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

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.

1 lb. pork sausage
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

Find the recipe in this book:

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