Tag Archives: Cooking

Pressure Cooker For Sale


Elite

I’m selling my pressure cooker.  Ya wanna buy it?  6-quart Elite something something something – $40.  I paid $80.

I suppose you want to know WHY I am selling it.  It’s hard to admit, but I’m a pressure cooker drop out.  Except I really can’t blame the pressure cooker – it worked fine and cooked everything exactly the way it was supposed to…I think.

And there is the crux of the matter.  I am not really sure how food is supposed to look or taste when it comes out of the cooker.  I watched a few million infomercials and they just dumped all the ingredients in and assured the audience that even an idiot can make fabulous meals with it.  I must be some special kind of idiot then.

My first attempt was chicken tenderloins, and I threw in a can of cream of mushroom soup and some cut up potatoes and some butter and seasoning.  I couldn’t get it to pressurize so I added more water, JUST LIKE IT SAID TO DO IN THE TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE.  Still wouldn’t build up pressure.  Added more water.  Do you see where this is going?  Finally, I figured out I had to push down on the top to get a good seal and I finally had pressure.  Yay!

Only by now, I no longer had chicken with potatoes and cream of mushroom soup.  I had chicken and potatoes in opaque water with tiny gross black thingies in it and some weird ass film over everything.  And the potatoes were mushy.  And the chicken looked diseased.  Family reaction?  “Oh my God….”

Although it was not visually appealing, it didn’t taste horrible.  Like, no vomiting ensued after placing a forkful in our mouths.  So, even though Dave begged me to return it, I decided to watch a few more infomercials, and give it another chance.

The 2nd attempt involved spoon steaks.  Usually, I buy the ones that are marinated in the burgundy pepper stuff and even though I know it’s probably full of chemicals, they are quite delicious.  Unfortunately, my brain was on vacation when I was at the store because I returned home with plain, non-chemical infused spoon steaks.  Boring.

But I knew from watching the last infomercial that if I just browned them on the sauté feature and added some organic chicken broth, I would have a miracle dinner in less than 15 minutes.  Liars.  But the presentation was MUCH better than the last time.  Family reaction?  “You don’t have to make this again.”

Despite my family shoving the pressure cooker back in the box, taping the receipt to the top, and sticking it in my car, I decided I just hadn’t hit on the right dish yet.  I unpacked it and snuck it back in the cupboard at midnight, and did some major pressure cooking shopping the next day.

I bought a lemon pepper pork roast.  I bought pork chops.  I bought a stuffed pork roast.  Pork was obviously on sale.  I brought my precious dinner ideas home and nestled them in the freezer until the next Sunday dinner.  This time, it was going to be perfect.

Sunday came and I decided on the lemon pepper roast.  It sounded so delicious!  I made sure it was thoroughly thawed (say that three times fast) and browned it just like I did the spoon steaks.  I added 1 cup of chicken broth, just like the spoon steaks.  I figured after all, the spoon steaks would have been much better if I had used the marinated ones, so this pork roast was going to be fantastic.

When it was finished, I pulled out the roast and set it on a plate.  It looked…grey.  It didn’t look crispy, even though I browned it.  It didn’t look like “the other white meat” like it does when I cook it on the grill or in the slow cooker.  Hmmmmm.

I cut into it, and it was definitely tender.  Still grey, though.  My daughter saw my hesitation (never let your children sense your fear in the kitchen.  One funny look from you and they won’t eat broccoli for five years), and wrinkled her nose at it.  “Is that even done?” she asked.

“Sure.  Sure it’s done,” I said.  I poked at it.  It was a little pink in the center.  Grey and pink.  Not good food colors.  I cut towards the end, pretty sure those pieces would be done at least.  I took a bite.  I smiled.  I chewed.  I smiled bravely while I chewed, and then my eyes watered and my brain screamed “FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY SPIT IT OUT!”  I swallowed.

“It’s bad, isn’t it,” said Dave.

“No…it’s not..baaaaad,” I drawled.

Dave took a bite and, to his credit, actually swallowed it.  “Kinda rubbery, dontcha think?” he said.  My daughter was in the process of taking her first bite when she heard his verdict and immediately beelined it for the kitchen sink where she made her opinion known with gagging.

