Fresh Salsa…and a new Grand Baby!

So here we are in August again! We have been having a very hot, very dry summer. We had at least 6 weeks of daily temperatures above 90 degrees!  The hubby has been needing to water not only his garden but also his bees! I have learned much about bee keeping since he has started this particular hobby. One thing I have learned is that bees need a water source just like dogs, cats, and other animals do. If there is no water available for the bees, they will go searching for a water source. And since a neighborhood pool was built behind our property several years ago, we certainly do not want our bees to make their way over there when they get thirsty!

Last Friday my daughter, the other Mrs. G of this blog, gave birth to her first baby…our first grandson!  I was blessed to be able to make it to the hospital several hours after he arrived. He is a sweet little bundle of joy!! I miss him like crazy! Mommy, Daddy, and Sammy, III are doing well and adjusting to each other! I am so so proud of Barbi and her man! It is really quite amazing to see your firstborn holding her own firstborn!! Barbi is a great mom, and my son-in-law is a great dad!! I loved watching him be a hands-on new daddy!

Now to that fresh salsa recipe! Even though we’ve had to water the garden quite a bit this summer, we’ve been blessed with fresh veggies! When I made this recipe yesterday, I used our own tomatoes, green onions, garlic, and hot peppers! My hubby loves this salsa fresh, but it is also good cooked. If I make extra, I usually just simmer it for several minutes and let it cool. Once cooled, I put it into freezer bags and freeze it to have the fresh summery taste during the winter months!

  • 10 medium tomatoes
  • 1 lg. bunch cilantro (I use half)
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 1 medium/large red onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 green bell pepper (yellow, red, or orange bells work, too)
  • 8-10 hot chili peppers (or whatever variety of hot pepper you enjoy)
  • 1 lemon
  • pickling salt to taste–about 2 tbsp.

Process all vegetables coarsely in food processor. Mix together in large mixing bowl.  Squeeze the juice of the lemon over mixture and add the salt.  Stir together.   Makes about 2 quarts.   Keep refrigerated and use within a week or so.

Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

Wow! It’s been several days since I’ve been here on the blog! I just checked the views and we are at 20,998! Almost to 21,000. I know that is just small stuff to those who are really into the blogging world. But for little old me, that is amazing!

Last weekend we had all the family together again!!!! I was so glad that it worked out for my girl and her man to come as well as son #2 and his favorite lady friend. It has been since last Labor Day that we were all together, and with one of my Blue Stars heading overseas for several months, and another one of my Blue Stars also leaving soon, it will be a while before we can all be together again. I cherish the times we can all be under my roof and around my supper table!

We decided to have our 4th of July celebration on Saturday since my girl and her hubby would have to travel home on the 4th. Saturday was such a fun day!! While some of the guys went for a run, the girls and I  went shopping! Seriously, what else would we do, right?  In the afternoon  and evening we played some bocci out in the yard, played several very loud rounds of Scattergories, ate some amazing food, set off some fireworks, and laughed–a lot!

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In addition to grilled steaks, we had potato salad, baked beans, tomatoes, hummus and salsa with chips, watermelon, etc. You know, all the good stuff that goes along with 4th of July! For dessert I had gotten a birthday cake for Barbi, but she decided that it would be better to celebrate all the July birthdays instead of just hers. Our combined ages equal 106!

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On the spur of the moment I decided to put together some jalapeno poppers to add to the meal. These are very easy to make, and all the guys loved them! I really don’t have a recipe that I follow, but I will try to give close estimates on the amounts. They are THM-friendly, too!

The jalapeno peppers that I used were huge! Our local Aldi had them in a package of 5 for less than 75 cents! The bigger peppers are much easier to work with than smaller ones.

5 jalapeno peppers

2-3 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 wedge of garlic and herb cheese (got mine at Aldi)

Sprinkles of onion powder, garlic powder, salt (to taste)

5 slices of bacon

Cut the peppers in half length-wise and remove the seeds. Combine the cheeses and spices and mix well. Spoon the cheese mixture into each pepper half, using all of it.

