Some things are just not going to work out.

And I think I'm okay with it.

It started out with cookies. It's that lovely time of the month where a woman craves sweets more than any other time of the month. *wink* Made a lovely batch of no-bake peanut butter oatmeal (with a smidge of nutella) as a sweet treat. Other than the nutella, everything is organic and lower sugar than all the crazy sugared versions I was finding online. Even though I used a tiny fraction of sugar than most recipes, my husband agreed it could use less, even no added sugar.

Within a half an hour, my ass was praying to the porcelain gawd.  Seriously? Couldn't let me enjoy this? At first I was very disappointed. I tried to make something healthy-ish and my body rejected it like a bad egg.

I spent too many years ignoring these signs, continuing to eat foods that are not good for me, healthy or otherwise. I snuck one more bite and called it good. The boys of the house will enjoy them as a rare treat since it will be stored in the fridge and have a decent shelf life.

Rather than dwell on not being able to eat these, I will focus on the other recipes that I have created that are safer for me. In small quantities and spread out. It's important to list to your body, not force your gut...literally.


What to do with leftover collard greens.

I cannot tell you how big these darn things are! Is this normal? *laughs* I measured one, 16 BIG inches long. Like giant elephant ears. Turned 2 leaves into collard chips (rather tasty!) but still had a couple of leaves left.

Along with other produce from the farmer's market that needed to be cooked as well, I decided to add quinoa with pumpkin seeds as a tasty side.

Pork mixture:
2 pork chops cubed
1 egg
1/2 cup whole wheat flour

Vegetable mixture:
2 bunches broccoli sliced
2 cups sliced collard greens
1 onion sliced
1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup quinoa
1 1/4 cup water
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
salt for taste

Soak cubed pork in egg for 15 minutes, add cube pieces to flour and coat well.

In small saucepan, add quinoa, water and pumpkin seeds and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to simmer for 20 minutes.

Cook pork on medium high temperature until cooked, add vegetable mixture and continue to cook for 15 minutes. Pour apple cider vinegar over mixture, turn off stove and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Serve with a smile! :)


The @#!$ stairs!

Okay, it is no mystery that I do not like exercise but walking is excluded. I like that so I refuse to categorize it as *exercise*. Will be our little secret. Shhh.

Since I've been taking the back way into my work building, Stairs and I have a face off each morning. Nearly feel childish about it, sticking my tongue out as if I was in a school yard or something.  Elevator is my friend, not you! How silly of me!

Elevator has been talking to me about how hurt Stairs feelings are. How I won't even attempt to climb her. (uh, that sounds naughty! LOL) Both Elevator and Stairs are both looking out for what is in my best interest. Damn them! How dare they gang up on me! Elevator has threatened not to work. She has done this to me before. *mutters* Bitch.

Last Monday, I stared at Stairs and begged her to let me ride Elevator. She was going to tattle on me, I just know it. So one stair at a time, I climbed. By the time I got to the third floor, my legs and lungs were trying to figure out if I was intentionally attempting to kill them. I assured them it was not my doing, it was all Elevator and Stairs fault. Took a moment in the hall to catch my breath so my coworkers wouldn't see me gasping for air and my legs regain consciousness.

By Wednesday, I was feeling pretty confident in myself. Ha! I'll show them I can do this! Haven't been by to visit Elevator since she kicked me off...

Well, their evil ploy worked. I still huff and puff a bit but it is getting easier each and every day.


Alaskan Bobotie

Wasn't sure what to call this since it is not the true South African version. I wanted to try the original but did not have the ingredients on hand plus I wanted to add a little more vegetables. One of the ingredients I had to chuckle about is white bread. I can't remember the last time I bought white bread. My son doesn't even like white bread. He will eat it if that is what is served but prefers wheat or other whole grain breads.

Was told by the family this was so terrible, I was never to make it again which translates to, make this tomorrow!! I'll admit, I'm tempted!! It was lick-the-bowl delicious! There is no leftovers for my lunch tomorrow...booohooo!

Prepare to be shocked, there is NO garlic! I had to resist the temptation to add it! I think it would have been delicious to add but wanted to try and stay as close as possible without disrupting the original intended flavor. But I did have to hold back! Just so you know! Ha!

I'm so lucky to have a family who is so patient with all my experiments in the kitchen. Really think this will be good for my son in the long run. Widening his palate as well as teach him healthier eating habits.

1 pound ground meat (I used pork)
1 onion sliced thin
1 apple cubed small (the more tart the better)
1 tablespoon garam masala seasoning
2 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
2 slices whole wheat bread soaked in milk
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1 1/2 cup arugula (or spinach)
2 eggs
salt and pepper to taste

1 egg
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Brown ground meat, add onions until tender (approx 5 mins), add apples and garam masala. Squeeze out excess milk from bread, crumble over mixture. Stir in lemon juice, pumpkin seeds and arugula. Add 1 egg and mix well.

Pour into baking dish and bake covered for 40 minutes.

Mix 1 egg and milk, pour over mixture. Bake an additional 15 minutes uncovered.

Enjoy! Remember to take chances, make mistakes and get messy!!


What if a bear comes out of the woods?

The boy and I went for a walk on the trail this afternoon, just the two of us. Daddy was running behind and was going to take a faster route and meet us at a local burger joint (best fresh burgers in town! Arctic Roadrunner) for our monthly treat out.

