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Saturday, July 4, 2020

It's the 4th



Happy 4th of July to all my American friends, and to friends in other countries, Happy Saturday or Sunday!

Friday, July 3, 2020

Low Carb Gluten Free Zucchini Bread



As any of you who read this blog know, I am up to my ears in zucchini. This is the first time I have ever grown it because it is not my favorite squash. I much prefer basic yellow crookneck squash, but TheHub accidentally brought home yellow zucchini instead of yellow crookneck. A mistake anyone could make right? (NO!) Especially since the package said yellow ZUCCHINI, not squash. But I digress.

Now I am having to find interesting ways to use the zuke, while maintaining a keto diet. It has not been easy and I think I have about 10 of those suckers in the crisper right now.
 I decided to try my luck with zucchini bread, but not just any recipe. Instead I opted to use a keto recipe. I am copying the recipe as given, but will share afterward what I will change next time I make it. I feel the the given recipe is kind of like the first draft of a movie script. The basics are perfectly fine but it needs a little punching up to make it good.

Keto Zucchini Bread

2 medium zucchini grated
1 1/4 cup almond flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
3 tablespoons confectioners Swerve
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon apple pie spice  (3/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/8 t.nutmeg, 1/8t. allspice)
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 beaten eggs
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350
Line the bottom of a loaf pan with parchment and generously grease the sides of the pan
Put the grated zuke in a colander and squeeze as much liquid out of it as you can.
In a large bowl mix the flours, Swerve, baking powder, spices, and salt.
In a smaller bowl mix the eggs, melted butter, cream and vanilla extract. Stir to blend well.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir to combine completely. Add the zucchini and mix well.
Spoon it into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula
Bake about 50 minutes, but check after 30. If the top looks too brown cover the pan with foil to finish cooking.
Remove form oven and let it cool. Take it out of the pan, place on a cutting board pan and cut into slices, I halved each slice because the is how I wanted it. You do you and slice it however you want to., I cut mine into 8 slices, then cut each slice in half

I was underwhelmed with the finished product but it has some potential. It was not bad, in fact it was almost tasty, but was just a tad too bland. This is what I will do next time. Son3, who is not keto at a slice and declared it "not bad".

The following changes should make it good. We will see.

Variation 1: Add 1 tablespoon brown sugar Swerve
Add a dash of ginger to the spice mix
Add 1/3 cup chopped walnuts with adding the zucchini

Variation 2: Omit the spices add all the above additions  (except for ginger) and also add 1/4 cup sugar free mini chocolate chips.

Update: I put a smear of cream cheese and a dab of sugar free apricot jam. It turned so so into something seriously tasty. Experimentation is the key to life I guess.

I have so much zucchini I am probably going to try at least one of these versions again tomorrow







Thursday, July 2, 2020

Summer



I actually remember the summer of 69. It was not the best time of my life. It was also not the worst time of my life. I was not old enough to do anything really  fun and certainly not old enough to get into trouble, unless being sassy to your mom constituted trouble. In my house__it did!

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Half of the 2020 Joys Are Done





The year is halfway over. Can you believe it? And what a year it has been! And I mean that not in the
best way possible. I do not like to hurry time, but I am glad we are on the downhill side of this year.
When I look at the daily joy posts for the year 2020 I hope I will see a dramatic difference from the first half of the year to the later part.
 I am still busy looking for the daily joys that occur knowing that each day has something joyous but also knowing some days I might have to look really hard to find it.

Wednesday: Talk about a tiny joy! I was outside on the front stoop dead heading a hanging impatiens basket when I saw something move. I am so glad I had my phone in my pocket so I could capture a picture of a lizard that was less than 2 inches long from the top of it's snout to the tip of its tail. I watched it watching me for several minutes.


                                For scale this blossom is slightly larger than a silver dollar.


