Posted in Cooking, Favorite Recipes, food

Chocolate Banana Cupcakes w/Cream Cheese Icing

This particular cupcake does not offer a healthier choice. I’m not even interested in modifying it to make it more healthy. It would be ruined. Sometimes food IS about pleasure, strictly for our eating pleasure. And this chocolatey, banana, cream-cheesy treat will knock your socks off.

I learned to make this one at the Culinary Institute of Charleston (Trident Tech). The recipe makes 12 cupcakes. When you taste them you will be tempted to eat them all. So, make sure you have others over to share them. Enjoy!

The Cupcake

Warning: All ingredients should be weighed, NOT volume. In other words use a food scale, not a measuring cup.

7 oz granulated sugar
4.35 oz Flour
1.35 oz Cocoa powder
4 grams baking powder
2 grams baking soda
2 grams salt
1 whole egg
4.25 oz bananas mashed
4.25 oz water (warm)
2.15 oz milk
2.15 oz vegetable oil
2 grams vanilla

Directions:

1. Whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
2.  In a second bowl, whisk together egg, mashed bananas, water, milk, oil, and vanilla.
3. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine using a spatula.
4. Divide into paper lined muffin tin.
5. Bake at 360 degrees until the cupcakes spring back to touch.

Whipped Cream Icing

4 oz cream cheese (softened)
4 oz granulated sugar
.10 oz vanilla
8 oz heavy cream

Directions:

1. Beat together cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla
2. In a separate bowl whip up heavy cream to medium peaks.
3. Fold whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.
4. You can whip the final mixture to a pipeable consistency but do not overwork the mixture.

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Posted in Cooking, Favorite Recipes, food

Boil and Bake Baby Back Ribs

This recipe serves 4. Prep time 10 minutes. Cook time 1-1/2 hours. Source: http://foodwishes.com, Chef John. A great way to satisfy your BBQ rib craving if you don’t have a smoker or grill.

I know that to the bbq purist out there boiling ribs seems like a sacralege. However, this particular recipe by Chef John really works well. So before you criticize, try this recipe. It really is good.

Ingredients:
1 slab baby back ribs
2-1/2 quarts cold water
1/2 cup rice vinegar
6 cloves crushed garlic
1/2 onion, chopped
2 tbsp kosher salt (less if using fine salt)
1 tbsp Chinese 5-spice
1 tsp red chili flakes
2 bay leaves

For the glaze:
1-1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1-1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
1-1/2 tbsp ketchup
1-1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1-1/2 tbsp honey
1-1/2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp sambal chili paste, or to taste
1/2 tsp Chinese 5-spice

You may want to reduce some of the items in the glaze (soy sauce, brown sugar, honey) to lessen the impact on blood sugar levels. Or try the ribs without the glaze.

Directions:

  1. Put all ingredients for the hot brine into a pot. Bring up to a boil and then back off heat to a mild simmer.
  2. Cut ribs into individual pieces and add to the brine mixture. Simmer for one hour.
  3. While the ribs are simmering, add all ingredients for the glaze in a separate bowl and combine.
  4. After ribs have simmered for one hour toss them in the glaze. Then lay out on a baking sheet. Save excess glaze.
  5. Bake the ribs for 15 minutes at 375 degrees. After 15 minutes, flip the ribs and paint with more glaze. Bake for another 15 minutes.
  6. If there is any glaze left, paint the ribs one more time and bake for another 3-4 minutes.

Serve hot with your favorite side dishes.

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Posted in Favorite Recipes, food

Cauliflower Crust Burgers

Ingredients

This post should be called healthier junk food. I love hamburgers. I have been making due by just leaving out the hamburger buns. That’s until I found this recipe for cauliflower crust buns on http://www.theironyou.com. This recipe makes enough for 2 burgers.

Cauliflower crust “bread” buns

1 small head cauliflower, cut into small florets (should yield 3 cups of cauliflower rice)
1 free-range organic egg, lightly beaten
½ cup / 1.7 oz / 50 gr shredded mozzarella cheese
½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Hamburger

2 hamburger patties
Your favorite burger toppings

Directions – Cauliflower crust “bread” buns

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F (220°C) and place a rack in the middle.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and liberally grease it with oil. Set aside.
  3. In a food processor rice the cauliflower florets (it should be evenly chopped but not completely pulverized).
  4. Transfer cauliflower rice (about 3 cups) to a microwave-safe dish and microwave on high for 8 minutes, until cooked.
  5. Be careful with this step as the cauliflower will be really hot. Place the cauliflower rice in a kitchen towel (or cheesecloth or tea towel) and twist it to squeeze as much moisture as you can (I usually squeeze out over a cup of liquid). This is very important. The cauliflower rice needs to be dry, otherwise you’ll end up with mushy dough, impossible to use as hamburger buns.
  6. Transfer the cauliflower rice to a mixing bowl, add egg, mozzarella, salt, pepper and mix well.
  7. Spread cauliflower mixture onto the lined baking sheet and shape into 4 rounds (used round dough cutters).

