food

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Must have Pot!

Published February 17, 2017 by lynn k scott

…the Instant Pot that is!

I admit it…I’m a kitchen gadget-holic.  I don’t go to meetings, because I openly acknowledge my appliance, gadget, cookware addiction.  I embrace it!

This past December, at my husband’s company Christmas party, I was able to select the Instant Post Duo 7-in-1 Pressure Cooker.  I had been eyeing this for quite some time, however, being the cheap-o that I am, refused to shell out $100+ for another gadget.  Plus, my husband might’ve divorced me.  I buy kitchen gadgets/appliances like he buys car parts (5 cars/2 drive…just saying).                                                                                                                     20170111_183616.jpg

Needless to say…I am addicted!!!  Some people call it a “magic pot” and it can feel that way.  When I can cook an entire, whole chicken in 25 minutes…it’s a bit magical.  Granted, it’s a pressure cooker, not an oven, so there’s no crispy skin.  Some people will pop that chicken into the oven for 5-10 minutes to crisp the skin, but I don’t normally eat the skin anyway.   I also love using chicken quarters (pictured) and shredding them for tacos or enchiladas.

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While the chicken is resting, let’s use some of that leftover cooking liquid and make some rice pilaf!  There’s even a rice button.  It doesn’t get simpler than that.

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Chicken not your thing?

What about hard-boiled eggs?  Can you believe just 4 minutes in the Instant Pot (commonly referred to as the IP), 4 minutes of natural release and 4 minutes in an ice bath.  Done!  The shells peel off much easier too.

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Trying to eat healthier…how about some homemade Greek yogurt?  I go through a lot of yogurt.  For gluten-free yogurt, it costs just under $3.50 for a 32-ounce container.  For about $2.50, I can turn an entire gallon of milk into a 64-ounces yogurt.  Then I strain it from the whey and I have Greek yogurt.  The whey can be used in making bread, smoothies and all sorts of baking options.  Take some of the yogurt, blend in some berries (maybe a bit of honey) and make homemade yogurt pops…DELICIOUS!

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One of the best aspects of the Instant Pot is I can come home, make a meal that takes hours in just about 30-minutes.  I used to use the crock pot.  However, that would finish hours before I got home, turn itself to warm and sometimes the meat would be dry.  No more. Those days are over!

There’s a Facebook group IP Community.   There’s another Facebook group just for IP recipes!  My addiction has come “full circle” and I’ve added a second Instant Pot to my counter tops.  I couldn’t help myself.  The first one was free (from the party) and there was one at the flea market, brand new, for $50 (SQUEAL of excitement)!!!  Ok, so I took the money from my truck payment; don’t judge me.  I just had to have it.  My husband rolled his eyes.  He knew it was coming home with us.

I have the ability to have an IP just for making yogurt and one for savory dishes.

So, if you’re a foodie…this is a kitchen must-have.  If you’re going to a wedding or housewarming…bring an Instant Pot and you’ll be the favored guest for quite some time.

 

A Sandwich Inspired by Mom

Published August 9, 2016 by lynn k scott

I would venture to say that food is one of the most important things in our lives (besides for nutrition) that bind us to family, other people and cultures.  We grow up eating a variety of food, mostly influenced by our parents and then we develop our own likes and dislikes and venture further into the culinary journey that helps make us who we are.

My mom was a decent baker, but horrible cook.  When I say horrible, she would admit it, especially after one of our dogs refused her meal.  Seriously!  The dog snubbed his nose at human food.  It was pretty funny at the time and still makes me smile some 30+ years later.  That being said, she did introduce to me to one sandwich, that even to this day, I will still make from time to time.

I will preface the sandwich that I have always been a bit odd when it comes to unique sandwich combos.  Then having spent 25% of my life as vegetarian, can’t believe I can actually even state that figure…but I digress, I ate this sandwich then too.

Ok, here it is…and don’t knock it til ya tried it:  olive and cream cheese sandwich.  It’s relatively easy.  Take your favorite olives, or combination thereof, and dice ’em up.  Add the olives to softened cream cheese and mix.  Now, you can stop there and make a sandwich straight away.

OR…..

Get creative…add a bit of lettuce or perhaps alpha sprouts.  Top with a tomato and then the olive spread.  Perhaps you want to use a hoagie roll or toast your bread of choice?  I’m in California…add an avocado…we put that on everything.  I would post a picture, but I ate my sandwich before snapping a picture.  Sorry, it was just that good!

When all is said and done, it’s a sandwich from my childhood.  It’s a memory of my mom.  It’s one of my comfort foods.

