Easter Memories

I can’t believe that we are at the end of March and preparing for Easter weekend again! Last year 3 of my 4 kiddos were able to be with us for Easter. It was a special time with all three of the grands together for the first time! This year I will have only 2 of them plus a sweet daughter-in-law and 2 of the grands.

Recently I found a few pictures taken during my college days…senior year to be exact. I was a Home Economics major, and at the time, we had to spend 6 weeks in the Home Economics Residence. I happened to be assigned during the spring…including Easter. This picture was taken on Easter Sunday 36 years ago! I have been able to reconnect with 2 of my housemates through social media! We all got along very well and have lots of happy memories of those 6 weeks!

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If you’ve been ready this blog for any length of time, you will know that I got my love of baking from my dear mother. I also was the recipient of many of her small kitchen gadgets when she decided she needed to give up her own kitchen. I know that kitchen gadgets are not meant to last very long. They are items we often receive as gifts for bridal showers and are often replaced before too many years of marriage have passed. However, I do still happen to have a few items that belonged to my mother years ago. They were very well made way back then (early 1970s) and have withstood the test of time. Mom bought these two particular items from a very dear friend of hers who was a school teacher during the year, but needed work during the summer. At least one summer she sold kitchen items…Pampered Chef, perhaps?  I have no idea what company made these amazing tools, but they have lasted and lasted and lasted…like the Energizer Bunny, maybe? It is time for me to replace them, though, because they are finally wearing out. You can see the crack in the spatula to the left and the broken handle on the one on the right.

IMG_2831 For several years, our Easter dessert has been pavlova. This year will be no different! I have all the ingredients written on my grocery list! You can find the recipe here. Be sure to give it a try! Your family will love it!

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Bone Broth and Catching Up!

Here we are in the second week of March! I can’t believe that it is Spring Forward weekend already! Seriously! Where is time going? My last post was before Christmas! Yikes!

Here is a little bit of what’s been happening in my life:

  1. We spent Christmas with our girl, her man, and the little man. I loved my time there! Looking forward to getting to return next month (next month already???) for the birth of the newest little man!
  2.  We said, “Welcome home!” to son #1 from his deployment!  Yay!!!! So happy that the family is together again! You can see Little Miss Mia welcoming her daddy home here.
  3. We said, “See you later!” to son #2 whom we now won’t see again until after his return from deployment.
  4. We experienced a very, very cold spell back in January which lasted longer than usual. Here’s to hoping it killed all the yucky bugs!
  5. We experienced a very, very warm spell in February which brought out lots of blossoms on the trees and flowers and allowed the honey bees to begin their search for pollen.
  6. Now March is here with its bi-polar weather…we actually had frost the other morning which may have killed some of those blossoms that opened up in February!
  7. We are in mid-March and we have not gotten the flu that seems to be hitting about every household! Other than colds/coughs in late-November and into early December, none of us have been sick…no fevers, no chills, nothing! We are truly blessed!
  8. I haven’t done a lot of experimenting in the kitchen recently…no excuse…just haven’t done it.
  9. We have Borrowers in the kitchen again. This time I can’t find 2 of my half-tablespoon measuring spoons and one of the knives from my fairly new knife block. Seriously?? I am the only one who does any baking in my kitchen, and 3 of my most-used items are missing? It definitely must be the Borrowers. If you are unfamiliar with Borrowers, give the books a read! My kids loved them when they were young!

Most of you know that I have been following the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating for several years now. I just love this eating style! I can’t get over how much better I feel when I leave the sugars and starches out of my diet.

I have been reading a lot about the benefits of bone broth, but I had never made any until last night. You can read all about bone broth here.

I had purchased a whole chicken at the store the other day, and cooked it in the Instant Pot for dinner. Once supper was over, and I was cleaning up, I decided to take the remaining meat from the bones and begin a pot of bone broth. After reading up on several ways to make it, I experimented and came up with some pretty great tasting stuff! And I love my Instant Pot!!! I just put everything in it before going to bed last night. This morning, it was finished! Here is how I made mine.

  • bones from one whole chicken
  • broth from cooking that chicken (maybe 3 cups)
  • 1 medium onion, cut into 4ths
  • 2 carrots, cut in chunks
  • several cloves of fresh garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • about 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • other veggies that you happen to have in the fridge: some celery, bell peppers, etc.
  • herbs such as basil or oregano (I used about 1 tbsp basil)

Add everything to your Instant Pot and give it a few stirs. I added the ACV last, but I don’t think it would matter. Add just enough water to cover everything that is in your pot.

Set your Instant Pot on high pressure for 240 minutes. (Yes, you read that correctly!)Once the time is up, let the pressure release naturally. Since I did this before I went to bed last night, it was all done by the time I got up this morning!

