Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Eat this not That Part II

Another example occurred to me when I got back to my apartment-coffee creamer can be so bad for you but it doesn't have to be! DO use half and half or milk in your coffee, DO NOT use non-dairy creamers, such as Nestle coffeemate. The difference is astonishing. Half and half in a carton:

INGREDIENTS: MILK, CREAM, LESS THAN 1% SODIUM CITRATE, DISODIUM PHOSPHATE

Land O' Lakes Mini Moo's:

INGREDIENTS: HALF & HALF, SODIUM CITRATE, DATEM, TETRA SODIUM PYROPHOSPHATE, CARAGEENAN

Coffeemate:

INGREDIENTS: WATER, SUGAR, PARTIALLY HYRDROGENATED SOYBEAN AND/OR COTTONSEED OIL, AND LESS THAN 2% OF SODIUM CASEINATE, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS, MONO- AND DI-GLYCERIDES, DIPOTASSIUM PHOSPHATE, COLOR ADDED, CELLULOSE GEL, CELLULOSE GUM, CARAGEENAN

More later...back to studying for my exam tomorrow...

Eat This Not That Part I

I recently saw a copy of the book, Eat This Not That, and I thought it was a cool idea, so I am starting my own version with products I use at home rather than at restaurants. First on my list is Eat ReddiWhip not Cool Whip. Cool whip is delicious, especially when frozen, but it was not until I bought some for myself to go with strawberries that I realized how horribly fake it is. According to Dietfacts.com, they include:

INGREDIENTS:WATER, CORN SYRUP, HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OIL (COCONUT AND PALM KERNEL OILS), HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, LESS THAN 2% OF SODIUM CASEINATE (FROM MILK), NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, MODIFIED FOOD STARCH, XANTHAN AND GUAR GUMS, POLYSORBATE 60, POLYSORBATE 65, SORBITAN MONOSTEARATE, SODIUM HYDROXIDE, BETA CAROTENE (COLOR).

So, they don't actually have any milk in them, they have less than 2% of one milk derivative and a bunch of additives to maintain freshness and composition. We all know hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup are bad for us, and that is pretty much all this is!

Reddi Whip, on the other hand, is a little more real, and I bet you could do even better if you shopped around.

INGREDIENTS:Cream, nonfat milk, corn syrup, sugar, mono- and diglycerides, natural and artificial flavors, carrageenan, nitrous oxide (propellant).

First of all, the first two ingredients are cream and milk - good sign! Second, there are fewer ingredients overall. Third, there are no hydrogenated oils or high fructose corn syrup.

Also, I came across this article when I was looking for pictures. Interesting.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pie, pie, pie!

My boyfriend's dad is away on a business, so he and I cooked dinner for his mom. He made asian chicken stir fry and I made pear pie - wow that is actually kind of asian themed without trying but not really hehe...I used a pillsbury crust with layers of apricot preserve, crushed nilla wafers, tons of thinly sliced, peeled pears, and then cinnamon, 1/3 cup brown sugar and raisins. And of course, a lattice top! It got better the second day too because the pear was cold from the fridge and the crust was sugary sweet!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The exam went pretty well and the dinner plan went even better! In anticipation of dinner plans, I had bought cream of potato soup and pepperidge farm stuffing mix, and I sauteed the zucchini, mushrooms, celery and onions before baking it all together.
I put the full cup of milk in the condensed potato soup, but it ended up being a little watery, so I left it in the oven for a little while before putting the stuffing on top. Stuffing is so much better when it is made with broth, and this stuffing was delicious! Definitely going to make it again! My roommate and I gobbled it up in about 20 minutes!

Friday, October 16, 2009


Some how the Easy Chicken Bake on the back of the Stovetop Stuffing box turned into something pretty inspiring. Well, the chicken was not all that amazing, but the recipe made me realize that soup can bring flavor to almost any dish.


Think of green bean casserole, a dish my family makes fun of but at the same time can't resist. I believe that the traditional recipe uses cream of mushroom soup, but my family uses cream of potato instead. I think the starchy creaminess of the potato soup goes better with the french fried onions.


