Eliminating sugar & processed foods?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Have you ever heard of a yeast-free diet? (a supposed cure-all for ill health). After the fourth round of allergy testing confirming I allergic to everything under the sun… I decided to give it a go. During the diet I had amazing focus, energy, and no allergy or asthma symptoms. It lasted about 3 weeks then there was a cookie incident, and I caved.

It isn't a very practical diet for most people. If you are anything like me it is almost life changing; I love milk, sweets, & white bread/dough and the idea of sticking to mostly vegetables and meats seems ... boring.

But, when have I ever been practical? With the change at work I will have a 'decreased' travel schedule & I think this is the perfect opportunity to give it a go... again.

Look forward to creative uses of meats and organic veggies when I return in a week or so.

If you are interested in learning more about the diet -- here is my favorite site about the subject. http://tiny.cc/wholeapproach

*Disclaimer this diet is not about losing weight, in fact, I actually gained weight while on it. So please save the comments like “you are so tiny”, “why would you diet”, etc.

Junk Food

Monday, July 19, 2010

For the next few weeks I will not have a moment to 'cook' so I loaded up on frozen pizzas, (Blue!) Gatorade, lunch meat and anytizers. Jordan is ecstatic.

Mostly because I already have a fridge full of Miller High Life, which everyone knows goes perfect with this kind of food -- Jordan

It happens. - So please look forward for random hotel food ideas and reviews of conference food :)

Chicago, Orlando, Chicago & Boston Creme Pie (oh my!)

The adventure of married life continues with a crazy month ahead. I just found out I have been promoted.. This promotion will come with less travel in the long run, and more travel in the short run.

Last week I was in Chicago at a tradeshow - the last of my old role. I have returned to the office for a week and will take the GMAT (which I have been avoiding for 4 years) this weekend, followed by a week-long trip to Orlando for the new role, only to return home for about a day and a half before heading back to Chicago (first for a batchelorette party and then for training with my old boss for my new job). Finally, I will be able to return home for a while.

Expect some amazing food blogs from the road, but for now enjoy this treat I made for Jordan before I left for Chicago. Reminded me of cocoa gravy -- but I'll save that for another blog.


Steel Cut Oatmeal

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A post I wrote last weekend...

I am much more familiar with the variety pack from Quaker Instant Oatmeal, but daring to try something "new" I went with something classic.

I originally ordered Steel Cut Oatmeal from Farm Fresh Delivery's bulk selection. If you haven't heard of Farm Fresh Delivery you are missing out. They delivery organic produce and groceries to your home, just like the milk man used to do. It is AMAZING. You edit your order online and can receive a 'bin' for as little as $35 dollars every other week.

So, when I received my bin that week I was surprised to find these little pellets of 'oatmeal' - I google'd a recipe and decided to give it a try. It turned out beautifully - I prefer a bit of apple or pulot cut up into cubes, Jordan enjoys copious amounts of maple syurp and brown sugar. It takes a bit of time... 5 min prep (boiling water, toasting the oats) & then you let it sit uncovered &; simmering for about 25 minutes with out stirring. Giving you just enough time to do something for you ... today Jordan cut scouts nails & folded some laundry, while i made coffee, cleaned up the kitchen, wrote this blog post, and watched him pin scout down :)


delectable, delightful, masterpiece

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Applebee's Blondie Brownie -

I long for the evenings spent with my girlfriends, splitting this delectable dessert, and catching up on the latest news. Deeanna, Carole, Anne, Jenna, Kristin, Laura, Leslie - you all know the magic of devouring this delightful treat. It has helped assuage our hurt and pain -- simply spending time in quiet reflection with friends... ok... maybe not quiet, but you get the point.

Yesterday, I got the idea that maybe I could recreate this masterpiece in my own kitchen. After carefully combing through countless recipes (for about 5 minutes) I settled on the one sent to me by my new sister-in-law. The recipe included the secret ingredient mentioned in all the reviews of the recipes I found online - creme cheese.

How did it taste? I'd give it a 7 out of 10. It came close to the real thing -- but like many reviews of recipes I found online it wasn't quite as fluffy as the real thing. If I did this again (and you know I will) I would do the following to make it rise a bit higher:
  • 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder (instead of 4 teaspoons)
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon Baking Soda (instead of a pinch)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
I also think I over-did it on the vanilla chips (I used 3 bricks of vanilla almond bark and could have stuck with 2).

