Indian restaurants have. Unfortunately, I’m a little new to the blends of spices used in this cuisine, so it was hard to tell exactly what was missing. Maybe the garam masala blend lacked a few spices, or maybe I had too many onions (not a huge fan of onions to begin with), or maybe the tomatoes were a little too chunky or acidic. Anyway, it was still just fine, and DH and I liked it. I suppose it’s worth trying this dish, or the similar butter chicken (chicken makhani), again from a slightly different recipe, but I think once is enough to count toward the July challenge.

One other recipe I have on my list for sure is sweet potato and black bean tacos from the Simply Sugar and Gluten Free cookbook (something I did actually win by entering a contest on a blog! ;)). I’ve only just gotten into sweet potatoes, since I learned that it is indeed possible to eat them in ways other than smothered in marshmallows and brown sugar and caramel sauce at Thanksgiving (not my favorite :p), and I’ve seen similar recipes get rave reviews, though it’s a flavor combo I never would have imagined. I’ve got my tubers ready to go for sometime, maybe later this week.

I still need two more ideas! If you have any suggestions or unique recipes of your own, let me know! (I know some of my readers are also food bloggers, and be sure I am prowling your sites for ideas, too) ;).

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