Make-ahead Breakfast Sandwiches!

I made an amazing discovery – did you know that you can freeze and reheat breakfast sandwiches!? So of course I had to try it! I made eight of them and froze six. I just ate the first one and aside from the fact that I over-toasted the top of the muffin it worked out quite will!

This will help to ensure that I have food for the upcoming week. How did I make them?

  1. Caramelized some onions with sage, thyme, and pepper. I didn’t add salt because the bacon and cheese will do that for me later. I poured a dozen eggs (beaten)* on top and baked that whole concoction for about 20 minutes. Who knew that it took such a hot oven (450F) to bake eggs?

*although next time I will use 10 eggs.

2. It takes a slightly lower oven to cook bacon (375 F) but takes about as long. Bake it and put it on a paper towel to drain. That’s what’ll crisp it up. Also, do this on the top rack of your oven for greater success. I had to do some re-arranging mid-way through. You may prefer vegan bacon, (coconut bacon, tempeh bacon), peameal (Canadian), or none at all. All are fine. They’re your sandwiches, after all.

3. Toast your English muffins just a little bit. You can use the lower rack in your oven while you cook the bacon up top.

4. Assembly. Each muffin contains: 1/8th of the onion-egg (is this a frittata?), a slice of bacon broken in half (some got a bit extra) and a couple slices of cheese. Layer in standard sandwich format.
 Sorry for the weird perspective here! (I had to wedge in beside the fridge to take this picture).

Wrap each sandwich individually in tinfoil, put them together in a (clear) bag, and freeze. To reheat them take the tinfoil off and put your muffin on a paper towel. I microwaved it for 90 seconds but I think I’ll try reducing that to 75 or even 60 seconds the next time. I toasted the top half of the muffin in the toasted oven. I thought that I’d like the crunch but the texture was too different. I need to reduce the time there, too.

Pretty delicious, though! And now my breakfast woes are solved!

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American Pot Roast

 

For some reason my cookbook differentiates between American pot roast and Italian. The difference seems to come down to pancetta (Italian) vs mirepoix (American – who knew! I thought it was French!) as the main seasoning. So I started it tonight, because pot roasts were 30% off at the grocery store. Which, when you find meat at the store that’s 30% off, you need to cook it post haste. So I started tonight. I’ll finish tomorrow. Thus far it looks like this:

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Would you believe that there’s a pot roast under there?

Thus far you’re looking at a pot roast (hidden underneath the gravy) which after being dredged in flour, salt, and pepper, was browned in butter for ten minutes. Then the mirepoix was cooked in the same browned butter with a teaspoonful of thyme and sage (I love these two!) and a pinch of rosemary. Then more flour as a thickening agent and three cups of veggie broth. I was supposed to use beef broth but I don’t keep that lying around. So that’s the gravy.

Tomorrow it’ll cook for eight or nine hours (can you overcook a roast? I hope not as I have some errands to do) and have pearl onions, potatoes, and peas added to it at the end. Planning ahead for post-work dinners!

Would you believe that I’m about as organised as a real grown up?

Buckwheat Pancakes

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I’ve been told that buckwheat flour is very hard to find in the US – if that’s true please let me know! I buy it at the local food co-op and then keep it in my freezer for sudden pancake cravings.

It’s strawberry season now. I don’t like to eat out-of-season berries. They’re too sour as they don’t develop their sugars when they’re forced to ripen against their will. Yes, even berries have free will and they don’t want to be eaten out of turn. So that means that when the berries are in season I have to eat as many as possible to make up for the 11 months of the year that I haven’t been eating this particular kind. The yellow is mango because I’m worried that I’m catching a cold. I’ve spent way too many days riding through rainstorms on my bicycle these past few weeks.

So this morning I woke up and walked to the store to buy strawberries, eggs, yoghurt (I use it instead of milk for these pancakes) and milk for my tea. On the way back I stopped along the way to eat mulberries. This was my reward for my productivity 🙂

This recipe makes enough for two people. If you want to try it too it is:

  • 1 cup yoghurt
  • 1 egg
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp melted butter

Combine these in a small bowl. Start preheating your frying pan (especially if it’s cast iron like mine). In a slightly bigger bowl combine:

  • 6 tbsp flour (I used whole wheat because it’s what I had on hand)
  • 6 tbsp buckwheat flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • dash cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, or other savoury spice that you like in your pancakes
  • I added in 2 tbsp of wheat germ because I think that wheat germ is important. This is optional. If you do this add a little bit of extra yoghurt to make up for the dryness.

Make a well in the bowl of ‘dry’. Pour the yoghurt mixture into the well. Using a scoop-stir method combine the wet and the dry. Do not overmix!

Melt some oil (I use coconut) in your frying pan. Using a 1/4-cup measuring scoop (or a very large spoon) dollop out the pancake batter into the pan. The trick with these is that they don’t seem to bubble around the edges the way that normal pancakes do to say “flip me!” so just keep an eye on them every few minutes. While they’re cooking chop your fruit. You will be much happier with fruit on your pancakes.

I keep mine warm in the toaster oven while I wait for the rest of the batch to cook. That way I have warm pancakes when it’s time to eat!

