I’ve succumbed to the covid “15” in the past year. As in, I’ve gained back 15 of 30 lbs I had lost the slow way. I knew I had gained a few, but was a little surprised that it was actually 15 when I went to the doctor not long ago. I just got off the track that had allowed me to lose weight the “no keto” way.
Anyway, I have several other posts about soup I made. I’ve been making a batch almost every week on Sunday night. It’s Monday tonight of course. If only that had been more of a solid plan, & that I didn’t eat too much other food besides that. Oh well.
This soup recipe had no definite measurements. I started late tonight, after finally catching up on some cleaning and organizing!
Very Vegetable Healthy -ish Soup
1/2 red cabbage & 1 small green cabbage, chopped & oven roasted in foil plus sliced sweet onions.
1 bunch of celery, chopped, & then into the food processor.
Add some sliced sweet onion to the celery with the last bit (I have a small food processor!)
Add a small to medium peeled fresh ginger to the celery & onion in food processor. Sauteed in butter for a bit while I diced up:
Normally, I don’t use those flavored coffee creamers anymore. I use either half & half, or heavy cream, sometimes on rotation. But, I was tired & wandering through a grocery store last night around 8pm (something you shouldn’t do without a sure plan of what you want to make, or you might spend more than you thought), I decided on flavored creamer. Since it was a bit late on Christmas Eve eve, the shelves were a little picked over.
What I ended up with last night: 2 bags of round pretzel balls, a big jar of peanuts, & 1 bag each of dark chocolate, white chocolate & butterscotch chips (+ I already had 1 dark chocolate plus vanilla candy melt bars), some vanilla I needed, & a couple other random groceries. Well, $50 later, I stopped on my way home to get a burger at a local place. Apparently, I was shopping both tired and hungry?
Here is my lazy holiday mocha recipe. it does not guarantee to rival a coffee house, but it’ll do the trick if you want something a little bit more than a regular old coffee, and don’t want to spend $$ on Starbucks or a local coffee joint.
**Originally posted December 22, 2018** Melting chocolate for candy, to some it’s daunting, a disaster even. Let me tell you, I’ve had some bad experiences trying to melt chocolate for chocolate covered pretzels, etc using different methods. Some say it’s easiest to microwave chocolate to melt it. Heck, I picked up some Almond Bark at Target to try this year, and even the back of the package shows the microwave method first.
Luckily, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents when I was growing up. My grandma showed me how to make a double boiler for melting chocolate. In fact, I’ve had more failure s at melting chocolate attempting to microwave & melt chocolate. If you want, you can go out and buy a quality stainless-steel double boiler, but it’s not necessary.
You can easily use the method my grandmother taught me. She simply used 2 kettles stacked together, 1 had hot water on the bottom, and the top kettle had the chocolate to melt. The 2 kettles should be pretty similar in size. Make sure the top kettle will sit on the rim of the bottom kettle without any issues.
As long as you keep a close eye on both kettles, there shouldn’t be any issues. After bringing the water to a boil, keep it to a medium to low heat. Make sure the water pan is large enough to leave some room between the boiling water, and the top kettle. If the chocolate starts to cook more than melt, remove it for a minute, then put it back.
Chocolate covered pretzels
By further breaking up the chunks of vanilla almond bark, it started to melt almost immediately, and it was completely melted in 2 minutes. Don’t forget to stir! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I have had a few chocolate melting messy failures, mostly if I let the chocolate kettle sit for too long. The most important keys are to keep stirring the chocolate, to keep a fairly low, but consistent heat, and to keep the chocolate on top of the kettle with water as much as possible.
I prefer to drop a few pretzels in the pan of chocolate, swirl them around, flip them over, etc. I used small metal tongs to pull the pretzels out, but you can also use a fork. I’ve used a fork plenty of times, but you may drop the pretzels before you get them out of the pan.
This also works well if you want to make chocolate peanut clusters. You stir in a handful of nuts, use a spoon to scoop and then carefully lay them on parchment paper or on wax paper.
