Friday, January 31, 2020

Lemon Chicken

We have gotten into a bad habit.  Dave and I are still not feeling very well, so we have been binge watching Netflix every night after dinner...o.k. some nights we have eaten dinner in front of the t.v.  I hate that habit, and I am getting nothing done around the house.

But sit and watch t.v. is what we are doing. We have made it through all episodes of The Ranch, 4 seasons of Outlander, one season of Virgin River, 4 seasons of The Great British Bake-Off, and we Started The Witcher a couple nights ago.

Well, we have a problem with The Witcher.  My son told me I could watch it, but there is a lot of blood and monsters, and witches, and last night I had bad dreams and woke my husband up 4 times (his report, but I don't think it was really 4 times...maybe once or twice).  But now The Witcher is definitely off our watch list.  I'll never know if Yennefer and the Witcher meet and what happens to Ciri...
So, tonight I have a new plan.  We'll have dinner and watch a program from our saved series on regular t.v.  I know, not really different, but at least we can't automatically go on to the next episode like on Netflix.

And I'll be making this lemon chicken.  It is perfect for dinner, it's quick, so you can get to the tv faster, it's lemony and delicious. I crave lemon this time of year, and it fills that need for Chinese food, so hard to get on a keto or low carb diet.  This whips up in about 15 minutes.

Lemon Chicken

2 chicken breasts, cut into pieces
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup crushed pork rinds
oil for frying
1 tsp. lemon zest
juice of 1 lemon, about 1/3 cup
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 Tbsp. powdered Swerve, or desired sweetener
1/4-1/2 tsp. xanthan gum, depending on desired thickness
sesame seeds, optional

Set up breading station, one bowl with coconut flour, one bowl with beaten egg, one bowl with parmesan and pork rinds mixed.  Salt chicken, dip each piece in coconut flour, egg, then in pork rind mixture, pressing to adhere crumbs.  Fry in oil until chicken is cooked through and breading is crisp.  Remove to paper towel lined plate and keep warm while making sauce.

In a small saucepan mix lemon zest, lemon juice, chicken broth and sweetener.  Bring to a boil.  Sprinkle 1/4 tsp. xanthan gum over and whisk in until thickened, add more xanthan gum if thicker sauce is desired.  Pour sauce over chicken and top with sesame seeds.

Serve over steamed cabbage, zoodles, or cauliflower rice.

5 years ago:  Banana Mug Cake and Tough Decisions
7 years ago:  Vodka Martini for a Hard Week

January 31, 2020  Sunrise 9:40 am  Sunset 4:29 pm  Temp. H -16/ L -21°F

Monday, January 27, 2020

Instant Pot Chocolate Cake

I really have a sweet tooth, so of course I needed to use the Instant Pot to make a dessert.  I had just made a cheesecake for my birthday so I thought I would try a chocolate cake.    I don't really know how the IP saves me any time for this, but it will be great in the summer when I need cake and don't want to turn the oven on and heat up the kitchen.

This makes a one layer cake.  I did split the cake, fill it with a stabilized whipped cream and then frosted it with a whipped ganache.  It was rich and decadent.

We had a friend over for dinner, and we play Spades whenever we can.  I won this game so the cake was even more delicious.  Chocolate cake after winning at cards is the best!

Instant Pot Keto Chocolate Cake
for cake:
1/2 tsp. espresso powder
1 Tbsp. warm water
6 Tbsp. butter, softened
1/3 cup granulated Swerve
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. stevia glycerite
1 cup almond flour
6 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. baking soda
2 Tbsp. keto coffee liqueur, optional

for whipped cream:
1 tsp. gelatin
1 Tbsp. water
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp. confectioner's Swerve

for whipped ganache frosting:
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup chocolate chips, or semi sweet chocolate chopped (I use Lily's)

Spray a 7" or 8" springform pan with cooking spray, line bottom with a circle of parchment and spray parchment.
In a small cup dissolve expresso powder in warm water
In a medium sized bowl with a hand mixer or a stand mixer, mix butter and sweetener until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, vanilla, stevia glycerite and dissolved espresso powder, mix well. Add almond flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and baking soda and mix well, mixture will be stiff.  Cover top of pan with aluminum foil.
Spread mixture into prepared pan.  Place trivet in cooking pot in the Instant Pot.  Pour 1 1/2 cups of water in pot.  Place cake pan on top of trivet.  Close and lock lid.  Close steam release valve.  Turn IP on to manual, high pressure for 30 minutes, then quick release steam.  Remove cake pan from IP and let cool completely.

Once cool, slice cake into two layers, spread 1 Tbsp. coffee liqueur onto each half.

In a microwave safe small bowl or ramekin, sprinkle gelatin over water.  Let sit for 5 minutes.  Place ramekin in microwave heat on high for 20 seconds.  Remove from microwave and stir, let cool slightly.  In the meantime, place whipping cream in large bowl and whip on high.  When cream begins to bubble, add the sweetener slowly, then pour in the dissolved gelatin.  Whip to stiff peaks.

