Reminder: Cookbook & Apron Set GIVEAWAY Closes Today!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Good Morning! Hoping that you are surviving the heat and drought that seems to have everyone in it's grip. I've given up on some of my potted plants that were not fairing so well. We were blessed with a little rain yesterday -- praying for more.

I wanted to issue a reminder that TODAY is the last day to enter in for the Quail Ridge Press Giveaway -- 2 GREAT new titles and a Faithfulness Farm Apron/Tee-Towel Set. Enter HERE. Drawing is later tonight :)

Low-Carb Living ~ No-Sugar Ketchup & Variations

Friday, July 27, 2012

QUICK reminder -- Have you entered in the GIVEAWAY I am hosting for Quail Ridge Press? -- TWO great new release cookbooks and a Faithfulness Farm Apron/Tee Towel Set -- if not, ENTER  HERE -- the drawing will be July 31st!!

Ketchup -- well the truth of the matter is IT IS FULL OF SUGAR. I have for the most part opted to live without ketchup since my Low Carb journey began and for the most part, I didn't think I missed it. Well, now that #1 son is camping out in my basement and has decided he wants to try the low carb *thing* (he is doing very well at it), he whined asked for ketchup for his eggs (YUCK, lol). I knew Dana Carpender had a recipe in 500 Low-Carb Recipes so I figured I'd give that a whirl.
In Dana's recipe, you assemble the entire thing in the blender. I've made ketchup before and always cooked it. I decided that would be what I did in this recipe too. I sauteed  the onions in the tiniest bit of olive oil and then added the rest of the ingredients and heated until it boiled (put a lid on it as it will splat and get you). Then I used my immersion blender to the ketchup-ie consistency. Boy that stuff smelled GOOD when cooking. Made me want hot dogs - so we grilled some and I can honestly say I HAVE MISSED KETCHUP -- not any more. This recipe is terrific and I will make sure to keep it on hand. Since making this recipe, I have also used this as the base for Dana's Cocktail Sauce for shrimp, Dana's Steak Sauce, 1000 Island Dressing/Sauce for burgers and am now playing with making a BBQ sauce using it as the base -- don't quite have that one right yet but will keep you posted.

Dana's No-Sugar Ketchup

500 Low-Carb Recipes
(Printable Version)

2 - 6 ounce cans tomato paste
1-1/3 cup cider vinegar
2/3 cup water
2/3 cup Splenda
4 tablespoons minced onion
4 cloves garlic
2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon guar or xanthan*

Just throw everything in your blender and run, scraping down the sides from time to time, until the onion and garlic disappear. Store in a snap-top container in the fridge, and use just like any ketchup.

* this item is not essential but makes your ketchup a little thicker and helps keep the water from separating out if don’t use it quickly. I was able to find packets of xanthan by Hodgson Mills at my local Wal-Mart store.

Makes 3 cups, or 24 servings of two tablespoons, each with: 18 Calories; trace Fat ; 1g Protein; 5g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber

Low-Carb Steak Sauce
500 Low-Carb Recipes
(Printable Version)

1/4 cup Dana's No-Sugar Ketchup (see above)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Combine well and store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Yield: 5 servings of 1 Tbsp, each with 2.25g of carbohydrates, a trace of fiber and a trace of protein

Cocktail Sauce
500 Low-Carb Recipes
(Printable Version)

1/4 cup Dana's No-Sugar Ketchup (see above)
1 tsp prepared horseradish
2 or 3 drops Tabasco
1/2 tsp lemon juice

Just stir together and DIP!

Yield: 1/4 cup, with 10 grams of carbohydrate, a trace of fiber and a trace of protein in the whole batch.

Posting to Michael's Foodie Friday, Honey's Potpourri Friday and Sall's Farm Fresh Friday!

Simple Sunday ~ Can You Believe It?!

Sunday, July 22, 2012
My little special man is 6 months old today -- this is him at Gigi's house yesterday all determined to be a crawler -- he ALMOST  has it. Watch out :)
HAPPY 1/2 BIRTHDAY Baby Boy -- LOVE you to the moon and back -- to infinity and beyond!!

Joining Elaine at her Sunny Simple Sunday!

Don't forget to get entered in for the Quail Ridge Press Cookbook Giveaway!!

Cookbook Review ~ Quail Ridge Press & A GIVEAWAY!

