Saturday, December 20, 2014

Saturday Breakfast - Low Carb & Grain Free

This morning we slept in for a change. We had planned to go shopping last night but both hubby and I fell asleep still in our clothes without eating dinner. That means we need to face the crowds today instead. When I woke up this morning I was in the mood for a more substantial breakfast. We're planning to get out in the hustle bustle today and get our shopping finished and are easing ourselves into the day that is sure to be full of craziness and long lines. I snapped a few photos of our "comfort breakfast" below. Nothing fancy, but all low carb. Scrambled organic eggs with cheddar, Southern Style Buttermilk Biscuits, chicken maple sausage patties and Cranberry Orange Sauce served with a cup of Nantucket Blend coffee. It's just what I needed before facing shopping on the last Saturday before Christmas. Enjoy! 







         

Thursday, December 18, 2014

NEW RECIPE Dessert Alert - Cranberry Apple Crisp

Today I am excited to be doing another guest post for Honeyville and sharing my new dessert recipe for Cranberry Apple Crisp. It's so easy to make and it doesn't use a lot of ingredients or require any special pans to make. You're likely to already have most everything you need to make this. While testing this recipe out, I enjoyed testing it and eating it in a variety of "scenarios." I ate it warm; I ate it cold...I ate it topped with whipped cream, I ate it topped with sugar free vanilla coconut milk ice cream...and I must confess, on a couple of occasions, I just ate it with a spoon, right out of the casserole dish! LOL You know what all these different scenarios had in common? They were ALL good. The bottom line was that I enjoyed eating it no matter how I served or ate it!

The filling is simple and requires only 2 ingredients. And we all know that the best part about any kind of fruit crisp is the actual "crisp" part...the crumbly topping. The topping on my Cranberry Apple Crisp was amazing made with Honeyville's blanched almond flour, butter, spices, and walnuts. Of course, you know I'll use just about any excuse to find ways to eat and enjoy cranberries. Before this, I don't believe I've ever put cranberries in a crisp before...and now that I have, I don't think I'll ever make another fruit crisp without them. I hope you enjoy this festive dessert. It's absolutely perfect for fall, winter, and holiday desserts. It can be served rustic or family style in bowls or it can be served more elegantly in pretty dessert cups or martini glasses like I did. Check out a few photos below. The recipe for this dessert can be found here: -----> Cranberry Apple Crisp. Enjoy!












      

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Spicy Sausage & Sprouts - Quick & Easy Low Carb AND New Dessert Alert

Tonight we are taking a needed break from Christmas preparation...I needed an evening off to recoup. Before I tell you about this evening's quick and easy meal...I wanted to give you a DESSERT ALERT! I have a new dessert recipe coming out tomorrow! It's delicious, festive, and so easy to make. Check back tomorrow check it out...you are going to want to make it!  ;-)

This evening I made one of my favorite quick low carb meals...Sausage & Sprouts. I love this dish because not only is it super easy, but it's super tasty too. This evening I used Aidell's Habanero & Pepper Jack Smoked Chicken Sausages (nitrite and nitrate free) along with brussels sprouts and coarsely shredded red cabbage. It turned out awesome. Another one of my other favorite sausage flavors to use is Aidell's Chicken & Apple Sausage because the flavors pair nicely with the sprouts. I've even added some diced apple to the saute as well as served it topped with fried eggs before.

It's so simple to put together; I trim and halve fresh brussels sprouts and then place them in a covered glass casserole dish with a few tablespoons of water in the microwave and steam them until just tender, about 5 minutes. You could also steam them on top of the stove, if preferred. While the sprouts are steaming, I slice the sausages diagonally and then brown them in either a cast iron skillet, wok, frying pan (or you can grill them before slicing). Tonight I added a bit of coconut oil to my wok and stir-fried the slices of sausage until browned and then transferred them to a bowl and then briefly sauteed some sliced red cabbage and moved that to the bowl along with the sausage. I like to keep the red cabbage crisp-tender for a bit of added texture, color, and crunch. Lastly, I added some butter to the wok and added my steamed and drained sprouts to the pan and sauteed them until lightly browned in the butter and then added the sausage and red cabbage back to the wok and tossed until combined. That's it, it's ready to serve. I have plenty leftover for lunch tomorrow, too, which is always a good thing! I snapped a couple quick photos below. Enjoy!



