Monday, February 28, 2011

What is the passion for food and where does it come from?

Today I started thinking that I had lost my passion for food, that I had lost the love of being in the kitchen. In reality, I'm overwhelmed. I spent the majority of the weekend in my pajamas watching movies... and it felt good. I got promoted (which is great) but now have to split my time between both positions again. (I guess my employer thinks I'm good at juggling... maybe I should stop faking that I am????) Fortunately and unfortunately, my supervisors have approved 2 hours of overtime a day while one of my coworkers is on vacation. (My training is normally done during the work day but they can't spare me while she's gone.) In reality, I'm tired. I don't want to cook when I get home. When Steve is home, he cooks for me which is great. But for 3 days out of the work week, I'm here alone which means I have to cook.

Recently a friend's family was hit with a medical crisis that I'm too familiar with. I wish I didn't understand what they are going through. This medical crisis is something that I would never wish upon someone I hated and it's happening to a friend. I wish she and her family weren't going through it. As I talked to her today, I started thinking about ways I could be there for her. People always say "Let me know if you need anything" but sometimes you really don't know what you need until someone does it for you without being asked. And I remembered how nice it was when our neighbors brought us over a big pot of spaghetti when my mom was sick. That simple thing meant the world to me and reminded me of why I love my neighbors so much. With that thought, my passion for food returned and two homemade lasagnas are now sitting in my fridge. I hope the lasagnas will help my friend's family.

Monday, February 21, 2011


I've struggled with what to eat for breakfast that will be healthy and long-lasting. In the past, I've eaten every 3 hours due to my fast metabolism. But with my current job, that eating schedule is not an option. I'm not a terrific morning person so I don't want to make eggs and toast or anything like that. This week I'm trying something new: yogurt with granola and green tea. I normally eat granola or string cheese in the morning but it doesn't last very long. My older sister had given me a recipe for granola and I finally made it last weekend. It's pretty tasty and seems really healthy. I add a couple spoonfuls to my yogurt and breakfast is ready. I'm thinking I will eventually buy plain yogurt and add fruit with the granola. The green tea part of my breakfast is replacing Pepsi. That's right. I'm giving up pop. I've been easing myself into it. I started last week. I'm replacing my morning Pepsi with green tea. I usually drink two cups so I don't have caffeine withdrawals. The bad part of this is that now I drink pop in the afternoon/evening. I'm hoping that once the pop is out of the apartment that will stop. I'll still have it as a treat occasionally but I'd really like to take it out of my daily diet.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Restaurant Review

I've been planning to include restaurant reviews in my blog for awhile. After all, the blog is called "For the Love of Food" which means that I don't necessarily have to make the food to love it. Steve and I celebrated Valentine's Day on Sunday because he works Monday evenings. We ate at a very intimate cafe. The tables had linen tablecloths, place mats and napkins. We ate by candle light.
The menu was incredible: cavatini, lettuce salad, glazed carrots, homemade applesauce and garlic bread. The only thing the cafe lacked was music.

Next time, we're definitely going to remind our servers to put on some music. The best part was it wasn't crowded and we were seated immediately. The name of this fabulous cafe, you ask? Cafe Krueger.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Lessons Learned

I learned a few lessons this week while in my kitchen. I thought you could benefit from my misfortune. Keep the following lessons in mind while you're cooking or baking.

Lesson #1: Make sure the cookie dough has enough flour or you will end up with M&M cookie goo after baking.
I was making the M&M cookies for the bake sale at work. The recipe calls for 2 1/2 cups of flour but I have a note next to it that looks like this: 2C? meaning maybe only 2 cups of flour is needed. The note is wrong and I need to take it out. I added more flour after the first pan and the cookies turned out fine.

Lesson #2: Saturday morning is a great time to pre-chop veggies.
We've fallen behind on our menu plan this week and I wanted to catch up yesterday. I didn't get the meals made but I did chop most of the veggies needed.

Lesson #3: If the recipe for banana bread calls for baking soda, it's crucial that you remember to put it in.
The banana bread still tastes ok but it's kind of cakey and didn't bake all the way through. There's a few gooey spots. If you ever doubted the need for baking soda, here's your proof that it really makes a difference.

Lesson #4: When adding the ingredients to your bread machine, make sure you add the correct amount of sugar.
That, my friends, is what happens when you add 2 teaspoons of sugar instead of the 2 tablespoons of sugar the recipe called for. There wasn't enough food for the yeast. I threw away that loaf after Steve got home from work. I waited so he could see it because it was too funny not to share. I was going to make Baked Apple French Toast with it. I'll just have to try again today.

Lesson #5: When making fried broccoli, don't accidentally inhale the crushed red pepper when it hits the frying pan.
Nothing really bad will happen but it will make your throat hurt a little. Just don't do it. A side note: Fried broccoli is really easy. A little olive oil in a hot skillet (maybe a teaspoon or two), 1 teaspoon (don't use a tablespoon) crushed red pepper flakes and broccoli. Push broccoli around until it's coated with the oil and the red peppers.

Lesson #6: Crack open a Mike's Cranberry and put your feet up if you learned the majority of these lessons on the same day.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Chow for the Puppies

I'm at it again. We're having another bake sale at work. This bake sale is a benefit bake sale for one of our doctors. This doctor was diagnosed with cancer last fall and had a below the knee amputation on one leg. While most people would give up hope or take their anger about their illness out on others, he hasn't. He has presented a can-do positive attitude through out this whole ordeal. I'm not saying he doesn't have his moments of sadness or maybe even anger but he doesn't show them to his co-workers or patients. The man is truly an inspiration to be around. And because he's been such an inspiration and because I like to bake, I'll be going overboard for this bake sale. Last night I made puppy chow. I'm really hoping that the puppy chow will sell like it did at the bake sales when I was in grade school. (We'd practically fight over it.) I had decided to make it before I had a recipe so I did a quick search on (one of my favorite sites, of course) The recipes featured the same ingredients with a few variations: peanut butter, butter, chocolate, Chex cereal and powdered sugar.

I measured out the peanut butter, butter and chocolate chips and started them melting. I dumped the cereal into 2 big bowls and poured some powdered sugar in a paper sack. Stirred the chocolate mixture a few times and it was ready to pour over the cereal. I had made puppy chow in the past and made the mistake of pouring all of the chocolate mixture onto the cereal at once. Remembering my previous mistake, I poured a little chocolate on the cereal and stirred it to coat. I repeated that process until all of the cereal was coated with chocolate and then dumped all of the cereal into the paper sack. The most fun of making the puppy chow is the last part: the shaking of the paper sack to coat the cereal with powdered sugar. Word to the wise: a mist of powdered sugar will hit you in the face when you open the bag... be prepared, it's not as pleasant as it sounds. I put the puppy chow in little baggies and it's good to go!
I'm also going to make peanut butter fudgy bars and M&M cookies for the bake sale. I've enlisted Steve's help for tomorrow's baking.