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Wrap it up!

Sat, 07/24/2010 - 9:29AM by cupcakemasta 0 Comments -

Gluten-free pitas are nonexistent, so you could see my dilemma in craving Mediterranean wraps.  Since I'm such a fan of salad, I decided to do a lettuce wrap.  I had some leftover of Fantastic World Food's gluten-free hummus from my snack with Garden of Eatin Blue Chips (which, I might add, I do not think is fully gluten-free), so I decided to use that to add some carbs and flavor to the wrap.

Here's what you will need:

2 chicken breasts
1 tsp basil
1 tsp salt
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp olive oil
Romaine lettuce leaves (washed and patted dry)
Cucumbers
Lemon Juice

Heat skillet to medium and add remaining olive oil.  Slice chicken breast into strips and add to skillet.  Reduce heat to medium-low and brown all sides of chicken.  While chicken is cooking, prepare lettuce and slice cucumbers.  Heat up hummus (add a little olive oil and lemon juice if you want more moisture).

Spread hummus over lettuce and place sliced chicken and chopped cucumbers inside.  Season with salt and sprinkle with lemon juice to preference.  I would like to try this with avocado at another time, but I was hesitant to mix hummus with avocado for some reason.




Wed, 07/21/2010 - 7:26AM by cupcakemasta 0 Comments -

I found a box of instant mix food that's GF!!!  Thank goodness for Lundberg Family Farms and their gluten-free risotto from Fry's Marketplace.  I thought instant rice or any instant carbs was out of the question forever, but I'm glad to be proven wrong. :D

You will need:

1 box of Lundberg GF risotto (or any other side)

Set the steak out for 5 minutes and season to preference.  I used a steak seasoning, a little garlic powder, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and basil.

Follow directions accordingly for risotto.  Heat skillet to medium-low and melt butter, coating pan.  Preheat oven to 350F. Place steak (seasoned side down) and cook for 2 minutes.  Season top side and turn over and cook for two more minutes.  Once steak is seared on both sides, put in oven for 8 minutes (no more, otherwise your steak will be too dry).

For the salad:

cucumber

green olives

marinated artichoke hearts

While steak is in oven and risotto is boiling, chop up slices of cucumber and green olives.  Separate marinated artichoke hearts and place over cucumber.  If you prefer salad dressing, you are more than welcome to use your own, but I prefer using the juice from the marinated artichoke hearts' jar.  Sprinkle a little lemon juice to mix.



1st gluten free pasta meal.

Sat, 07/17/2010 - 9:55PM by cupcakemasta 0 Comments -

I've been schooled.  Semolina, soy, duram, lecithin...it's been a long list to be educated on.  I bought a tv dinner the other day and assumed that semolina was ok since I had never heard of it before, boy was I wrong!  So this is my first attempt to a 100% gluten free pasta meal.

Thank goodness for Fry's Marketplace for their affordable gluten-free items.  I bought the chicken from Costco.  Above is the color of the pot for the gluten-free spirals, I kept tasting it every 3 minutes to make sure I was cooking it right and was a little concerned about the cloudy color - I guess it is normal.  I did notice that the gluten-free spirals cooked faster than regular pastas, so for those easy dinner meals, I have another pro for gluten-free. :)

Here's what you will need:

1 can Alfredo pasta sauce
2 chicken breasts
1 tsp basil
1 tsp salt
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp olive oil
gluten-free pasta (spirals, shells, elbow...whatever you prefer)

I cooked the chicken quite differently this time, instead of sprinkling the chicken with garlic powder, I did the "breading" process and let it sit, covered in garlic, for 5 minutes. 

Begin boiling water in quart size pot for spirals and 1 tsp olive oil.  Heat skillet to medium and add remaining olive oil.  Slice chicken breast into strips and add to skillet.  Reduce heat to medium-low.  Put spirals in medium saucepan for a medium boil.  Keep checking pasta doneness since they cook fast!  Cook chicken on one side for 5-7 minutes and then turn over.  For a final touch (and only if you prefer), I squeezed a lemon over the cooked chicken.  Each side should be a light brown, caramelized color.

Preheat oven to 375F degrees.  Once pasta is done, spread over 9x9 baking dish and add half of the Alfredo sauce.  If you want to use the whole bottle, you can for taste, but I didn't want to use the sauce to mask the taste of the pasta or chicken.  Finally, place cooked chicken on top of pasta and sauce.  Bake for 15 minutes.

