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The Fun Is In The Kneading.

My last message was inspired by learning a new method for me in making homemade yeast rolls and how the dough had to be punched down with the analogy of how life works. As a curious soul and a serious baker, I decided to override my intimidation of yeast and go for some yeast rolls which my family loves. I had a great experience which proved very satisfying so I will share my experience.

I love to watch other cooks and bakers’s videos and I happen to see Mountain Cooking with Missy and guess what she was making. Yes, homemade yeast rolls. To watch the video, go to her page on Facebook and look for the video for Hot Baked Rolls or a similar title. She does a great job of simply instructing us through what seemed hard to do previously. I don’t have permission to share the video on here at this time. If I get the okay, I will edit this post to include the video. She doesn’t have a written recipe so I watched a couple of times and assembled the ingredients. I paused several times and it worked for me. I am including photos.

This is so exciting to know how to make yeast rolls and I am sure that practice will make perfect or at least close to perfection. What I want to share are my personal thoughts on actually experiencing how this analogy works with some added enlightenments I experienced.

I was interested in the blooming of the yeast and it seemed to come alive (actually does become active) and I referenced it to life beginning as our bodies and minds develop, we become active and begin to “grow” as the yeast did in the glass with the sugar. It occurred to me that it needed the sugar to help it activate and in life don’t we need love or as I like to say “sugar”?

I prepped the liquid of milk and softened butter as instructed and then added the magical yeast with an egg. I stirred and stirred until it was mixed and as I did so, I thought of how we mix family, friends, school, romance, and together they work as a future rising star. I cannot express the childlike anticipation I felt peeping under the dish towel that draped the unknown yeast but as I watched (periodically checking) it grew and you can see in one of the pics, it rose and rose. It is the same in life when we strive toward a goal, relationship, and or career. It is with excitement but can include stress too. We swell with pride upon success and we will get punched down a few times or even many before we can become what we strive to be.

The kneading was the most gratifying part of the process. The feel of “my dough” under my fingertips was so much fun. I see why my friends have love to make yeast dough. It is like a potter spinning the clay and watching the art become a reality.

I can go on and on with how much insightful this experience was and will be in the future as now yeast rolls and bread making is my new friend. This is relevant in life as we should never get stale in our relationships, religion, friendships, and our careers. We should be willing and actually enjoy the kneading required for each of these. The bread of life has to be kneaded properly or it will not be flakey and delicious as it can be.

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

KNEADING THE BREAD OF LIFE

I have been so pleased with the response to one of my posts My Life As a Dumpling which has proven to be one of the most popular blogs. While I was watching its popularity, I was also a student of desire to accomplish making yeast rolls/breads. For someone who will keep trying with the mentality of I think I can, yeast rolls have not been a success for you…..YET!

I began researching and observing the baking/cooking groups I belong for hints, the ultra secret, the magical tip, etc. What I found was interesting so another attempt will soon be coming. As most of you know that have followed me, is I apply everything to everyday life and at 4 am one morning the enlightenment came and now it is time to share it with my readers. If any of you have not tried to make yeast “something” you should. You will see the relationship with my blog post of The Bread of Life.

I have provided a link to this recipe Courtesy of Chocolate by Grace.

When the dough has risen, punch dough down with a floured hand and shape and bake as desired.

I borrowed this instruction as the basis of my analogy of making yeast dough to life. One of the times I attempted to make yeast bread, I was so proud of the rise the yeast dough had made, I forgot this important step…In order for the final product to process and make the dough the best it can be, it has to be punched down, right, all of you best bread bakers? I thought about this and my daughter reminded me something I had said to her many times. Success is a result of many small failures. So the punching down may be a little overwhelming, it is part of the process.

In life, and in yeast bread making, some recipes require two or even three punch down tasks. Shortcuts to success are usually shortcuts to failure and it takes patience to wait for the dough to rise. Life works that way. Once in a while, we will see what appears to be instant success but if you study those successes, it was the result that seemed instant and a lot of time and patience with several punch downs taking place that gave the true success.

Now, let’s talk about another important step in making yeast dough, KNEADING. Here is another place or step that I failed. I am not a person who has a lot of patience and some would testify that I may not possess any of that beautiful talent. I want everything I do to be resolved, completed, and successful in a second or maybe two. That doesn’t work in breads. You can do the prep, the mixture, the perfect rise and yes, even the punch down and the second or third rise, but if you skip the proper kneading you won’t have the successful end result. I will provide how important the kneading is to the process.

