Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Sleeping Pants and Cream Cheese Waffles


I have to set the record straight.  Now, this isn't to embarrass my husband and my dear friend, no, it is simply to set the record straight and let everyone know I was right and they were wrong.  Let me repeat that...

I was right, they were wrong.

I have to say that a couple times because it will never happen again and I want to make sure it isn't soon forgotten.

As you recall, last week I called the pants I sleep in, sleeping pants.  My husband teased me for a week afterwards, actually on Sunday, as he was doing laundry, he again, laughingly, asked for my sleeping pants.  And on Saturday coffee with Donna, I asked her what she called the pants you sleep in she informed me that nobody calls them sleeping pants, and she laughed when she said it, so I didn't even bother to survey the crowd to see if anyone else called them sleeping pants.  I went home and told my husband he was right!

That was an unfortunate and premature move.

Last week I was thumbing through the mail.  We are getting about 14 catalogues every day right now with everyone wanting you to do your holiday shopping with them.  I usually put them in the garbage pile, but Dave was cooking dinner that night so I opened one and started to look through it.  And this is what I found:
SLEEP PANTS.  You read that right, not pajama pants, or lounge wear like my dear husband and bestie had tried to convince me, but sleep pants. I was RIGHT!

Ha.

So, again, this isn't because I was right and they were wrong, and it's not like I want to hold it over their heads or anything, because I'm kind like that, I just want others who call their night time pants sleeping pants to know they are not alone and not to let anyone laugh at them.

So there, and I do say that with all the love in my heart...(and I wonder why I don't have many friends).

By the way, you can get sleep shorts for the summer too.

So, I celebrated and made myself waffles.

These cream cheese waffles are crisp on the outside and still soft and tender on the inside.  This recipe makes 10 servings so I can put all the extra in the freezer and pop them in the toaster when I'm ready for breakfast.  If you are a fan of chicken and waffles, these are perfect, just reduce the sweetener a bit.

I made these on Sunday morning and ate them in my sleeping pants.

Cream Cheese Waffles
Carolyn Ketchum, The Everyday Ketogenic Kitchen

1 8oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 large eggs
2 Tbsp. heavy cream
1 Tbsp. water
3/4 cup unflavored whey protein powder
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. granulated erythritol sweeter
2 Tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract 1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat waffle iron and butter it well.

In a blender or food processor, combine the cream cheese, melted butter, eggs, cream, and water.  Blend on high for 30 seconds, then scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula.

Add the protein powder, sweetener, baking powder, vanilla extract, and salt and blend for another 30 seconds, until smooth.

Pour about 1/4 cup of the batter into each section of the waffle iron and close the lid.  Cook until the waffles are puffed and golden brown on both sides.  The time will vary depending on your waffle iron.

Remove the waffles and repeat with the remaining batter.  Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen for up to a month.

1 year ago:    One Tough Week
3 years ago:   The Christmas Present Request
5 years ago:   Fruitcake

December 13, 2017   Sunrise  10:49am  Sunset 2:41 pm   Temp. H 38/ L 28˚F

Monday, December 11, 2017

The Lost Jacket and Cinnamon Cream Cheese Kringle


It has been a difficult couple of months, I keep saying that and I need to get over myself, but I am also trying to justify why I can do so many stupid things.

Fairbanks has been unusually mild this fall and winter.  There was a little bit in the fall when it cooled down and we all thought that was it.  That is the time of year I pull out my winter gear and get it ready for the long, dark winter.  Well, then I went to Pittsburgh for work and came home sick, ran around to Anchorage, home, some more work, and time just slipped by.

It was getting colder in Fairbanks and I started looking for my warmer jacket.  I knew I had it before Pittsburgh because I got it out in October.  I couldn't find it.  I checked at work, I called the Seattle kids to see if I left it there on my way home from Pittsburgh when I stopped for the weekend, I asked my husband, I checked the car and Dave's truck.  Nope, no jacket.  I decided I must have taken it to Pittsburgh and left it at the hotel or in an airport, I was really sick and probably just didn't think about it.

I was wearing a lighter coat and hadn't zipped the down liner in it yet, but I was getting ready to.  The kids came for Thanksgiving and we were busy, and it was pretty warm.  The Seattle DIL worked her butt off helping with Thanksgiving and doing dishes non-stop (I'm not exaggerating, her fingers were getting pruny!) So as a thank you, I took her for a pedicure while the three boys hung out.