I would love to find gluten-free bread crumbs someday and top the pasta off before I bake it, but that is for another meal.  :)  I really loved this meal, the flavor of the pasta was delicious and I am glad I only put half of the Alfredo sauce in.




Gluten-free is not headache-free.

Mon, 07/12/2010 - 8:10PM by cupcakemasta 0 Comments -

I need to read more.

Right now, I have the whole Wheel of Time Series, Anthony Bourdain's first book, and a few others in queue; but this is not the literature I speak of.  I, apparently, need to read more food labels.  Simple words listed under "Ingredients" such as gluten and wheat only scratch the surface with this food allergy.  Anything with lecithin, soy, starch, graham, oats, barley...it's a long list.  Add to that cookies, cakes, tv dinners, pancake mix, frozen waffles, potato chips, ready made rice, pastas, risotto, and even soups...I can't eat it.

Sigh, cakes.  Sweets.  I naively bought a whole German Chocolate Cake placed under the "gluten-free" sign in the bakery aisle assuming it really was gluten-free and not just misplaced.  I ended up eating Benadryl like it was candy and using my inhaler twice, proving that the cake was, in fact, misplaced.  I definitely need to read more.

So this cooking for me blog HAS to actually be about cooking for me now, lol, and my hunt for recipes.  It's been 2 weeks and as I am starting to physically feel better (slowly weaning myself from breads and pastas is a lot harder than I thought it would be), I am becoming more frustrated at what I've been reading lately.  And further reading has led to some silent curse words since anything "gluten-free" apparently tacks on an additional $3-$5 on the original price tag.

I would like to commend Trader Joe's for their excellent customer service.  They gave me a free printout (which is also available on their website) of all of their gluten-free items in stock in their store and that definitely alleviated grocery shopping stress.  I no longer felt like a kid in a foreign country, completely unaware of the native language and customs.  Plus, I found 1, count it, one, tv dinner, for $3, that was gluten-free and appetizing: Paneer Tikka Masala.

Whole foods has a chocolate chip cookie mix for $8 when Betty Crocker is on sale for $1.89.  Sigh. And bread that is regularly $2-$4 is now $4-$7.  Apparently eating healthy truly IS an investment.
 

Fry's Marketplace has also been awesome because they have a good variety of gluten-free for somewhat affordable prices (and it's a more common store than Trader Joe's).  Like the following item:

For as much as I love Nutella, I think it is too sweet.  This little jar, by Peanut Butter & Co, is awesome!  Gluten-free, no cholesterol, no trans fat, and sooo delicious with sliced bananas and gluten/wheat-free bread.  There is also a white chocolate version, which I am also looking forward to trying.

Trying.  And reading.  More.  Lol.



Mexican salad.

Sun, 07/11/2010 - 11:52PM by cupcakemasta 0 Comments -

I might have a food allergy.  I might not.  Honestly, I don't know, but the fact that I have been on a no-gluten and no-yeast diet for the past week and have lost 5 lbs., methinks there is something right with my current meal plans!  So far, I've had a few carbs, but only whole wheat bread and I know I need to kick that since it is nothing BUT wheat, but gluten-free bread is very difficult to find.  For it being so humid now, my asthma hasn't kicked in at all, but I don't want to prematurely attribute the diet changes to alleviating that, so we shall have to keep at this plan for a while.

I've written about this recipe before my Mexican food my way blog, but I've never included pictures.  I added an extra ingredient for added flavor: Green Chile sauce.  Below are the pictures. :)


A medley...

Wed, 07/07/2010 - 11:21PM by cupcakemasta 0 Comments -

There are few things in life that I feel go well together...

Chicken and Garlic.
Artichokes and Avocado.
Tomato and Lemon.
Strawberries and Champagne.
Lennon and McCartney.

Here is the rest of the recipe http://cookinforme.blogspot.com/2010/07/medley.html



A real pasta dish...

Tue, 07/06/2010 - 1:23AM by cupcakemasta 0 Comments -

Macaroni and cheese from a box.
Frozen pasta tv dinners.
Microwaveable ready-to-go pasta bowls.

