The Kitchen for Cooking???

Yeah, whodathunk it? The soap production is slowing down a little. I’m making some handcrafted soaps in preparation of my show next weekend, but, despite the oils and lye calling to me from my storage area (“Sara… Ohhhhh Saaaaara” – See, there they go again), I’m resisting the urge. One, I’m seeing the end of my lye and don’t want to place a bulk order this close to our move. That’s just a hazmat hassle I don’t want to have to think about. Two, my five-year-old daughter is on her Spring intersession (a 3-week break from her year-around school) and wants to do things with me. She’s having to forebear some soapmaking and wrapping, because it needs to get done before we can go to the beach next weekend and, let’s face it, the kid’s got her priorities in order. She’s yearning for sea and sand as much as I am!

So, in an effort to include her in things I want and need to get done, she’s been helping me wrap soaps, do dishes and when she makes a mess in the living room, she picks it up and vacuums if necessary. This morning before I’d even finished my morning cuppa, she was asking me when we’d be doing dishes. After slowing her down… and slowing her down… And, “Can I please just finish my coffee before we have to worry about that?” After all that, we got productive. (Um, no, she’s not available for rent, lease, borrow or loan, but you can use her as an example for kids who don’t want to work around the house.)

Another one of my projects that I’ve been wanting to take on is really very simple – fairly healthy breakfast sandwiches for my husband to carry with him to work. I’ve done these before and he liked them “OK”; fat-free cheese slices are apparently very plastic-y, whether they’re melted or just unwrapped. I got the original recipe out of Lean and Lovin’ It by Don Mauer, a local nutritionist who’s put out some great lower fat, lower calorie recipes that still taste good. The original recipe calls for:

English muffins
Egg substitute
Fat-free cheese slices
98% fat-free deli ham
Fat-free buttery spread

Not bad, but… My main thing is, the first time I made these, I trimmed down the ham slices so they’d fit the English muffins better and ate the trimmings. I can’t eat cold deli meat while I’m pregnant, though, so in order to avoid temptation, I opted for Canadian bacon, just like you’d get at that place with the golden arches. So, my variation has…

6 whole wheat English muffins, split into two halves (good for fiber and protein)
6 ounces of egg substitute
6 2% fat cheese singles
12 slices of Canadian bacon (a serving is 3 slices with 1.5 g fat/serving)
Buttery spread
Fresh ground pepper
Olive oil spray (I have an air pump for oil)

This recipe does well with an extra pair of hands or the ability to form a 1-person assembly line. First, start browning your Canadian bacon in a pan you’ve lightly spritzed with the olive oil, about 2 minutes per side. While that’s going, begin toasting the English muffins. As the English muffins come out of the toaster, spread them lightly with the buttery spread (whipped butter is perfectly OK for those who prefer natural products). I find it helpful to put the halves back together while I’m waiting on the bacon so the butter really melts.

Place two slices of Canadian bacon on each English muffin, one on each half. Pour one ounce of egg substitute into the pan and cook it for two minutes, flip it, then cook it for a minute more. Add pepper as desired to cooking egg. While that’s cooking, place a cheese slice on one of the slices of Canadian bacon on the English muffin. Add cooked egg to sandwich, close it, let it cool a bit, then slip it into a plastic baggy.

Repeat until you have 6 sandwiches.

When you’re ready to eat it, open the bag and pop the sandwich in the microwave for 30 seconds or until cheese is melted. Add a piece of fruit, and you’ve got a good, pretty healthy, portable breakfast for 6 days.

I have no idea what the fat and calorie count on this would be; I haven’t checked. Both of mine have given it two thumbs up and enthusiastic “Mmmmmm’s” while nodding happily. I’d guess I spent a total of $10.00 on the ingredients for this (just guesstimating), and I only used up the English muffins. I still have many cheese slices left, a few pieces of bacon and over a cup of Egg Beaters left, so I didn’t use all $10 worth of ingredients. Can’t hit the drive-thru for that!