Food Stuff

Easy French Toast Sticks

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When I got married, I was so clueless about cooking I looked up how to boil water for pasta (when does the pasta go in? Do I add salt?  How big should the pot be?).

 

Unfortunately, the above is a true story.

 

Fast forward a few years and I was always buying those French Toast Sticks in a box for Max… imagine my surprise that I could just
make them fresh, myself at home!

 

Again, the above is a true story… it is shameful really.

 

So, here is the super easy recipe on how I make French Toast Sticks (even though this art is probably universally known)

Ingredients:

3 slices of bread

2 Eggs

A Bit of Milk

1 tsp Vanilla Extract (mine could have been two…)

 

Directions

1)     Preheat your griddle (I usually use the medium setting)

2)     Mix the eggs, milk and vanilla in a low bowl that will fit your piece of bread… (speaking from experience here)

3)     Coat the pieces of bread in the mixture one by one, flipping to make sure both sides are gooey

4)     Place on griddle, let it cook a few minutes (2-3) and then flip for another minute or two

5)     Remove the French toast from the griddle and cut into strips.

6)     Serve while marveling at the transformation of the humble slice of bread

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Move over Ben & Jerry’s – Snow Ice Cream

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“Do you want to build a snowman?” sings Anna

“No, I want to make snow ice cream!” replies Elsa.

 

Have you seen Frozen? Obviously, this is not how this song goes… but it would be if I was involved.

 

I equated Snow Ice Cream to the Abominable Snowman… something that was just a figment of an over active imitation.

However, I kept seeing it pop up on Facebook and on the internet. Finally, after 48 inches of the fluffy white stuff fell, I attempted my first pint of ‘snow cream’.

 

I followed this recipe from all recipes and let ‘er rip.  Obviously, since I can’t wait to make this again, it should now stop snowing in the North East….

 

Since it was ice cream – it needed a topping…. You see where I am going with this, right?

 

Ingredients

Large bowl of “clean” snow (yellow snow is NOT clean)

½ gallon of milk (I used whole milk)

½ cup white sugar

1 tablespoon of vanilla (I may have over done it a bit…. )

 

Directions

1. Wait for it to snow – a lot…

2. Fill a large bowl with ice cream and bring it in the house

3. In a separate bowl, mix the milk, sugar and vanilla until the sugar dissolves.

4. Stick your finger in the mix and make sure it tastes sweet

5. Add the snow by large cup fills, stirring to mix the contents

6. Taste liberally as you mix 7. Put a scoop in a bowl, add chips and call yourself done

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Paper Plate Gourmet : “Mock” Banana Ice Cream

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So, I will preface with the note that this does not ACTUALLY taste 100% like ice cream.  It tastes like a banana with the consistency of gelato.   (Hence the mustache… get it?  It’s like a banana in disguise?  It’s funny…)

 

 

But it is oh-so-tasty, especially when ‘garnished’ with chocolate chips, whipped cream or something else similarly detrimental to your diet.   Craig made fun of my chips. But hey, if you can keep it to a minimum, this just may be the snack that gets you through your weight loss.

 

 

All kidding aside, I found this ‘recipe’ on a very cool site (it’s vegan approved, well, before the milk chocolate chips!).  You do need a food processor – but that is all the special equipment you need.  Oh, and a cold banana.

 

Ingredients

 

1 Banana (mine was brownish and a little scary looking.  I put it in the fridge for a few hours to cool it off.  I have found that the frozen banana didn’t chop up well in my food processor)

 

Directions

 

  1. Break that banana into some chunks, toss it into the food processor and go to town until the recipe is smooth-ish.
  2. Marvel at the ease of this ‘recipe’
  3. Put it into a bowl, adorn with your toppings of choice
  4. Don’t feel guilty – it’s a banana!!!!

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Paper Plate Gourmet : 5 Ingredient Lemon Chicken

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I would like to introduce you to my Go-To Chicken.  It’s simple, quick and yummy.  My kind of chicken.

 

I use it on salads, as the base for my chicken salad, or, most often, like this – served alone with a side of avocado & cilantro.  AKA – a little slice of heaven.

 

This maybe a no-brainer for some people, but this was exciting for me, a woman who has a fear of francese ….

