Dried Bananas

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My mom and I have been having a wonderful time with our dehydrators. I never knew the satisfaction you could get out simply drying food. It is just so wonderful to know that you are preserving food that would otherwise go to waste and you are going to be able to store it and keep it and eat it in the future instead of throwing it away. When you see a good deal you can snatch up a lot and not have to worry about eating it before it goes bad.

Last week my mom ended up at a grocery store that was having a huge produce sale so she brought me bananas, oranges, and limes. I immediately dehydrated all of the bananas.

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They are freaking delicious. My mother and FIL hated them, but I have been snacking on them regularly and really wish I had more bananas to dry!

I am still working my way through all of the apples we have, I load up the dehydrator almost every night before bed and let it run for about 12 hours, then all I do is take the contents out and put them in bags. It is so easy! and this food is good for, like, ever.

I would definitely say a dehydrator is worth the money, although we didn’t have to pay for ours, it was given to us by Wonderful Husbands parents. Even if we had paid for it ourselves it has more than paid for itself already because I use it almost every night and have saved a ton of money on fruits that otherwise would have been in the trash.

What are some of your favorite dried foods?

 

 

Chicken Fried Rice

I was feeling really hungry last night for dinner. Since I spent most of the week sick and living on hot tea and saltine crackers I was craving something good and delicious from dinner. What I really wanted was for Wonderful Husband to stop at the Chinese place on the way home and bring home several orders of deep fried grease general tso’s with pork fried rice and crab rangoon. Instead, I decided to make chicken fried rice.

Healthier, cheaper, and arguably easier.

Here’s what I used:
Coconut Oil3 Chicken Breasts
1 onion
1 spoon of garlic
1 bag frozen peas
1.5 sweet potatoes (diced)
1/2 cup soy sauce
4 cups cooked rice

Here’s what I did:
I put some coconut oil in my largest frying pan, put the three chicken breasts into a medium sized pan, and the rice into the microwave. I sauteed the chicken with a little bit of butter and salt and pepper. I put the garlic, onion, peas, and sweet potatoes into the large frying pan with the oil and sauteed them, covered, until the potatoes were tender.

When the chicken was done, I cut it up into little chunks and added it to the frying pan with the veggies. When the rice was done I added it as well. When everything was all mixed up, I dumped in the soy sauce.

This turned out dramatically well. We both ate two platefuls. I would actually have liked it to have had more soy sauce, but it was really good as it was.

I will definitely make this again, and it is totally customize-able with whatever you have on hand. A much better alternative to wasting half a pay check on take out!

Homemade Whipped Cream

Several months ago I saw some friends online posting about how they were making their own whipped cream. Healthier, tastier, and all around better than the store bought stuff. It seemed interesting and easy, I wanted to try it!

Fast forward to the 4th of July, and I was going to make a fruit salad with homemade whipped cream to go on the side, but then life happened and pretty soon the cook out was over, everyone was leaving, and my carton of whipping cream was sitting untouched in the fridge. I didn’t want it to go to waste, so I had to find something else to make that would call for whipped cream.

I decided on my new found strawberry shortcake recipe that I have fallen in love with this summer. I made the shortcakes and cut up the strawberries and then started working on the whipped cream.

Most of the recipes I had found called for a stand mixer, which I don’t have, so I started looking for one that used a hand mixer or something easier. Well, I found this one that called for nothing but a mason jar! It seemed too good to be true, but then if it was true then I totally wanted in on it!

The basic concept was really easy and you can change it up to flavor the cream, vary the sweetness, or even make butter!

Recipe:

1 cup heavy whipping cream
pinch of sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Put all the ingredients in a mason jar, screw on the lid, and shake the shit out of it.

Results:

The original recipe poster said she only shook it for about 60 seconds and had light, fluffy whipped cream. I was not so successful, Wonderful Husband and I took turns shaking the mason jar for about 7 minutes and ended up with delicious, liquidy whipped cream. Like Cool Whip that has been stirred for too long. I put it in the fridge for about an hour while I got Little Darling bathed and into bed. Then I started plating the shortcakes, when I took it out it was much fluffier and solid than when I first made it, but within minutes of being out of the fridge it was going liquid again.

