Monday, November 12, 2007

Why I've lost 15 pounds since I started learning to cook:

Tonight I tried another recipe, this one called for 2 cups of tuna, but noted that other fist would work fine, too. Tuna is just fine, but wild salmon contains less mercury, so when I saw cans of it, I grabbed a few! (I also always worry about getting, say, snowed in with no power. Cans of fish will keep for longer than the meat in the freezer...)

There are many differences between canned tuna and canned salmon, but tonight I discovered the only one I really cared about.

Canned salmon has BONES in it. Ew.

Ew. Ew. EW.

Not just a few virtually-nonexistent ribs, either. VERTEBRAE.

Now, I used to be a vegetarian because I didn't like the idea of eating things with spinal columns. Yes, I pulled them all out, but... ew.

It took me an hour after I took my finished fish patties out of the oven to actually eat them. And then I could only manage one. The rest will go into the freezer for some time when I'm less grossed out.


I'm telling you - the greatest glory of civilization is that we don't have to eat the icky bits. Or at least, we don't have to *know* that we're eating the icky bits!!!

Breakfast Granola

I mentioned a few posts ago that breakfast first thing was MANDATORY. And that I'm not trusted around sharp knives or hot things in the morning. Now, if you've gone looking recently, you know that there's a real lack of sugar-free, corn-free cereals. Mostly, my options are oatmeal (not really enough "stick with"-ness") or mini-shredded wheats. So, I try to usually make my own granola. It involves an oven, but only in the evening!

Kat's Granola
2 c. old-fashioned oats
2 c. puffed rice
2 c. puffed millet, or any other handy puffed cereal (wheat, etc.)
2 T. of each"small stuff" - flax seeds, wheat germ, wheat bran, hemp protien, for example)
2 t. of cinnamon, and possibly maple syrup if I'm feeling decadent
~ 2 T. sugar-sweetness equivilant of stevia
~1/2 t. of nutmeg
a dash of ground clove
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. oil

Mix together. Spread on a cookie sheet so that it's no more than 1" deep, put in a 350F oven for 30 mins, stirring half way through. Let cool before storing - best if stored in the fridge.

I really do mix in whatever's handy, too - the end of a box of "Woven Wheats", matzo crumbs, cereal I tried but didn't like - it all goes in the mixing bowl!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Treats - fluffy Ginger-maple banana muffins

Some cravings are harder than others to ignore. Sweets I've mostly stopped craving, partly because my palate has shifted a bit, and partially because I've got sugar-free Wether's for when they get bad (yes, sugar-free stuff generally has crap in it that's worse than sugar in many, many ways. But sometimes, it's that or a coke....). The cravings that really get me are pizza (?) and fluffy pastries. The Fluffy Pastry's modern incarnation owes much of it's texture to bleached white flour, white sugar, and soy shortenings - all forbidden foods. This weekend's food experiment was to create a Fluffy Baked Good with none of those things.

Fluffy (Ginger-Maple) Banana Muffins

2 bananas (my freezer is full of the damn things..)
1/4 c. canola oil
1/4 c. (that's 1/2 stick) of butter
3 eggs
1/2 c. water
1 c. of unbleached, unenriched whole wheat four
1/2 c. of unbleached, unenriched whole oat flour
1/2 c. of unbleached, unenriched white wheat flour (yes, it's cheating. A little.)
2 t. Trader Joe's stevia-lactose blend (sweetness ~ 2 T sugar)
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
(1 T. of minced ginger)
(1 T. of real maple syrup, also a small cheat)

Pre-heat your oven to 325F. Put muffin cup liners in 12 muffin cups (I like the "If You Care" brand. The muffins never stick to them!).
Thaw your bananas, if they're frozen. Peel and mash the bananas. Melt the butter - if your bananas are still very cold, heat both (and maybe the water and oil) in the microwave or in your pre-heating oven. Use a blender to mix these and the eggs all together - don't worry if some of the butter re-solidifies, as long as it's flecks all throughout and not one big clump. If you are adding the ginger and the maple syrup, do that now, too.

Add the dry ingredients. I recommend blending in no more than 1 cup of flour at a time, and saving the baking powder and baking soda for last (their chemical reaction causes some of the fluffy - but it's only temporary. You want that reaction to peak as close to when the oven starts to solidify the mix as possible!) .

Pour/scoop your mix into your waiting muffin tin. I have to admit that I filled the cups all the way, and almost had extra! You could probably even use this recipe to make a few more muffins, but you'd need more muffin tins because you don't want to wait for the first batch to come out before cooking the second - remember that chemical reaction!

Bake at 325F for about 30 mins, or until the tops are slightly brown + a toothpick comes out clean.