Recipe: Red Lobster Biscuits

 

These biscuits are only the most bestest thing about Red Lobster ever.  Back when I lived in Canada, it was a big deal to jump the border (legally, of course, and…ah…in a car) and head to those restaurants you could only find in the U.S.  This was one of them.  (The other was Jack in the Box and any grocery store that sold Ben and Jerry’s.)  Below is a recipe I discovered on the Internets:

INGREDIENTS:

Biscuit:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Topping:

  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, divided
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley (or ¼ teaspoon dried)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl sift together flour, salt and baking powder.
  3. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  4. Make a well in the center of flour mixture.
  5. Add the milk and cheddar cheese; stir to combine.
  6. Drop batter by spoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly browned.
  8. While the biscuits are in the oven, stir together the 2 Tablespoons of melted butter, garlic powder and parsley.
  9. Remove the biscuits from the oven and immediately brush with the topping mixture.
  10. Allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container or Ziploc bag at room temperature for up to 3 days.
This recipe makes 1 dozen biscuits of melt in your mouth awesome.

Recipe: Nanaimo Bars

Since I’m Canadian, and these are awesome, I’m spreading the wealth (of knowledge).  These bars are not nearly as famous outside of Canada as I thought.  Nanaimo is pronounced “Nah-nai-moe” in case you were wondering and these no-bake dessert bars are suuuuuuper rich, but incredibly delicious.  This recipe comes straight from the city of Nanaimo, British Columbia where the bar originated (hence the name).  Enjoy with a glass of cold milk!

You may be wondering where to find “custard powder”.  Well of course you can buy it on Amazon.  Here’s the link to Bird’s Custard Powder.

Nanaimo Bar Recipe

Bottom Layer
½ cup unsalted butter (European style cultured)
¼ cup sugar
5 tbsp. cocoa
1 egg beaten
1 ¼ cups graham wafer crumbs
½ c. finely chopped almonds
1 cup coconut

Melt first 3 ingredients in top of double boiler.  Add egg and stir to cook and thicken.  Remove from heat.  Stir in crumbs, coconut, and nuts.  Press firmly into an ungreased 8″ x 8″ pan.

Second Layer
½ cup unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. and 2 Tsp. cream
2 Tbsp. vanilla custard powder
2 cups icing sugar

Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well.  Beat until light.  Spread over bottom layer.

Third Layer
4 squares semi-sweet chocolate (1 oz. each)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

Melt chocolate and butter over low heat.  Cool.  Once cool, but still liquid, pour over second layer and chill in refrigerator.  Serve slightly chilled.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Church

So, I volunteer at my church on Tuesdays to help with cooking.  It’s funny that I’d volunteer for this because I don’t particularly like cooking.  I do, however, love to talk and that’s what we do while we’re cooking so it works out beautifully.  Actually, that’s not true.  I like cooking, just not on a schedule.  Only when I’m “in the mood”.  Oddly enough, doing it for a cause makes it fun.  Who knew?

Anyway, so this kitchen has utensils and such, but they’re donated and things get misplaced or disappear or fall apart.  Ultimately, a bit of a mish-mash of stuff.  So I decided, after a quick conversation with a fellow volunteer about how awesome ceramic knives are, to go out and buy some knives so I could take one with me.  That way, I always had the right tool for the job.  Seriously, cutting vegetables with a boning knife does not work.
Coolest Knives EverMy husband and I went to Sears and I picked up these super awesome colour- coded knives.

Red is for meat.

Green is for vegetables.

Yellow is for poultry.

Blue is for fish.

Is that not the best???

Get it?  Water is blue,  and fish swim in water, and so it’s like this whole mental connection to the colour.  Brilliant!!!!!

I joke, but seriously, I was really excited about this.   To know me is to understand that little things like colour-coded knives, like flannel or bubble wrap, make my day.

Awwwweeeeesoommmmeeee!

Okay, so somewhere along the line of falling in love with the pricelessness of the color-coding, I somehow neglected to notice that they’re not actually ceramic.  They’re stainless steel.  But they’re colourful!

Anyway, moving on.  So one of the other issues in the kitchen was that the gloves were a “one size fits all” kind of deal, and anyone who has shrimpy hands like I do, knows that one size truly does not fit all.   On the first day helping out, I lopped off the tip of my glove.  I may as well have been wearing mittens.  So I decided to pick some up.  How hard can it be to find food prep gloves?

Uhm, well, apparently pretty hard.  We went to two stores and everything was this One Size Fits All conspiracy.

So I hopped onto Amazon, spent about 45 minutes researching, and found some really awesome gloves that are not latex, fit like a – I’m gonna say it – glove, and can be found in size small.  AND…they’re purple.  Who doesn’t love to rock the purple when you’re preparing food?  Amirite?!

Okay, for the record, none of this has anything to do with the title of the post.  I just wanted to set the stage.

