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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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.