Reviews

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Review: The Beyond Burger

Published August 24, 2018 by lynn k scott

It’s been about a month now; give or take.  I have been on a primarily vegan diet to treat my colon cancer.  I juice a lot, follow a gluten-free (did that before cancer) and now a vegetarian, if not vegan diet.

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I would say that about 95% of my food intake is vegan.  I never thought I could give  up cheese.  Surprisingly, it hasn’t been as difficult as I thought it would be.  Since changing my diet, I have had goat cheese 4 times and feta cheese twice.  Not too shabby.  I occasionally will have either fish or shellfish.

I have also given up dairy and eggs, in addition to red meat, chicken and pork.  I will occasionally do honey; but limit natural sugar.  I rarely have any refined sugar these days.  My daughter always wanted a rabbit to join the family.  She will just have to accept me as a surrogate bunny.

Onto the review…

I saw a blog post about “The Beyond Burger” about a month ago about this alternative meat.  As soon as I read about it, I knew I had to try it as soon as it was available.

Earlier this week, when I was doing the weekly grocery shopping, I happened to stumble upon it.  It was nestled in the meat department, right about the ground beef.  I picked up a package to try, picked up pre-made burgers for the family (rarely do that) and was EXCITED to try it for dinner.

Last night, I cooked up their burgers in one pan and made my “burger” in cast iron pan.  They had a perfect sear to them.  The “burgers” are primarily made of pea protein and beets.  I have had pea protein milk before.  It’s a great dairy-free alternative.  However, it tends to be a bit more expensive then, say, almond or cashew milk.

I wish I had taken pics of the “burgers” before I added the avocados.  I opted to forgo the vegan cheddar cheese.  I didn’t put them on a bun, as I didn’t have gluten-free ones available and didn’t feel like going the lettuce wrap route.

While the “burger” didn’t taste like read meat, it “bleeds” while cooking because of the beets in it.  They are also a bit smaller than what I would call a traditional burger size.

A bonus for me is they have 30% of the recommended daily volume of protein.  I am continually anemic from my cancer.  To say, I love this plant-based option, wouldn’t be an understatement.  My husband and daughter thought I was nuts when I was so happy about my dinner.  You can read more about the nutritional content here.

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I topped the “burgers” with avocado and dipped each bite in a bit of mustard.  I love mustard and I use it whenever I can.  I really enjoyed the taste.  I cooked it with just a bit of salt and pepper.  Nothing complicated.  I made vegan mashed potatoes.  The family wanted fries, which I made them in the air fryer for them, but I wanted mashed potatoes.

I don’t often buy pre-made meals for myself.  However, this is one option I will definitely do.  It makes prepping dinner a bit easier on my busy nights.

If your family does a meatless Monday or you’re trying to cut back on red meat, I would invite you to give this option a try.  I think this is now one of my new favorite foods.

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Gluten-free, Vegan Pizza

Published August 13, 2018 by lynn k scott

Yesterday, I ventured into new culinary territory.  My lil-miss was at a pool party, so my husband and I chose to get some pizza.  We went to Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria.  Being from NY, I am picky about my pizza.  Hands down, Vincinis Pizza is the best pizza in Solano County.

While I LOVE pizza at Vincinis, their gluten-free crust lacks a bit.  Amici’s has the best gluten-free crust in the area.  They also offer vegan cheese.  There is a pretty steep price-tag for a gluten-free pizza.  There is no extra charge for substituting the Daiya vegan cheese.

The menu only showcases one true vegan pizza but several gluten-free options.  I wish the vegan pizza had say an option to pick three toppings, with a gluten-free crust, for “X” amount.  We ended up paying $32 just for my pizza.  I’m sorry, but not every vegan or plant-based diet is in love with spinach.  It NEVER belongs on a pizza!  That’s my opinion of course, but salads are salads and pizza has no lettuce-like toppings.

The gluten-free crust is crispy, foldable and has good flavor.  The pizza sauce is also vegan.  The vegan cheese was creamier and melted well.  I admit, I was apprehensive about ordering this pizza.

My first bite reinforced I can primarily consume vegan dishes, even while eating out.  I didn’t miss “real” pizza at all.  I will definitely return for another vegan pizza.  However, strictly due to the price, the visits will be farther between because I can’t justify that cost for pizza on a regular basis.

