Friday, February 26, 2010

avoiding the skip

This week has been a little crazy for me. I'm in the running for an internship with the American Junior Golf Association and am spending the weekend in Atlanta, Ga., for their intern recruiting weekend.

Since I am not at home and was too busy preparing myself for this weekend, I did not have time to cook. I think that happens a lot. Life gets crazy and one of the first things that we put on the back burner is cooking. We rely on whatever questionable food we find in the refrigerator or maybe skip meals altogether. This is when problems arise.

When you skip a meal, your body goes into what FIT Lauch calls "fasting mode." While in this altered state, your body uses carbs, proteins and fats to for energy. According to FIT Launch, if your body remains in "fasting mode," the glycogen storage deposits found in the liver and muscle become depleted. As the glucose levels drop, the body looks for other sources of fuel. Since the brain and nerves prefer energy from glucose, protein tissues (muscle and liver) are broken down. In efforts to preserve the remaining protein, the body starts to metabolize fat for energy in the form of ketone bodies.

This process of using ketone bodies can bring on a lot of unwanted side effects such as fatigue, nausea and constipation among many others. If this process continues, the body enters "starvation mode," which leads to a slower metabolism because of the muscle loss it is enduring. A slower metabolism, as you may know, means gaining weight just got a whole lot easier (as if it wasn't easy enough).

While occasionally skipping a meal will not have a great effect on you, making a habit of skipping meals will. It's important to take some time to eat a small meal. And it may seem like there just is not enough time in a day to get everything done, sometimes take 15 minutes to eat and clear your head can really help you out when things get out of control.

Have fun and good luck.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

dutch baby

I love breakfast. It's by far my favorite meal of the day. I love pancakes and would live off cereal if I could. While I firmly believe you can't go wrong with the classics (french toast, pancakes, eggs, etc.) I would like to introduce you to one of my favorite breakfast items, the Dutch Baby. It's going to change your life. Ok, it probably won't really change your life, but it's really good nonetheless.

A Dutch Baby is a German pancake and that's the only thing I can say to describe it. It's different. You just need to try it and you'll understand what I'm saying here. You may have encountered the Dutch Baby before if you have been to The Original Pancake House, as it's one of their specialties. While I think The Original Pancake House makes a mean Dutch Baby, I still prefer the homemade ones. So, I'm going to let you in on a little recipe that my grandma always used.

Here's what you need:
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Whisk milk, flour, sugar and eggs together until smooth. Melt butter in skillet over medium heat. Tilt pan so butter coats sides. Pour mixture into hot skillet and cook without stirring for one minute. Place skillet in oven and bake until buffed and golden (12-15 minutes). After removing from oven, top with butter and powdered sugar.

Definitely try this out one morning. It's delicious. And filling. AKA the perfect breakfast.

Have fun and good luck.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

cooking from the heart

In case you missed all the pink and red that bombard you when you walk in the door at Wal-Mart, it’s Valentine's Day. Now while I really do think it’s a pretty cheesy holiday, I’m always a supporter of any excuse to eat chocolate. Chocolate is marvelous. And it makes you happy. But I digress.

I’m going to bet that most people simply go out and buy and box of chocolates for their significant other, which is fine. Like I said, chocolate is marvelous. But I think some of the best Valentine's Day gifts I’ve gotten are homemade. I think it’s nice when someone takes the time to actually make me something. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, but baking a few heart-shaped cookies isn’t very difficult. And there are plenty of Web sites out there that will give you step-by-step instructions to anything you could possibly want to bake.

I looked around at what is out there this year. Out of all the sites I looked at, I thought Family Fun had some of the best stuff because there were some really simple recipes. I highly suggest you check out this site for any last second Valentine's Day gift ideas.

My challenge to you is to make your own gifts this year. I think it really helps to show that you care about the recipient. Taking the time to bake is much more personal. Even if your baking adventure turns into a disaster (which, let’s face it, many of them do), I truly do believe it’s the thought that counts. If it turns out appalling, get some chocolate. It makes you happy.

Have fun and good luck.