Not only was it rubbery (although a tender rubbery.  Like, not hard to chew but still rubbery.  Very odd sensation.) but it didn’t taste like lemon pepper or pork or a combination of lemon pepper and pork or even just lemon or just pepper or just pork.  It tasted like chemicals, only not in a good way.  More like in a “I’m eating rubberized Lysol” way.

So now, we have an entire lemon pepper pork roast bagged up in the freezer until we decide what to do with it.  I can’t throw it away because of all the starving children in China and Dave won’t let me pawn it off on our son (“Really, honey.  I think you have given him enough fodder for the therapist.”) so it will just sit in the freezer until one day Dave throws it away when I’m not looking.

Meanwhile, I have a pressure cooker for sale.  Only used three times!

Sue

PS.  I am fully aware that my experiences have more to do with the cook and not so much the cooker, so no need to point that out.

PPS.  If you DO point it out, expect some rubber pork roast on your porch.

PPSS.  This is why I eat cake.  Cake would never do this to me.

 

 

 

 

It’s A Bird…It’s A Plane…


It’s a Super Food!  Super food – a popular buzzword in the nutrition industry, designed to peak your interest in less popular but highly nutritive foods.  Like spinach, for example.  Personally, I’m not a fan of spinach unless it’s in a dip, but that sort of defeats the purpose.  And that’s the real push of the whole “super food” campaign –  to try to get people to try foods out of their comfort zone by promoting them as avenues to health.

I will admit to being pretty stodgy in my veggie and grain experimentation in my young adult years.  Exotic grains were more likely to be found in the liquid I drank on a Saturday night than on my plate, and I thought corn was the only ‘vegetable’ that mattered.  I was more likely to eat foods that came from a chemists lab than from a farmer’s field.

And now, here I am, so much older and wiser (well, for sure OLDER), touting the benefits of super foods and about to give you some recipes of my favorites.  Please note that many of my recipes will not have sugar or flour in them, but they may have gluten (some whole grains, like barley, have gluten in them), dairy or eggs.  My main goal isn’t to adhere to any specific plan, but to give you the opportunity to try healthy alternatives to processed foods.

Two of these are foods that I like, have made in the past, and will make again.  Most likely, you may have eaten them already too, especially the first one I list.  The last one is something I experimented with over the weekend, and I am not sure I will make again.

1.  Sweet Potato Fries – this is very popular in restaurants now, even ones that offer more mainstream entrées.  Feel the Force of the Super Food, Luke.

sweet potato fries

Sweet potato fries…shut my mouth!

4 medium sweet potatoes / 1.5 tablespoons of olive oil / 1/4 teaspoon paprika / 1/2 teaspoon of salt / pinch cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 450.  Cut potatoes in to wedges and place in large bowl.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with paprika, salt and cayenne pepper.  Toss to coat evenly.  Arrange in single layers on cookie sheets and bake 25 minutes.

2.  Pumpkin custard (an alternative to pumpkin pie – a favorite of mine at Thanksgiving).

pumpkin custard

For the record, my pumpkin custard does NOT look this pretty. Probably because I break the rules and don’t cook it in the pan with water. Do as I say, not as I do!

1 can evaporated skim milk / 12 oz can pumpkin / 4 eggs / 1/4 teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger (or to taste) / sweetener (optional – I use agave nectar as a drizzle over the top when I eat it)

Beat all ingredients together and place in two mini casserole dishes that have been sprayed with non-stick spray.  Put the casserole dishes in a larger pan with 1 inch of water (I actually never do this – I just pop the pans in the oven, but my OCD and anal retentiveness will not permit me to omit this step from the written recipe) and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until the custard is set (inserted knife comes out clean).  Chill overnight (I don’t always do this either.  I’m such a rebel.)

3.  Kale chips

This is the new one I tried.  I have eaten kale before – I tried it when I heard how many nutrients it contained.  I wasn’t a huge fan – it has a pretty strong taste.  But when a friend of mine posted on Facebook that she was making these, I decided to give kale another shot.

For those of you who are new to the nutrition game, kale is a leafy vegetable that looks rather like romaine lettuce on steroids.  It’s not super popular, so you may have to check your larger grocery stores to find it.

