Thursday, December 13, 2018

Antipasta Salad

We had chicken.  Not Dave's favorite, so I made a side "salad" that I knew he would enjoy.  I can eat this for my meal, I just put it over some crunchy greens, but Dave likes this just the way it is.

Antipasta Salad
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup marinated artichoke hearts, drained and cut in quarters
1/4 cup aged provolone, broken into chunks or cut
1/4 pepperoni, sliced
1/4 hard salami, sliced into strips
1/2 cup olives, cut in half
1 cup mini mozzarella balls
1/4 to 1/2 cup Italian dressing or good oil and vinegar
1 head roasted garlic, garlic cloves removed and kept intact
2 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped

Mix all ingredients together.  Serve as is or over greens.

1 year ago:   The Lost Jacket and Cinnamon Cream Cheese Kringle
4 years ago:  Peppermint Pretzels
5 years ago:  Biscuits and Gravy
7 years ago:  When Life Gives you Lemons, Make Meatball Subs

December 13, 2018   Sunrise 10:48 am  Sunset 2:41 pm  Temp. H-9/ L -14°F

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Zucchini Chips

I have a new obsession.  It used to be things like hostess cupcakes, snickers bars, ice cream (o.k. so I still love ice cream), potato chips...the list goes on.  But most of those things I no longer eat and feel better for it, also for most of those things there is a keto version that I enjoy just as much.

However, I do miss the salty crunch of potato chips with a burger or hot dog.  In all honesty, I have eaten potato chips once in a while, just a few, but I know that goes directly against my food goals.  So you can imagine how excited I was when I saw some zucchini chips posted on Pinterest!  I tried to make my first batch in my oven, but my oven doesn't go below 250°F, so the chips were not ideal.

So, I did what anyone would do, I went and bought a food dehydrator.

I am loving this thing!  I use my mandolin to cut my zucchini nice and thin, lay them on the screens, turn  it on to 135°F and let it do it's thing.  8-12 hours later I have delicious, crunchy chips.  I like mine with salt, garlic and a little Parmesan. I have to be careful because the first day I ate two whole zucchini with my lunch and drank a ton of water and didn't feel so good the rest of the day!  I do need to learn the art of moderation!

So, this is what I do for my chip fix now.  I'm going to try radishes and see how that goes.  I also want to try cranberries for some keto cranberry bliss bars for the holiday season.  I might be late to the food dehydrator game, but I'm loving it now that I'm here!

Zucchini Chips

2 large zucchini, small just dry up to tiny nothings
2 Tbsp. avocado oil
garlic powder

Slice zucchini on mandolin.  Place zucchini in a bowl, add oil and toss to coat all the chips.  Place on dehydrator trays then salt and sprinkle with garlic (if I'm using parmesan, I dip one side in a little bowl of parmesan before I put it on the tray and top with salt and/or garlic).  Using manufacturer's directions, dehydrate (mine take about 12 hours and I like to rotate the top trays and the bottom trays half way through).

What other toppings should I try on my chips?

1 year ago:   Sleeping Pants and Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
4 years ago:  Sometime Home Made Bread is Love
5 years ago:  Words with Friends and Dutch Apple Pie
7 years ago:  Barbeque and Bird Feeders

December 11, 2018  Sunrise 10:45am  Sunset 2:43pm  Temp. H 7/ L -5˚F

Monday, December 3, 2018

Eggnog with and without and the Rum Chata bottle

I sent Dave to the store for some Rumchata.  I'd never had it before but needed it for the Chocolate Cream Pie Martini I made last week.  He came home with this.
The eggnog is in a 4 cup see how much RumChata I have to drink
You can't let that stuff go to waste, it is expensive!

So I used it for the drink of the week and now I have a lot of Rumchata to drink.  It is a tough job, but someone has to do it!  We tasted it plain to see what it would go with, and in my opinion, it goes with everything!  It is creamy and has a hint of spice and the kick from some rum.  Oh my, I can drink this straight.

