GIVING UP, GIVING IN, AND GIVING TO FOOD REVISITED

As we begin a new year, have we learned how to eat healthier without feeling a need to place a chain on the refrigerator? I am posting this popular blog message from several years ago and I am happy to report I have come over to the healthier side, sometimes kicking and screaming in the beginning, but making headway. My regular readers will remember I am a good ole Southern cook and baker. We have it in our genes to indulge food not only for ourselves but spoil our family, friends, and any guests we have. I am living proof we can adapt and change. Do I still cook and bake? You betcha but I find us sharing more with others, sealing meals and freezing them for later time instead of eating it all up. My daughter and I discuss healthier ways to cook and if you read the blog, you have seen my switching over to the air fryer as a means to eliminate some of the frying I love to do. Let’s see what I had to say about this topic:

HAPPY NEW YEAR OR IS IT? Here we are again, the beginning of a new year and with it comes the ongoing, well meaning, resolutions one more time. This year is going to be different but is it? I am reposting a message that is a reality check for us. Watch for the hint/tip at the end. This has helped me avoid so many snacks and desserts….not all of them but some! Remember this quote from A L Williams, promoter of term insurance…All you can do is all you can do but all you can do is enough!

GIVING UP, GIVING IN, AND GIVING TO FOOD. We are in a new year with new goals and new intentions. Let’s make resolutions and promises but let’s get real…..Are you really going to Never Eat a Donut the rest of your life? On this blog, I want to recognize our human side of our thinking on the subject of eating. The answer to my question is probably not, even though on this first few days of the New Year; you may have answered Yes! Let us look at a few reasons why this normally doesn’t work.One of the reasons we eat is Emotional or Comfort Eating and I am referencing to an article on WebMD on this subject. (Link is included for entire article)Emotional Eating: What Helps By Joy Manning, Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on July 28, 2014 on webmd.com      Does stress, anger, or sadness drive you to eat? Do you turn to food for comfort, or when you’re bored? Many people do. If you often eat for emotional reasons instead of because you’re physically hungry, that can be a problem.       Obeying the urge to eat more than you need is a sure-fire way to gain weight. It’s an even bigger problem if you already have health conditions like diabetes, obesity, or high blood pressure. You can get back in control of your emotional eating. The surprising part is, it’s not really about food at all. You might not even realize you’re doing it. One of the biggest clues: “Eating until you are uncomfortable and stuffed is a sure sign something is going on,” psychologist Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD, says. Another clue: You’re gaining weight and you don’t know why. Don’t assume that it’s just that you’re getting older or slacking on the treadmill. Consider how you’re doing emotionally, and whether that might be affecting your eating.   Another reason for eating is Habitual or I Can’t Stop Eating.Even though this is a form of emotional eating, it should have its own category. We form habits as eating a certain food during a specific time during the day. Some people want something sweet at night or at least a bowl of cereal, a few cookies and milk, a sandwich, chips, etc. Think about it; is there a certain time of the day only a certain food will satisfy you? If you find yourself eating at this certain time, my tip for today is change what you do at that particular time. Even a big glass of lemon water or a cup of hot tea, or hummus on a celery stick, can alter what can happen. Taking a shower or a little activity can break this chain of habitual eating. If eating at 10 pm is the witching hour, try to schedule other activity instead of sneaking into the kitchen. If cereal or cookies are the demonic foods (which I say can tempt anyone) get them out of the house. You might be surprised how the urge will leave you if they are not handy. Keep other healthy items easily accessible. You most likely will not eat them at this time, but you are breaking a habit. Another tip is remember it takes up to 30 days to break a habit.

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This is me, Arline Miller age 69 with diabetes type II and managed with diet and small amount of meds.
Now at 72 happy years old, I have lowered my A1C and have lost a total of almost 50 pounds. My husband is now losing and has lost over 20 pounds, and you can see one of our most inspiring sources, my daughter Missy who maintains a fantastic weight and looks wonderful.

Ask yourself this question: Can I make it 30 days without my usual habit food? At least give it a shot. Even if you make it two weeks, pat yourself on the back. If you give in; start the countdown again.

HEALTHY BITES has been created to include a good variety of healthy foods to eat and I suggest you check it out for recipe ideas. If you follow me on Pinterest, one of my boards Healthy Bites, is also directed to some of the recipes I have found not only healthy but tasty. There are so many great sources to eat healthy and know how to develop good habits and a healthy life.