My grandmother was a very thrifty person – she bought almost everything she owned second hand – but she invested in some of the most expensive cookware out there. They have a triple bottom. They are called “Lifetime cookware”. The company appears to still be around. My grandmother bought hers from a door to door salesman, back in the 1950s or 1960s. Unfortunately, I had to fight my mother for them after she passed away. I only got 2 of the smaller kettles.
After telling my aunt how much I wanted my own quality set of stainless-steel cookware, instead of a hodgepodge of cookware, she surprised me with a set of stainless-steel cookware for Christmas. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Here, I made white chocolate/vanilla almond bark pretzels. I decided to top a few of them with mini Christmas M&M’s. I also topped some with butterscotch chips. Be sure to do this immediately, before the chocolate starts to set.I was down to just a little bit of the white chocolate vanilla almond bark, so I stirred in half a package of butterscotch chips until they melted with it.
You can set some out on a little platter for your holiday party.
You could also put them in a cute little tin for a tasty homemade gift. They even sell cute tins, boxes, & holiday bags to use for your homemade gifts at the Dollar Tree.
Last year, I made these dark chocolate covered pretzels. Then, I put a couple marshmallows on top, & drizzled melted chocolate on top of the marshmallows. These were pretty addicting.
Last year, I also attempted chocolate rum balls for the first time (along with oatmeal cookies!)
To make the rum balls, I made brownies. Then, crumbled the brownies up, & soaked the crumbles in spiced rum for maybe 20 minutes. After making brownie balls, & chilling them in the freezer 30-45 minutes, I dipped them in melted chocolate. Finally, I rolled those into crushed-up pretzel bits.
Perhaps all of this simply sounds like too much work? Believe me, it is a lot of work, not necessarily hard, it’s just time consuming. Although it is also rewarding when you’re done. I only do this once a year.
As I’ve mentioned in a few other blogs, my preference is to doctor boxed Duncan Hines cake. This is one I did pretty quickly tonight. I made a similar cake a year or two ago that I brought to work. That cake, I put a lot more effort into than this one tonight, so there won’t be pictures of this one. Plus, I haven’t actually got the filling & topping on it yet as I write this.
Who says you can’t eat a summery pineapple cake in winter, along with a coconut vegetable & chicken soup? 🙂
Because I’m sure you’re wondering, those fun churros in the headline picture were a little Christmas gift from my manager to us employees at work on Friday!
It’s official, I think I might be the world’s slowest cook. Things just take me forever to make, especially when there are a lot of “layered” steps, like to a lasagna. I think I just move kinda slow or something. Anyway. I hardly ever make lasagna, but I decided I wanted to make it for this week’s meal prep.
2 c. heavy cream 8 oz cream cheese 6 cloves of garlic 1 cup butter Black pepper & white pepper Pink himalayan salt Sauteed diced sweet onion with 2 red bell peppers in butter 1 c. fresh grated Asiago cheese (originally Parmesan) 2 cooked boneless skinless chicken breasts (close to 2 lbs)
Plus 1x 24 oz cottage cheese (4% milk fat).
I put a small amount of finely chopped garlic & sweet onion in the bottom of a pan. After the cream cheese, butter, and heavy cream melted & simmered whisk together. Then, add in grated Asiago cheese & whisk again. Next, stir in sauteed red bell pepper & sweet onion
Next, 2 large pre-cooked boneless skinless chicken breasts went into a food processor, then mixed it all into the alfredo sauce. Stir well. Keep on low, & stir occasionally before lasagna is assembled. I didn’t add the last bit of heavy cream until the end, before I assembled the lasagna.
Layered lasagna with the chicken onion, & bell pepper alfredo sauce, 2 layers of cottage cheese, more sauce, etc. Put some fresh grated asiago cheese on top.
Once again, my “making food look pretty” skills are not very good, and it definitely didn’t come out of pan very pretty either…
Let me start by saying I love leftovers. As you’ve seen from previous posts, I meal prep for the week anyway, so I’m used to eating leftovers on purpose. If you’re having a smaller Thanksgiving you may be wondering what to make? It seems the smaller turkeys are a bit harder to find this year.