It does prompt me to work on a homemade vegan crust.  This plant-based, vegan and sometimes raw diet is still new to me.  It makes it easier when I do eat out, to find restaurants who cater to dietary needs.  Yes, I could just have gluten-free, but the vegan(ish) lifestyle is geared toward my cancer recovery.  It’s not always easy to stick to the acceptable food, but when I do, I can feel a positive difference.  I also can’t complain about a 10-pound weight loss (in just three weeks).

In the infamous words of Andrew Zimmer, “If it looks good; eat it.”

Air Fryer XL

Published April 20, 2018 by lynn k scott

A few weeks ago, I treated myself to an air fryer.  I have been wanting one for over a year.  Kohl’s was having them on sale.  I received an additional 30% off by using my Kohl’s card and even received $10 in Kohl’s cash.  When all was said and done, I purchased this beauty at a great deal!    air fryer

I have used it a few times now and have yet to be disappointed.

If you follow my blog, you know I am a devoted mom to my now 12-year old daughter and my husband is Filipino.  That being said, I make sure my daughter understands her heritage, even though she is American.

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Last night, she learned the art of rolling lumpia.

Now, she had me cracking up; had to tell you.  She is methodical in her “rolling”.  There was a distinct difference in our technique.  My looked like traditional lumpia rolls.  Hers…well, they looked like perfectly little packages.  They were a tad flatter and looked exactly like a perfect package.  It was ADORABLE.  She was so proud of herself (as was I).

 20180419_190001.jpg   She’ll improve her technique.  Yet, we had another cooking bonding moment.  As homeschoolers, life skills are at the top of the list.  It’s great to have knowledge of history, able to do math, know some science, etc., but if she can’t function on her own, then I failed as a parent.  I do not have to worry where cooking is concerned.

As my daughter got into her rolling groove, she would start humming.  I’ve caught her doing this before.  She is very content in the kitchen, even if she says she wants to be a vet and take care of animals.  It’s nice to see her so relaxed when she’s preparing food whether it’s for herself or for a family dinner.

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Now, as far as the air fryer goes it makes perfect lumpia!  No frying, but all the crispy goodness that should be there when you bite into the perfect little roll.  I cook mine in a single layer (about 6 or 7 at a time).  I set the machine to 390 degrees and each batch took 10 minutes to cook.  I would flip each lumpia at the halfway mark.  You will need to cook in batches, but they are very hot when they come out of the air fryer, so they will still be warm when you go to eat them.

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Anyone who’s ever fried lumpia on the stove knows your house smells of cooked oil for days after making batch after batch of lumpia.  Using the air fryer, you only smell your food.  Not to mention, how much healthier this option is.  You lose nothing by using the air fryer over traditional oil.  Well, maybe you’ll lose a few pounds…but that’s a good thing, right?

Dutch Bros. Coffee

Published December 1, 2017 by lynn k scott

I make my own coffee every morning.  There are days I like to treat myself.  Being in Northern California, there is an amazing coffee company called Dutch Bros.  If you’ve never heard of them, or worse yet, haven’t tried their coffee, you’re truly missing out!

There is a Dutch Bros. near my office (about 5 minutes away).  What sets this coffee stand apart from the (self-dubbed), ‘Evil Empire (the coffee joint that must not be name – but has a celestial sign + a word meaning money), is it’s product and staff.

While, you can’t go inside, sit down at a table and suck up free Wi-Fi, you can order at the walk-up window or pull up to one of two drive-thrus.   There you can order an assortment of coffees, teas and blended drinks.

As a coffee purist (also self-dubbed), if you’re among the few people who don’t need coffee for survival, please wait to order your blended, non-caffeinated drinks til after 9:00 a.m.  Those of use who need that hot cup of coffee thank you in advance.  Sorry…I digressed there for a moment.

Anywho…with the chemo meds zapping every bit of energy I have and continuing to work full-time, I have been relying on lots of caffeine boosts from Dutch Bros.  Since it’s the Christmas season, the Caramel Eggnog latte is my favorite.  Add a bit of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon and you’re in eggnog heaven.

