Still Playing with the Hat Pattern, Come on Spring & Zucchini Noodles

This hat pattern is pretty versatile

This hat pattern is pretty versatile

I tweaked the chemo head warmer hat pattern to accommodate my wonky working gauge.  Now it fits a lot better than my first version.  The brim can be worn down, which is my favorite look.  It can also be worn out, creating a wide brim hat.  Either way, it holds its shape.

It is an extremely versatile pattern because it can be worked with the little brim or with a smooth band to hug the head.

I’m still using green yarn because that’s what I worked my afghan in.  But I am very anxious to try the pattern in pretty colors.

The pattern is here if you are interested.

I realized today that I am getting seriously depressed by not being able to get out camping.  So after I get the parts in from Casita and get the essential fixes done, I think we will head out somewhere even if it’s cooler than we prefer for camping.  With the crazy weather, I’ll pack shorts and long johns and rain jackets and hope we have our bases covered.

Shredded zucchini to be used as low carb noodles.

Shredded zucchini to be used as low carb noodles.

I haven’t done a low-carb cooking post in a while.  Tonight I did shrimp and broccoli alfredo served over zucchini noodles.  I very lightly cooked the zucchini just enough to get rid of the raw taste.  Linguini would have been nice — but my noodles didn’t mess up my blood sugar.  🙂

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Spring Cleaning, Tablet Tote, Israeli Salad & Bonito Soup

Making a padded tote for my ASUS Transformer Book

Making a padded tote for my ASUS Transformer Book

Today I woke up with energy to burn.  I washed our bedroom windows, the mirrored closet doors, put a pretty tablecloth with lace over that on my dresser, put my jewelry box, tiny crystal hurricane lamps and a couple of favorite old collectibles on it, then put a doily, silk flower arrangement and a larger hurricane lamp on Ron’s chest.  I still need to put my framed tatting on the wall over my dresser.

It gave the room such a sweet, old fashioned air.

We got the big limbs that were blown down by the storm picked up.  I still have thousands of little broken branches and pine cones to go.  But it was a little cool out today, so I decided to play inside instead.  🙂

Israeli salad over avocado

Israeli salad over avocado

I made a curry tonight, but it didn’t made a pretty photo, so I’m posting a picture of an Israeli salad I made a couple of nights ago.  An Israeli girlfriend taught me how to make it back in the early ’80’s.  I think all she used was very finely minced cucumbers, tomatoes and onions, splashed with lemon juice and olive oil.

I like mine with added peppers and radishes if I have them.  Sometimes I’ll put finely shredded lettuce in it, too.  The secret for making the taste superb is to allow the flavors to blend for a couple of hours.  It’s even better the next day.

I used to make it only to stuff with falafel in pitas, where it really shines.  But now that I’m doing low carb, the bread is off limits.  But I discovered it is also out of this world served in an avocado half.

I discovered another wonderful cooking secret.  You know how anchovies give Caesar Salad Dressing that special taste?  I was browsing through Amazon’s Oriental foods a few weeks ago and saw comments that said bonito fish stock gives a very special touch to chicken soups.  You can’t taste the fish, and you can’t really tell what is doing it, but something is extra special about the dish.

Bonito fish soup crystals

Bonito fish soup crystals

So I ordered some and have started adding 1/8 teaspoon whenever I do boiled chicken dishes.  It does make a huge difference.  I didn’t tell Ron what I was adding, but he has said that the last two chicken soups and stews I have made were the best ever.  Might be something to try if you are brave.  😀

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Snow Dog, Oral Surgery & Low Carb Skillet Quiche (Leftovers Supreme)

Sheba taking advantage of a rare snow day in Georgia!

Sheba taking advantage of a rare snow day in Georgia!

At least someone is enjoying the weather today, so I thought I’d document it for posterity!

I had the oral surgery yesterday.  It was pretty extensive and includes an incision almost to the center of the roof of my mouth.  But amazingly, I am doing GREAT today.  The doctor did not prescribe antibiotics.  Really weird for such intensive surgery.  All he said was do salt water rinses.  Fortunately, he did prescribe pain pills, but he wasn’t too happy about doing that.

