Tag Archives: baking

Like a madwoman

Still sticking with the DDP Yoga.  It’s not the easiest workout, but each time i do it, there is a bit of progress – i stretch a little further, reach a little higher, or feel a little stronger.  It was just over two weeks ago i tried it and couldn’t stay in the lunges without going to a knee.  I am wobbly now, but am staying up.  A lot of folks who stick with it seem to have similar results, so hopefully its a trend that continues.

Last night i tried a new recipe, Spicy Peanut Tofu Rice Salad + Twirl of Avocado, from Lunch Box Bunch.  Mine was sort of a mashed up avocado, rather than a twirl, but it was very delicious!  I enjoyed it for lunch again today in fact.  The recipe allowed me to use the last of the peanut butter sitting in the fridge, which helps remove a temptation.  Peanut butter & jelly is totally a comfort food, and while it isn’t bad for me, it isn’t really great either.  

Right now i’m trying to avoid comfort foods and work though some of those feelings that food will make me feel better.  Food does soothe me, but not for long, and so it isn’t the healthiest coping strategy.  I want a good relationship with food, not a cycle of binge and guilt!

Also from Lunch Box Bunch, i tried their Hot Pumpkin Mug.  It wasn’t my favorite, but i’m glad i tried it!

I also did all the prep to have beef stew ready when i get home from work today, thank you crock pot!  We’re having friends over to hand out Halloween candy and play with the nephew (niece is still too little to do much more than sleep, nurse and occasionally wiggle!).  I wanted something hearty, yummy and easy, so beef stew won.  It’s also a meal the husband enjoys, and it’s familiar, which is important to him right now as he works through his own food issues.

Because it is Halloween, i also made some pumpkin bread, which got rave reviews at the office. I haven’t tried it yet! but will tonight.  I made a double batch to have enough for me and my friends, and still make sure everyone at the office got some too.

AND i carved jack-o-lanterns last night.  

Yesterday was a very long day, but it felt good to be so productive.  I am strong enough to do a lot of things, and i am capable of accomplishing a lot.  I need to remember this next time i don’t think i can manage sweeping the floor or putting things away!

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Weekend Plus

One Giant Not-Scone

One Giant Not-Scone

I know, i know! I’ve been slacking on writing the last few days! It’s not because of actual slacking, I promise!

Saturday was a long, but productive day. I spent most of it alternating between cleaning and studying for the PE exam. Expect to be reading that phrase a lot the next few months. The bathroom was really cleaned though, which made me very happy. I also did lots of other cleaning bits around the house that have been neglected for far too long!

Saturday evening was our company holiday dinner. It was as awkward and annoying as expected, but i had a nice piece of fish.

Sunday started off not-quite-right and stayed that way. I wanted to make scones, but the dough was too wet. I made something delicious, but it wasn’t scones!  Because the dough was too sticky, i decided to bake it in one lump, rather than pieces. Mom pointed out it was basically soda bread. I’ll go with that!

Duncan made chili, per my request, that also didn’t come out quite right.  It was good, don’t get me wrong, but it was a little watery.  I made Fannie Farmer cornbread, which did come out very tasty, so at least there was that.

My mother in law apparently had a lot of faith in Fannie Farmer, but it wasn’t a cookbook i grew up with.  Dad preferred the Joy of Cooking and Mom makes just a few dishes she knows nearly by heart.  I am learning to love Fannie Farmer, having such a high success rate with the recipes.  I am honestly disappointed with Alton Brown’s scone recipe, because I’m Just Here For More Food has given me some great baking skills.  I am hoping it was an ingredient fail, and will try it again some time.

I’ve been keeping up with my sit ups and push ups as promised.  Ouch! I am sore!  It doesn’t help that i have been working outdoors the last few days (and will be for most of the week).  It’s quite cold out, but wells still need to be sampled.

The weather did mean my board meeting was cancelled tonight.  Which is why i’m writing instead of discussing queer culture and social media.  I’m a little thankful for that!


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Another busy weekend!

This weekend was another busy one!

Friday night, Ian and i had a date, since we didn’t have a Monday night, and Mich had some other plans. I was feeling sick and tired, but the evening was actually very good! We had some good talk about future plans and touched on some Big Life Stuff coming up. I’m very lucky to have him in my life.

