Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sausage & Squash Saute w/ Hash Brown "Faux-Tatoes"

This evening I made a quick and simple dinner...a Sausage & Squash Saute using up the veggies that needed to be used as well as the chicken andouille sausage I picked up a few weeks ago. I decided to make "Hash Brown Faux-Tatoes" using the small head of cauliflower I had. I cut it up and cooked it covered in 1 cup of water until tender, then removed the lid and cooked off all of the water until the bottom of the pot was fairly dry (but not burned). I used a spatula to coarsely chop the cauliflower while it was in the pot and then tossed in a few tablespoons of butter, a couple sliced green onions and creole seasoning (Tony Chachere's), to taste, then tossed it and browned it over medium heat in butter until it was golden on one side and then scooped it up with the spatula, flipped it over and browned on the other side (just like you do when you make regular hash browns). It didn't get crispy, but did dry out a bit and browning it added flavor along with the butter, onions and creole seasoning. You don't need to use the creole seasoning -- simple salt and pepper would be good, too. While that was cooking, I sliced a package of the sausage in approximate 1/4" slices and browned them in a skillet with a little olive oil. While the sausage browned, I cut up the veggies. I sliced 2 small zucchini, 2 small yellow squash, and a few yellow, red and orange mini peppers. I transferred the browned sausage to a bowl and set it aside. I added the veggies to the same skillet the sausage had browned in. I sauteed the veggies just until done, but not overdone or mushy (tender-crisp). I added the sausage back to the skillet with the veggies and tossed everything together.  I served the Sausage & Squash Saute over the Hash Brown "Faux-Tatoes". It was a fairly quick, simple and tasty dinner. If you are interested in checking out the sausage I used, there is a picture and information here on my Cajun Stir-Fry post. I purchased the sausage from Costco. I snapped a few photos for you to see below. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tuesday's Tuna Salad Boats

This evening I made a quick and simple dinner so we could take advantage of the beautiful evening here and take our walk while the sun was still out.  I removed the leaves from my small heads of artisan romaine to make little boats to hold my tuna salad.  I used a can of Wild Planet Wild Albacore Tuna that I drained and flaked.  I added some finely diced celery, thinly sliced green onion, and finely diced dill pickle. I have never been a huge fan of mayonnaise...there is something that I don't really care for about the taste of it.  Whenever I used to make tuna salad in the past, I added Miracle Whip. I realize that there are a lot of "Miracle Whip haters" out there...but I always liked it in my tuna salad to help cut the fishy flavor a bit.  Since Miracle Whip is sweet because of added sugar...I decided to "whip up" my own version of the dressing.  I mixed about 3 rounded tablespoons of olive oil mayonnaise into a small bowl and added about 1/4 teaspoon (or a little more) Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning, a few generous squeezes of fresh lemon juice and 5 drops of NuNaturals stevia drops and mixed it all together and then tasted to adjust the seasoning.  I know some of you are probably gagging at the thought of adding stevia...but the end result reminded me of that sweet hint you get with Miracle Whip, which is what I was going for -- only this was a jazzed up version because of the lemon juice and creole seasoning.  You have to be careful with the creole seasoning because it's a bit salty...but it has a great flavor. I believe it also comes in an unsalted version, too, but I have never tried it.  After mixing the dressing into the tuna and veggies, I filled my little romaine boats up with the tuna salad and topped them with some diced cherry tomatoes. It was really, really good. I have enough left from the single little can of tuna to make one more tuna boat for lunch tomorrow. I served my tuna salad boats with sliced avocado, a few Kerrygold cheese sticks and some roasted almonds. I snapped a few photos below for you to see. Enjoy!

Monday, July 29, 2013

BLT Club Salad Bowls

This evening was our salad night...and not just any old salad.  We had BLT Club Salad Bowls...mega salads loaded with artisan romaine, diced cherry tomatoes, crispy bacon pieces, shredded carrots, shredded red cabbage, sliced cucumbers, diced Kerrygold cheddar cheese, sliced avocado, and chunks of chicken breast.  The only time involved in preparing tonight's meal was the chopping, slicing and dicing. I used the leftover cooked bacon from yesterday's brunch and the breast meat of a rotisserie chicken.  It was a perfect, quick and simple meal. I snapped a few photos for you to see below.  Enjoy!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sunday Night Spaghetti Dinner...

