Tag Archives: quick

French Toast, sweet or savory

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I don’t like sweets. So how can I enjoy french toast? Don’t make it sweet! When I was younger, my family made french toast ALL the time. For me and my younger brother, who don’t like sweets, however, we just had our french toast savory, with no sweetness added. It was just…eggy bread, I guess. But it is delicious nonetheless. The two huge breakfast treats in my household were pancakes and french toast. It has been quite some time since the last time I had this wonderful breakfast food, so I decided to make some this morning. French toast is great with fruit and is an awesome meal to keep you going through the day.

This recipe makes two pieces of french toast. In other words, one egg is equivalent to about two pieces of bread. I had 1 piece of french toast, and then was craving just a little more, so I made a half piece and scrambled the remaining egg. I had my french toast with some fresh blackberries. SO. Good. French toast is one of those breakfast foods that is so delicious but quick and easy as well. My entire breakfast took a total of about 10 minutes to make, if that, and that is including preparation and cooking time for both pieces of french toast. I am 100% satisfied.

When you grease your pan, you do NOT need a ton of butter. I probably only use about half a tablespoon, if that. Only use more if you love the flavor, but I honestly think french toast is already so delicious! Knowing when to flip the french toast is not tricky at all. Wait a couple minutes and then carefully lift up the edge to peek at the underside. It should be browning and make your mouth water. Check out the pictures below to see how mine turned it…it was PERFECT!

 

These beautiful pictures are due, in part, to Udis bread, I think. It soaked up the egg remarkably and cooks so well, browning perfectly. This, on top of its amazing taste, makes Udis a fabulous choice of bread. It is simply my favorite!

Please note, while I used milk in my egg mixture, I am sure that as long as you mix/whisk your egg(s) very well, this can be done without the milk or with water instead for some delicious dairy free french toast. Also, just use a dairy free substitute for the butter. Voila! Dairy free french toast.

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • A splash of milk (optional)
  • 1-2 pieces gluten free bread (I use Udis)
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Syrup

Instructions:

  • Whisk an egg with a tiny splash of milk (no more than 1 tbsp) in a bowl.
  • Put one piece of bread into the egg mixture, gently pressing on the sides/edges to completely cover and soak. Turn the piece of bread over and do the same thing on the other side.
  • Leave the bread in the egg mixture to soak while you melt a little butter on a frying pan over high heat. 
  • Carefully transfer the bread onto the greased and heated frying pan to cook.
  • After about 3 minutes, turn the bread over and cook the other side for an additional 1-2 minutes. (After your first piece of french toast, feel free to re-butter the pan and cook some more. With any additional french toast, it won’t take more than 1 minute on either side.) 
  • Remove from pan and serve immediately.
  • For sweet french toast, cover both sides with some powdered sugar, top with syrup, and dig in. Otherwise, enjoy your savory french toast!

Get through those midmorning/midday cravings

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Usually a good breakfast and lunch are enough to keep me going, and if I have a sudden craving, it passes within minutes. Sometimes, however, I have cravings in between meals that just won’t go away. When this happens, I try not to munch on unhealthy snack foods. I decided to compile a simple list of my go-to foods when I just want a snack. If I mention cheese, I usually refer to a couple bites of cottage cheese.

  • Gluten free Chex Mix
  • Some fruit, fresh or dried (with cheese)
    • apple/orange slices, any berries, grapes, clementine/tangerine, etc
  • Veggies with hummus, peanut/almond butter, cottage cheese, or plain!
    • celery, cucumbers, carrots, lettuce, pepper, etc
  • A small spoonful of peanut/almond butter
  • Various trail mixes (see below)
  • A few cheese or peanut/almond butter crackers (with fruit or veggies)
  • One hard-boiled egg
  • A little plain popcorn (or lightly salted)
  • A rice cake with peanut/almond butter
  • Yogurt-covered raisins

Below are also some quick homemade trail mix ideas (I have not tried them all myself). You can add or take away from any to reach your perfect snack mix. A general mix is a combination of: a grain (like Chex), nuts, seeds, dried fruit, popcorn, pretzels. My mixes include almonds, rice chex, smartfood/plain popcorn, Glutino pretzels. Then I love adding seeds, dried fruit, and other types of nuts whenever they are available. A last note: dried fruits include raisins, apple chips, banana chips, etc.

