jebbypal: (cooking)
As of Saturday morning, my dishwasher is once again operational after being broken for about 2 months. Which, given the amount that I cook from scratch due to my allergy, this development is awesome.

Things that amused me about the process though: repairman, upon being informed I don't use white vinegar but rather apple cider vinegar informed me "well you don't want to do that -- it will stain the dishwasher". Dude, I don't care if the dishwasher is stained. i do care whether the fumes cause me to have issues breathing. :P

To celebrate, I actually did most of the week's cooking yesterday (as a method of procrastination against work). Also remembered that as hellacious as Whole Foods is on a normal Sunday, there's a reason to avoid it the Sunday of the Superbowl. Gah.

Used last night to catch up on Elementary rather than watching Superbowl (as I've only ever minimally enjoyed it anyway as a group activity, but in the era of concussion research, I can't stomach supporting a sport who does so little to protect and inform its players). Elementary spoilers )

I have a feeling I will regret my procrastination this week, because that is typically the case, but I know this week will be crazy through Wednesday. But my workout and post workout nap, I was still comfortably brain dead.
jebbypal: (cooking)
As most of you, especially those that have met me, know, I have a rather odd set of food restrictions. I am allergic to corn and all its derivatives -- no that doesn't mean that all the gluten free food is safe for me, but rather the opposite. It does mean that if it's processed food, has more than 5 ingredients, or labeled "all natural" there is a high likelihood I can't eat it.

As a result, I had to learn to cook 5 years ago or go on a raw food diet. (And as I'm also allergic to all legumes, including beans and peanuts, vegan/vegetarian diet is also out).

That being said, obviously there was a hierarchy of things for me to learn to cook -- aka, all the necessities to just make a meal. Baking from scratch. And with time, and attempts to making certain favorite dishes (aka, pecan pie), I slowly started to realize what was my favorite because it was awesome (roast beef), and what was my favorite because of allergy high (pecan pie).

Still, I'm a procrastinator, and somewhat lazy. I still prefer making 1 pot meals because easier cleanup and there's no sense in having all that mess just for one person. But it does get repetitive so I do occasionally start learning other things to break up the monotony. Or have a friend do it for me (chocolate syrup, aka the time my exbf proved all the reasons for why I fell in love with him and helped me gain 5 lbs through rediscovery of chocolate milk and ice cream with chocolate sauce after not having any for 5 years!)

Chocolate chip muffins earlier this year did that, though they did not aid my resolution to drop a bit of girth. (and I have succumbed and bought pants in yet another size up. Sigh. I'm currently trying to do couch to 2k of my own devising, but a week of rain sort of threw that out of whack).

Home made lara bars for my conference trip are amazing and having me realizing that with the new job and need to start making some freezer meals, i should really buy a stand alone freezer.

But last weekend I did that which I had been planning to do for several summers -- strawberry jam! Yes, I know there are a lot of brands on the market that should be safe -- but invariably, citric acid (which is actually derived from a mold culture fed corn syrup and not citrus fruit by and large) will break my skin out like whoah and give me stomach, or pectin, which will do the same, will sneak there ways in and I finally gave up on them.

So the past few summers I'd buy boxes of strawberries and plan to make jam. And invariably the strawberries would get eaten, or moldy, and it would not happen.

But last weekend, in a burst of ....okay, I admit it, in a burst of procrastinating from the grant I was writing for work *hangs head*, I found a crockpot recipe for strawberry jam. And it cooked for 8 hours and was rather more the consistency of applesauce after that instead of preserves/jam (mind you, I'm doing these recipes pectinless and trying to use natural fruit pectin). But I figured it still should be good for something and put in fridge in case it gelled up under cold and drizzled some on the end of a hot loaf of bread.

And yay it was good. :) Granted, it's only been 3 or so years since I officially gave up on the last commercial brand that the ingredients said should be safe but the rash around my mouth said was not safe. But it was good and it was different, and I've had toast with almond butter and strawberry sauce for breakfast all week.

But, I changed it up this weekend.

See, growing up, we always had margarine. I was never a fan though I never knew the difference. With my allergy discovery, obviously margarine = poison. So I switched to butter. Which, well, I'm still not a fan unless using it to bake or cook with and it actually took me a while to get used to the taste of mashed potatoes with real butter. (pro tip hint: read your butter ingredients and buy versions that do not have natural flavor in it. They really taste different without that). However, during the discovery of my allergy, I also underwent some natural gas poisoning for 2 months such that I was nauseous all the time and the only thing I wanted to eat was toast with butter and jelly on it (again, i was learning my allergy and my body kept going into recovery periods the more I cut things out so for a while I could have convenience store bought food). But after that, butter was never that good and I generally ate toast with just jam on it, or made and almond butter/jelly sandwich.

