Blueberry Muffins: First Try!

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I’m slowly getting back into my groove. This is the first baking I’ve done in a while, excluding the boxed cake I mentioned a while back.

I’d never actually made blueberry muffins from scratch before. This recipe was quick and easy. I liked that. The muffin tops were flat because I’d tried a commenter’s suggestion to add sugar to the top mid-bake. Um, no. Don’t bother. I much rather would have tall muffins instead of the little bit of extra sugar. Live and learn.

Otherwise, the muffins are moist and chewy, and are now half-gone. So, it was a success. Next time, I’m thinking of trying a different recipe to see how they compare.

Enjoy! 🙂

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Air-Fryer: First Try!

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Please note, this is not a sponsored post. But, if Phillips wants to send me some attachments or ingredients to try more recipes, I wouldn’t stop them, and of course, I’d tell you all about it!

I was delighted to receive a used air fryer as a gift recently. I like fried foods, but don’t eat fried food all that much anymore.  However, some things just taste better fried. I’ve been interested in air-frying for about a year or so, but hadn’t had a chance to try it out.

As I understand it, Air-Frying seems to mostly operate on convection, though it can produce a crisp as well. To test it out, I tried a recipe straight from the source: Crispy Potato Skin Wedges, from pg.4 of the Avance Recipes book.

To make a long story short, I wasn’t entirely enamoured with how this particular recipe turned out, but I am going to give the fryer a few more trials. I had made some modifications to the recipe, which may have contributed to the less-than-desireable results. In the process of taste-testing the results, I also discovered that there is also one ingredient that I needed to modify, but didn’t.

 

Picture Key:

  1. After boiling, cooling, & dicing: coating the wedges with oil and seasonings
  2. After air frying

 

Modifications:

I used olive oil because I don’t have any canola oil & I thought olive would taste better.

I used Eastern potatoes because they were on sale, and the Russet potatoes were regular price: In retrospect, I think the Russets would have been better for producing a crisp, since they have thicker skins.

 

Ingredient note:

This recipe uses 1 1/2 teaspoons of paprika: I like paprika, I’ve had it before. But 1 1/2 teaspoons is just too much for my system. The fries tasted good, but paprika is a laxative. It can cause nausea and heartburn as well… not things I need in my life.

Next time, I will either cut back on the paprika, have them plain, or give Mrs. Dash a try.

 

Thoughts on using the fryer:

It was very easy to use. Most of the work is in the prep. The oil went on the food, not in the fryer. All I had to do after pre-heating was drop the potatoes into the basket & set the temp & timer.

Pre-heating only takes 3 minutes. The prep time was longer, so I ended up setting & re-setting the timer several times. Next time, I will set the pre-heat timer for longer.

On the analog model, you basically have to wait the pre-heat timer out if you finish prep beforehand. You can’t force the dial like you can with tabletop analog timers.

You should know the machine gets very hot. It heated up my kitchen, which was fine on a cool day, but important to note for warmer days.

I used an extra large trivet to sit the machine on to protect the counter-top.

 

Thoughts on the results:

The fries did taste good, but they seemed under-done in the center, and not crispy enough on the outside. Since it is the crispyness that I am interested in, I plan to try different approaches to see if this is my error, or the limitations of the machine.

 

Enjoy! 🙂

 

Fakin’ Bacon

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I was never one of those bacon-obsessed people as an omnivore. Frankly, I don’t get it, and it has nothing to do with being vegetarian. Sure, you can enjoy or even love a certain food, but to the point of obsession? Nah.

I haven’t had actual bacon in decades, and while not having a substitute was not a huge deal, it would’ve been nice when recreating certain recipes. Soy-based bacons are pretty ubiquitous in my experience. But soy-based meat substitutes do not work for me due to allergies, so I get a little touchy when soy producers try to edge Quorn out of the market. It’s one of the few substitutes I actually can eat, and not being able to find it has become a problem in recent years.

So, you can imagine my delight when gf showed up with a surprise package of Quorn bacon for me to try.  Some women like chocolates… well, I like those too… but I also like allergy-safe special treats, and this certainly qualifies.

 

Un-boxing:

They basically looked and smelled a little bit like cold-cut bologna. During the process of un-boxing and cooking the pieces, I basically came to the conclusion that they were not trying for American-style bacon. If anything, it’s vaguely similar to Canadian bacon, so let’s get that out of the way now.

 

Method 1: Indoor Grill

First, I tried grilling them on the indoor grill for about 4 minutes.