  • Rice chex, smart food, and almonds
  • Rice chex, pretzels, raisins, nuts
  • Popcorn, pretzels, nuts
  • Rice chex, raisins, almonds, dried apple chips
  • Sunflower seeds, nuts, popcorn, dried fruit
  • Sunflower seeds, almonds, dried fruit

For a touch of sweetness, you can also add some M ‘n Ms or chocolate chips. Just make sure they are gluten free, because candy like M ‘n Ms are often processed in the same facilities as wheat/gluten.

Not only are all these great go-to snacks in case of food cravings, but they are also awesome snacks in general. They are delicious things to munch on for people of ALL ages as well. Pack them for lunch, add them to a breakfast, or serve them as appetizers (depending on which one you choose, of course!).

If your cravings or rumblies continue, drink WATER. Fill up a water bottle or a large glass to the top and take a big sip whenever thoughts of food take over your mind. Just drink a lot. If the water trick does not work, take a walk or go for a jog. Exercise actually suppresses your appetite, and even just a 15-minute walk should do the trick. If exercise is not your thing, do something. Occupy your mind, your hands. Play with your kids, play an active Wii game, read a book your really in to, do some yard work, run those errands you’ve been putting off, whatever. Distract yourself. Finally, GUM. Gum is my savior. My sugar-free, no artifiacial flavor gum is one of the most wonderfully simple appetite suppressers out there. My favorite is Orbit spearmint, and it actually does work. Gum also helps me focus and concentrate on tasks at hand.

My last note is this: do not think too much about food, if you’re dieting or in general. If you are tempted to grab a snack, or if you are standing in front of your pantry tempted to eat something, just ask yourself a simple question. Am I hungry? Are you hungry? If not, walk away. If you are, get something healthy, like from the list above.

Fajita or Quesadilla on the Panini Maker

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When I think quesadilla, I always imagine a cheese quesadilla, with the cheese oozing out and stretching when I bite into it. Because other than adding some chicken occasionally, the only quesadillas I eat are cheese. When I think of fajitas, I imagine stuffing the tortillas with as much cheese, vegetables, chicken, and other fillings as possible without breaking the tortilla or making it explode. In conclusion: I consider anything more than cheese, and maybe some chicken, in tortillas a fajita. They really are very similar. Let me add in here that you can make this completely vegetarian by omitting the chicken.

Last night I had fajitas for dinner, and for lunch today I made a delicious quesadilla, both on my family’s Panini maker. The great thing about a Panini maker is you can cook almost anything on it, and quickly too. It doesn’t alter the taste of whatever you are cooking, or if it does, not in a negative way. I have made quesadillas and fajitas, but I have also cooked grilled cheeses, sandwiches, steak, and am planning on experimenting with other types of foods and even batters on it.

For the tortilla, I always use La Tortilla Factory. I have looked for the Mission Corn Tortillas in the past, but none of my stores ever have them. I’m okay with that, however, because the La Tortilla Factory tortillas are so delicious. The only downside (if it’s even a bad thing) is they are HUGE. I mean, they are about 12 inches in diameter or so, so I usually only use them in halves. That is actually a positive thing, though, because each package only comes with 6 tortillas. Oh well, they are very yummy, and they don’t break or crumble. La Tortilla Factory tortillas are just like wheat tortillas, with none of the expected gluten free issues. You can roll them with no problems.

One thing I absolutely love about fajitas and quesadillas is they are SO easy and quick, even without a Panini maker. They are also great for getting rid of left overs.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 tortillas, gluten free (I use La Tortilla Factory)
  • Cheese
  • Pepper/onion mix, sliced (I like to leave the onions out)
  • Chicken, precooked
  • Any additional veggies/fillings you desire
  • Olive oil (to brush on top of tortillas)
  • Sour cream, salsa, guacamole or other fajita toppings ( I actually use cottage cheese because it is healthier than sour cream an d, in my opinion, tastier)

Instructions:

