Thursday, June 18, 2020

I'm feeling very busy, like I have a lot to do. Work is busier than ever, the co-workers are always needing out or in or water, the house still gets dirty (I tried to make the rule 'No shedding in the house, but it didn't work. My coworkers are so inconsiderate) and needs to be cleaned, the yard always needs water or weeding or just goes on and on, and most of the evenings are spent working on the truck (exciting update soon).

So, one of the things I do because I'm lazy to save time, is to step over the small gate we have in the back that is usually closed to keep the dogs off the grass. A couple weeks ago my pant leg got caught on one of the top posts, my hands were full and I fell, tearing my pants. I was lucky I wasn't really hurt (except my pride) and the neighbors were not on their deck so no one saw me. I vowed to myself to be more careful. 

Well, yesterday I was at it again. My hands were full and instead of unlatching the fence, I stepped over it, the leg of my capri pants caught and I fell. Again, I was lucky and nothing was really hurt, except my pride, and the neighbors were not on their deck so no one saw me. But, a couple days later Dave looks down at my leg and sees the giant purple bruise and says, "When did you fall over the fence again?"

So now my vow to myself is to unlatch the fence and not step over it any more, even if my hands are full. I will simply put down what I am holding and unlatch it. I figure I am pushing my luck with no injuries from these falls. (I have a good friend who fell walking her new puppy, broke her wrist and had to get a plate put in it. I don't want to do that.)

Well, to sooth myself, I made one of my favorite dinners, meatloaf. I do it a little differently every time. This time I spread the meatloaf mixture out into a rectangle, spread some garlic herb soft cheese all over it and rolled it up. Then I topped it with bacon and baked it.  Meatloaf will always cure what ales you.

Rolled Bacon Meatloaf

1 lb. ground beef
1 egg
1/2 cup ground pork rinds
salt and pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion salt
2 oz. (about 1/2 container) garlic-herb goat cheese, softened
6-8 strips bacon

Mix beef, egg, ground pork rinds,salt and pepper, garlic and onion salt.  Spread into rectangle (about 9x12), being careful not to press the meat too much.  Spread cheese over the top, leaving about 1/2 inch edge free of cheese so press roll closed.  Starting on the long end, roll the meat into a gentle-but-tight roll.  Pinch edges closed so cheese doesn't leak out during baking.  Lay bacon strips, side by side, on a cutting board.  Carefully move meatloaf onto bacon and wrap bacon around the loaf.  Transfer to a loaf pan, seam side down, and bake at 350°F for 45-55 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes, remove from pan and cut along edge of each slice of bacon.

June 18, 2020  Sunset 12:46 am  Sunrise 2:58 am  Temp. H 73/ L 55°F

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Keto White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies and the Give-Away

I have been making lots of treats for everyone else and I have been sorely tempted, so I decided to make a treat for myself and then when I really want something with sugar or wheat I can have a Toni-safe treat and not feel so left out. The only problem with baking for myself is I am the only one who eats it, so I have 24 cookies to eat before they go stale, and I don't want to waste any of the goodness so I eat them all, and I don't need that.

I made some white chocolate macadamia nut cookies.  They are delicious.  I wanted to share the deliciousness so I told Dave he could eat one, white chocolate macadamia nut are his favorite, and I told him to take some to work for Jenn.  I had a container with 1/2 the batch of cookies (the other half went into the freezer), and a baggie with a couple of cookies in it.  the next morning he left for work, I was already working away in my office, and he said he was taking cookies to work.  About 10:30 or so, I went to refill my tea and grab a cookie to go with it...

He took all the cookies to work, every last one of them.  I made Toni-safe treats and he took them ALL.  I texted him with something sweet like: What the hell, you took all my cookies.  That was a sh*t move.

He replied: You told me to take cookies to Jenn. 

Well, it's a good thing I had the second half of the batch in the freezer.  I pulled them out to thaw so I could have cookies during my afternoon break.  I even wrote on the container..Toni's cookies DO NOT GIVE AWAY. 

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies
These are so good you won't want to share.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar substitute, I like Sukrin Gold
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
2 Tbsp. unflavored whey protein, I like Jay Robb
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
4 oz. white chocolate chips, I use Choczero
5 oz. salted macadamia nuts, roughly chopped

In a small bowl mix almond flour, coconut flour, whey protein, baking powder and salt, set aside.

In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar substitute until light and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla mix well. Add dry ingredients and mix until well combined.  Fold in white chocolate chips and chopped macadamia nuts.
Scoop about 1 Tbsp. mounds onto cookie tray lined with parchment paper, I use a #30 scoop.  Chill for 30 minutes (You can chill first then scoop, but it is easier to scoop and then chill for my old lady hands)
Preheat oven to 350°F while dough is chilling.