So yesterday, as I was spending a day reading fanfic and not wanting to cook or go grocery shopping, I decided my lunch was to be bread and jam and I'd switch it up with buttered toast instead of almond butter.

*foodgasm* wow, I forgot how that taste went together. I really really really did. It's actually better than the homemade ice cream I made late last week (which was handicapped by the local store only having safe half and half and not having safe cream [really, look at the cream ingredients of normal cream --- modified corn starch, carrageean, and other chemical crap]).

So yeah. I know when you go out to eat with me, the response is invariably "oh you poor thing, you can't have X, Y, or Z. You can't eat at McD's etc". Which, for convenience sake, yes, I miss. But not for taste sake. (the smell of most processed/fast food actually makes me nauseous now).

But there is a silver lining every time I branch out of my comfort zone and learn to make something new. And occasionally this results in me reclaiming an old favorite, discovering a new convenience food, or learning that a comfort food of old tastes 1000x better when it's home made. And honestly, that's pretty much all i need. (though i do admit, i need to buy a wild foraging book in case of the zombie apocalypse since canned food = poison to me).
jebbypal: (cooking)
Okay, I have a fair number of kitchen gadgets, and I've totally been guilty about buying something that I thought would transform my cooking life only to be unable to operate *I'm looking at you Williams Sonoma Veggie Chopper which could not have blades removed no matter what the box said*

The Vitamix? Does not fit into that category. It is also easily the most expensive thing in my kitchen. However, this fits into levels of bread machine trasformation. It possibly exceeds the bread machine.

Smoothies :) Yes, I might actually eat fruit year round now instead of just when I can get it that it's perfectly ripe and unbruised. Today, I'm trying out my first "green" smoothing in which I added kale to the orange and apple. YUMMY, and without any added sugar. :)

I also just watched the dvd that came with the machine and the cookbook (yeah, I splurged on basically the most expensive home model). The cookbook had confused me as it kept having soup recipes that did not involve transfer to a pan. I couldn't believe it so I finally watched the dvd.

THIS MACHINE WILL COOK MY SOUP FOR ME. So basically, as long as I keep homemade stock on hand, then I can pretty much have homemade soup < 15 minutes. This is transformational for someone who cannot eat canned soup people. SO TRANSFORMATIONAL.

Basically, as I told Cherry, if this machine could also do laundry and clean, I'd marry it. Or declare it to be my deity. It's a tossup.
jebbypal: (Default)
I may be having a baking catastrophe...

a 9x13 pan is apparently not equivalent to long baking sheet....doh..hopefully it's risen as much as it will.....Or will be very very sturdy....

Whoo, it didn't rise over the sides of the baking sheet..though that may have been due to my continuous poking.

In case you are curious, I was making this recipe of oatmeal fruit bars. The baker was right when they advised me to not cut down on any of the liquids even if I was using whole milk and whole yogurt. It did end up quite dry when mixing the final step. Overall, very easy recipe to follow, though I attempted to line my baking sheet with silicone paper and that didn't quite work since the mix was a gooey and stickey and moved the paper more than it spread. Should be fun to clean the pan.

However, it is very yummy. And I don't have to feel bad about the chocolate for breakfast given the amount of fiber (plus some fruit) in them. This plus a glass of milk will make a nice change from plain oats in the morning. Oooh, I should see about figuring out the taking a picture of these with the iphone and posting it...

Ooh, and as a bonus, the chocolate glaze mixture can serve as my lazy-man's version of icing when I make doughnuts (or cake if I get adventurous) next. *claps hands*


Dec. 14th, 2009 10:04 pm
jebbypal: (Default)
Well, the batter for these Maple Cookies tastes amazing. Here's hoping the cooked product does too.

(and that I have enough for the cookie sharing tomorrow morning!)
jebbypal: (Default)
Well, I attempted to make homemade granola bars last night and the result is very tasty, but not very conducive to bar formation (crumbly like whoah). I don't know if it would have been different if I hadn't substituted maple syrup for honey, but shrugs. Guess King Arthur may be right about the necessity of sticky bun sugar, but wow, the thought of adding that much butter and sugar to the granola bars seems to defeat any "health" purpose.

So to recap, difficult to eat, but a very very very nice change to Lara bars, which I'm so sick of it's not even funny.