Saturday was a friend’s birthday party. I had planned to make an apple crisp, then changed my mind, and after much searching for a recipe that i had all the ingredients already on hand, decided to try out Fannie Farmer’s Lace Cookie recipe.  I did 2 very slight tweaks to the recipe, using Gluten Free flour and Dark, rather than light brown sugar.  Neither seemed to impact the cookies.

Lace Cookie Ingredients

Lace Cookie Ingredients

Dry ingredients in the bowl

Dry ingredients in the bowl

The trick with these cookies is realizing they’re not typical cookies. The point of them is to spread out and create a crispy brown sugar cookie with just enough oatmeal to give some texture and structure.

I’ve included a picture of the raw and baked cookies for comparison.  The recipe suggests using a 1/2 teaspoon of dough per cookie.  At first i thought this was not going to work, but actually, they were just the right size portion-wise that way.  The recipe says place them two inches apart, but i found sometimes even that wasn’t enough.  These WILL spread!  You want them to, afterall, but definitely don’t crowd the cookie sheet!  The recipe makes around 60 cookies, but i found i made closer to 75 perhaps?

Because of the size, however, and the oatmeal, it’s tricky to get the right balance of oatmeal and everything else in each cookie.  I didn’t get them all perfect, but a few were a little light on oats when i was scraping the sides of the bowl.

I used parchment paper on the cookie sheets because i was worried about sticking.  I think this helped with the cooling process, but because of the size of the cookies, some came out lopsided.  They were too light to hold down the paper!  That was a definite surprise!

Lace Cookies - raw and baked

Lace Cookies – raw and baked

Another reason these are tricky cookies is because the timing is tricky.  To get them perfect it takes longer than the recommended 5 minutes at 350F.  This is a lie.  They take way longer than that to get to the perfect level of done.  You don’t want lightly browned, you want them bubbling and a consistent brown.  I did manage to burn one batch, i’ll admit, but the edges should be a nice dark brown, otherwise they don’t set.  You need to get them to a bubbling hot stage and then quickly pull them out of the oven and let them cool (part of why the parchment paper was nice, i moved the paper to the cooling rack, rather than wait for the whole cookie sheet to cool) .

You can’t really get them pulled off the sheet until they are no longer sticky, but unless they are cooked enough, they will still be soft and you’ll have to eat the ones that end up all gooey and fall apart.

It’s totally an unwritten part of the recipe.

Saturday was also clean out the fridge day.  There were a few oranges hanging out that needed to be used before they went bad, and i had recently read how to make some natural throat soothers on The Yummy Life.

Homemade Honey Citrus Syrup - Orange & Clove

Homemade Honey Citrus Syrup – Orange & Clove

Well, i’ve been suffering from a cold, so this sounded like a great opportunity to try something new!  It was easy to cut up the oranges, add in some cloves and pour in the honey.  I didn’t have any buckwheat honey, but considering how much i am enjoying a little bit of this mixture in some hot water, i may invest in a bottle.  It definitely felt wonderful on my throat Saturday evening and Sunday morning, and tasted wonderful!  I was worried that the flavor would be weird, just mixed with hot water, but it was like a fruity tea almost.  This was definitely a keeper.

Orange, clove, allspice & cinnamon room scent

Orange, clove, allspice & cinnamon room scent

I still had some orange left over, so i used another trick from The Yummy Life to make up a natural room scent mixture.  I’ve done these before, one with lemon and rosemary and another with oranges and spices, but decided to freeze this one, and use it later on.  This has oranges, cloves, allspice and cinnamon.   Both times i’ve done these previously they were usable for almost a week and smelled wonderful.  

And more space was made in the fridge!

Sunday there was game, or not-game in my case.  Michelle and i took the nephew to the mall to let him run around and let folks work on plumbing and then play some Dresden Files.  But before we did any of that, i decided to use up the apples in the fridge and make the apple crisp i’d thought about the day before.

Apple Crisp Ingredients (sans nutmeg)

Apple Crisp Ingredients (sans nutmeg)

I used a recipe from Dahl House Recipes for Honey Ginger Apple Crumble.  I LOVED the crumble part of this, but the apple part needed a little re-working.  I’m on a ginger kick lately, and i think i did too much ginger.  Still, the honey in the crumble/crisp part was delicious.  I think it may become a regular recipe.

Fruit crumble/crisps like this are a great way to do a gluten free dessert and use up fruit.  Writing about these now i can’t wait to do peach and blueberry crumble again in the summer!  Maybe that’s just the snowy outside teasing me though.

