Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Deep fried CHEESE

What's better than cheese? DEEP FRIED CHEESE. 

1 cup all purpose flour

1.5 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 lb cheese curds

Oil for frying

Beat the eggs (they deserve it!),  add flour, baking powder, salt, and milk. Mix until clumps and bubbles are completely gone. If you have the patient, strain the flour first and you'll get almost no clumps (No, I don't have the patience for that...). 

Put your oil in a pan (with high sides... obviously.). Here's a trick to know when your oil is good to go. Drop one or two popcorn kernels in the oil. As soon as they POP, your oil is ready to start cookin'!

Coat your cheese curds in the batter. If you couldn't find curds, go ahead and buy your favorite cheese and cut it into cubes. I'm not a purist! If you are a purist, you can find a few different brands of cheddar cheese curds at Meijer. 

Once your oil and your cheese curds are ready, plop those bad boys in the oil. Obviously, be careful! This is going to bubble and jump when you drop your cheese. Wear long sleeves and an apron. Take no chances! 

Cook the curds for about a minute in oil. One they're ready, put them in a bowl or a plate lined with a paper towel. Eat them while they're still hot and ENJOY! 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Beautiful, Bubbly Water

I've always enjoyed sparkling water as a treat, but in the last year I adopted it as my main source of hydration. First of all, I love that in America we call it "sparkling." Europeans have far less glamorous names, translated as the dull, but harmless "fizzy water," the ambiguous "mineral water," and the class clown among names for the substance, "gassy water" (might as well call it bloated water while you're at it...). Now that that rant is over, let's discuss why sparkling water is amazing. 

The Benefits 

 I certainly haven't done a scientific study, but I believe there have been benefits to drinking sparkling water instead of still. I have a notoriously sensitive stomach. After working a full day, I almost always went home with some sort of indigestion or stomach pains. Now, this almost never occurs. I drink a liter of sparkling water at my desk everyday, and although I spend more time walking to the ladies room than I used to, I feel great. I've heard that sparkling water can help settle an upset stomach and I believe that this is true. 

We all know that drinking water is crucial to health and wellness, but how many of us actually drink enough? Bringing a bottle of still water with me everywhere certainly helped me increase how much I drank, but I still didn't drink enough.  Personally, I think sparkling water tastes better and is more fun to drink. I never have trouble finishing a bottle of coke, but I've littered my home with dozens of half full bottles of water. I certainly prefer drinking water with a meal, but when I'm sitting at my desk I want something a little more exciting. Sparkling water tastes great and I love the popping feeling of the little bubbles in my mouth. 

Something to keep in mind, flavored sparkling water is not what I'm raving about. Flavored water is better than soda or juices with added sugar, but it's not necessarily good for you. 

What About the Cost?

Tap water is free and sparkling water can be quite expensive. Here are the top brands that I've drank and their costs. 

 Voss Artisan Water $4.04 (0.24/oz) 

Perrier $2.91 (0.34/oz)

San Pellegrino $1.45 (0.17/oz) 

La Croix $1.87 (0.16/oz)

That can add up pretty quickly, especially when you're used to the free water that comes from the tap or the office water cooler. Even still bottles of water are significantly cheaper than sparkling (On average, less than $2.00) 

I stopped drinking Voss because it has a fairly high sodium content and I get more than enough of that in my diet. San Pellegrino has the same problem. Neither Perrier nor La Croix have any sodium content. 

Thanks to student loans, I'm--for lack of better phrase--poor as piss. I couldn't justify drinking a bottle of La Croix every day. But I found a solution. I eat grocery store brand everything almost (Not Coke or Cheez its!), why not store brand sparkling water? At Meijer, a two liter bottle of sparking water costs $0.88 (that's less than 5 cents an oz). Cheap! Guess what? It tastes great! Just as good as the other 4 brands I have listed above. And if you're poorer than I, you can ever cut sparkling water with tap water. Don't do more than 1/3 tap water to 2/3 sparkling water though! If you do, there won't be nearly enough bubbles... We love the bubbles. 

While we're on the subject of sparkling water, I'll bring up an energy drink that is mostly sparkling water. It's called HiBall. It contains no sugar or sweeteners. It tastes like sparkling water with a hint of lime or grapefruit (those are the only two flavors I've tried). This guy packs a whaloop and get's me through the day without needing additional caffeine or energy supplements. Delicious, good for you, and it WORKS.