The Rocket Scientist on Her B-day & SO Much More…

Hi!

I feel like a rocket scientist. This is a HUGE step for someone like me who is mathematically challenged. I used to make copies or scan recipes from my favorite cooking magazines. Saveur, Bon Appetit, COOK’S, but I have a better more brilliant and time solving way to do it, and save the planet. (I know not single-handedly, but every little bit helps. I’m saving trees here!) I take a picture of the recipe and then it syncs over to my computer and I trim it up and put it in a file of recipes on my computer. I waste little time and no paper and I don’t have to individually scan every page of every recipe. Yes, today, I think I am a rocket scientist!

So, I found this truly yummy recipe that I made…twice.

Sweet potato with chili, butter and honey on it!

SWEET POTATO W. CHILE, BUTTER & HONEY

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1 sweet potato

as much Chile as you like, I do a couple teeny, weeny little pieces

1 T. honey

1 T. butter

Okay, so take your sweet potato and jab it with a fork to make holes all over it.

Wrap it in tin foil.

Put on a cookie sheet and bake in oven at 400 for 35 minutes. Check it. May take 45 minutes to an hour. Keep squeezing it periodically until it gives.

While it is baking in the oven. In a skillet, put the remaining ingredients and cook till good and warm.

The Bon Appetit recipe for this suggests you rip off pieces of the potato so it looks like you are pulling pieces off it like you would a baguette, BUT the sucker is hot and it is hard to do! So, I cut it in various ways and directions and then drizzled the mixture on top and ate it. Maybe add a pinch of salt.

So easy and you will love it!

SALMON WITH ONION, GARLIC, OLIVE & CAPERS

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3 oz. salmon

handful of sliced onions

1 garlic clove

5 olives

1 T. capers

2 T. olive oil

 

Olive oil in a skillet with onions, garlic, olives and capers. Cook mixture while baking salmon in oven with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Cook fish till it gives. Take out of the oven. Pour mixture on top.

 

MEREDITH MCKAY’S D-DAY

I wrote a book about divorce and it has sent in a drawer for several years. I mention it on my website, and realized that I needed to publish it.

There are so many kids going through divorce. I wrote a book for teenagers about parents separating, dating and divorcing with a tinge of humor and a lot of reality called THE TURNAROUND KIDS.

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I call it TURNaround Kids because when kids are going through a divorce they sometimes feel as if they arrive at Mom’s house to only turnaround and go to dad’s house. SO, they become the Turnaround Kids.

I have had teenagers read it and say, “You nailed it! This is exactly how it unfolds and this is exactly how you feel when it does!”

But that book is for teenagers and this book, Meredith McKay’s D-Day, is a book about divorce for young children and it really needed to be out there! Kids need to know that they are not alone and their feelings and fears are real and valid and there is nothing to be ashamed of. I remember the morning my dad left better than I remember what I did yesterday!

I pulled out the manuscript and read it. I needed art. I thought a 5-year older would be perfect for doing the illustrations. So, I DID THEM!!!! I can draw as a 5-year older! It really looks like a child did them. And maybe the child in me did!

I will provide a link below to purchase this on amazon.com. Here is my cover art on this book titled:

MEREDITH MCKAY’S D-DAY

MM cover

 

Meredith McKay’s D-Day- A Book About Divorce for Young Children

 

Okay, back to salmon…..

I needed to find something different to do with salmon so I went searching for recipes to change it up!

I found a dressing that sounded interesting so I baked my salmon and poured this over the top!

SALMON DRESSING

1 T. olive oil

2 T mirin

2 T. rice vinegar

1 t. ginger

1 t. sesame oil

Squeeze of lemon

Salt & pepper

That same night I had a salad and wanted a tasty yet less fattening dressing. I wanted to use an ingredient from my pantry. I made this up and really liked it.

 

SESAME & GARLIC

1 garlic clove

1 T. sesame oil

2 T. soy sauce

2 t. rice vinegar

Salt & pepper

Tossed a salad and poured this dressing on top!

For my birthday, my friend Mindy gave me WHOLE 30 approved snacks called Epic Foods. So far, I have tried the Uncured Bacon with Sea Salt. It was good.