Salad in jars

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I think that I’ve finally figured out why everyone was making such a fuss about salads in jars. They’re pretty rad and are definitely a force for good in my life. These ones are my first attempt. I needed to use up the dressing that I’d made for dinner with my in-laws. So on the bottom there is orange-pomegranite dressing. The bottom veggies of this salad are cucumber, red onion, and shredded carrot. On top of that is some penne that I made (left over from a pasta-tuna salad) and native rice. In the lettuce are dried cherries (don’t like them/trying to use them up) and dried cranberries (must get more) and toasted pumpkin seeds.

I’ve eaten two of them already. I need to eat the last one so that I can have my jars back. I want to make more salads! I love having easy meals readily available at all times.

Breaking In The Boots

I bought new steel toed boots recently (I wear them at work, and I prefer them in the winter anyway as I believe that they’re slightly more durable). At work I was talking with a friend about how this brand is the absolute worst to break in of all the boots that we’ve tried (and we’re talking over 20 years of boot breakings-in between the two of us). Apparently they took her a month! Mine took me three days, which is the longest and most difficult that I’ve ever experienced. It seems that I’ve got my methodology down to a fine art, having been working on it since high school’s exclusive Doc Marten days. So, if you’re trying to break in your boots, here’s my (almost!) painless method of doing it.

First we need to know what it is that makes breaking in boots so incredibly painful. For me it’s the fact that my heel rubs and gets blisters, despite my callouses. And what forces my heels to rub? The fact that I can’t bend my foot at the ball. So this is what I do to remedy this situation as fast as possible:

  1. Put on comfy socks. I like thick ones.
  2. Optional step! Take a pain reliever of your choice. Wait about 20 minutes for it to kick in.
  3. Put on your new boots. If they have laces be sure to tie them as tightly as humanly possible, and then some. It’s a bit like putting on your ice skates for the first time that year.
  4. Get up and walk around! The way that you go about this is specific.
  • Go for a walk. Try to bend your knees and lean forward as you walk. It’s like walking in downhill skiing boots. Or, that’s the goal anyway.
  • Try to encourage the ball of your foot to bend as much as possible. I find it helps to have my knees slightly bent and my weight forward.
  • Once you’ve done that for a while (and hopefully softened up where that crease will be) go and find a flight of stairs.
  • Try going up and down the stairs on your toes. Do this until the pain makes it too difficult.
  • Go for a walk. Again, try to walk as naturally as possible despite the pain, and with emphasizing the bend at the ball of your foot.

Eventually, as you repeat the stairs and the walks, your foot will start to be able to bend naturally again. As that happens your boots will become more comfortable! You may want to not wear them for a few days so that your feet can heal before going for new boots: day two! That said, you will quickly reap the benefits of the dedicated time. Rather than being crippled by your boots for a month, it’s a matter of hours to days. That’s pretty sweet, eh!?

Gracious!

So, that’s what happens when you don’t turn things off and on again: they break down. Now I know. At least my computer is back up to its usual limping along state, rather than still out of commission entirely!

However, the unexpected time off has allowed me to start new projects and investigate old ones more completely. Here’s what’s on the go right now:

  • finishing my pink arm warmers
  • started a blue sweater
  • I figured out how to make fridge preserves!
  • Now I have a lot of soup broth to use up!
  • Time to preserve the corn/potato chowder that I made the other day
  • Must fix my blue winter bicycle!

So those are all the posts to look forward to in the near future as I catch up. There may also be a post about my turtle, Pythagoras. I recently had to fix his filter and I’m still leery about it.

Mexican Casserole

Using the same cookbook, I also made a mexican casserole. This one was very spicy. This might be because I added three jalapeños, which turned out to be a bit much.

Yoghurt-spice sauce

Yoghurt-spice sauce

That’s on top of all of the spices in the yoghurt.

A glass bowl filled with kidney beans, rice, corn, and tomatoes all stirred with a wooden spoon

Filling

This filling really helped me raid my freezer. From it came corn, tomatoes, rice, and beans. The only fresh ingredient was the jalapeño! And I can buy them at the corner store, so it really wasn’t that much of a hardship.

A casserole dish filled with filling, comprising rice, kidney beans, corn, green onions, and tomatoes

Waiting to bake

1/4 of the finished casserole gone

All baked and delicious

This was all eaten in two days. It was pretty delicious!

It turns out that I’m much happier with food in my fridge. Apparently when my fridge is empty I get anxious, upset, and irritable. It’s stressful to think that I don’t have any food! I feel as though there’s a lesson in there.

Stew

Earlier this year Fuzzy bought me a cookbook for my birthday. It’s dedicated to spicy food. It’s one of my favourite cookbooks!

Last week I dedicated myself to raiding my freezer and pantry and making meals for the week. So this is Ethiopian wat (‘wat’ means ‘stew’ according to this book), made vegan. It looked pretty much like this, only with more tomato in it at the end.

Finely chopped onion and cubed tempeh brown in a dutch oven. Shown with wooden stirring spoon.

The beginnings of a stew!

It was pretty great, and I will make it again. Today I got more tempeh so that it’s an option in the future.

Doing Nothing

Sometimes, despite my usual zeal for making stuff and doing things, I get hit by a gigantic bout of demotivation. I can barely be motivated to do anything right now, and it’s all I can do to make some plain pasta to combine with the leftover stew. That’ll be lunch tomorrow.

Which reminded me that I didn’t post about my stew yet! Maybe I’ll do that tomorrow as I eat the last of the leftovers.

Some days are just harder than other days, and that’s okay.