Saturday, June 23, 2018

Product Review: Libby's Pumpkin Bread

Disclaimer: This is an independent, unsolicited review. I am not an employee or affiliate of Libby's.

Rating: five of five stars

When you want something that tastes like you spent several hours in the kitchen but actually takes about ten minutes to mix up and pour into the pan of your choice, look no further than Libby's pumpkin bread. Good enough to take to a potluck and easy enough to whip up as a breakfast bread or dessert anytime.

I wanted to test it in my Gourmia on the fruitcake setting, as I've only used the basic setting on the Gourmia thus far. However, the ingredients fill the Gourmia's inner pan to the brim, so I ended up using a 9 x 13-inch cake pan lined with Reynolds Wrap and sprayed with Pam Butter Flavor Cooking Spray. 
There is a wonderful hack which my son found in his Tumblr feed to make any cake mix extra rich and moist, and I have been using it for the past year. Add one egg to the number of eggs called for on the mix box. The pumpkin bread mix calls for four eggs. I used five. Use milk instead of water and melted butter instead of cooking oil. It's an easy trick to make a good thing even better.
Pour the pumpkin bread mix into your chosen pan(s). Then comes the hard part: the wait. In a 9 x 13 pan, the bread/cake cooks for 50 minutes. I then let it cool for an hour before putting on the icing. I didn't do the pretty drizzle depicted on the box. I squeezed the icing into the middle of the cake and spread it all over with a knife. After an hour of cooling, the cake is still warm enough that the icing will melt into the top but not throughout the entire cake. 
I could have waited for the cake to cool a bit more, but that would be masochistic. I cut myself a generous piece and enjoyed every morsel.
Libby's pumpkin bread mix is cost-effective, easy to prepare, and delicious. It will be a staple of my breakfast bread and desserts list from now on.


Thursday, June 21, 2018

Simple Recipe: Italian Style Spicy Chick'n Patties

Greetings, Delivered ones! My cat has an early veterinary appointment this morning. I hate early appointments. I'm always afraid I'm going to sleep through them, so I'm not sleeping well. My son doesn't sleep well at night either, so I'm making food. 
This dish is suitable for vegetarians. 
You will need four vegetarian/vegan chick'n patties. I'm using the Boca brand Spicy Chick'n.
Line a 9X9 pan with Reynold's wrap and spray with avocado oil.
Place a layer of fresh basil in the bottom of the pan.
Place four Chick'n patties on top of the basil.
Top the chick'n patties with sun-dried tomato pesto.
Sprinkle balsamic vinaigrette dressing over the pesto.
Bake covered at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.
Remove cover.
Sprinkle on shredded mozzarella or Italian blend cheese of your choice.
Bake for another 10 minutes.


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Tech Tricks: Help! My Login Screen Won't appear!

Last night, I came home and fired up my Windows 10 computer, only to wait and wait and wait to have the login screen never appear.
I cooked a frozen dinner. The screen didn't appear.
I played a game on my Kindle tablet. The screen didn't appear.

I whipped out my iPhone and did a search for "login doesn't appear Windows computer."
Several sources gave me the following tip:
Hold down the power button for three seconds.
The computer will restart.
You will have to do this three times.
What this does is cues the computer to run a disk check.
If the problem is minor, the malfunction will be repaired. Your computer will restart, and the login screen will appear as normal.
I discovered that there had been a Windows update, which has a tendency to make my computer behave strangely.
My computer is working normally again, and I am glad to live in an age where my phone isn't just a dumb brick with buttons. I'm old enough that I remember early text messaging. Remember when you had to push a key multiple times to get the letter you wanted? If you don't, you didn't miss anything.
A caveat:
I am not a computer expert, even though my co-workers at the job I had for close to 11 years thought I was some sort of computer genius. My knowledge is haphazard. I'm completely self-taught. I do not guarantee that this tip will work for you and I can't tell you if there is something really bad wrong with your computer. If there is a minor glitch, this tip should work for you as it did for me. If there's a major problem, my suggestion won't work and you need to contact an actual computer technician.
Also, Windows, stop being like this:


Thursday, June 14, 2018

Easy Recipe: Crustless Southwest Quiche

This recipe uses Egg Beaters for ease, but you can use six beaten eggs instead.
For a quick and easy meal anytime, I sometimes like to grab a carton of Egg Beaters. 
I line my 9 x 9 square pan with Reynold's Wrap, spray with avocado oil cooking spray, then pour in the Egg Beaters.
On this occasion, I used the Southwestern Style. I then added a couple handfuls of spinach, a couple handfuls of mushrooms, and poured on a bunch of cheese.
Accurate measurements are very important in this recipe! ;-)
Nah, I'm just messing with you.
You can add whatever vegetables or cheese you like. You can also add bacon or sausage if you'd like a meatier dish.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 - 35 minutes.
Serves two really hungry people or 3 - 4 less hungry ones.
The recipe as I made it is diabetic friendly.
I'll eat quiche with or without the crust, but my blood sugar readings are a bit better when I forego the crust.
Bon appetit!


