Yeah, I'm still alive... lol
I really like my job of the last several months and I've achieved a "permanent" status! And if I say so myself, I'm mighty good at it!! The things is... it's long, sometimes stressful days - mandatory overtime from time to time - and worst of all? It's a DESK job! My "steps" have dropped to a third of what they were for years, my muscle tone is fading and I don't have the time or energy to make a concentrated effort in that direction. But what I HAVE done is a ton of research on a Keto diet. This high protein/lo carb method has been around for years under many names. For sure, it's a great way to drop 10 pounds of water weight before a doctor's appointment or a hot date. Let's face it - no diet will work if the food or volume or restrictions suck (oops!). I'm doing this for me, for a committed month, just to see? I'll definitely share the best recipes as we go along, but rest assured, I have no intention of limiting the possibilities of postings here - I've still got to do my part for family and other events, lol! Whatever your dietary leanings, this one is easy and delicious! A quiche is a great thing, and this crustless version is totally enjoyable.
I had some mushrooms as well, so I sauteed them with the spinach. Breakfast for me for over a week - and about 10 minutes effort? Yeah, that's good eating!

Posted by Linda :
Sunday 28 January 2018 - 00:43:11
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Sweet AND Savory Apps – can't lose, right?
I saw this idea all over the web, even the local news – an apple and caramel cheese ball coated with pecans... It's SOOOO good!! I chose to use some Dulce du Leche for my sweet sauce – awesome!
In fact, Mom enjoyed it so much on Thanksgiving that she asked me to make it again for Christmas. Haha!! I'd realized that, and had already made another batch! Done. For the savory, I'd made this Roasted Cauliflower recipe for the potluck at work, and my... it was good as a side, but in my mind it tasted like a supreme dip! Ok... spread...
It has an interesting tomato based sauce, and instead of goat cheese I had “cheaped out” and used cream cheese – but dang, it worked!!! For the Thanksgiving app I used two 8 ounce blocks of cream cheese, doubled up on the the spices, and added an extra splash of tomato sauce. Hearty crackers (Triscuits) were perfect. I've been having some computer issues, and not nearly enough time available to fix - so please forgive me if I post this without any pics and add them as I can get them ready - but I didn't want you to miss out <3

Posted by Linda :
Monday 18 December 2017 - 00:14:10
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That looks good!
Hadn't decided what to make for dinner tonight, and it was getting late. Something light was in order - I really wasn't that hungry if I'd waited so long, right? Well, as I was flipping through the channels a commercial for that copper pan came on - you know the one wink nothing sticks to it, never scratches... It's that lady who did the "dump" cookbooks? Well, when she got to that tortilla thing, I gotta admit it looked just right!

Some leftover chicken breast coarsely sliced, seasoned black beans straight from the can, a generous sprinkle of cheese... Folding it wasn't quite as easy as she made it look (maybe because I'd already started to heat the pan), but it came out fine. Topped with a splash of salsa and a dollop of plain greek yogurt?

For about five minutes effort, quite satisfying - and hey, only about 400 calories! Not worth buying the pan, but definitely worth a try cheesey

Posted by Linda :
Sunday 09 April 2017 - 00:44:43
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Cherry and Brie and Pecan, oh my!
I made this one for Christmas Day and thought it might be nice for Valentine's day, but for the life of me I can't find the link!!! After way too many searches in the last few days, I'm going to offer my apologies to whatever source it was and just tell you about it. Fortunately for all of us, I remember it well! Well, it IS kinda simple... but GOOD.

We are going to stuff filo cups with a sweet and sour sauce and top with brie and pecans – sound good? You really can't get much simpler. Filo cups are readily available in your freezer section (usually by the pie crusts and such), but since I had filo sheets in my freezer, I opted to make my own.

Filo is an incredibly thin and delicate dough, and when layered with melted butter produces an extremely flaky result. Five layers felt about right – and as you can see, I had some difficulty being gentle enough to separate full sheets intact...


No worries! Just keep overlapping and brush liberally with butter to hold it all together. I used my ravioli cutter to create 2” squares, which were eased into a (sprayed) mini muffin tin.


Bake at 375F for about 10 minutes until lightly browned. Gently loosen from the tin, set aside. Of course if you used the frozen version, follow the package instructions.

Meanwhile, make your “spread”. Now the original recipe (again, thank you, whoever you are) when doubled called for a cup of cherry preserves, 4 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Two days before Christmas I did NOT feel like fighting the crowds just to get cherry preserves, so I did some research and ended up using (wait for it) - cherry pie filling. Yes, the stuff that comes in a can - which I could get at the corner deli, for Pete's sake! Surprisingly, pie filling is much lower in sugar than preserves, so I used 1 cup of the filling and reduced the Balsamic to 2 Tbsp (tasting, of course). A little chopping from an immersion blender and I had a somewhat chunky texture that I liked.