Place 1/2 cake on cake plate, using 2/3 of the whipped cream, spread to the edges of the cake, top with second layer of cake.  Place in refrigerator and save the rest of the whipped cream for decorating cake or to serve on the side.

Heat 3/4 cup heavy cream in a small saucepan.  When cream just begins to bubble around the edges, remove from heat and add chocolate.  Let sit for 5 minutes.  Stir until chocolate is completely melted. With a stand mixer, or hand mixer, whip chocolate until it lightens and thickens to a spreading consistency.  Frost cake with whipped ganache. Keep cake refrigerated.
Serves 12

1 year ago:     Raspberry Cheesecake Fool
5 years ago:   Nutella Palmiers and the New Dental Hygenist
7 years ago:   Good-Bye to a Good Friend

January 27, 2020  Sunrise 9:53 am  Sunset 4:14pm  Temp. H -18/ L -27°F

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Baby Back Ribs in the Instant Pot

It has been really cold in Fairbanks, and I've been a bit of a baby because I was sick.  Dave decided we needed a taste of summer on Sunday so we made baby back ribs to eat after the football games.

I usually bake ribs low and slow for 3 hours, but today I decided to try them in my Instant Pot.  I can fit two racks of ribs in my pot, I cooked them for 25 minutes and then finished them under the broiler for 5 minutes to cook the sauce.  They were delicious!  And we needed a treat after the way the Packers lost to the 49ers.

Football season is over, bring on the baseball!

Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs
2 racks baby back ribs
2 Tbsp. Executive Chef, or your favorite seasoned salt

Barbecue sauce of choice, I used my homemade sauce

Pull silver skin off the back of ribs if it has been left on.  Cut racks in half.  Place the trivet in the IP, add 1 1/2 cups water, place ribs on the trivet.  Lock lid and close steam valve.  Cook for 25 minutes on high or meat setting.  After cooking time is over, let cool for 10 minutes, then quick release steam.  Remove ribs from IP and place on a baking sheet.  Slather with barbecue sauce and place under broiler for 3-5 minutes to caramelize sauce.

1 year ago:    Meet Franklin and Keto Bagels
5 years ago:  Walnut and Blue Cheese Poached Pear Salad
7 years ago:  New Cookbooks

January 23, 2020  Sunrise 10:05 am  Sunset 4:01pm  Temp H -11/ L -14°F

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Instant Pot Chicken and Chicken Stock

I'm a little slow with new kitchen devices, ok very slow.  But my brother in law brought me up to speed a bit with my birthday gift this year.  He got me an Instant Pot.

I've looked at these and talked to some friends about them, but wasn't convinced so I never made the purchase.  Well I don't know what I was waiting for, this thing is awesome.  

I decided to test it with a chicken, I needed some shredded chicken for chicken salad for lunch this week.  I put a chicken on the trivet, rubbed it with some butter, sprinkled salt and pepper, and added a quartered onion.  Put 1 1/2 cups of water in the bottom and cooked it for 30 minutes with the poultry setting.  I did a quick steam release let it cool about 10 minutes and then pulled it out of the pot and shredded it. It was perfect!  Juicy, fall off the bone tender, and I pulled off the skin and fried it for chips.

Once I removed all the meat, I threw the carcass back into the pot with the cooking liquid, added 1 lb. of bone in chicken thighs, some celery, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper and filled the pot up to the 2/3 mark and processed on high for 2 hours.  It made the best chicken bone broth and so quick! And because I was gifted the 8 quart pot, it made a ton of broth for my freezer.  Well, now I'm hooked.  
I'll be experimenting with the Instant Pot a lot for a while.  I have plans for chocolate cake, ribs (how nice in the summer not to start the oven for my barbeque ribs), onion jam, and what ever else I can come up with from Pinterest!

What are your favorite Instant Pot recipes?

1 year ago:     Dog Emergency
5 years ago:   Easy Chicken Cassoulet
7 years ago:   Dog Sledding

January 21, 2020  Sunrise 10:10 am  Sunset 3:54 pm  Temp H -12/ L -18°F

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Lemon Bars

The Good News:
A friend of mine gifted me 5 Meyer lemons.  I love lemons and especially this time of year I just crave citrus.  So with this wonderful gift I made keto lemon bars. I reduced the amount of sweetener I usually use because Meyer lemons are sweeter than regular lemons so you may need to adjust your sweetener if you are using regular lemons. They were tart and sweet and lemony and delicious.

The Bad News:
I'm still not loving this year.  I don't want to name it yet because I am hoping things will turn around but so far this year has pretty much sucked.  This weekend was no exception (well, for Dave because I stayed inside and he did all the outside work).

We have been having really cold weather, like -40, and the air quality in Fairbanks is really bad because of the cold air conversion that keeps all the pollutants down in our valley.  So, when we get really cold there is a no burn alert that is sent out and we can't have a fire in our wood stove.

Well, on Saturday about 2:00pm, I woke up from a nap on the sofa and was under two blankets and I told Dave I was Freezing!  He said he was a little cold too, and went to check the thermostat.  It was 52°F in the house.  He checked the boiler and it was cold and then went to check the fuel level in our fuel tank and we were out of fuel.