Which is why, I’ve decided that I’m making meatloaf – 1/2 ground turkey & 1/2 ground pork.
I’ve already made 1 of 2 desserts. at the last minute, some neighbors invited me to grab a plate from them tomorrow. So, I decided I’m making them one of my “formerly famous at work parties” cakes! But first, my pumpkin cream pie!
Heavy cream whipped (about 1 cup?)
1 & 1/2 pkg cream cheese softened
2 c. Pumpkin puree
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
3/4 tsp ginger
2/3 c. Granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract + 1 tsp for whipped cream
1/3 c. Sour cream
1/4 c. Powdered sugar (for the whipped cream)
1 graham cracker crust. I did store bought, or you can make a crust.
Mix the spices & sugar. Add pumpkin puree, vanilla, & sour cream. I used my kitchenaid hand mixer’s whisk (for this & whipped cream). I found that stainless steel bowls work well for making whipped cream and a little trick I read somewhere is to pre-freeze a stainless bowl and your whisk a few minutes ahead of time.
Make heavy cream into whipped cream. Add powdered sugar & add’l vanilla extract. Whisk until blended & peaks into whipped cream.
Divide soft cream cheese, & mix in with wooden spoon a bit first. Then start to blend with electric whisk until smooth. Add in whipped cream & continue to whisk until well blended & smooth.
Pour pumpkin cream filling into graham cracker crust. Refrigerate at least 6 hours. You can add more whipped cream on top if you like, but there’s plenty in this filling.
The other recipes are not my own, I made them for the first time last year and I absolutely love them. I am doing a twist the potato recipe from last year though.
Pommes Aligot – French style whipped mashed potatoes.Normally you use Yukon Gold potatoes, and I did last year. I’m doing half yukon gold & half white sweet potatoes this year. I also skipped the gruyere cheese this year, since it’s a little pricey. I’m using Jarlsberg cheese instead, & I may top it off with some grated Kerrygold Dubliner aged cheddar before baking it.
Also making sauteed green beans with caramelized onions.
Finally! My second dessert that is going to the neighbors. Yellow banana cake. A yellow cake with added banana + 1 tsp vanilla & banana extract — mixed with 3/4 c. vanilla coconut milk, instead of water. Also used 1/3 c. melted coconut oil. Dunkin Hines Butter Golden mix – I usually sub coconut oil for butter here. This was baked in 2 9-in round pans. Tomorrow, it will get my mixture of half whipped cream & half cream cheese, with vanilla and powdered sugar ,that makes a lovely filling and frosting.
I anticipate having additional pictures added tomorrow sometime, after the rest is cooked!
It’s that time of year again where I’m more inclined to make soup! Last Sunday, I made a sweet potato soup with ginger, garlic, & lots of diced celery.
This week, it is kind of like a loaded baked potato soup: 5 lbs of russet potatoes, bacon, beef broth, sweet onions, & pinto beans. I need a new potato masher, so I instead used my electric hand mixer with beef broth to whip up the potatoes in the pot.
Ingredients are per MyFitnessPal this time. I’m tracking other nutritional content more so than calories these days. I left off 1/4 – 1/2 tsp white pepper, & 1 tsp kirkland signature 21 spice blend. I had about 1 full cup of remaining food processed sweet onions + garlic (some used in last night’s enchiladas). I may also add some Kerrygold aged cheddar into each of my meal prepped plastic food containers.
I will be making another egg breakfast scramble, and prepping some salads as well.
I’ve tried modifying canned enchilada sauce, and I don’t like the taste much. I’ve read recipes for enchilada sauce, and I think they’re all way too spicy for my “acid-reflux having, Wisconsin born & raised by ulcer having parent” – self. I love tomatoes, and even too much tomato bothers me sometimes. Yet, I still enjoy food like enchiladas, and most everything else that bothers a GERD stomach. Anyway. Onto the enchiladas and totally non-authentic enchilada sauce I made.
