Monday, December 30, 2013

About Snacks

A LOT of people have asked, since we've changed our eating habits, about snacks.  I definitely remember, when we often attempted to eat a low fat, calorie restricted diet, how hungry we got between meals and how much we relied on snacks to get us through to the next meal.  Since switching to a higher fat, low carb diet, we have been amazed to find that snacks are just not a very important part of our eating plan.  We don't need them.  When you eat enough good quality protein and fat at a particular meal, it really does carry you over to the next one.  You just don't get very hungry in between.  Ted and I have both found that we often don't even want to eat between meals.  Just try getting hungry before lunch after eating this for breakfast!  However, there are times when one is delayed, for some reason or another, from eating at the normal time or when one has been particularly active, that hunger does set in before a regular meal can be eaten.  

The problem becomes convenience.  Healthy snacks are not very convenient. Gone are the days of grabbing some crackers, chips or pretzels.  There really aren't many store bought, packaged snacks that are good for you.  Below is a list of the things we usually eat as snacks. We try to have several of them in stock and prepared.  Some of them are somewhat portable.  You can always take along a baggie of nuts.   I'm on the look out for other recipes and snack ideas and will update this post as I find them.  The two main rules about snacks that we try to follow are these: 1. We always make sure that a snack includes a protein.  2. We don't eat starchy carbs for snacks. 

  • Raw vegetables with home made hummus or other bean dip 
  • Raw vegetables with home made yogurt/ sour cream ranch dip (recipe coming soon)
  • Raw vegetables alone or with an ounce of nuts
  • Plain, full fat greek yogurt blended with fruit (raw nuts optional, drizzle of honey optional)
  • 1/2 cup full fat cottage cheese and 1/2 cup cut up fruit
  • A piece of fruit and an ounce of raw nuts
  • An apple dipped in sugar free peanut or almond butter
  • A piece of fruit and an ounce of cheese
  • a hard boiled egg (or homemade deviled eggs with homemade mayo!)
    • Boil up a dozen eggs on Sunday afternoon and have them handy all week.
  • a hamburger patty
    • I keep pre-cooked, grilled ground beef patties individually wrapped in the freezer.
  • a grilled chicken breast
    • I keep pre-cooked, grilled chicken breasts, individually wrapped, in the freezer.
  • A small serving of last night's left overs
  • A small salad with some protein on it (cheese, nuts, sunflower seeds, bacon, chicken, tuna)
  • a pouch of wild caught tuna (add some homemade mayo or olive oil if desired)
  • a pouch of wild caught salmon (add some homemade mayo or olive oil if desired)
  • A bowl of soup (freeze individual portions of your homemade soups).
We do have "dessert" on occasion in the evening, after dinner.  It is usually fruit in some way with some sort of protein (usually nuts).  If it is a "real" dessert that I have made, like my Peanut Butter Banana Brownies,  we make sure there is protein in it (these brownies have eggs, flax seed and nut butter and sometimes walnuts!) or we'll eat nuts along side it.  We never eat a fruit or sweet without that all important protein to help regulate and mitigate the insulin response! 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Random Kitchen Tips

Most of these tips are things I have gleaned from others and have found very useful.  I'm just passing them on.  

Money Stretchers
  • Grate up the stalks of your broccoli and put them in soups, chili, and stews or in this recipe.  They are free and packed full of fiber and nutrition so this is a Nutrition Packer tip also!
  • Save your bacon grease in a glass container in the fridge and use it for cooking.  It's FREE! And contrary to long held popular belief, perfectly healthy! 
Time Savers:
  • Anytime you make mashed sweet potatoes, mashed rutabagas or mashed butternut squash, make lots extra and freeze in single serving portions.  These things freeze VERY well and make the perfect side dish to a quick lunch or dinner when you've run out of time.
  • Chop onions and bell peppers up ahead and freeze them in appropriate amounts.  I put some 1/2 cup portions in snack baggies for scrambled eggs and some 1 cup portions in plastic freezer containers for use in recipes.  I use a chopper like this and I am done in no time. 

Nutrition Packers:
  • Put cubed or whole radishes in soups, casseroles and stews.  Once cooked, they loose their red color and spicy flavor and it's hard to tell that they are not potatoes or turnips.  They are packed with nutrition too! 
  • Grate radishes into salads.  Even picky eaters won't notice.  
  • Add a tablespoon or two of ground flax seed to almost anything: pancakes, oatmeal, baked goods or soups and casseroles. 
  • Grate a carrot into almost any meal to add nutrition and low calorie fiber: soups, chili, really, anything. 

Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts

If you don't like Brussels Sprouts, it's probably because you've never had them cooked properly.  Roasted in the oven is the way to go!  They taste fresh, salty and crunchy and to top it off, they are really, really good for you! Give this recipe a try.

1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprout, fresh
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1. Wash the Brussels sprouts and dry them or let them dry.  Cut off the brown ends and remove any                  yellow outer leaves.  Green loose leaves are okay.

2. Cut the sprouts in half and put them in a shallow roasting pan.  You can leave the very small ones                   whole.

3. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and toss to combine, then spread out into a single layer.

4. If there are loose leaves, include them.  They will become delicious, crispy, brown sprout chips!

5. Roast in the over at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or so.  Check every 10 minutes and toss to make sure         they are browning evenly.

6. Serve immediately.

Servings: 6


Notes: To make these fancier, you can add half of a chopped onion and/ or 4 slices thick-cut, chopped, raw bacon.  Just sprinkle them both over the layer of sprouts.  Use less oil if you are adding the bacon.  Once you stir after the first 10 minutes, the bacon grease will make it up.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Quick Salmon Patties

5 ounces salmon, 2 - 5 ounce envelopes, drained
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup shallots, minced
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/3 cup hemp seeds (or 2 T coconut flour)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 dashes hot sauce, or to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil, or coconut oil
2 tablespoons butter

1. Heat oil and butter in a heavy skillet on med/low.

2. Mix all remaining ingredients together in a bowl.

3. Shape mixture into about 6 patties.  They will be wet and not old a shape very well, but with patience, it         works.  I place them, one at a time, on a spatula and slide them into the simmering oil.

4. Make sure butter/ oil is just simmering and there is a nice slow bubbling around the patties.

5. Simmer till a nice, crisp, golden color is achieved on the first side.  Then turn and repeat on the other              side.

Mashed Rutabaga

2 large rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
1/2 cup milk chocolate, or half and half
4 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1. Peel the turnips and cut into 1" cubes. 

2. Place them in a large sauce pan and cover with water.  

3. Bring them to a boil and then simmer, covered, until easily pierced with a fork, about 35 mintues. 

4. Drain rutabaga and puree with a stick blender or by hand with a potato masher.  Get them very                     smooth. 

5. Warm the milk and melt the butter together in a glass bowl in the microwave or in a saucepan on the              stove. 

6. Add the butter and milk, salt and pepper to the rutabaga and stir well to combine.  

7. Serve with crispy shallots if desired. 

This recipe was adapted from this one by Ina Garten. 

Crispy Shallots

These are delicious little crispy onion ringlets that add flavor and crunch to anything.  I first made them to go over the mashed rutabaga when I made this recipe by Ina Garten.  I plan to make lots of these to spark up just about any dish!

1 1/2 cups olive oil, or a mix of olive and coconut oil or lard.
3 tablespoons butter
5 large shallots, peeled and sliced into thin rings

1. In a saucepan, heat the oil and butter over medium-low heat until it begins to bubble. 

2. Reduce hte heat to low and add the shallots.  

3. Cook until they are a rich golden brown, 30 - 40 minutes. 

4. Stir the shallots occasionally while they are cooking to make sure they brown evenly. 

5. Remove the shallots from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.  

6. Once they have dried and crisped, in about 15 minutes, they can be stored in a cool place, covered, for         several days.  

7. Serve at room temperature. 

Serve over mashed rutabaga or on any other vegetable or meat.  
Use like French's fried onions. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Bone Broth Every Week - Easy Peasy!

This is how I make sure we get our bone broth in every week.  This method is really so easy there's no excuses not to have homemade bone broth for your family regularly!  And if you follow the steps in order, you will have two night's dinners cooked as you go!

Here is a great blog post about the health benefits of bone broth and also links to how this blogger makes and stores both chicken and beef broth.

And here is a great article by Sally Fallon about the health benefits of bone broth.

Here's how I do it:
1. Slow cook a whole chicken in your crock pot on day 1.  Have chicken and what ever side dishes you want for dinner that night.  (I also make this with rabbit and turkey.)

If you have a large family and eat a whole chicken at one meal, put two or even three whole chickens into an inexpensive roaster like the one below, (You can buy them for only twelve bucks here.) and slow cook them, covered, in the oven at 250 degrees.

These are two very large chickens, going into a low oven. 

2. After dinner, debone the chicken(s) and throw the carcass(s) back into the crock pot or roaster with the original juices, some coarsely chopped onions, celery, carrots, 2 T apple cider vinegar (per chicken), and what ever seasonings and herbs you like.  There are many recipes on the internet. I tend to use rosemary, thyme, bay leaves and black pepper.  You can leave a little meat on the carcass to add flavor to your stock.  Add enough water to just barely cover the bones and slow cook over night or longer (If using the roaster, bake at 200 degrees).  (I don't bother with skimming my broth.  I'm not going for perfectly clear stock to serve to company.) Save your left over deboned chicken meat in a container in the fridge.  

After my stock cooked for 12 hours, I took it out
added my herbs and spices.  Then I popped it back
into the oven for another 12 hours. 

3.  In the morning or later that day, strain the stock and discard all the bones and veggies.  Put the stock in the fridge.  

4.  The next evening, or even a few nights later, skim your stock of the fat that has collected at the top.  This is Schmaltz and it is excellent for cooking.  Melt the fat in a narrow jar (I use the microwave) and let it separate.  Then use a turkey baster to collect the pure fat and put it into a class container.  Store this in the refrigerator indefinitely.  (Can also be frozen if you have more than you will use in a few months.)