If I can’t get my eggnog, I go for a Carmelizer or 9-1-1.  The days that I am completely exhausted, are my 9-1-1 days.  Who couldn’t use 6 shots of espresso?  Calm down…it’s not that bad…everyone knows espresso has the least amount of caffeine.  Six shots is just the right amount of extra boost.

I would say 99% of my Dutch Bros experience comes from the Dixon, CA location.  When I’m not at work, I will occasionally stop by the Fairfield, CA location.  Soon, Vacaville, CA will have a location open.  Can’t wait!!!!

Don’t forget to get a stamp card.  Every 10 purchases gets you a free drink!  If you buy a reusable cup (I have 3) from them, you get a free drink.  It also saves you $0.25 on each purchase when you bring the cup in. wp-1472070865046.jpg

When my 11-year old daughter would commute with me, I would have to hide my stamp card.  She would count the card to see if there was an odd number or see if it was almost filled when she knew it should be almost empty.  Why was she checking?  She wanted to know when I got the yummy Dutch Bros. treat and she didn’t.  If she caught me, I would have to take her to get her Chocolate Frost.  I stopped letting her look at the card; she was costing me a fortune.  LOL

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She found out I got DB without her.

I will gladly take Dutch Bros. gift cards for all birthdays, holidays and thank-yous.  Honestly, I can’t thank them enough because they are a beacon of good coffee, pleasant employees and fun during my cancer journey.

Recently, we were able to get a Dutch Bros. ornament with the purchase of a large, hot beverage.  Well, obviously that meant we needed make a stop and have one of these ornaments for our tree.  Who could resist a deal like that, right?

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How can you not like a place like this.  Seriously, try out Dutch Bros. if they are anywhere near you.  I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t appreciate the energy this company offers along with some pretty good coffee.

Movie Review: Justice League

Published November 22, 2017 by lynn k scott

Let me premise this review with I am not a comic-reading individual.  My knowledge of the Justice League characters come from Saturday morning cartoons (35+ years ago) and various movies that I have seen over the years.

That being said, last night I took my 11-year old daughter to see the Justice League movie.  It wasn’t a movie I would have gone to on my own.  I’ve never been a comic book fan or even cared about the different aspects of the progression of say, Superman or Batman.

Without having multiple backstories, character knowledge or development, we enjoyed the movie.  I won’t go into too many details, as I won’t be a spoiler to those who have yet to see the movie.

I would actually give the movie 4 out of 5 stars.  Hold your horses comic lovers.  My rating is based on the following criteria:  My 11-year old LOVED the movie, there was humor and lots of action.  The special effects were well done (imo).  There was even a point, some aspects of the special effects reminded me of a comic book.

The Flash was a socially-awkward teenager, who brought hilarity to his role.  His facial expressions and comments really added some great humor.

Wonder Woman was my daughter’s favorite.  There was a scene with the Amazon’s fighting the villain, and my daughter leaned over to whisper, “Those are my kind of women”.  Ok, so fictional women of great strength and capabilities empowered my daughter to where she could appreciate them; I’ll take that as a win.

My favorite was Aquaman.  Considering my only previous reference to him was a cartoon, he was given a major “upgrade”.  A buffed, tattooed, long-haired Atlantean, played by Jason Momoa, was what got me through this movie!  I’m not sure why it wasn’t called, “Aquaman & Friends”.  I digress…back to the review….

Cyborg, Superman and Batman were ok; nothing special to report on them.

The reason the movie didn’t get 5 stars, was it did drag a bit; even with all the action-filled comedy.  The other reason was, Ben Affleck is a believable Bruce Wayne, but he really isn’t a good Batman.  I was never a fan of all the Batman movies and the endless, changing Batmans.  I saw the first Batman, with Michael Keaton, and that’s good enough for me.  There’s just no pizzazz.  If it wasn’t for the Justice League having Batman in the comics and whatever rivalry there was between him and Superman, the movie could probably exist without him.

The other minor issue I had was Diane Lane as Superman’s mother.  She’s a good actress, and even though she’s aged to where she could play the part of a mom, she’ll always be, ‘Cherry Vance’, from the “Outsiders”.  I know most of this movie’s demographic, has no idea of “The Outsiders, primarily because it was made before they were born, but it was a small distraction to me.

