Anniversary #36 – Cottage Weekend Away

For weeks I looked for a place to go. I had certain requirements….simple ones, really: I needed a lake so we could kayak, a kitchen so I could cook, INDOOR PLUMBING, and couldn’t cost a fortune!

Have YOU tried to rent a get-away spot lately? In the past, we had amazing luck with airbnb, but this year, holy smokes!!! What would have cost $80 or $90/night a year or so ago, is at least double now, and that’s IF you can find something available!!

I think I’m going to open an airbnb!!!

A-n-y-w-a-y….. I posted on Facebook that I was looking for something somewhat local. That was before we lost my mom, and I didn’t want to be far from home. I had a few responses, but each place I found lacking for one reason or another. You know, it just didn’t feel right.

Then my cousin called and left a message, “Connie, you know we have a cottage and you’re welcome to use it for FREE!” It was only an hour away, right on a lake, and INDOOR PLUMBING! I was SO thankful!!!

We booked it for September 10 weekend; our anniversary is actually September 7.

Then, out of nowhere, my mom got sick. She passed away August 29 (this will be for another blog, should I ever get to the point I can process this sufficiently enough to write about it). We wanted to have a graveside service, and the soonest date that worked for all the family, due to distance and work issues, was September 11. So we went to the cottage a week earlier than we had planned. To be honest, the timing was perfect. I really needed the time to get back on a somewhat even keel and begin to comprehend the loss and life going forward and to prepare for what I knew would be a difficult weekend ahead.

We arrived Friday afternoon, and stayed until Monday.

When we arrived, we were met with a special gift, a bottle of wine from France from my cousins. That was opened immediately and enjoyed with some cheese and olives from The Pickled Pig in Smiths Falls. I can’t recommend this business highly enough!

Dinner that night was salmon done in the air fryer (yes, I brought it, and half my kitchen with me!), Thai beans, fresh from the garden, grilled cinnamon fresh pineapple, and pesto quinoa and kale salad, with basil and kale from my garden. Finally, my basil has grown well enough to actually get a bit of an abundance!

We had gorgeous weather for kayaking! It was a beautiful lake we were on and we took full advantage. The first night, I went out for a little paddle on my own (I couldn’t wait), but then we went out together each day after.

Supper #2 was a braised pork loin with a white wine, rosemary/sage sauce, and roasted baby carrots (again, in the air fryer), and cauliflower mash with fresh chives. I added thinly sliced mushrooms to the sauce, though not called for in the recipe.

Cooking with wine… 🙂

Had to take a break while the pork loin was simmering to perfection…. Yeah, yeah, I know….wine in the sauce, wine while I cook, wine on the dock…. <3

Dinner #3 – Chicken Marsala, roasted potatoes, veggie stir-fry (again, air fryer!! 🙂 )

It was a wonderful, and much needed, weekend away together. Laughter, games, kayaking, and tears….

On our last night, Glenn went to bed early and I stayed up on the screened in porch, wanting to savour every last moment before facing the week ahead….

I can’t even begin to express how thankful I am/was for this precious time.

Thank you for the 36 wonderful, challenging, chaotic years, babe. There is no-one else I would want to weather all the ups and downs with besides you. No-one else would have ever put up with me… <3

Labour of Love!

My daughter’s boyfriend was having a birthday and his favourite food is cabbage rolls. Mine too…..but I HATE making them!

“Can you ‘help me’ make cabbage rolls?” she asked. “Of course…” I replied, knowing it is one of my least favourite things to make! In fact, I usually make a cabbage roll casserole so I don’t have to spend all the time and frustration rolling these things!!

One of the most challenging parts for me is getting the cabbage leaves prepped for stuffing. In the past, it meant putting the whole head into a pot of boiling water and taking leaves off one at a time as they softened. It was messy and I burned myself ALL the time!

This time, I decided to try putting the whole head in my Quick Cooker….the Pampered Chef version of an Instant Pot. So I did the first head for about 5 minutes, but the second I only did for 2. I found the 2 minutes worked best.

