Gobble Gobble….Here Comes Trouble!

Hello Y’all! I hope you are fine and doing well in your part of the world? Well, it’s beginning to feel a lot like Fall at last. The leaves are falling. It getting windy-er and Thanksgiving is here. A lot of my friends have bought their birds and are working through their shopping lists at the moment. A few of us have been liberated from that nightmare and have decided on ordering an already made thanksgiving dinner….All you have to do is show up and eat. There is a level of stress in food prepping that is so tiring that when you do sit down at the table, you can’t even eat the food anymore. Trust me, I’ve been there. I would RATHER catch up on conversating and just enjoying the atmosphere than slaving away at the stove. I’ve done that so many times over the years that I feel like I don’t have to prove any thing to anyone at this point.

Don’t get me wrong, a home cooked meal is the next best thing but not having to spend the last 48 hours on your feet getting everything prepped and ready is even better. I will be enjoying a home cooked thanksgiving feast, I just wont be the one preparing it this year. Just the thought of that makes me dance without any music.

But on a serious note, things are a more expensive this year especially with the rise in inflation and per record, the most expensive Thanksgiving so far in the country. With that being said, I have been through far too much over the past year to not have a wonderful Thanksgiving meal. All diets are off….I don’t think I would be 100 percent gluten free…LOL. I have been craving cheesecake for a while now and the opportunity to indulge has presented itself. I will have my slice of cheesecake and pay for it later.

So Much To Be Thankful For This Year!

I’m thankful for life. So many were lost over the past year, its so surreal. I’m thankful for my health, family, my friends, my work and the country I live in and for all the readers who follow this blog. I’m thankful for all of you. Folks, if this time makes you feel down, discouraged or sad; instead of looking at your glass as half full, why not focus on the things that are going well, things that are positive and anticipate an even better future for yourself. If you are religious, think of the story of the sparrow, if God takes care of a tiny insignificant creature, how much more you and I. From me to you, Happy Thanksgiving!! Until I come your merry way again, probably from the gym working off these self induced calories…haha, I remain,

Periwinkle Starr

Chocolate Brownies…The Other Way!

Hello Y’all! I hope you are doing well in your part of the world? Boy, I’m I glad that this month is over. It was A-L-O-T but here I am in zen mode watching reality TV and getting this post completed. It’s beginning to look more like Fall in North Texas…Thank God! But I still haven’t gotten around to changing out my closet yet…ha ha! I’m a fan of the 90 Day Fiancé franchise on TLC and recently, they branched out into 90 Day Fiancée – The Other Way. Its literally the same show but now the partners go over to foreign countries to meet and marry their significant others within 90 days. Well this post is about making brownies but not the way you’ve always known. This post is about making brownies the other way, the gluten free way. Enjoy!

Ever since I began this journey, I have been on this path searching for food substitutes that I can enjoy eating…It has been a challenge! I would find items that were gluten free but had high sugar contents and vice versa. I don’t how people who have adopted this lifestyle have survived for years because ‘difficult’ is an understatement when trying to find foods that are as close to normal everyday items; items that are gluten free with low to no sugars – and still taste like food. Its like searching for a needle in a haystack…..with so much hay (literally lol). But not to whine too much, there are pluses of going gluten free.

These Are Some of Them.

I’m a better planner…when it comes to food. Before now, I just ate whatever was readily available and easy to get my hands on.

Clearer skin. I have a better understanding now that all skin issues aren’t necessarily hormonal although hormones play a huge part in it.

Being able to burn stubborn fatty areas and loose weight without doing anything different from what I have always done prior.

I stumbled on a website!!! My search led me to this brand named Lakanto (www.lakanto.com). They have a variety of sugar free and gluten free items which range from snacks, spreads, baking mixes, powdered drinks…need I say more. I was so excited, I decided to try their brownie mix which is keto friendly, sugar free and gluten free amongst other plus points. I didn’t know what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised… given the fact that I thought I was going to eat bland foods moving forward.

Ingredients: Brownie Mix, 2/3 melted coconut oil and 2 eggs. I added almonds and chopped walnuts to the mix to give it some texture. How to bake: Turn your oven on to 325F. Pour the mix into a bowl, add the melted butter, eggs and mix. Fold in the almonds and walnuts. Grease your pan and pour in the mix. Bake for 20-25 minutes with constant toothpick checks.

