Tag Archives: baking

On a sugar fast…. and I miss my mochas!

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big city mocha

My daughter talked me into going on a “sugar fast” with her. We decided on one month, no “added” or “obvious” sugar… that is, we are still eating fruits, and things like regular bread that turn into sugar quickly in your body; just nothing that is blatant sugar, like cookies and ice cream. Which pretty much eliminates most of my favorite foods. My favorite breakfast isn’t eggs and bacon, it’s a scone or a muffin… and I’d rather have a frozen yogurt than a sandwich for lunch. So it’s been… different, to say the least. In some ways it hasn’t been as hard as I’d thought. But I’m running out of ideas for making breakfast (cold cereal is out as most of it, even plain old Chex, has added sugar) no pancakes, no French toast, and that’s what I normally make. Even my corn meal mush is out, as we serve it with butter and sugar. I’m getting kind of sick of eggs, but it’s the 20th, so I can do this!

I’ve pretty much eliminated snacks and desserts, and since that’s my weakness, you’d think I’d have lost some weight… right? Right?! Nope. Not a pound. 20 days of no sugar and nothing. Okay, to be totally honest, it’s 19 days – I  took a day off for Mother’s Day! Still. I think I must have the crappiest metabolism ever. I don’t eat that much! Honest! Why can’t I lose weight?? On the plus side, however, is the fact that my legs are feeling less sore than they have been.. eliminating that whole sugar-causes-inflammation business, I guess. So that’s good.

But by far, the thing I have missed the most is mochas. I really really REALLY want one. Now. This very moment!!

…..sigh…..

Thanksgiving ~ Family, Friends, Food, Frivolity…Fractiousness, Franticness,Freaking out….

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Well, here it is… the first pie I have ever made. Well, besides ice cream pies; I do those fairly regularly and quite often on request. But, this is the first time I ever made a non-graham-or-other-cookie-type-crust with an actual pie-ish filling. Which is weird when you consider all the baking I do… but somehow pie crust seemed like something I’d never be able to do correctly. And on my first attempt, I was right… I did up a ‘test’ crust and it was kind of… well, rubbery. How did that happen? So I tried another recipe, and I think it’s going to be good… I didn’t do a test on again, but I did have a few scraps left over so I baked them separately and they were pretty good. It will be interesting to eat this tomorrow and see how it is! Geez, if it was cookies I could have eaten some already, so I’d know if they are worthy of being shared.

The other item I made for tomorrow’s celebration was silly rice crispy turkeys. Which were way harder than they sounded in the instructions.

Alan’s comment was something along the lines of “You do realize there is no longer a houseful of small children running around, right? It’s all teens and adults?” He’s just sore because he wanted me to make a Chocolate Pecan Coconut Tart we’d found a recipe for, and after the whole pie stress I said I’d save that one for Christmas… it just seemed like too much effort. Kind of like why I bought 2 rolls of Pilsbury cresent rolls instead of my originally intended homemade rolls.. because I’ve never made yeast bread before, either, and I guess I only felt up to one new possible disaster!

I haven’t been home with my own family for Thanksgiving in several years… we usually travel to see my husband’s side of the family – but this year we simply can’t afford that, and I am actually really looking forward to spending the day with my family here, even though it’s meant more work on my part!

We have all the extended family plus we always invite a few friends who don’t have other family or other places to go, so it’s a lot of fun. Well, so I have heard! I am excited to be a part of it this year.

Mostly I am hoping not to get sick, as I have been feeling lightheaded, dizzy, and just slightly ‘ukkk’ for the last couple days…

                                    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours

I know why America has an obesity epidemic (Hint: It’s not from 24oz sodas)

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I’ve been watching the news lately, far more often than I’d like due to my current living situation. This business about the – is it the mayor of New York? – (okay, obviously I watch the news without really paying attention!) anyway, the guy who wants to outlaw big sodas. Because that is going to make everyone suddenly thinner. Right.