I found a great article that is linked below with some excepts/pictures:

https://www.thespruceeats.com/kneading-dough-bread-baking-for-beginners-427562

Why We Need to Knead

The reason kneading is an important part of bread making is to create structure and strength in the dough, leaving it silky and soft with a little cushiony feel. Flour contains two proteins that combine to form gluten, which is responsible for creating the elastic texture in the dough. After the dough ingredients are mixed, the proteins are in a random pattern and knotted together. When the dough is kneaded, the proteins begin to line up in such a way that strands of gluten develop and create a structure that allows for the trapping of gases and the dough to rise.  

This is how we should see success in yeast baking. We should also see success in our lives if we are willing to do the work. If we get punched down, remember we will rise again!

I have some more thoughts about comparison of life with everyday events and processes. If we understand, some learning curve is necessary and practice makes perfect, we get life. LIVE LIFE, LOVE LIFE, AND LIVE TO LOVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST BY ROLLING WITH THE PUNCHES AND RISE TO THE TOP.

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

LET’S SLOW DOWN TO GET FAST RESULTS

What do I mean by this title of my blog message? I feel we have gotten into a manic rush form of thinking and doing. Let’s look at the names of appliances and social media such as InstaPot and InstaGram, Snapchat, etc. We have adapted our minds to an Instant Decision Making Process. No longer do we take reasonable time to consider the consequences of our actions. My focus on this message is perhaps on the important matters, we should use the Slow Cooker method to allow our decisions to simmer long enough to obtain the maximum positive results. Let’s dive in, and go over the options of pros and cons of thinking and how our actions can affect our lives.

Photo courtesy of Indeed.com (they own rights to this image)

My Assessment of this Use of Thinking Skills

In my lifetime, not one time but many, I have used impulsive buying as in see something, buy something. Impulsive buying has had a probable result of 50-50 satisfaction. I think if I had exercised 1, 2, and 3 steps, I could have moved my satisfaction meter up to at least 75% or higher. Tags on clothes, that I gave away due to the 50% non satisfied are proof.

Communication #4 has been boggled by social media. The intention of most of our social media platforms was to engage all of us, even though we have different locations, ethnic backgrounds, work diversification, religious and political beliefs, genders, etc. This sounds like a great idea but it also allows for dissension among the social media followers and argumentative actions can be counter productive. Maybe unbiased research and conversations in a private setting may be more productive and less hostile. Constructive criticism (I hate the word criticism as it negates any positivity so I like to use input or feedback) if used in a character building manner can be useful.

Problem Solving #5 is a way of life for me, maybe to a fault. If someone, even someone that I have the highest regard and value their intelligence, tells me of a problem or situation that requires solution and/or resolution I want to offer my opinion immediately. This is not a good thing and I am working on it. Let’s see what I have been working on to help solve problems but not mandate my solution:

  • If I ask questions instead of making recommendations, this gives the person an opportunity to self help of making decisions with a confidence builder for them.
  • Once a person has stated a problem, by asking a question of what they think should or could happen to resolve this problem, it puts the ball back in their hands. It becomes their decision, not yours.
  • Listening instead of talking, asking instead of telling will be more effective and the recipient of any input from me is better received.
  • Caring enough to follow up with someone who has stated a problem on the status, what has been accomplished, what is still outstanding, and if not resolved, ask what they feel is the next step.

I am going to take a step backwards to #2 Analysis. I am learning, WIP, to do what I term as Realistic Analysis. What is the difference by adding Realistic to Analysis? I am a writer and also a very positive person. I see the best, but I have learned that I have to expect realistic results. Prince Charming is not every man or every woman is not a Princess. There are trolls and evil queens outside of fairy tales. Realism is a realistic way of life and we should analyze possibilities in a realistic visual. Some examples are creams help diminish wrinkles topically but they are still part of the aging process and even though the creams help, we can expect this is an ongoing part of aging. We can dream to accomplish what we would love to happen in our lives, but the reality is, can we live without that dream if it doesn’t come to us? We can, we can also dream of other accomplishments we can realistically achieve while we work on the master dream.

Sipping Cups of Inspiration is now in its 10th year with well over 150 countries viewing it.

