Because Blueberries

IMG_3111It will always be a mystery to me why I have such an abundance of misplaced confidence in myself when it comes to any kind of food preparation.  Such optimism!  I wonder if this is how gamblers feel.  Play and play and play until finally you hit a jackpot and the amount of money you blew getting to that point is a forgotten and tiresome little detail.

I’m not going to dwell on food wastage because regret is stupid, right?  I admit I’ve had my share of culinary disappointments.  The experience is what’s important.  I’m just going to go with that.

Reasons why I decided to make this:

  1. I have liked a lot of recipe pages on Facebook so my news feed includes quite an annoying number of pictures of things people have cooked or baked or fed to their dogs, who really knows the truth behind these things, and looking at them always makes me hungry.
  2. Blueberries are good for you.
  3. I am really tired of eggs for breakfast.
  4. This recipe looked like an easy one in which to make healthier ingredient substitutions so that a diabetic person could eat some practically guilt free.

The original recipe is here.  I will also mention that I am more often than not sucked in by the claim “best ever”.

Here are the things I changed (yep, without testing the original):

  1. I used frozen blueberries.
  2. Truvia instead of sugar.
  3. All purpose gluten free flour with 1/4 tsp xanthum gum.
  4. Butter flavoured margarine instead of real butter.  Because if it flops, what a waste of butter.

It was in the oven at least 45 minutes to get to the bubbling stage, likely because the blueberries started out so cold.

The filling was a little watery, probably real sugar would have thickened it up more.  Maybe a little bit of cornstarch mixed in with the orange juice would help.  The orange juice gave the berries a wonderful tart taste.  I wonder how lemon juice would work?  And maybe some lemon zest in the batter?  This is why I end up never making the same thing twice.  The cobbler topping was slightly dry, but still good.  A possible remedy for that problem of course would be the ice cream the recipe so helpfully suggests.  But I don’t have any, and come on, it’s already a stretch to call this breakfast.

Artistic bonus – that pretty round swirly pattern on the edges of the pan, I assume from exploding fruit.

I’m going to call this a success.   It satisfied my craving for something sweet and got rid of a partial bag of frozen blueberries that were giving me a headache trying to decide how long they’d been in the freezer.  I guess you could say I don’t have extremely high standards.

And that’s probably a good thing. Happy Friday!

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For the Love of Flat Bread

Funny what counts as inspiration and makes me want to blog all of a sudden.  This is mostly for my recipe-sending sister, to let her know I take her seriously when she makes a recommendation even if it takes me forever and three days to try it out for myself.

It’s coconut flour flat bread!  I followed the recipe!  Except for the part at the end where my one act of rebellion was to cut it into shapes instead of rounds.  Rounds give you too many left over pieces you just want to throw out.  This was less wasteful and more interesting.  The two pieces sort of shaped like Manitoba were just happy accidents.

It smells great when it’s baking and tastes really good with garlic and herb cream cheese.  And yeah, that was breakfast.

Here’s how easy it is.  Maybe you know what a big fan of easy I am.

Ingredients

½ cup coconut flour

2 (two) 15 ml Tablespoons + 2 (two) 5 ml teaspoons xantham gum

¼ cup melted coconut oil

1 cup boiling water

optional: 1 tsp spice of your choice (I used Italian)

Directions

Preheat oven to 355 F
Whisk dry ingredients together

Add water & oil. Mix with fork until no lumps and dough comes together.

Knead with your hands until well mixed.

Roll out dough in between 2 sheets of parchment paper

Cut into rounds with cookie cutter or oiled drinking glass

Line cookie sheet with parchment paper & fill with cut outs like cookies

Bake for 20 min until golden brown
Next time I might add some salt, and flip them over in the last five minutes so both sides get a bit crispy.  And of course experiment with the spices.

