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Reasons Why I Don’t Do Cooking Videos…Reinvention Queen

As much as I love cooking and baking, and yes, after being asked numerous times to do videos, I tried a few and it didn’t take long before I realized I am not cut out to do the step by step, measuring and attempting to work a video camera. My daughter who is a lot more savvy even saw how difficult it is. First of all, let me applaud all of you who have the patience to make them, I am impressed. However, I love to learn new tricks and I am enthralled by kitchen hacks, right? You are too. Here comes the BUT….I see so many mistakes and non preparation in these videos that it is hard not to become a critic. All in fun, but has anyone looked at the videos afterwards to see how they could be improved, or maybe in this time of instant recognition, some have a tendency to grab on to “stardom” and forget people are actually watching these videos.

Cooking comes second nature to me but the appeal of cooking is to grab a spice, or herb at the time of cooking and add it to see if that is the bomb. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t but the talent of cooking is to have that inner talent of “fixing” a recipe. My daughter and I cook and bake a lot when she visits. We talk about what we want to try to make prior to her coming over. Missy and I may look at recipes but we never stick to a “formal recipe” as it is too much fun playing around with some of her preferences and my own take on the good combos of flavors. That kind of spoils a prepared presentation but allows us so much freedom of creating some powerfully flavored dishes.

We eat with our eyes first, so the appeal has to be considered when plating.

If we see the food bubbling or seeing the freshness of the ingredients, the appetite is heightened.

I will see I have a message on my phone and it will be her new version of a dish that she has thrown together for a breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I usually ask what’s in it and she has to stop and think what she added. When we discuss creating a cookbook, we have thought it should be titled, “A Little of This and A Lot of That” because that’s the way we roll. I thought I would give you my reason for not doing cooking videos and that reason may change as time goes on, but now, I would like to throw some pointers to those brave souls who attempt to be the next Paula Deen or Brenda Gantt. Here are my thoughts and they are valued at cents on the dollar and we all know how little that is now. Some of you who love to cook and who watch videos observe the same mistakes or at least I think you have observed these things too:

What to Check before cooking and/or Videoing a Cooking/Baking Show:

  • Check the background in your kitchen before you start videoing. I cannot tell you how much clutter and weird things we see which are distracting. The less that is visible in the kitchen area keeps the viewers’ attention on what you are cooking.
  • Semi-rehearse what steps you are going to take. Repetition of the same steps, over and over make the videos longer and sometimes very boring. The terms, this is how I like to do it, I, I, I, gets old after a while. An outline of the steps might be wise to create and try to mentally follow it. Natural is good but when I watch several of the videos from the same person, I cannot stay with it if it is the same old same old stuff.
  • Prepare a lot of the measured ingredients prior to video. The shows I enjoy the most are the ones who have measured the salt, pepper, seasonings, and the chopped ingredients. It is okay if you have a tip or shortcut for the viewer on chopping, but no one wants to watch five minutes of chopping, slicing, or mincing. I watched a lady peel about six large potatoes and then chop them just to demonstrate how to make potato salad. This may be a time that you pause the video after showing the first one.
  • Have space on counters for what is going to be done. Switching back and forth can work havoc on us ADD folks so keep the video smooth as possible and we know cooking is real and anything can happen so you cannot control every little step but you can control being prepared.
  • Choose non noisy utensils, banging in drawers, pots and pans, and any nuisance should be avoided. I have actually screeched watching videos and if I have, I guarantee it unnerves a lot of people.
  • Be aware of your appearance. I am not saying that only pretty people can cook but hair unkempt is not a good match to food prep, and clean nails, and clothes neatly worn are attractive and not distractive.
  • Conversations of personal stories should flow and should not slow down the cooking activity. We love the stories of the cooks as they allow us to get to know them, but it may be annoying when the cook/chef makes it all about them.
  • Make an impression by creating a good fairly short video instead of making your debut as a wanna be food network star. If people like the way you cook, your creative ideas, and your easy cooking talents, they will watch the next one.
  • I am no expert on this as I said, I don’t do videos unless I want to share the good times I have with my daughter in the kitchen which brings me to my last tip on videos. Just because you love your family and pets, it is not a good idea to have them continually say hello, help cook all of the time, and go over their adventures. Occasionally, this might be cute but if someone has tuned in to see how you make a cake, they are focused on the cake recipe, listening to you and your tips. There is no one that loves her family more than me, but my thoughts are Keep it Simple. As I said, occasionally, but watch overloading the audience with too much traffic during the cooking time.

I say all of this to possibly help some of you who are thinking about videoing. We are in a world of almost thinking it is okay to go with the person when they go to the bathroom and let nature take its course, but I am from the old school of there are moments to share and there are times for privacy. The videos can be entertaining more than educational. I think the combo is the preference for most of us. I have learned a lot of handy ideas and I appreciate someone taking the time to make a video. If you have tried to make one, you realize it is a big effort if it’s done right.