         

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Quick & Easy Dinner - Chicken, Cauliflower Mash, Broccoli & Biscuits

Today was a super busy day for us. We decorated the house, went Christmas shopping and grocery shopping. Only one son came for dinner this evening since I had dinner with the other one last night. To keep dinner quick, I picked up a rotisserie chicken to save time. I just steamed some fresh broccoli, baked a batch of my Southern Style Buttermilk Biscuits and cooked and mashed fresh cauliflower and stirred in some sharp cheddar cheese. I baked sweet potatoes for the guys. It was a quick, simple and delicious meal that left us plenty of time to work on decorating the house. Every year I say I'm going to cut back on decorations and instead, every year I seem to do more! We are watching Home Alone 2 this evening. I have a few more decorations to put on the tree and I'm almost done. I snapped a quick photo of our meal below. Enjoy!



         

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Saturday Brunch - Easy Low Carb

This morning we slept in. It's bright and sunny out and we're "still" decorating and working around the house today and will do a bit of shopping later this evening after the crowds have calmed down a bit. I made hubby and I a nice Saturday brunch of cheesy scrambled eggs with diced Cabot pepper jack cheese and shredded sharp cheddar cheese with turkey sausage links. I split one of my Mini Cranberry Walnut Loaves in half and browned the cut side in melted butter in a skillet, similar to how you do when making a grilled cheese sandwich. It was so much better than simply toasting and then spreading with butter because grilling it in the skillet helped the butter permeate the bread while it got nice and toasty brown in the skillet. I topped it with fresh cranberry sauce "jam" while I ate it. I served it with nice strong mug of Three Continents Blend coffee. It was a nice hearty low carb breakfast that will carry us through till dinner time this evening. I snapped a couple quick photos below. Enjoy!



    

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Turkish Meatballs (Köfte) w/ Chunky Eggplant Caviar

This evening I made Turkish Meatballs (Köfte) for dinner. What is Köfte you ask? It's a spiced Turkish style meatball that is usually grilled and often made with lamb or beef. It can be shaped like a traditional meatball or like I did this evening, made into small patties (similar to sliders). It is traditionally pressed and shaped around a skewer into an oblong "log shape" and grilled. There are numerous variations and spices used. 

Since it was freezing cold here today, grilling was completely out of the question. I had picked up ground lamb to make these with but when I opened the package, I almost passed out from the smell, so I had hubby stop by the store on his way home to pick up a package of ground beef to use instead. While I was waiting for him to pick up the meat, I went ahead and put together a quick little tzatziki yogurt sauce to serve with the Köfte. I also made a side dish to serve with them.

I made a Chunky Eggplant Caviar for our side dish. It turned out absolutely amazing. The eggplant was beautiful on the outside and even more so on the inside. It had almost no seeds and had nice solid white flesh. 

To make the eggplant caviar, I diced about 1/4 of a medium onion and began sauteing it in olive oil while I diced the eggplant into small dice and minced a large clove of garlic. When the onions began to soften, I added the garlic and sauteed it for a few minutes, then added the diced eggplant to my pot. Eggplant sucks oil up like a sponge, so I added a bit more olive oil and stirred frequently. As it continued to cook, rather than continuously add oil, I added a few tablespoons of water to my pot and covered it and cooked it until tender, stirring occasionally. I diced half of a red bell pepper and added that to the pot along with another splash of olive oil and covered the pot back up to soften the peppers. When everything was softened and cooked, I added a few heaping tablespoons of some oven roasted tomatoes packed in oil; then seasoned with salt and pepper and covered the pot and continued cooking on low another 15 minutes or so. I added some chopped fresh parsley right before serving. It turned out amazing...it was flavorful, tender and buttery soft and was the perfect accompaniment to the Köfte. I snapped a few photos as well as included the recipe for my Köfte below. Enjoy!










Turkish Meatballs (Köfte)

Ingredients:

1 pound ground lamb or beef
1 teaspoon roasted ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon hot paprika, or to taste (or substitute cayenne pepper)
1/4 teaspoon dried mint
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 cup grated onion
1 large clove garlic, finely minced
3 tablespoon chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons ghee or olive oil

Directions:

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients, mixing with your hands until evenly combined. Divide mixture into 8 equal sized portions and roll into balls or small patties. Add ghee or oil to a heavy skillet and cook over medium high heat until browned and desired doneness. Alternatively they can be grilled, if desired. Serve with tzatziki or other yogurt sauce, if desired.

