Sunday, February 28, 2010

Two Bricks to Start a Baking Foundation

This weekend, I had in the plans to do nothing by study for my Accounting midterm and the MPRE. Funny thing that happens when I need to study badly, I end up doing everything else but study.
I worked out twice. Once in the morning at the gym to do a little spinning and then lift weights. Once again in the afternoon, I decided to take The Beagle on a 4.5 mile run. I would have gone the full 6 miles but this was at 6pm and it was getting dark out.

It was sunny out so I went on my usually 12 mile bike ride. Note about this: previously I was very discourage by my speed. I was struggling to stay at an average speed of 11mph. This is sloooooooow. I decided to pump my tires with air, seeing that they were low and BAM! I easily was able to stay above 15mph the entire ride.

During my post-bike shower I decided that I was going to get creative (read: procrastinate) and create a healthy version of pumpkin bread. I've heard of people making brownies with black beans and I was wondering if I could add them to pumpkin bread. On top of this creative aspiration, I decided to jump right in to my sugar free life and make the bread sugar free as well.

Okay folks, though sugar free, I am still allowing myself agave nectar and limited maple syrup and honey.

Along with the pumpkin bread, I remembered my Wonder Friend's "pum-cakes" where she made chocolate cupcakes but replaced the oil in the recipe with pumpkin and the results were delicious. So, I remembered that I had a tin of cocoa power and thought why not make another "bread" with chocolate. The results are at the end of this post.

I did some studying for accounting and then DB came over. He wanted to see Shutter Island so I suggested that we bike to the theater. so at 9:30pm we equipped ourselves with headlamps and flashy lights and headed out. The ride to the movie was fun. The ride back at 1am was not as fun. I was cold and sleepy. Either way, not a bad way to get another 5-6 miles in on the bike.

No one think I am a slacker, I still managed a few hours of studying on my sunny Saturday afternoon in spite of all my extra curricular activities.

Today proved to be yet another wonderful sunny, un-oregon, winter day. Off to the dog park DB and I went with The Beagle because I felt guilty for not running with him. He had a pretty good time running around, ignoring other dogs, but enjoying their owners. He came home muddy, but tired. I returned to studying more Accounting, no MPRE today because I'm worn out. (unfortunately, still not prepared) After the end of the USA-Canada gold medal hockey game (yikes~) DB and I ventured to Target and Trader Joes for some more procrastination. (And, I needed hand soap)

DB took The Beagle on a 4 mile run while I stayed inside to "study". (prepare dinner and not study)

Now we're sitting watching the Closing Ceremony while I stress out more about school.

Gluten Free, Sugar Free Black Bean Pumpkin Bread

-2/3 cup mashed black beans
-1 cup canned pumpkin
-1 cup rice flour
-1/3 cup tapioca flour
-1 tea basking soda
-2 tea baking powder
-2 tea cinnamon
-2 tea allspice
-1/2 tea salt
-2 eggs
-1/4 cup oil
-1/4 cup agave nectar.

Mix all ingredients thoroughly and pour into a greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

Gluten Free, Sugar Free Chocolate Hazelnut Black Bean Bread


-3/4 cup mashed black beans
-3/4 unsweetened cocoa powder
-1/2 cup canned pumpkin
-1/2 cup rice flour
-1 tea baking soda
-2 tea baking power
-1/2 tea salt
-2 eggs
-1/4 cup oil
-1/4 cup agave nectar
-1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts

Mix all ingredients except nuts until well blended. Stir in nuts. Pour into a prepared loaf pan and bake at 350 for 1 hour 10 minutes.

And the end results?

Maybe I'll use chickpeas next time so you can't see the black beans, though this didn't bother me.

The texture was great, flavor? Shall we say: very cocoa-y?

Seeing that I just pulled both these recipes completely out of you know where, I'm pretty pleased with the results. They were not sweet enough in my opinion. Here's what I plan on doing next time I make these:

for both:
I plan on adding 1/2 cup of applesauce to sweeten the bread up a bit. Especially the chocolate because the cocoa overpowered everything else.

Each loaf was really fragile and hard to slice. I might add some xanthan gum to each next time for more structure.

for the chocolate:
I think I will add about a teaspoon of vanilla extract. I plain forgot to do this. I'm hoping to would tone down the cocoa a bit.

