Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Details. (Fails Explained)

Yesterday I spent the morning at Whole Foods and spent $52 on baking products. I don't even really remember what I got, but I was majorly sold on marketing. "Raw" and "Ethiopian" and "Organically Homestyle" are words that stand out upon reflection. I think I just ended up getting the most expensive of all should-be-cheap products like sugar, flour, and molasses.
I made protein bars, ginger molasses cookies, and my special, which has yet to be special in a good way "everything but the crap" cookies.
The protein bars turned out pretty good. They aren't supposed to taste as sugary and sweet as cookies, so that helps. Here's what I used:
- 2 scoops chocolate protein powder
- 4 egg whites
- big spoonful of natural peanut butter
- a cup of quick oats
- handfuls of hand-crushed fiber flakes cereal (Heritage brand)
- a handful of hand-crushed walnuts
- poured some vanilla extract
oven: 350 for about 13 minutes.
they taste good!, and they have no real sugar and are packed with protein and a soft and taste kind of like a store bought protein bar, but without the crunchy or chocolate outside, and without any real flavor. Which makes me think ..... that that's how those bars get such high levels of sugar and fat, because they add sneaky things so that they taste better.

Second, I made Ginger Molasses cookies:
- 2 tbsp molasses - this was some special ethiopian single-process (i just made that up, but you get the idea molasses that is soooo dark and sticky and resembling what Fernet Branca must be after 200 years.)
- 1.5 cups of turbinado sugar (which is raw cane sugar, with lots of other enticing marketing to make you think you're not really eating sugar!)
- 1.5 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup canola oil
- some salt, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon

Here's what went wrong with these: 1) i forgot about them and burnt them.
2) I realized after I put the 1.5 cups of sugar in that you are supposed to use 1 cup of sugar, cool the dough, and then roll the cookie dough balls into the remaining sugar. Whatever. I didn't cry over it ... you'd end up having that much sugar on the cookie anyways, and it's turbinado sugar!! It's like you're not even eating sugar!!
3) I don't really like molasses.

Lastly, I made my S.P.E.C.I.A.L.T.Y cookie (which stands for: super pampered eats combined in a light tasty ... ahhh ... Yumminess. I'm going to copyright that as soon as i finish here).
So I took a recipe for a banana oatmeal cookie (reason being: I was going to substitute Something with pudding mix - what is it you are substituting? the butter? the flour? See? This is where I'm coming from. Just want to put you on the page of blankness from which I start). Oh, but see, I wasn't using bananas because I already spent $52 and I didn't get any bananas, and I was NOT going out again. So, basically, take your average oatmeal cookie recipe, and these are the substitutions I made:
- only 1 cup oats, the other cup I handcrushed that fiber cereal.
-just 1 cup of flour (no reason)
- instead of 3/4 cup butter (yuck!) i used a half of a stick, and then that banana pudding mix, and some greek yogurt, and a banana yogurt cup. All that equals butter right?
- no bananas cause don't have em.
- but I added! goji berries, golden raisins, regular raisins, crushed pecans and walnuts, some peanut butter, and chocolate chips.

So what went wrong? Well, perhaps a few things. But the main thing is that I don't measure ... and the one ingredient I really took for granted was baking soda and that it isn't just a magic potion in the mix -- you can add to much. So me just opening and dumping equals that all the good stuff in there is not tasted (lemon! peanut butter! banana! vanilla! goji! turbinado!) because it just tastes .... salty and baking soda-y.
Also, they didn't rise and are really crumbly. I don't know why, but assume it has something to do with the lack of proper flour and butter.
However: the bites with chocolate chips taste good. ... if you take off the cookie dough from around it.
Fail Bake.
But I learned. So it's not a failure right?! I learned that you have to measure. And baking is science. I still hope to be a healthy chemist and find proper substitutions, I just can't ignore all the laws that are already in place.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Baking Fail.