Wrap each stuffed pepper half with a slice of bacon and place on a jelly roll pan.

Bake in 350* oven for about 15-20 minutes. The bacon should be getting crispy. Enjoy!

 

Coconut Fudge Brownies

Here we are at the end of June! We are half-way through 2016 already!! I can’t believe that we are heading towards another 4th of July. I am pretty excited about this coming weekend because, if all goes as planned, I will have ALL four of my kiddlets under my roof once again…for about 48 hours! Hey, I’ll take what I can get! I have no idea when we will all be together again because one of my blue stars will be leaving in early July for the other side of the world. This makes me sad! I’ve never been so far away from any of my kiddos as I will be for the next 3-4 months. And before he returns, one of my other blue stars will be leaving as well. While my momma heart will worry about them, I  understand fully that this is what they are called to do at this time. I will pray for their safety while they are gone and for their safe return.

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Now to the recipe. I took a recipe featured in the new THM cookbook and made some changes ( read “experimented”) and came up with this pretty amazing recipe. Keeping it in the fridge helps keep it fudgy until it is all eaten…which won’t be long, I can assure you! I have made these brownies several times and none of the guys in my family know that there is okra in them! And as a bonus…they are low-carb!

BROWNIES::

1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 c. peanut butter powder

3/4 c. coconut oil

3/4 c. butter

1-1/2 c. sweetener (I use Pyure)

2 tsp. vanilla

1/4 – 1/2 tsp. salt

1 c. oat flour

1 c. unsweetened dried coconut

1-1/2 c. okra (I use frozen. Let it thaw slightly before using).

6 eggs

ICING:

2 oz. cream cheese

2 tbsp. butter, softened, but not melted

1/4-1/3 c. heavy cream

4 tbsp. sweetener

1/2 tsp. vanilla

For the brownies: melt the coconut oil and butter in a small saucepan. Add the cocoa powder and peanut butter powder. Stir well.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Set aside.  In your blender, combine the okra, eggs and vanilla. Blend completely so there are no particles of okra seen. Pour the cocoa mixture and the okra mixture into the dry ingredients and stir well.

Pour the batter into a lightly oiled 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes. Let cool.

Combine the icing ingredients in your blender or food processor. Give it a taste and add more sweetener if needed. Spread on cooled brownies. For a garnish, grate an 85% chocolate bar over the icing.  Refrigerate for several hours before serving.

Honey Bees, the Hubby’s New Hobby

I can’t believe that it has been a month since I last posted here on the blog! Where in the world has the time gone? I know that I’ve been busy, but seriously? A month? I do hope that I can do better in the coming days!!

During this last month, the hubby has been researching honey bees, purchasing needed equipment, and actually setting up hives. He planned to start with 2 hives, but last week, he decided that 2 were not enough. He now has 5 hives set up–complete with bees! This picture is of hives 1 and 2.

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While I am not a fan of bees of any kind, I am a firm believer of local honey helping with allergy issues. (I know that some people think that this is just crazy, and others are adamant that it does work.) About 3 years ago I began a regimen of 1 tbsp. of local honey a day (in my morning tea) so that I could wean myself off of OTC allergy medicines. I never had allergy issues while I was growing up; however, as an adult, I have had lots of issues with seasonal allergies. Several friends told me to take local honey to help with the allergies. One told me that I wouldn’t see it helping for about a year, but to take it anyway. I have done so, and no longer take the OTC allergy meds. So, I look forward to having our  very own local honey…hopefully by next year!

I promise to try some new recipes and share them with you here. Thanks for your patience with me!

Looking ahead–my girl should be having her baby near the end of July!! Can’t wait to meet my grandson!

