Archive for Cayenne

Food this week….

Posted in Cooking, Food, Life, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 19, 2016 by urbannight

This week I’m making some interesting made up recipes.

Spinach and Clam Sauce Spaghetti with Sea Scallops.

Put 1T butter and a drained can of minced or chopped clams into a small sauce pan, season with salt and cayenne.  Chop a cup or large handful of spinach.  Add to sauce pan.  Add 6 T of spaghetti sauce and 2T of pesto sauce.  Let simmer on low while cooking up 1.5 servings of spaghetti noodles.  Drain and put into sauce, stir.  Cover on lowest heat to keep warm.  Sear 3 or 4 sea scallops in butter, drizzled with lemon, seasoned with salt and cayenne.  Cut into half, plate pasta with spinach and claim sauce, place scallops on top.  Serve.

Chicken and Avocado on Rice. (by far the easiest)

Buy chicken strips cut for stir-fry.  Dice up.  Season to taste.  Fry up.  While frying, put 2 packets of Uncle Ben’s Basmati Rice in microwave and cook per instructions.  Half and dice up one avocado.  Put rice into 2 – 4 bowls.  Season rice to taste.  I use Cayenne.  Divide fried chicken over the rice.  Top with diced avocado.  Serve.  (I tend to make larger portions because avocado needs to be eaten quickly and I cook for myself.  If you have a family, making this as four servings with a salad and a second veggie side would make for a more balanced meal.)

Sausage and Cabbage in Ro-Tel.  ( someone gave me this one)

Melt a stick of butter in a pan.  Saute a shredded small cabbage and diced onion for 5 minutes.  Cut up sausage or kielbasa.  Add kielbasa and a can of Ro-Tel.  Cover and simmer for 20 – 25 minutes.

Beef and Spinach with Ravioli Soup.

1 lb meat, (I’m using beef).  Fry up with some onion.  Add half pot of water.  Bullion or broth. Season to taste.  Bring to boil.  While this is going on, chop up several cups of spinach.  Have a package of whatever flavor of stuffed Ravioli or Tortellini trips your trigger.  Add the pasta. Cook until done.  Add spinach.  Simmer until spinach is wilted and serve.  I’ve made this with Kale as well and chicken and ground turkey and ground chicken.  The only way I hated was with the ground chicken.  I just think I hate ground chicken.

 

 

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Stuffed Anaheim Peppers

Posted in Cooking, Food, Health, Hobby with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 7, 2013 by urbannight

anaheim_pepperThe Anaheim pepper is a very mild, somewhat sweet, pepper. Named for a town in California, they were developed in New Mexico and the varieties grown there tend to be a bit hotter than the ones grown in California.

My favorite way to eat these it to slice them in half, long-wise, and clean out. Mix cream cheese, crab, and cayenne in a bowl. Fill the peppers.

As we all know, everything is better with bacon, so wrap a slice of bacon around the stuffed pepper. Grill or roast until the bacon is cooked but try to avoid burning the pepper.

I’ve never seen any directions on this so I play with it every time. In fact, sometimes I start them in the microwave to partly cook the bacon and then roast them in the oven to finish. A small amount of charing on the peppers is okay. It enhances the look of them without leaving them tasting burnt.

You may want to use pre-cooked bacon because they are never cooked enough. But sometimes they are cut too thin and then the bacon cooks too fast instead of too slow.

Cayenne Pepper

Posted in Cooking, Food, Health, Hobby, Tea with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 7, 2013 by urbannight

cayenne-pepper-diet

The queen of peppers. She is in the middle of the bar for heat. (A three on the 5 point chart I was looking at the other day.) They are a lovely, shiny, bright red but can look pinkish as well. You can eat them green or fully ripe. A lovely, barely there flavor, they work wonderfully to add heat to any dish without significantly altering the inherent flavor of the dish. High in Vitamin A and other vitamins, most people can’t eat enough to make it count. But it has often been used as a warming spice, to combat cold-temperature areas as well as something to help make you sweat and thereby, somehow, keep you cooler in hot climates. That second half never made sense to me.

