Pear Flan

For two weeks, I planned to make this flan. Two weeks. First, I ended up snacking on the pears. Then the pears were on sale so I would by a bunch of them only to continue snacking on them. After the sale, I couldn’t find Bartlett pears anywhere (for obvious reasons), so a bought some Anjou. Yeah, ate those too.

I can’t help it. I love pears. They are god’s perfect fruit. Or one of them. Cherries are also god’s fruit as well as peaches, plums, apricots, and kiwis.

Hello, my name is Michelle. I’m a type 1 diabetic addicted to fruit. I can’t get enough of it. I have to have fruit in my house at all times. If there is no fruit in my house, well, let’s put it this way, it’s not pretty. I’m a fruitaholic.

But if I’m going to eat anything sugary, it might as well be fruit. At least it’s all natural. I’m funny that way. I’ll be walking through the grocery store thinking, “Man, I need a sweet snack.” I’ll go to the bakery and be all, eh. I’ll go to the junk food aisle and be all, eh. I’ll go to the candy aisle and be all, maybe I don’t want something sweet. I’ll go to the granola/applesauce aisle and be all, yeah I’m just not feeling sweet today. Then I’ll pass the produce where the strawberries are $1.50, the pineapple is 97 cents, and the plums are 99 cents a pound and all of a sudden I’m all, mine all mine.

So yeah, I ate all the pears.

I wanted to try something different. And when I think of flan, I think of latino Hispanic Spanish flan of awesomeness. You know the egg custard gelatin thing with the caramel sauce of scrumptiousness on top.

This is totally not this. At all.
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Pear Flan
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
3 eggs
6 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons whiskey
2 firm but ripe Bartlett pears

Directions.

Spray a round cake pan with butter cooking spray. Sprinkle the bottom and sides with 1 tablespoon of the sugar.

Beat the eggs in a bowl. Add 1⁄4 cup of sugar into the eggs and stir until light and fluffy.

Mix in the flour, cream, vanilla extract, lemon zest, salt, and liquor until well combined.

Set aside for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel, quarter, core, and slice the pears.

Arrange the slices in a single layer, slightly fanned out, in the round cake pan.

Pour the batter over the pears.

Bake until the top is golden brown and the custard is firm at 375 for 40 minutes.

Makes 12. Calories: 176, Carbohydrates: 13 grams, Sugar: 8 grams, Fiber: 1 grams, Protein: 3 grams.

This was not what I thought it was going to be. It’s more of a baked custard with fruit in it.

I love pears. I love fruit. I love baked fruit. I love backed pears. But I did not like this. At all. I’m all WTF mate, WTF is this crap.

Now you’ll probably notice the lemon zest strike out. Yeah. Lemon zest was the culprit making what could potentially be amazing into absolute rancid. The zest overpowered everything. The custard. The pears. It was awful. And all I could think is, “This is what Bryan must mean by over zesting.” Then I get angry because once again, the hubby is right. But will I tell him this? Fuck no. Boy has a culinary ego the size of Bobby Flay and he doesn’t cook. So he took home ec in high school for two semesters, did a few culinary competitions, and his teacher rather him cook instead of sew, it doesn’t mean he’s god’s gift to cooking.

Sad part is, if I’m not sure about something I always ask him. And I hate it every time.

So needless to say, I threw the damn flan out after a day and made sure Bryan never had a slice. Will I try this again? I have no clue. I’m a little frustrated with it. Will it taste bland without the zest? Should I cut down the zest and up the vanilla? What exactly am I looking for flavor wise when overhauling it? Should I even attempt to tweak it? These are all great questions that I have no answer to.

Do I consider this a fail? Yes! Therefore, the only thing I happen to know about this bloody pear flan is, if you aren’t sure about it, don’t make it. Sure you can take out the zest and hope for a pear and vanilla custard like thing that could potentially be amazeballs, or it could flop and become overly bland.

What ever you do, do not cut the pear into quartered chunks. What I would do is slice it and overlap creating a beautiful flower that way when you flip it, it doesn’t look like in edible shit.

Like this.
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Garlic bread

I know what you are thinking.

Yes, I’m doing a post on garlic bread. I love garlic bread. Love it! I love Italian restaurants that give you toasted garlic bread slices instead of bread sticks. Honestly, I feel jip when I get breadsticks.

Have you gone to the grocery store recently and looked at how much frozen or premade just bake it in the oven costs? You’re looking at roughly 4 – 5 bucks. I get it, it’s easier to pay the money than just making it. But it’s so easy to make and costs barely anything. You already have the butter. Garlic is bulk so your paying like 2 cents for a clove. The fresh French bread is usually about $1.50. So you’re looking at maybe $1.69 if that for 4 slices which is about half the loaf of bread. And you have enough left over to make something else out of the bread other than garlic bread.

