Archives for category: Cooking

One morning my husband and I made scrambled eggs.  It was more like I was cooking them after he scrambled them.  He is an excellent scrambler.  When he is finished scrambling the eggs they always look almost artificial to me.  They are shockingly uniform in color.  Whenever I scramble them there are usually bits of white here and there which does not bother me much.

After I cooked them and plated them we noticed that there were small black bits in the eggs.  Neither one of us had put pepper in the eggs.  It made me go back to the pan that we used.  Sure enough, the Teflon (Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)) coating on the pan was beginning to come off and went into our eggs!  I know that the coating is supposed to be non-toxic (unless you are Avian!).  I am not a bird, but even so I decided to go back to my cast iron pans.

My mom gave me all of her cast iron pans probably 10 years ago.  She has arthritis pretty bad and they can be heavy especially armed with food.  I used my cast iron pans quite a bit, but I still would use my Teflon coated ones the majority of the time.

They come in all shapes and sizes! Here is a sampling of the pans I have.

My favorite one is this little guy.

My mom would always make my breakfast in it before I went to school, whether it was eggs, little pancakes, or French toast!

Some of the pans I have were even used by my grandma!  She made my mother food in them!  I hope they last long enough for my daughter to cook for her family in them.  I find them easy to use and care for.  If you can get your hands on some of your relatives pans, I highly reccomend that you do! Here is what works for me:

If they are brand new you will need to season them.  This may sound complicated but basically you are just going to bake the pan in the oven with a coating of some type of oil on it.  I like vegetable shortening the best (I tried olive oil with bad results.  I’ll have to try it again because I like the idea of it better.)

Once seasoned I maintain it by doing the following:

  • Avoid using soap-clean with water only when possible.  Sometimes kosher salt on a damp cloth is enough.
  • Clean the pan immediately after cooking.  Remove the food and wash the pan!  It makes cleaning easier.
  • When clean, I like to heat it up on the stove top and wipe it out with shortening.  Once it all melts on the pan you can shut off the heat and wipe out the excess.

That’s pretty much it!  One bonus to the pans is that they can add small amounts of iron to your food.  Many people could benefit from that.  I’ll take a bit of that instead of Teflon any day!

In the background of the small cast iron pan you could see my cupboards.  We have been in our house for 12 years (in August) and things now need to be updated and replaced.  The cupboards are oak and they look(ed) a bit worn.  Not warped or anything, it’s just the finish that has worn off.  Another thing that bothered me was that they were trimmed with fake wood.  My husband was willing to purchase new ones, but I just felt bad for the oak.  It bothered me when I thought of ripping them out and just throwing them away.  So, I decided to tackle re-finishing them.

I have been working on it for about a month here and there.  I choose one area, remove the doors and hardware, and begin the task of stripping the old varnish off, sanding, and painting on new polyurethane.

Here is what they look like with the old finish (like the gold hinges with bronze knobs!  I tried painting the knobs a few years ago and it did not work out too great.  They peeled and I never got around to the hinges. :))

This is what they look like post stripping:

I complete one area and then move on to the next.  This is nice because my kitchen does not feel completely torn apart, and I get to see the effort that I am putting in is worth it.

Here is the finished product!

I have found new oak veneer that I can trim them out with, which gives me the solid oak look I always wanted and now I am getting the new finish I needed!

You can see the sides of the cabinets are in fake wood which is what I did not like.

I did buy new hardware which is slightly annoying because the new hinges look identical to the old (but are stainless steel not shiny gold of the old ones) but are just a bit off so that I need to fill the old holes with glue and toothpicks and drill new ones!

It’s a process but it is going good!  I am about ¾ of the way finished.  Next up will be new counter tops, hood fan, a sink, and painting too!  We replaced our refrigerator with a new stainless steel one (the old one was on it last legs and we wanted to replace it on our time not when it decided to die!) and now the white stove and dishwasher are staring at me.  In time they will get replaced too.  🙂

Here are some cookies my daughter and I made (decorations don’t stick too well to chocolate chip cookies.  :)).