Read more... )
jebbypal: (Default)
Just found another recipe blog to fall in love with

Carrie's Creative Cookery

Went looking for a recipe for brownies using applesauce that didn't require buckets of cocoa. Found it and this gem.
jebbypal: (Default)
Anyone got advice on cooking the acorn squash that B bought by accident? Preferably in low grease/butter way since B can't handle too much of that.

As for a tuna recipe, B had some tuna steaks that he'd bought but wasn't excited about because "it always ends up tasting like canned tuna". So I got creative.

really simple, but no measurements made )
jebbypal: (Default)
Okay, so I love trader joe's flavored chicken sausages to pieces. I do. Sadly, the rest of the world has discovered them and almost every time I make it to a store nowadays, the best varieties are gone.

which goes to explain why I have to packs of roasted garlic sausage in my freezer.

I don't detest them. I will eat them, but I don't enjoy the eating. They are too garlicy and tend to retain more water than the rest when microwaved making for a not fun consistency for eating (I'm picky on the consistency of food in my mouth).

Soooo, anyone have ideas for what I can do with this? Pastas in the past haven't been too great. I'm tempted to try roasting some with potatoes carrots and onions to see if I can leach some of the wetness and flavor out. Anything else? (with the reminder that it's not like I can easily use most boxed/canned foods).
jebbypal: (Default)
Okay, normally, this turns out well for me about 1 out of every three times depending on how good the chicken itself is, but I think I've finally cracked the code. Of course, now you'll have to put up with my complete lack of measurements as well (then again, you may already be used to that)

Pineapple chicken with other spices )

I'm really surprised at how well the cinnamon and the ginger went with this. I wanted something different and I got it, but I didn't expect it to be anywhere near this good!
jebbypal: (Default)
Somehow, I don't know how, [ profile] halcyon_shift has never had blueberry muffins. My culinary heart keens for her. Since she wants to bake (fire warning now for southern England) some, I told her I'd post the recipe. It's a basic one - if you know ways to dress them up, feel free to comment (doccy may not thank you though).

Blueberry muffins
Heat oven to 400 F (sorry, LD, you have to do the conversion). Grease a muffin pan (or if you are lazy like me, a 9x9 cake pan).

Mix 1 3/4 cup of all purpose flour with 1/3 cup of sugar, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, and 1/4 tsp salt. Make a well in the center and set aside.

Combine 1 beaten egg, 3/4 cup of milk, and 1/4 cup of butter/cooking oil. Add mixture all at once to flour mixture and stir just until moistened. Fold in 3/4 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries (or canned). Fill muffin cups 2/3 full (or put in pan). For muffins, bake 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. For cake pan, bake 20-25 minutes.

jebbypal: (Default)
Let's see - strained ankle, almost strained back from deceptively heavy box (not to mention lopsided weight), and a sliced open finger. Who knew shopping was so dangerous? Also, whoever's karma I'm suffering, better be appreciative.

That being said, onto the experiment. Needless to say, I would have liked to discovered the sliced open finger before I opened the red pepper. C'est la vie.

Salsa Chicken )

I'll come back later with results. And plan on serving w/ white rice since I have yet to find a spanish rice mix that doesn't give me a migraine (and can't figure out how I'd make myself...).

ETA - not bad. But not what I wanted. Not spicy enough. i think hot would have been called for. Also, probably better w/ mexican styled cheeses added in to make lazy man enchilada.
jebbypal: (Default)
3 chicken breasts
at least two pieces of celery
four carrots
half an onion or dehydrated onion pieces
various spices

In a large pot )

I was rather impressed with how well it turned out since I didn't have chicken stock. Of course, I also haven't had chicken noodle soup in oh....three years at least.
jebbypal: (Default)
So, I'm a tad tired of my lazy man beef stew. And I had chicken breasts in the fridge, but I don't have pineapple, so I wasn't willing to do stirfry. So I decided to experiment. It worked out, mostly.

chicken breast
poultry seasoning
1 apple
2 zuchinni squash.

Preheat oven to 350 (F). Line a pan with foil. Put your chicken breasts in (puncture with fork to get good flavor). sprinkle on spices and add a bit of olive oil over them (about 1/4 cup or less if you want to measure). Cut up apple (with skin). I used a gala and it was a tad flavorless -- might be better with a granny smith or other cooking apple. Peel zuchinni squasha dn cut up. Spread these on top of chicken. Add a dash of oil (about a tablespoon) on top of them. Cover w/ pan lid or foil. Cook until chicken is done (about an hour depending on your breast size). Remove lid/foil covering if you want the chicken to brown and dry up a bit. But turn off oven when you put them back in. Cook whatever side you want (I did cous cous, but a pasta with just olive oil and basil would work too).

