Dino Egg Tea

I’ll admit.  I’m a tool.  I will follow food trends if I think there will be a health benefit.  And I’ve found one that frankly I’ll probably stick with even if it doesn’t have any health benefits.

Ch-ch-ch-chia.

Yup, that chia.  Everyone and their brother has probably already tried it.  If you’re curious, here‘s a little bit about the great stuff chia can supposedly do.

There’s a bunch of ways you can use chia, most of which involve smoothies or yogurt or making a faux tapioca or hiding it in baked goods.

I decided I would attempt throwing chia seeds in my tea.  For gits and shiggles and all.

It looks weird.  It feels weird.  And I love it.  But I also enjoy bubble tea, which I know freaks some people out.

There’s no real recipe here.  Steep your favorite tea, add whatever sweetener you may need, then stir in a teaspoon of chia.  When your tea is cool enough to drink, your chia seeds will be plump and slimy.

I’m not really selling this very well, am I?  I’m not going to lie.  Chia seeds are weird.  But I’m also pretty weird, and you like me, so you may just like it too.

I plan on trying some other chia recipes, with varying degrees of weirdness.  I’m planning on trying a pudding and some pancakes.  There ought to be something for everyone.

Stay tuned.

Use What You Have Meal

Sooo… Shrinks are expensive, yo.  And I’m not 100% sure how to make the best of it, so I’m freaking out about the cost right now.  Just a little.  Pretty soon I’ll have hit my health insurance deductible, and it will be much easier sailing.  Until then, I’ve tightened up my purse strings, and I’ve decided that since I don’t actually have a lot of expenses, there isn’t really anywhere to cut but my grocery bills. I also have a cupboard full of stuff that could be eaten and I just haven’t known what to do with it…

Enter SuperCook.

I had a crap load of lentils sitting around from a soup project awhile ago.  I entered lentils as an ingredient, and out popped a list of recipes, including this one.  I followed the recipe to a tee (okay, except for the part where I forgot to turn the heat down toward the end and I needed to add twice as much liquid to make up for the fact that most of it boiled away).  In lieu of the actually recipe (I don’t think it’s fair to post it since I didn’t alter anything), I’ll post some in-progress and final result photos as well as some ways I like to eat it.

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This is the recipe as-is.  It makes a lot, and I’ve been eating it for the last week or so.  I don’t always eat it like this, though.  I like to spread it out by adding some frozen corn before heating it.  I’ve also eaten it with a little added butter and seasoned salt.  I’m not a salt eater, but I think this recipe could use a tiny bit more flavoring.  I haven’t come up with what flavors it needs, but until I do I’ll add a little extra salt.

…And then I ate a box of Good N Plenty

I just polished this off:

That’s not really the best picture, is it?  But it’s all gone now, so there’s nothing any of us can do about it, is there?

This is a totally simple dish.  And one I actually have (most) measurements for.  It’s an Easter miracle!

Things you need:

  • 1 c couscous, uncooked
  • 1 c water
  • 1 can chickpeas (or garbanzo beans, if you prefer.  I don’t.), drained and rinsed
  • 1 avocado, cut into cubes
  • 1 can tuna, drained
  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • 1/2 c vinegar (I use white wine)
  • dill and salt to taste (I consider seasonings very subjective and also optional, use what you have, use what you like)

Boil your water in a large microwave-safe bowl.  Once boiled, stir in your couscous and cover with a dish cloth or paper towel and let it sit for about five minutes or until you remember it.  Fluff it with a fork.  You can drain all that other stuff and slice up your avocados while it’s resting if you like.

Once your couscous is cooked, dump in your chickpeas and tuna.  Stir it up real good.  In a bowl, jar, glass, measuring cup, whatever, mix together your oil, vinegar, and seasonings.  Whisk.  Add avocado and vinaigrette to your couscous and fold in gently.  You don’t want to mash up your avocado.