Bake for 8 minutes, press tops of cookies down slightly with your hand or the bottom of a glass and bake for 2 more minutes.  Take cookies out of the oven even if you think they aren't quite done.  Let cool completely before removing from cookie sheet.
Makes about 18 depending on size of cookie

June 16, 2020  Sunset: 12:42 am  Sunrise: 2:59 am  Temp H 73/ L 53°F

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Grilled Cornish Game Hens and Old Lady Hands

I am suffering from that time old problem of Old Lady Hands,  Old Lady Hands or OLH happens when you get to a certain age and your joints start to really hurt.  The joints in my thumbs suddenly presented with OLH and I struggle with things like opening jars, holding a book, pinching open the child lock on the gates we use to keep the dogs out of my office, and any amount of pressure cutting with knives or scissors.

Now, there is the part of me that thinks, "What a gift, I have lived long enough to develop OLH," and then there is the part of me that thinks, "This is bullsh*t on top of everything else, I have to get OLH." I move between these two thoughts depending on what I am able or unable to do at the moment.  So Motrin is again my friend and I'm working on ways to do some things differently.  And again, how lucky am I to live long enough to suffer from OLH.

I made Cornish game hens last week when I was a little miffed at Dave and made chicken 3 times in one week.  I thought if I made Cornish game hens he wouldn't catch on that it was really chicken for the third time, but he caught on and called me out on it. In my defense, I did feel a tad guilty about it so I made him some homemade bread and grilled some to go along with his chicken.  However, I won't tell him, but a friend read my post and emailed a chicken recipe to me.  I'm all over that this week and I'm not even mad at him anymore.

Well, these little hens are tender and delicious.  I split them, even with my OLH,  and remove the backbone before grilling.  It makes it easier to eat and 1/2 hen is enough.  This is something a little different to add to your grilling routine.

Grilled Cornish game hens with grilled bread for Dave on the side.
Grilled Cornish Game Hens
2 Cornish game hens - split and backbone removed (save those for the next time you make chicken stock)
1/2 cup  apricot simply fruit
1/4 cup country style dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. champagne vinegar, or white wine vinegar
salt and pepper

Rinse hens under cold water.  Pat dry with paper towels.  Place hens, breast side up, on a cutting board.  Cut hen in half along one side of the breast bone.  Cut hen along the other side of the breast bone.  You should have two halves of a hen with the breastbone separated.  Cut the tips off the wings on each half (they just burn).  Repeat with second hen.

Salt and pepper each side of the hen halves and place in a zip top bag. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix apricot simply fruit, mustard and vinegar.  Spread half on chicken and mix around in the bag until it is all coated.  Place in refrigerator for 1 hour.

Preheat grill to medium high.  Remove chicken from refrigerator and let sit on the counter for 20-30 minutes.

Grill over indirect heat for 15 minutes per side, basting with saved apricot sauce,  until thermometer inserted in thickest part of thigh reaches 165° and juices run clear.  Let rest 5 minutes and serve. 
Serves 4

FYI: Cornish game hens are not really Cornish, game meat or probably, hens.  They are 5 week old chickens, and most likely males, as the females are used for egg laying and other products!  Now you know.

June 11, 2020  Sunset: 12:32 am  Sunrise: 3:06 am  Temp. H 71/L 51°F

Monday, June 8, 2020

Raspberry & White Chocolate Cookies and Laundry Problems

We have laundry in I did laundry and that is a problem.
I don't do the laundry, that is Dave's job.  When we were first married I did the laundry for about 5 minutes and I accidentally dyed one of his good work shirts pink and I never had to got to do laundry again.  Well, my office is right next to the employee laundry room and Dave has been putting a lot of time in on the truck - and he had to work Saturday so Monday morning there were piles of laundry in the laundry room and I did the laundry as I answered emails and went about my work. 

Now, keep in mind there are only two of us, but we had about 7 loads of laundry!  He sorts by color, weight, and type of clothes.  When I do laundry I just throw it all in until the machine is full and I call it good.  But today I stuck to his piles and washed them according to his sorting.  Of course, folding is another matter we don't agree with.  I fold items he wants hung and I don't fold correctly.  I figure if I'm doing the laundry you should be happy with however I choose to fold. 

And while getting stuck with the laundry is a problem with working at home, the short commute time is a real perk.  I am getting so much done in the mornings!  I thought I would have to do some of the Stone Soup Cookie baking at lunch or after work, but I am getting everything done in the morning before 8:00. Last week I sent raspberry & white chocolate cookies and a pan of soft sugar cookie bars with cream cheese frosting (recipe to come later).  These cookies look as good as they taste.  They would be a great addition to a 4th of July picnic with some dried blueberries!  Oooohh, I think I'll try that next week.

Raspberry, White Chocolate Cookies

 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract
raspberry jam, about 6 tbsp.
1 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chips

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, cream of tartar and salt together, set aside.

In large mixing bowl, or stand mixer, cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, at least 3 minutes.  Add egg and egg yolk, vanilla and almond extract.  Mix until well incorporated.  Turn mixer to low and spoon flour mixture into bowl, mix until just incorporated.  Add white chocolate chips and semi-sweet chips, mix in by hand.

Divide cookie dough into fourths (I smoothed it all together in a ball in the bowl and cut it into 4ths).  Transfer 1/4 of the cookie dough into a separate small bowl, add about 1 1/2 Tbps. raspberry jam and cut it into the cookie dough, do not mix too much you want swirls of jam not pink dough.