Result: Grilled bologna-type product that tastes like bacon. Not bad, but disappointing. Bacon should crunch. I decided I’d try frying the leftovers.

 

Method 2: Frying

*First, I heated up some grapeseed oil on high in a small/medium frying pan.

*Then, I fried the bacon for about 2-3 minutes total, turning them over about halfway through. I used tongs for this.

*Then, I let them de-grease using a paper towel placed on top of a plate.

*This smoked up my whole kitchen. You should know that, in case that sort of thing bothers you.

 

Conclusion:

While I did get some parts to crunch up when frying, it’s more like Canadian bacon overall. I was hoping for American-style bacon. I was hoping for the crunch. I didn’t get it.

As far as the taste goes, it did taste like bacon when fried. I did like it. It was good. It just wasn’t what I had in mind.

Based on the flexibility and taste, I’m thinking it will probably be good in a breakfast sandwich or grilled cheese. I tried it in a wrap, and it worked well in that context.

 

Note:

Obviously, I wasn’t compensated by Quorn in any way to provide my opinion. But, if they’d like to compensate me, crunchy Quorn bacon would be most welcome. 😉

 

 

Wordless Wednesday: Camp Breakfast

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In other words, how many different ways can you make eggs, veggies, and faux breakfast sausages? I did not cook at all during this trip. Everything pictured was made by the gf. More photos to come! 🙂

Wordless Wednesday: First Successful Omelette!

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I know, it’s just an omelette. But this was the first one I made that actually came out right, and I was very excited.

Two eggs, a touch of nutritional yeast, and a handful of shredded Italian 4 cheese for the filling.

Rosemary and Cheese Bagel

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Like I said, quick and easy this time of year.

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Rosemary and Cheese Bagel

Utensils:

A pair of scissors

An oven

A cake pan

Cooking spray

Aluminum foil

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Ingredients:

Dried rosemary leaves, to taste

4 slices American cheese

Nutritional Yeast to taste, not too much

Gouda to taste

Pecorino Romano to taste, not too much

(Did I add Italian Seasoning? Let’s just say I did.)

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Directions:

1. Preheat oven to Broil/HI if electric. If not, hopefully you can figure it out. Regular broilers are tricky. This would take far less time under one of those, and could easily burn, so be careful. You should also find another way to set these up instead of using a cake pan.

2. Line your cake pan with foil and spray it. Slice your bagel carefully, and place in pan. Then, place one slice of American cheese over each half.

3. Dice your Gouda. Set little piles on top of each bagel.

4. Sprinkle nutritional yeast, Pecorino Romano, and cut up rosemary leaves on Gouda.

5. Place one slice of American cheese over each bagel. Add Italian seasoning to top, sparingly.

6. Place in oven for about 5 minutes or less. Switch to LOW when needed. This only took about 5 minutes to cook when I did it.

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Enjoy! 🙂

Overnight Crockpot Oatmeal

Oatmeal in Crockpot

After some consideration, I decided to not to pursue further nutrition appointments. While I was grateful for the meeting, too many things just weren’t sitting right. For starters: “I’m a vegetarian, why are you telling me to consider eating meat?”  

In short, I just felt like I wasn’t being listened to. Though my opinion may change, I felt it was best to go with my gut. Still, the mandate to eat more protein falls within my personal goals, so I’m going to continue on that path, in my own time and with my own stride.

Oatmeal is one of my favorite breakfasts, but I rarely eat it because it requires effort in the morning. I tried instant, and it’s good, if you don’t mind flakes in hot water. First thing in the morning, I don’t have the presence of mind to let it set. Which, is sad, I know, but know thyself…

I’ve done eggs on weekends or prepped them, but how many eggs can one woman eat? Boxed cereal tastes fine to me, but isn’t really protein-rich, nor particularly healthy. Oatmeal. The perfect solution. So, I looked it up. I have no connection to this writer, nor am I a regular reader there.

This is quite possibly the easiest recipe ever. Just remember to buy STEEL-CUT OATS and you’re good to go. I have a 3 quart crock and it worked fine. I didn’t add the fruit- just oatmeal and a dash of salt, follow directions, and wake up to warm fuzzies. Though, I did add a few fresh blueberries after the fact, and that was pretty yummy. I did not eat the crusty parts on the side & would not recommend them. This picture was taken after an 8 hour cook time. With the 7 hour, you end up with a creamier version and more usable food. After the first batch, I refrigerated it and microwaved each 1 cup serving for a minute. That worked perfectly.