It came out really good although being without gluten, it didn’t really rise as it baked. But it was good. I plan on continuing my search for brands that cater to those of us on this path. Until I come your way again, Happy New Month!!! I remain

Periwinkle Starr

Breakfast Muffins Without the Top!

Happy new month folks! I hope your are doing well in your part of the world. It’s been a fun and frenzied start to this years Summer. Just when we were all getting back to living life as we once knew it…here comes the variant. And Guess what? The vaccine is just about useless to it. So we are on the precipice of either going back to masks or lockdown. If you ask me neither of these options look promising but we’ll have to wait and see.

We’re in July and I felt it was time to check in on my yearly weight and health goals and so far, so good. I haven’t attained my goals but I’m also not where I used to be so that’s a good thing in my book. I like looking out for new trends in health, wellness and fitness and after scouring the internet for the next best weight loss trend that is natural, low budget, requires no equipment and no payment plan, I came across a Youtuber named Wanyo Mori who has developed a unique exercise that sheds belly fat FAST! It doesn’t matter if you’re a guy or a gal, this exercise works and the results are unbelievable so stay tuned for a link at the end of this post.

Growing up in a society that idolized soccer, I remember a phrase that said ‘Bend it like Beckham’. For the younger generation, David Beckham is an Englishman and one of the best professional footballers who started out playing for Manchester United. He was good at kicking the ball in such a way that it curved and miraculously landed in the opponents goal post. Well…that was when he was young. The older we get, we’re not going to be able to ‘Bend it like Beckham’,…anymore…literally. Then comes the need for exercise, a change in diet, and moderation applied to E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. One of the things I have recently had to do is cut back on artificial sugars. At first, it was extremely difficult but as time went on, I adjusted and now, in a weird way, it’s my new norm. I named this post ‘breakfast muffins without the tops’ because you can still enjoy these muffins and not worry about gaining a massive amount of weight. These muffins keep me full until lunch time and keep the cravings down for four solid hours and counting. Now, if you’re a nibbler, you know that four hours is a long time to go without rummaging in the pantry for a quick treat.

Healthy Breakfast Muffins for Weight Loss!

Ingredients: 2 Cups of Oats (Original), 1 Cup of Flour, 2 Tbsps. of Baking Powder, 1 tsp of Cinnamon, 2 Tbsps. of Chia Seeds, 2 Tbsps. of Vanilla Extract, 1 Cup of Blueberries, 1/2 Cup Apple Sauce, 1/4 Cup Semi-Sweet/Unsweetened Chocolate Chips, 1/4 Cup Dried Cranberries, 2 Tbsps of vegetable oil and 1-2 Cups of Water.

Add baking spray to your muffin pan and scoop unto baking pan. Bake at 325F for 20-30 minutes. P.S: Oats do not need to be overcooked because they dry out very easily so constant checks are recommended. Sorry I forgot to take photos this time.

Trick Your Body Into Loosing A Few Pounds By…

  • Cutting out artificial sugars from your diet as much as possible.
  • Move. Whether it’s via walking, hiking, running, going to the gym or Zumba. The key is to be active the best way you can.
  • Get out in nature. There is a calmness that comes from being out in nature. This helps relieve stress, reduce cortisol and in turn your body relaxes and lets go of stored fats.
  • Laugh…a lot. Find amusement in everyday living.
  • Eat the rainbow.
  • Make smoothies from real fruit and veggies.
  • Maintain a healthy, peaceful environment as much as possible because a toxic surround will up stress levels, which will affect your sleep, what and how you eat (we tend to crave sweet, salty and greasy foods when we’re stressed) and your bodies overall rhythm.
  • If you have an issue with your gut, find a great probiotic that works for you. Eating fermented foods such as pickles, kimchi or sauerkraut can help.

Check out the link here and don’t just laugh. Do it. It works! (2) A 13 minute workout collection! Lead you to exercise – YouTube

Folks, I hope you have a great month ahead!! Until I come your way again with another post, do like, follow and comment. Your insight is not only valuable but helpful to all. I remain,

Periwinkle Starr

Coffee, Sweet Pastries & Great Conversations!