It’s really a win-win. You make enough for what you need without much left over. Or having it take up space in the freezer until you have another hankering for it. See what I did? I used a country word. Who says hankering anymore? Not city folk. Oh look, I did it again.

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Garlic Bread

4 slices of French bread
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon of Italian seasonings

Directions

Put garlic into a microwavable dish.

Place butter over garlic in dish. Microwave for 45 seconds. If the butter isn’t fully melted, it’s okay. Just swish the butter around until fully melted.

Spray a baking sheet with butter spray.

Dip slices of bread into the garlic butter. If there is any remaining garlic or butter, pour over slices a bread that isn’t fully buttered.

Sprinkle with Italian seasonings.

Place bread on baking sheet and bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

Bread should be toasted.

Makes 4. Calories: 288, Carbohydrates: 33 grams, Fiber: 2 grams, Protein: 6 gram.

This is why people barely eat garlic bread.

I know what your are thinking. A microwave? Really? Yes. It’s faster. You can do it in a saucepan if you want. But you don’t want to. You want the easy way. I know you do.

The whole purpose of putting the butter over the garlic is so that the butter will be infused with garlic. How is this different from melting butter on a stovetop and tossing the garlic in? The butter is more garlic-y so every bite of the bread has the taste of garlic in it even when there isn’t a piece of garlic in the bite. That’s what everyone wants. Awesome garlic flavor.

What’s great is you are literally using 1/2 a tablespoon for each slice so it cuts the fat down. When buying premade fresh garlic bread, they slather a huge quantity the butter garlic spread. This means more calories, and more fat. By making your own you are controlling everything.

That and it tastes better.

 

Baked Creamed Corn

My husband loves creamed corn. Loves it.

I’ll be honest, I really didn’t know what it was until I met him. Actually, scratch that, until we started living together. We were in the canned vegetable aisle and he’s all let’s get some corn and proceeded to reach for the creamed corn. All I could think was, “He can’t be serious.” But, he was.

It looked like slop. Why would anyone eat slop? Tasted okay, but looked horrible. And the amount of corn in it was more mashed up than whole kernel. I was disappointed.

This is another obvious difference in our upbringing. He’s more southern home comfort food. I am no where close to that. No where. His mom makes creamed spinach and creamed asparagus and what have you. I have no clue where to start to make creamed anything. Why would I cream vegetables anyway? It’s so foreign.

This is another recipe I found in one of my mother inlaws recipe book which ironically is a at home comfort food book. It has chicken pot pie, and other home cookery recipes. My father inlaw bought it sometime last year and I don’t think they have attempted any of the recipes out of the book.

I figured if I’m going to make creamed corn, I might as well make it where I can physically see the corn and not have it mashed to shit in a can. What better version of this than a recipe from a comfort food book. I’m learning. I’m trying to do this whole comfort food southern cooking thing. Sometimes a diabetic needs to feel like the food loves them as much as they love food. Feel like the food is wrapping them up in a blanket of love and hugs. Yeah.

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Baked Creamed Corn

2 cups corn
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

Melt butter in pan.

Beat eggs in a bowl and set aside.

Add flour and stir until well combine.

Add milk slowly and bring to a boil stirring constantly.

Add corn, sugar, salt, and pepper. Stir frequently.

Add eggs and mix until well combined.

Spray a 2 quart baking dish with cooking spray and pour corn mixture into baking dish.

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

Makes 6. Calories: 134, Carbohydrates: 16 grams, Sugar: 6 grams, Fiber: 2 grams, Protein: 6 grams.

Holy Fuck! Who knew creamed corn could taste so good.

It’s creamy, it somehow tastes fresh. So yummy. I could eat this for days. I could eat this every week. Southern comfort food is on to something.

And this side can pair with anything. Steak and a salad. Chicken and green beans. Fish and asparagus.

Screw a can. A can is for chumps. A can is for people with no taste buds. Make this. Every time you think hey I feel like some creamed corn, go out and buy the corn. You have no reason not to make this. The ingredients are so simple and a staple in every single person on the planet that owns a kitchen kitchen. It takes minutes to make and then you pop it in the oven as you work on the entrée or another side. So simple.

Love it!

