Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Honey Oatmeal Sugar Cookies

Cook With Honey by Judy Collins
I was a little dismayed that I had already used Sugar, Sugar by The Archies and briefly considered using it again for this post anyway.  But then I wandered around my iTunes library and found this perfectly acceptable pairing from my Judy Collins collection.  Honey has been on my brain lately.  I'll be telling you why shortly.  But, in the meantime, click on the link in the song title and take a trip to 1973!

A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity
to spend the day at my brother and sister-in-law's
bakery and cafe in Bountiful, Utah.
and they serve delicious soups,
salads, and sandwiches as well as cookies,
brownies, pies, and all sorts of
goodies to satisfy your sweet tooth!
It was fun to be back in a 
commercial kitchen again!

Honey has been my principal sweetener 
the past several months and I've learned
to use it in both savory and sweet dishes.
example of one of the savory recipes
I've come up with.
And today's recipe is a sweet offering.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Berry Patriotic Rice Krispie Treats


Yankee Doodle Dandy by James Cagney
This was one of my favorite songs to sing when I was a little kid.  I mean, any song that has the word "doodle" in it is going to be fun to sing, right?  Just try to sing this and not feel happy!  And I am certainly happy and proud to be a Yankee.  Not as in the baseball team - but a true Yank!  I've been called a Yankee or Yank when I've been in the southern United States as I've always been a northerner.  I've also been called a Yank when traveling abroad.  And I own it loud and proud.  I hope you're celebrating this great nation this Independence Day!

This might very well be the most
dangerous post I've ever done!
I'm happy to report that my
eyelashes are working just fine 
and doing what they're put there to do!

Let me explain!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Piggy Piggy Tacos

If You're Gonna Play In Texas (You Gotta Have A Fiddle In The Band) by Alabama
Today's post originated as I sat in a taco shop while visiting my daughter in Texas a few weeks back.  I was in the process of thanking the Lord that I was introducing corn back into my diet and that it was going well - and that I got to enjoy the end results of some really great culinary thinking!  A song about Texas was in order.  And this just happens to be one of my favorites!  And if you're gonna eat in Texas - you gotta really like to eat good food!

My daughter and her family
moved to the Dallas area about a year 
and a half ago.
They, in fact, live on the very 
southern edge of Plano.
It's a much further commute to see them
than when they lived in the Salt Lake City area.
And, for this reason,
I don't get to see them as often.
(Insert HUGE sad face here.)

The plus side of the situation
is that we're all getting to know 
a new part of the country - 
well - new to us.
We've visited before,
but only briefly.

Now, the strategy seems to be
that they search and explore
and then, when we come to visit,
they share the best parts of
what they've found.
That's a pretty sweet setup, don't you think?

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Honey and Spice Pork Roast


Free Fallin' by Tom Petty
My husband just fell off his chair in shock - I can guarantee that.  I can foresee the future!  I can already hear the "WHOA!" from the den when he reads this.  My children - and grandchildren - across the western United States most likely also issued words of surprise. You see it's a well-known fact in my family that I've never learned to appreciate Tom Petty's music.  But my husband is a fan in a very BIG way!  And because Father's Day is this weekend and he is an amazing father, I give this recipe and post to him.  And all the other men out there who seem to find an emotional connection with this song!


My husband's fierce love of Tom Petty's music
instilled in him the mission to be sure
his grandchildren were fans as well.
He starts young.
Like birth.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Middle Eastern Basmati Rice

Midnight At the Oasis by Maria Muldaur
I've traveled quite a bit but never to the Middle East.  So in choosing a song for this week's recipe I grabbed at the first song that popped into my mind when I thought "Hmmmm.  A song that reminds me of the Middle East....."  It was 1974 and I was 14 years old growing up in a busy steel town in northwestern Pennsylvania.  And this song was the only information I had regarding what life must be like living as a nomad in the desert.  I could picture it - the beautiful oasis surrounded by tall palm trees.  It was all imagery overload for an impressionable young teen.  My mother pursed her lips whenever it came on the radio so that told me that "kick up a little dust" was probably more than shuffling along the sand dunes really quick.  Hahaha!  But this song formed my view of life in the Middle East until well into adulthood.  Too bad I hadn't known about the spices - that would have completed the picture so nicely!

While in Salt Lake City, Utah
recently, we joined my brother and sister-in-law
for lunch at a Middle Eastern restaurant.
I was worried if I'd find something
I could eat within the AIP guidelines.
Luckily there were a few options!
I looked longingly at the bread, though!
Gluten and grains!!!!
I miss you!!!