   

Quick Superfood Salads - Low Carb

Last night we ran a number of errands and did a bit of shopping after work. We didn't get home until late. I fixed dinner and we ate around 9:00. I snapped a quick photo of our salads and then fell asleep before posting. I used an Eat Smart 7 Superfood Salad Mix and topped it with some chipotle seasoned chicken cutlets that I cut into strips. I made a Cranberry Vinaigrette that was a bit different than my last version. I used apple cider vinegar, some of my cranberry sauce, McCormick's Chipotle Roasted Garlic Seasoning, a pinch of sea salt and avocado oil (instead of olive oil). It was SO good! I used my little dressing Cruet that has the marked fill lines for oil and vinegar and water. I swapped the water for cranberry sauce and just added the seasonings. It was my favorite dressing so far...sweet, tart and yummy with the avocado oil! Check out the photo below. Enjoy!


Monday, December 8, 2014

Greek Style Spinach-Feta Pie (Modified Crustless Version) - Low Carb

This evening I made the crustless version of Greek Style Spinach-Feta Pie. I actually tweaked my original crustless recipe just a little and I think I like this version even more. I created my original Greek Style Spinach-Feta Pie (with crust) soon after I went low carb to satisfy my craving for Spanakopita (made with phyllo pastry dough). My version had all the flavor minus the wheat and carbs. 

Not long after I created that version, I made a crustless version of that spinach-feta pie to reduce the prep time so it could easily be prepared on a week night. It's also a bit lighter without the crust, too. I actually love it both with and without the crust.

This evening's "modified crustless version" add's a third option. I really, really...REALLY enjoyed tonight's version which is a step in between the other two. It's still quick to make since there's no crust involved, but a bit more substantial than the crustless pie. I added 1/2 cup of blanched almond flour, some Parmesan and a few other little tweaks. It's more along the lines of one of the old Bisquick "impossible pies" if you remember those. Whether you prefer it with crust or without or my new version which is in between...it's definitely one worth trying. It is good for breakfast, lunch, or dinner...or as I did once before, all 3 meals (in the same day). I snapped a quick photo below as well as included the newer slightly modified version. Enjoy!



Greek Style Spinach-Feta Pie (Crustless Version #2)

Ingredients:


2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
10 ounces fresh spinach (up to 16 ounces)
7 large eggs
1/2 cup PLUS 2 tablespoons heavy cream (or half-and-half)
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup blanched almond flour
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
1 to 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt, to taste (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6 ounces crumbled feta cheese

Directions:


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease or spray a 10" deep dish pie plate (I used a 9.5" fluted pie dish). 

In a non-stick skillet, saute onions in olive oil or butter over medium heat until softened; add garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes or until translucent. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside. 

In the same skillet, saute spinach, just until wilted.  Drain and press as much liquid out of cooked spinach as possible (I use a mesh strainer and press it with the back of a large spoon). Coarsely chop the spinach and set aside.

In a medium bowl, add eggs, cream, Parmesan, almond flour, dill, and salt and pepper to taste. Beat egg mixture together; add onions, spinach and feta cheese and stir until evenly combined. Pour mixture into greased pie dish and bake for 35-40 minutes until puffed and golden, or until filling and eggs are set and cooked. If the center is still slightly jiggly, cook for an additional few minutes (the center is usually puffed up when completely cooked). Let cool for approximately 5 minutes; cut into wedges and serve. Makes about 6 servings.

*Note: This version is slightly modified from my original crustless version by the following: eggs are increased from 6 to 7; feta is reduced from 8 oz. to 6 oz; 1/4 cup Parmesan added; 1/2 cup blanched almond flour added; additional 2 tablespoons cream added; and optional 1/4 teaspoon salt added.


    

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sunday's Skillet Brunch - Shrooms & Sprouts "Hash" Sunny Side Up

This morning we woke up early and began pulling out the Christmas decorations so we could get most of that put up today. After working for a couple of hours, I decided it was time for brunch. As I scanned around the fridge to see what I could whip up fairly quickly...I spotted the leftover roasted chipotle brussels sprouts as well as the leftover sliced mushrooms from last night's dinner. That pesky little light bulb went off in my head and suddenly I was envisioning sprouts and shrooms "hash" browned in butter, topped with a sunny side up egg and some diced Cabot pepper jack cheese. 

I pulled out my little 8-inch cast iron skillet and added some butter and when it was sizzling, I tossed in the leftover mushrooms and sprouts and seasoned them with a bit of sea salt and black pepper and browned them in the butter. In a separate small skillet, I cooked myself a sunny side up egg. I slid my sunny side up egg over on top of the shrooms and sprouts "hash" and scattered a bit of diced pepper jack cheese on top and let it get a little melty. I added one of my Southern Style Buttermilk Biscuits and Voila...I had an awesome and easy brunch using odds and ends leftovers from last night's meal. I love re-purposing leftovers, that might have otherwise gotten tossed out, into something new and delicious. Enjoy!