Today at Trader Joe's I splurged and bought a container of stevia powder. I have been hesitant to use artificial sweeters, but I guess technically, stevia is not artificial. It's made from the leaf of the stevia plant, so it's natural... Anyways, I think it'll help be really stick with this sugar free thing so oh well. Plus the tiny container supposedly has 622 servings. I used a pinch (seriously, a pinch) in my tea earlier today and it really sweetened up the thing. More of this later.

Back to the breads.

My whole stevia tangent was so I could say that I might use some stevia next time.

I sliced up the rest of the breads and stick them in the freezer. I warmed a slice of each in the microwave this morning for breakfast and they tasted a ton better than yesterday. I don't know why but maybe the flavors melded together better? Works for me. If you look at the ingredients, the recipes have added protein, fiber, and reduced sugar and fat. Also, don't forget the added nutrients of the pumpkin and cocoa power (antioxidants, yo!) almost guilt-free... almost.

Any tips for baking GF and SF from scratch? let me know. hah BTW: Check out Simply Sugar & Gluten Free for more recipes!

For those of you squirming from disgust, you can't taste black bean at all in either bread. I swear! If I didn't tell you, you wouldn't know. ;)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Meringues for Me Man.

I decided to give it another try at making meringue cookies today. I happen to love meringues. Light, airy, gluten free and sugary. I am going on a totally sugar binge this week. It all started with a presentation I did where my group handed out candy. One piece of candy apparently leads to days of sugar. More to support my belief that I have an addiction to sugar. Seriously, once I start, there's no stopping. Some people think that it's okay to eat anything as long as you make it yourself. While this might be true to someone who rarely bakes, or never bakes, this is not a good rule for me. . I will just bake something and eat the entire product. After I'm through with this bag of sugar, I will be living in a refined sugar free household. Either way it's a win-win situation for you (dear reader) and DB.

Easy Meringue Cookies


3 Egg whites
1/8 teaspoon Cream of Tarter (don't add more, b/c if you do, you'll be able to taste it in the finished product)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup sugar (I will attempt to try a substitute in the future, but my limited chemistry backgrounds suggests that using a substitute that is in syrup form (honey, maple, or agave nectar) will not allow the cookies to crisp up.

In a stand mixer beat egg whites until frothy. Add in cream of tarter and vanilla and whip until glossy. Whip in sugar and beat until soft beats form. Place teaspoon sized "dollops" onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for 45 minutes at 300 degrees. After 45 minutes, turn off the oven and allow the cookies to dry out for another 30 minutes.

In other news, SB and I had a great workout in the pool this morning. We're up to 7- 50 meter sprints at the end of our workout and we both agreed that our recovery time is getting quicker. I also went on a short 3 mile run after I got back from the pool and felt pretty good except my knees were bothering me a little bit.

This week I've had super itchy skin. Like it feels like my forearms and legs are covered in bug bites, without the bumps. Food allergy? er.... it's not dry skin seeing that I moisturize like nobody's business and it's been pretty damp out. I do know that my lotion has oat extract in it and I'm wondering if I'm starting to get a reaction from this. hum.

Does anyone know a thing or two about dog behavior? The Beagle has been starting a very bad habit of barking (well, howling in his case) at every dog that he sees. Now, beagles are naturally one of the most nonaggression breeds out there, including mine, but if a dog gets too close, he's growl. He didn't use to do this. I'm not sure if he's just howling because he's nervous, because he's trying to "protect" me (lol) or if he's going nuts. Any input would be appreciated. The Beagle doesn't typically like big dogs because he gets intimidate easily, but he will do this run by bark at another dog no matter the size.

DB came to visit after he got off work tonight. He also made me dinner.. :)
Delicious steak from his family's cattle, green beans, and potato for him, not for me.
These potatoes were in our CSA share this week. They are called huckleberry potatoes and are slightly sweet like a yam but much milder. They are also slightly pink in color which I think adds good visual interest to a meal.

Here is the CSA from this week. No eggs but BEETS! :)

The Beagle after his post run bath.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Fridge dump Crumble

I've had a jar of canned peaches sitting around in my fridge for about a month now. I don't even know why I buy canned peaches in the first place. I don't like them. After a short gym session with Miss A-G, I was craving something yummy and sugary. I'm out of eggs so cookies and cake is out of the question. I was determined to use those peaches before they started growing some fuzz.

After throwing together random things I had in my fridge, I was able to create something edible and delicious. Here's my creation.