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Posted in Cooking, food

Learning BBQ – my Favorite Food

This weekend I plan to cook some ribs and a pork shoulder. I need to to practice my almost non-existant BBQ skills. It amazing that I’m not very good at it, considering it is one of my favorite foods.

me_dave_1214I have had “BBQ” at a lot of people’s houses, and not very many of them know what they are doing. I do have one friend though, who kicks some serious ass. His name is David Collins. In my opinion David could be a proffessional chef. I have never eaten at Dave’s house and the food not be fantastic. And as far as BBQ, Dave has the Carolina BBQ, the Kansas City, and even Texas smokes securely in his back pocket. That’s right. Dave is a bad ass when it comes to cooking.

But now Dave lives too far away; about 5 hours away near Atlanta. So, I have to learn to do the BBQ thing myself. That’s not to say that I wont visit Dave on occassion. I am in Culinary school. What kind of a chef wouldn’t have at least a basic handle on BBQ? Especially one who loves to eat it as much as I do.

So what I want to practice this weekend is a long cook at low temperature to produce a tender rack of ribs and pork shoulder. I haven’t decided what type of wood I will use. I have some mesquite on hand, which would add a pretty potent smoke flavor (which I don’t mind). Or I may go out buy some  oak or hickory. They are not as potent; a little milder flavor. Hickory would add that same smoke flavor of some brands of bacon.

IMG_1991But then I’m lazy, so, I will probably use what I have. That’s my rig to the left. Sad to say, I, a Texan, had to watch some YouTube videos to learn how to maintain my heat. No time for pride to be getting in the way. I learned how much smoke actually needs to be produced, and how much is too much. In my thinking, lots of smoke was a good thing. But it turns out that too much smoke, or the wrong kind of smoke can ruin your meat. And certain types of wood such as pine or cedar can not even be used. It will not only ruin your meat, but also your smoker, because of the resin. It’s a good thing I did some reading because I was wondering about other woods. If you want more info about woods used to cook check out, The Pitboss BBQ Blog. Also, on YouTube, check out Offset Smoker Fire Management – how to video. And if you have a smaller type rig, check out BBQ Chicken (Love’s Wood Pit BBQ Recipe), a video on how to smoke a chicken. I’ve used the method and it works perfectly.

Well, thats all for now. I will let you know how it turned out. Someone may have to remind me though.

Posted in Favorite Recipes, food

Beef and Cabbage Stew

Ingredients

I found this recipe on Allrecipes.com. Since beginning the keto-diet I will probably leave out the white potatoes and carrot and figure out what other things I can use. As of now each serving packs around 21 grams of carbs. This one is really tasty and serves 6.

1 1/2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cube beef bouillon
2 cups beef broth
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 cups shredded cabbage
2 celery ribs, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
salt to taste

Directions

1. Cook and stir stew meat in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat until browned on all sides, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain any excess grease.

2. Stir beef bouillon into beef broth in a bowl until dissolved; pour over stew meat. Add onion, black pepper, and bay leaf; cover and simmer until stew meat is very tender, at least 2 hours. Add potatoes, cabbage, celery, and carrot; cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, 30 to 45 more minutes.

3. Stir tomato sauce and salt into the stew; simmer, uncovered, until tomato sauce is fully incorporated and flavors have blended, 15 to 20 minutes.

Nutritional info:

Calories 318 kcal 16%
Carbohydrates 21.5 g 7%
Cholesterol 63 mg 21%
Fat 15.8 g 24%
Fiber 4.4 g 18%
Protein 22.6 g 45%
Sodium 754 mg 30%

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Posted in Favorite Recipes, food

Asian Veggie Stir-Fry

Ingredients

This recipe make enough for 4 servings

1 cup Chinese Cabbage
1 cup Bok Choy
1 bunch Asparagus
4 each carrots
1 each red peppers
1.5 tbsp peanut oil (or oil you’re able to use)
2 tbsp shallots, coarsley chopped
2 tbsp garlic, minced
2 tsp ginger, finely chopped
2 tsp salt
1-2 tbsp water
2 tsp sugar, torbinado
1 tbsp Shoaxing rice wine (or whatever you have)
2 tsp Sesame oil

Directions

Cut the cabbage leaves into 1.5 inch strips. Cut the book toy greens and asparagus into 1.5 inch pieces. Cut the carrots and red peppers on the diagonal into slices 1/4 inch thick.

  1. Heat large heavy skillet or wok over high heat. Add the peanut oil and when it is very hot and slightly smoking add the shallots, garlic, ginger, and salt. Stir Fry 1 minute.
  2. Add the carrots and asparagus and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the water, cover and cook on high for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the cabbage and bok choy along with the sugar and rice wine. Stir-fry for 3 minutes for until greens are wilted. Add sesame oil and serve at once.