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

I Heart Duck Tape

If the men don't find me hot, they should at least find me handy!
I always have some on hand. 
It comes in different colors.
I haven't bothered to replace the plastic cover for my brake lights which had a hole punched in it during last year's big hail storm, because the red duck tape covers the hole and the color holds up for an entire year. I just replaced the duck tape when it became too faded.
Temporarily patched a hole on Chateau Vinyl Side with it in case it rains while I'm out finding matching paint for the end of the unit. Hoping against hope with that rain thing, I'm afraid.
Seriously, duck tape needs to be in your tool kit. It's cheap and it's durable.


Saturday, June 9, 2018

Cie's Kitchen Staples: Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix

I've discovered an inexpensive, easy meal helper.
At just 50 cents a box, Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix can be used not only for the obvious, it is also great for use in casseroles. And, with the addition of a vegetarian version which uses vegetable oil instead of lard, it's suitable for reducing or eliminating meat from one's diet.
I made a vegetarian version of a chicken corn casserole for lunch today. Instead of chicken, I used four of the vegan Quorn spicy Chick'n patties. I like the Quorn patties or nuggets better than their cubed Chick'n. 

Here is the casserole recipe:

1/4 cup melted butter
1 egg

Whisk melted butter and egg together.

1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup frozen corn
1 can creamed corn
1 box Jiffy vegetarian cornbread mix

Blend all ingredients. Pour over four Quorn Chick'n patties in a 9 X 9 square pan. I line my pan with Reynold's Wrap and spray with avocado oil cooking spray. Bake in a 350 degree oven for one hour. Check after 45 minutes. The original recipe called for 45 minutes, but I found that the cornbread mix wasn't thoroughly cooked at that point, so I broke up the top and baked it for 15 more minutes.

You can use a can of corn instead of the frozen corn. You'll want to drain and rinse it.

This recipe is suitable for vegetarians. It is not suitable for vegans, people who are allergic to corn, or people who don't like corn.

Happy eating!


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Living Disabled in the United States

People with disabilities should not be treated with scorn and forced into a life of poverty.
For my own part, there are still things I can do. They just aren't the things I could do before. 
That doesn't make me "lazy" or "lesser," although sometimes I do feel like I'm "less" because I can no longer carry cases of beer up multiple flights of stairs as I did when I was a bartender, or help patients with mobility impairments to the bed, their wheelchair, the toilet, and sometimes off the floor.
I can deliver stuff. Y'all fuckers need stuff delivered, right? 
I just can't lift heavy stuff or climb multiple flights of stairs.
I can do clerical work. I just can't do it 9 to 5. Working normal people hours literally puts me into a horrible state of clinical depression because my circadian rhythms are totally whackadoodie.
I need access to a bathroom because my medical conditions and some of the medications I take make me pee a lot.
Other than that, my disabled ass is ready, willing, and able to work.
Putting value judgments on the type of work I can do doesn't help either. 
I do it to myself, which doesn't help.
I am actually no less valuable as a human being working delivering food than I was working as a nurse.
Nursing may be a more "noble" profession, but us non-noble plebes serve a necessary purpose too.
Making us live in poverty for being ignoble against our will due to health problems (both physical and mental) is, in fact, the sign of a failed society.
Now, I would like to address chronic pain.
I have chronic pain. My pain is usually low-grade. It's all over my body, it's constant, and it makes me tired all the time. It isn't what causes the activity intolerance I've been experiencing for the past year, though. I've had low-grade chronic widespread pain since I hit puberty, which coincides with when my thyroid decided it was going to immolate itself from within.
The approximately two months I spent with chronic severe pain in my left arm were a different beast entirely. I would gladly have taken any kind of painkiller that someone had thrown my way. I couldn't sit up for more than about 45 minutes. Typing anything was hell. I had to lay on the arm to try and make it go to sleep. If I was lucky, I'd end up falling asleep too.
I can't imagine living with pain like that every day for the rest of my life. 
Fortunately for me, physical therapy helped and at this point I only have numbness and tingling in the arm. That will probably never resolve, but it's a good trade. At least I can function.
When we tell people who live with chronic severe pain that they're being dramatic or exhibiting "drug-seeking behavior," it shows how little the person saying such a thing understands. In fact, it says a lot more (and not anything very good) about the person making the statement than it does about the sufferer.