Now, I won't name any names, but our fuel company let us run out of fuel.  We are on automatic fill so this never should have happened.  Dave called and left a message on their answering machine, waited an hour and called again.  No call back.  Then he had to go and buy three 5 gallon diesel containers and fill them up and pour them into our tank.  He added about 45 gallons so we could make it through the weekend.  We called again on Sunday morning and never did get a call back.

Monday morning he was at their door when they opened at 8:00 am.  They delivered fuel on Monday.
Well, because the house was cold, I baked.  I made these lemon squares, I made bread for company we had over on Sunday, I baked some cookies for the neighbor, and I made granola to eat with my yogurt this week. The oven always makes the house feel warmer and cozy.

Keto Lemon Bars

1.5 cups almond flour
1/4 cup butter, softened
pinch of salt
1/4 cup powdered Swerve

Lemon Filling:
3 large eggs
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup Boca Sweet, or sweetener of choice
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 Tbsp coconut flour

Preheat oven to 325°F.  Line an 8x8" pan with parchment paper, leaving the sides overhanging to help remove bars after they have baked.

for crust:
mix almond flour, butter, sweetener and salt until mixture is fully mixed and crumbly.  Press into the bottom of the pan.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Remove and set aside.

for Lemon Filling:
in a large bowl, whisk eggs, egg yolks, sweeteners, and salt until eggs become light yellow and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add lemon juice and lemon zest and mix until well combined.  Add coconut flour and mix until just completely combined.  

Pour filling over crust and bake for 25-30 minutes, until mixture is set and just starting to brown.  
Cool in pan.  Once cool, remove from pan with parchment paper.  Set on cutting board and cut into squares.  Makes 12 bars

1 year ago:    Grandpa's Truck Update #1

January 15, 2020  Sunrise 10:27 am  Sunset 3:33pm  Temp H -9/ L -21°F

Monday, January 13, 2020

Rocky Road Ice Cream

So far, 2020 has been a pretty rocky road.  I got sick and needed breathing treatments and we lost our dear Lilly unexpectedly.  So, in true Toni fashion I am eating my way through it!

I received these marshmallows in a Keto Krate and wasn't sure what to do with them, then 2020 hit and I knew I needed to make some rocky road ice cream. 

Now I have never met an ice cream I don't like and this one is so delicious!  I'll have to order these marshmallows often just to be sure this ice cream in always in my freezer.
Rocky Road Ice Cream
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup Boca Sweet (this helps keep the ice cream scoopable, but erythritol will work)
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. vodka (helps with texture but optional)
1 cup marshmallow, cut into small pieces
1 cup almonds, chopped

In a medium saucepan heat 1 cup of the cream and butter until butter is melted and mixture just starts to bubble around the edges.  Remove from heat.  Add sweetener and chocolate.  Let sit for 5 minutes.  Stir until completely mixed.  Add the rest of the cream, vanilla and vodka.  Cool in refrigerator for 1 hour.  Process in ice cream maker according to manufacturers directions, adding nuts and marshmallows in the last minute.  Place in container and freeze for 2 hours to harden.

1 year ago:    Coconut custard Pie and the Vet Visit
3 years ago:  Movie on the Plane and Chocolate Mousse
5 years ago:  Nutella Mug Cakes for My Birthday

January 13, 2020  Sunrise 10:32am  sunset 3:27pm  Temp H -5/ L -9°F

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Good-bye to Lilly

She was a good dog.  She was a little wild when we first got her but she became the best dog in the house.  She was always close to keep you company, and to keep her eye out in case something hit the floor.  She loved everyone and we are heartbroken she is gone.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

I know I'm a little late, but it has been a very busy year for me so far.  I went to meet my new grandson, EZ, the day after Christmas.  And after a wonderful week of new baby snuggles and playing with Gman I got home in the evening of Dec. 31, and I was sick.

Of  course urgent care wasn't open on New Year's Day, and I wasn't sick enough for the emergency room so on Jan. 2, Dave bundled me up and took me to the doctor, where I got a breathing treatment and some antibiotics and went home and slept for 2 days.  The meds kicked in and I started feeling better on Saturday. So, I figure I got my sick days out of the way early and I'm moving on to a healthy rest of the year.
And it is really cold.
Sunday was my birthday.  We had a friend over and we played cards, ate soup (that is what I chose for my birthday dinner) and I made a cheesecake with some blueberry swirled through it.  It was delicious and our friend couldn't tell it was sugar free.
Keto Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake.

So, now I'm back at work and ready for my birthday resolutions.  One resolution is to go 30 days alcohol free but I started that on January 2, because antibiotics, which means I get to have a cocktail on Super Bowl Sunday!
My nightly "cocktail"

I'm still working on figuring out some other resolutions, I'll keep you updated.

What resolutions are you working on this year?

1 year ago:    Happy New Year
3 years ago:  Happy New Year
5 years ago:  Espresso Caviar and Chocolate Mousse

January 6, 2020  Sunrise 10:46 am  Sunset 3:06 pm  Temp H -31/ L -35°F