That’s it.  If you’ve got your ducks in a row, this whole process will probably only take about ten minutes.  And it’s pretty mondo portions.  Great for a picnic or light summer supper.  Although the vinegar does a really good job of keeping the avocado from oxidizing, I would still recommend waiting to add the avocado until you’re ready to serve it.  You can mix the vinaigrette in ahead of time to let all the flavors mingle.  I ate this over the course of three days and the avocado still tasted great, as avocados are want to do, but the presentation was lost.

Now, go forth and make this.  If you’re like some people and you don’t like couscous, by all means make this with quinoa.  I’ve jumped on the quinoa bandwagon, but the bag I bought seemed to have tiny little pieces of plastic in it, and I’ve been a little afraid to try again.  I’ll pick some quinoa and more couscous up from the co-op next time I’m in Northeast.  If I remember.

Let’s play a game!

It’s called: Can DK remember what she was going to say about this when she took the pictures a few weeks ago and promptly forgot about them‽ (Side note, I just had a major SQUEE at being able to put an interrobang into my post.)

So, let’s begin.  Awhile back I got this message for eggs baked in an avocado.  The link is here if you are so inclined to try it, but frankly I was disappointed, and even though I documented it in photos, I will not be sharing it.

However, while I was making it and documenting it, I had the foresight to make and document something that didn’t leave me feeling “meh.”  It’s another off-the-wall smoothie recipe, but it’s a good one and quite filling at that.

In this smoothie, I used the avocado that I excavated from the shell to make room for the eggs.  Next time, however, I’ll just use the whole avocado.

We need to gather our cast of characters:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 handful frozen strawberries (thaw for a few seconds in the microwave if your blender is wussy)
  • 1 handful frozen blueberries (even wussy blenders should be able to handle these)
  • Enough milk to give you your desired viscosity
  • Sweetener of your choice to taste
  • 1 packet of TrueLime (optional, but I pretty much don’t make smoothies without it anymore)

Yes, my kitchen is messy... You'll get over it.

Just in case I need to give instructions with this:

Pile all those ingredients into a blender or cup for immersion blender.  Blend.  Drink.  Enjoy.  I may add a little spinach next time and really boost the nutritional value to 11.

The Search for the Perfect Tavern Chip

There’s this place… this place my group of friends likes to go to unwind… bitch… eat fantastic foods…  It replaced what used to be my favorite pizza place, so they are damned lucky that I enjoy the new establishment just as much.  And they have this addicting potato chip concoction that one friend’s dear, sweet husband thought he was replicating.  Thought.  I couldn’t leave this stone unturned.  I just couldn’t.  I needed to help out this marriage and come up with a great, homemade substitute for these potato chips.  One thing learned by said husband: You can’t just take chips out of the bag and throw them on a plate.  No no.  These beauties require homemade chips.

To start, you need to thinly slice up some potatoes.  I used my mandolin and a couple yukon golds.  You can use russets, you can use reds.  Use what you have; use what you like.

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Okay, so now you have three choices: frying in oil, baking in the oven, and cooking in the microwave.  I have tested all three.  Two were woefully disappointing.  I don’t have pictures of the first disappointing method, because I’m an idiot, but that method is frying.  It was tasty, sure, but they never really crisped the way I desired without burning.

So, okay.  Bonus!  That leaves the two healthier methods!  Woo!  Both methods start the same way: Coating the slices very lightly in olive oil and laying them out in a single layer, either on a rack over a cookie sheet (oven) or on a big plate (microwave–obviously make sure the plate is microwavable).  Here’s the result of the oven test:

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Uhhh, no.  They were lame.  The only crispy bits were those burned spots.  Don’t get me wrong, I still ate them because I’m a fool, but I would never make them again.  The microwave was my last hope.  This had to work, or I was screwed.  Thankfully, it did.  Oh did it.