Saturday, July 21, 2012
I was contacted by Quail Ridge Press awhile back and asked if I would be interested in doing some reviewing of new releases for them. I get these requests now and again and most I just pass by. THEN I realized I have a book by this publisher -- Best of the Best from Minnesota Cookbook -- it was long ago a gift from a group of gals I worked with when I lived in Minnesota -- it was my going away gift when I moved to Nebraska in 2006. I have LOVED that book and use it often - my friends left me notes all thru the book and I love flipping thru and seeing those sweet messages. Based on my feelings for that book, I gladly signed on to review their TWO new titles.

First up is ---

Hall of Fame of Southern Recipes is FULL of GREAT Southern recipes like Baked Vidalia Onion Dip , Chocolate Cream Supreme, Key Lime Cake, White Chocolate and Lime Mousse Cake and what Southern cookbook would be complete without a version of Red Velvet Cake. I was so impressed with the content of this book. I needed to plan a little get-together to *celebrate* my porch being completed. This book looked to be the answer to *what to serve?*  -- don't all Southern houses have BIG porches?, lol. I choose a couple things that would fit into my low-carb lifestyle and then some yummies for those who don't have to watch their carbs so closely. My menu, Mint Fruit Tea, Cool Benedictine Soup, Boursin Cheese (homemade) with Crudite & water crackers and Cheese Puffs with Chicken Salad - a perfectly refreshing light meal for a summer get-together. I even dug out my vintage snack dishes - the cold soup was PERFECT in the punch cups! Super easy recipes and everyone raved about the yummy food. A TOTAL success!

Mint Fruit Tea
Hall of Fame of Southern Recipes
(Printable Version)

2 long steams of mint
Grated rind of ½ lemon
Grated rind of ¼ orange
4 tea bags or 2 Tbsp loose tea
2 cups boiling water
1/3 cup sugar (you can substitute a no-calorie sweetener)
3-3/4 cups cold water
Juice of 1/2 orange
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Slices of lemon and orange for garnish
Sprigs of mint for garnish

Combine stems if mint, grated rinds, and tea in a heat-proof pitcher or teapot. Pour boiling water over all. Steep 2 minutes. Put remaining ingredients into large pitcher or jar. Strain steeped tea mixture into pitcher and blend. Cool, and pour into tall glass of ice. Garnish with thin slices of orange or lemon and sprigs of mint. Serves 6-8.

Cool Benedictine Soup
Hall of Fame of Southern Recipes
(Printable Version)

3 medium cucumbers
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups sour cream
3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp garlic salt
Several drops of green food coloring
Chopped almonds for garnish

Peel cucumbers and cut into chunks. Puree in food processor. Combine with chicken broth, sour cream, vinegar and seasonings; tint a light green with food coloring. Chill. Serve cold, topped with almonds. Serves 6.

Boursin Cheese – Home Style
Hall of Fame of Southern Recipes
(Printable Version)

8 ounces whipped butter, softened
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp basil
1/4 tsp dill weed
1/4 tsp marjoram
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp thyme

Place butter and cream cheese in large bowl of an electric mixer or food processor. Beat at high speed until smooth and fluffy, stopping motor often to scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula. Add remaining ingredients, and continue to beat until well combined. Pack into containers and allow to mellow for at least 12 hours in refrigerator before serving. Serve cold with crackers or crudite.

Note: Okay to prepare in advance: if wrapped airtight, this will keep for 2 weeks to a month. Do not freeze. Fluff before serving.

Cheese Puffs with Chicken Salad
Hall of Fame of Southern Recipes
(Printable Version)

4 Tbsp butter
1/2 c boiling water
1/2 c all-purpose flour
Dash of salt
2 eggs
1/2 c shredded Swiss Cheese

Melt butter in boiling water. Add ¼ cup flour and a dish of salt. Stir rapidly until mixture leaves side of pan and forms a ball that does not separate. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Add eggs, one at a time and beat until smooth. Stir in cheese. Drop from a teaspoon onto a greased baking sheet, and bake in a 400°F oven for 20 minutes. Cool. And split. Fill with Party Chicken Salad. Unfilled puffs make be kept in freezer.

Party Chicken Salad:

2 c chopped, cooked chicken
1/4 c minced celery
2 Tbsp minced green onion
2 Tbsp mined pimentos
2 Tbsp white wine
1/4 c mayonnaise
1/2 tsp salt
Dash of pepper
1/4 tsp lemon juice
1/4 c sliced almonds

Mix chicken with celery, green onion, pimentos, wine, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, lemon juice and sliced almonds. Fill puffs with chicken salad. Yields: 10-12.


The second book I am reviewing is ......