I decided that tonight would be a Sunday Night Spaghetti Dinner night.  I made a big fresh salad to go with the meal.  My youngest son came to have dinner with us, and since both he and hubby are not wheat free, I made them a separate pot of regular organic whole wheat pasta to put their sauce on. Interestingly enough, my son said he wanted to have "my pasta" which was simply yellow summer squash that I cut with my julienne vegetable peeler. Since I had already made the regular pasta for them both, and I wasn't sure he would like it since he is pretty picky...I served his bowl with half regular pasta on one side and half squash pasta on the other and topped both with the exact same sauce.  Guess what???  He actually preferred MY pasta!!!  He ate and enjoyed both of them, but said he actually preferred my yellow squash pasta best. That speaks volumes to me...when he literally had both of them side by side in the same bowl...covered with the exact same sauce...and he actually PREFERRED the squash pasta over the wheat pasta!!!  The sauce I made was super simple.  I sliced 3 small organic zucchini and sauteed them in olive oil and when they were almost tender, I added in a container of sliced fresh mushrooms and cooked them until they were tender.  I removed and transferred them to a bowl while I cooked the chicken for the sauce.  I diced a couple of large boneless chicken breasts and used the same pot to saute them in a little olive oil. When the chicken was cooked (it only took about 5 minutes), I dumped a jar of Rao's Arrabiata sauce over it and added the cooked zucchini and mushrooms back to the pot and simmered it uncovered for about 20 minutes or so. While the sauce was simmering, I made my squash pasta and then sauteed it in a skillet with a bit of olive oil for about 2 minutes or so.  I served it in bowls topped with shredded Parmigiano Reggiano along with a fresh salad. As I stepped outside to snap a few pictures, the sky opened up and it began raining.  Fortunately our umbrella on the patio table was up or I might have had soup instead of pasta!  Check out my pictures below.  Enjoy!

Yellow squash pasta...preferred 2 to 1 over regular wheat pasta in our house tonight!

Sunday Brunch!

Happy Sunday!  It's bright and sunny here this morning and we slept in a little bit.  I made us a nice big brunch before going out to run our errands for the day.  We had Easy Cheddar Black Pepper Biscuits topped with fried eggs and Kerrygold Red Leicester Cheese, crispy oven baked uncured bacon and fresh blueberries topped with a big dollop of Greek Gods yogurt and fresh lemon zest.  It will last us until dinner time.  I snapped a quick photo for you to see below.  Enjoy!

Easy Cheddar Black Pepper Biscuits


2 cups blanched almond flour
3 tablespoons "cold" butter, diced
1 egg (or 1/4 cup Egg Beaters)
1 cup sharp shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 - 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
2 teaspoons baking powder (aluminum free)
1/2 cup heavy cream 


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease a baking pan or line with non-stick foil or parchment paper.  

In a medium bowl, add almond flour, butter, egg, 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese, salt, black pepper, baking powdercut in with a pastry cutter/dough blender until crumbly and all flour is slightly moistened and cheese is pulverized into the mixture. Stir in cream and remaining 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese; mix in lightly.  Divide and roll dough into 10 to 12  balls (I make 10) and place on a lined cookie sheet; do not flatten dough balls (this will result in a thicker biscuit).  Bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 18-20 minutes or until light golden brown; be careful not to overcook.
   Remove from oven; brush tops with melted butter, if desired.


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Pesto Roasted Wild Salmon, Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Mini Caprese Salad

This evening I made a simple dinner of Pesto Roasted Salmon, Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Mini Caprese Salad. The salmon is so easy to is simply a salmon fillet that has been brushed with pesto (I use Mezzetta's Home Style Basil Pesto) and roasted for about 12 minutes in the oven, covered and allowed to sit for about 10 minutes.  The brussels sprouts are also roasted in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, depending on how large they are. They are simply seasoned with salt and pepper and tossed in olive oil before roasting.  The "Mini Caprese Salad" is simply a quick and easy version of Caprese salad that is diced fresh mozzarella cheese, diced grape or cherry tomatoes, tossed with extra virgin olive oil, torn fresh basil, sea salt and a few grinds of black pepper.  It took about 30 minutes to put this simple but delicious meal together.  I snapped a couple photos for you to see below.  Enjoy!