So, I cored the cabbage and then put the whole head in with the open end at the bottom.

I peeled the softened layers and cut the remaining core from the centre to make rolling easier. I put the core pieces that I cut out in the bottom of the slow cooker, along with some of the leaves that were too small to stuff.

While the cabbage was in the Quick Cooker, I made the filling.

I used a mixture of ground beef and ground pork, egg, raw rice, onion, garlic, and seasonings…..and mixed it all up with my Mix and Chop from PC. I removed some of the seasoned meat mixture before adding the rice, and made a special filling for me using riced cauliflower instead of rice to reduce the carbs. I added fresh thyme and oregano from our garden!

Then the stuffing and rolling began….

I layered the rolls in my slow cooker and smothered them in sauce.

The final result turned out not too bad, and I didn’t even miss the rice in mine!

I made a cabbage roll soup with the remaining cabbage that wasn’t used in the rolls!

Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls

No ratings yet
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 5 hrs
Course Main Course
Servings 6
Calories 278 kcal

Equipment

  • Pressure Cooker
  • Slow Cooker

Ingredients
  

  • 12 leaves cabbage softened
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 med onion chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • .5 lb ground beef
  • .5 lb ground pork
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme chopped fine
  • 1 tsp fresh oregano chopped fine

For the sauce:

  • 1 jar tomato or spaghetti sauce (no meat)
  • 1 can tomato soup condensed
  • added seasonings if using tomato sauce

Instructions
 

  • Soften cabbage leaves in boiling water or use a pressure cooker @ 2 minutes high pressure
  • Combine filling ingredients in large mixing bowl. I substituted riced cauliflower for the white rice in some of the rolls and cooked them seperately.
  • Once leaves are softened and filling combined, stuff rolls individually, cutting out the stem part of the leaves to make rolling easier
  • I found placing the filling in the upper part of the leaves worked best. I used my large Pampered Chef cookie dough/meatball scoop for uniformity. Then I folded the sides of the leaves over the filling and rolled.
  • Place smaller leaves and stem pieces in the bottom of the slow cooker to keep from burning or sticking.
  • Layer rolls on top and cover with sauce.
  • I cooked on high for 4-5 hours. But keep checking. You want them soft and well-done, but not dissolved.
  • Enjoy!! They are even better made a day ahead!

Nutrition

Serving: 2rollsCalories: 278kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 17gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 85mgSodium: 838mgPotassium: 913mgFiber: 3gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 749IUVitamin C: 18mgCalcium: 48mgIron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

This is the Pinterest recipe that I based mine on https://sugarapron.com/2016/02/12/crock-pot-stuffed-cabbage-rolls/. As per usual, I modified mine, eliminating the sugar, adding additional seasoning, and probably quadrupled the original recipe!

Let me know if you try it!

It’s Been a ‘Berry’ Good Day!!

Tis the season for strawberries and rhubarb!!! I had a bunch of both that needed to be used ASAP so this is how I spent my day!

I started out with an old-fashioned strawberry rhubarb cake/pudding….the kind my grandma used to make where you put the dough in the pan and then mix hot water, brown sugar, and butter and pour it over the top. It made a wonderful sauce that forms underneath the cake. I will share the recipe below… Another Pinterest win!

Then it was on to a new adventure – the first time making jam in my Pampered Chef Deluxe COOKING Blender. I’m still a little iffy with a fully blended jam, but man, it is so much easier, that I might just have to get used to it!

I used the low-sugar recipe found on the Pampered Chef site. The recipe calls for a reduced-sugar pectin, but I used regular powdered pectin, since that’s what I had. It seems really thick and it isn’t cooled yet. So, I think I dodged a bullet! :). The original recipe can be found here.

The next ‘first’ was a blender jam using chia seeds instead of pectin and a small amount of maple syrup for the sweetener.

I made 1.5 times the original recipe, and I found the recipe on the A Beautiful Mess website. The recipe can be found here.