Thursday: I have mentioned before, four absolutely darling girls  live 2 houses down the street from me. A lot of times if I am on the screened porch having coffee, I can hear and see them playing. I don't think I will ever live in a retirement home unless one day I am forced into assisted living. I love the sounds of kids playing, the thump of a basketball on a driveway,  the giggles when a group of kids ride by on their bikes, or the sounds of the toddlers and babies who are out for walks with their parents and asking a million questions. Fortunately I live in a mixed age neighborhood so I get to see people my age, older than me, younger than me, and children on a regular basis.
I found a snow cone machine at the lake place when I was cleaning it last weekend. It has outlived its usefulness for our home, and needed to live elsewhere. I asked the girl's Mom if they could have it, and she said they would be very excited to get it.  I also found 2 nearly full reams of copier paper at Mom's that had been shoved into a cabinet and the ends  were curled. Since I could not use it to copy,  I figured it would make great art paper for  the girls. Later in the evening  I received  pictures, sent to my phone, of them having snow cones while drawing. Made me very happy!

Friday: My cousin  was coming to Mom's to pick up the furniture her neighbor needs for his transition into assisted living in the early evening.  It was a small joy, but it meant my sister and I could wait until later to go to Mom's. I was able enjoy a couple of cups of coffee without rushing and get a few chores done at home without having to leave to run to Mom's. An added joy? In addition to the things D. had asked about, she took a toaster, a few wind up toys,  and most importantly a table that had belonged to my grandmother. Neither of us wanted it, but we wanted it to stay in the family, so now that is done and we are happy!

Saturday: I spent most of the day working in the house to get things in order before Son3 and DIL3 escape from NYC to have a couple of weeks lounging around the house. I can't imagine being quarantined in a 2 bedroom apartment since March with my main escape either dashing to the grocery store or sitting on the fire escape. Here, they can swim, hang out in the yard, grill food, and have friends over for a distanced patio visit.
I guess my biggest joy for the day was getting the laundry room fridge completely cleaned out, and making a huge dent in the rest of the room. I have too much stuff!

Sunday: After watching our online church services, I started tackling the kitchen. I needed to completely clean out the cabinets and drawers, fridge and pantry. Things look really nice now and that brings me some joy. We also watched a couple of episodes of The Man in the High Castle. We finished the series because we wanted to be through with it when our Son and DIL arrive. That makes me happy, but I do admit the final episode was pretty unsatisfying.  I am not crazy about story lines that are portrayed as important and vital to the tale which are dropped when a hurried ending is needed.

Monday: I spent the day cleaning, but I have find something joyous to do when I have tasks. I take my tablet and pull up a Netflix documentary. I turn the volume up and just listen as I clean. Works like a charm and I don't feel as isolated, except when vacuuming of course.
I had one other very small joy but it was a true one. I love to go to sleep reading with classical music playing in the background. TheHub has always needed complete darkness and silence in the bedroom. (I don't understand it because he falls asleep every night in his chair in the den with the lights on and the TV going) Now with my iPad set on the black screen I can finallynread in bed without disturbing him, but silence has been a must.
I always go to bed much later than he does and. make as little noise as possible while I am getting into bed. Last night I  was brushing my teeth and came out of the bathroom to the sounds of a thunderstorm. I was not surprised because we had them a few times during the day and evening, but it turned out that he had found white noise on the Dot, so I got to read then fall asleep listening to thunder and rain. I loved it!

Tuesday: My sister and I finally tackled the walk in closet in Mom's finished basement. Now the room is nicely displayed and looks like a Christmas shop. I knew Mom had a lot of decorations, I just had no idea how many. I am pretty sure she was over the legal limit for Santa's. There were a couple of finds that thrilled my sister and I beyond belief.  We found two old molded light bulbs that were on the tree when Mom was a young girl. Of course they no longer burn, they never have in my lifetime, but I was overjoyed to find them. We will each have one for our tree this year. We also found some ornaments that hung on every tree I can remember from childhood on, and an ornament from Mom and Dad's first tree. Priceless!
Added bonus? We emptied about 90 percent of the closet. Next stop is the unfinished part of the basement and Dad's workshop. Thankfully the basement was dad's domain and Dad was very organized so everything is neat and neatly labeled.

Hope you all find some joys this week. They are out there if we just look for them!



Monday, June 29, 2020

Food, Glorious Food?

It is that time of the week to see how my food plan went. Did I follow it, boot it, or just give up and do take out all week? Since my days are full with all the exciting things I get to do now so much the same, day in and day out, I am slowly becoming a shell of myself.  I have taken on the  Rhett Butler mantra and "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn" about much of anything right now.
Have any of you noticed that since Covid and the desolation quarantine, life falls into 4 categories: housework( I am counting working at Mom's in the housework category, even though not much is getting done at my personal home) , cooking, yard work, and Netflix.
And now I have whined enough and need to finish this post quickly so I can move on to my next fun event___repairing a toilet, and finishing the cleaning, then off to Home Depot to buy a screened door for the lake place.