Skinny Ms. Slow Cooker includes 210 pages FULL of the most scrumptous looking recipes, ALL Healthy Lifestyle geared  -- included are  Spinach and Mozzarella Frittata, Spicy Chili with Fire-Roasted Tomatoes, and Ranch Turkey Sliders . EACH recipe has a beautiful color photo and a side-panel that includes all the nutritional data -- carbs included and you know that is important to me, lol.

First on my list is Steel-Cut Oats w/Peaches and Honey -- Once you go steel-cut, you won't go back AND the best way to prepare steel-cut oats is the slow-cooker. I served this to my company and my Dad talked about it the rest of their visit....very, very yummy! I doubled this recipe to feed my crowd and served with whipped cream and cinnmon for the top.

Steel-Cut Oats w/Peaches and Honey
Skinny Ms. Slow Cooker
(Printable Version)

1 c steel-cut oats
2 ripe peaches, peeled, seeded and sliced into 1-to-inch pieces
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
2 Tbsp honey
1 tsp pure vanilla
2 cups water
2 cups 1% milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)

Add all ingredients to the slow cooker, and stir to combine. Cover, and cook on LOW for 2-2-1/2 hours, or until desired consistency is reached. Yield: 13 1/2-cup servings. 81 calories/13 net carbs per serving.

Next was Garlic Lover's Chicken -- The name says it ALL. This dish was yummy -- I doubled it -- again, I was feeding a crowd and I thought a fight might erupt over the leftovers the next day, lol -- I served fresh green beans and a salad on the side. Very simple, healthy and took little time so I could spend more time enjoying my visitors.

Garlic Lover’s Chicken
Skinny Ms. Slow Cooker
(Printable Version)

20 cloves garlic, chopped (YES, that does read TWENTY)
1 tsp olive oil
4 ounce mushrooms
1 c low-sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp organic cornstarch
2 large boneless, skinless breasts
1/2 c unsweetened almond milk

In a large frying pan, sauté chopped garlic in olive oil over medium-heat. Add mushrooms, and continue to sauté until mushrooms become soft. Pour broth into slow cooker, and whisk in cornstarch. Add remaining ingredients and stir briefly to combine. Cover and cook on HIGH for 4-5 hours. Yield: 4 servings. 199 calories/9 net carbs per serving.

Okay, Quail Ridge Press very generously provided me a copy of these book for review -- they ALSO provided a second set for me to giveaway to one of my dear readers. I've combined that with a HAND-EMBROIDERED Faithfulness Farm, fully reversible APRON & TEE-TOWEL set.
Enter to Win at Faithfulness Farm Blog

The drawing is open to ALL Faithfulness Farm Followers (new followers included) -- as a follower you've already been entered AND as a bonus entry, leave me a sweet comment on this post. A winner will be drawn on JULY 31th.

You may also enter in to win a copy of Skinny Ms. Slow Cooker from Quail Ridge Press -- their drawing will also be on July 31th. Thank you Quail Ridge Press -- I enjoyed the opportunity to review these terrific new releases!!

Low-Carb Living ~ Zesty Lime Shrimp & Avocado Salad

Friday, July 20, 2012

It is HOT here in Nebraska -- I know most of you are dealing with the same hot and dry weather. Salads have been in order here -- lots of them. I had a different recipe prepared to blog today and then we had this for supper last night -- OH. SO. GOOD. Perfect for these relentless summer days!
Zesty Lime Shrimp & Avocado Salad
(Printable Version)

1 lb medium cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined and chopped
1 medium tomato, diced
1 hass avocado, diced
1 jalapeno, seeds removed, diced fine
1/4 cup chopped red onion
Juice of 2 limes
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
sea salt and fresh pepper

In a small bowl combine red onion, lime juice, olive oil, pinch of salt and pepper. Let them marinate at least 5 minutes to mellow the flavor of the onion. In a large bowl combine chopped shrimp, avocado, tomato, jalapeño. Combine all the ingredients together, add cilantro and gently toss. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

The orginal recipe says this is 4 servings -- #1 son and I ate it ALL -- 2 servings came in at 439 calories and 6.25 net carbs (stats figured at Fatsecret) -- very filling and DELICIOUS!! I will be making this again and again as we serve out the dog days of summer.
When I use a recipe that I have gleened from the interenet, I always try to give the original poster credit -- well, this recipe is all over the net and I am not sure it's origins except that I kept seeing that it is a Weight Watchers recipe -- if that is so, THANK-YOU Weight Watchers for a GREAT LOW CARB recipe :)

Sharing at Michael's Foodie Friday, Honey's Potpourri Friday and Sall's Farm Fresh Friday!