Blender Chia Seed Jam

FYI….chia seed jams can also be done on the stove using the fruit chopped instead of blended. Just do a search for Chia Seed jams and you’ll have plenty of options to try!!

So…it’s been a busy, but productive day!

Here is the recipe for the Rhubarb Pudding (Cake), as promised!! Enjoy!!

Old-Fashioned Rhubarb Pudding

No ratings yet
Cook Time 45 mins
Course Dessert
Servings 8 Servings
Calories 297 kcal

Equipment

  • Oven preheated to 375 degrees

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups chopped fruit I used 1/2 rhubarb, 1/2 strawberry

For the Sauce:

  • 1.5 cup very hot water I only used 1 cup
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (not in original recipe)

Instructions
 

  • Mix the cake ingredients together in a bowl, adding more milk if needed to make a thick but not dry dough.
  • Fold in the chopped fruit.
  • Scrape dough into a prepared 8" pan, spreading out evenly.
  • Combine the sauce ingredients in a bowl or measuring cup and pour over the top of the cake.
  • Bake @ 375 degrees for approximately 45 minutes. It is done when nicely browned on top.
  • Enjoy!!

Nutrition

Calories: 297kcalCarbohydrates: 66gProtein: 4gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 282mgPotassium: 180mgFiber: 1gSugar: 40gVitamin A: 100IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 132mgIron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Let me know if you try any or all of these recipes!

Cauliflower Hamburger Casserole

Tried a new recipe the other night…….and even the kids liked it!!!! In fact, I hardly got any!!!! 😉

This is a low-carb dish with lots of flavour and leftovers worked great for meals to take to work!

Cauliflower rice has become quite popular. Apparently, you can buy it frozen in bags, already chopped fine. I just make my own…….I mean I have to justify the money I just spent on a new food processor!!!

Ground beef and onion were sautéed together and then riced cauliflower added to the pan.

I added chopped fresh kale and seasonings.

Then I cooked it briefly in pan until kale was somewhat wilted and cauliflower had softened.

I added it to my Pampered Chef stoneware 9″ x 13″ baking pan. The recipe called for a pan this size but, as witnessed by the white casserole dish slightly behind, I wasn’t sure it would fill it enough. Of course, once I started spooning it into the casserole dish, I quickly realized that the recipe was right. Who knew….. 🙂

Note the impressive ‘seasoned’ stoneware!!! (vs the dirty white casserole dish!!!)

Final touch: grated cheese on top!!

It was baked at 375 degrees for approximately 25 minutes.

As per usual…..I modified and made substitutions. They are listed at the end of the recipe below.

Cheesy Ground Beef and Cauliflower Rice Casserole | Low Carb & Keto-Friendly Casserole

No ratings yet
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Course Main Course
Servings 8
Calories 319 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp italian seasoning
  • 1.2 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 6 ounces baby spinach
  • 1 small cauliflower, chopped tiny, like rice (can use bag of frozen cauliflower rice)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 8 ounces shredded cheese

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Brown beef, onion, and garlic together in frying pan
  • Add italian seasoning, salt, and pepper to pan
  • Continue to cook, breaking up meat with spoon, until meat is fully cooked
  • Add in spinach and cauliflower and cook stirring frequently until slightly wilted and somewhat soft
  • Remove from heat, drain liquid if necessary
  • Add sour cream, basil, and butter stirring until creamy
    Add a little bit of milk if too thick
  • Put everything in greased 9" x 13" baking dish
  • Top with shredded cheese
  • Bake 22-25 minutes
  • Remove from oven and let stand several minutes before cutting and serving

Notes

I modified a bit.  I used:
  • chopped kale instead of spinach.  
  • homemade chipotle powder instead of paprika (season to taste) 
Along with the Italian seasoning, I also added:
  • fresh oregano
  • fresh rosemary
 

The original recipe I started with was a Pinterest find and you can see it here .

