Bappy hirthday to me!

Today, I turn 29! Again… ;)

Actually, I really love being in my thirties. I feel a bit more settled and at home in me, and long for this to only increase with age.

As I always seem to be on here apologizing for my delay in posting or for taking months off, it’ll be no surprise to read “I’m sorry!” again – and I am. I can’t seem to express in words just how ill I’ve been. I could be wrong, but I believe I mentioned seeing a naturopathic physician, and just being fed up with the medical system in general. Ok, so I promise I won’t turn this into a venting session, but lets say that the last several years of me not feeling well, but nothing showing up on tests, has left me feeling more than a little crazy, honestly. Now this wonderful new doctor runs tests and finds SO much wrong. I know I should probably be upset, but I’m just happy it means I’m not (entirely) crazy! It’s been a long, rough journey with the last couple of months not being an exception, but today, on my birthday, I’m actually starting to feel better. I’m not ready to shout this out on top of rooftops yet, but a whisper will suffice. It’s a really nice gift!

I’ll probably be gone for a bit longer, but I do have a few recipes to post – some yummy, some… not as much, but that’s what you get for trying out recipes, right? Right!

So here’s leaving you with wishes for a very Merry Christmas, and a happy and healthy New Year, spent with those you hold dear!!

xoxo
Heather

::Happy Celebrating::

Red lips

Yesterday I decided to be someone else.  I decided not to be a licensed esthetician and instead, to quote No Doubt, “just a girl.”  I’ll explain…

Having recently run out of some make-up, and not caring too much until now as I’ll be in a wedding this weekend, I stopped by a local department store to try out some new make-up.  I just sat there while this nice girl talked about serums, and foundation, etc.  It was fun.  I said “neat!” and “wow!” when required of me (and because I meant it) while never giving away that I already knew this.  Maybe you’re thinking this is some sort of weird ego boost, to sit there thinking “haha, I already know this stuff!” but really, it was relaxing.  I need relaxing these days.  I just switched things off in my head and let myself get slightly pampered.

Bonus, I left with finally (after a bajillion years of looking) a lovely shade of red lipstick for me – having fair olive skin, it’s been quite a challenge.  Not sure if any of you out there can relate.

image

sorry, wiped - though, I love how it almost 
looks like I'm underwater.

Plus, having made it through the first four seasons of Mad Men hasn’t been helping my red lipstick “dilemma” as I’ve been wanting it more.  There are red lips all over the place!  And to think, when I thought of the 60’s before, it was always about hippies and peace.  I was missing out on so much style!

Well, that’s about it for now.  I have my dear, sweet friend’s wedding this weekend, as well as my nephew’s 2nd birthday party.  Fun stuff!

I’ve tried out a few more recipes to post, but I’ve been under the weather lately and am currently going through a gauntlet of tests courtesy of my good new naturopathic Dr.  So, I’ve been needing to rest a lot more (hence four seasons of Mad Men! lol).

I’ll post more soon, I hope.  Until then….

::Happy Searching::

 

::Low Carb Recipes:: Eggs in Bacon Cups and Cauli Tots

Thankfully for me, that even when my weekends are over-booked, I have time to experiment with recipes I’ve found, on Thursday evenings.

Both recipes below I found online, but the egg and bacon recipe was just listed on pinterest without a link (if you can help me give the person credit, I’d appreciate it).  The cauli tots I found on pinterest too, but it linked to this great blog, I Breathe… I’m Hungry.  From what I can tell, she just started “low carbing” this year, and I’m really impressed with her recipes so far.

Eggs in Bacon Cups

1 package of Bacon (I only used 12 strips)

9 Eggs

1/4 cup Heavy Whipping Cream *optional

Cheese *optional

Salt and Pepper to taste *optional

:: Preheat the oven to 375

:: Using a muffin pan, line with bacon strips.

::  Pour in Eggs or Egg mixture (Eggs with Cream and/or Cheese)

:: Bake for 30-35 mins.

{I cut the bacon strips in half, making it easier to line the muffin pan}

{finished product!}

I’d like to have shown you the finished product on my plate, but I scarfed it down.  Not ALL of the “muffins”, mind you, but it was getting late and I needed to move onto my next recipe.

While I have a very strict rule about not eating at least three hours before bedtime (even though I have an evening pt job 5 days a week that uses up a lot of energy, it’s not hard to do), it just didn’t work last night.  One of my roommates unexpectedly needed the oven, so I had to wait, and was so starving by the time I came home.  I had also made spinach to go with these to maybe make it more quiche-like, but I ate the cooked spinach (yum!!) while these were in the oven.  Something to try next time!