I noticed the boy was a bit nervous and staying fairly close. Usually, he is bouncing all over the place. I asked if he was okay. This is how our tender conversation went.

The boy: What if a bear comes out of the woods?
Me: Then I will tell you to run and get help.
The boy: By myself? What will you do?
Me: I will stay and make sure he doesn't follow you.
The boy: (getting misty eyed) Won't you get hurt?
Me: Probably son. It's my job to protect you. You are the most important boy in my life.
The boy: Who would I get help from?
Me: The first person you see on the trail.
The boy: I wish daddy was here, he would fight the bear so we could run away.
Me: I'm sure we will be just fine, daddy is not that far away.

I choked up a bit, but had to think about which route to take this conversation. Could have lied and told him everything was peaches and cream. While I want him to maintain his youthful innocence, it is also important that he understands the wildlife here. It is literally in our backyard. He needs to understand the dangers and what to do when we encounter them.

We made it safe and sound, not a bear in sight. We did however, find a lot of salmon in the creek!


Lentil goulash

With a melody of fresh produce to choose from, I was undecided what to make. The husband took out a package of ground pork. Wasn't really in the mood to cook, kept putting it off. The boys still got hungry...the nerve! I fed them yesterday! What more do they need.

To appease them, I made a quick batch of kale chips. Yea, yea, have to get my weekly PSA plug for kale chips. Remember, that is my evil plot against the world...to get everyone hooked on kale chips.

Darn it, they got hungry again. *grumbles* Guess I should make something.

1 cup cooked lentils
1 pound ground meat
4 small squash sliced medium (I had green and yellow zucchini)
1 head garlic sliced thick
1/4 head cabbage chopped medium
fresh or dried basil (amount to your preference)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup feta

Cook ground meat, when almost cooked, add other vegetables. Cook for 15 mins, add lentils and basil, stir well. Let cook for an additional for 5 mins. Serve topped with feta.

This should keep your gang happy, well until breakfast anyway. *laughs*

Walk a mile in these crocs

I think it is about time to pay homage to my crocs. Go ahead, say it. How can one wear those ghastly looking shoes?! For me, they are the best invention known to man/woman. My feet resemble the same attributes as my overall physical being...short and wide. No joke!

Can't remember why we were visiting Alaska Mill & Feed nearly 5 years ago, we were apartment dwellers and did not have a yard but anyways, I saw those silly looking plastic holed shoes all lined up like toys on a wall. How stupid are those things? Surely, they cannot not be comfortable. As soon as my foot slipped in a pair for further mocking material, I ate crow. I decided on a pair that had the holes on the side, not on the top. Still not a fan of the overall classic holed model. Even I draw the line on its ugliness! Ha!

Three years ago, starting a new job, I needed a new pair of crocs. My brown ones were looking pretty drab. Moving on from my old job after 18 years was a big deal, how else does a girl celebrate? Yep, new crocs, baby! Yes, my husband is lucky that my high ticket shopping items are crocs. *laughs hard*

Decided on a pair of *professional* crocs. No holes and skid proof. That was probably my biggest complaint with my previous pair, did not do well on wet sidewalks. So, style'n with a new pair of crocs, I was ready to conquer the world! Errr, new job!

I've put on a lot of miles on these shoes. They've not given up on me once, given me blisters or sore feet. Wished I had tracked the miles through the past three years on these crocs but can say for a fact that I've been averaging 20 miles a week (for the past 3 months).

So, farewell my trusty friend.

Want to get one of these, but they haven't had my size in awhile. ::cries::

Would love to get my hands errr, feet on a pair of these! Pricy for my budget, maybe one day!

It looks so comfortable and think it would be cool to have gorilla feet!


Not your grandma's meatballs

Stuck by my own motto tonight; Take chances, make mistakes, get messy. I did exactly that! My poor family had no idea that I had a surprise in store for them. Standing quietly in the background, waiting for the first bite to be taken.

The boy: Since serving kale chips with the meatballs, I expected that to vanish before the meatballs could even get a glance at but surprisingly, the boy took a bite of the meatballs. Next thing I know, he is inhaling the meatballs requesting more. Said they were very terrible. I should put them on my blog thing. :o) Gotta love that kid!

The husband: As I expected the boy to do, the husband made up for. Half the kale chips were gone before taking a bite of one of the balls. Poked at the ball a bit. He wasn't sure if it was cooked all the way since it was so tender. Once he determined it was cooked, the balls were devoured. Also, requesting more.

This goes against what we were taught in how to make meatballs. Trust me on this one. Please? I promise you, it is nothing like you've ever had before. The most flavorful and tender ball you ever have in your mouth (those with dirty minds...save it for the bedroom! LOL).

1 cup cooked and smashed sweet potato/yam
1 pound ground pork
1/2 head garlic chopped fine
2 tablespoon whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon ground flax
1 tablespoon raw apple cider
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together well. I get messy and do it with my hand. If you have a fancy mixer, you can use that. Refrigerate for a minimum of 30 mins. Make meatball shapes and cook at medium heat until fully cooked. Approx 15-20 mins.

Serve with your choice in side dish. Since kale chips is a family favorite, I served it with that.

