Cowboy caviar, and others


This weekend, I decided to challenge myself.  I finally made the 90 second muffin.  I followed this recipe:


Of course, I substituted light olive oil for butter, and I carefully chose which dish I would use.  Still, I think I got the desired look.


I split it in half and toasted it.


Finally, I recreated the actual idea that had inspired me to finally make this.  Toasted cheese.


Success!  Until I tasted it.  I was not in love.  Well at least I gave myself the chance to try it?

Next up, I decided to make steel cut oats in the InstaPot.  Since returning the Sous Vide, and the cousin who encouraged us to buy Sous Vide bought an Instapot, we have been looking for more ways to use the Instapot.

There is a new Instapot app, that contains Volume 4 recipes.  I found a recipe that called for raisins, and after cooking, adding more raisins, maple syrup and cinnamon, I knew it was to be our breakfast.  There are no pictures, as that oatmeal is gone, consumed, finis.  SpecialK claimed he liked it, I ❤️ it, and we split up leftovers for Monday breakfast.

To make it even lower carb (aka less sugar), I have learned I like it with some cinnamon, a drop or two of vanilla, and a teaspoon of my ‘pretend’ Maple Syrup.  Maple Grove Farms, sugar free maple flavor syrup.  Still, I did add fresh blueberries and thought about toasting some walnuts.

One more success in the last few days was made specifically for SpecialK.

Food issues all have one very real side issue.  Taste.  As in, I don’t care how healthy avocados are, I don’t like them.

I got an email with a recipe for Cowboy Caviar.  I have since learned that everybody, their sister and their uncle has their own version of Cowboy Caviar.

I gave SpecialK a short shopping list, and off he went to get his car headlight replaced.  He came home with the requested groceries.



Yes, we tweaked this recipe.  No black eyed peas?  White beans to the rescue.  SpecialK prefers sweet onions to any other.  I used a sweet onion.  We had one red pepper, starting to wrinkle in it’s skin.  I chopped it up, didn’t measure how much I had, and tossed it in.  One avocado, chopped and tossed in.  No jalapeños in this house, ever.  Left it out.  I put in 1/3 if the recommended amount of chili powder, and after grinding cumin seed, I may have had a touch more than 1 teaspoon.


SpecialK had some each day this weekend.  The flavor of the chili powder came through loud and clear by the second day.  With work travel impending, the remaining amount went to work with SpecialK.  I know Marion enjoyed it, too.

We have several zucchini in the fridge, so I will be making Valentine’s Vegetables, to freeze in portions that SpecialK could take for work lunches.

What have you been making and eating?


2 ingredient pancakes

I was intrigued, and had bananas that were very ripe. I had seen the recipes, and was wondering what they’d be like.

After tossing eggs with the Sous Vide unit, I didn’t want to ‘waste eggs’.

This is the recipe I tried, and fortunately, I read the comments first.  No, it wasn’t a banana omelet, or scrambled eggs with banana.  It was yummy.

My takeaways from this recipe, add 3/4 tsp baking powder for each egg, cinnamon based on your tastes and after mixing it, let it sit, at least a little while (5 minutes). Do not immediately put in your fry pan,

One other suggestion:  I tried to make small pancakes. They ran together, so I made one large pancake.  My pancake was made from one egg and half a banana.  Read up, I didn’t want to waste an extra egg, and I ate the other half of the banana.

One egg and 1/2 banana in the fry pan, and I wasn’t hungry for several hours.

What’s the craziest dish you’ve made that you would make again?


Sous Vide

Amazon has a special sale day in July.  It is called Prime Day.

We bit.  We had been discussing Sous Vide cooking for a while.  We bought the Anova 800 watt Bluetooth unit.

We received the unit during our crazy week. SpecialK opened the box yesterday to cook some eggs.  He was dismayed to learn that he would still need to boil them to get poached eggs.  He tried to make soft boiled eggs, and ended up making two different eggs into a fried egg breakfast.


Just to play with it, I prepared some potatoes to cook.  An hour and a half later, they were edible.  As my cousin who loves his Sous Vide unit told me,”It’s a shame that you don’t eat meat, that’s where this unit shines”.

Just as an aside, I never felt I truly knew how to cook beef, and preferred chicken when given a choice.  SpecialK feels that his meat eating days are behind him. So we eat chicken, salmon, shrimp, and lean ground beef.

I began looking up specific recipes for the Instapot.  You can poach eggs, using the silicone egg cups we already own.  We can cook a piece of salmon.  Bottom line, for us, and the way we eat, Sous Vide might not be right for us.  This winter, the Instant Pot will be used, a lot.

We returned the Sous Vide, and I highly doubt we will ever buy another.

Did you get any “finds” on Prime Day?  Do you Sous Vide?

A crazy week

Hi, how are you?

