Coming Soon: Free Book

Coming Soon: Free Book
Planning to give away a book or two!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Kohlrabi - Fresh from the garden

This is a low carb vegetable. I've never cared much for Kohlrabi's because most people eat them raw.  It has the texture of a raw potato. For me a large part of food is the texture.  It is a true vegetable.  The meat of the plant grows in the stem.  Unlike strawberries that flower then create the fruit.  
Cell photo by Trisha
Kohlrabi in the garden
Kohlrabi's have an outer skin that needs to be cut off.  Once you trim the outer skin it looks like a potato but tastes more like a cabbage.
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Kohlrabi partially cleaned
A friend recommended making it like mashed potatoes.  But I was frying bacon today and so I thought to myself. "Why not make it American Fry style?"  So I chopped one kohlrabi into bite size pieces and tossed it in with the frying bacon.
Cell photo by Trisha
Cooking with bacon
The salt and smokiness from the bacon absorbed into the kohlrabi and blended beautifully with the cabbage-ish taste.  I ate half of this style kohlrabi and saved half for Dale. He is working tonight so I was cooking for myself.
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Kohlrabi ~ American Fry Style
In a second pan, I put another kohlrabi chopped up, a small amount of chicken broth and a pat of butter.  When you cook potatoes, the starch of the potatoes come out and can help it to thicken up.  Without the starch (carbohydrates) I needed to use less liquid.
Cell photo by Trisha
Boiling Kohlrabi in chicken broth
Even with very little chicken broth I had to drain some off.  I wanted to add a small amount of cream and some butter.  It took all of my patience to let this extra moisture cook in or cook off as the case may be. 
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Added Cream and Butter
When all was said and done, it looked more like the "skin in" potato.  Maybe I should have put it in a blender or tried to whip it with a mixer.  But honestly it was such a small serving that I didn't think it would help much.  Both were good.  But the "American Fry" style was just that little bit better.  (It had to be the bacon.)
Cell photo by Trisha
Mashed Kohlrabi topped with butter

Sunday, June 29, 2014

A visit from Gypsy

We had a bit of an exciting day. This morning I saw a stray dog out of my window. By the time I got outside,  the dog was gone. 

A couple hours later Dale told me that she was in his back yard. She came back and forth between Dale's place and my place all day long. 

In the meantime,  I put up posters,  posted a picture of her on the Internet and was directed to a FB page "Lost Dogs Minnesota".

This evening a friend of Gypsy's parents saw one of the two FB posts and stopped by to pick her up. No ID'S were needed.  Before they walked across the road (yes, they were at the restaurant across the road) I called Gypsy by her name and she looked at me like,  "Wow you know my name!" Then her people walked through the house to the back yard and the doggie kisses began. 

Gypsy was a wonderful and well behaved dog. It was a pleasure to have her visit for the day.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Growing Excitement

The excitement is growing for the Alaskan Cruise. Last week we got on the mail a package.  It included a lanyard for our cruise ID, a special book to gather autographs and notes, and a travel bag the perfect size to fit on an airplane.  But everyone will have identical bags.

Today I stopped by a craft store to buy tags that we can tie onto the bag and material for the luggage identifier. I always keep a strip of fabric on my suitcase for easy identification on an airport luggage carousel.

Two weeks ago we received hats, visors,  and hooded sweaters. Those we ordered unlike the package we received this week which was a fun surprise. Woo-hoo!

Friday, June 27, 2014


Yes, I am the owner of Doberman dogs.  If you believe the stereotype, they are vicious dogs.  Yup, ah ha. As you can tell, she is in high heaven standing between these three boys and getting petted.  I masked their faces because I didn't plan on posting the picture when I took it.
Cell photo by Trisha
Center of Attention
One of the boys is my nephew who has played with Duchess since she was a puppy.  Another boy would visit with Isaac every time that Duchess had puppies.  The boy with his arms around Duchesses neck was new to Duchess.  He got doggie kisses. 

Did you notice that Misty isn't in the picture?  Because that vicious girl was hiding behind me even though she was jealous that Duchess was the center of attention.  She periodically barked.  But all the boys needed to do was call her over to them and she ran for the house door.  The boys were hoping to play with both dogs during their visit.  Since that wasn't possible, Duchess got a double dose of attention. 