Hello Y’all! I hope you are doing well in your part of the world. We are already in the month of April and I checked up on my lifestyle tweaks for the year to make sure I was on the right track. I really need to stay on track and stick to the plan haha. But anyway, I had some free time on the weekend and decided to unearth my binder of recipes that I want to make (at some point) – It’s actually a folder of printed recipes with some cut outs from magazines. I decided to try my hands at Oatmeal Raisin cookies while I was at it. My thoughts went back to a year ago when we were all locked in and couldn’t even meet with friends for coffee or drinks. It was so isolating when all we had was zoom and phones to communicate with each other. I missed meeting up or cooking meals with friends and family, It’s kind of my way of spending quality time. It was so bad, the animal shelters were empty because those who lived alone went and got a pet…any pet just to help pass the time.

Meal prepping is like any other craft or hobby that takes my mind off everything else going on and I can zero in and focus 100 percent on a few things such as getting the taste right, the consistency on point and ensuring it’s edible in the end. Every family has it’s own relationship with food even from the earlier times. I remember growing up as a child and being around family during the festivities. I realized that the best adult conversations especially with the women of the family could be overheard when they were meal prepping. So the plan was to loiter around and pretend I was a fly on the counter just to get ALL of the gist…LOL!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies!!

Finished Product:

I wasn’t pleased with the end result to be honest because, I mistakenly added twice the amount of baking soda than was needed…haha! The cookies turned out bitter (quite frankly) and there went my snacks. The good thing is I know what not to do next time. Meal prepping or baking can be a hassle for some but for those of us who sometimes find it therapeutic, I’d say ‘keep trying your hands at recipes until you perfect it’. I’ve posted the original recipe on here…no need to use mine.

If you’re on a diet, look up healthy-er recipes if you must and if you’ve never really tried your hands at making ‘anything’, why not start today. It’s never too late to start. Get together with friends and have a laugh while you’re at it. Be safe, upbeat and full of positivity!! Until I come your way again, keep on baking.

Periwinkle Starr

Tell Your Story!

Hello Y’all! I hope you are doing well in your corner of the globe. It’s been a minute since my last post and life has somewhat returned to normal since Snowstorm Uri decided to take a hike. Its March!! Happy New month to you all. I hope your new year resolutions are still on? People say that most individuals fall off the wagon by the end of January but hopefully you’re still in it till the end.

Do you ever have those days where you’re up late and craving all things rich in calories, savory on the taste buds and filling for your belly? Well, this was one of those nights for me. I had been craving pizza all week but tonight was different. It was as if my stomach was saying ‘It’s either you do something about this or neither one of us is sleeping tonight’…jeez. So I do the right thing by looking up the calories in a pizza I would usually get in the past and the time of day I intended ingesting those calories…I changed my mind and decided to make my own; Free of the excess oils and hidden fats. A recipe that I could count all the ingredients on one hand…Ha Ha! Off to the kitchen I went to make my own pizza. Surprisingly, once I got started, the growling in my stomach settled down quite a bit. I started to wonder, best hurry up now before it resumes again. Photos and recipe are below!!!

My post today is about the power of communication. We all have a story. Life happens to E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E, are phrases we are all too familiar with. I noticed that the most open phases of communication is when we’re kids and have no filter, and when we’re old-ER and no longer care what the world thinks. But there’s a gap between these two phases where we are either outwardly silenced or inwardly feel the need to conceal, withhold, or reveal as little as possible. Keeping up with appearances, not wanting to ruffle feathers, show weakness or simply ignoring things and hoping they’d die off or disappear are some of the coping mechanisms that we pick up along the way. This may appear fine and good in the moment but can I tell you that the burden on the human body is so heavy that emotional and mental weights have now been proven to cause illness, cancer, tremors, hernias, high blood pressure…you name it.

I stumbled upon a show where a neurosurgeon was talking about the connection between the body, the mind and the human spirit and it blew my mind. I later listened/read (can’t remember which), a story of an elderly woman who had a tremor. She had issues with walking and just doing everyday simple things. A neighbor invited her over to join their small group which she obliged since she lived alone and company would be good. On a particular day during the groups meeting, everyone was to share on something that happened to them that they never really opened up about. One by one, each person shared their story – nothing was too big or too insignificant, if it mattered to them, it was important.