Simple But Special Saturday Breakfast

This morning we slept in was great!  It was bright and sunny when we woke up, but the clouds have already started to move in.  Rather than take our walk before breakfast, we decided to eat our breakfast first...just not a big breakfast since we were walking afterwards. We'll save our bigger "brunch" of eggs, biscuits and bacon for tomorrow, instead.  I mixed some full fat Greek Gods yogurt with a splash of vanilla extract, a few drops of stevia and a dash of Ceylon cinnamon and then layered it into small trifle bowls with a few fresh blueberries and chopped walnuts.  While I realize it is nothing more than simple yogurt and some fresh fruit and nuts, serving it this way just makes it feel more special somehow -- and it takes about an extra minute or two to serve it this way.

During the week, I take my yogurt to work every morning and eat it straight out of the little container it comes in (mixed with stevia and cinnamon).  But, as a special treat on the weekends, simply layering it with some berries and nuts and serving it in a pretty little bowl just makes it feel more special somehow. It makes me feel a little pampered, like I'm dining in my own little bed and breakfast. I honestly do believe that part of the allure of eating out (other than not having to cook) is the presentation of the food that is served to you. I think most of us would be a bit disappointed if when we ate in a restaurant, the food was simply plopped on a plate and put in front of us without any consideration to how it looked. Now, that being said...I definitely believe if you had to choose between looking good or tasting good...tasting good wins every single time.  But, if you have a few extra minutes, why not accomplish both, if possible?  Simple can be special, too. I snapped a few photos for you to see below of our "Simple But Special Saturday Breakfast". to take our walk before the rain begins!  Happy Saturday...Enjoy!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday Night Pizza - Wheat/Grain Free

This evening we had pizza for dinner.  I made my Almond-Flax-Parmesan Herb Pizza Crust.  The crust recipe I used makes a pizza about 10 inches in diameter and is usually enough to serve 2 people (depending on your toppings) or one VERY hungry person.  I've never been able to eat the entire pizza -- I cut it into 4 pieces and eat either 1 or 2, depending on how hungry I am.  If you are making this pizza for more than 2 people, I would suggest doubling it and using a larger cookie sheet to make it on. For our pizza this evening, I used sun-dried tomato pesto instead of pizza sauce and added diced fresh mozzarella cheese (instead of shredded mozzarella).

While the crust was baking, I pre-cooked the toppings. I browned some ground beef and seasoned it well with sea salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper with a pinch of Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes to make sort of a "faux Italian sausage".  I added some diced Vidalia onion to the beef as it browned and then set it aside.  Using the same skillet, I sauteed some fresh sliced mushrooms and moved them aside and then did a quick saute of fresh baby spinach (and drained and pressed the liquid out very well).  When the crust was done baking, I spread a thin layer of sun-dried tomato pesto on the crust, topped it with diced fresh mozzarella, the browned beef and onion, sauteed spinach and mushrooms and popped it back in the oven to bake for another 5 to 10 minutes until the cheese was melty.  I broiled it for a few minutes at the end and then topped it with some diced fresh cherry tomatoes after pulling it out of the oven to add a fresh tomato flavor that I love.  It was both delicious and filling loaded with all the beef and veggies piled on top.  I snapped a few photos for you to see below as well as my recipe for the pizza crust. Add your favorite toppings to make it your own -- just make sure to pre-cook any fresh veggies or meats you might use to ensure they don't make your pizza crust soggy when you cook it. No need to pre-cook olives, pepperoni, etc., just the meats and veggies that release liquid as they cook.  P.S. -- I ordered a new sweetener to test -- NuNaturals Lo Han (monk fruit extract) -- check out the picture below.  I'll let you know how it turns out when I try it.  Enjoy!

My Lo Han (not Lindsey) came today -- still waiting for the powdered version. Look forward to trying them out!