Live Life, Love Life, and Live and Love Life to the Fullest by taking a little time to prepare. Just loving to cook or trying to get it on video is sometimes not providing the full picture. The way I see it, if you don’t keep your kitchen clean, don’t offer to cook for me. Just Sayin’……Until We Cook and Clean Again….Arline Miller, Reinvention Queen.

(C) Copyright 2012-2022 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration and Reinvention Queen with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced, if known, to the original author/location for credit reference.

My Birthday Present Is A Day In The Kitchen With My Daughter

Today, I am 73 and a happy 73 at that. I quit giving aging a thought years ago and just enjoy each day. One of the best things is my daughter who has lived across the country up until 2017 and we have learned we are different cooks but have a lot of similar traits. We will celebrate with my husband, my birthday, her birthday, and Father’s Day as well. We have worked on our menus, Greg and Missy have shopped for different ingredients. Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to Missy, and Happy Father’s Day to Greg. Here is a post that I made in 2020 and I am adding my latest salad delight, Watermelon Salad with no recipe for now, but this will be in a future cookbook that Missy and I are working on.

Arline’s Version of Watermelon Salad (recipe will be in cookbook)

Original Post: I have cooked since I was 12 or 13 in the kitchen since my Mom worked and on Saturdays, I began cooking for my family. It wasn’t sandwiches as those were the days when meals were meals. I could fry chicken or pork chops and there were side dishes. At that time, I didn’t bake anything but rolls. Looking back now, at age 71, I may have survived largely due to the time in the kitchen as my therapy sessions. I love to cook and bake and simply adore a post that someone used one of my recipes. For those of you who cringe at the thought, another type of hobby can do as much for you if it is something you love.

Here is the clincher. I have diabetes II and have had to monitor and watch what and when I eat. So, my cooking and baking is not necessarily for me but I love to spoil people with the dishes they love. One of the things that has helped me the most in managing my diabetes is I eat very small portions on a regular schedule. I don’t go long periods without a small piece of this or that and only indulge in a high carb or sugary dessert as a rarity. Over the years, I found that a spoonful of a dish can keep me from feeling I have been deprived. Some people do not have the will power to do this type of eating but it works for me and my A1C is dropping to a healthier level. My doctor said he was happy and I replied, if you are happy so am I.

I plan on sharing some of the meals/dishes I cook and believe me, they are mostly Southern dishes. I throw in some healthy dishes too but if you want more of them, watch my tab Healthy Bites at the top of my blog. I will try to add more of the yummy recipes there for the ones who love to eat healthier.

Another tip for all of you whether you are watching your weight, your health, or your happiness. Pretty food provides a mental ploy. When you see a plate that is “dressed up” your mind will be better convinced that it is also tasty. Look at this variety of salad photos for an example:

I show you these for a reason, as I found that making food a display of colors is more enticing that throwing it together without thought. Sure, it all goes to the same place but how you perceive it going down can be therapeutic and more satisfying. It is hard to imagine that you are sacrificing when you see the brilliant colors and taste the freshness. Are you beginning to understand how taking a little time, receiving satisfaction from the creation, and then tasting your reward can be a wonderful experience while at the same time filling your belly?

I hope you will try to become a food artist and while you are preparing your pretty plates of healthy choices, take photos and then look through them. I hope you see the art of eating instead of the indulgence. Good eating my readers!

(C) Copyright 2012-2022 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved and to be used with permission. All third party material is sourced to original location if known for credit reference.

Reinvention Queen Is Reinventing How We Cook

Today, instead of showing several reinventions of meals, I thought I would give my readers an insight on how I think in my kitchen. I never think of only one meal when I cook, but how I can reuse the ingredients or even the whole dish in a new way that it takes away the sting of eating “leftovers” but a new dish with different and/or additional ingredients. I am going to list out my reinvention thoughts when I begin to prepare a meal. The list will be broken down into food categories and it may give more insight than showing recipes after recipes. I will continue showing you reinvented meals but let’s start with how it helps from the get go. Here’s the list:

MEATS

  • Seafood
  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Pork

Each category offers flexibility in multiple uses and we will review how to choose, prepare, and store. I use shrimp a lot in reinvented meals but salmon makes an excellent source for my reinvented dishes.

Seafood such as shrimp or salmon can be cooked in larger quantities than the first dish and stored until it is reinvented. I usually begin with grilled, sautéd, baked and I will prepare the seafood to have at least three meals from the initially cooked meat. I am aware you are thinking why not prepare as you need it. Most certainly, you can do this. Maybe, I am hesitant about the multiple preps and cooking time. It makes sense if I am grilling, grill three times the amount in one grilling event, rather than prep three times and grill three times. When we are really “lazy” we buy the freshly steamed shrimp from our supermarket and work from the larger amount we buy. Salmon is prepped the same way, more quantity is bought, prepped, and grilled either on the grill, the air fryer oven grill, or sometimes in a pan, but always more is prepped and cooked than our initial meal.

