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ElaineK

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  1. TL;DR version: I have to drink most of my meals for the foreseeable future, and I'm running out of creativity. Please help! My gastroenterologist has put me on a mostly liquid diet, supplemented by soft, easy to eat foods. I'm also very fiber-limited (no more than 15g/day, and 10g/day would be better). It's supposed to be a high calorie diet, but I either haven't figured out how to cram enough calories in, or I'm not eating enough of it. The bulk of my calories are considered "full liquid". That's a texture somewhere between water and panna cotta. I can have 1-2 cups of food a day with more substance. Tuna salad, pasta with a smooth, slippery sauce, braised meats chopped small, fruit and vegetables cooked very soft, cooked rice, saltine crackers, etc. Fats that are a liquid at body temperature are fine (oil, mayo, etc). Fats that don't liquify at body temp (hard cheeses, hard meat fat, liquid fats cooked into a substrate like buttery crackers) don't seem to be well tolerated. The in betweens like peanut butter and soft cheeses are ok in small quantities. I'm really tired of milkshakes, puddings and yogurt. Smoothies are less sweet, and make up the bulk of my meals right now. I'm eating a lot of braised chicken thigh, water injected deli turkey with dressings or dips and thinned mashed potatoes. I could really use more creative suggestions. Small batches are a big plus. Blender/chopper advice wouldn't go amiss either. I got a magic bullet and it does an ok job on the fairly simple smoothies I make. We're considering a vitamix or blendtec for smoother purees/soups, but most of my usage is in the 8-12 oz range. Is that too small of a batch for the more powerful blenders?
  2. I'm not Shel_B, but when I bake on the spur of the moment, I sometimes forget that my eggs are supposed to be at room temp. I take them out of the fridge, crack them into a bowl, then go "Oh shoot - those are -cold- eggs!" At which point "Is it safe to let these sit out until they're warm, or do I have to warm other eggs and turn these into breakfast?" becomes relevant.
  3. The restaurant couple gets more service, and the tip is about the quantity and quality of the service. I went out to lunch today with a friend and my daughter. -Somebody has to take the order, -give it to the kitchen, -pick it up from the kitchen, -gather all the things like napkins, disposables, sauces, condiments, etc. -package it, -give it to the customer, -take the customer's money or card, -give her/him back a reciept, and smile. Someone did all that. Plus: - 3 or 4 check-ins as we waited for our table - A round of drink orders - 5 trips to the table to refill drinks - A trip to get additional condiments that we decided we needed - At least twice as much hands-on time ordering as I'd have gotten if I called the order in - A stop by the table to bring my kid an extra pack of wiki sticks - 3 passes to bus the table - clearing/wiping the table and resetting The service was divided between the hostess, our waiter and some runners, but what I'm tipping for isn't "preparing the food I ordered and delivering it to me" - I'm tipping for waitstaff that makes me feel welcomed, like they want me to have a good experience. I'm tipping for feeling taken care of. When I'm being a royal pain (allergies, special requests, indecisive, etc), I tip more, especially if they manage to make me not feel like an inconvenience. Sometimes I tip for takeout, and sometimes I don't. When the bartender hands me my bag and says "We were out of the little packets of soy sauce, so I put some in one of these containers" or takes a minute to chat about the food, she gets a tip. When I order eight different coffees for the office and the barista labels them so I can tell them apart, puts the little stopper in, offers me cup holders, is cheerful about separate receipts and spends 30 seconds making friendly conversation? I tip. And that tip comes from me, not the people asking for coffee, because it was -my- life she improved.
  4. ElaineK

    Cooking for One

    I just attempted to make chocolate mousse for one. I had a recipe that claimed to make four servings, and used two egg yolks. Two servings was an acceptable compromise to me and trying to whip half an egg yolk with teaspoon of sugar to ribbons was a loosing proposition, so I just cut it in half. I now have about eight times as much chocolate mousse as I wanted to eat, and while it's delicious - I'm annoyed about feeling like I need to either eat too much sweet junk or waste the rest. In retrospect, I should have taken the mousse base (yolk, sugar, booze) and dumped two thirds or three quarters of it in the trash, then cut the rest of the recipe down accordingly. Better to waste a small amount of inexpensive ingredients than all the good chocolate and cream too.
