Tuesday, January 22, 2013

To Meat, or not to Meat....that is

A while back I watched a cooking show where the main dish was seitan....now I was in the dark to what it was....do you know?

I had to do some searching to learn that it is a meat pretender made from wheat gluten.  Apparently it can be found in the vegan aisle of the grocery store.  I've never seen it and I do shop that area.  You can make your own with very little trouble.

I get so curious, I just have to try these things for myself.

I found some recipes online, as well as a box of Vital Wheat Gluten on the shelf next to the sacks of flour at my local food store.  It was really easy to mix the wheat gluten with the seasoned liquid, then knead it for a couple of minutes, and shape it into some patties.  Then, I boiled it in water for 30 minutes, and it was done.  I got 6 patties from the small box.  I put them separately into plastic baggies to freeze for later meals.

The box bought at the store for about $3.00......all protein and no fat
After formed into patties, these needed to simmer in liquid for 30 minutes.

I ate all of them as if they were hamburger patties, although they can be sliced and chopped to use as a meat substitute in stews or stir fries.  To cook as a hamburger patty, I defrosted them and browned them on both sides in a skillet containing a little olive oil.  They were great!  The mouth-feel and chew seemed like real hamburger meat.

My seitan patty on a piece of bread with lettuce and other condiments

I realize many of you will not want to try these, but I'm just throwing it out there anyway.  I made a second batch later on, but baked the raw mixture instead of boiling it.  The last few minutes of baking I brushed the "meat" with a prepared barbeque sauce...this was also good.

***If you are gluten intolerant, this is definitely not for you.

Good online sites to gather information.  I got my first recipe on how to mix the dry powdered wheat gluten from this one.

The second batch I baked,  I used this site.

I haven't tried this burger recipe by Oprah yet but will soon....it looks fabulous.

If you want to get off the ground beef,  try some seitan.

Happy experimenting.....


Monday, January 7, 2013

Almond Toffee

For many years I have made almond toffee for my family and friends, but this year I didn't for some reason.  

A couple of days before Christmas, I got a request for my recipe for the toffee, so that person could make it as a gift for her friends. She said mine was the best.....wasn't that nice of her to say so. 

My recipe comes from an old Dinah Shore Cookbook, and is fairly simple to do. I like it because it has the fewest of ingredients, and doesn't call for any corn syrup.

My friend, T, made it without any problems.  She was pleased with her results.

If you care to try, the recipe is below: Be forewarned, once you know how to make it yourself, you will find all sorts of reasons to make another batch.

1 pound butter
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cups whole unblanched almonds
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips  (Ghirardelli)
1 1/2 cups chopped almonds, lightly toasted

In a large, deep saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Stir in sugar and water. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves and mixture starts to boil.  Boil, stirring syrup until it changes to golden caramel color,  10-12 minutes.  Add whole almonds, increase heat to high, and cook until almonds pop, about 2 minutes.  Pour into a well-greased 15x10x1 inch jelly roll pan and cool.
Melt chocolate in the microwave -No more than 1 minute! -  spread on the top of toffee then sprinkle on half of the chopped nuts right away while the chocolate is still soft.  You will have to wait a few hours or overnight to flip the toffee over in order to spread more melted chocolate on the second side.  Add the chopped nuts on top of the soft chocolate.

I let my toffee boil longer to get a darker color.....but it can burn very fast so you have to keep stirring and watch carefully!!!    


I use a wooden spoon.  After you pour it out of the pan, soak the pan in water, and the spoon, it will all melt away without any scrubbing.

Only use real butter,  white sugar, and I add a little salt.  From start to finish it takes approx. 25 minutes until you pour the hot toffee onto the pan.

Good cooking!



Thursday, January 3, 2013

Happy birthday....

If my Mom were still with us, she would celebrate her 96th birthday today.

She died 10 years ago,  not long after celebrating her 86th birthday.  It's hard to believe that 10 years have passed....she is very missed. 

She was a fun mom.  She participated fully in her children's lives in so many ways that enriched our lives. Her love of sports got us involved in softball, golf, tennis, football, swimming and skiing.  Mom was good at anything she did....a champion bowler, winning lots of trophies in her hometown league. 

There wasn't anything she wouldn't do for her own children, and all the neighbor kids too.  She flooded our backyard in the winter so we could ice skate, she built a three-ring circus in our big garage so we kids could perform for a crowd, this included grandstands, and a trapeze in the rafters. Mom was probably the best Den Mother for my brothers and their friends, doing projects to earn them many badges. 

Our birthdays, Christmas', and other holidays were approached with enthusiasm, and uniqueness.  I don't know anyone who had a Christmas like the ones my Mom created.  They were truly magical.  She was a good cook and tried to always be creative when making our birthday cakes....long before the fancy cakes we see now days. 

It was at her insistence that we bought a summer cottage so we could have beautiful warm weather fun every year.  She made sure the money could be found to buy speedboats, sailboats, canoe, fishing boat, diving boards, and any other article needed to have fun.  If we were going to be on a lake, then we would learn how to do it all.  Her house was always open to our friends and extended family members. 

Mom was a giver, and wanted to help others in any way that she could.  She often did without so a friend or a relative could have what they needed.  I know some of the things she did for others, but I'll probably never know all that she did. 

On top of all of this, she was very intelligent....not much got past her.  She fought for her rights and the rights of others when she felt they were being impinged upon....she would put together a well reasoned argument which often times changed the minds of her opponents. 

So....this is my Mom.....miss you!


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Not sure....yet

I tried to get back to writing awhile ago, but was informed I had used up all my free memory, or something.................I guess I posted too many photos....I don't know the rules......

so I've not yet made up my mind if I want to pay the monthly fee to continue.

I still enjoy reading others' blogs and making comments.

There's not much to post right now anyway....cold, gray skies, snow....we all know what that's like.
Actually, we've hardly had any snow, just a little dusting a couple of times so far. Anyhow.... I prefer snow to rain, it's so much prettier and more fun when going outside.  My snow removal crew is not making much money yet, but I'm sure that will change before the the winter ends. 

Here's wishing you a wonderful  2013!


*** I just posted this and it went through.....huh?   Maybe a new year makes the difference, don't really know.  I'll have to continue and wait to see what happens.