Thursday, August 30, 2018

Soft Tortillas

It is almost the weekend and I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to it.  Dave is supposed to go to moose camp with his brother, if the river doesn't rise too much.  Now, I love my husband, but I love him so much more in October than in August.

He is going in only on the weekends this year, but that is o.k. because I have a trip to Arizona for work and then 4 days with the grand baby in Seattle and when I get back he is headed to Colorado to go elk hunting with my brother.  I'll still get a break (and so will he) because, you know, absence makes the heart grow fonder!
Pretty much every Tuesday is taco night in our house.  I usually have taco salad and Dave eats wheat so he uses flour tortillas for his.  I was tired of not having tortillas so I made some grain free tortillas and they were delicious!  The were soft, they didn't break and fall apart like so many keto tortillas do.  I loved them.
Cheese, salsa and sour cream top my tacos.
I do have a tortilla press and that makes this process easy, but you can roll them out with a rolling pin.  You do want them very thin.  I'm going to make another batch and fry them for tortilla chips.  I'll let you know how that goes.
These tacos were easy.  I used this left over beef I had stashed in the freezer, threw together the tortillas and we were ready to go.  Even Dave liked these tortillas.
I'm so glad I get to live with this goofy guy.
I hope you have a wonderful Labor Day weekend.  I am looking forward to a quiet one!

I found this recipe on Gnom-Gnom.  I'm loving all her keto recipes.  You can find this easy tortilla recipe here.

1 year ago:   Too Much Zucchini and Zucchini Tots
4 years ago:  Chocolate Zucchini Bread and Getting Ready for the Zombie Apocalypse
6 years ago:  The Perfect Peach Cobbler

August 30, 2018  Sunrise 6:25 am  Sunset 9:15 pm  Temp. H 51/ L 40°F

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

New Adventures for Family

My niece and nephew from a hike we took together this summer.

We spent the weekend at home.  We had family dinner the last time with our niece and nephew before they leave for their new adventure.  We cleaned house, cooked these ribs and these chicken thighs, had a couple salads and for dessert we had cheesecake and this rhubarb crumble (and no one knew the desserts were sugar free!).
Now I say we cleaned the house, but really Dave did it.  I had carpal tunnel surgery and my arm is wrapped and casted up to the elbow for 10 days, I guess to protect the stitches?  It is annoying and I'm not afraid to tell anyone and everyone around me.  The very worst part is I cannot straighten my fake straight hair.  Dave is doing so much I can't ask him to do it, so I am curly until I get the stitches out and I hate it so hard.

We had 17 member of or family over and I didn't take a single picture!  Dave even reminded me before people started coming over and I never touched my camera (major fail).

So, my niece and nephew are off to a new state, one of my great nephews is off to play golf at a school in Oregon, one to play baseball at a school back east, and Dave and I were talking about how much wood we need to get through the winter this year.  At least I have a couple new places to visit!

I hope you are having a great, cast free week.

1 year ago:   Layered Panna Cotta and Dave's New Dog
4 years ago:  Blackberry Cobbler and Sand Art
6 years ago:  BananaBread and Putting up Wood for the Winter

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Chocolate Coconut Manna Truffles

It is funny how news can be exciting and sad all at the same time. 

My bestie, with whom I have coffee with every Saturday when I'm in town, and is the voice of reason I listen to, even if Dave says the same thing and I don't listen to him, is moving.  They both (she and her husband) have retired from education and their children , grandchildren and other family all live in the Lower 48.  They decided last spring to get their house on the market and move as soon as it sells.

Well, it sold and they are moving.

Now, on one hand, I'm so excited for them to be closer to their children and grandchildren. They will be closer to siblings and her mom.  They will be able to drive anywhere in a reasonable amount of time, and they can get airline tickets for $49 and fly across the country. This is an exciting time.

And on the other hand, I'll lose my Saturday morning coffee partner.  My voice of reason, my very kind beautiful friend.