1. Grilled chicken, grilled pineapple, zucchini fries, coleslaw
2. Mediterranean salad, rolls or keto rolls
3. Grilled steak, tossed salad, rolls or keto rolls
4. Zucchini gratin, sliced tomatoes, coleslaw
5. Seared scallops, asparagus, onion cucumber tomato salad, toast
6. Takeout
7. Greek chicken salad on lettuce leaves, toast or rolls

Monday: We worked at Mom's again. This time we were mostly in the finished basement. We were washing down several of the surfaces with a mild bleach water solution. After coming home, I took a shower immediately and still smelled like bleach, or maybe I just had the bleach smell in my brain and could not get it out. There was no way I wanted to touch or prepare meats.
Zucchini au gratin, coleslaw, sliced tomatoes, toast

Tuesday: We had planned on grilling out, but the rain declared otherwise. I had nothing else defrosted and was not going to cook a steak indoors, so . . .
Mediterranean salad
Harvest:4 zucchini 8 radishes, cukes are blooming like crazy and green beans are beginning to bloom

Wednesday:I finally cancelled my Misfit Market subscription. I was tired of getting spoiled produce, or whatever they decided was enough for two. In the last box I got a completely ruined butternut squash, wilted limp lettuce and 6 collard leaves. I am unsure who thought 6 leaves would be enough for two servings Obviously not someone from the south. After I had it cooked, there was about 1/3 cup, so we each got a couple of tablespoons. This is not the way we eat them!  TheHub stopped by Publix on his way home and grabbed a Mojo rotisserie chicken.
Rotisserie chicken,  squash, collards

Thursday: Finally it was evening and not raining. I took it as a sign that it was time to cook one of TheHub's Father's Day presents!  Son2 has been at Mom's a couple of days while we were sorting through things and has heard me declare I want no more stuff. I guess he took it to heart, and gave TheHub 2 gorgeous strip steaks for Father's Day.  Something consumable was the perfect present. Because we are a couple of old farts we do not eat as much meat as we once did, we stuck one in the freezer and shared one.
Grilled strip steak, salad, roll or keto roll

Friday: I had planned on cooking in but my cousin could not be at Mom's to pick up the items she needed for her friend until later in the evening. My sister and I worked sorting and pricing until they got there and it was after 6 when I finally got back to my house, TheHub was busy at work and had not eaten all day, so we decided to run out and pick something up.
Full Moon's pulled pork plate with collards and tomatoes
Harvest: 1 zucchini 

Saturday: TheHub and I spent the day getting things ready at the house for Son3 and DIL3's visit. I spent a lot of time at Mom's both before and after her death, and I have neglected my own home. I started in the laundry room and am moving backward through the house. Yuck! We decided we would have a quick dinner and focus on using some of this zucchini.
Seated scallops, zucchini fries, tomato slices, coleslaw
Harvest 3 zucchini

Sunday: Son2 had given me some yellow squash and after a thorough refrigerator cleaning I decided the squash had to be cooked immediately. After the squash was sautéed with some chopped onion I changed the dinner plans to something simple yet delicious (at least to us)
Squash, corn on the cob (or none) sliced tomatoes, coleslaw
Harvest: 3 zucchini, 1 radish (I pulled the radishes because the cucumbers are choking them)

I am doing something different with the meal plan this time. Son3 and DIL3 arrive here mid week and plan on staying a week and a half or possibly 2 weeks. Instead of doing a weekly plan I thought I would just list several different meal options, based mainly on what I have on hand.
These may or may not happen and most likely will be subtracted from or added to, based on what is or isn't happening with the garden, personal tastes, and what everyone is in the mood for.