  • Place a large frying pan on the stove top and dump in your veggies and chicken. Turn the temperature to about medium high. Once veggies and chicken begin to sizzle, stir them around until the fajita mixture is done.
  • Meanwhile, plug in your Panini maker or prepare another pan to cook your fajita.
  • Once fillings are finished cooking, put your desired amount (not too much or the tortillas might get soggy or break) on the tortilla. Fold the tortilla over and lightly cover the top with olive oil. Place fajita on the Panini maker and quickly brush a small amount of olive oil on the other side (If you are using two tortillas, put the fillings on one and cover with the other, and make sure to put a little olive oil on both sides).
  • Cook fajita for about 2 minutes.
  • Cut into slices, fold, or roll and ENJOY.

FOR QUESADILLA: Just cover one tortilla well with a single but generous layer of cheese, about an inch from the edges (don’t need more than that), and place second tortilla on top (or break one in half). Then cook the same way as the fajita on the Panini maker. If you do not have a Panini maker, you can also bake your quesadilla (which I actually like better if I have the time). That was my first original recipe, because it is so easy. You can find that post HERE.

Portabella Cheese Omelette

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Breakfast recipes are so delicious and fun to mes around with. You can do so much with say, a simple omelette. Sometimes, if I’m in a lazy mood, I will just make a cheese omelette, but usually that just turns into cheesy scrambled eggs (so delicious!). This morning, I made one of my most delicious omelets yet: cheese, portabella mushrooms, red peppers, and chicken (omit for vegetarian). You can add and omit any toppings you choose–there are so many things to complete a wonderful omelette. Some other fillings I love are sausage and bacon (not too much), turkey, other peppers (yellow, green), and a variety of herbs.

Omelets take no time at all to make and are a food that almost everyone will enjoy! They are also great for brunch and some fruit or toast. I wasn’t terribly hungry this morning, so I just stuck to the omelette (plus I used a lot of fillings). Omelets always put me in a positive, happy mood. Don’t ask me why, they just do. They are a fun food to make, especially with other people. Two things I love to have when I’m cooking: people and music. I think with omelets, you are required to move around more, tending to the different parts, and that just makes me upbeat.

I am sorry I don’t have more pictures…I didn’t really think about getting pictures of my omelette before I folded it over, so the above photo is the best I have. It also appears that all my peppers have snuck to the back!

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup mushrooms, diced
  • 3 tbsp chicken, cut up, precooked
  • 1 tbsp red pepper, diced
  • 1/3 cup cheese

Instructions:

  • Grease a frying pan with about a tbsp of olive oil and turn heat up to medium high.
  • Toss mushrooms and peppers into the pan (and chicken if you need/want to heat it up). Sprinkle salt over food.
  • Wait a minute while the pan heats up and until you hear the food sizzling, and mix the egg and milk in a small bowl while you wait, along with 1-2 tbsp cheese.
  • Once the contents of the pan begin to sizzle, use a spatula to mix contents/flip them around. They will take about 2-3 minutes to cook.
  • Once finished, slide mushroom, pepper, and chicken onto a plate and turn heat down to medium low.
  • Pour egg mixture into the pan and swirl to make sure it is evenly distributed. Let sit until the edges and bottom begins to cook (you should see the egg whites turn white, as opposed to their clear-like color).
  • Begin to swirl egg mixture around every 20-30 seconds or so until all of the egg is cooked (swirl more often as the omelette gets closer to being done) and remove from heat.
  • Put all of the fillings on one half of the omelette and about 2/3 of the cheese. Carefully use a spatula to fold the omelette over, and then sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
  • Carefully transfer omelette to a plate (can use the one the fillings were on) and enjoy!

What do you make in your omelets? Feel free to comment below!

Cottage Cheese Pancakes

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I have thought about making cottage cheese pancakes in the past, and I finally have. Recently, I have started eating cottage cheese more, as a quick snack or as a lunch or dinner side. Cottage cheese pancakes are healthier than regular pancakes and are made with cheese…how can they NOT be delicious? How can I not love them? Well I wanted to try them once and for all.