I’m running late and I knew I’d be bringing my knife with me and a set of gloves.  So I threw the gloves in a ziploc bag (why, I don’t know, to keep them together?) and tossed the knife (okay, I didn’t “toss” it, I placed it carefully, sharp side down) in my purse.  I pranced to the car, high on my own brilliance at finding the perfect glove, and made my way to church.

CHiPsAbout fifteen minutes into the drive, I hit bumper-to-bumper traffic.  Ugh.  Always the same spot, too.  Anyway, I’m just rocking out to my iTunes and staring at the vanity license plate in front of me, trying to figure out the wordplay, when a Police Officer on a motorcycle pulls up beside me and looks over.

And then it kind of dawns on me that I have surgical gloves and a brilliant red knife jutting out of my purse.

I know I’m heading to church to chop vegetables, but he doesn’t know that.  I start to freak out a little, wondering what he’s thinking.  Does he think I’m off to hack up someone and dispose of a body?  Is he going to pull me over?  Am I going to end up on the evening news?  Is there a law against carrying a knife in your purse?

You know how someone says things like, “Don’t look” or “Be cool” to you and your natural instinct is to do the opposite?  I start freaking out.  In trying to be oh-so laissez-faire about the whole thing, I just looked guilty.  Luckily, the police officer just glanced, ignored me (and my obvious distress), and scooched through traffic between lanes off into the wild blue yonder.

Crisis averted.

It made for a great story when I got to church.

Good News: 14-Year Old Chef

You know how I like to pass on good news. Goodness knows we are all inundated by bad news every minute of every day, so it’s nice to see articles like this.

14 years old and the kid gets to work in a restaurant in LA?! At 14, I could barely boil water!! And even then, I’m pretty sure that not only did I burn it, but it probably also somehow tasted like fish.

Happy Reading!

Daily Mail UK: 14-Year Old Wonder-Chef

The New Regime

Or regimen.  I can’t remember which applies better here. 

So at lunch today, I went to 24-Hour Fitness for a little abuse, I mean, Kickboxing.  This was pretty interesting because it was humbling in the extreme.  I kickboxed back in Canada about, oh, ten years ago and I can safely say:

How far have I fallen?

Oh.  Pretty far.  I still had the ability to keep my block up, but everything else was very reminiscent of my first kickboxing class and wanting to pretty much die every minute of it.  Here’s a tip:  don’t constantly check the clock.  Time really does not go any faster.  I did learn a little something, though, at today’s class vs. a decade ago:

  • I’m older
  • I’m out of shape
  • I shouldn’t try to keep up with the 110 pound girl who bounces between kicks
  • It will eventually get better

But aside from that, I managed to not pass out, not throw up, and not walk out.  (Ask me how I do next Monday!)  I keep forgetting how hard this exercise thing is when you don’t do it in a long time, put on a ton of weight, and generally lose all sense of flexibility, style, and strength. 

But enough whining!  (No really, I could go on all day.)  I made it through and I’m proud of myself for that.  I have a more fun “dance” class on Wednesday which I am hoping will perk me up a little to this exercise thing.  We’ll see.

Still, it was pretty funny wandering out (hobbling, more like) of the class and having my work friend, Theresa, complaining as loudly as I was.  That made me feel better.

I’m very curious to see how my posts will change in, say, two months time when I’ve been exercising (hopefully regularly) for a little while.  If all things work as I think they will, it’ll just get easier.  With easier comes more fun.  God, please, let it be more fun.

Peace.

~Melissa

P.S.  I totally feel like having some ice cream right now, but I’m too tired and lazy to drive all the way down to Longs Drugs to get some.

Fat Secret

I know, it’s a horrid name isn’t it?  *shudder*

I paid for the Weight Watchers online access, which was roughly $50/month.  Pretty pricey, considering by the end I was just using the website to log my food and not attending the meetings except to get weighed in.

So, what to do when you have no cash, but want to record your meals and exercise online?  Maybe get a few tips?  Read a forum?  Find a recipe?

Fat Secret

It’s a free website that you can register on and it keeps track of everything for you.  Here’s the list:

  • Join Challenges (i.e. 30 lbs. in 30 days)
  • Join Groups (i.e. 30 – 40 years, 20+ lbs. to lose)
  • Record Recipes
  • Add tips
  • Journal
  • Food Diary / Exercise Diary
  • Weight Diary and tracker
  • Food Search functionality (adding food, too!)

The front page feels a little like Facebook with all of the “updates” to members’ journals, weigh ins, recipe additions etc.  If you make your profile public, you can add “buddies” and they can read your journal and comment on it.  The website layout is clean and (this scores massive points with me) Advertisement Free.  I don’t know how long that will last because, quite frankly, I can’t imagine how they’re making any money, but can I just say I hope it stays that way.