I'm not sure who actually considers the aforementioned as real pasta dishes, much else a real dinner, but I'm quite glad to never have to eat them again.  There's something about microwaving something to "cook" it that seems wrong and, as a fan of food, cheating.  My last ex thought that hitting the "Start" button indicated some sort of cooking accomplishment.  I remember he actually microwaved Ramen for me while I was sick and I sat there, stuffed nose and all, and questioned "just how lazy can you be???"  Anyway, I digress.

With it being the beginning of the work week, and with my aversion for cooking during the week, I decided to cook a pasta dish tonight.  Since I'm a fan of alfredo sauce, but not fettuccine pasta, I opted for penne.  Below is what you will need.  And yes, I know I cheated by using good ole Ragu, but I said I was a fan of food, not a chef!

1 can Alfredo pasta sauce
2 chicken breasts
3 cups penne pasta
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 tsp salt
1 tsp basil
2 tsp garlic powder
1 broccoli floret
2 tsp olive oil


Begin boiling water in quart size pot for penne and 1 tsp olive oil.  Heat skillet to medium and add remaining olive oil.  Add chopped garlic and onion, let brown.  Slice chicken breast into strips and add to skillet.  Reduce heat to medium-low.  Sprinkle chicken with salt, garlic powder, and basil.  Cook penne to noodle preference and continue turning chicken to thoroughly cook all sides, carefully seasoning with each turn.

Preheat oven to 350F.  Once penne and chicken are done and well seasoned, place chopped broccoli on the bottom of glass dish pan.  Add chicken strips and half the portion of cooked penne.  Coat ingredients with alfredo sauce.  Layer remaining penne and cover with leftover remaining sauce.  Place dish in oven for 10-15 minutes.  (If you prefer, you may add bread crumbs to the top of the dish prior to putting in the oven.)



The great steak escape...

Sun, 07/04/2010 - 7:46PM by cupcakemasta 0 Comments -

Back to cooking!

It's the 4th and instead of grilling, I broiled my steak.  You can chalk it up to laziness, but I think I will be blaming the heat.  It's already hot out, why would I voluntarily stand in front of a pit of fire, which is even hotter than outside temperature, to cook food when I can cook it in the luxury of my air conditioned home?  And as a single gal who has full reign to now cook food however she wants it, I decided to broil my steak.

Before, I'd have to be stuck cooking the whole meal myself (even though guys are stereotypically the ones that are supposed to be grilling!): the salad, the sides, and even setting the table...I'd have to do it all myself.  Lol, can't blame a gal for requiring knowledge of the kitchen from the next guy!

So, Happy 4th everyone and here's my steak recipe:

1 steak (porterhouse, t-bone...really whatever cut you prefer)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Basil
1 tsp Worcestershire  Sauce
Pat dry steak with paper towel.  Make sure steak is fully dry or it will not soak up the seasonings.  Set oven to broil.  Sprinkle seasonings (which you may add more or modify if you like) on both sides of steak.  Place steak on tray and put in oven and set timer for 12-15 minutes (depending on your preference of medium rare and medium well).  When timer is done, flip steak and set for another 12-15 minutes.  
If you wanted to serve any sides with the steak, now is the time to begin preparation for any salads, veggiespastas, or rice sides.  When the timer is done, turn oven off and remove steak from oven.  Make a small cut in the center to check for cooked preference.  If steak is too red, flip over on tray and leave out for 2-5 minutes.  Do NOT put steak back in the oven, it will overcook and dry out the meat.  Serve with prepared sides.


FAVORITE Mediterranean restaurant: Eden's Grill

Thu, 07/01/2010 - 2:14AM by cupcakemasta 0 Comments -

[More of my restaurant reviews can be found here.]

By far, Eden's Grill is my favorite Mediterranean restaurant in Arizona!  The service is always awesome, the place is always clean, and the environment is always welcoming and friendly.  I love hole in the wall, family-owned restaurants because [at least the ones I have been to] there is always a sense of pride in their service and their food.  I've been to this restaurant a few times and have loved everything I have tried.  I like being able to taste flavor, not seasoning, and their Dolmeh appetizer is just that: a perfect medley of herbs, grape leaves, and rice.

I usually order the #6 - Beef Kebab, but I have tried their #3 - Chicken and Gyros and #7 - Lamb Kebab.  The meat, be it beef, chicken, lamb, or gyro, is always moist and tender.  Like their meat, the grilled vegetables have a perfect blend of crispy and lightly seared on the outside, but juicy and steamed on the inside.  The basmati rice is always thoroughly cooked and flavorful.  The same goes for the Homous, Baba Ganoosh, and Yogurt Cucumber Dip.  I highly recommend their house Combination Platter.  The pitas are always warm and their homous and ganoosh have the perfect texture.

