Archive for the ‘cooking’ Category


Double-Chocolate-Chip-Swirl-Cookies- from Sally's Baking Addiction Blog

Double-Chocolate-Chip-Swirl-Cookies- from Sally’s Baking Addiction Blog

Let’s Play Pretend

You’re a nutritionist.

You’re a nutritionist that’s advising clients about how to choose healthy and healthier foods when they’re out and they have very limited options. You teach them about basic ingredients; whole ingredients and whole foods; which ingredients are all right when refined and which aren’t; which ingredients to always avoid; how to read ingredient labels; how to prepare meal plans and meals. How to shop for groceries.

Your client knows that fruits and veggies are the best choices. Include them in as many meals as possible. Find fats and oils from as many natural sources as possible. Avoid low-fat and low-calorie labels. Avoid sugar-free labels and artificial sweeteners. Avoid artificial dyes and high fructose corn syrup. 100% whole grains. Real ingredients. Real food. As much as possible.

All in preparation for how to be able to choose between poor options, and when to refrain from any options at all; and when it’s not healthy to refrain from making a choice.

The Day Comes

One day they’re at a party and there’s a cookie table. Let’s say it’s a political party. An election, even. At the back of the table, the fruit and veggie trays are out of reach and wrapped up and not an option. Apparently the best options are for later.

There’s a plate of cookies that are simple sugar cookie. They look fabulous.

There’s one plate of cookies that are sugar cookies with caramel in the middle. Also pretty delicious looking.

There’s another plate of cookies that appear homemade, and they have some chocolate chips; in fact, these cookies have chocolate chips on one half of the cookie and white chips on the other half, but your client dislikes chocolate chips. He thinks they’re disgusting. They also have some sprinkles on top. The sprinkles aren’t completely natural or healthy, but that’s ok. It’s just sprinkles. You can flick those off if needed.

There’s another plate of cookies, but they’re clearly not homemade. They’re supposed to be pumpkin cookies with white chips, but they’re so bright orange they had to be pumped full of dye. There are fire-hot cinnamon chips in them, so hot they’ll make you gag, and Lemon War Heads and Jawbreakers on top. Clearly these cookies are vile, and not worth another look because every ingredient will make your client sick. There’s nothing natural at all in them. They’re completely toxic.

Your client walks away for a while to see what’s happening at the party, but when he comes back he notices that the cookies he really, really wanted, the sugar cookies and caramel cookies, have been completely eaten up. He was too late. All he’s left with are the chocolate-white-chocolate chip cookies and the pumpkin-nasty-ass cookies. He knows the pumpkin cookies will make him incredibly ill, and even have far too many ingredients in them that will make him sick and even have ingredients he’s allergic to… but he desperately hates chocolate chips.

So he eats the whole plate of fake pumpkin cookies stuffed with nastiness, just to avoid the chocolate chips in the chocolate chip half of the cookies.

And he’s so violently ill, he’s vomiting orange for four years and regrets every damned bite wishing he had eaten the half and half cookies.

I completely understand that cookies, on principle, are not healthy. That’s entirely the point I’m trying to make in what I hope is an obvious parallel. And I must note on a personal level that Sally’s Baking Addiction has the most bang-up amazingly awesome cookies you’ll ever bake whether you have a nutritionist or not. You’ll bake your own just so you have an awesome choice at a political party.

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I don’t get paid to write this blog. I’m not good enough. So take me at my word when I say, as a very hyper-critical caramel-in-coffee-but-I-love-it coffee drinker that this is THEBEST salted caramel… nay, caramel creamer for your coffee. 

I say this, admittedly, as someone who already enjoys Natural Bliss. It’s the only one besides pure organic cream that I can drink in my coffee without contributing to pain issues and migraines.

I was skeptical about the flavor before buying because so many caramel creamers leave a weird aftertaste. No worries. I’m not buying any other caramel creamer brands now.
COFFEE-MATE Natural Bliss Salted Caramel Creamer 

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For reals, yo. I need a new computer at home. Trying to blog stuff on my phone or Kindle is getting tedious. Voice to text is amazing but editing… sigh. Big long drawn out sigh, man. My home computer has no battery and the extension cord is unrecognized by the computer most days. It also still has that ridiculous series of cracks on the screen. I’m over it. And of course I can’t really blog from work.

