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Sugar Craving, Oh, No!

Since Tuesday or so, I’ve been craving sugar. Also since Tuesday, I’ve had no access to sugar and haven’t eaten anything particularly sweet, unless you count that banana I had that day- when I cooked breakfast, sinus headache and all.

(Speaking of sinus headaches, saline solution rinsing through one’s nose does wonders to help deal with it. Go saline solution!)

So today, I finally had the determination to go buy some Honey Buns or Fancy Cakes, since my mind had been focusing mostly on them. Then, when I got to the store, I had no desire to eat Honey Buns or Fancy Cakes, and my stomach even kind of turned when I saw them.

What in the world is going on?

To have kept craving the Honey Buns and have had a constant desire to eat them for three days only to now have a kind of revulsion to them? God is one weird cookie, or should I say, bagel, since cookies don’t sound exactly wonderful at the moment.

The good news is that I have continued to eat healthier food, making sure to get my bite of tomato and onion and cucumber in along with my vitamins and carbohydrates.

Has anyone else experienced this kind of strange craving that randomly goes away? Maybe my body was reacting to the lack of sugar coming into it, who knows? I definitely don’t.

The good news is that Gigi made biscuits, and I bought Morning Star Chik’N tenders. Even more good news is that the local grocery store now carries the 4 Cheese Hot Pockets with Herb Crusts. The bad news is that the Chik’N tenders are pricy- there are only seven in the box, and it costs $4.49. That means the Chik’N tenders costs 64 cents a piece- and that’s just ridiculous!

But we don’t buy them too terribly often, so they’re not that big of a deal- one in a while may be okay.

The great Honey Bun debate within myself will continue. Maybe I should try making my own Honey Buns or my own Fancy Cakes- that could be fun.

Recently, Heather, AKA Van Tilden, made a delicious cake with vertical striped frosting. I’ll post more about it soon, hopefully with pictures.

Carpe diem!

Beaux


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Posted by on May 20, 2011 in desserts, food, postaday2011

 

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The Story of Biscuits in My Family

Southerners love biscuits.

I love biscuits.

Biscuits are something to which we can always look forward. I’m sure everyone can hear my inner carboholic celebrating.

When I was a kid, Poppy made biscuits every Sunday. Except his biscuits were actually from a can, but he made practically everything else from scratch, so that was totally okay. I learned around the Lazy Susan Table to enjoy gravy on my biscuits.

This eventually led to my Gigi taking us by a local gas station to get biscuits in the morning before school and sometimes even before we went somewhere in the mornings during the summer. I always wanted a gravy biscuit, and my brother always wanted a jelly biscuit. I think I did flip-flop between gravy biscuits and bacon, egg, and cheese biscuits, which is what Gigi usually ate, and if I felt really froggy, I would even go for a sausage biscuit.

But the gravy biscuits remained my favorite.

One time, my mom asked for an egg biscuit and a jelly biscuit, and apparently, someone misunderstood and gave her an egg and jelly biscuit- something we didn’t discover until it was too late to return to the gas station. Or maybe it was a bacon jelly biscuit, I’m not sure. The point is, it was one of those situations where someone did something that made absolutely no sense.

Contrary to popular belief and what my friend’s mom once told me in high school, gravy, and I mean good gravy, can be made without meat. All it takes is butter, flour, and milk- the concoction is properly called a roux, I think. Salt and pepper are almost absolutely necessary at this point to give it that authentic gravy flavor.

In more recent years, Gigi started making her own biscuits, and then I took her recipe and started making a variation of them that turned into a mimic of the Red Lobster Cheddar Bay biscuits, though they aren’t nearly as fluffy and good as the Cheddar Bay biscuits.

Cheddar Bay biscuits are delicious, and the first time I ever had them at Red Lobster, they were so spicy I almost couldn’t eat them. I had never eaten that amount of garlic in my life, so it was overpowering to say the least, but I loved them. Also, I happened to be coming down the chicken pox at this time unbeknownst to any of us, so that might have played into the matter. This was on a Saturday, and the next day at Poppy’s house, I noticed some spots on my stomach, which Poppy said were the first signs of chicken pox.

Tomato gravy is also one of my favorite foods that goes with biscuits. You haven’t truly lived or eaten Southern food until you’ve had tomato gravy.

Biscuits are seriously a perfect food. I’m pretty sure Ms. Alice used to cut open biscuits and put butter in them. Biscuits are great for filling- and you can use meat, cheese, vegetables, and even sweet stuff. Biscuits are great for topping- gravy and even other kinds of sauces can go on top of them. Biscuits are great by themselves or as a side dish!

We love biscuits!

Gigi and Mimi’s mother, my maternal grandmother, used to make a chocolate sauce with biscuits. I always heard about this and thought it was incredibly strange. Apparently my maternal grandmother also made caramel cakes, and Mimi said she pronounced it as “CAR-uh-mel,” not “CARE-a-mel,” and my cousin Susanne and I both liked the first pronunciation better. I wonder if we can dig up the recipe for a caramel cake and make it.

That being said, the recipes are coming soon.