And, at the same time, my niece and nephew have decided they are done with Alaska winters.  They are moving back east where my niece took a new job with her company and they are driving out right after Labor Day!  These are one of our most faithful camping partners, Sunday Family dinner attendees, fun game night couples, and friends.  They are also leaving.  It will be just Dave and me in Fairbanks all winter long (I'm not counting the hippy boy, yes he lives here, but he is busy with his own life and doesn't want to come over and hang out as much). 

So, I'm feeling a little sorry for myself. Don't get me wrong, I am really happy for my friend and my niece and nephew as they go on their next big adventure in their life, but it is all about me, you know, and I'm feeling sorry for myself getting left behind. And what do I do when I'm feeling sorry for myself?  I make snacks.
I made these coconut truffles.  They were so delicious I made another batch and took them to work to share.  These will be on a constant rotation in my "I'm feeling sorry for myself" treat rotation this fall.

Chocolate Coconut Manna Truffles
adapted from Nutivia website

1/4 cup coconut manna, softened
1 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup confectioner's Swerve
1/8 tsp. fine sea salt
1/4 cut chopped pecans

Optional for finishing truffles
cocoa powder
chopped pecans
chopped unsweetened coconut flakes

Line large sheet pan with wax paper or parchment paper, set aside.

Stir coconut manna to incoorportate any oil that rose to the top, melt slightly to soften if needed.

In a medium bowl mix coconut manna, coconut oil, cocoa powder, Swerve, salt and pecans.  Mix well.  With teaspoon or small scooper, make balls, roll with damp hands to form.  Roll in chopped nuts, cocoa powder or coconut flakes.  Refrigerate until firm. 
Makes 20 truffles

per truffle (with chopped pecans for rolling)
85 cal. 8 g. fat, 3 g. carbs, 2 g. fiber, 1 net carb, 1 g. protein

1 year ago:   Layered Panna Cotta and Dave's New Puppy
3 years ago: Chicken with Mushrooms and Almonds and Pranking the Hippy Boy
5 years ago: Cobb Salad and Putting Up Wood

August 23, 2018   Sunrise 6:03 am  Sunset 9:40 pm   Temp. H 64/ L 46°F

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Rhubarb Crumble and the Windfall

I log into Facebook everyday for work.  We post about Alaska and teaching in Alaska, and I usually scroll down my home page as I drink my coffee in the morning. I saw this funny post, it said something like "I've discovered the secret to making a million dollars and I'm working on a guide.  The first million people to send me a dollar will get a copy." I shared it and moved on.

About a week later, I got some mail with my sister in law's return address in the corner.  I figured it was a note from her since I had ordered some flowers from all of us for a family event.  I laughed out loud for a good 5 minutes when I opened it.  My brother in law saw the silly post and sent me this note and $1.
You gotta love relatives with a good sense of humor.
Well, Dave and I have been spending lots of time in the yard, starting to get things buttoned up for the winter.  After my hand surgery I won't be very helpful for a while, then it is moose season and then it is my travel season and snow can come any day now.  One of the things we did was pull all the rhubarb.

I have a giant rhubarb plant that produces way more than I can use.  I take it to work, I give it to friends, I freeze more than I'll use all winter.  I took a big batch into work along with this sugar-free rhubarb crumble.  I figured if something delicious was next to the giant basket, more people would be inspired to take some.

I have enough in my freezer to make this a dozen times this winter, it was so good, I'm wondering if I have enough.

Keto Rhubarb Crisp

For Crumble
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup Swerve, or sweetener of choice

For Fruit Filling
4 cups rhubarb, sliced
1 cup strawberries or raspberries
1/3-1/2 cup Swerve, or sweetener of choice
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum, optional

Preheat oven to 350˚F.  Butter or spray a 9" pie plate, or an 8x8 baking pan.  

Make fruit filling: combine rhubarb, strawberries, sweetener and xanthan gum (if using).  Mix well and pour into pie plate, spreading evenly.