2022 Note from Blogger: Not only have I lost and maintained a lot of unwanted pounds, my husband has now gotten on the eating healthier and has lost in a short while over 20 pounds and is excited about his future. It is not impossible to gain control and when you do, your self confidence and sense of accomplishment increases. I find we smile more, we find humor in the smallest things, and we encourage each other in a positive light.

2019 Note from Blogger: I pulled up this post message from 2016 for a reason. Most of us eat emotionally. Only a few actually eat only when we are hungry and not dehydrated. If we would make one change, it would help dramatically. Drink water first! Even if you feel you are going to eat that donut, chip, cookie, whatever, do yourself a big favor…..Drink a big glass of water. Place the goodie by the water glass and only eat when the glass is empty. This one change will slow the brain’s urge to splurge and can make a huge difference in the amount of junk you will consume. You may find that this small hedge will diminish the urge and actually prevent a snack accident!

(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 credited to original source if known for credit references.

POWER XL MAKES EATING FUN

The last few blog posts have reviewed a lot of tasty foods made quickly and efficiently with a small learning curve. I have toasted bagels, fried mushrooms, grilled pork chops, baked a pie, made baked beans, grilled hot dogs, and now I will show how great fresh french fries, grill burgers, and air fry/grill crab cakes as well as stuffed mushrooms. In all my tests, I have had good experiences in time/effort and especially tastes.

French fries, fresh, seasoned, and delicious made without grease and EVOO spray.
Seasoning made from Garlic Salt, Onion Powder, Spicy Smoked Paprika, and Jane’s Krazy Salt.
I love the two crisper trays for the ability to make enough fries in one air fry.
400 degrees for 20 minutes on air fry and then I turned it to toast to get a crispy crust. It took about 10 more minutes.
Total success and I am including the French Fry Sauce Recipe in the link below.

French Fry Sauce!RECIPE HERE! –> https://buff.ly/3mQKwQfHomemade french fry sauce is made with mayo, ketchup, and pickle juice then spiced with paprika, onion powder, and seasoned salt. It’s slightly creamy with just a touch of tang from the pickle juice.

Click on link to learn more about this product: https://powerxlairgrill.com/

STUFFED MUSHROOMS AND CRAB CAKES IN POWER XL AIR FRYER GRILL OVEN

If you don’t have a power air fryer oven, you are missing some easy cooking. Baby Bella stuffed mushrooms filled with ingredients listed in pics. I didn’t go by a recipe but when I post to blog I will try to list out approximately what I used. As I was cooking the mushrooms I grabbed some frozen crab cakes and cooked them in the power oven too. The last few minutes I seared them in a hot buttered pan to get the quickest crust. Dinner easy decadent and yummy. Cooking doesn’t have to be hard. I can tell you I love this Power XL 7-n-1 air fryer grill oven.

CRAB CAKES ON TOP RACK WITH STUFFED MUSHROOMS IN AIR FRY/BAKE PAN.
Close up of some ingredients, Cream Cheese, Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Le Gruyere and Parmesan Cheese.
Shallots, chopped garlic, Umami Seasoning, Onion Powder and Garlic Salt, Worcestershire Sauce, chopped chives are added to cheese mixture before stuffing mushrooms
Stuffing mixture for baby bella mushrooms (the stems are pulsed and added to mixture.

The next time I do crab cakes, I will grill them in the grill pan for proper searing. I took the crab cakes and seared them in a saute pan with butter at the end of the time. They were delicious but it cost me having to do another unnecessary step I could have avoided by using the grill pan.

GRILLED BURGERS IN POWER XL AIR FRYER/GRILL OVEN

MY POWER XL WITH BAGELS TOASTING IN MY NEW TOY
My first test burger and it was a tasty burger with grill marks. Success on first try.
I used the grill pan but found out I should place the grill pan on the bottom rack. They turned out great, but better on the bottom rack.

Lettuce, cheese, condiments, olives, and of course dill pickles made easy in my Power XL grill.

I am not a paid sponsor of Power XL Air Fryer Grill Oven but I love trying new ways of easy breezy ways to prepare, prep, and make our meals with hardly no mess in the kitchen. As I test further, I will post. I plan on baking a pineapple cake this weekend or maybe a pie. I will see what comes my way.

(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.