As we are leaving the nail salon I always go to, Manetta says, "Hey isn't that your coat?"
I turned and looked at the bench where I had thrown my jacket because the coat rack was full when we got there. "Yep, that's the jacket I wore." I said pointing to my jacket on the bench.

"No, that one, hanging up.  Isn't that yours?" she replied.

"Oh my gosh!  Yes it is!" I screeched.  And I did screech.  Everyone in the place turned and looked.

I took the coat off the hanger, checked the pockets, two pink gloves in the pockets, and the inner pocket had the key to my storage unit for work.  No doubt it was my jacket.  I must have worn it when I went for a pedicure before I left for Pittsburgh and forgot to put it on before I left the salon (remember it was a warm fall).  Thank goodness they left it hanging there for me (I mean the Seattle DIL) to find!


                                        

So, she saved the day, yet again, and I don't have to zip the liner in my other jacket or buy a new one!
She is a rock star!

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Kringle
Maria Emmerich Keto Comfort Foods

Dough
1 3/4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 oz. cream cheese (2 Tbsp.)
3/4 cup blanched almond flour
1 large egg
1/8 tsp. sea salt

Cinnamon Filling
2 Tbsp. melted unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. Swerve confectioners style sweetener or equivalent alternative
2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon

Cream Cheese Filling
1 (8oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup Swerve confectioners style sweetener or equivalent alternative
1 large egg yolk

Glaze*
1/4 cup Swerve confectioners style sweetener or equivalent alternative
1 to 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
*(I did not like the glaze, it left that cool, minty feel you can sometimes get from erythritol.  Next time I make this I'll leave the glaze off.)

Preheat oven to 400˚

To make dough, place mozzarella an cream cheese in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 1-2 minutes, until the cheese is entirely melted.  Stir well.

To the bowl, add the almond flour, egg, and salt and combine well using a hand mixer.  Use your hands and work it like a traditional dough, kneading for about 3 minutes.  Note: if dough is too sticky, chill it in the refrigerator for an hour or overnight.

Grease a 14-inch long piece of parchment paper and place it on a pizza stone or baking sheet.  Place the dough on the greased parchment and use a rolling pin or your hands to form it into a large oval about 12 inches by 8 inches.  Position the oval so that one of the short sides is facing you.

To make the cinnamon filling, place the melted butter, sweetener, and cinnamon in a small bowl and use a fork to combine well.  Place this mixture on top of the dough and spread it out, covering as much of the surface of the dough as possible.

To make the cream cheese filling, place the softened cream cheese, sweetener, and egg yolk in a bowl and mix well to combine.  Starting 3 inches from the top of the dough oval and working your way toward you, pour this mixture down the middle of the oval, ending 3 inches from the edge nearest you.  Now spread the filling into an oval shape, leaving 1 1/2 inches along each side exposed.

Cut  1 1/2 inch long, 3/4 inch wide flaps along the long sides of the kringle, cutting only into the part that doesn't have any cream cheese filling on it.  Fold the top and bottom ends in, on top of the cream cheese filling.  Then, starting at the top of the oval, fold the right flap over the ream cheese filling, then the left flap; continue folding the flaps over the filling until the whole kringle is wrapped and a zipper-like kringle is made.  Some of the cream cheese will be exposed.

Place the pizza stone with the kringle in the oven to bake for 15 minutes or until the kringle is golden brown and the dough is fully cooked.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the pan for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile make the glaze; place the sweetener in a small bowl and add just enough heavy cream to make a thin glaze.

Once the kringle is cool, drizzle the glaze over it and sprinkle with crushed almonds, if desired.  Store extra in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  Reheat on a baking sheet in a preheated 350˚ oven for 5 minutes or until warm.
makes 8 servings


1 year ago:     Oreo Cheesecake and Teasing the Baby Boy
3 years ago:   Easiest Pot Roast and Heading the Wrong Way
5 years ago:   Roasted Chicken Thighs with Lemon and Oregano

December 11, 2017   Sunrise 10:45  Sunset 2:42   Temp H 34 /L 25˚F

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Sleeping Pants and Pumpkins Cream Cheese Muffins


The other night I was getting ready for bed.  Dave sleeps with a sheet and a fan on.  Because of the fan I sleep with the sheet, two blankets and the comforter/bead spread.  And now I am sleeping with long pants.  I used to sleep in a long t-shirt but I was waking up cold since I've been battling this infection in my chest, so I've started wearing pants.