Make crumble: mix almond flour, coconut, melted butter and sweetener.  Mix until well incorporated and crumbly.  Sprinkle over the fruit filling.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until rhubarb is soft and topping is richly browned.  
Serves 8

187 calories, 16 g. fat, 8 g. carbs, 4 g. fiber, 4 g. protein (I subtract the sugar alcohol before posting carbs.)

4 years ago:  Nutella Pillows

August 21, 2018   Sunrise 5:57am  Sunset 9:48 pm  Temp H 65/L 47°

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Grilled Chicken Thighs

We grill all year long.  And when I say we I mean I grill in the summer and Dave can grill in the winter because I'm not going out there when it is cold when I have a perfectly good oven in the warm house.

We've had this chicken recipe about three time so far this summer.  I love making a big batch and then I have lunch for the week.  Dave isn't crazy about chicken, so I get all the left-overs.  I package them individually so I can grab one out of the freezer and be ready for lunch. And, this chicken is good cold or warmed up.
I love having lunch options in the freezer.  It keeps me on track by not going out, I eat at my desk and work so I can walk one of the many trails on campus for a good 20 minutes during my break.  I really like it when Dave cooks these over charcoal, it adds a nice flavor.  I don't have time for that so when I have to cook them they are cooked on the propane grill.  They are good either way.  

Grilled Chicken Thighs

1/2 cup avocado oil
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. dried thyme
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
3-4 lbs. chicken thighs
salt and pepper

Pat chicken thighs dry, sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Combine avocado oil, apple cider vinegar, thyme, garlic, paprika and ground cumin (I pour everything into the container I'm going to marinade in and whisk it together).  Add chicken and turn to coat.  Marinade for 1 hour to overnight.

Preheat grill so the grates are very hot.  Grill chicken over indirect heat, starting with skin side down.  I grill for 10-15 minutes on each side, cook until juices run clear.

1 year ago:   Tired

August 16, 2018  Sunrise 5:41 am  Sunset 10:06 pm  Temp. H58/ L 45°F

Monday, August 13, 2018

Spinach Artichoke Pull-Apart Rolls

Our last camping trip, I think, at least the last one I can count on this year.  We are headed to Seattle for Gman's 2nd birthday, then I have surgery on my wrist, then Dave is gone to moose camp and I start my fall travel.  Posts will be few and far between for a while.
A ride up to the rock and a toast to the last camping
trip of the season.  
We camped, we rode our 4 wheelers, we took naps, we ate and drank (just a little).  It was a good weekend.  Any weekend out in Alaska is a good weekend.
We were trying to let the dog blanket dry.
Tek decided he still needed to sit on it.
I made a special little treat for before dinner.  I put this together at home and then assembled it out at camp.  I cooked it on the covered grill.  Next time I'll use my dutch oven.  The rolls cooked, but they didn't brown up nicely.  That didn't stop us from eating them and they were delicious.  Then we put the dip on our steaks at dinner.  Left-overs were my lunch the next day.
Cooking on the covered grill works, but the bread doesn't
toast up on the top like it will in your oven at home.

Spinach Artichoke Pull-Apart Rolls
adapted from Cast Iron Keto, blog

For the Rolls:
6 oz. cream cheese
2 1/4 cups shredded mozzarella, low moisture works best here
3 eggs
2 1/4 Tablespoons baking powder
1 cup + 1/2 Tablespoon almond flour

For the Dip:
4 oz. cream cheese
1- 7 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/2 cup mozzarella
1/4 cup parmesean
1/2 cup frozen spinach, chopped
4 green onions, sliced
2 large cloves garlic, chopped fine
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Make the rolls:  melt cream cheese and mozzarella in the microwave until soft and easy to mix.  Add eggs, baking powder an almond flour, mix well.  Chill in refrigerator for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, make dip.  In a medium bowl add all the dip ingredients and mix well with a hand mixer.  Set aside.

Take dough from refrigerator and make into 12 balls.  Roll them in your hands to shape them, I wet my hands and that helped the dough not stick.  Place balls around the edges of your cast iron pan.  Cool in refrigerator for at least 10 minutes or up to overnight. 