Let’s Keep the Power Up with Power XL

I have to say getting the Power XL Air Fryer Grill Oven for Christmas is better than a lot of gifts I have received and they were all wonderful. Most of you know how much I love to cook. Yes, I said it. I love to cook. I find a challenge learning how to make something even more delicious and most importantly, even more easy and time friendly. I thought I would continue to share my testing series. Here are some of my other goodies:

BAKED BEANS AND GRILLED HOT DOGS VIA POWER XL

Look at the caramelization which came from baking beans and pre-cooked bacon in the Power XL Oven


The Grill Pan is awesome and places great grill marks on the hot dogs. It doesn’t matter if it rains outside, we can grill inside.

Yummy and Quick with the flavors of traditional cooking/grilling in the Power XL
This is how a chili slaw dog should look without having to deal with a grill.

I made my baked beans with the traditional recipe you can find anywhere on Pinterest but I used pre-cooked bacon since the oven does the caramelization quicker. Bake selected and it took 25 minutes. I sprayed my casserole dish and so no scrubbing afterwards. The hot dogs were done on Grill in the oven’s grill pan for 7 minutes and then I flipped for an additional 5 minutes. Perfect dogs!

FRIED MUSHROOMS IN THE AIR FRYER

The Crisper Tray works like a charm and our oven came with two. Mushrooms are terrific in the air fryer.
I made a sauce horseradish blue cheese dressing and wow, it hit the spot.
If you wonder about the crunch, don’t worry. Look at the crust.

I dredged the mushrooms in an egg buttermilk soak, then in seasoned flour, and back into the egg mixture then into panko crumbs. Easy and tasty. Garlic salt, onion powder, paprika, and seasoned salt and pepper.

I have several more to test and report on but I am happy to say that it is going very tasty in my kitchen. I love the ease of clean up which has been incredibly easy so far. I made french fries last night so watch for more exciting blog messages. I will demo stuffed mushrooms, burgers, french fries, and will make a cake.

Click on this link to learn more (Image just for display)

https://powerxlairgrill.com/https://powerxlairgrill.com/

Please feel free to make comments on your experience if you have a Power XL Air Fryer Grill Oven and maybe I can get some ideas from my readers….Until we Cook and Air Fry Again……..Arline Miller, Reinvention Queen and Blogger

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

POWER UP WITH POWER XL AIR FRYER/GRILL/TOASTER OVEN

As many of you know that I have been a fan of the Power Air Fryer Oven and I have posted many times great results from my usage of my mean red machine. This past Christmas, my husband and I gifted my daughter the Power XL 8-n-1 air fryer grill broil bake toaster oven. While we were reviewing the product, our daughter suggested she chip in some Christmas Green and we decided to get a new one that does so much more. No, we are not getting rid of the “Mean Red” as we call it and have decided that we can easily take it with us on trips instead of having to use a microwave for cooking as it is not the same.

As a dedicated cook and baker, I take a new appliance seriously and I like to test out recipes and find my own favorites. I have been applying my testing to foods we like to eat and I thought I would like to share my adventures so far with my readers. My first test was a favorite meat, pork chops:

Four beautiful chops with the seasonings I used prior to grilling .
I placed the seasoned chops in the grill pan and set the controls to 425 degrees, grill setting, and since this was my first time, the timer was set but I was physically close to watch the process. Only 7 minutes and flipped for 7 more minutes with beautiful grill marks.

You can check out the Power XL Air Fryer Grill Oven by clicking on this link: https://powerxlairgrill.com/?c=AFG349MJ3&utm_source=google&utm_medium=shopping&gclid=CjwKCAiAlfqOBhAeEiwAYi43F_jaN5RXzUzFpYA7NXG_sIrbuDfpDtFfEnKby06t3Zf5BGiIgj7-ehoCoIAQAvD_BwE

Don’t they look great? Successful test for grilling
Yes, grill works great! Power XL came through.

Next, I tested a pie, yes an apple pie made the easy way with the Power XL oven using a large can of apple pie filling and two pre-made frozen pie crusts (deep dish but next time I would use the regular and I will explain why. I thawed the pie crusts, preheated the air fryer oven, and filled one of the fork pricked crusts with the filling, and placed the other crust on top and vented the top as seen in the photos.I added an egg wash to the top crust. I set the oven to Bake, Temperature to 375 degrees and set the timer for 35 minutes. You can see how it turned out with the grandson’s and my husband’s approval. So doggone easy and a solution if you keep some crusts in the freezer and a selection of pie filling cans in your pantry. See for yourself:

Apple Pie Made Easy in the Power XL 8-n-1 Air Fryer Grill Oven

The finished apple pie in 35 minutes in the Power XL Air Fryer Grill Oven
Now for the reason I would use regular crusts next time. The deep dish is slightly too large to place for the top crust and gave it a little too much pastry. Still delicious!