 5. For the soup, put some stock in a pot with the left over chicken meat and what ever vegetables you like in your chicken soup.  This soup will be ready to eat in only a few minutes, as soon as the veggies are tender.  

Here's my recipe for Chicken Vegetable Soup.  

6.   Freeze what ever bone broth you have left over in mason jars or other containers. 

Of course you don't have to do this every week, but the point is that it is simple enough to do so, especially since you end up with at least two meals cooked as you go.  You can certainly use the left over deboned chicken meat and the new, homemade stock in any other recipe.  

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Days Past Are More

By Lisa Marie Harmon

I want nothing
What I have and what I lack
Are equally nothing
Right now
With eyes closed
I stop
And seek only to be closer
I cling to his body
And soak in the peace of our oneness
Absorbing the heat he radiates
I press into him
And kiss his forehead
I hear his heart beat
Feel his breath
And press closer
I want to keep him
To stop him from leaving me
I can’t
He will leave me
Or… I will leave him
I want nothing
Just to keep now
To be Us
His grey beard betrays me
The days past are more
I press closer
And will it to stop
And know that it never will
So I stop
And hold tightly
And breathe him in
With eyes closed
I quietly feel him
And think nothing
But know deeply
That for this moment
We are Us
And I want nothing

Monday, December 9, 2013

Crispy Turnip Fries

These "fries" are delicious and flavorful.  I make Spicy Parsnip Fries which are very similar and also delicious but different enough to keep both recipes to accompany different types of meals.

3 pounds turnips, peeled
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly grease. 

2. Peel the turnips and cut into french fry-sized sticks, about 1/3 by 4 inches. 

3. Place into a large bowl and toss with the oil to coat. 

4. Mix the seasonings in a small bowl and then sprinkle on the turnips and toss with a rubber spatula. 

5. Next sprinkle on the parmesan cheese and again, toss to coat. 

6. Spread the turnips out onto the baking sheet.  

7. Bake in preheated oven until the outside is crispy and the inside is tender, about 20 minutes.  (Turn once or twice.)

8. Check on them often, they can get dark quickly. 

9. Serve immediately.  

Servings: 6

Notes: You can make these with parsnips also or even a mixture of half of each parsnips and turnips. 

You can make these more like steak fries by cutting the turnips into 1/2 inch wedges and baking at 475 degrees for 20 - 30 minutes, flipping half way through.  

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Baked Acorn Squash

1 acorn squash
4 teaspoons butter
4 teaspoons coconut sugar, or pure maple syrup
salt, optional
pepper, optional

1. Cut acorn squash in half and scoop out seeds and pulp.

2. Salt lightly.

3. Melt butter and sugar in a bowl and brush the inside and cut edges of the squash with it.

4. Place squash halves, cut side up, on a baking sheet.

5. Bake at 400 degrees for about 1 hour or until squash is tender and easily pierced with a fork.

When we are eating for weight loss, we leave the sugar off until serving, since we like to use as little sugar as possible.  Then, just before eating, we'll plop in the butter, let it melt and then sprinkle on just a tiny bit of coconut sugar.

You can also bake this cut side down (without the butter or sugar).  Place a small bit of water in the pan.  Bake the same  time and temp. Then top with melted butter and sugar when it's done.  

Ted does not like his squash peppered if he's having sweetener on it. 

Mashed Butternut Squash

1 large butternut squash, cut in half, seeds and pulp removed
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon maple syrup, pure, or coconut sugar, optional
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper, optional
1/8 cup heavy cream, or half and half, optional

1. Brush inside and edges of squash with butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

2. Place the squash in a baking dish and cover with aluminum foil.

3. Bake butternut squash in a 400 degree oven 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until it is tender and easily pierced with         a fork.

4. Let cool slightly and scoop out center flesh into a bowl and mash with a potato masher or stick                     blender.

5. Add melted butter, syrup, and cream and stir to combine.

6. Taste and adjust seasonings, butter or sweetener, adding more if needed.

Servings: 4

This freezes really well.  We always make extra and freeze in 1 cup containers to have at any meal.

You can also peel the squash, cut it up into chucks, boil it and then mash it just like you would potatoes.

Rotisserie Rice


Baked Salmon

1 salmon fillet
2 teaspoons butter
2 teaspoons lime juice, or lemon
black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed, fresh if you have it
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley, fresh is you have it

1. Place salmon fillet skin side down in a glass baking dish.

2. Sprinkle with seasonings and top with butter and juice. 

3. Bake at 450 till salmon is done, about 10 minutes. 

This is how I cook salmon for a quick lunch because it just takes seconds to prepare and pop in the oven.  I just pour the juices from the dish over the salmon on my plate.  I don't really measure anything, just add what looks good. 

Ted's Favorite Salad

Ted eats this salad everyday and really loves it.  He usually has it when he gets home from work and it helps him eat less at dinner time.  This is his favorite vinegar.  I have been warned never to run out of it.  We buy three bottles at a time.

