Reinvention Queen Tells My Secrets

No, all of my skeletons are not falling out of my closet, even though it is a good season for skeletons to be out and about. I am referring to some of the secrets I want to share to help you in your kitchen. I am not a lazy cook, as a matter of fact, I am a person who loves cooking and baking. However, one thing I don’t like is having leftovers that can get boring to keep eating over and over. Since I am a creative writer, I practice the same thing as I do in my writing, I change my plots by twisting them and creating a new chapter in my books. Today I want to share a couple of ways I alter a dish or meal I prepared to continue to use the basis dish but I re-create or reinvent it to appear to be a totally fresh cooked meal. By following the thinking and preparation tips I will share, your spouse may not even know it’s leftovers, and if they do, they won’t care.

When I prepare the base meat and/or dish, I am already thinking of at least two or three dishes I can reinvent this base. For an example, recently I fried several chicken tenders using an egg/ buttermilk/spices marinate, a seasoned flour/bread crumbs dredge. I had a vegetable (any kind will do) to go along with the delicious but easy tenders. I saved the extra six tenders (making ahead and using the air fryer to warm them saves a lot of time in cooking).

The Base Ingredient Chicken Tenders which are reinvented for three easy meals
  • Meals/Dishes Made from the Tenders
  • The first is the original eaten with a fresh vegetable. You can use a salad too, but I will show you how I made another meal using a salad. Total prep was 5 minutes and 12 minutes to fry and serve.
  • Sandwiches made by warming tenders in the air fryer and placing the tenders on a good bun with a mayo using some chopped herbs and green onions. Pickles, lettuce, tomato can be added too. Makes a great and fast lunch which took 6 minutes to warm tenders while I prepared buns and mayo. No photo since we were in a hurry to get back to work.
  • The last meal was prepared from chopping the rest of the left over tenders (Only 2 larger tenders and 1 small one was chopped to make two big salads. I used a Sweet Kale Salad Mix, added some cherry tomatoes, 2 shallots, cheddar cheese shredded (mild or sharp whichever preferred) and salad toppers. I used the Poppy Seed Dressing and seeds in mix and also Ken’s Steak House Thousand Island (a little amount). This salad took 10 minutes total to assemble and serve.
The Simple Chicken Tenders Salad using a salad mix and some additions

If I add the time for all three meals which were so yummy, no food wasted, and all three meals took no more than 40 minutes from the initial meal to the finish of the last meal. Most of us take more than 40 minutes to make one. The best news is I could do at least three more meals starting from the initial meal and I practice this rule of prep almost every time. Here is my thought process:

1 – Choose a meat whether it is chicken, pork, beef, and/or seafood.

2 – Mentally envision three methods and/or meals this meat can be used .

3 – Prepare meat by a cooking method that can lead to multiple meals. You have seen my husband grill a lot of shrimp which I will separate into multiple ways on implementing those shrimp into salads, pasta, cocktail dish, scampis, etc. Once the prepared meat is completed and stored, it is only used one time in a different meal so that it tastes fresh and not recooked, only warmed and added after other ingredients are cooked as stir frying vegetables and only adding the prepared shrimp at the end for warming and merging sauces.

It’s all in the prep. Cooking larger amounts of meat to begin with and store extra immediately makes the taste difference.

The key is to properly prepare the meats but not overcooking as the meat doesn’t need to be cooked to death. I seal and store the meat until the next meal.

You can do this method with vegetables by prepping ahead like slicing, chopping, roasting pans of vegetables and then using them as you need them for stir fries, soups, casseroles. It Is All In The Prep!

Roasted vegetables make casseroles, side dishes, and soups so easily assembled.
Another salad made extraordinary and an easy lunch.
Variety of salads made from the seafood bounty.
My Scallop Shrimp Garlic Sauce with Fettuccine & Parmesan delight lunch
It never seems you are eating leftovers with a bright new salad using different additional ingredients.