Try to go around 5p to beat the dinner rush.  The place is always packed on Saturday nights, so show up a little before regular dinner time if you want to ensure seating for your party!



Storing ice cream like acorns in the winter...

Mon, 06/14/2010 - 12:23AM by cupcakemasta 0 Comments -

I think there is a plot going on.

I do not have a sweet tooth.

I rarely like sweet things, actually, and will always prefer dark or semi-sweet chocolate over any other kind.

However, I have 6 different flavors of ice cream that everyone but myself has purchased and stored in my freezer.  I could open up my own Ben & Jerry's shop if I needed to!   I wonder if I should partake in the stereotype presented by romantic comedies of post-breakup activities and pig out on Everything But the Kitchen Sink. [ba dum bum]

Perhaps not.  I rather like opening the freezer and laughing at the thought that neither Ben nor Jerry can convince me to eat my feelings.  Lol.



desayúnese para cenar! [breakfast for dinner!]

Wed, 05/26/2010 - 10:14PM by cupcakemasta 0 Comments -

My favorite dinner is breakfast.  Pancakes topped with strawberries.  Hash browns with ketchup and tabasco.  Breakfast is a very underrated meal (especially since 95% of my breakfasts are comprised of a to go cup of a Green Machine).  So, during a stroll through the cookbook aisle @ Barnes and Noble, I saw the cutest picture of cooked eggs in a ham shell.  While the original recipe can be located here, I modified it for the sake of as little effort as possible (not to mention the least amount of ingredients).  Not to mention the fact that I despise the presence of cheese on my breakfast plate!  Thank goodness I no longer have to have a Costco stockpile of cheese in my fridge, I've always thought it masked the authentic flavor of egg and tomato.

Here's what you will need (for a serving for 1):

2 organic eggs
4 slices of no-nitrate Hormel Ham
1/2 Roma tomato or 2 cherry tomatoes
1/2 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. oregano

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line cupcake or muffin tin with ham slices (2 per cup mold).  Break egg into mold and add tomatoes (one cherry tomato per cup mold) and seasonings.  Bake for 15 minutes or until egg white is thoroughly cooked.  Salt and pepper to taste.  

I think next time, when I have more time and energy, I'll cook the tomatoes over oil with some garlic for added flavor.  And maybe replace ham with prosciutto, although I don't know how well it can hold as a shell.



Stir fry for the soul...

Mon, 05/10/2010 - 10:09PM by cupcakemasta 0 Comments -

Tonight was the first night that I cooked for therapy.  After all this time, throughout this blog, I had cooked because of an event or because it was for people or because I needed to eat.  Not really sure why I ended up cooking, I wasn't even hungry, but I needed a distraction from all the mental buzz and the fact that I would be eating by myself wasn't even a big enough deterrent.  And it usually is...I mean, why go through all the effort of chopping up 5+ ingredients, making a mess in the kitchen, and using up a ton of dishes and utensils for one person when you could just pop in a Stouffer's in the microwave?  Good thing I defrosted the meat!  Maybe since I will have so much extra food, I could give some to the mail man with a card requesting anything bridal or wedding related should be tossed in the trash instead of shoved in my mailbox.  Worth a try!  I really wished snail mail had a filter option similar to email.  Until then, I shall continue to cook.  Below is tonight's dinner.  Happy Monday, everyone!

1 cup broccoli florets
1/4 lemon, diced
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
1/4 cucumber, diced
1/3 onion, finely diced
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 tsbp. extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 cup of green onion
1 lb. beef chunks, chopped in cubes
Heat olive oil on Medium with chopped garlic and onion in skillet.  Add carrots, beef chunks, green onion, and 1 tbsp. of soy sauce.  Do NOT place lid on skillet, but lower heat to Medium Low.  Cook for 5 minutes.
Add lemon, cucumbers, mushrooms, broccoli, and sprinkle garlic powder.  Pour remaining soy sauce over contents and heat until meat is thoroughly cooked.  Serve over basmati or brown rice.


Tue, 05/04/2010 - 7:57PM by cupcakemasta 0 Comments -
finals: done.  cupcake: happiness. :)  hope you all have a great week!