Nutrition

Serving: 8gCalories: 319kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 18gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 81mgSodium: 279mgPotassium: 457mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 2432IUVitamin C: 25mgCalcium: 224mgIron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Instant Pot Recipe: Butter Chicken

This recipe was taken from the Instant Pot app on my phone, first made by our daughter, Katie. It’s quick and delicious.

Now, full disclosure, mine turned out a bit different last night. I got everything assembled and when I went to find the curry powder, I had none!!! So…..I improvised. Didn’t turn out bad, if I do say so myself! However…..all I saw was one tablespoon of ginger, totally missing the fact that it was to be fresh and not powdered!! BIG difference!!!!! But it worked rather well.

I may, or may not, have been cooking with wine again!!!

I also added tandoori spice and Garam Masala, which are not called for in the original recipe. When I make it again, I will also add fresh cilantro….and maybe even some fresh basil.

Everyone else had theirs over rice, I had mine over some kale/quinoa salad to reduce the amount of carbs and include the nutrition benefits of kale vs rice. It was yum!!!

The Instant Pot app has many really good recipes for, what has quickly become my favourite appliance, the Instant Pot!! If you have one, you really need to download the app. The instructions are clear and simple, and will help you get the most out of your Instant Pot.

Let me know if you try this, or any of the other app recipes……or any of your own Instant Pot favourites!

Salute…

Instant Pot App Butter Chicken

No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6
Calories 304 kcal

Equipment

  • Instant Pot

Ingredients
  

  • 1 whole onion chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger minced
  • 3 half chicken breasts
  • 1.5 cups crushed tomatoes Approx 363g
  • .5 cup chicken broth
  • .25 cup butter
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • .25 tsp salt
  • .5 cup heavy cream

Instructions
 

  • Preheat Instant Pot on saute setting, normal.
  • Add tomatoes, chicken broth, chopped onion, butter, curry powder, ginger, and salt to the Instant Pot liner.
  • Cook until butter is melted, stirring occasionally – approximately 2 minutes, using the saute function.
  • Add chicken breast to inner pot and toss to coat well with sauce.
  • Close and lock lid and turn steam release handle to Sealing.
  • Pressure cook on high for 15 minutes.
  • Release pressure manually.
  • Remove chicken to a plate. Can chop or shred at this point, or just leave it intact.
  • Turn Instant Pot to saute and heat until sauce is simmering.
  • Stir heavy cream into the sauce and cook until thickened – approximately 2 minutes. Stir frequently.
  • Either spoon sauce over intact chicken, or add chopped/shredded chicken back into sauce.
  • Serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 304kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 26gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 120mgSodium: 457mgPotassium: 696mgFiber: 2gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 712IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 57mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Instant Pot
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Cooking…….with wine.

Anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE to cook!!! Though I often find the prep process tedious and labour-intensive, I am so motivated by the end result that I endure the process with my eyes on the prize!!!

I crave veggies, especially greens. I hate making salads, but I love to eat them!! A dilemma for sure!!! Right now my garden is still producing kale and I add it to just about anything!!!!

This is a Pinterest recipe found by one daughter and prepared by another. I would double the garlic, though when my daughter made it, it was very garlicky!!

Enjoy…

Honey Garlic Butter Roasted Carrots

No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Course Side Dish
Servings 10
Calories 170 kcal

Equipment

  • Oven, baking dish

Ingredients
  

  • 2 lb carrots sliced 1-1'2 inch thick diagonally
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 4 cloves minced garlic I would use more
  • 5 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt I use Himalayan pink salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • fresh, minced parsley

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 425
  • Melt butter in saucepan
  • Add garlic and cook for 3 minutes, or until lightly browned, stirring very frequently. DO NOT burn the garlic.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the honey; stir until thoroughly combined.
  • Toss the carrots with the prepared sauce either in the skillet, or pour the sauce over the carrots in a mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and mix until well combined.
  • Transfer carrots to previously prepared baking sheet.
  • Arrange in one layer and bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until carrots are browned and tender.
  • Taste for seasonings and adjust accordingly.
  • Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.
  • Serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 170kcal
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Pizza With Coconut Flour Crust

I can’t claim to be doing Keto, but I do try to limit my carbs. I try to save carb counts for the things I enjoy most like the odd slice of sprouted grain bread, the occasional treat like Josiah’s amazing banana cake, fresh fruit, and wine!!

