»Daily Prompt: Red Pill, Blue PillIf you could get

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Daily Prompt: Red Pill, Blue Pill

If you could get all the nutrition you needed in a day with a pill — no worrying about what to eat, no food preparation — would you do it?

 

Hmmm, this requires a list of pros and cons…

 

The Pro List:

  • Ok, so I’d have loads of spare time freed up by the fact that I would no longer need to plan, shop for and cook my meals.
  • Those of us with food allergies could probably even get an allergy free version (and not even miss the difference between ours and the “regular” pill).
  • I wouldn’t have the stress  of trying to accommodate the different food likes and dislikes of family members.
  • I could get rid of all my dishes, pots, pans, cooking and eating utensils and my dining table, my chest freezer, my fridge, my dishwasher
  • H…and gain loads of extra space in my home.

 

The Con List:

  • There would be no reason to make this
Chili Lime Shrimp Tacos

Chili Lime Shrimp Tacos

or these

Wake Me Up! Gluten & Dairy Free Chocolate Espresso Muffins

Wake Me Up! Gluten & Dairy Free Chocolate Espresso Muffins

or these

Lemon Tart Cookies II

Lemon Tart Cookies II

 

I think I’d vote no. : )

How would you vote?

 

What’s Your Favourite Chocolate Chip Cookies?

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One of my favourite things to do in the kitchen is bake. I find baking to be part alchemy, part chemistry, part artistry. Take a list or ingredients and add them together in just the right way, in just the right order and apply just the right amount of heat for just the right amount of time…and viola! You get something warm and delicious at the end. It’s like magic.

When I first switched to a gluten free diet, I was determined to find an all purpose flour recipe I could use to make delicious cookies. It took several (dozen?) trial batches to get things just right. My favourite mix is based on this recipe , by Silvanna Nardone. This recipe makes a big batch and works really well for cookies but I’ve tweaked it since the first time I tried it. Now I use brown rice flour in place of the white.

In my opinion, there is nothing as comforting, or decadent, as a freshly baked cookie, still warm from the oven and chocolate chip cookies are one of my favourites.

There are so many ways to make a chocolate chip cookie:

  • soft
  • crisp
  • with lots of vanilla
  • heavy on the brown sugar
  • with or without nuts
  • big or little chips
  • milk or dark chocolate
  • with exotic flavours like mint or cinnamon

Initially, I was so proud to be able to bake a delicious cookie that my family couldn’t tell was gluten and dairy free, I’d bake several batches a week. I kind of over did it for a while. Then, although I’d share them generously, I’d eat them and my waistline started to suffer…

These days, I try not to keep too many tempting sweets around the house. However, since I’ve had my sense of smell back, I have been craving my favourite chocolate chip cookie:

Spiced Orange Chocolate Chip

Gluten & Dairy Free Spiced Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten & Dairy Free Spiced Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies

A classic combo of chocolate and orange with a hint of spice, these cookies are amazing with cup of tea or coffee. The recipe doubles easily and I rarely make a small batch.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ c all purpose gluten free flour mix
  • ½ c brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ c sugar
  • 1/2 c dairy free all vegetable shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp grated orange rind
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp table salt
  • ¾ c pure semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F

In large bowl, beat both sugars and shortening. Add egg, orange rind and vanilla, beat until fluffy. In separate bowl, mix all dry ingredients except chocolate chips. Whisk to combine. Add to sugar mixture, mix well. Add Chips. Drop onto tray by rounded tablespoon, 2 inches apart. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.

Enjoy and don’t forget to share!

I love reading feedback and getting your thoughts , so I’m gonna pose a question to you dear readers.

How do you like your chocolate chip cookies? Please take a moment to fill out the form

My Unconventional Love

Daily Prompt: Unconventional Love

Over the weekend, we explored different ways to love. Today, tell us about the most unconventional love in your life.”

What is unconventional love?

Hmmm before I can answer that, I need to define what conventional love is.

The Greeks have four words for describing love: affection, friendship, eros, and charity.

Affection– I think this is kind of like what you feel for your third cousin on your father’s side that you get along with or the fellow commuter you chat with everyday.

Friendship– We all know what this is. It’s the love you have for your best bud, the pal who has been with you through good and bad. They have your back and you have theirs and if you ever need to make an emergency call to someone, it’ll be this person.

Eros– Ah, romantic love. We’ve all had a Sweetie at some point in our lives….

Charity-The unconditional love you have for your child or for those in need.

If I base my idea of conventional love on the above definitions, then for love to be unconventional, it has to be something other than affectionate, friendly, romantic or charitable.

I think my love for cooking falls into the unconventional category.

Oh, I know we all have a need for sustenance and for most of us, preparing our food is a necessity. In fact, I know of several people who think of food as just a source of fuel to get them through the day. I also know folks who regard cooking a meal as “just another chore that needs to be done”. That’s not what I’m referring to here.