Haven’t they  …”they” … been trying this? No more happy meals… no toys, anyway. Put nutritional info in the fast food stores.  Outlaw ‘supersizing’…. blah blah blah. And we are just getting fatter.

On the surface, sure, we are fat because we eat too much. It’s simple science… if you consume more calories than you burn, you get fat. Duh. Also, our processed foods, with all the chemicals and crap in them, are far worse than the “bad” foods our parents or our grandparents could chow down on if they were the sort to overeat.  But come on!! Do you really think that if you take away our soda we’ll get thinner??  As if I can’t buy soda at the grocery store and chug it down? I can honestly say, as an obese person, NONE of my weight is from sugary sodas. None. I don’t ever drink any soda but diet, and that only occasionally. So what’s my problem, huh? You are going to have to outlaw Ben and Jerrys, and cookies (homemade, so I guess you have to outlaw baking.)  Besides, how long have these items been in existance, and how long have we been so fat? Do you really think the problem is the food??  Geez. 

Maybe the problem is WHY we are eating so much. Why is a small soda, or one cookie, or a small serving of ice cream not enough? Think about that for awhile. Do you know? Do ya?

Okay, I will tell you what I think. (and as an obese person, with heavy friends, I think I’m qualified to tell you) We are freakin’ depressed. We are a nation of unhappy, unfulfilled humans, and we are cramming ourselves full of anything, anything, to try to get some satisfaction. Don’t believe me? Why do you think that even in this crappy economy, when so many of us are unemployed or underemployed that spending hasn’t gone down? Because some of you – instead of overeating – are satiating your needs with the junk you buy instead of the junk you eat. You know who you are – you look better on the outside than I do, but you are as unhappy and empty as I am. But maybe your shelves and your closets are fat.  Why do you think more poor people are fat than the wealthier folks? Because we can’t afford to buy nice stuff, or to try to make ourselves happy by a lovely dinner in a nice restaurant… so we ‘fill our needs’ with junk food. Because even tho I have very little money, I usually have enough for a candy bar.

Think about it. The farther our society gets from God… from living the right way … for Him, f0r other people, for our families, for our spouses and our children, from having people treat us right because we are unselfish and place others first…. I mean, when my husband is a jerk, I head for the pantry. When I feel like I have no friends, I always have the food.  On and on it goes.  Have you ever found yourself shopping for housewares when your home is full to the brim?  Or buying a new outfit when you have brand-new items in your closet that you will probably never wear? How many purses do you own? How many cats do you have??

We are looking for fulfillment. We are looking for relationship, for acceptance, for love. When we don’t find it in the right place, we try to find it in the wrong places… sex, drugs, stuff, food. Until we figure out how to get ourselves on track, to love ourselves for who we are without needing the acceptance of the other humans around us, until we ask the Lord to fill us up, to be our sufficiency, our fulfillment, we are going to be fat. No matter how much soda the government takes away.

Having vegan friends is really a downer when it comes to parties

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So tomorrow is Super Bowl Sunday.  Sure, I have to work until 5pm (I am sooo annoyed about this – but that’s another story) but we thought it would be nice to invite some friends over to watch the game… then we started going down the list.  I have complained before how too many of our friends are also friends of my sister, right?  Friends who she has pulled over to the Dark Side known as “being vegan”. Anyhow, we were thinking of the snacks we wanted to make for the game – you know, the usual stuff; cheese dip with tortilla chips, little smokies in BBQ sauce, chip and dip, cookies. Crap food. Party food. Stuff most of our current friends won’t eat. Or, stuff that we’d feel guilty eating in front of them.  As my  husband said “they’d just think ‘gees, no wonder those two can’t lose any weight'”.  I am thinking that must mean the problem is… us.  Could it really be?? I suppose if we didn’t eat poorly we wouldn’t need to feel guilty about it. But, honestly, what kind of Super Bowl snacks do most people have?  Isn’t it fat-laden, meaty items? It’s not just us, right? 