Hi. I baked today. I spent all day around this baking thing. I'm supposed to be at a commercial audition for a "young mom" for Wii, but instead I acted like one. Baking. And the shopping for the baking, and the cleaning after the baking. The part I'm missing? The enjoying of the eating and the sharing of the baking for others to enjoy. Cause I'll leave these out for my roommates, and I'll bring some in for my staff at work, and I'll probably eat some out of spite when I'm drunk tonight, but for the most part, here's the story: Fail.

I decided that I'm a master at substituting ingredients in baking recipes. Pffft, butter and sugar? White flour? I don't need you!
I decided all this before I really tried doing it. I mean, I've tried it before: everytime I've ever baked, when I looked at the recipe I thought "really? You put that much butter in there? I can do something about that." and "no way. That's ridiculous to put in flour and sugar." I might help myself (help you) if I ever learned how these things really work. Like, what the egg actually does and how the flour works and that measuring is worth it even if you have to wash the cups. Then I might be able to substitute and bake from the top of my head.

Instead, I just decided I was a master. So I looked at some recipes yesterday, perfect procrastination fuel for whatever work I was trying to do, but of course I didn't do it thoroughly and write down any recipe stuff. I was successful, however, at that procrastination part. Check.

So today after a workout with all the young moms (9 am. right after they drop off the kids at school), I was feeling just the right amount of domestic, and went to whole foods, where I spent an hour buying about 10 things, of which I wasn't sure I was going to use any. I got a bunch of nuts and some goji berries from the bulk section, and lots of "healthy" "organic" "raw" substitute stuff, like some trubadeaur (whatever) cane sugar and agave nectar and some special molasses and toasted wheat germ. That last one was in some recipe. I don't remember which one, but I remember reading it. And it was 2 for $6, so of course I got two.

Here's what happened: I made some protein bars (not bad ... because they're not supposed to be delish), I made some ginger molasses "cookies" (um, bad), and some "everything but the crap" cookies - my major deconstruction of a pastry (kinda really bad, but some bites - the ones with chocolate chips- are tolerable).

I have to go to work now, so I can't write out the recipes I used and the things I learned, but it's soon to come. I'll also have an update on how others feel about them. I don't think I'm going to be pleasantly surprised. But, I gotta run, cause, as they say "better keep your day job"....

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I Can't Detox

Okay, so I've tried everything like you have. No carbs. Exercising like Crazy. Not exercising at all (then you don't need to eat, right?!). The French Way. The Substitutes. The Cleanse. Trying Not To Think About It.
And the results were thus: I turned into a Bitch. I had no time for anything else, and my hair was always wet from sweat or shower (so it didn't make me look "Better"). Felt shitty and tired. Drank too much wine (and when it's too much for me, it's a lottttttt). I may never get my period again (um, stevia and meatless meatballs = they stole my hormones). I found myself with a handful of almonds in my hand, in a panic, after 2 hours and one 'cleanse' drink. annnnddd: I thought about it all the time.

Detoxing and cleanses and diets are cool ideas and great things to Google. Because it feels like an active way to do something about how you're feeling inside and out without actually doing anything. I mean, you're spending time to Google it right? and write things down perhaps? Well, the part where they start to not work is when it's actually taking place in your life. Your empty stomach. Your full mind. (and that's how I ended up with a handful of nuts in a panic).

I haven't found the answer. But I've found some (lower case 'a'). I do a lot of things right: I exercise, I don't eat really bad food, I don't drink tons of beer. But I'm also no Gwenyth Paltrow. I cheat myself at the gym, I do love peanut butter and eating late, and I drink tons of wine.

So I'm going to take you through my ups and downs, and hopefully we'll both learn some things. When to cut back, when to exchange, and when to just give in. For example, here's a cut-back: have a salad instead of fries if you're having a fatty sandwich or the main part of the meal is filling and what you're most excited about. If the fries are what you're most excited about, then get the fries, but maybe get a salad for your main meal or eat half of that sandwich. And if you're fucking hungry: get the fucking sandwich, eat the bread, and get the fries. Just listen to your stomach and stop when you're feeling suicidal.

I sound like a good mentor, right?