• Personally speaking….

    Just the thoughts and cookings of a software engineer that likes to make foodstuffs from time to time in the bay area of California.
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Flog it good!

Magazines I got on the scale this morning. It was disappointed in me again. 4 pounds up since Thanksgiving.

It’s possible to gain weight as a vegan or vegetarian. I’ve proven to my mother that just cause something’s vegan doesn’t mean it’s automatically healthier.

I can pile on Earth Balance — which is amazingly butter-like — on my vegetables and be 100% vegan. I can eat a triple cheese pizza and be lacto-ovo vegetarian. With all the recipe testing and “Oh this looks good” type of cooking, maybe it’s time to step back — counts as exercise, right? — and start food blogging again. I love reading others’ “what I ate today” posts cause I can get some ideas — or feel better about that huge bowl of vegan bread pudding. I am interested in the new program at Weight Watchers but have no time in a few weeks since school starts back up.

There are lots of words of wisdom out there in the interwebs:

We’ll see. I don’t like those 4 pounds. I have more to lose but was taking a break by maintaining for a bit. Meh.

Inspired by Clara: Pasta with peas

Pasta with peas
Inspired by Clara’s Pasta with peas and her “Depression Era Cooking” videos, I reached into my 10 pound bag of potatoes and got to work. As I played with potatoes and onions, I thought back to what I remember growing up. What dish was my Grandma “famous” for? And what do I remember most from my mother’s cooking? After Mom grabbed her bowl, we talked about it.

Me: Know what I remember most about Grandma’s cooking? Delmonico steak with salt, pepper and garlic powder. (Grandma and I both are garlic fiends.)
Mom: That’s all?
Me: Yeah. Weird, huh? I know she could cook anything and remember all the family holiday gatherings where she would cook. But that was just ham and turkey and collards and whatnot.

We then talked about how amazing of a cook my Grandma was. But Mom said she didn’t think Grandma loved to cook. Maybe that’s why I can’t remember much? Near the end, Grandma and I would talk about cooking and it was mostly about sneaking ground turkey breast into Grandpa’s food or how versatile egg white omelets were. I’m going to try and get some clippings that my aunt got when we — well, you know… went through the stuff left behind. Most everyone was in Grandma’s head but maybe I can get an idea from what she clipped out and that will help.

Me: Mom, know what I think of when I think back to your cooking?
Mom: No, what? (I could hear the ‘uh oh’ in her voice.)
Me: Hamburger soup, tuna surprise*, succotash, hamburger helper, tuna helper, chicken helper — yeah, one pot meals.

* Tuna surprise is kind of like a tuna casserole cooked in a saucepan on the stove.

Now, back to Clara. I loved how she said she would ask what’s for dinner and get as an answer: “Pasta with garlic.” “Pasta with peas.” Etc. I had pasta, including a box that had a “use by” date of 2007 — oops, yes, that was tossed, sigh — and some potatoes. Like I said, I bought this 10 pound bag of potatoes cause I was crazy being frugal.

I wanted to get the consistency of a “hamburger helper” type meal because I want something that could hold its own on a plate with some sides. I got something more soupy, but I measured so maybe I can get closer next time.

Pasta with Peas ++
The ++ means I added more stuff… of course.

  • Olive oil
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 cups macaroni, uncooked
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 cups frozen peas (keep frozen)
  • 2 baking potatoes, peeled, diced
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped

Saute onions and potatoes in olive oil on medium heat till potatoes are softened. I think this took me about 15 minutes and I used a small stock pot. Add salt, pepper, water, peas. Bring to a boil. Add pasta. Boil for 10 minutes. Toss in parsley. Cook for 1 minute. This is where I added the carrots cause the pasta with peas was slightly soupy. Considering I ladled off about 1.5 cups, I’ll reduce the water amount next time. Maybe. The “stock” this all made was very good. I was heavy handed with the salt like Clara but Mom still added salt to her bowl. Ha.

Sauteed Carrots
I ended up dumping this into the Pasta with Peas at the end

  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, pepper

I cooked the carrots in a skillet while I cooked the pasta with peas. The carrots kept browning too quickly on medium heat so I would ‘cool’ them off with a ladle of water from the pasta. I think it added a lovely flavor. I’m not a fan of carrots but these turned out nicely. I think they cooked for about 20 minutes sometimes covered and sometimes not. I tossed them into the pot of pasta right before serving and after the parsley. It added a nice color but since the carrots didn’t cook with the pasta, it had its own flavor but was somewhat familiarized with the ladles of water from the pasta.

Pasta with Peas (and carrots)
Nutrition Facts (via recipezaar)
Serving Size 1 (506g) Recipe makes 5 servings
Points 7
Calories 328
Calories from Fat 80 (24%)
Amount Per Serving %DV
Total Fat 9.0g 13%
Saturated Fat 1.3g 6%
Monounsaturated Fat 6.0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.2g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 42mg 1%
Potassium 640mg 18%
Total Carbohydrate 54.6g 18%
Dietary Fiber 5.1g 20%
Sugars 5.0g
Protein 8.1g 16%

Some others that tried her recipe:

Laptop Lunch #6

Wow. Number 6 already? I found a tin of miniature letter cutters and got a little silly with my Laughing Cow babybel.

Laptop Lunch #6

Clockwise, starting at the top left: Fat-free cottage cheese with bits of oranges and cantaloupe in it. A pile of plum and orange slices. Next is a Laughing Cow Light Babybel on top of spinach on top of orange slices. Last, but not least, is a bunch of cantaloupe balls with plum slices.The theme of this is cozy neighbors. A little of one container is in another container. Did I mention I was in a silly mood?