I think it’s great that doctors are trying to cut down on overuse of antibiotics, but I don’t think senior citizen are an appropriate age group to experiment on.  It might be better to start on 20 somethings with fantastic immune systems.  I’m keeping a close eye on it and at the first hint of infection, I’ll go go my regular doctor who will provide standard treatment.

And if I ever need an oral surgeon again, I’ll find another one!

I started with the veggies....

I started with the veggies….

I’m still eating pureed foods, but I thought I’d share the skillet quiche I concocted the day before the surgery.  At least, that’s what I named it since I couldn’t think of anything more appropriate.  🙂

It evolved when I realized I had two yellow crookneck squash that were going to have to be thrown out if I didn’t use them that day.  So I trimmed them and decided to shred them… maybe make low carb hash browns out of them.  But after I got them grated, I noticed I had a little piece of cabbage that needed to be used up, so I shredded a little of it.

I topped the cooked veggies with leftover bacon and country ham pieces....

I topped the cooked veggies with leftover bacon and country ham pieces….

I put 1-1/2 T butter in a skillet, added the squash and cabbage, then seasoned the squash with celery seed, salt, pepper, minced garlic flakes, and a few red pepper flakes.  Next I cut up some green onions and sprinkled them over the squash.  I had two cherry tomatoes left in the refrigerator, so I sliced those and added them. I cooked them slowly until they were soft on the bottom, then turned the veggies over with a spatula.

Next I topped everything with the rest of the leftover country ham and bacon that I had, and cooked until all the veggies no longer tasted raw.  Then I poured 5 beaten eggs over the mixture and cooked until the eggs began to set.  Finally I covered the eggs with shredded cheddar and pepper jack cheese and cooked until the cheese started melting.  Then I turned off the heat and put the lid on the pot so the eggs would finish cooking and the cheese would finish melting.

After the eggs started setting, I sprinkled cheddar and pepper jack cheese over it....

After the eggs started setting, I sprinkled cheddar and pepper jack cheese over it….

If you let this concoction set for about 10 minutes, you can cut it in quarters or sixths and serve it like a quiche.  Kinda.  🙂

I thought it turned out okay.  Ron really liked it.  But the best part is that it helped me get rid of a bunch of leftovers without them looking or tasting like leftovers!

Leftovers Supreme aka Skillet Quiche

Leftovers Supreme aka Skillet Quiche

 

 

 

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Nothing but Low Carbing Today

Low carb mock macaroni, cheese & ham

Low carb mock macaroni, cheese & ham

I had intended to get so much done today.  But an oral surgery consultation and errands drained all of my motivation.  So the only productive thing I ended up doing today was cooking. (Besides taking a nice nap!)

The recipe for low carb mock “macaroni” and cheese is all over the net with dozens of variations.  So I figured it was time I tried it.

I wanted it to be a main dish, so I decided to add ham to it.  I didn’t have any regular ham, but had some country ham for seasoning.  So I boiled and drained it to get rid of the excess salt and went with that.  It turned out to be a good choice!

Even considering that this was a salad plate instead of a dinner plate, my portion wasn't chintzy!  :)

Even considering that this was a salad plate instead of a dinner plate, my portion wasn’t chintzy! 🙂

The “macaroni” is actually cauliflower.  Care must be taken to cook it just crisp tender.  Longer cooking will make it stronger tasting, soggy, and it will make your sauce watery.

“Mac” & Cheese

16 oz bag of frozen cauliflower
1/2 c. cream
2 oz. cream cheese, cut in small pieces
1-1/2 t. spicy brown mustard
1-1/2 c. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 c. shredded cheese for topping
pepper
garlic powder or dehydrated garlic flakes to taste

Ham chunks, if desired

Oven 350

Steam cauliflower till just crisp tender and cut in small florets.  Grease baking dish.  Heat cream to bare simmer and add cream cheese.  Stir to melt.  Add mustard, pepper and garlic.  Mix well.  Add 1-1/2 c. shredded cheese and stir until just melted.  Remove from heat.

