July 16, 2018

A Life Update...

If you happen to be wondering why you haven't heard from me for a while, it's for an important reason.  There have been some major changes in my family that have affected every facet of my life.  These changes have affected my marriage, my little sous chef, my church ministries, my family, my health, my job, it will affect my homeschooling, and it has even affect my gardening and other hobbies, too.  I recently found out that we're pregnant!  We are over the moon and cannot wait to meet our Valentine's Baby!  

It's been tough to hold down food the last several weeks, let alone cook, which is why I haven't been posting much.  Another recent, minor change is that I decided to stop the Keto diet, especially since crackers and cereal seem to be the only things that help with the nausea!  But I'm not complaining... looking on the bright side, it's only temporary, and it will all be worth it in the end!     

Anyway, I just wanted to jump on here and share the exciting life update with you guys!




May 30, 2018

Keto Cheddar & Broccoli Soup


We are officially through our home school year!  My, that went by quickly!  Now that it's summer break and I have a little extra time on my hands, I hope to post recipes more frequently than I have been.  

It's been four months since I started on the Keto diet.  I originally intended to use it as a tool to lose the extra weight that I put on over the winter months.  After losing the extra pounds, I decided that I'm actually going to stick with it.  It's hard to put into words exactly how, but I overall feel better mentally, emotionally, and physically while on this diet.  I feel like I have more clarity of mind, which is super important while home schooling... and working and adulting in general.  Don't get me wrong, though; I still have mom brain from time to time!  

This Keto Broccoli & Cheddar Soup came out fan-flippin'-tastic!  It's rich, creamy, and so delicious that it feels like I'm cheating on my diet while eating it!  This was my first time using xanthan gum as a thickening agent, and it worked like a charm!  




Ingredients:
Yields 4 - 6 servings


  • 2 slices bacon
  • 1/4 c butter 
  • 2 c broccoli florets 
  • 1/2 c celery, chopped 
  • 1/2 c carrot, julienne 
  • 1/2 c onion, sliced 
  • 3 c chicken broth
  • 1/2 c sour cream 
  • 1/2 c half and half
  • 1 tbsp spicy brown mustard 
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley 
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder 
  • 1/8 tsp dried basil 
  • 10 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese 
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • Salt and pepper, to taste 

Directions:

In a large pot, cook the bacon over medium heat until crispy.  Remove the bacon and set it aside.  Chop once cool.  

In the same pot, melt the butter.  Add the broccoli, celery, carrot, and onion to the pot, cooking and stirring for 4 minutes.  Pour in the chicken broth, sour cream, half and half, spicy brown mustard, parsley, garlic powder, and dried basil.  Bring to a boil.  

Gradually stir in the shredded cheese.  Once melted, stir in the xanthan gum.  Continue to cook and stir until the vegetables are done to your liking, and the soup is thickened to your liking.  Stir in the bacon pieces and season with salt and pepper, to taste.  

Enjoy!


March 22, 2018

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Fat Bombs (Keto)


Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to a little gem that gets me through those times when I'm craving something sweet and naughty.  Ever heard of a fat bomb?  I hadn't until I started my Keto diet journey.  They sound kind of gross, don't they?  Actually, fat bombs are so high in fat and low in protein that they help your body burn more fat for fuel and stay in ketosis.  And when I say "fat," I'm talking about healthy fats.  Here's the homeschooling mom coming out... we need these healthy fats to help our bodies absorb fat soluble vitamins like vitamin A, D, E, and K.  Thanks, Apologia science!  Anyway, back to the recipe.  These chocolate and peanut butter fat bombs are amazing!  1 gram of carbs never tasted so good!    

Notes:  The mixture will sweeten as it sets.  Carb count will vary depending on the size of your silicone molds.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  


March 14, 2018

Cheddar Cheese Taco Shells (Keto)


A few weeks ago, we had some wonderful teases of spring weather.  I was super excited to take my dog for a long walk and drink in the sun.  I got out some shorts and -- gasp!  Uncomfortably snug.  It was obvious that I packed on some winter bulk over the long, cold months while hibernating in my home.  I had been avoiding the scale... avoiding exercise... but not avoiding 1/2 price donuts.  Oh, glorious donuts, how I sought after thee.  *End sob story*

I decided to drastically cut carbs and sugar from my diet to kick-start some weight loss, and it's really been working quite well!  The first several days were very difficult, but now it's pretty much been smooth sailing!  I've been experimenting with all kinds of low-carb recipes, and I stumbled across this idea from Pinterest.  I honestly was debating on whether or not to post this because it's not technically a "recipe", but it's too good not to share!  It's also very easy.