I appreciate feedback, feel free to leave a comment. Don't be afraid to ask questions, either!


Chocolate granola bars

Granola bars are heavenly, I'll sit and eat those until I get a toothache from all the crunching! LOL Another one of those blissful products we thought was *healthier* since it has oats in it. right? Sigh. Afraid not. While it does contain some healthy ingredients, some brands are worst than candy!

My poor dear son takes after me. Loves those crunchy sweet delicious bars and not thrilled since they have not made our way into the cupboards since mom is eating all healthy-like. What's a kid to do? He is lucky his mother loves him is what!

Researching a multitude of recipes, I found most of them contain dried fruit. For diabetics, fruit can be a slippery slope. Many also contain sugar of some kind, healthy or not, still more carbs than I want to consume.

While this is the most popular for me and my family, I do encourage you to add/subtract ingredients. The possibilities are endless!

1 cup rolled oats (not quick cooking kind)
1/4 cup raw chopped cashews
1/4 cup raw walnuts
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon coconut
3 squares baking chocolate chopped fine
2 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoon raw honey

You can either use the oven or stove top method.

Oven: All dry ingredients bake for approx 10 mins in a 350 degree oven. Keep a close eye to ensure your mixture doesn't burn.

Stovetop: Large pan (no oil!) medium heat, stirring frequently until all dry ingredients are toasty brown.

Turn heat off, add butter and chocolate pieces. Mix well until chocolate is melted and coating mixture. Add honey, mix and pour into baking dish lined with wax paper.

Allow to cool and set (approx an hour). Or you can cheat (whistles innocently) and put it in the freezer for about 10 mins. It is a bit of a crumbly mess but well worth it! Make sure you have a napkin under your granola bar. :)

Cilantro Chicken

Had a beautiful bunch of cilantro from the Farmer's Market to use and wasn't in the mood for salsa with the gloomy weather. Was thinking something with a bit of a Mexican flare.

After a long day of work, it needed to be something easy and healthy. Turned out tasty and the 7 year old boy gave his stamp of approval.

1 chicken breast sliced thin (easier to cut ultra thin if left a bit frozen)
1 onion sliced thin
1 head garlic sliced (or less if you prefer)
1 can olives sliced
1 can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon taco seasoning blend (cumin, oregano, chili powder, salt, pepper)
1 bunch cilantro chopped

With oil cook chicken over medium heat until almost cooked, add garlic and onions. Allow to cook for approx 10 mins, add taco seasoning, stir well, add tomato sauce and olives. Lower heat and allow to simmer for 20 mins. Add cilantro and stir frequently until well coated and wilting. Cook for an additional 10 mins.

You have a wide range of sides to choose from: Pasta, rice, tortillas, quinoa or my favorite low carb option...more vegetables! Pictured is cauliflower sliced and lightly sauteed with olive oil and sesame seeds.


6.16 mile walk (Saturday, July 17)

Checking the weather forecast, I knew today was going to be a beautiful day. Wanted to make the most of it since I could see the little *rain* icon on the Sunday box...eeek!

Haven't been to the Saturday Markets in weeks. We've been planning out our weekends with more scrutiny since we gave up our bus passes. Yes, you read that correctly, gave.them.up! After reading updates on a handful of farmers markets we have here in Anchorage, we decided on the south market. It is small and quaint but just jammed packed with goodness.

Knowing we had a good walk ahead of us, made sure we had our basic essentials ready.
Water bottle = check
Backpack with extra recycle bags = check
Soft cooler for veggies = check
Sunglasses = check
Cash = check

These longer walks always have me a bit nervous. I still have over 100 pounds to lose and always question whether or not I can make such a walk. I have the passion and drive but the reality is I'm still pretty darn big. Demanding a lot of my poor legs but she has been so good for so long despite how sore they are afterwards. It is getting easier and easier.

Can't wait for my body to catch up to the image of my current lifestyle. I'm sure many folks look into our basket at the grocery store and just snicker. There is no way we just eat that healthy junk. Surely, our cupboards and fridge are full of crap. I know, I shouldn't let such things enter my head since I'm not physically hearing those things. At least that voice hasn't bugged me about the scale lately. :)

Ok, back to the walk.

We made it to the market. Heel is starting to hurt a little bit but able to work though it. First booth we walk into I was in heaven. Not only did this family farm have awesome produce, he was a certified organic farmer, too! I wanted one of everything! LOL I managed to get 2 bunches of Russian Red Kale ($3x2), beautiful head of cabbage ($5) and a big bunch of cilantro ($3). Brian started going on about making kale chips. The farmer asked how we make them, quickly, Brian said, "you just take them out of the oven and eat them". We all chuckled! It is that easy! I did share my basic recipe and he was intrigued. I was excited!

After that great find, we continued along to check out more booths. We stopped dead in our tracks looking at this most beautiful red romaine lettuce. They had a huge variety but this one won our hearts. We had to grab one at only $2 a head! Brian quickly spotted the strawberries. They were almost as big as the ones I used to indulged in central California. They were so yummy, we didn't make it outside the market before devouring them!


After resting long enough to inhale a quart of strawberries, we set back home. We decided along the way to stop at Costco for milk. They have organic milk we like to buy. Would add a couple extra miles to our walking, what the heck, it is gorgeous out! Knowing our produce was safe from the sun and heat in our cooler, we set off another course.

