Experiments on Shakes

Although I keep a quite healthy diet that includes everything under the sun, lately, I have been thinking that perhaps I can do a little better. Yes, I can always decrease my portions, I admit, I suffer from portion-control disease. I always feel that I am not going to get enough to eat so I put enough in my belly to the point that I have to sit there for a few minutes after dinner just so that I can get the energy to get out of the chair.

Truth: I just love food. I love to eat! I have wanted to change my diet to include more greens, less breads and less tortillas with cheese (despite their wonderful taste they keep going to my love handles area) however cooking with greens is not my strongpoint.  Since I am not very good at including them with my meals, I have decided to create my shakes with them.

Experiment 1:

  • Orange juice
  • 1 scoop of protein (20grams)
  • 2 cups of baby spinach

Tasted: Just like orange juice! I loved it. Despite the green color of it, it was quite delicious.

Body: It did well for a few hours, however, all afternoon my tummy was upset-just making too many growling noises, I guess it was too much green all at once, hahaha!

A Few Hours After: Despite the tummy noises, I had energy for the rest of the day, more than usual.

Experiment 2:

  • Papaya Juice (100% natural), one of my favorite fruits
  • 1 cup of baby spinach
  • 1 cup of alfalfa

Tasted: Alfalfa!!! That stuff is strong! I guess I better use Orange Juice instead to try to cover the alfalfa taste. It was a gorgeous green color though, really, really nice! It was still passable so I just drank it with my eyes closed.

Body: Surprisingly it did great!

Felt: Quite awake and again energized.

 

No pictures, but I'll try to get some at some point to go with these notes.


Grandma's Bread Recipe

One of the very first things I learned to make when I was married was bread. I love to eat bread. Back in Mexico, as a child, I remember my Abuelita sending me to buy bread from the local bakery. It was always around the same time, 7pm. I will get a little basket and head down the mountain to buy bread from the nearest bakery. She knew that sending me will cost her one or two conchas, but she still sent me. Opening the door to the bakery sent my mouth watering and the moment I touched one of the conchitas, I knew that I had to eat one. As the baker was filling up my order, I was filling up my tummy! On the way up to the house, I would eat another one. By the time I got home, I was satisfied and I didn't want supper anymore. Grandma always shook her head and Grandpa will just laugh. Bread has always been close to my heart, I could stop eating lots of stuff, but I could never stop eating bread. I love it. It makes me smile. It brings back many cherished memories.

Now as an adult, I hope to make memories for my kids when I make bread. I hope that when they grow older and they smell the bread baking that it will take them back to their childhood and the time we spent together.

Let's make bread together, here is the recipe, you are going to give it about 3 hours of your time, but you can definitely do stuff in between. You can run errands while it is rising and even while it bakes, you can be doing some chores. It takes a long time, but it is definitely not difficult to make.

Grandma Phelps Bread Recipe:

You are going to need the following:

  • 3 Tablespoons of Yeast
  • 2 Tablespoons of Salt
  • 2/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of vegetable oil
  • 8 cups of warm water (not too hot, not too cold)
  • About 20 cups of white flour

Yields: 8 loaves of bread

Baked at: 350 F degrees

I have an old fashioned bread mixer. I love it. My Father-in-Law gave it to me as a wedding present and it is one of my most cherised items in my kitchen. You can often find them at garage sales or on eBay. It is great to have around as it run on the only energy power that is for sure to be around in a catastrophe--your own hand power. If you do not have one of these, simply get a big bowl or a clean bucket (buy one just for this purpose).

Breadmachine

1. Pour 4 cups of water in the mixer (great big bowl), 3 tablespoons of yeast. Let it form. It will be foamy and the water will look a bit brownish.

Yeast

2.  Add the following: remainder 4 cups of water, sugar, salt, oil. Mix it.

3. Add the flour, a few cups at a time and mix. The last few cups you add the mixing is going to be a little difficult, put some muscle into it. The dough should not be sticky and shiny. Once all the 20 cups have been added. Let it sit and rest for about 1 hour. The dough should double in size.

Mixandrise 

4. Spray the pans with oil (I use Pam). Oil your hands (I use vegatable oil), you will need to oil your hands after every other loaf. If you do not oil your hands, the dough will stick to your hands. Grab some dough, about two fists worth and form it into an elongated ball, folding it down into a nice oval. Place it in the pan. Do the other ones. If you find it easier, you can divide all the dough into 8 balls and then shape it.