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Posted in Diet, food

Why I Don’t Juice Anymore

I have a juicer; a pretty decent one in fact. It is the one that Jack Lalanne used in his infomercials. I never use it anymore though. I thought it would be a healthy addition to my arsenal. I thought it could be a help, however, I couldn’t drink any juice that wasn’t sweet. That was a problem for me.

I always had to have apple or pear, or, at least some carrot in my juice before I could stomach it. The problem was that it spiked my blood sugar. Once you take away all that bulk from the fruits and veggies that are either kind of sweet or really sweet, all you have left is a sugary drink.

The pulp that was left from juicing was the stuff that makes a sweet veggie or piece of fruit tolerable to the body. The bulk is what slows the absorption rate in the intestines. The first time I tried juicing I got all excited about the surge of energy I had. Turns out that I just had a sugar high, and I crashed soon after.

It was the same thing with smoothies, but not as bad, because you weren’t getting rid of all the bulk. But liquifying food takes away the work that the digestive system would have had to do to extract nutrients. Digestion happens in stages, and in those stages different things are extracted from the foods we eat. If we have liquified our food we’re missing some stages in the process.

I noticed that my own digestion suffered a little. Things were not quite digested as they should have been. I had stomach cramps, and a hard time in the restroom, and things smelled a hundred times worse than usual.

Smoothies and juicing did not work for me. Maybe it works for others. But I can’t imagine that doing it regularly and not eating can be good for anyone. I know people have lost weight doing it, but, that weight loss is never permenant. I’m not sure there are any real benefits at all. Our bodies were designed to eat our food and digest it in a set amount of time. I believe we get the best results that way.

 

Posted in Favorite Recipes, food

Baked Chicken Thighs

I like baked chicken but since I live alone I usually cook chicken parts; legs, thighs, breast, or wings. Sometimes I do cook a whole chicken, but, I still try to keep the meal simple. I usually have a salad, steamed broccoli, or steamed cauliflower; something quick and healthy.

Ingredients:

4 chicken thighs with skin

Salt & pepper to taste (and other seasonings if you’d like)

1 Tbsp avocado oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400º F

1. Rinse chicken thighs under running water and dry with paper towels. It is important that they are dry in order to make crispy skin.

2. Season thighs on both sides with salt & pepper

3. Heat tbsp of avocado oil in a medium non-stick pan (medium heat).

4. Place chicken into the pan, skin side down. Cook until golden brown. Turn over, and place the pan in the oven. Let it cook until juices run clear. Should take about 10-15 minutes.

5.  Place your desired portion on a plate with your favorite side dish and enjoy.

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Liver & Onions

 

One of my favorite meals is liver and onions. There is no special way I cook it. Either you like liver, or you don’t. My recipe is fairly simple.

Ingredients :

1 slice calf liver
1/2 Onion, sliced
2 Tbsp Avocado oil (or whatever oil you like)
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a  medium non-stick pan heat 1 tbsp of your avocado oil.
  2. Add sliced onions, salt & pepper, and sauté to your desired taste. I like to continue until the onions begin to caramelize. It brings out the sweetness of the onion.
  3. In a separate pan, add your second tbsp of avocado oil and heat over medium heat. Once the oil is hot enough, add the slice of liver.
  4. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Cook the liver just until the blood juice run clear (no blood seeping out). Should be nicely browned on both sides
  5. Place the cooked liver on your plated and cover with your sautéed onions. Enjoy!

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Posted in food, Health

Weekend Struggles

I find it hardest to stay on track during the weekends. I don’t know what happens. I become restless and agitated and want to eat all the wrong stuff. The wrong stuff is not in the house so, I have to make a special trip to go get it.

It usually involves sugar or a high amount of carbohydrates and over eating. I don’t know why it is only on weekends. I guess there is a certain amount of boredom even though I usually have plenty to do.

Also being out of the house and away from my own kitchen can be a problem. I don’t always choose the right things when I have to eat out. I’m not sure what to try to do about it. Sometimes I have to be out. When my daughter’s softball schedule heats up we are on the road a lot on weekends.

Some people incorporate cheat days I to their diets. I don’t like to. I think for me cheat day holds up progress. For instance, I have not lost anymore weight for nearly 3 weeks. I am managing not to gain any more than 3-4 pounds (fluctuating back and forth), but I have a goal of 80+ pounds to lose. It will take forever at this rate. I think it is a result of my accidental “cheat days.”

Too bad it’s not as easy to lose weight as it is to gain. Of course I’m not ready to give up. Weight loss is not my only goal. It is overall health. And this diet seems to be helping with that.

In general I am feeling better. But I’m realizing as I get farther into this how much my life is apparently centered around food. So, I have to figure out how to get it right on a more frequent basis. One day at a time I guess.