Category Archives: food

12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop: Cocktails and Stephanie Berget


Sugarwater Ranch by Stephanie Berget

Stephanie Berget  Sugar Water Ranch  Book Cover

Bullrider Sean O’Connell’s life is perfect, or it was until his partying lifestyle affects his riding ability. Now he’s ended the season too broke to leave the Northwest for the warm southern rodeos. When a wild night with his buddies gets out of hand, he wakes up naked, staring into the angry eyes of a strange woman. His infallible O’Connell charm gets him nowhere with the dark-haired beauty. It’s obvious she’s not his usual good-time girl, so why can’t he forget her?

Catherine Silvera finds a waterlogged, unconscious cowboy freezing to death in front of her uncle’s Sugarwater Bar. She saves his life—then runs faster than a jackrabbit with a coyote on its tail. Any man who makes his living rodeoing is bad news, especially if he thinks partying is part of the competition. He’s everything she doesn’t want in a man, yet she shake her attraction to the rugged cowboy.

Buy Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo

12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop Button with Frame

As part of The 12 Days of Christmas celebration, Stephanie donated a PB copy of Sugarwater Ranch with a keychain to the prize list. Click HERE for this and many more random drawings. To follow the celebration, find a new recipe, pick up a holiday decorating or shopping tip, click HERE.

About the Author

Born and raised in Boise, Idaho to city parents, I was a horse lover from the day I first watched My Friend Flicka.

I began writing after I read a rodeo romance in which the romance was good, but the rodeo and horse information was so wrong…. I thought, how hard can it be to write a book? Five years and thousands of hours of study and writing, I know how hard it is. Writing well is just as hard to do well as it is to do anything well.

I write Contemporary Rodeo Romance with a touch of magic. It’s Romance with a Rodeo flair.

***

Take two on cocktails.

Tonight, Christmas Eve, I’m spending with my one of my besties and her husband. We will have a delightful Pinot noir, to go with our Christmas tacos, because we agreed on nothing too massive this year (we overdid it at Thanksgiving, and then we were in food comas for the rest of the night).

The kids will open a present. I’ll prepare my Christmas cinnamon rolls for tomorrow morning.

I still won’t have a cocktail.

That being said, here is my wine recommendation: Bradley Vineyards Pinot Noir. It’s a small Oregon vineyard, but if you can get it, it’s totally worth it. We’re going to drive through next year, just so we can pick up some more (they won’t ship here, which is a crying shame).

My husband, way back when, grew up on the land that is the vineyard. But that’s not why I’m recommending it. I’m recommending it because it really is THAT GOOD.

http://bradleyvineyards.com

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12 Days Of Christmas Blog Hop: Jessica Jefferson and Dessert Recipe


First, don’t forget to check out the rafflecopter in order to enter to win some fabulous prizes!

First up,

JESSICA JEFFERSON

BUY LINK

websites: http://www.JessicaJefferson.com and http://www.embracingromance.com

Facebook

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Goodreads 

Heat level 3

Jessica Jefferson

Miss Tamsin Tisdale believes herself to be completely unsuitable for London life. After a myriad of social mishaps, and the potential ruination of her family name, she’s shipped away to her cousin’s northern estate. Only after she accepts the type of existence Society dictates she must follow will she be welcomed home.

Marcus Winston, the Duke of Grayson, has a lackluster reputation. The last in a dying line, he’s endured a protected life—rank with privilege, but encumbered by isolation. After a brief encounter with rebellion, he learns the devastating consequences of his carelessness and willingly accepts living life from inside his gilded cage.

However, a chance meeting with the brazen Miss Tisdale gives Marc the opportunity to reinvent himself into the man he’s always dreamed of being. But when his deception comes to light, and ghosts from both their pasts threaten to unravel the intimacy they’ve come to cherish, will either of them set their fears aside long enough to embrace love? Or will Miss Tisdale’s stubbornness divide them?

****

So, dessert recipes.

Well, the last time we had this topic, I chose my more complicated dessert recipe. This time, I’m going easy.

Like, breathtakingly easy. But it’s Christmas, and what’s Christmas without fudge?

Here’s all you need:

1 can of sweetened, condensed milk

1 package of dark chocolate chips

walnuts (as many or as few as you want).

Put the chocolate chips and walnuts into a microwave safe bowl and mix. Pour the condensed milk on top. Microwave on high for one minute. Stir. Put back into the microwave for another minute. Take out and stir again. If the mixture has the desired smoothness (as in all the chips are melted), take it out and let it cool on the counter. If it’s not done, then put it back in for one minute. I’ve never had it require for more than three and a half minutes, and I’ve made this with an ancient travel trailer microwave.

