Friday, December 27, 2019


It is cold and dark this time of year.  I struggle a little with this.  I go to work, come home and try to stay warm by the fire.  It just seems like everything is a little harder this time of year.  So I try to do things to make life easier, like have dinner in the crock pot when I get home.

When you use your crock pot, you walk in the door and the end of the day and the house smells warm and inviting. I can do most of the prep in the morning before I go to work and when I have just a tiny bit of energy.
Well I browned the oxtails...
Sautéd some onions and garlic..

Reduced some beef broth with a little brandy and poured it all into the crock pot.  I turned it on high and went upstairs to shower.

On my way out the door I checked the crock pot and it was hot and steamy.  I turned it on low and left for work.

When I got home I was excited to open the door and be met with the warm, delicious aroma.  I walked in the house...and nothing.  Hmmm, I must really have a stuffy nose.  I walked straight to the crock pot and lifted the lid - nothing.  I hadn't plugged the damn thing in.

We went out for dinner.

December 27, 2019  Sunrise 10:58 am  Sunset 2:45 pm  Temp. H -16/ l -20

Monday, December 23, 2019

Hot Chocolate Spoons

I like to take a little treat to co-workers.  It has been getting colder so this holiday I decided to help warm them all up by making some hot chocolate on a spoon.  I used the peppermint spoons I made for the handles and everyone can have some warm pepperminty hot chocolate to warm them from the inside out!

I'm wishing you a happy and warm holiday, however you celebrate. 

Hot Chocolate Spoons
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 (12 oz.) bags chocolate chips, I used milk chocolate
1 (4 oz.) dark chocolate candy bar, broken into small pieces
1 tsp. vanilla

36  paper sticks, paper or bamboo spoons, or cinnamon sticks

optional toppings:
candy canes
cinnamon and chili pepper (for Mexican hot chocolate)
caramel bits

In a medium bowl add chocolate chips and broken candy bar pieces, set aside.
In a medium saucepan, heat milk and cream until just bubbling.  Pour over chips and candy bar, let sit for 5 minutes, add vanilla.  Stir until completely combined (I added mini marshmallows at this point, just make sure it is cool so they don't melt).  Pour into a 9X8 pan or scoop into individual candy wrappers or very small cupcake holders. Add any toppings, if desired. Let sit about 10 minutes to firm up then add paper spoons, candy canes or paper sticks.  Makes about 36 servings.

To make hot chocolate:
heat 6-8 oz. of milk, add chocolate (minus any paper wrapper) and stir until chocolate is melted.

5 years ago:  Donna's Pumpkin White Russian
7 years ago:  White Chocolate Peppermint Popcorn and Snow Day Cooking

December 23, 2019  Sunrise 10:58am  Sunset 2:41 pm  Temp H -11/ L -15°F

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Peppermint Spoons

I have these little spoon molds I've had forever.  I don't really remember where or when I got them, but when I was cleaning out the pantry last fall they were found.  I don't know why I bought them, but I decided I would figure out a way to use them.  So off to Pinterest I went.

I found a fun idea for hot chocolate sticks, and decided to make those this winter, and what would be more fun than a stick but a peppermint spoon.  Then, as you stir the hot chocolate into the warm milk, you also get a little peppermint kick from the spoon.  I love peppermint hot chocolate.

I'll find some other uses for this spoon mold, now that I remember I have them.

Peppermint Spoons

peppermint candies, crushed

spoon mold

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Fill spoon mold with crushed candies.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove molds from oven, using a knife or flat edge of a small offset spatula, push the candy into the molds completely.  Refill molds where candy has melted and does not fill the mold to the top.  Heat for 5-8 more minutes, until candy is completely melted.  Again, push candy that has melted outside the molds into the correct spaces and push down the candy to compact it in the mold.  Let cool completely.
Carefully remove spoons from molds.  Store in a cool, dry place.