I know, I know, American working mom problems, but the struggle is real. We pay bills on that thing and the kids do schoolwork on it. I try to work my slowly building home business from it too, but that’s suffering because, well, access.

I just giggled at myself because my inner child suggested starting a GoFundMe account for a new computer and then the inner pretending-to-be-and-adult part of me slapped that little girl down and put her in the corner. She’s not getting any warmed up crumb cake later for dessert.

Oh, speaking of crumb cake, people, Sally’s Baking Addiction Blog (click here, please click here, it will take you to the recipe index) just never disappoints me ever. I love her. I love her breakfast stuff. Even the cakes that you get to call breakfast. And nabbing that recipe, I just realized I forgot to put the cinnamon swirl in the middle, which was fine because it was still perfect. I even intentionally left off the drizzle because we needed something less sweet after all of the sugar we ingested over Christmas. It’s lactose free if you use Greek yogurt in place of sour cream, by the by. I used Chobani vanilla with excellent results.

Anyway, good grief, after taking the long way round as one does, here’s the recipe for the Old Fashioned Crumb Cake because as one knows, you can’t mention a recipe and then not share it. Because etiquette.

http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2015/05/08/old-fashioned-sour-cream-crumb-cake/

And now I’m wondering how a complaint about my computer at home turned into a rave about a crumb cake recipe.

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English: Common signs and symptoms of fibromya...

English: Common signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia. References fibromyalgia-symptoms.org (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I finally got my doctor to test my thyroid properly.  She did all six panels after the nurse practitioner explained to her why she should.  That’s a whole ‘nother post, but I’ll spare you.  I got the results and it came back as “normal.”  I also had her check for a systemic candida overgrowth, but that came back as “normal” too.  That means that neither of those things are causing any Fibromyalgia symptoms.

A full thyroid panel would be: TSH, T4, T3, Free T4 ,  Free T3, Reverse T3.

[EDITED FOR DETAIL:

The results are discouraging since they’re not what I was expecting, but I also realize that it helps narrow things down.  I’m starting to feel more and more pushed towards having to figure out if I’m sensitive to gluten or not.  A gluten sensitivity can exacerbate my Fibro symptoms, so it’s looking like it’s time to try an elimination diet regarding gluten.  I had success eliminating meat and becoming vegetarian and that that should be encouraging, right?

Here’s another interesting tidbit… I’ve always been aware of this, but a gluten sensitivity can make Autism worse or mimic symptoms of Autism.  When Gracie was very small we tried an elimination diet of gluten that didn’t seem to work but if I’m going to attempt to go gluten-free then I’m going to try to get her to go gluten-free as well.  She gets the so-called chicken skin on the backs of her arms and it bothers her a lot because she thinks it’s ugly.  Then she tries to scrape the bumps off and there’s a scab.

I brought up the idea to my daughters.  Gracie acted as if I said nothing, so there’s nothing new there.  She just wants cake.  As long as she can have cake that tastes like cake I think she’ll be fine.  Juliana thinks it means she’ll never be able to socialize at school lunch or have sandwiches that taste good ever again.  She’s also worried about pasta.  And crackers.  I’d like for her to try it willingly due to her ADHD, but she’s almost 13.  I need her cooperation.  Anna? She thinks it’s unhealthy since we have whole-wheat-everything.  I tried to explain that there are alternatives that are healthy.  I might have to get sneaky and creative.  🙂  That’s sort of the definition of cooking as a parent, though, so now I just have to learn the language of gluten ingredients in the ingredient labels and find some tasty recipes for special occasions.

I have to give it a minimum of three to six months.  Longer if possible.  I’ve read that it can take months to years to rid the body of gluten.  I don’t consume a lot of it in the first place, but that’s a little disconcerting.  I don’t know a lot about going completely gluten-free yet.  I do know that it can be very involved.  Crossing my fingers.

