Thursday, July 11, 2013

Natural Pancakes (For The Pintester Movement 2.0)

Hi everyone!  Since the last Pintester Movement that Sonja Foust hosted was so much fun, I jumped on the opportunity to participate in the second one.  This time around I decided to try out these Natural two ingredient pancakes that was already tested on Pintester.  I figured this would be perfect, since I am trying to eat healthier and I always just happen to have bananas and eggs on hand.

I love making food smile before I devour it
Two eggs and one banana is seriously all it takes.  It easy made enough pancakes for two people.  All you have to do is smush the banana in a bowl and add in the two eggs.  Make sure to smash up the banana first, it makes the process a whole lot easier.

When the batter is ready, it doesn't look that great.  I still had a few banana chunks.  It also cooks at a slightly lower temperature than normal pancakes do.
Looks quite a bit like baby vomit at this point
They do look a lot better when they are cooked.  By looks alone they can pass for pancakes.

The taste was also pretty good.  I added some of this wonderful butter pecan syrup I found on top of it and they were perfect.  My boyfriend even liked him.  The only thing that got to me was the texture.  It was like eating a pancake flavored omelet.  Still, they were not bad at all, and much quicker to make than regular pancakes.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Adventures In Dehydration

So, there has been a dehydrator just sitting in the box in my study collecting dust since the holidays (I have a small kitchen yo).  The idea of using it was a little daunting.  I was super worried about not leaving things in long enough, leaving them in too long, wasting food, and being an overall failure at it.

A sale on strawberries finally made me break down and use it.  I had so many and didn't know how to use them all before they went bad.  I decided to make some homemade fruit leather out of it.  Many of the recipes I found could be made in an oven, but highly suggested using a dehydrator instead.  I gave in and decided to try it out.

The fruit leather was super easy to make.  It starts with cut up fresh strawberry bits in a double boiler, or if you are me you just use a pot inside a slightly bigger pot.  Cooking level: college student.


You know the strawberries are done when they become mushy and a lot of syrupy juice leaks out.  The next part calls for a blender, but I don't trust mine ever since my ex roommates left some kind of juice in it for a very long time.  I really should just throw it out and buy a new one since I refuse to use it anyways.

Once again, I had to improvise.  I used a potato masher.  It worked pretty well, it would have been better with some kind of blender, but it still was acceptable.

I was also a bit unsure of using plastic wrap on a dehydrator tray.  I figured that would make it not work right or something.  Well, it was all part of the experiment, so I gave it a try.

I spread the strawberry goop as evenly as possible on the tray and let it dehydrate for about six hours or so.

Doesn't look too great.
The Pintester did something really similar using her oven, and I think she put it best.  It looks like dried up menstrual flow.

However, it still tasted really good.  A little tart, but really good.

I did mess up a bit.  My dehydrator is a little uneven in it's dehydrating.  The half that I tested was nice and ready, the other half still was a little moist.  I just ate that part and saved the rest.

Since the fruit leather only took up one tray, I decided to get a little adventurous and try my hand at something else at the same time.  I had an apple in my fridge just begging to have the moisture pulled out of it.

I was a little worried, every website I looked at suggested using something called "fresh fruit" to stop fruit from oxidizing in the dehydrator.  It might just be me, but I always assumed people got dehydrators to eat heathy and stay away from any kind of preservatives.  I knew I still had a bunch of lemons, and that lemons prevent oxidization.  Since it was only one apple, I soaked the slices in a bath of cold water and fresh lemon juice instead and gave it a shot. 

Lemon apples taste pretty good by themselves
They got a tiny bit brown, but not enough to bother anyone.  Actually, I think they came out pretty good.  I should have peeled the apple first, leaving the peel on makes it take a lot longer to dehydrate.

Then I got the fever.  The "will it dehydrate" fever.  This was the most fun I had since my "will it blend  smoothie making phase.