Scoop dough onto prepared cookie sheets, I use a  #40 scooper.  Flatten top slightly, these cookies don't spread much. Repeat with each 1/4 of the cookie dough until all dough is used.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until edges are set but center is slightly soft. Cool on sheet pans for 5 minutes then move to cooling racks.

Makes 2 doz.

2 years ago:   Camping in the White Mountains
7 years ago:   Grilled Shrimp Salad with Berries
9 years ago:   Beef Fillet with Red Pepper Coulis and Avocado Butter

June 8, 2020  Sunset 12:24 am  Sunrise 3:12 am  Temp. H 73/ L 51°F

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Breakfast Sandwiches and the Quarantine Quarrel

It was our first fight...

It was Sunday morning, I was up at 6:15 because that is as late as the dogs would let me sleep.  Dave slept until 9:00.  He had just come downstairs and was having his first cup of coffee and we were talking about what we wanted to get done for the day.  Dave said he needed to go to Freds to get some stakes to tie up the giant ferns we have in front of our house, I said, "There are 11 things on my shopping list, can you get those too?"
He didn't want to, he wanted me to get the stakes when I went shopping, but I wasn't planning on going shopping, there were only 11 things on the list, and nothing I needed that day. 
Then he said, "If you go now, you will be back before I mow and we can tie up the ferns."
"I wasn't planning on shopping today, I want to dye my hair this morning and I can't go to the store looking like this."
Then he had the nerve to say, "Are you really that vain?"

That vain?  Have you met me?  I am the woman who used to pay someone to glue individual eye lashes on my skimpy lashes.  I am the woman who now pays way too much for some serum to paint on my eyelashes before I go to bed and I wear mascara every day, when I work at home and I see NO ONE.  I am the woman who had dyed my hair for the last 35 years because I started going gray in high school.  I am the woman he married 21 years ago and he knows all this, plus when I said "I can't go to the store looking like this," it was because I had been waiting the last 3 hours for him to wake up so I could shower, brush my teeth and get dressed.  Am I really that vain?  Well, we exchanged some words, I got dressed, brushed my teeth and went to the store.  We were quiet and distant with each other for the rest of the day, and I'm still not over it.  And, because I'm so kind and not passive aggressive at all, I am going to fix chicken for dinner 2 times this week, because I know it's not his favorite and I will fix fresh green beans, twice (again, not his favorite).

So, life in quarantine goes on.  At least he gets to leave the house and go into the office now for work, which is a good thing because that means he is gone all day.  That together for 24/7 wasn't working for us.

I made a batch of keto waffles.  I love these with syrup and butter, but I made these breakfast sandwiches to switch it up a little.  They are like the McDonald's breakfast sandwiches, only good for you!  And they keep me full until we have baked chicken breasts for dinner...
Butter and Sriracha are so good!

Breakfast Sandwiches
2 mini waffles, I used these in the mini waffle iron and have a batch in the freezer to pop in the toaster
1 egg, fried the way you like it
sausage patty or bacon, your option
sriracha, optional but suggested

Fry an egg, I like mine over hard.  Toast two waffles, cook sausage or bacon.  Butter the waffles, place egg and sausage on one waffle, add sriracha, if desired, and top with second waffle.  Enjoy!

2 years ago:  Chocolate Donuts and National Days
5 years ago:  Renaming the Motor Home and Box #3 for my Brother
7 years ago:  Light Pina Colada and the Wood Chipper

June 3, 2020  Sunset  12:12 am  Sunrise 3:24am  Temp. H 62/ L 48°F

Monday, June 1, 2020

Bake a Batch for Breadline Challenge

I do know how lucky I am.  I am home, healthy and safe. I can work from home, I have a full freezer, refrigerator and pantry.  My husband is still working.  My biggest complaint is the noisy dogs and the fact my pants are getting tight.  I know I am lucky.

I also know some people in my community are not as lucky.  Because of that, I contribute to our local food bank every year.   Our family donates to other organizations that take care of homeless youth, hungry children and families, and the local homeless shelter.  And I know those organizations are spread pretty thin right now.  I decided I can do just a little more.  I heard on the news our local soup kitchen, Stone Soup, was looking for donations because of the extra people they are needing to feed due to joblessness.  One thing the newscaster said was they needed home baked cookies.  Well, I can bake cookies.

So I have challenged myself to make 2 batches of cookies a week for the next 10 weeks.  That takes me to the end of July.  I started last week with chocolate chip cookies and a big pan of Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars.

I've been cruising Pinterest to find cookie bars, I figure I'll make a drop cookie and a bar cookie each week.  I have a couple that are tried and true, but unless I bake the same 3 bar type cookies over and over I need some new material.  If you have a favorite bar cookie, let me know and I'll add it to my "to bake" list.

Now the challenge is on.  I challenge you to bake a batch for your soup kitchen, homeless shelter or food bank.  Let's work together to make our communities a little sweeter.

2 years ago:  Grandpa's Truck
5 years ago:  Chili Garlic Snack Mix
7 years ago:  Key Lime Flan

June 1, 2020  Sunset 12:06 am  Sunrise 3:30 am  Temp. H 60/ L 46°F