Spa night success!

Tue, 04/27/2010 - 4:59PM by cupcakemasta 0 Comments -
I posted the recipes, so here are the pictures!
sun-dried tomato + pesto + cream cheese dip with wheat thins
sausage slices with a raspberry chipotle + cream cheese dip with triscuits and my favorite red wine
mozzarella + tomato bruschetta with a hint of garlic
It's a little blurry, but here are all the goodies!  a friend contributed the cucumber + grape tomato salad and the raspberry chipotle + cream cheese dip (thank you SM!).  the night was a success and, as always, yay to Girls' Nights!


Yet another girls' day...

Mon, 04/26/2010 - 4:10AM by cupcakemasta 0 Comments -

I am having a girls' spa event at my house tonight. For FREE. It's actually quite a funny story how I won such an opportunity. The event was something I won at a bridal fair and the girls on the guest list were supposed to be my bridesmaids. I gotta tell you, there are many perks to having once planned a wedding and never actually going through with it! :) Lol, so here is to dodging bullets and running off with the winnings!

I decided to make four appetizers. Since we are doing hand scrubs, etc. I had to be careful what food to plan and decided to limit (with my BFF's suggestion from her spa day) the edibles to finger foods. I shall post pictures of the food shortly. For spirits to go with the food, I've chosen a Verdi champagne and a Chateau St. Michele white wine with sliced strawberries. For dessert, I am making red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and sliced strawberries to top. I am using the same recipe I posted a few weeks ago. Below are the recipes I am serving.

Bruschetta
I do not know why recipes suggest canned tomatoes. There's something about canned or frozen foods that irks me when it comes to cooking. If it is not fresh, what is the point? I mean, really! So, I took out the canned tomato and replaced it with fresh roma tomatoes.  I am also adding shredded mozzarella cheese to the mix.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
16 (1/2-inch-thick) slices baguette, toasted (about 6 oz)

Directions:
I don't really understand why some recipes, if they mention it at all, have you bake the bread slices. Baking the bread slices make it too tough and crunchy. I have found that putting the bread on the skillet with olive oil keeps the bread crunchy, garnished in olive oil, but still soft and chewy. Mix the basil, chopped and seeded tomatoes, shredded mozzarella cheese and finely chopped garlic cloves into a bowl. Lightly mix with olive oil. Cook the bread slices on a skillet in medium heat with olive oil. Once the bread is done, place the mix over the bread and serve!

Sun-Dried Tomato/Pesto/Cream Cheese Dip 
I cheated on this recipe and bought a jar of sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil. And since I did not have a food processor, I bought the pre-made pesto in the deli aisle. For cream cheese, I chose to get the "whipped" kind for a fluffier taste.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup basil leaves
8 ounces cream cheese

Directions:
If you choose to get the basil leaves, place them in the food processor and make sure the mix is ground well. Combine ingredients into a bowl and mix. Serve with crackers of your preference. 

Deviled Eggs 
I am taking out the white sugar and pimento-stuff green olives from this recipe. Sorry folks, it just did NOT sound appetizing.

Ingredients:
6 eggs
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard (such as Gulden's®)
1 teaspoon hot mustard (such as Sweet Hot Mister Mustard®)
salt and pepper to taste
paprika for garnish (optional)

Directions:
Place the eggs into a saucepan in a single layer and fill with water to cover the eggs by 1 inch. Cover the saucepan and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat and let the eggs stand in the hot water for 15 minutes. Drain. Cool the eggs under cold running water. Peel once cold. Halve the eggs lengthwise and scoop the yolks into a bowl. Mash the yolks with a fork.
Stir the mayonnaise, spicy brown mustard, hot mustard, sugar, salt, and pepper into the yolks until well combined. Spoon into a quart-size, resealable plastic bag. Snip a corner off the plastic bag.
Squeeze the yolk mixture into the egg halves, sprinkle each stuffed egg with paprika. 

Guacamole Dip 
I kinda cheated on this recipe. I bought the pre-made guacamole from Costco instead of getting ripe avocados. I also took out the cayenne pepper and replaced it with red pepper flakes. To add more sauce to the dip, I added salsa to the mix. I'm not a fan of dip that's too chunky in tomato.