This recipe makes 4-5 four-inch pancakes, and the entire batch is only a total of 145 calories, so you can eat them ALL without feeling guilty or gross. What?! Yes, you heard correct. EAT THEM ALL. These cottage cheese pancakes are also so so SO delicious! They have a great texture and taste. I was skeptical at first about the cottage cheese making lumpy pancakes, but that was not the case at all. I know people who hate cottage cheese because of its appearance and texture, but none of those things are apparent at all. The cottage cheese pancakes look exactly like normal ones…you would never know the difference unless you looked at them very closely. Anyway, great texture and taste. They are cheesy, obviously, and they taste sort of like something I have had before, but I could not figure out what it was. It’s driving me crazy! Oh well. They are soft and hold together well, while nearly melting in your mouth. They break apart seamlessly, almost like liquid, but only if you tear them intentionally. Otherwise they stay bound together beautifully. The texture is not lumpy or chunky or anything like that at all. They literally cheesy pancakes. End of story.

I made these for brunch, along with some blueberries and raspberries, as you can see above. Please also note that my earlier statement about not being able to tell the difference between regular gluten free pancakes and cottage cheese pancakes is very much ratified in the above picture. Would you ever guess that was made of cottage cheese?

Two notes on the cooking instructions: Because cottage cheese is a little lumpy, you may want to blend it. I thought about using my family’s magic bullet, but as you know, I prefer to use less in my cooking. So I decided to see how the pancakes would turn out if just mixed all the ingredients longer and vigorously. As you can see they turned out remarkably. The lumps were very small and not noticeable at all after the pancakes were cooked. Also, cottage cheese pancakes do not require much heat after the first one…they cooked in no more than 20-30 seconds on medium low heat after the first one (on medium high). Trust me, do not go higher than medium low. I was shocked at how fast they cooked and almost burned my second one.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 tbsp rice flour
  • 1 eggs

Instructions:

  • Mix eggs and cheese slightly in a small bowl, and then add the flour. Vigorously mix all three ingredients for about 2 minutes.
  • (Optional: Put mixture into a blender or magic bullet and blend until mixture is smooth and there are few lumps. Let batter sit for a minute or two while you prepare a frying pan.)
  • Lightly grease pan and turn stove top heat up to medium high.
  • Pour 2-3 tbsp of batter and flip once steam begins rising from pancake edges. The first one will take slightly longer to cook than the others.
  • For the remaining batter, turn heat down to medium low and cook.
  • Serve warm.

Cucumber Sandwich

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Today I simply did not feel like cooking – I just wasn’t in the mood. On top of that, I did not exactly have a stocked fridge or pantry. All I wanted was a nice, simple sandwich. No cooking. Not even a grilled cheese, because that would have involved cooking the sandwich. I was about to settle for my typical, common lazy lunch of a cheese sandwich and cucumbers (yes, I actually make a yummy cheese sandwich quite often as a quick and easy lunch). I had cut my cucumbers when I wondered…what would cucumbers on bread taste like? Don’t ask why that thought crossed my mind, I have no idea myself. I just saw the two foods sitting side by side. Naturally I took a cucumber and tried a bite.

It was delicious.

I put the cheese away almost immediately (after cutting a quick slice to munch on) and instead made a cucumber sandwich. Healthier and about the same on my delicious scale (I love cheese sandwiches). All this “recipe” requires is two slices of bread and some cucumbers to cover the bread. Done. Eat. Enjoy.

UPDATE: Cucumber and COTTAGE CHEESE sandwich…nom. Or, as a quick snack, literally a cucumber sandiwch: 2 cucumbers with some cottage cheese in the middle!

Homemade Pasta

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This recipe was inspired by Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom homemade pasta recipe. I did not have all the ingredients I needed, so I made a couple of modifications. However, Heidi’s recipe is also egg free, and so I want to try her gluten free, egg free pasta recipe as well sometime.

