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!

015

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!

Advertisements

A New and Better Egg Salad

Welcome to November! I find it hard to believe that we are in the final 2 months of 2016! The year has just flown by! We are finally seeing fall colors here in the South, but our temperatures are still summery. We’ve had temps over 80 degrees every day for the last 2 weeks or so, and more are ahead this week! And it is so very dry! We’ve not had significant rainfall since July.

Before I share my creation for a new and better egg salad, let me share some news! My oldest son and his wife are now home owners! We are thrilled for them! There is quite a bit of work to be done before they can actually move in, but many hands make light work, and we are all doing what we can to help them on this journey!

fullsizerender-24

And, of course, I simply must add a new picture of my sweet little grandman. I can’t wait to squeeze him at Thanksgiving!

img_0647

Last Saturday morning the ladies of our church prepared a great breakfast for the men who had been having a special service. I enjoyed working with friends to make the breakfast happen! We had very little left over when the 70 men were finished, but there were some bacon bits, grated cheddar cheese and chopped hard-cooked eggs. I decided that they could be used to make sandwiches for the church-wide fellowship we were having on Sunday evening. When I told my youngest son what I planned to make, he said that it sounded pretty good!

I don’t know amounts because I didn’t measure the ingredients, but I will give estimates.

  • about 2 cups chopped hard-cooked eggs
  • about 1-1/2 c. chopped cooked bacon
  • 1 c. grated cheddar cheese
  • mayonnaise–just enough to moisten the ingredients and hold them together
  • salt to taste

Mix all these ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Spread on Wasa crackers for a great THM lunch!  I used a good wheat bread and made sandwiches for our church supper. My youngest son said that they were just amazing! I think that we have a new egg salad recipe that I will probably use from now on!

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!

14695416_10154202870262950_7132157750731921141_n

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!

14572306_10154206559922950_3165269281071125495_n

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!

 

Nutritional Yeast, Turmeric, and Integral Collagen

We’ve had almost 10,000 visitors to the blog!

fullsizerender-23

If you’ve been reading this blog for the last few years, you know that I have been eating the Trim Healthy Mama way for over 2 years now. I love the way that I feel when I eat according to the plan. I can fudge a bit for maybe a day or so, but if I go much longer than 2 days, I begin to have joint pain and feel sluggish and puffy.

Following THM is very easy and doesn’t require a lot of extra foods that I need to purchase. I seriously don’t think that I’ve spent a lot of extra money on special ingredients! I do try to be more careful in what I purchase and read labels for certain ingredients that I don’t want in my diet any more.

There are however, 3 items that I have begun using in my diet on a regular basis. These are nutritional yeast, turmeric, and integral collagen. I have found these ingredients to be very helpful in helping me to feel better. Over the last months of adding these to my daily diet, I have noticed that my joints don’t hurt nearly as much as they used to…especially after physical activity. I have little to no inflamation in my ankles and fingers, and my lower back pain has all but disappeared.

Nutritional yeast is an ingredient often used in vegan diets. We do not eat vegan in the Gardner household!! However, nutritional yeast is high in the B vitamins. It is also gluten-free; sugar-free, and low in fat and sodium. Nutritional yeast can be added to a wide variety of foods. I enjoy adding it to scrambled eggs, quiches, and other egg dishes. For more information, visit here.

Turmeric is another ingredient that I have added into my diet. I always add it to my lemon drink. I also add it to scrambled eggs, pasta dishes, and chicken salad. Turmeric has many good health benefits, one of which is that it is anti-inflamatory. You can read more about it here.

The third ingredient is integral collagen. I began adding this to my hot tea each morning about a year ago. It took about 6 months before I began noticing a difference…mainly in my hair health and my fingernails! I actually have new hair growth at my hairline! And my fingernails are much stronger than they used to be. This page has more information.

I hope you find this information helpful, and that you research these items for yourself.

**Disclaimer** The links that I have used here are just ones I found on the internet that help explain more about these ingredients. I do not support these websites in anyway!

 

Breakfast Casserole, THM style!

Things have been pretty quiet around here this week. My little grand darling and her parents are away for a week of family vacation with her other grandparents. I miss that little girl like crazy!! I can’t believe she is almost 2 years old! It won’t be long until she is in “First Day of School” pictures like I’ve been seeing on my Face Book news feed this week. Those children are so adorable!

This is also the time of year for colleges to begin again. It is hard for me to believe that my Citadel grad is starting his second year out of college! I have remained a member of some of the Citadel parent pages on Face Book in order to encourage parents who are new to the 4th class system of a military college. Back when Ben was a knob, I wrote this blog post about mailing packages to him. It is my most viewed post…over 2500 clicks on that post alone! I am amazed!

And of course, my heart misses my newest bundle of love! I can’t wait to see him (and his mommy!) again in September!

13938268_1838122063077882_9167072504601669609_o

Last week I saw this recipe come through my news feed and realized that I could make it low-carb with no trouble at all. The original recipe called for 1 lb. of hash brown potatoes. I switched that out for finely chopped cauliflower, and it worked great! The hubby even took seconds! This recipe makes 6 large portions.

001

Mix these ingredients together in a mixing bowl.

  • 1 lb. chopped cauliflower
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. paprika

Cut  7 slices of bacon into bite-sized pieces and fry them in a skillet. Drain on paper towels.

Mix these ingredients together in another bowl.

  • 6-7 eggs
  • 1/3 c. heavy whipping cream
  • the fried bacon pieces

Lightly oil a baking pan. I used one that is 7 x 11 inches. Press the cauliflower mixture into the pan on the bottom and part way up the sides. Pour the egg mixture on top of the cauliflower. Sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese and 1 tbsp of  chopped, fresh chives.

Bake at 350* for about 40 minutes or until the eggs are firm. Serve with a spoonful of fresh salsa. Enjoy!

 

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.