I’ve been so incredibly antisocial for such a long time this summer, if that’s what it takes for an introvert to recharge, I should be at about 120 percent by now.  I admit I sometimes talk to myself out loud lately.  You know, just to see if my voice still works.  This morning I had a staring contest with a jack rabbit until I asked him wtf he wanted and he took off.  The other day I watched the squirrel on our fence taunting three squawking crows.  Perhaps you are getting an inkling of why I haven’t been rushing to my iPad to record these and other extraordinary events for posterity.

And it’s been so hot.  When I shop I go early in the morning, get the mail from the day before, half close the blinds to the direct sunlight and read my kindle with a fan blowing in my face.  Play some computer games, check out the idiotic crap going on in the world, see if there’s weather watches or warnings.  Get quite excited for myself and my grass if it rains.  Wasn’t so thrilled with the latest tornado watch, didn’t like the black sky and hung out in the basement for a bit one evening.

Other than that and having family here for the Canada Day weekend and talking to and texting W sporadically, there is nothing to say.  So I have been saying nothing.  And doing next to that.

I am alive and eating flat bread.  Life is good.

Holy Bat Day Fogman!

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Yeah, that’s not quite right.

It’s how words get muddled up in my mind just before they exit my mouth.  Immediately after thinking this impossible thing I contemplated being a super hero called Dense Fog Woman.  Here she comes to fog your brain. Yeah, also not great.

Weird to have such dense pea soup fog days in our arid little part of the world.  Of course we all want to go out driving in it.  Our grandson, who flew here and then drove to Calgary with grandpa to attend a wrestling seminar type thing on the weekend (I know, foggy details) is making attempt number two this morning to fly home.  The plane last night was turned back, unable to land in the ice fog.  So of course there were irate passengers annoyed with the inconvenience but think how much more annoyed they would be if the plane crashed.  What’s a few trips to and from the airport in the grand scheme of things really.  So we had a very late night and a ridiculously early morning.

I got three times the goodbye hugs, so I’m good with it.

Friday was the day I took this photo, an extreme close up of two jars of homemade relish.  Made in my home, by me.  The one on the left is my first attempt, chopping everything with a chopper, and the other one was more labour intensive because I chopped everything by hand.  A batch makes about three jars each.  My food chopper has a fine line between big chunks and mush.  I personally never manage to get stuff to the mush point because frankly I’m just not that ambitious.  So jar number two is supposed to look more uniformly relishy.  It’s made up word day here.  And since there is no discernible difference in how they look, food chopper wins this one and all future endeavours.

My sister gave me a little jar of  low glycemic no sugar added sweet pickle relish, along with the recipe, to try. (you can find it here ) It is delicious. She does all this wonderful canning and preserving and freezing from her garden and I always think it looks like fun and not that hard.  Halfway through the process I’m likely to change my mind about both those things.  But I always learn something.

About six years ago (the amount of time it takes me to forget why I don’t can stuff) I made some hamburger relish which was lovely and red and very tasty, and some apple chutney which was just weird.  Unless apple chutney is your go-to condiment and you have it with at least six meals a week, don’t make a dozen jars of it.  I lost count of how many times we said, after a meal was finished, oh, we should have had some of that relish stuff with this. Okay, truthfully, I’m the only one who said that.   I discovered no one in my family really cares for red relish.  Or maybe just MY red relish.  Those jars took up space on my shelves for a very long time.  And then they all at once mysteriously disappeared because I got tired of looking at them.

Anyway this stuff is really good and gave me a mad craving for hotdogs, so I had to venture out into the Friday fog to buy some.  It is Monday morning and they are all gone, along with half a jar of my amazing relish.  I’m kind of sick of both of them actually, but let’s not talk about that.

The fog advisory for here has been lifted.  I think it might be safe to go back to bed.  But not before I mention I made some marmalade too this weekend using two big oranges, half a lemon and some fake sugar.  It’s supposed to be a paleo recipe using honey, although I can’t imagine cave people sitting around a fire canning jam.

Okay, now I can.  I need to sleep.

 

Try This at Home

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Despite squirting minced onion juice directly into my right eye, I am having a pretty good day.