Almond-Flax-Parmesan Herb Pizza Crust
Makes 1 10-inch round pizza (approximately 2 servings)


Dry Ingredients:
1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup golden flax seed meal (organic golden flax is milder in taste than brown)
2/3 teaspoon baking powder (aluminum free)
1/2 - 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder 
Dash cayenne pepper, optional
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste (decrease salt if using saltier cheeses and toppings)
Few grinds of freshly ground black pepper
4 - 5 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, finely grated

Wet Ingredients:
1 egg (or 1/4 cup egg substitute such as Egg Beaters)
1 tablespoon olive oil (a little more, if desired)
1 to 2 tablespoons water (start with 1 tablespoon of water and add the second, if necessary)

Toppings (Optional):  

Pizza sauce, pesto sauce, etc.
Cheese: shredded mozzarella cheese, sliced or diced fresh mozzarella, etc.
**Pre-cooked vegetables of choice: onions, green peppers, mushrooms, spinach, etc. 
**Pre-cooked meat of choice: sausage, ground beef topping, etc.
Other: artichokes, olives, pepperoni, etc.

**Tip: Fresh vegetable and meat toppings should be pre-cooked and drained to prevent crust from becoming soggy


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Mix dry ingredients together; add wet ingredients and mix well. Let the dough sit for approximately 5 minutes to thicken. 

Spread dough on a lightly oiled large pizza pan or cookie sheet lined with greased parchment paper (you can also use Reynolds non-stick foil, lightly brushed with olive oil).  Using a lightly oiled rubber spatula, press the dough out to desired shape and thickness (I usually make it about 1/4" thick -- *see note below).  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through (check crust after 15 minutes and remove from oven when it looks and feels done).  Spread with a thin layer of sauce, cheese and desired toppings (fresh vegetable and meat toppings should be pre-cooked to prevent soggy crust); place back into the oven to bake an additional 5-10 minutes to melt cheese.  If desired, run under the broiler for a few minutes to lightly brown the toppings and make the cheese bubbly (be careful not to burn it).

*Note:  For a crust that is flat, smooth and even in thickness, lightly spray a 2nd sheet of parchment paper with olive oil spray and place it on top (oiled side down) of the ball of pizza dough that is centered in the middle of your prepared pizza pan or baking sheet.  Using either your hands or the flat edge of an object (I use a big container of black pepper) press the dough smooth by swiping it the direction you want the pizza crust to go.  When it is the desired thickness and shape, carefully peel off the top layer of parchment paper...and "Voila"...perfectly flat, smooth, thin pizza crust! If you don't have parchment paper, pressing the dough out with a lightly oiled rubber spatula works just fine, too.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Chocolate Chip Coconut Pecan Cookies

This evening we had the leftover Stuffed Cabbage Rolls from last night, so I didn't have to cook. But, I decided to take advantage of having extra time to do a little bit of baking instead. I modified my recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies w/ Toasted Walnuts & Ricotta to make this evening's Chocolate Chip Coconut Pecan Cookies. They turned out really good. I also simplified the recipe by omitting the use of a hand mixer, opting to use a wooden spoon to combine the ingredients together instead. When I make cookies, I typically use the minimum amount of sweetener (Swerve) since my "sweet-o-meter" is much less than it used to be, but you might prefer to use more, especially if your sweet tooth hasn't diminished yet. I snapped a couple photos for you to see below as well as the recipe. Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Coconut Pecan Cookies


2 cups blanched almond flour
1 teaspoon baking powder (aluminum free)
1/4 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
1/2 cup Swerve sweetener (plus additional 1/4 cup if more sweetness desired) (or other granular type sweetener of choice, such as xylitol or erythritol)
1/4 cup butter, softened (1/2 stick or 4 tablespoons)
1/2 cup PLUS 1 tablespoon ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla or coconut extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans (toasted, if desired)
1/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut (longer shreds)
3/4 cup 85% cacao chocolate bar (3.5 ounces), chopped (or 70% cacao bar for sweeter chips)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a medium mixing bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt and Swerve sweetener (or other granular sweetener).  Make a well in the center of the bowl and add softened butter, ricotta, egg and vanilla extract.  Using a wooden spoon, cream and mix dry and wet ingredients together until the dough is mixed well.  Using a rubber spatula, fold in pecans, coconut and chocolate chips/chunks and mix just until blended.  Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet; and very lightly tamp down (do not flatten) -- the cookies do not spread much while they bake.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned. Cookies are very soft when hot and will firm up as they cool.  Let sit 10-15 minutes and then, using a spatula, transfer to a rack to completely cool. Makes about 20 cookies.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls -- Grain Free

