Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Fresh Strawberry Coffee Cake - Moist & Delicious

Today I'm going back through some of my favorite recipes that I've shared on guest posts over the years. I found the perfect recipe your upcoming holiday weekend. If you like strawberries, you are going to love this cake. It's full of fresh strawberries and absolutely perfect for summertime. This cake is moist, flavorful and "oh so strawberry!" It literally screams summertime. 

It's chocked full of strawberries and walnuts. It makes 12 generous servings each containing approximately 7 net carbs, 3 grams of sugar and 11 grams of protein! Now how does THAT sound for a power breakfast? If you are one of the many folks over the years that have asked me for breakfast ideas "other than eggs"...this one is for YOU! You could eat it as a dessert or snack, too.

I hope you enjoy this coffee cake as much as I do. This cake is wheat free, grain free, gluten free and has no added sugar and a great addition to add to your low carb menu. You can find the recipe and photos below. Enjoy!

Fresh Strawberry Crunch Coffee Cake

1/4 cup PLUS 2 tablespoons coconut flour, sifted
1/4 cup chia seeds
1-1/4 cups Swerve granular sweetener (or preferred granular sweetener)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon strawberry extract 
2/3 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons oil (coconut oil or extra light olive oil)
3 cups diced strawberries
1 cup chopped walnuts, divided
Half of a 3.5-ounce 70-85% cacao chocolate bar, coarsely chopped into chunks (1-3/4 ounces)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9" x 13” nonstick 
baking pan.

Whisk almond flour, ground flax, coconut flour, chia seeds, sweetener, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon together in a bowl, breaking up any lumps.

In a separate bowl, beat eggs, vanilla extract, strawberry extract, buttermilk and oil together. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in strawberries and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts. Pour batter into prepared pan; spread evenly with a spatula. Top with reserved 1/2 cup chopped walnuts and chocolate chunks.

Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan.


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Asian Style Mandarin Copper River Salmon - Roasted on the Grill

This evening was an absolutely beautiful evening. It was sunny, mid-upper 70s, and lower humidity (for a change). I had a large fresh wild Copper River Sockeye Salmon fillet that I wanted to cook (I bought it at Costco this weekend for $15.99/lb which is a great price). I roasted it in a large open foil packet on the grill. It was delicious. I had a bag of fresh mandarins and decided I'd incorporate them into the recipe. I wanted a light and delicate Asian style flavor, as to not overpower the delicate flavor of the fresh salmon. I included the easy peasy recipe below. I made a very small amount of "marinade/glaze" to brush on the salmon and it took less than 5 minutes to put together and only 12 minutes to roast on the grill at 425 to 450 degrees F (you could do this in the oven as well). I served the salmon with half of a large avocado with a big fat cherry tomato in place of the avocado seed. It was the perfect light summer meal. Check out the photos and recipe below. Enjoy!

Asian Style Mandarin Roasted Copper River Salmon


1 large fresh salmon fillet (1 to 1-1/2 pounds)
1 mandarin orange, cut in half crosswise across the sections
1 to 2 teaspoons organic gluten free Tamari sauce
1/4 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 green spring onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon honey (regular or sugar free honey substitute)
Dash garlic powder
Dash ground cayenne pepper


Preheat grill (or oven) to 425-450 degrees.

Place salmon fillet in center of large sheet of foil. Slice one of the mandarin halves in thin slices (to place atop of salmon). In a small bowl, squeeze the juice out of the remaining mandarin half (about 2 tablespoons). Whisk in Tamari, sesame seeds, green onion, honey, garlic powder and cayenne. Spoon or brush marinade over top of salmon fillet and allow to sit while the grill or oven is heating.

Gently crimp and form foil into a packet around salmon fillet to hold juices as it roasts (keep packet open on top while roasting). Place on hot grill and close lid. Try and maintain grill temperature between 425 and 450 degrees F. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove and transfer foil packet to a platter or baking sheet. Crimp and close packet tightly to allow salmon to continue cooking gently off the heat for about 5 minutes. Squeeze with additional mandarin, if desired, before serving.


Saturday, June 24, 2017

Saturday Morning BOT Omelet - Sunshine on a Cloudy Day!