EPIC FOODS-Whole 30 Foods

With another piece of fish, I had found a Thai Spice Blend that I rubbed into fish. I did it without the Fenugreek. I don’t have any! I liked it!

Thai spice blend

 

When I got sick of fish, I went back to chicken. I found this recipe.

CHICKEN W. ARTICHOKES & OLIVES

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3 oz. chicken, slice and dice into small pieces

handful of sliced onions

1 garlic clove

5-7 olives

4 artichokes

2 T. olive oil

Olive oil in a skillet with onions, garlic, olives and capers and chicken together. Add salt and pepper.

Cook and serve.

 

HARDBOILED EGGS

I eat a lot of hardboiled eggs. They are full of protein. They fill me up. They aren’t too fattening.

The way I cook eggs is the way Ina Garten from Barefoot Contessa suggested. Put eggs in water on the stove. When they boil, set the timer for 7 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit another 7 minutes. Then drain the hot water and add cold water and let them sit another 7 minutes.

I just read that if you add a splash of apple cider vinegar they will be even better! Tasting? Easier to peel? I have no idea what! So, I tried it…still not sure how they are better, but maybe you will figure it out and let me know!

 

PORCH FURNITURE

Did I show you the final pics of the porch furniture with the pillows and all? I love it! Love the colors, except now they all have a layer of yellow pollen on them. OH SO LOVELY!!!

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My friend Jules lives in Indy and she is a total dear to do my taxes for me, her completely mathematically challenged friend. As a thank you, I wanted to take her to a place called WALHILL FARM in Batesville the almost halfway mark for us!

Jules the little skinny minny had a salad that looked fabulous and I should have had that, but instead I had this beautiful pork chop, which was too salty, but the presentation of it was beautiful. I even took a close-up pic for you!

I couldn’t resist the combination of flavors in the dish. Rosemary, garlic rub, sweet potato bacon sage risotto, braised red cabbage, bourbon apple butter and herb oil.

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Look close up…this is artistry….

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Every time I visit New York, I go to half price tickets to see if THE BOOK OF MORMON tickets are available half price. Never! And the going rate for a ticket to see it…last time I priced it at $168/ticket, so when they came to Cincy and were a small fraction of the cost, my friend Vivian and I went! We loved it! Highly recommend it!

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I heard the weeping cherry blossoms were in bloom over at Spring Grove Cemetery and let me tell you…well worth the trip to go see them…

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I just wrestle with my weight. The WHOLE 30 I did for the last year has been fabulous and I feel and look better but I lost weight and then I gained a little back and I think there were two factors working against me. I began to cheat too frequently. I do think you need to cheat on a diet here and there, or you will go nuts at some point and really cheat, but I was cheating every 3 days. It just wasn’t working for me. Secondly, I was eating healthy, but I was eating portions that were too big. It’s great to eat well, but you always have to watch the portions. Depending on the food.

I had become beyond words obsessed, dependent on root vegetables. They were my go to snack. I know…so many other things that are far worse than root vegetables. My Graeter’s ice cream addiction is worse, but am I really complaining that I have a root vegetable problem? Really? Well, yes I do!

I would roast these and eat them like chips. I miss the crunch. And look at these beets, parsnips and sweet potatoes..a homemade bag of Terra Chips…yum…

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My mom found this recipe that she thought I would enjoy because I like beets. It was so good that I took half the mixture and ate it over yogurt and the other half I plated and slapped a piece of salmon on top and that was equally good.

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The salmon I baked with a thin layer of mayo and then sprinkled on it was basil and rosemary. It was simple and delicious!

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Soooooo…because my portion intake had gotten SO out of control and I was teetering or tottering or both on my diet, and constantly fluctuating by two pounds to gain or lose and not really going anywhere I needed to make a change.

I went to breakfast with a friend Sue in January, who told me she needed to lose a little weight and now April she had lost 15 lbs. I want to know who in the WORLD on this planet (beside my friend, Sue) says they are going to lose weight and then actually does it? Is it me, or is that just sick and wrong, abnormal, bizarre or just cool as hell? She did it on Weight Watchers. She said I could do it. I told her I did Weight Watchers when I was 8 years old and back then you had to eat liver on it, and I am probably the only one ANYONE knows who actually gained weight on Weight Watchers. I needed bread and crackers to get that damn liver down. It was foul! So, here I am 40+ years later on Weight Watchers.