It’s bad enough that the last two parties we’ve been to with this particular group of friends were full of vegan/not extremely tasty treats. Not horrible stuff, but not fantastic either. I guess I have two choices: become vegan myself, or make new friends. I wonder which choice would be more painful?

I’m having an Epiphany! (of the Feast kind, not the thought kind…)

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(… although, I could probably use one of the thought kinds…)

An epiphany is the sudden realization or comprehension of the (larger) essence or meaning of something. The term is used in either a philosophical or literal sense to signify that the claimant has “found the last piece of the puzzle and now sees the whole picture,” or has new information or experience, often insignificant by itself, that illuminates a deeper or foundational frame of reference.

So, yeah, I could totally do with one of those!  Sadly, that’s not what I’m having today.  What I am having is the churchy kind, the last day of the 12 Days of Christmas. January 6th. This is a day that some Christians around the world traditionally observe as the day the 3 Kings (or Wisemen) came to visit baby Jesus and brought him gifts. In some places, this is the day gifts are exchanged rather than on Christmas Day. Some people do a little something on each of the 12 days.

Over the years since I’ve been married, we have observed this day more or less depending on what else was going on in our lives.  We’ve never made it as big a deal as Christmas, but some years we did have an extra gift on this day, read the Bible story of the wisemen, and one year I even baked a King’s Cake. Yeah, only one year.  But I always want to make one! Neither of us really had this day as a tradition in our family, and sometimes I think my main reason for celebrating it is to extend Christmas for a little longer, because it’s my favorite day of the year.   Also, to put off the inevitable mess of “packing away Christmas” for another year.

This year it’s probably less of a deal than ever, as we’re still at my parents house and I’m just not in the mood.  The most that we’re doing is not putting the tree away until tomorrow. Whoopee.

Maybe I should put my energies into having the other kind of Epiphany instead.

Pride goeth before a fall

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OhMyGosh I cannot quit eating!!  All through the weeks leading up to Christmas I was feeling so proud of myself because I was NOT overeating. I baked cookies, and gave them away. The ones that did stay I was able to restrain myself from.  I did soooo well. Until the actual day of Christmas!  Well, actually, even then.  It really didn’t get bad until New Year’s Eve.  I have no idea what happened.  Maybe the stress of “I have to make Resolutions now” or something??  No clue. But, it all has fallen apart. I eat and eat and eat… most of it not good stuff.

Good thing my mom bought Kiki and me a WII Fit for Christmas… I better get busy. Get my body busy, instead of my mouth!

 

Yesterday was a remarkable day – new jeans and all

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Honestly! First, I went to the store to buy a new pair of jeans. Which, of course, is a despised sort of thing for me to do. But as my old pair was ripping in the inner thigh, it had to be done.  Yeah, that’s right.  I only buy new pants when I absolutely am in danger of ripping out of an old pair – don’t judge!

Anyhow, the good news is this – the pair I bought was a size smaller!  Yay me!  Better yet, I also bought myself a new shirt – and it came from the non-fat-lady section of the store!!  That’s right, I got to buy clothing in the normal-sized-clothes area! Sure, it’s a t-shirt, so it’s stretchy… possibly a blouse type of deal would not fit me, but hey – I am gonna celebrate the XL, anyway!

(this is where I do the happy dance…)

Then the 2nd amazing thing happened.  I made dinner.  From scratch. 

Okay, for a whole lot of people – woman and wives especially – that’s like “whoopdi freakin doo” I suppose… but for me?  I don’t cook.  I despise cooking.  Baking, sure.  I love to bake and I do it alot.  But not cooking.  The “whys” are long and involved, and that might be a post for another day… suffice it to say it’s a rare day when I make dinner.  When I do, I have a couple things I like to make.  The one I made last night is “Dinner in a Pumpkin’.  Yeah, it’s an autumn kinda thing.  I really like it.  And I think my family did too!

