May 082015
 

We are always at a lack for phone chargers in this house!  I ordered two from Ebay just before our trip to South Carolina, and then ordered a couple more earlier this week.  Frank needs one for his car, so one is already claimed, and I need one for myself (since the last one I had seems to have flown the coop).

Most of the chargers in the house are either black or white and fit the Samsung/Motorola phones.  It’s hard to tell who borrowed what charger.  As I unwrapped my precious new friend, I came up with an idea.  Washi tape.

I can’t admit to patience and precision on this little project.  I’m sure someone can improve on the final product with a little more time spent lining patterns and seams up.  I just wanted a quick way to mark my territory on this charger.

Cover your charger with Washi!

Apr 112015
 

I haven’t written here for a while, and I know this. The last time was January of 2014. A little over a year.  After Franny got hit by that car, we ended up having to get a lawyer (something I really would have rather not done), and the defendant’s lawyer wanted to see everything, including my blog.  Kind of took the charm out of writing anything here, even if I know it’s public, and I know anyone can read it.  Although, let’s be honest, I doubt may people are shuffling through the dust bunnies here any more.

The internet has changed.  Facebook came to the blogger’s door, tested the lock, and kicked it open.  Blogging is now a “job” and some of the people who I remember blogging alongside back in the day now actually make a living off their blog.

I’m one of those people who longs for the days when things were (a bit), I guess.  I rarely visit blogs, use Facebook multiple times a day, and mean to post a million things (on here) that I never do.

That’s part of Facebook that I don’t like, I guess.  My blog is mine, I do and say as I please – to a rational point.  Facebook is different.  People have expectations and whine about them when they aren’t being lived up to (too many food posts, too many kid pics, pet pics, too many posts, too many quotes, too man WHATEVER).  As if everyone owns a piece of Facebook.

I miss my messy drawer of a blog where I shove recipes, kid stories, links, pet pics, product reviews, and basically everything else –and anything else– I want.  Blogs used to be the place to do that, but now there’s a gazillion other places.

I still write in my off-line journal.  And I want to still write here.  I don’t know if I will keep things here, or move it somewhere else.  But I enjoy looking back at old posts (I often use the recipes for a reference), and wish I had more of them.

 

Jan 022014
 

I made this for New Year’s Eve – going to be on regular rotation now. SO good!

Jalapeño Popper Dip

Jalapeño Popper Dip

Ingredients

16 oz. cream cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
6 jalapeños, chopped and deseeded
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup bread crumbs (or crushed Ritz)

Directions

Let cream cheese soften at room temp. for about 10 minutes. Combine cream cheese, mayo, and jalapeños in a bowl and stir (or beat) until smooth. Add the grated cheeses, reserving 1/4 c. of the cheddar; mix well. Sprinkle bread crumbs over, then sprinkle on the remainder of the cheddar cheese. Put in an oven-safe dish and bake at 350 degrees until golden and bubbly.

Jalapeño Popper Dip

Jun 262013
 

Everybody sees them – the Facebook posts, the food. Scrolling down through your feed, the eye catches on one recipe or another. The MUST SHARE or IT IS SOOOO GOOD recipe. Most of them have junk in them that I just don’t buy – “Take one pre-packaged this, add it to the other chemical-laden that, add some more chemicals…

I did decide to try two recipes yesterday, though, because our menu has gotten a little boring. I have no idea of the original source, but found the exact recipe below. It’s all over the ‘net. That’s the problem with the Facebook recipes. Unless you do share them, they’re lost in your feed. I copy/pasted the recipe, but don’t know where it came from. The recipe below is the exact one.

IMG_20130625_203807_269

ONE POT WONDER TOMATO BASIL PASTA
Serves 4 to 6 as an entree

12 ounces linguine pasta (I used 16 – why use 3/4 of a box?)
1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes with liquid
1 large sweet onion, cut in julienne strips
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
2 large sprigs basil, chopped
4 1/2 cups vegetable broth (I used chicken broth – it’s all I had)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Parmesan cheese for garnish

Place pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil, in a large stock pot. Pour in vegetable broth. Sprinkle on top the pepper flakes and oregano. Drizzle top with oil. Cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer and keep covered and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes or so. Cook until almost all liquid has evaporated – I left about an inch of liquid in the bottom of the pot – but you can reduce as desired . Season to taste with salt and pepper , stirring pasta several times to distribute the liquid in the bottom of the pot. Serve garnished with parmesan cheese.

