Thursday, February 21, 2019

Cheater Cheesecake

There was a birthday in our office and I hadn't made anything for a long time so I figured it was my turn to bake.  I planned on making a cheesecake.  After work I went to the grocery store, I picked up cream cheese, sour cream, eggs, berries for the top and was feeling just a little overwhelmed.  I walked by the bakery and saw these lovely little cheesecakes, just the right size for our office.  I bought one and then put back the eggs and cream cheese.

I took that cheesecake home and doctored it up just a little.  A sweetened sour cream topping with berries and some homemade blueberry sauce was just the thing.  That cheesecake was delicious, perfect for a birthday, and so much easier on a week night.  Everyone said how good it was, and I just kept my mouth shut.

So, there is nothing wrong with getting a little help from a friend, mine just happened to be my friend Fred, as in Fred Meyer (grocery store), and a few home touches this was the perfect cake to help us celebrate.

Fancied up cheesecake:

1 store bought cheesecake

1 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar

2 cups blueberries, divided
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 cup raspberries, or berries of choice

Place cheesecake on fancy plate, make sure you unwrap it completely (mine had shrink wrap on it).

In a small bowl, mix sour cream with granulated sugar, spread on top of cheesecake.

In a small saucepan mix 1 cup blueberries, 1 Tbsp. sugar and 1 Tbsp. water.  Cook over medium heat until berries soften and make a sauce, about 10 minutes.
Cool sauce slightly and then pour over sour cream topping and spread evenly.
Top with fresh berries.

3 years ago:   How Not to Eat Breakfast in the Car and Jerk Pork Loin
5 years ago:   Bacon Jam is Another Name for Love
7 years ago:   Wheat Berry and Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

February 21, 2019   Sunrise 8:28 am  Sunset 5:41 pm  Temp. H 12/ L -4°F

Monday, February 18, 2019

Snowed In

Extra snuggles this month!

I'm traveling for work now.  This is our busy travel season so that means monthly stops in Seattle to visit Gman and his people.

I try to stop only once a month, I am the mother-in-law and I don't want to wear out my welcome.  I do try to be considerate, I always ask if this weekend or that weekend works for them (they always say yes, not matter what), and I try not to impose my opinion (too much) on anything they do.

Well, I was headed down to Arizona.  The first leg of my trip, from Fairbanks to Seattle, was uneventful (just like you want all your flights to be), I had a good book an hour and a half layover so I could use the bathroom, get a snack and find my next gate without rushing too much.  Got on the plane (complementary first class upgrade!) and was ready for the next leg of my flight.

It was snowing pretty heavily in Seattle, the curly haired boy and the Seattle DIL's schools had been canceled off and on during the week because of all the snow, but I didn't think anything about the weather, I mean, it snows in Alaska all the time and it doesn't stop air travel.  But Seattle snow is a little different, I was going to learn.

Many flights that evening were getting canceled. Our flight was delayed, moved gates (3 times) and delayed a little more.  We weren't canceled though and I didn't have a connecting flight so I wasn't worried.  We boarded, with only about an hour and a half delay.

There was one de-icing truck at the gate, and after about a 30 minutes wait for our turn, it made it's rounds on the airplane.  Our captain came out, checked the wings and made the announcement that we needed to be de-iced again.  We sat about 30 more minutes and waited for our turn, again and then got de-iced a second time.  The captain checked the wings again and made the announcement that it still wasn't right and he had a call into the de-icing people to see what was going on.  We waited about 45 minutes for the head de-icing truck to pull up, they opened the door and let the captain off and discussed the problem with the de-icing.

The captain got back on (we had been sitting on the plane over 2 hours by now) and let us know we would be pulling out to a de-icing pad where there were 4 trucks to de-ice us at the same time since the one truck just couldn't de-ice and keep up with the heavy snow fall.  Because the door had been opened, I turned my phone on to text my parents (they are in Tucson and where I was going to spend the weekend) and let them know I was running late.  I was playing words with friends and I got a notification from my airline that our flight had been canceled.  Really?  The captain had just said we were headed to the de-icing pad.  I sat and waited.  About 5 minutes later the captain came on the intercom and announced that the runways had been closed and all flights out of Seattle were canceled for the night.  The ground crew just couldn't keep up with the heavy snow fall for safe take-offs.

