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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Figs, Figs, and More Figs!

After going through a dry spell this summer, we started getting some much needed rain in the last two weeks or so. The hubby put up a new rain gauge, and it is finally getting some use! This is what it showed this morning–our rain amount for the last 7 days!

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If you look carefully (I know it isn’t the best picture!) you will see the level up above 4″. Over half of this fell during a 2-hour time span yesterday afternoon!

While we’ve been getting rain, the temperatures have stayed on the high side, so it still feels icky sticky outside once the rain stops. It has been perfect for our figs! This year only one of our fig trees has produced figs, but it has R E A L L Y produced!! We are approaching the 30-pound mark! Yes, you read that right! One tree has given us almost 30 pounds of figs, and it isn’t finished yet.

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We have eaten fresh figs (well, the hubby and Ben have). We have frozen them, dehydrated them, sold some and given some away. Over the weekend I made a Fig-Strawberry butter which was amazing! And today, my kitchen come-on is a wonderful smell of Peach-Fig butter currently in the crock-pot!

A friend shared the recipe for Fig Butter which I also found here. I didn’t have any white grape juice on hand, but I did have regular grape juice. I used a mix of grape juice and water. I also used about 4 cups figs and 2 cups strawberries to make up the 6 cups of figs. It was amazing!

I am using the same recipe today except that I have used half figs and half peaches to equal the 6 cups. I also used half cup lemon juice plus 1/4 c. water in place of the white grape juice.

I hope it tastes as good as it smells!

Pan Seared Pork Chops with Peaches

Yes, you did read that correctly!  I really experimented on this one!   The original recipe came from my friend Stacey over at www.happilyeverafterme.com.  She posted the original recipe which called for glazed carrots.  My husband recently returned from a trip to PA where he went to the Mennonite market near his parents’ home. While there he picked up some more tomatoes (yay! more salsa!) and peaches.   Pennsylvania peaches are absolutely huge! See what I mean?

Yes, that is a tennis ball next to that peach!  Anyway, I decided I wanted to do something a little different, and since I didn’t have any carrots on hand, I thought that maybe peaches would work.  They did!

4 boneless chops, about 1/2 inch thick

2 tsp. each salt, paprika, onion powder, oregano and thyme

1 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

4 tbsp. olive oil

1 very large peach

1/4 c. lemon juice

Mix spices together on a plate. Dredge the chops in the spices. Let chops sit for about 30 minutes.  Heat olive oil in frying pan over medium heat.  Place chops in the oil and sear both sides until golden brown, about 10 minutes total. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes or until just about tender.  Peel and slice peaches. Dip into lemon juice to prevent browning.  Place about 3-4 slices on each pork chop. Cover and cook about 5 more minutes.  Serve with rice using the drippings from the pan as sauce for the rice.

 

Strawberry-Peach Pie

I’m sitting here tonight in a very quiet house feeling a little bit sorry for myself.  Today I had to say good-bye to child #2 (boy #1) as he headed out for basic military training in San Antonio, Texas.  He is the third of my children to have left the nest in less than a year …9 months to be exact.  Having to say good-bye was not any easier than it was when I had to say good-bye to Barbi when she moved to Savannah nor when we left Ben at The Citadel last fall.  However, I do understand that this is all a part of life…children are not meant to stay in the nest forever. The time must come for them to spread their wings and fly on their own.

Since  Sunday was the last Sunday dinner with Russ at my table, I wanted to make a nice dessert…but nothing  too sweet.  I discovered that I still had some peaches in my freezer and some strawberries in my fridge.  Together they made an amazing pie!

pastry for (1) 8-inch pie shell

1-1/2 quarts frozen peaches

4-5 large fresh strawberries

2 tbsp. sugar

3 tbsp. corn starch

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Prepare pastry shell and drape over pie pan.  Trim off any over-hanging dough.  Keep this to make a lattice top.

Let peaches thaw and drain off any juices.  In a large bowl combine peaches, sugar, corn starch, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Spread in pie shell.  Wash strawberries and cut off tops. Cut berries into fourths length-wise. Place strawberries on top of peaches in pie shell.  Roll out remaining dough and cut into strips for a lattice top.  Place on top of peaches and weave together; pinch edges around pie.

Bake at 425 for about 1o minutes.  Reduce heat to 350 and bake for about 20 more minutes or until done.  Serve warm with whipping cream.