Yeah, I don't think Duchess minded the extra attention one bit.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Chocolate Mint Dreams

In the summertime I like my treats to be cold or frozen.  I found a recipe called cream cheese clouds online and I modified it.
Cell photo by Trisha
It has to be delicious with this base
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
2 TBSP cocoa
1 TBSP cinnamon
1/2 tsp mint extract
10 drops liquid stevia
Mix together the softened cream cheese and butter. Blend in the rest of the ingredients until fluffy.  
Cell photo by Trisha
Reminds me of making mints
I used my large (tablespoon) scoop to dish up scoops and placed the on the parchment paper that line my cake pan. 
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Starting to look dreamy
I made them over lunch and sampled them for my afternoon snack.  The creamy luxurious minty chocolate melted in my mouth!  :^)
Cell photo by Trisha
Chocolate Mint Dreams
206 Calories, 21.6 grams fat (94%), 2.2 g carbs, 2.6 g protein.  On a Ketogenic diet, I need to achieve 80% of my calories from healthy fats on a daily basis.  This is what is referred to as a fat bomb.  I will eat a treat like this mid day and just before bed. The specialist recommend not counting calories but learning good portion size and appropriate mix of fat, protein, vegetables (carbs and fiber).  I might get to that point. But at this time I am in a major "reprogramming" mode and that is a big challenge.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A new hobo?

My mother always used to call this meal a hobo. Ground hamburger, potatoes and butter wrapped up in tinfoil and placed on the grill.
Cell photo by Trisha
Preparing Hobo's
As I grew up I started adding onions.  (My dad was allergic to onions so mom didn't cook with them.)
Now I am at a spot where I am not supposed to eat potatoes and other high carb foods.  I am trying something new.  I added cauliflower.  Later in the season I will add zucchini and other vegetables too.
When mine came off the grill I sprinkled a very small amount of cheddar cheese shredded, 3 slices of avocado and about a teaspoon of whipped cream cheese on top. It was very tasty. Although I do tend to like food that is less seasoned.
Cell photo by Trisha
Ketogenic (low carb) Hobo
Dale's hobo had cheese in between two hamburgers and onions on the bottom. He added salt and pepper on the his before eating it.
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Traditional Hobo

Monday, June 23, 2014

My turn

A while back I shared photos that my sister took of what I called a bacon wrapped Jucy Lucy.   Dale was working this evening so the girls and I stayed at my house for most of the evening.
I usually take Dale a meal when he is working.  He works adjacent to the newest restaurant in town.  But if he ate there ever time he worked, he would end up paying them to work.
I chose to add seasoning salt to the hamburger, cheddar cheese and onions.  My sister turned hers several times but I used a bread pan instead of a cake pan.  The bottom got a little too crispy. 
I placed my serving on top of a bed of lettuce with a few dollops of cottage cheese and 4 slices of avocado.   Dale is still my meat and potatoes/ sandwich guy. I put mayonnaise on his and a slice of raw onion. It is a way to make a meal that is both ketogenic and meat and potatoes.
Cell Photo by Trisha
Bacon Wrapped Jucy Lucy
Cell photo by Trisha
A balanced meal
Cell Photo by Trisha
Dale's bacon wrapped Jucy Lucy sandwich

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Naturally Delicious Day!

I was cleaning the yard today to get ready for the twice a week mowing. Between the rain and humidity the grass is growing as fast as the weeds.
I noticed the strawberry patch at the edge of the yard.  A bird was helping itself to a fresh low hanging berry.  
I took a break from mowing prep to pick a bowl of strawberries.  I rinsed them off right away and ate one. I wish that I could eat them all. But even too many natural carbs are not good for me.
I will enjoy a few fresh berries for dessert.
Cell photo by Trisha
Freshly picked Strawberries

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Spicing up a simple meal

We are eating leftover chicken for supper.  Dale was making sandwiches.  Since I can't eat bread any more, I decided to make mine into a salad.
Cell photo by Trisha
Salad with chicken breast
It was a fairly plain: lettuce, topped with chicken,  cheese and olives with a thick sour cream, cream cheese,  avocado dressing. It tasted good. Sometimes simple it the best.  :^)
I had to spice it up by spicing up the photo. Did it work?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Rain rain ... just what the lake needed