Open faced Spinach, Tomatoes and Egg Breakfast Sandwich

Sometimes cereal, a slice of toast, some fruit, orange juice and coffee just doesn’t do it when it comes to breakfast. Sometimes oatmeal with fruit and sugar doesn’t cut it. Sometimes you don’t want an omelet, scrambled eggs, or just and egg with toast in general for breakfast. Sometime you need something exciting. Something to look forward to while you cook it, put it together, and finally eat it.

The only thing missing is bacon, but sometimes you need to give your heart a break before it decides to attack you.

Enter the awesomeness that is an open faced breakfast sandwich.

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Open Faced Spinach, Tomatoes, and Egg Breakfast Sandwich

Slice of French Bread
2 oz of spinach
3 grape tomatoes, halved
Fried egg
Slice of mozzarella cheese

Directions

Take the slice of cheese, put it on top of the slice a bread and place the bread on top of the toaster. Push the toaster spring down and toast the bread. Do not put the bread in the toaster when doing this. Do this until cheese is melted.

Sauté spinach in a small skillet over medium heat until wilted.

Place the spinach on top of the cheese on the bread.

Fry the egg.

Place the tomatoes on top of the spinach.

Place the fried egg on top of the tomatoes and spinach.

Makes 1. Calories: 281, Carbohydrates: 21 grams, Sugar: 1 grams, Fiber: 2 grams, Protein: 16 grams.

This is amazing. It taste amazing. It feels Italian. Everything is perfect. Each bite is perfection.

Breakfast was supposed to be like this.

It’s healthy. That’s the big thing. It is healthy. You have your carbs, your protein – lots of it too- and your vegetables. It’s wholesome. One of these will fill you up.

Add a piece of fruit and some coffee and you have the perfect breakfast.

The big thing is you’re using one piece of bread. If you want to reduce calories and carbs, use one piece of bread instead of two. Make everything open faced. How many calories will you be cutting out? Depends on the bread. How many carbs? roughly 15 grams. Each slice of bread is roughly 15 grams of carbs. That is a lot. Especially if you’re like me and love white bread.

So the next time you want to change it up in the morning and reduce your carb count think open face.

 

Asparagus with Onions, Mushrooms, and Bacon

There are two rules in my household when it comes to sides. Must be fresh. And the only way to do an elegant side is by having asparagus or green beans in it. Since I wanted a more elegant sort of Easter dinner, asparagus was on the menu.

A few weeks ago, Bryan was raving about how his dad made this sauté with asparagus, onions, and bacon. I decided to take it a step further by adding mushrooms.

That and to me, if you’re going to make a side it better be full of veggie goodness. Sure green beans, squash, asparagus, broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower taste great by themselves. But sometimes, you get bored of the same ole same ole. Hence adding a little extra. But you cant just combine any vegetables randomly and expect amazingness to occur. I wouldn’t add mushrooms and onions with carrots, squash, or cauliflower. The flavors would not compliment each other. Each vegetable should heighten the flavor other the others it is combined with.

There are rules, unspoken, unwritten. Just don’t go Iron Chef when creating these flavor profiles.

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Asparagus with Onions, Mushrooms, and Bacon

2 pounds asparagus
1/2 onion, chopped
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 clove garlic, chopped
4 strips bacon, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.

Dump asparagus and cook for 2 minutes.

Add onions and garlic to the skillet. Mix with asparagus.

Once the onions start to get a bit limp add the bacon. Move the sauté to one side and cook the bacon. Once the bacon starts to shrivel up, break it up into small pieces using a spatula and a fork.

Mix bacon into sauté.

Add mushrooms, and mix into sauté until well combined. When mushrooms have browned and become tender remove from heat.

Makes 6. Calories: 69, Carbohydrates: 7 gram, Sugar: 2 grams, Fiber: 2 grams, Protein: 4 grams.

I absolutely love this sauté. Everything compliments each other perfectly. Also helps that it’s low calories, low carb, and hardly any sugar.

So good. And it’s more posh. It’s a great side for chicken, beef, pork, or fish.

Hell, it would look absolutely gorgeous if you plated using the sauté at the bottom and put a slice of the entrée on top. Great for dinner parties. I’m weird like that. It’s all about plating. Sure I know the food taste amazing. But I want the eyes to look at it and make the mind thing OH MY GOD, THIS IS GOING TO BE THE MOST AMAZING MEAL I HAVE EVER CONSUMED. That and I like the thought of food being art.

I watch too many cooking shows.

But still, need to impress someone. This side is the ticket.

Lemonade

Summer is pretty much upon us. At least in Texas, it feels that way.

Other than tea, what is the biggest thirst quencher out there?

Lemonade.