Beaux


 
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Posted by on May 19, 2011 in food, postaday, postaday2011

 

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Big Coffee

So the Onyx Plate posted an interesting article on Facebook earlier about coffee and its health benefits, especially for men. I had previously heard that coffee is good for the liver but had not heard that it also makes for a healthy prostate gland.

The article also mentioned, as we later discovered, something about coffee helping to reduce certain kinds of breast tumors.

Anyway, I drink a lot of coffee. My family drinks a lot of coffee. This is no accident and goes back through the generations. If I can blame anyone for my current addiction to caffeine, I would point to my grandparents on both sides of the family and then my own parents. Carboholism may be genetic, but coffee addiction is both genetic and conditioned. My great-grandparents may have drunk coffee often, too, I’m not sure.

My paternal grandmother always had coffee brewing in her house, 24/7, as I understand it, and I mentioned this before, as did some of my commenters, when I wrote about the Lazy Susan Table and its legacy in my family. My maternal grandmother always drank coffee in the morning and enjoyed having cake with it. Elsewhere, I’ve mentioned this, too- but it’s good to have a reminder, don’t you agree?

So the whole process of turning me into a coffee addict began with my being scared as a child. I was frightened often as a child and honestly still am by some of the oddest things that I won’t detail right now, so I would end up getting up and going to the den to sit with my father while he watched a local morning show that Red Holland, a local fishing celebrity, hosted. I would sit in Bapaw’s lap and drink his coffee, which featured milk and sugar in it.

This is where a huge contradiction occurs. Bapaw loves his coffee with cream and sugar. These days, to be healthier, he puts honey in it, but honey doesn’t really work for me. Gigi refuses to drink anything but a straight-up dark brew. No sweet coffee for her.

Personally, I like my coffee both ways, depending on my mood. Most often I seem to take coffee with cream but no sugar, and I especially prefer it black when I’m eating something sweet.

Anyway, the addiction to coffee never ceased in my childhood nor since, and now that I’m in my early late twenties, apparently the addiction is still blazing bright.

Coffee is also supposed to be beneficial to the liver. This makes sense- coffee has a sobering effect, making one more alert, more awake, and more efficient. Alcohol has the opposite effect, slowing one down and impairing various mental functions- and it can be damaging to the liver. Interesting how the opposite effects both correlate to either benefitting or afflicting the liver.

So, the point of this blog: Gigi bought me an enormous coffee cup two years ago for my birthday, the same time I got my fantastic MacBook that I still adore to this day. The coffee cup holds not one, not two, but three cups worth and has a fantastic artistic design on it that’s faded over the years. I still use this coffee cup to this day and absolutely love it; on the inside rim, it says, “Javalicious.”

True, true.

Also, coffee has other effects- it can help a mild headache, serve as a mild laxative, and be a mood booster.

Coffee’s definitely a mood booster for me. Not having coffee renders the lives of those around me in to great peril, and small woodland creatures as a whole may find themselves suddenly extinct if they come to close.

How do you like your coffee? Dark or sweet? And how much do you drink?

Beaux


 
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Posted by on May 18, 2011 in food, postaday, postaday2011

 

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Cream of Mushroom Soup versus Cream of Potato Soup: Substitutions

Gigi went crazy with her Cream of Mushroom Soup bonanza a few years ago and effectively destroyed my younger brother’s taste for it in any form.

While I write this, I’m actually cooking a tuna casserole in the oven using Cream of Mushroom Soup.

I am here to tell everyone that a much better soup to use instead of Cream of Mushroom Soup is Cream of Potato Soup.

Yes, ladies and gents, Cream of Potato Soup essentially accomplishes the SAME feat as Cream of Mushroom Soup but tastes much better and seems to be generally more versatile. Cream of Potato Soup isn’t quite as rich as Cream of Mushroom Soup- and that makes all the difference, in my humble little Southern opinion.

My brother recounts the time of Bapaw saying how we could “just add little Cream of Mushroom Soup to it for flavor” and how he cringed at these words. I honestly don’t blame him. In cooking, we have to be careful not to lean on a crutch for certain kinds of flavor. Really good food doesn’t always take a lot of time but often does, and we should always remember that. Half the fun of eating is in the cooking.

Beaux


 
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Posted by on May 16, 2011 in food, postaday2011

 

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BLT: More on Sandwiches

BLT stands for “Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato.”

To a foreign reader, this may sound mysterious, because part of the equation is left out. Most BLTs I’ve eaten in my life have been eaten on toasted bread and not just on regular bread, and also with mayonnaise.

As a child, I really liked BTs- the lettuce seemed superfluous. Why on earth would anyone eat lettuce in addition to something yummy like bacon and tomato?

But now I can see the kind of flavor that lettuce adds to the mixture, so I understand why it’s important.

Bacon sandwiches are also popular in the U.K., as I understand it, where not only can they include tomatoes and lettuce but also cucumbers, cheese, and a fried egg. Talk about a complete meal on a sandwich!

That being said, if one is using “fake” bacon, especially of the Morning Star variety, under no circumstances should you prepare it in the microwave. I have tried, several times, to cook Morning Star Bacon in the microwave to no avail. Do not believe the packaging; it lies. You must cook Morning Star Bacon in a skillet- there is no other way.