Ingredients:
2 green onions
1 ripe tomato
3 ripe avocados
2 limes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin (optional)
5 or 6 fresh cilantro sprigs
Tortilla chips for serving 

Directions:
Seed and chop tomatoes, green onion, and cilantro. Mix guacamole with the tomatoes, green onion, and cilantro into a bowl. Squeeze limes on to bowl generousl, add cumin and red pepper flakes and stir.



Ode to girl's nights...

Mon, 04/12/2010 - 3:28AM by cupcakemasta 0 Comments -

So I have the BEST of best friends.  We're talking BFF status here.  And outside of the usual characteristics of a BFF, which she passes with flying colors, she took me out this weekend and introduced me to some pretty extraordinary foods.  She calls it my introduction to new life and a "new pond."  I think she is doing her job well.  Lol. 
One night, during a girls' day, she served Cucumber-Crab Canape, Prosciutto and Melon (she added a leaf of parsley to each serving for added flavor), and Hummus (all courtesy of her wonderful Williams-Sonoma cookbook).  She had two other dips, tzatziki and eggplant baba ganoush, that were just as delicious, but the aforementioned appetizers are what stick out in my memory as absolute FAVES.  The next night, I was her +1 to a food and wine tasting at a local winery.  This night was an eye opening experience for me and I was a little intimidated at first because I am by no means a wino, but I had many firsts.

  • I tried, and LOVED, my first red wine.  Although, I wouldn't really consider it red wine since it was very sweet, not as dry, and had to be chilled. 
  • I tried stiltin for the first time.  It was not this bleu cheese, crumbly type I thought it would be.  In fact, and I think it was due to the apricot, it was sweet, smooth, and very spreadable.  And tasted delicious with prosciutto.
  • I tried almond champagne and not only did it smell good, it tasted good.  I loved how it complimented the chocolate brownie cake they were serving for dessert.
  • I bottled my first bottle of wine.  

The food they served was just as great.  There was a cheese platter with a variety of dried fruits, a sausage platter, baked brie, 4 different chocolate desserts (most of which were truffles too rich for my taste), and pulled pork.  I am not usually a fan of BBQ-flavored foods, but this pulled pork was delicious and complimented that red wine I loved (Ruby).  Gotta love girls' nights!



Baking from scratch...

Thu, 04/08/2010 - 4:47PM by cupcakemasta 0 Comments -

Red velvet.  Cream Cheese.  Cupcake.

I think "enough said" is an understatement.  However, I did not want to do the instant mix and sugar-loaded icing in a can for my graduation.  I feel that school is a milestone enough, baking shouldn't be too bad!  So, I've decided to brave my fear of baking from scratch and go all out for my Commencement dessert.

Here is the recipe I will be using: Red Velvet Cupcakes

Now, off to finalize what design/theme I will do.  I think 2 cupcake flavors should suffice, red velvet and vanilla, both with cream cheese icing.  I've yet to decide if I want to do a graduation cap or something stating the year of graduation, but I know the other cupcake topper will be a white chocolate diploma made from candy molds!



Singledom faves...

Tue, 04/06/2010 - 3:24AM by cupcakemasta 0 Comments -

Veering away from the decorating and cooking for a quick post, I realized a few great things this weekend. Great things about being single and not having a roommate, to be more specific. I was swamped with homework and as I am usually frantic about getting everything done academically on top of getting my house chores completed, I realized how quickly chores for 1 can be accomplished. My weekend realizations about household duties are as follows:

  • Laundry day is now laundry hour. And one load of laundry can comfortably last me 2 weeks, whereas I had to do 2 loads of laundry every weekend before (and this was just clothes, not towels and bedsheets).
  • The dishwasher runs once a week instead of every night. Considering the decreased laundry and dishwasher usage, this explains why my electricity bill is now 65% cheaper.
  • My closet and bedroom floor are clear. Clear of clothes. Clear of dishes. Clear of books. So, now when I want to vacuum, I can without having to get sidetracked on a remedial chore like picking up stuff off the floor.
  • My bathroom sink, floor, and counter are now free of all facial hair shavings. Bathroom clean up is now comprised of happily organizing my makeup in their color-coordinated order and hiding the blow dryer under the sink.
  • Sweeping/Mopping no longer needs an appointment. I am free of any worries about blocking the TV screen or accidentally unplugging a computer cord during "important" video game time while I try to clean.
  • Every room in my house smells like it is supposed to: fresh linens and lavender. Why does this matter, you ask? Because when the trash in the kitchen needs to be thrown out, it gets thrown out THAT moment. Not sometime that day. Not "tomorrow when I get home." Not sometime that week. THAT moment.

