• 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.
  • Previously spoken….

    November 2017
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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:

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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

Saturday foodstuffs

Yeah. Difficult day. Emotionally draining. I’m glad it’s over. I ate those little quarter sandwich things on a boat that I didn’t take pictures of but I did take pictures of the dinner I ate out. Yay? Oh and I am a huge fan of steel-cut oats! Cook up a bunch and store it for a quick nuke each day!

Breakfast
Breakfast [5]

  • Oatmeal, steel-cut, leftover, 1 cup: 2
    I’ve been warming the oatmeal up in this bowl. I measured out how much each line is with water from a measuring cup, but also the oatmeal comes from a storage container that has lines for 1 cup, 2 cup on it. Very helpful.
  • Banana, 1: 2
  • Honey, 1 teaspoon: .5
  • ICBINB, 1 teaspoon: .5
  • Diet Dew, of course: 0
  • I mixed up some cut-up, slightly smooshed banana in with the microwave oatmeal. Pretty lovely combination!

Invisible dolphins
No picture of the food, but enjoy the water….
Lunch [4][9]

  • Finger sandwich, 2 quarters, 1 turkey and 1 roast beef: 4?
  • Water: 0

Dinner
Dinner [9.5][18.5]

  • Diet pepsi: 0
  • 1 fried mozzarella stick: 2
  • 1 broccoli nugget thing: 1
  • Mahimahi: 5
  • Broccoli: 1
  • Hushpuppy, 1/2 of one: .5

After

  • Diet dew, 1 can: 0

And then….

Ice cream with chocolate syrup. It seems the emotions of the day sent me back to my frozen lover. At least now that I’ve figured out how much my bowls hold, I can say how much I had. 13.5 points. How satisfying was it? Not very.

Friday Food Journal

I’m off work today. Thought I’d make a bunch of steel-cut oats for heating up later. This time, I stirred more so I didn’t have a layer of very browned bits stuck to the bottom. Stirring is our friend!

Also, while on the brain train, I came up with a way to outsmart my temperamental card reader. I locked the card before trying so that if it got hungry, it would not eat my pictures.

DSCN2928
Breakfast [7]

  • Oatmeal, steel cut, 1.5 cups: 3
  • Local honey, 1 tablespoon: 1
  • ICBINB, light, 1 tablespoon: 1
  • Banana, 1 whole: 2
  • Diet Mountain Dew, 1 can: 0
  • Notes: I measured out the margarine this time to see how much of a dollop I do. 1 tablespoon was too much. And 1 tablespoon was too much honey. I tried banana chunks in it as I was eating and liked that combination.

DSCN2936
Lunch [6][13]

  • Leftover chicken, 1 breast: 5
  • Mixed vegetables, 1.5 cups: 1
    I put the frozen pile right next to the chicken on the same plate and microwaved everything for 5 minutes. Vegetables were hot. Chicken was warm enough.
  • Apple, organic Fuji, 1 whole: 1
  • Diet Mountain Dew, 1 can: 0

Dinner [6][19]

  • Cereal, 2 cups: 4
  • Milk, Skim, 1 cup: 2

I feel like I’m forgetting something but am finishing this post almost 24 hours after eating this dinner so forgot. Argh!

Thursday’s food journal and toy

Didn’t realize it but I did the laptop lunch entry in a different format. Not sure which is better.

Food Lion is giving away one free reusable shopping bag with two purchases of Food Lion brand cereal. I usually buy their Toasted Oats, so that was win-win for me! Normally, the bags cost 89c. The Food Lion cereal is on sale too. Don’t know for how long but I saw it for the first time today so maybe till next week?

My fear of using a reusable bag is that the cashiers would mutter obscenities. Nope. The opposite. She saw that I had it nestled in with my two boxes of cereal and asked if I wanted to use it today. I said, “Sure! If that’s ok.” She filled it up with the cold stuff. And it held a lot. It also has a long enough handle that I was able to shoulder it.

Wow. Mother Earth would be proud. I reduced my lunch waste today and I, for the first time, didn’t use a disposable plastic bag at the store!

Here’s what it looks like till I photograph it: photo/article. Not exciting but that’s fine with me!

That free bag saved me from using at least 3 plastic bags. Not bad! And it’ll save me 3 plastic bags next time I use it.

Did I mention I hate my USB card reader? I thought I’d try it again to save me turning the PC on. I guess it heard me talking badly about it because the photos went BLIP. Fine. Checked my USB ports with a thumb drive and that worked. So I dunno. Thankfully, I took pictures of the laptop lunch last night. Even if it was in crappy light and the lids were on, it’s still documented!