Let’s slow down, brew a slow brew of delicious coffee bypassing the instant coffee. Let’s doodle, draw, write, sing, dance, exercise, meditate, contemplate, envision, go fishing, watch football, baseball, or even work puzzles, cook or bake instead of take out. We are each going to come to a Stop Sign of Life and that is about as realistic as it gets. LIVE LIFE, LOVE LIFE, AND LIVE AND LOVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST BY SLOWING DOWN TO SMELL THE ROSES!

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

MANAGING MY MIND MANAGES MY WEIGHT

I am happy to say that I turned 73 in June and now have lost 52 pounds! I thought this post bears repeating and even is more convincing with more results. I have a goal for next year at this time to report a possible loss of 10 or more which will put me at a 40 year lowest weight. My husband has jumped on the get healthier and in shape, but he will deserve his own post as he has made great and I mean great strides in the last 6 months.

I think this photo was taken when I was approaching the 50 pound loss marker.

Here is the original post that confirmed my life eating style change:

I am turning 72 in June and have lost 37 pounds. No, not by any miracle diet, not by restricting or avoiding any particular food……Smaller portions and when I eat the good foods outweigh the bad ones….Literally. Today, I am not an expert but I want to share my experience in a lifetime of fighting the bulge. I used to be an exercise advocate and to all of you who exercise, Kudos. As I got older, the thought of having to exercise is not as exciting as it used to be. I do stay active for my age but never do I hit the gym or track like the golden years of youth. Here is how I have gotten to where I am today and maybe, some of it will make sense to some of you and you get off the diet track and get on the eating the amount of food that you can digest without a lot of digestive side effects and maintain and/or lose some pounds. This is not a solicitation for any method of culinary preferences, just a woman who struggled for as long as she wanted and found a way to make it happen for her.

Arline Miller, 71 years old, 37 pounds lighter, and still loving life.

About 8 to almost 9 years ago, my husband encouraged or maybe the better word is demanded I go have blood work. I was the worst person as I felt good almost all of the time but had somehow began to fall asleep in the late afternoon even sitting up. I say this lovingly, and now appreciatively, I went to get him to stop saying everyone needs a check up at least once a year. Okay, so I gave in with no idea of what I was about to find out. First, I had always been on some kind of “diet” or “program” since I didn’t want to be fat so I could name so many diets I tried. My thoughts are any diet will work for the time you can stay on them. It is the harsh truth that it is almost impossible to stay on any diet for a long period of time. We get bored eating the same foods; we feel victimized and controlled so we rebel; or the excuse event such as a wedding, birthday, anniversary, cruises, trips, etc and we make the almost guarantee to fail on the diet statement of “I will eat a little now and go back on my diet, just this one time and it will be fine.”

PHOTO OF ME before the weight loss and I wish i showed a picture of my whole body at the time. This is me at my highest weight.

On to the chapter of the doctor’s appointment: I go and cheerfully think I will be fine. I was just tired, no problem. I am a go getter and workaholic so that is why I feel tired. Right? No, Wrong. I will repeat the words my doctor said to me, “You are a walking time bomb. You are diabetic with your A1C at 8 with hypertension, overweight, and your cholesterol and liver enzymes are out of sight.” What was he talking about? I was close to tears, in shock, and thought he was a jerk. He had to be talking about someone else, not me, not superwoman. Oh, did I walk out of his office in a fog, a stupor, and thinking he doesn’t know me. I had always had a mental theory I was okay as I kept a positive attitude.

When I got over my pity party. Yes, I had a big one and even contemplated accepting the bad news and not doing a blasted thing about it and go on with my bad self. Then it hit me that he actually said, walking time bomb. Uh oh, that meant if I didn’t do something to change or diffuse this bomb in me, it was, or rather I would explode. I woke up in the reality, what I was doing was not the path I had to choose.

Food satisfies when it is dressed up for the celebration of a meal.

Next, all of the dieting experiences I had previously performed looked like the way to go. On one program, then to the next, and then trying another one as I had a hard time either eating all salads or meats, or only bland food. I am a rebel and this jerked my chain and I would think even when I was losing weight that I am not living; I am existing.

