Monthly Archives: April 2013

Everybody Loves A Bargain

Yup, that’s what I said. Who does like a good deal. With the economy in the shape that it’s in, we all need to find a way to make that nickel scream (it use to be a penny, but with inflation and all).

At the end of a rough day or week or month, whatever nonsense you’ve been going through, sometimes you need some cheering up. Now, I’m not saying that you should eat yourself into a coma when you feel blue or anything, but food can be a comfort. When you were feeling lousy with a head cold and your parent brought you a warm cup of soup; the vapors helping to relieve that stuffy nose. Or that piece of ‘emergency chocolate’ that no one knows about, stashed in the back of your office desk drawer. Food makes us happy.

Along that vein, I want to offer up some comfort of my own kind to you, my friends in the blog-world.

My ‘shop’ Cake In A Can is having a sale.

You can get $3 off any cake at etsy.com/shop/CakeInACan by using the coupon code FOLLOWCAKEINACAN1  at check out.

That makes your cake $13.99 + shipping and handling.

A freshly baked cake is homemade when you order it. None of this ‘take n bake’ or add this add that … NO  it’s really a cake, shipped to you in an old school cookie tin (which is terrific to re-purpose… it does have any type of Christmas decorations on it!).

Cake In A Can

Make someone smile, send them a cake.

Who doesn’t like CAKE!

 

YEAH! Finally, A Sale!

Oh my gravy all over my two scoops rice!  (that’s OMG! In my world)

This past weekend I made my very first sale, FOR MONEY!!! At my ‘shop’ etsy.com/shop/CakeInACan

WAHOO!

I have been networking, giving out free samples, knocking on doors, sending emails, Face Booking, Twittering, everything that I could think of that didn’t cost me much money, to get this baby off the ground. And …

SHAZAM!

One of the folks that we gave a sample to loved it and I hope that this will start a new chapter. Now look, I’m not looking to be next wealthiest old lady in the world or be some new Cooking show whatever kitchen goddess, I just want to share with the world my cakes that are so dang tasty.

Cake In A Can

I’ve been making these particular cakes for MANY  years and this past Christmas our friends, who both own their own small business, suggested that I sell these cuties online. What the heck, I’ve got nothing to lose, I’m retired.

So if you feel the need for cake, visit my ‘shop’ and see what you think.

 

Another Weekend Off

DH and I are so very busy AGAIN this weekend that I don’t want anyone to think that I forgot all about you.  So I want to say Happy Weekend and we’ll chat on Monday.

Almond cookie from China Town Honolulu Hawaii

Here, have an Almond Cookie while you wait.

I got this one in Chinatown Honolulu Hawaii.

ALOHA!  A HUI HOU!

What The Heck Happened Here?

Ya’ know… it’s not always prefect in a home kitchen, or a professional one for that matter. Sometimes, stuff just happens. I made two cakes for my ‘shop’ estsy.com/shop/CakeInACan, well actually to give to a restaurant in our area. I am hoping that they will try them out on their menu as a chalk board special. Maybe we could strike a deal where I provide them with a couple of cakes on the weekends to supplement the pies that they make. Every weekend they run out of dessert. They can’t keep enough pies around ‘til Sunday when their baker comes in.

Anywhos, I figured that I’d make two of my half-sized cakes…

Oops!

The one little guy looks, well, just plain ole’ not very pretty!

Hmmm… How can we camouflage that? Crushed Pecans, yeah that’s it!

 

OY! My Aching Feet

When you stand in the kitchen all day long on hard floors, your feet and your back, well most of your body aches. My wonderful husband bought me a GelMat for Christmas, but our kitchen is longer than the mat. So my choice is, do you want to have cushiness under you at the sink or the stove? Being from Hawaii, it’s our custom NOT to wear your shoes in the house, I don’t and I pay for it sometimes.

Our niece came to visit and had on a pair of super cute walking shoes. I’ve recently gotten back on the walking trail again to TRY  to get the last of these extra pounds off once and for all. The shoes that I have are so old and tattered; I figured I’d go hunting for some functional yet stylish shoes. My patient husband and I went to the Big Mall in town yesterday, after having lunch out (shoot, I forgot to take snapshots for you. Well, we agreed that we’ll go back there again, I’ll tell you about it then).

OY! My Aching Feet

I found the shoes that I wanted and tried them on. WOW! I’ve never worn skechers before. These are the GOwalk2. So light, so comfortable, so supportive. This bell went off in my head as I pranced around the store, this will be perfect for a long day in the kitchen on my feet. These could serve double duty.  But wait, they look adorable with my apron too!

OY!  My Aching Feet

Because I was so happy with this shoe, my generous husband said, “Get two. Don’t you like those other ones over there too?”