I signed up for the good rate (aka FREE) and followed it a few days and then almost broke the point machine on my birthday when I decided to go MAJORLY off the reservation. I am talking about using every citizen on Weight Watchers in the State of Ohio’s points to satisfy my gluttonous need to “celebrate my birthday!” And of course I celebrate over multiple days.

First error of my ways. My mom was explaining a French toast dish she had for brunch. It gave me an idea. Cincinnati is famous for their Schnecken. It is a German pastry that is basically bread, cinnamon, sugar, butter and a whole lot of love. I sliced it up and dipped it in an egg and milk, French toast-like mixture. Then fried it in a pan. Sprinkled a little sea salt on it. Sprinkled powdered sugar and drizzled maple syrup on it. Then made crispy bacon to go with it. I used up 85% of my allotted points that day on that dish alone. But it also made me realize this is the diet for me. I can eat this on the diet and be on a diet? How is that possible? OH YES, portion control. Something I do not seem to possess.

And could you control it if you could eat this….

For NON-Cincinnatians….this is Schnecken…a Cincy staple…

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Cooked in the French toast batter and then sprinkled with Sea Salt and Powdered Sugar.

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Then Maple syrup drizzled on top with a little bacon so you really get the sweet and salty going….

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My birthday food….pizza, pepperoni and onion, my dad added bacon to it. For dessert, Graeter’s gives free ice cream sundaes on your birthday…my dad and I went and I decided to try a different sundae. I usually do a turtle sundae with bittersweet chocolate, butterscotch, nuts, whipped cream, but on my birthday, I ordered a banana split. I am not sure I have ever ordered a banana split anywhere…ever! And after eating that one, I do not know why not! It was divine! The bananas were cold and hard…no this is not porno…well, food porno maybe. Then I had a scoop of salted caramel and a scoop of mocha chocolate chip and then it was covered with bittersweet, butterscotch, whipped cream and my dad and I finished it! I am still craving that damn sundae weeks later! This picture does NOT do it justice.

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THAT was just lunch!!! For dinner, my friends Mindy and Lisa came to dinner. I made Croque Madames. Basically, it is a ham and Gruyere cheese sandwich with a béchamel sauce and melted cheese on top. I ate one of these almost every day for lunch when I lived in Paris and was going to school there. This is what the center looks like….

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Here is a recipe from SAVEUR…so worth a try…my top is like this one…more creamy…

The croque monsieur, the classic French ham and cheese sandwich covered in cheesy bechamel, becomes a madame when a fried egg is placed on top of it.

serves 6

Ingredients

3 tbsp. unsalted butter
3 tbsp. flour
2 cups milk
12 oz. Gruyère, grated
12 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
12 (34“-thick) slices pain de mie or Pullman bread, toasted
6 tbsp. Dijon mustard
12 slices baked ham, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. canola oil
6 eggs

Instructions

Heat butter in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and cook, whisking, until smooth, about 1 minute. Whisk in milk, and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer until slightly reduced and thickened, 6–8 minutes. Add ½ cup grated Gruyère and the Parmesan, and whisk until smooth. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
Heat broiler to high. Place 6 slices bread on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and spread 1 tbsp. mustard over each. Top with 2 slices ham and remaining Gruyère. Broil until cheese begins to melt, 1–2 minutes. Top with remaining bread slices, then pour a generous amount of béchamel on top of each sandwich. Broil until cheese sauce is bubbling and evenly browned, about 3–4 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a 12″ nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add eggs, season with salt and pepper, and cook until whites are cooked but yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes. Place an egg on top of each sandwich, and serve hot.

 

I made matchstick potatoes. Crunchy and yummy. I followed my favorite chef’s recipe for this….Ina Garten of Barefoot Contessa.

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INGREDIENTS
Peanut or canola oil
2 large oval Idaho potatoes, peeled
Sea salt or kosher salt
Minced fresh flat-leaf parsley, optional
Add Checked Items To Grocery List

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Pour at least 1-inch of oil into a deep pot and heat it to 350 degrees F.