Now, I will have to control myself because it has sugar in it and therefore carbs. According to My Fitness Pal it has 16 carbs in 1.5 oz.  Not really a keto drink.  I'll treat myself once in a while, but this huge bottle will last a long time at my years.

I did make some keto eggnog.  I do love eggnog and was so happy to find several keto recipes on Pinterest.  I made some and then added some rum one night.  A couple nights later I added a shot of Rumchata oh so good!

Gman loved his eggnog without, and Grandma has her with.  We both had a pretty glass and we were happy!

So, here is to the holiday season, eggnog, pretty glasses and lots of Rumchata.
Gman likes his eggnog without, but in a pretty glass.

Keto Eggnog

2 cups unsweetened almond milk, store bought or homemade
2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated Swerve, or sweetener of choice
pinch of salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 egg whites, optional

In a saucepan over low-medium heat warm milk, cream, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Let steep for about 10 minutes.
In the meantime, in a small mixing bowl add egg yolks, sweetener and salt.  With a hand mixer, mix on high until egg yolks are light in color and the sweetener has mostly dissolved (it won't dissolve all the way until you mix in the milk).
Temper the egg yolks by adding a bit of the heated milk while you continue to mix.  Add about a cup in a couple different batches, then add the heated egg yolks to the milk mixture and heat over medium heat until it reaches 160°.  Remove from heat and add vanilla extract.  Cool in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Before serving, beat egg whites to a stiff peak and fold into egg mixture, this is optional and makes a lighter eggnog.  Leave the egg whites out and you get an eggnog like the kind you buy in the store.

Add rum (or Rumchata) or not.  It is delicious all the ways.

1year ago:     Leek Confit
3 years ago:  Christmas Dreams Cocktail and the Kick-Ass Doctor
5 years ago:  Tucker on the Sofa and Pumpkin Brownies
7 years ago:  Chinook Winds - drink of the week

December 3, 2018   Sunrise 10:25 am  Sunset 2:55 pm   Temp H 26/ L 19°F

Friday, November 30, 2018


When Gman and his people visit they have to attend to Grandma's naughty dinosaurs.  While we are all asleep, those naughty dinos do all kinds of things, and we have to clean up the mess in the morning (I totally stole this idea from Pinterest).  Gman talks about the naughty dinos and when we Face time he sometimes asks where they are so we have to show him where the dinos are sitting at that moment (The first time he asked, I had to frantically take them out of the box without him seeing - you gotta love Face time!)

So, this year we had four mornings with Gman, and 4 adventures for the naughty dinos.

Dino nest with Kinder eggs.

Eating Gman's favorite fruit snacks.

Not quite sure what this lesson is about.

Eating Grandma's Thanksgiving flowers.

We will keep this up until he is way too old for it.  I can picture us now, Gman is 14 and we are trying to sneak the dinos around so they can be naughty and he looks up from his video game and says "Not again Grandma!"

5 years ago:  Leah

November 30, 2018  Sunrise 10:16 am  Sunset 3:02 pm   Temp. H 8/ L 9°F

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Chocolate Cream Pie Martini - Drink of the Week

Picking up Gman from the airport.
Gman and his people were here over the Thanksgiving holiday.  We had an untraditional Thanksgiving feast, the DIL and Dave don't like turkey so we had prime rib instead, and lots of play time with Gman.  He is a connoisseur of t.v. because his screen time is limited.  Current favorites are Peppa Pig and Octonauts.
The annual dog sled ride.

Throwing snow at Grandma.

We did enjoy our Thanksgiving drink of the week, but we also enjoyed a couple more.  This is an all time favorite.  Unfortunately these are not keto, so I limited myself to one, but boy is it good.  I'm looking for a sugar free version of Rumchata and chocolate liqueur so I can enjoy this more.