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Spoon dip in the middle of your pan.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until rolls are golden brown and fluffy and dip is hot throughout.  Serve.

2 years ago:  End of the Summer
4 years ago:  Brandy Alexander and New Cookbooks
5 years ago:  Happy Home Makeer - Drink of the Week

August 13, 2018  Sunrise 5:31 am  Sunset 10:17 pm  Temp. H 59/ L 47°F

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Blueberry Picking and Blueberry Crumble

We went camping last weekend.  It was a cool rainy weekend, but it was perfect.  We were the only people camped in the area and I think I saw 4 cars the whole weekend.  We did spend a lot of time under the pop-up next to the fire, and I loved it.

There was a bit of a break in the rain on Saturday afternoon and we went berry picking.  The blueberries are ready to be picked and the bushes are full.  Dave and I spend about 45 minutes before the rain got too hard and we got too wet but we got quite a bit.

Sunday morning we were socked in with fog.  A good morning fire and  the pop up were all we needed.  Well, that and some strong, hot coffee.

Washed, air dried and ready for the freezer.
My Brother in law came over for dinner and this was our dessert.  He was surprised when I told him it was sugar free. I wish I got a kick-back from Swerve with as many people I tell about it who start using it.  It is nice though, because I ran out of confectioner's Swerve and I could borrow 1/4 cup from my neighbor (thanks Michelle!).
Blueberry crumble served with lemon ice cream, delicious.

Blueberry Crumble

Crust and Crumble
1 1/2 cups almond flour
1/4 cup Swerve confectioner's sweetener
4 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/4 tsp. salt

Blueberry Filling
can also be used for jam, or pies, or thumb drop cookies...
2 cups blueberries
1/2 cup water
1 tsp. lemon zest
2 Tbsp. lemon juice, about 1/2 large lemon
1/2 cup Swerve confectioner's sweetener
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum

Topping: Optional
whipped cream
ice cream, I topped our with lemon curd ice cream-made with Swerve only.

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Start with the blueberry filling.  Mix blueberries, water, lemon zest, lemon juice, swerve, and salt in a heavy pot over medium heat.  Heat until boiling and reduce to simmer.  Simmer for 5 minutes and sauce begins to thicken.  Remove from heat and whisk in xanthan gum until completely dissolved.  Set aside.

Make the crumble.  Mix almond flour, swerve, butter and salt together.  Mix until crumbly.  Pour 2/3 of the mixture into a 8X8 buttered pan. Press crust into an even layer on the bottom of the pan.  Top with blueberry mixture then crumble the remaining 1/3 of the almond crust mixture over the top.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until crumble is nicely browned on top.  Remove from oven and cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.  Makes 8 servings

2 years ago:  Introducing Grayson Zachary and Beginning the Grandma adventure
3 years ago:  Tazlina Wedding
5 years ago:  Lemon Bars and The Grocery Store Meltdown

August 8, 2018   Sunrise 5:14  Sunset 10:35  Temp. H 59/ L 44°F

Monday, August 6, 2018

Sausage and Egg Cups for Breakfast on the Go

In the never ending whack-a-mole game of "What body part of Toni's is going to crap out next" the next chapter is carpal tunnel syndrome.  I've been experiencing numbness in my hand that has crept up into my arm.  I figured it was more from the degenerative disc issue I had surgery for 9 years ago.  I put up with it, until I couldn't.  It was waking me up at night and I had to try to sit up to sleep.  I figured it was time to see the dr. and get this taken care of.

The great news is that it wasn't degenerative disc, it was only carpal tunnel.  I was pretty excited about that.  I'll have surgery in August and be ready for travel season starting in September.  The doc said we would do the procedure on a Friday and I could go back to work on Monday, easy peasy. 