Recipes to me are mere guidelines, and unless I’m feeling particularly sad and vulnerable and morose and unsure of myself (man, why would anyone try to create something feeling like that?) I like to wing it and see what happens.  This drives recipe following people a little nuts.  But it’s kind of exciting and God knows I don’t live dangerously in any other way whatsoever.

Anyway I have avocados which will not last forever in my fridge and decided this morning to try making avocado ranch dressing, or dip, or a combination of the two.  Does anyone actually measure avocado?  Wouldn’t a normal person just take their chances and  use a whole one?  I don’t like to measure sour cream or mayo either because they get my measuring cups all gross, so I plopped a dollop of each into the bowl with the avocado.  I left out dill because I don’t have any.  For onion salt and garlic powder I figured the real thing minced would be even better.  Except for the part where putting onion chunks through the garlic press temporarily blinded me in one eye, I think that worked out well.  Then I added apple cider vinegar instead of white.  I don’t really know why, but why not, hey?  And finally salt and pepper and dried parsley. Also not measured because things like that should be to taste.

It all got mushed up together with the immersion blender (I used to call this the Braun mixer, but apparently other companies make them too and I like this slightly more sophisticated name which makes me sound like I know what I’m doing when it comes to kitchen utensils).

Dont worry, its highly unlikely this will be turning in to a cooking blog.  It’s a stage I’m going through, that’s all.

Daughter and granddaughter are coming over for W’s famous fish and chips this afternoon.  I will be contributing a salad, OR……avocado tartar sauce maybe.  Doesn’t that sound good??

Hope neither of them reads this before they get here…

Guacamole For Dummies

 

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This morning before I got out of bed I solemnly promised myself that I would answer the WordPress Daily Post prompt, no matter what it might be or how much I didn’t feel like it.  Unfortunately for whoever might be reading this, here it is.

(Your Thing) For Dummies:  Take a complicated subject you know more about than most people, and explain it to a friend who knows nothing about it at all.

So would you really like to hear all about fitting eyeglasses and contact lenses, doing follow-up adjustments and appointments and assessments?  I didn’t think so.  All you need to know about all of that stuff, really, is to take your problems to a professional.  Don’t do your own adjustments.  Don’t put your glasses in a microwave, a dog’s mouth, or under a moving truck.  When your contact lenses are uncomfortable, get them the hell out of your eyes.  If your glasses don’t sit all perfectly balanced on a flat surface, but look okay on your face, ask yourself if your head is a flat surface.  Then just get on with your day.

My second thought was to explain my artistic process, but the big thing there seems to be how I’m very good at ruining a lot of clothes and desk tops and floors with paint and glue.  And you probably know better than I do how to avoid all of these things already.  If you don’t, I’m sorry, I can’t help you.

Guacamole, on the other hand, is something I can talk about and I guarantee you will learn a couple of new things, even if you think you already know absolutely everything there is to know on the subject.  I’m still in the learning stages myself, but I know there is perfect guacamole out there somewhere, just waiting for me to discover it.

Here are the secrets I have uncovered so far.

1.  Three cloves of garlic for three avocados is probably too much garlic.  Just because you peeled that many does not mean you should use all of them at once.  Your first clue would be how your fridge smells after placing the guacamole inside it in a sealed container, and still being knocked over backwards by the overpowering garlic odor whenever you open the fridge door.

2.  When they say roma tomatoes, they mean tomatoes that aren’t excessively juicy.  Ordinary tomatoes will work if you scoop out all the juicy insides and pat what’s left dry on a paper towel before chopping them up.

3.  The fact that you seem to remember the recipe calling for the juice of half a lime may annoy you.  Or maybe that’s just me.  Anyway, it always seems like such a waste to squeeze out the juice and throw the rest away.  And then there’s that other half of the lime which slowly shrivels up and dies before you can think of something else to do with it.  I’m talking about big limes.  If the lime is tiny, go ahead and juice the whole thing.  However, if you are ever inclined to just throw the entire gigantic peeled lime into your food processor with the chopped onions and garlic, AVOID THE TEMPTATION.  Yes, I am yelling at you.  This is not a good idea unless you want your guacamole to taste like really bad after shave.