 

Ingredients

Chicken Breasts- I usually make 3 thin sliced ones

2 Lemons – more or less depending on the above

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

Salt, to taste

Garlic Powder, to taste (I dump a liberal amount…)

 

Directions

  1. Add the chicken to a zip lock bag
  2. Squeeze the lemons into the bag
  3. Add the Olive Oil, Salt & Garlic Powder to the bag
  4. Close the Bag (this is so important it is getting its own step.)
  5. Shake that bag like you are “Living laVida Loca”  (I love that song… sorry)
  6.  I usually marinate it overnight, but I have also made it right away.  It’s still tasty if a little less lemony… it’s all good.
  7. Heat a skillet on the stove over medium heat
  8. Dump the contents of the bag onto the skillet once it is warm.
  9. Now, it is going to look a little odd for a bit and you will wonder if I led you astray.  The marinade will start to look white and you will worry about the chicken cooking.  It will be alright!
  10. I usually flip it once or twice to make sure I get the pink out of the chicken.  Eventually (8-10 minutes later) all the juice will cook off and your chicken will start to become golden brown.  It’s a good time to flip the chicken again.
  11. Cut into that bad boy to make sure it is done.

 

I usually make this with an avocado dip on the side – mix together avocado, cilantro, salt, garlic powder & the juice of one lime.

 

Wow!! 2 recipes for the price of 1!!!

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Paper Plate Gourmet : The Best Microwave “Baked” Potato Ever!

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Can my life be altered by a potato?

 

Possibly.

 

 

I love baked potatoes but never have the time to actually “bake” it.  Usually, I just throw it in the good ol’ microwave wrapped in a paper towel.

 

This week, while trying to do the aforementioned “cooking” I drew a total blank on how long to microwave my potato.  8 minutes? 10 minutes? I couldn’t remember.

 

So, I did what everyone does nowadays – I googled it.     Unfortunately, it was from my phone and I can no longer find the correct link! I am sorry!  It was from  an e-how page.

 

This particular post suggested rubbing the potato with olive oil.  I thought – why the heck not!  This here, my friends, is the pivotal part of this story.  I believe this step is what separates the men from the spuds.

 

My potato was FANTASTIC!  And crispy!  And done in 10 minutes!  Whoop!

 

 

Ingredients

Potato

A Smidge of Olive Oil

Sea Salt, To Taste

Toppings of your choice (be bold!)

 

Directions

 

  1. Wash the dirty potato
  2. Poke holes in the now clean potato
  3. Lather up that potato with some olive oil
  4. Add a little salt if you feel like it
  5. Place the potato in a microwave safe bowl (like my Pyrex)
  6. Microwave for 4-5 minutes
  7. Flip it over with a fork (this puppy is hot!)
  8. Microwave for another 4 minutes
  9. Let the bad boy sit for another minute or two
  10. Eat!

 

All I added was a little butter, salt, pepper and some freshly shredded Colby Jack cheese.  I have become a shredded cheese snob – I like to grate it fresh!  I can definitely taste a difference!

 

Soon, I am going to move onto loaded potatoes!!!  CRAZY DIZEE!

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Starting “Craig Diet” & My Meal Plan

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PS – There are two rather annoying typos in this post of which I can’t fix! BOO!!!  Five points for all of you who figure them out!!! SORRY!

 

T-minus double digits to Disney.  It is crunch time.  Time to put up or shut up.

 

Should I keep going?

 

I do not want to spend a million dollars on an awesome vacation only to hate myself in all my pictures.

 

I loved Weight Watchers and it really does work, but nowadays, I want something a little different (Sorry Gina).  A Jump Start, if you will.    Something that requires Zero thinking.

 

It is time to call in the big guns….

 

Craig Diet, as I lovingly call it, is my husband’s tricks to lose weight.  You can read up on all the tenants of the diet, but just remember, he isn’t a doctor or anything, he just knows stuff.    Besides, this is just a ‘jump start to weight loss’ kind of thing to get me motivated and help curtail some of those bad habits (like eating a peanut butter cup at 5:15 AM when I get up).

 

 

Did you know the average stomach is the size of a closed adult fist?  Much smaller than a Large Double Cheeseburger Meal with a Giant Coke from McDonalds.

 

Craig’s theory is you need to ‘shrink’ your stomach back to its normal size, so he likes to eat something small every few hours for the first few days.  He also thinks this will start to ‘rev’ my metabolism.

 

Here is my “average” day

 

 

The dinners I have planned are far from exciting, but can do the job:

4 Dino nuggets

3 Ravioli with Sauce

Lemon Chicken

½ Chicken Roll from the Pizza Place

Chicken Fajitas

 

This is the plan.   The first day or two I definitely feel hungry, but by day three and four, the smaller size servings do fill me up.  I will let you know on the 21st how it played out.

 

I need to confess – I had one of these last night…. Beware… They are out there… Waiting….  I thought I only had to battle these demons during Easter!

 

Does anyone have any Meal Plans for the week?  Or a Diet named after their militant husband?