Now, I have lots of flannel pajama pants I wear in the mornings when I get up at 5:30 and have my quiet cup of coffee next to the fire, but I found those a little too heavy to sleep in.  I have one pair in particular that is a lighter fabric, doesn't stick to the sheets like the flannel kinds, and keeps me warm enough to sleep through the night with my 2 blankets and comforter.  Perfect!

So, Dave does the laundry and the other night, as I was getting ready for bed, I asked Dave, "Did you wash my sleeping pants?  Are they in the laundry room?"

"What are sleeping pants?" He asked with a laugh.
"You know, the pants I sleep in." I replied, surprised. (He had mentioned he noticed I was wearing them to bed recently.)
"Nobody calls them sleeping pants." He scoffed.
"Yes they do, what else would you call them?"
"Nope, everyone calls them pajama pants, pajama bottoms or just pajamas." He is laughing hard now.
"I don't think so," I'm getting a little annoyed, "You don't know what you are talking about." I declare.
"Ask Donna when you go to coffee on Saturday.  Better yet, make it the survey question of the day." He is really getting a good laugh rolling now.
"I will, and you'll see you are wrong." I say indignantly.

Boy, I'll show him.

So, on Saturday, I'm having coffee with Donna, ready to survey the crowd I asked her first, "What do you call the pants you sleep in?"
Her answer? "Pajamas."
Just like that, no thought to it or anything.
"Really, what about sleeping pants?" I asked.
She starts to laugh, "No one calls them sleeping pants."
"So, I shouldn't survey the crowd and ask them what they call the pants you sleep in?"
"Well," she states, trying to alleviate the hurt look on my face, "Some people might call them lounge pants, but not sleeping pants."

So I didn't survey the crowd that day, and I had to go home and tell Dave that he was correct and I was wrong mistaken, and no one but me calls them sleeping pants.  But I will forever call them sleeping pants, just to annoy my husband.

Now, in the morning, after you change out of your sleeping pants and put your pajama pants on for your coffee, you can whip up these pumpkin, cream cheese muffins.  I made them when the kids were here and everyone loved them. They were surprised to find out they were grain free and sugar free.  The curly haired boy did say he thought there was almond meal in the muffin because of the texture, and that was before I told him, but he enjoyed them.  Gman loved his, and that is all that really matters!




Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
Maria Emmerich Keto Comfort Foods

Muffin batter
1 1/2 c. blanced almond flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 cup Swerve confectioner's style sweetener, or your choice of equivalent sweetener
3 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree, fresh or canned

Cream Cheese Filling
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
1/4 cup Swerve confectioners' style sweetener, or your choice of equivalent sweetener
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325˚F.  Place paper liners in 6 -8 wells of a standard-sized muffin pan. (The original recipe calls for 6, but they were really full and I made 7, next time I'm just going for 8).

In a large mixing bowl, stir the almond flour, baking soda, salt and spices until well combined.  In another bowl, mix together the butter, sweetener, eggs and pumpkin until smooth.  Stir the wet ingredients into the dry.  Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each about two thirds full.

To make the filling , using a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese in a medium-sized bowl until smooth.  Add the sweetener, egg yolk, and vanilla and beat until well combined.  Top each muffin with about 1 tablespoon of the cream cheese filling and use a toothpick to swirl it into the batter.

Bake the muffins for 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffins comes out clean.  Allow to cool before removing from the pan.  Store extras in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  Reheat on a baking sheet in a preheated 350˚ F oven for 5 minutes or until warmed through.


1 year ago:    Orangesicle Champagne

December 6, 2017   Sunrise 10:34 am  Sunset 2:49 pm  Temp. H 26/L 15˚F

Monday, December 4, 2017

Leek Confit


The last job I had from our garden is taking care of all the leeks.  Dave pulled them last fall and piled them in the bottom of the garage fridge.  I was gone for work, then surgery and I just wasn't feeling like dealing with them, but that is one beauty of leeks; they stay in the garden until the last minute and they keep in a cool dark place for a long time.

But now it was time.  I needed to do something with them before they started to spoil.  I used some in a few recipes, but I needed to take care of all of them now.