Fridge Dump Crumble


Crumb topping

3/4 cup Rice flour
1/4 cup Tapioca flour
1/2 cup sugar (I should have used less or used dates instead...)
4 tablespoons of butter.
dash of cinnamon and allspice.

About cup of canned peaches, rinses and broken into bite-sized chunks
about a 1/2 cup Raisins
about a 1/2 cup Dried cranberries

Mix filling and stick in a small casserole dish
Mix the crumb topping into fine "chunks" and sprinkle on top of filling.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350.
Stick under the broiler for about 5 minutes, or until the top is brown.

At this point I was a little unsure of the results...

But no worries, it was rather tasty.

This will definitely go in my recipe collection. Next time I'll either add more fruit, or less topping, or go run for 20 minutes before eating it. :)

On an other note, I found out that I don't like parsnips. I roasted some with a lil balsamic vinegar and oil (my go to roasting flavors) and I will not be making that again. On the upside, I turned the left overs into a delicious stir fry. yum.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Breakfast Club

Dentist appointment went well. I did M.Y. proud! No cavities to report.

This morning I met up with a wonderful friend whom I've been missing, for breakfast while I was still up in the Portland-area. We met at a place called Capitol Cafe. Friend and I went to the counter to order and I did my thing and moved along after ordering the standard eggs and bacon and even got a side or potatoes in replacement of the toast they normally have free of charge. (I shall term this: GF friendly) I enjoyed the real cups of coffee and really shouldn't have had the 2 cups that I did. Friend pointed out to the waiter that it looked like that it was his first day. Friend: You should feel ashamed of yourself ;) However, Friend was correct, it was his first day. (this was confirmed when he laid our checks on the table after we were done eating... and after we had previously paid at the counter.... oops). After some good conversation about the usual stuff, Friend and I parted our ways and down the I-5 corridor I proceeded.

I was just about to pass the Woodburn Outlets and just had to pull into The North Face outlet. Bad idea. Wallet lighter, I got back on the interstate and proceeded back down south.

I finally made it home and was inspired to for a quick run with my new running tank top. Got my passport-type pics taken for the MPRE admission ticket, and now I have spent the past 2 hours with DB at my apartment stuffing my face with Rice Works Sweet Chili Gluten-Free Chips.

In other news, I got my Corporate Tax supplement! SO excited!! It's so shiny, and new, and **hopefully** helpful.

Not the most thrilling or entertaining days to write about, but the weather was wonderful and blogging is my new procrastination tool.

The Capitol Cafe.

Coffee's always better when it's served in mugs and not paper cups.

My GF friendly special.

Friend and her bagel with lox.

The Beagle is on vacation to the coast with Grandma and Grandpa probably looking something like this:

I already miss him. He will make a return on Tuesday.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I'm a Machine.

Swimming went pretty well this morning. I was able to get up in time, but clearly someone else wasn't as peppy:

SB and I swan our longest workout and have been getting faster seeing that we're not taking any longer. We shared the lane with an older guy. He was likely mid to late-40's, heavy set and stopped every length to take a rest. I was finishing up the kick part of our workout when he looked at me and said, "You're a machine. You just keep going." I just laughed and told him that I'm happy someone thought that. I proceeded to finish up my workout, flip turns in tow. (I've been really working on these.) I was waiting for SB to finish up when the man preceded to enter into a conversion with me.

**note: Jayme-ego-feeding below***

He said that I totally must have been on swim team or something because I was "really good." I'm not making the world aware of this conversation because I agree with him, in fact I don't and not just in the "I just say I'm bad at something when I know I really am not" kind of way. I was the slowest swimmer on my water polo team back in high school and I really am NOT fast. I expect to finish in the bottom 10% as far as swim times go for the upcoming triathlon. But this really got me thinking since his view of me if how I view pretty much everyone else in the pool. You know the type: The too slim for their own good, flip turning, competitive team logo stamped swim cap, I do this for a living, type of swimmers. Anyways, I notice them swimming and think "Holy Crap!" I mean perfect example: SB and I finish our workouts with 50m sprints. A girl jumped in our lane and was swimming her warm-up laps (without a swim cap, might I add) faster than our sprints! Anyways, what I'm getting at is that the man's comment was very motivating for me. I remember when I was at the same level that he was and for me to look like a "machine" to him means that maybe someday, maybe I'll get up to another level.

Moving on...

I got my CSA share today! DB and I split the shares and here's what we got this week:
Peek into the inside of the bag

Yay! We got eggs this week. These are THE BEST eggs I've ever eaten. Never going back to conventional.