This evening I was in the mood to have stuffed cabbage rolls for dinner. I seem to be on a cabbage roll (hee hee) these last couple of days. I used a head of napa cabbage in my Wonton-less Soup last night and then used an entire head of savoy cabbage to make my stuffed cabbage rolls this evening.  I revised my regular Stuffed Cabbage Rolls recipe that I posted last March (2012) for St. Patrick's Day before I went wheat and grain free.  I've embedded that original recipe above if you want to check it out as well as see the photos and different steps.  In order to keep them grain free, rather than adding regular rice, I added cauliflower rice (grated raw cauliflower) in its place.  My old regular recipe also had a little brown sugar for a touch of sweetness...and I replaced that with grated carrots to provide not only a touch of natural sweetness, but a bit of color as well.  I made a few other tweaks to my old recipe and also chose to bake them in the oven rather than cook in a pot on the stove like I usually do.  

They turned out good -- hubby said they were "excellent"...and considering he is not wheat/grain free, that's a pretty good compliment coming from him!  The only thing we added to them while we ate, was a touch of sea salt.  I enjoy having the light tomato infused broth in my bowl when I eat them. One last suggestion is that this is probably not a "weeknight/after work recipe" as it is a bit more time consuming to put together than most you might want to reserve making this on a weekend if you decide to try it out.  I snapped a few photos as well as my new grain free recipe below. Enjoy!

Rolled and ready to be topped with tomatoes and baked... 
Topped with fire roasted tomatoes, dotted with butter and ready for the oven...
Stuffed Cabbage Rolls - Grain Free


10-12 medium-large cabbage leaves (more or less depending on how large)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon paprika (I used Hungarian sweet paprika)
1/2 teaspoon dill weed
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice, optional
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, minced
Dash cayenne pepper, optional
1 pound ground beef (I used 90% lean grass fed)
1-1/2 cups cauliflower rice (grated raw cauliflower)
2 medium carrots, grated, optional
1 large egg
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
3/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground, or to taste
1 cup chicken stock
1 14.5-oz can crushed tomatoes or diced fire roasted tomatoes (I used diced fire roasted)
3 tablespoons butter, diced


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Remove the core of the cabbage and immerse it in the pot of boiling water.  After boiling for about 5-10 minutes or so, the leaves will begin to soften and separate from the head; remove the loosened cooked, tender leaves with tongs to a platter and place in a colander in the sink to drain (make sure they are soft and pliable or you won't be able to fold and roll them). When you've cooked and removed enough leaves for your cabbage rolls, set them aside and reserve the remaining cabbage to be chopped and used to place in the bottom of a 9 x 13 casserole dish (or a casserole big enough to hold one layer of cabbage rolls).

In a medium skillet, saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until translucent; add dried spices (paprika, dill weed, optional allspice and cayenne), stirring over low heat 1-2 minutes until fragrant.  Remove from heat; stir in the fresh parsley and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine ground beef, raw cauliflower rice, grated carrots, egg, cooked onion mixture, salt and pepper.  Mix together thoroughly and divide with a knife while in the bowl into the number of cabbage leaves you plan to make (approximately 10-12).  Rough chop the remaining head of cooked cabbage and place in the bottom of the casserole, making a bed to place the cabbage rolls on while they cook.  Begin making the cabbage rolls:  Lay a cabbage leaf on a cutting board or work surface and place a portion of the ground beef filling in the center of the cabbage leaf (either remove the tough vein by cutting a small "v" and discarding the thick white core/vein, or slice a thin layer off of the tough portion so it is flexible enough to roll up).  With the ground meat filling in the center of your trimmed cabbage leaf, begin rolling the cabbage leaf over the beef mixture, tucking and folding in both sides while continuing to roll forward until snugly closed.  Place seam side down in casserole dish on top of chopped cabbage.  Repeat rolling and placing cabbage rolls in single layer in casserole.

