Chocolate cakes – trying a HEALTHY version!

I’ve been trying to embrace this health craze. Less fat, more protein — pancakes, waffles, cakes – NOTHING is the same anymore. Lately, the talk of the town is the Kodiak Cakes brand. Different people I spoke to were raving about their high protein pancakes. Delicious and kept them full until 1 pm. Of course, I asked, “What are you talking about?”

I like to eat pancakes / waffles occasionally, so was not up to speed on this Kodiak Cakes brand. Turns out, Kodiak Cakes, has been around since 1995. The company was started by Joel Clark based on his mother’s buttermilk flapjack mix. They are located in Utah. Due to funding the company was slow to take off, but now it has and it’s the latest craze.

It’s an interesting story, you should read about it. Joel Clark was even on Shark Tank in 2014; however, he did not accept a deal with any of the Shark Tankers. That show though introduced his product, people were interested and sales took off at Target. 14 grams of protein per serving does sound good, right!

I bought a box of Kodiak Cakes and made pancakes. I have to say, they had a great chocolate taste. This chocolate mix though, I felt was heavy and the texture was more like a cake than a fluffy pancake. I found a recipe for using the Kodiak mix to make little muffins. I decided to make mini cakes instead. They are cute looking, but the recipe I used was not good. The texture of the cakes were so dense. I went by the reviews and they were saying how “fantastic” their muffins were.

Imagine a cake with these ingredients (too much protein): 1 cup Kodiak mix, 4 eggs, 1 cup unsweetened applesauce or 4 smashed medium bananas. Mix, cook at 350 until done.

Baking is about experimenting. We win some, we lose some, but we don’t give up.

I’m on a quest to make these little cakes healthy and delicious. I just need to fine-tune the recipe.

If you haven’t heard of Kodiak Cakes give them a try. They have all kinds of flavored mixes. You can’t go wrong! High protein, just add some fruit, light syrup – you’ll be in breakfast heaven!

Happy Halloween Birthday — You know who you are!

I was visiting a friend, we went walking and saw FUN Halloween decorations! Some houses were really creative. It makes walking more interesting.

GUESS WHAT — I have a friend whose birthday is on Halloween!

So, a BIG SHOUT OUT TO Maura. If she’s reading, she’ll know I’m thinking about her.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! MAKE IT FUN!

And if YOUR birthday is on Halloween… Happy Birthday to YOU too!

Photography – A rabbit poses…

By chance, I became a photographer. This rabbit ran in front of me and then stopped in the bushes. Of course, I wanted to get a better look at him. As you see, he had his back to me. He wasn’t afraid, but definitely hesitant of my presence.

I took the first picture, which was a back view. Playing photographer, I wanted to see him more from a side or front view. After waiting for what seemed like an hour for him to move, not really, but it seemed that way. I politely told the rabbit that seeing his derrière was not the best photo. It would be nice if he could turn toward me a little bit for a front view.

I kid you not, as soon as I said that and moved just a little that made a noise. The rabbit shifted his stance to a side view. Laughing, that was the BEST he was going to offer. I took my photos, thanked him and went on my merry way.

Ah… it’s nice to see a rabbit when you are not expecting it.

Have a great weekend!

Halloween – How do YOU write your SPOOKY story?

A spooky typewriter. I LOVE this! I’m sad it’s not real!!

When I saw it, I immediately thought how perfect it was. In fact, as it has a page in it already, I thought of this old dusty piano my grandfather had that played music by itself. This would be similar.

Imagine you get up in the morning, depending on the keys you hit, the typewriter starts typing! You sit with your coffee, feet kicked up on the desk, reading the newspaper. What a glorious morning. Typewriter makes a cackling sound when story is done. You rip off the pages. THEN – Off to the editor!

My girlfriend’s birthday is on Halloween. She’s been doing research on her Irish family. They have some haunted cemeteries there. She could use this typewriter to RECORD family history. What do you think?

I HAVE SOMETHING BETTER. Although, if she survived the heart attack on opening the birthday box, I’m not sure we would still be friends. Imagine my fright, when I was “innocently” looking at Halloween stuff, turned TOO QUICKLY and saw this boa constrictor.

Oh my gosh — I DID JUMP BACK!! Realized it was a FAKE, then said a few… well, BAD WORDS!!

So, I decided neither of these were quite right.

The search continues… I did see a HUGE purple spider in someone’s yard. It had googly eyes. FUNNY!

I enjoy seeing the decorations. Some people go ALL OUT with their Halloween decorations & costumes.

Oatmeal – WHY must I eat it?

Why do I resist eating oatmeal? Same feelings toward Greek yogurt or smoothies. As soon as I hear those words: oatmeal, greek yogurt and smoothies — I GET MAD!

I think none of us want something shoved down our throat, so to speak. Media, any kind, is on a health kick. That’s fine! I do my best to eat healthy, but sometimes they go OVER BOARD. They make us FEEL guilty. If we don’t eat oatmeal, greek yogurt and smoothies that ANY health issues we have are DIRECTLY RELATED to not eating these foods, THAT they TOLD US, we needed to eat, to STAY ALIVE!

Phew, my rant is complete!

I don’t mind these foods, I just don’t want to be told EVERY DAY to eat them. I feel like a little kid annoyed with his mother for telling him to drink his milk. Trying to change my mind set.

My ex/father/n/law was a doctor. He LOVED oatmeal. At 99 years old when he had his leg amputated from diabetes — YES, this was a sad situation, ALL he wanted was — OATMEAL!

