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15th-Feb-2009 07:43 pm - cranberry breakfast muffins
cooking, tomatoes
Hello, foodiecuties! We've been doing lots of baking here lately, so I thought I'd share a recipe with y'all.

Here is the recipe we've been using for sabishi's cranberry breakfast muffins, which have become a weekly thing since we have to be at the office so early this semester that he doesn't have time to eat breakfast as home. The recipe started out as Alton Brown's blueberry muffin recipe, but we changed it a bit. Particularly, using apple sauce instead of oil, which we both prefer for things like muffins, and also makes them a bit lighter.

Just a note: I am not actually a cranberry person, no matter how hard I try, so I'm taking my husband's word that this recipe makes awesome muffins. The apple-cinnamon version (see the end of the post) were awesome, I can tell you that.

8 oz. whole wheat pastry flour
4.5 oz. All Purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsps. baking powder
heavy pinch salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup applesauce
1 egg
1 cup yogurt
1-1.5 cups cranberries (we've been using thawed frozen ones, patted dry with a paper towel)
zest from 1 orange

Makes 6 Jumbo Muffins (or, presumably, 12 regular muffins, but we don't have a regular muffin pan. Or rather, we did, but our cats chewed a hole through the cups...it was a silicone one).

0. Preheat the oven to 380 degrees F.
1. In a large bowl, mix together yogurt, egg, applesauce, and sugar.
2. Measure out the flour, and set a very small amount of it aside to roll the cranberries in.
3. Then mix baking soda, baking powder, and salt in with the flour.
4. Dump the flour mixture into the wet ingredient bowl, and mix (but don't over mix...these are muffins, they can be a little lumpy).
5. Zest an orange into the batter.
6. Fold in the flour-coated cranberries.
7. Dish the batter out into the jumbo muffin pan.
8. Put the muffins in the oven, then turn the temp up to 400 degrees.
9. Bake for somewhere between 25-35 minutes (seriously, this seems to vary a lot, depending on the humidity and how wet the cranberries are and things like that). Use a toothpick to check for doneness. The tops will probably be pretty dark by the time the innards are done, but trust me, it's good that way.

We have also made an apple-cinnamon version of these by using chopped apple instead of cranberries, rolling them in cinnamon-sugar instead of flour, and adding about 1 tsp. of cinnamon to the batter, and making a streusel to put on top.
23rd-Jan-2009 11:03 am - Kick in the pants
Just a swift kick in the pants to this community. I've been enjoying food and cooking all by my lonesome out here for a while. I have a wicked kitchen (for NYC) now, and have vastly improved my culinary skills over time. I'm ever better at just throwing things together from whatever looks fresh at the market.

My Greek market owner was thrilled when I picked up an armful of these ugly nubbly root things and plopped them on the counter. "I LOVE celery root!" he said. With my conviction deepened, I headed home to pop my celery root cherry. I'd read this recipe years ago and it intrigued me, but when I saw their gnarly little selves show up at my local shop, I knew the time had come.

How it began.


Purée of Celery Root Soup
Inspired by The New York Times, December 20, 2006

Don’t let the tough looks of celery root fool you: it’s actually quite easy to work with. First, choose a root that’s roughly baseball-size and that feels firm and hard – never spongy – and heavy for its size. To prepare it, plunk it in the sink and attack it with your vegetable peeler. The smoother, non-rooty end is easy to peel with a few quick, decisive strokes, and then the root end can be trimmed with a sharp knife. You may lose more of the bulb than you might expect – these little buggers can be craggy, calling for some serious trimming. But once the celery root is ready, you’re most of the way there. Before you begin, a few other notes:

- This recipe makes a fairly small batch, so consider doubling it. You won’t be sorry.

- The first time I made this, I puréed it in a food processor, and it never really emulsified properly. I have since found that a blender works much, much better. The starchy quality of celery root seems to demand it. So if you’ve got a blender, use it. [But not an immersion blender – like the food processor, it’s better saved for softer, more yielding things.]

- Lastly, the delicate flavor of this soup begs for a clean, mild broth – and preferably one that’s homemade. If you’ve made some good chicken broth lately, by all means, use that. Or, if not, do as I did this past weekend and make a super-quick, super-easy vegetable version. It takes only an hour and change, and it requires almost no attention. Plus, its gentle onion and leek flavors are lovely in the soup.

2 ½ Tbs olive oil, divided
1 small leek, white part only, coarsely chopped
½ medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 lb. peeled, chopped celery root (from about 3 baseball-size bulbs)
3 cups mild chicken or vegetable broth, preferably homemade (see below)
½ tsp salt, plus more to taste
4-5 Tbs skim milk
Chopped chervil, for serving (optional)

In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm 2 Tbs olive oil. Add the leek, onion, celery, and garlic, and sauté until softened but not browned, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add the celery root, broth, and salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, partially cover, and simmer until the celery root is very tender. It should break apart easily when poked with a fork; on my stove, this takes about 35-45 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat.

Using a blender and working in small batches – when working with hot liquids, never fill the blender more than 1/3 full! - purée the soup until very smooth. Add the remaining ½ Tbs oil and the milk, and stir to incorporate. Taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary. Reheat gently until just steaming.