Watermelon Popsicles

Published July 17, 2016 by lynn k scott

If it’s summer, that means there’s watermelon.  It’s one of the few foods that I have to consume as soon as the seedless melon hits the shelves.  Yes, I do the seedless, it’s worth the extra ten cents per pound.  Keep reading and you’ll understand the necessity as well as the preference.

In my quest to eat healthier, I prefer homemade popsicles to store bought.  Each year, I experiment more with flavor combinations.  It would appear I have started a collection of popsicle molds; I’m up to four now.  So far this year, it’s been relatively simple creations. I’ve taken frozen mixed berries, blended them smooth.  Sometimes,  I will add a bit of pomegranate juice to thin out the berries for pouring.  The mixed berries offer a nice, sweet flavor and tend to be a bit more cost efficient than buying several quantities of blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries all at the same time.

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I have also blended up watermelon and added bits of fresh strawberries to the mold.  So a nice refreshing taste with a hint of strawberry here and there.  It’s a great way to use up some of that large watermelon you had every intention of eating, but half of it is still in the fridge.

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This past weekend, I stopped by my local produce stand and they had yellow watermelon. How I have not heard of this previously, is beyond me. However, I had to try it.  It looks just like regular watermelon, only yellow.  I personally think, it’s a bit sweeter than its red counterpart.

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Last night, I chose to make my first layered popsicle.  The bottom of the mold was mixed berries and the top was yellow watermelon.  When unmolding, the watermelon would become the bottom and the berries would be the top.  I need to play around with this more, but they turned out really well and were super yummy.On the days it’s too hot to cook and you can’t imagine eating, I have no issues with eating a few popsicles to hold me over until it cools off a bit to think about making food.  After all, it’s 100% fruit and it’s good for you!  I am still thinking up new creations to add to my popsicle recipe list.  I’m working on how to incorporate yogurt for an ever more satisfying, and filling popsicle.

wp-1468773772641.jpgDo you make homemade popsicles?  What are some of the ingredients you like to use?

 

 

 

 

My New Sneakers!

Published January 13, 2016 by lynn k scott

They just arrived!!!  Yes, I am excited about a new pair of running shoes.  One, I don’t often treat myself to new stuff.  However, this time there was a “special” occasion.  On Monday, I had received an email that I had won a $10 gift card for Amazon.

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I’m all about saving money.  I have lots of apps that allow me to scan purchases.  I either get PayPal payouts, free products, entered into contests; you get the idea.

My coworker had introduced me to the Wellcoin app.  The app picture is a little gold coin. It’s a way to keep you on track with healthy eating, exercise, etc.  The premise is you take a picture of healthy food, healthy beverages, counting steps, checkups, etc.  There are A LOT of options to collect coins.  Then you can exchange the coins in their store.  The items change out every so often.

I have received these gluten-free, delicious power bars.  A friend earned two different pair of running shoes.  There are discounts on workout clothes, footwear, etc.

You can also rate other members’ pictures.  It’s a way to earn additional points.  All in all, it’s helped me stay on track.  Being rewarded for something I enjoy doing is just all that much better.

If you choose to download the app and want to be “friends”.  I’m under “Anne” (there are several of us), but my profile picture is my grey pit bull’s face.  Say “hi” if you can find me.

I feel like a dodo bird

Published April 4, 2015 by lynn k scott

I feel like a dodo bird; the last of a dying breed.  Ok, so the dodo is already extinct, but I feel that when I die out (and those like me), today’s youth will be worse off.  Perhaps, I’m being over-dramatic and old fashioned, but a simple incident today really made me think.

We were out having lunch.  The place we were eating always manages to cross-contaminate (gluten) my food, so I figured, what the heck.  If I’m going to be symptomatic, might as well enjoy what I am going to eat.  I order fish and chips.  Now, here on the West coast, people love tartar sauce (excuse me for a second while I make the ‘yuck’ face).  Back East, there was tartar sauce, but cocktail sauce was more prevalent.

I ask my server if they had cocktail sauce.  He answers negatively.  I then ask if there is horseradish available.  Yes, there is. SURPRISE my dear young chap, you do have cocktail sauce.  You are just inexperienced in the kitchen to know what ingredients make up that tangy sauce.

Before our meal arrives, our server is sent home from his shift and a new waiter introduces himself.  He was told I needed horseradish with my meal.  Again, lack of training.  I had to ask for a small bowl to mix it in.  No spoon was given and the small bowl was half full of horseradish.

Ok, so it appears I am making enough for 10 tables.  Good grief!  I emptied most the horseradish on my plate, added the ketchup, a couple teaspoons of lemon juice, a good mix and I’m done.  Shocking how if it doesn’t come out of a bottle, people are clueless as to how to make something so simple.