We made them with dark chocolate chips.  I wanted to make cookies or a cake or something for Valentines Day, and thought I should wait to make them but the chocolate chips kept calling to me so I gave in.  It was a super cold and snowy day today so baking was almost a requirement anyway!   We will just have to make something else for Valentines Day too!  We used the good old Toll House recipe (shh don’t tell, we used Ghirardelli chips!).  I was inspired to make the cookies by a blogger named Alexandra.

She made them using the new Toll House dark chocolate recipe which I checked out and it’s the same as the old original one, it just uses ¼ cup less chocolate chips!  Go figure!  So I did leave out the extra ¼ cup.  My husband did not care for the dark chocolate in them, but he is not exactly a dark chocolate fan.  My daughter thought they were fantastic!  She is a dark chocolate lover like me.

This was sort of a test of my intuitive eating skills.  I said it was a good day for baking, and it was, but I also wanted to put my newly found skills to work.  Normally when making cookies, I would eat half the dough, eat 5 cookies after they came out, say what the heck and move on to ice cream!  The act of baking always felt like a trigger to me.  Today I made them after I had dinner and was full.    So, I knew I was not vulnerable (ravenous) and did not think it would set me off.  I still have not had any cookies or dough yet.  I am just not feeling like it.  I am still full from dinner and it’s not appealing.  I know they will be there when I want them and they will be great!  I think most of my binge eating problem was never having enough good food in me to feel satisfied, and then I would taste something like cookie dough and my body would make up for it.  I really feel like I am on a roll with intuitive eating!

That’s enough of my intuitive eating talk for a while.  It may get old to you but it’s pretty amazing to me that it is working!

Have a great night!  I will talk to you soon!

I love granola!  I love it with milk, on yogurt, straight out of the container, you get it.  I especially love granola that is crunchy with big clusters in it.

I have been on a hunt for a clumpy, crunchy granola recipe for quite some time.  Usually I get some recipes that do not clump at all, don’t have much flavor, or seem too oily.  I also like making my food when I can.  Especially stuff that normally comes in packages.  If I can replicate it, I am happy.

I have been working with one recipe for a long time that I felt had potential.  I tweaked it some more this last time I made it with some great results.

Look!  I made clumps!

They are fairly decent in size!

The trick to the clumps, I found in applesauce!

Here is what I did:

  • 4 C rolled oats
  • 1 C almonds smashed
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 C natural applesauce
  • 1/2 C honey
  • 3/4 C brown sugar

Have a toddler mix all the ingredients in a very large bowl.   Dump it all out on a baking sheet and throw it in a 250 degree oven and stir it every 15 minutes.  It took me about 1 hour and 45 minutes.  It’s trial and error.  I stopped about 15 minutes early to let it cool (put it on two to three sheets to cool it) and it was not as crunchy as I like, so back in the oven it went!  I was a bit heavy-handed with the apple sauce so that would make a difference too.

Now I have some for the pantry!

I have been loving to eat it out of a bowl with dried tart cherries!  I recently read that tart cherries are good for reducing inflammation.  I enjoy eating them so if they help with my knee then even better!  (I am ignoring the fact that they have sugar in them which I do know increases inflammation.  :))

My knee is still not feeling great.  It’s not as bad as it was just after I tried my marathon schedule for a few weeks.  I have been doing my Gabby Reece Tabata workouts three days a week and on the other three days I have normally been running.  Last week I did not even attempt to run on my scheduled days.  I just did stretching, icing, yoga etc.  I did run a bit this week and so far it went ok.  I could not go very far and I did more of a walk run.  One minute of walking to one minute of running for about 25 minutes or so.  I read that doing it that was is a good way to get back into it.  I have never tried it before so why not give it a go!

If you have ever had IT band issues and have had success with anything whether it’s stretches, exercises, supplements, or anything else you think helped (other than not running :)) I would love to know.

I think I may have found something that will help me.  I was doing hip drop exercises and my left hip (the bad one) was incredibly tight when doing this.  I never thought I had an issue with flexibility. In fact, one doctor told me I had great flexibility in my hips.  I guess I do for most exercises, but when I tried this one it was not easy to do.  This gives me hope.  If I work on this area in addition to the other stuff I am trying, it just might work!