I decided once I had lost 17 pounds and wanted more off that me restricting my foods only raised the element of rebellion in me. One day, as I wake up very early, I had an epiphany to try to eat small portions of those foods I crave and eat healthy foods in larger portions so here came my new eating way of life. If I made potato salad, I took out a heaping tablespoon of it and placed it with my other food. If I made a cake, I cut a small slice, almost a sliver, but I ate it. I cut my portions of meat down to 1/3 of a fried chicken breast and yes, it was fried or from the air fryer. I eat a tablespoon or two of mac and cheese, rice, potatoes, and I will eat 5 or 6 french fries. I don’t ever take out large portions and I eat a half bowl of soup, spaghetti, or a small plate of mini portions. I eat a good size salad and use my dressing of choice but I don’t pour it on, I use it sparingly. The surprise from this change is I am full even with smaller portions and find I cannot eat a large quantity of anything. I retrained my mind and that is why the title of this blog is Manage Your Weight is To Manage Your Mind.

Make your plate pretty and now, my plate would be a salad plate and a lot less quantity.

If you want to try this method, don’t do it all at once. Try cutting the portion of the highest carb or sugar foods first. Breads can be cut out or lessened in amounts. Just be conscious of the amounts not what you eat. If you have a sandwich, cut it into four (4) square pieces. The mind will adjust and feel you have eaten more. The next time, make a half sandwich and cut into two (2) pieces. You will be amazed at how you will feel satisfied since the separate pieces will give you the satisfaction of more than one. Cut pieces of meat into smaller pieces prior to beginning to eat as you will see more pieces and it will feel like more. The next time, cut a larger piece of meat in half and do the same thing and so on and so on. Peel fruit and go ahead and separate the slices on your plate. The next time cut the fruit in half and you will find yourself eating a lot less over time. Make your plates pretty no matter what you are eating. That is something I do feel I do that makes whatever, even if small portion, is enticing and calms the cravings and satisfies my desire from food.

The old saying of make sure you eat everything on your plate is the root of all food evil. On this luscious and healthy meal, there is nothing wrong with eating small portions and repurposing food for another meal. I will have some blogs on my repurposing food anther time.

As I think that i will spend some blogs on how this process has changed my life and how much sweeter it is now that I know a small taste of something good, instead of feeling deprived keeps me on track. It’s the mind, not the diet, that causes the best things to happen.

(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 for credit reference.

Reinvention Queen Revisits Potatoes

The following post was from almost a year ago and I decided that it is getting that time again for thinking of chowders, oyster stew, soups and chilis so what better way but to revisit this idea. Look for the other ideas for reinventing our normal foods into a new dish. Here is how I expanded some great potatoes into a delicious c

Yesterday, we were the recipients of one of my husband’s long time friend, David Fletcher who is an avid gardener, first bounty freshly dug new potatoes and awesome fresh garden grown onions. I was over the moon with the sight of the vegetables and I washed them off and thought of my childhood. Before I share both of my dishes, I thought I would reminisce a little.

When we were little, times were not easy but they were good. I don’t have a memory of a horrible childhood but rather a time much simpler than all the craziness in the world. We had neighborhood playmates and if we could be called a gang, it was an innocent one, and we now call ourselves the Willow Street Gang. One of those neighbors is smiling if he is reading this, as Duane Tucker and I jokingly refer to our days on that little street in my hometown of Douglas GA. Now, for the background story of the new potatoes or potatoes in general. To say our Mother could stretch a dollar for a mile, would be to insult that crafty lady. How she could make a meal out of almost no cost is still a mystery but one I remembered after I became an adult.

We may not have had a bounty of food but she always had just enough to feed us all. There were four children and two adults and one can of salmon would feed us and we left full. A mess of potatoes and we had the creamiest, tastiest, and filling meal. She would make bread to go along with it and sometimes if a neighbor had surplus and we got vegetables, oh yeah, we ate well. As I stated, she could make enough for us growing children to leave the table satisfied. When I made the fresh new potatoes, I was smiling while cooking them. Now, let’s move on to how I made two meals from this yumminess.

A large pot of stewed new potatoes with so much flavor.