Wow, the bike path along C Street is awesome! The boy was able to ride ahead faaaaaaar ahead of us and neither of us parents had to worry about him and the traffic (or lions, tigers and bears, guess we still have to worry about those. LOL). Made it to Costco absolutely famished. Only a few dollars left in cash, the boys opted for a hotdog, I dislike hotdogs, didn't want greasy pizza so settled for a chicken bake. Started to feel a bit guilty since I've been so good avoiding processed foods. Ate about half and started to get full (what?! me? I surprised myself). Ate a couple more bites and passed it off to my husband who gladly ate the rest. LOL 

While we were exhausted from our long walk, moaning and groaning that our legs, feet and ankles hurt....we felt awesome in our accomplishment! Finished our blissful day with barbecued chicken tikka and kale (fresh from the market) chips! :)


Lazy man's piccata

I love piccata! The capers are probably my most favorite part. It was late, I was tired but wanted to fix a good dinner. In the past, it would have been so much easier to just pick up the phone and call the pizza or philly joint for dinner. Sure, taste all yummy then I am up for half the night on the toilet. As I have gotten older, my poor body just isn't as resilient to the junk it once used to be.

After poking around the internet, seeing who did what today and any other latest news that would keep me from the kitchen. Yep, was feeling very lazy. Finally, I got hungry. No more excuses.

Did my routine checking of crisper drawers, what meat was taken out, what was in the cupboard. Yes, this is how I plan my menus. *laughs hard* I'm terrible at the advance menu planning, I bow to those that can master that skill AND shop accordingly. Hey, I'm far from perfect.

Saw the capers and knew right away what I wanted. I was in the mood for piccata but then looked at the clock. No way, it was 7:00pm. Too late. What the hell, I can make something like it!

1 pound ground or cubed meat (best with either chicken/turkey or pork)
1/2 head cabbage shredded
1 head of garlic chopped
1 onion sliced thin
3 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup white wine
juice of 2 lemons
1/4 cup capers (more or less to your preference)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese grated

Cook meat over medium heat, when almost cooked, add garlic and onions. Cook until onions become translucent. Add cabbage. Allow to simmer on medium heat for 15 mins. Add butter, wine and capers. Simmer for an additional 15 mins. Serve alone or with pasta. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top. So easy, I had to call it Lazy man's piccata.

Ugly Betty Cookies

Wasn't sure what to call this, they did look on the ugly side. Not those perfect looking round cookies. Once you bite into it, you just want to melt!

It all started with a sweet tooth. I don't keep junk in the house or anything resembling dangerously sweet but the craving was strong enough for me to start scouring the cupboards. Hmmm, I have hazelnut flour, stoneground pastry whole wheat flour, walnuts, coconut, butter, oats (even though I forgot to put it in!), vanilla. Smushed them all together and flattened them out onto a cookie sheet. Viola! We have weird  ugly looking cookies! Hahahaha. Soooo terrible they tasted. *wink*

This recipe is for about a dozen-ish cookies. I purposely make small batches so I can't be tempted to overeat them (that is if they turn out good...lol).

1/2 cup stone ground whole wheat pastry flour (wow, that is a mouthful!)
1/2 cup hazelnut flour
2 tablespoon rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 stick butter
2 tablespoon cold water (may need more)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all together (I use my fingers, I don't have a fancy smancy mixer). Grab a clump or two, about an inch ball. Smush in your palm to flatten, lay on cookie sheet. Bake for approx 10 mins or  until edges are golden brown.


Moroccan Stew

Another *terrible* vegetarian dish. Just awful I tell you, don't even bother trying it. *laughs hard* What is there not to love about a dish like this. Don't be put off by the vegetarian nature of this dish. Full of yummy goodness.

Ingredients may change slightly due to what is available in my refrigerator at the time, but this meal is served every couple of weeks at the most. Doubt it is hardly authentic but from what I've taste in restaurants and recipes over the years, this is a darn close one.

Remember, take chances, make mistakes, get messy. That's the motto in my kitchen, don't be afraid to do the same in yours. Cooking is about fun and love as well as nourishment.

Note: I love the taste of fresh beans. I find the best way is to presoak them the night before going to bed. Then 30 mins before planning to cook dinner, rinse the beans and add to a pot. Add water and let boil for 30 mins or until tender. Rinse under cold water and set aside until ready to add to stew. Canned beans work well too, whether you feel like being lazy or forgot to soak those beans! :o)

3 medium sweet potatoes or yams, cubed
1 onion, medium chunks
1 head garlic (or less, I like lots!)
1 tablespoon garam masala (more or less to your preference)
1 small head cabbage, cut into chunks
1 1/2 cup (or can) black or kidney beans
1 cup water (1/2 cup if using canned beans w/juice)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can coconut milk
1/2 cup cashews (optional)

Cook potatoes under medium heat until almost tender, add garlic, onions and garam masala. Cook 10 mins. Add cabbage. Stir frequently for 10 more mins. Add beans, tomatoes and water. Let simmer for 20 mins. Add coconut milk. Simmer for an additional 10 mins.

Serve with sprinkled cashews on top.