Slice the potatoes into thin matchsticks (1/8-inch thick) with a vegetable slicer or mandoline, dropping them into a bowl of cold water as you cut. Drain the potatoes and dry them thoroughly with paper towels. Drop the potatoes in batches into the hot oil and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the pot with a wire basket skimmer or slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Place on a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt, and keep warm in the oven while you cook the rest of the potatoes.

Sprinkle the potatoes with parsley, if desired, and serve hot.

For dessert, I made a Gregorian Chocolate cake that my mom used to make that I had not had in over 20 years that was to die for! I forgot how good it was! Even my friend Mindy said it was the best cake she had ever eaten!

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I can’t give you the recipe. The directions were far too complicated to comprehend. I called my mom and had her walk me through it. Not sure I will ever be able to replicate it again. And this is probably a really good thing!!!

And then when I was finished with the food fest I went back to the diet.

But this is what had happened. I saw this sign in a restaurant I love in Florida. And no truer words.

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Isn’t that a hoot???

My friend Stacey and I went to Fresh Market one day and I introduced her to Coconut date rolls. Theirs are my favorites, except when I make my own.

COCONUT DATE BALLS

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1 box medjool dates, pitted

1 t. fresh lemon juice

½ t. butter

Healthy pinch of cardamom

Healthy pinch of salt

2-3 T. of water

Organic coconut flake, unsweetened

Mix it all together (EXCEPT for coconut flake) in a Cuisinart and blend.

Put in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes till it gets cold and hard.

Roll into balls and then roll in coconut flakes.

I froze mine. That was Stacey’s brilliant idea. I was scared they would turn hard as a rock, but they don’t. SO good and tasty cold! I pull one out at a time when I am craving something sweet to eat! Now, I was eating 2 of these at lunchtime and after dinner for a sweet snack and learned they had so MANY points on Weight Watchers that eating four rolls a day took ALL my points. That is why I turned the rolls into balls and only allow myself one a DAY! Portions! Those damn portions!

Here is me turning them to balls so it is half the calories of a roll and then, the coconut flake I am rolling it in, and then the dog begging for coconut since I dropped some on the floor….

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So, I have not had a root vegetable in days! I decided that I needed to take them out of my diet in a big way. Will I eat them again? Of course, but I can’t eat them daily and in the quantity I like if I want to lose weight. So, I bought a cauliflower and I turned it into a good, healthy, low point snack and I really loved it! I can eat a bowl of this and not use many points at all!!

CAULIFLOWER SNACK

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1 head of cauliflower, cut into small bite-sized pieces

2 T. coconut oil

1 garlic clove

1 T. turmeric

1 T. ginger

1 T. curry

1 heaping T. of capers

I love to cook this in my Wok. You can use any nice sized skillet. I put the oil in the skillet. Followed by garlic, capers, and then the cut up cauliflower and I toss it so oil covers it all. Then I toss in the spices and toss it again well till the cauliflower is a nice yellow color. Then I cook it down till it almost browns, but maybe you like yours crunchier. I don’t! I did try this recipe with broccoli and I didn’t like it as well as I do with the cauliflower! I really loved this for a snack that I could quickly and easily heat up in the microwave. Here’s the problem with this snack. It was so good that I was hoping a head of cauliflower would last me several days, but it was so good, so low in points and so healthy. It only lasted me a few days. Enjoy!

Below is this recipe with broccoli. Maybe you will like it!

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I sliced yellow dill and tossed it in a bowl with a little olive oil and a lot of dill. I placed it on a cookie sheet and cooked it at 400 for 10 minutes each side. It was good but not great!

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I need a good snack. Here is where I am losing MOST of my points. Oils and butter! They are SO fattening and yet so necessary to make food easier to cook…so it doesn’t stick to pots and pans and for the taste factor! THAT is the hardest part for me.

BROCCOLI w. RED FLAKES AND GARLIC

(Barefoot Contessa recipe)

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1 bunch of broccoli

2 shakes of red pepper flakes

2 garlic cloves

2 T. of olive oil/coconut oil

Salt and pepper to taste

I usually like my vegetables either soggy as hell or crunchy depending on the veggie.