Strain all the bones and veggies out of the broth. If there is a lot of fat with the broth, you can separate this. Pour it into jars or individual serving sizes. Drink a hot cupful every day! I got 3 quarts plus one cup once I had strained it and removed the fat. I drank the one cup before breakfast! It was very delicious!

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Hurricanes, Family, and Low-Carb Cake

Life has been busy (as usual) this last month. Things settled down to a normal routine after we survived the gazillions of people who descended upon us for the Great American Eclipse. Final child began another year of classes; the weather began a nice cool-down; and we lost our business. That last one there has been a cause of great stress and discouragement lately. We learned in July that we were probably going to be losing our best account because of the required re-bidding process. However, it didn’t totally happen until the middle of August. We’ve had our commercial cleaning company for almost 18 years. Because of the very low unemployment in our area, keeping great workers was getting harder and harder, and those great workers that we did have were wanting higher and higher pay. It is just not worth the trouble any more to keep it going, so we are now officially out of the cleaning business. It has been an emotional few weeks for me, but I need to remind myself that God has not failed to provide for us yet, and He never will. I must trust Him whatever the future holds.

Another event which brought lots of people to our area was Irma, that huge and powerful hurricane that did so much damage to Florida and brought so much rain even here. I have done my weekly grocery shopping on Thursdays for years. On the Thursday before Irma’s expected arrival, I went to the store and discovered this:

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This empty cart corral was my first clue that this would be no normal shopping trip.  I was able to get one from a customer returning his, and continued into the store to do my shopping. Clue #2…no bread. Seriously, there was NO bread! A few other items were completely gone as well. At this point I was seriously wondering what was going on. Then I noticed a very orderly, very long line of people…the check-out line. There were actually 2  (only 2) very long lines of people wanting to check out. These people in line were stocking up for the coming hurricane. I guess they were afraid they would run out of bread and milk while Florida evacuees were in town. All I wanted to do was my normal weekly shopping, and it took me about 45 minutes longer than usual!

Happy family news…Grandbaby #4 is scheduled to arrive next spring!  Little Man will be a Big Brother!

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As many of you know, I have been trying to follow the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating for about 3 years now. I love the eating plan and feel so much better when I eat right. I am also a lover of cookbooks, so when the new cookbook came out, I was hoping to get a copy. Then we lost the business, and the desire for the new book went on the back burner. Thanks to another THM who is a complete stranger, I now have the new cookbook! It arrived in today’s mail, and I am thrilled! Can’t wait to try some of the recipes.

The THM cookbook that came out 2 years ago has an amazing cake recipe. I discovered it not long ago when I was looking for a dessert to make. I had a few peaches that needed to be used, and I was thinking of an upside down cake. This recipe is perfect! The second time I made the recipe, I spread it in a jellyroll pan and made a fig jam-filled cake roll. It just melts in your mouth! Delicious!

  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup low-carb sweetener
  • 1/2 cup vanilla whey protein powder
  • 2 tbsp. psyllium flakes
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 large peach, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp. butter melted
  • 3 tbps. low-carb brown sugar

Put half the melted butter in the bottom of the pan. Layer peach pieces and sprinkle with brown sugar.

In a mixing bowl, combine the first 4 ingredients. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gently stir in the dry ingredients a little at a time until well blended. Pour the batter over the peaches and spread evenly. Bake for about 30 minutes. Allow to cool before removing from pan.

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Low-Carb Burger Buns and the Great American Eclipse

Good afternoon, all! I am actually making it back to the blog before too many weeks have passed since the last time I was here! I tell ya, life gets busier and busier!!

Since I posted last, my little man turned 1!

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We have picked over 50 pounds of figs from one tree! Yes, that is correct! This particular tree is 19 years old and has always produced well. I think it has out-done itself this year though! I quit weighing them once we reached 50 lbs. Thankfully, we are about done with the picking. The honey bees are enjoying what is left.

Speaking of the honey bees, we have also gotten some honey from our first-year hives! We have hives in 5 different locations and have discovered that honey from those hives tastes different! The honey from one of the locations reminds us all of butter pecan ice cream!

 

We here in the south are anticipating the Great American Eclipse coming in less than 48 hours now. My hometown happens to be in the path of totality, so we are expecting kaboodles of extra people on Monday! Actually, they are already arriving. Traffic is heavier than normal for a Saturday; hotel rooms are booked over 70 miles out; and eclipse glasses are no where to be found! I read an article today about the 12 busiest cities along the line of totality for the eclipse…the 12 cities that will see the largest influx of people for the eclipse. Three of those 12 cites are in my state! I think I will just stay home on Monday!