I made leek confit.  You cook the leeks in butter and a little salt until they are reduced and the flavor is concentrated.  It takes some time but the hardest part of this is cutting the leeks.  It turned out I had 3 (18 cups) batches of leek confit to make, so it was an all-morning project, with most of that time reading cookbooks, scrolling through Facebook, and complaining to Dave how long it takes!



Now I have frozen containers of deliciousness to use in omelets and quiche, on sandwiches, I love it on top of cream cheese as part of a cheese plate or a little nibble with a cocktail, warmed and used to top chicken, pork, or  beef,  added to chicken soup, potato and leek soup, or added to a vegetable or rice dish to add an subtle layer of extra flavor.

I don't think this is really a "recipe" and it is very flexible.  The leeks cook down to a jammy sweetness.  It keeps in the fridge for a week, but I bet it won't last that long.  I freeze this in 2 cup containers and when I pull one out to use, any left-over is gobbled up on Dave's lunch, (usually he eats left-overs from dinner the night before).

Make sure you wash your leeks well, they are known to be gritty.  Swish them around in water after you cut them and pull the leeks up out of the water after they sit for a few minutes, leaving the grit at the bottom of the bowl.  I use my salad spinner to get as much water out as possible, but a bit of dampness helps them cook, so don't dry them completely.  If you wash them ahead of time and they are totally dry, add a couple tablespoons of water to the leeks when you start to cook them.  It will evaporate in the end of cooking.

Leek Confit

1/4 cup butter
6-7 cups leeks, cut into 1/4 inch half moon slices and washed well (about 4 very large or 5-6 medium)
     use the white and light green part only
1/2 tsp. salt
1-2 Tbsp. water, if needed

Melt butter, over medium-low heat, in a large, heavy bottomed pot or skillet.  Add leeks and salt (water if needed).  Add leeks and stir to coat with butter.  Cover pot and cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove cover and cook 5 minutes more or until the liquid is evaporated.  Leeks should have a thick, almost jammy consistency.  Cool and store in refrigerator for 1 week or freeze for 6 months.

1 year ago:    Oat, Seed and Nut Crackers
3 years ago:  Sometimes Homemade Bread is Love, Even if You Use a Bread Machine
5 years ago:  A Month full of Cookies and Cranberry, Pistachio Coins

December 4, 2017   Sunrise 10:28 am  Sunset 2:53 pm   Temp. H 26/ L16°F




Thursday, November 30, 2017

Ritz Cracker Toffee and the Oven Explosion

Yes, notice the fire extinguisher in the background.

I don't know what it is with my kitchen and exploding ovens.  A couple years ago, the Chick went to use the oven and it caught on fire.  An that was my new stove.  It was only 5 years ago when I replaced my old stove and got a new flat ceramic top stove/range.

Well, this morning, I was making some Ritz cracker toffee for a bake sale on Thursday.  It was a quiet 6:00 am, the dogs were still in the kennel, Dave was asleep, and I was in the kitchen making the candy.  I preheated the oven, melted the butter and sugar together, arranged the crackers on the cookie sheet, poured the molten sugar/butter mixture over the crackers and set it in the oven to bake for 10 minutes.  I started to toast some slivered almonds for the top and I heard this funny fizzle kind of sound, then a loud pop.  I thought maybe a cracker exploded in the oven because of the sugar syrup?  I don't know, it could be a thing.  Then there was a burst of flames up the back of the stove and black smoke.  I turned the stove and the range off, ran and got the fires extinguisher and ran upstairs and yelled at Dave that the oven was on fire.
What a way to wake up!

I ran back downstairs to stop flames if I saw any, and Dave ran downstairs and pulled the stove away from the wall so we could check.  No flames, the kitchen stunk, but all was well.  Dave went and turned off the breaker - amazingly the breaker didn't trip.

So there I was with this candy almost finished and no stove to cook it properly.  I just left it in the oven for 15 minutes and it seemed o.k., so I finished it with chocolate chips, almonds and sprinkles and it turned out fine.
Thank goodness the fire and the smoke were outside of the oven and not inside!  The candy was saved!
The only casualty was the almonds got a little too toasted
during my running around for the fire extinguisher and
waking up the husband!

But after Dave had to replace the fan in the guest bathroom, buy a new dryer two weeks ago, and now a stove/range, I think we should be done.  We did go with a different brand of stove this time, having two of the same brand catch on fire was enough for us.