I’ve mostly been in the habit of doing meal prep for my work lunch, and often a make ahead breakfast scramble. Today, I’ve gone full meal prep mode, thanks to upcoming work training for the next couple of weeks. This is also a reflection of me gaining back about 12 lbs or so, from the previous 33 lbs I’d lost as of July 2019.
What I’m prepping for this week:
A healthy lunch meal of chicken, broccoli, & butternut squash, also including a prepped salad.
What I intended to be chili, but accidentally put my riced cauliflower into the onion & celery that was cooking, is now more of a “hearty bean soup”. Oops. That’s for dinner after work.
Hearty Bean Soup:
8 stalks of celery, finely diced
1 medium sweet onion
1 x 16 oz pkg of riced cauliflower
Sauteed the above in coconut oil, added pink himalayan salt & black pepper.
Simmer on medium for 30 min. Reduce heat & simmer on low for another 45 minutes.
I’ve found the trick to prepping salads ahead, and keeping greens from getting soggy. I put tomato and cucumber type wet veggies in a separate little baggie (or another small container) & put that inside the salad container. Dressing cups also work well. I bought a new set of food storage containers, but they don’t contain enough of the same size. Hence, the 3 different sized salad containers. I made the salads while my soup was simmering.
Spread about evenly between 5 salads was this:
1/2 of a 1 lb tub of baby spinach – chopped
Mediterranean salad mix – – left out 2 vinaigrette packets & croutons (but saved for meatloaf)
8 celery stalks finely diced
8 campari tomatoes – cut in 1/2 & then into 1/4’s.
Balsamic vinegar – about 1 & 1/2 tbsp into each dressing cup.
Add tomato sauce, a bit more salt & a sprinkle of seasoning blend. Stir as it cooks.
I like to hollow out some of the bread a little bit if I’m doing loaded garlic bread.
Melt 4 tablespoons of butter with 2 cloves of chopped garlic. Brush garlic butter over hollowed out rustic Italian bread. Spoon sauce mixture into hollowed out part. Add grated aged white cheddar (kerrygold dubliner cheese).
Spoon remaining sauce and add more shredded aged white cheddar. Preheat oven to 425°.
Topped with cherry tomatoes from my balcony garden. One of the perks of living in Texas!😎 Fall tomatoes are still fruiting at the end of October!
I used my electric skillet to fry the corn tortillas with cooked ground beef. Topped with lettuce, tomato, white cheddar, and avocado. I meant to add sour cream I specifically bought… but I forgot it. Oops. My next one will get sour cream.
A Pina Colada made using some frozen “Philly ice” which is similar to an Italian ice, and spiced rum.
I’m getting back into the habit of making most of my food for the week ahead of time, aka meal prep. This evening, I made both “egg roll in a bowl” and a creamy spinach soup. I’m also contemplating a mix of brownies with some added PB2 powdered almond butter. I feel like I’m always hungry lately. I’ve stumbled upon popcorn topped with melted butter and/or coconut oil, a bit of honey, plus cinnamon sprinkled on top of that. I kept wanting to eat more of it. Then I discovered brushing coconut oil and honey mixture on toast, also topped with cinnamon. Then at Costco, I picked up some chocolate dipped Nature Valley protein bars. Needless to say, despite most of what I cook being “healthy-ish”, I’ve stumbled into an “eating too much” phase.
For the creamy spinach soup, I’m not including a final picture, as it’s tasty, but the consistency doesn’t lend it to be very photogenic. I’m physically going back into work this week, and the soup is for after I get home to eat.
The “egg roll in a bowl” is for my work lunch, although I’ve had some tonight. It’s quite delicious.
I’ve used MyFitnessPal to create my recipe. My number of servings, especially for my soups, is usually an estimate. The egg roll in a bowl has 5 boneless chicken tenderloins (where MFP shows it as 576 grams).
I diced & sauteed 3 carrots, 1 large yellow beet, 1 rutabaga in one pan. I cooked 1 smaller chopped head of green cabbage with salt in another pan. I used diced green onions, pink himalayan salt & black pepper, and fresh ginger & garlic with the chicken. All sauteed in coconut oil.