It supposedly reduces pain, improves blood flow, and helps ulcers. Yep, a chili pepper that helps ulcers. It is supposed to be calming on the stomach and a tea of it is sometimes used for this purpose. It is quite good at getting the sinuses flowing. All chili peppers are anti-inflammatories. The hotter the pepper the more capsaicin. The more capsaicin, the better it is as an anti-inflammatory. Making it good for arthritis and other inflammations and inflammation based pain.

I’ve heard tell that the peppers help you lose weight because you eat less. But any help in weight loss may actually be attributed to thermogenics. The capsaicin produces a reaction where the body gets very hot. This reaction actually requires a lot of energy, like putting coals on a fire. So your body starts burning an increased amount of calories and uses more oxygen for around about 20 minutes. Perhaps I should have a much of cayenne tea in the morning and before or after every meal.

This is my all time, favorite herb.

Spicy Beef Soup

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 28, 2012 by urbannight

Spicy Beef Soup

Brown up ground beef in a pot.
Cut half an onion in slightly thick slices, then 1/4 the stack.
Mince one garlic clove.
Peal the rest of the garlic but leave whole or cut big ones in half.
Sprinkle browning beef with Cayenne. Stir well.
When beef is nearly done, add the onions and garlic.
Sprinkle with more Cayenne. Stir well.
Cook until beef is done and veggies are softened.
Add 1 cup water and beef bullion.
Once bullion is completely dissolved, add another cup water and half a cup of small elbow pasta or other pasta.
Cook until softened.
Add more water if needed.
Add more Cayenne to taste.

Good for when you are coming down with a nasty head cold.

How to Get Rid of Mucus in Your Throat

Posted in Entertainment, Life, Movies and Theatre, Tea, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 31, 2012 by urbannight

This is how I feel when I have a sinus infection and am searching for relief.

The title is a search term that brought someone to my bolg.  For some reason, it really amused me.  Maybe because I’ve had issues with it.  Maybe because I woke up at 4:00 am with a sore throat, swollen glands, and totally congested.  So I thought I might address the issue.

So I promptly went and made dinner (smashed potatoes, a hamburger patty, and herb gravy for beef).  While cooking and eating dinner I watched Chalet Girl.  It didn’t bore or annoy me in the first 5 minutes.  This was good.  Bill Nighy came on the screen.  This was better.  It was at that moment I knew I would finish the movie and, at the very least, like it.  I loved it.  A winning skateboarder takes a job at a chalet in the Alps in order to help support her father after they were in a car crash that killer her mother.  She has never skied and this puts her in an awkward position with her coworker.  She comes across a snow board.  This resembles a skateboard.  So she gives it a go.  And the movie progresses from there.  Give it a go.  It won’t clear your throat but it will entertain you and distract you from it.  Just like it distracted me from writing the post after I got out the first paragraph.

One of the most common methods is decongestants.  After all, the mucus is coming from the sinuses.  The only problem with these is that sometimes they really dry you out.  You end up with dry mouth, dry nostrils, dry eyes, over dryness in more delicate areas.  And if it isn’t very effective, you can’t really take much else for a few hours.  I tend to fluctuate between using them a lot and using them as a last resort.  I’m in a ‘last resort’ sort of place now.

Soup is good.  Hot soup.  Steaming soup.  Spicy soup that gets the sinuses flowing and hot in temperature that  sort of ‘melts’ it from your throat.  I like Chicken Soup from Hell.   Dice up a chicken breast, brown in some olive oil.  Toss in onion and garlic. LOTS of onion and garlic.  Add water.  Add bullion. Add seasoning.  The most important being the cayenne pepper.   In fact, the chicken is just to give the soup some thing to actually eat in it.  The point is to get the onion, garlic, and cayenne into the system for their health and cold fighting properties. 

They say hot tea works, especially hot mint tea.  I never found this to be true.   Inhaling the steam while it cools enough to actually drink it just doesn’t get enough through the sinuses.  The hot tea helps the throat somewhat, but usually, once it gets to drinking temperature, it doesn’t clear the throat as well as soup in general does.  Now if you take a pure mint tea bag and use it as a smelling sachet, that does work clear the sinuses and eventually the throat.  A warning, you will be inhaling small particles of mint leaves and it will turn your mucus a deep green when you next blow your nose.