Put cauliflower in large bowl.  Add ham chunks.  Pour cream/cheese mixture over and mix well to coat the cauliflower and ham.

Pour into greased baking dish and top with remaining 1/2 c. cheese.  Bake until browned and bubbly — about 20 minutes.

I thought this was nice.  But Ron LOVED it!  He was more enthusiastic about this than any other low carb dish I’ve cooked for him.  I thought it tasted like mild cauliflower with a nice cheese sauce.  Ron thought it had a scalloped new potato taste.

Low carb raspberry cupcakes

. Low carb raspberry cupcakes

Next, I needed to make something sweet for Ron.  I found a low carb muffin recipe that looked okay, then I started playing with it.  It actually turned out more like cupcakes than muffins by the time I was finished.

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Low Carb Cupcakes

2 c. almond meal
2 t. bakng powder
1/4 t. salt
1 stick butter, melted
4 eggs, beaten
6 T DaVinci Sugar free syrup (I used 4 T raspberry and 2 T vanilla)
1/4 c. Splenda or erythritol

Oven 350

The little cake in the nonstick loaf pan was the only thing that didn't stick.

The little cake in the nonstick loaf pan was the only thing that didn’t stick. The little loaf is also hiding the two cupcakes I already ate!

(Note:  Use non-stick bakeware.  Despite heavily greasing the muffin tins, the cupcakes stuck.  The small cake made in a non-stick mini loaf pan did not stick.)

Mix dry ingredients.  Beat eggs, then beat the melted butter into the eggs.  Add sugar free syrup.  Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix well.  Fill muffin tins 1/2 – 2/3 full.  Put leftover batter in mini loaf pan.  Bake about 20 minutes until tops are set and dry.

Those little cakes were a diet buster for me.  I really liked them and hit them harder than I should have! Ron loved them, too.

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REALLY Warm Sweater! :D

Thanks to Hope for sending me this!  It is one of the very funniest pictures I have ever seen!

I had other things I had planned to blog about today, but will save them for tomorrow.  That photo is so timely as we endure yet another polar vortex freezeout!

For the low carbers who are following my blog, here’s a picture of my breakfast today — a really scrumptious omelet.  It’s also a great brunch idea.

Omelet ingredients.  I microwaved the pepperoni a few seconds before using in the omelet.

Omelet ingredients. I microwaved the pepperoni a few seconds before using in the omelet.

Almost done!

Almost done!

Superb breakfast!

Superb low carb breakfast!

 

 

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PROGRESS!

Low carbing has given me a whole new lease on life!

Last night's dinner.  Leftover chicken soup and salad with leftover deli chicken and pan-crisped pepperoni

Last night’s dinner. Leftover chicken soup and salad with leftover deli chicken and pan-crisped pepperoni

Today my blood pressure was down to 122/79.  Normal!!!!  My fasting blood glucose is running between 98 and 106!

And I’ve lost 9 pounds.

I can’t wait to see my doctor’s face when I see her the 21st.  She will be stunned at the improvement.  I think she was pretty much resigned to watching me gradually become debilitated.

Come on, sunshine!

Come on, sunshine!

I can’t see the weight loss except in my face.  I have cheekbones again!  Hope the weight loss moves on down to my muffin top soon!  😀

It is another very dreary rainy day.  It was so bad earlier, I wondered how the Casita would work as an Ark.

The weather really makes me a little envious of my blogger friends who are on the road to seek the sun.

I hope all of you are leaving the nasty weather behind, and I am so looking forward to seeing your photos and accounts of your travels!

……. It cleared up, the sun came out, and it got up into the 60’s after I posted the above!  My mood just skyrocketed up!  🙂

Welcome, Newborn 2014!

There’s something different about this New Year. In spite of all the things that are so very wrong in our country and in our world, I feel optimism and great anticipation as I look forward to 2014.