The taste wasn't outstanding and I think that was due to using the gala apple. But the baked apple did add a bit of taste to the chicken and I'm still loving/craving squash for some reason.

Anyway, pretty quick and easy.
jebbypal: (Default)
I am alive and nothing much has really happened. B won't be going for hair cuts w/ me tomorrow -- it's turned out he has two retreats that he has to do posters for next month and he was out of it for several days this past week due to allergies, as a result, he doesn't think he has the time for a jaunt to Wilmington. Ah well.

Speaking of allergies, my sinuses have calmed down once again and it would seem that instead I'm just being afflicted with lethargy like whoah. Not quite mono levels, but wow. I want to sleep about 12 hours straight and when i don't, my muscles feel like I just participated in a marathon. Gah. stupid ragweed. Oh, and stupid endust (what they dust the work building with) too --- every thursday and friday it provokes coughing and sneezing attack. Yesterday, I kept walking by the janitors too, and so by 3 pm, I was itching so bad it wasn't even funny. Getting home alleviated it somewhat, but showering actually set it off again until I broke out the jojoba oil (which is much stickier than baby oil, btw).

Cooking wise, I have had success. Cooked some squash on top of chicken earlier this week and that was yummy. Also bought a roast and decided to make a mock stew since I had some veggies that needed to be used. Plopped the roast in the pan and slathered w/ spices (generous amounts of oregano, basil, salt, pepper, parsley, rosemary, and thyme), cut up green pepper, onion, squash, celery and a tomato and threw in. Added enough water to cover the veggies so they wouldn't solidify on the pan and tossed in oven. The broth is rather weak, but it is all pretty yummy! And the mashed potatoes are devine too --- that or the butter I bought is corn-ified, I'm not sure. Mmm..

Presentation on wed went fine. Journal club to start next week and boy do I feel like I've landed in academia lite. Gaaaah.

Oh, don't forget, sweet charity is open through tomorrow -- so far, 10 grand raised. Also, new designs have been added to the sweet charity store -- proceeds of the store go to defraying the costs of running the auction itself (server and bandwidth and all that jazz).

TV front, Gossip Girl was actually more entertaining than I predicted. Almost through with Dexter S1. Must revise thesis this weekend before I have to start missing out on fun premieres.
jebbypal: (Default)
ETA -- and now with a cooking icon.

I have a new favorite pasta recipe, which isn't that hard since all I mostly eat is olive oil w/ spaghetti and some basil. Still, since I've given up on affordable marinara sauce, this qualifies as more flavorful

All you need is pasta (I've been buying some organic pasta since I've been doing this -- I don't know if it really adds that much, but it's only 20 cents more expensive), a tomato, half a bell pepper (I've been using gree), olive oil, and basil.

and the rest is very very simple. )
jebbypal: (fruity by)
About Ellen

descriptions of incredible fatigue, confusion, light-headedness andflushing that accompanied meals – all classic signs of chronic exposureto food allergens, according to clinical ecology.

I always find it interesting when I run across people with descriptions of similar allergy symptoms to my own. I am always thankful that my own symptoms are not anaphylactic, but I know that for people who never knew me when I was consuming corn find it hard to understand exactly how different my life is. Mentioning that my chronic sinus infections went away and that my acne went down to levels I'd never personally experienced gives them some impression of how it impacted me, but this is the real kicker and reason that it's so important that I avoid corn.

Before I eliminated corn, I was moody, always tired, and generally found it very difficult to think. As a result, I would have frequent "no sound moods" which were sometimes due to headaches, but more often because I felt so disconnected and unable to focus that I couldn't block out the smallest annoyance. I always flushed while eating and got "high" from it, though I didn't realize it because it was just how I was. Then as I got older, I couldn't stay awake after eating. College professors just thought I was rude, though they never made much issue w/ me about it because I still performed well. I couldn't do late night study sessions because those would always be accompanied by junk food and despite the sugar coursing through my veins I'd beg for a "nap" and then wouldn't be able to roused.

And then grad school came. Everything that came before, that was child's play. Beyond a sudden appearance of IBS, I was also tired all the time. And depressed like no one's business. And I could never stay awake for the two hours immediately following any meal. That first year was hell. Until I started avoiding corn syrup and found my symptoms better...until they returned (I'd been allergic to corn syrup formulas as an infant). So I added corn starch w/ the same effect. When the symptoms rebounded, I found the corn avoiding forum and began to realize how much my life needed to change. But once it did, it was like I was a new person.

