Bison Burger

Ground Bison anyone? on TwitpicI went apple picking last weekend and the orchard had a market where I found some ground bison. After asking the twitters if they would like any, I decided to buy a small package of patties for myself. I had no real plans or ideas on how to cook the ground buffalo and after checking with Google I made up my own way to cook up some bison burgers.  This recipe at Epicurious sounded pretty good, but a bit involved. It did inspire me though to try something a little different.

I’ve been on a quest for gateway beers and was told to give Southern Tier Brewing Company’s Creme Brulee Stout a try. I did, and although it smells delightful, it has too strong of a “beery” taste for me. I had this large bottle in my fridge with no idea what to do with it.  After reading the Epicurious recipe, I decided to use the beer in place of the wine when sauteeing the onions. Thought that could be a really good flavor for sauteed onions on a burger. I also pressed a little bit of garlic into the pan, I did not add salt. I’m not  much of one for salting things while cooking. I’ve gotten so used to everything having salt added I figure, there’s no need to add more salt.

As I was cooking up the onions and garlic, I started thinking that maybe if I marinate the burger in the beer too, that could prove to be really quite tasty. There was plenty of it in the bottle. I went ahead and took one of the burger patties and placed it in bowl. I crushed a clove of garlic onto it, added just a pinch of salt and pepper and then poured the beer over the top of it. I let it sit while I continued cooking up the onions.

Once the onions were done I heated up my George Foreman Grill spread a bit of olive oil on it, in an attempt to keep everything from sticking, and started grilling up the burger.  I splurged for the fancy Irish cheese and did a terrible job of slicing it (I can’t seem to make even slices of cheese worth a damn). So I had a giant chunk of cheese along with what was melted on the burger. I topped the burger with the onions and just a smidge of ketchup. It was damned tasty and I’d totally do that again if I can get my hands on ground bison.

The orchard with the shop is Garwood Orchard in LaPorte, Indiana. Not only can you pick your own apples, but they also have a pumpkin patch, eggplants, peppers, berries, green beans, tomatoes, etc. The shop has a bakery with wonderful donuts you can have them top with a variety of frostings (chocolate, maple, vanilla) or just cinnamon and sugar. They had some taffy apples that were coated in Snickers which was really amazing! I picked a few eggplants to make myself some eggplant lasagna. And with all the apples I have I’m going to try making my own applesauce. So come back and see how it all works out!

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Gardein Taste Test

I was approached via Chicago Bites to try out a new meat substitute product from a company called Gardein. I thought, “Sure, why not! I’ll give it a try.”  I was sent some coupons and then the challenge was on to find a good variety of product at one of the stores near me.

Gardein meat protein replacements are made from soy protein and wheat gluten with a long list of “other stuff” depending on the flavor you purchase. If you want to only eat food you can pronounce, well,  the list is all food I recognize – however I’m pretty sure there is quite a bit of science behind compiling it all together into something you’d want to eat. If you have food allergies, read over the ingredients carefully, it’s a pretty long list.


I picked one of each frozen package they had in the store (4 total) and brought them home. What I was most surprised to find is that there are no microwave directions. I was certain this would be a microwave product. One package has instructions for baking, and a couple of the others just require heating it up in a skillet. Since last week was a major heatpocalypse here in Chicago I started with the “Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick’n” that required only the skillet. I stirred it up in the pan and added a bit of left over rice. The bits of chicken were decidedly not crispy. The sauce was very tasty and helped to mask the rubbery texture of the “Chick’n”. It might have tasted better if it actually did get crispy. By far more of a texture issue than a flavor issue.