3 cups mixed salad greens
2 radishes, grated
1/8 cup carrot, grated
1/4 cup cucumber, chopped
1/2 medium tomato, diced
1/2 cup cauliflower, chopped
1/4 cup broccoli, chopped
1 tablespoon sunflower seeds, dry roasted with no oil added
1 ounce cheddar cheese, grated
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar

1. Put all but oil and vinegar in a large bowl.

2. Combine oil and vinegar in a small jar and shake.

3. Pour onto salad.

The amounts in this recipe are guesstimates.  We don't usually measure, but just add what looks good to us.

Philly Cheese Steak Stuffed Peppers

3 large bell peppers, red, yellow or green (I like red best)
1 1/2 pounds beef chuck roast, slow cooked or left over, broken into chunks.
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
6 -8  ounces provolone cheese, 12 slices
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, optional

1. Cut peppers in half (through the stem)  and remove core and seeds.

2. Place peppers on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees till semi tender, about 15 - 20 minutes.

3. While peppers are cooking, saute mushrooms, onions and garlic in a skillet till nicely caramelized.

4. When cool enough to work with, press one slice of cheese down into each pepper.

5. Then place several chunks of roast beef into peppers on the cheese.

6. Top the roast beef, with some of the mushroom, onion and garlic mixture.

7. Place another slice of cheese on top.

8. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or till cheese is bubbly and pepper is at desired tenderness.

Servings: 6

I slow cook my chuck roast, either whole or cut into chunks, in a can of diced or crushed tomatoes and the Italian seasoning, or just use left over roast.  Then I make my peppers that evening with the cooked roast beef.

These freeze nicely for individual lunches

Beef Vegetable Soup

1 1/2 pounds beef roast, or steak, cut into 3/4" cubes (or left over beef roast)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 large onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups beef stock, homemade bone broth is best
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 can tomatoes, petite diced
1 cup v-8® vegetable juice, or tomato juice,optional (I use it if I have some left over)
ground black pepper
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 can beans, any kind, optional
1 cup green beans, fresh or frozen
1 cup carrots, thinly sliced
1 cup green peas, frozen

1. If using fresh meat, brown meat in batches in oil in a large dutch oven.  Set aside.  (If using leftover pot           roast, skip this step.)

2. Saute onions and garlic in the same pot till translucent.

3. Add stock, tomatoes, juice, beef and seasonings and bring to a simmer.

4. Add longer cooking vegetables (carrots, green beans) and simmer till near tender.

5. Add softer vegetables (peas) and canned beans and simmer longer till all are tender.

6.     Salt and Pepper to taste.

Servings: 8

You can leave out the beans for a carb free meal.

You can use any vegetables with this soup in addition to the ones called for: mushrooms, zucchini, yellow squash, corn, spinach, cabbage

You can skip the beans and add 1 cup of cooked brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat or barley.

Cornbread (Gluten Free)

2 cups yellow cornmeal, coarsely ground, organic, non-GMO
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 large egg, at room temperature, beaten
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt, at room temperature, can substitute sour cream or buttermilk
4 tablespoons raw honey

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Butter a 12 inch cast iron skillet or an 8 inch square or round pan and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, place the cornmeal, slat, baking soda and baking powder and whisk to combine well.

4. In a separate bowl, mix the egg, butter, yogurt and honey and whisk to combine well.

5. Create a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients.  Mix until just combined.  The                 mixture will be relatively thin.

6. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.

7. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until lightly golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out           clean.

8. Slice and serve immediately.

This works great for making cornbread dressing for Thanksgiving.

Banana "Ice Cream" (Sugar Free!)

1 large banana, sliced
1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
1 teaspoon cocoa powder, or more to taste

1. Slice banana and freeze individually on a cookie sheet.  When frozen, store in a container or plastic bag         in the freezer until ready to make ice cream.

2. Place all ingredients into a food processor and process until smooth and creamy.

3. Continue processing until it has the consistency of soft serve ice cream.

Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. In a chilled bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream, honey and vanilla.

2. Once combined, add rest of whipping cream and whip until it reaches desired consistency.

Delicious over any dessert, including the healthy brownies.


This Italian dinner is packed with nutrition and so 
delicious you'll never miss the pasta!
We have this several times a month. 

1 1/2 pounds ground beef, or venison or a mixture
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
16 ounces mushroom, sliced
2 small zucchini, quartered and sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 broccoli stalk, grated, optional, saved from another meal's broccoli
1 24.5 ounce jar marinara sauce, sugar free, all natural, olive oil only
1 teaspoon dried oregano
12 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded, or sliced provolone
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tablespoons olive oil, or butter or coconut oil

1. Brown ground meat in a large skillet.  Drain and set aside.

2. Saute mushrooms in a little oil.  Set aside.

3. Saute zucchini in a little oil on med/high heat till nicely browned but still firm.   Set aside.

4. Saute onions and bell pepper in a little oil till translucent.

5. Add garlic and grated broccoli stalk.  Saute for a few more minutes.

6. Add mushrooms, zucchini, meat, oregano, and sauce and stir to combine.

7. Pour mixture into a 9X13 glass baking dish.

8. Sprinkle with mozzarella.

9. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or till cheese is melted and bubbly.

