Alicante, Spain

These are pictures that I took in Alicante, Spain in late September.

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Copyright © 2016 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti
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Seitan

I made seitan today for the first time. I was a little apprehensive about it since I read how difficult it can be. One of the things I did to make the process easier was to purchase a bag of wheat gluten. As I read recipe on this website, http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe/homemade-seitan/, I discovered that I also needed nutritional yeast (I had no idea what that was until I “googled” it).

Per instructions on the website,  I combined all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and then I added the liquid—vegetable broth and some soy sauce.

I mix everything with a large spoon and noticed there were dry spots so I added a little more broth. I kneaded it for a couple minutes then separated the batch. I should mention that I doubled the ingredients because I didn’t think two cups of wheat gluten would be enough—I was wrong.

The rounded portions of dough were placed in a pan of vegetable broth and pre-made pot roast sauce.

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I was supposed to wait until the liquid had boiled before adding the dough, but I didn’t think it would be a problem. Once the contents of the pan were boiling, I lowered the temperature and waited for the dough to cook, turning it over periodically for an hour.

After cooling it down for about 15 minutes, I sliced some of the cooked dough and added it to the gravy I made. Surprisingly, it looked like meat.

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Although the texture was a little like an overcooked roast and it didn’t really taste like meat, it was still good. As long as I told myself that this wasn’t meat and not to expect it to taste like meat then the seitan was tolerable and almost enjoyable.

I think I’ll make it again, but this time I won’t cook it in the pre-made pot roast sauce, and I’ll try kneading it a little more.

Copyright © 2016 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

SOBEWFF 2016

On Thursday, February 25th, my husband and I woke up at 3 am to get ready for our 6 am flight from CVG to Miami. I had won an all-expenses paid, trip for two to attend the 2016 South Beach Wine and Food Festival (#SOBEWFF).

The flight was about 2.5 hours.

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We were met at the airport by our driver who took us to the Delano Hotel.

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We spent the first day in South Beach looking for “dives” and enjoying the beach.

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Our second day marked the first event, the “Burger Bash.”

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The next day we went to the “Goya Foods Grand Tasting Village”

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Followed by “Meatopia.”

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Then finally the “Sweet 15: A Dessert Party.”

I am glad that I experienced the SOBEWFF. Thank you, Food Network and Time Warner Cable!

(Photos by MT Trascritti)

Copyright © 2016 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

My Advice to “First-time Cruisers”

My husband and I went on our first cruise on January of this year. On a whim, we decided to look for a cruise on the days that we had originally planned to go to Walt Disney World. Lo and behold, we found one on the exact dates—a four-night cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Enchantment of the Seas from Cape Canaveral/Cocoa Beach to the Bahamas. Priceline.com showed that there was a balcony room and a “junior suite” for only a few dollars difference so I booked the “junior suite.”

There were so many things I didn’t know about “cruising” so this is my list for all you “first time cruisers” (the list is not in any particular order):