Carefully pour chicken stock over the cabbage rolls.  Spoon crushed or diced tomatoes over the cabbage rolls; dot with butter, and cover.  Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until done.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Summertime Wonton-less Soup

This evening I was in the mood for wonton soup for some reason.  A couple nights ago I made homemade chicken stock by simmering a leftover rotisserie chicken carcass for a couple of hours with about 8 cups of water, Celtic sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  After it cooled down a bit, I covered and refrigerated it.  When I got home from work this evening, I warmed it back up on the stove (it was gelatinous when cold) and then removed all the chicken bones and took the remaining bits of chicken from the bones and then strained the broth.  I placed it back on the stove and heated it to boiling and cooked the broth uncovered to concentrate for about 20 minutes or so while I cut up my veggies.

The thing I like most about wonton soup actually isn't the wontons, but the super concentrated flavorful chicken stock they are cooked in.  I cut up 3 small zucchini, 1 medium yellow squash, 2 medium carrots, sliced 2 green onions and then added them to the pot of stock to boil while I cut up the remainder of my veggies.  While those veggies cooked, I thinly sliced an entire medium head of napa cabbage, thinly sliced some fresh mushrooms and then added them to the pot of stock and veggies.  I tossed in a 5-oz container of fresh organic baby spinach, a little more Celtic sea salt and black pepper, and then covered the pot and simmered an additional 15 minutes or so until all the veggies were tender.  I served the soup in shallow bowls and sprinkled with sliced green onion tops.  This soup was so flavorful and delicious.  Who needs wontons anyway?  LOL  My summer veggies (squash and zucchini) took the place of wontons in my soup and it couldn't have turned out any better if they had been the "real deal".  I enjoyed my soup with one of my Easy Cheddar Black Pepper Biscuits leftover from Sunday.  I know it's a bit non-traditional (because previously I would have enjoyed an eggroll with my soup)...but I am all about recreating my own traditions and rules when it comes to eating and cooking now.  I can't begin to tell you how liberating that is!  I snapped a few photos of my Summertime Wonton-less Soup below for you to see.  Enjoy!


Monday, July 22, 2013

Greek Style Spinach-Feta Pie

We had a busy weekend getting my son moved into his new place.  So far, everything has come together, except for getting his cable and internet connected (boooo on DirecTV).  They came out Saturday and did not connect it correctly; then rescheduled for today and gave him a "window of 11 hrs" to wait all day long, only to now show; and now, he gets to wait all day long again tomorrow for them to "try again".  So much for customer service, I guess. Enough venting...other than that, everything went well.  Other than making breakfast yesterday, I didn't do any cooking this weekend, so I was REALLY in the mood to have something good for dinner tonight.  I had a pound of fresh organic baby spinach in the fridge and all the rest of the ingredients I needed to make my Greek Style Spinach-Feta Pie.  Since it's one of my favorites, I made that for dinner and now I have lunch made for the rest of the week, too, while I eat up the leftovers...YAY!  I enjoyed it with a big glass of fresh lemonade (freshly squeezed lemon juice, chilled water and a few drops of stevia).  It felt so good to sit down and eat a "meal".  I snapped a few photos below as well as the recipe.  Enjoy!

Greek Style Spinach-Feta Pie



2 cups almond flour
3 tablespoons cold butter, diced into small cubes
1 egg
1 teaspoon Greek Seasoning (or Italian Seasoning), optional 


10 oz. fresh spinach (up to 16 oz), cooked and squeezed dry and chopped coarsely
2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
8 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried dill (or 1 to 2 teaspoons, if using fresh)
1 to 2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
5 eggs (or 1-1/4 cups Egg Beaters)
1/2 cup half-n-half, cream or milk


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Place all crust ingredients in a medium bowl.  Cut butter and egg into flour with a pastry cutter until mixture resembles small pebbles and the flour is thoroughly moistened (the same way you prepare a pie crust).  Press crust mixture into pie dish or tart pan (I used a 10" pyrex pie dish).  Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until lightly browned; remove from oven and set aside.