Now, even though you’ve coated the chips with oil, it’s still a good idea to spray your plate with non-stick spray.  I scoffed on the first batch and ended up with a couple corners totally stuck to my plate.  Of course, I slightly over-cooked the first batch, so that may have had something to do with it.

You’ve sprayed your plate, so now you need to cook.  Cook in the microwave on high for 2-3 minutes.  I did three, two wasn’t enough.  After the ding, flip those chips (carefully!  They will be VERY hot.  Use an oven mitt and tongs if you have them).  Cook for another 2-4 minutes.  I did three again, as four produced the over-cooked ones.  I also suspect that subsequent batches cook faster because the plate will already be hotter than hell.  Take them off the plate and cool to the side.  They say they get crispier as they cool, but mine were all pretty darn crispy out of the ‘wave.

In case you were dying to know, this is what microwaved potato chips look like:

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The over-cooked ones are on the left, and even though they are almost completely brown, they are TOTALLY delicious.  Totally crispy, totally awesome.  Make these.  Make these just like this and eat a ton (you can sprinkle salt on them after oiling if you want, I didn’t, partially because of the following recipe, and partially because I think most potato chips are too salty anyway).  You can definitely stop here and die happy.  But you’ll die happier if you continue on.

Gather this shiz (the potatoes in the picture are pre-cooking, obs, but use cooked ones in the next step):

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Arrange that shiz (remember, cooked chips!) on a plate.  Cheese sprinkled on potatoes.  Easy-peasy.  Throw Gently set plate in the microwave.  Cook, on half power, for approximately 30 seconds, just until the cheeses are melty.

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A caveat: The actual Blue Chips description from the Tavern mentions bacon bits and something green–cilantro maybe?  I didn’t use these.  Two reasons for that, actually.  1. I didn’t have them on hand.  2. I really don’t think they add anything.  The blue cheese flavor overpowers everything, including bacon.  At that point it’s just extra calories.  And the green is just decoration.  So, K.I.S.S.

Now, make these and enjoy.

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

Being an avid RSS reader, I follow a lot of food blogs.  I’ve even complained about how food bloggers all tend to make the same stuff.  However, once in awhile something totally sparks my interest, much like the banana ice cream and green smoothie kick awhile ago.  And I’m going to do it again today.

I freaking love avocados.  Would eat one every day if they didn’t tend to be somewhat expensive–okay, who am I kidding, they are delicious and filling and should be totally worth it, but I’m stingy.  One day I went into Aldi and they had avocados at $0.49 a piece.  Which is $0.30 cheaper than their average price, and about $1 cheaper than my local grocery stores.  So I bought a ton.  Most of them went toward creating a double veggie snack by mashing them with a little True Lime and dipping my carrot sticks in them.  But two went toward making a rather delightful pudding.

I had already attempted said pudding once with much more expensive avocados, and had been highly disappointed.  The second time around I gathered up some bananas and semisweet chocolate and left that lame avocado, cocoa powder, honey mixture to sit in a corner and think about what it had done.  What was born is a delicious and relatively healthy pudding.  There is an entire internet full of reasons why avocados and chocolate are good for you, and while the calorie count is pretty much on par with pudding cups, the pay off is richer, creamier, more satisfying, and contains a crap load of vitamins and fiber.

The deets:

  • 1 avocado, removed from it’s shell, seed discarded
  • 1 banana, peeled
  • 2 squares semisweet chocolate (or 2 ounces of whatever your favorite chocolate is)

Melt that chocolate according to packaging–don’t burn it, that would be sad.  Plop the banana in that chocolate and mix with a hand mixer.  This could, of course, all be done in a blender, food processor, kitchen aid mixer, or with a hand mixer.  Bananas and avocados are soft, do whatever is most convenient for you.

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After. And let's be honest; if you stopped right here, it would taste delicious.

Next you want to add the avocado.  Blend the hell out of that until you get a super creamy mixture of heaven.

The avocado skin is there to show my waste-not mentality in regards to avocados.