When I post meals during the week, some people are surprised since I work full time and I get asked how I can do those meals. I am an early morning person so I prep early, assemble the dish, and then put it in the oven while I work to have it come out piping hot at lunch or dinner. Cooking is easy if you think ahead and make it so convenient.

As a true Reinvention Queen I love seeing how many meals I can make that my husband loves and expresses how tasty they are. My advice is to try this method by preparing a larger amount of meat and try to make at least two different meals as an example of grilling steaks or chicken by chopping the leftovers and then making a stir fry or a salad for a second meal. When you see how easy it is to reinvent a meal into a savory, delicious but oh so easy, you will be on the reinvention team. I would love to hear what you make and how you feel about cooking once, and enjoying it at least two meals. Until We Cook Again….Happy Meals To You…….Arline Miller, Reinvention Queen

(C)Copyright 2012-2021 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups Of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third Party Material will be sourced to original location/author if known for credit references.

REINVENTION QUEEN IS HAMMING IT UP

Last weekend I informed my husband I was craving a oven baked ham like I used to do before the days of the wonderful smoker prepared hams he does so well. I have to say I have enjoyed the past few years with Greg smoking the turkey and ham which gave me the room in the oven and the time it took. But like they say, you can take the girl out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the girl. I think the same goes as you can take the cook out of the kitchen but you can’t take the kitchen out of the cook. Yep, I was craving it and you may have figured something out about me, I will not be denied. As I was baking this wonderful and best smelling ham, my mind was already going to making all of the extra meals.

This is what we were craving ….juicy, flavorful, and just right!
The picture of my ham after it was glazed with a pork dry rub, dijon mustard, whole grain mustard, honey, brown sugar, everyday seasoning, coca cola at the end but mixed in glaze as well.
The first meal and the one we had craved was Ham Sammies with the softest bread we could find along with mayo and salt and pepper. I tell you it was over the chart yummy.
Foil is important and you do see it but I tent the top with foil and seal the sides while it bakes, It keeps the flavor and allows the meat to tenderize while baking. I baked this ham at 325 degrees all day with the last two hours at 300 degrees. I kept it foiled and it turned this gorgeous color.
I like to score the ham to thoroughly cook with the basting glaze seeping into the meat further enhancing the flavor.
I can’t even express the flavor this ham brought to our kitchen. If you consider how many ways you can use this ham, it becomes economical even in these high food cost days we are in.
I use the ham bone in the first meal I make after baking the ham but I have frozen the bone with some yummy ham attached for soup later.
The ketchup is purely for me and something my Dad taught me. The ham pieces flavor any kind of beans and black eyed peas too.
One of the favorite Reinvention Queen is to season fresh or even frozen greens with my ham pieces. Blanch the greens first and all bitterness will leave.

The pictures show several ways to use a baked ham. As someone who doesn’t like to waste any food, I will share a list of selections of how I will use leftover ham. I start thinking of what meals I use the meat at the onset of preparing it.

  • How to use a baked ham for many meals without getting tired of it:
  • Ham and rice (cook the rice in some broth with the ham pieces). Add garden peas and carrots or celery for flavor.
  • Ham and stewed potatoes (Stew potatoes with onions and add ham pieces to enhance the potatoes) You can add vegetables but I prefer the ham and potatoes.
  • Make a ham crusted pie. Use a bag of frozen vegetables thawed and a can of cream of celery or mushroom thinned with some heavy cream. Add cubed ham and mix with salt and pepper, garlic salt if you like, place in a frozen pie crust that you can bake but not brown and cover with another pie crust. Bake at temperature on pie crust package.
  • Breakfast suggestion: Slice ham and place in hot skillet to fry slightly and use in biscuits with fried or scrambled eggs. The slightly browning will make a great taste change from baked ham.
  • Cube ham pieces and add to soups. You can freeze the cubes and conveniently add to so many dishes as needed.

