All Mixed Up

Before I start, I have a favor to put out to you bloggers:

I need 3 guest posts for the first weekend in December. I’ve tweeted about this a couple of times over the last week, but I kept forgetting to ask here. So please, if anyone can lend a hand, DM me on twitter or comment here that you’re interested and I will shoot you an e-mail to set things up.

—————————

I’m so proud of myself for going running on Wednesday. I really have not been in the mood lately, but with a race a week from Sunday, getting back into my Brooks and onto the pavement was completely necessary. I have to tell you, for the first mile I started thinking that perhaps I have lost my mind. Me? Running? Races? What?

I only ran about 2.25 miles, and I did take a couple of walking breaks. Aafter the first mile, however, I did start to find my rhythm. I even ran up a hill on the way back home. I don’t generally do inclines, but I thought, “What the heck? Let’s run up this street for a block!” I swear. It just about killed me. Just one block.

In my defense, I live in San Francisco.

It’s okay. I survived.

I huffed and puffed for a block, caught my breath and then resumed my run home.

Once I showered I had a huge bowl of Monday’s soup. This soup has really surprised me. Typically, I grow sick of soup within a day of making it. I only cook for myself, so I get sick of eating the same thing everyday. This soup, however, is great. I am in no way sick of it. I actually ate it for lunch and dinner on Tuesday. It’s nice when things work out like that.

I didn’t get to cleaning because I spent too much time on laundry. Not by choice. I spent $1.50 drying my clothes, only to come back 30 minutes later to a dryer full of wet clothes. The machine just tossed them around without heat for a half hour, despite me having depressed the “high heat” button.

Laundry fail.

For dinner, I decided to make something quick, as I wanted to save my soup for lunch at work. I decided to fall back on a dinner I’ve been having a lot lately, which is pasta w/broccoli. I didn’t have any tomatoes or bottled sauces. I also didn’t want to try making any non-tomato based sauces, as my last attempt wasn’t really that great. I dug around in the kitchen and realized I had a packet of alfredo mix.

Aw, what the heck. Let’s give it a go.

Heat up the milk and the butter. Add the packet. Mix until dissolved. Add parmesan. Mix some more. Remove from heat.

Looks okay.

Chop up your bunches of broccoli and cook them however you see fit. Today I was going the total lazy route and decided to steam it in one of those steamer zip lock bags in the microwave.

The idiot in me loves these things. It even tells you how long to put it in the microwave.

Make up a pot of whole wheat spaghetti and combine it with the broccoli and sauce. Put some in a bowl and eat dinner while you watch The Pioneer Woman on Throwdown with Bobby Flay.

I thought the sauce was okay, but nothing special. Good in a pinch if you don’t have anything better to use.

Sometime after dinner I realized that I never made pancakes today. It had been my plan to make pancakes for batch freezing. I usually make up a couple of batches and I wrap two at a time in wax paper and saran wrap. After all of the pancakes are wrapped, I put them in a zip lock bag and stick them in the freezer. They make for a quick, healthy breakfast when I don’t have time to make anything else.

Normally, not making pancakes wouldn’t really matter. I can just make them another day. The problem today was that I had a carton of buttermilk in my fridge for this purpose. I got up and checked the sell by date….11/15. Hmm. I knew I wouldn’t have a chance to make pancakes again until next Tuesday, which would make my milk really past its date. So I knew I should make them tonight.

But it was 9:30pm.

Not really prime pancake making time.

Oh! I know!

I’ll make up two packages of Jiffy mix cornbread!

I figured that at least I got to use some of the buttermilk, so even if it doesn’t make it to pancake making day, it didn’t go completely to waste. Plus, cornbread is excellent for breakfast, so I can eat it at work on Friday (I have oatmeal for Thursday, but I had been planning to have pancakes on Friday).

I know a lot of you out there are thumbing your nose at my pan of Jiffy Mix cornbread. Now, if you’re vegan, I’ll give you a pass, as I just read last week on a Healthy Tipping Point recipe that Jiffy has animal fat in it. (Yeah, I’ve been eating Jiffy my entire life and I’ve never once looked at the ingredients. Oops.) So, if you’re vegan, then yes, this bread is awful.

