Welcome to "chuff to bits"! My blog about food, crafting, and other wonderful things! Stay tuned to find out what!

Saturday, May 8, 2010


So I've been missing lately. Off on an "adventure". Or some people call it "working"..... most people even......... especially me. Anyway, I don't have any glorious food pictures for you today...."booo-urns", I know. I haven't been cooking lately. Actually, I HAVE been cooking, but you don't want to eat the food I'm making.

Despite all my better inclinations to do, say, and eat, as I please, I decided it was time for a diet. Personally, I don't like restricting my food options. I don't like being one of those people who has to carefully track everything they're eating, and I do NOT like worrying about my weight. For the most part I'm happy the way I am, chubby bits and all. The problem is, that the more I don't pay attention to what I'm eating, the tighter my pants fit. Ultimately, if I don't do something about it, I'll have to keep buying pants and, quite frankly, I'm not rich.

I don't metabolize foods right. I've eaten low fat, organic, mostly vegetarian foods for ages. I've tried to pick the healthiest options for everything I eat. I've tried working myself to the bone. Still I gain weight. I stumbled on something the other day that made me realize the one part of my food intake I haven't looked at....... sugar. I eat a LOT of heavy carb foods. Enough that my dentist was concerned I might have diabetes.

I LIVE for fruit, bread, potatoes, pasta and anything that combines the two, especially pastries. I dream about cake at night.

So against all my better instincts, I started a low-carb diet. Originally thinking I'd have to eat piles of steak and eggs, I was concerned. Turns out it's like every other diet, it's mostly about eating vegetables, with various proteins, and avoiding any kind of sugared or starchy foods. Then, after two weeks, slowly re-introducing starches and sugars until you reach the point where you stop losing weight.

Well, let me tell you, it sounds great, but I feel like a big bag of $hit. Both physically and emotionally. I don't eat eggs, so that's out. I don't really like to eat this much meat, makes me feel gross. I feel like I'm overdosing on vegetables that I'm forcing myself to eat. I feel cranky and deprived of one of my FAVOURITE foods (ice cream cake) that I'd been looking forward to eating for a YEAR now, and that I only allow myself once a year. Worst of all, the online "support" forum seems to contain a number of pretentious, egotistical, conceited people who love to tell people what they've "done wrong" whenever they ask a question.

At any rate, it also means that the stuff I'm cooking is sugar, egg, and starch free. So I made these flax muffins that everyone on the website seems to love. The S.O. and I tried them out. He's now calling them "The Lumpy Brown Things". They look like brown-green lumps of dirt, and they taste of fake-sugar chemicals and cinnamon....mmmm. So then I tried pumpkin cookies. Pumpkin being one of the vegetables on the "allowed" list. So, following the instructions to the letter, AND taking the cookies out 10 minutes early. The cookies were burnt on the tops and the bottoms. Were little round hollow balls of pumpkin coloured chemicals. They tasted AWFUL. They looked vaguely edible. Like edible packing peanuts.......but pumpkin coloured.

I'm not impressed. Needless to say, I'm not posting those recipes here. Instead I'm going to leave you with a few more links. The first is a fun little music discovery type of site. The second is arguably the MOST addictive game on the internet. I'm begging you to just try it once. you'll love it. The third is a link to a site that can warn you when interesting space weather is happening, so you don't miss out on meteor showers and northern lights.

Here you go:

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Win Soup

I made this recipe the same day as the "Fail Nougat". I was craving a good dose of veggies, something in a soup form. I basically just went to the organic market down the street and bought every kind of veggie that I like that they had in that day. It turned out wonderful, delicious, and freezes really well for lunches.


4 small carrots
3 parsnips
1 small purple turnip (purple on top, white on the bottom and the inside)
1 head broccoli
4 large shallots
1 cup corn niblets
1 cup sweet peas (I'll leave them out the next time, they just didn't go.)
2 cups brown whole grain rice
2 litres chicken stock (or veggie stock for the vegan version, but the non-tomato veggie stock)
couple tablespoons of cornstarch and cold water
salt to taste

1. Chop all veggies into bite sized cubes. I did NOT peel the carrots or parsnips but I did peel the turnip.

2. Put all the veggies into a big pot, here they are in order.

Turnips:Parsnips:Shallots: (You could use onions, no big deal.)

Carrots and Corn:

3. Dump in the rice too.

4. Pour in enough stock to cover.

5. Bring to a boil then simmer, stirring occasionally. Cook until rice is tender.

6. If you like a thicker consistancy soup (almost a stew) , then mix the cornstarch with some cold water until dissolved, then pour into the soup and stir quickly. Let it boil for a minute or so to thicken.

7. Salt and/or spice to taste. (I used about a tablespoon of salt.)

I usually take all the leftover soups that I have, put them in single portion plastic disposable bowls with lids (I wash them and reuse them) and then stack them in the freezer. They make delicious, easy lunches when I don't want a smushed up sandwich.


Fail Nougat

Well well, what's all this then?

You missed me, admit it. Anyway, after working several weekends of 17hr days doing something I HATE, I've had a week off to reflect on the nowhere that my life is going. Hmmmm.

Anyway, cooking hasn't seemed as appealing as it normally does. Mostly because at the end of a 17hr day I just want to sleep, and at the end of a day off I mostly just want to get out of the house. I did manage to cook up a few things here and there. Today I present you with a vegan recipe for nougat that should be divine if you have a working candy thermometer (unlike mine).

So I had a craving for delicious fluffy nougat. (It always starts out so innocently.) Since most of these recipes start out with egg whites, I thought I'd search for vegan recipes and see what came up. I started with this recipe, then I "modified it".

Fail Nougat

3 cups sugar
1 cup light agave nectar (I had amaretto flavoured)
3/4 cup white corn syrup
1 1/2 cups water
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla
3 drops pure almond oil
1/2 tsp salt
almonds and pistachios
The original recipe calls for vegan marshmellows. I used fake egg substitute, approx 3 eggs.

1. Mix up your fake eggs. (This recipe really gave me the opportunity to discover if you could "whip" fake eggs. Apparently you can, but only to a very soft peak, not stiff peak.)

2. Combine sugar, corn syrup (for god sakes WHITE corn syrup otherwise you end up with brown nougat, like I did), water, and agave nectar in a pot. Bring to a boil stirring constantly.

3. Once it boils, take the spoon out, drop the temp to about medium and continue boiling until it's 285 -295 degrees. 285 for soft nougat, 295 for harder nougat. You may want to check your candy thermometer for accuracy first (I didn't and my nougat turned out far too soft.)

4. While it's boiling, grease and icing sugar a dish or pan to put the nougat in to set. When it gets to the right temperature immediately pour it off into a heat proof dish to stop the cooking.

5. While still whisking (or mixing) the eggs, slowly pour in the warm sugar mix. Mix in the rest of the ingredients quickly. It will really start to fight you as it's cooling.

6. Once it's cool enough to handle, pull it out and press it into the greased pan. Let it cool overnight.

Despite the name of this recipe, your nougat should work out if you follow the instructions. I didn't include pictures of the finished nougat because it was brown due to the golden corn syrup I used, and it was too soft, resulting in a sticky goo.....mmmmmmm delicious goo. It really did taste good, it just wasn't nougat.....highly disappointing. I'll be trying it again using a white corn syrup and a working candy thermometer, so if you aren't brave enough to tackle this recipe now, stick around for the sequel.

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