Increase oven temp to 350 degrees F.  In a non-stick skillet, saute onions and garlic in olive oil until translucent; remove and set aside.  In the same skillet, saute spinach, just until wilted.  Drain and press as much liquid out of the spinach as possible (I use a mesh strainer and press it with the back of a large spoon).  Place well drained spinach in a medium bowl (coarsely chop first, if desired); add cooked onions and garlic, feta, dill, lemon zest, pepper, eggs and half-n-half.  Mix until well combined.  Pour mixture into the lightly baked crust and bake at 350 F for 20 minutes; lower oven temp to 325 F (so edge of crust doesn't over brown); bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until filling and eggs are set and cooked .  If the center still seems a little jiggly, cook an additional few minutes.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Big Sunday Morning Breakfast!

This morning I decided to start first thing with a good breakfast.  Yesterday I started with walking an hour in the nasty heat and humidity and then only had yogurt with some walnuts for a late breakfast.  Afterwards, we helped my son move for about 8 hours and didn't get back home until 9:00 last night without having anything other than a few almonds and some water as a snack during the day.  By the time we got home I had a headache and felt sick/nauseated and was way past the point of food making me feel better.  So...this morning I went all out and had 2 eggs instead of my usual 1 egg, 2 sausages (Applegate's Chicken & Sage), 1 "Easy Cheddar Black Pepper Biscuit" and a small cup of Greek yogurt with blueberries.  Now I am armed with what I need to get out and get some "power shopping" done to help him get his kitchen set up since I ran out of time to do that yesterday -- I am so excited (I know that sounds dorky...but I really am excited to get him set up and make it feel like home).  I snapped a few photos of my breakfast below as well as my recipe for the Easy Cheddar Black Pepper Biscuits.  Enjoy!

Easy Cheddar Black Pepper Biscuits


2 cups almond flour
3 tablespoons "cold" butter, diced
1 egg (or 1/4 cup Egg Beaters)
1 cup sharp shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 - 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
2 teaspoons baking powder (aluminum free)
1/2 cup heavy cream 


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease a baking pan or line with non-stick foil or parchment paper.  

In a medium bowl, add almond flour, butter, egg, 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese, salt, black pepper, baking powdercut in with a pastry cutter/dough blender until crumbly and all flour is slightly moistened and cheese is pulverized into the mixture. Stir in cream and remaining 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese; mix in lightly. Divide and roll dough into 10 to 12  balls (I make 10) and place on a lined cookie sheet; do not flatten dough balls (this will result in a thicker biscuit). Bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 18-20 minutes or until light golden brown; be careful not to overcook.
 Remove from oven; brush tops with melted butter, if desired.


Saturday, July 20, 2013

How I spent my Saturday...

Today was a big day -- my oldest son moved into his new place.  We have it mostly set up, and the biggest disappointment of the day was that they didn't get his cable set no TV before Monday.  I snapped a few photos to share below.  It was bright and sunny most of the day, but we did get caught in some brief thunderstorms while we were walking a couple blocks away to get some cleaning supplies.  All in was a perfect day! Congratulations to my oldest son -- I am so proud of you!!!

Balcony view...

View from the kitchen...

It's beginning to look like "home"...youngest brother is "watching" the TV that didn't get hooked up!  LOL

Friday, July 19, 2013

Friday's Salad Fiesta

It turned out to be a surprisingly sunny day, but rain is in our forecast for the next 5 days.  We are helping my son move into his new place tomorrow, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the rain will hold off tomorrow until we get him moved in.  I am so excited for him -- he has a kitchen to die for, so I can't wait to get my hands on it and get it all set up for him!  This evening I was a little tired and didn't feel like doing a lot in the kitchen and I'm saving my energy for helping him get situated tomorrow, so I made us big main dish salads with chunks of chicken breast on top for our dinner.  I snapped a few photos below for you to see.  Enjoy!

Check out the gorgeous view from his new kitchen!
Here is his kitchen...I can't wait to get it set up!   :-)