1.   Herb stuffed boneless leg of lamb, rice pilaf, asparagus, tossed salad, rolls
2.   Hamburgers and all the fixings, zucchini fries 
3.   Chicken enchiladas, Mexican street corn, green salad
4.   White bbq chicken, coleslaw, green beans, Texas toast
5.   Pulled pork, baked beans, caulitato salad, pickles, buns
6.   Lady peas, corn, fried okra, cucumber tomato and onion salad, cornbread
7.   Grilled grouper, sautéed crab claws, tossed. salad, broccoli, Italian bread
8.   Ham, au gratin potatoes, collard greens, dinner rolls
9.   Steak, twice baked potato, tossed salad 
10. Snapper, zucchini fritters, sliced tomatoes, Greek bread 
11. Fettuccine al fredo, tossed salad. Italian bread
12. Greek chicken salad on lettuce leaves, crusty rolls or baguette
13. Squash, green beans, fried green tomatoes, coleslaw, cornbread
14. Grilled tuna steaks with mango salsa, zucchini fries, tossed salad, rolls
15. Bruschetta, tossed salad, assorted cheeses
16. Fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, coleslaw, green beans
17. Greek meatloaf, potatoes, tomato slices, green beans.

Of course take out is always an option too. I guess time will tell how this all works out!

SHOPPING LIST:
tomatoes
lettuce (depending on the garden)
rolls
lady peas
cucumbers (depending on the garden)
broccoli
okra
grouper
crab claws
snapper
Greek bread
potatoes
collards
mango
baguette
Fried Chicken (I will buy that at Publix. It is better than mine anyway)
texas tost
dinner rolls

p.s. I am in desperate need of any and all zucchini recipes. Pretty soon I am going to be one of those crazy ladies who sits on the front steps with a basket of zucchini. If a car passes with an open window it might be a victim of a random zucchini toss. Just sayin'!




Thursday, June 25, 2020

Gluten Free, Sugar Free Magic Cookies

Now some of you are probably thinking, "Yum! Magic Bars! " like those ooey gooey bites of deliciousness made with sweetened condensed milk. Just stop! Nothing sugar free is ooey gooey. It just isn't so get over it. Instead concentrate of a tasty bite that is not too bad for you. These little jewels come in at slightly under 2 net carbs each, plus they are a snap to make. I honestly don't know yet how they freeze, but I stuck mine in the freezer anyway, because if they are on my radar I will eat them.

Magic Cookies

1/4 cup coconut oil
3 tablespoons butter, softened
3 tablespoons erythritol (I use Swerve)
4 egg yolks
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1 cup sugar free chocolate bite (I use Lily's)
3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Fill 24 mini muffin cups with paper liners. (Alternately put parchment on  a baking pan with sides) Preheat oven to 350
Mix the coconut oil and the butter, add the Swerve and stir well. Toss in the egg yolks and blend until they are smooth and creamy, then stir in the salt. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix everything together.
Fill the muffin cups to the top of the cup, or make mounds of dough on the lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes. There will be a ton of melted oil in the bottom of the muffin tins or on the parchment. It is normal so don't worry about it.

 Let them cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a rack. Learn from me and do not peel the liners off the cookies until they are almost completely cool.

And the verdict? When TheHub asked me how they tased I told hime they were keto good. The translation of that is they are pretty good, bordering on  really tasty but not like the real thing.. He ate a couple and agreed they are not bad, then he fixed himself a hot fudge sundae, which he liked much better. Don't be dissuaded though. They were good enough that I ate 3 before I popped them in the freezer. I like them and depending on how they taste after freezing I will make them again. If they do not freeze well I probably won't make them because I just can't have this many around me. Before I know what is happening I will have eaten 6 of them.. If you are wanting something sweet but watching carbs or gluten, this recipe is  really good

Just added: They are much much better the second day!


Wednesday, June 24, 2020

25 Weeks Have Passed?

We just finished the 25th week of the year and now it is official. . .


Every week this year I stop and recount the joys I find each day. To be honest it is getting harder and harder for me, because the days are all the same. I am still not going anywhere except for a quick grocery trip or to Mom's. I wear a mask when I go out and now that it is so damn hot I will limit my outings even more, because that mask wearing thing is just sweltering.
I have read a few bloggers who write that the isolation is not bothering them. Well it is driving me nuts! I love having folks over for dinner, I love going out to eat, I love having people visit for the weekend, I love going to the theater, I love going to movies, I love hearing live music, I love volunteering, and I love being around people. Some down time at home is fine, but this excessive gardening, yard work and sorting through Mom's possessions hanging out at home is sucking the life out of me.

