November 5, 2008

Good point

Today I learned that the following is a very good point per singer/songwriter Jason Mraz:

"Open up your plans, and damn, you're free"

So if you're finding you're too busy to do some of the things you want, take a look at your schedule and to-do's and ask yourself if it's something you 'really' want to do or if it can wait until later. Free up your time for you.

April 8, 2008

Homemade Bagels, what??

I never imagined myself making bagels from scratch, but that was the project I took on this evening! It all started on Sunday...I really like bread, so I decided it was time I learn to make it from scratch. Don't get me wrong, my bread machine is nice to have around, but fresh bread made by hand is amazing. So I made my first wheat bread on Sunday, which came out well. Today was bagels, which was easier than I imagined it would be. I can't get a beautiful round bagel every time, but I'm sure that could come with practice. I found this recipe online, but next time I make them I'll need to experiment with some fillings and toppings! Sesame seeds seemed easy enough for this time around.

Next episode: I see Smore's Brownies on the horizon! :o) What did you cook today?

More Cookin'

For the few of you that read my blog out there, I thought I'd let you know that this may turn into a cooking blog for awhile since that's been my hobby lately! If other stuff comes up, I'll let you know :o)

March 16, 2008

Gingerbread Cake - somewhat healthy

Today I learned to adapt a high-fat gingerbread recipe to a low-fat one, which I must admit came out very well! There's a lot of flavor in gingerbread and the cinnamon and ground ginger in the recipe can help cover up some flavor loss of having less fat. One of the keys is a jar of fruit puree from dried plums and apples I bought at the grocery store for just this purpose. It's called Sunsweet Lighter Bake. What's nice is that it's fat free and you only use half the amount. For instance, if my recipe called for a 1/2 cup of shortening, then I would only need 1/4 cup of the Lighter Bake. However, I decided to change things up in my recipe by substituting light butter as well. I use Land O'Lakes made with canola oil. All and all, a serving of this cake from the cookbook would have 11 grams of fat per serving. With my recipe, it's probably just over 2 grams of fat per serving. Yay! Also, instead of using all-purpose flour for the entire recipe, I used half whole wheat flour. Next time I might use all whole wheat to see how that goes! Serve this cake warm with light or fat free whipped cream for a great treat!

3/4 C. whole wheat flour
3/4 C. all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 C. Light butter/margarine
2 Tbsp. Sunsweet Lighter Bake (or maybe just use applesauce)
1/4 C. packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 C. mild-flavored molasses

Grease a 9x1 1/2 in. round cake pan (I used a pie plate because I don't have a cake pan); set aside. In a bowl, stir together flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter & fruit puree mixture with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar; beat until slightly fluffy (this will not fluff like regular fat and sugar would). Add egg and molasses; beat 1 minute. Alternately add flour mixture and 1/2 cup of water to the butter/fruit puree mixture, beating on low speed after each addition until combined. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 30 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Serve warm if you can! Don't worry though, there's always the microwave. Here's one hint, if you're using a glass or dark-colored pan, try lowering the oven heat to 325 degrees and check the cake after 32 minutes of baking.

Enjoy this slightly healthy cake!!

What did you learn today?

March 2, 2008

Whole Wheat Pancakes

Today I learned a Whole Wheat Pancake recipe that I actually enjoyed! It's right from my Better Homes & Gardens cookbook.

1 C. whole wheat flour
1 T. brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 beaten egg
1 cup milk
2 T. cooking oil

1. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside. Combine the egg, milk, and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Add additional milk to thin batter, if necessary. Cook over medium heat.

I definitely suggest adding strawberries, bananas, or blueberries to this recipe. It makes a great pancake!

Ellie Krieger
of the Food Network suggests this strawberry sauce to serve with whole wheat pancakes:

Strawberry Sauce:
16 ounces strawberries, fresh or frozen (unsweetened, thawed)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons maple syrup

Puree strawberries in to a chunky puree. Heat them in a small saucepan over a low flame, until they are just warm. Stir in lemon juice and maple syrup.

What did you learn today?

February 13, 2008

Maple Glazed Walnuts

Today I learned that I have a new favorite snack for the time being, thanks to Ellie Krieger of the Food Network. Maple Glazed Walnuts nuts are yummy and so easy to make!! The first time I used this recipe I didn't even have any walnuts in the house so I used hazelnuts instead, they were still great. So feel free to use anything you want, pecans and cashews would be another great addition. Best of all, it only takes about 5 minutes to make this. Here's the recipe!

2 cups walnut halves (unsalted & not roasted)
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat a dry skillet over a medium-high heat. Add the walnuts, maple syrup and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until syrup is caramelized and nuts are toasted, about 3 minutes. Let cool.

What did you learn today?

February 11, 2008

Music That Helps Your Day

Today I learned that music can really help set my mood for the rest of the day. Instead of waking up to a blaring alarm clock, which is fairly annoying and frustrating, I chose to add one of my favorite songs as an mp3 to my phone and use that for my alarm each morning. The song I chose is Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow & What a Wonderful World. For those of you who haven't heard it, you have to!! It's starts slow and quiet, perfect to wake up to since it doesn't cause you to jump across the room with a sudden rapid heartbeat.

Music is one of life's wonderful things. We all tend to think that music is simply an audible pleasure, but let's not forget about those that enjoy it without hearing it at all. Here's what Wikipedia had to say.

"It is important to note that deaf people can experience music by feeling the vibrations in their body, a process which can be enhanced if the individual holds a resonant, hollow object. A well-known deaf musician is the composer Ludwig van Beethoven, who composed many famous works even after he had completely lost his hearing. Recent examples of deaf musicians include Evelyn Glennie, a highly acclaimed percussionist who has been deaf since the age of twelve, and Chris Buck, a virtuoso violinist who has lost his hearing. This is relevant as it indicates that music is a deeper cognitive process than unexamined phrases such as, "pleasing to the ear" would suggest. Much research in music cognition seeks to uncover these complex mental processes involved in listening to music, which may seem intuitively simple, yet are vastly intricate and complex."

What did you learn today?