I need to lower my cholesterol. First food on the list to help with this — OATMEAL. Laughing, the dreaded oatmeal. To enjoy oatmeal and cross off a lot of healthy food boxes, I got creative. I read walnuts help lower cholesterol. Also, they say, “An Apple a Day, Keeps the Dr Away.” So, walnuts and an apple went into the oatmeal.

I ONLY used 1/4 cup oatmeal, 1/2 cup too much. Start out small. Learn to EMBRACE the love of oatmeal.

See photo, my oatmeal looked and tasted good. Apple adds a lot of sweetness. Food is about presentation, Folks. I made the effort.

WARNING -> Eat oatmeal warm. Once it gets cold, it becomes a blob, not liquidy anymore.

You know what will happen, don’t you? Soon, I will ONLY want oatmeal for breakfast. I’ll even bring instant oatmeal packets on vacation.

Oh no… PLEASE, don’t say that will happen!

England – The SINGING Plumber

I wish the media would share MORE uplifting stories like this. Miracles happening when we least expect it. Here is a Kev Crane, 49, a plumber who enjoys singing, he even sings on the job. He’s hired for a plumbing job, by a man who “happens” to have his own record label.

The owner hears him singing, LIKES his singing AND there is the miracle!!

A STAR IS BORN!

A DREAM FULFILLED!

Keep doing what makes you HAPPY!

Share uplifting stories.

We need to stay positive and know that break throughs can happen ANY DAY at ANY TIME!

Baking – Put the masks back on?

It looks like our mask freedom was short lived. Back to wearing masks indoors even if we are vaccinated. So, with that in mind, I thought I might as well brush up on my baking skills. Fall is coming, who knows what will happen in September. If we are house bound again, back to cooking/baking at home.

I haven’t made peanut butter cookies since I was a child. I’m not a vegan, but I saw this recipe on The Simple Veganista. So easy, seven ingredients in one bowl. Mix and bake.

If you live where there is hot weather, you should let the cookie dough set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes; otherwise, when you put the cookies on the cookie sheet, and into the oven — they melt and all blend together.

I would have been so dismayed, if I looked in the oven window and saw a sheet of peanut butter cake, instead of individual cookies. Another tip, I used a cookie scooper, so cookies look uniform. However, my cookie scooper is medium size and even though I used a fork to press the cookies down, they were chunky and took longer to cook.

Final Result — Excellent!

BONUS – so fast to make, little cleanup!

ART NEWS – SOLD – World’s Largest Painting, $62M, Dubai Auction

When I say, “world’s largest painting,” I mean Guinness World Record. Imagine 17,000 sq ft equivalent to 2 football fields or 4 basketball courts of art. That’s a lot of work. “The Journey of Humanity” consists of 70 art panels.

This is a fabulous story of Sacha Jafri, British Artist, who took advantage of COVID lockdown in Dubai to create a painting that would raise money for charity (disadvantaged children specifically). What is really wonderful and inspiring is that he included children’s art from around the world into his painting. His goal was to raise $30 million, he doubled that raising $62 million.

Crypto businessman Andre Abdoune from France purchased the entire painting. Abdoune plans to build a museum for this painting. So happy to hear this, because the painting as a whole tells a story of COVID, lockdown, children suffering, etc. It should be seen as “one” piece.

I’m not an art expert, so glad by chance I came upon this article. I wish the media would share MORE stories like this. It proves there is more LOVE than hate in this world. Do away with the negative media and our world would start to work together and flourish.

I look forward to hearing more about Sacha Jafri in the future!

Pizza in a MUG? Breakfast Burrito in a MUG? Cooking just got easier.

Recently, I was doing a search for mug cakes. I found this site by Irish Chef & Baker Gemma Stafford, Bigger Bolder Baking, that had a pizza in a mug recipe. I watched the video of her making the mug pizza, it sure was quick and easy. I admit, I would never have thought of that. In fact, she has 100 different mug recipes. So many creative ideas.

She had one video where she was making pancakes with her husband. He was doing the video taping. She’s definitely a perfectionist and was bossing him around, that was funny. The pancakes looked yummy too.

So, if you are still stuck at home and need some fresh cooking/baking ideas, mosey on over to Bigger Bolder Baking. Chef Gemma will dazzle you with healthy exciting spins on old recipes. Also, she just started a Knead to Know podcast. When I go walking, I’ll listen to that.

Happy cooking! (Isn’t that what Chef Pepin says. He has good videos too.)

Art, sketching… new Dual Brush pens

Recently, I walked by an art store. It was actually open, so I went in. I’ve always  loved colorful markers. I immediately went to the marker and sketch pad section. After being quarantined for a few months, it was refreshing to be in a store and see all the beautiful marker colors.

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These Tombow markers caught my attention, because they were dual brush pens, which seemed like fun. Also, they came in different packs of colors. I liked that idea too, rather than buying individually.

This was going to be an investment toward COVID creativity.  The markers are expensive, but testing one out made me feel HAPPY, so why not give it a try.  If we need to be at home, why not touch on our creative side, right. Also, I smiled to myself, now that we have to wear masks, women can’t wear lipstick, so money saved on lipstick, goes toward markers. An even exchange!

I did a quick YouTube search and found a great video of an “experienced artist” showing the versatility of these markers. I didn’t realize they could be used with water, so they become like a water color pen. I’ve always wanted to try and paint with water colors, so I’m getting my feet wet, starting out with the markers.

It’s been FUN, I have to say.

BUT, now I need MORE colors. We KNEW that would happen!

On to the next drawing. One day soon, real water colors.