May 4th is Lemonade day where little kids set up lemonade stands to learn about money and business. I find it odd that they pick a day to do this, but in this day and age everything is possible.

Back in my day, which was not that long ago, lemonade stands were a must in the summer. We didn’t do it to make extra money or learn about business. We were kids, it was what kids do. Any reason for us to stay outside and yell to our hearts content.

I love lemonade. I love anything liquid really. Water, Citrus Water, Cucumber Water, Lemonade, Pink Lemonade, Strawberry Lemonade, Raspberry Lemonade, Cherry Limeade, Tea, Sweet Tea…..see where I’m going.

I can’t do powder drinks. Most contain aspartame and the next thing I know my meter is waving at me and I feel like I’m going to die. Not to mention the powder water ratio is always off. There never is a perfect balance.

Then you make your own lemonade and end up putting too much lemon juice in causing you to oversaturate it with sugar to make up for the over tartness and it becomes this syrupy mess.

During Thanksgiving I figured out how to make the perfect lemonade. It is perfect. Enough tartness to slightly pucker your lips when you drink it. Enough sugar to mute the lemon juice creating the most balanced lemonade ever created.

lemonade

Lemonade

2 1/2 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
32 oz of water
5 teaspoons sugar

Directions

Pour squeezed lemon juice into a liter carafe.

Add sugar. Swish around until sugar is dissolved in the lemon juice.

Add water. Stir until well combined.

Makes 4 cups. Per 8 oz. Calories: 25, Carbohydrates: 7 grams, Sugar: 6 grams.

1 lemon = 2 1/2 oz.

Screw soda. Drink cherry limeade and lemonade for the rest of your life.

If you drank the full liter, it would only be 100 calories, 28 grams of carbs, 24 grams of sugar.

A 12oz can of Coke has 140 calories, 39 grams of carbs and sugar.

Which would you drink?

Lemons only cost 25 cents! You can buy 4 for a dollar, and squeeze the juice into a small snack container and use it as needed. Instead of paying $1.08 for a 32oz of soda at McDonalds, use it for lemonade. You’ll make 4x the amount of lemonade. And not only is it better for you, it won’t suck the calcium out of your bones or rot your teeth like soda does.

I really should take my own advice.

Made in No Time Marinara Sauce

Sometimes you find yourself in a pickle.

You’re making pasta, but you have no pasta sauce.

You don’t feel like cooking dinner but your significant other calls telling you he’s bringing dinner guests. Or you forget you’re having company over because of those long nights at work.

You don’t want a jar because of everything that’s in a jar and well there’s people coming over. You want to make something wholesome.

Ingredients in a jar: Diced Plum Tomatoes (Plum Tomatoes, Tomato Juice, Calcium Chloride, Citric Acid), Tomato Puree (Water, Tomato Paste), Onions, Olive Oil, Garlic, Sugar, Salt, Spices, Soybean Oil, Dehydrated Parsley Flakes, Canola Oil, Citric Acid, Natural Flavors Contains Soybeans

Have no fear, this 6 ingredient, most of which is already in your house I bet, you can make something amazing in no time.

Everyone should have a go – to sauce.

marinara

Marinara Sauce

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic crushed
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
28oz can crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Italian dried seasoning

Directions

Add the olive oil to a medium sized saucepan over medium heat.

Add the garlic and crushed pepper.

When the pepper snaps and the garlic sizzles, stir in the crushed tomatoes.

Season the sauce with salt and Italian seasoning. Cook for five minutes

Makes 28 oz jar. Per 1/2 cup. Calories: 73, Carbohydrates: 9 grams, Fiber: 2 grams, Protein: 2 grams.

No sugar, whatsoever. Why? Because we didn’t add any. This is what happens when you make food using pure ingredients!

This is too easy to make.

The taste is pretty amazing. The garlic, the red pepper, compliments the tomatoes. The herbs creates a flavor profile that screams Italy.

It’s great for pastas, as a dip for tortellini, cheese sticks, or ravioli, pizza sauce.

What’s great is you can make this in large batches and jar it for later. That way you will always have some on hand if you need a dip for an appetizer when company comes over unexpectedly. Or for those late night munchies after the bar when friends are over to keep the party going.

Mashed Parmesan Red Potatoes

Last time I made mashed potatoes, I made it with cream cheese.

This time, I decided to try the milk and butter route.

But I wanted to do something different. And after making it, I realized it needed parmesan cheese.

Most recipes you find on the internet with red potatoes are garlic parmesan ones. I don’t know why. I guess red potatoes with parmesan and garlic is so amazing it’s the only way to do if using red potatoes for mashed potatoes.

