This post is not for the exceptionally weak-stomached. I'm just busy with life and derby, as per usual. And I was going through the photos on my computer real quick and noticed quite a few bruises among them. So here's a short warning to anyone who thinks they want to play derby:
I had a lot of apples and wanted to make an apple cobbler. So of course I went straight to AllRecipes.com, but I wasn't happy with any of the recipes I found. The concept is simple enough, so I figured I could wing it.
Cut up some apples into tiny pieces so they'll cook quickly in one step. In case you don't know, I refuse to peel apples or potatoes. The skins don't bother me, so I will not go through the hassle.
Sprinkle some cinnamon and water onto the apples and mix it up.
In a bowl, mix together softened butter, brown sugar and flour. I used wheat flour for a little extra heartiness this time. The second time I made this, I was out of brown sugar and substituted white sugar and molasses. Also, I never think ahead to soften butter, so I just microwave it a couple seconds.
Crumble over the top. This goes in the oven at 350ish until it looks good and done. I'd say I baked it about half an hour.
The non-recipe would work well with pears if you had them as well. Ditch the recipe for your dessert sometime!
No-Measure Apple Cobbler
1. Put diced apples in an ungreased pan with a little water and a lot of cinnamon.
2. Create a crumble topping with softened butter, brown sugar and flour. Sprinkle over top.
3. Bake at 350-400 degrees until browned.
Last fall, Mr. CookingOnSkates and I took Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. In less than a year, we've paid off one student loan, a Nebraska Furniture Mart credit card, my car and most of his car. We no longer use credit cards at all, and we're paying for the rest of his degree up-front. If all continues to go well, we will pay off his car and the two remaining student loans by the end of next year.
One of the things we learned from FPU was budgeting and using cash for purchases like groceries, entertainment and eating out. As part of the kit that came with the class, we got a cash envelope system. The envelopes ran out of space recently, and I refuse to pay $10 to order 10 more. To save money, I decided to make these.
This is my favorite microwave dessert. Honestly, it's way better than Single-Serving Coffee Cake, although that was satisfying enough.
Before microwaving: delicious egg-free batter.
After microwaving: an addictive pumpkin muffin!
Start with Vegan Pumpkin Cookies. Add milk chocolate and white chocolate chips, making this no longer vegan. (If you are vegan, substitute or go chip-free.) Ghiradelli makes great versions of both chips. Microwave about 1/3 cup for a minute or so, until fluffy. This will expand a lot, so leave room in the cup or bowl.
Here's a scaled-down version of the cookie recipe so you can make a small batch and microwave single servings as you like until it's all gone. Warning: that won't take long.
Microwave Pumpkin Muffins
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ginger
1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup white chocolate chips
1. Blend all ingredients except chips. Then fold in chips.
2. Microwave about 1/3 cup batter for approximately one minute.
3. Let sit about a minute and eat. It will be steaming hot!
I will be participating in two fundraisers with fellow derby girls in the near future. I have no plans to make money off of Cooking on Skates. So if you're feeling generous, please consider donating to one of these great causes.
Let me start by confessing: I didn't love the way this turned out.
The crumbly topping was delightful, pre- and post-cooking. Not that I ate brown sugar butter or anything.
And this is some melty, gooey goodness. Honestly, I'll probably even try to tweak it and eat it again.
You should try this, too. Because, you know, it's Friday. Who wants to take the time to really bake on a Friday? This is the day for coming home from work exhausted, ordering pizza or Chinese, and cracking open a beer. Or soda. Or whatever you enjoy.
You'll want to click through the link and read her directions. It wouldn't be fair of me to copy them onto my blog and claim them as my own. But I have listed the ingredients I used below in case anyone's interested. My only complaint with the original link was that there wasn't a concise recipe format at the end.