10. When done, sprinkle with Parmesan if desired.

Servings: 6 to 8

I like to cook each ingredient separately because I want them just the right tenderness.  I don't like soggy zucchini!  However, this is not necessary.  You could very easily put the mushrooms and zucchini in the same pan at the same time as the onions and broccoli stalk and saute until all are done to the desired tenderness.

You could also slice the zucchini in thin rounds and layer them in the pan like lasagna and then just bake the dish longer until they are tender but that is too much work for me.  LOL

You can put any vegetables you like in this.  We often throw in left over carrots or spinach.

Can be served over spaghetti squash if desired.

This is a regular at our dinner table!

Swiss Steak

2 1/2 pounds beef, cut into 1" cubes
1 tablespoon bacon grease, or coconut oil
1 large onion, sliced
1 large bell pepper, sliced, optional
2 cups beef stock
2 cloves garlic, minced
32 ounces crushed tomatoes
32 ounces diced tomatoes, petit
3 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1. In a dutch oven or large pan, sear the beef in the oil in batches.  Do not over crowd the pan.  Set                   aside.

2. Saute the onion and pepper in the same pan for a couple of minutes.  Set aside.

3. Pour stock into pan to deglaze, stirring bottom.  Simmer a few minutes to reduce.

4. Add, garlic, tomatoes, vegetables, Worcestershire sauce, seasonings, and beef.

5. At this point, There are several ways to finish the dish.  You can simmer on low on the stove top till the         meat is tender, bake in a low oven for a couple of hours, or plop it all into the slow cooker on low for           4-6 hours.

Servings: 8

Chuck or sirloin for this dish is best, but other cuts will work.  I use up to 3 1/2 lbs of meat for this recipe.

Sometimes I cut up an entire arm roast or anything that can be used as "stew meat."  You can certainly use venison.

Traditionally, this is thickened with a dusting of flour on the beef, but I do not use it.  We've found it is just fine as it is, but it could be thickened with an alternative thickener if desired.

This is great served over baked spaghetti squash or sweet potatoes.

Spicy Parsnip Fries

1 pound parsnips
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder, starch
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted

1. Preheat oven to 425.

2. Peel the parsnips and trim the ends. Cut in half, then into quarters. Cut the quarters lengthwise into thin           shoestring-style fries.

3. Add the parsnips to a large bowl with the arrowroot starch, seasoning and coconut oil. Toss to coat             evenly.

4. Line a baking sheet and spread the parsnips out evenly. I use a silicone mat. 

5. Bake for 20 minutes, then flip the parsnips over. Continue to bake for another 10 minutes, or until the           edges have begun to brown / caramelize.

Watch them carefully.  They burn easily in the last few minutes. 
I made these without the arrow root powder.  They were not very crispy.  We loved them anyway. 

Pork Breakfast Sausage

1 pound ground pork
1 tablespoon coconut sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons dried sage
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 pinch ground cloves
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried parsley

1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl with clean hands.

2. Form into patties and cook in a large skillet about 5-6 minutes per side.

3. Or cook crumbled till no longer pink.

Original recipe calls for 1 teaspoon fennel.  I don't use it because I don't like it.

Original recipe calls for 1 tablespoon sugar, rather than coconut sugar, but we don't used refined sugar so I make that substitution.

Since I love my sausage dipped in syrup, I plan to try this next time with pure maple syrup added instead of coconut sugar.  I'll let you know how it turns out!

Hamburger Patties Plus

3 or 4 pounds ground beef, or venison or mixed
1 small onion, diced
1 small bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small carrot, grated (optional)
1 - 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or a diced jalapeno
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 tablespoon butter, bacon grease, lard or coconut oil
1 dash liquid smoke flavoring, optional

1. Saute all the vegetables in a skillet in fat till very soft.

2. Transfer them to a food processor or blender and puree into a smooth paste.

3. Put all ingredients into a large bowl and mix with your hands to combine very well.

4. Shape meat mixture into 5 oz patties.

5. Grill patties till just seared well on each side, but still well pink in the middle if you are making them for           the freezer.

6. Grill to desired doneness if eating right away.

The point of these patties is to boost the nutrition with vegetables and other healthy additions but keep it palatable for picky kids.  That's why I puree the veggies. I make up a batch of these patties weekly and freeze individually for lunches or a last minute dinner.  If you don't over grill them, they are juicy and delicious, even heated in the microwave. 

Change up the amounts of black pepper and red pepper flakes according to personal preference.  

Add any other favorite seasonings or left over veggies from the fridge.  I've added green beans, ground flax seeds and even quinoa.

I make this with pork also, but cook a little more fully, even for the freezer, but don't dry them out.

A grill adds the best flavor.  On my electric griddle, I cook these on 400 degrees for 4 minutes on first side, then 3 minutes on the second side, if I'm cooking them for the freezer. 