It came time for the old lady to speak, she looked down, took a deep breath, and still shaking started talking. Her son had died many years ago. It was devastating. Everyone expected her to get over it and move on after the grieving period was over (technically). But she wasn’t ready. Attempts to talk about it were shut down. It was too painful for her husband to remember. And so, she buried it within her soul. As she spoke, pausing to wipe her eyes every now and again, one of the people in the group spoke ‘you’re not shaking’ he said. The old lady stopped and looked down at her hands. The tremors weren’t there. She could not believe it. She held out her hands and the shaking was almost non existent. The meeting at this point was over, everyone came round to give her hugs, there were more tears but it could only be a miracle that this happened.

When I listened to that story, I feel like the grief she was not allowed to express had to be suppressed. Since it was suppressed, the emotional stress of carrying this burden began to break down her physical body, manifesting itself as a tremor. Folks, I am not a medical doctor of any sort but I strongly believe that our mind, bodies and soul are intertwined and have the ability to affect the other especially when we’re out of sync, stressed, traumatized or holding unto blacked out memories that we have forgotten we even have. I feel that instead of waiting for the ‘I don’t give a rats behind years’, why don’t we give ourselves permission to be our authentic selves and speak our truth…NOW. I feel like old age should be enjoyed and not just spent in and out of medical facilities because of things we could have dealt with.

Disclaimer: Not all ailments are mentally or emotionally related but a lot of them are.

My Late Night (Two Crust) Pizza Recipe!

Crust Ingredients: 2 Cups of Flour, 1/2 Tsp of Salt, 2 tsp of Fast Acting Yeast, 1/2 Cup of Water, 1 tsp of Sugar.

Topping are whatever I had in my fridge at the time: Pepperoni, Black Olives, Pickled Banana Peppers and Green Bell Peppers, (No Cheese TYVM).

Sauce: A combination of Marinara Sauce & Ketchup.

Directions: Warm the water in the microwave for 30 seconds. Add sugar and then yeast. In a mixing bowl, add flour and salt and mix. Pour in the foamy, activated, yeast water. Mix and cover for one hour. Turn your Oven to 350oF. Add a teaspoon of olive oil to the dough and a dusting of flour. Divide dough into two and refrigerate one half for later. Get your rolling pin and stretch the dough out. Get a pan and apply cooking spray. Transfer the dough and stretch some more using your fingers. Add the tomato sauce, toppings and pop in the oven for 30-45 minutes. Its ready. Cravings satisfied. Time for bed!

Until I come your way again. Tell your story, it may be the one thing that can save your life, your health, your relationships…you never know until to speak your truth.

Periwinkle Starr

For The Sweet Toothers Out Here: Let’s Make Chocolate!

Hello Y’all! Happy New Year and a Belated Merry Christmas to you! I hope you got to rest, celebrate and enjoy the holiday. We made it into 2021! What a year that was but its gone now and we are looking forward to bigger and better. My plea to 2021 is to be kind and gentle on us all. With the festivities being over, I’m about ready to be begin my health routine aka diet but I decided to have one last hoorah before I did. I was organizing my pantry and stumbled upon a chocolatier/chocolate making kit. This was a Secret Santa gift from work that I totally forgot about. It had been sitting there for years and I felt it was about time I at least tried my hands at making my own batch of homemade chocolate. The kit came with a little recipe book, a couple of tiny molds and a spiral stirrer. Since I recently watched reruns of the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory movie, I felt it was a sign.

So I looked up the recipes to see what I wanted to try my hands at. I’m not exactly sure there is any such thing as a low calorie chocolate recipe that still taste good but I was up for the challenge. I found some of the recipes so delectable and high on calories that I decided against making any of them and to instead go on YouTube and find something lower in calories – for starters. I mean, a tiny piece of chocolate was the same amount of calories as a small salad bowl. C’mon man! (Joe’s fav phrase), we just had two holidays back to back, and I am trying to choose the lesser of two apparent evils here ha…ha!

