Barely Surviving The A to Z Blogging Challenge

 

It has been almost a week since the thirty-day A to Z Blogging Challenge, blogging my way through the alphabet. I have participated in the writing challenge for three years and this time I felt I was not at my best even though I loved my theme: When I’m not writing, I’m cooking! I am passionate about cooking as I am about writing. As I wrote each blog I had real intention to show my love of food and preparing great meals, share memories as a child and learn about foods I haven’t cooked with. Like writing, cooking is a creative journey that I love to share.

I have been trying to get a cover designed for my first hospitality memoir: Behind The Kitchen Doors – A Hotel Memoir and I “thought” it would be a relatively simple process. I should never assume. The designer and I are have been back and forth many times on the cover and even though I thought I had the vision of what I wanted in my head, it hasn’t quite come together. I think I have given a good description of what I would like for the cover, but it has taken me a few times to get the right words to share what I am looking for. I am still working with the designer because I have been working at my full-time job and I really should be focused on what matters. So then why is this taking me so long? Why is the ego slipping into old behavior’s “thinking” the project will just happen without any action? I know that work is required and I’m ready to get the work done. So get to it! I tell myself as I putter around the house looking for something to distract me. I am very aware of my procrastination and it is time to kick the ego to the curb and get some work done!

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

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Zucchini’s ~ The Great Summer Squash

How many foods begin with the letter Z? Not many, but the first one that came to mind was Zucchini. The summer squash grows to a meter long and is usually dark green but there is yellow zucchini that I find a little sweeter in taste and make for a tasty crispy treat when sliced thinly and lightly seasoned with sea salt and baked for twenty to thirty minutes in the oven.

My first experience with zucchini wasn’t on my grandparent’s farm. They did grow them but I didn’t like the look of them and I imagine my mother appeasing me by not putting the roasted squash on my plate. Now I can’t get enough of the summer squash, the benefits of zucchini are great: they help with digestion, helps maintain eye and heart health, a high source of potassium. Who doesn’t need a little extra potassium once in a while?

I like to roast zucchini with other vegetables and sometimes I will get adventurous and bake zucchini loaf. I hope you enjoy!

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

 

Oh, Those Sweet Yams

As a young girl and still today, my imagination is a bit wild. My Grandparent’s lived on a farm and my family would visit my Grandparents farm often when we lived in Ontario, ON. When I was on the farm I had many story ideas from playing in the dirt as I pulled carrots to go with dinner. Or while I watched my grandfather drive the tracker in the corn fields. I also learned a lot on the farm, how to plant seeds, shuck peas and sometimes chase after chickens only to learn they would be our dinner that evening. I learned about different types of vegetables and one of the oddest potatoes I came across when I was seven or eight was the yam. Sometimes my family would call the tuber starch root vegetable, sweet potatoes but now I’ve learned they are different to the yam.

The yellow yam has a darker brown exterior with an orange interior, this is the one many people are familiar with. They have a unique taste, not sweet and not bland and are a great source of potassium, antioxidants, vitamin C and a few good vitamin Bs as well.

When we started to make more plant-based meals for our dinners, yams and sweet potatoes are one of the base root vegetables in our home. One of our favorite yam recipes is from Oh She Glows, cookbook; Vegan Enchiladas with Cilantro Avacado Sauce.  One substitute that we choose is to use a sharp cheddar cheese rather than the nutritional yeast, we are cheese lovers. I hope you enjoy!

Until tomorrow, Keep on Typing…

 

 

X is for ???

As we get to the end of the alphabet it is getting interesting with my theme of cooking. Now it is time for the letter “X”. My first two A to Z challenges I was stuck on the last letters of the alphabet but I knew Xerox and Xylophone would help me out. Food on the other hand. That’s another story. I had to look up what foods start with the letter X and it is not a very long list. The only two I really recognized was Xanthan Gum, essential for stabilizing, emulsifying and thickening foods. Then Xylitol, an all-natural sugar substitute that is extracted from the fibers of berries, birch bark, and corn husks. I’ve seen this option at some coffee shops. I will have to test it out.