    

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Grilled Steak w/ Mushrooms & Roasted Chipotle Sprouts

Here's an update on tonight's dinner. I seasoned the NY Strip Steaks that we got at Costco with McCormick's Spicy Montreal Steak Seasoning before hubby grilled them; then topped them with sliced mushrooms sauteed in Kerrygold (also from Costco). 

I harvested the brussels sprouts that I found at Sprouts Farmers Market from their stalk. Honestly, these were some of the most beautiful and fresh sprouts I have ever had. I trimmed the ends off of them and halved them, then tossed them in avocado oil (from Sprouts) and seasoned them with McCormick's Chipotle and Roasted Garlic Seasoning and popped them into a 400 degree oven and roasted them for about 20 minutes (stirring them around half way through roasting). It was a delicious, fresh and easy meal. I added a dollop of my fresh cranberry sauce to my plate. Would you be surprised if I told you that I bought another 2-pound bag of cranberries on my visit to Costco today? LOL I have about 14 pounds in the freezer that should last me well past cranberry season. I have bought at least 20 pounds of cranberries so far this season. I had 3 of my most favorite foods on my plate this evening... brussels sprouts, mushrooms and cranberries. Low carb life is good. This is REAL food...REAL easy. Enjoy!






    

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Tonight's "Dinner To Be" and Move Over "Jack & The Beanstalk"...It's "Gourmet Girl & The Brussels Stalk"

Happy Saturday! This morning we got our errands started early to get ahead of the holiday hustle and bustle. We had breakfast at Einstein Bros Bagels (I packed my OWN Power Bagel and a few mini Cranberry Macaroon Muffins to take with me). They had their new Cinnamon Winter Blend of coffee there which was really good. It's cinnamon and vanilla flavored and perfect for this time of year. It was so good that I had 2 large cups of coffee. 

Afterward we went to Costco and Sprouts Farmers Market. I picked up all kinds of things. For dinner tonight I bought some NY Strip Steaks as well as big mushrooms to put on top of the steaks (mine) from Costco. To go with our steaks I bought some beautiful fresh brussels sprouts from Sprouts (LOL on buying sprouts from Sprouts). These aren't just any old brussels sprouts...these little guys were still attached to their "mother ship"...or shall I say, "mother stalk"...LOL. I guess I never really thought about how brussels sprouts grow and don't believe I've ever seen any live plants before. Anyway, Sprouts had barrels with these tall bouquets of beautiful sprouts. They were even more beautiful than bouquets of flowers! I just HAD to have them, of course! So, before I roast them to go with our steaks tonight I get to pick them off their stalk first. I'm not sure why I find that so exciting, but it is! LOL Maybe this is a sign that I lead an extremely dull life...but I can't wait to pick my sprouts tonight...LOL!  

Lastly, I know some of you occasionally eat toasted coconut chips made by Dang. They are very lightly sweetened but quite pricey for a teeny-tiny little bag (1.4 oz). One of the new items I found at our Costco today was a 1-pound bag of organic toasted coconut chips for $9.79. That is 16 ounces for less than $10.00 when the "Dang" brand will only get you about 3 or 4 ounces for that much money. Check out my photos below of our "dinner to be"...as well as my interesting brussels sprouts. Am I the only one that find them fascinating? LOL Move over Jack (and your beanstalk)...it's Gourmet Girl and her brussels stalk!  ;-)  Enjoy!




"sprouts from Sprouts"



This morning's breakfast at Einstein Bros





Here's the Power Bagels I used to eat...
My Power Bagel on the left...THEIRs on the right. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Eggplant Lasagna - Low Carb

This evening I made Eggplant Lasagna for dinner. It's one of my favorites. It's like a cross between lasagna and eggplant parmesan. The nice thing about making it is that you don't have to measure the ingredients out exactly and can layer it with your favorite cheeses or whatever kind you have on hand. You can make it with or without meat. I thinly sliced a medium-large eggplant lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices and brushed both sides with olive oil and seasoned with a little salt and pepper and then baked the slices on a baking sheet until fork tender, about 15 minutes or so at 375 or 400 degrees. I used fresh mozzarella cheese, ricotta, sliced provolone, and shredded Parmigiana Reggiano. You can also grill the eggplant, too, if you want. I used Del Grosso's Fireworks sauce. I snapped a sequence of photos of the assembly. I baked it for about 30 to 40 minutes until hot and bubbly. Enjoy!