Summer pork burgers w/spinach salad

Even though it was a balmy 55 degree day, I was in the mood for something light and barbecued. Yesterday's beautiful weather had me longing for something related to summer days.

Did my routine scouring the fridge and cupboards. Hmmm, what shall I make today?

Because I had a bunch of kale, couldn't resist making a batch to go with dinner. The boy was asking for more after dinner. Yeah, I know son, they taste terrible.

1 pound ground pork (beef and turkey work great too)
1/2 onion chopped fine
3 cloves garlic chopped fine or minced
1 tablespoon ground flax
1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon hazlenut flour (optional)
2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar

Mix above ingredients well, form into patties (I made 6 medium size patties) and place on bbq grill or broiler in the oven. While the burgers are cooking, make the spinach salad (and kale chips if you are making them fresh. Never can keep a batch on hand, they taste that terrible! *wink*).

2 cups fresh spinach, cut to bite size pieces
1/2 cup chopped goat feta
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar

Mix well. Refrigerate until burgers are ready.

Rare summer day

Not exactly food related but a special enough event to write about so I don't forget. *laughs*

We take summers pretty seriously up here. Such a short season for us so we bask in it as much as we possibly can muster. Yesterday was one of those special days. Temperature rose to a whopping 73 degrees. Don't know if it was the HOTTEST day so far, but sure felt like it after many gloomy depressing cloudy days. Of course it had to be on a Friday workday. As I sat there with my coworkers, the bright sun peering through our windows, laughing at us.

At noon, we got the call we could go. Like children scrambling to bust out for recess, we hurried out. I was itching for the sun to touch my face. The boss lady even offered me a ride home, normally (especially if it was a crappy weather day) I'd take it. But today was special, I wanted to soak in the warm sun. Even slipped between some industrial buildings to gain quick access to the lake. I nearly gasp when I saw the lake glistening, half naked people running around playing and sunbathing. Ahhh, yes, today is summer.

A huge grin was planted firmly on my face the entire walk home. As I walked in my house, I quickly yelled at the boys to get the hell out of the house. We are going on the trail!! The husband was a bit grumpy but did it anyways knowing I wouldn't let up anytime soon. Ha! Smart man. The boy sensed my urgency and hurried himself out the door. They quickly became happy as the glowing sun beat against their bodies. The boy took his shirt off and giggled at the thought of not wearing his shirt in public. His white skin was as bright as the sun.

After a few hours of trekking on the trail and enjoying the lake, we headed back home. Being that it was still very warm and bright, we put the sprinkler up for the boy. I think it is safe to say he enjoyed it.

Even my purple basil enjoyed the rare warm sunshine.

An hour later, temperature dropped, clouds quickly came in and rained. I'm okay with this. The afternoon served us well. I do hope the sun graces us with another day like yesterday.


Indian style lentil soup

This dish is what my 7 year old son requested for his birthday dinner. That lentil soup you made with those papa crunchy things? *laughs* You will need a large stockpot to make this one. Starts out like big hair, then is flat by the end of the day. Ha!

Great served with papadums. Kind of like a lentil cracker. Can usually be found at your local natural/organic grocery store. I'm in the process of learning to make them from scratch. Will update with how that goes. :o)

1 small head cabbage, chopped medium
1 small head cauliflower, chopped
4 carrots sliced
1 head garlic chopped
1 onion chopped
1 cup lentils (your choice, the above photo has 2 kinds, french and green)
5 cups water (may need more, water should go 1/2 inch above vegetables)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can coconut milk (or 1 pint whipping cream)
1 tablespoon garam masala seasoning
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Over medium heat, with a drizzle of olive oil cook onions and garlic. When onions are translucent, add garam masala. Stir for 5 mins, add carrots, cabbage and cauliflower. Let cook for 15 mins, stirring occasionally. Add lentils and water. Bring to a boil, turn down to low medium and let cook for 1.5 hours. Add diced tomatoes and coconut milk (or cream). Turn heat up to medium and cook for another 30 mins.

What's with this RAW movement?

In my journey to healthier eating, raw eating comes up often. I’ve been dismissing it for quite some time. RAW has been finding it’s way to me now. This one friend is a fanatic about it, pushing her green smoothies at every possible opportunity. Because I adore her, I put up with it. (smooch!) The past couple of weeks, I’ve gotten a handful of emails regarding the raw movement from other people.

Hmmm…is that fanatic friend onto something?

The biggest reason I’ve shied away from the raw revolution is I don’t like a lot of vegetables raw. :sigh: Could I be a part time vegan? Or would that be a disgrace to the raw community. Hi! My name is Kathryn, I’m a quarter vegan, half vegetarian and quarter carnivore. Yea, I can see that going over well.

I’m quite open about the lack of tools in my kitchen. This raw business has a hefty upfront cost.

While I can se enjoying a smoothie here and there (oh just shush already fanatic smoothie friend!) but I love eating/chewing food. Can I get pass my own personal hang ups and try this? Could my family get on board?

This is completely out of my comfort zone, which might be what I need. Always love a challenge.


Public Service Announcement

Subject: Salads

It is hard to get past the idea of salads being filling and creative. When one says, "I had a salad for dinner", we immediately think lettuce, carrots, cucumbers and croutons smothered in ranch dressing. I'll admit, I was one of those people who thought salads were boring. Only for those *dieting*.