I really do mean I love cooking. I’m almost always cooking. My regular job is chef at a daycare, so from Mon-Fri, you’ll find me sneaking extra veggies into everything from pasta sauce to Sloppy Joes and adding extra protein and whole grains into muffins and cookies. When I’m not actually in a kitchen, I’m usually thinking about it. I’m constantly learning new techniques and skills. I am forever expanding my knowledge of different ingredients and cuisines. I love thinking about what would “go well with” this or that ingredient and I take great pleasure in passing along what I know about food and cooking to other people. Like you!

Sci-Fi Women and Waffles

While browsing through old Daily Prompt posts, looking for inspiration, I came across two ideas that stuck with me.

  1. Tell us about a book you can read again and again without getting bored — what is it that speaks to you?
  2. Head to one of your favorite blogs. Write a companion piece to their penultimate post.

I couldn’t get those ideas out of my head.  I have a number of books that I can read over and over. They’re like old friends. I spent a few days playing with how to approach topic #1, then I’d start thinking about topic #2. There are a number of blogs I visit, but recently there is one that stands out. Jack Flacco lives close enough to me that we share the same weather and radio stations. He also devotes Wednesdays to writing about cool fictional female characters in his “Women Who Wow Wednesdays” series of posts.

The books I tend to read over and over have powerful female characters.

Then I was hit by a lightening bolt. I’d combine the two ideas into one post.

The result follows:

I’m a bit of a sci-fi geek. I like Start Trek and Star Wars and I’ll watch or read pretty much anything involving space ships or time travel.  More so when there are strong female characters involved.

One of my all time favourite authors is the late Robert A. Heinlein. His alternate universe series is full of intelligent, independent, beautiful (on the inside and outside) women. One of my favourite Heinlein characters is Gwen Novak from a book I can read again and again; “The Cat Who Walks Through Walls”.

We first meet Gwen Novak as she is returning to the table of her swain Dr. Richard Ames, with whom she had been enjoying an evening of low gravity dinner theater in Golden Rule Space Colony, had being the imperative word.  While absent, a strange man quickly takes her spot, accosts her fella, then the stranger appears to be killed at the table, all within a few minutes. We soon find out that Gwen watched the stranger at the table with her beau Richard. Thinking it was Richard who killed the stranger, Gwen offers her place as a refuge for Richard to lay low. She then sends Richard on a bit of a goose chase, that leads him back to his own digs (to throw off anyone who may be following the good doctor), in order to keep him safe thereby showing her loyalty and her cleverness. When Gwen wakes the next morning it is to the smell of coffee and fresh waffles, made by Richard. From there, Gwen and Dr. Ames are set upon a fascinating adventure filled with danger and conspiracy that takes them from Golden Rule Colony, to various places, and dimensions. Further into the story we learn that Gwen can speak fluent Japanese, can square dance with ease, is an excellent shot, has no patience for laziness or poor hygiene (don’t we all?) and is actually a time travelling grandmother from an alternate future reality, sent to find and recruit Dr. Ames’ help with a plot to rescue a sentient computer known a Mike, in order to preserve human history.  How cool is she?

I think I want to time travel when I’m a grandma.

In the meantime, I’ll make waffles for my Sweetie.

Dee’s “Quick and Easy” Gluten & Dairy Free Breakfast Waffles

Makes 4-6
1 cup gluten free all purpose flour blend
1 teaspoon xanthan gum (if not included in your flour blend)
1 teaspoon double acting baking powder
pinch of salt
1 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil, plus a little extra for brushing the iron
1 cup plain rice milk
1 large egg

Preheat waffle iron. If you want to hold the  finished waffles, preheat oven to 200°F.
In large bowl, whisk together first five ingredients. Pour in the milk, add the egg ad whisk, until ingredients are just combined. Gently stir in the oil.

Brush grids with a little oil and spoon a scant ½ c batter (or the amount recommended by your waffle iron’s manufacturer) onto the hot grids. Smooth batter to within a ¼ inch of the edges with a spatula or wooden spoon. Close lid and bake until brown and crisp.

Enjoy immediately. If holding, place in oven on a rack, in a single layer, while you make the remaining waffles.
Serve with maple syrup, berries, bacon, coffee or tea and your favourite juice.

Waffles_2a

Daily Prompt: Key Takeaways

When looking for inspiration for new posts, sometimes I have to look beyond my own kitchen…that’s when I turn to The Daily Post.

May 7, 2013;
Daily Prompt: Key Takeaways

I’m pretty new to blogging. considering I’ve only been at it for a little over two months now.