Word of caution: don’t turn your back on this if you have dogs. Frank loved ours. Darn dog. Given that he ate ALL the fudge, it’s amazing he’s alive, but hey. The vet said he was made of pretty stern stuff. Expensive stuff, but stern stuff.

12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop: Sophia Kimble and Finger Food Recipe


Hi Everyone! Don’t forget the rafflecopter!

Today’s installment is from Sophia Kimble!

SOPHIA KIMBLE

Protect Her on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1u6bWf5

www.sophiakimble.com

Blog: http://sophiakimble.com/blog/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SophiaKimble

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sophiakimbleauthor

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/SophiaKimble

 

Heat level 3.5

Golden Alexander is trapped in a nightmare.

Trying to flee her hallucination of a demon, she runs heart first into the brooding alpha male she’s been dreaming about for years, and then her nightmare really begins.

Kris Pietka is done with women…he’s broken. But when he meets Golden, an overwhelming need to protect her tests everything he thought he knew about himself, and the paranormal.

A bond forged centuries ago thrusts them together as they search for a way to break an ancient Druid curse prophesying their demise. Racing against the clock, they travel from Vermont, to the Carpathian Mountains in Poland, and the Scottish Highlands in search of answers and a way to break the curse.

But something evil watches—it covets, and time is running out.

Will fate allow love to prevail against unbeatable odds, or will Golden wake to find it was all a delusion?

**********************************************************************

This one is rather like yesterday’s: I don’t really do finger foods, any more than I do appetizers. I’m a chips and dip kind of girl.

I do, however, like dolmas. I’d post that recipe, except that they’re the thing I don’t cook: I buy them from the Greek restaurant in town. I get the vegan kind, because I like them,  but you can get them with lamb, beef, etc. And I do love them.

So… dolmas.

Don’t make them. Buy them.

What’s best about this? You’re not spending a boat load of time prepping them. For instance, I go out, buy some fancy olives and some dolmas, put them on a platter with some stinky cheese, and I’m good to go. I’m a busy girl, so sometimes, it has to be all about convenience.

Huh. Now I feel like  a massive curmudgeon. Like, “I don’t do finger food or appetizers. Bah humbug.” But I don’t really like many finger foods. Just watch. Like I rebelled against my mother by being able to make just about any kind of soup imaginable, my daughter will rebel and become Captain Appetizer or something. Being honest, I wouldn’t put it past her to have her own cooking show devoted entirely to appetizers. I can see it. I really can. After all, the girl hates soup.

12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop: Tracey Livesay and Appetizer Recipe


First, I’d like to welcome Tracey Livesay to The Bodice! Here’s the 411 on her/her books.

I can’t get the cover to appear, so if there’s no pretty picture, I’m super sorry. I’m suffering from technological difficulties.

TRACEY LIVESAY

Not on sale until 12/29

My blog link: http://traceylivesay.com/mimosas-at-midnight/

Website: http://traceylivesay.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TraceyLivesayAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tlivesay

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7789871.Tracey_Livesay

Heat Level: 4

Commitment makes you weak. It’s playboy Carter Richardson’s motto. The only exception to the rule is his aunt, and when Carter learns she’s terminally ill, he rushes to her bedside. Filled with fear and guilt—and desperate to ease his aunt’s mind—Carter does the only thing a guy could do…he panics and blurts out that he’s engaged to his aunt’s enticing protegé.

Lauren Olsen has already had her heart crushed once by Carter. Against her better judgment, she agrees to keep up appearances—until Carter makes their “engagement” public in order to protect the family business. Now Lauren’s torn between obeying her conscience, and obeying her desire. Because while she could never trust the womanizing Carter she once knew, she seems to be falling for the man beneath the playboy…

*************************************************************************

So, uh, appetizers.

With my various food related issues, I feel like I’ve mastered dessert. I’ve mastered cooking without wheat, and I can even bake cookies without wheat, eggs or refined sugar that actually taste relatively decent (yes, I know, there’s a qualifier there, but come on. They’re cookies without eggs, wheat and refined sugar–all of which makes cookies delicious!)

That being said, I don’t really do appetizers. Nope. I am firmly in the camp that, if I’ve cooked for two days to make food I can eat for the family get-together… YOU WILL NOT FILL UP ON FINGER FOOD!

I know, it sounds angry, and I’m not an angry person, but really.  For Thanksgiving, I started cooking on Tuesday. I really wanted my peeps to be starving by the time the food came around, so I could at least be assured they’d eat it. So, no appetizers at my house. Sorry, Charlie.

So, here’s my installment:

College Dip

1 stick of cream cheese (to be true college dip, it MUST BE generic. But, the good stuff also works)

1 jar of medium heat salsa

Place the cream cheese in a bowl. Put the salsa on top. Serve with tortilla chips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

12 Days of Christmas: Cocktail Time


Welcome! Don’t forget to check out the rafflecopter at https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/153622a61/ to win some fabulous prizes!

