rockwood: (Smile)
Having been recently experimenting with a cake/bread recipe that calls for a box of instant pudding, I decided I wanted to bake the same thing but sans all the chemicals and artificial stuff from the pre-made pudding mixes. As a result, a little research and experimentation turned up the following recipe for instant pudding!

Actually, it's not QUITE instant pudding--it still requires heating in a saucepan, but it's really super-fast. Though I must admit I haven't yet tried mixing it straight with cold milk; that might work too.

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup nonfat dry milk
1/4 tsp salt

Mix all the ingredients thoroughly and store them in an airtight container until you want to make pudding.

To use, heat 2 cups milk in a saucepan over low/medium-low heat. As it begins heating, add 1/2 cup of the pudding powder mix and any flavoring you might like:

Super-Chocolate: 4 tbs Hershey's special dark unsweetened cocoa powder. (1/2 tsp of orange extract, vanilla extract, or mint extract might make good additions to this!)
Vanilla Cinnamon: 1 tsp vanilla extract, 2 tsp powdered cinnamon.
Lemon: 1 tsp lemon extract.

Heat the mixture, stirring constantly with a squiggly plastic device (technical term, that) until it begins to thicken; be sure to scrape at the bottom to prevent layering. When you can lift a bit out and drip it back and still see the wrinkles it creates for a few seconds, the pudding is done!

Transfer the pudding to a heat-proof bowl and place in fridge (optionally, you can cover it with plastic wrap). Allow it to cool; it will almost certainly develop a thick skin on top as the surface dries out a bit, but that's okay, and the skin is perfectly edible (on chocolate pudding, it will be quite dark, almost black).

Suggested serving size is about half a cup of prepared pudding.

Blessed be,
~Nathan
rockwood: (Default)
Everything I need to know about a sense of patience and delayed gratification, I learned from Sam Vimes and Moist von Lipwig. Hope, they teach, is the greatest gift a person can receive. Jam today just leads to a distinct lack of jam tomorrow, but even the most wretched peasant can live happily if they live in hope of jam tomorrow.

This holiday message has been brought to you by....

Seriously, though, I've recently begun noticing a substantial increase in the sense of satisfaction I derive from the knowledge of jam tomorrow. It also helps save money. Rather than buying a new computer game in the last month or so, I just browsed reviews, looked at critical evaluations, and enjoyed thinking about which ones might be more fun to try sometime in the future. And I've been planning to head into town to get a slice of fancy cake or similar at a coffee shop; first I planned to make that trip at the beginning of Thanksgiving Break, and then when I finished my writing contract, and then when classes were over for the semester (today). Now I'm planning to go get it when I finish my last exam next Thursday. 

This is probably a good thing, considering that teaching is a profession big on jam tomorrow. When you provide education and try to encourage a sense of success and personal worth in kids, you don't actually get to see how you changed their futures until---surprise, surprise---the future, and even then, 99% of them won't be in touch.

And the saving-money bit will be helpful too, considering the pay....

Blessed be,
~Nathan

PS: Also, a good substitute for jam is homemade chocolate covered popcorn.

rockwood: (Default)
I like tomato sauce for pasta (among other sauces), but I always feel it's not really a solid meal unless it's a thick tomato sauce---usually one with ground beef or turkey---rather than a thin marinara type.

Now, I'm not vegetarian myself, but I like to cook for one in particular, so this posed a bit of a conundrum. More so, since beyond just being less tasty, a thin tomato sauce offers zilch in the way of protein.  Fortunately, a little bit of experimentation with myself as the guinea pig has proven that Morningstar Farms brand 'griller' crumbles make an acceptable substitute, at least as far as I can tell.

Here's tonight's version:
Dice a medium or large sweet onion. Heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil in a deep frying/sauce pan (I like the ones with vertical sides, rather than the bowl-shaped ones) over medium-high heat; add in 3 cloves of mashed/pressed/diced garlic and 2 bay leaves, and stir gently until the bay leaves start to brown. Add the onion, and cook until the onion is gone mostly transparent and JUST starting to fry, stirring constantly. This can take a bit.

Then add 3 teaspoons of dried basil, 2 teaspoons dried oregano, 2 teaspoons dried thyme, and a little more oil if it's going dry. Mix thoroughly, and then add one 12oz package of the Morningstar crumbles and mix again. The crumbles should cook/thaw pretty fast; as they start to, reduce the heat to medium. After stirring for about 2-3 minutes, dump in one jar of your tomato sauce of choice (I recommend a basil or olive oil & garlic variety). Grind some peppercorn into the mix, about five or six twists of a hand grinder or similar, and 3-5 tablespoons of grated parmesean cheese, and mix everything thoroughly. Let it continue cooking until it's as thick as you prefer, and serve on a pasta of your choice.

Came out quite well, though if you don't let the crumbles cook long enough they can be a bit chewy.

Blessed be,
~Nathan

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September 2015

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