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, 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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Chocolate Smoothie with a Twist

Happy New Year and welcome to 2017! I know, I know…I am 12 days late on that greeting, but at least I’m here now writing a new post!

Last weekend we experienced winter. And it is now over and spring is here, at least for a few days. We had ice, snow, and sub-freezing temperatures for 3 days last week. Today, we are pushing 72 degrees! Tomorrow should be the same as today; Saturday will drop down into the 50s, but then we should have about a week or so with temps in the mid-60s every day! I just love life in the south!

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I sort of fell off the proper eating path over the holidays when the hubby and others who shall be nameless brought delicious tasting, but oh-so-bad-for-you foods into the house! I am working hard at getting the sugars out of my system and eating right once again.

Although I was brought up in the south, there are some southern foods that I just never got a taste for. Black-eyed peas and collard greens make a traditional New Year’s Day meal, but not in my house! Okra is another southern staple that I just never enjoyed. However, now that I am trying to eat the Trim Healthy Mama way, I have discovered the health benefits of this southern veggie. If you are like me and need a little convincing that okra really is good for you, then read this article. You will be impressed!

The new THM cookbook has a few recipes in it using okra. I have made the brownies with it and was very impressed. Last week I discovered the chocolate smoothie! If you have the cookbook, you will find the recipe on page 415. Today I added a few drops of peppermint essential oil. Oh, my word! Ya’ll, this is amazing! If you didn’t know that there is a cup of okra in the smoothie, you would never guess it! I like it so much better with the peppermint than without!

Since I did change up the recipe some, I will share it with you here.

  • 1 c. water
  • 1 c. frozen, diced okra (I actually thawed mine some.)
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2-1/2 tbsp. Pyure sweetener
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil, melted
  • 3-4 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 10 ice cubes
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder

Put everything in the blender except the ice and protein powder. I added the peppermint oil to the coconut oil first, and then added it to the remaining ingredients. Blend well…very well! Add the ice and blend again. Add the protein powder last and blend one more time.

Give it a try! You won’t be disappointed!

Roasted Cauliflower

Last week was a whirl wind of activities! We learned that our deployed son was coming home! Now, we were already planning for his return, since we had a window when he told us he was coming. However, that window closed and he was still on the other side of the world. So when we got the new date, I didn’t tell a soul for fear that it would change again. It didn’t, and I finally got my hug!

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Then the next day I was totally surprised to have my 2Lt show up at my door!!! It seems that everyone in the family knew he was coming except me. That’s ok, because I just love surprises like that!! He came to surprise his girl who was playing in her first university symphony orchestra concert. He had to tell her though, because she already had plans for the weekend!

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I just love having my family come home, and my heart was almost full!  I was totally missing my girl,  but I am thankful that she and Sammy should be here for Thanksgiving. I can’t wait to squeeze that little man again!

This recipe was originally created for potatoes, but I used it last week with cauliflower. It turned out great, and the hubby loved it. It could be used as a potato substitute or as a veggie side dish.

1 large head cauliflower

1/4 to 1/2 c. water

1 tsp. garlic powder (or fresh minced garlic)

1 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. sea salt

1/2 c. dried parsley (I used dried cilantro since I had no parsley)

1/4 c. butter, melted

Cut the cauliflower into small pieces and place in a microwave-safe dish. Add the water and cover. Microwave until mostly tender. Strain the water and gently squeeze the cauliflower to remove any extra water.

Lightly spray the dish and return cauliflower to it. Sprinkle the garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and parsley or cilantro over the top of the cauliflower, and gently stir to combine. Pour the butter on top of the mixture.

Place in a 350* oven and bake uncovered until cauliflower is tender and slightly golden, about 30 minutes.  Enjoy!

 

Fig Cookies

Once again, we have had an abundance of figs on our fig tree! I thought that we had a lot last year, but I think that we have even more this summer. I have a bunch in the freezer to use in smoothies; we have dehydrated quite a few pounds; the hubby has been eating them fresh; we have sold some; and we have given some away. And I still have several pounds in the fridge!

A friend shared this recipe on Pinterest the other day, and I thought that it sounded pretty good. I don’t necessarily eat Paleo, but this recipe is very good. I tried making fig cookies several years ago, but I struggled with getting the cookie just right. This recipe is better, but still a little crumbly. Next time I might use some oat flour with the almond flour.The flavor of the fig filling is amazing! I really like it since there is no added sugar!