It was still amazing and made the shortcakes even better than the first time I made them.

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Later, I realized that I had regular whipping cream instead of heavy whipping cream, I am not sure if that is what made it so liquidy. I will definitely be trying this in the future, it was much tastier than Cool Whip and I felt really good knowing exactly what was in it compared to the weird preservatives in store bought stuff.

I will also being trying to make butter too, apparently, if you just shake the jar long enough you end up with butter. Can’t wait to try that!

Cauliflower Pizza

I am constantly trying to find healthy substitutes for my favorite things. Like most moms, I am struggling with post baby belly and try really hard to watch my calories and fat etc. I had been seeing the cauliflower pizza recipe floating around for some time and decided to give it a try, since I figured it would fail I didn’t bother to take any photos. Whoops.

I read through lots of recipes and as usual was missing ingredients for almost all of them. I followed the general rule of eggs, cauliflower, and spices. The rest I kind of made up as I went along.

First, I pulsed my cauliflower in the blender (you REALLY should use a food processor for this, but I am a loser and don’t own one). One little tree of cauliflower at a time I dropped it into the blender and pulsed it until it was about rice sized. Once I had the whole head pulsed up, I microwaved it for about 10 minutes. When it came out it was all cooked up and extremely hot. I saw most people were wrapping theirs up in a towel and squishing the water out. I definitely recommend this, otherwise there is way too much liquid as you go along.

I used a thing kitchen towel (a cheese cloth would work well too) and scooped all the cauliflower into the middle, pulled up the four corners and started twisting. I would also recommend letting your cauliflower cool off for several minutes before doing this. I didn’t and will probably have scars on my fingertips for years.  squeeze the cauliflower tight until most of the water is gone and its a nice little ball.

Dump the cauliflower ball into a bowl with spices, 4 eggs, and some mozzarella cheese. Mix it all up. Mine was a goopy, gross mess. I scooped half of it onto a sprayed (DO NOT FORGET TO SPRAY) foil covered cookie sheet and formed it into a pizza type shape. Then I baked it for about 25 minutes. Once the pizza was browning on top and looked cooked through I pulled it out and topped it with sauce and cheese and threw it back in the oven for another ten minutes or so.

My first pizza turned out fabulous. The crust was crusty and yummy and only slightly egg-y. The cheese was nice and melty. i ate the entire pizza in one day. I was thrilled. I made it while Wonderful Husband was away because I figured it would fail and he wouldn’t want to eat it. But I was so excited to make more and serve it to him!

When he had time back at the shop, I decided to make a cauliflower pizza on Tupperware Thursday so he could eat leftovers if he didn’t like it. I was rushing because I had been busy all day and wanted to get it finished before he got home so he wouldn’t know my “secret ingredient”. Instead, he got home halfway through, knew exactly what I was doing and agreed to try it.

He went upstairs to shower, and I got busy trying to form my pizza crust. I tried to make it slightly thinner than the first one I made and instead of only using half the “batter” I used all of it to make a bigger pizza. This resulted in it starting to burn in the oven. By the time I pulled it out it was starting to turn black. I topped it and put it back in. While I had been making it thinner, I had forgot to build up the “crust” part so the cheese and sauce started sliding off the edges all over the foil and cookie sheet. I had also forgotten to spray the foil.

By the time the pizza was done, the whole thing was burnt to the foil and I couldn’t get it off, The cheese and sauce had pretty much covered the entire crust so there was no place to hold onto. And the middle of the crust was still gooey. We had a giant, cheese covered, burnt to a crisp, raw, cauliflower pizza.

Bless his heart, he still ate it.

Next time I will be more careful, cauliflower is nowhere near as forgiving as dough is. While it does taste good when it turns out well, it can be disastrous if it is mishandled.