A tip for those who don’t like cleanups….We cover our drip pan with a thin sheet of tin foil. So easy to remove and replace instead of cleaning.

I have tested more dishes and in the coming days, I will review stuffed mushrooms, crab cakes, fried mushrooms, baked beans, and hot dogs. Maybe even more as I test away. Certainly I am going to roast veggies, grill chicken thighs, and I have to try a pizza soon. I think I have already posted how it perfects toasting bagels. Have fun in your kitchen, until we cook, grill, bake, roast, and sear in the new toy we have!

(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 for credit references.

It’s Not What You Cook, It’s What You Eat

Several years back I posted how I decided that I didn’t do well on a restricted diet that required me to only eat a certain type of food and not to ever have a sweet or carb. It just didn’t work for my independent personality. I don’t like to be restricted as my free spirit will rebel and eventually will return to pre-restriction eating. I found that the smaller portions and distributing the amounts to more healthy choices but allow a small portion of the taboo foods works well. How well you may ask? I have lost a total of 48 pounds (and no, I am not giving you my former weight and current weight) LOL. Trust me, this is the true amount of weight loss. I will post some pictures, ugh of before and now. Am I through losing weight, am I perfect, and am I happy? Those will be the questions I will answer in this update. Do I say this way of eating is the only way? Not hardly, what I say is it is the right way for me. I will go over my thoughts on how it works for me as I have decided, it is a mental decision to enable me to keep on keeping on. I think all of us need to do a mental check on why we eat, why we feel we have to be imprisoned by a diet plan for it to work, and why can’t we control the amounts we put in our mouths?

This was a picture which shows me at a weight I was not proud of with my beautiful daughter.
This gives you a look at me recently with my husband who has lost about 20 pounds since this was taken. He has been practicing how you can eat bread, just a piece instead of several. We are so proud of him and of course me too.
Here is Greg kidding about only eating one piece of Christmas candy. After learning how to control quantities, he can begin to see the humor of it all. He lost weight during the hardest time of the year. He didn’t do without; he did with less.
Here I am at my heaviest with my sister. I am not showing these to “shame” me as I am proud of me taking control of my body and mind. I have recent pics and I look a lot different now. My health is so much better and I can hang with the best of them.

My best observation is my daughter who has mastered the art of quantity and balance of eating to live not to live to eat. We kid her that she grazes and doesn’t really eat. She eats a variety of foods with the exception of no beef, poultry, or pork. She does eat seafood including fish. Beyond this exclusion, she does eat a variety of foods, but she could eat off a saucer and usually does eat off a salad plate. I watched her over the years with her maintaining a healthy weight and slender figure. She never concentrates on junk food and/or sweets. That said, she will taste something she likes but doesn’t indulge. There it is…the key to success…..No indulging or overeating. I watched and learned and then started to practice it myself. I didn’t stop eating meats, but I did stop eating a lot of meats. I didn’t stop eating carbs, but I did dramatically cut them to a very small amount. I would take out a tablespoon of mac and cheese so I could feel I had some. Believe it or not, this works for this rebellious gal. I would put more of the healthier foods but add a spoonful or two of the foods I loved and yes, still love.

Was I always a big gal? Not hardly, I have been at times in my life where my rib and hip bones stuck out. I starved myself during these times to look good but I was doing my metabolism life long damage. It was harder to lose weight as time went on even doing the restricted diets. I had wracked my normal food digestion and how my body processed foods. I had taught my body that I was in starvation mode and it stored fat and more fat, and on and on.

Late 70’s and no problems with weight but I ate more salads than bunnies ate lettuce.
These were the days when I controlled what I ate or better described as what I didn’t eat.

I post these pictures for one reason, looking fit if depriving the body of all foods in moderation is a false bravado. I have learned in my later years, eat smart and don’t deprive yourself any of the food groups. Eat lightly, eat proportionally, and your body will thank you. I hear people who never allow themselves bread, sweets, and carbs. Yes, these need to be consumed on a small scale and they should never take control of you, or you will lose control. One thought and I am not saying you should eat all you want of those food groups. Learn to control your body and most importantly, your mind. Here’s my thought and I speak from prior experience, have you ever been able to stick to a restricted diet for long periods or do you lose some pounds, start feeling good but deprived and find yourself cheating? Then, once the cheating begins, you give into those temptations more and more, and then the fall of the wagon happens and the pounds come back. I speak as an average person, with average likes and dislikes but this does work for me. I have no experience of food or nutritional education and only as a life long fighter of the fats.