Then I started up a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) delivery to my home. Full Circle Farm* is my best friend every Wednesday. The family gets into it as well. The boy anxiously awaits to hear the truck pull up in front of house greeted by a cheerful delivery dude. We can't get that box open fast enough!

Our first salad feast was a salad bar. It was a fun dinner to create. The boy helped chop up veggies. Even had grilled chicken breast and cheese. It was a huge hit, everyone could make their own salad how they wanted it.

Isn't he a cutie?

I've seen restaurants serve salad with fruit and wasn't sold on the idea however, our box had the most deep red plump strawberries you'd ever seen, some juicy peaches too. What the heck, I'll toss them in there. Used romaine and spinach. Oh, I know! I have some raw cashews I could pan roast. Hubby barbecued some chicken. Topped with scallions and balsamic dressing, we were in heaven.

Tonight, we got our box and again, couldn't resist making a salad! Fresh lettuce topped with plump blueberries. Caramelized onions, garlic and sundried tomatoes. Hard boiled egg and fresh mozzarella cheese with our favorite balsamic dressing.

Don't be afraid to toss ideas around, literally! Add something you don't normally put in your salad, see how you like it, then keep trying different combinations. I promise you, salad will never be boring again!

*Full Circle Farm is a family owned organic farm operating on 400+ acres, based out of Carnation, Washington. They also serve those of us in Alaska. If you are in the Washington or Alaska states, I'd give them a try! www.fullcirclefarm.com

Chicken Tikka and vegetables

One of my favorite things to eat in a Indian restaurant is the chicken tikka. I'm a bit of a chicken snob. Only like the boobs. I always figured it was something I couldn't tackle because I don't have the kitchen for it. I covet those clay ovens I see at the local restaurant. I should put that on my Christmas list to Santa.

Dear Santa:

All I want for Christmas is a big giant clay oven.


always a good girl *wink*

After much research and torture trials on my family, I've found the perfect and oh-so easy way of doing this. (If you prefer the bbq method, just cube the chicken in a large form then put on skewers.)

2 boneless skinless chicken breast, sliced thin
1 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup quinoa
2/3 cup water

1 small head cauliflower
1 onion sliced
1 head garlic sliced
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (optional)
salt to taste (optional)

Blend 1 teaspoon garam masala, cinnamon and teaspoon salt. Rub mixture on chicken pieces with your hands. Don't be afraid to give those chicken boobs a good massage. (get your mind out of the gutter! lol) Set for 10 mins. Carefully add yogurt over chicken, make sure all pieces get generously coated. Allow to set on counter for 20 mins (this is a good time to start prepping those veggies).

Add quinoa and water, when you reach a full boil, reduce to simmer heat. Simmer for approx 20 mins.

Turn oven on broil. Make sure you use the lowest rack, I remove the 2nd rack, so I have plenty of room. I use a cookie cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet to catch drippings. Making sure the chicken is coated generously with yogurt, lay all pieces on your rack. Put under the broiler in the oven. Usually takes about 10+ mins to start browning. Keep a close eye on the chicken to prevent burning. When nice and brown, turn pieces over and cook until brown to your preference.

While the chicken is broiling, turn the stove onto medium high heat, cook onions and garlic in olive oil. When onions are translucent, add sundried tomatoes, cook for 5 mins, add cauliflower. Simmer for 15 mins. Add sesame seeds and salt (both optional).


Cabbage rolls - low carb style

We can probably agree that cabbage rolls is a past time favorite. My mother did not cook very well in my early years but there were things she did make that were a step up from edible. Cabbage rolls is one of those dishes. It is not a huge carbo loaded dish but still more than I want to give up. I promise you that you will think nothing less of this dish with the missing rice.

1 head of cabbage

1 pound of meat (beef, pork or chicken/turkey)
1 onion chopped small
1 head of garlic chopped small
   (can use less if you prefer. I'm a garlic fiend, remember?)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (or tablespoon dried)
salt and pepper to taste (optional)
1 can organic tomato sauce

1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Drop whole head cabbage in a  pot of boiling water. Turn down to low high heat, let cook for 15 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. Cut around the steam carefully, making it easier to peel the outer layers. It is good to peel at least 2 leaves per person (I always add 1 extra leaf so I can have it for lunch tomorrow). Chop up the remainder of the cabbage. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cook ground meat, after 10 mins, add onions and garlic. Add chopped cabbage, basil and salt/pepper. Let simmer for 15 mins. Add a spoonful of mixture in a cabbage leave. I like them on the plump side (no pun intended!). Remember the leaves are fragile, carefully overlap the edges of the cabbage leaf, folded side down on a lightly oiled baking dish. Repeat until all cabbage leaves are filled. You should have a spoonful-ish of mixture left. Turn the heat up to high, add tomato sauce. Once bubbling, turn off and pour over cabbage rolls. Bake for 20 mins. Add parmesan cheese and bake for 10 more mins.

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I can't do this.

I'm not smart enough.

I'm not thin enough.

I'm not pretty enough.

I'm not good enough.

You know what, self? YOU ARE WRONG!

I thought the scale was diabolical enough. Oh no! Me, myself and I are far more cruel than the scale could ever be. What is up with that? What have I done to myself that deserves this kind of treatment. I certainly would not take such attitude from someone else, myself should not be excluded.

