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

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.

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
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

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

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.

My absolute favourite appliance!!!

I admit, I’m a bit of an appliance collector!!! I spend a lot of time in the kitchen and LOVE to cook, but I’m no martyr and if I can find something that makes the job easier and faster, I’m all over it!!

When you’re trying to eat healthy, and meal prep is paramount, this wonderful invention is the answer!!!

Some of the things I use it for regularly:

  • Hard boiled eggs….14 at a time! They cook to perfection and peel like a dream!
  • Spaghetti squash, used often in place of typical pastas.
  • Bone broth…..one of my favourite ways to consume turmeric and collagen.
  • Quick and delicious pasta casseroles for the rest of the family.
  • Cheesecakes.
  • Steel cut oats….made in quantity and reheated for quick breakfasts.
  • Quinoa, fluffy and flavourful.
  • Chicken breasts for my salads.
  • Mashed potatoes.

They aren’t cheap but they are wonderful, and certainly not wasted.

Instant Pot Spaghetti

Spaghetti casserole cooked in Instant Pot
Course Main Course
Servings 6
Calories 404 kcal

Equipment

  • Instant Pot

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce (24 oz)
  • 2 cups water
  • 8 oz spagetti noodles (or preferred pasta)
  • pinch salt and pepper to tasted

Instructions
 

  • Brown ground beef and onions. Most recipes suggest using the saute function on the Instant Pot for this step, but I usually do it separetely and then add to the pot when finished.
  • Add spices to taste. I rarely ever just use the ones mentioned. Things like dried basil, oregano, onion powder etc. all add nice flavour.
  • Add spaghetti sauce and 2 cups of water. I usually use some of the water to rinse out the spaghetti sauce from the jar.
  • Very important…….break spaghetti into three lenths and add to pot in a loose, criss-cross fashion.
  • Press spaghetti into liquid but do not stir.
  • Place lid on pot and turn pressure valve to lock
  • Select manual setting and timer for 8 minutes.
  • Quick release steam valve and remove lid.
  • I like to stir the mixture and let it sit for about 5 minutes then serve.
https://temeculablogs.com/instant-pot-spaghetti/

Leftovers to the rescue…..

I am not one to waste if it can be helped. We work too hard to earn the money it takes to buy things….and the fact that so many others go without, makes me cringe any time we throw out food.

One of my recent posts shared a recipe for low-carb bread; one using psyllium husk, coconut flour etc., and though the flavour was good, I’m sure I messed something up because the texture was very dense and crumbly. I did eat some of it, and would not have wasted it, but a perfect solution presented itself while I was using up another leftover item in my fridge.

We had salmon a few nights ago, and while I love it fresh-cooked, I normally only like it cold afterward. However, there was only one piece left and I needed something quick for dinner, so time to raid the fridge.

I pulled out the leftover piece of salmon and flaked it in a bowl, deciding to make a salmon patty. Most recipes call for bread crumbs, which I really did not want to use.

What to do?

Light bulb moment!!!

The bread I wasn’t thrilled about would make great bread crumbs…..and would use up the leftover loaf beautifully!!!!

It certainly wasn’t hard to crumble!!!! After breaking it up finer, I toasted it with some sesame seeds until dried and light brown.

I found the dried dill weed I harvested this summer and tossed some in to the flaked salmon with an egg, lemon juice, seasonings, and the nicely dried breadcrumb mixture. (See recipe below.)

Salmon Patties

Course Main Course
Servings 4
Calories 160 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 4 ounce cooked salmon fillet
  • 1/2 cup low-carb bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • pinch onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp dried dill weed

Instructions
 

  • Flake salmon in bowl.
  • Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
  • Form into 4 patties and fry until golden in coconut oil, or any other preferred oil.
Keyword Ignite, Keto, Low Carb
Served on a low-carb roll with fresh arugula and a nice smoky, spicy mayo sauce….a creation of my oldest son.

Sous Vide Egg Bites in the Instant Pot

Meal prep is an absolute necessity for me………and breakfast is no exception!

When I work day shifts, my first meal of the day is at morning break. It has to be quick, taste good, and be nutritious. I don’t like a big breakfast though, so it can’t be crazy heavy.

Eggs are my frequent go to. I love eggs in just about any form I can get them.

I already use my Instant Pot for large quantity (14) hard-boiled eggs. They cook perfectly and peel like a dream! But I thought I’d try something different this time…

It looks like I took a bite, but in reality, that’s the part that stuck in the silicone mold. 🙂

Sous Vide Egg Bites are apparently a thing! And, judging by the recipes I’ve found, it seems that Starbucks must have been the ones to start the trend. I don’t frequent Starbucks, so not sure what they charge for them, but I’ve seen the Tim Horton’s similarity, and yeah…..I’m not paying that.

