I recently realized I haven’t written anything on my website since November. Other than going to the gym five days a week doing the Silver Sneakers classes for about an hour or so each day, I have been baking and cooking and doing errands. I still have days when my pain is intense and my activities are limited, or I veg out on the sofa. I try not to give in to it very often, but some days I have to. I still have my tumor causing complications.
I am still cooking and baking almost everything I eat, including bread and pasta. Not only does the food taste better than processed food, but, I know what I am eating, the quality of the food, and I can pronounce everything in each item.
It does take a bit longer to prepare meals sometimes, however, it’s well worth the effort. I usually cook enough for several meals and often freeze a lot of it in Food Saver bags so it stays fresh and it’s easy to reheat and it doesn’t get freezer burnt. I was putting food in freezer bags and it vwasnt staying very well. I realized I have an older Food Saver machine and decided to start using it again. Not only does it save space in my freezer and keep my food from getting freezer burnt, but I can put it in either boiling water or my sous vide bath to cook or reheat and it tastes much better.
Two of my neighbors don’t cook much so I make extra and give them meals. They enjoy having a home cooked meal and it gives me something to do and since I am cooking and baking anyway. I just make larger portions. Instead of making the same things all the time I look for new recipes. It’s a fun challenge to find recipes, there are so many websites to look at and I keep finding ones I haven’t seen or heard of before. Some days my search is to find a recipe to use up some food I have handy. Other times I make up recipes using things I have. I am also learning to save cooking liquids to use later on. For example if I cook potatoes I save the potato water. It’s great to use in bread dough, soups, stews, etc. I also save the liquid from cooking fruit or canned fruit and use it instead of water in recipes. This makes other dishes I make more flavorful.
My 5 quart Kitchenaid bowl lift stand mixer is an old Hobart brand Kitchenaid from the early 1980s, so is my food grinder attachment. It still works great. A few weeks ago I bought a chuck roast and ground the meat to make hamburgers. It was great. I knew the ground meat was from one piece of meat and I knew how much fat was in it, not very much, just enough to give flavor and hold patty together.
I saw a really good price on a 6 quart Kitchenaid bowl lift stand mixer with a few beaters, so I bought it so I can make more than one batch of food items at a time since it’s a larger and more powerful mixer. I am really enjoying using my new mixer, I still use the older one for smaller batches. I want to grind more foods and chicken, meat, cheeses, etc. I also want to make sausages and I found out the sausage attachments now won’t work on my old grinder attachment. So I bought a new Kitchenaid metal food grinder kit with sausage stuffer nozzles.
Recently at a thrift store, I saw a hand cranked Marcato Atlas 150 pasta maker set for sale. I went home and did some research on hand cranked pasta machines and found out this one is the number one machine so I went back and bought it. I called the company for an instruction manual since there wasn’t one in the box. After talking with Lisa I learned that this machine was made in 1987 and it has stainless steel rollers. I watched some videos online and read several articles and then made some pasta dough in my Kitchenaid and rolled it out on my Marcato. I felt so proud, it came out looking nice and tasting great. Lasagna was high on my list to make… It was wonderful. A few weeks later they had another Marcato Atlas 150 for sale, made in January 1983 so I bought it as a spare and it came in handy when a friend came over and we made gluten free pasta for her. Lisa at Marcato has been really helpful to me and has given me great tips for maintaining and using the machine, and sending me recipes and a crank handle that was missing for the second one I bought. When I started making crackers and crust for my pit pies I use the pasta maker.
I realized I really like making pasta and crackers and using the pasta maker. It relaxes me and I like the feeling of handling the dough and transforming it into something I can eat that is delicious and nutritious. It’s quiet and tranquil rolling out and cutting the dough. After making a few batches of crackers I found ways to make it easier, I also rwad helpful tips in online articles. I bought a few wheels to help cut the dough so crackers look nice and uniform. My first attempt at crackers had odd shaped crackers, now they come out round or square. My potato cheese pierogies look professional too.
I saw a good sale on the Kitchenaid pasta roller and cutter set and decided to buy it. It works great, it’s not quiet like the manual machine, however, there are some benefits to using it. I still use my Marcato too. Using the Kitchenaid attachment let’s me have two hands to feed and catch the dough since I don’t have to use one hand to crank the machine. Hand cranking does have some benefits because I can control the speed I feed the dough and can back it up if I need to, or I can stop it if I need to adjust dough. The Kitchenaid is higher so the dough hangs down and gives me more space to catch the dough. The Marcato is counter height. I love both machines and use them both often.
A few months ago I bought a 5.8 quart Kili air fryer and I love using it. This brand has a large basket which allows me to cook a good size portion of food. It’s also very quiet and I don’t hear it running. I use this almost every day to cook or reheat food. I am experimenting and making up new recipes not only for the air fryer but for regular stove and oven cooking and baking. I have some favorite recipes that I make often.
Using homemade lasagna pasta makes the lasagna taste so much better than boxed pasta. I even started making my own crackers that taste like Wheat Thins and Ritz crackers, they aren’t salty like store bought crackers. Double batches don’t last long. I share my baked goods with other people to share and the feedback they give me is always favorable.
I will post some pictures one day when I turn my computer on. I am using a tablet to write this post. I still will add to this post soon so check back to see photos of some foods I have made and other info on my activities.