Good?  Me?  I am limping through the days, life is calming down,

It began 15 days ago.  10:00 in the morning, my Aunt called, told me her grandson, who had been very ill, had passed away.

(That afternoon, my tenant told me she was leaving, in case you need a 2 bed, 2 bath condo).

i was stunned, perhaps in shock.  I got through Monday and Tuesday, and early Wednesday we boarded a plane to Chicago.  I booked the ticket on Sunday night, and Monday morning, SpecialK called and told me he was taking that flight with me, then connecting west.

We set our alarms for 4:45 am and left for the airport less than an hour later.  We boarded the plane at 7:00 am. Departure time of 7:35.  We took off at 7:30, and landed at 6:00 pm in Chicago.

If you are a friend of mine on FB, you know what happened that day.  If not, just know there were several FAA rules bent, pushed and extended that day.

I went to the funeral on Thursday, and tears are in my eyes as I type this.  He was 15.  Perhaps in sympathy, my left ankle began to hurt.

I returned home on Friday, no delays, and at 7:00 the next morning, we drove to Cape Cod.  We spent two days with friends, before heading home.

i spent the next few days sitting down, before going to Urgent Care for my ankle pain.  X-rays showed several issues, nothing broken, and 4 days later I am in much less pain.  Drinking the Kool-Aid and wearing the sling as directed (not an actual sling).

We went to the Gluten Free/Allergy Friendly Expo in Worcester last Saturday.  It took me until today to realize who wasn’t there, but we got some New England products, some bread, and rolls, SpecialK got cookies, and we paid less to enter than we had in CA.  He told me early Saturday that he doesn’t get anything from these Expos.  I reminded him of Breton Gluten Free, that he got pre full market release.  I reminded him of the pita bread he found last year.

So asked if he got his money’s worth from this Expo, he said yes.  Score!  I will be adding this event to my calendar yearly.

IMG_1526How are Udi’s and Earth Balance sister companies?

What have you been doing?



Brussels Sprouts for Dinner

Long before we ran into Brussel Sprouts as an appetizer, SpecialK and I learned of our mutual like of Brussel Sprouts.

We bought some Brussel Sprouts and decided to make them the way the we both liked them, roasted.  At that time, I had a vegetable cookbook from the library, I decided to try a new recipe, and SpecialK begrudgingly gave me a few of the Brussel Sprouts to try.  I made the recipe, we ate as much as we could, the leftovers disappeared.  The last few roasted Brussel Sprouts got old and were tossed.

True story!

Thought it was time to share this recipe, the way I remember it, which means nothing is exact.

Thinly slice an onion, (this was an onion and a half, because I used old onions and 1/2 of the first one was bad) and peel off the outer leaves of the Brussel Sprouts.  Slice the Sprouts into three or four slices each.  Put oil in a fry pan and warm it up, add the onions and boil a pot of water.


I was being lazy, so I seasoned the onions with salt and pepper.  Usually, I wait a bit, but here you see I already seasoned.

Into the pot of boiling water, I add the Brussel Sprouts.  Boil the Sprouts for 3 minutes.  Set an alarm on your oven or phone, but this works so 3 minutes is it.

Brussel Sprouts, pardon the steam.


Once the Sprouts have been boiling for 3 minutes, drain them, and add them to the onions in the fry pan.  If you need more olive oil, add it.  If you are not cheating, season with salt and pepper now.


Mix them up, and cook until the onions and Brussel Sprouts are soft.

Now is the time, season the heck out of them with paprika.


Stir it all together, then add cheddar cheese. (I think this was a combination of cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses, using what we had).


Mix it all together, and serve over rice, pasta, toast, quinoa, or just in a bowl, as we do.


Now doesn’t that look good enough to eat?

What’s your favorite way to eat Brussel Sprouts

Turkey Burgers

Sometimes, we like to change things up.  I have made Trader Joe’s Turkey Burgers before, and I always liked them.  SpecialK told me recently that he thought they were too dry.  Silly me, I prepared them according to package directions.

One day last week, I forgot to defrost the chicken I thought I was going to make for dinner.  I realized I had Turkey Burgers in the freezer, and dinner was replanned.


Thinking of SpecialK’s comment, and realizing the only way we eat vegetables is if I make them, I started ‘creating’ again.

My rule for cooking is simple.  Cook what we like.

I started with a can of diced tomatoes, one flavored with Basil, Oregano and garlic.  I sliced up an onion and set that in the onion, and popped in 1/2 bag of Trader Joe’s Mushroom Medley.  Have I ever told you about SpecialK and these mushrooms?  They are the only ones allowed in our house!


After defrosting the mushrooms in the hot vegetables, I added the Turkey Burgers.  I tried to follow the package directions for length of time, but I fear I cheated the first side a few minutes.  I seasoned them with dried basil and parsley. After flipping them over, I topped the burgers with parmesan cheese.  I covered the pot so the cheese would melt.

