Category Archives: Baking

Notes on the Week

Happy Friday the 13th! It was a pretty a good week around these parts. I love waking up every day and for the most part feeling better than I did the day before. I’m going on my FOURTH chemo free week. For the first time since before I started chemo six months ago! It’s weird, fun, and frustrating all at once.

Anyways, here’s some bloggable highlights from the week!

1. Chicken and Waffles.

First, can we discuss where this combo originated? Was it in the Southern U.S.? For all the times I’ve eaten waffles, I’ve never had this combo. Healthified since I was making it at home. I started by slicing a small pre-baked chicken breast, dipping the pieces in egg whites, then coating them in a mix of coconut flour and ground flax seed. I then stuck them in the toaster oven until they browned.

For the waffle, in a bowl I mixed:

  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg white
  • almond milk until desired consistency (thicker for waffles than pancakes. sorry! I never measure it!)

I’m not quite sure what people put on chicken and waffles, so I drizzled syrup on top and it was GOOD! Chicken is so bland that the sweetness worked nice, and the coconut coating was the perfect flavour to add. Traditionally, the chicken is battered and deep fried. I will have to try that version another day!

2. Homemade pasta.

My friend Becca has an Italian cookbook filled with humorous notes from an Italian on how to make the recipes authentic (such as “no!” to garlic in tomato sauce). Half of the book is pasta recipes and we decided we needed to attempt the homemade noodles in there since neither of us had done it before.

It was actually incredibly easy. For two servings, mix 1 cup flour (durum preferably, but we used all purpose with a splash of water) and two eggs. Roll it out paper thin and hang to dry for 20 minutes. For fettuccine, we rolled up the sheet of dough then made  <1cm slices all the way down it. Unravel, then drop in a pot of boiling water for a minute. The hardest part was flattening out the dough with a beer glass.

We agreed on a lighter sauce to let the noodles shine. Becca whipped up a basil walnut pesto with roasted garlic. Everything was DIVINE. I want homemade pasta again tomorrow, and the next day.

3. I got an elliptical!

Fancy, eh? I cancelled my gym membership when I was in the hospital and have been working out at home because of my weakened immune system. Instead of rejoining the gym, I decided to slowly get a home gym going instead. For a long time I planned on getting a treadmill, but I like running and walking outdoors when I can. I thought the elliptical would be something different for my muscles and good for crappy days outside. I’m ridiculously excited about it.

4. Buster had surgery!

Okay, so he just got fixed like every other dog out there, but I still worried about him! Above is a photo the vet snapped when he was waking up from the anesthesia. Look at his tongue hanging out! My poor baby.

He was really groggy when I first brought him home, but the next morning he had better control of his tongue and was bounding around like normal.

As well as playing with his doggie relatives. It’s a full house whenever I bring Buster around my mom’s house with the addition of the new puppy. All dogs fighting to be on one lap at a time.

5. Tunes.

Because we all need some good tunes to go into the weekend with.

Inhaler by Miles Kane

Mayday by PUJOL

Cause A Rockslide by Badly Drawn Boy

The Bad In Each Other by Feist

Walk Away by Tom Waits

That’s all she wrote! Have a great weekend!

Homemade Pita Bread

It’s hurry up and wait time around here again. It’s been two weeks since my last chemo with three more weeks until the scan that will show if there’s any cancer left. I figured there’s no better way to signify this waiting period than to make dough…

And wait for it to rise.

No, not bagels yet (soon, I promise!). But this week I tackled another bread that’s been on the to-do list for a while – pita bread!

I’ve finally figured out the environment that best encourages active yeast and rising dough in my kitchen. I start with 100F degree water with a few pinches of sugar and activate the yeast with a hot, damp towel over the bowl in the microwave (turned off, obviously). It gets wonderfully bubbly after 10 minutes.

My newest trick?

A KitchenAid stand mixer!! It was a Christmas gift. So shiny. So beautiful. So dang useful. I broke it in by allowing it to knead the dough for 10 minutes while I rested my gimp left arm.

My next trick for rising dough is sticking it back in the microwave with a hot towel over top and a couple thermoses of boiling water.

Punching it is arguably the best part. Makes all that waiting worth it.

For pita bread, you have to divide the dough and roll it into balls first.