Happy Saturday! This morning we got up early; I'm not sure why that happens on the days when we could sleep in if we chose. Why doesn't this happen during the week I sometimes wonder. I was in the mood for an omelet...and not just any old omelet, but a BOT (Bacon, Onion & Tomato) omelet. I had a cluster of beautiful red ripe large cherry tomatoes on my tomato plant on the back deck that I tiptoed out on the rain covered deck to pick. I diced up a few strips of bacon, a small chunk of Vidalia onion and quartered my freshly picked tomatoes. I added a pat of Kerrygold butter to the pan and started out by sautéing the onions. When they began to soften, I added the bacon and allowed that to cook until the bacon became crispy and the Vidalia onions were nice and caramelized (about 5 minutes or so). I tossed in the tomatoes and cooked them for an additional minute until they just heated through, purposely not overcooking them so I could still enjoy the fresh tomato taste and texture. I added another pat of butter to a small nonstick skillet and beat 2 eggs, then poured them into the sizzling butter. Once my omelet was cooked, I added the bacon/onion/tomato mixture on top of the omelet as well as some diced spicy 3-alarm Colby-Jack cheese and then folded it in half and slid it onto the plate. The omelet was beautiful and added a bit of sunshine to this cloudy day! I grabbed a cup of coffee and headed out to the porch to enjoy a relaxing Saturday breakfast while we sat and enjoyed breakfast while listening to the rain fall. I snapped a few photos below. I think hubby and I will head out to DeKalb Farmers Market a little later when the rain slows down, but for now, hanging on the porch is the perfect place to be. Enjoy!

The smell of bacon and Vidalia onions cooking in the morning is heavenly

Awaiting the big "fold-over"


Friday, June 16, 2017

Roasted Copper River Salmon w/ Creamy Dijon Mustard Dill Sauce

For dinner this evening, I kept it quick and simple. It was hot and quite muggy here today after the thunderstorms we had last night. I spent the early evening working on a new bagel recipe so the kitchen was already warm from baking. I decided to make Copper River Salmon and was in the mood for a creamy Dijon mustard dill sauce to go on top...but I wasn't in the mood to turn on the oven and the stove again. I roasted the salmon on the grill in a large open foil packet and rather than make a sauce separately, I decided to whip something quick together and spread it on top of the salmon before putting it on the grill. It turned out great! I needed to keep it thick so it didn't run off while the salmon roasted. It was SO easy peasy. I whisked together some mayonnaise, Dijon mustard and fresh dill (you could add a squeeze of honey or honey substitute, too if desired). It stayed on top of the salmon as it roasted and kept the salmon super juicy and moist; hubby and I enjoyed it. I just sliced up some fresh tomatoes on the side and dinner was served! I snapped a few photos below and included the quick and easy recipe. I also included a sneak peek of my bagel experiment today. Enjoy!

Copper River Salmon w/ Creamy Dijon Mustard Dill Sauce


1-1/2 to 2 pounds wild salmon fillets (I used wild Copper River Sockeye)
Sea salt, to taste
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (I used a heaping tablespoon)
1 to 2 teaspoons snipped fresh dill


Preheat grill (or oven) to 425-450 degrees.

Place salmon in center of large sheet of foil. Season with salt. In a small bowl, whisk mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and dill together. Spread the mixture over the top of the salmon. Gently crimp and form foil into an open packet around salmon fillet (keep packet open on top while roasting). Place on hot grill and close lid. Maintain grill temperature between 425 and 450 degrees F. Cook for 12 minutes. Remove and transfer foil packet to a platter or baking sheet. Crimp and close packet to allow salmon to continue cooking gently off the heat for about 5 to 10 minutes. 


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Easy Pan Seared Copper River Salmon N' Sprouts

This evening I made a quick and easy meal. I pan seared fresh Copper River Salmon in Kerrygold butter (about 1 tablespoon) in my nonstick Cuisinart wok that has a flat bottom. It is probably the most easy way to prepare it on top of the stove and takes about 6 minutes. After seasoning it with just sea salt and black pepper, I place it flesh side down in the sizzling butter for about 3-1/2 minutes on medium-high; I then turn it over, give it a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and continue cooking it skin side down for about 3 minutes. While my salmon was cooking, I steamed trimmed and halved fresh baby brussels sprouts in about 1/4 cup of water (covered on high) for 5 minutes in the microwave and then drained them well.

After the salmon was cooked, I scooted it over to a sheet of heavy duty foil and loosely covered it to keep it warm. I wiped out my wok, added another tablespoon or two of Kerrygold butter and as soon as it began sizzling I added the drained steamed sprouts, seasoned them with salt and pepper and lightly sauteed and browned them a bit in the butter. I gave them a little squeeze of fresh lemon juice, too. I placed my sprouts on my plate, added the salmon on top and scattered some fresh blueberries over top (you could omit the berries if you want...but I liked the contrast of flavors). I snapped a quick photo below. Enjoy!