With a new class of derby girls coming through (myself kind of included!) I've heard a lot of talk of weight loss and getting in shape. It seems that just about anyone who starts skating has a partial motivator of improving his or her body. Between adjusting to post-college life and sitting on my butt through ACL surgery and rehab, I had some weight to lose. Skating took the 10 pounds I'd gained off pretty quickly, to be honest. I became convinced that for the first time in my life, my 5'4" self wouldn't be clinically overweight.
Part of the recent body talk includes a certain subset: those of us who do not keep losing weight over time. That is, guys or girls who skate more days than not and yet the scale does not reward us. I'm only a year into skating, but actual derby girls (I don't think I qualify until my first game) have complained about a weight number that does not budge. Our clothes fit better and we feel great, but it's frustrating when the numbers are dropping for others around us.
Growing up, I was definitely a "fat kid" and clinically morbidly obese. Even since I lost some weight and got in shape, I've always considered myself curvy somewhat heavy. In the last six years, I've seen that 162 is my "magic number." When I work out consistently and eat healthfully, my scale will say 162. This puts me at 17 pounds overweight. With a family history of every health problem you can think of, I'm not particularly thrilled about this.
But I just know I'm building crazy leg muscles and slimming my waist. So I decided to look back at some snapshots of things I'd worn to work over the past year to see if there was any improvement. Surely all this work is for something, right?
September 2010, a month after my knee surgery. (This skirt is now too big and I gave it to a friend.)
Also September 2010. I love this dress. I'm happy to report that it is really too big for me as well.
November 2010. Okay, maybe I bought this dress because it was a size 10 and I hadn't been able to squeeze into that size for years. It still fits, but much better now.
Also November 2010. Real vintage, baby! And really too big now. Sad Kelly.
April 2011. Love this dress! I'm sure it still fits and I will wear it, but I hate dry cleaning.
October 2011. Healthiest 162 pounds I've ever been.
I'm now particularly glad I caved to vanity and asked coworkers to take photos of my outfits every once in a while. I also think maybe I should just throw my scale out a window.
The difference a year of derby makes:
This is not intended to brag but to show how awesome derby is and comfort those who are in the same position.
I'm lucky that I have honed a sense of baker's intuition. Plus, I really love food, so I'm going to make something as delicious as possible so I can eat it. Here are a few little things that will make everything you cook taste instantly better.
1. Margarine is not butter. Vanilla extract is not vanilla. Buy and use only the real things.
2. Organic eggs, yogurt and milk are worth paying extra for. Sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and flour taste the same to me in any brand. In my mind, fresh things should be high-quality and actually fresh. Dry ingredients serve a more chemical purpose.
3. I only ever buy organic apples and bananas. They taste better. Strawberries do, too, but seem to make less of a difference.
4. Canned and frozen veggies are fine in a pinch or if they're out of season. But suck it up and cut up actual veggies. You'll feel closer to your food. You know, right before you devour it.
5. Spices matter. The curry and Northwoods seasoning are worth the money. Use up whatever crappy seasonings you have (see Crushed Red Pepper, above) and then buy the good stuff.
6. Buy local. This isn't always an option, but I almost always prefer it!
I love making a large pan of whole grains and cut-up fresh veggies on the weekend and portioning it into healthy leftovers for the week.
Most recently I had cauliflower, red onion, mushrooms, shredded carrots, red pepper, garlic and organic broccoli. Drizzled with olive oil.
I cooked up quinoa in my rice cooker for grains and protein. Is this even a proper way to cook quinoa? I hope so.
Italian seasoning for the veggies.
I go through these quickly enough that I buy the cheap stuff.
Quinoa looks like it's covered in tiny white worms. It's how I thought my tonsils looked when I had mono in college. Not appetizing at all. Fortunately, quinoa is fluffy, tasty and a nutritional powerhouse.
This was going to be a vegan meal until I caved and covered it all in parmesan cheese.
Then I put it all back in the oven with the quinoa on bottom and veggies on top.
So happy and healthy.
This pan made six meals for a hungry derby girl. Next time I'll put something else in to kind of hold it together, but I'd do it again.
Feel free to use any grains and veggies you have sitting around. And let me know what combinations work well for you!