I didn’t have any garlic on hand (which is odd), so I figured parmesan would suffice.

And it did.

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Mashed Parmesan Red Potatoes

5 medium red potatoes
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup milk
3 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions

Dice potatoes into chunks.

Place potatoes in pot. Pour water over potatoes until potatoes are covered.

Bring to boil and reduce to simmer. Cover pot and simmer until fork tender.

Drain in colander and place potatoes back into pot. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Add milk and butter. Mash until you reached the consistency you want.

Stir in parmesan.

Makes 8. Calories: 142, Carbohydrates: 20 grams, Sugar: 3 grams, Fiber: 2 grams, Protein: 5 grams.

Hmmm… Maybe milk and butter is better than cream cheese.

The parmesan cheese was a nice addition. Added a nice subtle but tangy flavor. Of course Bryan was hoping for more parmesan, but I’m more of a light flavor. He’s all *bang* right in your face with flavor.

Next time I will have to do the garlic version because something tells me everything compliments each other perfectly.

 

Vegetable Kabobs

Summertime is coming.

Which means….

GRILLING!!!!!

I’ve already started getting the hubby in the habit of grilling once a week. I love the taste of grilled steaks. The smokiness. The marinade. Only problem is he keeps over cooking my steaks. I like mine medium rare not medium well. And that’s how you know I’m a Texan.

To accompany the amazingness that is steak, you need to grill something awesome.

Vegetable kabobs.

Its perfect. You don’t have to use the same vegetables, but these are pretty awesome.

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Vegetable Kabobs

Squash, halved
Zucchini, halved
1/2 red bell pepper, thick chunks
1/2 green bell pepper, thick chunks
1/2 onion, thick chunks
Mushrooms, halved

Directions

Using wooden skewers, gently pierce each vegetable through the skewer.

Put the first vegetable about half an inch from the bottom and continue stacking in any order using as many vegetables as possible until you are half an update inch from the top.

Lay each skewer on the grill and cook on one side for about 7 minutes and flip to the other side for another 7 minutes.

Makes 10 skewers.

I love grilled vegetables. Love it. Pairs well with any grilled meat. Its grilling at its finest.

Coconut Pineapple Bars

Springtime is here….sort of.

Texas weather is highly unpredictable. But that’s okay.

Over the weekend, Bryan and his dad hooked my stove up. Now I can cook in the house! And of course I had to bake something!

I came across these island experience bars a few months ago on Facebook, posted it on my wall and proceeded to forget about it. It was 22 degrees outside, and the islands were definitely not calling me. Then these bars started popping up on all the recipe pages and I was like, “Oh right, I should totally make these.”

If you don’t like coconut, you are definitely not Carribean (or Hawaiian, basically an Islander). I wasn’t raised or born on an island, but I have yet to meet a Puerto Rican that doesn’t like coconut. Or pineapple.

Puerto Rico created the pina colada! And what’s a pina colada? Pineapple and coconut. I should have renamed it a pina colada bar but there isn’t any cream in it.

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Coconut Pineapple Bars

Crust Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 cup flour

Filling Ingredients:

2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut

Topping:

1/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut.

Directions

Combine the crust ingredients in a small bowl square pan.

Spray a square baking tin with cooking spray and press the crust mixture into the bottom of the tin. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes.

Take out of oven and let it cool down for 10 minutes. You can make the filling during this time.

Place the pineapple and shredded coconut in a bowl.

Sprinkle with flour, brown sugar and salt. Stir to coat.

Mix together the eggs, vanilla and lime in a separate bowl.

Stir egg mixture into the pineapple mixture.

Pour the filling over the crust and top with the remaining coconut.

Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool completely before slicing.

Makes 16 bars. Calories: 180, Carbohydrates: 22 grams, Sugar: 10 grams, Fiber: 1 gram, Protein: 3 grams.

The islands are in my mouth and my tastebuds are enjoying a pina colada near the ocean. I can hear the island drums playing.

This would convert anyone who doesn’t like pineapple or coconut to one that does.

The only request Bryan had was, “Make sure it comes out moist.” when I asked him what he wanted to bake. This is by far the moistest bar I have even eaten.

I love it. The toasted coconut with a caramelized pineapple on a shortbread like crust. Who could say no? No one!

And then I could smell it on my hands for the rest of the night despite the fact that the puppies kept licking my hands.

If you want you could always keep the drained juice for later. Make your morning orange juice tropical or something.

I reduced the amount to coconut for the topping, as well as the amount of sugar in the crust. There is such a thing as too much coconut. And I wanted an even balance of the pineapple and coconut.