We all got off the plane and headed to customer service to rebook.  Well, my choice was to sleep in the airport (all the area hotels were over full from the earlier canceled flights) and leave the next day, or rent a car drive to see Gman and leave on Sunday to get to Arizona in time for work.  Can you guess what I did?
A surprised little guy.

We had lots of snow to shovel!

I had a slow drive out to Gman's house, but it wasn't too bad in the blowing snow, there was no traffic at 1:30 in the morning and had a wonderful day and a half with them. I flew out Sunday with no further incidents.  It really was a baby bonus visit since I wasn't scheduled to see him until the first of March when we are on vacation.

When I got up at Gman's house, the DIL said to Gman, "See here is your surprise I told you about."
Gman replied, "That's not a surprise, that's my grandma."

Yep, I am happy to be Gman's grandma.
Just chillin' after playing outside.

3 years ago:   Almost like King Hawaiian Rolls and the Big Rat in the House
5 years ago:   Being a Bad Friend and Pumpkin, Spelt, Sourdough Bread
7 years ago:   Maple Bourbon Sour - Drink of the Week

February 18, 2019  Sunrise 8:39am  Sunset 5:31pm  Temp. H 23/ L 11˚F

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Valentine's Day and Raspberry Champagne

When I was a kid my mom always went all out for holidays.  She dressed up for Halloween, we always had a fancy table for Thanksgiving and Christmas (Christmas always had little glasses with tiny shrimp in spicy cocktail sauce, I love cocktail sauce to this day - shrimp, not so much!). Easter had egg hunts, kites from the Easter bunny and a big ham dinner, and for "lesser" holidays, we had breakfast that was color coordinated.  Valentine's Day always brought some sort of pink juice, pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream, a fancy dressed table and pink chocolate.

This year I'm planning a fancy dinner at home for Dave.  I'll have just returned from a work trip so I'll keep it easy.  Steak, shrimp (with spicy cocktail sauce for me), wedge salad and this pink Raspberry Champagne cocktail.  I'll have to figure out a pink dessert, maybe this raspberry cheesecake fool in fancy glasses.
Why only one glass of champagne, you ask?
Because Dave drinks beer.

How ever you celebrate, Happy Valentine's Day.  I hope you are surrounded by love.

Raspberry Cocktail
1 pint raspberries
1 Tbsp. water, if needed
1 Tbsp. powdered Swerve, or sweetener of choice

Rinse raspberries well.  Add wet raspberries to blender and blend (add water if they don't blend), strain through a fine mesh strainer to remove seeds. Stir in sweetener until dissolved

To make each drink:
1 Tbsp. raspberry pulp
1 oz. vodka

Spoon raspberry into champagne glass, top with vodka and champagne.  Float a raspberry in glass, optional.  Enjoy with a loved one.

February 11, 2019  Sunrise 9:03 am  Sunset 5:08 pm  Temp. H 14/ L 6°F

1 year ago:    Bagel Dogs and The Big Ingredient Mistake
3 years ago:  Happy Birthday to Suzanne and Ricotta Cheesecake
5 years ago:  Crock Pot Maple Bacon Chicken
7 years ago:  Cold January and Cioppino

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

The loss of the favorite chapstick

I am having a major problem right now.  It is bad, it is really bad.

Starting last November, I went to resupply myself with my favorite chapstick (I use a lot of chapstick because it is so dry in Fairbanks).  I hopped over to the cosmetic section for my favorite chapstick and they were out.  That happens sometimes so I made a note to check next time I went grocery shopping.  Well, they never got any in stock and I just kept checking.