Yep, sure do! My aching feet thank you dear husband.

 

Not Much Longer Now!

DH and I have just a few more days left on this ‘cycle’ of our diet, I mean new way of looking at food. I have to tell you and be very honest, I can’t wait for this to be over with. We will still watch carefully what and how we eat, just not in such a regimented way as we are right now. As I was saying the other day, it’s getting to be more and more of a challenge to come up with flavorful foods that will satisfy our appetites and taste buds. I was at my green grocer the other day and they had turkey breast cutlets on sale. Now what could I do that would be different with that?

DING DING DING!

Turkey Marsala with Whole Wheat Pasta

Turkey Marsala

4 Turkey Cutlets (Boneless-skinless Chicken thighs or breasts), cut into bit size pieces

¼ C. Flour

½ tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Pepper

10 oz. sliced Crimini Mushroom

½ small Onion, diced fine

1 Garlic clove, minced

¾ C. Dry Marsala Wine

1 ¼ C. Chicken broth

2 Tbsp. Butter + little bit more

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

In a large pan heat EVOO, sauté mushrooms until brown, remove to a bowl. Add more oil if needed along with a little butter for flavor and sweat onions until just translucent; add garlic & sauté until fragrant, transfer to a dish. Toss Turkey (chicken) in flour + salt & pepper and brown about 3 minutes per side; transfer to another plate. Add wine and scarp up all brown bits, reduce, pour in broth; add back onions and mushrooms to the pan and bring to a bubble. Swirl in 2 Tbsp of butter and reduce for a few minutes; add back in the chicken and simmer for about 5 minutes until sauce thickens further. Serve over pasta (we had whole wheat pasta) or polenta, also nice with roasted potatoes.

chicken marsala

Boneless-skinless Chicken Thigh Marsala with roasted Potatoes

 

 

 

Trying To Keep Dieting Interesting On The Plate

We are still on our “nothing white” diet, I mean new way of looking at food, and I am finding it harder and harder to come up with tasty meals. Even though my DH says that he doesn’t care for Mexican food, he likes what I put on the table. I may have made mention earlier about New Mexico food, a different take and very good too. I was at my favorite green grocer, who also has a meat & fish counter, and I was just walking by with no intention of buying meats here. When something caught my eye, Carne Asada. YUM! On the grill, I’m thinking, no, we can’t have our preferred flour tortilla, what about as an Asian-inspired dish?

Trying To Keep Dieting Interesting On The Plate

So last night, I got the gas grill going, charred some sweet red bell peppers and onions, set those aside. Next the meat, I charred that on high heat to keep it tender.

Earlier in the afternoon, I washed some red leaf lettuce (that’s all I could find) and set them in the ‘fridge wrapped in a clean tea towel.

Time for dinner.

Trying To Keep Dieting Interesting On The Plate

In each leaf I spooned on a small amount of everything along with some salsa.

Trying To Keep Dieting Interesting On The Plate

I made little bundles, like a burrito, securing them with a toothpick.

I held my breath as my husband took his first bite. He looked me straight in the eye and said, “it’s good. Real good. Where’d you find this?”

 

Looking For That Right Sheet Pan

A while back, I had a half sheet pan that was perfect.  It fit in a home oven just fine AND in a dishwasher.  I paid a good chunk of change for it at Williams-Sonoma, but the finish was starting to come off and I thought that I’d best replace it.

Looking For That Right Sheet Pan

Yeah, you know it, they no longer make that particular type any longer.  I was so annoyed, I wrote to the company and just got a standard letter: thank you for your … blah blah blah.  I did more internet searches than Carter has pills.

So right about now you’re asking yourself, so what Auntie Doni, what does it really matter?  Just buy any old pan that you see.  NO my friends and neighbors!  The overpowering reason that I like THAT  half sheet pan over the countless others that I have tried is that it didn’t warp and twist and basically seize up in a hot oven.

You may remember our chat a while back about Sunday Brunch in my kitchen in the middle of the desert.  I like to cook up copious amounts of thick cut bacon for brunch; the simplest and cleanest way to accomplish this task is in the oven on a sheet pan covered in tin foil.  This makes for easy clean up on a lazy Sunday, meant to lounging the day away, as well as not having to mop the floor covered in grease splatters.  It took me a number of months, but I finally found my replacement pan in of all places, Walmart.

Looking For That Right Sheet PanLooking For That Right Sheet Pan

The Baker’s Half Sheet Pan with Storage Lid Natural Commercial Bakeware by Nordicware.  WAHOO!  It also comes without the lid and in a quarter sheet size too.  Both are less than $10 and I am so happy with this product.  I have been using these for almost two years now with no complaints at all.