In addition to getting all my chores done, I got all the homework done. While this is usually not a feat for me, the non-panic attack mood that I had while all of this was accomplished was a first. And am very glad to know that this won't be the last. :)



Platter...

Sun, 04/04/2010 - 1:27AM by cupcakemasta 0 Comments -


I made a platter (in a tupperware) for work the other day and realized that it had been almost 2 years since I had made one for myself. I realized I stopped making them because, whenever I did, I had to ALWAYS make a second meal for someone else to have dinner.

So, I bought baguettes from Costco, strawberries, cream cheese, and a three-pack of salmon, ranging from dill, peppered, and original. I would have gotten some prosciutto, but I couldn't find any fig (in either Costco or the local grocery store), so I didn't want to disappoint myself.

1/4  baguette, lightly toasted (no olive oil needed)
1/2 cup strawberries, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. whipped cream cheese

salmon lox (any flavor)

Warm slices of bread, spread with whipped cream cheese and top with salmon and thin slices of strawberries.  Enjoy!



Platter...

Sun, 04/04/2010 - 1:27AM by cupcakemasta 0 Comments -


I made a platter (in a tupperware) for work the other day and realized that it had been almost 2 years since I had made one for myself. I realized I stopped making them because, whenever I did, I had to ALWAYS make a second meal for someone else to have dinner.

So, I bought baguettes from Costco, strawberries, cream cheese, and a three-pack of salmon, ranging from dill, peppered, and original. I would have gotten some prosciutto, but I couldn't find any fig (in either Costco or the local grocery store), so I didn't want to disappoint myself.

1/4  baguette, lightly toasted (no olive oil needed)
1/2 cup strawberries, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. whipped cream cheese

salmon lox (any flavor)

Warm slices of bread, spread with whipped cream cheese and top with salmon and thin slices of strawberries.  Enjoy!



Mexican food, MY way.

Wed, 03/17/2010 - 2:55AM by cupcakemasta 0 Comments -

I don't like cheese.
I don't like ground beef.
I don't like taco shells.
I don't like tortillas.
I don't like white onions.

I love lemon and cilantro (and by love, I mean OBSESSED).
I love Spanish rice.
I love extra cumin and chili powder. And I mean EXTRA.
I love tomatoes.
I love guacamole.
I love black beans.

FOR THE MEAT:

1 lb. beef chunks, cut into small cubes
1 red bell pepper, chopped
fresh cilantro
8 oz. black beans
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
2 tsbp. olive oil
2 tbsp. ground cumin
1 tbsp. paprika
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. garlic powder
salt to taste

FOR THE SPANISH RICE:

2-3 cups basmati rice
1 can of tomato juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 tsbp. salt
1 cup water

Pour rice, water, and tomato juice in pot over high heat. Stir rice over 5 minutes and add lemon juice and salt. Change heat to medium and cover pot to steam cook.

Heat skillet to medium and add olive oil. Add beef chunks and brown all sides, then add red bell peppers. Stir in cumin, paprika, garlic powder, chili powder, and salt.

Serve Spanish rice in a bowl and place lettuce, tomatoes, and cilantro over rice. Add the cooked and seasoned meat to bowl. If you prefer black beans (I know I do!) you may also take a can of precooked black beans, heat them up, and add to the mix. You can also add a little bit of guacamole to the mix. Since I love lemon, I also take a fresh quarter slice and squeeze some over the bowl. Viola!

So, my first night of Mexican food (i.e. taco or burrito night) was more like Chili con Carne. Before, I had to overly garnish everything with cheese, sour cream, and onions. While I always made the choice NOT to place such items in my own meal, I am enjoying the new found freedom in NOT having to prep anything I wouldn't directly use.



Introductions...

Sun, 03/14/2010 - 6:40PM by cupcakemasta 0 Comments -

After cooking for two for quite some time, the better part of a decade, to be exact, I have found it quite liberating thing to cook for one...ME. So now, I need not worry about skipping the peppers or making sure there are more than enough mushrooms.

This is ME...cooking for ME...however spicy, sweet, salty, and sour I want my food to be!



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