A Simple Chocolate Recipe!

Ingredients: 1 Cup Icing or Confectionery Sugar. 1/2 Cup Milk Powder. 1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder. 2/3 Cup of Coconut Oil. Extra Additives: Some prefer brown sugar instead. Others may add nuts or vanilla extract for an extra pop. The choice is yours!

Utensils: A sauce pan, a sturdy glass bowl (preferred), a sieve, chocolate mold, a mixing spoon and measuring cups.

Sieve the dry ingredients into a bowl. Add water to a sauce pan and turn up the heat. Place the glass bowl over the sauce pan and add the coconut oil. Then slowly add the powdered mixture in small quantities while stirring as you go. Keep stirring till it’s well incorporated for a few minutes. Remove from sauce pan and using a table spoon scoop into molds and refrigerate for 4-6 hours. Le chocolat et pret!!

My Take. The Results: Instead of the 2/3 Cup of coconut oil, I used a little over 1/3 Cup in mine. Many reviewers said theirs was runny and didn’t solidify at all and I guess that was the reason. I also cut back on the amount of sugar I used. Instead of one full cup, I used a little less than a cup (almost a cup). You might need to purchase more molds if you don’t have those already. I ended up improvising with small plastic containers because I ran out of molds 🙂 All in all, it was an easy pea-sy recipe. So try it out!

(14) 4 ingredients Homemade Chocolate Recipe | How To Make Chocolate At Home | Yummy – YouTube

As you enjoy this sweet treat, be hopeful, optimistic and full of faith and positivity that 2021 will be a sweet year despite whatever the happenings are in the world around you. Many thanks to all followers of this blog and to those who stumble upon Periwinkle Starr, thank you for reading as well. Until I come your way again, please like, comment and follow. I remain

Periwinkle Starr

Happy Turkey Day!

Hello Folks! I trust you are doing well in your part of the world. Here in North Texas, it’s Thanksgiving Day. I’m not so certain in these times we are in with giving ‘absolutes’ on any information especially now that we have a couple of states banning the Holiday or limiting the number of family members you can have over at your Grandma’s house, which I think is absurd but another story for another day.

I woke up this morning to the news that Diego Maradona has passed on and it was a shocker. Now, for some of the younger millennials or Generation Z folks who may not be familiar with this guy, He was like the Michael Jackson of soccer. He was phenomenal on the field. Once he got the ball, the opposing teams could literally see their courage leave the stadium, go back to their hotels, pack their bags and head to the airport because it was GAME OVER – that was how amazing he was. But like all great talents, it almost seems like their demons are more fierce (for lack of a better word). All in all, he made his mark in the world. He put Argentina on the map and he will be missed. May his soul find peace and his family comforted.

The weather was bright with a tolerable hue of sunshine. We had a soft breeze that wasn’t typical for this time of year but it was awesome and I had a great time. Thanksgiving this year was great but … different. We all know 2020 started off right until it got ‘jacked up’ by COVID and just when we were just about getting our lives back to normal, then we got on the political impeachment, then the second term election trail which, hard as many of us tried to stay out of it, could not because the craziness hit an all time high. At this point, I kinda want my money back, and I mean for the first 6 months of the year LOL…as if we, the mere mortals that we are can ask anything of the creator. But hey! On a lighter note, we have so much to be thankful for; because if you are reading this post, you are still here. And that is more than enough.

I don’t know about you but I see a trend over the past couple of years especially with the holidays and if you are seeing what I’m seeing, then you know what I’m talking about because you see it too. Less and less people are cooking meals these days and instead opting for meal pick-up services, curb side deliveries or even getting a chef to cook in their homes while they channel all the energy that it would have taken to cook the meals to actually relaxing, spending time with family, friends and loved ones. If you ask me, that makes a lot of sense and is justifiable on all counts BUT there is such a thing as a home cooked meal, a meal made with love, care and patience that trumps restaurant or ”assembly-line’ delivered food. But at the end of the day, everyone is not going to be a Betty Crocker or Martha Stewart and for some that is ok. Friends, today is the day to sit back, throw off all diets, all food trackers and treat yourself.