  1. Look on your paperwork and see when you can board—ours was 10:30 am, but I didn’t realize that—I could have been lounging by the pool before the ship got too crowded.
  1. Try to book a suite (even a “junior suite”)—you get priority boarding. We were pleasantly surprised when we got through security and checked in because people who book a suite (even a junior suite) go through a different line! The other line was extremely long and the people standing there looked really miserable. Plus, the suites are roomier and feel more like a hotel room.
  1. Pay for gratuities ahead of time—it’s less of a hassle to do that.
  1. Book a cruise longer than 4 nights—we felt like we had to do as much as we could since we were there for only a few nights and we didn’t really get to relax.
  1. Bring a white outfit and something formal or semi-formal to wear. I guess that on short trips they have one “formal night” but on longer cruises, there is at least two “formal nights”—people dress up; there was one guy who wore his formal military attire complete with gloves and a chest full of medals. There is also a “white night.”
  1. Make reservations for dinner, even if it’s at the “complimentary place.” We really didn’t have to wait long for a table, but we didn’t get the table we wanted because it was already reserved.
  1. Have breakfast on your deck. We realized afterwards that room service didn’t cost extra but we didn’t know that at the time so we missed out on watching the ocean while we ate.
  1. If you are watching your food intake then don’t eat at the buffet place. We didn’t know that we could go to the complementary restaurant/full-service place to eat breakfast and lunch—we thought it was only for dinner. Needless to say, we gained 5 pounds. The complementary place has good portions, but you won’t overeat.
  1. If you drink a lot of water during the day, then order the “water/beverage package.” The bottles of water came in handy when we were exploring Coco Kay and Nassau.
  1. Take the stairs. If you are physically able to climb stairs then do it. We wasted a lot of time waiting on elevators the first couple of days; plus, it’s a great way to burn some calories.
  1. Unless you have a lot of money, don’t get any spa treatments. Even with the $300 “on-board credit” that we got on our booking, we still had to pay a lot of money at the end of our cruise (they charge a lot of gratuity); plus they try to sell you stuff you really don’t need.
  1. Have some “down time”— don’t try to do everything. We felt like we had to cram as many activities as we could since we didn’t have a lot of time on the ship. Instead of running yourself ragged, plan for another cruise and do the things you didn’t get to do on the next ship.

My husband actually caught a very bad cold on our first cruise so we couldn’t go dancing or watch the comedy shows like I wanted, so we booked another, longer cruise, for my birthday. “So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 8:15, NLT).

Here are some pictures from our first cruise:

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Copyright © 2016 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Trail bar

I really like granola bars and power bars. Sometimes I can find it at a good price, but most of the time it can be rather expensive so I thought I would look for a good recipe online. I found this one, but I wanted to change a few things: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/peanut-almond-snack-bars-50400000130039/.

The recipe called for butter, chunky peanut butter, chocolate toasted oat cereal (Cheerios), hard pretzel twists, roasted, salted almonds, and kosher salt, but I used these ingredients instead:

Margarine, soy butter (found it in the peanut butter section), honey nut oat cereal (instead of chocolate), “Fiber One” bran cereal (2 cups to replace the pretzels– I used a generic brand), raw cashews (1 cup to add crunch to the soy butter) and raw almonds, and no salt.

I basically doubled the recipe, using a 13×9 Pyrex pan to set the mixture.

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It didn’t take long for it to set—about 20-30 minutes.

Image There were things I should have done, like add salt to counter the sweetness of the soy butter and marshmallows. I also should have pressed the ingredients together more (I was able to cut it into cubes, but they were slightly loose).

Overall, a good recipe!

Romans 12:1, “…dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him” (NLT).

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Flourless Cake

I thought I would post something different today.

I enjoy cooking but I don’t always seem to have the time to cook. Today, I decided to bake a cake from scratch. Since we are watching our carb intake, I searched online for a “flourless” cake recipe and found one on a flour company website. My first thought was, “What? Why does this flour company have a recipe for a flourless cake?” Seemed odd, but it had good reviews so I gave it a try.

I glanced through the directions and decided to change a few things. For example, the recipe called for “bittersweet chocolate,” “3 large eggs,” “unsalted butter,” and optional “vanilla extract” and “espresso powder.”  I used semi-sweet chocolate chips, egg whites from a carton, salted butter, imitation almond extract, and an instant Mocha mix.

The instructions also said that I had to “briefly” blend the batter and “mix just to combine.” I noticed that the mixture was lumpy from the unsweetened cocoa powder that I used so I grabbed my hand mixer and beat the batter on the “high” setting for several minutes. The batter became fluffy.

I poured the mixture into the prepared pan and baked it for 25 minutes at 375 degrees. When the cake was finished baking, it was moist and it had the consistency of “regular cake.” My family loved it. I am so happy that I found this recipe.

ImageImage“…Eat your food with joy…” (Ecc 9:7, NLT), “…whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31, NIV).

Recipe: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/flourless-chocolate-cake-recipe#ReviewSection

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti