Thursday, November 24, 2016

An OOPS - from Recipe Wednesday

I sincerely apologize for not getting a picture up yesterday. In prepping the house for the contractors, I totally forgot to make this recipe.  So I will repost in a couple of weeks. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

RECIPE WEDNESDAY - Brown Sugar Chicken Thighs

For the next several weeks I'll be working from that grocery shopping trip I took before Halloween. This week, we're talking chicken!

As I said in last week's post, I am using recipes from my Crock Pot board on Pinterest.  With Nano going into Week Two, I really need to keep foods at the ready so I can focus on getting this manuscript polished rather than fixing food. Having something heat and ready also insures that I am eating more frequently, stoking the metabolic furnace.

I bought IQF (Individually Quick Frozen) chicken thighs and boneless/ skinless chicken breasts. This week I want to focus on the chicken thighs with a recipe for Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Chicken Thighs

Since having my teeth pulled I seem to crave all things BBQ - even more than before if that's even possible. So I thought these chicken thighs would be a good dish. My favorite way to do BBQ Chicken Thighs is Ree Drummond's Recipe - Oven-Roasted BBQ Chicken Thighs. Her results of her recipe are AMAZING! But they do require frequent basting to give you that 'candy' coating of bbq that knocks your socks off. So I thought this 'slow cooker' options was a good one to try.

They turned out....

Here's a picture.

Monday, November 21, 2016

WEEKLY PLAN - November 21 - 27


Good morning!

That number in the middle doesn't appear to have changed, but it has. I went up a pound then back down over the week. Apparently, I'm going to yoyo at this new weight level for awhile until I pop over the hump... which I'm not going to stress over during the holidays.

Speaking of holidays, are you ready for Thanksgiving? Do you even celebrate Thanksgiving? I ask because two of my contractors do not. I'd never heard of anyone not celebrating Thanksgiving. So, the fact they will be working here for Thanksgiving isn't a problem.

Growing up, Thanksgiving was a big deal for us. I began my cooking education helping Mom bake pies, dinner rolls and make the stuffing for the #20 bird. We always had the bounty from our garden to add to the feast. I can't remember serving less than fifteen of us. besides the turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing and sweet potatoes we always had home-canned pickles, pickled beets, green beans and those homemade dinner rolls to sop up the last remnants of anything left on the plate.

Dessert was a meal all its own. Pumpkin, Mincemeat, Cherry, Apple and usually a peach or rhubarb cobbler.

A large 32 cup coffee pot sat on the end of the kitchen island and going 24/7, 365.

I miss those big family gatherings. I guess that's why when I have the opportunity to feed people, I do. The two contractors that will be here the majority of the week are the two core members from the studio build team... the main contractor, Ian and his best buddy, Trevor. I've hired Trevor for a drywall project and he's hanging around to help Ian build the back deck/ overhang and the new can storage for the basement like the one shown HERE on my pinterest board.

I spoiled them last time they were here so they are looking forward to the noon meal each day. I'm not doing a turkey on Thanksgiving but I am doing a rotisserie chicken in the crock pot and all the trimmings to go with it. I can always freeze the leftovers for Bob and I. He will be home on Saturday.

Remember, Stress can be just as detremental to your weight loss as anything you'll eat. Enjoy your favorite foods this holiday season.. .in moderation. But most importantly...

Enjoy the Journey!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

RECIPE WEDNESDAY - Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

Something about this recipe just sounded good. Perfect for a game-day snack or just nibbling on between word sprints. I found the recipe HERE on pinterest.

The Ingredients:

One substitution I made was using Fresh Mozzarella for the string sticks the recipe calls for. I'm sorry, but those remind me of Stretch Armstrong and gives me an idea of what it would be like to eat rubber. So I went with the good stuff.