This shows the process – the upper left is a generous teaspoon of the cherry “sauce”. Next row shows the addition of a cube of brie (an 8oz wheel, trimmed of rind was perfect for my 2 dozen cups), and finally a sprinkling of coarsely chopped pecans. As I was transporting to my parents' home I stopped prep there and popped into their oven for maybe 5 minutes, just to melt the brie.

Now, here's the verdict - Sis-in-Law enjoyed them so much that she made a brie round that she topped with a purchased balsamic cherry spread just a week later for another get-together! Easy peasy wink

NOTE: it turned out that my version of the sauce was more tart than the store bought – both were good, so use your own taste buds to adjust. It's your kitchen!

Posted by Linda :
Tuesday 24 January 2017 - 20:03:07
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Happy Anniversary, Taz!
My beloved rescue and I have been together for five years now. While we’ve had some “getting to know you” issues and sometimes feed off of each other’s mood, I feel blessed to have Taz in my life. He is SUCH a smart dog as well as an excellent judge of character!
And that face – who wouldn’t love that face this one suited my pantry the best. The cookie cutters I had purchased a while back for just such an occasion wink Remembering my research on kibble I added a palmful of dried parsley and some powdered egg shell for nominal health benefits.
This dough gets extremely stiff – while it is possible to stir by hand, I used the dough hook on my stand mixer. It worked fine as long as I kept scraping down the sides. If you want a smoother appearance, you should knead the dough for a bit - but Taz was already nagging, so I just rolled it "as is". SERIOUS WARNING!!! Read your peanut butter label carefully!!! The popular sugar substitute Xylitol is used in so many products AND IS LETHAL TO DOGS.!!! Make sure it is not in your brand, at least for this application.
Taz is one very happy little boy! And as these can be done in no time at all (mix, cut, bake), he’ll be getting them fairly regularly. Gotta give some of that love back, ya know. P.S. Practice make perfect! Lala's dad recently told me "they look like REAL dog biscuits!!" Uh, yeah wink

Posted by Linda :
Tuesday 04 October 2016 - 18:27:55
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This just screams Summer!
Trying to eat healthy with a crazy ever-changing schedule is tough. But here's a good start – this Tex Mex style salad is loaded with protein and veggies, goes together in minutes, and makes a mountain! The recipe suggested using rotisserie chicken, but as I had some boneless breasts in the freezer I poached those – like 10 minutes once the water boiled and actually easier to dice wink
I cooked three, but two were more than enough... Dicing tomatoes, a cucumber, pepper jack cheese (yum!), slicing scallions - another five minutes? Chopped the cilantro in seconds... Rinse canned beans, measure some frozen corn kernels...
Isn't that awesome?!? I have to admit, I used my hands to toss this all together! Please note – I hadn't added the lettuce yet as I wanted to highlight all the other great stuff. Very glad I hadn't started there, as my six quart bowl is almost full WITHOUT IT! The dressing could use some tweaking – while it didn't say so, I added the lime juice with the bottled ranch and flavor packet (actually, the HALF flavor packet). Feeling it needed a touch more heat, in went some dried jalapeno... Let this sit for a while before you taste it again – let the flavors meld and then adjust to your liking. I ended up adding a dash each of cumin and dried chipotle powder, just to get a smokier flavor – by all means, play with it!
I ended up tossing the salad mixture (minus the lettuce) with the dressing, and then serving on a bed of chopped romaine, topping with some toasted pumpkin seeds (crushed tortilla chips were tempting, but remember, I wanted “healthy”).
Colorful, tasty, covering all your food groups (tomatoes are fruit, remember?)... Definitely a keeper! Omit the chicken (if you choose) and you have a festive side dish for your next cookout or family gathering. Me, I'm gonna lunch like a queen cheesey

Posted by Linda :
Saturday 11 June 2016 - 23:38:19
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A Pot of Love – in an HOUR!
A friend of mine tagged this recipe for Pasta e Fagiola a couple weeks back, and it looked so good I immediately put any ingredients I didn't have on my shopping list. Things got busy (I don't want to tell you the junque I've been eating!) but yesterday was the day!! You're gonna love this one cheesey Honestly, the most difficult part of this recipe is chopping the onion and dicing the prosciutto – I could only find paper thin slices, so cutting and separating all the bits was a challenge. My dog sat anxiously at my feet the entire time, just HOPING against hope that I would drop some, lol. I didn't bother slicing the garlic – through the press it went. Really straightforward, from then on it's pretty much open cans and go. I opted for half a jar of meat flavored sauce rather than the canned suggested – and I think I lucked out on that. Here's why... The ONLY thing wrong with this recipe is that there is too much pasta! I wish I'd gone with my gut and only cooked half a pound – but I checked THREE times and it said to use the full pound, so...
There really IS broth underneath, and the first serving of this was delicious! The flavors are subtle as each of the four beans shine through, which I liked - and the dish still leaves room for adjustment if you desire.
But this is the next day! The pasta, as always, absorbs more of the liquid. Using the remaining tomato sauce and a couple more cups of broth I'll be able to enjoy the next several bowls as well wink Also, you COULD always spread it out in a casserole dish, slather with cheese and bake...
I love having options <3 ps. I opted for spinach instead of arugula – I was much more likely to use it all. I only added a handful each time I heated/reheated – that way it still added freshness to each bowl.