Formtheloaf 

5. Let it rise in the pans for another hour or until it doubles in size.

6. Bake it at 350F for about 40 minutes or until tops are golden.

7. Take them out of the pans immediately so the bottom doesn't get soggy. Let them cool off on the counter, place a linen under them so it absorbs the moisture.

Bread

Enjoy!

I freeze some of the loaves and take them out as needed. It only takes about 1/2 day for them to thaw. Make a batch and you have bread for about 1 or 2 weeks.

Have little ones? Make it fun for them and get some little loaf pans and they can help make it too. They can make their own little loaves! My little ones love to make their little loaves of bread.


It's all about the muffins

When I got married, I didn't know how to cook, my husband can attest to this claim. I sucked! I knew how to cook a couple of things but I knew nothing of baking. The first time I tried making a cake---from a box--I messed it up. Instead of putting the 1/3 cup of vegetable oil, I put in 3 cups..yeah! I tried to fix it by putting more flour, vanilla, and some other ingredients but the cake was ruined. Needless to say, my husband didn't marry me for my cooking, nor my cleaning....I am still trying to figure out why the poor sucker married me. I guess he saw potential, hopefully I'll reach that potential before I die!

A half year after being married, he taught me how to make bread from scratch. I learned and I now know how to make bread but I prefer to buy it....we have to support our local stores ;). While learning how to bake bread, I also learned how to make muffins. Muffins are my thing. I love them. I love to eat them. I love to bake them. They are fast and my children seem to love them too. When Boyo was about a year old, I had the biggest collection of muffin pans in the land (I don't have as many anymore, I got rid of a few of them). I used to make mini-muffins every day back then, chocolate, blueberry, strawberry, orange ones, and even plain ones. Then, the muffin stage ended (I think it was when I realized that the muffins were giving me a big muffin top around my mid section!).

Fast foward a few years and the bug is back, this time it was all due to a show we saw on tv. This guy was showing how to make muffins and I again got the bug in me. I love muffins! They are like little mini-cakes (no need for frosting, I don't like it!). So I am at it again, right now, it is the blueberry muffins...nice and big with a nice sweet crust at the top and juicy blueberries in the middle....yummm! Enjoy!

Muffins_2

Blueberry Muffins

  • Yields 8 big muffins (I double the recipe and make 16)

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar (just regular granulated sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup white sugar (just regular granulated sugar)
  • 1/3 cup of flour
  • 48 blueberries

Topping Ingredients

  • 1/4 butter, cubed and softened (take it out of the fridge and leave it on the counter for an hour or so)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup of flour
  • 1/2 cup of white sugar (granulated sugar)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners. 
  2. Muffin Mix: Combine 1-1/2 cups of flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Get a 1 cup measuring cup, place the 1/3 cup of vegetable oil in it, add the 1 egg, and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix the wet ingredients with a fork. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients. Mix. Be careful to not overmix as it will make really clumpy/heavy cupcakes.
  3. In a plate, put the 1/3 cup of flour, place your 1 cup of blueberries and gently roll the blueberries in the flour-be gentle and do not squeeze the blueberries. Enough to coat the blueberries. Leave the remaining flour in the plate.   
  4. Place the flour-coated blueberries in the bowl with the mix, gently fold the blueberries.
  5. Let the mix sit for about three minutes. In the meantime go to next step.
  6. Make Crumb Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter and 1-1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Mix with fork or fingers.
  7. Place the 48 blueberries in the plate with the remaining flour, gently coat them with the flour.
  8. Fill the muffin cups to the very top with muffin mix. Place 3 blueberries on each muffin's top by gently pressing them into the dough. Sprinkle the Crumb Topping mixture on top of each of the muffins.
  9. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until done. 

Dream Dinners to the Rescue...

Menu_item_garlic_balsmc_sirloin_2 What is the hardest part about cooking? For me, it is coming up with the idea of what to cook and then finding all the ingredients. Cooking in itself is not difficult, nor agonazing (despite what I tell hubby). This week, I was invited to a little "party" to go try out a new place in town called DreamDinners.

The place is heaven sent for crazy people like me. They have an entire meal (uncooked) ready for you. You go in and you put together all the ingredients (so if you don't like something, you can keep it out) then you go home and cook it whenever you want. You keep them in the freezer until you are ready to use it. Genious idea!

With my upcoming schedule of work, I was the perfect candidate for this venture! I signed up for a few mealMenu_item_madras_chicken_2  plans and now I am set for a few days and my kiddos won't be having hot dogs for lunch and dinner.

The entire idea is genious! I wish I had known of something of the kind sooner...especially when I lived in NY and worked all the time. For us right now, it is a perfect way to still provide my kiddos with a healthy meal while I run around with my head cut-off.