I sliced the ball into 1/2 slices then cubed it up. When I began putting the pieces into the meatball I realized they were too big so each of these pieces was cut in 1/2 again:

My one quart jar of bread cubes made the one cup when I ran them through my mini processor (in 2 batches)

Then I mixed everything together (except the mozzarella pieces):

I used my cookie scoop to make generous amounts. Then rolled each scoop into a golf ball sized meatball:

Stuck a piece of cheese in the center and formed the meat around to enclose. Then in the crock pot they went:

The recipe calls for 2-3 hours on low. I got busy in the office and failed to watch the clock. They went the full 3 hours. I should have pulled them at 2-1/2 hours. They are still good just not as moist:

I wasn't a fan of marinara sauce but tossing them in Honey Teriyaki was quite tasty. BBQ would also be good.  I will make these again but next time I'll watch the clock. ;-)

What's on your plate?

Monday, November 14, 2016

WEEKLY PLAN - November 14 - 20


Happy Monday!

Fall has definitely come to the Ozarks. We've had early morning temps in the upper 20's. The tomato vines have been zapped and are ready to pull. I still need to kick over the tires to see how potatoes have fared. 

As you see, no change in weight from last week, but that's okay. I'm still down two pounds from two weeks ago. I've not gone up. That's a good thing. I'd like to get at least one pound down this week. Then next week's food-laden week won't look too bad on the scales. 

Thanksgiving won't be a big deal here as far as the traditional fare goes. I'm going to do a rotisserie chicken in the crock pot with stuffing. I'll make mashed potatoes and gravy and just plain seasoned green beans. As it stands right now, unless one of my contractors wants to avoid the Thanksgiving family hoopla and hang with me, I'll be by myself. By myself to enjoy the Macy's parade, probably write and just chill. 

But this week.. this week I'm still doing crock pot meals. Except for the one day I need to be in Springfield interviewing the guys at PFI western store for my music blog and talk to them about supporting Saddlebag Dispatches magazine... my new job. Effective last week I am the Director of Marketing for this very cool glossy cowboy/ western themed magazine. If you like cowboy/ western type of stuff, I encourage you to check out the magazine. You can read for free on-line or purchase a quarterly copy for $14.95. I will also have my own column - Kelly's Country - premiering with the Winter 2016 issue. I've had the pleasure of writing a piece on a 1950s singing cowboy - the late Rex Allen. He was more than just a singing cowboy on the screen. But you'll have to read the article to find out where else you might have heard his voice as you were growing up. ;-)

So, just sticking to portion control, easy recipes and try not to stress too much over the fact the deadline for my manuscript is fast approaching.

What's on your journey path this week?
Whatever you're doing... Enjoy the Journey!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

RECIPE WEDNESDAY - Beef Tips with Gravy and Mashed Potatoes

Last week I broke down the #14 brisket into multiple meals and mentioned that a third was set aside for a recipe I found on Pinterest for Tri-Tips with gravy and mashed potatoes.

I have to say that using the brisket was an excellent choice... and less expensive over all than the Tri Tip would have been.

The 1/3 of the brisket:

became this:

Even with trimming nearly all the fat/ hide away, this chunk still had quite a bit of marbling so I knew the meat would cook nicely and be tender enough for me to eat without my teeth if I had to. There are days my bottom plate just does not want to play nice. Anyway, that's another post. Back to the recipe.

I divided the chunks into two portions. One I used for this recipe and the other I froze to have when Bob comes home later in the month. 

I added a bit of olive oil to my heavy cast aluminum skillet. then chopped a medium yellow onion and added the equivalent of 2 garlic gloves of crushed garlic. When the onions were just soft, I added a couple of Tablespoons of butter and the meat junks. I cooked these just enough to brown the meat. 

I transferred this mixture to the crock pot then deglazed the skillet with about 1- 1/4 cup of beef broth. After deglazing, I added a can of Campbell's Golden Mushroom soup. The original recipe called for Beef Consomme but I had the Golden Mushroom and planned to add slices of portabella later. When the soup and broth were blended, I added them to crockpot, put the lid on and set the temp to LOW. I let this simmer for about 5.5 hours. 

About 1/2 way through cooking time I sauted the mushroom slices just to soften then added them to the crock pot.

Note - I did not add any other seasonings. I knew the soup and broth would have plenty of salt and I could add pepper to taste once I'd dished it up. Cooking that long, a lot of your spice flavors tend to dissipate in a crock pot. Their good for a 3-4 hour cook but anything longer and you are re-adding at the end. 

The original recipe also called for removing the meat from the pan at the end and making the juices into a gravy. But then their recipe is for the oven (slow cooked - NOT slow cooker). And I was hungry so I just spooned some of the 'pot liquor' as we called it growing up over the mashed potatoes

This recipe turned out quite tasty. 

When I got ready to put left overs away, I did take the steps to make the gravy, using a flower and milk thickening and packaged the gravy separately from the meat.

Next week, I take on Crock Pot Chicken and Dumplings - with my own spin, of course.

Enjoy the Journey!

Monday, November 7, 2016

WEEKLY PLAN - November 7 - 13


Did the time change mess with you? I was perplexed for only a bit.. the fact that I was up an hour earlier yesterday was fine with me. I was well-rested but got an extra hour of my 'quiet time' in. 

Going into Week 2 of National Novel Writing Month is progressing well. The meals I've been showcasing, along with servings of Stouffers lasagna and Chef Boyardee mini raviolis are keeping me fed and busy. That combined with not eating out all the time has shown on the scales. I've determined that what you it isn't near as important as where you eat. 

Busy is a good word. Between having the construction team coming in next week for jobs both inside and out and fall finally having arrived I have plenty of household items to keep me moving. By the time I do all the household/ yard tasks I barely have energy or time left to make myself work on the manuscript but deadline looms. Thankfully, while I'm busy my mind is also whirling with things I need to change or incorporate. 

Brief posts for awhile.  What is keeping you busy? I'd love to hear.

Enjoy the Journey!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

RECIPE WEDNESDAY - Brisket anyone?

As I said on Monday, I did a major grocery haul last weekend. National Novel Writing Month is in full swing. I wanted to cook in bulk or in the crock pot so I could have quick meals on hand throughout the month. I have a manuscript due to my publisher December 1-ish.

One of the items was a #15 beef brisket. At first glance, the price tag of $36 might seem steep but when you look at how many meals #15 pounds of meat will cover, that $2.40 a pound is a lot cheaper than a steak or even a decent roast in today's market and more tender.

I cut the brisket into three sections then trimmed the bulk of the fat/ hide away. I simmered the trimmings with six cups of water and two healthy Tablespoons of beef bouillon paste. When the fatty pieces were limp and soggy, I fished them out of the pan and allowed the broth to cool.

Next I poured the broth into my mini loaf pans about half full, then added back in pieces of the fat then put the pan in the freezer. When they've frozen, I'll pop them out and into ziploc bags. These will make nice additions to the dog food this winter to warm their insides against the cold.

The pieces of brisket became four separate recipes.

Cuts 1 & 2:
     The first one, I coated with BBQ rub and placed in a roaster pan on a rack. I added a brick of frozen apple cider for flavor and moisture. I covered the pan and put it in the oven at 250* for about 6 hours. This sliced up nice and will make for quick nibbles.

This was the final result:

28 slices of tender perfection. I could cut it with a fork and almost melted in my mouth.

The other cut I froze for a future BBQ or Hot Beef sandwich meal. I have a construction crew coming Thanksgiving week to redo the ceiling in my dining room, add an overhang and deck out my back door and build a rotating can storage in the basement. I always feed my work crew... and they look forward to the meals.  I'm thinking either hot roast beef sandwiches or BBQ brisket with home made Mac n Cheese should make them happy.

Cut 3:
This one I cut into about 1.5" chunks then divided the mass in half.

I cooked the first half up right away for a modified version of a recipe I found on Pinterest. Theirs called for Tri Tip and Gravy over Mashed Potatoes. Brisket is super tender and no one seems to have a tri tip at a reasonable price so this is what I went with.

I will show you that recipe next week.

I froze the other half of the chunks to repeat the recipe later in the month when Bob comes home.  All of these will serve a family of four easily. That comes out to be about $3.75 PER PERSON - PER MEAL!