The first meal was steamed shrimp topped with my homemade cocktail sauce.
One of the three follow up meals was this delicious Shrimp ala Arline Pasta. The shrimp were added after the cooking and blending and placed on top and covered to allow the shrimp to come to the same temperature as the other ingredients without recooking.

Beef is a common reinvention meat that several dishes are made from the initial prep and cooking. I will make meatloaf and work from that initial dish and reinvent another dish using rice or noodles. I have used my leftover meatloaf to make the best burgers or have used the meat in the base for spaghetti or soup. Beef roast becomes the main ingredient for a sandwich with other ingredients. Maybe the thought behind my reinvention queen mentality is what else can I make from the meatloaf or roast. Build from the first meat dish and I will remove and/or replace some ingredients in the next dish such as potatoes and carrots from a roast and make a pot pie from those ingredients with a different meat, such as leftover baked or stewed chicken. Use your refrigerator as a cold pantry instead of only thinking how many times will my family keep eating leftover meatloaf or roast.

Chicken is one of my favorite reinvention meats. I grill, I bake, I stew, and then I store the extra. If any of you have learned to reinvent, I will say you probably use chicken more in the recreated meals than other meats. I have stewed a pot of chicken breasts or thighs, or even both. I will store what I am not making the first day but don’t put it past me to recreate a new meal from the first dish too. Let’s say I make chicken and noodles the first day. Let’s put our Reinvention Hats on and think what could I make from that initial chicken and noodles? What if I add a crust which can be a store bought crust and use leftover potatoes and carrots from a roast I spoke about in the beef section. Throw in a can of sweet garden peas, even a can of whole kernel corn, some chopped or sautéd onions, and make a chicken pot pie. I would process the noodles slightly to encourage a thickened filling. Add herbs and seasonings to make the pie the preferred taste. How simple can that be? What about taking the breasts and/or thighs and either make a bbq sauce or use a bottled one and wallah, you have bbq chicken in a few minutes. Or what if you chop the cooked chicken and make a great chicken salad, adding celery, mayo, grapes, nuts, and seasonings. The ideas go on and on. The key is in the beginning. Don’t cook a small amount, think of the quantity of three meals/dishes would require. Cook the meat at the same time and a good tip is to invest in quality sealing containers. Never leave the extra meat out, but store immediately as this will give you a freshly cooked meat.

Pork is another great reinvention meat. Ham, oh sweet ham can be a great reinvention queen ingredient. I bake or Greg smokes the ham and I don’t do anything in the beginning as we want the presentation for the first meal. Greg will take the ham pieces off the bone leaving enough meat for a great bean or greens cooking. I make a base from cooking the bone until the flavorful broth is formed. Sometimes, and this is where I think about what can come next. I store some of this ham broth for multiple flavorful dishes. Never use the broth for one reinvented meal, think three if possible. I then will use the ham for breakfast meals with eggs or omelets. Some of the ham pieces can be used for a ham pot pie, or flavoring a soup, sandwiches, and even use in dips, or like deviled ham salad. I think you see what I am plotting and planning when I prep that ham in the beginning. Pork chops are a gift from heaven as they can be grilled, baked, and/or fried. After they are cooked, they can be eaten of course, but if you make enough, you can store the extra, chop and use in Pork and Rice, sau’te some of the chopped pieces with a mustard base with sautéd onions and peppers or a great sandwich and/or even a salad. I can go on and on many other ideas, but now is the time for you to get creative yourselves.

I reinvented the blue cornmeal muffins into my Cornbread Layered Salad and used a lot of the veggies and sauces I refer as my pantry staples. Reinvent, and recreate is my motto!

As a true Reinvention Queen, I found stocking my pantry and refrigerator with what I call filler foods. Mushrooms fresh and canned, onions, garlic, herbs, peppers, cheeses, cream and buttermilk, seasoning bastes, vinegars, balsamic vinegars, seasoning salts, and dried herbs, honey, sugar, cream of whatever soups, broths vegetable and meat, vegetable bouillon as well as better than bouillon, bread crumbs and crackers to make crumbs, flour (I use White Lily) WL corn meal, and specialty mixes for quick breads, and BUTTER as well as EVOO, and even shortening. That is a short list but it helps to have it on hand instead of trying to make a list every time for each meal.

For some of my reinvention meals, Search on my home page search for Reinvention Queen and several blog posts should come up for you to go one on one with me in my world of reinvention. Use What You Have and a philosophy I believe is WASTE NOT, WANT NOT! Have fun, try new things. Mix it up and create your own dish. Until we reinvent again………..Arline Miller, Reinvention Queen 2022.

(C) Copyright 2012-2022 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration and Reinvention Queen with all rights and permission reserved. Third party materials, if known, are sourced to original location/author for credit reference.