Finished Apple Crisp

Finished Apple Crisp

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Saturday i didn’t want to wake up, hearing the rain and snow melt, still feeling off and uncomfortable from last night’s hard discussions.  I did my morning routine and took the time to do some volunteer work, but my heart wasn’t in it, and i couldn’t focus well.

Then it was time to go fetch a desk with my sister.  The two of us met up with friends of hers and we got the desk – a 100 year old wooden desk and chair.  Her friend’s grandfather used it in his office when he was a doctor.  It’s a beauty, though well loved.  She and i had a nice lunch after, mostly commiserating about the challenges of long term relationships (i mean with all the love, it’s just hard!) and aimed to get the desk into her wife’s home office.

This failed.  We got it upstairs, no worries.  Even right outside the door.  But alas, the door jamb was too narrow, by several inches.  Instead the desk will live at her work office, and go later on.

I bought my materials for the PE Exam.  Bleck, but something i needed to do.

Unfortunately, by late afternoon another headache had snuck up on me, and most of the rest of the day was spent on the couch.  This time of year i seem to be more prone to them.

Sunday, I started the day with high hopes, moving through my routine effortlessly.  I cleaned out the fridge and freezer (and made a note to do it every 2 weeks), then i headed off on an adventure for goodies for my Foodie Pen Pal, Accidently Delish.  I went to 3 different stops  and was able to get a fun selection for $15.

I made some gluten free chocolate chip cookies from a Cherrybrook Kitchen mix, and enjoyed some rye-toast from a local bakery.  The cookies were OK, a bit dry, and definitely in need of more chocolate chips.  Still, for a quick box mix my sister can actually enjoy, it was worth the effort.  I also made my breakfast and lunch for tomorrow, because i knew if i waited until later, i wouldn’t.

Later meant post-game, or in my case, post-time-with-the-sister.  She and i went shopping and had a nice dinner out, then took care of the munchkin while the rest of the family worked on their Dresden Files game.  It was good to plan out our trip together and relax.

I don’t say it enough, how much i appreciate the Sister.  Our relationship could easily be awkward, for many it is.  The reality is her friend (me) started dating her boyfriend (the Mister).  And we still haven’t totally figured out what we want our dynamic to be, other than emotionally intimate.  Since she’s the Keeper of the Schedule, it would be easy for her to make things difficult, and she chooses not to, allowing he and i dedicated time.  I love her as if she was my sister, and am so very grateful to have her in my life.

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This morning i woke up early, and fought with myself to stay in bed longer.  5 AM is not an acceptable time to start cooking voluntarily.  So i stayed in bed until about 7, then did a swish & swipe, my sun breaths and headed downstairs to write for a few minutes.  Then it was taking care of the cat and getting to work.

I started off by making some Rice Krispies Treats with red & green M&Ms in them.  I had forgotten just how easy (and messy!) they are to do!  But they look great.  I decided, with so many events to attend, to make a second batch, but didn’t have enough ingredients.  The small market near the house didn’t have Rice Krispies.  So the second batch was Coco Pebbles instead, and came out awesome.  I kept the ratios the exact same – 3 tbs melted butter, 40 regular sized marshmallows and 6 cups cereal (plus a small pile of red & green M&Ms).

I also made some fudge using the Never Fail Fudge recipe from Fluff.  I’d like to play with candy making more at some future point, i do enjoy it.

While i was making the fudge, i spoke with the sister, who was getting ready for a party at her house, she needed some extra hands there.  So i drove up once i was finished and showered.  I helped baby-wrangle, make sandwiches, generally be an extra set of hands and company when she & i went off to the packie.  It was good to spend time with her, even in do-mode.

The party was lovely, with a great mix of folks.  There was family, friends, coworkers and all kinds of great people.  The party was a Solstice/Christmas/Mister’s 43rd birthday/house’s 100th birthday celebration.  There was caroling, cookie decorating, lots of food, and just general happiness.  As is my job at such events, i did my best during quiet times to clean up stray plates and cups, replenish food, or take away empty bowls.  It was much easier than in years past with this year’s menu for sure!  The evening wound down with a group of adults relaxing on the couch around 11.  It felt nice to just be with family and friends, laugh, even make adult jokes.

I stayed to clean up and then pretty much zonked out in bed.

Again, i’m reminded how much love is in my life.

Christmas #1

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