Perhaps next time, I’ll use my air fryer that I finally got from storage and actually make egg rolls. That was my original idea. I decided to do this instead.
In the end, I still made something a little different than both of those. I need to get back into the habit of meal prep for a week of work, now that I’ll be physically going to work soon. This reflects me making a week’s worth of food. Someone asked me how I don’t get tired of eating the same meal. Nope, not really. Occasionally by Friday I’m tired of my meal prep. But, it so happens that I typically really enjoy my own cooking.
I decided to make a separate zucchini dish. I sliced most of this large zucchini to top with the fresh mozzarella cheese, and then oven roast with some salt and pepper. I saved part of the zucchini, and I diced it to put in my pasta sauce.
My pasta sauce was pretty similar to the Bolognese I attempted recently. Except I used ground turkey this time.
Sautee onions, garlic, and celery in both olive oil and butter. Add ground turkey. Add 6 oz tomato paste & 1 can diced tomatoes. Add salt, pepper, & 21 spice no salt seasoning mix. Stir as meat is cooking. Add 8 oz tomato sauce. Stir while meat continues to cook. Add diced zucchini and 6 leaves of Basil last
1 package pasta of your choice. I used whole wheat rotini. Start cooking pasta.
Preheat oven to 425 for zucchini with mozzarella.
I couldn’t decide if I wanted to use up all of my fresh mozzarella for these. So, some only have a half a slice of fresh mozzarella sprinkled with pink salt and black pepper. I picked up some new (but inexpensive) non-stick plans at the grocery store, so I’m testing them out with this.
Bake at 425 for about 9 minutes. While baking, I grated some pecorino romano cheese. Flipped to broil for about 2 minutes.
Dinner tonight was for a guest visiting from out of town. I started with the no bake strawberry cheesecake last night. I also modified this recipe here.
My modified strawberry cheesecake recipe:
2 packages of cream cheese
1 & 1/4 c. whipped heavy cream
1/2 c. Powdered sugar + A couple tbsp extra
8 tbsp of sour cream
1/2 tsp maple extract (I was out of vanilla)
3 cups of strawberries purreed & thickened.
1 tsp lemon juice
Add in powdered sugar & maple extract while whipping the heavy cream, I use a whisk attachment on my kitchenaid hand mixer. I’m not one who has, or has ever used the stand mixer. Luckily, I don’t know what I’m missing there. Start to mix in sour cream and softened cream cheese. I added the lemon juice last. Once blended together, add about 1 cup of purreed strawberry.
Refrigerate 8 hours if possible. After that, add a layer of strawberry puree on top, then a few more strawberries on top.
Chicken Coconut Curry
My version of chicken coconut curry, a bit milder, because I’m a wuss for hot spice. I made extra sauce because my guest likes spicier food than I can handle. I premade several of this spice mix into Ziploc bags ahead of time. Since I’m using brown rice, I usually start with setting my rice to cook first
1 & 1/2 TSP curry powder
2 TSP cumin
1 TSP cayenne pepper
2 TSP turmeric
Black pepper & pink himalayan salt
1 lb finely diced carrots – save 1/2 cup for sauce.
1 & 1/3 cup chopped sweet onion (save 1/2 cup for sauce)
1 & 1/3 cup finely diced gold potato.
Sautee 1/2 c. of onions & carrots in coconut oil. Add 2 tbsp of grated or finely diced ginger, & 2 garlic cloves.
Add 1 can of coconut milk (full fat, no lite coconut milk)
Bring to a low boil, add about 1 tbsp of cornstarch
After well mixed & getting thicker, add 3 tbsp of heavy cream & 2-3 tbsp of honey.
While curry sauce is cooking, add remaining diced carrots, onions, & potato to a pan with coconut oil. Let sautee for a bit, before adding chicken breast tenders. Add salt & pepper to chicken. Add a bit of ginger & garlic.
Keep stirring curry sauce.
Rice should be about cooked by now. After chicken is cooked, remove from that pan, and place in curry sauce pan. Spoon brown rice into the former chicken pan, with remaining cooked carrots, onions, & potatoes. Sprinkle pink himalayan salt. Stir rice into sauteed vegetables.