5 years ago:  Pink Champagne Mug Cakes and New Books
7 years ago:  Russian Tea Cakes and the Snow Day

December 22, 2019  Sunrise 10:58am sunset 2:40pm  Temp H -25/ L-26°F

Friday, December 20, 2019

Keto Irish Cream and Santa's Little Helper Drink of the Week

In the summer when we went camping with our niece and nephew, they would always bring Irish Cream for morning coffee.  We are camping so morning drinking is allowed, and this is a no judge zone.

Well, they moved and I will be responsible for my own Irish Cream for my coffee. So I began to look for a Keto version I could make. This is easy to make and a little too easy to drink!  I'll be ready for camping 5 months.  In the meantime I'll just have to be happy with Irish Cream in my coffee on Sunday, before brunch and my mimosa.

This will also be part of my Christmas drink of the week.  I love peppermint and the combination of peppermint with the Irish Cream is so delicious. Santa's Little Helper will be one of my go to drinks this season, I get more than one drink of the week this time of year.

Keto Irish Cream

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 Tbsp. Cocoa powder
1 tsp. instant espresso powder
1/2 cup confectioner's Swerve
1/2 tsp. caramel stevia liquid
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup Irish Whiskey

In medium sauce pan, heat cream until warm.  Add cocoa powder, instant espresso powder, confectioner's Swerve and caramel stevia.  Mix well.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Add vanilla and whiskey, mix well.  Store in refrigerator.

Santa's Little Helper

2 oz. Keto Irish Cream
1 oz. Peppermint vodka
sugar free chocolate syrup

Swirl glass with chocolate syrup.  In a shaker, mix Irish Cream and vodka.  Pour into prepared glass.
Makes 1 drink

5 years ago: A Farewell to June
7 years ago: My New Nativity

December 20, 2019  Sunrise 10:56 am  Sunset 2:39 pm  Temp H -26/ L -30°F

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Sunday Breakfast

Dave has gotten into the habit of making Sunday Brunch for us.  I love that I don't have to cook, I can eat a delicious brunch in my pajamas as I drink my mimosa (without juice) and watch football.

Dave has started making these large rolled omelettes.  They are so big I  eat all I want and then have half for the next day for breakfast at work.  I don't know why he started making them this way, I think he had too much time on his hands one day and watched a little too much You Tube or Facebook videos, but I'm really not complaining because I am the winner here.

He switches up the fillings each week, sometimes left-over steak, ham, sausage, bacon, a variety of cheese....
It is always delicious.

Dave's three egg omelette

3 eggs, whisked
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. heavy cream (he doesn't measure he just pours a splash in)
fillings of choice

Pour eggs onto griddle.

Fill the whole thing in a rectangle.

Dave uses a spatula to level the eggs thinly into the
correct shape.

Add toppings of choice, today we had ham.

And cheese

Lots of cheese!

Using two spatulas, start rolling the omelette by folding over
the eggs, starting at the short end

and fold

and fold

and fold

until it is folded into this nice little roll.

My Sunday brunch, rolled omelette, sausage and radish browns.

December 18, 2019  Sunrise 10:55 am  Sunset 2:39 pm  Temp H -3/ L -18°F

Monday, December 16, 2019

Cheeseburger Soup

Our weather finally took a dip to colder weather, but still only 20 below.  It is supposed to get to -30 by Thursday, but that is in the middle of the night.  While we have had an unusually warm winter, -20 is still cold and I crave soup.

I made soup and chicken wings for dinner Sunday while we watched football, soup for me and chicken wings because Dave doesn't think soup is dinner.  But, I have to say that I got TWO compliments on the soup and he ate TWO bowls of soup so this was a total win!  At one point he told me I could can the broth and sell it, high praise from a  soup disinterested human!

So, here is my version of Cheeseburger Soup, I won't can it and sell it, but I do take donations if you are so inclined!