REINVENTION QUEEN HAS BEEN BUSY REINVENTING LEFTOVERS

While I played nurse to my husband who had a total knee replacement a month ago, we were homebound except for physical therapy and follow up visits. Since we work from home, I have cooked a lot for us and I love finding ways to reinvent a meal to eliminate that dreaded “leftover” syndrome. If it looks the same, we have a tendency to feel the Oh No, not that again. It has become a challenge, a fun one, to see what and if I can make it look new. Here are a few of my latest reinvention meals to share with you.

Remember, I am not trying to give you recipes but I want to encourage you to use what you have, try a few tricks of my trade, and waste not, want not. Open the door to your imagination, feel flavors, sense what will go with what, and experiment.

STUFFED BELL PEPPERS FROM LEFTOVER PORK AND RICE

My husband wanted to give me a break as I have cooked the three square meals while he recovered, and he made some awesome pork and rice in our InstaPot. He used cream of mushroom soup, can of mushrooms, chicken broth, salt and pepper. The rice, which I suggested he use Success Rice made in microwave and added at the last few minutes to prevent the rice from getting too soft or mushy. It was great but it made a lot so I thought what can I do to make a new dish.

Look at how great the InstaPot Pork and Rice made by Greg Miller looks and tasted.

I thought about some bell peppers I had in the fridge which needed to be used. Hmmm, remembering how a recipe I had created making stuffed peppers had rice and tomatoes and how could some yummy chopped pork not add flavors?

I cut the bell peppers in half, cleaned out the insides and coated with a small amount of EVOO and placed on the pan with a rack on top.

I mixed the pork and rice in a bowl. In my small chopper I combined a can of drained fire roasted tomatoes, garlic, chopped shallot, some leftover yellow onion pieces, chopped fresh garlic, seasonings and blended. This became the filling once mixed together with the chopped pork and rice. I added some grated Havarti cheese with dill too. Of course, I added some mirin, tamari sauce, and even a tsp of Worcestershire sauce. I added some goat cheese on top with fresh cilantro. I filled the peppers and baked on 350 degrees for 30 -40 minutes. See the photo for the results. For my summary, you could do this with leftover chicken and rice.

Here are the reinvented peppers I made.
Now, here is how I think when I make a dish, what can I do with the leftovers even from a reinvented meal….I placed the leftovers in one of our food saver bags and we sealed this for a future meal from our freezer. Free food…Love it.

Garden Peas with Leftover Spam Made Easy

I have made this easy breezy lunch all the way back when my daughter was in college. She makes it often without the meat, but this was my first time adding leftover Spam and it was delicious.

A quick summary as this is so easy, you don’t need a recipe: I can of Garden Sweet Peas, 1/2 macaroni, Spam which I had in fridge, butter 2 tsp., 1/4 cup half and half, Seasonings including Onion and Garlic Salt and enough chicken stock to cook macaroni. Saute’ Spam to give it a browned taste in pan, add butter and chicken stock and when hot, add macaroni. After about 4-6 minutes, add half and half, seasonings, and then add garden peas. Cook for same amount of time or until macaroni is cooked but don’t overcook macaroni. Cover and allow to sit for a few minutes and liquid will reduce into macaroni. This is cooked in less than 15 minutes. You can add boiled eggs, pimentos, and even cheese.

This doesn’t need a recipe. I seal leftovers such as small lima butterbeans cooked with leftover pieces of baked ham in our food saver bags and frozen. I had the cheese muffins leftover and thawed the butter beans and heated in pot. I added chopped shallots and chopped chives as a topper. This meal tasted fresh and took approximately 10 minutes.

I hope you will begin to experiment with leftovers by adding cheeses, meats, seasonings, make fritters from leftover veggies, and I am contemplating reinventing some of my great salmon patties into a breakfast dish with eggs so watch out for more from Reinvention Queen.

(C) Copyright, 2012-2022 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration and Reinvention Queen with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced if known to original location and author for credit references.

Art of Any Kind Is a Display of Love

I was reminded this morning when I posted a photo of eggs I had cooked in the egg rings my daughter had given me, cooking can be an art as many of you food lovers and chefs can attest. I had a dear friend Betty Burkhalter, who loves to cook post that she takes so much pride in how she prepares her husband’s eggs each morning and has mastered flipping them perfectly. It gave me pause thinking how sometimes I am kidded and sometimes praised for how I plate food. Then it hit me, I treat, as some of you do, cooking and baking as an art.

This is the photo that inspired this blog post. My daughter bought me egg rings since I have a tendency to spread eggs all over the pan.

Let’s think about what we perceive as art? I had not placed cooking and/or plating as an art form but I am a member of a group that displays table scapes and one particular setting caught my eye (all of the ones displayed are gorgeous) because of the use of a rare item, the knife holder. The friend I mentioned above called my attention to the fish flower vases and I zoomed in on the dining room which is quite tastefully decorated. It struck me that Maria Prather decorates as a painter paints a masterpiece with colorful blends of attractive interactive pieces. I love to think that she signs an imaginary signature to her work.