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Banana Cake

The last few weeks have been crazy busy for me, but I loved every minute of them! We had my sister, brother-in-law, and their youngest son here for a week!! I love getting to spend time with my sister! Although the majority of the week was filled with church meetings and fellowship suppers, we did manage to snag some time to ourselves and do a little shopping before they had to leave at the end of the week.

I did quite a bit of grocery shopping before they got here and totally forgot that Barb would be bringing a cooler of things with her. Believe me, my fridge was packed once everything was put away! By the end of the week, it was rather empty! Still is, by the way! Just haven’t gotten to the store yet to restock!

We had 2 lone bananas left which were rapidly ripening, so I knew it was time to bake something using those ‘nanas!   There is a great recipe in the new THM cookbook for a banana cake. I took the basic recipe and added a twist…cocoa powder and peanut butter powder…for a fabulous flavor!  I used a 9×9 square baking pan and cut the cake into 9 pieces. By my calculations, it comes to only 31 carbs per piece, which makes it a great E snack. Topped with a bit of low-fat whipped topping, it makes a delicious snack…or breakfast…or lunch…

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2 ripe bananas

2 droppers of liquid Stevia

1 c. plain Greek yogurt

1 c. egg whites

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. butter flavoring

2 c. oat flour

1/2 c. old-fashioned oats

1/4 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 c. sweetener (I use Pyure)

2 heaping tbsp. cocoa powder

2 tbsp. peanut butter powder

Lightly coat a 9×9 pan with coconut spray oil.

Mash the bananas in a large bowl. Add the liquid Stevia, yogurt, egg whites, vanilla, and butter flavoring. Mix well.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl. Add to the liquid ingredients and stir well. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes. Let cool in the pan.

Serve warm with a dollop of whipped cream!

 

Happy Birthday to Us!

This week is the 6th year mark for the blog! Over these last 6 years, we’ve written 383 posts and have had over 20,500 views. I guess that’s not too bad for a middle-aged mom! Ha!

I am thankful for each of you who have stayed with us and have faithfully been reading my posts. I do hope that you have found some recipes that your family enjoys!

A friend shared this picture the other day, and I thought it very appropriate for us. We love sharing recipes, and most of them come with stories!

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Roasted Vegetables

It’s not very often any more that we have company over for dinner. However, our dear friends from Northern Ireland were going to be in town for 3 weeks, and we always have them over for dinner when they are here in town. Of course, I always wonder what I should serve for dinner when they come, knowing that they are invited out for dinner a lot while they are here. I asked the guys what they thought, and both of them said Alfredo sauce! I had been thinking of chicken, so I thought that serving the chicken with Alfredo sauce was a great idea. Serving a nice green leafy salad was a given since I knew that they loved good salads.  The hubby had some fresh new potatoes that he dug up the morning of the meal, so I needed a way to serve them as well as a hot veggie dish.

It wasn’t hard to come up with this roasted vegetable dish. It was fast and easy to make and absolutely delicious!  This recipe serves about 10, depending on how much everyone eats. I served the leftovers in a brothy soup on Saturday for lunch.

Doesn’t this look amazing?

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You can use just about any veggies that you want. Here is how I made mine. I didn’t use peppers since one of our guests has a severe allergy to peppers, but next time, I will probably add them.

1 large zucchini

1 large summer squash

1/2 lb. asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 medium red onion

several carrots, peeled and cut up into small pieces, about 1-1/2 cups

2 medium broccoli crowns

about 1-1/2 cups chopped mushrooms

1 medium head cauliflower

about 7-8 new red potatoes, cut into 4ths

1 tsp. minced garlic

1/2 c. olive oil

salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, basil, parsley, and any other seasonings you desire

Wash and cut up the veggies into bite-sized pieces. Place all of them into a very large bowl for easy stirring. Combine the seasonings and olive oil. Pour over the veggies and stir well to coat all of the veggies.

Lightly spray a large jelly-roll pan. Spread the veggies out on the pan. Bake in a 425 oven for about 12 minutes. Remove pan and stir the veggies to turn them over. Return it to the oven and bake about 10 more minutes or until veggies are tender. **Watch them carefully!! You don’t want them to burn!