Chocolate Cream Pie Martini
1 oz. chocolate whipped cream vodka
1 oz. Rum Chata
1 oz. chocolate Liqueur, I love Godiva 
chocolate syrup, for glass

Swirl chocolate syrup around the sides of a martini glass.
In a shaker full of ice, add vodka, Rum Chata and chocolate liqueur.  Shake until very cold, strain into prepared glass.  Serve.

You can add a dollop of whipped cream on the top if desired.  I find that is just gets all over my nose and in the way of my drink.  But I'm classy like that.

Warming up with Hershey after playing outside.

Gman would not sit on Santa's lap for our annual
Santa picture.

But he sure would take the candy!  Santa is so awesome.
1 year ago:    Ritz Cracker Toffee and the Oven Explosion
3 years ago:  Crock Pot Steel Cut Oatmeal with Pears
5 years ago:  Apple Butter and Visiting with Tony
7 years ago:  Whole Wheat, Millet and Dried Fruit Bread

November 29, 2018   Sunrise 10:13 am  Sunset 3:04 pm  Temp. H 13/ L 6°F

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Pumpkin Bread Trifle

My friend Suzanne over at Front Range Fork and Cork, posted about some pumpkin bread she made for her new neighbors and the Pumpkin Trifle she made with some extra loaves of pumpkin bread.  I read her post and wished she was still my backdoor neighbor so she could share some of that delicious looking trifle with me.

Well, I can't talk her into moving back to Alaska, so I'll have to make my own.  If you are a sugar enjoyer go to her blog and use her recipe.  I've linked it above.  If you don't enjoy sugar I've made a sugar free, grain free version of her trifle.  I'll eat it and think fondly of her.

Pumpkin Trifle

for the pumpkin bread*
1 cup smooth almond butter
1 tsp. baking powder
1.5 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup confectioner's Swerve
1/4 tsp. salt
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350° Spray or grease a loaf pan and line it with parchment paper with two sides hanging over the edge for easy loaf removal.

In a medium bowl, using a hand mixer to mix all ingredients until well incorporated.  Pour into prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs.

Let cool completely, don't worry if the center sinks a little.  Cut into slices and serve.

*I used two slices of pumpkin bread per trifle.

for the whipped cream layer
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp. confectioner's Swerve

Sugar Free Caramel Sauce, I used ChocZero
chopped pecans

In a small bowl, whip heavy cream and confectioners Swerve until firm soft peaks form.
Cut four slices of pumpkin bread into about 1" cubes.
Using two dessert dishes layer a dollop of whipped cream, a layer of pumpkin bread, a swirl of caramel and a sprinkle of pecans. Repeat layers two more times.  Serve and think of friends far away.

1 year ago:   Comfort Food - Biscuits and Gravy
3 years ago:  Ganache filled Cupcakes and Complaints from Family
5 years ago:  Hasselback Potatoes and a Mouse in the House
7 years ago:  New Wood Stove

November 27, 2018   Sunrise 10:07 am  Sunset 3:09 pm   Temp. H 19/ L 15°F

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Pumpkin Mug Cake

This week is everything pumpkin.  We had a pumpkin martini on Monday and today we get a pumpkin mug cake.  I'm pretty excited, this is the season of eating and I am home for three straight months before I travel again for work.  I'll get to spend the whole season of eating at home, checking out Pinterest and eating anything I want to cook.

Gman and his people are showing up tonight for Thanksgiving.  Gman will be asleep, but I'll have the martinis and this mug cake ready for the older two.  I'm sure they will need a snack after that long 3 hour flight from Seattle to Fairbanks! This is warm and delicious with the buttery pecans on top...mmmm. And this is keto so no sugar and no grains, you don't have to feel bad for the splurge.

I wish you a happy Thanksgiving full of food and family and friends.  The rest of the season of eating is before us, and oh so delicious!