This beautifully set table scape invites the guest/family to gaze on its beauty and the love put into the display. Maria Bryan Prather shared this photo on a group on FB, Southern Tablescapes which is full of similar masterpieces.

I have a page on this blog called Decor Haven and will soon update it with Spring decors from my friends who post them on Facebook and allow me to use them. Watch for the update soon but now for the focus of this blog message.

Some can sing, some can write, some can paint and/or sculpt, some can build, some can invent, some are great chefs, and some are great speakers, and some can put the oddest things together and create a masterpiece of decor. Some can fish and importantly catch a lot, some are inventors, and some are great people who are service oriented and volunteers. Are they artists in their own right?

A pie can be a work of art and this one is special as Missy, my daughter made it for Greg and me to enjoy. It was almost too pretty to cut but the taste was as pretty.
The perfect grill marks Greg masters on the steaks he makes looks like art. Thanks Greg Miller for your artwork which always amazes me.

I figured out a great piece of Life’s Puzzle when this thought came to me. God is the most gifted artist ever. Every sunrise, sunset, river, ocean, mountains, pastures, and rainbow has been created by the Master. Now, for that piece of the puzzle….He also created each of us….A One of A Kind piece of Art, unique, and he signs an imaginary signature to us. He gives us talents to make our own pieces of art. Whichever form we choose to exhibit, he smiles. Whether it is a grandchild that loves a cake, cookie, or like I love to do, is make it where they smile when they see that piece of love art that they can eat. One of the most rewarding things I made were banana dolphins and Eli wanted to save his. He wanted to keep it and not eat it. I felt like Michelangelo for a minute. Then we decided it wouldn’t keep.

These are the banana dolphins I made (I have made them a couple of times) and they were pieces of art to the grands.

It is a good time to reflect on your pieces of art and love that you have shared with loved ones. We are not all meant to be in the public spotlight and fame doesn’t come to each of us. What we can relish in is the knowledge we are in God’s spotlight and He wants us to shine in The Love He Gives Us so others might find their talents and spread His Love.

Live Life, Love Life, and Live Life To The Fullest by loving what you do, what you can share, and to know you are a piece of God’s Art and Beauty.

(C) Copyright 2012-2022 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration and Reinvention Queen with all rights and privileges reserved. Third Party Material is sourced, if known, to the original location/author for credit references.

STAKING MY REPUTATION ON AIR FRIED GRILLED STEAK

I have promised my readers/followers that as I test out different dishes/meals in my Power XL Air Fryer Grill Oven 7 n 1 appliance, I would update you on the good and the bad (if any) results and I am excited to tell you that one of my concerns was grilling a steak. It is so pricey these days to purchase beef of any kind but steaks are so costly, that a chance of failure was highly stressful.

Here is how I prepared steaks for us yesterday with the most favorable results, better than I could have imagined, and even my grill master husband Greg said they were excellent and so tender.

We started with good steaks and seasoned with my husband’s blend of salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Before we placed them in our Power XL 7 n 1 Air Fryer Grill Oven, we used the tenderizer which works wonders. Then after they had time to mellow, we placed them on the grill pan in the bottom slot. I splashed a few small dashes of Liquid Smoke to add that outdoor taste. I set it on 400 degrees, Grill feature, time was set past 20 minutes (oh yes, I preheated for 5 minutes prior to inserting steaks.)

The next thing was I had made garlic butter by processing room temperature butter, 2 heaping teaspoons of minced garlic and a dash of onion salt. I added 2 tsps of dried parsley. This was awesome and I smeared some on the steaks after they began grilling. We also used a pat of this garlic butter on top of the grilled steaks. Yummy!

I don’t know about you but these are perfectly medium rare steaks. The first time was 5 minutes on Grill, Flipped them and set timer for 3 minutes, changed the setting to Broil for 3 minutes, and wallah, perfect steaks without cranking up the grill and dealing with rainy cold weather.

We let the steaks rest for about 5 minutes and then plated with some macaroni salad as well as a small green salad. Easy breezy. No condiments needed and we discovered a great way to use our Power XL Oven. BTW, next time I grill pork chops, I will follow the same procedure.

Here is our grilled steak and I hope you will try this method as the clean up was as easy breezy as the grilling. Grill marks on a tender delicious steak. Don’t forget the Liquid Smoke and the Garlic Butter. The knife glided through the steak and that is all I needed to see.

Please remember you can do the sides in the Air Fryer as well like a perfect baked potato or fries. Veggies can be air fried/grilled easily too. I have a lot of recipes on my Pinterest board for your viewing and pinning.

I hope you will try many recipes and feel free to let me know how they turn out. I want to try the Bang Bang Salmon soon….Until We Power Up Again….Happy Meals to You…..Arline Miller, Reinvention Queen

(C) Copyright 2012-2022 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration and Reinvention Queen with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced, if known, to original location/author for credit reference.