Posted by Linda :
Tuesday 08 March 2016 - 19:38:11
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Easy? Yes, but...
Prepared in five (count 'em – FIVE) minutes, and ready in about six hours, while you patiently wait. That's right folks, another batch of popsicles! The flavor du jour is White Russian (grownups only, please) wink Instant, sugar-free pudding mix, some milk, a cup of booze... yep, it seems that easy. I used full fat milk unlike the fat-free suggested, and I meant to throw in a dash of cream – I would have used half n half if I had planned ahead. I'm not going to eat a bunch of these in one sitting, and it's my belief that if you are going to make something, make it the best way you can. I haven't found a practical substitution to the instant pudding, but I'll let you know when I do.
But wait... Twenty-four hours later and they still hadn't frozen – I suspect that was because I used the 100 proof vodka that I had in the house (the recipe didn't state what proof to use). So I tasted, let them thaw in the fridge, and here's what I did to fix: I dumped it all back into a big bowl, added 4 ounces of strong coffee and 4 ounces of the cream I had intended in the first place. I needed to dilute the alcohol, but wanted to keep, even accentuate the coffee flavor – the vodka level was just fine, lol. Make sure you stir well to avoid any icy bites. MUCH better!!! Actually, I liked it a little better than before? I had extra which I froze in a paper cup, and I didn't have to worry about the little I lost in emptying the molds...
As the recipe for the Black Russian variety is exactly the same except that it uses chocolate pudding (which isn't very authentic), my next batch I might use a less potent vodka and I'll fill the molds halfway with the white/vanilla style, freeze, and then add a layer of the black/chocolate! But for now, we have creamy, slightly boozy... Now wait a sec! I remembered I'd bookmarked a page that included a recipe for ”magic shell”...
And my work here is done wink

Posted by Linda :
Thursday 06 August 2015 - 17:55:52
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We've still had some chilly nights...
So a hearty stew was still in order. This Chinese style pork stew has a ton of vegetables and my favorite “hot and sweet” combo in Asian cooking. It can be made in a slow cooker, but as I was home, I used my Dutch oven on the stove – the house smelled luscious! Now, be careful when you read the ingredients – don't do like I did and buy several HEADS of bok choy! It calls for stalks, and one or two heads (like a bunch of celery or head of lettuce?) is sufficient, lol. Fortunately I didn't buy as much as I had misread, and I'll let you know what I do with the extra wink You'll definitely want to use some fresh as an ending garnish – the flavor and texture will give you a delightful finish. Oh, and lime wedges are a MUST. You basically cube and brown your meat while you chop your veggies, and then simmer it all together until the meat is tender.
My big mistake – neither my grocer nor I had the red chilies called for, so I used a whole dried habenaro. I had intended to pull it out about half way, but I forgot? Twas just a tad spicier than I had wanted, but still quite enjoyable.
I'll confess to chowing down on the meat and veggies, and found I had quite a bit of the broth leftover. I didn't have any wontons, and ramen or soba noodles didn't seem quite right (yes, I try to keep an Asian pantry)... I pulled some pieroghi from the freezer and boiled them up while I sauteed onions and some of the leftover cabbage - and then tossed them all together with the broth! Ok, it's more than a little culture clash – asian onion soup with polish ravioli – so I added the crowning insult of a dollop of sour cream. It was DELISH!!!!
Hey, it's your kitchen! Use what you have and a little imagination – some of my favorite meals came from cleaning out the fridge wink

Posted by Linda :
Sunday 26 April 2015 - 04:11:03
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We gotta WORK on Super Bowl Sunday?!?
And we checked – not even time and a half... frown Fortunately, I'LL be near a wall of TVs, but it just won't be the same – so I'm putting together a treat for my co-workers: Ham and Cheese Sliders. Yeah, it's not the traditional wings and pizza, but hey – I'm making an effort here! Shopping the day before (and after a winter storm warning) did not leave a huge selection of bread products – I got the last three dozen rolls in the store! Thick sliced ham was easily found at the deli, along with swiss cheese slices. The turkey breast looked good, so I opted to make some of the sliders using that instead of ham... The prep is really quick and easy – I just cut the meats and cheese to the size of the rolls, and then set up an assembly line.
I packed them into 9”x9” disposable cake pans for convenience.
The poppy seed topping looks a little odd, but it tastes really good! I might have misread, but I used dried onion flakes, and I liked the result. Just make sure that you keep stirring it along the way wink I let it sit in the fridge overnight - that was MY choice. Just a few minutes will do...
But hey, it's what you serve that counts, right?
And you STILL have time to make these!!!!

Posted by Linda :
Sunday 01 February 2015 - 05:31:21
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