Friday, October 30, 2020

Paint Your Own Cookies


Tomorrow is the big dress up day!  I love seeing all the kids dressed up.  Here are my paint your own cookies I made for some treat bags I put together.  Each cookie set has two cookies, an edible paint pallet and a paint brush.  It is a fun little activity and then you get to eat the results!
I sent a dozen or so down to Gman and his cousins so they could paint their own cookies.  I made chocolate cookies, vanilla royal icing and used some templates I got from The Cookie Countess.

So, have a happy Halloween, don't eat too much candy.  Don't forget to set your clocks back on Sunday morning, and I can't believe this, but it's November!  

October 30, 2020  Sunrise 9:34 am  Sunset 5:33 pm  Temp H 15/ L 9°F

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Strawberry Hot Chocolate Bombs and Halloween Preparations

Strawberry Hot Chocolate Bombs

I don't know where this week has gone, I woke up Monday morning and now it is Wednesday!  Work has been unusually busy this week and I've had all kinds of things to do in order to get ready for Halloween.  I've made hot chocolate bombs, paint your own cookies and now I'm working on some truffle stuffed chocolate frogs all for our little trick or treaters.  

Chocolate hot chocolate bombs ready for bagging.
I love seeing all the kids in their costumes, of course in Alaska it is hard to see the costumes under their coats, hats, gloves and boots.  But you get the idea (with most of them) and those little boys always think they are so tough and/or scary and the little girls are alway so beautiful in their princess costumes. (YES, I am generalizing and not all boys or girls dress up in those gender typical costumes, give me a bit of grace.)

Mummies  for Mummy Milk
We pull our fire pit to the front of the house and have a fire going all evening, people stop and warm up.  We also have hot apple cider out front and Dave and I stay outside and visit with everyone as their kids stop by for candy.  It  is such a fun evening.  This year we will have to do it a little different.  We will have the fire going but Dave and I will sit back by the house and let parents warm up, to maintain social distance.  Candy bowls will be on a table and kids will help themselves, and hot apple cider will be available, but it will be strictly serve-yourself.  
Dried Strawberries decorate the 
strawberry hot chocolate bombs.

The strawberry hot chocolate mix makes a ton, so I made some for trick or treat bags (we have about 12 special kids I make bags for) and the rest of the mix will go into Christmas treat bags.  If I have more time I'll post my process to make bombs then, or you can search it on Pinterest (that's what I did).
Hot Chocolate Bombs packaged and ready for

I love Avery printable labels.  
I just run them through my printer.

Chocolate truffle frogs, ready to hop in your mouth!

Happy Halloween! I hope you enjoy more treats than tricks.

Pink Hot Chocolate
1 cup Nestlé Strawberry milk mix
1 1/2 cups powdered milk
1 (3.3 oz.) pkg. instant white chocolate pudding mix
2 cups white chocolate chips, or white chocolate bomb shells

Mix strawberry milk mix, powdered milk and white chocolate pudding mix.  If not using white chocolate milk bomb shells, freezer white chocolate chips.  Once frozen blend until finely ground.  Mix white chocolate into strawberry mix.  

To make strawberry hot chocolate.  Mix two tablespoons with 6-8 oz. hot milk or water.  Top with marshmallows.   

Pour hot water or milk over the bomb

Out pops marshmallows and a delicious cup
of hot chocolate.

1 year ago:    Moose in the Morning and Keto Black Widow Cocktail
7years ago:  Cranberry Liqueur

October 28, 2020  Sunrise 9:27am  Sunset 5:40 pm  Temp H 23/ L 10°F

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Chocolate Fudge Mug Cake


I was talking to my niece the other day and she asked how I was doing, really she asked what I was doing and that she had read my latest blog.  I told her absolutely. nothing.  There might have been another word between absolutely and nothing, but I'm trying to keep it clean.

So, I am working from home, I do my grocery shopping online, I visit with friends through texts or Facetime and my poor husband is my only real company, unless you count the dogs but they are not good at two way conversations.  

And so I reward myself for getting out of bed everyday and getting to work on time, granted lots of times I'm still in my workout clothes until lunch, but I log on at 8:00 sharp and get to work. I know, first world problems.  

I've been making this mug cake a LOT!  Could be why my winter pants are a little tight this year.  I like to underbake this one just a bit so the center is really fudgy and it tastes very decadant. 

Anyone else rewarding yourself for breathing by eating too many treats?  I guess I need to figure out some non-food rewards. I figure anything to get through 2020. The good news is, 2021 and New Year's Resolutions are just around the corner.  So, enjoy this mug cake and reward yourself for getting out of bed.