I love this crunchy!

Steam broccoli till it turns bright green. Toss in an ice bath/bowl if you want it to retain the green. If you don’t care…don’t!

In the WOK/skillet, add oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and when you smell the garlic toss those broccoli pieces in it and make sure you coat everything. Cook it up and serve!

It is such an easy recipe and it is so darn good!

 

I bought pears. I bought an Anjou and a Bosc. They look different, but not sure I really noticed or remembered a distinct taste difference with them.

I ate one for a snack. The second one, I made the following recipe.

PEAR WRAPPED IN BACON & DRIZZLED WITH DIJON VINAIGRETTE

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1 pear

3 strips of bacon

Dressing:

1 garlic clove

1 T. Dijon mustard

2 T. apple cider vinegar

1 T. olive oil

1 t. honey

1 squeeze of lemon

Okay, I spread the bacon on a cookie sheet.

I placed the 4 pieces of pear I had cut up on top of the bacon.

Cooked 12 minutes @ 400.

When I took the bacon out to flip it, I placed the pear down on the cookie sheet.

Cooked another 10-12 minutes. You just need to watch bacon.

I took it out of the oven. I poked the pear with a fork and rested the pieces in the vinaigrette for a few seconds. Wrapped the bacon around it and ate it for lunch the other day!

 

My friend Jennie and her daughter Lydia were staying with me over the weekend and Jennie was talking about her spiralizer for her Kitchen Aid. The next thing I know she sends me one in the mail.

I was nervous I would need a Ph.D to use it, but I figured it out and then I was a woman OBSESSED with a new toy!

Yesterday, lunch….

ZUCCHINI PAD THAI and for dinner I made it AGAIN, but substituted the zucchini for yellow squash and added shrimp.

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OMG, it was so fun to watch and make and so yummy!

I tweaked this A LOT, so it made it less points for me!

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I could even twirl it on my fork like pasta…..

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INGREDIENTS

  • about 2 medium zucchini
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 pound (225g) peeled and de-veined shrimp or what ever protein you prefer
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • ¼ sliced onions, green would be better if you have them
  • 1 large egg
  • about 2 cups (480ml) bean sprouts (didn’t use this time, will next time)
  • squeezed some fresh lemon in it

SAUCE

  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) rice vinegar or distilled white vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) fish sauce or to taste
  • 3 Tablespoons (45ml) ketchup
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or 1 small red chili, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha
  • 1 T. soy sauce

DO IT:

  1. Cut the zucchini into noodles
  2. Heat a large pan on medium high heat. Add 1 Tablespoon olive oil (reserve the other half for later). Then add zucchini noodles and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the zucchini noodles are tender. Don’t overcook the noodles. The zucchini noodles should be slightly crunchy with a tender bite.
  3. Make the sauce: In a small bowl, combine the sauce ingredients (vinegar, fish sauce, ketchup, coconut sugar, cayenne pepper, chili garlic sauce), and then set aside.
  4. Let the noodles rest for about 3 minutes to allow as much moisture as possible to release. Remove the noodles from the pan and drain the excess water.
  5. Add the remaining olive oil and garlic. Cook the garlic until soft and translucent, about 30 seconds. Add the shrimp and cook until shrimp is tender and cooked through, about 3 minutes.
  6. Add noodles back in. Add the egg and stir in with the vegetable until the egg is cooked.
  7. Add the sauce. Cook for about 1 more minutes or until the zucchini noodles are heated through. Then stir in the bean sprouts.

For dinner….I subbed in yellow squash and added shrimp and mushrooms to it….

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APPLES IN CINNAMON & YOGURT

1 apple, sliced however you like it

1 small & skinny wedge of lemon

1 healthy shake of cinnamon

1 t. honey

¼ c. whole milk yogurt

I used the spiralizer again. I could not resist. Picture below….

I spiralized the apple, squeezed fresh lemon juice on it in a bowl. Tossed it. I love lemon on apples for taste and to keep it from browning on you! Then I tossed in the cinnamon and the yogurt and that was breakfast! It was yummy! Here is a pic of me spiralizing my Granny Smith apple….

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Until we meet again…

Enjoy! Eat, travel, laugh…often….

 

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