Thursday, August 30, 2018

Labor Day Is Nearly Here So I need to Labor Today

We were driving back from the lake place last weekend and TheHub asked who we could invite down for the Labor Day weekend. Hmmmmm? I had no immediate ideas.

Generally we don't go to the lake then because Alabama's football season opener is the Saturday of the holiday weekend and TheHub and Son(whichever is available and wants to go) head to a different city (often Atlanta) to watch the game. This year the opener is in Miami and they don't want to go there just to watch a ball game. For the first time in years, I will actually share the tv with someone else on game day.

Obviously we asked Son2 and almost DIL2, but I was at a loss about asking anyone else. I know Mom hates it there and if she won't come My Beloved Sister and BIL can't come either. (One of us stays in town for Mom emergencies when the other leaves)

We were about halfway home when I thought about inviting TheHub's sister and brother-in-law, and our niece (his brother's daughter) and her adorable son. SIL lives about 4 hours east (north of Atlanta) and our niece is about 3 hours south of us near the coast. It was a long shot they they both would be able to visit but it worked out. I am so glad I thought of them and really do look forward to spending time with all of them. (Did I mention how stinking adorable J.P. is?)

They will be arriving Saturday mid morning which is wonderful. It gives us Friday night to make sure all the little critter bodies (ants and millipedes, which seem to fall from thin air when the cabin is empty) are swept, and the spider webs at the door are knocked down. (And yes, I know battling the spiders is futile and honestly when it is just us we leave them intact except for what is necessary to get through the door. They are a great first line of defense in keeping the mosquitos from entering the place.) The beds are made and the bathrooms are ready, so just dusting and sweeping are really needed to be ready for them.

Additionally, TheHub's cousin lost her husband a couple of weeks ago. She lives about an hour south of the lake place so he called her and invited her up for Sunday. She and her (adult ) son are coming for the day and hopefully they will be there early.  We would have invited TheHub's brother and his wife too, but they have a place on the gulf and have plans with their son and his wife there. Salt water and waves trump the lake everyday!

We decided food is important but we also decided we did not want to spend our time cooking rather than enjoying our family. We planned a menu and most of it can be done ahead of time. I plan to spend today and tomorrow morning getting the food ready so all I really will have to do (mostly) is heat and serve.

Weekend menu

Mid morning
some sort of sweet roll just in case anyone gets there early

Hot dogs, chips, cole slaw

BBQ, ribs (bought and brought in) corn on the cob, green beans, sliced tomatoes, sliced cukes, rolls and Keto cheesecakes (I am not telling they are Keto. I took them to my family reunion last week and they all were eaten so I am guessing they got the non-Keto seal of approval)

Game Snacks:
Chips, dip, tortilla chips, salsa, crudité.

Sister Schubert or Millie Ray rolls (freezer section of the grocery store. If you can't find these I do feel sorry for you because they are delicious)
Scrambled eggs and bacon
pancake options (regular or blueberry)

BBQ chicken (both traditional and white sauce) potato salad, baked beans, tossed salad, rolls, and strawberry shortcake (Yes, I am buying those little cake things they sell next to the strawberries. Sue me!)

Burgers with all the fixings, chips and any warmed up leftovers anyone wants, cookies.

Pancake options, eggs and bacon

Leftovers or grilled cheese sandwiches

Now I have to get my tail up and start prepping. Anything that can be chopped, sliced, baked, blended, infused, or beaten is happening today and tomorrow morning. Then we are off for a wonderful weekend!

What are your Labor Day weekend plans (if you live in the states) or your first weekend in September if not, or your plans for the weekend for whatever calendar you follow?

Thursday, August 23, 2018

What's Happening Hot Stuff

I probably should not have titled this post like I did, but I seem to have some sort of morbid fascination with the movie Sixteen Candles and watch snippets of it whenever I am channel surfing and it is on. One of my favorites is the above line by Long Duck Dong.

It is early morning and I have hot rolls baking as I speak. (type?)  I am smelling bread and thinking of a hot rolls slathered in butter, hence "hot stuff". These are not rolls in any traditional sense because I am following a ketogenic way of eating and no grains are allowed. If you have issues with wheat or glutens or just want to try something a little different this might be a decent alternative to traditional bread. Plus it is so easy to make and ease of preparation wins every time.

