Thursday, April 30, 2015

Mulligatawny Soup

The last time I made mulligatawny soup was in chef school I think. A very long time ago. Recently for some reason I can't even fathom, I started thinking about it again. So I looked it up and found some recipes. Below is what I made. It was very yummy.

Some of the recipes I found had hot peppers in them. But I don't like to use hot peppers because I don't like burning my mouth off. You may like burning your mouth off in which case, fill your boots.

And if you are a vegematic like Maude, you could always substitute a can of drained and rinsed chick peas instead of the chicken, along with vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
8 (approximately) cups chicken stock (I used half no salt chicken stock and half water)
1/2 cup red lentils
salt and pepper to taste (I used about 3/4 tsp salt)
4 tsp curry powder
1 can low fat coconut milk
1 cup basmati rice
1 chicken breast (I had one cooked in the freezer and just threw it in. But it could be raw as it will cook with the rest of the soup.)
1 raw unpeeled apple, chopped fine

Fry the celery, carrots, onion in oil at a low heat until the onion is translucent. Stir in the curry powder to blend and cook for a minute. Pour in the stock, add the lentils and chicken and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes.

Remove chicken and chop or shred and put back into soup.

While the soup is simmering, put rice in. Add the chopped apple. Simmer about another 15 minutes or so until rice is cooked.

The lentils kind of disintegrate and thicken the soup.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Gluten free chocolate peanut butter cookies

Yesterday we took our sister Maureen out for her birthday. I brought my camera but forgot to take pictures. We were all too busy yelling at each other. That's what Maloneys do when they get together. They yell. We don't even have to be together to yell. We can also do it by phone. Friday I was talking to Barb on the phone downstairs. Fred was upstairs and he heard me. He thought there were three people in the same room as he was in having a fight. No. It was just me and Barb "talking" on the phone.

From Paula. Her yummy flour free chocolate peanut butter cookies. She have us each some yesterday, and Barb gave us some yummy chocolate brownies as well. Oh my goodness they were so good.

2.5 cups peanut butter (I use unsweetened/unsalted Kraft). The recipe says not to use natural p/b as they don't cook properly
2.5 cups brown sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla
2 teaspoons baking soda

Mix peanut butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla.
Mix cocoa with baking powder.
Mix it all together. It will be crumbly, so with clean hands, form balls and place on parchment lined cookie sheet. Press balls down with a floured fork to flatten a bit.

Bake 8 minutes at 350 degrees.  It made about 40 cookies I think.

If I make them again, I will cut down on the cocoa. Maybe 3/4 cup? That, and/or add a banana? They would still be chocolaty, but moister.  Plus the mixture wouldn't be so crumbly and the balls would form better.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Deconstructing Tim Hortons' muffins

I find Tim Hortons' muffins are too sweet, and to me, aren't really muffins at all, they're more like cake. Muffins should be more dense, and usually contain fruit or nuts. I've asked them to make their muffins more nutritious, but they just defend their products as they are. They've also discontinued their raisin bran muffins which were probably one of the better muffins they served. Why? I've never received an answer from them on this.

So yesterday I bought a Tim Hortons' Whole Grain Pecan Banana Bread Muffin, which apparently has two servings of whole grains, and no artificial colours or flavours.

So what did it contain?

It contained not a single pecan inside the muffin.

As for the banana, it tasted like banana, but there was no discernable pieces of banana inside the muffin. If you've ever made banana bread or banana muffins, you'll easily notice the tiny bits of black in the cooked product. When you bake bananas in something, there are always the black flecks. I couldn't detect even one speck of black inside the muffin.

It also contained 27 grams of sugar in each muffin. That's a whopping 6.75 teaspoons of sugar in one muffin. Ever read the book Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us? I'm reading it now and it's quite the eye opener. I believe it isn't only the food giants who are hooked, it's also the fast food giants as well. Why all the sugar? Because it tastes good--they think.

Here are the ingredients in these muffins:
Whole Grain Pecan Banana Bread Muffin: Whole grain blend [bleached enriched wheat flour, wheat bran, wheat germ], banana purée, sugar, water, soybean and/or canola oils, liquid whole egg, pralines [sugar, pecans, corn syrup, butter (milk), salt], chicory root inulin, leavening (sodium bicarbonate, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate), modified cornstarch, salt, monoglycerides, guar gum, citric acid (acidulant), xanthan gum, ascorbic acid (acidulant), natural flavour, corn syrup solids, whey powder (milk), enzyme (amylase).
I did count 8 tiny bits of pecan on top.

Nope. No visible banana inside. Or pecans.

And here are the 6.75 teaspoons of sugar the muffin contains. I decided not to eat the second half of the muffin. I decided it was just a waste of calories.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Peanut butter oatmeal cookies

I made peanut butter oatmeal cookies one day while in Victoria. I can't remember what my motivation was. Anyway they were pretty good.

In Victoria our condo had cable TV service. At home we don't have TV service, we only watch Netflix. We don't feel the need to throw money at Bell or the other cable providers, and Netflix is way better anyway.

The only channel I did watch sometimes was the Food Network. I do like to watch cooking shows. But I would record the shows first so I could fast forward past the commercials, which seem to have increased exponentially since I last watched commercial TV.

Mind you, most of the shows on the food network are fairly useless, like Food Factory. This show tries too hard to be cute. It also shows how some products are made in a factory. I don't really care how they're made. I want to know what the recipe is. Plus, many of the products they showed being produced contained 90% sugar. Gross.

Then there were other shows that showed competitions like Chopped, which wasn't bad, but very stressful to watch. I don't want to get stressed when I watch TV.

Then there were food shows (as opposed to cooking shows) where almost no actual cooking takes place. Like one guy who goes into diners or whatever, and makes all kind of noise as he inhales big greasy gobs of whatever concoction being served. Gross times two.

I want to watch actual cooking shows. You know where someone cooks food and tells you how much of each ingredient is in it?

One show which I liked was the Spice Goddess. Bal Arneson is from India and cooks food using Indian spices. She made a macaroni and cheese recipe that I want to try. I love macaroni and cheese, and I love Indian food. Though it sounds like a weird combination to me, but I will try it.

Anyway back to the Peanut Butter Oatmeal cookies

1 cup flour (whole wheat or all purpose)
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 tsp soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup raisins (chocolate chips would be even better but it was lent and I gave up chocolate)

1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup natural peanut butter (or regular peanut butter)
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg (I would probably increase to 2 eggs as the mixture was very crumbly)

Mix first seven ingredients into a small bowl.

Mix remaining ingredients into a large bowl.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and incorporate. Use your hands if you have to.

Make smallish balls of dough and place on greased cookie sheet. Press down with fingers or a floured fork.

Cook for 10-12 minutes at 350 until the cookies start to brown.

Granola bars for Jesus - the recipe

To see how this recipe came about, see here.

4 1/2 cups quick oats
1/2 cup melted, or liquid honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup natural peanut butter (could use regular)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 cup applesauce (mine was made from 1 spartan apple and one royal gala apple and a 1/4 cup water)
1 cup raisins (or nuts if you're Jennifer or Johanna and don't like raisins)

Mix everything together. You many have to use your hands to mix it as it will be very thick.

Grease a cookie sheet. I used a 12 X 16 pan (I'm guessing since I didn't measure it). A smaller cookie sheet would have been better, since the mixture wasn't enough for the whole pan. Just grease the portion of the pan that you use.

Press granola mixture firmly and evenly into pan.

Bake for about 25 minutes at 325, or until the edges start to brown.

Cool. Cut into squares. I made 16 large squares. Cut them smaller if you like.

Store in freezer. Or give them to the homeless.