Nasal sprays work fantastic on the nose and can sorta clear the throat.  But they leave a horrible taste in the back of the throat, make the nose feel raw, can lead to increased sore throats, can lead to increased congestion when they wear off, and can result in a cycle of constant use to clear the increasingly worse congestion.  And you should never use them for longer than seven days.  So I’ll only use them at bed time if I’m too bad off to fall asleep.  I and use them very sparingly.

There is an old chorus trick of gargling or drinking lemon juice to clear the throat of mucus.  This can be somewhat effective.  But if you have an actual sore throat, this can also sting.   On a similar note, I’ve found gargling with strong alcohol (think vodka and such) to be helpful in the short-term.  The very short-term.  For 15 minutes or so.  probably not worth it really.  Unless it’s to get some relief while you are cooking soup or something.  Or you want a few drinks so you don’t care about the annoying, thick, choking mucus in  your throat that is really annoying you.

And then there is my personal favorite, the neti pot.  This like device washes the sinuses out with a saline solution.  It helps pull it out of the back the help clear the throat.  This also makes the mucus shift and makes you want to spit a few times which also helps.  You have to blow your nose a couple of times in the 5 or 10 minutes after using it so that helps too.  It really makes you feel better in the nose and throat.  And if you feel like you are coming down with a sinus infection, regular use every 4 – 6 hours helps prevent said infection.  By clearing it out regularly, it can’t build up a ‘pool’ of infected mucus in your sinuses and thus the body’s natural defenses are able to better fight off any infection and you can avoid having to over use antibiotics from the doctor. 

So, the neti pot is my favorite method of not only clearing my nose, but clearing out the thick gunk that builds up and coats the throat, so it feels like you cannot clear your throat.  That’s as long as I remember to actually use it. Some days, I don’t notice it until I’ve left for work and it will annoy me all day long.  I hate it when that happens.  I had bought a second one to keep at work and a second box of the saline, but somewhere along the line one set vanished and I once again must remember to carry mine around with extra packets of saline.

Halloween is in the air! And so are Sinus Infections.

Posted in Holiday, Life, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 16, 2012 by urbannight

It you are going to be a ghost, do it with style.

To start with, I’ve been trying to fight off a sinus infection.

If you base it on thick, gunky mucus that is 50 shades of green, then it was definitely an infection. They say you can’t possibly get rid of infections without antibiotics, but I’m not so sure. I’ve had pretty good luck with regular irrigation via a netipot. Sure, it takes time and you have to do it, consistently, about every 4 hours. Drink plenty of tea and soup, garlic and cayenne are good tools. So is onion. But the color gets better, the mucus starts to thin some. Eventually you are back to normal.

When you compare it, antibiotic take a good 10 days, you have to take them anywhere from twice a day to every 4 to 6 hours. And then you increase your resistance to then and help create antibiotic resistant strains of various bugs and diseases. Not to mention the rather high odds for women to get ‘other’ infections because antibiotics also kill the good things in our bodies we need.

I think I’ll stick with my netipot.

This fight over who rules my sinuses has been going on since the weekend. Monday I nearly stayed home. Then I decided I would go in and see how things went. Maybe I could leave early if I was getting worse. Well, that was a bad idea. We were short two compilers in another department so the unit I’m in had to help cover for them. There was no leaving early.

Tuesday, I didn’t feel any better. I was in a good mood and decided I could get through the day. I did it Monday, after all. OMG (yes, I really typed it). I ended up leaving in a very cranky mood. It wasn’t triggered by a caller for a change, but by a co-worker.

Wednesday I felt much worse and took the day off. I slept. I got 14 hours of sleep. I also ran out of medicine last night and it was too late to bother going to the store. But good sleep has helped get rid of the sore throat, clear up part of the headache, and green has cleared up to white. My ears are still bothering me. I dislike the way my sinuses drain into the ears.

And I had ‘weird’ dreams all night. Now I normally have weird dreams. These were weird even for me. The result was that I was up early, bright eyed and bushy tailed. But that energy didn’t last long and I’m ready for a nap now. It will be a long day.

But the day is improved by the wonderful, blustery, windy, overcast sky. This morning’s weather was perfect, beautify, just what I like. I love fall and all it brings.