Well, I know that everything should be that easy, but I also know myself and my body.  So, I'm trying to do a few things to prepare so Dave isn't stuck with everything.  I'm making a batch of keto chili and I'll freeze it in individual containers for a quick breakfast, lunch or dinner for Dave and myself and I'm making these egg cups. 

Now I am one who can eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch every day for a week or two, as long as I have something different for dinner and a sweet treat at the end of the day (or in the middle of the day).  So having a dozen egg cups ready to microwave will make the 10 days I have stitches easier when my right hand is stuck in a brace.  And yes, I am right handed.
This really isn't a recipe, it's more of an idea of how to do an easy, to-go breakfast.  I can eat these cold or warmed up in the microwave.  I also like my egg yolks hard, but if you like them soft, just cook a little less.  I also used our moose sausage but any ground sausage would do.  If you like breakfast sausage-use that, if you like spicy Italian sausage - go for it.  These are easy to individualize.  I like putting a squirt of spicy brown mustard in the sausage cup before I add the egg, you could add tabasco or sriracha.  You can also add what every cheese your want, or not.  I happened to add a little parmesan on these.
After they are cooked and cooled a little, I run a knife around the edge of the muffin pan to release them and then put them in individual containers for the freezer.  Then I can just grab one and throw it in my lunchbox for breakfast at work.  They reheat really nicely in the microwave.
Toppings are also easy to individualize.  I happen to really like guac and salsa on mine, but have melted cheese on them when I warm them up.  So these will be on my menu for post surgery easy breakfasts.  These would be great to make a couple batches and have them on hand for quick breakfasts in the mornings if you have kids headed back to school soon.  

And feel sorry for Dave, because my God, this doctor won't give me a robot body either.

Sausage and Egg Cups
Coconut oil to grease muffin pan
24 oz. ground sausage 
12 eggs
salt and pepper

filling options: (keep in mind you won't have a lot of room)
spicy brown mustard
hot sauce
cheese of choice

topping options:
avocado or guacamole
bacon bits
hollandaise sauce

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease muffin pan well, really well as the egg cups tend to stick.  
Divide sausage into 2 oz. pieces (I use a scale for this).  Flatten with your hands and form into cups in the muffin pans, going all the way up the sides of the muffin cups.  Bake for 10 minutes.
Drain the fat from the cups (I put a cooling rack over the top and turn the whole thing upside down over the sink).
Add any fillings you want and then crack one egg into each cup.  Top with salt and pepper.  Return to oven and cook until yolk is done to your liking.
Remove from oven and let cool in muffin tins about 5 minutes.  Run a knife around the edges to help release the eggs.  Serve immediately or store in refrigerator for 5 days or freeze.

2 years ago:   Saving a Life
3 years ago:   Talkeetna Zip Line

August 6, 2018   Sunrise 5:08 am  Sunset 10:42 pm   Temp. H 59/L 50°F

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Lemon Curd Ice Cream and The Mad Dash

Try Allulose they said, it will keep your ice cream softer, they said.  So I ordered some from Amazon.  I spent about $20.00 for 16 oz.  I figured I would use it sparingly so I could splurge for a softer consistency in my ice cream (keto ice cream freezes really hard).  I was craving something lemon so I made a delicious lemon curd using my favorite sweetener, Swerve, and mixed it with some heavy cream and Allulose and poured it into my ice cream maker and waited for the magic to happen.

It has been really hot in Fairbanks, getting into the high 80's and even 91 one day.  That is hot for Alaska standards, and my poor Alaska born husband has been melting.  I've been warm and enjoying the only days of the year I can sit outside without a sweater.  This is the perfect weather for ice cream and I have seen several delicious looking ice cream recipes on the Keto blogs I read.  A couple different blogs mentioned Allulose and how it keeps ice cream a little softer and doesn't raise your blood sugar, so I decided to try it myself.  I ordered it and waited for it to arrive before I made a new batch of ice cream.