You know what I can do? I can love. Support. Cook. Walk 22 miles in one week. Squeeze into those pants I thought for sure would be too tight. I can even resist the scale. I can walk past a donut shop, smell that sugary goodness, smile and keep on walking. Tell my child no means no. I can beat my husband at battleship. I can do lots of things.

I don't have time for this attitude. Go check yourself in the closet. You and the scale would make good friends. I'll check in from time to time...when I need a roll of toilet paper.


Cupcake pies

I used to be a carbo fiend. Not to say that I couldn't easily go back to the dark side. I don't want to. It is important to me to instill good healthy habits for my son. He is a 7 year old boy, he desires sweets like any other kid. I could be the good mother and bake him cookies, cakes and yummy delicious pies. There is a huge problem with this...I WOULD EAT IT ALL!! Surely, that won't do me any good to put myself in that position.

Been really good resisting the birthday cakes and other goodies at work functions but to have it taunting me in my own home is another story all together. Not fair to do that to the sweets, or to me! How can I compromise? I could buy stuff from the store and freeze it in portions. A couple of big problems. I can't pronounce most of the ingredients! We won't even mention the nutritional label! Sometimes it is a curse to have educated myself on healthier (organic) eating.

I know! I can do it myself! Oh, wait a minute. Can I? I haven't baked in years. I can just about cook anything but baking requires precision. Bah! I hate measuring and all those perfect instructions you have to follow to a T. You know, I nearly flunked Home Ec in high school due to this problem. My stuff came out yummy (even then, LOL). But you have to do it EXACTLY as the recipe book says. I nearly rebelled.

Ok, back to the cupcake pies. I found making a big pie or cobbler was just too messy to section out and freeze. If only I could make them the size of cupcakes, THAT would be a perfect portion...

Edit to add: After serving 3 for the family, I freeze the rest. They work great for a quick dessert on nights you don't feel like making dessert. You can thaw them or eat them straight out of the freezer, uhh the cat told me. *wink*

2 cups stone ground whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup hazelnut flour
1/2 cup stone ground whole wheat flour
1 stick butter
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar

4 apricots diced
1 apple diced
1 pint fresh blueberries
3 tablespoon rolled oats (not quick cooking)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened unrefined coconut
1 tablespoon pure vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

Note: I urge you to be creative with your filling. What fruit is in season? What do you have in your fridge? There is no such thing as a bad combo. :)

Mix all filling ingredients in a bowl, set aside. Do not refrigerate.

Mix all dry ingredients together. Add butter, blend until you get the consistency of cornmeal (since I don't have fancy smancy tools, I just use my fingers). Add water and mix carefully. Let sit in the refrigerator for minimum 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease cupcake pan.

Take a section of dough, approx.. 1 inch ball. Roll out flat, you want it to be larger than the cupcake hole. Need to accommodate the depth as well as have it stand out a bit (see photo example below). When you have all holes set with dough, add filling near the top of the hole. Bake for 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Should make nearly 2 dozen. That is if you don't eat about 3 cupcakes worth of dough. *looks innocent*  Um, err, the cat did it.

Click image for print friendly recipe card.


My unhealthy obsession

Or is it?


I have fond memories of driving past Gilroy, California, smelling the garlic. Especially during the Garlic Festival. *swoons* Garlic can abuse me anytime it wants, I am at it's mercy. I can just picture my husband rolling his eyes at me. There she goes...being dramatic again. It's only garlic. He is lucky I'm still married to him.

It's one thing that I put mounds of fresh garlic in my dishes, but I have a secret confession to make. I love peeling them. Not with the fancy smancy garlic press (although I think Pampered Chef makes a nifty one). Not crushing it with the knife trick. I'm talking, one clove at a time, carefully peeling the papery skin away from the garlic. Not a flesh wound in sight. If there was a garlic peeling contest at the State Fair, I'd surely win!

With the sounds of craziness surrounding me, I find solace in the eye of the storm, peeling garlic. No one seems to bother me when I am peeling garlic, not even the cats. Although, my dear boy has been expressing some curiosity in those little cloves. He loves to eat them (yes, this boy is after my own heart). He even attempted to peel a couple himself, did quite well. I did have to shoo him away, this was MY TIME!

If you haven't introduced garlic into your cooking, you should. A natural way to bring life to your dishes.  :o)

Remember...take chances, make mistakes, get messy.


Caper surprise

I love capers. Just plain love 'em. Other than having sodium in it, everything else points to the healthy side of things. Couldn't be any happier!

My son is learning to like them. Doesn't share my admiration for them (yet) but then again, he is only 7. Can't remember if I liked them or not when I was 7. There were plenty I didn't like so they could have made the list. He asked why I made this dinner with them in it, I said it was a surprise. Hence the name, Caper Surprise. He tried to resist at first. Finally, I said he could move them over to the side. After he was done, I noticed 3 little capers. Hmm, maybe they weren't so bad after all. LOL

This can be served with (brown or basmati) rice, quinoa, pasta or my favorite, lentils. So easy to cook up. Takes approx. the same amount of time as rice, maybe a wee bit longer. *wink* No presoaking needed! :)

2 pork chops cubed
1 onion sliced
1 garlic (I used 1 full head, use what is preferred in your home)
2 carrots sliced
1 large zucchini chopped small
1 (small) head cauliflower sliced
3 tablespoons capers
1 tablespoon butter (optional)
Salt & pepper to taste

1/2 cup dried lentils
1 1/4 cup water

In small saucepan add lentil beans and water (add a teaspoon salt (optional)). Bring to boil. Let broil for 5 mins, cover and let cook on low heat for 20+ mins or until tender.