Chocolate Fudge Mug Cake
1 Tbsp. butter or coconut oil
2 Tbsp. almond flour
1 Tbsp. coconut flour
1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp. powdered erythritol, I like Swerve
2 Tbsp. water or unsweetened almond milk
1 egg
pinch of salt
1 Tbsp. sugar free chocolate chips

Toppings - Optional

  • sugar free chocolate sauce
  • whipped cream
  • sugar free chocolate chips
In a microwave safe bowl, melt butter.  Add almond flour, coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, erythritol, water, egg and salt.  Mix well and scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Ad chocolate chips.  Microwave for 60 seconds, do not over bake, you want it slightly underdone to give it a fudgy center.
Top with chocolate sauce, whipped cream and more chocolate chips.  Enjoy.

1 year ago:    Halloween Cauldron Cookies

October 21, 2020  Sunrise 9:04 am  Sunset 6:04 pm  Temp H 26/ L 10°F

Monday, October 19, 2020

Spiced Apple Tea With or Without


Fall calls for warm drinks. Mulled wine, hot apple cider, hot buttered rum, mmmm.  Well, I wanted something warm after we worked in the yard over the weekend.  I was chilled, it was getting dark and Dave built a fire in the wood stove so we could warm up.  I made up a cup of this spiced apple cider type drink, with a little somethin'-somthin'.  We drank our tea, played cribbage and enjoyed the fire.  
I do love early winter evenings.

Spiced Apple Tea

2 bags apple spice tea

1-2 Tbsp. Pumpkin Spice Latte Mix

1 shot spiced rum, optional

Steep two tea bags in one cup of water (boiled or I just use hot water from my Keurig).  Steep for 4 minutes.  Add pumpkin spice mix and blend in a blender or with your coffee frother.  Add spiced rum, if desired.

1 year ago:   Trying to Steal a Dog and Spaghetti Squash Pizza

5 years ago:  Computer Crash and Three Layer Bars

7 years ago:  Warm Brussels Sprout Slaw and the Baby Boy Moving Home

October 19, 2020  Sunrise 8:58 am  Sunset 6:11 pm  Temp. H 26/ L 11°F

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Night Fires and the Last of the Raspberries


I've been in a cleaning mood lately.  Mooree is not impressed because I spend too much time cleaning and his afternoon walk turns into a hurried couple of blocks instead of the 30 minutes we were walking, it doesn't help his walk time that it is about 28°F outside.  

Well, one of the things I uncovered is a laundry basket full of old papers, tax returns, expired warranties and old checks from 2015 that I cleaned out of my files during spring cleaning.  I told Dave we had to have a fire and burn that stuff, I was ready for it to go, and I wasn't going to shred all that.  So Dave started a fire in our little fire pit on the back patio and we fed it the old paperwork and some wood and enjoyed a fire on a cold  evening.  

I had a glass of champagne while we enjoyed the fire.  After my glass was empty I went over to the raspberry canes and picked the last of the raspberries that were still holding on.  After a quick rinse I HAD to have another glass of champagne, I didn't want those last berries to go to waste!

So, winter mode has set in.  I have to figure a way for Mooree to get more exercise, I guess I'll have to get him some booties for walking on the ice and snow.  I'm sure that will go over great.  And while I'm not really looking forward to winter, I do like how things slow down a little.  You snuggle down into sweaters or comfy blankets, we enjoy a fire inside or outside.  And we all take a deep breath before the hectic holiday season starts.  It is very quiet for me since I am still working from home and I'll have no travel season this fall.  I'm enjoying the change, getting some extra cleaning done and reading some great books.
I'll just have to buy my raspberries from now on.

October 14, 2020  Sunrise 8:42 am  Sunset 6:49 pm  Temp H 29/ L 17°F 

Monday, October 12, 2020

Chocolate-Coconut Shake and the end of the Fall Leaves


In the afternoons I need a bit of a pick-me-up.  I used to drink massive amounts of Diet Coke, but I've been trying to stay away from that stuff.  I like coffee and often have a 3:00 pm cup to keep me going through the afternoon but I was looking for something a little different.

I came across a recipe for this blended drink that uses whey protein powder and glucomannan (aka Konjak Root powder).  It mixes with the ice and makes this smooth, frothy drink.  I've made this with water, coffee, coconut milk, almond milk and coconut water.  All are really good.

It is weird that I have been craving something cold and creamy in the afternoons, our afternoons are now pretty crisp.  The leaves are off the trees now and, contrary to what you see next to Charles, Dave has all the leaves (from the next door neighbor's trees) picked up.  