I could keep listing meal suggestions but you can use your own ideas once the creative juices begin to flow like the ham juices that come from making your own. I love fast and easy preparation but taking some time and preparing the foundation foods are worth every minute. Thanks for allowing me to share my ham ideas with you. It is great the first meal, fantastic the second round, and even more wonderful when you can freeze some for the next time you crave some old fashioned, slow baked ham by thawing it out and not even having to cook dinner. Until We Cook Again…..Happy Meals from Arline Miller, the Reinvention Queen.

(C) Copyright, 2012-2021 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third Party Material is sourced to original location and author if known for credit references.

WHAT’S UP WITH THE JACK-O’LANTERN?

THIS IS A REPOST FROM 2016 but I thought it was an interesting post so I decided you might like to read it too.       WHAT’S UP WITH THE JACK-O’-LANTERN? A young man, Blake Lott posted on Facebook When and why did it become a social tradition for people to sit around a table and carve spooky vegetables together? 🎃 👻 Did you know the original jack o’ lantern was actually a turnip ”     “”

I thought, “How interesting are those questions!” I decided to do a little digging and I hope everyone enjoys this post about our pumpkin carving tradition which is really not American but is tracked back to Ireland. I found this article on the legend:

THE LEGEND OF “STINGY JACK”People have been making jack-o’-lanterns at Halloween for centuries. The practice originated from an Irish myth about a man nicknamed “Stingy Jack.” According to the story, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to his name, Stingy Jack didn’t want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul. The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil into climbing into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree’s bark so that the Devil could not come down until the Devil promised Jack not to bother him for ten more years.Did You Know?The original jack-o’-lanterns were carved from turnips, potatoes or beets.Soon after, Jack died. As the legend goes, God would not allow such an unsavory figure into heaven. The Devil, upset by the trick Jack had played on him and keeping his word not to claim his soul, would not allow Jack into hell. He sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with ever since. The Irish began to refer to this ghostly figure as “Jack of the Lantern,” and then, simply “Jack O’Lantern.”In Ireland and Scotland, people began to make their own versions of Jack’s lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits. In England, large beets are used. Immigrants from these countries brought the jack o’lantern tradition with them when they came to the United States. They soon found that pumpkins, a fruit native to America, make perfect jack-o’-lanterns.

Article Details: History of the Jack O’ Lantern  

I have heard a discussion back and forth whether Christians should or should not celebrate Halloween. This is a personal decision and I leave it to individuals but I decided to do a little digging on the holiday itself. Here is a definition from Wikipedia on Halloween:  From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Halloween&oldid=745513786
This article is about the observance. For other uses, see Halloween (disambiguation).

“All Hallows’ Eve” redirects here. For other uses, see All Hallows’ Eve (disambiguation).

Halloween, or Hallowe’en (a contraction of All Hallows’ Evening),[5] also known as Allhalloween,[6] All Hallows’ Eve,[7] or All Saints’ Eve,[8] is a celebration observed in a number of countries on 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day. It begins the three-day observance of Allhallowtide,[9] the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed.[10][11]
It is widely believed that many Halloween traditions originated from Celtic harvest festivals which may have pagan roots, particularly the Gaelic festival Samhain, and that this festival was Christianized as Halloween.[1][7][12][13][14][15] Some academics, however, support the view that Halloween began independently as a solely Christian holiday.[1][16][17][18][19]
Halloween activities include trick-or-treating (or the related guising), attending Halloween costume parties, decorating, carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns, lighting bonfires, apple bobbing and divination games, playing pranks, visiting haunted attractions, telling scary stories and watching horror films. In many parts of the world, the Christian religious observances of All Hallows’ Eve, including attending church services and lighting candles on the graves of the dead, remain popular,[20][21][22] although elsewhere it is a more commercial and secular celebration.[23][24][25] Some Christians historically abstained from meat on All Hallows’ Eve,[26][27] a tradition reflected in the eating of certain foods on this vigil day, including apples, potato pancakes and soul cakes.[27][28][29]

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I thought it would be interesting to find out more about Trick or Treating tradition’s history too. Why not? Here is an article from Smithsonian.com (link below article)

 It’s almost that time of year when underaged kids get into costume and traipse around the neighborhood ringing doorbells and begging for treats. When you think about it, trick or treating is kind of a weird thing. Where did it come from anyway?