I see soup in the making.

some of the more exciting things in the package were parsnips, kale, and kiwis. I've never bought parsnips before and I'm so excited about using them. This is one of the reasons why I love the CSA. I am forced (gently) into trying and preparing new foods. Granted this is probably more expensive than going to Safeway, but it's all organic, local when available, and fresh. This is some of the best fruit I've ever eaten! And it prevents me from eating the same bagged salad and potatoes week after week.

Speaking of new trying new things, I happen to love polenta. However, the thought of standing oven the stove while continuously stirring a pot of something that looks like vomit is not so appealing. I'm half-Chinese, meaning that I try to save money whenever possible and get a good deal. I hate spending money of the little tubes of shelf -stable polenta at the store. I have a hard time justifying it seeing that cornmeal is so cheap. I looked up some slow-cooker recipes and I found one that I would use as a guideline for my first try. It turned out fabulous and I will never go back to the vacuum sealed tubes from the store.

Garlicky Sun dried -tomato Polenta with Rosemary and Sausage


1 cup corn meal

3 cups water

Dash of salt

3 cloves of crushed garlic

1/4 cup of sun dried-tomatoes (packed in oil)

Rosemary, finely chopped

Sliced sausage, pre cooked (I used the kind that DB's family makes... it's SOOOOOO good)

Combine corn meal, water, and salt in a slow cooker.

Cook covered on high for 3 hours, stirring every hour.

Stir in remaining ingredients and finishing cooking on low for about 30 minutes, or until you get the consistency you like.

The results:

Believe me, tastes far more appetizing then it looks.

The verdict: good, very good

I am definitely going to use this recipe for a good, end of the week "crap, I have all these random veggies and leftover" meal. It's easy. I go to class, come back and it's done! I stored the left overs in a covered glass dish and it firmed up just like the tube kind from the store making leftovers perfect for slicing and frying up, or using as a substitute for lasagna noodles.

An emotional win.

Apparently I'm a sucker for inspirational athletes. I've teared up more than once in my life watching a sporting event. I think the first time was during a world championship marathon years ago when an Ethiopian runner won and the prize money would greatly impact his life back home. Last night I was sitting on my couch with The Beagle by my side in tears... After winning the gold in the Women's Downhill, Lindsey Vonn took a few minutes to be interviewed by a NBC correspondent. A link to the interview can be found here. (I hope at least. I couldn't open the video on my pc.) Seriously, how awesome is that?!

When all else fails, bake.

I've really been slacking off this week with training.

Sunday, nothing.
Monday, 12 mile bike, quick 2 mile run to loosen up (not much).
Tuesday, decent swim with SB, but not enough to be a real workout.
Wednesday, nothing because I wasn't feeling right so I slept in (until 10!!!) instead.
Epic fail in the exercise department.

Recently, I've been feeling really tired and kind of "off". I take a variety of vitamin supplements, so I don't think it is that, though I ran out of calcium and haven't bought more... I've been eating a banana every day and I get adequate protein. However, I am cramping up every time I swim. I did some "google" research and I think I need to up my sodium intake. Growing up with a mother that always limited salt, I rarely add it to the stuff I eat. I drink an occasional V8 juice, but I bought the "lower sodium" variety. I have eliminated roughly 90% of processed foods from my diet and the things I do eat that are processed are things that are still minimally processed (ie natural chunky peanut butter, tofu). In fact the most processed thing I eat is probably the V8, but I don't count it because it's a healthy way to get in veggies, and it's better than fruit juice. I'm against sports drinks, and I don't think I'm at the level of exercise that requires me to refuel that much. I typically follow my workouts with soy or chocolate milk. I'm going to try to drink a daily V8 to get more sodium and possibly be more ontop of staying hydrated.

After a late evening MPRE review session last night that allowed me to realize that I'm a month behind schedule in test prep land, I decided to bake some bread. I decided to use a new recipe because the one I have been using keeps giving me different results and I've only had 1 of my 3 batches turn out nice. This new recipe eliminated gelatin, but adds vinegar. It also uses twice as much flour(!!). Overall, it wasn't quite as nice as my "good" loaf from the old recipe, but it come out as a more "sandwich bread" sized and was easier to slice. It however, was typical of gluten free bread and was dense and a little chewy. You win some, you lose some. Here's the recipe:


3 eggs

1tsp vinegar

1-1/2 cups milk

1/4 cup oil

4 cups flour blend

1 Tbsp. xanthan gum

3 Tbsp honey

1-1/2 tsp salt

1 packet Active dry yeast

Combine liquid ingredients and pour carefully into bread machine baking pan. Mix together dry ingredients and add to baking pan. Carefully place pan in the bread machine. Select normal/white cycle and start machine. Turn out on to a cutting board and let cool before slicing. Store sliced pieces in the freezer.