Ritz Cracker Toffee
Betty Crocker online

40 Ritz crackers, I have made this with saltine crackers and it is just as good
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 (11.5) bag chocolate chips (about 2 cups)
toasted-slivered almonds, sprinkles - optional

Preheat oven to 350°F (and hope it doesn't catch on fire)
Line a 15x10x1 inch pan with aluminum foil.  Spray foil with cooking spray.  Line crackers on foil lined pan in a single layer.

In a 2 quart saucepan, over medium high heat, melt butter, add sugar and salt.  Bring to a boil, and cook, stirring frequently, for 7-9 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Pour over crackers and spread evenly.  Bake for 13-15 minutes until deep brown and bubbly.  Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes.

Sprinkle chocolate chips over cracker mixture.  Let sit for a couple minutes until the chocolate softens.  Spread to evenly cover all the crackers.   Top with almonds and/or sprinkles.

Let cool completely, and let chocolate set, at least 2 hours.  Break into pieces.
The new range!

2 years ago:  Crock Pot Chocolate Lava Cake
3 years ago:  Hot Spiced Rum Apple Cider
5 years ago:  Scaring Myself on the Treadmill and Lemon Pepper Shrimp Scampi

November 30, 2017  Sunrise 10:17 am  Sunset 3:01 pm   Temp. H 6/ L -5°F




Monday, November 27, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving and the Season of Eating!


Grayson and his people showed up on Saturday night before Thanksgiving.  We got him them for the whole week.  I had everything planned on what we were going to do, what we were going to eat, and it might have driven my husband just a little batty!

He has his own way of being excited.  He does things like, shovel extra snow (we've had two big snow dumps in the last two weeks, over 18 inches), fixes the toilet in the guest bathroom that started to leak, change the fan in the guest bathroom that decided to crap out two weeks ago, buy and change out the dryer that crapped out on Tuesday.  You know, fun stuff to fill the extra time you have during this time of the year.

I did have a Boob Doctor appointment on Monday, so I flew to Anchorage, I was happy that the infection was under control enough to have a fill up, and flew home by dinner.  In the meantime the kids meet with The Hippy Boy for lunch and did some running around.

The rest of the week was booked with things like going to the Children's museum.

Playing on the stairs.

Having waffles and ice cream for breakfast.

Making Thanksgiving dinner.
The Curly Haired Boy, Gman, YaYa (Grayson's name for me), and my friend Donna finishing up dinner.  Deep fried turkey courtesy of my husband, and I roast one too.

And visiting a few restaurants that the Curly Haired boy likes.  We had a wonderful time.  The DIL worked her butt off helping me with everything that needed to be done (and I was a little sore from the fill-up).  And all too soon they were back on the airplane headed home.

We will spend a long weekend with them at Christmas, so I'm counting down the days.

I hope your Thanksgiving was full of food, family, friends, and fun.  We have so much to be Thankful for.

1 year ago:   Chocolate Dipped, Orange Spritz Cookies
3 years ago:  Sourdough Potato Bread
5 years ago:  My Button Stash and Brown Sugar Walnut Buttons

November 27, 2017  Sunrise 10:07 am  Sunset 3:08 pm  Temp H 5/ L 0˚F



Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Biscuits and Gravy

Who doesn't love biscuits and gravy?  I don't think I can be friends with someone who doesn't love this dish.

When I go to Montana and visit my mom, we always go to the Early Bird Cafe at least once while I'm there.  We don't even need a menu, we all order the biscuits and gravy.  YUM!  A couple years ago, I went to visit my mom, and when she picked me up at the airport she told me she had some really bad news for me.  The Early Bird Cafe was closed that week for their annual weekly scrub down and wouldn't be open until after I left.  They happened to be closed the exact week I was there.  I was so bummed.

Well, I was craving biscuits and gravy.  And breakfast for dinner is one of Dave's favorite things to eat, so I figured we would have biscuits and gravy for dinner.  This was delicious!  These low carb biscuits are so good, with gravy, with butter or with homemade Nutella!  I could eat the whole pan myself!
This will certainly  be one of those dinners that will be on a regular rotation at our house.


Low Carb Biscuits and Gravy
adapted from Keto Comfort Foods, Maria Emmerich

Biscuits
3 large egg whites
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup blanched almond flour,
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp. very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 400˚F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.