Today I Found Out discovered that the practice began with the Celtic tradition of celebrating the end of the year by dressing up as evil spirits. The Celts believed that, as we moved from one year to the next, the dead and the living would overlap, and demons would roam the earth again. So dressing up as demons was a defense mechanism. If you encountered a real demon roaming the Earth, they would think you were one of them.Fast forward to when the Catholic Church was stealing everybody’s holidays and trying to convert them. They turned the demon dress-up party into “All Hallows Eve,” “All Soul’s Day,” and “All Saints Day” and had people dress up as saints, angels and still a few demons. Today I Found Out writes:

As for the trick or treating, or “guising” (from “disguising”), traditions, beginning in the Middle-Ages, children and sometimes poor adults would dress up in the aforementioned costumes and go around door to door during Hallowmas begging for food or money in exchange for songs and prayers, often said on behalf of the dead.  This was called “souling” and the children were called “soulers”.You might think that this practice then simply migrated along with Europeans to the United States. But trick or treating didn’t re-emerge until the 1920s and 1930s. It paused for a bit during World War II because of sugar rations, and it’s now back in full force.The term “trick or treat” dates back to 1927. Today I Found Out explains:The earliest known reference to “trick or treat”, printed in the November 4, 1927 edition of the Blackie, Alberta Canada Herald, talks of this,Hallowe’en provided an opportunity for real strenuous fun. No real damage was done except to the temper of some who had to hunt for wagon wheels, gates, wagons, barrels, etc., much of which decorated the front street. The youthful tormentors were at back door and front demanding edible plunder by the word “trick or treat” to which the inmates gladly responded and sent the robbers away rejoicing.The British hate Halloween, apparently. In 2006, a survey found that over half of British homeowners turn off their lights and pretend not to be home on Halloween. Yet another reason by the United States is happy to be free from British rule. No funs.

          Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/the-history-of-trick-or-treating-is-weirder-than-you-thought-79408373/#vWJK4Mu5ro0d2pUI.99 Give the gift of Smithsonian magazine for only $12! http://bit.ly/1cGUiGv Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter

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All in all, Halloween is on its way, whether you carve the Jack-O-Lantern, Trick or Treat. You can choose to participate or not. I find it interesting to read the history and how these traditions have come about. However you decide is fine with me. I am 67 years old and I have never felt an evil feeling about Halloween and over the years my husband and I have enjoyed the small children coming to our door with their little costumes yelling Trick or Treat. May your holidays be bright and cheery.

(C) Copyright 2012-2021 Arline L Miller with all rights and privileges reserved. All third party material sourced to original location for credit.

REPEAT AFTER ME, I DID THIS TO MYSELF

As a person who has lost 42 pounds over a span of years, I have learned some tips. One of the most beneficial to me is not to deprive but thrive on smaller portions of healthy choices while allowing myself a few bites, not portions, of all food groups. I posted this blog post several years and thought you might find it interesting now. Here is the original post:

Quite often, I post blog messages that apply to myself mainly, but true to form, others jump in and comment, this is me too. The focus of today’s message is a blunt look at how we humans remain in denial on many issues. We have a desire to stay healthy, look attractive, succeed at whatever work or career we choose or is placed at our door. We strive to have a wonderful relationship with our spouse, lover, sweetheart, and also our families and friends…….Or do we? Uh, oh, I feel the crunch of me stepping on toes but please know I am feeling the pain as this is a selfie message so I feel ya!

DREAMSTIME.COM (photo courtesy)

Let us begin the recognition of a stumbling block to our happiness by answering some hard questions:

  1. Who do I blame when I gain weight?
  2. Do I actually realize who is at fault when I fail at goals?
  3. Do I feel I have to justify my actions or throw blame at my parents, my life, God, or family/friends?
  4. Do I review my actions in any matter which caused me to succeed or fail to better future actions/results?
  5. Am I the first one to thank another person who has encouraged or do I feel they overstepped their boundary?