Simple Sunday ~ Black Prince Tomatoes

Sunday, July 15, 2012
Aren't they beauties? I picked these on Friday. I saw that there was another one ripe when I watered yesterday evening -- I simply picked and ate it as I finished my watering chores. This is my first time growing this variety and all I can say is that I am FAR from being disappointed. They have produced exactly what the seed catalog said they would -- An heirloom from Irkutsk, Siberia. The 5-oz tomatoes are found and very uniform; the color is a wonderful deep blackish-chocolate brown (you can tell in contrast to the tee-towel that the color is certainly not typical red). The flavor us as deep, sweet and rich as the color. A unique salad tomato; the plants produce a large crop and early; a good tomato for fine markets.

These particular tomatoes will be making their way into a fine salad with freshly cut basil and the rest of the mozzarella pearls for Sunday supper - what are you harvesting this week? :)

Joining Elaine for her Sunny Simple Sunday and The Tablescaper's Seasonal Sunday.

Low-Carb Living ~ Caprese Baked Eggs

Thursday, July 12, 2012
Happy Friday the Thirteenth! When I spied this recipe on Pinterest, I KNEW I would be trying it, loving it and blogging it! Thank you to Jessica from How Sweet It Is who's recipe this is. If you are a low-carber like me, be careful of her blog -- LOTS of delicious looking Food Porn there, lol.

I halved this recipe and served it with a salad for supper -- very filling and I will be making it again soon. I used fresh mozzarella pearls (YUM) and basil from my herb garden.

Caprese Baked Egg Cups
(Printable Version)

8 eggs
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
3-4 ounces mozzarella cheese, chopped
8-10 fresh basil leaves
2 teaspoons cream
salt and pepper, to taste
softened butter

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 4 2x3-1/2-inch ramekins. In each ramekin place few pieces of tomato, cheese and basil. Crack two eggs into each and season with salt and pepper, then add 1/2 teaspoon of cream to each egg to prevent them from drying Add a few tomatoes, cheese and basil on top and set on a baking sheet. Bake for 5-8 minutes, then turn on the broiler and bake for about 5 minutes more Watch carefully to determine how runny/firm you want your yolks. Makes 4 servings.

Net carbs per serving: 3

Posting to Michael's Foodie Friday, Honey's Potpourri Friday and Sall's Farm Fresh Friday!

Taking Tea

Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Image: Flickr
Good Morning!

I just loved the above image when I came across it on Pinterest....doesn't she look like she is having such a great time. I LOVE surrounding myself with these kinds of people - JOYFUL!!

So pull yourself up a chair and pour yourself some tea, hot or iced -- I am going to prattle for a bit.  I thought I would answer some of the email questions that I have been asked recently.

Have you made your 100lb weight loss?

I did. Thank you for asking. Back in April I finally crossed that line -- it isn't the finish for me. I am about 12-13 pounds away from the magical number I weighed on my high school graduation day. I am pretty sure I can get there - I'd like to set the goal of getting there before my 52nd birthday in mid-September BUT will be happy to get there whenever I do. Thank you all for the encouragement you give to me!!

How was your company?

We had a lovely visit. My Mom and Dad (in their 70's) are both in good health and enjoy traveling - I hope they will be back this way soon. They will be headed to spend Labor Day camping with my youngest sister in California. I am planning a quick trip to Arizona in early November - a good time to visit Arizona!

My Minnesota company wasn't company at all but #1 son and his visit wasn't a visit either -- he has moved to NEBRASKA and currently is camping out in my basement until he finds a place. I now have all 4 of my kids close -- I am a super blessed Momma!

How is Baby Gabe?

Well, that boy is my joy! Can you believe he will be 6 months old this month?! He has cut his first tooth (on the 4th of July), is rolling everywhere and attempting to get up on his hands and knees -- watch out, lol! He is a bitty boy, weighing in the 25th percentile and not even on the charts for height -- he takes after his Gigi -- a little shorty!

How are you doing working a 2nd job?/Are you still Fiscal Fasting?

Working a second job has been an adjustment but I feel quite blessed with this arrangement. My weekdays are pretty rushed and mostly work-oriented but I have my weekends free and through the summer months take Thursday's off too. I am still taking the last week of the month and declaring it a NO-SPEND time. Living frugally is my nature and it isn't a hardship and makes me more accountable for the spending I do the rest of the month. I haven't written more about it because, well, no spending is somewhat BORING, lol. I am working on a couple posts though that will fit into Frugal Living. Look for those soon.

How are you adjusting to life after the divorce?/Do you date?