Pumpkin Mug Cake
Link is here from Sugarless Crystals

1 year ago:   Breakfast Chili
3 years ago:  Home Again and the Sob Story and Hot Buttered Rum
5 years ago:  Pumpkin Muffins and How Alaska Skews Your Knowledge
7 years ago:  Sweet and Spicy Smoked Salmon - a Blog Favorite

November 21, 2018   Sunrise 9:47 am  Sunset 3:25 pm  Temp. H 19/ L 13°F

Monday, November 19, 2018

Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Martini

I have so much to be thankful for. If you think about it, we all have something to be thankful for. A few things on my list this year include; my husband, my parents, my kids, my grandchild, extended family, coffee, chocolate, my pets (yes, pets come after chocolate and coffee because I need the chocolate and coffee to deal with them), food, my work, adult see, the list just goes on.

One thing I am really thankful for is modern technology.  I get to Facetime with Gman and his people a couple times a week, I get daily pictures of that little guy, and text messages from all my kids.  I don't know how my mom dealt with not hearing from me weekly when I moved from Kansas to Alaska (I might not have been the best about calling home).

Well, on Sunday, my Cali DIL texted me this:
How cool that she asked!  I went home and sent her the recipe then went to make it myself and realized I didn't have vanilla vodka the recipe called for, so I made mine with chocolate whipped cream flavored vodka and decided it was a keeper!  When I run out of the chocolate whipped cream vodka I'll go buy some  vanilla vodka, make more of this drink and let you know how it is...all in the name of thoughtful, selfless blogging, I'll suffer through those drinks for you.

So, Cali DIL, this is a little different than what I sent you, if you haven't got your ingredients yet, get the chocolate whipped cream vodka for the win!

Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Martini

1 Tbsp.Brown Sugar Substitute
 1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice* to rim glasses

2 oz. chocolate whipped cream vodka
1.5 oz. spiced rum
2 Tbsp. pumpkin puree
2 Tbsp. heavy cream
1 Tbsp. confectioners Swerve
1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice*

Mix the brown sugar substitute and pumpkin pie spice together on a small plate.  Lightly wet the edge of a martini glass and dip in sugar/spice mixture.

In shaker full of ice, add the other ingredients, shake until very cold.  Carefully pour into two glasses.  Top with a little sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.

*if you don't have pumpkin pie spice, you can make your own with 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. ground ginger, 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg.

1 year ago:    Missing Mr. Roger's Neighborhood
3 years ago:  Meeting My New Great Niece
5 years ago:  Kentucky Kiss and the Sprained Ankle
7 years ago:  Roasted Tomatoes

November 19, 2019   Sunrise 9:40 am  sunset 3:31pm   Temp. H 21/ L 15°F

Gman is packed and ready to come to
Grandma's house for Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Coffee Custard

I was at the end of a long week on the road. It was Friday and I was headed to the airport to fly to Seattle and spend the weekend with Gman and his people.  I left the job fair, opened the trunk of the rental, put the squishy ball I got for Gman into my suitcase and slammed the trunk shut.  With the keys in the trunk. And the doors to the car locked.

I knew the second I let go of the trunk as I was slamming it shut.  I was so upset.  I knew I was going to miss my airplane and then I wouldn't have my time with Gman if I had to reschedule my flight.  I only had a day and a half with him as it was.  I called the car rental office and told them what I did.  They called AAA and had someone come and unlock my car for me.  (It was a little scary how fast it can be done!).  I was on my way and made my flight with time to spare.

So, I chalk it up to one more travel experience I had, and don't have to have again.  And, I didn't cry so I deserve a treat.