Dinnertime in a breeze :)!


Happy Birthday to my Mami & her Guacamole recipe

My Mom just got internet access two days ago and since then, her and my little brother have been browsing through the blog and reading all my archives. My little brother is a bit sad that I haven't spoken about him much. Let me tell you about the little tyke. He is 11 years old, his short name is Edi and around this house the kids love to call him "Uncle Edi" which they think its quite funny as he is almost their size. When he comes to visit, my children love it, they have a playmate that can go outside with them all the time. Even the little neighbor kids come under his wing and he "is in charge" of all the kiddos--which is something my little brother loves. He is a smart kiddo too, he recently got a scholarship to attend a private school. But he is in a bit of trouble lately, it appears that he goes to the library to "study" and instead he plays with his friends, thus the reason of acquiring the internet at home--my Mom can supervise him there and make sure he does his homework. He is my little brother and I love him dearly--eventhough he arrived on my 18th birthday thus throwing out the window my big bash party, tsk, tsk, tsk. I am planning to celebrate his 18th birthday with him...maybe I should have a baby that day and make him spend the day at the hospital like I did when he came--that should be good payback.

Happybirthday

Today is my Mommy's birthday and as always, I get a kick out of sending her flowers. Every year I send her a few bouquets for different occasions and each time she gets so excited. I order them from 1800Flowers and they are always so nice, although the balloon options are in English, they usually change them to Spanish just for her. She is at work today and I am hoping the florist waits til about 4pm EST to deliver them.

I would like to dedicate today's post to my Momma or as I usually call her Mami. She is a great Mom, a wonderful friend, and the bestest Abuelita. She is young enough to play hard with my kids and they love that...they love being able to go out and ride bikes, run, jump and dance. We love you Mom!

To celebrate her birthday, I would like to share her Guacamole recipe with you. We love to have guacamole with chips, or with tacos. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Ingredients:

  • Avocado
  • 1 medium size Roma tomato
  • 1/4 of onion (or less if you would like)
  • 1/4 of jalapeno or serrano pepper (optional)
  • 3 or 4 little sprigs of Cilantro
  • 1/4 of a juicy lime
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of black pepper
  • pinch of cayenne pepper powder (optional)--we use Pico de Gallo

Serves 2, in our house it will serve 1.

Ingredients_1

Step 1: Cut the Avocado in half, not lengthwise but widthwise. Cut all around so you have two halves. Once they are cut, insert a spoon between the skin and the inside of the avocado. Place your avocado above the bowl where you will stir the ingredients so the inside falls in it. Run the spoon around the skin of the avocado, kind of scraping the skin.

Before repeating with the other side, squeeze out the seed by simply squeezing the avocado, it should pop right off. If it is stubborn, take it off with the spoon. (If you are not going to eat the guacamole right away, save the seed to place in the guacomole dish--placing the seed in there supposedly helps in keeping the guacamole from turning black--I don't know if it is true, but I don't tempt fate, I just leave it there) Repeat the spoon procedure with the other half.

Cut Cut2

Spoon Spoon2

Step 2: Once the avocado is in the bowl, with your knife cut it into small pieces. Now get a smasher. I don't have anything for this purpose so I use a cup that has a flat bottom. Hold the cup and smash away. The avocado needs to be in a mooshy consistency.

Step 3: Chop all the other ingredients: tomato, 1/4 of onion, 1/4 of jalapeno pepper and cilantro sprigs. With a spoon, mix the chopped ingredients with the avocado.

Almost_there

Step 4: Add a pinch of salt (or to taste), pinch of cayenne pepper powder,  and a pinch of black pepper (or to taste). Mix.

Mix

Step 5: Squeeze the lime into the mixture. Ta-dah! It is ready. Serve it with chips at Superbowl time--be sure to add lots of jalapenos for the guys. Chill in the refrigerator if you are not going to eat it right away and put that seed in the mixture--you never know, best not tempt the fates.

Guacamole

How to choose an  avocado: One of the hardest things that I have had to learn is how to choose fruits and vegetables. I still don't know how to choose a good watermelon or canteloupe or pineapple. But, I can definitely point you to the right avocado. Choose one that feels soft and yet firm to the touch. You don't want to choose one that is overly soft--those are too ripe and may have lots of black spots inside. The black spots sometimes are due to bruising but when the black spots are by the core of the avocado then the black spots indicate over ripeness. Do not get avocadoes that are hard, those are not ready. Place the hard avocadoes in a brown paper bag, away from the sun and allow them to ripe.

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