I tried my lemon water trick with bananas.  I didn't let them dehydrate all the way, instead I took them out when they were still a little gummy like.  As long as you eat them in a few days and keep them refrigerated  they make a really good snack.  I defiantly will try them again fully dehydrated too.
Healthy goodness
I also did some carrots.  Apparently, you are supposed to cook them and shock them a bit.  I think they came out just fine.  They are great when I want something healthy and crunchy.

I did a batch of oranges too.  However, they were mostly eaten while they were dehydrating, so I didn't get a picture.  They would be great for homemade teas.  I want to try lemon slices now too.

I learned a lesson.  Dehydrating things is simple, requires little effort, and produces great results.  I highly suggest giving it a try.  The price of the unit is well worth all the cheap healthy snacks.  I am looking forward to making new fruit leathers and trying new fruits and vegetables.  

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Star Trek Science Dress

Okay, so I am a huge Trekkie.  Every series holds a special place in my heart.  However, no series tops my love for the original.  I love the costumes, the cheesy animations, the sound effects, the crew, the banter, I love everything about it.

That being said, for the first science fiction and comic book convention that I was able to actually make in years I had to dress up in a TOS science dress.

However, I quickly realized that for a high quality dress it would cost me about $500, which was over half my budget for the convention.  Add in a TOS command wrap for my boyfriend, and we simply would not have been able to go after we got our costumes and props.  

Then I thought to myself, I know how to sew!  I will make the costumes!  They will be glorious!  I ordered the necessary props online and went out to hunt for fabric.

I decided to go a little cheaper on the rank bands and used something I found in the fabric store.  That way I could totally justify getting phasors to go with the costumes.  

I was originally going to design and sew the dress free hand, but that dress is a lot more intricate than it looks.  Fortunately I found a pattern online on this fourm.  Amazingly, the specifications were for my size!  Until I realized after I made it that I had been dieting for the last few months, so it did end up being pretty loose on me...

So to blow up the pattern in a way that it stayed accurate,  I used this huge ream of thin paper I had and painstakingly drew a grid with 16X16cm squares.  This took me and my boyfriend three days.

I got to watch a lot of Star Trek and Hercules during that three days (and yes, that is a Cardassian sunrise in that cup).

Once that was done, I used my dormant drawing skills to draw the pattern onto the graph.  Everything was going great.

Then booze got involved.  Because everything is a lot more fun when your drinking amirite?  Still, the next step of pinning and cutting out came out okay.  

Trying to piece the pieces together was much more difficult than it should have been, and I ended up going with a "as long as it f***ing stays together" approach.

I realized half way through that the seams were wrong, but I was already behind and there was no way in hell I was going to take a seam ripper and redo it.  I added a zipper that went along one of the decorative back seams to make it less intrusive. 

I completely freehanded the command wrap using a shirt as a size base, since I was fairly overconfident from sewing three successful shirt wraps when I was a freshmen in high school.  Did I also mention I was sober back then too?

Sorry about the butt shot, my boyfriend was the photographer for this one.  Oh, and the reason this fabric was not ironed was because my iron actually broke on the dress.  Go me.  

Since the drinks kept on getting stronger, his did not come out all that good.  I felt really bad about that. However, we still were better than some of the super cheap store bought halloween costumes that were walking around that the convention.  The man walking around as Scotty put everyone to shame though.

Here are the finished outfits.

He was such an amazing Scotty.  I felt inadequate standing next to him.

Killing an undead redshirt and an adorable undead tribble.

My captain with Scotty.

Even if our outfits are less than perfect, we still had just as much fun making them together as we had at the convention itself.  I am actually going to remake them, when I have a longer amount of time (one week was not enough) and I am not drinking.

The best part?  Most of the Next Generation cast was at the convention, and all of us trolls that dressed up in TOS outfits got such dirty looks the whole time.  Come one guys, why would you hate on other Trek lovers?  Even if they have a different favorite series, it is irrelevant.  Trekkies have to stick together.