Otherwise, you should just get over yourself. My grandmother was from Trion, Georgia, and knew darned well how to make cornbread without a mix. She still used Jiffy. So I don’t feel bad one bit.

Actually I feel glad and will think of her on Friday morning when I eat my milk and bread. Miss you grandma!

Do you ever cook with mixes to save time? Is it homemade or the highway?

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14 Responses to All Mixed Up

  1. I use mixes every now and then when I’m in a pinch, but am enjoying learning how to make things on my own, too πŸ™‚
    Congrats on your run- and the incline- wahoO!!

    • girlinchucks says:

      I enjoy learning how to make things on my own. Strangely though, I never have had the desire to learn how to make cornbread without those blue boxes. I guess it’s just because that is what I grew up with as cornbread. That, and I think it’s kinda tasty!

      Thanks. Kinda sad though…one block uphill and I was wiped. Guess I should do it more often!

  2. I’d love to help you out with a guest post!

    [And love the lazy cooking…if the shortcut works and doesn’t cost TOO much more, then by all means. GO for it.

    And seriously, sometimes a few extra pennies is worth having a little extra time in your day.

    For more cooking.]

    • girlinchucks says:

      I’m not sure my short cut mixes really saved any time, except for making corn bread instead of pancakes.

      The sauce probably took the same amount of time as if I had made it myself. My problem is that my attempts at making sauces unassisted have not been very successful. Oops! >_>

  3. maya says:

    I don’t use mixes for cooking.. pretty much ever. I am very particular about the way things taste and need to be able to adjust them to my own preferences. When I was a teen and hadn’t really started cooking much yet I already had the habit of doctoring jarred pasta sauces and canned soups to make them palatable to me, and this has only gotten more ingrained as I have learned more about cooking. I am also very picky about the ingredients that go into my food, and the cost/environmental impact involved in producing mass market mixes as opposed to just making it yourself.

    But one of the biggest factors is that it just doesn’t seem to save enough time to be worth it to me for the vast majority of items. I think that many people have this idea that good food is complicated, and don’t realize that it for most things it really only takes a very few extra steps over the mixes. Take that alfredo sauce there. The mix instructs you to heat milk & butter, and add parmesan.. but that’s pretty much all that’s involved with making alfredo from scratch anyway.. so what is the real purpose of the mix and why does it have so many ingredients in it? (for serious: for homemade alfredo sauce all you do is heat butter and cream, add parmesan, and season with black pepper and parsley).

    If I’m so pressed for time that I can’t cook something like that from scratch, then I’ll go for a simpler dish, like a salad or microwaved baked potato, steamed broccoli, and a fried egg. That’s wholesome, simple food that takes less than 10m start to finish.

    For baked goods and things I understand the pull of using a mix (I’ve never got my cornbread as good as Jiffy =/) but again, it really doesn’t take more than a few minutes longer to put something like muffins or cookies together from scratch once you get accustomed to the process and have the staples like flour, baking powder, etc. on hand.

    • girlinchucks says:

      My purpose in the sauce was because my efforts at making white sauce was so hideous last time, that I thought that since this sauce mix was in my kitchen, it might taste better than what I came up with before.. >_>

      But did it?

      No. Not really. Tasted about the same. Not very good!

      I don’t really use baked good mixes anymore. I’m comfortable mixing the ingredients now, which would have terrified me in the past. I did use a brownie mix to make those pumpkin brownies a few weeks ago, but really, it’s rare….

      ….except for cornbread. I love Jiffy. I will try to make my own at some point….but….I kinda don’t really have the interest. Unlike that sauce mix, Jiffy just tastes good!

      • maya says:

        I meant more what the purpose of the actual mix was than yours. I totally get why you used it.. just seems so weird for me they would make a mix that requires you do almost all the steps involved in making that sauce in the first place. Cuz really, if you take you the sauce and sub cream in for the milk that’s alfredo. The mix has no purpose other than I suppose to mimic the thickness of cream while calling for milk. It would make more sense to me if it included powdered parmesan or butter and just required the addition to hot milk. It’s weird.

        You don’t have a site search option, so I can find your other attempt at white sauce to see what you did. You should add site search!

        Jiffy mix does taste good.

  4. If you’re still in need of a guest post for December, please let me know as I’d be happy to write one πŸ™‚

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