Final Learning Project post

I have had SO much fun with my learning project over the course of this semester. Usually, when a semester ends I am excited for school to be done and don’t do anything ” school related” until the next semester starts. This isn’t going to be the case with my learning project. I had a lot of fun learning how to cook and sharing my accomplishments on my blog so it will definitely be something I keep up with in the future!

My Inspiration..

When I started this project, I couldn’t think of what to choose. I spent a lot of a days thinking of what to choose and finally came up with cooking. I am known for being a not-so-good chef and have a history of being weak in the kitchen. I wanted to turn this reputation around!

My first posts were really simple! I focused on the food ( and even that was really simple). I was cooking things that a lot of people would classify ” easy” but to me they were things I genuinely didn’t know how to cook such as eggs, pancakes etc. My blog posts were pretty straight forward… Just information about how I made recipes and what I learned with pictures here and there.

everyone should know how to cook eggs right?!

As I got more comfortable using wordpress and the appliances in my kitchen, I started to branch out with how showcased my learning and the recipes that I tried. Some of my more complex recipes include vegan alternatives and baking! As I grew, I started adding youtube videos and giphys into my posts. I even created a vlog.

adding youtube videos
adding giph’s and links

Feedly 

I used the blogs I follow along with through feedly a lot during my learning project. Although my food didn’t always turn out just like the food-bloggers I follow, I still liked learning from them and trying new things!

bloggers I follow on Feedly

Vlogging: 

Vlogging was a lot of fun because it was something I have never done before. I learned how to use iMovie while doing my blog. It took a lot of time to make my videos but it was a lot of fun doing it! This was a totally new learning experience for me. Since my first Vlog, I have made 4 other videos for different classes I’m in to showcase my learning. I have also taught a couple of friends how to use iMovie! here is the link to my very first VLOG:

 

Personal Favorites: 

Some of the favourite things I accomplished during my learning project was my beat salad and chocolate chip pancakes. YUM. I’m getting hungry again just thinking about them.

 

What I learned: 

  1. Be patient: Not every recipe is going to go as planned or turn out looking like the photo from the website!
  2. Things will go wrong: For example, when I cooked my egg cups, they grew so much in the oven that some overflowed and it became a huge mess!
  3. Try new things!  I feel like throughout the course of this semester I really pushed myself with how I used my blog and the recipes I tried. This really helped me grow as a digital citizen and a chef!
  4. There is always help! This project reinforced for me how powerful the internet is. Whenever I hit a roadblock in the kitchen, an answer/solution to work through was always a click away! I spent a lot of time watching cooking tutorials.
  5. Dishwater will always gross me out! No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t get over doing the dishes. The dirty water grossed me out every.single.time.
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Is detoxing worth it?!

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’m really trying hard to stick to this healthy eating kick. This post is focusing on health cleanses and detoxes that supposedly are good for the body! There are so many out there and I found it to be very overwhelming until one day a simple solution came to me from the one and only dr. Oz.

https://giphy.com/embed/Z7ehQXaZoV5Ze

via GIPHY

Ever since the Dr. Oz show started airing, I have always been intrigued by it! I think the information that he shares on his show is useful, interesting and practical.

On the episode I watched, Dr. Oz was sharing information on a 3 day detox plan. The main focus in this detox is to fuel the body with healthy ingredients and to flush out any unwanted gunk in our bodies. The mission of it is supposed to make your body feel fresh. It seemed really simple watching him explain it.

How it works. 

  • There are three smoothie drinks ( breakfast lunch and supper drinks)
  • Each day, take one multivitamin, and one probiotic supplement.
  • One snack is allowed per day ( repeat favourite drink)

On the website, Dr. Oz includes a shopping checklist of all the things needed for this cleanse. I thought this was super helpful and made the shopping process less intimidating. The only things I had never bought before were almond milk and coconut oil ( I bought both these things at costco).

I am on day two of this detox and I’m finding it really hard. I find myself being really hungry by the time suppertime comes around and I always want to eat more than just a smoothie. One more day, I can do this!

My drink of choice:

From this detox, I have decided to feature my favourite drink. The “lunch drink” is packed with nurtrients. In one drink you will find

  • 1 cucumber
  • 4 celery stalks
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1/2 a lime
  • 1 cup pineapple
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil.

OKAY.. When I first tried this I said “ew!!”. The colour thew me off and I found it very vegetable tasting, something I don’t really love. Today, I added a few more pineapples and it made it a lot better!

my green lunch drink!

Everyone has a sweet tooth!

I know I’ve been trying to eat healthy, but my family had Easter dinner this weekend so you know I just HAD to make some cookies. I’ve been notoriously known for being a really, really awful baker so I was up for a challenge here. I googled what the easiest type of cookies are and what I gathered is that sugar cookies are the easiest.