2 whole avocados, smashed
1/4 cup onion, diced fine (optional)
1 whole jalapeno , minced fine
1 roma tomato, diced fine
Salt to taste
1 lime, juiced

Smash avocados, dice vegetables, juice the lime and mix it all together.

Egg Bake

14 large eggs
1 cup full fat cottage cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)
1 small onion, chopped
1 small bell pepper, any color, chopped
10 ounces (or so) fresh spinach, chopped
2 cups broccoli florets, optional
1 or 2 very thinly sliced tomatoes
2 tablespoons golden flax seed, ground, optional for added nutrition
8 ounces cheese, grated
1 tablespoon butter, or coconut oil

1. Pre-heat oven to 350.

2. Butter a 9 X 13 glass baking dish.

3. Saute chopped onions and bell pepper till translucent and tender.

4. Steam broccoli till just barely tender.

5. Mix together eggs, cottage cheese and cream and blend.  (I use a stick blender.)

6. Place cooked onions & peppers, broccoli and then raw spinach into the bottom of the glass baking dish.

8. Slowly pour egg mixture over top. (I pour it over the back of a wooden spoon.)

9. Salt and pepper the eggs, then sprinkle with ground flax seed.

10. Lay sliced tomatoes over top.

11. Sprinkle with shredded cheese.

12. Bake for 45 minutes.

Just before going into the oven. 

Hot out of the oven! 

12. Cut into 8 - 10 pieces.

So delicious!! So nutritious! 

My egg bakes always vary somewhat.
This one is made with onions, red bell pepper, grated broccoli stalk,
 roma tomatoes, fresh spinach and Munster cheese. 

Servings: 10

If I am not using broccoli, I'll grate the broccoli stems I've saved and cook them with the onions and peppers.

I also sometimes grate up a carrot and cook it with the onions and peppers.

Use any kind of cheese you like!

Bacon or sausage can be added to this for a special weekend treat!

These can be cooled, wrapped in plastic wrap in individual pieces and frozen.

Deer Cabbage

2 pounds venison, tenderloin or round steak, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 medium onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
32 ounces crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 small cabbage, chopped
2 Tablespoons bacon grease, or coconut oil
ground black pepper

1. Brown venison pieces in bacon grease in batches in a large skillet.  Do not over crowd pan.   Set                   aside. 

2. In the same skillet, saute onions and garlic till translucent.  

3. Add tomatoes to pan and stir to deglaze. 

4. Return venison to pan and add remaining ingredients.  

5. Simmer till cabbage is tender.  

6. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Servings: 6

You can certainly make this with beef. 
We eat this all by itself out of a bowl, but it is also delicious served over brown rice or a baked potato.  

Cheese Sauce

1 whole egg, beaten
1/4 cup butter
1/2 to 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 1/2 cups whole milk, or half and half
2 teaspoons dry mustard, heaping
1 pound cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon salt, or more if needed
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt, or more if needed
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
cayenne pepper, optional
paprika, optional
dash hot sauce, optional

1. In a large pot, melt butter and pour in milk or half and half.  Whisk.

2. Add mustard and whisk as the milk comes up to a simmer.

3. Add zanthan gum, one pinch at a time as you whisk continuously.  Hold your "pinch" over the post as you rub your fingers back and forth slowly to cause tiny grains of gum to fall into the milk.

4. Take 1/4 cup of the thickened milk and add it to the beaten egg slowly, whisking constantly to avoid cooking the eggs.  Whisk till smooth.

5. Pour egg mixture into sauce, whisking constantly till smooth.

6. If sauce gets too think, you can always add a little more milk.

7. Add grated cheese bit by bit as you whisk till all the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth and                 shiny.

8. Add salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning and add more if needed.  Do not under salt!

9. Serve over cooked whole grain pasta, rice, chicken or vegetables.

This makes a LOT of sauce.  Cut in half if you need less.  (Just beat an egg and use half of it.)
You can pour this over whole grain pasta, put it into a baking dish with additional grated cheese on top and bake for 25 minutes at 350 for baked macaroni and cheese.
Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman's Macaroni and Cheese

Baked Spaghetti Squash

1 whole spaghetti squash
1/2 cup water

1. Preheat oven to 375.

2. Cut squash in half lengthwise.  

3. Scoop out seeds with a spoon

4. Place squash halves in pan, cut side down. 

5. Pour 1/2 cup water into bottom of pan. 

6. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until squash is tender. 

7. Use a fork to rake the flesh back and forth, creating strands of squash like spaghetti. 

Servings: 4

Notes: Serve alone with salt, pepper and butter, or as a base for sauces or other dishes.