I love pudding and custard.  This is an easy dessert when you don't want to bother with much.  You stir everything together, pour into cups or small ramekins and cook them in your crock-pot.  If you like your custard warm, you can put it in right before dinner and this will be ready once the dinner dishes are done.  If you like your custard cold, make them the night before, cover, and refrigerate.  Flavors are easy, once you get the ratio down.  Just remember you want 1 1/4 cup coconut milk, one egg, and two egg yolks.  Then, by adding flavorings, chocolate chips, or coconut flakes you have lots of options.  I love this for breakfast too, so by adding coffee I'm getting my eggs and coffee in one bite!
I like to top mine with a little heavy cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Coffee Custard
1 1/4 cup coconut milk
1 egg
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup sweetener ( I use Swerve)
1 tsp. espresso powder*
1/2 tsp vanilla
pinch salt

Mix all ingredients together, pour into 4 small coffee cups or ramekins, place in slow cooker.  Add hot water to slow cooker about 1/2 way up cups.  Place a towel over the top and  cover with lid, the towel helps to prevent water dropping off the lid into the custard cups.  Cook on low for 2 hours or until knife inserted in custard comes out clean.  Remove custard from slow cooker, remove any water that has accumulated on top of custard cups.

*in place of espresso powder add 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa, or 1/4 cup flaked unsweetened coconut and 1/2 tsp. coconut extract, or chocolate chips, or 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and 1/2 tsp. maple extract...

4 years ago: Feeling Sorry for Myself and Dried Cherry Muffins
5 years ago: Stacking Wood and Pork Chili
6 years ago: Pumpkin Monkey Bread and the Computer Crash

October 30, 2018  Sunrise 9:32 am  Sunset 5:35 pm  Temp. H 22/ L 10°F

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Fennel and Garlic Cream Poached Halibut

I travel a lot for work this time of year.  When I'm home it is so Dave can do my laundry, I can pet the dogs and sleep in my own bed.  I really don't have much time or energy for cooking.  Also, I am coming from the real world, where it is really fall, to Fairbanks where it is cold and rainy or snowy.  So far this year I haven't been home when it snowed and it has melted before I land, but I was in Iowa last week and it was 70°F and sunny only to land in Fairbanks where it was 42 and overcast, and colder at night.

I crave something warm and soup-like this time of year.  Dave doesn't think soup is dinner so I go for something with lots of sauce.  This halibut dish checks all the boxes for warm, saucy, and enough substance to count for dinner.

Poaching the fennel bulb in heavy cream until it is soft really sweetens the fennel, I'm not really a fan of raw fennel with it's anise flavor, but once it is roasted or poached it takes on a whole different flavor profile.  Then you pour the hot flavored cream over some halibut or cod and bake until it is cooked through - easy and so, so delicious.

To add a little fresh zip to it all is a fennel frond and lemon relish.  I could just eat this on it's own, or over chicken or pork.

So dinner is done, easy and delicious and I have time to supervise Dave doing my laundry for my next work trip.
Fennel and Garlic Cream Poached Halibut
adapted from Bon Appétit, October 2018

2 small fennel bulbs, fronds reserved, bulbs cut into 12" thick wedges
8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 cups heavy cream
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
1 1/2 lb. halibut, skin removed
1 small lemon
1/2 cup avocado or olive oil
fresh black pepper

Preheat oven to 250˚F.  Place fennel in a large saucepan, add garlic, cream and salt.  Place over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally until fennel is just tender, 12-15 minutes, do not let the cream boil.  Remove from heat. 
Place fish in an oven proof casserole dish.  Pour cream sauce over fish.  Place in oven and bake uncovered for 18-25 minutes, until fish flakes easily with a fork.

While fish is cooking, finely chop reserved fennel fronds and place in a small bowl, you want about 1/2 cup.  Cut ends off lemon; discard.  Place lemon upright on one end and cut lemon into four lobes, working around the center as you would an apple and leaving the core and seeds behind.  Finely chop lobes peel and all and transfer to bowl with fennel fronds.  You should have about 1/3 cup.  Squeeze juice from core over fennel fronds; discard core.  Drizzle in oil and toss mixture to combine.  Season fennel oil with salt and lots of pepper. 

Break fish into large pieces and divide among shallow bowls.  Divide garlic and fennel among bowls and ladle some garlic cream on top. Spoon fennel oil over.