Breakfast
Previously taken and reused. [bad words]

Breakfast

  • Hot link, 1: 7
  • Potatoes, 1/2 c:
  • Dew, diet, 20 oz: 0
  • Multivitamin: 0

LL #1

Lunch [4.5]

Laptop Lunch #1
1 cup salad greens: 0.
1 cup Amy’s Vegetable Barley soup: 1.
2 Laughing Cow, light, wedges: 2.
1/16 cup (1 Tablespoon) Light Greek dressing: .5.
1 White House Natural Plus applesauce cup: 1.
1 Sugar-free Jello: 0.

Snack – 3pm

  • Kitkat: 5
  • Dew, Diet, 1 can: 0

Dinner – 8pm [6]

  • Cereal, 2 cups: 4
  • Milk, 1%, 1 cup: 2

Laptop Lunch #1

Do I include the laptop lunch as part of my food journal or do I do it on its own? Not sure so I’ll try on its own for now so that I can find them more easily (and in case other folks are looking for them too). But I’ll have a picture on the food journal too.

It came. I was so excited to use it that I didn’t even wait for a full dishwasher load. I washed it by hand! Come on. That says a lot.

I had no idea what I was going to put in it. I had Oven fried chicken but there’s no way the pieces would fit. I could take the meat off but the leftovers are too fresh to do that! I had not planned so just went through the fridge.

I made it completely the night before and here it is ready for work the next morning.

Laptop lunch waiting for tomorrow morning

And here it is open but with the tops on. I always wonder how people do the tops so I took a picture of how I did them. I followed the directions and put the lidded container in the back and had the tab pointing toward the middle.

Laptop Lunch #1

No pictures at lunch. Sorry. Card reader was hungry and ate the pictures I took.

Large containers are 1 cup. Smaller are 1/2 cup. The dip container is 1/8 cup.

Laptop Lunch #1: 4.5
1 cup salad greens: 0.
1 cup Amy’s Vegetable Barley soup: 1.
2 Laughing Cow, light, wedges: 2.
1/16 cup (1 Tablespoon) Light Greek dressing: .5.
1 White House Natural Plus applesauce cup: 1.
1 Sugar-free Jello: 0.
The Special K protein bar on the utensils was included cause it fit but wasn’t eaten.

Ye ol’ hump day food journal

Last night I suddenly got starving hungry around 11:30. “Well, Jessica, if you were in bed….” I know. So I had a Laughing Cow wedge since I’m fruitless. I’ll add that on to today.

My excuse is that I was so busy studying my computer science homework and taking a quiz — which I bombed unfortunately — that I lost track of time. And then, of course, I had to read the User’s Guide for my new toy. Weird thing? I’m thinking about sketching out some ideas for boxes so that I can make a shopping list. Either that or just copying Vigilant20.

I threw together one tonight from leftovers and what I had on hand. Photos tomorrow of my first Bento / Laptop Lunch!

Last night [1]

  • Laughing Cow, Light, 1 wedge: 1

Breakfast
Breakfast [2] [3]

  • Oatmeal, 1 cup: 2?
  • Splenda, cinnamon: 0
  • Diet Dew, 20 oz: 0
  • Multivitamin: 0
  • Water, 24 oz:0

Lunch
Lunch – 12:30ish [4] [7]

  • Fruit salad: 2?
    1/2 cup? raw spinach, mandarin orange, sprinkle of carrots, 1 cup? melon bits; no dressing and I didn’t miss it… the orange juice was plenty!
  • Yogurt, fat-free, 1 container: 2
    Amazing that this little container (6 oz) is 100 calories. Also amazing the list of ingredients is almost as tall as the container. Milk, High fructose corn syrup — no wonder 100 calories. Sigh.

Snack – 2ish [7] [14]

  • Cheddar cheese stick, Sargento, light: 2?
    I’d rather have Laughing Cow. That stuff is so good.
  • Water, 24 oz: 0
  • Die dew, can: 0
  • KitKat: 5
    I chose this over cake in the conference room. KitKat >>>> cake. See? Indulgence. But choosing what is ‘worth’ it. Y’know?

Snack – 4 [5] [19]

  • ::whisper::KitKat: 5

Dinner
Dinner – 7:45~ [9] [28]

  • a href=”http://www.recipezaar.com/3929″ target=”_new”>Oven Fried Chicken, 1 huge piece: 6
    I used some of that frozen cut-up chicken from last month’s .49/lb whole chicken sale. So, don’t laugh at the piece shapes. Ok, you can laugh. I did. Because I use so much chicken and because I love spice, I increase the flour to 3/4 cup and each spice gets upped to 1 teaspoon and the salt becomes 2 teaspoons. I spray the pan with some butter-flavored Pan since I was raised on butter-flavored Crisco as the oil of choice for fried chicken. Also, Recipezaar’s values come out to 4 points a piece but these are huge so I rounded.
  • Milk, 1 cup, skim: 2
  • Romaine lettuce, 1 cup~: 0
  • Greek dressing, light, 2 Tbl: 1
  • Carrot, 1: 0

Snack [8] [36]

  • Hot cocoa, 2 cups: 8

Total: 36