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Easy Chicken Salad - Sunday's Cool Dinner

This evening I wasn't in the mood to prepare anything that would heat up the kitchen and I didn't want to be out in the heat and humidity standing by a hot grill. I was in the mood for chicken salad so I picked up a rotisserie chicken and cut it up. I diced up 1 large stalk of celery, 1/4 of a large red bell pepper, 2 green spring onions and some pickles, then mixed them in with the chicken and added mayonnaise and a bit of sea salt. You'll notice in the photos below that I don't use a lot of mayonnaise in my chicken salad, so it doesn't stick together as tightly as if there more mayo. I don't like a lot of mayo and I don't use a lot of dressing on my salad and I've never really liked gravy...I'm just weird like that!  I topped the chicken salad with chopped roasted almonds and at it "as is" without any additional sides. It was just what I wanted and the best part is that I have enough left to eat for lunch for the next few days, too. Win/win! I snapped a few photos below. Enjoy!


Saturday, June 10, 2017

Copper River Salmon - Greek Spanakopita Style

This morning, hubby and I got up early, around 6:30 a.m. and watered all of our flowers and tomatoes before it got hot. I was so excited when I found out that the "ugly thorned vine" growing on a trellis in our backyard, and one that I almost pulled out this spring, actually turned out to be a raspberry vine with beautiful little ripe raspberries all over it! What a pleasant surprise. They were much smaller than commercial raspberries but brilliant red, super sweet with very tiny seeds. They were some of the prettiest I've ever seen and looked like little red jewels (rubies). I enjoyed them on top of Greek yogurt this afternoon. Since  hubby and I got up so early, we arrived at Costco when they opened this morning to see if they received another shipment of Copper River Salmon...and they had, but not a lot of it. I picked up 3 more packages.

This evening my youngest son came for dinner and I was excited to prepare Copper River Salmon for him. I wanted to make it different so hubby doesn't tire of it -- as for me, I could eat it every single day! I decided to go with a Greek Spanakopita Style theme (topping it with chopped fresh baby spinach, fresh dill, lemon zest, feta cheese, olive oil and black pepper). It turned out amazing! I "roasted" it on my grill using it as an outdoor oven. It took 12 minutes to roast at about 450 degrees in a foil packet opened at the top and then sealed tightly and removed from the heat to sit for about 5 minutes or so. I brushed the salmon with olive oil and gave it a light dusting of Penzey's Greek Seasoning, then topped it with slices of lemon and then the spinach-feta topping. I loved it. I snapped a few photos below and included the easy peasy recipe. Enjoy!

Spike is so excited we're having salmon for dinner -- he LOVES Copper River Salmon!

He's patiently waiting while it cooks on the grill

My first raspberries that I didn't know I had!  

Copper River Salmon - Greek Spanakopita Style 


1-1/2 to 2 pounds wild salmon fillets (I used wild Copper River Sockeye Salmon)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Greek Seasoning (or substitute salt and pepper, to taste)
1 medium lemon, sliced
8 ounces fresh baby spinach, cooked/wilted and chopped
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 to 2 teaspoons fresh dill
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest


Preheat grill (or oven) to 425-450 degrees.

Place salmon in the center of a large sheet of foil. Brush salmon with 1 tablespoon olive oil; season lightly with Greek Seasoning (or salt and pepper). Arrange lemon slices on top of fillet. Gently crimp and form foil into a packet around salmon to contain juices as it roasts (keep packet open on top while roasting). 

In a small bowl, combine remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, spinach, feta cheese, black pepper, dill, and lemon zest. Top salmon with spinach-feta mixture. Place open salmon packet on hot grill (or oven) and close lid. Try to maintain grill temperature between 425 and 450 degrees F. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove and transfer foil packet to a platter or baking sheet. Crimp and close packet tightly to allow salmon to continue cooking gently off the heat for about 5 to 10 minutes. 