So, here is my version and they turned out pretty good! As stated in the instructions, be sure to spray the silicone mold or apply a little oil in some form.

Instant Pot Sous Vide Egg Bites

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 13 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Breakfast
Servings 7
Calories 55 kcal

Equipment

  • Instant Pot
  • Silicone mold

Ingredients
  

  • .5 cup liquid egg white
  • .5 cup cottage cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • .5 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 green onion stalk, chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp chives, fresh or dried
  • salt, to taste
  • .25 cup grated cheese (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Combine egg whites, eggs, cottage cheese and seasonings in blender and blend for 15-20 seconds.
  • Divide mixture between the seven compartments in silicone mold.
  • Sprinkle vegetables and cheese evenly on top of each bite.
  • Cover with lid or aluminum foil.
  • Add 1 cup of water to Instant Pot.
  • Remove trivet from pot and set silicone mold on top. Gently lower into Instant Pot. Cover with lid. Be sure pressure nozzle is set to lock.
  • Use Steam setting, set for 13 minutes.
  • Let pressure naturally release for ten minutes after timer sounds.
  • Loosen each bite with knife and allow to cool a few minutes before removing.

Notes

I spray my silicone mold with non-stick spray.  I tried it without spraying and some of the egg remained in the compartments.  
These are SO versatile!!!  You could add mushrooms (I would sauté first), spinach, arugula, really any vegetable that you would like.
You can also add bits of meat like cooked bacon, sausage, pepperoni or ham.
Have fun!!  Experiment and enjoy!!

Low carb breads and buns…..

Meal prep isn’t just a hobby or a pastime, it is CRUCIAL in my quest to eat healthy!!! Schedules, demands, unexpected events etc…..or even just plain being tired, are all a recipe for nutrition disaster unless I have foods ready that don’t sabotage my success.

It used to be sandwiches, or toast that I grabbed quick. The other culprit was leftover pasta or rice casseroles. If I could just have a reasonable sized serving, it would have been one thing, but no… I mean seriously, who eats a cup of spaghetti???????

I don’t eat nearly as much bread, and when I do it is usually one slice of a sprouted grain bread or a low-carb pita or lavash. However, today I tried two new recipes; one for a psyllium husk bread and the other a low-carb sandwich bun.

I can’t give the recipe for the buns because it would be a violation of the membership……but the bread recipe I found while reading an article on psyllium husk on the public blog.

I am learning that low carb breads usually contain some, even a lot, of eggs. Neither of these recipes had eggs, which is why I wanted to try them.

Some of the other ingredients often found in keto bread and buns are:

  • almond flour
  • coconut flour
  • psyllium husk
  • ground flax
  • apple cider vinegar and baking powder for leavening

For a really good article on the benefit and uses for psyllium husk, click here.

For the bread recipe, click here.

So I haven’t tasted the buns yet, I will probably bring one tomorrow to work. The bread flavour is really good, but I think I squished it too much when I was kneading. It tastes great but slices are small and a little crumbly.

Trial and error….but it will still eat!!!

Enjoy!!!! Comment below if you try this or have other favourites!!! Always looking for new recipes!!!

UPDATE: The bun was really good!!!!

Healthy Fat!!!!!! Yes, there is such a thing!!

After years and years of hearing that we basically needed to eliminate fat from our diet, people are starting to understand the importance of having healthy oils, nuts, seeds, etc.

During my Ignite phase, healthy fats are to be approximately 70% of daily caloric intake. That sounds like a dream to anyone who loves cheese, butter, and eggs, but actually achieving that 70% in a HEALTHY way, is not as easy as you’d think.

Remember that this is not just about weight…..it’s about health.

I remember a time, almost 40 years ago, two friends and I read somewhere that if we only ate meat, cheese, eggs, and butter, we could have all we wanted and still lose weight.

  • Not one bite of anything else
  • No veggies
  • No fruit
  • Certainly no bread!!

Why I wanted to lose weight then is beyond me!! I’d give my favourite child to be that weight again!!!

(Just kidding, kids….. I have no favourite!!! <3)

Anyway, after three days I felt TERRIBLE!!!!!! I remember watching a cheese commercial on TV and starting to gag!!!! To this day, I can hardly eat cheese and eggs together!!!!

Yeah, I’m pretty sure it is safe to assume that this was not healthy!! That was keto on crack!!

But there are ways to get healthy fats into our diets and even to consume them at high levels for a period of time.

From an article by Dr. Josh Axe….