Can you see where I am going with this train of thought? Too many times, we want the denial excuse rather than make the appropriate changes we could make to change outcomes. This morning, very well timed, a post I wrote on Facebook seven years ago showed up and it is worth reading:

Today is a good day to think back over life and ponder over things that have happened. What would we change, what we have said differently to someone if we had a “do over”, what would we do about our occupations, would we live where we live now, would we go for a dream that we put off for other things or people, would we have chosen to eat healthier, exercised more, loved better, smiled more and forgiven easier? The reason I ponder about these things is to say that the past is the past, but today is today and tomorrow is yet to come. Right now and for the future, we have choices and we should not delay to make some changes or insure that the good things stay intact an securely, love better, stay in shape and healthily, be frugal, and above all else, remember that if we have been forgiven, we have to forgive others. Removing any anger allows the smile to come forth more readily, and it is healthy to smile. Arline Miller 2012

I think we all have great intentions as it would not make any sense on any given day, we wake up to be a failure at anything but we are humans with weaknesses and who doesn’t love a treat, a gift, a pleasure, right? It is when the realization of the repetitive giving into temptations over and over seeps in and becomes a denial. Now, to get really real with myself and hopefully you may find yourself saying oops, I do that. Here are the usual denial hoops we jump through. An additional thought for you to ponder: Apply these hoops by replacing words and see how the denial train stops at all life stations whether it be health, wealth, love, and just life.

  1. I don’t know why I can’t lose weight. I try so hard.
  2. I must have bad genes as I don’t overeat.
  3. I should be able to eat sweets, candy, desserts like all of my friends.
  4. I don’t know why I don’t lose weight because I go walking, or cleaning my house but it doesn’t work.
  5. I plan healthy foods but my family won’t eat them so I stopped making them.
  6. It takes too much time to prepare healthy foods and I work all of the time.

I could go on and on but you get the idea. What I feel would help us the most is to get tremendously honest with ourselves. I will go first with the honest answers to these questions. Seriously, don’t try to deny that we use these reasoning to avoid doing what is necessary to be what we want to be.

  1. Do I try that hard because in the past when I have eaten properly, I have lost weight and until I stopped doing it right, the weight stayed off. Ugh, the truth hurts and that is the truth.
  2. If family genes are the culprit, and I will admit they make it harder but not impossible, we would all be fat or skinny and let’s look at family pictures. My grandparents changed their bodies while living, some didn’t. Okay, I have all of their genes combined. Justifying weight by family history only explains if we are repeating eating habits not gene repetition results.
  3. Okay, I am diabetic type 2, and yes family history but hey, that is no excuse. Someone who is not diabetic should not eat sweets as a constant “nutritional” food. It is not one and is very addictive. The more sweets we eat, the more we want and so goes the vicious cycle. One good reminder of how much sugar plays into our weight, is to think back when sugar was a novelty and not a substance. Pictures prove hardly any percentage of people were obese. Those who were likely had their hands on sugar supplies.
  4. Here is my personal truth….I don’t exercise and there it is, the hard truth. When I was younger, I worked at more physical jobs and walked, ran, and danced like a fool but I moved. I don’t need to make excuses; I should move.
  5. This is one I may be the least guilty of using. My family will join in and eat healthy if I prepare it. Do they always like to keep eating healthy? No, but I am being honest. Neither do I. I love the tempting foods and I bleed Southern fattening cooking blood so I have to be aware of my deficiency in desiring healthy foods. The bottom line is do I want to sabotage my health in this way?
  6. This is a myth and I will have to say, I don’t use this denial tool but I have heard others say it many times. Do you?
Stickabilty will stop us from having to use any denial tactics and will move us toward our goals so Stick with your healthy eating and living programs.

(C) Copyright 2012-2021 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material, if source is known, is referenced to original location for credit reference.