Chick'n Scallopini

The other one I tried was the “Chick’n Scallopini” I served this up with some pasta that I threw together. There are four patties in a package. I cooked up two of them. Again, not at all the texture of meat. As for flavor…well, it tasted fine. But it’s that indescribable flavor that isn’t really chicken, but it’s not much of anything you’ve tasted before so you say it tastes like chicken cuz you just can’t place it. Yeah, that’s what this tastes like.

chick'n and pasta

If you never ever want to eat meat, this would be fine. The Chick’n Scallopini is only 90 calories per serving. The Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick’n is 150 per serving (the package says there are 3 servings… I’m not buying it.) I have never tried Seitan so I can’t say how this compares. But compared to tofu, this is about the same in texture.

Overall, I’ve got some hesitations  on eating something like this. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan focus on eating more vegetables and liking vegetables. Don’t go for the meat substitute because you miss eating meat. Embrace the vegetables, love the vegetables and stop reminding yourself about meat. You’ll just crave it more.

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Holy cow, it’s been over a month since I’ve posted here.  Ugh, I’m so sorry. I’m pretty much practicing maintenance at the moment. Honestly that’s not very easy with the schedule I’ve got. I’m on the run 6 days a week, sometimes 7 days a week. Sunday I was so exhausted I skipped the second day of WordCamp Chicago to stay home and sleep. It was a lovely 10 hour coma. Although it totally ruined my productivity for the whole day. I had so much to do and the sleeping made it even LESS time to do it all in.

I’ve got a post in the works reviewing a new meat substitute. Once I get the pictures off my camera I’ll post it. Speaking of meat… I’ve been fairly successful at maintaining meat free eating habits. My plan to not eat meat unless out with friends has been going fairly well. There have been some moments here and there where I’ve eaten some meat while by myself. The other day I ordered Sweet & Sour Chicken (an overheard mention of ordering Chinese take-out on the bus set my unstoppable craving in motion) and last week I got to attend a wonderful evening at Roy’s Restaurant. I’m down to just a couple of salmon fillets in my freezer, and then my house will be completely meat free.

I know this is shocking for people who know me well, my house has become a Diet Coke free zone. I have no pop (aka-soda) in my house.  I’ve been sticking with iced tea or water while at home. Also, I have discovered the store brand version of LaCroix. The Key Lime from Dominick’s  is a very tasty flavor. Although it is a bit overly sweet compared to LaCroix but the bottle says it is sugar free. I mix it with some fruit juice that the store at the corner sells. It’s this tasty Polish brand of juice called Tymbark I usually lean toward the green banana flavor, but it was on the high shelf and I couldn’t reach it, so this time I got the pomegranate. (Apparently the English website doesn’t show these flavors.) It’s really good juice, and something I usually treat myself to whenever I venture up to the store on the corner.

Once I get a little bit of breathing room and check the schedules on the places where I’ve purchased coupons I’ll try out yoga and some other stuff. These daily deal coupons are going to put me in the poor house. I’ve bought so many of them that now I need to either unsubscribe or send them to a hidden folder or something. They are way too tempting… especially the ones for wine.

In the meantime…. You all should check out these blogs by people who do a much better job at writing daily.

My friend Ben is logging his journey toward running in the Chicago Marathon when he turns 30. Read about his Run to 30.

The beautiful Mary who I met while doing the 28 Day Challenge. She writes a small loss and she is so motivational and inspiring. Check out her photo and that amazing huge smile and those cute dimples.

I found Rebecca from Weight Wars on the twitters. She’s over in the UK. Reading her two latest posts along with Mary’s 1 year re-birthday post gave me a bit of a kick in the pants to get back over here.

The fantastical Megan Monique has been helping me through some crap. She is inspiring, loving, creative and oh-so patient. I love her to pieces and you really should check out her site. She’s an amazing person.

My beautiful friend Karen AKA La Cabeza Grande has started sharing her tasty foods with the interwebs over at The Wordinghood in her Fresh Food, Fresh Outlook area. Such tasty photos!

And as always, for you Chicago area folks, take a look at Chicago Bites because there’s always something cool to read about or fantastic food to stare at.

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Who’s got the time?