All over Minnesota they reporting floods and impending floods. We normally get about 4 inches of rain for an average June. This year we are already over 10 inches.
Cell photo by Trisha
10" of Rain brings lake to normal levels
I hadn't been out to the lake all week. I was surprised when I go out there to see that the lake was finally looking like it was at a healthy level.  Some people over the years have lowered their docks because of the consistently low water levels. I can tell because those docks are about two inches above the water.
Cell photo by Trisha
Duchess & Misty Playing in the Water
The weather today was warm and humid.  The girls couldn't wait to get into the water!
Cell Photo by Trisha
Dale and Duchess

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Pretty Peonies

Why is it every spring when the peonies are in full bloom the storms and heavy winds pulverize them? It is almost like you don't need to watch your weather forecast. You just look out the window and say, "Oh I see a penny here comes the storm!"
Cell Photo by Trisha
Red Peony
I like peonies but I do not like the ants that come with the flowers.  The ants are necessary for the flower to bloom. There is a coating over the buds that the ants chew off. They have a symbiotic relationship.
Cell Photo by Trisha
Pink Peonies
So I have planted my peony plants far enough away from the house so that the ants don't get into the house. They are a beautiful plant. And I love the fragrance. Sometimes I will dry them in the oven on low heat and sprinkle a little cinnamon with them. It makes a wonderful potpourri.
Cell Photo by Trisha
White Peony

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Judgment or Adoration?

Many times Christian speakers use gardens to describe the Christian life. As I looked out my window this week, I could see the weeds growing tall. As people walk down the sidewalk they stop and admire the flowers.
Cell Photo by Trisha
Front Gardens
As the caretaker of the garden,  I see what needs to be cleaned out,  the sin. From the outside people see the beautiful flowers, bright in color, a variety of sizes and textures. The flowers make me think of the pretty things that people buy to make themselves look more ______ (fill in the blank) than they really are.
Cell Photo by Trisha
Spring Colors
The people that see them might be fooled.  They might see signs of the sins but overlook them because of the beauty.  I try my best to see the positive side of everything.  At the same time I am a realist. I stop and smell the flowers but I see the weeds too. They are a part of life and need continual maintenance. Somewhere in between admiration and judgment is the right attitude for us to keep.
Cell Photo by Trisha
Flowers or weeds?
Cell Photo by Trisha
Peek-a-boo yellow flowers

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Help weeding

I was in the front garden this evening pulling weeds.  Mostly quack grass and thistles.  I was trying to move fast before the mosquitoes carried me away.  Duchess and Misty Blue were in the fenced in yard. 

After 20 minutes I had pulled so many weeds that I had a blister on my left pointer finger and it popped before I realized it was there.   The dogs were being quiet (so I should have known. ) I opened the gate to find Mischievous Misty Blue sitting in the center of my flower garden digging a hole. Maybe she thought that she was helping me weed? Honey, those are flowers!

I yelled first.  Then took her to the side of the garden and told her bad girl.  As soon  as I opened the door to the house she bolted to my bedroom and up on the bed into her "I know I was bad" posture.  She got 30 minutes in the kennel while I treated my bad hand and pulled a few more weeds. 

The hole was almost the length of her body and 8 to 10 inches deep.   I put my rake into the hole hoping to show the size.  Puppies!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Garden Fresh ....