Some of the things I really love are quite high in useless carbs and one of those things is pizza!!! I still want pizza and I have tried numerous lower-carb versions of crust, but so far, this has been my absolute favourite.

I found the recipe, where else, but on Pinterest. Who ever invented Pinterest will forever have my eternal gratitude and respect. Nothing short of brilliant!!! Gone are the days when I had to have passwords and accounts on numerous recipe sites, and trying to remember which site the recipe I was wanting to make, had been found on.

Coconut flour is quickly becoming a favourite as well. While almond flour is frequently used for lower carb recipes, I find coconut flour to be much more economical, easier to digest, nutritious, and I love the flavour.

“Coconut flour is a gluten-free flour made solely from coconuts. Rich in fiber and MCTs, it may promote stable blood sugar, good digestion, and heart health. It may also boost weight loss and fight some infections. Plus, it’s delicious and versatile, making it a smart choice when choosing flour alternatives.”

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/coconut-flour#what-it-is


So, without further adieu, here is the recipe I used. I also added some dried basil to the crust.

Coconut Flour Pizza Crust

Delicious, pliable, low-carb count pizza crust
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6
Calories 86 kcal

Equipment

  • Bowl, pizza stone

Ingredients
  

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese shredded

Instructions
 

  • Beat eggs together in a bowl
  • Add water
  • In separate bowl combine remaining ingredients
  • Add dry ingredients to egg and water mixture
  • Whisk together until well combined
  • Spread batter on 12" pizza stone/pan or in 9"x13" pan
  • Bake crust for ten minutes @ 400 degrees F
  • Remove from oven and add desired toppings.
  • Return to 400 degree F oven for until well browned
  • ENJOY!!!

Notes

I topped my pizza fairly heavily with Alfredo sauce, chopped peppers, bacon, sliced mushrooms that I had lightly sautéed to sweat out extra moisture, arugula, and shredded mozzarella.  I would have added sliced green olives as well, but my husband forgot to pick them up at the grocery store!!! 
Original recipe post found here

Nutrition

Calories: 86kcal
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Instant Pot Meatloaf

A day ‘off’ and it’s time for family dinner and meal prep.

Both of my Instant Pot were put into use. I made a meatloaf for dinner in one pot, mashed potatoes in the other, and when dinner was done, I cooked four chicken breasts for my salads to take on my work lunches.

Find the meatloaf recipe below….

Instant Pot Meatloaf

No ratings yet
Servings 8

Equipment

  • Instant Pot

Ingredients
  

  • 2 lb ground beef (I used venison)
  • 15 Saltine crackers, crushed
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 small onion, chopped fine
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp powdered mustard

Instructions
 

  • Combine ground meat, egg, seasonings (feel free to experiment with favourites), crushed crackers and parmesan cheese. Mix well but don't overmix.
  • Form into loaf and place in cake pan, or any other pot suitable for Instant Pot.
  • Place lid on pot, being sure to to turn pressure valve to locked positiion. Press manual setting and set timer for 25 minutes.
  • Prepare the glaze by combining ketchup, brown sugar, and dry mustard.
  • When cook time is complete, allow 10 minutes before unlocking the pressure valve.
  • Remove loaf for pan and place on cookie sheet or pizza pan.
  • Cover with the glaze and broil for 8-10 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and let rest for approximately 10 minutes.
  • Slice and serve.
  • NOTE: Many recipes mention that you can make a tin foil sling to place under loaf in pot. I did and it does help to remove the cooked loaf from the pan. Fold a 12" length of foil until it's approximately 3" wide. Place across the center of pan and up the sides before adding the loaf.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!