Also, BLTs include mayonnaise. This is a fact of life. But then again, perhaps a sandwich almost always includes mayonnaise, so this could go without saying.

Either way, now that tomatoes are becoming plentiful and we have spicy lettuce and Morning Star Bacon, I’ve been rolling out with the BLTs.

It also comes to mind that on the camera there are pictures of pierogies that I prepared and never put on the computer or wrote about, so that may be forthcoming in the next week. The major concern I have at the moment is thinking of making more cheese, which I may have to do for Gigi’s sake so she can see the process.

So, how does Beaux make his BLT? Pretty simple:

  • I toast bread- in this case, plain white bread.
  • Each slice eats about a half a teaspoon of mayonnaise- this varies from person to person, though. Gigi isn’t fond of mayonnaise, for instance.
  • I fry up the Morning Star Bacon. This takes about five to eight minutes on medium heat.
  • One slice of tomato for each sandwich.
  • Lettuce on top of the tomato.
  • Salt and pepper.

Though I praise the virtues of mayonnaise thees days, there was a time when I did not. Mayonnaise once tasted horrible to me every time I ate it- almost rancid. I had been sick or something, and I suppose that attacked my sense of taste for the next several months.

These days, my relationship to mayonnaise is all about figuring out how to enhance its natural flavor- so that means making tartar sauce, curry flavored mayonnaise, and so on.

Anyway, it’s BLT season- go have one.

Beaux


 
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Posted by on May 15, 2011 in food, postaday2011, sandwiches

 

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Cheesy Adventures, Part 2

Well, we did it.

Through a combined effort and a little over an hour spent in town shopping for the necessary ingredients, along with improvising at the point where I thought things were becoming too complicated, my friend Earle and ended up making cheese.

Yes, I said, making cheese.

Home-made cheese.

Real cheese.

Actual cheese.

Good cheese.

Fresh cheese.

Now, the entire process of making cheese is not something I would call glorious. In fact, it was incredibly complicated, and the complication only increased as Earle and I argued about whether or not we should add the ingredients when the milk began frothing on the sides or when the thermometer said 175ยบ exactly.

My fear was that we would end up boiling the milk or having it too hot, and things wouldn’t turn out right.

The next argument was over the use of cheese-cloth. Well, actually, that was the first argument, but that’s not the point- the point is, we couldn’t find cheesecloth at Target, so I suggested we use coffee filters. Earle said that it would never drain through coffee filters, but I proved him wrong.

The whole process revolved around heating the milk, adding buttermilk and lemon juice to curdle it all, and then draining the whey out of the curds. Then the curds have to dry for a while, and then one mixes them with salt and sets them in the fridge to ripen.

According to the video we watched, you can eat the cheese fresh as well, and yes, the fresh cheese was great.

I also added EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil) to the cheese, in addition to some pepper- and it was fantastic.

Freshly made cheese is way better than store-bought cheese, and this kind happened to be incredibly creamy and reminded me a lot of the really expensive cheeses. For all the time and effort we put into making the cheese, I have to say that it was quite worth it to have even the small amount that we made.

Pictures may be coming soon, because I have a feeling we’ll be making a great deal more cheese.

Beaux


 
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Posted by on May 12, 2011 in cheese, food, postaday2011

 

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Confessions of a Carboholic, Part Three: Steps to Recovery

Earlier in the week, a thought went through my head about the dietary choices we make and the kind of food we eat in general. I wondered what would happen to my body if I stopped eating all the salt, sugar, fats, and caffeine that I seem to consume on a regular basis. Would I actually feel any better?

The first hurdle to a healthier diet is simple and apparent- foods that aren’t flavorful aren’t nearly as appealing, end of story. Salt, sugar, and butter enhance flavor. That’s the reality of the matter.

But also, the healthier foods need not taste horrible- we’re just not accustomed to preparing food in that way. The trick of making food healthy and delicious is combining several flavors together, or even the right flavors- tomato slices sprinkled with basil and a little (read that, little) parmesan cheese go much further in terms of flavor dynamics than you might imagine.

Today, I made a concerted effort to choose healthier foods to eat. Eating only carbohydrates becomes taxing on the body, and last night, I began craving fresh veggies like never before- a truly remarkable phenomenon to see. I’ve never craved tomatoes and onions and cucumbers before, and suddenly it was happening.

So tonight, I did have a bowl of ramen, but I also had a banana, watermelon, and a sweet potato- and even though I know the sweet potato has a lot of carbs in it and the banana was honestly sweet, these foods were loaded with healthiness for the body. This in addition to eating half of a tomato by itself and some onion, too.

Earlier today, I had eaten some peanuts that had sugar on them, and though they weren’t bad, the reality is that they had a weird taste. Maybe my body’s trying to tell me something with that.

In good news, later this week, Earle and I are going to be making cheese. Yes, you read that correctly: we are going to make our own cheese, and this could be the start of a whole new adventure.

Beaux

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2011 in food, postaday2011

 

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