Arline’s Stewed Potatoes:

  • Approximately 2-3 lbs of potatoes (new for me but regular russet potatoes can be used)
  • 1 large onion preferably sweet Vidalia or similar sweet garden variety chopped
  • 1 large box chicken or vegetable broth (chicken used)
  • 1 stick of salted butter
  • Mixture of garden herbs with more dill than others
  • 3 Tablespoons of Flour (either type, SR or AP)
  • 3/4 cup – 1 cup Heavy Cream or Half and Half Cream
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 T Onion Powder

Scrub potatoes and cube into large bite size pieces. Place them into large pot with the broth. You can use some water in addition to broth if you need to fill to above potatoes. Add butter cut into cubes with crushed or finely chopped herbs as stated above. Cook until potatoes become fork tender on medium heat.

In a small cup, place some of the broth and flour and whisk until flour is dissolved. Add to pot and mix together. Add cream to potato broth with salt and pepper and onion powder and turn on low heat. Cook until they are very tender. Turn heat off and let the potatoes soak up some of the thickened liquid. (Tip: If liquid is not thickened enough, you can add a small amount of corn starch or mix small amount of flour to thicken to a sauce of richness.

These were so delicious that I almost didn’t make the next dish from the leftovers but I couldn’t resist the reinvention from them to the easiest clam chowder I have made. I made my simple but you can go wild with carrots, celery, whole kernel corn and use canned clams. The possibilities are endless but this one was put together in a couple of minutes with the biggest task of opening cans.

Reinvention Step of Enhancing Stewed Potatoes into Clam Chowder in Five Minutes.

To the pot of new potatoes, I opened three cans of Bar Harbor New England Clam Chowder but may I say, there are numerous brands of canned great chowders on grocery shelves so I used what was in my pantry. I added some celery seeds, garlic salt, mushroom seasonings, oyster sauce, and some Old Bay Seasoning to pump up the chowder flavorings. This I leave to all of you fine cooks, use your creativity. You can make it spicy and/or hot, but I go the middle of the road.

In a few minutes, I have a new meal so that it doesn’t reflect leftovers. This morning, I will return the chowder to the stove top and cook it very low and slow for all of the flavors to blend and when it is lunchtime, it will be Chowder Time at Millerville. All of this done with very little effort.

Here is the clam chowder complete with grated white cheddar cheese.
I seared some scallops marinated in buttermilk and herbs galore and seared them in a hot skillet with butter, grape-seed oil, soy sauce and oyster sauce. I made a roulade sauce. Definitely a delicious accompaniment to the chowder!

Until We Cook Again……Happy Meals……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 if used and original location and author are known, it will be sourced for credit reference.

REINVENTION QUEEN “HAMS” IT UP

I posted the following blog post about a year ago. Since that time, I have baked more ham, froze the bone with meat, and used them to season cabbage, greens, beans, soups, and I thought that it is a good mental reminder to think of ways to continue make the most of meats that we cook. I am adding a list of ideas of how to use leftover ham before the original post:

  • SUGGESTIONS FOR LEFTOVER HAM
  • Leftover Ham Salad
  • Ham and Bean Soup
  • Leftover Ham & Leek Pies
  • Baked Ham and Penne Pasta
  • Ham and Cheese Croissant Casserole
  • Ham and Cheese Hot Pockets
  • Scalloped Potatoes and Ham
  • Leftover Ham and Cheese Pizza
  • Ham Hash
  • Glazed Ham Hash Loaf
  • Leftover Ham Breakfast Sandwich
  • Ham and Cheese Grits Casserole
  • Ham and Pineapple Rice
  • Ham and Potato Casserole
  • Ham Pot Pie Soup
  • Leftover Ham and Cheese Biscuits
  • Leftover Ham Chowder
  • Leftover Ham Sandwich
  • Split Pea Soup
  • Ham and Cheese Sliders
  • Leftover Ham and Potato Soup
  • Ham and Spinach Casserole
  • Leftover Ham and Cheese Scones
  • Ham and Cheese Breakfast Muffins
  • Leftover Ham and Cheese Frittata
  • Waffles with Leftover Ham
  • Ham and Cheese Pinwheels
  • Ham and Cheese Bread Pudding
  • Leftover Ham Pasta
  • Monte Cristo Sandwich

For the recipes for all of those listed above please visit the following link to find out how delicious these recipes can be: https://insanelygoodrecipes.com/leftover-ham-recipes/

Last weekend I informed my husband I was craving an 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, 2012-2022 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration and Reinvention Queen with all rights and privileges reserved. Third Party Material is sourced to original location and author if known for credit references.