  5. I just made the Pichet Ong recipe, and I had the same problem with it being runny. I only managed to add four of the four eggs (not the last yolk), and it still just melted on the tray as I piped it. The tester cooked fine. Into a nice, hollow ball with good shape. Fridged overnight, and I've got the same melty dough. But now it cooks into a flat disk. A tasty disk, but not what I was looking for! I'm wondering if I needed to break up the cooking batter more. I let it roll around in the ball it formed as I cooked it for the five minutes, which might have lead to uneven cooking. I also stopped when the butter started to come out of the batter and sizzle in the pan instead of watching the clock.
  6. Oddly, I have medical necessity, but often cast it as a preference. I'm gluten intolerant, which seems to be better understood as allergic to gluten, even though it's auto-immune instead of an immune reaction. Then I have a whole host of things that I shouldn't eat because it upsets a different digestive disorder. They're all dose-dependent, and none of them are cross-contact concerns, so it's much less confusing for everyone if I say I'm gluten intolerant for medical reasons, and let the rest be interpreted as preference. I'd much rather not eat mashed potatoes that were on my plate than end up with YetAnotherCT because someone thought I was following a fad by asking for a gluten free meal.
  7. Both heat and moisture can "pre-react" your baking powder. Drop some in hot water and see if it fizzes. Lots of bubbles is a good sign. No bubbles means it's toast. Also, is it possible that your milk is getting too hot? Chicken fat melts around 75F/24C, so I'd try it around 80F/27C. Double-acting baking powder will generate gas once when you get it wet, then again when you get it hot, and if you're getting both effects at once, then stirring vigorously to make the mixture smooth - you might be beating the gas right out.
  8. What does she eat? Oh dear, that did sound odd, isn't it? Especially with all those choices. She's a gluten free (celiac disease) vegetarian. If they offered the gluten free pasta with any of the vegetarian sauces, she'd happily eat that, but they only offer it with meat sauce. Last year her only option was vegetarian sushi with no soy sauce, but I think now the cheese enchiladas are gluten free. At one point, their website listed all kinds of gluten free options, and we cheerfully compiled a week's meals to order. Unfortunately, that was a database glitch, and ended with only random chance keeping her from eating a sandwich with wheat bread. (Apparently that glitch is back, because now a different set of foods appear to be erroneously marked as gluten free.) School-year mornings here run on auto-pilot and she is a creature of routine, so Tues/Weds/Fri she takes a sandwich on multi-grain bread and dip for the sandwich because gluten-free bread can get pretty dry in a lunchbox, or just dissolve if you put on too much condiment. Monday it's pasta in a thermos. Thursdays are pot-luck. Hardboiled eggs or egg-salad with crackers is pretty common, or a new sandwich/pasta combo that I'm not sure how it will hold in a lunchbox for five hours.Then I send a serving of fruit or veg (mango, pineapple, strawberry, carrots and cole slaw are the current favorites), a milk, and some sort of "treat" - a little handful of animal crackers, or a yogurt-in-a-tube, etc. Usually she eats about half the entree, all the fruit/veg, and the treat is nibbled on as we walk home from school, or recycled into the next day's morning snack. When my brain doesn't work in the morning and the entree is rendered inedible, she eats the treat at lunchtime.
  9. Our school has "healthy lunches". The way it works is parents pre-order the entree (with as much or as little input from the student as they see fit). Students can pick: a drink (1% milk or water) a snack( Mott's 100% No Sugar Added Natural Applesauce, Froose Fruit Bites, Raisins, Strawberry Fruit Bar, Assorted Fresh Seasonal Vegetables of your child's choice!, Fresh Baked Reduced Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookie, Boston's Lite All-Natural Popcorn, Sunflower Seeds, PopChips, Parker's GF Animal Crackers, String Cheese, Whole-Grain Pita Chips, Nut-free Soynutz ) and a seasonal fruit or vegetable (they've mentioned mango and kiwi, but seem to always have bananas/apples/pears/carrot sticks/etc in addition to the "stranger" options). Meal options are: Burgers and roast potatoes (with or without cheese) Pasta: mac and cheese, baked ziti, buttered noodles, pasta with tomato sauce, pesto, meat sauce, chili mac or meat balls (or quinoa pasta with meat sauce), cheese ravioli, meat lasagna Burritos - bean and cheese, beef, chicken, breakfast, fiesta enchilada (cheese, chicken or beef) Salad: Asian chicken, caesar, cheese and crunchy things, pasta salad, southwest bbq, southwest chicken sushi - avocado roll,cucumber roll, chicken teriyaki, or california roll Wraps: Chicken caesar, ham and cheese Soup: chicken noodle, meatball, chili sandwiches (turkey, ham and cheese, italian, bbq chicken, sunbutter and jam, tuna salad, turkey pesto, turkey torpedo) Chicken: gluten free chicken strips, roast bone-in parts, baked chicken tenders, bbq, tandoori chicken, chicken tikka masala bagel with cream cheese baked potato with chili cheese pizza cheese/cracker/fruit plate chicken/veggie "fried" rice chicken/veggie chow mein teriyaki chicken/veggie bowl tikka paneer bagel dogs pita and hummus Cheese tamale beef or chicken tacos potstickers shepherds pie Chicken taquitos Roast turkey with stuffing/potatoes Any given day has about 10 entree options, with ~3 being hot, and ~7 being cold. Order by 9am the day before. I don't order because my daughter won't eat any of their food, but I wouldn't object to her eating the menu options they offer, and there's a pretty wide range of entrees from vegetable-laden to starch and cheese.