Chili Seasoning Mix

4 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon red cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground oregano
2 teaspoons paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 teaspoons ground black pepper

1. MIx all ingredients in a bowl.

2. Store in an air tight container.

3. Use to taste to season chili.

Use instead of McCormick Chili Seasoning Packet 

Peanut Butter Banana Brownies (Grain Free, Refined Sugar Free)

1 banana, mashed
1 cup natural peanut butter, or almond butter, or a mixture of the two
2/3 cup raw honey
1 cup applesauce, unsweetened
3 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons ground flax seed, optional for nutrition
1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut, optional
1 cup chopped walnuts, or pecans or almonds, optional

1. Mix wet ingredients together.

2. Mix dry ingredients together.

3. Add dry ingredients to wet.

4. Butter 9X13 glass pan.

5. Pour batter into pan and spread out evenly.

6. Sprinkle with nuts.

7. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

8. Let cool and cut into bars.

Cut in half and use an 8X8 inch glass pan. These brownies are not low calorie or low carb, but they do not contain any grains, dairy or processed sugar and they are delicious!

If you like a banana flavor, you can use two bananas and 1/2 cup applesauce.

Braised Rabbit Legs (Or Chicken Breasts)

8 rabbit hind legs (or 4 bone-in chicken breasts)
2 tablespoons bacon grease, or coconut oil
4 large shallots, thinly sliced
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
3 cups chicken stock, or rabbit, preferably home made bone broth
4 tablespoons butter, cut up
1/3 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.  

2. Pat the rabbit legs dry and season with salt and pepper. 

3. Heat bacon grease in a large dutch oven on high heat.  

4. Sear the legs until browned on both sides.  Transfer to plate. 

5. Reduce the heat to medium low, add the shallots to the pan and saute until tender but not browned,               about 2-3 minutes. 

6. Add vinegar to deglaze the pan.  

7. Return legs to pan with any accumulated juices and add enough chicken stock to come to within about           1/2 inch of covering the legs.  

8. Bring to a boil, then remove from head, cover pan and bake until the rabbit is tender and leg joint bends         easily, about 45 mintues. 

9. Transfer legs to a plate to keep warm.  Remove shallots with a slotted spoon. 

10. Return pan to medium high heat, and boil until sauce is reduce by about half. 

11. Whisk in butter one piece at a time.  

12. Check sauce for salt and pepper and adjust if needed. 

13. Return rabbit and shallots to pan until just reheated.  Stir in parsley. 

14. Serve with 2 legs on each plate, topped with shallots and sauce. 

Serves 4

Italian Chicken Breast with Spinach and Peppers

2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, sliced horizontally to thin them
10 ounces spinach leaves, whole
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced thin
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup marinara sauce, jarred, sugar free, made with EVOO, or homemade
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons butter, or coconut oil

1. Saute spinach in butter for a few minutes till mostly tender.  Add peppers and continue sauteing till                 peppers are tender crisp. 

2. Place spinach and peppers in 10X10 baking dish.

3. Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and italian seasoning.  

4. Saute chicken breasts in butter to brown on both sides till 50% done.  (Will finish cooking in oven.)

5. Place chicken breasts over spinach in baking dish. 

6. Spoon marinara sauce over breasts.  

7. Sprinkle cheeses over sauce. 

8. Bake for 15-20 minutes till chicken breasts are done.  

Servings: 4

Notes: Onions and/ or mushrooms would be good added to this. 

Chicken Guacomole

2 avocados
1 small jalapeno Chile pepper, diced fine
1 small roma tomato, diced fine
1/4 cup onion, diced fine, optional
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 boneless skinless chicken breast, or rabbit, grilled and shredded
4 large romaine lettuce leaves

1. Smash the avocado, dice the vegetables and make the guacamole. 

2. Shred the chicken or rabbit meat and add to the guacamole.  

3. Serve on romaine lettuce leaves if desired or eat just as it is. 

Serves 2

I like this best when the whole thing is cold, including the chicken.
You can also use shredded rabbit meat. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Bacon Wrapped Baked Rabbit (Or Chicken)

1 pound rabbit (4 hind legs) (Can be made with 4 bone-in chicken breasts.)
4 slices bacon
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon coconut oil, or bacon grease
1- 2 cups stock, rabbit or chicken, homemade bone stock is best
2 tablespoons butter

1. Heat coconut oil or bacon grease in large skillet on stove top.

2. Season rabbit legs with salt and pepper and brown on both sides in the oil.

3. Transfer legs to broiler pan.

4. Wrap 1 slice of bacon around each leg and secure with toothpicks.

5. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until legs no longer pink in center.

6. While legs are baking, heat cup of stock in same skillet and deglaze.

7. Simmer stock to reduce slightly.

8.     Whisk the butter into the stock to complete the sauce.  

9.      Season sauce with salt and pepper.

10.    Serve rabbit leg with sauce drizzled over top.

Serves 4

Chicken or Rabbit Vegetable Soup

2 - 3 cups boneless skinless chicken breast, or dark chicken meat, or rabbit meat, cooked and cut up
4 - 6 cups chicken stock, or rabbit stock, homemade bone broth is best
1 Tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1 can diced tomatoes, petit diced
1 cup green beans
1 cup corn, organic, non GMO
1 cup carrots, diced small
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup sweet potato, cooked and mashed, optional

1.     Cook chicken or rabbit meat with bones in slow cooker the night before.
        (Save the broth for the soup.)

2. In a dutch oven, saute onions and garlic in butter till translucent.

3. Add stock, and all remaining ingredients except sweet potato.

4. Simmer till vegetables are tender.

5. Boil, bake or microwave a small sweet potato.  Peel it and mash it.

6. Add some broth to the mashed sweet potato to thin it and then add that mixture back into the pot and           whisk to incorporate.

