Tag Archives: cooking

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

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?

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.)

Help! I need a couple years therapy, and I need to be done tomorrow.

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Sibling rivalry.  Why is it still happening when you are supposed “grown-ups”?  My sister is making me crazy.  Well, crazi-er

If you’ve read my blog for awhile, you know I have a weight problem.  Yeah.  I try not to make my blog about that, but it comes up.  I mean, unfortunately, it’s a big part of my life.  A “big” part… get it?  Hahaha… okay, it’s late.  Gimme a break.

I have a sister who is a couple years older than me.  (I had another sister, a younger one… she passed away a few years back.  I miss her soooo bad.)  So this is probably wrong, but one thing I miss about her is that she was there to complain to about my other sister.  If that makes sense. Well, my “big” sister is driving me nuts.  Part of the problem is that we live in the same town and go to the same church, so we have sort of the same circle of friends. This is not a good thing.  I really, really need a new group.

Anyway, a few months back, a couple friends of mine (of ours) started a sort of “weight loss Bible study”.   Most of us in this group have a weight problem… except my sister.  Who is skinny.  Seriously – I think she wears a size 2.  She’s sick.  Or makes me sick… Anyway… I really don’t know why she is in this study, except that she probably doesn’t want me to be getting closer to these friends than she is.  I wish I was making this up!  I mean, I don’t think she consciously thinks of this stuff, but she simply has to be involved in everything.  It’s ridiculous. Every week it gets worse… that is, I get crankier and crankier with the stuff she says and just the fact of her being there… in my weight loss group.  In her size 2 pants.  And being cranky is what a Bible study is all about, right?  So then I have to feel guilty about my attitude…

This week she decided to show us how to make her kind of food… she is on this “all raw” “vegan” diet… yeah.  Whatever.  Poor thing just has such a food problem, yeah?!

I just want to figure out how to get through a day without eating a dozen cookies or a pint of Ben and Jerrys.

She does NOT get it.  And I can’t figure out how to explain it to her.

Getting ready for a pirate (of the Caribbean) party! Awesome pirate flag/jolly roger cake

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Kiki’s birthday is Sunday, and since her current obsession is Pirates of the Caribbean (or, more specifically, Jack Sparrow and Will Turner!) that is her party theme.

I really needed to not spend as much money on her party as I have in the past, (I tend to go a little crazy) so we scoured thrift stores and discount places for the things we needed… and did we luck out!  We found all kinds of stuff that looks like treasure and other piratey things.  Then we happened to have some other stuff in the storage unit (like dress-up jewelry) that we were actually able to find…  I am going to make a pirate sail, – a Black Pearl sail, of course!  – and if you can believe it, I actually found a black sheet at the thrift store!  How likely is that to happen??

So, the table is set…

(ignore the rubber bands on the top of the candleabra… I’m trying to ‘tweak’ it a bit…)

Then there is the cake.  It rocks!!  I did an amazing job, if I do say so myself. 🙂

I went the lazy route and used a (modified) cake mix, so of course it wanted to fall apart… unlike a good scratch-made cake… oh well. It worked.

Here was my inspiration ~

So I covered the cake first with buttercream icing:

Then fondant ~

added the details ~

put silver lustre dust on the coins ~

Pretty awesome, huh??!

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

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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!

Birthdays, Cake pops, and how to make a square cake look round without even trying

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Tomorrow we are celebrating both my husband’s and my dad’s birthdays (they are just one day apart).  My husband is a cake lover extraodinaire.   Kiki and I share this love, although certainly not to the same extent!

My extended family doesn’t like cake.  Freaks.  So… they can eat flowers out of the garden – just leaves more cake for us, eh? I think my sis is bringing a pie or something… whatev.

So I made German Chocolate Cake, which is the cake lover’s #1 Cake of choice.  My mom had this recipe for “Upside Down German Chocolate Cake”, and it sounded easy as well as yummy.  Okay, it sounded wierd, because all I could think of was that upside down pineapple cake thingie which I think is hideous but this is nothing like that….  I thought Alan wouldn’t go for it since he’s all about the gooey coconut/pecan frosting, but he said it sounded good so Yay!  Because it was pretty easy, and none of that whole cooking the frosting bit, and the cake layers sliding off… yeah, except I am kinda brain-dead today, so when it was time to turn the cake upside down I forgot to  loosen the edges, so the entire outer edge of the cake stayed behind in the pan.  Juh-eeeeze, right?

Yeah.  So, I “fixed” it.  Uh-huh.  That’s what I did.  I stuck all those outside edges on it and glued it together with some icing glaze.  My husband, ever so gracious (okay, usually not, but I guess since I was making him cake he was feeling nicer than usual) and he said it looked amazing – like an old-fashioned donut, lol!  Also, he got to eat some of the scraps and he said it tastes fantastic, so there.  The weirdest thing is that the cake was baked in a 9in. square, and now it’s round.  Go figure.

Then there’s the cake pops.  He’s been jonesing for some of these ever since my sister made them for my nephew’s graduation party… so I made him some of these as well.  I only used half the frosting it called for because the ones I’ve tasted before are almost too sweet and too gooey.  They came out really good… at least he says so!  I made them with Red Velvet cake, ’cause that’s his next favorite.

I just used a cake mix, because really, you’re gonna mush it up so what the heck, right?  So you crumble it all into a bowl…

…stir in some icing….

melt some of those candy coating things…

And there ya go!  Yummy!!

I hope tomorrow will be a good birthday!