We went to Seattle to see Gman and his people a couple weeks ago and I checked at the store there.  There was a sign - DISCONTINUED-

What? So I googled it.  Yep, Dr. Pepper Lipsmakers are no longer manufactured in the U.S.  The company sold and Dr. Pepper is not available, except on Amazon for $14.00 a tube.

Well, I'm too cheap to pay that so I have to find a different chapstick to use. I don't want to, I like the Dr. Pepper chapstick and it has color to it so I can pretend it looks good enough to replace lipstick.  I always feel dressed when I throw on some mascara and slap on a little Dr. Pepper chapstick.  Now what am I going to do?

So I need some advice on chapstick substitutes.  And while I wait to hear from you I'm going to make these oven fried shrimp.

Dave loves deep fried shrimp. He can eat them, but I feel left out.  So I made some Toni safe oven fried shrimp, and I think they are better than the ones Dave eats.  He even agreed that these were good, and not just "good for a substitute kind of thing."  Now, shrimp isn't my favorite, but people look at you weird if you eat the spicy cocktail sauce by the spoonful, so I make these to eat the cocktail sauce!

Keto Oven Fried Shrimp

1/2 pound shrimp
1 egg, beaten with a teaspoon on water
1/4 cup finely ground pork rinds
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1/8-1/4 tsp. chili powder or several drops of your favorite hot sauce (like Tabasco)
cooking spray, I use avocado oil spray

Preheat oven to 400°F

Using cooking spray, coat a wire rack that has been placed on a baking sheet.

Place beaten egg in a bowl and mix pork rinds, parmesan and chili powder and place in a bowl.

Butterfly shrimp, cut along the back, remove the vein and continue cutting almost all the way through.  Open and slightly flatten with your hand.  Dry with a paper towel. 

Dip shrimp in egg, turn over to coat both sides, let extra drain off them dredge in pork rind-cheese mixture.  Place on prepared wire rack.

Bake until golden brown, 6-10 minutes, turning once about 4 minutes into cooking.

Serve with lots of cocktail sauce.

1 year ago:    Keto Chocolate Chip Cookies and the Fake Boob
3 years ago:  Beef Pot Pies and Getting Ready for Travel Season
5 years ago:  Avoiding Late Dinners and Pork Chops with Chick Pea Mash

February 6, 2019  Sunrise 9:20 am  Sunset 4:50 pm  Temp. H 14/ L 5°F

Monday, February 4, 2019

Turmeric Milk or Golden Milk and the Sore Foot - Drink of the Week

I have a new body part that is failing. It started last August and who knew the little band of tissue called your plantar fascia, that connects your heel to your toes, could make like so miserable. I stopped walking at lunch, I started sitting at my desk, I put my foot up at night, nothing was working. So, I went to a doctor to see what could be done.

I liked him immediately because he gave me this prescription:
Which was awesome and I followed his directions right away with several pairs. But then he started to change my mind because he said 1) No barefoot walking, wear these lovely sandals in the house, wear these special insoles in all my shoes, and then he said I needed a shot in my foot, well we talked about it and I said I was over this foot stuff so do the shot and he did it and I yelled cuss words, so I don't like him now.  

I had to send cookies and an apology note that said, "I'm sorry for yelling cuss words in your office."

Well, the shot didn't work and I'm not doing that again, so it is ice, Motrin and no barefeet and hope it heals or at least becomes bearable.  I've also started drinking turmeric milk every evening.

Now, one of my favorite food stands in Fairbanks, Just The Tips- Boreal Infused Eats + Tea, has keto options and she makes a delicious turmeric milk.  I stop by there every chance I get for a keto treat and the turmeric milk sweetened with stevia.  But, I am stuck in my office a lot and don't get by there as often as I would like. Turmeric can have a huge impact on inflammation and has shown some promise in helping to prevent and/or treat some cancers (breast cancer included).  Now, I am currently cancer free, and have a recient mammogram to prove it,  but I am always looking for ways to continue that trend.  So, turmeric milk nightly is a 1) delicious, 2)anti-inflammatory 3) possibly a  staying cancer-free supporting drink!  
Masking tape label, because I'm fancy like that

And because I'm lazy, I make a batch of the turmeric paste and just have to warm my coconut milk and add a big tablespoon of the paste, stir and enjoy.  You can use any type of milk you like; almond, coconut, cow, goat, cashew...right now I am loving home made coconut milk.  
Again with the fancy labels.