This didn’t get the raves I was hoping for. It was eaten, but there was no call for me to throw it into regular rotation. We eat a lot of spaghetti around these parts, and they are fickle.

I do love sitting around the table with my family, though. It’s a little slice of heaven on earth. I completely relish every day we are able to. With one moved out, one home for the summer for college – our family dinners are few and far between, and not a daily event like the were years ago. Meal planning helps me get the family around the dinner table. I’m glad I took the time to do it this week.

For dessert: Honey Bun Cake

Honey Bun Cake

I didn’t get to try any of this, but it seemed to be a hit. My family seems to really like Honey Buns (they taste like cardboard and chemical sugar to me), so I thought it would be fun to try this. They said it didn’t quite taste like a Honey Bun, more like a coffee cake, but it was good. I made it using a make-your-own boxed cake recipe, since I didn’t have a boxed one on hand.

Honey Bun Cake
{mommyskitchen.net}

Ingredients:
1 – package white cake mix, (reserve ½ cup dry cake mix)
2 – sticks butter, softened
1 – cup plain Greek yogurt or plain yogurt
4 – eggs
½ – teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling: 
½ – cup reserved dry cake mix
½ – cup packed brown sugar
1/3 – cup chopped nuts, optional
2 – teaspoons cinnamon

Glaze:
3 – cups powdered sugar
1 – teaspoon vanilla extract
6 – 8 tablespoons milk

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees grease bottom only of 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Remove ½ cup dry cake mix and set aside. Add remaining cake mix to a large bowl: add butter, yogurt, eggs and vanilla; beat at medium speed. Spread half of the batter in the pan. Stir together reserved dry cake mix, brown sugar, cinnamon and nuts if using. Sprinkle over batter. Spread remaining cake batter on top. To make spreading easier drop batter by dollops over cinnamon mixture then spread using an offset spatula.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 – 40 minutes or until golden brown and cake springs back when touched. Remove from oven and let cake cool.

Prepare the glaze by stirring together powdered sugar, milk and vanilla. If the glaze is too thick keep adding a bit of milk until it’s to the consistency you want. Poke the top of warm cake with a fork. Drizzle and spread the glaze completely over the cake.

Cook’s Note: I pour half of the glaze over the cake and let it seep into the cake and then wait about 15 – 20 minutes and add the remaining glaze mixture. (This was a good tip – worked well.) Cool for one hour before slicing.

 

Jun 142013
 

OK, so here’s the recipe I’ve been using. Clearly I’m slightly obsessed, but when you’re trying to do a lower-carb/higher fat/moderate protein (LCHF) diet, there are some things you miss, and I miss pizza.

But not so much anymore. Really. This works pretty darn well for me.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

For a low-carb (gluten free?) pizza, this one is the best I’ve found so far.
1/3 – 1/2 head cauliflower (I used about 1/2 for this one – it’s a forgiving recipe)
3.5 oz. grated parmesan, asiago, romano or other hard cheese
1.5 oz. shredded mozzarella
1 egg
(spices of your choosing – garlic, italian seasoning – skip salt, the cheese is salty)

Preheat oven to 400. Wash and dry the cauliflower (I use florets and stems) and chop it up in processor or chopper until resembles crumbs – then microwave for 3 minutes. Let it sit in microwave for about 5 minutes, then take it out and drain the cauliflower in cheesecloth or squeeze out excess water with paper towels. Add egg and cheese, and seasonings; mix in well.

Line a pizza pan or cookie sheet with parchment (I haven’t tried it without parchment, so I can’t tell you what would happen if you omit it)  then place the “dough” on and form into a circle. Pat well with your hands to make a nice shape. I make mine about 1/4 inch thick and then pat it again with paper towels once it is formed to get a little more moisture out. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden.

Remove the crust, turn oven to BROIL While the oven is heating, and add your sauce and a tiny bit more cheese (like an ounce – too much an it will be too cheesy), and any toppings you like. Place the pizza back in the oven to broil and watch it carefully. It only will take about 5 minutes for it to get toasty. If you don’t want to babysit it, you could skip the broiling part and just bake it for a bit more time.

Remove and enjoy.