Oh, and no fancy ingredients!!

:: So… would I make this recipe again?  Damn skippy! (that’s a “yes!”)

———————————————————————————————————-

Onto the last recipe from last night, Cauli Tots, from this blog post.

This one took a lot more time, but if you’re in the mood for Tots, and you have to have an low carb approach to it, this is the way to go.

In my hungry haste and tired state, I made several mistakes with these, but they still came out ok.  I’ll tell you the changes I made to the recipe, and what I would do differently next time.  First, here’s the recipe:

Makes: at least 50 ???

Recipe Ingredients:

1 medium head of cauliflower
2 Tbl heavy cream
2 Tbl butter
1/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar
4 egg whites
salt & pepper to taste
oil for frying

Clean and trim the cauliflower, adding the florets to a microwave safe bowl.  Add the cream and butter to the bowl.  Microwave for 5 minutes.  Add the cauliflower and cheese to a magic bullet or food processor  and blend until still chunky – kind of like a cooked oatmeal consistency.  Season with salt and pepper.  Chill for at least half an hour.  Whip the egg whites to a stiff peak.  Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the cauliflower mixture to lighten it up.  Then fold the cauliflower mixture into the rest of the egg whites and gently mix until combined.  For best results, chill for another half hour or they won’t hold their shape as well.  Fit a pastry bag with a round or star tube with about a 3/4 inch opening.  Spray the inside of the bag with nonstick spray.  Gently squeeze out 1 inch sections onto a greased cookie sheet, cutting with a butter knife as you go.  When finished, bake in a 375 degree oven for 10-12 minutes (or longer if you’re skipping the frying) until puffed and slightly browned.  Remove from the oven and serve – or heat 1/4 inch of oil in a saute pan and when it’s very hot add the tots.  It doesn’t need long, a minute per side to turn them golden brown and crispy.  Serve immediately.  These are still tasty after they cool but they start to lose their crunch only minutes after they come out of the oil so if crunch is what you’re after, eat them right away!  So good!  Can’t wait to hear what you thought of this recipe!

Regarding nutrition info on these, I will give you the info per batch of tot mix but depending on how large you make them, etc, I have no idea what the breakdown would be per tot.  Also, I don’t know how many calories would be added by frying them after baking since it’s hard to quantify how much oil would be absorbed.  To lower the calories, use half and half instead of heavy cream, and substitute a lowfat cheddar.  

Approximate nutrition info per batch:  864 calories, 63g fat, 18g net carbs, 47g protein

Our microwave is broken and as I try to never use the thing, I opted for stove top, which threw me off a bit.

What I did:  added the cream and butter to a pan, along with cauliflower, and then heated it all up together.

What else I did:  added more cream and butter (doubled it) as it was taking a while for the cauliflower to heat up, and I didn’t want to burn it all up.

What I will do next time:  steam the cauliflower separately and be sure to drain thoroughly.  While that’s draining, heat up butter and cream.  Add all three ingredients to food processor.

Since I do stupid things when I rush, I missed the part about chilling the mixture.  Please note, you’ll need to do this two times, but if you’re good at reading through recipes, you already know that.

While I didn’t add the heated cauliflower mixture to the egg whites, I had already beat the egg whites when I realized adding a hot mixture to it was not a good idea, and then re-read the recipe.  So the whites sat for about 20 mins, and I put the mixture in the freezer to hurry up the process.  I whipped the whites for a few seconds when ready, and all seemed well, thankfully.

Other than what’s listed above, the only other thing I should have done was use parchment paper, or at least spray the pan.

{instead of piping them out of a bag, I just used a smaller spoon}

Since my tots were a little too wet to start with, and as I wasn’t planning on frying them, I broiled them for about 3-4 mins to help make the tops a little more crispy.  As I’m the girl that searches out the crispest fries from a batch, you know, the ones that are on the verge of burnt destruction, it’s my opinion that frying is really the way to go.

I ended up only making one batch and froze the rest of the mixture.  Since these are more potato-like I think I’ll make a sour cream and chive dip, instead of using reduced sugar ketchup (1g/serving).

:: Would I make this recipe again?  Yes!

This sweet fellow stayed up with me most of the time, occasionally begging me to drop everything because it was past his bedtime.

::Happy sleeping::

::Low Carb Recipe:: Maria’s Protein Bread

A low carb lifestyle could seem very hopeless and bland if not for certain recipe-pioneers like Maria Emmerich, who do the work of converting previously decadent recipes into low carb friendly recipes, and hopefully without anyone noticing any taste changes.

I’ll admit I was overwhelmed looking at some of her’s, as well as other’s recipes, with these new ingredients (almond flour was the only “new” ingredient that had seen the inside of my pantry up to now).  It’s challenging to know where to start.