Of course, dessert is my no bake strawberry cheesecake.
When the temperatures drop from 100° to 57° & then to 49° in 2 days, another batch of soup was in order. Although by the time I had my few missing vegetables today, 64° was a little less chilly. Here is my split pea soup with sauteed vegetables & 4 strips of bacon added. I also swapped out celery in favor of bok choy.
1/2 large yellow onion (1 & 1/4 c. diced onions)
1 bunch golden beets diced
3 lg carrots diced
1 bunch of bok choy diced
4 strips of bacon
Sautee onions, carrots, & golden beets in coconut oil in one pan.
Add pink Himalayan salt.
Sautee bok choy with 4 strips of bacon in another pan. Add in 4 diced garlic cloves.
Rinse & cook 1 & 1/2 c. green split peas to directions.
1 qt chicken stock
2 tsp Kirkland Signature No-salt 21 spice blend
After the onions, carrots, & beets were sauteed, & while the peas finished cooking, I added 1 quart of chicken broth to the veggies. Add 2 tsp Kirkland No-salt seasoning mix. Simmer.
Once the peas were fully cooked, I blended them with my hand mixer. Then, I added the sauteed vegetables in broth, and bacon. Simmer for 15 minutes.
I left the water in when blending the cooked peas, so it’s a little thinner than last time I made pea soup.
Yes, I’m still on a pancake making kick. Here’s the latest pancake variation I’ve made today.
I had forgotten about some stone-ground blue cornmeal in my refrigerator, so that’s how the idea came about. I decided to do a cross between corn cakes with apples, and the Asian inspired green onion pancake. One trick I learned from a cornbread recipe, when using stone-ground cornmeal, is to soak it in milk for a little bit.
Because my new electric skillet is so hot, I needed to adjust to 325° from 350° previously, in order to make them cook through without burning. Still about 2 minutes on each side of the pancakes.
I first made this balsamic potato salad back in April, early on in this Corona-Apocalypse 2020. I mixed balsamic vinegar with honey, salt & pepper, & sauteed onions. I wasn’t going to buy balsamic on my recent visit, but it was $3 off, so only $9 for 1 liter. It even has the “made in Italy” certifications.
Once the potatoes were cooked, I took 1/2 C. of balsamic & 1/2 C. of honey, & microwaved 25 seconds to thin out the honey. Sprinkle pink Himalayan salt & cracked black pepper into mix, then whisk it. Poured that mix onto the cooked potatoes. I found that dumping the potatoes between the bowl and kettle, was easier than stirring it. Made a 2nd smaller mixture of honey & balsamic & poured more onto potatoes. The last thing I added was sauteed onions. I put it in the fridge, & moved on to the quinoa salad.
As for the quinoa salad, after cooking, add sauteed red bell pepper, green onions, pink salt, & 1/3 C. balsamic vinegar. Stir & add fresh grated Romano. I put it in the freezer to cool faster, before adding tomatoes & cucumbers. Then both potato salad & quinoa salad went into the freezer for a faster cool down. I was getting hungry at this point, and still had corn on the cob to make. I highly recommend trying steak seasoning on your corn, specifically Penzey’s Mitchell Street Steak seasoning is great on corn.
5 lbs baby potatoes
1 yellow onion sliced & sauteed.
1 C. of Balsamic vinegar (may add more beforeeating)
About 2/3 to 3/4 C. Honey, warmed to thin it.
Pink Himalayan salt
Cracked black pepper
1 & 1/4 C. Quinoa, dry & cooked to directions
1 red bell pepper
Campari tomatoes (about 6)
1 in 1/4 cup dry quinoa. One red bell pepper
As I mentioned, I put both salads in the freezer to cool faster. Now, I’m ready for corn on the cob.
Also, I’m cheating with a store-bought rotisserie chicken. Otherwise, everything else is homemade. Close enough. I also have fresh, locally grown watermelon.
Perhaps you can enjoy one or both of these salads with your Labor Day weekend meal! 😃😎