In a medium sized bowl, whip the egg whites until very stiff, then gently mix in the garlic.  Set aside.
In a separate medium-sized bowl, stir together the almond flour, baking powder, and salt until well combined.  Cut in the cold diced butter until the butter pieces are pea-sized or smaller.  (I did this in my food processor).  Gently fold the dry mixture into the egg whites.  Fold in the cheese.  If the dough is too wet to form into mounds, add a few tablespoons of almond flour until the dough holds together.


Gravy
1 lb. pork sausage
1/4 cup minced onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1 cup beef bone broth
sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Place sausage, onions, and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat.  Cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently, until the sausage is browned.  Gradually add the cream cheese and broth; cook stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a gentle simmer, thickens, and becomes smooth.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 2 minutes to thicken the gravy further, stirring constantly.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, split the biscuits in half.  Place 2 halves on  plate, then top with about 1/3 cup of the sausage gravy.  Repeat with the rest of the biscuits and gravy.

Store extras in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  Reheat the biscuits on a baking sheet in a preheated 350˚F oven for 5 minutes or until warmed through.  Reheat the gravy in a saucepan over medium-low heat until warmed, stirring constantly.  Add a little broth to thin, if gravy had become too thick.

1 year ago:   The Season of Eating
3 years ago:  United Way Auction and Alaskan Cranberry Shortbread
5 years ago:  Bonding with the New Sewing Machine and Ice Breaker DOTW

November 15, 2017  Sunrise 9:24 am  Sunset 3:45 pm  Temp. H 6/ L 1˚F

Monday, November 13, 2017

Breakfast Chili


I had a check up on Thursday at the New Boob Dr.  I was hoping for a fill up, but the infection isn't gone yet.  I got two antibiotics for 14 days and if this doesn't work, I think we have to take the tissue expander out, heal for 6 months and start over.  I'm praying for the antibiotics working.  Bodies are such wonderful things.

I'm following a Keto diet and practicing intermittent fasting.  Basically it means you have a shorter "eating window"  so instead of eating first thing in the morning, I eat my first meal around 10:30 or 11:00 and my last meal at about 6:00.  So, I am eating breakfast at work now, instead of my car on the way to work.

I got hooked on breakfast chili.  It starts with bacon...

It has to be good if it starts with bacon.  Then add burger and chorizo.  A few veggies and some tomato sauce are added into the mix with some spices.
It makes 12 servings so I have breakfast in the freezer for a couple weeks.  Dave often will grab one of my containers for his lunch and a couple weeks ago I made a batch, saved enough for my breakfasts for the week and sent the rest to my nephew's house when they got home from his knee replacement surgery.

I top it off with an egg I cook in the microwave and some bacon bits and avocado.  Usually I'm full until dinner.

Breakfast Chili
adapted from The 30 day ketogenic cleanse, Maria Emmerich

4 slices bacon, diced
1 lb. 80% lean ground beef
1 lb. Mexican-style fresh chorizo, removed from casings
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juices
1 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup onions
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 med. zucchini, chopped
2 green chilies, chipped
1/2 cup beef bone broth
2 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. dried ground oregano
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

toppings:
1 egg
1/4 avocado
2 Tbsp. bacon
fresh chives

In a stockpot over medium-high heat, fry the diced bacon until crisp, then remove from the pot with a slotted spoon and set aside.  Crumble the ground beef and the chorizo into the hot pot and cook, stirring often to break up the meat, until evenly browned, about 7 minutes.

Pour in the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce.  Add the onions, bell pepper, zucchini, chilies, cooked bacon, and beef broth and stir to combine.  Season with the chili posder, oregano, garlic, cumin, cayenne, paprika, salt and black pepper.  Stir to blend, then cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Once at a simmer, reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally.  The longer the chili simmers, the better it will taste.

After 2 hours, taste and add more salt, pepper, and chili powder, if desired.  Remove from the heat and serve each portion with an egg, diced avocado, diced cooked bacon, and chopped chives.  Sore extras in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze up to 5 months.
Makes 12 servings (about 1 cup per serving)

1 year ago:   Drink of the Week - Sex on the Snowbank
3 years ago:  Stuffed Pork Loin
5 years ago:  Using up left-over Halloween Candy, Pretzel Turtles

November 13, 2017  Sunrise 9:21 am  Sunset 3:48 pm  Temp. H 24/ L 4˚F


Monday, November 6, 2017

Missing Mr. Roger's Neighborhood

Bodies are such wonderful things...ish. I have started my reconstruction, and while I didn't think it would be easy, I didn't know it would be this hard. I know everyone has a different experience, and I am kind of a whimp, but this is kicking my butt.  