I have read that Alaska eats the most ice cream per capita so there must be something to us Alaskans wanting something cold and creamy!  If it is cold or warm where you are, try this cool and creamy drink.

Charles still has his leaves, and they are beautiful!

However, the neighbor's tree has completely lost it's leaves.  Such a big change from this picture just a few weeks ago!

Afternoon Pick Me Up

1 cup liquid of choice; cold coffee, coconut milk, almond milk, coconut water etc.
1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. powdered erythritol, or sweetener of choice
3-5 drops liquid stevia, I like coconut, caramel or chocolate in this, Optional
1/2 tsp. glucomannan
pinch of salt
1/3 cup whey protein powder
ice, about 2 cups

In a blender add liquid, cocoa powder, erythritol, glucomannan, liquid stevia (if using)
and salt.  Blend to combine.  Add whey powder and ice, blend for 2 minutes.  Pour into glasses and serve.  Makes 2 large servings or something to drink for the next 2 hours!

1 year ago:    Beef Wellington

October 12, 2020  Sunrise 8:36 am  Sunset 6:36 pm (exactly 10 hours!) Temp H 35/ L 19°F

Friday, October 9, 2020

Keto Pumpkin Mug Cake

As sad as I am to see the end of summer, I do love Fall.  I love the cold, crisp mornings and how it warms up in the afternoon.  I love the smell of cranberries, the foggy mornings, fires in the morning to "take the chill off" and lots of fall baking with warm spices.  I love apple pie and pumpkin bread.  I love piles of leaves as they fall from the trees and Halloween decorations that pop up all around the neighborhood.  

I made pumpkin bread this week for my contribution to Breadline.  I just double this recipe and have 4 loaves at a pop.  I bake on Wednesday and Thursday mornings before work, so I dropped off 8 loaves this week.  

Well, I love pumpkin bread too, and I decided I needed some this week.  I made this pumpkin mug cake for breakfast while I was baking for Breadline.  It was a warm and delicious breakfast. It is delicious plain but I like it at breakfast with  a dollop of whipped cream. When I make it in the evening for dessert, I like to add a pecan topping or a cream cheese frosting.  You'll have to try all four ways and decide how you like it best.

Now, when I am making pumpkin bread, I just sneak out two tablespoons of pumpkin for my treat, but sometimes I want pumpkin bread but opening a whole can for two tablespoons seems like too much, you have this whole can in the fridge and you aren't sure what to do with it all.  I've fixed that, I opened a can and spooned out tablespoons and froze them. Once they are frozen, transfer them to a ziplock freezer bag and you are set.  

Now I just take out two lumps and melt in the microwave when I melt the butter for this recipe.  I am set for the long winter with pumpkin on the ready!  Bring on the snow.

Keto Pumpkin Mug Cake

1 Tbsp. butter, melted

2 Tbsp. coconut flour

2 tsp. almond flour

2 Tbsp. brown erythritol blend, I like Sukrin gold

1 egg

1 Tbsp. water, or almond milk

2 Tbsp. pumpkin puree

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

pinch salt

In microwave safe bowl (I use a 2 cup pyrex bowl), melt butter.  Add all the other ingredients and mix well.  Scrape side of bowl (or divide mixture between two microwave safe mugs) and cook in microwave for 60 seconds to 3 minutes (1 minute if divided between two mugs, up to 3 minutes if in one bowl).  Cook for shortest time, check and continue cooking in 30 second intervals. To test, a toothpick should come out of the center clean or with a few crumbs.


Brown Sugar Pecan Topping

2 Tbsp. butter

2 oz. pecans, chopped

1 Tbsp. brown erythritol sweetener

small pinch of salt

dash of vanilla extract

Melt butter in small microwave safe bowl, add pecans, sweetener, salt and vanilla.  Mix well, pour over mug cake.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 Tbsp. cream cheese, softened - I use full fat Philadelphia

1 tbsp. heavy cream, or water

1 tsp. powdered erythritol, or sweetener of choice

1 pinch pumpkin pie spice

Add all the ingredients and mix until smooth. Spread over mug cake

Sweetened Whipped Cream

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 Tbsp. powdered erythritol, or sweetener of choice

Pour cream and sweetener into small bowl or cup, whip (I like to use my coffee frother in a mug).  Spread over mug cake.

October 9, 2020  Sunrise 8:27 am  Sunset 6:47 pm  Temp H 48/ L 28°F

Monday, October 5, 2020

The Quiet After Moose Camp


The hunters have all gone home.  Moose season ended September 25th for us and on the 26th they broke camp and headed home.  Then there was the flurry of all the unpacking, cleaning, drying, organizing and storing until the next moose season.