Remove the leafy sections of the kale from the stalk.  Rinse and pat dry.  Lay as many leaves as you can in a single layer on a cookie sheet.  Coat with olive oil (I use olive oil cooking spray – worked pretty slick if I do say so myself) and sprinkle with your choice of seasoning – I used Mrs. Dash table blend, salt and a little garlic.  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

You know what?  I mostly liked these, but I put way too much salt on them, and then I got lazy and didn’t make another batch.  Also, a few of the chips had a stronger taste to them than some of the others, and I wasn’t sure I liked that.  I think I will try them one more time and go easier on the salt!

Until next time!
Sue

What’s For Lunch?


A few years ago, when I first made major changes to my diet, my friend Debbie used to come over to my desk every lunch hour, just to see what I was eating.  And it wasn’t just her – I attracted the attention of most of the people in my department.  I guess when you go from eating a box of Chicken in the Biscuit crackers with a side of M&M’s for lunch to eating protein, veggies and whole grains, people immediately sense “freak show” and come running.  I became old news after a while, for everyone except Debbie.  She always had an intense interest and would ask me the names of what I was eating, how I cooked it, if I liked it, etc.

 

Learning to eat healthy is hard.  It takes time and energy to read labels and find recipes and plan your meals.  It’s expensive and experimenting with new foods can be tough on your pocketbook if it turns out you don’t like it.  While I am not a nutritionist by any means, I do have several years worth of food knowledge banging around inside my brain cavity.  I thought you, like my friend Debbie,  might be interested in hearing about some of the tidbits I have picked up.  I would like to share the ideas and foods that worked for me, and also will experiment with new ideas and give you my honest feedback on the results.  I would love it if you shared your insights with me too!

 

Tonight, I am going to talk about my Top 3 favorite health foods, and how I incorporate them in my diet.

 

English: Three chicken eggs of contrasting col...

English: Three chicken eggs of contrasting colours. From left to right WHITE (from a white leghorn hen), RED (speckled)(from a Marans hen), and TINTED (from a Rhode Island Red hen). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Number One on my list is: The incredible, edible egg.  I love eggs.  I really do.  Hard boiled, soft boiled, fried, scrambled, over easy, sunny side up, poached – did I miss any?  I seriously eat eggs at least 5 times a week, and have done so for at least the last 5 years (6 years, actually – I just counted) with no adverse affects to my cholesterol (new studies show that for most people, eating eggs do not significantly contribute to heart disease).  Eggs are high in protein, low in calories and chock full of vitamins and minerals.  Eggs are fairly inexpensive, unless you are like me and feel bad for the chickens stuck in cages – I think it reminds me too much of living in a cubicle all day.  So I buy eggs laid by free range or cage free chickens for about $3 a dozen, depending on the store.  Sometimes I can find a farmer to purchase from as well, for much less, but it takes more time out of my schedule to get them.  Find out more about eggs here.

 

Number Two:  Corn Thins by Real Foods.  Basically, Corn Thins are like corn thinssquashed rice cakes, only made out of corn, although they do have a rice variety as well.  I use them in place of bread – they still have a higher glycemic index, but are not as processed, are gluten and GMO free, and have more fiber than bread.  Basically, I will top them with little low fat cream cheese, tomato and chicken, turkey or ham.  Sometimes I add a little mayo or mustard, cheese or pickles.  It’s like an open faced sandwich.  I find them at Woodman’s and Festival Foods here in Wisconsin, but you can check on their website here for more info on where to find them in your area.

 

GrapesNumber Three:  Grapes.  Natures perfect finger food!  I like to put grapes in my fat free plain Fage Greek Yogurt (yum!) as an after workout recovery snack.  Sometimes I will freeze them and then take out about a cup and snack on them frozen as a bedtime snack.  Any more than that, and my mouth freezes a bit and it makes it hard to yell at my dogs when they bark at the phantom squirrels in the backyard at midnight.  I prefer red seedless because a really good green seedless is hard to come by, but will buy the green when they are large and firm.  I’m not afraid to taste test before I buy either – grapes are too expensive to end up with a bag full of bad ones.

 

Tomorrow, I will share a couple of my favorite recipes, and a review a new one I just tried over the weekend!

 

Sleep tight!
Sue