Sadly, I can't remember what I ordered.
I know it was good.
Apparently not memorable.
But as soon as my husband's plate
came out with the most beautiful
yellow rice on it, I had eyes 
for nothing else!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Beachy Steak Salad

 Don't Worry Baby by The Beach Boys
The recipe I'm sharing today came along at just the right moment - and SAVED me!  Yes - saved me! And as it's a fresh-mex beachy kind of dish, who else could I invite to the occasion but The Beach Boys.  My oldest daughter was the one who narrowed it down to this particular song of theirs.  It is a song of comfort - of soothing.  Which is exactly what happened the moment I ate this for the first time - and every time since.

Who knew salad could be 
a comfort food?!
I always thought comfort 
from food had to include
some sort of velvety
sauce and squishy textured
food that sort of melted
into all the recesses of your mouth.
But apparently not!

So we're over the Rice Krispie
Treat stage - and might I add that 
they all turned out fabulous
and were well received!
But through it all,
I have STILL been doing
that AIP diet.
I am in the reintroduction phase
and it's a slow one so I still won't be
having any grains or legumes until June/July.
Still no tomatoes, potatoes,
cheese, or corn.
Some of those are 
coming up soon though!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Toasted Coconut Rice Krispie Treats


Easy by The Commodores
Hahaha!  I always get a good laugh when I hear this song!  I have a very particular moment attached to it from my teen years.  I'm riding in the car on my way to the mall and it comes on the radio.  My mom is driving.  I'm riding shotgun.  I start to sing along, naturally.  I loved this song.  My mom is listening quietly - or thinking about what she's going to do later, I don't know, she's just quiet.  But, she is, in fact, listening to me sing.  And suddenly starts chastising me for singing such a song!  She was only listening to parts of the words - namely the chorus - where I'm singing "Yeah, I'm easy!  Easy like Sunday morning!"  She pontificated on my poor judgment to sing a song that would lead young men to believe I was a girl of loose morals!  I should know better than that - putting ideas into their heads!  Haha!  And then when the guttural cry at about 2:47 (my favorite part) takes place - and I do it justice - she is completely exasperated!  I cautiously smile and let her know that she needs to hear the whole song and know that I'm not advertising myself at all!  To my surprise, she gave up the sermon and let me enjoy the rest of the song - and even smiled herself!  Haha!  But I share it today because this recipe is soooo easy!  Like a Sunday morning!  Oooooo!

I think this might be the last of the
Rice Krispie Treat experimenting!
My intention was to do another
flavor combination - 
like Coconut Lime -
which would have been awesome!

And even though, by nature,
Rice Krispie Treats are as easy
as it comes,
I wanted something
even EASIER!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Salted Caramel Rice Krispie Treats

No Salt On Her Tail by The Mamas and The Papas
This is a sweet, sweet song from this iconic band of my youth!  It's about letting her go - letting her be free.  And who is "her"?  I guess it could be anybody who is leaving.  And I thought this sweet song was fitting for today's post.  Even though my "baby girl" left the nest years ago, she is getting married.  And that's always a new chapter in a parent's life as well as that of their child's.

This weeks' Rice Krispie treat
took a few turns before it came to 
a final stop in this form!
It's all fun experimenting, though!

I found some Salted Caramel
candy melts at the craft store.
Something told me to buy them.
I listened.
And they were the "win"
in this final version.

Let's talk, for a minute,
about any sweet treat
that's been "salted."

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Muddy Buddy Rice Krispie Treats

We're Going to Be Friends by The White Stripes
I LOOOOVE this song!  It recalls school days - early school days for me.  Not because the song was popular in my elementary days - Jack White wasn't even alive back then!  But it's skippy, happy-go-lucky rhythm makes me think of the days when I'd walk over to play at my friends' houses.  There were four of us that were good friends - myself, Kathie, Meg, and Julie - and we lived in a teeny tiny little town in Pennsylvania nestled around the Allegheny National Forest. We loved to jump rope, play house, or meet at the playground.  This song about friends just floods my mind with memories of those childhood friends.  And Rice Krispie Treats are for kids, right?  I'm finding out that that may not necessarily be so!

I'm continuing with my 
Rice Krispie Treat 
experimentation for my
daughter's "wedding cake."