(Note: the picture was taken after it had cooled down, because I don’t have the presence of mind to take a picture in the morning, either!;)

Enjoy!

Spicy Scrambled Eggs and Stuff

Scrambled Eggs in Fry Pan

It turns out I can eat scrambled eggs. Who knew?

After trying the egg white sandwich, I felt brave enough to make my own scrambled eggs, but my version uses more cheese. Though I’ve technically been lacto-ovo for years, mostly, the eggs have just been in baked or processed goods and the dairy was just cheese & processed goods. I used to like scrambled eggs, but after years of going without, the concept presented a challenge. I tried them again because I was told to, but as it turns out, I still like them. With cheese.

I was told to incorporate eggs for protein. I used to be better at this sort of thing. Between allergies and life, I decided not to care about it for a while. But, you can only do that for so long before your body gives you a heads-up. Now, I’m trying to care about protein again, but it’s challenging. I’d prefer to stick to vegetable sources as much as possible, but until I have a clearer understanding of my options, I’m starting off with the recommendations I was given, which fall within the lacto-ovo diet. I can’t say I haven’t thought about stopping before I even begin. Change can be difficult, especially in the midst of more change. Can’t I just sit in the corner and eat my pasta? Please?

It turns out my favorite foods are a little carb-tastic. Not like I didn’t know this… but, you know how it is. I will always love Italian food. I just need to find other dishes to love, too.

Then, there’s the whole weight/exercise issue, which sent me into the fetal position for a few days while I sorted myself out. I have trouble wrapping my head around walking for fitness. I just do. It’s a mental block- one that’s easily removed, but in the midst of change, I am really looking for something familiar to cling to. So, in place of walking, I’ve been vigorously cleaning. This makes every muscle sore, so I can only assume it is a good beginning. Plus, you can admire the results immediately. The day before, I rode a stationary bike for 3 songs, and I am looking forward to the 4th, which is a favorite. This is a big step, considering how long it’s been. I want to start lifting my little handweights again, but thought I’d save that for another day.

I also started using a food tracker that produces reports. The reports have helped me visualize exactly what I’m getting from my choices. I’ve only been at it seriously for two days, so I don’t have much to say about this yet.

So… progress. Nothing earth-shattering, but a few satisfying baby steps towards a larger goal.

Here’s the scrambled egg recipe. It was pretty basic, but very tasty!

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Spicy Scrambled Eggs:

Ingredients: 

3 Eggs

Diced Green Bell Pepper: About a cup

Shredded Monterey Jack with Jalepeno pepper flakes: About a cup

Olive Oil Spray

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Directions:

1. Spray the fry pan.

2. Crack open eggs & place in pan.

3. Add in other ingredients. Wisk.

4. Fry them & stir until they’re done.

5. Serve. (This made about 2 servings).

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*Caliente!*  Enjoy!

The Creative Kitchen Challenge… Sort Of: Supportive Sandwich

Egg White Sandwich

This post is inspired by The Creative Kitchen Challenge, the brainchild of Things My Belly Likes. For more info, please check out her post, which explains everything in full detail. Every day this week, M-F, she will be cooking with ingredients that weird her out. She has invited anyone interested to join in on the fun! In her words:

“You should do one thing that scares you every day (according to the late, great Eleanor Roosevelt). Today I’m challenging all the food bloggers, cooks and epicurists out there to cook one thing that scares them every day. Well, every day for a week at least…”

Her challenge couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ve just been told that I need to start cooking with ingredients that scare me… or, that I haven’t used before, which also scares me. Eggs weird me out the most. I can pretend they aren’t there when I eat cake, pasta, and bread, because they are baked in and generally don’t provoke stomach problems. But, when I try to rock an egg-centric recipe, my stomach protests. Is it an allergy? An intolerance? What is it? I asked the nutritionist about it, & she recommended egg whites, asserting it’s not an allergy. I remained unconvinced. But, banking on the fact that she’s trained in this stuff and I’m not, I decided to try them at home, where I felt safe enough to experiment with this sort of thing.

So, fear factor? Check.

Cooked by you? Uncheck. While the sandwich is, in fact, homeade, I didn’t make it. This is what I’m calling my supportive sandwich, because it was made special for me as a show of support during this scary adventure.

What’s in it? You can tell this was made with me in mind. Just look at that beautiful toasted Italian roll. Then, there’s the little bit of cheddar mixed in with the egg whites, and some green bell pepper and mushroom, topped with a little black pepper. Yum!

Verdict: Taste-wise: delicious. Digestion: To be determined.