We have started harvesting garden fresh fruits and vegetables. I interpret fruit to be something that flowers then produces a delectable sweet treat.  A vegetable grows from a root or a stalk. Rhubarb, carrots, kohlrabi, radishes are examples of vegetables.  Strawberries, blueberries, apples, cucumbers, pumpkins are examples of fruits. 
Cell photo by Trisha
Rhubarb picking
Our rhubarb patch has about twelve plants.  Now that I can't eat carbs, we are giving more of it away.  I can eat about a cup of rhubarb at a time with no sweetener.  I haven't figured out how to make it and sweeten it with liquid stevia.  
Cell photo by Trisha
Rhubarb patch
I have three wooden boxes about two by four feet full of strawberry plants.  This year, they are loaded with strawberries.  Again a sad thing that I can only eat about an ounce of strawberries at a time.  I am thinking about trying to make a strawberry rhubarb smoothie with some coconut milk.  I will try anything once.
Cell photo by Trisha
Strawberries by the pints
With all the rain, the plants are getting tall and full.  I can't wait to see how many strawberries we get.  I am sure that Dale will eat most of them while we are picking them.
Cell photo by Trisha
Foot tall strawberry plant
Don't they look delicious?  They will be starting to turn red in the next week or so.  As I get my blood sugars in line and re-align my body, I will be able to eat more fruit and vegetables in season.  But for now, I will freeze some in small portions.  We are really only to have one serving of fruit a day as a snack.  1 ounce of strawberries has 5 grams carbs, 2 grams fiber (3 net carbs).  In case you are wondering, they estimate that 1 ounce is equal to 1/8 cup strawberries.
Cell photo by Trisha
June Bearing Strawberries

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Blueberry no bake cheesecake

It is hard to take control of your own food when you travel but it is important.  I've shown you in a few blogs this week how I made choices while eating at restaurants.  I also showed you that we chose to grill out one evening instead of going to a restaurant.  By taking control of my eating while I was on the road, I was able to drop two pounds.  It helped that I was able to do a twenty minute aerobic workout in the pool two evenings.

I had called the hotel to see if they just had stovetops or if they also had ovens.  They said that they had ovens so I pulled up a recipe for blueberry cheesecake that I could bake.  Luckily I checked the room before I went to the grocery store because there was no oven.  I had to quickly come up with a recipe that would work on the stovetop.
Crushed walnuts
1/3 cup butter
a teaspoon of cinnamon
The rest of the stick of butter
1/2 pint blueberries
Pint of Heavy Whipping Cream
8 oz stick of cream cheese
a teaspoon of cinnamon
1 Tablespoon Cocoa powder

Cell photo by Trisha
Softening the blueberries
I started by heating up the blueberries until they were soft.  Once they were softened as you can see below the mix turned purple.
Cell photo by Trisha
Softened Blueberry
I chose to add the cinnamon at this level.  I think next time I would add it to the cream mixture.  The taste was lost in the fresh blueberries.
Cell photo by Trisha
I used a small blender that I have to crush the walnuts a little bit.  I added cinnamon and butter so that it would pat down better in the cupcake liners and add a richer taste.  I had purchased the cupcake liners with foil on the outside which are designed for use without a cupcake pan.
Cell photo by Trisha
After rinsing out the blender, I blended the cream cheese together with the rest of the heavy whipping cream and folded it together with the (now cooled) blueberry mixture.
Cell photo by Trisha
Folding blueberries into cream cheese
I scooped the mixture over the crusts and sprinkled a few walnuts on top.  After all, I deserve a dessert at looks pretty when I travel.  
Cell photo by Trisha
Finished Blueberry no bake cheesecake
They set up well but if they weren't eaten immediately out of the refrigerator they got a little sticky.  I froze one just to see how it would work.  It was a little too hard to eat I needed to let it warm up a little bit but once it was at a point to just start "melting" it was perfect.
Cell photo by Trisha
Starting your day in the right way with a smile!
The hotel served a different breakfast every day.  Most days I could find something to eat.  One day they had scrambled eggs with cheese on top and bacon.  LOOK! it is even smiling at me (with a twisted goofy grin.)
Cell photo by Trisha
Mushroom Swiss burger with broccoli and avocado
They ordered out from a café one day.  I ordered a mushroom Swiss burger served on a bed of lettuce (I requested no bun.)  It was normally served with French fries.  But on their side options they also had steamed broccoli so I asked if I could swap out the French fries for steamed broccoli.  There was a bottle of balsamic vinaigrette with olive oil in the refrigerator for "salad day".  I sprinkled a little bit over the broccoli to add flavor.  At the grocery store, I had purchased an avocado.  Since we ordered lunch the day before, I knew to bring the rest of my avocado with me to work.

Restaurants are service places.  If they are a good restaurant, they will do anything that they can to accommodate you.  Especially people that travel.  They want you on your return trip to come back to town.  Next time that you are in a restaurant, look over the menu and ask for what you want even if it isn't what the menu says.