Fresh Ginger Juice

No, this is not a juice that you just guzzle out of a glass…unless you really, really like the taste of ginger! This is more of a concentrate that you can add to other beverages like the GGMS from Trim Healthy Mama.

Now, I’ve been eating the THM way for over 18 months. I dearly love the GGMS and the Singing Canary. These are great ways to help get my daily allotment of water into my system. However, until this weekend, I have used only ground ginger in the GGMS. Oh, my! There is just nothing like the tangy taste of fresh ginger in the GGMS!! It is so worth the effort that it takes to grind and press the ginger! A little goes a long way, and it can be frozen!! Definitely worth it!!

I did some research on the internet to find out the best way to grind and squeeze the ginger to get the juice. There are probably as many suggested ways as there are Trim Healthy Mamas! And that’s a lot! Some suggest peeling it first. Nope…way to difficult to get into all the little nooks and crannies!  At first I tried grating it. Nope, that is not going to happen in my kitchen either! Way too much time for even a small piece. Have you ever tried grating ginger? Ginger is very fibrous, and all those little hairy threads stick out like crazy and do not grate well.

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Next, I tried slicing it. This is definitely better than grating. I sliced the entire piece thinly and then added it with water to my blender. This large piece shown here is about 2.5 ounces and makes 4 cups of ginger juice.

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All  you need is 1 large piece of fresh ginger and about 1-1/2 cups water to start with.

Cut the ginger into slices or small chunks and add it and the water to your blender. Grind it up for about 30 seconds to a minute. Strain the ginger, squeezing it against the side of the strainer. Put the ginger water into a quart jar. Return the ginger to the blender with another cup of water. Grind this (2nd time!) for about 30 seconds. Strain and squeeze again. Do this one more time (3rd time). Instead of squeezing the ginger pulp the third time, just let it drip through the sieve. *Do not throw the pulp away yet!

Pour all the ginger juice into a quart jar and fill the jar up with water. You now have some very yummy ginger juice to add to your GGMS! I froze half of mine in an ice cube tray so that I can just pull out what I need when I make it.

Now, about that pulp! Dump the pulp into a small sauce pot and add about 2 cups water. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes. Strain it again and squeeze out all the water. Now you can throw the pulp away. Add about 1/4 cup lemon juice and2-3 tbsp. honey or other sweetener to this ginger juice and stir to mix well. You now have ginger tea! We found even this to be a little strong, so we added ice and divided it among 3 of us! Delicious!

Zucchini Boats

I got to spend some time this weekend with my sweet little grandgirl. Oh my, does this child love her apples! She’s a mess!

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I’ve been looking for some new recipes lately to help the hubby get back on track with his eating habits. I found a recipe tonight in the new THM cookbook and was pleasantly surprised that I could play around with it a little and make it something to his liking but still have it low-carb. You know me…I almost always change up recipes! I used  ground sausage instead of the called-for chicken chunks. I also added some seasonings along the way.

about 3-4 medium zucchini squash

3/4 lb. ground sausage

1/2 medium onion, diced

1 tsp. minced garlic

salt and pepper to taste

one medium tomato, diced

sprinkling of basil, ground red pepper, and oregano

mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400*. Cut the zucchini lengthwise and hollow out the middle. Spray a cookie sheet lightly with coconut oil. Place the zucchini boats on the sheet and bake about 10 minutes.

While zucchini is baking, brown the sausage with the onion and garlic. Drain off any fat. Add the salt, pepper, basil, ground red pepper, and oregano. Stir well to incorporate spices. Add diced tomato and stir.

Scoop the meat mixture into the zucchini boats. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Return pan to oven for an additional 8 minutes or so. Zucchini should be tender and cheese melted.

Any leftover meat mixture can be served in a bowl with mozzarella cheese melted over the top.

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