Wednesday: One of the joys for the day was the gift of not having to go to Mom's for anything except to check the mail, and empty the dehumidifier. While I was there, a cousin called and asked if we had a couple of items she needed for a former neighbor of hers. It is time for him to go into assisted living and has no family left to make arrangements, so they are taking over the roll of his offspring.  He will be in a studio apartment and needs furniture that has a smaller profile than anything he owns,  Fortunately we are able to oblige, so a bed, a small recliner and a club chair are spoken for. I did tell her it was silly to move it twice, so it will stay where it is until next weekend when they physically move him in. They are such a great couple to do this for someone who needs help. I guess there is double joy. One is being able to help them with their mission and another is that a few pieces of furniture are headed out the door.

Thursday: When we were cleaning out Mom's kitchen we found some things we both remembered from our childhood, that Mom had hidden placed in the deepest recesses of a corner cabinet. We both went home with treasures, at least treasures to us. I got a set of vintage  pyrex mixing bowls (red, green, blue and yellow) and my sister got a partial set of vintage pyrex refrigerator containers (blue and red).  The memories they evoke are priceless and I am pretty sure I can still smell the butterbeans Mom would store in the blue fridge dish!

Friday: I have no idea what joys were out there. Friday came and went with little fanfare. I did work in the veggie beds a little and was excited that the potatoes were finally shooting through the soil. Also I shopped at Aldi and found everything I was looking for, but I needed very little. so it was not a great accomplishment.  I did find a cute little pair of knock about flats for 4.99. Oh and something that might not be a joy to most but thrilled the entire street?  My next door neighbor was having some issues and was placed in a facility quite a while back. Her house has been empty with her son, who lives in Chicago, having her POA. I know things are difficult for him to handle from afar, but her grass weeds were about 4 1/2 feet tall. I did not mind looking at them, but they were blowing seed all over my yard, and I was tired of pulling imported weeds. While I was out working in the yard, he arrived and met someone who chopped the weeds mowed the lawn. Thanks to the yard guy's huge booming voice I heard he was going to be mowing it every other week. Wonderful! It will at least keep the potential weed seed from forming.
Following that we had our new traditional Friday night, because all our norms have changed. We had a quick dinner then watched another episode of The Man in the High Castle.

Saturday: We worked in the yard here, then went to the lake. TheHub worked outside but I did not. My knee was killing me, so I stayed in the cabin and did some inside work. The lake was hopping so I got to watch a lot of boats go by, then we stayed late enough to see the beginnings of the rose colored water that happens at sunset. Since we left late and had not eaten we stopped at Full Moon and grabbed bbq to bring home.  Small joys but any day without cooking is pretty joyful.

Sunday:  We are getting spoiled by our streaming church service. Do you think when church starts back full force anyone will mind if I go in my pajamas? We have established a new Sunday morning tradition; coffee and cinnamon rolls with God, and it is going to be a hard habit to break. I would be more than happy to take enough to share with everyone sitting on the same pew we are sitting on.
After working in the yard most of the day, we cleaned up and had guests. Son2 and DIL2 stopped by for a Father's Day visit. We were hoping they would eat with us, but they decided to get on back to their house. Too bad they didn't, because they missed a delicious meal!

Monday: We worked in Mom's finished basement and it was yet another day of finding out she never got rid of anything. We also found out that Dad had totally neglected his downstairs office which was totally different than the main floor office where he kept all of their personal info. We did find a few interesting things there, among all the work documents he had kept beginning sometime in the 50's. We found two newspaper articles about our great grandfather that we had never seen before and a permanent train pass for our great uncle (the oldest of our grandfather's siblings) and his wife that a issued in 1937. In addition to that we found a grotesque wooden scale that Mom would never throw out because "Margie sent me an arrangement in it". I hope I am never sentimental about crap. (Unless it is crap my kids made in school when they were young)

Tuesday: I was lucky to talk with one of Mom's best friends. She had been out of town staying with her daughter through quarantine and just returned on Monday.  She was always so kind to Mom and would call her regularly or drop by for a short visit. I really enjoyed our telephone visit very much. Other than that the day was__crickets!

See I told you I am having trouble finding joy, but by crackie, I am still trying. Since this week is the last week in the first half of the year, I am going to be more intentional about looking for joy and if I can't find it, I am going to create it!