The initial surgery to put in the tissue expander went just fine. I healed up nicely and after a week in Anchorage we headed home. About 3 days after the end of my antibiotics I could feel a fullness under my arm on the surgery side. It got worse every day and began to burn. If I moved just right it felt like a hot poker jab...lovely. I was scheduled to go to Pittsburg for a week for work and on Sunday morning told my husband I should stay home.  
"You are fine, you can do this." He said, and he is my voice of reason.
So I went.  
On Monday I felt worse and on Tuesday I went to urgent care in Pittsburg.  

Thank you God for Dr. M in urgent care. She was awesome even when I had a full blown, probably should have been hospitalized in the crazy ward, melt down. At one point I told her I needed to call my husband and I was crying so hard I had to say, "I'm fine and I know I'm being unreasonable." 

Well, to make a long story shortish, I was fine, I had an infection, was given some more antibiotics, would be uncomfortable until the connections to my lymph system re-established to remove the excess fluid and I went to see my surgeon on Monday. All was fine and I got my first little fill-up. So currently I have one baby boob and one old lady boob. And now, when I play "Never Have I Ever" I can say I've sent boob picts over the internet (my Anchorage surgeon wanted to see what was going on). My husband isn't so sure what I sent can count for a boob, just yet!

Now, the worst part of this whole story, other than I was so out of control for that poor doctor I can never go back to Pittsburg, is that on Tuesday morning, I was supposed to get to go to the Heinze History Center which holds the Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood exhibit.  Mr. Rogers is a hero of mine and I was looking forward to that visit for months!  I didn't get to see his porch swing in person, or the castle and puppets, or any of his sweaters.  I had to cry hard about that too.

I did get a Mr. Rogers coffee cup that changes colors when you put hot liquid in it and it has some iconic Mr. Rogers quotes on it.  I smile every time I pick it up.

Here he is when the cup is empty.

Here he is when the cup is full of something hot.
So, while I didn't get to go to Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, I did bring a little memory of that wonderful man home to live with me in my office.  And if I'm really brave, and wear a disguise, someday I might return to Pittsburg and go visit his neighborhood.

3 years ago:  My Glimps of Raleigh

November 6, 2017    Sunrise 8:57 am  Sunset 4:11 pm   Temp. H 17/ L 10˚F

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Grain Free Pizza Crust

I. Love. Pizza.
If you ask me, I'll tell you my favorite food is Pizza and Ice Cream.  Even if you don't ask me, I might just bring that into any random conversation.

I can't go the rest of my life without pizza, even though I no longer eat wheat.  I have tried a couple different recipes for grain free pizza crust, and this is my favorite so far.  I haven't tried the cauliflower pizza crust you see everywhere, but I will.  I froze 5 large heads of cauliflower from my garden, so I'll get to it and let you know how it is.
This is a very easy crust.  It comes together quickly and holds together nicely.  It holds up to the tomato sauce, meat, and cheese without falling apart.  It isn't like the crispy, thin crust that is my favorite, but it is a thin crust, just soft.

We had pizza on Saturday night for dinner, I made an extra crust for Monday's dinner (so easy to just double the recipe and bake on two pans).  Sunday we had our favorite moose roast for dinner, and Monday we had sandwiches with left-over roast and the second crust for easy Moose Paninis during Monday Night Football.






Grain Free Pizza Crust
from peaceloveandlowcarb.com
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375˚F.

Line a 12 inch pizza pan or a cookie sheet (I use my jelly roll pans) with parchment paper.

In a medium mixing bowl, using a hand mixer, combine eggs, cream cheese and seasonings.  Blend until smooth.

Using a rubber spatula, fold in the parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. Transfer mixture to the lined pizza pan. Spread the mixture out in a thin, even circle (or rectangle for cookie sheet).

Bake 22 minutes, flipping 12-14 minutes in. To flip it without breaking it, I like to top it with a second piece of parchment paper and top it with another pan, flipping it over with the new sheet of parchment paper under, and carefully peeling off the old parchment which is now the top.

Top with your favorite pizza toppings or cut and use as bread for sandwiches. I have been doubling this and having an extra crust on hand for avocado toast in the morning, panini bread for sandwiches, or hot dog buns for camping.
Second crust cut for sandwiches for tomorrow's dinner.