It’s been a very different year than what we have ever experienced but we are still here and it’s worth being thankful for. Hug your loved ones. Do something nice for your friends and or co-workers. I’m just a little intrigued as to whether there will be any social distancing for the Black Friday shoppers this year. I hope you have a wonderful holiday. Be safe, have fun and until I come your way again, I remain

Periwinkle Starr

Results (Ahem)…Pie’s Are In!

Hello Y’all! I hope you are doing well in your part of the world? It feels like autumn already in North Texas and the time has come to change out Summer wear for Winter gear. It’s also officially baking season and I am so excited to dust off my baking pans and try my hands at baking something new. I had to get a solid pie dish as my old one had rusted all the way to Pennsylvania and back LOL…but with COVID still on the loose, I’m not about to add tetanus to the list of contagious ailments. Anyways, we are counting down to the elections. I am over it and just want to wake up to see that the nightmare is over already but, we still have a couple more hours to go. The world might be going to hell in a handbasket but still, we can be calm and relaxed, and bake some delicious piles instead of pulling out our hairs or biting our nails…haha!

Being a transplant from Ohio, I have to admit that when I first got here, there were a whole lot of things I found different. Texas is a meat and potato country of its own. Taco shops are literally on every corner here and the culture has a little bit of everything… in the right proportions. The Midwest on the other hand is what I love to call pie country. We have pies at every big event whether its a dinner, potluck or party – there has to be pie. When it comes to pies, there are two options (in my book) of it being a sweet or savory pie. Fruit pies tend to be on the sweet side while pies with meat or veggies tend to be savory. Today, yours truly will be making a savory double-crust meat pie and I’m going to do my best to make it as healthy as I possibly can. I learned that when baking pies, you can have whatever filling you want, what matters most is the crust. I’m linking a video on how to make the perfect crust down below so if you (like me) are a newbie to pie making, please check out this link. It’s awesome! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_3lBUMCRiA Disclaimer: As a renowned pie lover and taste tester, I will be trying this recipe and giving you my thoughts on what worked and what didn’t. So stay with me.

A Savory Meat Pie Dish!

Pie Filling Ingredients: Ground beef, white potatoes (optional), bell peppers, Jalapeno peppers, carrots, red onions and vegetable oil. Spices: Black pepper, Paprika, Turmeric, salt, powdered ginger, pepper flakes.

All you need to do is start by heating up a pan, wok or pot with cooking oil. Stir in the onions and black pepper and let it cook. Pour in the ground beef and stir until the meat changes from pink to brown. Then, add the rest of your spices and keep stirring. Add the carrots, and the other veggies and cook till soft.

Pie Crust Ingredients: 1 1/2 Cups of Flour, 8 Tbsp. of Butter, 1/4 Tsp. of Salt, 1 Tsp. of Apple Cider Vinegar, 3 Tbsp. of Iced Cold Water. Tools: Mixing bowl, rolling pin, measuring cups and spoons, saran wrap and pie baking pan.

Steps To Make The Crust: Add the flour, salt and butter in a bowl and mix. If you’re using a food processor, pulse until fat is cut uniformly into flour in small pieces. Then add water and apple cider vinegar. If dough is too dry, add a tad bit more.

Divide the dough into 1/3 portion for the top crust and 2/3 portion for the bottom crust. Place the doughs in a 2-3 gallon sized sealable freezer bag or saran wrap, and chill in refrigerator for 1 hour.

Bring the dough out and gently pound and roll out both crusts. Spray the pan and gently transfer the bottom crust to the pie pan with a 1/4″ extending out over the edge. Refrigerate for 30 minutes and it’s ready for the filling. Roll out the top crust, place on parchment paper and cover with saran wrap before placing in the refrigerator. This will be placed on top after adding the filling. Using a basting brush, add egg or milk, or any top coating of choice to the top of the crust before baking.

Bake at 325 oF.

My Thoughts On the Results

The crust turned out a bit dry, so if or when I try to bake another pie someday, I plan on adding a little bit more water and roll out the dough thinner than I had done. I will also add more salt to the crust. I baked the pie a tad bit too long so next time, I would keep in mind to check it every 15 mins to make sure it doesn’t burn. The filling was excellent! I wouldn’t change a thing.