Well, I think I've adjusted well. My marriage was broken for a very long time and I had been separated for a long time many ways, there wasn't much of an adjustment to make -- I'd been adjusting all along. I did get a call this week from a friend who also has gone thru a divorce. She was very sad that her ex-husband had recently remarried and was surprised by her own reaction. I guess like any other grieving process, you find yourself going backwards sometimes. About a year ago a friend recommended DivorceCare. He found it very helpful when his marriage ended - I did too. I recommended it to my friend and I hope it is encouraging to her also. As far as dating is concerned, well, that has to be up to the Lord. Right now my time has a lot of demands on it. I did date a little but found it to be pretty much a disaster, lol....better to leave that in the Lord's hands. Maybe someday :)

Thank you for your sweet comments and emails and always offering me friendship and encouragement. I try to answer each email and Facebook message personally but I do find myself behind at times. If I haven't answered, please email me again. God Bless You :)

Low-Carb Living ~ Vanilla Ice Cream

Friday, July 6, 2012

I scream,
You scream,
WE ALL scream for ICE CREAM!!
Even us low-carb and sugar-free eaters!!

This recipe is inspired by a recipe posted by Cathy at Wives with Knives. Cathy is a superb cook, Farmer's Market vendor and fabulous blogger. You SHOULD be following her :)

When I saw her version, I was pretty sure I could de-carb it -- and I did. I served this ice cream as a treat at #2 daughter's birthday supper - very yummy. I had mine with sugar-free chocolate syrup Y-U-M-M-O!!

Low-Carb, Sugar-free Vanilla Ice Cream (Just, or at least Sorta Like DQ’s)
(Printable Version)

1 envelope Knox gelatin
1/4 c cold water
2 c unsweetened almond milk
1 c splenda
1 Tbsp real vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1-1/2 c heavy cream

Soak gelatin in cold water. Heat almond milk, but do not boil. Remove from heat and add gelatin, splenda, vanilla and salt. Cool and add cream. Chill 5 to 8 hours. Pour into ice cream freezer can. Process according to manufacturer’s directions. Scoop into a freezer storage container, cover well and freeze several hours or overnight. Makes 8 - 1/2 cup servings. 4.5 net carbs per serving.

The next flavor of ice cream I want to try to make is COFFEE -- my favorite :)

Posting this to Honey's Potpourri Friday AND Michael's Foodie Friday AND The Tablescaper's Seasonal Sunday!


Wednesday, July 4, 2012
I've always enjoyed the 4th of July. As a kid and young adult, that was our church picinic day. Many wonderful memories of those fun picnics. I missed the picnic in 1983 -- I was in the hospital having a baby. My #1 son was born 29 years ago today -- all the picnic goers came to see us between picnic and fireworks! For many years son thought the hoopla of the holiday was about him - what a fun day for a birthday!

Happy Birthday Son -- you've grown into a wonderful, caring, special man and your Momma is proud of you!

Happy 4th of July to my friends and readers. Be safe and think on those who sacrificed so much at the inception of this great country we're blessed to call HOME!!

God Bless America!!

The Sounds of the Times!

Monday, July 2, 2012

HAPPY MONDAY and Happy July!! I thought I'd tell you a little about the sounds of my weekend.
Now to qualify what I am going to write next -- I grew up in Southern CA where fireworks, except for licensed, public displays, are outlawed. Way too much of a risk of fires. As a child I never set off fireworks and am as far away from being a piromaniac as you can get since I don't even like striking matches, lol.

The last few night have been LOUD in our area -- lots of fireworks action. It will all come to an end on the 4th -- until then, I keep thinking I am hearing the sounds of war. Do you set off your own fireworks or enjoy a display in your community?

My company arrived late last week and we have been having a time just visiting and enjoying each other's company. Over the weekend I got to go with my Dad on 2 LONG walks -- such great talks happen on walks....especially LONG ones. I love the sound of my Dad's voice -- I hope I can remember what that sounds like forever!
Flatwater Music Festival 2012
On Saturday we ventured out to enjoy the Flatwater Music Festival. What a nice time that was -- perfect evening too -- weather was lovely and enough of a breeze to keep the skeeters away.

Gigi and Gabe at Flatwater Music Festival ~ Hastings, NE
We enjoyed some great Bluegrass, Folk and Old-Timey Country & Gospel music by a variety of different bands. There were also local crafters and artists that had their wares for sale.

Aren't these wind chimes just lovely? You would not believe what a lovely, tinkling sound they made.

As I sat with my grandbaby on my lap and my 2 grown daughters to my left and my Dad and Mom to my right, I couldn't help but think what a blessed woman I am!