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Posts tagged ‘cooking’

Yesterday, I felt completely unmotivated to do anything. I was woken up early and so I moved from the bedroom to the couch to try and go back to sleep. But, after a bit my phone rang and woke me up. It was a telemarketer and not even someone/something important so I was not very happy. Then, I moved back to the bedroom where there are blackout shades to try and fall back asleep.

I did, but it was a very light sleep and not the luxurious and refreshing deep slumber that I was hoping for. Finally, I just threw in the towel and got up because by now it was 11 a.m. I spent most of the morning feeling sluggish—even after a few cups of coffee. Needless to say, I didn’t do much of anything before I had to shower and go to work at my bartending job.

That’s the difficulty for me with Summer when I don’t teach. I go from being extremely busy and always having something that I need to do to having lots and lots of free time. It may seem like a great problem to have, but trust me it’s not greener over here! If the weather’s nice then I can go to the pool and enjoy the warmth and sunshine, but if it’s overcast and rainy like it has been most of this week I don’t have that option.

I’m not currently reading a book right now, so that takes away reading. There are some things that I could do—deep cleaning and organizing, laundry, work out, etc. But, who wants to feel that they spend all their free time doing chores? Not this girl! I’ve been wanting to go see The Fault in Our Stars since I just finished the book, but I kinda don’t want to go by myself and I’m not sure my BF will be in to it. Le sigh.

In order to fend off boredom and depression, I try to do one or two things each day so that I don’t feel like I wasted precious time. Monday, I went to the gym and ran some errands. It’s not much, but every little bit helps me to feel productive.

Black feather t-shirt: Wal-Mart. Bootcut jeans: Target. Bronze belt: Old Navy. Bronze feather earrings: Charlotte Russe. Gold sparkly ballet flats: Target. Gold watch: Wal-Mart.

Black feather t-shirt: Wal-Mart. Bootcut jeans: Target. Bronze belt: Old Navy. Bronze feather earrings: Charlotte Russe. Gold sparkly ballet flats: Target. Gold watch: Wal-Mart.

And cooking. On days when I am off from bartending, I like to spend a lot of time in the kitchen making a delicious and (sometimes) healthy meal. I always try to make a healthy meal, but I don’t always succeed. On Monday I made homemade baked potato chips and what my BF affectionately called “beef n’bread.” I try to vary the type of meat that we eat, but it’s hard since we eat mostly chicken and fish. Most beef and pork is just so unhealthy! But, Monday it was ground beef.

When I took it out to thaw in the morning, I had no idea what I was going to make with it. I was actually leaning towards hamburgers on bread with potato wedges. When I looked up recipes on yummly, I came across some other idea’s. What I finally decided upon was making sandwiches in our sandwich maker. (Sometimes it feels like we have every kitchen gadget known to man and it’s fun to try and use all the different things that we have!) Basically, I put seasoned ground beef and shredded mexican cheese between two pieces of bread and cooked it until gooey on the inside and golden brown on the outside. Then, I served it with the homemade baked potato chips and salad. It wasn’t half bad for throwing it together based on ingredients we had on hand.

Beef n' Bread

-Carla

Summer Session started Monday of this week and that most certainly means that I am not teaching this semester.  I am trying to see it as a blessing in disguise and not get too hung up on it!  I’ve been trying to relish my loads of free time and have made a goal to try and do lots of things to really enjoy the break.  Since I am not teaching, I have been putting a lot of time and effort towards some of my other interests, namely cooking!

The difficulty here is that I am also trying to work out and eat healthy.  So, I spend a lot of time looking for “low-calorie, low-fat” versions of recipes.  And, I’ve had some doozies in the past!  I once used a recipe for LCLF lemon bars and they were the most horrible things ever!  But, you never know until you try, right?!

Monday morning I decided that I would make an angel food cake.  I had made angel food cupcakes a few weeks back and used them as the basis for a strawberry shortcake dessert.  But, this time I wanted to go full throttle and make an entire angel food cake.  Plus, we had a number of different items that I could serve with it—fresh strawberries, bananas, instant chocolate pudding, chocolate sauce, marshmallows, etc.  From the cupcakes that I made, I knew that angel food cake takes a lot of eggs and a lot of time.  Also, it can be very finicky!  But, I took on the challenge.  Oh, and the healthy part.

In our household, we are Alton Brown worshippers.  But, the problem with many of his recipes, IMHO, is that they require a lot of specific ingredients, time, and uni-taskers.  Therefore, although I may always look up a certain recipe of his, I don’t necessarily always follow it.  And this time was no different.  I started by looking at his angel food cake recipe, here.