As our plates are being cleared, I had to tell the poor chap, “FYI…should you get another request for cocktail sauce, they really only need about a tablespoon of horseradish.”  I lifted the ketchup bottle and told him he gave me enough to make enough to fit into the contents of the bottle.

He laughed.  Said he had no idea, but he wanted me to have enough so he didn’t have to go back to get me more. Really?  Nice gesture, but that’s wasting company product and your job is to accommodate, if need be.  He appreciated learning how to make the cocktail sauce.  We had a chuckle about it.

It still amazes me how little servers know about food.  Today’s servers are not like I was when I waitressed.  I took pride in my food knowledge.  I learned about what I was serving, how it was prepared, what was in it.  The younger hospitality service generation just doesn’t have the same work ethic,

I am like the dodo bird.  When I am extinct, interactions like today, will become a thing of the past.

Grateful for Intolerance

Published March 27, 2015 by lynn k scott

Grateful for intolerance?  Who would really be grateful for that?   I have yet to do is clarify that statement, which will put the ‘intolerance’ in perspective.

For a variety of reasons, I have yet to receive an official diagnosis, but I am someone who cannot consume gluten without paying some pretty severe penalties.  I hesitantly say official diagnosis because I am acutely aware of how my body reacts:  the pain, the not-so-nice bodily functions that result, the inability to stay awake, the inability to sit up or rest comfortably, the bloating (as in a full pants-size) and a myriad of other symptoms.  I know I need to seek out a medical professional to assist in managing my condition, whatever those who “practice” medicine choose to call it.

Around this time two years ago, marks when my symptoms peaked.  I spent several times in one week, getting up in the middle of the night, going downstairs as to not wake my husband, curled up in the fetal position on the throw rug in the livingroom, literally praying for death through my tears.  Not having health insurance meant I had to make a choice to suffer at home or risk thousands of dollars for an emergency room visit they may or may not be successful in removing the torment I suffered from.

Seems a bit far-fetched doesn’t it?  Yet, countless others know exactly what I am speaking of.  Whether it’s a “simple” gluten intolerance or actual Celiac’s Disease, it’s not a fad, it’s not made up, it’s not a weight-loss gimmick.  It’s real!

I never considered a simple protein could cause such discomfort and pain.  It wasn’t until a friend knew of my suffering suggested I try to go gluten-free for two weeks.  I was literally ready to try anything.  Luckily, this option was painless and didn’t require lots of money to try.

Two weeks went by and my symptoms weren’t gone, but the debilitating pain was.  I took to making an honest, gluten-free effort, in my eating habits.  While it meant reading more labels, it wasn’t a big deal to me.  I was a vegetarian for nine years.  I was a label-reading-holic.  It was second nature.

Two years later, I am still as gluten-free as possible.  I’ve lost and kept off 40 lbs.  I once read a weight loss article regarding sacks of potatoes and using them a reference for losing 10-lbs. If you’ve lost 10-lbs, you’ll have a decent, physical representation of what was on your body.  Try looking at four of those bad-boys.  I was secretly impressed with this “side effect”.

Is maintaining a gluten-free diet easy?  Yes and no.  It has helped me continue my quest in eating better.  It affords me the opportunity to make even more homemade dishes; not just for me but my family as well.  I eat less processed foods than ever before.  I can’t really say that’s a bad thing either.

Granted, my food bill has gone up, esp. where alternative flours are concerned or buying something pre-made that is gluten-free.  It can be frustrating when I want something “quick” to eat and I can’t just grab a cookie.  Please don’t suggest a piece of fruit or a salad.  Believe me, I get more than enough of those foods.

Over all, I am grateful for my intolerance or perhaps, disease.  I will work on getting that official diagnosis.  As you know, I have issues with the medical community and need to find the right doctor who actually understands my symptoms and treatments.  I don’t need “I don’t knows”. I need a doctor who can see the long-term goal of managing my food-related journey so I remain as symptom-free as possible.

You now have a glimpse inside the gluten-intolerance world.  I have spared you the really gross details with a glossed-over version.  I think it’s best for all concerned.  After all, some of you could be eating while reading this. Please remember, the majority of us with intolerance or Celiac’s aren’t being difficult in restaurants.  Just because we don’t go into anaphylactic shock upon ingestion of a bagel or piece of bread, doesn’t mean we won’t be sick after we get home (if we make it home before symptoms set in).  Please be tolerant in that regard.  I’m not as grateful for public intolerance for an issue they are typically clueless about.

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