Well, it was a hot afternoon, Dave mowed the lawn and tried not to dissolve into a puddle, I started cleaning up the flower beds because August could mean snow and I have a lot (I mean a lot) of flower beds to clean up.  We were both hot, tired, and I didn't want to cook.
"What restaurant in Fairbanks has air conditioning?" I asked Dave.  (Really, that is a thing because how often do you need air conditioning in Fairbanks.)  He mentioned a couple and we decided to head out to an air conditioned restaurant after he finished mowing the back yard.  I had some time so I went inside and made this delicious lemon curd ice cream, churned it, scooped it into single servings in a muffin pan (because keto ice cream is usually so hard I can't scoop it, and it keeps me to one serving instead of half the container).  I put a scoop in this pretty green dish, took a couple pictures and then ate it.  Yes, I ate my ice cream before dinner and it was delicious.  I was thinking I would have another scoop after dinner!

Off we went to the restaurant, ordered dinner, a friend walked in and joined us so we had a nice dinner and a nice visit...and then...

My stomach started to hurt.  I had eaten a couple of Dave's fries and I asked if they were breaded?  Yep, o.k.  I knew I would have a stomach ache from what ever wheat was on those few fries, but I've had wheat before and it isn't too bad.  Then a cramp... hmm, what had I eaten that would do this?  Not the salad or the steak I just ate.  Maybe because I work hard to stay away from wheat I'm having a big reaction?

Then a grumble, a cramp, and...we have to go home, NOW.  I'm clenching, we pay the bill, say good-bye to our friend and make a dash for the car (as much of a dash as you can make clenching your cheeks together tightly).  I rush home, run right into the bathroom and sit there, with the fan on and my eyes watering, for a good 20 minutes.

All this time I'm thinking, what did I eat?  Could the chicken I had at lunch have done this to me? Oh my, how can that smell come out of me?  I wonder if I got a little bug? Oh, lava, hot lava, hot lava - do we have any ice cubes?    Did I drink too much champagne the last couple of days?  Oh, the crampage....please stop.

Well, I finally finished and crawled into bed, convinced I had the flu or something.

Then, this morning, as I'm drinking my coffee, I come across a post from Keto Connect about sweeteners so I watch the one they do about Allulose and both of them mention that it had a very laxative effect on them.  OH MY GOODNESS, my beautiful delicious ice cream was the reason.  I have 11 more servings of it in my freezer and I don't dare try it again - or do I?

Well, I think the safe thing will be to make this ice cream again, only using Swerve.  I can offer this to my keto neighbor and maybe it won't affect them as bad as it affected me.  I am really bummed because there is a marshmallow recipe I also wanted to try, but it really isn't worth it.

So, Allulose might be a great sweetener for you, and I have a bag I paid $20.00 for that has about 1/3 cup missing, I'll send it to anyone who wants it, or maybe I'll save it for one day when I'm constipated, that will move things along!

Lemon Curd Ice Cream

for the lemon curd
4 eggs
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup confectioners Swerve
2 tsp. lemon zest
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. butter, cubed

for the ice-cream
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup confectioners Swerve (for the love of God, be careful with Allulose)
2 Tbsp. vodka, optional (helps with consistency and vodka!)

For the curd:
In a double boiler, over simmering water, mix eggs, lemon juice, confectioners Swerve, lemon zest and salt. Whisk until mixture thickens, about 8-10 minutes.  Remove from heat, add butter and let sit for a couple minutes for butter to melt.  Whisk butter into mixture.  Cover with cling wrap - laying the cling wrap on top of the curd so a skin doesn't form.  Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

For the ice cream
Mix heavy cream, swerve, vodka and cold lemon curd.  Pour into ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer's directions.  Freeze in individual portions or transfer to container and freeze for 1-2 hours.  Let sit at room temperature about 15 minutes to aid in scooping.

2 years ago:  The REAL Grapenut Bread and Things I do for my Dad
3 years ago:  Fish On!
5 years ago:  Rhubarb Sauce for My Mom

August 2, 2018   Sunrise 4:54  Sunset 10:56  Temp. H 68/ L 53°F