Cheeseburger Soup

1 Tbsp. Avocado oil
1/2 cup onion, diced
3 cloves garlic
1 lb. ground beef
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 (14. oz)  fire roasted-diced tomatoes
4 cups beef broth
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sour cream
salt to taste
1 1/2 cups cheese, divided
diced dill pickle, optional but so unusually delicious

In a large pot, heat avocado oil and sauté onion until soft and translucent.  Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, add ground beef and cook until well browned, breaking up large clumps.  Add mustard, tomatoes and beef broth, bring to a boil and reduce to low and simmer for 1 hour.  Add heavy cream, sour cream and 1 cup of cheese, stir until cheese is melted and incorporated well. Taste and add salt, if needed.

Serve, top each bowl with a sprinkle of cheese and some dill pickle.

5 years ago:   Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Dates
7 years ago:   Lighter Fruitcake

December 16, 2019  Sunrise 10:53 am  Sunset 2:39 pm  Temp H -5/ L -8°F

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Chocolate Sugar Cookies for Christmas Platters

Christmas time is my most favorite.  The house is all decorated, the outside has a million lights (I tease Dave and say you can see our house from space), and my nativity is up outside.
I kind of have a thing for nativities.  I have 5 of them for inside and one big one outside.  Dave added to my collection this year with a nice one from Costco, only about 100 million people have it, because Costco, but I love it and was so pleased when he brought it home.

This week I made Christmas cookie platters.  I made chocolate sugar cookies and I really liked the dark cookie peeking out from behind the green frosting.  I use this old cookie cutter that used to belong to my grandma Stejer.  She alway used to send us boxes of cookies around the holiday and now I need to start doing that for my grandsons!
My Grandma Stejer's cookie cutter.

Well, these cookies went to work and they were gone in a flash!  Delicious and beautiful.

Chocolate Sugar Cut-Out Cookies

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
8 tbsp. butter, softened (one stick)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 large egg

In a medium size bowl whisk flour, cornstarch, salt and cocoa powder together.  In a mixer beat butter with sugar for 3 minutes until fluffy and light in color.  Add egg, vanilla and vegetable oil.  Mix well.  With mixer on low, add flour mixture with a large spoon, until flour is just incorporated completely.  Roll dough to 1/2 inch thick between two sheet of parchment paper.  Cut desired shapes and place on parchment lined cookie sheets.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Bake cookies for 12 minutes.  Be careful, it is hard to tell when these are done because they are already so dark.  Decorate as desired.

5 years ago:  Early Christmas Gifts and Candy Cane Cocktail
7 years ago:  Roasted Chicken Thighs with Lemon and Oregano

December 14, 2019  Sunrise 10:50 am  Sunset 2:40 pm  Temp H 12/ L 2°F

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Keto Hot Pockets

Monday nights are for football and soup and sandwiches.  Dave doesn't think soup is dinner so I add a sandwich to it and we have a casual dinner in front of the tv while we watch the Monday night game. And then I have left-over soup for lunch for the week.  We all win!

I hate the tv being on during dinner, but this is one exception I have compromised on, especially now that the kids are gone. My mom and dad listen to books on tape during their lunch.  I never understood why they would do that but I totally get it now, there just isn't that much new in my daily life, now that the kids are gone, and silent dinner isn't so fun.

This sandwich is like a hot pocket.  You could use regular dough like I do for stromboli, but I don't eat that anymore and for just Dave and I, I am only going to make one dough.  I use a fathead dough with coconut flour, roll it out and fill it with all kinds of things.  This week it was ham and some melty provolone cheese.  I paired it with a deconstructed cabbage roll soup and we had dinner.

Keto Ham and Cheese Hot Pocket

for the fat head dough:
1.5 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 oz. cream cheese
1 large egg, beaten
1/3 cup coconut flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder

to make hot pockets
1/4 cup spicy mustard
6 oz. lunchmeat of choice
4 slices cheese of choice

Preheat oven to 425°F.

In a microwave safe bowl, melt mozzarella and cream cheese until easily mixed.  Add egg, coconut flour and baking powder, kneed together until well incorporated.  Between two pieces of parchment paper, roll dough out to about 1/4 inch thick.  Cut into 4 rectangles.