Finally, the icing wasn't quite right - I think it had too much of a cream cheese flavor. I might try a basic icing recipe next time and simply add some syurp to see if I fair a bit better -- or perhaps it isn't creme cheese, but almond bark that should be added to give it the right taste and consistency... Don't worry this is one of my favorite deserts so I will be trying it again :)

Thank you Nansie Whitt for this recipe! :)

Applebee's Blondie Brownie
The Ingredients:
• 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
• 1/2 tsp. baking powder
• 1 pinch baking soda
• 1 pinch salt
• 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
• 1/3 cup melted unsalted real butter
• 1 1/3 cup packed brown sugar - divided (1 cup and 1/3 cup)
• 1 egg, beaten
• 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
• 1/2 cup vanilla baking chips
• 1/4 cup unmelted, unsalted real butter
• 1/4 cup maple syrup
• 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
• 1/2 tsp. maple extract

Applebee's Blondie Brownie
The Process:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. Stir in nuts and set aside.
4. With an electric mixer, beat together melted butter and 1 cup brown sugar.
5. Beat in egg and vanilla extract.
6. Slowly beat dry mixture into wet mixture.
7. Turn mixer off. Stir in vanilla baking chips by hand.
8. Spread batter into a greased 9" X 9" X 2" baking pan.
9. Bake in 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean; set aside to cool.
10. In a saucepan over low heat, melt remaining 1/4 cup butter and maple syrup.
11. Stir in remaining 1/3 cup brown sugar into saucepan until it has dissolved (the sugar, not the pan!)
12. Remove saucepan from heat and beat in cream cheese and maple extract until smooth.
13. Return saucepan to low heat and simmer, stirring constantly, until desired consistency
14. Cut warm blondies into 4" X 4" squares, top with vanilla ice cream, and pour sauce over the top... YUM!

No buns? No problem.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Last night, Jordan and I made a feast of Hawaiian Rolls and Bratwurst. It was surprisingly delicious. Simply tear the sweet Hawaiian Rolls in half and cut the bratwurst in thirds and then cut the resulting pieces in half length-wise -- like mom used to do when she fried hotdogs :)

Leaning Tower of .... Lemon Cake?

Monday, July 5, 2010

July 4th weekend is full of pitch-ins with the family. This 4th of July, Jordan and I were invited to a family flag raising to honor his Grandpa & Grandma Whitt who served in WWII and Grandpa Thompson who served during the Korean War. We were asked to bring a desert and side dish -- so I went all out and used this opportunity to try a cake recipe from cooksillustrated.com. It took approximately 7 hours from start to finish ... and was worth it!

Lemon Layer Cake -- doesn't it just look like heaven... Until you see the recipe -- There are 3 parts to the recipe. 1) Lemon Curd - Filling 2) Cake Batter 3) Icing Then you must carefully assemble the entire thing.

The Lemon Curd - Filling went pretty well, the Cake Batter was fun to mix (and would have gone a bit quicker if I had pulled out the milk and eggs ahead of time so they could have been at room temperature when I wanted to get started. I was going to wait until Saturday morning to assemble and make the icing - but since we happened to be up till 2 am watching a redbox movie I thought - what the hell, I'll give it a go. . . big mistake.

I had never cut a cake in half (horizontally) but I had my big tupperware bread knife ready to go. While I butchered the first one making the bottom layer only 1/4 an inch thick, the second cake went much better. I decided to put the tiny layer near the top and began assembly. The first two layers went together without a problem...but then came the butchered layer -- and well it seemed to go ok, so I added the rest of the filling and the final layer of cake.

I was rinsing dishes when Jordan walked in to admire my work .... he then kindly let me know it was falling apart -- I shot him a dirty look and told him it was fine... fine until he pointed out that the third layer had torn in half and was sliding down and it wasn't just a bit of lemon curd oozing out of the layers like I had assumed. I grabbed the cake at the sides and shoved the layer back in place while frantically yelling at Jordan to grab the "stick thingies" (skewers) out of the top left drawer. We were both laughing uncontrollably but he some how managed to find the sticks -- and then, of course, he insisted on snapping a photo before (much to my chagrin) jabbing them in the middle of the cake. Needless to say, I then asked him to move them to the edges to help hold the cake in place.

I decided that was enough and to put the cake in the fridge for the night so I could just deal with it in the morning. Luckily, it was all in one piece. I still needed to make the Icing -- which seemed like it was going well until I realized I had used 2 large eggs and not 2 large egg whites and had to start over. The second batch tasted delicious! I iced the cake hiding any drooping layers and carefully loaded it into the car. Some how it made it all the way to Grandma & Grandpa Whitt's with out falling apart or touching the glass lid.


editor's note: besides jabbing the sticks in the middle of the cake, I did make some positive contribution by squeezing the lemons for the filling and creating a crapton of lemon zest (which Jennie totally forgot to use). Just wanted to point out that I'm not completely worthless :)

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