This one isn't too inventive
but I did have to do a few batches to
get the ratio just right.
The first batch was too hard
to bite into.
The reasons were twofold.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Lemon Lavender Rice Krispie Treats


Leather and Lace by Stevie Nicks and Don Henley
Have I ever told you about the time Stevie Nicks and I shared a soul?  No?  Well, I'll save that for another post.  But today I'm sharing a dessert that's scented with lavender.  And in my mind the thought connection goes like this - lavender ~ lace ~ romance ~ Leather and Lace by two of my favorite artists of all time.  Stevie Nicks is spellbinding when she performs.  Don Henley is my favorite Eagle and his voice is balm to my soul.  Another thing about Henley - he reminds me a lot of my uncles in his appearance - hairline, eyes - he could be related.  And that's all I'm going to say about that.

I know Valentine's Day was yesterday
but romance is in the air in my
home right now as my
youngest is getting married in a
couple months!

All the preparations!!

Well, neither she nor her fiancé
like frosting and have 
chosen to not have the traditional
wedding cake.

So what do they like?

Rice Krispie Treats!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Roasted Apples


You Make Me Feel Brand New by The Stylistics
I got desperate today and felt like I just HAD to have a dessert type of food.  So I figured I'd give roasting some apples a try - without any sweetener.  I was expecting average at best.  But folks, I could have cried!  These were sooooo good!  And soooo easy!  And I truly felt new life being breathed into my soul with every bite!  I felt brand new!  And I felt that maybe I will be able to see this experiment to the end!  Sugar Free Roasted Apples - who knew?!?!

There once was a woman who wasn't 
allowed to have sugar for awhile.
This made her very sad because
she LOVED dessert.

Every day she went without sugar
she felt much better
but, still, she missed it so much!

One wintry day, she felt like
she just couldn't handle it any more!
Snowy cold days were usually
when she would make something yummy
and sweet in her oven - 
warming her home and her tummy
at the same time.

With hope and optimism in her heart
she heated her oven to 375 degrees.
She went to her refrigerator to see
if she could find some inspiration.
She also couldn't eat anything with flour
or butter or eggs so it was a challenge.

She noticed that she had an 
abundance of apples in all sorts of 
varieties and colors.
She selected five of them
and washed them and peeled them 
and cut them into big chunks.

She sprinkled them with a little salt
because she knew that doing
that would bring out the sweetness
already in the apples.
Then she added a bit of cinnamon, too.
Then she went to her pantry to see
what other ingredients she was 
allowed to eat that she could add.
She found some coconut oil
and a bottle of vanilla bean paste.
After heating the coconut oil,
she stirred in some of the vanilla
and covered all those apple 
slices with it.
The apple slices thanked her!
The woman placed the apples into
a sprayed baking dish and,
with a prayer in her heart that
the lack of sugar would not
hinder the satisfaction she craved,
she put the dish into the oven.

Within minutes her home
was filled with the scent of
apples and cinnamon - much to the joy of 
the inhabitants therein!

She peeked now and then and
was pleased to see the transformation
of the apples with tiny bits of
caramelization here and there.
The caramel color told her that
the natural sweetness in the apples
was being made even sweeter.
Her spirits soared!
After 40 minutes she
removed the apples and stirred
them around to coat them with the
drippings in the dish.
She scooped some of the 
soft apples into a dish.
"Oh! If I could only have some cream
to go with these beautiful apples!" 
she cried.

But then she remembered
how often she had used
coconut milk to fill the need
for cow's milk!

She warmed some coconut
milk and then ladled a few spoonfuls
over the steaming apples.
She raised a spoon of the
scented fruit to her lips
and tasted her creation.

She made a loud
"MMMMM!"
and then exclaimed
"Oh my goodness!!"
and all those around
became desirous to taste
the apples, too.
And she shared.

She felt like a new woman!
She was filled with hope
and with a new determination
that - if she could have
something that tasted THIS GOOD
and still be within the confines 
of her diet - she would be able to
be completely satisfied!!

Her apples were good!
They were very, very good!
Fit for a queen, even!

With triumph in her voice
she exclaimed, 
"Who needs sugar!!"
"Not I," said the woman.
"Not I," said her grandchildren.
"Not I," said her daughter.
"Not I," said her husband.

And the woman happily dreamt of the next day
when she would roast more apples.

Roasted Apples
serves 5

5 - 6 apples
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or
beans from half of one vanilla pod
1/2 cup coconut milk, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Peel and core the apples and cut into large chunks.