In conclusion, I cook the same way I have always cooked, and some of my friends wonder how I have lost weight. It is in the quantities and my attitude. I give away sweets if I bake, I eat small portions of food, and we have learned to seal foods for future meals instead of trying to eat all of it. So, it is NOT WHAT I COOK, BUT WHAT I EAT.

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

REINVENTION QUEEN REINVENTS NEW POTATOES

2022 Kickoff for Reinvention Queen “New Potatoes are reinvented into Clam Chowder”. I posted this idea in 2021 and the other day, I used this idea to make some fantastic chowder. Before I throw any food out, as long as it is still safe to eat, I figure out what new dish I can make from the leftovers. During this year, I will walk you, my readers, through the creative approach I use. Let’s revisit one of the many posts I did. If you are looking for some ideas, search in the search box by typing Reinvention Queen and you will see several selections. Here is the original post:

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 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.

I THINK I WILL PASS ON FRUITCAKES IN THE KITCHEN AND LIFE

In 2021, I choose not to make either the fruit cake or the orange slice cake or even the fruit cake cookies I love. I am over it, all of the nonsense in the world so I will make other cakes like a sweet pound cake and cookies without the fruitiness as we have seen all of the fruitcake personalities and it is time for a smooth, and simplistic versions for 2022. Joking aside, I plan on downsizing a lot of things in the new year both food wise and spiritual side. Focusing on quality and not quantity, value and not as much on how it appears.

2020 NOTE FROM ARLINE: Merry Christmas to All and I decided to bake an Orange Slice Cake instead of the fruit cake to hope 2021 will be a better year. I wish you and your family a safe and prosperous New Year as well.

I watched a video from Cooking with Brenda Gantt who showed us how to make this cake. For the recipe go to Cooking with Brenda Gantt on Facebook. Be sure to follow her as she is a talented cook and great spirit.

FRUITCAKE SEEMS TO FIT THIS YEAR with all of the craziness going on in our country and our world. It seems the entire human race has become fruity and early this morning this inspiration came to me. It may seem satirical but I am known to be a little brassy and sassy and even a little fruity so let’s bite right into this subject.

When we were little, the Christmas Fruit Cake was a great treat for us so I have never understood the adversity to the fruit. We would have to wait after Momma baked her fruitcake, packed it with sliced apples, and wrapped it in cloth (later became foil). It seemed like the longest days before that luscious smell in the oven to actually getting a piece. We all stood round when she finally cut into it for her approval of her baking skills. She would say, “This is a good one or “We need to let it mellow longer” which was not the news we wanted to hear. Even if she was going to let it sit as she called the time we were waiting, she would give us a sample. Keep these words in mind as I move through this thought process. I will refer to this time again.

This is a photo of Momma’s Fruitcake I baked and I think it turned out perfectly.

Momma’s Fruitcake

1 lb. Candied Pineapple                                    1 cup Self-Rising Flour

1 lb. Candied Cherries                                       1 cup Plain Flour

6 cups Pecans                                                       1 t. each vanilla & lemon extract

1 cup sugar                                                            1 cup chopped dates               

1/2 lb. margarine melted (butter for me)    1 cup golden raisins

5 large eggs

1 can Angel Flake Coconut

Chop fruit and nuts in large container. Pour coconut, sugar, flavoring, and beaten eggs over fruit. Add melted butter and mix. Add flours over mixture and mix until wet. Bake in lined pan (Momma used wax paper but modern times have other options) at 275 degrees for 2 1/2 hours. 

Note: No mention of the apple slices placed on top of cake and wrapped. To be kept unopened for several days until it becomes moist.

For those of you who know me, you have seen how fond I am of the sweet lady from Alabama, Brenda Gantt, who has turned on the world to cooking and baking the biscuits. Yesterday she made her Mom’s fruitcake and I had to share my Mom’s recipe and a photo of the fruitcake. She responded with a Gorgeous and of course, this humbled blogger is beyond the moon happy. I hope she doesn’t mind my new treasured screenshot of her comments to me. Oh Merry Christmas to me! Thanks Brenda, I am printing it out and putting it in your cookbook. Check Cooking with Brenda Gantt on Facebook. You will love her videos and spirit.

