cooking

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The culinary bug bit me….again

Published May 7, 2018 by lynn k scott

I admit it. Since being diagnosed with cancer, going through chemo and just functioning has consumed most of my energy. I haven’t canned a thing all year. I haven’t even been baking as much as I used to. This simply won’t do.

The culinary bug has been buzzing past my ear and I have been itching to get back into the kitchen. Saturday, I picked up three dozen eggs from a local farm. Ok, so I pay a bit more for them, but they are fresh, they taste great and I LOVE getting blue-shelled eggs.

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Yes, they taste the same as a brown-shelled egg, but shouldn’t you appreciate the beauty of something so simple?

Sunday is our busiest day of the week. We have church in the morning and my daughter has youth group in the evening. During that time, we have to eat, normally run errands; including grocery shopping.

As soon as we got home from shopping, I went to work. I had the best intentions of making a gluten-free loaf of bread, but time wasn’t on my side. Instead, I prepped veggies for the work week. I take them to snack on.

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I wanted to use the tomatoes that I purchased last week. What popped into my mind? Roasted totato soup! I roasted the Roma tomatoes and garlic in the oven. Since I needed to roast onions too, I used my air fryer. LOVE that machine!!!

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While that was roasting, I made peanut butter. Yup…super simple. Just use peanut powder, a bit of salt and almond milk. Now, I have something to dip that boring celery in. That’s a win in my book. I also put some beans in a bowl with water to soak.

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It was time for a nap…yup those are still needed as chemo all but destroys your body and being over 40, I bounce back about as much as a deflated ball.

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We stopped off at the Asian market to get a few supplies the regular stores don’t carry. Then off to the she-child’s youth group. I stayed because there was a parent forum with a lot of useful information.

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As soon as we got home, I started a batch of yogurt. While that was coming to temperature, I diced an onion and pulled out the ingredients to make crock pot baked beans. Yup, that’s for tonight’s dinner. Need to keep it simple, so we can start making lumpia for a church potluck on Wednesday. I also made the base for ube ice cream. It’s my most favorite ice cream ever. Heck, I love ube in all sorts of dishes. By making my own ube ice cream, I can guarantee it’s gluten-free. It’s so worth it. I will be putting that in the ice cream maker tonight.

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Cleaned up my kitchen, took the dogs out and headed up to bed. The culinary bug is still in my house. Not sure when it’s going away, but dang if I didn’t get a lot accomplished yesterday!

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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?

Homeschool Happiness

Published November 21, 2017 by lynn k scott

Last night, we continued my daughter’s studies.  You know, history, science, etc.  We started a new mini-lesson on, “Poison Tongue, Healing Tongue”.

I admit it, I’m a bit of a geek, nerd, what have you, when it comes to homeschooling material.  I get excited about new books or curricula.  This in turn, elicits eye-rolls and my daughter telling me I am weird. It’s ok, I can live with that.  In part, because it’s true!

I recently purchased a new history set, called, “From Adam to Us”.  It’s a Christian publication and I am in LOVE with it so far.  It begins in the beginning with God creating the world.  The exercises has my daughter reviewing chapter vocabulary words doing exercises based on the reading.

The book in general is an easy read.  There are lots of colorful pictures, scripture mixed into the text and I find it relaxing to read.  Of course, I’m coming from a completely different perspective than a student would, as they have to do the work.

There are also additional books in the set, such as a timeline book, a literature book and maps.  Even though we’ve just begun using the books, I am liking what I’m seeing; a lot!

In additional to history, we covered scripture readings on how the Bible refers to the tongue.  How the tongue can be used to hurt or heal, depending how we choose to use it.  I admit, I have a sharp tongue and sarcasm and I have become all-to-familiar with each other.

In addition to trying to raise my daughter, I viewed this mini-course as a guide that could assist both of us in choosing our words a bit more carefully and use them in a better way than we have been.  No matter what our ages, we all have room for growth and improvement.

My daughter is extremely perceptive, add tween hormones and just a general kids don’t want to do school and selecting the proper way to respond isn’t always her forte.  I found the verses to be genuine and that there were multiple opportunities to discuss what we were reading and how it applies to us.

Lastly, we turned to Netflix for science.  We watched a scientist go up against a chef and they both made the same dishes.  Seeing a steak cooked the traditional way and then seeing how liquid nitrogen played a roll in cooking a stay was fascinating.  Did you know you can create a clear tomato soup that still tastes like tomato soup?  I didn’t until seeing this show.

No matter which subject we discussed, my daughter was learning.  She was engaged.  She was participating.  Not to mention, she’ll have something to share with her friends next time they get together.

As challenging as homeschooling can be, it’s a challenge that’s well worth the effort!

Homeschooling: Life Skills

Published October 12, 2017 by lynn k scott

This year, our homeschooling journey has landed in the 6th grade.  In addition to my daughter learning how to take detailed notes, beginning to independent research, math, grammar, science, etc., she participates in Life Skills.

If we were in a brick and mortar school, the skills she is learning might be classified as home economics.  However, it’s more than just that.  She is learning to make grocery shopping lists, assisting with pet care, cooking for herself as well as her family, doing laundry, etc.

In our home, my husband doesn’t cook.  It’s a fact; he doesn’t know how.  I, on the other hand, have a catering and hospitality background, so I am passing my cooking and baking knowledge to her.chicken adobo

Since school began in August, she has learned to and can make grilled cheese, fried hot dogs, fried eggs, chicken adobo with rice and ramen.  She has been exposed to making pot roast, pan-seared pork chops (finished in the oven) and baked chicken and chicken wings.

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Now, to be be fair, the chicken adobo and rice shown are actually for a church event, but it’s the same food she proudly makes for her family ever week now.  She won’t even let me make it any more and gives ME tips on what I should be doing in the kitchen.  If she only knew, I’ve been at this about 30+ years longer than her.  It’s a cute sentiment though.