Storage:  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  


January 22, 2018

Spicy Shrimp Sushi Stacks


The Eagles are going to the Super Bowl!!  That was a fantastic game!  There were so many moments last night, where my husband and I would look at each other in disbelief of what we were witnessing.   

What made the game even sweeter were these sushi stacks!  Don't let the picture fool you; these babies are a lot bigger than your average piece of sushi.  The ingredients are layered in a 1 cup measuring cup.  Perfectly seasoned sushi rice is topped with a cool, creamy, crunchy, avocado and cucumber layer, and then it's topped off with delectable, spicy, creamy, shrimp.  Delicious!  They are also very versatile.  You can swap out the shrimp with raw salmon, tuna, or cooked chicken.  My gears were turning as I was making these, and I've decided to make a buffalo chicken version for the Super Bowl, replacing the avocado mixture with a blue cheese and celery mixture and replacing the spicy shrimp with buffalo chicken!  

Note:  For an extra kick of heat, up the Sriracha to 1 tbsp.  


November 28, 2017

Baked Chicken, Bacon & Ranch Macaroni and Cheese


The Christmas tree is up, our coal stove is roaring, and my Pandora Christmas jazz station is softly serenading us.  This is the time of year when I most relate to the hibernating bear... not the sleeping part; the part where he doesn't leave his den.  No, I'm not depressed... it's just that after we deck our halls, our den is at its coziest, and I hate to have to venture into the cold, dark-too-early places on the other side of my walls.  A simple reality check reveals that our schedule has us out every night of the week.  A girl can dream, can't she? 

This time of year, I also find myself using my oven a lot more than usual.  We had this Baked Chicken, Bacon & Ranch Macaroni and Cheese last night, and it really is amazing.  I mean, can you really go wrong with these ingredients?!  I couldn't wait until lunch today to have it leftover, and it was just as good!  Give it a try; you won't be disappointed!

A crisp salad, garlic bread, and steamed vegetables are perfect complements to this dish!


October 16, 2017

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars


It's finally feeling like a crisp, fall day; let the baking season commence!  These salted caramel apple pie bars are to. die. for.  Imagine with me.  Buttery, shortbread crust topped with a sweet layer of apples, cinnamon streusel, and a delectable salted caramel drizzled on top.  Perfection.

Note:  Don't let the list of ingredients intimidate you.  Most of them are repeated.  There really are only 10 total ingredients (including the salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg).


September 20, 2017

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Granola Bars


These are our favorite granola bars.  They're amazingly good, super easy to make, perfectly chewy, and they won't crumble on you!  The only problem you'll have with these is suppressing your urge to eat them all!  

Note:  You can substitute the honey with additional maple syrup, if desired.  

September 3, 2017

Harvest Salsa


Well, we're heading into our third week of homeschooling already!  I love spending the extra time with my little sous chef and also the freedom that we have in our schedule.  Fall is my favorite season for so many reasons, but I have a feeling that homeschooling is going to top my list this year!  Speaking of fall, it's not quite here yet, but it sure has felt like it for some time now.  This has got to be the mildest (and wettest) summer that I can remember!  I've only had to water my garden three or four times this year because of how much rain we've had!  Not that I'm complaining.  My garden is bursting at the seams, and I've been trying my best to not waste anything and use the things that I have in excess in creative ways.  Last week, I made some Cinnamon White Chocolate and Zucchini Cookies, and they were ahhhmazing!  Unfortunately, they didn't last long enough for me to blog about them.

This week, I found myself with a lot of extra corn and tomatoes, so I decided to make a salsa to go along with blackened chicken and rice for dinner.  This salsa is bright, refreshing, and uses ingredients straight from the garden.  While the avocado is optional, it really adds a lovely creamy contrast to the crunchy texture of the salsa.  Serve it with tortilla chips, chicken, beef, or seafood!


August 24, 2017

Key Lime Pie... and a little update


There have been lots of life changes happening over our way.  All good things!  For one, we officially began homeschooling this week.  I can't believe that I have a 7th grader; she's growing like a weed!  It's been a lot of fun so far learning and working together.  In history, we're talking about the Rise and Fall of the Western Roman Empire.  Today, we're going to be cooking a meal that the Romans would have eaten over a pit of fire.  I love the flexibility we have and ability to use our creativity to learn.

On the first day of school, we did something that we probably won't make a habit of doing... I think.  We had key lime pie for breakfast!  It was seriously a heavenly start to the first day!  I think pie should totally be an acceptable form of breakfast, don't you?  Oh, and it washes down so well with a hot cup of coffee, too.  This was my very first attempt at making a key lime pie, and it turned out delicious!  It was light and refreshing, and it wasn't overly sweet.  There's a reason this recipe was so highly rated!  The only thing I think I would change next time is halving the sugar in the graham cracker crust. 


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