Saturday, September 14, 2013

What's Up

I'm 60 years old and single. I'm an adept microwaver of frozen meals. I'm a disaster at pretty much everything else in the kitchen. This introductory post will present some info about me. The next post will discuss the cooking tools I've got around here. And future posts will discuss my cooking efforts, what I did and where I strayed from a recipe. I invite comments, suggestions, and guidance from people who know more about cooking than I do. (That's pretty much everyone.)

My favorite kitchen appliance.

I work from home these days. I'd like to eat healthier than I do at present. My income is severely restricted and since I'm just cooking for one, I will be looking for recipes that freeze well or otherwise lend themselves to leftovers.

I have a sweet tooth, but I'm trying to cut back on sugar consumption. (That's cut back on sugar--not cut out sugar.) I'm not planning to bake cakes or fancy desserts, though: I don't need either the calories or the expense. When I want something sweet to eat, I'll settle for a granola bar, for oatmeal with maple syrup, or for a popsicle.

I've been a heavy-duty consumer of Diet Coke for decades. I'm trying to cut back on it, and for the last ten days or so have been drinking instant drink mixes--iced peach-flavored tea, tea with lemon, lemonade, etc. They're sweetened with aspartame, which I know a lot of people don't approve of. But the last thing I need is a lot of real sugar on my teeth, I drink almost constantly (no, not diabetes--it's been checked), and even if I move to drinking herbal teas or something, I'm going to be sweetening those drinks with not-sugar. And if you were thinking of recommending xylitol as a substitute for aspartame, you should know that I won't allow xylitol in the house: I have dogs, and xylitol--even in small quantities--is fatal to dogs.

Cutting out the Diet Coke means I'm getting less caffeine. I just heard a doctor tell my mother that the caffeine in about three cups of regular coffee is good for a person's mental acuity. (You can't imagine what a relief that was to my mother.) But the caffeine in tea and soft drinks doesn't work the same way; it has to be from coffee, and I don't like coffee. I've tried. With lots of milk and sugar, it's okay, but that doesn't help. I can drink the cappuccino mix, pseudo coffees that have the merest trace of actual coffee, but I'm pretty sure that's not what the doctor meant. (The doctor also recommended less white flour and refined sugar.)

I don't drink alcohol. Like the taste of coffee, the taste of alcohol is not something I've learned to enjoy, and the smell can make me quite queasy. (But, given my dislike of coffee and alcohol, how did I wind up with a bottle of Kahlua in my pantry? Every now and again, I'll drink a glass of milk flavored with a bit of Kahlua.) Anyway, there aren't a lot of cooking sherries or wines in my pantry.

I've got a mental block about things that have a gritty texture: strawberries and pears, especially. (And tomatoes.) Love the flavor and the taste, hate the texture.

And no raisins. Really. When I was a kid, I was anemic, and raisins are a good source of iron. The doctor ordered me to eat a handful a day. My mother's idea of a handful and my idea of a handful were very different things. If forced (by politeness) to eat something with raisins in it, I swallow the raisins without chewing them.


Cari Hahn said...

I enjoyed reading this and getting to know you better!

deenbat said...

Kathy, I wouldn't have thought it possible that I could have recipes for anyone, and I have friends who would laugh hysterically at the idea - but, I may have some you can use. I'm the laziest cook in the world, and 10 years of being a grad student enhanced the cheap cooking habits I learned as a kid. I'm a huge proponent of freezable left-overs, as I hate eating the same thing two nights in a row. I learned long ago to freeze left-overs in meal-sized portions so that we can have home-cooked "frozen dinners" for the many, many nights we don't feel like cooking (or washing many dishes, which we both hate).

KF-in-Georgia said...

When I made a pot roast on the crock-pot(not thrilled with the results, but I'm working on that), I at least had the sense to cut the roast into pieces before I cooked it, so I could package up leftovers without trying to hack up the hot meat.

Anonymous said...

I highly recommend these muffins. They're delicious, not too sweet, and they come together fast in the blender. You don't have to use the raisins--I never bother--although dried cranberries would be good if you like them. You don't need muffin tins if you buy the foil baking cups: the paper layer goes on the inside, touching the batter, and the foil layer goes on the outside for structural reinforcement.

For the lightest muffins, mix lightly just until the wet and dry mixtures are combined. It's OK to leave a few streaks of unmixed flour. This video shows you the proper folding motion.

The only sticking point is the orange peel: for the whole orange, you need to find organic or else scrub the orange hard with soap and a brush to remove the pesticide wax. It's not just bad for you, it will ruin the taste of your finished dish (I found out the hard way when I served an inedibly bitter Shaker lemon pie to some guests). I've found that the bigger the orange, the bigger and lighter these muffins will be.

KF-in-Georgia said...

That recipe looks really good. Thanks.

deenbat said...

I owned a crock-pot many years ago, for many years. I used it once, and finally gave it to my brother & s-i-l. I don't miss it. I cannot imagine ever bothering with one again, although I know a lot of people really like them.