I don’t know what has gotten into me but I have felt rather musical while cooking lately. This post made me think of Adam Levine and the musical stylings of Maroon 5 with the song ” Sugar” :

When I made the dough, I needed the following ingredients:

  • 2 3/4 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Before I rolled out the dough to cut out the shapes, this is what it looked like :

would be lying if I said I didn’t sneak a few bites of cookie dough…

I was just going to put some store bought icing on my cookies but what kind of chef would I be if I did that. So again, I turned to the web to find easy to make sugar cookie icing. Most sites/ blogs I found said that you can add food colouring to the icing but I just left mine white. All I had to do to create my icing was mix together 1 cup of powdered Sugar, 3 tablespoons of milk, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. 

the Easter Bunny came after all!

 

beet it!!

Since I’m still trying to be on a ” eat healthy” roll, I decided to make a Beet and spinach salad as my contribution for Easter Dinner yesterday. To make this salad, I needed the following ingredients :

  • 2 large beets
  • baby spinach
  • goat cheese
  • crumbled walnuts
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper

I have had salads at restaurants before so I was really excited to make this one. However, i’d never cooked a beet before so I had to watch a youtube tutorial to help me out. Pro-tip: Beets are messy however you do them, but I learned that if you boil them with the skin on, the skin can be taken off with a paper towel and it makes things a little bit less messy … a little bit! 

 

My beet before I cooked it and my fingers got all messy.

The tutorial I watched suggests using a plastic cutting board rather than a wood/glass board to cut the beets because it makes it a bit easier to clean. Beets are yummy but so MESSY! Ps. I could not get this song out of my head while making this recipe, hence the title of this post.

The dressing for this salad was really simple! All I had to do was whisk together the vinegar and olive oil, add a little salt and pepper  and voila!! The dressing was easy but not overly flavourful in my honest opinion .

The recipe called for goat cheese. We didn’t have any in the fridge so I decided to substitute this for feta cheese. It was a nice addition!!

This was a really simple recipe but I still feel like I got a lot out of it! I learned how to make beets and my family was really satisfied (and surprised) that something I cooked actually turned out good 😉

the final product! YUM YUM YUM

 

Dining with Danna- vlog edition

This week i took a TOTALLY new approach to the Dining with Danna page and created a VLOG. Making a video to share what I have learned has been something i’ve been wanting to do since I started my #LearningProject. Not only did I learn how to make brusslesprouts and mushroom steaks this week but I also learned how to use a new app- iMovie!

When I first started using iMovie, I must admit that I was intimidated. I had ( and still really don’t have) a single clue on how to use it and all the features you can use to create a movie. The more I got to using it, the more little tips and tricks I would figure out. There is SO much you can do on this program!

How I made my Vlog:

  1. I started by recording myself in short clips using the Photo Booth app on my mac. This part was a lot of fun. At first, I felt really weird talking into the screen (sometimes more than a few times to get the perfect clip) alone in my kitchen. By the end of my video though I felt really comfortable and was having  lot of fun.
  2. I took the clips and added them to iMovie. This step was a  LOT easier than I thought it would be. I only had to drag my video clips from photo booth and inset them where I wanted in iMovie
  3. I then started to play around with the features of iMovie: This part was also super fun. I learned that you can shorten video clips, speed them up, adjust the sound and the list goes on and on! This  part took me almost as long as it did to film which was surprising to me.
  4. I saved my video and loaded it to Youtube: This step made me appreciate how simple it is to use iMovie! All I had to do was save my movie ” as a file” and then upload the file to youtube and VOILA!

This was my first ever video blog and I’m pretty happy with how it turned out! It’s definitely still choppy but this was just my first time exploring with iMovie! Next time, I’m going to try and clean it up a lot more and add some new features. I definitely see vlogging becoming a new obsession of mine!

 

Hitting a road block!

I haven’t made a Dining with Danna post since before the break… I have hit a little bit of a bump in the road. My workplace is having a workplace weight loss competition and I have entered in it! The competition is only 3 short weeks which means I am going to have to make some BIG changes to how I eat and how I exercise if I want to see any type of results ( sigh). For those of you who know me, you know I like carbs and sweets, so the next few weeks will definitely be challenging.

The main reason I haven’t been posting as many food posts is simply because I haven’t been eating a lot. For the first week of this weightless challenge, I have been eating a lot of plain salads and bananas… NOT a healthy eating plan!

Something had to change. I need to start up my blogs again as well as eating better. SO, in the last few days, I have been web surfing to find recipes that will be beneficial to my health as well as my food blog.

I am looking to make and eat foods that are nearly carb-free, fresh, and clean. I am going to try and cut out pasta ( The agony!!) and substituting it with spaghetti squash. This plant is an ingredient I see a lot all over food blogs. Here is a site I found that explains how to cook a spaghetti squash in a simple way.

Me forcing myself to eat healthier

via GIPHY

For breakfast, I typically eat raisin toast or some other carb. I am going to turn to making smoothies for breakfast from here on out. This site is a good starting point for making smoothies and walks you through the do’s and don’ts of how to make a smoothie!

 

Playing around with Pancakes

This was an exciting week on Dining with Danna as it marked my last breakfast submission so of course I had to do something big! I decided to cook breakfast for my family… chocolate chip pancakes from scratch and bacon.