Reinvention Queen’s Tips and Bits II

It is now July, 2022 and I thought I would repost my tips and bits of ideas on reinventing food. I am adding a few ideas that I have reinvented from existing food. If you reinvent a dish, please share with us through comments. Let’s see what I have been up to lately.

Reinvention Queen goes from Grilled Garlic Lemon Pepper Fresh Asparagus to Arline’s Garlic Asparagus Cream Soup. Don’t let a good leftover go to waste. Reinvent a new dish.

I had made squash the regular way and had been gifted some onions too. I didn’t use a recipe but threw self rising cornmeal mix (2 parts) and self rising flour with a beaten egg and some seasonings, garlic and onion salt, everyday seasoning with salt and pepper. I added a small amount of cayenne powder and fried the patties you see. Waste Not, Want Not.

I save my leftover biscuits, cornbread, raw vegetables, leftover peas, corn, beans, tomato gravies and freeze them in zip loc freezer bags. Soups come easy as well as my cornbread dressing and then there is as Southern as it gets, Biscuit pudding (slightly different from bread pudding) but saving leftover bread and freezing it gives you the ability to make delicious croutons seasoned to your preference. See these ideas on future blogs. Here is the original post from January 2022. Happy Reinventing to all of you and thanks for your support and welcome to all the new subscribers.

Don’t forget leftover cake and create a new dish from adding the leftover cake into another cake recipe. It is like a rebirth when combined with new ingredients and a good use from the leftover cake.

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.

Reinvent Yourself

As my nickname speaks, Reinvention Queen, I feel it represents a lot more than just reinventing food. Maybe the first step in reinventing anything should be reinventing ourselves. Today on the blog I would like to address this topic on how we can reinvent ourselves.

To begin with, if you have read some of my reinvention posts, you know that my motto (not original but a good one) is Waste Not, Want Not. This means we should not waste ourselves and if we make good use of our minds, bodies, and not to forget, our souls, we will not want.

One of the first steps in my Reinvention Process, I look in the refrigerator or pantry to see what I have available. Let’s get personal and look at ourselves in the mirror. Let’s look for opportunity and not vanity. While we take a minute to see our pros, we have to see our cons. I am never negative but I also am a realist. What are your best talents, attitudes, qualities, and integrity traits? What are your obstacles or as a cook let me say, what are your bitter tastes? Once we see the good, the bad, and the “ugly” and I am not speaking physical appearance. we can decide what new dish can be invented from the “ingredients” we possess.

Next, I look for combinations for making the most flavorful reinvented dish. I feel if we give our associations some mental workouts, we can re-evaluate what can mix well with our own ingredients. One observation in life I see is we try to make too many non compatible ingredients work instead of finding the workable combination. I want to relay a personal story at this point for all of us to recollect since I feel fairly sure you have a story too. When I was marketing and making what I call good money, my dear Mom, with good intentions, said to me, “Why don’t you get a regular job like teaching?” I looked at her having many great friends who were good teachers. I respected them highly but knew I made a lot more money than they did at the time and replied, “Mom, why would you want me to take a pay cut?” My point of this story is not to boast as many people I know make a lot more than I do and have many more benefits to draw from. My point is we have to look at our ingredients (talents) and make good decisions. My next point is even if we are in a good place, we have to keep our eyes open and be flexible. That, I find to be a valuable asset in my life is I chose to be flexible and willing to change. Look in your pantry, see what makes you smile, fills you up and satisfies you.

I can make a dish, enjoy it immensely, but I have a nature to want to see how it would taste if I changed it up a little. That’s what makes me enjoy cooking as it gives me an opportunity to try something new. This is the same way in life. You don’t have to quit your career and/or job, but look around, find something new to learn and try. Ask your employer can you expand your job, cross train, add a new dimension. You cannot believe how many times in my life, my curiosity overrode any boredom in doing the same old same old, if you get my drift.

Reinvent a dish that will have more appeal to kids. Reinvent yourself so that you will be appealing to everyone, kids included. One of my creations for our grands.

I find myself making two or three different dishes using the first initial ingredients. I pull one ingredient from one dish, add from another one, and throw in something new. I would not be happy if I was on an assembly line doing the same task over and over. Some people love that stability and they are happy in their comfort zone. I applaud them but that is not my ingredient list in life. What is your ingredient list? If you find yourself content as some steak and potato guys are, so be it. Life is good and that is all that counts.