My recipe is an egg pasta recipe. I didn’t think 1 egg was enough, and three was definitely too many, so I decided to try using 2. I stuck with 1 cup of flour–the usual. I thought about reducing the amount of xanthan gum, but the pasta photo on Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom looked so perfect, I decided against it. Note in the ingredients, tapioca flour is the same thing as tapioca starch. This recipe was so fun and enjoyable to make. It started like any other recipe: mixing the ingredients together. I don’t like to use lots of extra equipment or ingredients, but I thought that for a pasta recipe, my hand mixer was necessary. Pasta is a food that needs to be especially well blended and smooth. After the ingredients were mixed, I rolled the pasta dough out. I knew the pasta would need to be thin, so I took this step seriously. Then I cut it. This is the great part about homemade pasta. You can make any kind you want! Cut it into squares for lasagna, or mini squares for ravioli, thin noodles, thick noodles, you name it. I cannot tell you the names of all these pasta types, because I am no expert.

Right when I took my pasta out of the bowl to roll out, I know I had a problem. It was sticky. Way too sticky. I tried adding more flour, but that did nothing. Then I tried adding a little oil. Perfection. Oil is the key. So in the ingredients, the last item I put was simply oil. What I did was put a splash of olive oil in a bowl and used as needed.

This pasta was SO delicious, although quite a pain to make. Because of that second part, I doubt I will make this again, or soon. But the taste and texture were wonderful, and I’m glad I tried this recipe out. I might still try Heidi’s recipe, but I’m not sure.

My Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/3 cup tapioca flour (aka starch)
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp water
  • Olive oil

Instructions:

  • Fill a medium pot with about 4 cups of water.
  • Blend flours, xanthan gum, and salt in a small mixing bowl until they are all totally mixed together.
  • Mix egg, oil, and water in a small, separate bowl.
  • Get a hand mixer (on lowest setting) ready and add wet ingredients to the dry ones. Immediately mix ingredients with mixer for a minute until dough forms into a ball. (if dough is too dry or comes apart, add a little water; if it is too wet, add a little rice flour)
  • At this point, turn your stove top on high and bring pot of water to boil.
  • Meanwhile, add a little oil to avoid sticky dough and roll dough out into a very thin, even layer (you can divide the dough into several parts to work with less at one time, also I just used my hands for this, finding it much easier than worrying about a rollling pin). Cut dough into strips of desired width (thin noodles, wide noodles, square noodles for lasagna, etc).
  • Once the water is boiled, add a dash of salt and all the pasta. Stir occasionally until the pasta is al dente, cooking about 2 minutes. Drain and serve with butter, sauce, or other desired toppings.

Spinach, Mushroom, Chicken Stir Fry and Rice

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This is a healthy, delicious, and super easy recipes I whipped together the other night, just to try something new. I will be honest, I don’t love spinach on its own. I even sort of dislike it in salads. But cooked with other delicious ingredients? Stir Fried? Yum. I will eat all the spinach! I discovered that it taste so delicious with some portabellas especially. It made me think about making a whole new recipe with spinach and mushrooms…maybe some cooked spinach on top of a large portabella mushroom cap, topped with mozzarella cheese? Now that is something I will look into! Another recipe idea that this recipe made me think of is a spinach casserole, or a breakfast spinach casserole (with spinach, eggs, cheese, and whatever else I decide when I make it) or quiche. These are two recipes that I am definitely interested in making!

This recipe was just me throwing a bunch of ingredients together that I thought would taste good together, and the measurements may not be totally exact. But you can honestly just add however much of the ingredients you want (Just have mostly spinach and mushrooms, closely followed by chicken, and the less pepper than the other ingredients). For the mushrooms, you can use baby portabellas or large ones, just make sure you cut them up. For the chicken, I use about 2 inch pieces, precooked, so I just have to heat it up with the rest of the ingredients. If you are using raw chicken, however, you probably need to precook it. As for the pepper, I use anywhere from 1/2 to 1 pepper.

Along with the stir fry, I cooked some rice as well, because it completes the whole stir fry meal. This is such a delicious meal! The gluten free stir fry makes 3-4 servings. You can serve it over rice, or with the rice as a side, as I like to do. Lastly, you may be looking at these pictures and think something is missing…well you are right. I was out of red pepper when I made this, but (this is the second time I have made this recipe) the last time I made this recipe I loved the pepper, and I was mad that I was out. Oh well, it was still delicious gluten free stir fry!

NOTE: This can be made vegetarian by ommiting the chicken. You can replace it with more mushrooms or a different variety of veggies. I really want to try adding some squash and/or zucchini next time I make this. Then it really will be vegetarian and gluten free stir fry.