Looking For That Right Sheet Pan

I use them for so many things: roasting potatoes, veggies, meats and not once have I had any problems.  Well, maybe just one criticism, it doesn’t fit in the automatic dishwasher, but I can live with that.

ALOHA!

House-made Salad Dressing

When DH and I went over to a friend’s home for dinner last week; I contributed to the evening’s meal with a salad.

Dinner At A Friend’s Home

Our Host made Smoked Pork loin as the entrée, so I figured that a bold-flavorful-dark green-salad would compliment that well. I was looking in my ‘fridge door for a dressing to along.  I must admit that I normally buy bottled dressings rather than make my own, but on this occasion it seemed like I should make it from scratch.

Prior to moving into our house in the middle of the desert full-time, we rented it as a vacation home, and we would visit once a year. As I filled the cupboards with groceries on this particular trip, I found a bottle of white balsamic vinegar that someone had left, along with the remainder of a small bottle of EVOO. Since I neglected to purchase any dressing, we had a very nice salad made from the gifts left behind by one of our guests, thank you very much. It was delicious!

But I do ramble on as my husband does like to point out.

House-made Salad Dressing

House-made White Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 tbsp. White Balsamic Vinegar

3 tbsp. EVOO

1 large Garlic clove

Goodly pinch of Sea Salt

Freshly ground Black Pepper

¼ tsp. Dijon mustard

Herbs of your choice (I used a little dried Basil & Oregano)

 

Smash the garlic REALLY good on your cutting board using the back of a chef knife. Sprinkle the salt on the garlic and run your knife over the mixture until it forms a paste. Scrap it all up and put it into a small jar with a tight fitting lid, like a mason jar, or empty pickle jar. Add the remaining ingredients, cover and shake well. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly.

This recipe may sound quite elementary, but honestly, how many folks do you know that makes salad dressing? It’s a dying culinary art form, and I can think of only one person who still practices it, and she does it for a living!

 

Favorite Dinner From Back Home

Back home in Hawaii, DH and I lived on the same property as my parents; I did a lot of the cooking for all of us. Once we all moved here to the middle of the desert, my mom decided that she wanted to have her own apartment. Mom now has to cook for herself, and it ain’t like my food, I’ll just say that! So when I invite mom up to our place for a meal with us, I make a point to make recipes that I’ve learned how to make from home.

Favorite Dinner From Back Home

This past Sunday we had mom over and I made Teriyaki chicken, my quick cucumber kim chee and marinated bean sprouts. My husband and I are back on our ‘no white foods’ diet, so that meant no steamed white rice for us, only mom.

Teri-chicken

I like to cut the chicken up and then garnish with more green onions and sesame seeds

My ono-licious (delicious in my world) teri-chicken was adapted from many recipes that I have found over the years.

½ C. low sodium Soy Sauce (you know I love Aloha brand)

¼ C. Vegetable oil

2 tbsp. Brown Sugar

1 Garlic clove, smashed

1 tbsp. Fresh Ginger root, grated

1 tbsp. Sesame oil

1 tbsp. Mirin

2 Green Onions, minced

1 tsp. Sesame seeds

5 boneless-skinless Chicken thighs

Combine all the ingredients in a gallon-size zip top bag and shake until the sugar is dissolved. Add the chicken and refrigerate overnight, turning it over occasionally. Grill and EAT!!!

Bean Sprouts

The bean sprouts (Kong Namul) are a Korean dish that we would always have on our take-out plates in Hawaii. My sweet DH found this recipe for me in the newspaper. Before we left Hawaii, I made sure to collect what recipes I could. This is super easy, quick and makes a fantastic side dish with any BBQ meats. I’ve changed it ever so slightly for a milder vinegar bite.

½ lb. fresh Bean Sprouts (mung bean)

1 tbsp. Rice Vinegar

1 tbsp. Granulated Sugar

1 tsp. Sesame oil

1 tbsp. low sodium Soy Sauce (Ponzu would be nice too)

½ tsp. Sea Salt

2 Green Onions, minced

1/4 tsp. Sesame Seeds

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and toss in the sprouts. Bring back up to a boil and cook about 1 minute, until they are crisp-tender but still pliable. Drain and rinse under cold running water. In a large bowl, combine the ingredients above until the sugar is dissolved; add in the sprouts and toss to combine with the sauce. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled.

And we’ve talked about the quick cucumber kim chee before, it’s just so good! But, put all of these dishes together and you have a very typical meal back in Hawaii.  I asked my husband after we dropped mom off back at her place if he tought she enjoyed her evening and all he said was, “OH YEAH!”

ALOHA!