  10. Nope, never have. And I'm a lingerer in those circumstances. I wouldn't particularly dispute their right to do so, and would do one or the other (which depending on exactly how that demand was presented) reasonably cheerfully. My local bookstore does have a sign saying that the restroom is for customers only, but they've assured me that I count as a customer, even if I don't buy anything on that visit. It's not uncommon for us to pop in long enough for my daughter or I to use the restroom and her to play with the train table for a few minutes, then we go on with our errands. It's also not uncommon for me to wander and browse aimlessly for 30 minutes, decide I don't really need any new books today, and go on my way. They are every bit as gracious in both of those circumstances as they are when I walk out with my arms full of books and games. If it happened that they insisted I purchase something for using the restroom, or made a fuss about it being for customers only, I'd buy something small. I would probably also hold an unconscious grudge. Not that they'd done anything wrong, but that I'd be vaguely uncomfortable returning. As it is, book-buying trips usually follow a couple of days after non-buying trips as things from display tables percolate through my head, or the kid starts "Mom, I need new books, I'm tired of all my old ones!"
  11. I have just under 6 feet of counters (70 inches), broken up into three chunks. Keeping them relatively empty is a priority. The smallest one (14 inches, near the stove) has two utensil holders, a salt dish and the pepper mill. The largest one (31 inches) has a paper towel holder, a fish platter that's usually pressed into service to hold fresh fruit/vegetable that shouldn't go into the fridge (currently two bananas and a potato) and a berry bowl that usually holds allium (currently two heads of garlic). The third one is always empty, unless it's accumulated some dishes for the dishwasher underneath it. Fortunately, it's a small kitchen, so tugging things in and out of storage never involves much walking.
  12. Yup! The foil blocks the microwaves, so that the egg doesn't explode, and covering them with water keeps the foil from being an arcing hazard. In sufficient water would be an issue. I grew up without a stove or an oven, but with two microwaves. I've done it more times than I can remember, but as soon as I moved out and had a stove, I started doing them in a pot.
  13. Wrap them in aluminium foil, cover (completely!) with water. Toss 'em in the nuker to your desired doneness. It's just not usually any faster than doing them on the stove.
  14. I think it is about pretense. "Housemade aioli" that's really Hellman's plus garlic. "Chicken nuggets" that are primarily pink slime. Food that is claimed to be handcrafted that's simply assembled off the Sysco truck. Those aren't honest. A "grilled" chicken sandwich with grill-marks painted on with food coloring and artificial smoke added, because it's never seen a grill. I'm not sure how I feel about a grilled chicken sandwich that's par-cooked sous vide then finished on the grill, but it is miles better than a grilled chicken sandwich that was mass-produced with no direct application of heat, then microwaved before service. For me, there's a continuum, with massive shades of grey, and it all comes down to "How closely does this resemble what I believed I was purchasing." If my poptart tastes like a poptart, I'm content with their honesty. If the fruit tart I buy at my local cafe tastes like a poptart, I'm displeased, because it didn't meet the explicit and implicit promises that they make me. I also find it dishonest that Whole Foods won't sell me a chicken that doesn't meet certain standards, but doesn't require those same standards for the prepared chickens in their deli, despite charging a premium for the products based on customer assumptions that the same requirements apply.
  15. I think of scotch as a much more polarizing flavor (and inclined to get people thinking that they'd like it, and being wrong) than bourbon. Then again, that might be because I have a bottle of Bowmore 12 year that's about to go down the drain because I can't find anyone that will drink it...
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