(I apologize for the terrible photo quality – these were taken from my cell phone because my camera was missing…yikes!)

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (gluten free)
  • 10 ounces uncooked spinach
  • 1 container (about 4 cups) portabella mushrooms
  • 1 red pepper (or any color), sliced
  • 1 1/2-2 cups chicken

Instructions:

  • Prepare a large frying pan on the stove top by covering/greasing with 3-4 tbsp olive oil.
  • Turn stove on to medium-high heat and preheat pan (about 2-5 minutes)
  • Add mushrooms, pepper, and chicken and then the spinach on top. Add Worcestershire Sauce evenly and stir ingredients around a bit.
  • Cover and cook for about 7 minutes.
  • Turn down the heat to medium and continue cooking for about 5 more minutes.
  • Serve immediately for best results.

Breakfast and Flowers on Mother’s Day

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Happy Mother’s Day! For mother’s day, I usually pick some flowers for my mom and make her breakfast. And a card! I like to write my mom a poem each Mother’s Day. I love picking fresh flowers from our backyard because it is so much more meaningful.

But what do I make my mom for breakfast when…

I am out of her cereal…and oatmeal, and grits, and bread, and sausage, and any sort of her favorite, normal breakfast foods? I make pancakes! Today I made some of My Favorite Pancakes, so we could all have them, and I made sure to get some pictures this time as well! I also added some delectable blackberries on the side, which were so yummy and fresh! I love pancakes because they are delicious and easy, but also because you can make cool and fun shapes with them, as you can see below. I made a heart-shaped pancake for my mom. And if you can’t tell, that was supposed to be ‘gf’ as in gluten free. I also made shapes including my own initials and “abstract blobs,” which is the best I can do to describe some of my more interesting shapes, a.k.a. the shapes that just didn’t turn out like they were supposed to. But no matter how they look, these pancakes always taste amazing in the end!

 

I must add, you do not have to use Arrowhead Mills pancake mix for this. The recipe is general and any pancake mix will work. Also, if you only want to make a couple of gluten free pancakes, you can just cover your bowl of batter and stick it in the fridge for the next day! Or make some leftovers while everything is still out.

Scrambled Pancakes

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This recipe is based off of my pancake crepes, which actually mentioned this idea. Well, while it seemed like it wouldn’t work, I have decided to give it a shot, because I love the pancake taste and would love not having to try to keep my crepe or pancake intact when I flip it. In fact, this recipe does not require any special flipping skills at all. It’s just like cooking scrambled eggs, where you turn the eggs to cook them all the way through. Same thing here.

These were a fantastic, delicious success, and a recipe I will definitely make again soon! I loved the texture and taste, of course. Arrowhead Mills Pancake mix is a great product, and one that I will continue to purchase through the years. There is a reason that another pancake recipe post of mine that uses Arrowhead Mills pancake mix is called My Favorite Pancakes. They are simply SO delicious! The scrambled pancakes were so easy and I didn’t have to be overly cautious or careful with how I cooked them. I was running a little behind this morning when I made these, so I just covered the bowl of batter with tin foil and stuck it in the fridge for tomorrow morning. I can’t wait to indulge in some of these again!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Arrowhead Mills pancake mix
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil

Instructions:

  • Mix all ingredients together well (with whisk) in a small bowl until totally blended/combined.
  • Lightly grease a medium non-stick pan (olive oil, Pam, etc-do not over-grease) and pre-heat over medium heat.
  • Pour 3-4 tbsp of batter into pan OFF THE STOVE, swirling around for a few seconds.
  • Then, using a fork, “scramble” the pancake mix like you would an egg, making sure that it doesn’t stick and you cook all sides (flip scrambled pancakes over to completely cook). They should take about 1-2 minutes to cook.
  • Slide scrambled pancakes onto a plate and enjoy, OR make more to add to the first batch.
  • These can be eaten with your normal pancake additives and I prefer them fresh.

If you only want one serving, cover bowl with tin foil and stick it in the fridge for later or the next day. To prepare in the future, just mix/stir the batter up a little before cooking.