When I was first starting the make my pancakes I felt intimidated with the idea of making something from scratch. The thought of just reaching into the cupboard and using the pre-made box mix was very tempting but this was something I knew I had to stick to!

It took me quite a while to find a recipe that I thought was perfect for me. I found a blog that had a really nice layout- it had a little checklist that you clicked each time you completed a step to make sure you didn’t miss anything! I almost used this site but then I realized she was instructing to cook the pancakes in the oven and I wanted to do mine on the stove. Maybe one day I’ll try this recipe!

 The recipe I ended up using was simple and easy to follow. I added chocolate chips for a wow factor. Everything is better with chocolate am I right?

The recipe called for the following ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons butter melted

As my pancakes were cooking, I made some bacon. I haven’t cooked bacon on my own before so I turned to youtube to find a tutorial video!

so far so good!

I liked how my pancakes turned out and especially liked the addition of the chocolate chips. My mom tried the pancakes and she wasn’t really a fan as they were too thick for her, but to each their own. I’m curious… how do you like your pancakes?! Comment below.

First attempt at egg cups!

I’ve been wanting to try making egg muffin cups since I started my learning project but I’ve been  putting it off because I was scared. The first thing I did was start browsing the web for easy egg cup recipes. As I browsed the web, I was thinking ” okay how bad could this be?”. All the recipes and how to cook it didn’t seem all that complicated. My mom makes egg cups sometimes and they always turn out so perfect and looking like cute little muffins. So I found a recipe that I found appealing and got crackin’!

The recipe I found called for the following:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cups spinach
  • 6 bacon slides ( I used ham that was already in my fridge because we had no bacon!)

** I added some green onions just because I’ve been obsessed with them lately!

all of my ingredients set out and ready to go!

When I was prepping my ingredients I ran into one obstacle. ” HOW DO YOU CUT AN ONION?!”. To some this may be a silly question but I genuinely did not know what the best way to cut an onion was so I turned to my trusty pal, Youtube ( I followed this video step by step)!

The instructions on the blog I found my recipe on were as followed:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Use a regular 12-cup muffin pan. Spray the muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray ( I didn’t have any Pam in my cupboard so I used a cooking brush and put some olive oil on the tins).
  2. In a large bowl, beat eggs until smooth. Add milk, salt, cheddar cheese and mix. Stir spinach, cooked bacon ( ham) into the egg mixture. Saddle the egg mixture into greased muffin cups 3/4 full.
  3. Top each muffin cup with grated parmesan cheese * I skipped this step because I already had a LOT of cheddar cheese left over, so I topped the muffin with cheddar. 
  4. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, let the muffins cool for 30 minutes before removing them from the pan.
My eggs cups cooking

 

When my egg cups were cooking I had a little bit of panic because they were rising SO fast! I ws scared they were going to spill over and make a huge eggy mess. When the timer went off and I took them out of the oven, my egg cups deflated. Some of them were even caving in! I know the website told me to let them sit in the pan for a bit to set but I took them right away because I was scared of them sticking in the pan.

Fresh out of the oven…

I was becoming REALLY discouraged with my egg cups as I took them out of the pan. The first three I scooped out were pretty much just the muffin top and nothing else. They did not look like the perfect egg cups my mom made and that I’d seen on the internet. There were only  a few that turned out resembling muffins. Next time, I need to add more mixture to each tin!

Even though my first attempt at egg cups didn’t turn out as visual pleasing as I had hoped, I am still really happy with how they ended up tasting!

not the prettiest but I’ll get better!

The aftermath…

-I didn’t use NEARLY enough olive oil to grease my pans ( will definitely buy Pam next time).

-Because I didn’t grease my pans enough, I had a LOT of sticky egg left stuck to the bottom of the pan. This took forever to scrape off and lead me to do touch wet eggs as I washed the dishes. For those of you who don’t know, doing the dishes is one of my LEAST favourite things. I do not like touching soggy food and putting my hands in dirty dish water. YUCK! Luckily we have this cute little dish scrubber brush that got me through the sticky egg dishes tonight.

I seriously LOVE this cute dish scrubber!

Thats all folks ( Or should I say yolks.. egg pun). See you next week on Dining with Danna when I make brunch for my last breakfast entry!

 

Fantastic French toast

This morning I had some extra time before I had to leave for work so instead of stopping at Brewed Awakening like I normally would, I decided to make a quick breakfast.. French Toast! I started by browsing Youtube for some tutorial videos– and then I went to Google to pull a recipe.

This is what my recipe called for: 

2: Eggs 

1/2 cup of milk 

1 tablespoon of sugar 

1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract 

1 pinch of salt 

6 slices of bread

** I also added a little bit of cinnamon for extra flavour. 

Once I had all of my ingredients pulled from the cupboard, I put them all in a bowl and started whisking away.

The next step was dipping the bread in the eggy-goodness. For this step, I also watched some videos to make sure I was doing this right. Once my french toast was done, I was still feeling pretty adventurous in the kitchen so I watched a video on how to make perfect scrambled eggs and whipped some up!

And voila!! a very yummy and simple breakfast. I am having so much fun with this #learningProject.

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