Spread mustard on 1/2 of each rectangle, dividing 1/4 cup evenly between the 4 rectangles.  Place 1/4 of the lunchmeat and cheese on each rectangle, dividing evenly.  Fold into rectangle and seal edges.  Place on parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes until dough is golden brown.
Serves 4

Deconstructed Cabbage Roll Soup

2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 onion, diced
2 Tbsp. butter
3 cloves garlic
1/2 medium head cabbage, chopped
1 lb. sausage, I like spicy sausage for this
1 15oz. can fire roasted tomatoes
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
4 cups beef bone broth

In a medium stock pot melt butter and sauté celery and onion until onion is soft and translucent.  Add garlic and stir for 1 minute. Add sausage and brown, breaking up big clumps, about 6-8 minutes.  Add cabbage, tomatoes, Italian seasoning and bone broth.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Serves 4.

3 years ago:  Apple Fritter Bread and Feeling Ashamed of Myself
5 years ago:  Christmas Lists and Rice Krispy Treats
7 years ago:  Coquito, Drink of the Week

December 11, 2019  Sunrise 10:40 am  Sunset 2:45 pm  Temp. H 14/ L 8°F

Monday, December 9, 2019

Meet Ezra, My New grandson

Ezra was born today.  A little over 7 pounds, lots of dark hair and healthy as can be.  Mom is doing fine after a c-section, it is a good thing her family is so close and can help while she recovers.  Gman is at his Nanna's house and I can't wait to see how he reacts when he meets his baby brother. 

We are beyond blessed to have another healthy grandchild.  I'm headed down the day after Christmas for a week to play with Gman and meet EZ.

Today is a wonderful day.
There is something so very special about
watching your child become a parent.
Happy birthday Ezra.

3 years ago:    One Tough Week
5 years ago:    Christmas Present Request
7 years ago:    Cranberry and Pistachio Shortbread Cookies

December 9, 2019  Sunrise 10:40 am  Sunset 2:45 pm  Temp. H 27/ L 20°F

Friday, December 6, 2019

Grandma's Naughty Dinosaurs

Gman and his dad showed up Wednesday night before Thanksgiving.  Gman's mom has to stay home because she is too far along in her pregnancy to fly.  I think it is very generous of her to let her family leave her for the 4 day weekend, but she says she is looking forward to the time home alone.  I sent her a big tub of flavored popcorn for her to snack on while she binge watches something on Netflix.

I had big plans on posting over the weekend with my Thanksgiving keto options, but once that little guy showed up all my attention was on him.  So, I'll post some holiday favorites after the Thanksgiving feast, but before Christmas when I'll be making most of these again.

While Gman was visiting, the naughty dinosaurs were at it again.  They snuck out of their little cage during the night and got into all kinds of mischief.

They got into the waffle mix, so we had to have waffles for breakfast...

One night they partied and opened the paper we had to pop the rest of them in the morning.

This is the look my husband gives me when he thinks I'm
getting carried away with all this fun!

I guess I wasn't good with pictures because there were two more mornings, one morning they brought this giant egg that had all kinds of dino activities in it and one morning they had some Paw Patrol temporary tattoos Gman likes, so we put on tattoos.

I also didn't get around to posting my Thanksgiving cookies.  I made pumpkin spice sugar cookies and decorated some pumpkins and some slices of pumpkin pie to give to friends.  

Thanksgiving cookies for the decorating cookie challenge.

Pumpkin pie cookies ready for giving.

Cookie boxes for friends.

Each place at our table had a cookie name card.

And now we are full into the season of eating...I hope you had a filling Thanksgiving and have a peaceful holiday.

1 year ago:    Antipasta salad
5 years ago:  Easiest Roast Ever

December 6, 2019  Sunrise 10:32 am  Sunset 2:50 pm  Temp. H -10/L -11°F