7.     Taste and add additional salt or pepper if needed.

Servings: 8

Any beans or other vegetables can be added to this for variety.
Cooked barley, rice, quinoa or buckwheat could be added.  (1 cup)
The sweet potato is optional as a thickener for heartiness.
Ted adds dashes of hot sauce to his bowl.
I usually make this the day after serving a whole rabbit or chicken for dinner with what ever meat is left over and the stock from the slow cooker.  I slow cook the bones and broth over night.

Sunday, December 1, 2013


I wrote this poem many years ago, for Claire, soon after she was born.

I waited for you
Ten years wishing
And then one day I knew
You were coming
Round and hard as a basketball 
My belly became 
Under my pink sweater set
I made a room for you
Pink and peaceful
I sang songs to you
Soft and lovely
I prayed for you
Be healthy, happy
And finally you came
Out of your hiding place 
And into my arms
No more waiting
Only singing

This is the pink sweater set and the basketball belly. 

I Cried Today

For my oldest......

I cried today
When I thought of you
I was driving into town
Mind blank
Rotely bored
And then
I pictured your face
And your beautiful smile
And I smiled
I pictured that curly wild hair
Your sharp humor
And I grinned
I swelled
Proud of your accomplishments
Your hard work
Your high standards
And thanked God
For letting me be
Your mom
I thought about the baby you
The toddler you
The teenage you
And my eyes started to well
What a blessing
For all these years
So much joy
But then I thought about
The future you
And all the fun
And friendship
And love
We have yet to share
And I cried
A deep and joyful cry
So grateful
So happy
To have you
For a daughter
And a friend
For the rest of my life
I love you
So much
My Jes

Friday, November 22, 2013

Low Carb, Gluten Free Broccoli Cheese Soup

8 ounces broccoli florets, chopped small
4 ounces cauliflower florets
1 medium carrot, grated
1 large onion
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups chicken stock, homemade bone stock is best
2 cups half and half, or cream, whole milk or a mix
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 teaspoon salt
1 pinch nutmeg, optional
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, or too taste, lots is better
1 dash hot sauce, optional

1.     Melt butter in a large pot.

2. Saute onions till translucent.

3. Add stock, black pepper,  broccoli and carrots to pot and simmer covered, till just tender.

4. In the mean time, steam cauliflower.

5. Once Cauliflower is tender, process in food processor or blender with 2 tablespoons of the cream till consistency of mashed potatoes.

6. Heat remaining cream in a separate sauce pan.

7. Once it's hot, slowly add grated cheddar as you whisk the cream.

8. Add all the cheddar till it is all melted and you have a nice cheese sauce.

9. When broccoli is tender, combine cheese sauce with stock and vegetables.

10. Add the mashed cauliflower and nutmeg (if using) and whisk to combine.

11. Lastly, salt to taste.

Serves 6

Friday, November 15, 2013

Split Pea Soup

This is one of the flavors of my childhood.  I have added a spicy kick to my mom's recipe and no longer eat it with the delicious croutons she would make, but it still reminds me of her excellent cooking.  Delicious!


1 pound split peas
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, sliced very thin, I use the slicing side of my grater
4 cups chicken stock
4 cups water (or 8 cups stock)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes according to taste (I use 1/2)
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon thyme
1 or 2 good meaty smoked ham hocks (or left over ham cut into chunks)


1.Rinse and sort split peas.  Discard bad peas.  Plop into the slow cooker.

2. Saute onion and garlic for 5 minutes just to get them started.

3. Add onions, garlic and all remaining ingredients to slow cooker.

4. Cook on high for about 6 hours or low 8 or more hours.

5. Remove hocks from soup onto a plate and let cool enough to handle.

6. Pick meat off hocks, break into bite sized pieces and return to soup.

7. Salt to taste and serve.


I also make this on the stove top or in the oven.  It is easy by any method.

You can use any kind of smoked pork in this soup.  Hocks are just perfect, but ham works well also.  You want about 1 lb of meat after bones are discarded.

Because the saltiness of ham or smoked meat is such a variable, I never add salt to this soup until it is finished and I taste it.

I've started adding pureed kale to my soups, stews and casseroles in order to boost nutrition.  It works perfectly in this soup.  I just puree the fresh, raw kale in my food processor and add about 1 cup along with all the other ingredients.  It cooks down into tiny chunks of green that look like herbs flecks.

Turtle Dissection

ClaireAnna is studying Physical Science this year, not biology. But she has been begging to dissect a turtle for almost a year now, so here we go!  I purchased a turtle prepared for dissection and a guide manual at Home Science Tools.  

The candle was a necessity.