4.  If you ignored my warning and did use the entire lime, throwing a bit of sweetener in after the fact to cut the bitterness of the lime will make your guacamole edible.  That’s it.  Delicious is just not going to happen.

5.  If all else fails (and in my case this is always a possibility) print a recipe off the internet and FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS.  Now I’m just yelling at myself.

I sincerely hope this has been helpful advice for the guacamole impaired.  Anything else you need to know, just ask.  Or Wikipedia is also helpful.  I’m not pretending to know everything.  Or anything really.  So, yeah.  You may now get on with your day.

Of Bogs and Baers

Cat with a backwards "c", a bog and a baer.  Not for sale.  Sorry.

Cat with a backwards “c”, a bog and a baer. Not for sale. Sorry.

Some art work is priceless.  Found these in my filing cabinet under Recipes.  Yes, that’s how I file.  I believe the artist is Kenzie and I’m guessing at about age four. The arrows are a nice touch.  But I’m a little freaked out by the claws on that baer.

Quiche or Something Like It

Some days you just have to write about Quiche, especially on those days when you threw some together and it turned out on the plus side of edible.

I cooked some bacon until it was dark and crisp. Did I mention in any of my Greece-capades that there was not one breakfast in any of the places we stayed where the bacon was cooked any more than about half way? To me it looked as if they’d warmed it up until the fat melted and then thrown it in a heat tray in a limp and grease sodden mess. Yuck.

Anyway, I cooked the hell out of some bacon, cooled it on a paper towel and crumbled it up in anticipation of adding it to an omelette. And then suddenly an omelette sounded boring. So I chopped up some red onion, red pepper and green pepper, and sautéed it with a zip lock bag full of frozen spinach which usually ends up in my daily smoothie. Smoothies can get boring too.

Next I beat the hell out of six eggs. I don’t love cooking unless I’m cooking the hell out of things. I also find recipes and the way they’re written boring most of the time, unless they say weird and wonderful things like
– prepare the pan (apparently some pans don’t deal well with surprises)
– sit in the fridge for 30 minutes (this only works if you have a super sized fridge and you’re under 4 feet tall)
– season to taste (no really, you need to be more specific here for us taste impaired cooks and actually mention some spices and seasonings by name)

Anyway, buttered pie plate, beaten eggs, sautéed mixture, sprinkled with the crumbled bacon and shredded cheese (I’m sure it doesn’t matter what kind – pick something you like) into the oven at 350 for 30 minutes. Yes, I was pretty much making this up as I went along and hoping for the best. It’s not that I don’t like a Quiche with a pastry crust but those things aren’t good for you and way too much like work.

Voila!

Voila!

Extreme quiche close up.

Extreme quiche close up.

Notice that you are not seeing any of the complicated process leading to this result.  That’s because I don’t like to tempt fate by recording the steps which may lead to colossal failure.  Even with something as relatively simple as crustless Quiche.

I wonder if my cooking skills (or lack of confidence in them) can be blamed on my mother.  We blame our mothers for just about everything, so why not.  She was an excellent cook who could whip up an incredible table full of delicious food for a crowd with very little help.   It would take her longer to tell you how to do something than to just do it herself.  She was forever apologizing for the dishes she made not being better, although we couldn’t imagine how that would be possible.  She never measured anything exactly, using her measuring cups and spoons as guidelines only.  That’s why I don’t have many of her recipes.  The best ones  changed with the ingredients on hand and were never written down.  Leaving her daughters (well this one who never listened anyway) to wing it on their own.

This was really good hot out of the oven with some salsa on the side.  I’m hoping it will be really good cold too, because I may have gone a bit overboard with half a dozen eggs for one person.  Mom also always cooked with leftovers in mind.  Maybe I’m more like her than I know.