1¼ cups almond flour
5 tbsp ground psyllium husk powder*
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
1 teaspoon yeast (it will not make the bread rise but does add a traditional flavor)
2 tsp cider vinegar
3 egg whites
1 cup boiling water
olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover the surface of a large cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a medium bowl mix all the dry ingredients. Add the cider vinegar and the egg whites and mix well with an electric mixer. I suppose you could stir it by hand, but why? Add the boiling water in a very slow stream to the mixture and beat until it is about the consistency of play dough. Separate into nine equal portions. Roll into balls and place on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops of the rolls with olive oil. You can get creative here and add sesame seed, or rosemary, or really whatever you want. Bake for about 50 minutes. The rolls are done when they sound kind of hollow when you thump the bottom of one. (Yeah, that is a serious cooking term)

I ate one just now right out of the oven, hot with butter. They do have a traditional bread feel and tastes close to a whole grain roll. (I said close, as in, it is the closest thing I have had to bread in quite a while and I have really been wanting some bread. All the other keto bread recipes I have tried have tasted really eggy and this one doesn't.) I will freeze all but the one I ate and have the others at various times when I need a little bit more with my meal.

I have heard all these people who declare the wonders of the keto lifestyle, but I can't claim additional clarity which is one of the things I keep hearing over and over. I still keep losing my glasses and keys just like I always did. I am losing weight and do have extra energy, but I am attributing that to not carrying as big a load around every time I move. After 10 weeks on this, I bought a really cute dress for fall. I started with my usual size and it was too big, so the sales person brought me the next size down. Wow, it was a tad too big too. I wound up buying the thing 2 sizes smaller because I figure I will not be wearing it until mid October at the earliest and am hoping for 12 more pounds by then. Fingers crossed and weird almost bread in my mouth!

*For those of you (like me) who had no idea what psyllium husks are, it is the seed husk from the plantago ovato. Think unflavored Metamucil. It has no taste but is a heavy dense fiber, that evidently works in tandem with the baking powder to create air pockets in the dough, making it resemble traditional bread. The  downside is it also tends to make the dough a very light lavender.  I find lavender bread is not as unappealing as I might have thought it would be. One word of caution: since the bread is so fiber rich I think one roll a day is probably the maximum. Maybe I am wrong but I am not willing to gamble on it!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

The Aftermath

Our perfect (for us) little miss left on a plane with her parents and headed to her life on the other coast.  The visit was wonderful, too fast and a teensy bit chaotic. Now we are left with an insanely quiet house, toy remnants, laundry and lonely hearts. I love this child to pieces and am not sure if the best part of the visit was the huge running hug when she saw me for the first time, or the giant goodbye hug when she told me she did not want to leave Alabama. I miss her fiercely already!
Only 93 days until we see her again.

(So glad we are having a wedding in November and so happy she wants to be the flower girl. This is her trying on her "wedding dress", which according to her is more beautiful than her Elsa dress. I am not sure higher praise is possible.)

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

My Happy Place

The most beautiful girl (or goyil, as she pronounces it) in my wold will be here at 9 tonight. Along with her, her dad (Son1) and mom (DIL1) will be here. Also coming for the week are Son3 and GF 3. With Son2 and (soon to be) DIL2 in town the entire clan will be together at one time for the first time ever! I am beyond excited and plan to spend the week doing whatever comes along. Obviously I will not be posting anything and most likely will not be reading your blogs. It is certainly not personal but I want to soak up every moment of Piper time I possibly can.

Y'all have a great and wonderful week and I will be back A week from Wednesday, tired, with a dirty house and a huge grin on my face.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Thursday, Friday, Saturday and All That Jazz

Well folks, another week with nothing. I have been at the hospital with Mom for the past few days and things like blogging become unessential.  Now that she is out of the woods comes the real battle. She is being released this afternoon and is restricted to a walker for at least a week so she  needs "a helper".  (Notice how carefully I avoided the word sitter) She hates having anyone but us in her house, so My Beloved Sister and I are prepared for the war she is about to wage. Detente, doubtful but fingers are crossed.