Coat a baking dish with cooking spray and place apple chunks in it.

Sprinkle with the salt and cinnamon.  Set aside.

Melt the coconut oil and then stir in the vanilla.  Pour over apples and stir to coat evenly.

Place in heated oven and roast for 40 minutes or til starting to brown on edges.

Remove and serve with cream or coconut milk.





Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Mini Lamb Meatballs in Mushroom Sauce

Hold On by Wilson Phillips
This has been my mantra for 31 days now.  My post will explain further.  But I've been doing something very difficult - for me - with hopeful promise of better days ahead.  And at the end of each day I congratulate myself for making it one more day - and send myself encouraging thoughts to just hold on for yet one more day.  Day by day.  That's how you do hard things.

Right after my last post I went to an 
appointment with my endocrinologist.
I've had concerns with the growing number of
autoimmune issues I've been having.
She had some encouraging words for me
and gave me some homework.
First, to read a book about the root causes of
autoimmune diseases.
Second, to check out something called the
AIP diet - which stands for Autoimmune Protocol.
The book was very clinical and difficult for me 
to get through but I pressed forward
and learned about some hopeful new thoughts
about my situation.
Then I checked out the diet.

This isn't a diet to lose weight -
with which I am very familiar!
This is a diet designed to heal your gut.
It's not meant to be a lifetime way of eating.
It's diagnostic to see what foods
could be making your body ill 
and attack itself.
You begin by eliminating a vast amount
of food from your diet by either a weaning process
or by cold turkey - your choice.
Then you go through a 30 day elimination
phase without these foods - designed to 
give your gut time to settle down and heal.
Then you begin reintroducing foods back
 in a slow and methodical manner.

There are a few differing opinions in
the AIP diet community as to which 
foods are OK to eat and which are not.
But the majority of the foods are agreed upon.
It took me a good long week to
rumble with myself as to how would be 
best to approach this huge undertaking.
I chose to start cold turkey because
I wanted to start getting results faster.

Cold turkey - even though we had a two week
vacation the first part of January!
Was I nuts?!?!?!

Probably - but we are ALWAYS traveling
and trying to find a long stretch of time
where I'd be home just wasn't feasible.
So, January 1, I started.

My list of NO foods are as follows:
Grains
Dairy
Legumes
Soy
Nuts
Seeds
Eggs
Nightshade vegetables (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant)
Shellfish
Canola, sesame, sunflower, flaxseed oils
Sugar
Chocolate (let's pause for the impact with this one!)

The YES foods:
Meats
Poultry
Fish
Fruits
All vegetables that aren't nightshades
Coconut, olive, avocado oils
Animal fats
And I allowed myself Rice

Scary right?

I eat simply now.

And the results?

I feel better than I ever have!
I am beginning to think I've never known
what it's like to not feel bloated and gassy.
It's a beautiful feeling!
Weight loss has been a pleasant 
side effect for me.

Today I start to reintroduce.
I've made up a calendar for when I get to
say hello to all the foods I've eliminated.
Shellfish is my first one.
March 15 is chocolate.
I'm LIVING for March 15!

One of my YES foods is lamb.
I haven't cooked much with lamb
but, when your choices are limited, you 
expand your horizons, right?

I came up with this recipe and am 
really happy how it turned out!
I thought I'd share it in case others out there
might be looking for foods within
the protocol.
Or even if you just wanted to
try lamb and were afraid to try!
I made them mini for my grandkids
(who, incidentally, ate them up!)
but you could turn it into a loaf or larger meatballs!

Mini Lamb Meatballs with Mushroom Sauce
serves 4

For meatballs:
1 lb. ground lamb
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 Tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon grated ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix ingredients together in a bowl until well combined.  Shape into mini meatballs and place in a mini-muffin tin.  Bake for 20 - 25 minutes.

While meatballs are baking make the Mushroom Sauce.

Mushroom Sauce:
8 oz. of mushrooms, sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 - 2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 - 3/4 cup coconut milk (I used light)

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium high heat.  Add the mushrooms and stir to coat with the oil.  Sprinkle with the salt and cook until they start to get a dark golden brown.  Stir in the chicken stock and cook until it reduces by half.  Remove pan from heat and stir in the coconut milk.  Return to heat and continue to cook it down until it reduces by half.  Remove cooked meatballs from the oven and toss into the pan with the mushroom sauce and stir to coat.  Serve while hot.