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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Family News and Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Three weeks have passed since I last posted here. I can’t believe it has been that long! I seriously try to write more frequently, but it seems like 3 weeks is the norm these days! Here is what’s been happening on the home front.

Last week we did indeed get the freezing temperatures that I was afraid of. Most of the gorgeous blossoms that I showed in the previous post froze when our spring-like temperatures dropped into the 20s for several nights in a row. Our plum trees had bloomed a few weeks earlier than the peaches and were already showing tiny plums. They also froze and turned black in the freezing temperatures.

We had a bridal shower for Ben’s lady. I am so glad my sister was able to come for it! And we had a birthday party for Little Miss Mia’s daddy! She really wanted to blow out all the candles by herself, so he had to discourage her!

But the best news of all was that my girl’s man came home safely from his deployment! I just love this picture!

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Now for the recipe! I had never made stuffed chicken breast before this try, and the guys loved it! It was not as hard as I had thought it might be. I didn’t follow a recipe, but just went by what I have read online about stuffed chicken breasts. I am sure that there are people out there who know tricks to make it easier!

  • 3-4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2-3 tbsp. heavy cream
  • several large hands full of fresh spinach (sorry! I didn’t measure!)
  • salt and pepper
  • 12-16 slices of bacon

Carefully slice open the chicken breasts making a small pocket in the side of each.Be careful not to slice all the way through. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine the two cheeses and the heavy cream and mix well. Lightly steam the spinach to soften. Squeeze all the moisture out of the spinach and stir it into the cheese mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon the mixture into the chicken breasts. Wrap each chicken breast with bacon, using about 3 slices per piece of chicken. The amount of bacon will depend on the size of each chicken breast. Place wrapped chicken in a slightly oiled pan. Bake at 350 degrees until juices are no longer pink and the bacon looks crispy, about 40 minutes. Again, baking time will depend upon the size of the chicken breasts. Thicker pieces will require longer baking time. Serve with a green salad on the side!

 

 

 

Vegetable Chicken Soup

I’m finally back writing an entry on the blog! I can’t believe that it has been about 3 weeks since I last posted. It is partly because we have been enjoying a wonderful spring this winter! Seriously! I know that the groundhog saw his shadow, and thus said that we would have 6 more weeks of winter, but he totally forgot to tell the birds, the bees, and the flowering trees! The song birds have been serenading us every morning for weeks now, and all our fruit trees are blooming! The last time we had such an early spring was in 2007. That ended disastrously when we had 3 nights of killer frost in mid-April. We lost all our fruits that year!

My sweet little grand girl has been practicing to be flower girl at her Opal Gen’s (Uncle Ben’s) wedding in July.

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And sweet Little Man has learned to sit up all by himself!

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Now about that recipe… Many people here in my area of the south have been sick lately. Thankfully, the sickness has not found my house! One of my friends was sick last week, so I decided to make her some chicken soup. Since I had some extra veggies in the fridge, I added them to the mix as well. A few spices added in made it a very tasty soup!

1 quart chicken broth

1-2 chicken breasts, cooked and diced

1 large carrot, peeled and diced

1/2 medium onion, diced

4-5 medium sized mushrooms, cut in fourths

1 c. or so of cut green beans (I used fresh ones, but canned would be fine)

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tsp. each  turmeric, chili powder, garlic powder (use whatever spices you desire!)

Combine everything except the chicken in a large pot and bring the broth to a boil. Simmer until the veggies are tender. Add the chicken and heat through. Check flavor for spices and adjust to your own desires.

Low-Carb, Gluten-Free “Tater” Tots

So here we are in the third week of January…already! In some ways January always goes slowly for me. Even though the days are getting longer, to me,  January seems like a dark and dreary month. Having cold, rainy, cloudy days lately hasn’t helped! It doesn’t matter if the temperatures have been reaching for 70…if it is rainy, it is dreary and depressing!

But in spite of the weather, I’ve had happy family moments. This happened the other day! I love how these pictures  turned out! Can’t wait to make some prints.

On Friday (another dreary, rainy day), the hubby walked in the door with these! Day was made!

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Ben had to leave yesterday for AF training, and he won’t be back until the end of May…saddness! However, he tends to make the best of things, and the other day he had fun with Little Miss Mia.

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I made this basket out of old t-shirts about 2 years ago. Mia uses it for some of her toys and books. Ben decided it would be a great pack for carrying Mia! She was thrilled! Yesterday afternoon when she and her parents arrived for Sunday dinner, Mia walked in the front door and announced, “Hello, Nemmie! I’m home!” I tell ya, my heart just melted!

Yesterday afternoon I got to FaceTime with the Little Man! He is so adorable! I can’t believe that he will be 6 months old soon! I didn’t take a picture of him while we were FaceTiming because I am not skilled at doing that. (Last time I tried it, I cut off the person I was FT with!) However, Barbi shared this picture of him a week or so ago. He is getting chunky!

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For dinner tonight I realized that I needed to use some cauliflower that I had in the fridge. I searched through some of my THM recipes and decided to create my own version of tater tots. If you follow THM or other low-carb eating styles, you already know that cauliflower can be used in place of potatoes. These made a great side dish for salmon and a green salad!

  • 1/2 large head of cauliflower
  • 1-2 eggs
  • 2-1/2 tbsp. almond flour (add more if mixture is too wet)
  • 3/4 tsp. salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder (or to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder (or to taste)
  • 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese

Cut the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces and place in sauce pan with a small amount of water. Bring to a boil and gently cook until fork-tender. Drain the cauliflower, and then squeeze it to remove excess water. **Take the time to do this! You want to get rid of as much moisture as possible! I actually got an extra cup of water from mine after I had drained it! Use cheese cloth or a strainer…whichever works for you.

Chop the cauliflower into tiny pieces. You can mash it or put it into a food processor and gently grind it. DO NOT over-process!

Put the cauliflower into a mixing bowl and add all the other ingredients. Season to taste, adding more spices if needed.

Using an ice cream scoop, shape the mixture into balls. Heat coconut oil in a large skillet and fry balls until golden brown.

This makes about 10 “tater” tots

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She Said, “Yes!”

No recipe with this post, just good news from my 2Lt and Citadel grad! We are super excited to announce that there will be a wedding in 2017!

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I’m thankful to Julia’s mom for sharing this reenactment picture of the proposal!

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As we close 2016, we look forward to the blessings coming in 2017. We will now have a wedding as well as a new grandbaby!

And I promise new recipes will be coming in 2017, too!