Today, pull out your ingredients, see what might could be added or even subtracted to make the best life dish yet. Reinventing yourself may be the best recipe ever!

(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.

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.

SPEAKING FROM MY HEART

Speaking from my heart, the blog covers why we either show how much we care or why we put our needs ahead of others needs.

This past weekend was a super celebration of several recognition. My birthday was on Saturday, my daughter’s birthday was on Sunday, and we celebrated Father’s Day too. My mind has been collecting thoughts on how special these occasions are, not for presents which are great, but for the precious time for laughter, fun, reminiscing over past celebrations, and emotional tugs for those missing in our wonderful times.

We started out with a normal size family and now, today only my sister and me are still living. We miss those who are no longer with us.

Now, that the days of recognizing the blessings of being granted another year has passed, I wanted to speak from my heart on what I perceive as good qualities in people and what I feel is the loss of a great opportunity to create good memories by either selfish motives and/or ignorance of the importance of living in times that will not be repeated. It is up to people what is important but I felt very much love on my birthday, Missy had time with friends and us and it was great, and Greg enjoyed his Father’s Day too.

My daughter who celebrated her birthday with her Dad who she took care of for over two years who passed away. He was recognized as it was Father’s Day.

Let’s just get this out in the open as I know some people were lonely over this weekend, somehow forgotten on their birthdays, and Mother’s Day and Father’s Day as well as all the other holidays are not recognized with even a phone call or card. In the past, I have seen the good, bad, and ugly actions and have heard of those who are alone and the hurt they feel. Are you guilty of placing your own priorities in front of your parents, children, and other members of your family to do things with friends, play golf or other hobbies?

My husband celebrated Father’s Day with an added bonus of us going to visit the grandchildren with some ice cream. Greg’s son, Cory was cooking on the grill for his family and some of the grands had made dishes. Good going, Nolan, Jonas, and Elias for being helpful on Father’s Day.

Am I A Considerate Person or Am I Selfish?

I thought I would create a list of Dos and Don’ts for us to read and mentally check off this rather candid look in the mirror:

  • Do I check to see what my family members are planning for a holiday/celebration before I make personal plans?
  • How often do I make a phone call or even a text to find out how an elderly family member, friend, neighbor, and/or associate is doing?
  • Do I expect others to check on my health or well being instead of considering others’ health and well being?
  • Do I make plans without any consideration for my family?
  • Do I make the effort to recognize other’s accomplishments, special occasions, awards, or just a feel good text, message, and/or phone call?
  • Do I want to be encouraged by others or do I want to be the cheerleader?
  • Here is the big one….Is it all about me or do I feel better if I have done something special for someone else?

All of us are guilty of any of these at one time or another, or at least I know I have been selfish at times, but I am not proud of that. Let’s take a look in the mirror and start with Father’s Day that was this weekend. Did we go out of our way to recognize our fathers that are living? I can almost without fail say that those who have lost their Dads felt a void, wrote a message, posted pictures, but can we truthfully say we exercised every effort to be with them, take care of them, and show them love. Remember, no one lives forever and all of us will leave this earth. This is not in our control but we can control our actions while we are living and others too.

Nuff said, but I will add one personal note. When Mom was in the nursing home, my sister and I were very good to visit, shop for her, assist in her care when we were there, give her reasons to laugh, and provide all of us with precious memories. I worked all week, lived two hours away, but left each weekend that was possible to stay with her each weekend day, and only leave her for a few hours to sleep after she had gone to sleep. I don’t regret a second of that time. It gave me forever memories. My sister was faithful to go during the week. All this was out of love. When the New Year came near, I dreaded the traffic and thought I would wait until the second day of the new year to go for my usual weekend. I got up early that morning and packing my clothes in the car, ready to go and I received that dreaded phone call that Mom had passed an hour before. I cannot tell you how I replayed that call, that decision, and the cold fact I couldn’t see her one more time. She knew she was loved, but those actions or non actions can be long lasting so I say to everyone, if you can visit or see your loved ones, by all means, DO IT!

I turned 73 and I had the best presents…my daughter and my husband making my day special. I had so many Happy Birthday Greetings I had to group thank everyone.

(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 location/author are known for credit reference.

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