Well, let me help!

Maria’s protein bread has a simple enough ingredient list for low carb baking starters, like me.  The only new purchase for me was Jay Robb’s unflavored whey protein, and most of his protein products are carried at my local Whole Foods.

You can find her posting of this recipe on her blog, here, as well as below.

PROTEIN BREAD:
6 eggs, separated
1 cup Jay Robb unflavored egg white or whey protein
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 tsp onion powder (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Separate the eggs (save the yolks for a different recipe…creme brule???), and whip the whites for a few minutes until VERY stiff (I use a stand mixer on high for a few minutes). Slowly fold in the whey protein and onion powder if using. Then slowly fold in the cream cheese into the whites (making sure the whites don’t fall). Grease a bread pan and fill with “dough.” Bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Let completely cool before cutting or the bread will fall. Cut into 12 slices. I keep this bread in the freezer at all times to make sandwiches. OPTION: Make bread into 12 buns on a greased cookie sheet.

NUTRITIONAL COMPARISON (per slice)
White Bread = 80 calories, 15 carbs, 1 fiber, 3 g protein
“Healthified” Bread = 60 calories, trace carbs, 6 g protein
And here’s my progress through the recipe via pictures.

{“dough”}

{ready to bake}

{fresh out of the oven}

{sliced after completely cooled}

My only problem in executing this recipe to perfection was my lack of total cream cheese incorporation into the “dough” – and this is quite a challenge as they’re close to the same color. Next time, I think I’ll let it set out a bit longer so it’s softer, and maybe I’ll even mix it up a bit ahead of time before incorporating it into the ingredients in the mixing bowl.

{you can see the chunks of cream cheese that didn’t mix well. also left the top with a very meringue feel to it.}

Had everything mixed together, this would have been great bread, but for a first time, good bread isn’t bad.

I made a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich, that was ok, as I accidentally skimped on the amount of cheese as compared to the slices of bread (it was a little dry).  Can’t wait to try it again with moister bread and more cheese.

{grilled cheese}

So, for now, I’m toasting the bread, and topping each slice with my very bland tuna fish salad (tuna, mayo, dill pickles, and a little pepper – I’m used to sweet relish, hence the “bland” remark) and a few slices of tomato.  Yummy!  The tuna really pairs nicely with the onion powder in the bread.

Would I make this recipe again? Yes!

::Happy Trying New Recipes::

I’m hosting Big Boy!

IMG_2641

(picture via The Farm Chicks)

I’m excited to share with you all that I’ll be hosting Big Boy in about 20 weeks or so.  Basically, I’ll take him around Maryland (and maybe DC) show him a good time (all legal people, get those minds out of the gutter) and we’ll take lots of pictures, and then I’ll mail him back to WA where they’ll get him ready for his next adventure.

If this sounds like something you’d like to do, check out The Farm Chicks blog post and sign up.  Hurry up!  It’s first-come, first-serve basis.

And here’s a bit more information for those curious minds:

We’ll be sending him to any state in the U.S. and any country in the world, if you’d like to host him. He’s already been to Washington (his home) and to California. Where will he go next? It’s up to you!

Here are all the details:

  1. If you would like to host Big Boy, quickly leave a comment here on the blog, telling me which U.S. state or country you live in. Since he will only visit each U.S. state or country in the world once, the first person to comment from each state or country in the world will be the host.
  2. We will email each host to get a mailing address (he will be traveling to each locale in the order the comments are received).
  3. When Big Boy arrives to your home, show him around and take pictures of what he’s seen and done. After a few days with your family, you’ll mail Big Boy back to us, along with the pictures of his journey and I’ll share them here on my blog.
  4. Big Boy’s journeys will continue through the end of April, 2013.

At the end of his journeys, I will let the readers vote on which trip they liked reading about the best and that person will receive a brand new Instax Instant Camera from me! Hooray!

And since I almost never win anything, I’m going all out for the camera – and the adventures. : )

::Happy Living::

The finished product

I finally have the finished logo to show you all!

above is the logo for the blog.

As soon as my blog is ready, I’ll share the first post here.

Thanks for your support!

::Happy Dreaming::

Independence Day 2012

I know I’m almost two months late, but I’m a busy girl so… here are a few snapshots from hanging with the fam while celebrating our country’s birth.

Corn-on-the-cob – a yummy treat!

look at those fingers a flyin’

Going Away cake for my aunt and uncle.

kayaks/canoes near the boathouse, on our way to the boat so we could view the fireworks from the water.

blurry from the boat, but it was a great show.

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