It seems difficult, but it really isn’t once you do it a couple times. I haven’t gotten a crisp crust yet, but I’ve gotten a nice brown and a delicious flavor. Today I made sauce with 1 tomato and 1 can of tomato sauce (4oz) and some basil from my garden. Yum.

I’m going to add some flax or almond flour to my next pizza and see how that flies. This is pretty bare bones and works well.

May 302013
 

IMG_20130530_201951_054

I’m slowly perfecting this. So far, I’m not really missing my regular pizzas.

This one I baked the crust for about 20 minutes first, then added toppings and broiled. I also dabbed the uncooked crust with a paper towel to remove moisture.

 

 

May 192013
 

Years ago when I was lowcarbing I made this lowcarb pancake (I really kept up on that site, eh?). It was pretty tasty, but I don’t really carry ricotta cheese around the house often.

This morning we had a couple kids over at our house for a sleepover, and usually on the weekends I make some sort of breakfast (pancakes, waffles, etc.). It’s hot, and I really didn’t feel like heating up the oven, or standing over a skillet flipping pancakes, so I opted for waffles.

I made a mega batch, the boys ate like a wild pack of horses.

I’m not eating the traditional pancakes and waffles (wheat), but wanted to try making something different (yet clearly similar). This is what I came up with on the fly, with the ingredients I had on hand. I could have thrown in some flax or almond flour, but… just didn’t.

Low Carb Waffles (makes 4)
4 eggs
4 oz Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp. baking powder

Combine all and blend with hand blender until frothy. Pour into a pre-heated  waffle iron sprayed with non-stick spray.

Super simple, huh?

They turned out quite well. The only mishap was that the batter makes a little more than my iron can hold in one batch and I was not patient or careful. It over-flowed.

I don’t have any sugar-free pancake syrup, and didn’t really want to put DaVinci’s on top of it, so I went for some semi-whipped cream instead.

1.5 oz. heavy whipping cream, dash of cinnamon, 4 drops of liquid stevia. I used my handy frother again. It was such a small amount that a hand-blender, though it would probably do a better job, was really too big for the task.

It was pretty good. Eggy, naturally. But so many low-carb creations are eggy. It hit the spot, though, for me. Kind of a semi-waffle. I’m sure it would be improved with some almond flour or flax, but in a pinch, this was a nice change up from the regular old egg breakfast.

May 182013
 

I like to order things online. It’s so much easier to comparison shop, read reviews, place the order, and find it on your doorstep soon after. I know, I know, the mom and pop are suffering from the ability to order online (specifically Amazon), but it saves me time and money.

Like I said in the last post, I’ve been blending up my coffee with cream and coconut oil. I was drinking it without blending it, but blending it makes it much tastier. But using my stick blender is pretty time-intensive on a short morning before work, so I ordered this – IKEA Produkt Milk Frother. It was less than $10 and eligible for Amazon Prime, and it had good reviews. And I didn’t have to leave the house to order it.

Low and behold, a few days later I came home from work to these two packages (one from Bath & Body Works, and one envelope).

The frother was in the envelope, nestled inside the box. No instructions, no batteries, just a very light-feeling frother.

Much smaller than the stick blender I’ve been using. Don’t get me wrong, I love my stick blender. I first used one when making soap, but then got one for making food. Lovely appliance. But taking it out and cleaning it was too much for me.

So, we had to put it to the test. Before blending (cream and coconut oil).

Here I am using the frother. It’s very quiet and feels like it is doing nothing. Sal took pictures for me while I frothed away. Much like the larger stick blender, it can make quite a mess, if you’re not careful. Using both of these blenders takes me back to my soapmaking days. Emulsifying the oils and the lye…

Here we are finished.

It’s not bad. Much more convenient than dragging out the stick blender, but also not as powerful. I definitely like to froth up even a simple cup of coffee and cream, or tea and cream. Blended, not stirred. It makes a difference.

All in all, I like my little frother. Was a worthwhile purchase. It certainly does the job, and I’m glad I ordered it. It’s been fun already making drinks for the kids.

Here was my Bath & Body Works delights. Mostly old scents that you can’t get in the stores, Sun Ripened Raspberry, Country Apple, but also a Coconut(something). They had free shipping plus a percent off, which made it a deal. And I didn’t have to leave the house or use my gas to get it. Yay me.