Home Made Coconut Milk

2 cups shredded or flaked unsweetened coconut
4 cups water

Measure 2 cups of coconut flakes into blender.  Boil water and pour 4 cups of very hot water over coconut.  Let sit for 15-20 minutes.  Blend for 2 minutes, strain through a cheesecloth squeezing all the liquid out of the solids left behind.  Store covered in refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Turmeric Paste
1/2 cup turmeric
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
5 Tbsp. coconut oil
4 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp. ground ginger
 2-3 Tbsp. stevia sweetened maple syrup ( I like Lakanto brand), or sweetener of choice

In a small saucepan mix turmeric, pepper and water together.  Cook over medium-low heat for 5-7 minutes, it will make a very thick paste.  Remove from heat and add coconut oil, cinnamon, ginger and sweetener, mix well.  Store in refrigerator.  

To make Turmeric Milk
Heat one cup coconut milk
add 1 full tablespoon turmeric paste, stir until dissolved.  Enjoy.

Now, just a word to the wise, turmeric stains EVERYTHING, your counter, the measuring spoon if it is plastic, your shirt when you spill it, and your mittens when you pick one up at your favorite food hut.  BE CAREFUL and store in a glass jar or plastic you don't care if it gets stained.  I use the same plastic measuring spoon and it drives my husband crazy now that it is permanently stained orange.
That orange color will stain!  Be careful

1 year ago:    New Dishes

February 4, 2019  Sunrise 9:26am  Sunset 4:43pm  Temp H 11/ L -1°F

Friday, February 1, 2019

Almond Crackers

Dave isn't one to do things half way.  Dave doesn't do Christmas lights half way, between the lights and the nativity outside I tell people you can see our house from Mars during Christmas. Friends stop by to tell Dave how much they love the lights,  so we had lots of people driving by because they know there will be lights.  Our neighborhood is pretty good about holiday decorating, and this year was especially nice.  Our across the street and to the right neighbors had a yard full of Christmas cheer and our straight across the street neighbor had some festive lights.
So, friends will drive by to see the lights and often they stop in to say hi, have an adult beverage and spend a little time.  The holidays were the perfect time to do that.  I like to have something to nibble on when friends stop by to visit, and especially during the holidays when we get more visitors than usual, and cheese and crackers are a quick, easy thing to throw on a  plate and have a snack.

Now, we have friends stop by to see how we are progressing on the truck.  We visit about what we have found and it gives us the chance to have a break, a snack, and Dave has a beer.

I used to love cheese and crackers.  I could eat just that for a meal. So I decided to make some crackers that were Toni friendly and have on hand for such occasions.  Well, I like them so much I am having cheese and crackers for lunch this week.

Right now I'm loving some flaky salt or this home made everything bagel mix on top.  These are the perfect little bite.

Lunch at my desk this week.

Almond Flour Crackers
makes about 40 1-inch crackers
1 cup almond flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 300˚.

Mix almond flour, salt and baking powder, add egg and mix until fully combined.  Place on a piece of parchment paper and cover with another piece of parchment paper.  Roll out to about 1/8 inch thick.  Carefully pull off top parchment paper and cut into crackers (I use a ruler and pizza cutter to do this).  Transfer the bottom parchment paper with the crackers on to a sheet pan.  Sprinkle course salt, a little garlic powder or everything bagel seasoning.  Bake for 30-40 minutes until just turning golden brown.  Let cool completely and then break crackers apart on cut lines.

1 year ago:    Keto Hamburger Buns
3 years ago:  Finishing Physical Therapy and Brown Butter Donuts with Bourbon Glaze
5 years ago:  Peach Skillet Cobbler

February 1, 2019  Sunrise 9:36  Sunset 4:33  Temp H -4/ L -12