Updated: Mar 1
This February I really felt a bit lost. I wanted to make a pineapple upside down cake, but I talked myself right out of it because, who am I baking it for? I always loved baking in the winter so the house felt toasty warm and it smelled delightful. This winter I was willing to take a pass and then I had a thought. What are the work arounds?
As time goes by things change, but change doesn't mean we abandon the things we enjoy. Sometimes all we have to do is reimagine how we're going to do something and in the process save time, money and have a "feel good" moment. This month the Grandmas Follies Blog is preserving our lifestyle. We're using pineapple upside down cake singles, lots of hot non-alcoholic (or not) drinks and 80 easy freezer meals for 1 or 2 people to reclaim the things we love.
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Don't give up your favorite recipes. Think big and freeze small.
Pineapple upside down cake was always a family favorite. I remember standing in the kitchen watching my mother melt the butter into the brown sugar, carefully position the pineapple rings around the skillet, and fill the centers with bright red cherries. I knew I really needed to remember how to do this. Now, I hesitate to make favorite dishes because I’m only cooking for 1 or 2 people and don’t want to waste food or overeat. If you’re wondering what a pineapple upside down cake is or the history of the cake, watch Mr. Watkins from Watkins Way I guarantee you will almost smell it as he melts the butter and adds in the brown sugar. Make your own cake, use a moist box cake mix or doctor up a box cake mix the way Mr. Watkins does. At the end he adds his “secret ingredient”, which my mother and grandma never thought to do.
As the winter temperatures drop outside my seasonal baking instincts kicked in. There’s no nicer way to take the chill off the house than to bake something that tastes and smells amazing. Of course, I would make a skillet pineapple upside down cake, but how would I freeze portions? Doing muffin size cakes crossed my mind and like the kids of today, I googled it. There it was. Delicious individual mini pineapple upside down cake made in jumbo muffin tins. I even had the jumbo size tins but could easily see it working in standard size tins with pineapple chunks. If you prefer the jumbo tins Amazon offers the Wilton baking brand as a package of two. I’m also using them for several other dishes to freeze portions.
This whole thing got me thinking again. We should be able to eat out of our own freezers and have what we enjoy. Too often I find myself eating things I really have no interest in because it’s easy or it’s a single portion. In the long run it’s probably more cost effective to make a previously normal size amount and freeze single servings for later. All it takes is a plan. I went back to google for some suggestions, guidelines, anything. Once again there it was. Lots of blog articles with useful information. The one that really caught my attention has 3 or 4 useful ways to properly freeze servings plus 80 recipes. They make lots and lots of brand suggestions which we do not need, but their content is very useful. The blog article is here: 80+ EASY FREEZER MEALS FOR 1 OR 2 PEOPLE.
They surprised me when they suggested freezing mason jars with “individual portions of soup as long as you leave at least 1 inch of head room at the top because the food will expand when it freezes”. The other freezing suggestions make sense, and we probably do some of it. Just remember to mark things. It would be a whole new problem if we open the freezer and can’t tell one thing from another. LOL
So, let’s not give up the things we enjoy. The pineapple upside down cake really made me revisit this issue. It’s so nice to look forward to a meal or a dessert when you know you made it and it's already in your freezer. Don’t forget. The warm up smells amazing all over again!
Non-alcoholic (or maybe not) hot drinks to warm up a cold winter night.
My husband’s grandmother made a hot drink for him whenever he didn't feel well. He swore by it, and the drink became a winter staple in our house. It’s so simple, has no name or written instructions and is good.
Here’s how grandma made his nameless hot drink. Put a medium size pot of water on the stove over low to medium heat. Slice a lemon or two into quarters and squeeze the juice into the pot. Then drop the squeezed lemons into the pot. Let it simmer for 30 minutes or so. That’s it. Serve hot with honey or sugar and you’ll feel magically good.
A few years later as the Chicago winters seemed to intensify, my husband and I decided to add a peeled and sliced root of ginger with the lemon as it simmered. The ginger added an extra kick for our scratchy winter throats, and it warms the body from head to toe. No alcohol was added, but you’re welcome to give it a try.
With or without alcohol, it’s fun to have a few go to hot drinks when evening temperatures drop. It’s relaxing and goes well with a good conversation, a good movie, or a book. Because so many of us are on medication and shouldn’t use alcohol, we might think our hot drink selections are limited. I discovered that’s simply not the case. Give these a try. I hope you find the six hot non-alcoholic recipes listed below as delicious as we did. There'll be many more chilly nights before spring arrives.
FYI: If you want a more complete selection of homemade hot and/or cold non-alcoholic beverages check out https://mindfulmocktail.com Her home page says if you sign-up, you will receive a free Mocktail e-recipe book.
So, here's the 6 non-alcoholic hot drinks we suggest to get you started. The full instructions are in each link. ENJOY! Non-alcoholic Mulled Wine https://mindfulmocktail.com/non-alcoholic-mulled-wine-pomegranate/ Easy Mulled Apple Cider https://mindfulmocktail.com/mulled-apple-cider-recipe/ Spiced Cranberry Apple Cider https://www.tastesoflizzyt.com/spiced-cranberry-apple-cider/ Chi Latte https://www.mydarlingvegan.com/spicy-chai-tea-latte/ French Hot Chocolate for one https://www.internationaldessertsblog.com/french-hot-chocolate-recipe-for-one/ London Fog Tea https://www.internationaldessertsblog.com/luxurious-london-fog-tea/