Although we had to cancel our travel plans for this winter, we’re making new ones for spring. Maybe having to postpone our plans makes the thought of future travel even sweeter!

Ron is onboard with the low carbing now, and we both are feeling so good! I can’t remember when I’ve had so much energy and wanted to do so many things! I can’t SEE much weight loss yet, but I can feel it. So I’m content to work with my body and let the inches come off whenever they are ready. I just have to remember to leave the low carb fudge I made for him alone!

Ron's afghan

Ron’s afghan

One of my friends has been busy knitting caps for cancer patients and has inspired me to get back into needlework. I made Ron a variegated ripple afghan 3 or 4 years ago. I was going to make myself one to match. But I got about 18″ of it done and burned out on the project.

Today I dug it out of my bottom craft shelf and started on it. When I get it done, we’ll have matching afghans for the Casita. I do wish the beauty would come through in a photo, but there is something about the greens that the camera will not pick up. It also doesn’t pick up the rich, ridged texture like it should.

Raised rose patterned afghan

Raised rose patterned afghan

I’ve posted photos of both of these afghans before, but I just wanted to post them again because I really love them.  I made the raised rose afghan about 15 years ago.  I sized it to be a coverlet for a twin bed.

There’s not a lot to post about right now.  We’re in for a very cold snap, so I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get any winter woods walks in for a while.  I’d love to see what winter mushrooms might be peeking out in the forest.

Maybe I can do that tomorrow before the real cold hits tomorrow night!

Yummy Non-Crumbly Low Carb Peanut Butter Cookies

Ron’s sweet addiction is going to be the death of my diet if I am not very careful.

Non-crumbly low carb peanut butter cookies

Non-crumbly low carb peanut butter cookies

Today I made him more cookies. A recipe for low carb peanut butter cookies is all over the web, but they say the cookies are very crumbly. I don’t want crumbly cookies. So I added a scoop of protein powder, and it made all the difference. These cookies really are good! And they have a much better texture than my earlier peanut butter cookie recipe.

An added bonus is that the uncooked dough, rolled into small balls, makes a delicious candy that can be kept in the refrigerator or freezer.

My recipe made 24 cookies and 8 candies.

Low Carb Non-Crumbly Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup natural peanut butter without sugar

1 cup bulk Splenda

1 egg

1 scoop Body Fortress chocolate/peanut butter whey protein powder (sweetened with Splenda)

1 T Torani’s sugar free caramel syrup

1 T Torani’s sugar free vanilla syrup

Mix all incredients together well and roll into small 1″ balls. Place on greased baking sheet and mark cookies with fork tines. Bake at 350 for approx. 12 minutes until bottoms are nicely browned.

If you aren’t afraid of eating a little raw egg, some of the balls can be placed in the refrigerator or freezer and eaten as candy.

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Needless to say, I ate 3 candies and 2 cookies so far.

I am so upset at having to make these for Ron. But I would be even more upset if he continued stuffing down sugary junk and got Alzheimer’s.

Fantastic Low Carb Day!

bicycle_woman_riderI’ve been low carb dieting again for several days.  I ate way too much food over Christmas, but it was all legal low carb stuff.  And I am feeling fantastic!

I’ve lost 7 pounds.

My fasting blood sugar was down to an incredible 98 this morning.

I had to skip bike riding a couple of days due to a bad knee. But the knee is a lot better today, so I got the bike riding in.  Since I am in such crummy shape,  I only did 15 minutes at a moderate speed (for me), and then, just to keep myself moving for a full 20 minutes, pedaled very easily and slowly for another 5 minutes.Vacuum cleaner

It’s now about 3 hours later, and I just got such a surge of energy I can’t believe it! I am the most sedentary person you can imagine… but I found I could not sit still. I HAD to get up and get moving.

So I grabbed the vacuum cleaner and got busy.

houseMy COPD is so much better. I am breathing deeply and evenly now.

I never, ever thought I would do this well again!

What a great way to get a jump on a Happy New Year!

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