Merry Christmas from your blogger, Arline Miller

My friend Bill Curington posted this funny one from the Farside and I had to share it on the blog.

History of the Fruitcake

A traditional Easter Simnel cake

The earliest recipe from ancient Rome lists pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, and raisins that were mixed into barley mash. In the Middle Ageshoneyspices, and preserved fruits were added.[citation needed]

Fruitcakes soon proliferated all over Europe. Recipes varied greatly in different countries throughout the ages, depending on the available ingredients as well as (in some instances) church regulations forbidding the use of butter, regarding the observance of fastPope Innocent VIII (1432–1492) finally granted the use of butter, in a written permission known as the ‘Butter Letter’ or Butterbrief in 1490, giving permission to Saxony to use milk and butter in the Stollenfruitcakes.[2]

Starting in the 16th century, sugar from the American Colonies (and the discovery that high concentrations of sugar could preserve fruits) created an excess of candied fruit, thus making fruitcakes more affordable and popular.[3]

Here is what I perceive has been going on in our lives and how fruity we have become.

  • We want things in life to be “sweet” even if it goes against any healthy reasoning or moral values, manners, or traditions and we are asking people to accept anything that has that “sugary” feeling.
  • We see videos over and over on the cat-dog, pig-dog, cats-horses, etc and we want to believe that all animals accept all animals can live in harmony and on the surface, it seems so beautiful but nature is nature and we have to stop and consider the safety of each species. It is not a given that all creatures get along and we have to consider the rule of nature and take precautions to prevent injury to either one.
  • Some people just don’t like fruitcake. I personally love it but have to eat a small piece now for health reasons but I have seen so many people go “Ugh! How do you eat fruitcake? I can’t stand it.”

For all of you who want more of Fruitcake Trivia, I found an interesting article that is too lengthy for me to add in this blog. Here is the link to the article

15 Fun Facts About Fruitcake

Click on the link above to take you to the article for your reading pleasure.

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This brings me to my focus of this message.

No matter how much you blend, chop, mix, and/or bake, some people are never going to like fruitcake and that my friends is society in a fruitcake. You can preach, beg, threaten, or try to convince people and if they don’t like it, they don’t like it. We need to stop saying we believe in inclusion and acceptance and then tell the others they can’t say this or they can’t say that. That is not acceptance……that is bullying! We all have preferences and some like fruitcake and others prefer pound cake or pie or neither. My point is that even though I personally like fruitcake, I can understand others not liking it. I can see their side and accept that side. I don’t however, feel I have a right to push fruitcake on them. I personally don’t like raspberries very much so I would prefer someone understanding my dislike. I wouldn’t have a problem with others eating raspberries and I think this is the true meaning of inclusion and acceptance. In our society, we could benefit from agreeing to disagreeing but never demanding that the other one has to say “I love fruitcake” when they don’t. Get my drift?

As I promised to return to the period of “curing” time for Momma’s fruitcake and it contains a wonderful lesson in life. Thank you Mom! Here is my interpretation: Mom’s cake would have been good when she took it out of the oven. As children, we would have gobbled it up immediately but Momma was wise and knew it needed that quiet time, that curing time, that sweetening time. Waiting while it matured in flavor, we were impatient and wanted what we wanted right then but the lesson we were taught was the following:

“Anything worth having or accomplishing is worth the time that it takes to happen in the right way. Success cannot be impulsively demanded but has to have the mellowing and adding that extra ingredient to complete perfection.”  (these are my words but could have been delivered by Mom during our waiting time).

I leave you with this final thought: Life is not just a pound cake, fruitcake, cookies or even pie. Life is a continual meal and has to be prepared on a daily basis.

LIVE LIFE, LOVE LIFE, AND LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST by adding ingredients and mixing it up with some fun ingredients.

(C) Copyright 2012-2021 Arline Miller with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced to original location if known for credit reference.

My Oh My Do I Smell Pumpkin Pie?

TODAY THE WORDS ARE HOLIDAY SCENTS

No blog message on the HOLIDAY Scents would be complete without the scents of mountain air and beautiful leaves with their awesome display of color. This photo was from our wondrous changing of the leaves vacation.

Pumpkin flavored everything seems to be in all ads, coffee, shakes, lattes, cookies, pies, tarts and breads bring the strong allspice and cinnamon flavors. Answer me this…..As I listed these tasty and fragrant delights, did your smell sense rise especially when I mentioned cinnamon? Let’s go on a little memory trip and visit the gingerbread land.