While the lentils are cooking, in medium high heat, cook pork cubes in a little olive oil. When almost cooked, add garlic and onions. Cook for 10 mins stirring frequently. Lower heat to medium and add carrots and cauliflower, cook for additional 10 mins. Add zucchini until tender. Add capers and butter, cover and let simmer for 10 mins.

Click image for print friendly recipe card.

I almost caved...

into that stupid demonic device also known as (insert dramatic theme music here) THE SCALE.

Why today? I haven't been on it since mid March. Barely a thought here and there. Maybe because I had too much alone time in the bathroom? (hey! I'm a mother, enough said.) There I was peacefully taking my dump, staring at that hall closet door. Thinking about 'it'. It wouldn't hurt to peek...right? I know I've lost weight so can't be too disappointing...right?

Then I slapped myself silly (well, not literally).

Of course I am going to be disappointed!! I desire to be 140 pounds! No way in hell am I that! Naturally, I'm going to be disappointed of a completely unrealistic goal.

Since I used the last of the toilet paper roll, I had to go to the closet to get another roll. I saw it, laughing at me. Immediately put on my mean face, "FU scale!" Shut the door and exclaimed, 'Ha! Who is laughing now!!?? Huh, huh?!". The cats were confused to why I was yelling at the closet door.

Sometimes, ignorance is bliss. I am proud to say I still do not know how much I weigh. My loose jeans tell me I'm doing great. That's all I needed to hear, I am GREAT. :o)

How is everyone else doing on their no-scale goal?


Pizza and other ramblings...

I can remember growing up with a diabetic mother. Information on what you could or couldn't eat back then was so sketchy. I wish I could find a time machine, go back and yell at my mother for not taking better care of herself. Can't blame her 100% for not understanding the disease but at the same time, she is at least 50% responsible in seeking the information.

I remember when I was first diagnosed. I knew what was expected and naturally, I didn't like it. I. LOVE. FOOD! Saw a flash of my future and didn't like it. My doctor was scared for me due to my dangerously high sugar readings. I just got mad. Mad at myself, mad at my husband, mad at my parents, mad at the mailman...just plain mad.

One of the comfort foods I was mourning most was pizza. The greasy cheese and pepperoni glistening in the light. *sniff* The aroma of freshly delivered pizza fills the room. *ahhhh* Ok, maybe I am being a little dramatic about this.

Diabetic or not, pizza is a no-go zone when it comes to *dieting*. Took me nearly 2 years to find something acceptable to serve my family (meaning it didn't taste like crap).

While this is still on the high end of carbs, it is far healthier than take-out/delivery. I make it once every couple of weeks. We can't stand the taste of regular pizza anymore.

I want to talk about flour. It's a diabetics/dieters enemy. It doesn't play fair. LOL After much research, stone-ground whole wheat flour is a godsend. You will see it listed in all my recipes that would call for flour. You are more than welcome to change it to whatever you want, but know the results will not be the same nor will the health benefits.

2  1/2 cup   Stone ground whole wheat flour**
2 teaspoons    yeast
1 teaspoon   salt
1 tablespoon    raw  honey
1/4 cup    olive oil
1 tablespoon   sesame seeds (optional)
2 tablespoons   rolled oats (optional)
       (not quick cooking kind)
1 1/4 cup  tap hot water

I like to get messy, I use my hands to mix the ingredients together. You want the dough to be slightly moist. Use more flour or water depending to achieve the right texture. Roll into a ball and rest into a lightly oiled bowl, cover tightly. Let sit for a minimum of an hour.

Knead until you have a nice glossy dough. Usually takes approx. 3-5 minutes. Whole wheat dough is more fragile than regular dough. With practice, it will become more natural to work with. Don't fret things in the beginning. If you've never worked with whole wheat flour before, you'll likely to screw it up. If it does start breaking, promise me you'll laugh at yourself. Darn it, that lady did say this would happen! Just smush it back together and try again.

A lightly oiled (pam works good) cookie sheet (I use a old large sheet, a well seasoned stone will work nicely, too), carefully knead the dough to the edges of the pan. I find that it helps if your fingers have a little oil on them while stretching the dough, makes it more pliable.

Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 5 mins. Take out of oven, add your toppings. Insert back into the oven for 10-15 mins. Edges of dough will be toasted.

Family favorite: slivered onions, olives, chopped fresh spinach and/or basil, colby & mozzarella cheese and sun-dried tomatoes. We do not use a tomato based sauce. It's a personal preference. Feel free to add sauce or try it without. Be adventurous. Mix your toppings.

**When I have it stocked in my freezer, often times I will use a cup of Bob's Red Mill rye flour (+ 1 1/2 cup stone ground whole wheat flour). Gives a wonderful robust flavor. Doesn't taste like *rye*, just a stronger flavor.