Once the dough is settled, roll it out and stick it in a very hot oven. I had mine a bit hotter at 450F. This is where you can gasp and yelp in amazement.

THEY PUFF UP!! I promptly called my sister into the room going “Look! Look!” Once you place the flat dough on the hot pan in the oven, it only takes seconds for them to start bubbling up and separating in the middle.

The recipe I followed can be found here. The pita bread was delicious, but I wouldn’t say perfect for my first attempt. Not all of them puffed fully and I found they were too fluffy. I would definitely recommend the hotter oven temperature and I think next time I’ll roll them out thinner. They also really do get crispy when kept in the oven for longer than three minutes.

Coincidentally, I had some homemade hummus on hand. (a very basic version – 1 can drained chickpeas, 2 tbsp liquid from can, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp tahini, 2 small cloves garlic, 1 tsp cumin, salt, pepper, all in the food processor!)

In completely unrelated news…

MY MOM GOT A PUPPY!!

Her name is Maggie Mae, her previous owner named her Megara, which my mom said was too ‘cumbersome.’ She’s a 12-week-old Havanese. Super shy and cuddly. So soft and fluffy!

Buster scared the bejesus out of her when he came bounding into my mom’s house and straight for her. He, err, comes on a little strong with other dogs sometimes.

And in more news, I’m calling the vet today to get Buster fixed. No more waiting with that one!

Holiday Highlights

Hellohello! I am checking in after a week off from blogging. Hope everyone had a good Christmas! I am finally starting to come through the other side after getting chemo last Wednesday. I also stopped taking Prednisone last Friday, so between the chemo side effects and withdrawals, I’ve been feeling pretty crappy. Here are some of the holiday highlights though!

Finally got my Christmas picture of Buster! He got so spoiled this year. All of my family members bought him gifts (a coat, booties, treats, and toys), not to mention nonstop love and cuddles from all the people in the house.

Archie however, kind of hated this Christmas. I think that cute spaniel ruined it for him. Poor poodle.

We had snow for Christmas! It’s all melted by now, but I hope it comes back soon. As much as I love warmth, I love my seasons. Cold and snowy ones included.

My dad bought the third-last Christmas tree in Moncton on Dec 23rd. It is so ugly. It looks even wider decorated!

My middle sister (I have two older sisters) came home from Quebec! I love having all of us girls together. Until we start drinking at arguing that is (joking!) (mostly!).

My oldest sister who used to live in Ottawa lives at home with me now. I keep her well fed, she keeps the house clean, ha.

We played games on Christmas Eve. I won, thanks to the help of my little teammate. Buster mostly just tried to catch and eat the dice.

For Christmas brunch we had baked French toast with sugared pecans. Usually we do a ham, egg, and cheese casserole thingy, but I can’t eat ham or cheese this year because of the drugs I’m on. Don’t even get me started on how lame it was to have food restrictions over Christmas…

And of course, on Christmas morning we opened gifts! Packed in reused gift bags over the years.

How sweet of Buster to get me something. Ha!

My step-siblings stopped by in their Christmas peejays. I’ve got five teenage step-siblings – three on my mom’s side and two on my dad’s side. It’s kind of ridiculous, but I also love being part of a big family.

Last but not least, my contribution to Christmas dinner, a pumpkin trifle! Recipe found here. I would definitely recommend this as a recipe to try, it was a fun way to change up our usual fruit trifle. Usually I make closer to half of the Christmas dishes, but this year I was just too sick and fatigued. The cooking is my favourite part so I was bummed to miss out on it!

Overall, this Christmas gets a solid “okay.” One of my grandmothers went into the hospital Christmas Eve after falling at home. She is fine, nothing is broken, but she is quite shaken up. I of course was sick from chemo and drug withdrawals. I usually take a lot more photos but didn’t feel inclined to do so this year, as I honestly don’t really care to remember the Christmas I was sick, bald, and had a swollen face.

Most of all, I am looking forward to the New Year. To put 2011 and all of its crappiness behind me. To start fresh chemo-free. The worst of my last chemo is behind me and I’ve got nothing but new days ahead of me to feel better and better. Four weeks until the PET scan to see if there’s any signs of remaining cancer. Please start crossing your fingers now!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 487 other followers