In addition on learning important cooking skills, when she has to follow a recipe and using measuring cups and/or spoons, she is reinforcing her fractions.

Lastly, spending time in the kitchen will create memories that one day, she will remember as she stands in her kitchen, showing her children, what I taught her.  Life skills….so important….not just in a technical sense.

Take a Moment; Make a Memory

Published July 12, 2017 by lynn k scott

I found myself, on two separate occasions, talking about memories.  The first time I mentioned memories was on a Facebook link that was in response to a woman who said she was glad women had evolved and didn’t do things like grind their own meat or coffee, can food, prepare homemade meals, etc.

I was mildly offended by that.  While I was born in the early 70s, I take great pride in working a full time job, coming home to cook a homemade dinner (six to seven nights a week), and sitting at the table, with my family, to enjoy it.

I still hang clothes out on the line and I can a lot of different foods throughout the year. To me, I am making memories with my daughter.  Years from now, she will see a jar of preserves and think of my “armageddon shelf” that was always stocked with a variety of jams, soups, stock and vegetables.

Tonight, I was speaking with my Pastor and I used that exact example.  It got me to thinking, “that’s a blog post”.  All to often, especially in today’s society, it’s a “now” or “me” mindset.  While I am guilty of having the same thought pattern on occasion, I don’t seem to do it as often as some people.

It takes hours to make bread from scratch.  I enjoy mixing some flour, yeast and water and getting bread when all is said and done.  I teach my daughter how to measure, mix and make food from ingredients instead of a box.

She and I will go for a walk in a local park.  We might stop and watch the dogs play in the dog park.  We will hunt for pinecones for crafting projects.  Finding a bench and listening to the birds’ melodies as they communicate with each other.

So, I encourage you to spend quality time with those who matter most.  It doesn’t have to cost you anything.  Go to the beach, sit on the sand together and watch the waves crash against the shoreline.  Spend time in the kitchen making culinary creations.  Go to sporting events.  Rock your child in chair.  Go the library and cultivate a love for reading.

When I am finally called Home, I want my family to have memories that will make them smile when they think of me.  That they will feel the love I had for them, when I can no longer physically wrap my arms around them to offer comfort.  Now is the time to take a moment and make a memory.

Crock Pot Caramel

Published August 13, 2016 by lynn k scott

My favorite season of the year is almost here; no not the season with a bearded fat man in a red suit.  The season right before that; where leaves turn vibrant shades of oranges, reds and yellow, before they detach from the trees and begin to litter the ground.  Fall!  That’s the best season of the year (to me anyway).

That being said, it’s also the time some of my favorite dishes are made.  Ok, who am I kidding, I make fall food year round, but for most people, they tend to stick to seasonality when cooking.

Last night, I made a Fall staple that you must have in order to make caramel apples: Caramel.  I like to make it in the crock pot, simply because it allows me not to stand at the stove and there literally is no clean-up.

All you need is a crock pot, a can of sweetened condensed milk, three 4-oz mason jars and that’s it!

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Simply open the can and pour equally into the three 4-oz mason jars.  Set the mason jars into the crock pot, uncovered.

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Carefully, add enough water to cover the jars to where the milk stops.  This is how the milk will cook evenly; surrounded in water. Add the lid to the crock pot and set the cooking temperature to low and eight hours.

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I like to do this overnight or when I’m gone all day at work.  Then it’s ready when I wake up or come home and I am not hovering over it hoping it miraculously finishes quicker. Carefully, remove the jars and place on a heat-protected surface to cool.

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In addition to being able to use this caramel to cover apples for Halloween, you can use it as a great school or work snack.  Pour a bit of caramel into a container, pack some apple slices and a snack is ready to go.  You can use it to drizzle over baking creations or simply eat it with a spoon, if that’s your prerogative.

A Week’s Meal Plan

Published July 19, 2016 by lynn k scott

I am a working mother, wife, and an all around domestic goddess.  Ok, that last title is normally reserved for the weekend routine, but hey, I like the way it sounds, and quite frankly, I rock that title!

Being the only cook in the family, I am the one to come up with dinner ideas, making sure they are gluten-free and that my family, who are just a tad stuck in their dinner ways, will actually consume what is made.

I popped into the grocery store last night after work.  Ok, so I drove there and walked in, but “popped” sounds so much cuter, not to mention fun.  I wasn’t planning on spending much, and only went a tad over what I anticipated (go me!).

My daughter was with me, and as we were walking up and down the aisles, she said, “hey Mom…how about breakfast for dinner”.  Seeing as I would be starting dinner around 6:00 p.m., I thought that was a great idea.  So we had eggs, hashbrowns, bacon and toast.  Easy-peasy and I could crash early, seeing how I started my day at 3:00 a.m.

Then I caught a few sales and decided to buy the rest of the week’s meals

  • Monday:  Eggs and Bacon
  • Tuesday:  Tacos and Spanish Rice
  • Wednesday:  Grilled Pork Chops and Baked Potatoes with sauteed green beans and carrots
  • Thursday:  Baked chicken wings; half will be coated in wing sauce.  Served with rice.
  • Friday:  Grilled Tri-Tip and Scalloped Potatoes and corn on the cob.

Now all of these meals are homemade.  I don’t buy premade dishes, for the most part, esp. not at dinner.  As we will be home before 5 on Friday, I saved the longest prep dish for that day.  The homemade scalloped potatoes take a couple hours to prep and cook, but are so worth it.

It’s also nice to know how to plan different aspects my week, knowing how long dinner will take to make and clean up.  I am so pleased with myself, I need to make this a habit instead of a just picking a few meals for the week and winging the rest of the dinners we will need.

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