So folks, be safe, keep your eyes on the news and be aware of what’s going on in your environment. Sit back, relax and be calm. Everything will work out as it should. Until I come your way again, I remain

Periwinkle Starr

We’re On A Roll!….A Bread Roll.

WOABRPERIWINKLESTARR

Hello Y’all! I hope your are healthy and doing well in your part of the world during this shelter in place ordinance aka ‘trapped at home’ restriction.  The weather is so beautiful in North Texas right about now, it’s such a shame that we can’t be out and about and enjoying life as we know it because of this darned virus.  So far, most of us have settled into a daily routine and  are finding new ways to occupy ourselves as we ‘patiently’ await the end of the lockdown and hopefully a possible cure. I have to say that those of us whining about being bored at home and restricted should really be thankful that we are healthy and not infected; because from all the horror stories I’ve heard of people who have either gotten sick, to what they endured or the hospital conditions is enough to keep anyone traumatized for life.

I remember when the quarantine first began, aside from the concern and fear we had, a lot of folks were somewhat relieved to catch a break from the daily hustle and bustle. There were so many things to take care of that it wasn’t too bad or as boring…AT FIRST. But by the end of the first month, literally everything became a slow lull. It has  been documented that the consumption of alcohol has skyrocketed, online shopping is through the roof, and binge eating is at an all time high.  A friend of mine was telling me that they actually counted the number of times they opened the refrigerator for snacks in a day and it was unbelievable; so much that we vowed to not to be the size of whales when this was all over and started working out together…virtually. But I get it, there literally isn’t much to do that we have to be intentional about everything on a daily basis like working out, waking up on time, getting some sun, eating healthy-er, minimizing alcohol consumption etc…or else, it will be a Whale-Fest when we get back out there. And yes, I invented the word. It literally means ‘a person looks the size of a whale’. LOL!

Anyways, after my last post, I received quite a few requests on what my next bread recipe was going to be.  I wasn’t planning on going in that direction but it didn’t hurt. So I decided to try my hands at a different bread recipe famously known as Soda Bread. The fun thing about this blog is the fact that I’m not a professional baker neither I’m I Cordon Bleu by any long shot. Just a fun gal who is willing to try her hands at baking, so be rest assured, there isn’t going to be any judgement here. This recipe is so simple and the ingredients may already be laying around your pantry. So here it goes!

Making Soda Bread!

Ingredients: 3 Cups of Flour, ²/3 Cup of Sugar, 3 Teaspoons of Baking Powder, 1 Teaspoon Salt, 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda, 1 Cup of Raisins, 2 Large Eggs (beaten) or Egg Substitute, 1-½ Cups of Buttermilk, and 1 Tablespoon Canola Oil.

Directions: Preheat your oven to a temperature ranging between 325 – 350º F ♠ Bring out your baking utensils – I dislike reaching or searching for things when I’m partially covered in flour. ♠ In a missing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. ♠ Stir in raisins. ♠ Set aside a tablespoon of beaten egg in a bowl – to be used for basting. ♠ In a bowl, combine buttermilk, oil and remaining beat eggs. ♠ Stir in the flour and mix until sticky. ♠ Transfer into a greased, round 9-inch baking pan. ♠ Brush the top with the remaining egg that had been set aside. ♠ Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. ♠ Cool for 10 minutes before transferring the cake to a wire rack. ♠ Cut into wedges and serve.

By now, it seems like everyone inclding yours truly has either exhausted their to-do list of things ‘to do’ or you just don’t want to do anything exerting, you can write a daily thankful list, and read it out loud at the end of each day.  Another thing we can all do is include a forgiveness list. With the lockdown, a lot of things and issues that we may not have dealt with or we may just have pushed to the background and overlaid with ‘activities can now come to light. This is the time to unravel, acknowledge and forgive…or at least do something about it. Trust me, your heart will feel lighter afterwards. Now if you are a saint, it just means that you’re either dead or in an isolated monastery located on some mountain somewhere, so these don’t apply to you. Folks, it’s been great. Thank you for sticking with me till the end. Please take care of yourselves, stay healthy and happy and remember to like, comment and follow. Until I come your way again, I remain

 

Periwinkle Starr♥

 

 

 

 

Quarantine? Lets Re-Learn The Art Of Baking Bread!