When I was young and always ready for something Momma had baked; I looked forward to her tea cakes, her pound cakes (which we would always catch her out of the kitchen and jump up and down to cause it to fall; bless Momma’s heart it was years before she realized her cakes would have been beautiful if we hadn’t sabotaged her efforts to have it taste better), but I remember her gingerbread best of all. I could smell the fragrant aroma of the gingerbread loaf before I made it home from school. Walking up to our house, I could smell it’s wonderful smell and I was so excited. I am speaking from my heart but this was a unanimous contention for all of my siblings. It was a wonderful and joyous moment and now a great memory of those spices and more importantly, the love shown by our Mom.

We, as humans, are susceptible to smells as much as taste. We are usually expressive either pro or con about smells and aromas. Fall presents strong aromas and seemingly tied to family gatherings and holidays. This brings me to my focus for this message.

The Health Benefits of Pumpkin Spice

Tis the season … for pumpkin spice, that is. This seasonal spice blend might have its naysayers who believe that the pumpkin spice love has gotten a little out of control, but to them, we say: bring it on. Even Trader Joe’s is embracing pumpkin spice mania — or, as they put it, “Pumpkintopia”.

If you don’t know what pumpkin spice is, we have to say, you are missing out. Contrary to the name, it doesn’t contain any actual pumpkin, but the warming blend of spices pairs oh-so-well with pumpkin pie and the famous concoction that has stolen our hearts over the years: the pumpkin spice latte. Unfortunately, the most mainstream example of our beloved latte, the Starbucks PSL, is not and cannot be made vegan, but worry not — it’s easy to make your own vegan pumpkin spice latte at home.

Bonus: this homemade version comes with some health benefits. Let’s break down the reasons why.

Ahh, pumpkin spice … A warming symphony of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves.
Cinnamon has been shown to have antibacterial and antifungal properties. Studies have also suggested that it may have anti-inflammatory properties.

Ginger boasts a variety of health benefits, such as combating stomach ailments, reducing inflammation, reducing headache pain, aiding in digestion, and increasing metabolism.

Nutmeg is rich in manganese, which helps regulate blood sugar, absorb calcium, metabolize carbs, and helps form tissues and bones.

Allspice, also known as pimento, is rich in antioxidants, has anti-inflammatory properties, may help improve blood circulation and more.

Cloves are a rich source of manganese and an active component called eugenol, which functions as an anti-inflammatory substance. It has also been the subject of studies on the prevention of toxicity from environmental pollutants like carbon tetrachloride, digestive tract cancers, and joint inflammation.

Make Your Own Pumpkin Spice Blend at Home
Ready to make your own pumpkin spice blend? First, make sure you have your supplies. You’ll need an empty bottle (save the bottles from spices you use up just for moments like this) and a kitchen funnel. You could also make your own kitchen funnel by cutting a sheet of printer paper in half diagonally, shaping it into a cone, and taping it.

Then, combine 1/2 cup ground cinnamon, 2 tablespoons ground ginger, 1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1 teaspoon ground allspice, and 1 teaspoon ground cloves.

Now, you’re ready to use your homemade blend in homemade pumpkin spice lattes and more! Here are a few of our favorite recipes, courtesy of the Food Monster App:

Pumpkin Spice Latte With Homemade Pumpkin Seed Milk
This dairy-free version of the ever-popular Pumpkin Spice Latte by Courtney West is made using homemade pumpkin seed milk! The latte is a concoction of the pumpkin seed milk, pumpkin spiced maple simple syrup and cold brew concentrate. Though this may seem a little involved for a coffee drink, the recipe will make enough for about four drinks, so you can keep sipping on PSLs all week long

I thought I would share my own Pumpkin Pie Recipe which I created over the years, but it is a winning combination of just enough spices and sweetness to satisfy any pumpkin pie lover.

Yummy, yummy to the tummy Pumpkin Pies

Now for the deeper thought……As our senses tell us what aroma is filling the air; we need to be as conscious of who and what is filling our lives. We need to “sniff”our home environment and smell out what children are hearing and watching.

We need to appreciate the warm, comforting times we spend with our family and friends. We can seek out God more and take time to thank Him for all the sweet blessings and treats of life. We want to cherish the good taste of life while we smell the cinnamon aroma of living and loving life.

FEATURED BIBLE VERSE:
Proverbs 15:17 ESV
Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it.