Combine these two ideas together (Chicken Bake and Green Bean casserole) and who knows what might happen? I am imagining green and yellow squash, onions, celery, carrots and mushrooms sizzling underneath a layer of campbell's cream of potato soup...With a thin layer of herb stuffing layered over top (and the rest on the side). Seasonings might include garlic and thyme, and a healthy amount of pepper.


Yep, that is what I am making Tuesday night after my biochemistry exam :)
P.S. In case you are actually curious what my pretty average but inspiring lunch was:
Ingredients: Celery, Onion, Mushrooms, Zucchini, Vegetable broth, Chicken Breast, Herb Stuffing
1. Cook the stuffing, chop the veggies and chicken into small pieces
2. Combine chicken and veggies in the bottom of a casserole dish
3. Pour broth over top of chicken and veggies
4. Layer on the stuffing and pour some broth over that too to keep it moist
5. Bake 30 minutes at 400 degrees

Monday, October 12, 2009

Mission Tomato: Part III

Attempt #2

Recipe: Barefoot Contessa's Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

Servings: 6 to 8

Number of Grilled Cheeses so Far: 4

After trying the Cream of Tomato soup, and not being impressed, I decided that maybe I am not a creamy soup girl after all. The heavy cream pretty much grossed me out. However, my passion for all things tomato has not ceased and thus the Roasted Tomato Basil Soup was attempted. You can be sure it went better the second time around because I am not too ashamed to show you a picture of it. (Or did you not notice that?) It was actually quite pretty and relatively tasty too! I had a food processor at hand, but I realized that I am going to have to invest in a food mill if I really want a soupy consistency. There were definitely chunks of basil and chunks of tomato. But I do like how Ina Garten roasts her plum tomatoes before putting them in the soup. I think that really adds flavor. Now that I have made the
extravagant recipes, and learned the tricks, I want to see how I can apply those tricks to other recipes...tomato soup recipes of course!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Mission Tomato Part II

Attempt #1

Recipe: Barefoot Contessa's Cream of Fresh Tomato Soup

Servings: 5 to 6

Number of Grilled Cheeses so Far: 1

I heard that this recipe was really delicious and amazing, and since one of my main goals is to make a healthier creamy tomato soup, it seemed appropriate. I did not do much modification, I just didn't add any sugar, and used half as much heavy cream. And trust me, half was more than enough, just the 3 fluid ounces I used gave it a creamy appearance (and presentation is half the battle, right?). However, it also did not turn out the best that it could have. I do not own a food mill, the necessary tool to puree such a large amount of soup, and using our tiny food processor seemed quite tedious, so I ended up with a rather chunky cream of tomato soup. Although, the positive side of a chunky tomato soup is that it is great for dunking grilled cheese in. A large portion of the recipe is in my fridge waiting to be leftovers, and I am curious to see how it holds up, because quality of leftovers is an important factor to consider when recipes make 5-6 servings!

Next on the agenda, I will give the Barefoot Contessa one last chance to prove herself by making her Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup, which uses plum tomatoes and has no cream or sugar. (I may even invest in a food mill - it's only $30 from Target)

Mission Tomato Part I




My Favorite Soup by far is Tomato Soup. So naturally, I have to learn how to make it. My first thought is to go to the supermarket and see what is in canned tomato soup. Let's see there is:


"tomato puree (water, tomato paste), water, wheat, flour, high fructose corn syrup, contains less than 2% of the following : salt, ascorbic acid (added to help retain color), flavoring, citric acid"


Not very helpful, Campbell's.
As promised, here is a picture of the squash risotto recipe. I have started to get into uncharted territory with this recipe, but I invited over my good friend who makes butternut squash all the time.
What really threw me off about this recipe was that even though we halved the recipe, we still needed a lot of broth to cook the risotto. We used all 2 cups of the broth plus some cooking wine, and still the risotto was burning and sticking to the bottom of the pan. I think this is one recipe that cannot be cut in half, or else you can't skimp on the broth. Instead of mixing in the parmesan cheese, we sprinkled it on top at the table, and it really had a big impact on the flavor. For dessert, we had more butternut squash with cinnamon, sugar and nutmeg - yum!