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Hello Y ‘all! Its my hope that you are doing well in your part of the world, practicing social distancing and staying home? We are going on our third week of the Covid-19 induced lockdown and it’s become my new normal in a weird kind of way. Limiting my time outdoors as much as possible is the best way to reduce the chances of exposure to the virus. My heart goes out to those who have lost family members and loved ones and to those fighting the disease right this moment.  Through this trying time, I am doing my best to stay healthy, remain productive and still find some semblance of a lifestyle while remaining positive and its been tough.

When the outbreak hit the shores of the United States, it was no longer a problem within ‘those’ countries. S**t got real, if you will excuse my French. The store shelves were wiped clean in a matter of 24 hours. I was one of the late shoppers and by the time I got to the grocery store, there was literally nothing worth buying. There was no bread. No milk. No meat. NO NOTHING! So, I have decided to go back to the basics and brush up on a few skills, which includes re-learning the art of baking good ole homemade bread using very few items laying around in your pantry.

Lets Do This!!

Ingredients: 3 Cups of bread flour, 2 tbsp. or 1/8 cup or 2 tbsp. of vegetable oil, 2 ¼ tsp. active dry yeast,  ¹⁄ 3 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water.

First, heat a cup of water for one minute and pour into a small bowl. Add the yeast and a teaspoon of sugar and let it sit for 5 – 10 minutes until the yeast becomes activated or foamy. Pour the mixture into a large bowl. Add vegetable oil and ¹/3 cup of sugar into the same bowl and mix. If you don’t like a sweet bread, you can cut back on the sugar. Add 2 cups of flour a little bit at a time (about ¹/3 at a time) and keep mixing with a spatula or spoon. Pour out the flour unto a nice dry surface that’s been dusted with flour. Knead lightly for 8 minutes. Using the same large bowl, add a tables spoon of oil to coat the bowl, and place the dough in it.  Cover with a damp cloth, and leave to rise for 2 hours until it doubles in size. P.S.: Notice, I’m using the third cup of flour to knead the dough. Setting a timer helps.

Take the dough out, roll and stretch it some more into the shape of a loaf. Take your 9″ x 5″ bread pan and place the dough in the pan.  Cover with a slightly damp napkin for about another 1.5 hours. Afterwards, remove the napkin. Depending on the size of the dough or pan, you should notice its risen about an inch or more above the pan, and now its ready to bake.  Heat your oven to about 325-350° Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. If you have an oven that doesn’t  heed to basic direction, you might want to start at a lower temperature…just saying.  When the top is golden brown, remove from the oven and let it sit for a few minutes before transferring to a rack to cool. Scroll down to see the finished product. Its ready!!!!

 

Helpful Tips During The Quarantine!!

♥Finish uncompleted projects around the house. Sort through your closet. Organize your shoes. Write a list of all the kitchen utensils you need…I’m already making a list to get me some solid mixing bowls 🙂

♥Reignite your artsy side. My goal is to finish the blanket I have been croqueting for longer than I’m going to admit on here…he he!!

♥Write a thankful list E-V-E-R-Y D-A-Y. Life is so precious. People are dying, all alone and at a speed that is unprecedented because the virus is ravaging the body so fast, people are literally disappearing like mist. No preparation. No goodbyes. NO NOTHING! 

♥Keep up your fitness regimen. A lot of people including yours truly are exercising via zoom and other apps which help boost morale and keep your body active despite being confined.

♥Take your vitamins DAILY, whether you feel like it or not. This includes Vitamin C and D especially now that you’re not out and about or in the sun as much.

♥Rest. The news is constantly updating us on how many people have died or how many newly infected cases there are, or the problems medical officials are having on the frontlines. This is well and good to keep us informed but the rise in fear or anxiety can lead to unrest or worry for the future. Don’t let it get to you. Turn off the TV and go to bed on time. Rest easy, tomorrow will come and we will deal with it when we get there.

 

Until I come your way again, stay healthy, upbeat and remember if the rest of the populace decides to panic-buy the bread aisle at your grocery store, you can always bake your own!

 

Periwinkle Starr♥