Overall, it was enjoyable.  The storyline they used was acceptable, to non-comic following fans.  Add the the fact we paid less than $8.00 for two tickets, with AT&T’s, “Bring a Friend” Tuesdays, the popcorn was 50% off, we had a nice night for a mother and daughter making memories over Marvel’s, Justice League.

The “Girls” Get New Clothes

Published April 24, 2016 by lynn k scott

I stopped into Lane Bryant yesterday. This has only been my second visit ever to a Lane Bryant store; first time in Roseville. I was able to look around for a few minutes before an employee, Madison, approached me and asked if I was finding everything all right. I asked if they had someone who could do a bra fitting. She was able to help.

Ladies…if you’re not getting fitted when buying a bra, odds are, you’re buying the wrong size.

Madison was able to do the measurement, asked what I was looking for, what I currently didn’t like about my current bras, etc. She gave me some suggestions and I was able to try some one. She made sure to come back and check on me. Then she helped me find another bra to go with the one I liked best.

At checkout, Madison asked if I had a Lane Bryant card. I didn’t; my credit isn’t great. She said they are a second chance company and if I was approved, I’d save $20 on my purchase. Ok, for $20 and a soft inquiry on my credit report…why not? Sure enough…I saved $20!!!  You have no idea how much saving money, especially on necessary items, makes me giddy with joy.

I also prefer Lane Bryant over another women’s store with “angelic” models, because unlike Lane Bryant, the other store refuses to carry any size over a 38 in their store; essentially saying they only want a specific body style shopping there.  Once, the other store’s employee actually told me I could order online or go to Lane Bryant.  Ya know, that’s exactly what I did!  I admit, having had five kids, being more than gifted in the “girls” department, I don’t look like a supermodel. I will, say I think I look pretty damn good for a mother of five, but I live in reality and I’m not every going have a size six again.

The store is clean, the merchandise is reasonable and well made. The customer service is OUTSTANDING!!! With so many businesses acting as if the customer is there for them and not the other way around, it was very refreshing.  They’ve definitely earned my future business, a positive Yelp review and a not-to-shabby blog post.

Crock Pot Potato Soup

Published January 16, 2016 by lynn k scott

This morning, as I was checking out what happened on Facebook while I slept, my friends had posted this recipe for a Crock Pot Potato Soup.  I shared the post and thought, I have all the ingredients to make this.

After I got back from the gym, cleaned the kitchen, I decided to whip this up.  I love my crock pot and if there is a recipe that I can make in it, using fresh ingredients, I’m all over it.  Add to the fact it’s been rainy and a bit on the nippy side here today, and potato soup, with a little cheddar cheese added to it, sounded pretty good.

I adore these little video clips adding the ingredients and quickly showing you quantities.  I personally don’t need the videos, the recipe would suffice too.  However, for those who may not cook often or are new to using the ever versatile crock pot, they are quite helpful.

Watch the video to see the soup come together in mere seconds.  I’ve listed the recipe below should you want to jump to the head of the line.

  • 4 cups potatoes; diced
  • 3/4 cup of onion; chopped
  • 4 cups chicken stock (I used homemade vegetable stock)
  • 1/2 TBSP salt
  • 1/2 TBSP pepper
  • 4 TBSP butter
  • 1/4 cup of flour
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sour cream

Add the potatoes, onions, stock, salt and pepper and stir (the video omits this step).  Set the crock pot on Low for 6 hours or High for 4 hours.  After the set time has expired, melt the butter and add the flour; stir.  I used Pamela’s gluten-free flour and it worked great. Let the mixture cook for about a minute and then add the heavy cream and sour cream. Stir mixture until it thickens a bit.  Add the mixture to the crock pot, stir, reset timer for another 30 minutes on Low.

I didn’t think there was enough salt for all those potatoes.  As soon as I tasted it, I knew I was right.  It could use more, but easily corrected by the person eating the soup.  Garnish soup with cheese, scallions, bacon bits, etc.  I like the texture of the diced potatoes.  If you prefer a creamier soup, by all means use an immersion blender or blend in batches in a traditional blender.

This soup would be great in a bread bowl or served with a few slices of baguette.  Sadly, these aren’t options for me, but it’s how I would have eaten this in the past.  I will definitely be making this soup again.  With my substitutions, the soup is now vegetarian and gluten-free (for those that need/want those options).

Enjoy!

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