SpecialK approved of this dish.


Here’s the truth of this dish.  You need a can of tomatoes, or some other liquid vegetable or broth.

To make this dish kosher, remember to defrost the chicken, and leave off the cheese.

To make this dish vegetarian, leave out the turkey burgers.

To make this dish your own, use the vegetables you like.  No to mushrooms?  Is there a ‘Yes’ for peppers or broccoli or carrots?


Decision made

I tried to eat what the nutritionist in CA wanted me to eat.  I tried eating “regular” foods, foods containing gluten.  I ate wheat bread, and wheat and oat cereals, that hurt going down.

I began feeling very sick one week, and I told SpecialK that I would be fine if I didn’t have to eat anything.  Late that day, I got very sick.  Twice sick in the following week, and I knew I had my answer.

I needed to return to eating gluten free, in order to be able to keep food in my belly, and to keep my weight above 100 pounds.  SpecialK had promised that if my weight read more like a temperature, he was going to take me to the hospital.

He told me at the end of those two weeks that I had felt better eating gluten free and lactose free, and in his “I never went to medical school, but even I can see what needs to happen” tone, took all of the wheat products to work.  Where no one else wanted them, and they got tossed in the trash.

I have returned to eating gluten free, and I have stopped getting sick.  While my CA nutritionist didn’t believe that I needed to eat gluten free, my FL nutritionist knew that wheat in my belly was not a good thing, and I have returned to her suggested way of eating.  Fewer carbs, all gluten free grains, and I would weigh more than 100 pounds.  Not so many more pounds, but that’s for another doctor to figure out.  Oh, and I will be starting with new doctors in our new area, so there remains hope.

Decisions can be good, and I feel good that I know how to go forward.


Green beans, my way

As a child, my sister and I use to trade vegetables.  She ate the cooked carrots, I ate the green beans.  Back then, green beans came from cans.  Corn came from cans, as did green peas.

After a while, my Mom would tell me, late in the afternoon, that we were having carrots with dinner, and I should peel one for myself.  She caught on to our vegetable eating, and I was happy to eat an uncooked carrot.  (The same is true for me with cauliflower),

Fast forward many years, and I learned I like fresh green beans.  I could have them in my salad or just snack on them.

Cooking the green beans created a new flavor combination for me, and now you can try it too.

Rinse the beans and cut the green bean ends off.  Once you have finished all, heat a tablespoon or two of light olive oil in a fry pan.  This will now go very quickly, be forewarned.

Add the green beans to the hot oil.  Toss a few times, making sure all the green beans have been treated to some of the oil.  Splash with a tablespoon or three of sesame oil, less if eating it alone, more if you would like some extra sauce for rice.

Sprinkle with sesame seeds, and grab a fork.



Memorial Day Weekend Shoping

This weekend, I got to meet a former coworker/ friend of SpecialK’s.  Since he offered to drive her up to meet her family in MA, we decided to go to the shopping outlets.

I warned him that this was not the right time to go shopping.  I had enough summer clothes, but will absolutely need some winter clothes.

He had his mind set, so off we went.  He shopped, I shopped.  We shopped until SpecialK was ready to drop.

What did you do on this long weekend?

My Birthday Cake Bomb

Every year for the past few years, SpecialK and I have had the same discussion.  Should I make my own birthday cake, or does he want to buy me one?

Last year, we decided at the last minute, and SpecialK went to the gluten free bakery we had visited before, Rising Hearts.  Cakes have to be preordered, which makes sense to me.  So he bought some cupcakes and all was good.

This year, with the chaos of moving and settling in, I need to eat sugar free.  I have made this cake before, and it does not fail. The frosting is made from whipped cream cheese, XyloSweet and vanilla.  No exact measurements, but there’s still hope I might get them someday.


SpecialK decided we should go out to eat for my birthday, and declared before leaving the restaurant that he felt stuffed.

We returned home, and after awhile I heard him rustling around for something. I asked him what he was looking for, and his answer was “birthday candles”.  I told him where I thought they were, and pulled the cake out of the refrigerator.  He stuck in 4 candles.  As soon as I understand the significance of 4 candles, I’ll share it with you.


Since he had proclaimed he was full, I cut him a small piece of cake, and cut myself a piece only slightly larger.  He decided he had some room to eat and cut himself a large slice of cake.

I put the cake away.  I opened the fridge door and noticed that less than half of the cake remained.  That makes me happy, knowing that he likes it so much. (I can always make another).


This cake bomb was very good, and I get to have more for breakfast in the morning.  This is one of my birthday rituals.  Leftover cake for breakfast, and whenever else I want some, until it’s gone.  This cake bomb will be gone soon.

Do you have any Birthday rituals?