Mine didn’t turn out looking as pretty as hers did, but I think that it is because I should have used more figs. The recipe calls for 10 ounces of dried figs. I didn’t weigh the figs, so I probably didn’t use enough. All my figs were fresh, so I dried some in my dehydrator for about 2 hours. That process took out most of the moisture without making them too dry.

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Zucchini Pizza Slices

We always eat our main meal on Sunday after our morning worship service. And we always have the same foods! There is something comforting to having the same big Sunday dinner each week. Our kids grew up with beef roast, gravy, rice or mashed potatoes, and broccoli with cheese sauce each week. It was something they looked forward to! They still do if they happen to be home on the weekend! I mean, really! Sunday dinner is just not the same without them!

Having the main meal in the middle of the day means that I don’t cook anything fancy after our evening church service. Often, I make flat bread pizza for the hubby and myself. Yesterday, though, I wanted to try something different. And I did have a zucchini in the fridge that needed to be used!

This is based on a recipe that I saw on a cooking video over on Face Book. Unfortunately, I can’t remember which group shared it! I thought it was from Tasty, but when I did a search on their page, it did not come up. I really do want to give credit to the creator of this amazing dish, but, alas, I can not!

We’ve been eating a lot from our garden in recent weeks…fresh tomatoes, hot peppers, figs, peaches, basil, green onions, and garlic…to name just a few items! I even got some tomatoes canned this afternoon! The zucchini has not been as prolific this summer as it usually is, but we did get a few. The most recent one was rather large! It was about 2 inches in diameter and about 10 inches long! Usually, the large ones don’t taste as tender and delicious as the smaller ones, but this one was fine for the pizza slices!  I had my doubts as to whether the hubby would like this recipe, but he loved it! I had no leftovers!

As usual, I don’t have actual amounts for the ingredients. I just created the pizza slices with the pizza toppings that I had on hand. Use your own creativity to make yours! I love that it is THM-friendly!

  • Pizza Sauce
  • Pepperoni slices
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • Onion and garlic powder
  • Oregano
  • 1 large zucchini

Wash and slice the zucchini. I cut mine about 1/4 inch thick. Lightly spray a cookie sheet and place the zucchini slices on the pan. Spread about 1 tbsp. of pizza sauce on each piece of zucchini. Place one slice of pepperoni on top of the sauce. *The video showed the pepperoni being cut into tiny circles. That seemed like too much work for me! One large slice of pepperoni one each zucchini slice works well! Sprinkle each slice with the cheeses and the spices.

Bake for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

Fresh Salsa…and a new Grand Baby!

So here we are in August again! We have been having a very hot, very dry summer. We had at least 6 weeks of daily temperatures above 90 degrees!  The hubby has been needing to water not only his garden but also his bees! I have learned much about bee keeping since he has started this particular hobby. One thing I have learned is that bees need a water source just like dogs, cats, and other animals do. If there is no water available for the bees, they will go searching for a water source. And since a neighborhood pool was built behind our property several years ago, we certainly do not want our bees to make their way over there when they get thirsty!

Last Friday my daughter, the other Mrs. G of this blog, gave birth to her first baby…our first grandson!  I was blessed to be able to make it to the hospital several hours after he arrived. He is a sweet little bundle of joy!! I miss him like crazy! Mommy, Daddy, and Sammy, III are doing well and adjusting to each other! I am so so proud of Barbi and her man! It is really quite amazing to see your firstborn holding her own firstborn!! Barbi is a great mom, and my son-in-law is a great dad!! I loved watching him be a hands-on new daddy!

Now to that fresh salsa recipe! Even though we’ve had to water the garden quite a bit this summer, we’ve been blessed with fresh veggies! When I made this recipe yesterday, I used our own tomatoes, green onions, garlic, and hot peppers! My hubby loves this salsa fresh, but it is also good cooked. If I make extra, I usually just simmer it for several minutes and let it cool. Once cooled, I put it into freezer bags and freeze it to have the fresh summery taste during the winter months!

  • 10 medium tomatoes
  • 1 lg. bunch cilantro (I use half)
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 1 medium/large red onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 green bell pepper (yellow, red, or orange bells work, too)
  • 8-10 hot chili peppers (or whatever variety of hot pepper you enjoy)
  • 1 lemon
  • pickling salt to taste–about 2 tbsp.

Process all vegetables coarsely in food processor. Mix together in large mixing bowl.  Squeeze the juice of the lemon over mixture and add the salt.  Stir together.   Makes about 2 quarts.   Keep refrigerated and use within a week or so.