Friday, February 12, 2010

chicken noodle soup and mashed potatoes

I need to vent, so read on only if you dare to venture into the depths of my mind. This week I’ve been sick, and when I’m sick, I’m absolutely miserable. It’s terrible. One thing that really makes me feel better, at least for the five minutes that I’m consuming it, is food. I always have some kind of craving when I’m sick. That craving tends to be chicken noodle soup and mashed potatoes. Yes, in the same bowl.

You’re probably thinking that’s disgusting, but don’t judge until you try it. Soup is excellent when you’re sick and I love mashed potatoes, so putting the two together does not seem too weird to me. It all goes to the same place anyway. The chicken noodle soup acts as the perfect gravy to the mashed potatoes. It’s delicious. And it’s easy to make, which is an extremely important factor. Nobody really wants to spend a lot of time cooking when they are sick.

Now while you may have gotten nothing out of my little rant, here me out for the point. When I’m sitting at home, sick and miserable, my chicken noodle soup and mashed potatoes combination really can brighten my day. Food can do that. I think that’s interesting. There’s a possibility that I’m unusual, but I think everyone has some kind of food that they just love and when you get to eat it, your day seems a little better. So how about you? What kind of food brightens your day? What do you like to eat when you’re sick?

Have fun and good luck.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

superbowl antics

Life played a couple cruel jokes on me this week. Instead of getting to cook all the amazing snacks I planned on cooking, I spent the afternoon with Jersey because I got a flat tire. Yes, I am capable of changing a tire myself but not without a jack. I’m not quite strong enough to lift up my car with one hand yet. I’m working on it though. I’ll make a couple extra trips out to Ping this week.

I did get to make my Cheesy Salsa Dip though, so I suppose everything turned out ok. I highly recommend this snack for your superbowl menu tonight.

Here’s what you need:

1 pound of Velveeta Cheese

1 jar of salsa

1/2 pound of hamburger

1 bag of chips


Cook hamburger.

Melt cheese and salsa together in a crock-pot.

Add hamburger.

I’m also adding in a recipe for Applebee’s Spinach and Artichoke Dip. I highly, highly recommend this one, even though it’s a little harder to make. It’s pretty good.

Here’s what you need:

1 (10 ounce) box frozen, chopped spinach, thawed

1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and rough chopped

1 cup shredded parmesan/Romano cheese blend

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

10 ounces prepared Alfredo sauce

1 teaspoon minced garlic

4 ounces (1/2 package) softened cream cheese


Combine ingredients thoroughly in a bowl and spread mixture into a small baking dish.

Bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cheeses are bubbling and melted.

Have fun and good luck.

Friday, February 5, 2010

comfort cake

Sorry this post is a day late. Flikr and I had an argument yesterday but after a nice chat, we have sorted out our issues.

Since it's midterm week here in Athens, I decided it would be a good time to break out some comfort food. And I wanted chocolate cake. Enjoy the slideshow and try out the recipe. It's really good.

Chocolate Cake Recipe:

Here's what you need:
  • 1 cup boiling-hot water
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • Rounded 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature for 30 minute

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two small pans.

Whisk together hot water and cocoa powder in a bowl until smooth, then whisk in milk and vanilla.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in another bowl.

Beat together butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce speed to low and add flour and cocoa mixtures alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture (batter may look curdled).

Divide batter between cake pans, smoothing tops. Bake until a wooden pick or skewer comes out clean and edges of cake begin to pull away from sides of pans, 25 to 35 minutes total. Cool layers in pans on racks 10 minutes, then invert onto racks, removing wax paper, and cool completely.

Put 1 cake layer, rounded side up, on a cake stand or platter and, using offset spatula, spread top with icing. Top with remaining cake layer, rounded side down, and frost side and top of cake.

To make Buttercream Icing:

Here's what you need:
  • 1/2 cup of shortening
  • 1/2 cup of butter (1 stick)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 4 cups of powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of milk

Creme butter and shortening with an electric mixer. Add vanilla. Add powdered sugar gradually (one cup at a time) while mixing at medium speed. Add milk. Beat on high until fluffy.

Have fun a good luck.