Since last night, I received Face Time calls from 3 of my 4 kiddlets! I love this modern technology! It is just so amazing to be able to see them at the same time I am speaking to them, even though they are so very far away.

Surprise!  Last night I actually tried a new recipe! I know…it has been forever since I did that! But I’m really trying to get back on the THM wagon and stay there! This low-carb bread is amazing. I decided to divide the dough into 8 small pieces which were the perfect size for burger buns…sliders to be exact. I made my burger patties to match the size of the buns. By adding burger toppings, we had a great meal.

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Yes, that is a jar of honey with some honeycomb in the back ground. This bread would be amazing  with some local honey drizzled over the top! You can find the recipe here.  Enjoy!

 

Life Happens and Taco Seasoning Mix

Here I am again, months after I should have written a new post, finally taking the time to do so! Oh well! Life happens!

We had a wedding since I wrote last! If you have ever been the parents of the bride or groom, you will know that there is this flurry of activities leading up to a busy weekend when every moment is itemized so that nothing is forgotten. And then you have the days following where you crash and wonder how it all got done! Yes! That was us!

Friday held a bridal luncheon hosted by a very special friend of our family. It was a relaxing time in between the decorating of the church and setting up the centerpieces for the rehearsal dinner.

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The rehearsal dinner went off without a hitch, but the time spent setting up the centerpieces did not! Let’s just say that I dropped a box of glass vases which broke into a gazillion pieces and leave it at that.

The wedding went great, though, and we are thrilled with our newest family member!

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Little Miss Mia performed her responsibilities as flower girl very well! Her first time down the aisle during rehearsal left a lot to be desired (she ran the whole way!), but after quite a bit of practice her confidence grew and she knew exactly what she was to do. She did an amazing job during the wedding! Shortly before the seating of the mothers and the processional, she worked her way out of position by the bride and ended up near the front of the line where she loudly proclaimed, “I’m getting married today!” It definitely gave us the laugh we all needed and helped us to relax!

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Several weeks (months??) ago, my sister and brother-in-law were in town for a week, and I had done some meal planning and shopping in advance of their visit. I had decided to have tacos on Tuesday, and for the sake of time and convenience, decided to purchase 2 packets of taco seasoning mix. I remember getting them off the shelf and crossing it off my list. However, those packets evidently did not make it to my house. I was already browning the beef for the tacos when I realized that the packets were missing. Here we are weeks (months?) later, and I still haven’t found them. Who knows where they ended up.

Any way, I found myself in need of some taco seasoning very quickly! Thankfully, I found a recipe and had all the necessary ingredients on hand. I used the entire recipe for about 1-1/2 lbs of beef. Everyone thought that the tacos tasted much better than when using the purchased seasoning! And it is so incredibly easy, I really don’t know why I ever bothered using the ready-made seasonings in the first place!

Mix all these ingredients together and store in an air-tight container. Use in recipes to taste.

  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. ground red pepper–more if you like it spicier
  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper

You can also use dried red pepper flakes if you prefer.

 

Easter Weekend and Berry Breakfast Crisp

Hello, everyone! I am finally taking the time to sit down and write a new post…this time including a new recipe!

But first—Easter weekend! I was thrilled that Barbi and her sweet little family were able to drive here for Easter! They not only got to spend time with us all, but they got to meet Baby Gracie! The only disappointing part of the weekend was that my 2Lt was not able to be here since he is still half-way across the country in training!

Here are a few obligatory pictures from the weekend!

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This morning I decided to have something different for breakfast than my usual sunny-side up eggs and fruit. I have been trying hard to get back on track with eating in a healthy manner since the guys brought in lots of sweets and other carbs over the weekend. And of course, I served our traditional Pavlova for Easter dessert!

This recipe makes one serving. It calls for baking it in the oven, but I used the microwave for about one minute. Either way is just fine.

  • 1 cup mixed berries (frozen or fresh)
  • 3 tbsp. low-carb flour blend (I used my own flour blend of oat, almond, and flax)
  • 1 tbsp. unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • dash of salt
  • 1 tbsp. sweetener (I used Pyure)
  • 1/2 scoop protein powder
  • 1-1/2 tbsp. coconut oil, melted

Place the berries in the bottom of a small baking dish. Mix remaining dry ingredients in a small bowl and then stir in coconut oil until it is a crumbly mixture. Sprinkle over the top of the fruit. Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes, or put into microwave for about one minute or until the berries burst.

Serve topped with about 1/4 cup Greek yogurt.

A New Baby!

I promise to share a new recipe or two soon! But today I want to introduce to you our newest family member! Miss Grace Mae arrived last Friday weighing 6 pounds, 8 ounces, and was 20 inches long. Little Miss Mia is now a big sister!

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