Friday, June 9, 2017

Pan Seared Copper River Salmon w/ Lemon Blackberry Butter

This evening I was in the mood for Copper River Salmon again (imagine that). I wanted to keep it simple and fresh. I had some beautiful fresh organic blackberries in the fridge and a bag of baby lemons and I always have Kerrygold butter. So, I decided that would be the base for my salmon dinner tonight. It turned out SO amazing and it took me back to my week in Cordova a few years ago. I remember that they had these bushes that grew wild with what looked like a cross between a raspberry and a blackberry on them, so it seemed fitting to incorporate the blackberries into my recipe. I pan seared my salmon fillets in a large nonstick wok with a flat bottom, mostly because it was so deep that there was little, if any, splattering on the stove which is always a good thing. I had plenty of leftover yellow cauliflower mash from last night's dinner so that's what we had as our side dish...I simply needed to reheat it. The total cooking time for my salmon was under 8 minutes! I literally had prepared, cooked, photographed and served our meal in about 15 minutes total. This is MY kind of fast food for sure. Oh, and the bonus is I got to eat it in my nightgown too! I included a couple photos below as well as my easy peasy recipe. Enjoy!

Pan Seared Copper River Salmon w/ Lemon Blackberry Butter


1 pound wild salmon fillet, cut into 2 or 3 pieces (I used fresh Copper River Sockeye Salmon)
1 to 2 tablespoons butter (I used Kerrygold)
Salt & pepper, to taste
Half of a medium lemon
1/2 cup fresh blackberries (I used Hippie Organics)


Rinse salmon fillets under cool water. Pat completely dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Heat butter in a large nonstick wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Once butter begins to sizzle, place salmon fillets in pan, flesh side down. Cook, for approximately 3-1/2 minutes. Flip fillets over and scatter blackberries around the outer edge of fillets so they can cook in the butter. Reduce heat, if necessary. Cook approximately 3 minutes, gently turning berries over in butter around the edges of pan. Squeeze 1 to 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, or to taste, over top of salmon. As blackberries cook, juices begin to ooze out into the butter; spoon the blackberry butter over top of fillets. Remove from heat and serve topped with blackberries and drizzle butter and pan juices over top of salmon.


Thursday, June 8, 2017

Copper River Salmon - Grill Roasted w/ Lemon, Dill & Butter

This evening we had the BEST dinner EVER! I roasted fresh wild Copper River Salmon and cooked it on the grill in a large foil packet, seasoned with sea salt and topped with pats of Kerrygold butter, fresh dill, and sliced fresh lemons. It was our first Copper River Salmon of the season. It was simple and so delicious.

For our sides, I made my Rich & Thick Cauliflower Mash using a head of yellow cauliflower that I picked up at Sprouts. I also steamed some fresh broccoli to go with our meal. It was one of the best meals I've had in months. I actually prefer wild Copper River Salmon over steak, chicken or any other seafood. Both hubby and I enjoyed it. Even Spike enjoyed it; we always share it with him because it's one of his favorites too. I've been searching for Copper River Salmon for almost 2 weeks and haven't found it anywhere...until last night, that is!

After work yesterday, I made calls all over the area to see who had received their shipment of Copper River Salmon (up until last night, I haven't found it anywhere nearby, except for one place at $60/lb). I hit the Copper River Salmon lottery yesterday though because our Costco had just received their shipment that morning. We grabbed our coolers and headed out. They had 22 packages of the wild Copper River Salmon, of which I purchased 8 packages (I didn't want to be too greedy). The funny thing is that usually they put it in a case all by itself but last night they put it in the same case as their farmed salmon; on the left it was wild Copper River Salmon and on the right side it was the farmed salmon and what a difference...the farmed stuff doesn't even remotely resemble the wild salmon; not in color or texture. It looks sickly and anemic beside the Copper River salmon. Anyway, I brought home between 15 to 16 pounds of salmon...LOL. I was afraid I might not find it again and I wanted to make sure I had plenty "just in case." I snapped a few photos of my meal below as well as included the super simple recipe for salmon roasted outside on the grill (perfect for this hot weather). Enjoy!

Grill Roasted Copper River Salmon w/ Lemon, Dill & Butter


1-1/2 to 2 pounds wild salmon fillets (I used wild Copper River Sockeye)
Sea salt, to taste
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pats
5 to 6 springs of fresh dill
1 medium lemon, sliced


Preheat grill (or oven) to 425-450 degrees.

Place salmon fillets in center of large sheet of foil. Season with salt. Arrange pats of butter, lemon slices and dill over top of fillet. Gently crimp and form foil into a packet around salmon fillet to hold butter and juices as it roasts (keep packet open on top while roasting). Place on hot grill and close lid. Try and maintain grill temperature between 425 and 450 degrees F. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove and transfer foil packet to a platter or baking sheet. Crimp and close packet tightly to allow salmon to continue cooking gently off the heat for about 5 to 10 minutes. 