Before I started blogging I’d been kickin’ around the idea of starting one for a while. I thought it looked like fun. I’d read other peoples blogs and think, “I could do something like that. You just write about what you like, or what you know, or what you’re passionate about. I can do that. I have people ask me for cooking tips all the time, why not ‘put it out there for the world’? How hard can it be?”

I mean, put me in a kitchen and I’m completely at ease, even if it’s a space I’ve never been in before. Put a note pad in front of me and I can usually find something to write about. I decided to it was time to bite the bullet and set up a WordPress account and upload a post.

Seventeen posts in and quite often, I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing. Don’t get me wrong, I use computers on a daily basis to pull bits of information off the internet for personal and business use. However, I’m definitely not the most technically savvy person. I’m not really sure what an RSS feed is and I’m still not sure what half the available widgets do.

All I can say is that it’s a good thing WordPress makes things easy. : )

So, if there’s any advice I can give to new or even would be bloggers out there it is this:
Don’t sweat the technical stuff.  Just write about what you want to write about and ask for help whenever you need it. It’s out there.

Have a Dee’Lectable Day!

It’s been one of those crazy weeks!

The other day I was browsing through WordPress Daily Post to get some inspiration and writing tips. After reading some of the suggested blogs (and finding some very interesting bloggers!), I signed up to get the Daily Prompt. Today’s prompt is “Mad Libs”, which is kinda cool because I’ve been working on this post and wasn’t sure which direction I should take it. Thanks for the Inspiration!

It’s really been one of those weeks.

My alarm clock didn’t go off on time Monday morning but I pulled it together to get to work just in time. My Tuesday’s “to do list” got rearranged to suit someone else’s (more important) agenda, leaving me with an even bigger list.  By Wednesday I was so stressed out I almost forget an important appointment. To top it off, today there was this massive shut down on the 401 highway westbound into Toronto that clogged up even the side streets. I’m sure all the commuters within a 60Km radius of the C.N.Tower were just desperately trying to find an alternate route to work, however, that turned my measly 8 minute trip into almost an hour. Who can plan for that?

I feel like I’ve been playing catch up since the week started and it’s finally got me grumpy. In fact I have to say, I’ve got quite the “grrrr” on right now.

I’ve always been a little envious of those people who can let things slide. Me? I have a temper. Yep, I admit it. It’s nasty, evil, fast, white hot and shows no mercy. Most days I keep it locked up in a box with a heavy rock on top, but I know it’s there, all shadowy and patient, waiting for that one thing that will make this, usually nice gal, crack.

Once that happens (like now!) it’s best to batten down the hatches and hit the deck! (At least until I can put it back in its box!) It’s a good thing I’m the only one home.

Time for a self imposed intervention…wait, is that even possible? Well you know what I mean. It’s time to break out the big guns to cure this cranky gal of “The Nasties”, before the family gets home.

For me there are only two things that work. Exercise and cooking. Since I’ve already done my workout for today (and my legs are screaming at me from the 160 squats I did), it looks like I’ll be cooking.

There is something I find therapeutic about preparing a meal.

I think I’ll start off whacking a big bud of garlic (to make it easier to peel, of course). Then there’s the part where I get to chop it, or even better, smoosh it with my mortar and pestle. Then, I’ll add a little pinch of course salt and grind it in until the juices release. Then, because I’m all fired up, I add something to help clear my head…like some extra hot horseradish. Today I’m having a “good” sinus day, so I’m gonna stick my nose close to the jar and inhale. That should help. Hmmm. Mustard? Something to “kick it up a notch”? This makes me think of a marinade I make for beef, Grilled Devilled Beef to be exact.

This will chase away my foul mood. Time to marinade some steaks and fire up the grill!

Grilled Devilled Beef

1 large clove of garlic
1 T extra hot horseradish (I used Kozlick’s X Extra Hot)
1 T strong flavoured mustard (I used Kozlick’s “Market Mustard”)
1 T balsamic vinegar
pinch of kosher salt
3 T Tamari sauce
3 T olive oil
1 ½ -3 ½ lbs steak

Place the garlic clove flat side down on your work surface. Lay the flat side of your favourite knife on the garlic; keeping the knife steady, use the heel of your free hand to whack the flat of the knife. Proceed to peel garlic and chop finely, or add to mortar and bang and smoosh it a bit. Sprinkle with salt and continue to pound with pestle, or use the flat side of your knife to smear the salt into the garlic. Add the remaining ingredients, except the steak, together in the mortar or in a small bowl, mix well. Pour over steak, making sure it has been completely coated. Let marinate for minimum 30 minutes. Grill steaks to desired doneness. Let steaks rest for at least as long as you grilled them.

Add some baked sweet potato fries with some chipotle mayo and a mixed green salad for a simple supper.

Hmm….I think I just smiled : )

Grilled Devilled Steak II