Fats are an important part of the diet, but not all fats have the same effects on health. While good fats can actually lower cholesterol levels, boost brain function and support satiety, filling up on unhealthy fats can contribute to chronic disease and weight gain. A good rule of thumb is to steer clear of highly-processed fats that are pumped full of additives and unhealthy ingredients. Refined vegetable oils, processed meats and snack foods like chips, crackers and baked goods are generally high in disease-causing, artery-clogging trans fats that should be avoided at all costs. Conversely, the key for finding healthy fats to eat is to look for ingredients that are unprocessed and naturally high in fats. Avocados, full-fat dairy, olive oil and fatty fish are just a few foods with healthy fats that can help benefit your health.

https://draxe.com/nutrition/healthy-fats/

What are some of the best choices for consuming healthy, anti-inflammatory fat?

In the linked article above, Dr. Axe lists 11 that he considers the best choices:

  • Avocados
  • Butter and ghee
  • Coconut oil
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Omega 3’s – preferably sourced from wild caught fish or fish oil
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Grass fed and finished organic beef
  • Eggs
  • MCT oil
  • Full fat dairy (if you can tolerate dairy)
  • Dark chocolate – Yessss!!!!

One of my favourite foods are avocados….and I love them in guacamole!! So this was yesterday’s effort and I’m late posting!

Just looking at the bright green and yellow colours made me feel healthier!!!

So…..bottom line, eat fat but choose wisely!! Not all fats are created equal.

Also, from much that I have read, fat and higher carb foods, like breads, pasta, high sugar fruit, should be consumed separately, giving your body only one fuel source to choose from and thereby reducing the storage of fuel, in the form of fat, from the second source.

The biggest threat to our health, in my opinion, are sugars, foods that convert to sugars, and chemical-laden processed foods.

Let’s all try to consume more whole, anti-inflammatory foods that heal the gut, do not provoke an insulin response, and in their most natural state possible!!!

Guacamole

Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 4 portions
Calories 155 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 Ripe avocado Mashed
  • 1 Lemon Juiced
  • 5 cloves garlic Pressed
  • 1 tbsp MCT oil
  • 1 dash Pink Himalayan salt

Instructions
 

  • Mash avocado in bowl. Mash or press garlic and add to avocado. Add lemon juice, salt, and MCT oil. Mix well and enjoy immediately or cover tightly and let the flavours blend.
Keyword Alkaline, Healthy Fat, Raw

Round Two: Day 1

IGNITE

Ignite is the first phase and will last four weeks. The purpose of Ignite is to “ignite” metabolism and begin to burn fat for fuel.

Yes, it’s like keto. Let’s just put that right out there. However, this is a four-week chunk of a twelve-week program……so this phase is not meant to be long-term.

With my 131 Method membership, I am only paying for a membership. There are no supplements required, no shakes, no exercise program to buy. Just a total focus on whole foods and addressing things like systemic inflammation, gut health, microbiome balance etc.

As far as supplements etc., you are encouraged to do whatever it is you feel your body requires. We learn to be intuitive and listen to our bodes, observing reactions to specific foods, activities etc.

The creator of the program was an icon in the fitness industry and spent years achieving ‘success’. She was the one everyone wanted to be, yet walked away from it all after a brain scan revealed that she was anything but healthy and in fact, heading toward becoming quite ill because of the stress her body was under due to the extreme measures of diet and exercise undertaken to maintain the industry status quo of beauty and fitness.

When I did the 12 weeks originally, I basically just dabbled. I was feeling my way, deciding what was and wasn’t for me, how much rang true with the things I’d already begun to research and investigate, and most of all……IS IT HEALTHY!!!

I could lose a ton eating meat, cheese, and eggs all day….but that is not health.

So as I begin my second round, it is in much more earnest because I believe in the principles being taught and this program is so in sync with what so many of the few people I respect in the health industry, are saying.

Key points that are important to me:

  • very little (if any) processed foods but rather an abundance of whole foods with as little adulteration possible
  • plants and veggies are key components in all the nutrition phases
  • switching up the diet phases as I’ve seen how suddenly, even though I am staying true to the plan I was following, my body becomes adapted and not only do I stop losing weight, but actually begin to gain.
  • there is a wealth of information provided via audio, video, and written articles, and much of the information comes from outside sources
  • the recipes are simple and delicious
  • the focus is about achieving true, internal health vs just losing weight or looking good.

I am excited to see what this next 12 weeks brings…..

So, here is breakfast, day 1….

  • Sous Vide eggs done in Instant Pot (I LOVE my Instant Pot!!)
  • Flax pita with homemade coconut butter
  • Bullet proof coffee with MCT oil, collagen, butter, and a little vanilla and cinnamon

More meal prep tomorrow…..I will post pics!! 🙂