Blur

I don’t often edit photos so dramatically as to take away color or make them more dreary, in fact my editing is usually incredibly minimalist. On this particular day, we were stopped by a train and I just happened to have my camera with me. I was able to have some fun creating a nice consistent blur effect, and later added in the black / white / dreary feel.  I find this very pleasing.

 

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Wet

The layers in this one come from two trains. The foreground train was full of open wire-wrapped cars, while the background train was zooming past with colorful and expressive graffiti. This was the clear winner out of week four’s shots. I love the massive amount of lines in this image flowing in all different directions, in yet all belonging.

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Blueberry Muffins

When I came across this Coconut Flour Blueberry Apple Sauce Muffins on Pinterest, I knew it was going to make it on our ‘to try’ list. I tweaked this recipe a whole heck-uv-a-lot though… which may have been the issue in the end. Check below for images, the recipe link, and my mistake!

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The recipe calls for basic ingredients like eggs, apple sauce (I used unsweetened) baking soda, sea salt, and of course the blueberries (I used fresh). It asked for coconut flour,  I replaced with regular flour. It asked for lime or lemon juice and zest, I used a beautiful plump orange for both the zest and the juice.  Everything was looking good after following the instructions, although I was worried that the pure liquid consistency wouldn’t produce fluffy muffins. I didn’t have anything to fear about the muffins muffifying… but I did have something else to fear…

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The instructions called for baking them at 400 degrees for 28 minutes. I thought that seemed like a ridiculously long amount of time! I checked on them halfway through and they looked golden brown. I did the tooth pick test (where you stick it in the thickest part and check to see if anything sticks to it) and it came out clean. I let them rest for about ten minutes before digging in. Ack! The tops were done, the bottoms were not. I will have to try these again and be patient with the cooking time. The image above is the muffin flipped over, top side down. Ooey gooey mess!

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Which is a lot like O’s artwork that day. Big blue mess!

Intermodal

Generally I am good at explaining what I like about a photo. I’d better be… I’ve taken college courses where that was essentially what the course was all about! In this one, I can only say that I thoroughly enjoy the composition. I especially like how the messy bits work so well with the clean and crisp bits. The sandwich of slightly rusty and dirty and chaotic graffiti with a fairly clean and new-looking “meat” in the middle. It’s simple, but it’s nice.

Week3

Value

It’s been another week and another set of train photos have entered into my collection. I have realized how difficult some graffiti is to read, but I find a sort of beauty in that. As if it’s some well-kept secret that only a select few are privy to. Sure, I am out of the loop and slightly confused – but I am okay with that. Art is up for interpretation. Even if I can’t interpret some of it, I can certainly appreciate its beauty.

Train #2

Black Bean Burgers, Potato Wedges, and Taco Pie

I’ve been struggling with losing weight for two years now and have off-and-on tried different methods of changing my diet and lifestyle for the better. As 80% of weight loss is through food, I know how important it is to get my meals figured out. So, some meals that I never would have attempted or thought of trying have made it into my life . W One such meal is our black bean burgers, which have become a staple in menu planning. We tested out an additional recipe called a taco pie, which I found through absentmindedly browsing a Paleo website. As usual, check below for images, links, and opinions!

We’ve tried several different black bean burger recipes, but we think this one is the best. I make the recipe exactly as the website instructs, except that  I use the handle from this burger press set  to crush the black beans in a bowl, instead of a fork. I find that it gives a very satisfying squish, does a great job of mashing the black beans quickly, and is just as easy to clean up. I use a toaster oven to bake these patties, which frees up the “normal” oven for my potato wedges.  P tops his burger with mayo slathered buns, ketchup, mustard, lettuce, and tomato. The same thing ends up on my plate, except I trade the mayo for some sweet relish. Often I trade the bun for lettuce to save on calories. Not entirely sure where I found the recipe for the wedges, but this is what I do:

  • 2 potatoes, cut into wedges (to watch Gordon Ramsey’s tips, click here)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, mashed and minced (watch Bridget Lancaster’s tips, click here)
  • 1/4 teaspoon parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. Mix it all together and toss wedges in the mixture.
  2. Spray foil lined baking dish with some cooking oil, then space wedges out on the tray.
  3. Bake for 35 minutes at 425 F. Bake longer if desired. We like ours a bit more crispy, so we bake 40-45 minutes.
  4. Cool, and enjoy!

While browsing through Pinterest and some cooking websites, I found Paleo Leap’s taco pie and put it on the menu for lunch the next day. We aren’t a Paleo family, so I didn’t have some of the ingredients on hand. Therefore, I adapted the recipe. Which seems a bit silly, since most recipes have to be adapted to fit into Paleo or any other such strict lifestyle, not the other way around. Nevertheless, we used whole wheat flour instead of almond flour, ground turkey instead of ground beef, Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ instead of homemade BBQ, green bell pepper instead of red, tomatoes instead of avocado, and didn’t use any cooking oils or fats. The results? This made four servings at around 460 calories each. It was really good! The pie crust is really plain, but I don’t mind as I felt like the star of the show was the filling. Will we make it again? Maybe! I’d like to look up recipes for a sauce that doesn’t have so much added sugar in it, as barbecue sauce has way too much.

Chicken Nuggets and Chicken Enchiladas

As my giant stack of boxes dwindled to just a few stranglers, I was able to squeeze in some cooking. We tried a couple new recipes such as Chicken Nuggets and remade a few we love such as Chicken Enchiladas. Check out below for the pictures, recipe links, changes we made, and reactions!

These Weelicious Chicken Nuggets were a huge hit with O (my son).  The only change made to the recipe was using some Everyday Essentials bread crumbs instead of Panko. Honestly, I wasn’t sure how they’d turn out! When I  made the mixture and started forming the little nuggets – I was a bit concerned that they’d crunch up and work out. I had nothing to be worried about! These would be crunchier with the Panko instead of the off-brand, but that’s what we had on hand so I made it work. Next time (and there WILL be a next time), I’ll get the good stuff and see if it has a better texture.

These enchiladas are so darn easy, that I have been making them for a couple months now. I’ve tweaked the recipe a tiny bit from the original in order to fit our tastes / needs by switching the cheddar cheese to low-moisture mozzarella. Everything else is the same! I also split it into two batches – one to eat for lunch that day, the other to freeze for the next week. We like to put some non-fat yogurt on top and a huge handful of shredded lettuce. I eat one enchilada for lunch, P eats two – so there’s usually two leftover for dinner later or lunch the next day. This recipe really does go far!