It’s what Facebook used to be before all the flashy ads on the sidebar. 

There are five “tabs” you can focus on:

  1. Home – main page, as discussed
  2. My Fat Secret – your personal space to record, journal, update, etc.
  3. Diets – discusses which diets are most popular and how they rate in weight loss
  4. Kitchen – for all your recipe searching needs, with reviews and stars
  5. Community – groups, challenges, forums, journals, etc.

One of the most compelling features of this website is that when you first create your profile, it asks you what Diet you’re on (if any).  You always have the option of entering your very own personal diet.  I entered Weight Watchers because I’ve done it in the past.  I’ve also set my Food Journal options to include Weight Watchers Points, so when I enter food – you guessed it – it automatically logs the Points for me.

If you’re trying to pay attention to a particular area, such as salt intake, fiber, etc., it can add (or subtract) any details you care about.  How convenient is that?

The only quibble I have, so far, is the Buddy System.   I’ve added a few friends, but it’s a little tricky trying to figure out if they’ve accepted, if they’re adding me, or when they make comments on my journal entries.  Maybe I’m just a Luddite. 

One feature it doesn’t have, but I would love to see, is an email alert (if you request it) when someone comments on your profile.  This would be an exceptionally handy feature for those of us who don’t want to be rude and ignore people who take the time to comment on our public entries.

So there you have it.  If you want an easy way to meet other people who are trying to lose weight, get fit, join a group, or just have a recipe to share, Fat Secret is an excellent option. 

http://www.fatsecret.com

~Melissa

Disclaimer:  And no, I didn’t make a dime off of pitching these guys.  I just love the website and want to share it with everyone I know because it is that useful.  So enjoy – or not.  Up to you.

The Herb Garden

So I’m in the middle of planting an herb garden.  We have two great planters and we didn’t do a full-attempt last year so I decided it was time.  Last time we planted, we did tomatoes, more tomatoes, peas, and the freaking hottest habanero peppers that ever dug roots.  Oh and zucchini that totally took over the garden (something about not picking them when you’re supposed to).  So we sort of got tired of the gardening thing, but I got some wild hair and decided I wanted one again this year.

I picked up a electric soil tiller and a bunch of baby herbs and tons of seeds.  (See below for the list.)  I had the herb seedlings sitting on my window sill, but my cat took an inordinate liking to them, even chewing on some of them, so we had to move them out to the cottage.  (Notice in one of the pictures, he’s got his eye on the garden.)

Here’s the planters when we started (March 13, 2009):

Before Tilling
Before Tilling
After two days of tilling, planting, forcing the boys to help, and whatnot. 
This is the after  (March 14, 2009):
After Planting
After Planting
So far we have:
  • 8-Ball Squash (or something crazy like that)
  • Basil
  • Sweet Basil
  • Aromatic Basil
  • Pesto Basil (who knew there were so many types?)
  • Carrots (some weird round ball-looking baby variety)
  • Chives
  • Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Marjoram
  • Greek Oregano
  • Italian Oregano
  • Onions (Green)
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Sugar Snap Peas (ok not herbs, but we wanted some veggies, too)
  • Tarragon
  • Thyme

We’ll see if they survive my black thumb!

I’ll update the pics in a week or two so you get a nice timeline of growth (or death, whichever).

~Melissa

Recipe: Lactose-Free Cheesecake

As someone who would marry cheesecake if she could but married her lactose intolerant husband instead, this cheesecake is a winner.  If you think it can’t possibly compare to “real” cheesecake, I challenge you to make it.

The way I got around my oh-so picky husband was not telling him what I used.  I just said it was “lactose free” sour cream and cream cheese.  Once I got the resounding two thumbs up, then I told him what it was made with.

Recipe

1 Graham Cracker crust
12 oz. Better Than Cream Cheese (cream cheese substitute)
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons Vanilla
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup Sour Supreme (sour cream substitute)
3 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine first five ingredients and beat well until light and frothy.
  3. Pour into Graham Cracker crust.
  4. Bake for 26 minutes.
  5. Remove and cool for 10 minutes.
  6. Mix last three ingredients (sour cream, sugar, vanilla) and pour on top.
  7. Bake 10 – 15 minutes.
  8. Refrigerate 5 hours.
  9. Beat husband off with stick until cheesecake actually cools completely.

Answer to the question you must be asking…

The stuff they use to create the sour cream and cream cheese substitutes is actually tofu.  Oh yes, you heard me.  I’m not a tofu political activist by any stretch of the imagination.  I’ll eat it if it’s in front of me, but I don’t go out of my way to seek it out.

I am not kidding when I tell you, it’s very hard to tell the difference.

Proof?  Three step-children and picky snobby snooty husband ate it like it was their last meal on earth.  And I’m done.

I got the original recipe from, I think, Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappe, but the substitute stuff was pure Rachel Gunn information.

~Melissa