We were fortunate and got one moose.  The meat has all been cleaned and taken to the butcher to be processed and packaged, I love getting it back all wrapped and and ready for the freezer.  The freezer has been cleaned out and reorganized so the moose would all fit and freeze before we divided it between the hunters.  The last out-of-state hunter was hauled to the airport this morning (at 3:30 am) and they are almost home as I write this.  

My brother was the last to leave(3:30 am, thanks bro).  Airlines are not serving food yet and it is a 3 1/2 hour flight from Fairbanks to Seattle where he'll have to change planes.  I made him a little breakfast to-go sack with hard boiled eggs, cheddar cheese and homemade pumpkin bread.  I still really owe him after he brought up my grandma's baking cabinet.

This recipe makes two loaves so I sliced half of one loaf for my brother's breakfast, the other half got sliced and sent across the street to the neighbor.  The second loaf went to my friend who is dealing with injured family members from an ATV accident.  I hope that pumpkin bread adds a little joy to everyone's day.

Me, I'm enjoying a quiet house after 4 days of clean-up activity and I'm happy to have a full freezer for the winter.

Pumpkin Bread

  • 1 cup vegetable oil, I use avocado oil
  • 3eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 (15 oz. can) pumpkin puree,
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Generously spray 2 (8 1/2 X 4 1/2")loaf pans with cooking spray, set aside.

In large mixing bowl combine vegetable oil, eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree and vanilla.  Mix well.  

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture, mixing until well combined.  Divide batter evenly between the two prepared loaf pans.  Bake for 45-55 minutes, until a toothpick, stuck in the middle of the loaf, comes out with few moist crumbs.

Cool in pans for 10 minutes, remove from pans and cool completely before cutting.  Enjoy.

October 5, 2020  Sunrise 8:14 am  Sunset 7:01 pm  Temp H 51/ L 39°F

Friday, October 2, 2020

New, Chewed Rugs and Cinnamon Mug Cake


My dogs are jerks.  

There really isn't any other way to put it.  They are stinky, rude, jerks...and I still love them.

Years ago, when we put hardwood floors in, I bought some nice wool area rugs. Every spring Dave would take them outside and shampoo them to freshen them up.  A couple years ago they were smelling a little doggy, so I rolled them up and put them in the garage until Dave could shampoo them.  I was surprised how much fresher the house smelled with them gone.  I figured it was just time for their spring cleaning.  

Well, Dave shampooed the rugs, let them dry in the sun and put them back in the living room.  Immediately the room smelled like wet dog.  Dave took the rugs out and shampooed them again, using Oxy clean and special carpet shampoo for animal smells.  They dried in the sun, were brought back into the house and they still smelled.  So we sent them to a professional carpet cleaner.  He shampooed, treated and put in an ozone chamber...and they still smelled.  So we threw those expensive wool carpets away.  

I left the floors bare for the summer, but come fall we needed some carpets.  I bought some cheap carpets at my friend Fred's store, we used them through the winter and by spring they were used up.  So continued the routine of new carpets in the fall, bare floors all summer and fresh (cheap) carpets in the fall again.  

Well, it is fall and the mornings are cold.  I've started building a small fire in the mornings, just to take the chill off, and I needed to buy some carpets.  They were on sale so I purchased one.  That afternoon, I washed the floors and laid the new carpet.  I went to my office to put away a book, came back into the living room and the dogs had already chewed the new carpet.  Not 5 minutes on the floor and it is already chewed.  I was not happy.

So, I made myself a treat, I calmed down a little and I didn't share a bit with them, those jerks.  

Cinnamon Mug Cake

1 Tbsp. butter, or coconut oil

3 Tbsp. almond flour

1 egg, beaten

1 Tbsp. confectioners Swerve, or sweetener of choice

1/4 tsp. caramel stevia, about 5-7 drops

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

pinch of salt

Swirled Topping

1 Tbsp. cream cheese, softened

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. confectioners Swerve

1-2 tsp. heavy cream, for desired consistency

Spray a large microwave safe mug or bowl with cooking spray.  Place butter in mug and microwave until melted.  Add almond flour, beaten egg, Swerve, stevia, baking soda and cinnamon.  Mix well, scrape down sides and microwave for 60-90 seconds until center is set.  Cool while making topping.

For topping, mix cream cheese, cinnamon, Swerve and 1 tsp. heavy cream, adding more cream to make desired consistency. Swirl over top of mug cake and enjoy.

October 2, 2020  Sunrise 8:05 am  Sunset 7:12pm  Temp H 57/ L 44°F