This recipe, surprisingly, isn’t that “convuluted.”  It is pretty standard fare as far as angel food cake goes.  But, I don’t have cake flour or orange extract.  Plus, it wasn’t as healthy as I thought it could be.  The Food Network nutritional information says that this is 208 calories per serving (yields 10-12 servings.)  I did a quick internet search for “low fat low cal angel food cake”.  Then, I looked through my search results for a recipe that utilized ingredients that I had on hand.  Basically, no cake flour or other oddball ingredients.  Also, I was looking for something that was less than 130 calories per serving.  I found this recipe:

LFLC Angel Food Cake

– 1 1/2 cups Splenda
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
– 1 cup white flour, sifted
– 12 egg whites
– 1/3 cup warm water
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Sift half the Splenda with the flour.
3. In a large bowl combine egg whites, vanilla extract, water and cream of tartar with an electric beater until combined.
4. Add the other half of the Splenda to the egg whites and beat until semi-stiff peaks form.
5. Add the sifted flour and Splenda to the egg whites, and gently fold in with a spatula. Make sure all the flour is incorporated.
6. Carefully pour batter into a cake pan of your choice. Bake for about 30 minutes until a skewer inserted come out clean. May require 5-10 minutes further.
7. Cool on a wire rack for at least an hour before removing from the cake tin.
Makes 10-12 servings (info for 12)

Nutritional Info
  • Servings Per Recipe: 12
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 56.9

BINGO!  From my cupcake excursion a few weeks back, I knew that the egg whites should be at room temperature so I had already pulled my eggs out of the refrigerator while I looked for recipes.  Once I found one, I got to cracking my eggs.

In the picture on the left, you can see that I separated 12 eggs.  The container at the top is the whites and the one at the bottom is the yolks.  I saved them because I thought that I might be able to make something with them.  If you look closely, you will see that there are some small bits of yoke in my egg whites.  THIS IS VERY BAD!  I didn’t know how bad at the time, but it will prevent the yolks from whipping into a meringue state, which is what you want.  Be very careful when separating your eggs.  Also, try not to touch the egg whites with your hands because the oil from your hands will also prevent them from whipping up right.  In the center, you can see that I have started to whip my egg whites, vanilla extract, cream of tartar, and warm water.  On the right is the mixture after a few minutes of beating.

While the egg white mixture was whipping, I set about sifting my flour and Splenda. It is important that you sift the flour so that it is superfine and incorporates into the egg whites better. (Or, you could just use cake flour as recommended by Alton Brown.) Once the egg mixture forms medium-stiff peaks, I added some of the sifted flour and Splenda into the equation. Once that was just incorporated, I folded in the remaining flour with a spatula. Then, I poured the batter into a bundt pan and put it in the oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, I tested the cake and it was done. I pulled it out of the oven and set it on a wire rack to cool for an hour. Here is where I made another mistake! Apparently, angel food cake is notorious for deflating and sticking to the pan. In order to help prevent this, you should cool the cake UPSIDE DOWN! This will help to prevent it from weighing itself down and deflating. I did not do this. Therefore, my cake deflated some and got stuck in the pan. I pretty much had to rip it out of the pan.

Angel Food Cake 7

It may not be the tallest or prettiest Angel Food cake one has ever seen, but it tasted good.  We had it for dessert, and we made a S’more with it by adding two marshmallows and a few squares of Hershey chocolate and zapped it in the microwave for 30 seconds.  The S’more topping added 108 calories and since we had 2 servings, our dessert clocked in at 233 calories.  And if you ask me, it was 233 well spent calories!

Angel Food Cake is certainly something that I would try again—especially since I feel like I learned some helpful tips and tricks along the way.  But, I’m not sure if the next time that I made it I would use this LFLC recipe, or just go for all the guts and glory and make a traditional Angel Food Cake.  Only time will tell. . .

What do you think?  Are you feeling inspired to make Angel Food Cake?  Please leave a comment below.

-Carla

Sunday, my BF and I were invited to a picnic. You could call it a Memorial Day picnic if you wanted, but it was just a small get-together at my Uncle and Aunt’s. It was a few of their close friends and family. We weren’t asked to bring anything, but we never like to show up anywhere empty handed. I had seen this picture floating around my Pinterest feed and it sparked my interest.

So, that’s what I decided to make to take to our picnic. A quick internet search turned up this recipe from Taste of Home. Luckily, we had everything on hand for this recipe, except for the almond extract— but we substituted vanilla extract. Also, we used liquid food coloring instead of gel. The only other change that we made was in the timeline.

After tinting the two pieces of dough red and green, you are supposed to let them chill in the refrigerator for two hours. We only had an hour to let them chill. Then, we rolled out the “white” dough into a rectangle and wrapped it around the red cylinder. We did the same with the green.

At this point, the recipe directions state to refrigerate overnight, but again we didn’t have that much time.  I think that we put the log back into the refrigerator for an hour or so.  Then, we took it out and sliced it into discs while we preheated the oven.  We didn’t have raisins or mini chocolate chips, but we did have regular sized semi-sweet chocolate chips.  So, we gave them a rough chop with a chef’s knife.

We placed the circular slices on the cookie sheet and pressed the chocolate chip pieces into them. We tried to keep in mind that we were going to cut the circles in half to form the watermelon slice shape and keep the chocolate chip pieces away from the cut line. Then, we baked them for 10 minutes in our oven. Once we took them out of the oven, we cut them in half immediately and then placed them onto a wire rack to cool. Some of the cookies came apart–the green or white separated from the other layers. But, nothing too major.

The cookies were a big hit and most people wanted to know how we made them. I think that if we had let the dough refrigerate longer the different layers of dough would have solidifed together more and the cookies wouldn’t have separated after baking. But, they looked how they were supposed to look and tasted good. They weren’t the best tasting sugar cookies, IMHO. I like a sugar cookie that is a bit sweeter, hence the name sugar cookie.

But, I would recommend these for any type of Summer party or get-together. They would also be something that kids could help with under adult supervision.

-Carla