(C) Copyright 2012-2021 Arline Miller with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced to original location/author if known for credit reference.

OATMEAL COOKIES MAKE ME CRY (revisited)

It is about that time of year and I have purchased my ingredients to make a batch of these memory lane oatmeal cookies. These are incredible oatmeal cookies and I love my version with the addition of honey. If you make some, please comment as I would love to hear your results.

Today’s bounty with added cranberries, pecans, and of course, my honey addition.

They went square today and I think I added a little more honey. Remember no more than 1/3 cup honey and cut the sugars in my notes.
Such sweet memories while making them and I know Mom is smiling down from Heaven.

As the holidays come closer, memories of special moments come flooding in and as always a lot of them are engulfed with my Mom and I found this post about oatmeal cookies and to tell you how special this memory is, I haven’t made oatmeal cookies since she died except one time and it pinged my heart strings that I haven’t repeated it again. Some memories are that strong but one day, I will pick up some oats and make them for the grandchildren. I will start a new tradition that will make me smile when I see them enjoying them like Grandmama BeaBea did and I will share this story with them. You will probably understand the blog title more from reading this blog.   MY ORIGINAL POST:     Grandma’s Oatmeal Cookies Recipe  

Print

  • Yield: Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs well beaten
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 3 cups oats (we use Quaker Quick or Old Fashioned. Do NOT use instant.)
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts (use 1/2 cup if using raisins)
  • 1 cup raisins (optional)

  Method 1 Cream shortening and sugars, add eggs and vanilla and beat well. 2 Sift flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. Add to first mixture and mix well. Add a tablespoon of water. Add raisins (if using) and nuts. Add oats last. 3 Spoon out by heaping tablespoonfuls on to greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350°F. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove to wire rack. Cool completely.  

Copyright reference for above recipe. Hello! All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to Grandma’s Oatmeal Cookies on Simply Recipes. Thank you! Read more: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/grandmas_oatmeal_cookies/#ixzz452z2Njuj

************************************************************* NOTE FROM ARLINE: My version is taking and cutting sugar by half of the brown and granulated sugar and replacing with honey. I never measure by use taste method but no more than a 1/4 cup unfiltered raw honey. Love this taste. 

TODAY THE WORDS are OATMEAL COOKIES. We are going to go down memory lane for a visit to my dear Mother’s home before she passed away. As my Mother got older, she cooked and baked less, which is understandable.  I began to bring her baked goodies when I would visit her. I started out with a variety of different desserts but it was soon narrowed down to my version of “Grandma’s Oatmeal Cookies”. They had honey in them and they are scrumptious to say the least. I would bring her a container full. She would always eat one as if testing them to make sure they were as good as the batch before. As I would watch her, I received more sweet enjoyment than the cookies’ sweetness. I could tell how much she loved them and she also loved I had made them for her. She had a certain spot the container would be placed when she had finished. Once in a while she would splurge and eat two, but never more than two. As sweet of a memory as this is to me, this is only part of the reason for the topic. Why the oatmeal cookie plays such an important part is not that the cookies were tasty, it was Momma’s rationing of the cookies that will reflect a life’s lesson. When I would call Momma for our regular Saturday morning talk which usually lasted about an hour and a half, one of the things Momma would share is how many cookies she still had and if my Sister had stopped by and had eaten some cookies. My Momma was a wonderful person and she would share whatever she had, but you had to be willing to be frugal with those goodies like she was. I would bring her fresh ones every time I would come so rationing was not necessary. It was built into my Momma to have a willing spirit of anticipation.  

Now for the deeper thought…...If we would live our lives on Momma’s Oatmeal Cookie program, we could enjoy life a lot longer and better. I see many people who devour what they receive in a hurry never thinking if they are going to get hungry soon. We are a living, breathing example of why we should eat a reasonable amount of food and not overindulge. The same goes for the rest of lifestyles. some of them need to be lived (or tasted), We need to savor each day (or morsel). We need to appreciate the love and labor which went into each opportunity with a palette of life. We should exercise moderate portions of life and enjoy each bite (or experience) we are given and not feel as it we are on our last “cookie”. Live life, love life, and live life to the fullest!

FEATURED BIBLE VERSE:\1 Peter 5:8     

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

(c) copyright 2012-2021 Arline Lott Miller. The material here copyrighted, use only by permission. Third party material is referenced to original location for reference credit.

Reinvention Queen Tells My Secrets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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