REINVENTION QUEEN’S LITTLE BITS & PIECES

Today, while it is chilly or rather colder than I like it to be, I am staying inside and while I am hibernating, I thought I would share some of my tips and even some I have learned from others with my readers. I love reinventing dishes from leftovers and I have some awesome spaghetti sauce that needs to be eaten but you know as well as me, that making the same spaghetti dish gets mundane. While looking this morning, I found an easy way to make personal pizzas in the air fryer using English Muffins. Look at this easy way to use that spaghetti sauce:

Recipe by Gilat Split the English Muffin in half Place the English Muffins split side up in the air fryer for 3 minutes at 400 degrees.Remove from air fryer and top each with pizza sauce and cheese (optional: mini pepperoni, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder.Place back into the air fryer for 4 minutes at 400 degrees.

These are ideas that can be used to add ingredients you have on hand and make it your own.

Don’t you find that you always have more salad that you can eat when you order from a restaurant that have awesome salads, especially Caesar Salads with the delicious super greens? Next time, you could use one of my tips by removing some of the greens into a storage container for later. Make sure that you keep the greens with no dressing to stay fresh and crisp. Yesterday I shared this tip on FB when I made homemade tuna salad that I used one of the dressing containers of Caesar Dressing in the tuna mixture which was an awesome taste.

I have learned to save the extras from take out, store immediately, and use. Do you save the condiments like soy sauce, ketchup, duck sauce, Arby’s sauces (the horseradish sauce is great for making your own tartar sauce). Waste not, want not is Reinvention Queen’s motto.

Another great tip for saving extra rice from Chinese take out as you know they give you too much to eat at the time you get it home: Place extra rice with a paper towel in a zip loc bag or container. You can make a quick soup by using the rice along with a tomato condensed soup, a vegetable can of soup, or a cream of whatever soup with a little broth added to the leftover rice. Wallah, instant soup and usage of food. Never waste, make something new instead. BTW, add some leftover cooked veggies to whatever soup you make.

How about making your own seasonings? This is a handy reference and we all know we have so many bottles of spices in our pantry. Why buy the blends? Make some from what you have on hand.

What to do if you find your favorite bread on sale and know that you would love to stock up but worried about keeping it fresh? See this tip:

Photo tip by Thehomesteadsurvival.com

One of my dear friends cooks with fresh veggies and fruits to keep her immune system cranked up and here is a great tip from Debra Brown:

This is where I use creativity by looking at what I have in the refrigerator and adding it to some pantry items. Deb and I think alike.

Note from Arline Miller, Reinvention Queen: I have posted several dishes made from an original dish on my blog and if you search on my home page on the right side and type in Reinvention Queen, it will bring up several posts focused on making the most of what you have. When I bake, broil, fry, meats, I do more quantity in the first round to save energy (both mine and the stove’s).

Jon Taylor provides a great tip for making Nature’s Flu Shot and my thoughts are make this up by using excess lemons, pineapple juice, and garlic that you may have in your fridge.

Let’s get our minds to working to use up the pricey items we are buying so that we don’t waste and conserve our money. Inflation hurts but we can beat the odds by using what we have in oh so many ways….Until we cook/bake again…..Arline Miller, Reinvention Queen.

(C) Copyright, 2012-2022 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration and Reinvention Queen with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced, if known, for credit references.

MAKING A RECIPE MY OWN VERSION

Do you love to use your imagination in baking and/or cooking? I do and I like to use the things in my pantry to see if they will work in an existing recipe like the one below. I know if you make this recipe the exact way it was created, it would be delicious and I am not knocking on this recipe. Quite the opposite, if I choose a recipe to base a creation on, it means I think it is a winner. I am posting the original recipe to give credit to the source.

This Cinnamon Sour Cream Coffee Cake from Mary Younkin’s new cookbook, The Weekday Lunches & Breakfasts Cookbook, is a recipe you’ll make again and again. With a super moist cake and two layers of cinnamon streusel, this morning treat is hard to resist. It is THE perfect accompaniment to your weekend morning coffee! This recipe was found on 365 Days of Baking & More.

Photo courtesy of 365 Days of Baking & More https://www.365daysofbakingandmore.com/cinnamon-sour-cream-coffee-cake/?fbclid=IwAR17QMToxXhxo9c_TTv9Ihyuj1dDlxJ1sHArU-UXzOG4_ZCEtOQ_OSao_0k

Cinnamon Sour Cream Coffee Cake

This Cinnamon Sour Cream Coffee Cake will be love at first bite! With a super moist cake and delicious cinnamon streusel layers, it’s the perfect treat with your morning coffee!4.62 from 31 votesCourse: Breakfast, DessertCuisine: AmericanKeyword: Coffee Cake, Sour Cream Coffee Cake Prep Time: 20 minutesCook Time: 40 minutesTotal Time: 1 hour Servings: 12 people Calories: 408kcal Author: Lynne Feifer

Ingredients

Cinnamon Streusel

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar packed
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup butter melted

Cake

  • 1/2 cup butter room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Instructions

Cinnamon Streusel

  • Combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and butter in a medium bowl. Mix together with a fork until clumps are formed.

Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350° F. and grease a 9 X 9-inch pan with butter.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and cinnamon. 
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. 
  • Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Add the flour mixture.
  • Add the sour cream and mix until well combined. 
  • Pour half of the cake batter into the prepared pan and with an offset spatula, spread to cover the bottom. 
  • Sprinkle half of the cinnamon streusel evenly over the cake batter.
  • Cover with remaining batter and then sprinkle again with the remaining streusel. 
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes, until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out with moist crumbs. Cool completely before slicing.

Nutrition

Calories: 408kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 86mg | Sodium: 193mg | Potassium: 89mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 695IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 1.4mgHave you made this recipe?Please share on Instagram @365daysofbaking or tag #365daysofbaking!

Note from Arline Miller, Reinvention Queen: My changes which allowed me to put this tasty coffee cake together quickly. It didn’t change the recipe taste but with the use of a Moist Yellow Cake Mix, I assembled the coffee cake easily. I made the streusel the same but added a cup of chopped pecans for added flavor.

I used this cake mix instead of the cake portion in the original recipe. I also added the 1/2 cup sour cream in the cake batter as well as 1/2 tsp of nutmeg and 1 tsp. cinnamon. Since I used sour cream, I reduced the 1 cup water to 1/2 cup to equalize the liquid. I baked my cake for 50 minutes to make sure middle was completely cooked. Toothpick tested.
My version of this recipe image. Ooh lala, it is so moist and full of good spice but not overpowering.
You can see it has a great streusel layer inside the cake and top. Toss on some whipped topping and you have a hit. This is wonderful with a good cup of coffee or a glass of milk. Your choice.

My thoughts after trying it is for the baker to make the choice of which way you like it. I am pleased with using the cake mix. I would like to say to all of my readers and followers, learn to reinvent recipes to make them your own or make them exactly like they were planned. It is entirely up to you……. Until we cook or bake again……..Arline Miller, Reinvention Queen

(C) Copyright 2012-2022 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration and Reinvention Queen with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced to original location/author, if known, for credit reference.

REINVENTION QUEEN REINVENTS LEFTOVERS

What do you do when you have leftovers in the refrigerator and don’t want to waste food? You can do what I did by thinking what dish would these leftovers were combined with a few extra goodies added? I thought I should help “stir” your imagination on how you can make a great “new” dish from foods you have handy.

DECONSTRUCTED CHICKEN POT PIE

Here is how it looked when I mixed it together
Finished Deconstructed Chicken Pot Pie. Would you ever believe it was made with leftovers?

Here was what I had in the fridge:

Leftover Chicken Thighs I had cooked in the InstaPot this week (6 thighs)

Leftover Sweet Carrots and Zucchini with Onions from a local restaurant

Leftover Rice from a local Chinese Restaurant which they always give too much rice.

Chicken Broth in box leftover from other meals which I didn’t want to waste.

Butter (always have butter handy)

1 can each Cream of Chicken and Cream of Mushroom (pantry always has these on my shelves for helping a reinvention recipe have instant flavor)

Seasoning (I keep seasonings handy at all times to spark up flavors to reinvent leftovers as the Poultry Seasoning in this dish)

Chives this time but I would as easily have used parsley, thyme, rosemary, or basil. Fresh chives don’t last long in the refrigerator so they needed to be used.

Mix the pulled chicken pieces with the other ingredients and add the soups and broth in large saute’ pan and once ingredients are blended, place on low heat and simmer until you are ready. Remember everything is already cooked so it is only for flavor blending. Enjoy and think you can substitute other items as long as you remember an important key factor in reinventing a dish. Think of your plate of food and would you serve all ingredients together as separate dishes? Such as the carrots would always go with chicken, what soups taste good with what meats/veggies, and seasonings should be compatible with the main ingredient………..Until we cook/bake again…..Arline Miller, Reinvention Queen

(C) Copyright 2012-2022 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration and Reinvention Queen with all rights and privileges reserved. Third Party material is sourced, if known, to original location/author for credit references.

Cupid’s Calling All Chocoholics

Each year, as Valentines Day creeps closer, that urge to have chocolate increases. It’s not like we haven’t indulged during the holidays, but it pulls at our minds and tummies even more when it is associated with love and passion. I find myself saying it’s okay because it’s Valentines. I have been able to cut down on chocolates while on my mission to find better health. However….it will be Valentines Day soon! Here is my post from a few years ago for all Chocoholics.

FOR THE BEGINNING OF FEBRUARY 2021, I found a great post about the big event so I thought I would repost it on the first of February to whet our appetite.