Yield: 4 dainty servings
11th-Mar-2008 01:13 pm(no subject)
Dear foodies:

Halp. detlef and I are starting training routines this week - we'll both be doing cardio and weightlifting at least three times a week. At the same time.... it's Lent. We Orthodoxes keep it pretty strict by going vegan for those 40 days. While I won't require detlef to follow that in the slightest, I like to follow it as much as my health allows. SO....

what would you do? Do we need to keep meat in our diets while we're muscle-building? Should I go back to saengerin's protein shakes? Beans? Cheese? Whaaaaat?
22nd-Feb-2008 01:08 pm - The Make Me Healthy Challenge!
Just an experiemt to get people participating:

I'll tell you what I had for lunch today, and you tell me how I could have made it better.

Then I'll tell you what we have available for dinner, and you give suggestions to make it good.

Ready? Set? Go!

Lunch: I have leftover couscous with nuts, a 100-cal pack of Goldfish, a 90-cal pack of chocolate granola bites, and instant iced tea, mixed very dark. How could I have made that better?

Dinner: We have chicken breasts. And a bit of broccoli. Quesadilla cheese and tortillas. Pasta. Rice pilafs and more couscouses. Various spices and condiments. Suggestions?
22nd-Feb-2008 09:28 am(no subject)
(funny) hey voice! get me a juicebox!
So, doraphilia and I have been talking for the past half hour or so and I thought I'd share over here. She and I both have wedding dresses to fit into by October, and neither of us want to lose a bajillion pounds. I personally really only want to tone my shoulders and arms and back (hello, strapless dress!) and be stronger.

Anyway, what were were talking about was NotDieting, which is kind of the theme of this community.

NotDieting is the conscious decision to make good choices, not for the sole purpose of losing weight, but for the overall goal of good health. Weight loss is a side benefit.
NotDieting does not mean cutting out all sweets and junk food; it means changing the ratio.
Still have cookies with lunch, but for dessert after dinner, have fruit.
Eat more foods with three or less ingredients. Eat less foods that have more chemicals than recognizable things.
Still go out to eat, but cook dinner at home 9 times out of ten.
Eat when you're hungry (true hunger!), and don't eat when you're not.
Exercise! When you can. But don't spend two hours in the gym every night at expense of your life.

In other words, have common sense.

And there hasn't been a lot of support for this lifestyle in the US. Everything is extreme, or one-sided, or shone through the size-2 Hollywood lens. And it's not fair, because both Dora and I are vibrant, strong, gorgeous women, but when we wear our dresses all we can see are our bellies.

Don't know where I'm going with this, because it's nothing that hasn't been said in this community before. I guess it's more of a public pledge to myself, to be myself on my wedding day, softness and lumps and all. People are not going to be staring at my belly. They are going to be watching me glow with happiness, and dance, and EAT. And it's going to be a great day.
23rd-Jan-2008 12:02 pm(no subject)
july4th needs some help, y'all. We are trying to come up with some good grocery shopping habits for him - instead of processed, premade food, he's looking for things that can be cooked quickly and easily.

My first thoughts:
1.Chicken breasts and pork chops - cheap, and can simply be slapped in a pan with a little oil, salt and pepper.
2.Angelhair pasta - cooks in a very short time.
3.Any veggie he likes raw - this way, he doens't even have to cook it; he can just plop some down in a plate.
4. Prepackaged salads - just add dressing and maybe some sliced chicken and you're done.

My biggest thought is that spices make a difference. Good olive oil, kosher salt, oregano, curry powder - all these things can jazz up a dish very, very easily and quickly. A plain chicken breasts night after night can get very dull.

What does the hive mind have to say? The key is quick and non-intimidating. There's an illusion that cooking has to be complicated. But if you just start very simply, it'll be easier to maintain.
23rd-Jan-2008 11:53 am - Today's food!
Death smiling
What I have eaten and will eat today:

Bowl of cinnamon Life and fat-free milk

Half of a tiny little loaf of pumpkin bread
More cider

3/4 of a sub left over from the weekend - grilled chicken, black Forest ham, mozarella and sweet peppers on a roll
Water, tea or hot cocoa, most likely

Further snackage?:
I have emergency granola bars and applesauce containers in reserve

Probably bar food. Oops.

Anyone else want to share what they have, are or will be eating?

My goal this week: one homecooked, healthy dinner by Saturday. Probably something stupidly easy like black beans and rice - I know, I'm setting the bar super-low, but the upheaval in my life and schedule has meant that virtually all my meals are eaten out or require no prep, and I need to take baby steps to change.
goldfish breakaway: capture_dreams
I found this both very useful and quite funny. The list of 9 things at the end expands upon the concise directions of the first sentence. I've been doing my very best to live up to that recently.

Making at least two of my three meals a day vegetarian and thinking of meat as a side dish are difficult for this carnivore, but it's making me feel better. I love eating fruit! I just make sure that every time I go grocery shopping I buy fruits and veggies. Otherwise this just isn't possible.

NY Times article that made my lifeCollapse )
17th-Jan-2008 09:57 am - Article Number 1
Shawna: shadowaeb (do not take!)
Two food articles I read recently that I found helpful/interesting. I'll post the more benign one first.

MSN isn't known for providing the most *ahem* balanced food articles (mostly all diet this and lose weigh that), but some of these are small tips that do make you eat healthy simply.

Eating RightCollapse )
30th-Oct-2007 09:54 pm - The Foodiecutie Wayback machine
For those of you who have forgotten, here's a link back to Miz Saengerin's wise, chock-full-o-info post about eating healthily on a budget. I'm certainly revisiting the concept of protein powder, and she also includes directions for stock and info on grains and legumes. It's worth a second look, because we all have some aspect of our diets we could improve.

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