And, uh… yeah.  That’s it.  Really.  You’re, like, five minutes away from bliss.  What are you waiting for?

Nom

I realize that the photos do not accurately represent the recipe I posted.  When I made this, my ingredients were double.  However, this pudding doesn’t refrigerate for very long, so I recommend that if you aren’t sharing this dish, you only make a single batch.

Whoooooooo Are You? Oooh oooh, oooh oooh

I have a confession to make.  I have been avoid this blog.  Actually, the theme of today has been facing things I’ve been avoiding, so this is fitting.  The reason I’ve been avoiding it is because November’s challenge was an absolute failure.  Okay, it was a half failure.  I believe I wrote for 18 days.  I have plenty of excuses for why I didn’t make it the whole month, but let’s just chalk it up to me giving up.  It is what it is, let’s move on.  I still do plan to post the things I did write in those 18 days, but that will come later.

I did continue challenging myself through December, and December’s challenge was to eat at least 5 servings of vegetables every day.  For the most part I’ve done really well.  I started a calendar, but after veggies became somewhat of a habit, I stopped keeping track on “paper”.

As you may notice, there’s not a ton of variety.  I’ll be honest, I don’t really have a lot of time for variety.  The Hippie hasn’t been around much–working on a business he’s determined to get running–so I haven’t been cooking much at all.  I did try to make most of my alone meals salads instead of fast food.  I really would have liked to have been adventurous and tried new veggies I’ve never had before, but this month also corresponded with a couple unexpectedly high bills, and I really need to try to keep my grocery bills at a minimum which meant more Aldi–not exactly known for its variety of produce.

What I did learn from this is a new appreciation of the veggies I already liked.  I tried to come up with newer ways to eat them (one way will become a blog post soon), and I tried not to make it too much of a chore.  I decided about halfway through that I was getting sick of eating the same stuff, and if I didn’t want to eat veggies, well, then so be it.  But to avoid not making my goal (and there’ve actually only been a few days that I didn’t hit 5  and one day that I flat out refused to eat veggies (and frankly way more days that I went way over 5, so I consider it a wash)), I made sure to eat veggies as early on as possible.

My favorite easy way to jump start veggie eating was by putting veggies in my eggs.  Here’s my method for easy breakfast eggs:

  • One mug (you can spray it with cooking spray, but I’ve found that this does nothing to make clean-up easier)
  • One Egg
  • Veggies you like: I used spinach or asparagus and mushrooms
  • Tomato sauce

If using spinach or frozen asparagus, precook it.  I loaded up the mug with spinach and zapped it in the microwave for 1 minute.  Drain the liquid.  Add the rest of the veggies, chopped, and spoon in a couple tablespoons of sauce.  Add egg and beat until everything is combined.  Microwave for 1 minute, stir, microwave for another minute.  The eggs should be set by now, so stir up and plate.  Sprinkle with a little Parmesan cheese if desired.  Eat with toast if you’re like me and for some reason the idea of eating scrambled eggs without bread grosses you out.  It’s a texture thing.

The way I see it, this breakfast, if done right, is around 2 servings of veggies.  A veggie snack and a serving or two at lunch and dinner and you’re golden.  I will certainly work toward keeping this up.  I am fully conscious of my veggie choices, unlike when I gave up sweets and was just conscious of the fact that I was being a mean ol’ jerk.  I do need to reign in my sweet consumption again, though.

Or at the very least up my physical activity (that was a segue, see what I did there?).  That brings us to January’s challenge.  Since January is *the* month of resolutions, I decided to tackle two challenges.  One is a challenge of omission, the other a challenge of addition.  The addition challenge is to work out every day.  I’ve got a lot of exercise videos queued up on Netflix, and I’m already used to getting up an hour early for work (during the holidays we open at 8 instead of 9, so I was going in earlier).  The omission challenge is to not buy anything except for groceries and the small handful of meals eaten out with friends.  I’ve done this challenge before, but it’s time to do it again.