Calling all Chocoholics (Chocolate Lovers who might need intervention)! Valentines Day is coming soon so excuses are not needed as it is the reason for the season but WHY? Let us consider the pros and cons of downing the chocolate, milk, white, dark, or mixed with nuts, fillings, or whatever form we can get it. Is there a link to Love? Is it a feel good reason we have to have it. Today, we enter the river of flowing chocolate and get our mouths drooling. Here is an enlightening article I found giving us the psychological reasons and we already know the real reason is “we can’t live without it.”

Why Do We Crave Chocolate So Much?

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Why Do We Crave Chocolate So Much?

The psychology behind why we love chocolate

Posted Feb 11, 2014

Source:Why do we crave chocolate so much? I consulted a professor of psychology and neuroscience, Dr. Amy Jo Stavnezer, to help us understand why we desire chocolate so much (just in time for Valentine’s Day!).

Dr. Albers: On a biological level, why do we crave chocolate?

Professor Stavnezer: We crave chocolate because it is good! It tastes good. It smells good. It feels good when it melts on our tongue. And all of those ‘feelings’ are the result of our brain releasing chemicals in response to each chocolate experience. The experience of eating chocolate results in feel good neurotransmitters (mainly dopamine) being released in particular brain regions (frontal lobe, hippocampus and hypothalamus—definitions a bit later).

Dopamine is released when you experience anything that you enjoy—sexlaughing, or watching your favorite Olympian claim the gold. This reward circuit is partially hard-wired by genetics, but it learns, changes and responds to your specific preferences based on your life experiences. This malleability of the brain is what makes each of us unique. In fact, there are supposedly people in the world who do not like chocolate.

By simply using one neurotransmitter system to associate rewards with actions, an efficient and powerful brain network evolved so that a positive outcome would be repeated. The dopamine signal sent through the reward circuit brings about positive feelings and assessments of the situation in the frontal lobe (just behind your eyes), creates a memory of the experience including where, who, what and why and links that to the positive experiences via the hippocampus (about an inch inside of each ear), and when food is involved, the hypothalamus (a few inches above the roof of your mouth) gathers information about the caloric and nutrient content for future hunger and satiety signals.

It was originally thought that chocolate contained compounds that could activate this dopamine system directly (like cigarettes and cocaine do). Chocolate does contain theobromine that can increase heart rate and bring about feelings of arousal, caffeine which can make us feel awake and increase our ability to work and focus, and fat and sugar which are preferred food sources for humans because they are calorie dense. However, elegant experiments in which the components of chocolate were separated out indicated that just ingesting the chemicals in chocolate without the mouth-feel and taste does not decrease craving.

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Photo courtesy of goodhousekeeping.com



Maybe this is why we eat chocolate?

I found an excerpt from an article on the history of how chocolate became the ruler of Valentines Day. It is from National Geographic and is titled Why We Want Chocolate for Valentines Day

THE PLATE

Why We Want Chocolate for Valentine’s Day

3 MINUTE READBY APRIL FULTON

So how did chocolate become the ultimate Valentine’s Day treat?

The origins of the historic combination are far from clear. Chocolate has been considered an aphrodisiac since the time of the Aztecs, and was once only available to the wealthy. Spanish conquistadors brought it back to Europe, and according to The Oxford Companion to Food, Italian chefs were shaving blocks over their risottos in the late 17th century. The French made pastilles in the 18th century, a favorite of the marquis de Sade. But it wasn’t until the cocoa butter extracted from the beans was processed into the rough form of a candy bar in England in 1847, according to Cadbury, and later rounded out with milk, that its appeal began to grow. Once candy became cheaper to produce, more people got to taste it. And once they tasted it, well, you know the rest.

Meanwhile, the origins of Valentine’s Day are even more complex. They can be traced to Roman times and Lupercalia, a Pagan festival that involved fertility and feasting in mid-February. The Romans “were drunk. They were naked,” Noel Lenski, a historian at the University of Colorado at Boulder, told NPR in 2011. Young women lined up for the men to hit them, Lenski says. They thought would make them fertile.

Not too romantic, was it? It gets crazier. The early Catholic Church martyred a rebel priest named Valentine and tried to take the nakedness out of the Lupercalia festival by declaring Feb. 14 as St. Valentine’s Day. Chaucer combined the essence of the pagan rituals with courtly ideas of love in one famous Valentine’s poem about bird sex: “And, Lord, the blisse and joye that they make! For ech of hem gan other in wynges take.” And then Shakespeare took the notion of romantic love even further in the sonnets.

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Hopefully, this will get your Valentine craving for chocolate flowing and from this Sipping Cup of Inspiration blogger, Happy Valentines Day and now it is official, you have a natural reason for loving chocolate. My deeper thought is to LIVE LIFE, LOVE LIFE, AND LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST by digesting all that life has to offer as long as you add to other’s lives and not make their lives unhappy. Eat chocolate or don’t, but love always.

(C) Copyright 2012-2022 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration and Reinvention Queen with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material, if known, is sourced to original location for credit reference

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