In my opinion, any baked good, perfect or not, is delicious still warm out of the oven (or bread machine). I "sampled" a small slice with a little butter:
I don't know which I love more, the smell of fresh baked bread, or eating it. One is sans calories, the other is just plain delicious.
The Beagle can't wait.
I think I will use this recipe again but maybe add in a healthier grain like buckwheat or something. I miss good ol' bread full of grains and seeds and stuff. I've never been too much of a fan for white bread.

Later today I have a pool date with SB and I'm going to try to make it out for a 5-6 mile run afterwords. I've been really slacking off in the running department since I got a blister on the arch of my foot and since The Beagle, my beloved running buddy, got a little pad injury. This is not good considering that I'm running a St. Patty's Day 8k. Normally on the days I don't run, I try to have a swim and/or bike workout. AS I mentioned earlier, this week has proved not too motivating.

Another goodie to look forward to today is that I get to pickup my CSA share after classes.
On the downside, I must drive up to Hillsboro this evening since I have a dentist appointment Friday in the a.m. Usually, I enjoy making it back home, but I have a make-up class Friday afternoon I'm going to try to make it back down in Eugene to and the OLSPIF auction later that night.

Time for bed, seeing that I have to be up in a few hours. Look out for a post later tonight about my CSA share and homemade polenta.... yummm.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Valentine's Weekend Summary

When most people think what to do on a Saturday afternoon, usually it includes sleeping in, catching up on a television series, or cleaning the house. What did I do on my wonderful Saturday afternoon? Spend 5 hours in the library trying to figure out the "answer" to a tax memo. Thankfully, DB had a work presentation to work on so he accompanied me to the wonderful campus of Oregon State and we sat and worked the afternoon away. One would hope that after hours of slipping though the pages of the I.R.C. that I would have a clue about what I should be doing. After all, this is the future career I aspire to have... but no, I was sheets of scrap paper down and more confused than ever. Anyone who knows me is aware that I have the attention span of The Beagle, so after 5 hours I had enough. Back to DB's house we went where I made some delicious char sie fried rice with added CSA veggies.

Sunday proved far more productive. DB, The Beagle and I went up to Aumsville to go 4-wheeling with DB's niece and her boyfriend. (cute, I know) That evening DB and I went to China Night at OSU for a celebration of Chinese New Year. The celebration features various Chinese dances performed from community members and delicious southeastern dinner. One of my favorite dishes was served which is soy sauce chicken. Unfortunately, as with this dish, many dishes I adore contain soy sauce which contains wheat. But hell, it was CNY.... I was going to go all out and be a rebel. I ate some of the chicken and it was delicious. During the evening, there was a couple's competition inspired by Valentine's Day. My law-student-competitive-self dragged DB on stage where we competed against 2 other couples in a game of charades. We had 3 categories to choose from. Sports, food, or Chinese zodiacs. Clearly, DB and I chose sports. The end result? We won! The prize? A heart-shaped box of chocolates! Oh wait... this means I will have to eat this box of chocolates because DB doesn't eat chocolate.

We left the celebration an hour early because I had to drive back down to Eugene that night. Being the dear sweet man that he is, DB took us to Dairy Queen for ice cream. yum!

I got my new tri top over the weekend and I got to try it out today during my swim with SB. It's higher cut and works way better than a sports bra. Investment well worth it. I'm still wearing my old bikini bottoms, and though I get a bit of butt-crack when I flip turn, I don't want to dole out mucho $$ for a tri bottom. It'll work, especially since the Beaver Freezer swim is only 500m.


I ate about half of the chocolates Sunday night. Why? Because I came home to find that my washing machine threw a party while I was gone and flooded my laundry room. Carpet, ruined. Floor, very wet. Jayme, emotional eater.

I threw the rest of the chocolates in the trash on Monday. Monday afternoon while I was in class, The Beagle ate the remaining chocolates in the trash. (along with half an onion). Perhaps The Beagle is an emotional eater as well? Perhaps.