I started to get the hang of making balls out of my cantaloupe near the end. A few have rind on them. Oops!

WW Core except for the Laughing Cow (1 point). I just had to try these little letter cutters that I found in a drawer. I wanted to do “C” for cheese but it didn’t have “C”! No idea why. So, this is “N” for “NUM!” Also, a little gotcha… I forgot that there is a paper(?) string thing and the cut-out didn’t pop out as easily as I thought it would so had to cut along the edges of the “N.” When I got to work, I peeled off the strips and it put a slash through it making it look like “No N.” Or maybe it’s a “Z”!

Closeup of the N

Yes. I’m easily amused.

I also discovered that I don’t like orange plus cottage cheese. And the plum was very tangy but was told they’re supposed to be sweet so I’ll try that again. I still really like the combination of spinach and orange.

Flatout amazing! My first time making a flatout wrap

Turkey, tomato, spinach, cheese wrap

Two thumbs up!

I wanted to buy a low-cal, low-fat wrap for sandwiches (yes, thinking about my laptop lunch makings) and found among the wraps a weird looking oblong wrap. Brand name is Flatout and after looking at the nutritional values of those available, I got the Honey Whole Wheat one. It’s a lot of good bread for just 1 point. Odd though, I can’t find it on the Flatout website. This is the closest to the nutritional value that I found: Multi-grain Flatout.

The texture is great. It’s not scratchy or heavy wheat. It didn’t fall apart like the one tortilla ‘sandwich’ that I made did.

I looked on the website to try and figure out how I was supposed to use it. I found a few recipes but no play-by-play. So, I went with the generic “put the stuff on round end of the bread and then roll tightly.” I smooshed the cheese on the bottom using a wet tablespoon. It made the spreading of the cheese much easier. I then put on spinach, some thinly sliced turkey breast, and some slices of tomatoes. I rolled up from the filled end as tightly as I could but couldn’t do too tightly because of the tomatoes.

It held together very well considering I take my sandwiches so dry — no mayo, etc. I sliced it in half and it still held up well.

Fantastic product! I can’t wait to try some other ideas with it. Interestingly enough, after I bought it, I saw a fellow blogger post her fajita photo made with Flatout bread. So weird to go from never knowing about a product to buying it and seeing it in use shortly after!

Laptop Lunch #5

Laptop Lunch #5

I was really looking forward to this one! The shrimp were thawed the night before and nestled in there. I didn’t add anything and ate them cold. I don’t like cocktail sauce. The grapes and cherries were singing their swan songs. Spinach, carrots and light Greek dressing are the bomb diggity.

And I got a new placemat! My precious.

I like this laptop lunch thing. Putting together lunches is so easy! I don’t have to make a lot of one thing, just fill up some little containers.

I’m extremely tempted to buy another one. It’s kind of a pain to wash it and then fill it the same night.

Laptop Lunch #4

Laptop Lunch #4

Clockwise, starting top-left: Fat-free yogurt with cherries and grapes. I cut the fresh cherries in half to get the pit out. Then though that that looked keen so added some halved grapes. Pretty tasty. The cherries fresh are a little tart, so is the yogurt, but the grapes helped calm everyone down. We then have more grapes– can you tell I love grapes? And under those grapes are some leftover apple bits. And the next container has — surprise — more grapes and some apple slices. I put the skin side up and didn’t add anything to it to see how badly it’d turn brown. Didn’t do badly at all! That’s an organic Fuji apple. Num! Last, but not least, we have left-over brown fried rice with a sprinkle of parsley on top cause I was feeling cheeky. I did microwave the rice for about one minute but it was fine cold. Tasted better at least at room temperature, though.

This is a WW Core meal.

Two days of eats

Oatmeal:
How I love thee but won’t it get old quickly? I still have about 2 or 3 cups left in the fridge for nuking. So far my favorite way to make it (other than oodles of brown sugar and milk and butter) is banana. Gotta find some other ways!

PB&J Roll-up massacre
PB&J roll-up disaster
I tried to make a PB&J roll-up so that I can cut it up for my Laptop Lunch. It was a disaster! My little cutting board looked like I just butchered something. The spewed guts (aka: jam) went on top of some yogurt so that was good. But the roll-up…. I don’t know what I did wrong! I put peanut nut butter on the tortilla first so it wouldn’t get soggy and then put on the jam. I put too much jam (2 tablespoons) definitely but the cutting was horrible.

Breakfast
Breakfast

  • Oatmeal, steel-cut, leftover, 1 cup: 2
  • Apple, organic, Fuji, cut-up: 1
  • Cinnamon:0
  • Da Dew! 0
  • Was going to put slices on top of the oatmeal but that’s hard to eat so I chopped some up and mixed apple in after the oatmeal was nuked. Sprinkled cinnamon on top. Not a huge fan. Maybe it’d be better with the apple nuked or some sweetener added like honey or such. I’ve seen people add applesauce to oatmeal so thought this would work.

Chicken fried rice
Lunch

  • Chicken fried rice
    Based loosely on OAMC Chicken Fried Rice. I used some of the cooked brown rice, rest of the chicken, onion, frozen vegetables, 2 eggs, and soy sauce/pepper.

Dinner
Dinner
2 Turkey cheddar dogs, 1 cup corn/lima beans.
I didn’t cook this but photographed anyway.
3 hot cocoas: 12
ice cream (1 cup + chocolate syrup): A kazillion points. Ok, not really.

PB&J Roll-up massacre
Brunch
PB&J roll-ups: 2 Tbl peanut butter, 2 Tbl jam, 1 tortilla (3)
1 cup ff yogurt
Diet dew, 1 can