I have been a fan of Duran Duran since I first heard their song Hungry Like the Wolf back in Jr High School. Not too long ago I discovered they were on twitter and from that I discovered Nick Rhodes’ ex-wife Julie Anne Rhodes. She’s a personal chef in Los Angeles. She’s got a program on her website, helping people learn how to cook for themselves as if they were a personal chef. She calls it the Personal Chef Approach™. She’s also got a cookbook available.

Her Personal Chef Approach™ all about menu planning and preparing meals in advance. I have to say, since I made a big batch of pasta this past weekend, I’ve enjoyed having both lunch and dinner ready for me to just open the container and eat when I’m hungry. It’s only been two days, but a whole week of this would be awesome. In an interview on Ms Dramatica, Julie Anne talks about comparing fast food with organic and home cooked meals:

I do think we are becoming more knowledgeable about our food, but the bottom line is that whole food often takes longer to prepare, and we are a time starved society. Even the best intentions can be easily derailed unless you have a plan. I’m too exhausted after a long day of work to cook a meal that will take a couple hours from planning to clean-up. With the Personal Chef Approach™ I’m able to make sure my fridge is well stocked, so when I’m tired or in a hurry I can grab a healthy meal I prepared in advance, and have it on the table in minutes. I also save money in the respect that I rarely let food I bought go to waste – if you shop in an organized manor, you buy only what you need, and when you cook it all up shortly after, it doesn’t go to waste. Even if I get a last minute invitation out – I just pop that meal in the freezer for a later date.

This is where my problems lie. I am not good at planning ahead. I don’t plan entire menus for the week or even for the month, heck I can’t even plan what I’m going to eat for breakfast. I buy stuff with all the good intentions to cook it up and eat healthy and I get some last minute invitation out or I’m totally exhausted and I never cook it. Next thing I know I’ve got a bag of goo in my vegetable drawer.

I’d totally sign up for membership to her site if I knew I’d make the time to follow her instructions. I know saying now that I’d never do it is a self-fulfilling prophesy, it’s a Negative Nancy way to look at things. With my schedule right now, it’s the truth. I’m still trying to sort out how to fit working out into my daily routine before my coupons expire.

How do you fit everything into your schedule? From preparing meals to working out and just going to work each day – how do you do it? Got any tricks you’d like to share?

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Sickie McCougherton

sick lolcatYeah, I’ve been struggling with a cold for the past week. This cold has turned into a 4 boxes of tissue cold. If you want to learn how shitty the rest of the world can be, get a nasty hacking cough and ride public transportation.

I want to tell all those bitchez out there on the CTA who gave me dirty looks to fuck off. Not everyone has the luxury of being able to stay home in bed when we get the sniffles. And ya know, even fewer of us have the luxury of being able to visit the doctor when our throat gets scratchy and we feel the wheezing start in. Giving me a dirty look when I’m hacking up a lung across the aisle from you isn’t going to help. I can’t just stop. Obviously over the counter stuff isn’t helping to YOUR satisfaction and GOSH I’m REALLY SORRY about that. (/sacrasam) If you don’t like it, DRIVE YOUR ASS TO WORK.

And to the dude at the Harold Washington Library who thought my coughing was some fake way to make you leave the table I was sitting at… the world doesn’t revolve around you. I could give a shit if you share the table with me. If you don’t mind my hacking, more power to you, buddy.

What I’m really annoyed about with this coughing is that I bought a couple of the group discount coupon things to try out a couple different exercise places. One is a yoga studio the other is for some cardio-kickboxing/Zumba place. I want to get them in my daily routine somehow but with this wheezing cough I can hardly climb the steps to the train without a major coughing attack hitting me and then taking a hit from my inhaler. I can’t imagine trying to work out for half an hour like this. I’d prefer not to collapse on the gym floor on my first day. I wish this cough would just go away already so I can get down to business. The faucet nose is over, finally. I just really hope the cough wont linger forever like it usually does. Stupid lungs, I choose to blame this on my smoker parents.

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