That’s enough rambling for the night.  Let me know if you try making the granola and how it worked for you.  I am so proud of this batch!

Have a great night everyone!  I’ll talk to you soon.  🙂

Hello there!

In keeping up with my trying to go meatless more often and still make my carnivore husband happy, I made a Cuban Bean and Rice dish.

Here it is simmering!

Simmering some more…

It took about 15-20 minutes to simmer.  I was hungry, but it was worth it!  I really enjoyed this dish!  I ate it with some green beans to make an extra “beany” meal and get some green in.

My husband even enjoyed it and would eat it again! Yay!  One dish to add to the list.  🙂

For dessert, (by my daughters request) we made some cornbread.  She is the “dumper” and the mixer.  It was the best one we have made yet!

Earlier in the day I had my avocado egg mixture on top of some lettuce and tomatoes.  It was great as a salad dressing!  I got the idea to top a salad from themindoffreya.  She used my recipe to top a caesar salad.

That’s all for tonight.  I hope you all had a great day.  🙂

Talk to you later!

Hello everyone! I don’t know if you are still with me. It’s been a while since my last post. I have many reasons for it. The biggest one being energy. If you remember I had been feeling very weak. Well, it turns out my thyroid dropped drastically from July to November. I have a new dose of thyroid medication and am feeling like blogging again. My thyroid has not been that low in 10 years and that was when I was first diagnosed!

I am still working on intuitive eating. “It’s a process, not a perfect.” as someone reminded me. I also went through a phase where I just did not want to blog about food, or read blogs about food. It seemed to influence what I ate, how I ate, or thought I should eat. This brings me to my third reason for not food blogging in a while.

I started to feel bad about posting so-called “healthy” dishes. What exactly is healthy? It varies from person to person.  It depends on their economic status, heritage/culture, dietary restrictions and probably other situations/issues I am not thinking of. Who am I to say “eat brown rice” (not that I ever did, our would it just might be implied when it shows up on my plate in a blog.)when someone might have grown up with white rice and its part of their family something they enjoy and have eaten moderately. I know I was probably over thinking things and this might not be the greatest example (and I know I don’t have that much clout :)), but that is part of why I stopped blogging. Another part is a three-year-old that never naps. 🙂

I have kept up my running/fitness regimen and am happy to say my mileage has gone up once again! I am also enjoying Tabata training. This I have learned from Gabby Reece’s website. I still love following her workouts. This type of training switches up the normal circuit. I love the change!

So I do have one thing to share that I have been enjoying for lunch these days.  I love avocado and I am the only one that will eat it in my family.  I decided to use it for lunch since everyone eats what they want separate from everyone else anyway.  It’s very simple, cheap, meatless, and I cringe here when I say “healthy”.  It is to me anyway.  🙂

  • ¼ of an avocado mashed
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Diced red onion (I like a ton)
  • Boiled egg diced

Fold it all together and scoop and eat it with a mini wheat bagel (or whatever you like)!  It gives me a chance to eat avocado without grossing my whole family out by adding it to a family meal, except for maybe when they see it.  🙂

Any goals for the new year?

Well I figured out what to make for dinner.  After nothing sounding good, I saw that Andy over at http://dragoneystory.wordpress.com/  named me as one of is 15 favorite bloggers on WordPress.  He said such nice things about my blog, one being about my posts having incredible color.  With that being said, I scrounged around for some color in the kitchen.  I did the best I could with what was on hand in a stir-fry!  Dinner crisis no more!

My favorite sauce that I make uses Mirin.  I like the Eden brand.  It does not have any added sugar to it.  Here is what I use:

  • 1/4 C Mirin
  • 3 TBS Low-sodium soy
  • 2 TBS water
  • 1 TBS fish sauce
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves finely grated garlic
  • Crushed red pepper to taste.  (I like a ton, start out slow.  🙂 )

I mix it all in a glass measuring cup with a small whisk.  Add it to your favorite stir-fry.   I have yet to find a mix of veggies this does not work on!

I ate a small bowl of this stir-fry with white rice (and then I had another 🙂 I am working on filling up with food.  One small bowl did not cut it).  I normally make brown rice, but being on vacation last week, and not having the option of brown made me remember how great white rice really is!  If that is the “worst” thing that I eat today, I think I am still doing pretty well.  🙂

That’s the rest of my eats for the day.  I don’t plan on eating anything else, but who knows…I may get hungry again.  🙂

I have volleyball soon, I hope we pull out a win tonight.  Last week we took 2 of 5 matches and they were all very close!  All the teams in this league are pretty evenly matched.  We went into playoffs last year tied for first.  We ended up loosing in the end.  The prize is only a t-shirt.  I want my t-shirt this year.  🙂

Have a good night!

Talk soon!

I ended up cleaning like a mad woman for nothing.  The appraiser did not show up.  I guess it’s nice to start off the week with a “company clean” house.

Tonight I did eat the left overs from last night.  I got hungry a few hours later and in keeping up with my “filling up on food” and not desserts at night I decided to make a soup for a snack or I guess it could be my fourth meal.

First I sliced the leeks into 1/4 inch rounds and swished them out in cold water to remove any dirt.

I sautéed them in a large pot with 2 TBS of butter.

So pretty!  I love the vibrant green!

  • I added almost a pound of thinly sliced mushrooms:  Shiitake, Oyster, and Mini Bella.
  • Then I cooked them down until all the mushroom liquid evaporated and the mushrooms began to brown.
  • I added three cups of chicken stock and brought it back up to boiling.  I added salt and pepper to taste.

The result was an amazing soup with a richness I could not imagine coming out of a soup with only four ingredients!  It has a smooth, thickness to it that I did not expect.  It is something I will make again and again!

I think that will hold me over for the rest of the night.

That’s my eats for the evening.

My husband just called and we need to go save him again!

I hope you have a great one!

Talk soon!

This morning we had and still do have a lot to accomplish.  I started out my day with my oatmeal and got to work on making the potato salad for our party we are invited to this evening.

I had a lot of chopping to do.  That is before I cut up a dozen eggs to add to the mix!

I have it all mixed up now but the containers I usually put them in are MIA.  I found a lid, but no bottom!  I still need to work on finding them.

After that was finished I went for a run.  I started it with a 15 minute walk with the dogs and the stroller. As usual we took the dogs home and went for the run.  I did 5 miles again pretty easy!  I feel great!  No knee pain and hardly any hip tightness.  I might be on my way to normal!

When the run was done I just wanted to get going on cleaning us up, eating and getting ready but my daughter wanted to go to the park.  Since she is so good and stays in the jogger for up to an hour at a time with no complaints I like to give her something in return.

I remembered the left over Jimmy Johns half from last night, grabbed him with some water and we walked to the nearest school so she could play for a bit.

We saw some cool mushrooms there!

We gathered acorns and then it was time to go.

I love the green color!

We came home and I had some snacks. 

An apple which I ended up slicing and eating with a TBS of PB!

Trail mix (raisins and unsalted roasted peanuts!)

Those are my eats for this afternoon.  I am excited for the party.  It’s time to get cleaned up and organized for it!

I hope you have a great afternoon too!

Talk soon!

Good Thursday Morning!

I am feeling great today even after my snack attack yesterday.  My knee feels good.  It should be a nice cardio day.  I wanted to Mtn. bike today but we had rain last night so that is pretty much out.  Mud, mud, mud.  Running sounds fun today.  So that’s my plan.

Today for breakfast: Zucchini Bread and a tall glass of milk!

Not zucchini oatmeal but the real deal, and guess what it’s good for you!

I have been craving zucchini bread for about a week now.  I decided to fulfil my craving instead of chasing it.  I made him last night for my breakfast treat today.  Here is how I did it:

  • 1.5 c brown rice flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder (heaping one)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 c agave nectar
  • 1 c shredded zucchini (skin on)
  • 1/4 c light olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces (I like big chunks)

I mixed the dry ingredients separate from the wet ones and then combined the two.  I folded in the walnuts and put it all into a greased (bottom and 1/4 way up the sides) loaf pan (~8″x 4″x 2″) and baked it in my little convection oven at 350 degrees F for about 30-35 min (or until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean).