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Food for Thought : What Does Organic Really Mean

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In last little dissertation on GMOs, I said the best way to avoid them is by buying Organic.  What does that mean?  The nifty graphic below from Robin O’Brien pretty much sums it up:

 

I don’t know about you, but there seems to be more benefits to buying organic than just avoiding GMOs…

 

But here is the thing – there are a couple different levels of Organic…. I know, I know.  Why can’t this stuff just be straight forward?  I don’t know what to tell you.  We live in a nutty world.

 

When a product says it Contains Organic Ingredients it means less than 70% of the ingredients are Organic.  (hey, it is better than nothing).

 

If a product says it is Made With Organic Ingredients it means at least 70% of the ingredients are Organic.

 

The real labels we should be looking for are Organic (contains at least 95% Organic Ingredients) and 100% Organic (which are completely Organic).   Only these products are allowed to contain the USDA Organic Seal.

 

When it comes to buying fruits and veggies, there are some ways to save.  The Dirty Dozen typically contain higher pesticide levels when conventionally grown.

The Dirty Dozen are:

  • Apples
  • Bell Peppers
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Ernest Borgnine (just checking to see if you are still reading…)
  • Cherries
  • Grapes (imported)
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Strawberries

I have been buying organic strawberries all summer; Max is a huge fan.  Typically, they have been running around $3.99.  Not too bad, especially when he eats them all.

 

The Clean Thirteen have been found to have the lowest levels of pesticides, mostly due to the fact these fruits and veggies have thicker skins or need to be pealed.  You can save money here by not always buying organic

The Clean Thirteen are:

  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Eggplant
  • Kiwi
  • Mango
  • Onion
  • Pineapple
  • Peas (sweet)
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon

 So, there you have it.  A simple starting point for purchasing Organic.   Next week I plan on posting about Organic Dairy and Meat.  Who else is excited?

 

Just me, huh.  :)

 

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Food for Thought : Ways to Avoid GMOs

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So, after my longwinded, whoops,  I mean informative, GMO post last week, I promised a short list of ways to avoid GMO’s.

Therefore, without further adieu:

 

 

The most commonly modified foods are:

 

(drumroll please)

 

  • Canola Oil
  • Soy
  • Corn (Corn, Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup)
  • Zucchini & Summer Squash
  • Papaya’s (mostly from Hawaii)
  • Sugar Beets

 

As if those items weren’t enough, there are also GMO derived additives such as:

Aspartame, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Ascorbate, Vitamin C, Citric Acid, Natural or Artificial Flavors, Lactic Acid, Maltodextrin or Yeast Products.

 

After I read this list I was like- PHEW!  I know I don’t eat a lot of these products. 

Sugar Beets?  I don’t even know what they look like.  And Papaya?  I don’t even know how to cut one… (I know, I could watch a you tube video…. But, honestly, I really don’t know what I am missing…so why bother)

I was wrong… again. 

A product that simply lists ‘sugar’ as an ingredient is probably using sugar derived from sugar beets.  (PS – it is believed that GMO sugar beet production is directly related to the decrease in the bee and butterfly population.  No bueno.)

 

Soy & Canola Oil are two of the most widely used oils – from cookies to raisins to potato chips.    They turn up just about everywhere, so it pays to read the labels.  

 

Dang you- Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix!

 

Now, I am making an assumption - if an ingredient is listed on your food label, it is most likely a GMO.  Why?   Because they are the cheaper crop.  (Many are even subsidized by the government).  And what is always the bottom line?  Money! 

Besides, look at the numbers below – and that was as of 2010.  The odds are likely to be GMO.

 

Image: Nature’s Path Organic Foods

Since labeling is not required, the best way to avoid GMOs is to go Organic.  I know they can be tough to find, cost prohibitive or you are married to someone like my husband. 

 

You can also look for the Non-GMO Project label which has been popping up. 

They are a non-profit organization committed to providing non-GMO choices.  I see these choices in the decently-stocked Organic/Natural section of my  local Stop & Shop.  

Last note – when buying fresh produce, you can check the fruits and vegetables PLU code. 

  • Ones that start with a 4 are conventionally grown with the use of pesticides. 
  • Ones that begin with an 8 are genetically modified
  • Ones that begin with a 9 are organically grown.

 

As G I Joe used to say, “Knowing is Half the Battle”. 

 

I didn’t think She-Ra’s battle cry of ‘By the Honor of Greyskull’ was appropriate.  Unless, of course, Hordak is buying genetically modified zucchini.

 

(Hmmm… maybe this post was still too long….)

 

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