It brings more wind, more clouds, sometimes more rain; leaves turn colors, fall, and make great big piles to bury oneself in. It leads to naked, skeletal tree limbs, reach out, reaching up, clawing at the world and sky. The air turns crisp, and cold, and sharp, and scented with wood smoke and the hint of a future winter.

I love Fall. It is my favorite season. I feel the energy that summer steals from me starting to return. And it marks the return of my favorite holiday. Halloween. I would do Halloween all year round but no one wants to let me.

On the way to work I saw a sign for Spirit of Halloween. It is one of the two Halloween superstores that open up around September. I love these stores. Massive collections of costumes, decorations, party ware, wigs, makeup, hats, masks, the fun never ends.

We also have a local decorating store, called Nobbies that usually has a fantastic Halloween selection. At least it did until last year. That was a rather significant let down. They had their usual large display of costumes. But the actual décor was significantly reduced. I have to admit it was somewhat depressing.

Perhaps even distressing.

Yes, distressing. The spending on Halloween now rivals the spending on Christmas, but last year, thinking people would not be spending as much, the stores stocked less. Much less.

Still, this is another year. Another Dollar. Another Halloween. Another chance to find that perfect item that you can justify leaving out all year long. Another opportunity to increase my skull collection.

They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend. I think they seriously underestimate the happiness that can be found in a good skull.

Chicken and Rice Noodles and the danger of cooking with a migraine.

Posted in Food, Life, Uncategorized, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 6, 2012 by urbannight

There are all these ways to cook with less oil to make things healthier.  But I’ve discovered a secret.  And I will share it with you.

 

If you want to properly sauté up onions and garlic, and get the onions close to caramelizing without them starting to char up, you really need to use more oil and not less.  For a veggie that is very strong and bitter, it amazes me that it has enough sugar in it to caramelize when cooking.  I’ve found that I like mine best if I stop just as it is hitting that stage.

 

SO . . . I started by mincing up three slices of onion and adding a heaping spoon of minced garlic from the jar.  I dumped it into the heating oil and sprinkled with cayenne.  Yes, I use a lot of cayenne.  I love it.  Like I may have mentioned before, it has a lovely sweet mild flavor with heat that comes through otherwise mildly flavored dishes.  And it adds a lovely heat to strongly flavored dishes without altering the flavor.   

 

The smell of onions and garlic sautéing in olive oil is one of my favorite smells.  Unfortunately, migraines screw with your sense of smell.  Not for everyone, but definitely for me.  You probably don’t really want to know that it smelled like cat piss to me.  I was very unhappy about that. 

 

While I kept an eye on the minced herbs (because, really, an onion is more of a very large herb than a veggie) I diced up a chicken breast.  It was a lovely chicken breast.  If I had been thinking, I would have taken pictures of my lovely sautéing onions and garlic as well as the chicken breast.  I have, in the past, tried using precooked chicken.  It ends up tasting rather horrible with a terrible texture.  No matter how horrible I feel, if I don’t start from raw chicken breast from the meat counter, it doesn’t turn out right.

 

Now this is the trick, to not only cook the chicken, but to get it to start to brown up without the onions starting to fry themselves.  I stirred often and let it sit for short bursts and for once managed this trick perfectly.  At this point, I had used no salt at all.  I used a salt-free chicken and poultry seasoning my parents sent me from their last trip to Hawaii.  I added several cups of water and two chicken-flavored bullion cubes.  And the salt goes through the roof.  If I had been thinking, I would have picked up low sodium chicken broth.

 

I opened a package of rice noodles.  It was in 3 ‘sheets’ for lack of a better description.  I took out two and put the last back in the bag for another time.  Gripping a sheet firmly in each hand, I twist it in the middle to break it in half, slowly and carefully, so not to send bits of rice noodle in every direction.  I have tried cutting it with kitchen sheers but that just made a huge mess.  I stirred the noodles in, covered it, and let it cook until the noodles were done.

 

By this point, it lost it’s distressingly unpleasant aroma.  It smelled quite good.  It tasted even better.  I could have had two bowls of leftovers.  But I decided to have a second bowl instead.  I would have taken a picture of it today but it just doesn’t look as pretty in a Ziploc bowl as it does in a proper bowl at home.  So no pretty pictures for you.  I really have to do better to remember the camera when I cook up delicious things.