4 years ago:   Garlic Chili Chicken and My Afternoon Date
5 years ago:   The Awful Day and Homemade Cranberry Liqueur
6 years ago:   Cowboy Cookies

October 25, 2018  Sunrise 9:16 am  Sunset 9:52 pm  Temp. H 48/ L 27°F

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Keto Lemon Drop Martini

Ever have one of those moments when you wish you could just curl under the rug and never be seen again?  I had one of those today.

I was at work after being gone for a week and a work friend stopped in to say hi and admire my avocado start.  We were talking about the avocado plant and how I should cut it back to encourage a more bushy growth.  I was looking at the plant and there was a dead looking tiny leaf so I reached out to touch it AND IT MOVED!  I was so startled I jumped back and grabbed my friend's arm only it was her breast!  So I got scared by a bug and felt my friend up all in the matter of 1.3 seconds.  I could have died.

The only think to do is go home and drink.  Don't give me a hard time it is so early in the week. I leave again on Thursday for work, I hope she forgets all about this before I get home.


Lemon Drop Martini

2 ounces lemon vodka, no lemon vodka? no problem, just add more lemon juice or lemon extract
2 ounces fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp Swerve confectioners or lemon sweet leaf drops to taste
2 ounces plain or lemon sparkling water, such as La Croix, because I like bubbles
1 lemon wedge or lemon peel twist for garnish

Rim the top of a martini glass with the lemon wedge, set aside. In a shaker, add the lemon vodka, lemon juice, sweetener and a handful of ice. Shake for 15 seconds. Strain into martini glass. Top with sparkling water. Garnish with lemon wedge or twist, serve immediately.

4 years ago:  Citrus Cranberry Fizz and My Love of Fridays
5 years ago:  S'More-tini and Our Love of a Fire
6 years ago:  Chocolate Martini and Death of a Sewing Machine

October 23, 2018  Sunrise 9:09 am  Sunset 5:59 pm   Temp. H 47/ L 27

Friday, October 19, 2018

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Jalapeños and Lemon

I'm cheating today.  Really, I'm in Seattle with Gman and his people.  I'm at the end of a week of work away from home and I stopped by to spend the weekend with my little man.  I'll head home Sunday to be at work again on Monday.

I did make this chicken dish last week and just now got around to posting it.  I saw the recipe in a cooking magazine and tore it out to try it.  A couple weekends ago, I saw this dish at an artisan bazaar and I had to have it, so I could make this dish, because I don't have any other dishes that would work.

Dave saw the dish and said something like, "I thought you were going to quit buying new dishes." I just laughed.

This is a chicken recipe that Dave didn't mind.  He liked the garlic and spicy jalapeños.  The lemon cooked a little too much in my convection oven so I'll turn the convection fan off next time I make this.  The roasted garlic is pure heaven smeared on top of the chicken or spread on toasted bread.
Roasted Chicken lets with Garlic and Jalapeños
adapted from Bon Appetite, October issue

4 chicken leg quarters (thigh and drumstick)
2 heads garlic, top 1/3 cut off
1 lemon thinly sliced
1 jalapeño thinly sliced
several sprigs fresh thyme
black pepper, to taste
1/2 avocado oil

Place chicken in a baking dish and season generously with salt.  Set uncovered in refrigerator for 3 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 325˚F.

Add garlic, lemon, jalapeño, thyme and pepper to dish with chicken.  Pour oil over everything and mix with your hands to coat everything.  Arrange ingredients and turn garlic cut side down.

Roast chicken until meat is almost falling off the bone, 75-90 minutes.  Let chicken cool for about 10 minutes, serve with toasted country style bread.

3 years ago:  No Bean Soup Before the Airplane
4 years ago:  Banana Muffins and the Little Blue Cougar Pills
5 years ago:  Kids Moving Home and Warm Brussels Spout Slaw

October 19, 2018   Sunrise 8:56am  Sunset 6:13pm   Temp. H 42/ L 31˚F