Sunday, June 4, 2017

Easy Burgers Topped w/ Pimento Cheese On Bubbies Sauerkraut

Late this afternoon the rain finally stopped and the sun actually popped out. It was a nice surprise, especially since I wanted to grill burgers for dinner. As soon as it looked like the sun wasn't just playing tricks on me, I ran out and fired up the grill and made simple burgers, seasoning with just salt and pepper. I served our burgers on top of a bed of Bubbies sauerkraut and topped them with a dollop of Palmetto Pimento Cheese w/ Jalapenos. Palmetto Pimento Cheese is the only commercial brand of pimento cheese my hubby likes. I usually like to make my own pimento cheese but since I was only adding a small dollop to each burger, I just used what I had in the fridge. The burgers turned out great and it was a delicious combination. If you haven't tried Bubbies sauerkraut yet, it's worth trying. It's one of our favorites. I sliced our first little tomatoes and steamed some fresh broccoli and dinner was on the table. I snapped a few photos below. Enjoy!


Simit (Turkish Style Sesame Bagel) - Low Carb, Grain & Gluten Free

Happy Sunday! This morning I woke up early at 6:30 and was in the mood to experiment in the kitchen a bit. It's a gloomy and rainy day here today. Yesterday we finished up with our planting for the season. I planted 3 hydrangea bushes, 2 butterfly bushes and transplanted some plants and planted geraniums in big pots on our patio. I'm glad we got them into the ground yesterday since today is a wash out, literally! I am still on my search for Copper River Salmon. Yesterday morning we got to Costco as soon as they opened. They had been expecting it to be delivered this week but their delivery did not come in. The only place I have been able to locate it in the Atlanta area is at the retail market at Atlanta Fish Market for $60/pound. While I love Copper River Salmon, $60/lb seems a bit unreasonable. If any of you have been able to find it fresh (not frozen) in the area...please share where!

For some reason, when I woke up this morning, I was thinking about Simit (essentially a Turkish style sesame bagel of sorts). It's considered to be "Istanbul street food" because it's sold from carts on street corners all over the city. It is best when it is hot. I remember traveling to Turkey when I was younger and it was sold from carts where it was piled high on trays or on long wooden spikes by men walking around selling it. It was always nice and hot and so good. Unfortunately, since it is a flour based bread, duplicating it without using wheat flour is a bit of a challenge. I began experimenting with my recipe this morning and for the first try, I'm excited. Even if I never get any closer than this morning's version, I'm ecstatic but I'd like to try a couple of other ideas and tweaks to see if I can make it even better. These are delicious, hot and chewy (a rare find in grain free bread) and the toasted sesame flavor is so good. I had half of a simit with my eggs and bacon for breakfast this morning. I will come back later and add the recipe to this post, but I wanted you to take a look at how nicely they turned out. I snapped some photos below. Enjoy!

Before going into the oven

Fresh out of the oven

Simit - Grain Free Turkish Style Sesame Bagel/Bread


8 ounces (2 cups) shredded mozzarella
3 ounces brick style cream cheese
1 cup almond flour
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan (powdery style)
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
2 tablespoons molasses (I used black strap molasses)
3 tablespoons water
1/3 to 1/2 cup sesame seeds (or about 2 ounces)
Olive oil (to lightly oil hands before handling dough)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place mozzarella and cream cheese in a medium bowl. Heat cheese in microwave on high for 45 seconds; stir and heat an additional 30 to 45 seconds or until a hot melted mass of cheese is formed.

While cheese is melting in microwave, stir almond flour, Parmesan, and salt together in a small bowl. Add flour mixture and egg to bowl of hot melted cheese. Working quickly, fold and stir mixture together with a rubber spatula until a ball of dough is formed (make sure cheese mixture is hot before adding flour and egg). In a small bowl, mix molasses and water together (mixture will be thin). Place sesame seeds in a shallow bowl or plate. 

Press dough into bottom of bowl, flattening top down to even out. Divide into 4 even pieces (I cut it into fourths with a knife). Lightly oil hands with olive oil, if desired, to prevent dough from sticking. Using your hands, form dough into a 10 to 12-inch long rope, approximately 1-inch in diameter. Form the rope into a circle and press ends together to seal. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush molasses mixture on both sides of dough circles, then place into sesame seeds, lightly pressing them into both sides of simit. Place on parchment lined baking sheet, about 1 inch apart. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until golden brown (rotate pan half way through for even browning). Serve spread with butter or jam, if desired.

*Note: If dough is too soft to handle, allow to cool for a minute or two to firm up a bit.