I’m nervous.

[EDITED:  Not gonna do it.  Gluten free just isn’t really an option, at least not right now.  I don’t think I buy into the whole thing for either myself or my daughter/s anyway since we don’t show true symptoms of gluten intolerance or insensitivity.

And also, for what it’s worth, I’m not 100% certain that my doctor was 100% truthful about the Candida results or thyroid results so when I see my rheumatologist for my first appointment at the end of September I’ll be sure to ask her to go over those tests.]

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My eldest daughter just asked me if being vegetarian was easy.  I had to be honest with her.

“Most of the time it’s easy, unless bacon is involved.”

I haven’t found a way to keep bacon in the house and prepare it for others without wanting to eat the whole pound.  As a vegetarian I would still eat bacon wrapped bacon, and then as someone with Fibromyalgia I would regret it for the next couple of days with some pain issues.  Even as I regretted it, I would consider it worth it because it was bacon.

Otherwise I don’t miss meat.  I miss some of the seasonings used.  For instance, if I’m craving buffalo wings I realize that it’s not the meat I’m craving but the buffalo sauce and dipping it in ranch or bleu cheese dressing.  I found a fix for that.  I put hot sauce on my pizza.  I also do something after that, which I used to think was gross when I heard people talk about it:  I take the hot sauce pizza and dip THAT into ranch or bleu cheese dressing.  It’s perfect.  Not vegan, but I’m not vegan.  🙂

I also enjoy seasoning my tofu with hot sauce and chili pepper, much like a taco, and while it will never taste like taco filling and will never be the same texture as any sort of recognized taco filling, I get the seasonings I love and top the tofu onto rice and black beans.  Sometimes the tofu has curry, sometimes Lawry’s salt.  Sometimes I put it in a chef salad with avocado in place of BBQ chicken.  It’s EVEN BETTER than BBQ chicken that way.

The hard part is if/when we go out to eat at a restaurant although most seem to be catering more to vegetarians these days.  It’s harder when you’re a guest in someone’s home and nearly everything they’re serving is meat or was cooked steeping in meat.  Making adjustments and accommodations is necessary, but it’s hard to compromise when it’s for health issues.  That’s what I’m slowly coming to terms with.  The rare cheat just might not be worth it.

So yeah, vegetarianism is easy when I consider the alternative.

Except when I’m confronted with bacon.

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I heard about these in passing, and then yesterday at my mother’s house one of my brothers mentioned that his mother-in-law makes them all the time for her grandchildren (did you get all of that?).  Word on the street is that the children love them, and they can be made in countless flavors.  They can be made using boxed cake or from scratch.  They can be served with whipped cream or ice cream or topped with chocolate chips.

In my research I’ve seen them referred to as “breakfast.”

I found this recipe and decided to try it because it’s from scratch, I can make it lactose-free, it’s chocolate, and it’s easy.  It also seems to get rave reviews wherever I’ve found it being referred to online.  Other blogs go so far as to try to make copycats of this recipe.

2 Stews: 1-2-3 Chocolate Microwave Mug Cake.

So here it goes.  Sweet Girl was skeptical, so of course she’s going to be my little guinea pig.

Okay, I made it and here’s the verdict.  Sweet Girl claimed she likes it but when I asked if she wanted more than a bite she said,

“I brushed my teeth.”

It needs a pinch of salt and some leavening.  It just… does.  It’s tasty but flat, so it definitely needs the salt.  And it needs leavening to help it rise better and not feel like paste in the mouth.  With those additions I’m thinking it would be fabulous. Or, you know, I’ll find a new recipe. Pinterest, here I come.

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Cinnamon Roll Cake Recipe.

There it is.  I follow the recipe nearly exactly except I bake it for 34 minutes so that it’s golden brown all over the top.  I also cut the icing recipe in half, except I keep the full amount of vanilla, and drizzle it.

Delish.  And a household favorite.  It’s so delicious and homey and yes, it’s full of butter.  I cut it into 24 servings.  I also make sure to share it.  A lot.

 

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