Left-over moose roast, pickled pepperchini, provolone cheese,
grain free pizza crust under the panini press.
Perfect dinner for Monday night football.


September 26, 2017   Sunrise 7:46 am  Sunset 7:35 pm   Temp. H 51/ L 35°F





Thursday, September 21, 2017

Colorado

A little photo essay of my trip to Colorado.  

Sunday morning with my brother.  Champagne and the Pack!

A drive up to Pike's Peak.

Wednesday dinner with these two.

Of course we met at a martini bar!  It was so fun to connect.

After the week of work, up to Seattle to visit the Grand baby and his people.

G man with his momma.
It was the perfect work week.  A little play, a lot of work, and so much fun at the end.  I am one lucky duck.

2 years ago:  Peach Comfort (Drink of the Week) and the Hip Shot
3 years ago:  Another computer Crash
5 years ago:  Roasted Turkey and the Full Freezer

September 21, 2017  Sunrise 7:32 am  Sunset 7:53 pm  Temp. H 54/ L 40°F

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Pork roast with Eggplant


I was in Colorado last week for work.  I got to spend some time with my brother, went to Pikes Peak, saw my dear friends Mark and Suzanne, who used to be my back door neighbors, and then after work and all that fun, stopped in Seattle to visit the grandbaby and his parents.  I'll post pictures later this week.  

I'm headed to Seward for the rest of this week for work.  Fly into Anchorage and drive 2 hours to Seward.  It should be a beautiful drive, but there is so much to do this time of year, I'm struggling with my attitude about this trip!

It has cooled down in Fairbanks.  The mornings are very cool, the birds have all flown south, and everyone I talk to says it feels like winter is just around the corner.  
"Embrace the cold," is my motto for this time of year.  The cold is coming and there is nothing we can do to change it, so embrace it.  I guess that would be good advice for myself with this upcoming trip.

I made this delicious pork roast and eggplant.  The pork is done in the crock pot, so easy hands-off cooking, and the eggplant took about 20 minutes tops.  We had a warm, delicious dinner on this blustery evening.  Winter is coming so we might as well embrace it!
Pork Roast With Eggplant Mash
from Quick and Easy Ketogenic Cooking, Maria Emmerich

Pork Ragu
1 medium onion, chopped
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. finely chopped garlic
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried oregano
3/4 tsp. fine sea salt
1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 (14 1/2 oz.) can diced tomatoes (with juice)
2 cups beef or chicken broth
3 lbs. pork spareribs, cut into individual ribs
Chopped fresh flat-leave parsley, for garnish, optional

In a 4-quart slow cooker, combine the onion, tomato paste, garlic, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes and their juices an the broth; stir well to combine. Add the pork spareribs and turn to coat.

Cover and cook until the pork is very tender, 7-8 hours on low or 5-6 hours on high.

Remove the ribs from the slow cooker, leaving the cooking liquid in the pot. Using two forks, shred the pork. Return the pot to the slow cooker and mix it into the cooking liquid.

Then make eggplant mash.



EggPlant Mash
(In the cookbook, the author called this grits, I think that is misleading.  Grits have a very unique texture and this is more like a smooth mash.  You can call it what you want, I call it delicious.)
4 cups peeled and cubed eggplant (about 1 lb.)
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 cup chopped onions
1 Tbsp. finely chopped garlic
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
1/2 tsp. dried ground oregano
1/2 cup beef bone broth
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Place eggplant cubes and bacon pieces in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat.  Stir-fry until the bacon is fried and eggplant is extremely soft, about 10 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggplant and bacon to a food processor; leave the bacon fat in the pan. Puree the eggplant and bacon until smooth.

In the skillet with the bacon fat, add the onions and cook, over medium-high heat, stirring until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and salt and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the eggplant puree and oregano to the skillet and stir to combine. Cook, stirring with heavy wooden spoon, until the mixture forms a thick paste, 5-10 minutes, adding the broth 1 Tbsp. at a time to keep the eggplant from getting dry.  Sprinkle with cheese, stir, and serve.

Divide the eggplant among wide, shallow bowls and spoon the ragu over the top.  Sprinkle each serving with chopped parsley, if desired, and serve immediately.


September 19, 2017   Sunrise 7:26 am  Sunset 8:00 pm  Temp. H 50/ L 36°F