Taking a poll: Do you share your recipes?

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I am interested in how you all feel about this.  I never really gave it much thought; I mean, in my family, if you wanted a recipe for something, you asked and it was given.  I had heard of people who don’t give out their recipes, but I think I didn’t really believe these people existed – like, that was just in sitcoms or something!  I mean, what’s the big deal, right? 

Okay, for the sake of argument, I can see if you are some famous chef with a restaurant and your livelihood depends on people paying to come eat your meals that you have painstakingly created, maybe you shouldn’t give out your recipes.  Although there will always be people like me who’d rather pay to eat in your restaurant than cook it myself.  Not to mention some people can’t cook worth a crap (see: me) so they wouldn’t be able to make it good anyhow…

I have to admit (see above) I can’t cook.  I can bake; in fact I am pretty darn good at it.  I make great cookies and pretty good other dessert-y stuff.  I can even do really well at some breakfast stuff like pancakes and french toast, because that’s actually more like baking.  But I can’t make a meal decently.  My idea of a good home cooked meal for my family is grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup, or maybe spaghetti with jar sauce.  Yeah, I’m lame. And I’m okay with that.  Actually, my piece de resistance is “Dinner in a Pumpkin” and it’s that time of year, isn’t it?!  Anyway, even though baking is my “thing” I will share any cookie recipe you ask me for, and I will even give you hints or suggestions that have helped me make that recipe better.  I have a friend who is a fabulous chef, who is from another country.  If you ask her for a recipe, she will not only agree to share, but she’ll invite you over to eat so she can show you exactly how to prepare that particular dish! 

So, fast forward to today.  We had a big extended-family get together, and it turns out that one of my relatives (married into the family, not born into) refuses to share recipes.  With anyone.  Not even family.  Not even with her mother-in-law, who is a pretty good cook and is apparently pretty annoyed with the situation!  I asked her to explain her reasons, because I seriously can’t understand why you wouldn’t share.  Basically she said because they are her recipes, (like they got passed down from her grandma, I guess not out of a cookbook, altho I am guessing granny got them out of a cookbook at some point… she admitted she doesn’t really know.  I mean, reeeeally)  and she doesn’t want anyone else to be able to make her special stuff. Because then she wouldn’t be the one making the special stuff. Or, because they’d make it wrong then feed it to her when she came over and she’d be disappointed in it.  Something like that.  Honestly, it just sounded really – selfish.  Or, as another family member put it –  “Geez, you’re like a little kid sitting in a corner with all your toys hidden behind you, who wants to play with the other kids’ toys but just yells “MINE” when anyone wants to play with yours.”  Lol.  Exactly!

So, what about you?  Do you share, or not?  If not, why not?  Can you give me a better reason than selfishness?

(I stole this pic off the internet.  I give credit to – whomever credit is due.  Thank you.)

Recipe ~ Upside-down German Chocolate Cake

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This recipe is from the 2002 Taste of Home Annual Recipe book.  It was super easy to make, and my husband said it is the only way he ever wants me to make German Chocolate cake again – it was that good!  (he also said to be sure I ‘accidentally’ rip off the outer edge then glue it back on with chocolate frosting, lol!)

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup butter

2/3 cup pecan halves (I used a little more than this)

2/3 cup flaked coconut

1/4 cup evaporated milk

CAKE:

1/3 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 package (4 oz.) German sweet chocolate, melted

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1&1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 cup buttermilk

~~~

In a saucepan over low heat, cook and stir brown sugar and butter until sugar is dissolved and butter is melted.  Spread into a greased 9-inch square baking pan.  Sprinkle with pecans and coconut.  Drizzle with evaporated milk; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in chocolate, eggs and vanilla.  Combine dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk.  Pour over topping in pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.  Cool 5 minutes before (loosening cake from pan edges and!!) inverting onto a serving plate.  Serve with vanilla ice cream.

So!  There it is.  Super easy, super yummy.  Make it and enjoy!