Other items of food I found about while researching the letter “X”

I never heard of Xavier Soup, an Italian dumpling soup. Xacuti: a curry from Goa, India. Xigua: an African melon and Xouba: a small, sardine-like fish found near Spain. I was thinking of trying to make the Xavier Soup, who doesn’t like dumplings made with stuffed parmesan cheese?

Until Tomorrow, Keep on Typing…

Than you LivingStrong for the great information.

Watermelons and Memories

 

The first time I had watermelon I think I was really young on my grandparent’s farm. They sliced the melon fruit into pie shape pieces and stacked them on a plate. Pink fruit? Must taste like candy – I’m sure I thought as an eight-year-old young girl. I fell in love with this water-based fruit with a unique taste that I really enjoy when eating in the melon form, but watermelon flavored candies, no thank-you!

Watermelons are not only delicious they are good for us as well. This amazing fruit has prevention measures of kidney disorders, high blood pressure, and heart disease. The healthy or beneficial effects of watermelon are mainly derived from its unique nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and organic compounds. These include significant amounts of vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, fiber, protein, and a large amount of potassium. Furthermore, they contain vitamin A, vitamin B6, niacin, thiamin, and a wide variety of carotenoids and phytonutrients, including lycopene!**

I can’t offer you a favorite watermelon recipe as my husband is not a big fan, so when watermelon is in season I will buy it, slice it up and smile as the memories of my childhood rush in.

I enjoy watermelon in my smoothies in the summertime, simply cut up a half cup of watermelon, half cup of strawberries, half a banana, almond milk (optional), chia seeds (also optional), blend away, garnish with a mint leaf and enjoy!

Until Tomorrow, Keep on Typing…

 

 

 

 

 

** thank you Organic Facts for some great information about the Watermelon

Vanilla, the Best Baking Perfume

What ingredient for baking is in majority of our cupboards? For me it is vanilla. How do you even describe the smell to someone who hasn’t experience this subtle fragrant from the species of the vanilla orchid? I would try to say it has warm floral notes.

 

 

It is one of the most intense and complex spices. If you buy pure vanilla extract it can be up to $55 for an 8oz bottle, it’s the second highest priced spice, saffron being number one. Vanilla has taken over the gift scene as well – vanilla scented everything, right down to scented garbage bags, really? Why can’t we savor the smell for the best things, like baking.

Vanilla is used in many baking recipes and besides chocolate chip muffins, banana bread is my number two favorite baking treat.

Mom’s Banana Bread
4 small bananas’ mashed (I used brushed bananas)
1 cup of brown sugar
½ cup of butter
2 eggs
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1 cup of whole wheat flour
1 tsp of vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
Shake of salt (1/4 tsp if that)
½ cup of walnuts or chocolate chips – this is up to you.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees’.
Mash banana’s, mix in all liquids then sugar and rest of the ingredients. Pour into a pre-greased loaf pan, place in oven for about 50 to 60 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the middle starts to crack a little. This is when I know it’s done, but I also use a toothpick to see if the bread sticks to the toothpick, if it does, another five minutes in the oven.
Remove from oven, let sit for a few minutes then gently remove from the pan, slice, add some butter and enjoy!

Until Tomorrow, Keep on Typing…

 

Unagi ~ A State of Mind or Fish?

 

Unagi is a total state of awareness, only by achieving true unagi can you be prepared for any danger that may befall you. ~ Ross Geller, Friends.

I loved the first time I saw this episode, anyone else remember Ross’s quirky sayings?

Unagi is the Japanese word for freshwater eel, especially the Japanese eel, Anguilla japonica. Unagi is a common ingredient in Japanese cooking, often as kabayaki. I know Unagi from going to sushi restaurants. My first experience was with the traditional dish of bbq unagi over a bed of rice – simple, delicious and nutritious. Now my husband and I order single pieces of unagi at our favorite sushi restaurants or pretty much any sushi establishment. It’s a light and refreshing treat.

Sorry for the shorter post today. Foods starting with the letter “U” is a good challenge, especially one that I can relate to. What does that mean for me? I’ll be experimenting with new foods like Uttapam, a pancake type dish with main ingredients cooked into the batter.

Until Tomorrow, Keep on Typing…