My mood swings went away (Okay, mostly. But trust me, before and after are night and day). My attention returned. And I discovered that not only could I stay up at night, but I was actually a night owl. As much as the food allergy has contributed to giving me a small amount of social anxiety about events involving food, discovering it gave me a new lease on life. I know people think I'm crazy when I advise that they pay attention to how they feel during and after meals if they have chronic health problems that antihistimines ever help with, but from my own experiences, it's worth it. And it's something that very few doctor's ever connect the dots with because it's much simpler to prescribe an anti-depressant than to look for underlying causes. This isn't to say that food allergies or sensitivities are the cause of everything, but it's something to consider.

and for serendipity, I just found a blog that tells me how to make my own vanilla extract. Which is good, because I seem to be having mild reactions to the alcohol in most commercial hgh grade extracts now. As well as grain vinegar . *growls*
jebbypal: (Default)
Okay, Okay, Chili and Spaghetti served together seems to be a very regional thing. It's pretty much one of my Father's favorite dishes and he'd much rather have it than a traditional marinara meat sauce. Give it a try, or just make the chili to go w/ your favorite chili con carne or what have you. This is a quick meal with minimal cleanup and if you do it with a pound of meat, you have about four-five meals for one person ready for the next week.

disclaimer: I guess I should let you guys know that very few of the dishes I'll be talking about will be vegetarian. If any. I grew up in a meat household and with the combinations of my food allergies, vegetarian is pretty much not an option for me. I also don't mention too many options w/ cheeses because I never aquired much of a taste for cheese since I grew up lactose intolerant in the ten years before lactaid became available. Experiment with cheese as you wish. It goes very well with this dish though.

Chili and Spaghetti )

If you need clarification, just comment.
jebbypal: (Default)
Hmm, cooked ticky seemed to be popular, LOL. Anyways, here we go.

First off, I figured I'd detail the bare minimum of utensils/pans required for most of the things I'll be posting. It's really pretty basic.

  1. A medium to large sized sauce pan. Basically at least around 2 quarts-ish. If you do one quart, you'll have to watch for boil-overage a lot.

  2. Not required but very helpful (especially if you like cookies): flat pizza pan or cookie sheet. Beyond sweets and frozen pizzas, these are nice to use to bake/broil meats on (wrap meat in foil and place on cookie pan just so you don't have to worry about the rack in your oven puncturing the foil. Trust me, cleaning ovens SUCKS. This hopefully prevents that

  3. One skillet -- if you like stir fry, I recommend a 10-incher. If it has a wooden handle instead of plastic, that means you can put it in the oven as well.

  4. If your pans are non-stick, one large plastic spoon and a plastic spatula....umm you know the ones w/ the flat ends for flipping pancakes. I may be naming it wrong.

  5. If you want to bake from scratch (or box mixes), one mixing spatula

  6. At least one sharp knife for cutting vegetables, meats, etc. I don't really worry about cutting boards, I just use a regular ceramic plate. (remember, meats and plastic cutting surfaces somewhat bad as bacteria can get into the knife grooves. so if you like cutting boards, have one for meats and another one for veggies)

  7. a 9x9 oven pan. Good for lining with foil to broil or bake meats/veggies etc, but also essential for brownies or cakes

  8. at the very least, your spice cabinet should have salt, pepper, and baking soda. Salt and pepper for flavor. Baking soda for ice box smells (pour some in a paper cup and stick in your fridge) and possible grease fires, if not for baking from scratch

  9. If you ever intend to bake, a set of measuring cups and measuring spoons. if you want to be techincal, measuring cups are for dry ingredients only really -- they'll measure out slightly less liquid than you need, so you should also get a liquid measuring cup, ie the plastic or pyrex ones with handle that have the notched pouring edge

  10. if you do plan on baking from scratch, baking powder will be essential. As will vanilla extract.

As far as utensils go, I think that's it. I'll edit this if I think of anything else.

Now then, on to basic recipe #1: How to boil chicken and have it taste like something. )

If anything there wasn't clear, just ask.
jebbypal: (Default)
So I realized tonight that I have several of you on my flist that are novice cookers, away from home for first times, etc.

As someone who pretty much avoided learning how to cook until high school, and even then ignored much of the knowledge that the women in my family tried to give me because I didn't want to do "girly" things like cooking and sewing (Ha, I still can't sew!), I know a lot of the newbie tricks. Plus, having been teaching myself to cook from scratch for the past three years (especially since, much to the contrary of my mother's belief, few of her recipes or cookbooks are really "from scratch"), I know a lot of quick and easy and healthy main dishes that don't require a lot of prep.

Soo, my question is, anyone on the flist interested in me posting that sort of knowledge?

[Poll #1006283]


jebbypal: (Default)

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