If you decide to give it a go, please do not eat him until the next day.  He needs to meld a bit and develop.  Quick breads are always better the next day!  If you eat him warm or even the same day it will not be the same.  The texture and flavor will be compromised.

The result was a moist, not overly sweet zucchini bread with a more delicate crumb.  It really satisfied!

I actually had half the amount shown with a tall glass of skim milk and have no regrets!  Sometimes when you mess with a good thing (like moms original zucchini bread recipe) and try to make it healthy, the result is disappointing, but not this time.

Craving taken care of, now off to my run!

Have a great morning!

Talk to you soon!

Today is my cardio day.  It was a good one because I got to go for a run on my own!  I didn’t have dogs begging to go (which makes me feel bad when I don’t take them, they are too little to run too far a distance so I usually walk them for my warm up.), or negotiations to make with my three-year old to get out the door.  I just got to go!

It was cool this morning.  Perfect running weather!  I love running in the fall.  It is my favorite time of year and it feels like it’s on its way.  I started with my five-minute walk to warm up, then I stretched, and ran!  I ran for 50 minutes today!  No pain!  Only some tightness in one hip (my good one) but other than that it felt great!

For breakfast I had oatmeal, but this time with a twist.  Yesterday I kept thinking that a zucchini bread type oatmeal would be good but I was too hungry in the morning to experiment with it.  I did not want to have crummy oatmeal and still be hungry if it did not turn out so well.  🙂

I was looking at blogs yesterday and saw that ohsheglows had posted the very same thing!  What luck!  Now I had a recipe to work with.  Here is how I did mine:

  • 1/3 c rolled oats
  • 1 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 c finely grated zucchini
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • dash salt
  • sprinkling of pecans
  • sprinkling of raisins
  • drizzle of amber agave nectar

I combined the oats, cinnamon, salt, and unsweetened milk and cooked it on the stove untill it was slightly thick and bubbly (The smell of this alone made me think of those sugar-cinnamon covered roasted almonds at christmas time in the mall!  Intoxicating!)

Then I added the zucchini  and cooked it a bit more until it was the consistency that I liked.  I poured it into the bowl (It looked like zucchini bread batter!) and topped it off with the pecans and raisins.  I drizzled the whole thing with agave nectar!

What a treat!  Talk about voluminous.  It was very filling and satisfying, and will show up in my oatmeal bowl again!  Don’t you just love the pretty green flecks in it?!

I hope you are having a great morning!

Talk soon!

Good Monday morning to you!

I got a good start to my week this morning with a circuit workout.  Todays circuit choice: Gabby Reeces Group Circuit Workout 13!

GROUP CIRCUIT WORKOUT 13

EQUIPMENT
DB=Dumbbell
SB=Stability Ball
MB=Medicine ball

WORKLOAD
3 Rounds
60 Seconds Per Exercise
10-15 Seconds Rest In-Between Each Exercise
1 Minute Rest In-Between Each Round

EXERCISES

  1. Plank
  2. Jumping jax
  3. Spiderman w/kick
  4. DB Squat
  5. DB or KB Side lunge
  6. Split squat, single arm row
  7. 1 legged leg extension, arms out
  8. Bicep curl, shoulder press-independent
  9. Straight leg dead lift
  10. Side leg open & close
  11. SB sit ups
  12. DB squat to shoulder press

It was a good one as always!

For breakfast…Oatmeal!  Banana, dates, pecans, flax seeds, millet and pepitas!  So yummy!  I had it before my workout.

Afterwards, I needed a snack of greek yogurt, honey and dried blueberries!  I love keeping the berries in the refrigerator.  It makes them cold and chewy!  Yum!

Now I need to get some things together for my dogs and daughters overnight stay with grandma and grandpa tonight!  I have errands to run, a bay window to stain, a deck to stain, a lawn to mow, and a doctor’s appointment tomorrow.  Maybe I can squeeze a walk or run in too!  We will see.  If nothing else a run all by myself in the AM!  What a treat!

I hope you are having a wonderful Monday morning!

Talk soon!