Today we’re talking cocktails (well, sorta). But first, here’s Aidy Award.

AIDY AWARD
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1yYwv2k
B&N: http://bit.ly/1phCvjF
iBooks: http://bit.ly/1r8TN0e

http://www.AidyAward.com
http://www.AidyAward.com/blog
Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/AidyAward
Twitter: http://www.Twitter.com/AidyAward
Goodreads: http://www.Goodreads.com/AidyAward

Heat Level 10

Curvy girls deserve a happy ever after, too!

Vanessa hasn’t let her curvylicious plus-size body keep her from having a solid career, great friends and a crappy love life. Oh, wait – yeah, her sex life blows, and not in the fun way. A string of unsatisfying relationships and a best friend who drags her to a BDSM club help her step full swing into her dirty thirties.

Cade, the stoic Dom, always in control but never in love, is drawn to Vanessa’s size 20 submissive streak. He can’t keep his hands (or his tongue or any other part of his body) off this voluptuous new sub. Her open and honest exploration of her new found kinks excite him like no one else he’s ever been with.

Amazing orgasms and intimate cuddles soon grow into love for Vanessa, but Cade’s the one person everyone has told her not to develop feelings for. This Alpha male drops his subs the moment they express deeper feelings for him. What’s a girl to do?
She’ll have to dump his ass before he discovers how she feels or be the curvy temptation he can’t resist.
If you like curvy girl BBW romance, a hot alpha hero, and some BDSM power exhange between a sexy dominant and a new submissive, you’ll love this book!

***

So, cocktails.

I don’t drink them–really, that’s because I don’t know what’s in them, and that causes problems for those of us with food allergies. So, my friends, here’s what I do….

Drink it straight.

I once had a friend from San Francisco who marveled that girls from my hometown drink “brown liquor.” It’s true, though. We do.

I don’t drink fruity stuff, because of the allergies AND because I know me. I’d drink it like it was juice, and I’m not in college anymore.

I will drink Irish coffee, though.

So, here’s how I make that.

1 shot Irish whisky (I like Jameson’s)

8 oz strong coffee

Sugar to taste

Plain creamer (I use half and half).

Enjoy!

Let’s Have Dessert First!


In the spirit of the season, we’re posting dessert first on the 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop. But first, here’s a tidbit from Heather Miles!

Oh, and don’t forget to check out the rafflecopter to win those fabulous prizes!

HEATHER MILES

 

Heather miles

My web address for my blog is: www.heathermiles.net/blog

Facebook: Heather Miles
Twitter: Heather Miles (@heathermmiles) | Twitter

Heat level 8

Kasey Blakely doesn’t know that her date is anything more than incredibly hot. It’s after things have moved past friendship, that she learns her new lover is also slated to be her partner in a corporate merger. He knew it all along withholding his identity to have her.

Self-assured, future CEO, Kasey Blakely stumbles into Joshua Crawford, leaving her breathless and momentarily senseless. Taken with her, he learns she’s more than just a beautiful woman, she’s slated to be his partner in a corporate merger. Never feeling as smitten or intrigued, he’ll do anything to have her, including, not revealing his last name. After a passionate exchange and the prospect he could lose her, does he come clean with his identity. Always confident, Kasey, struggles with her growing love for a man who has claimed her heart and changed her world, but should be forbidden. She’s all in…then all out. Despite the warnings not to mix business with pleasure, Kasey and Joshua risk it all. Committing to return to California with Joshua, Kasey’s world unravels. Were her fears right, or can they manage the MERGER of their hearts and their future partnership?

Find it on Amazon! 

**************************************************************************

And now, for my posting on dessert…

Ah, dessert, elusive dessert. Dessert has always been the bane of my existence. Mostly because I love it so, so much. I love baked goods, but I never really made them. Let’s just say that I learned to cook at a young age as a survival skill,  but baking seemed beyond me (probably because, like Lemony Snicket, there was a series of unfortunate (baking) events. Though these incidents did fuel my love of firefighters. They’d all show up in their turnouts, and I would hide somewhere with a good view while someone explained about the rolls. Or the bread. Or the popcorn. Or how the back wall of the kitchen just happened to catch on fire. Twice. And I swear, by all that it good, that I wasn’t the one doing this. I have my own baking mishaps, but the fire department never came to those).

In any case, I was a box cake, buy it at the store, kind of girl.

And then I became allergic to eggs. My first baking episode post diagnosis looked like this:

My super awesome disaster

Yes, that is an actual picture of a real cake I sort of made. I keep it because it’s both funny AND sad, which always makes for a great story. Apparently, without eggs (and using a baking soda egg replacer), a box cake will turn into, at the slightest touch, chocolate dust. This was five years ago, for my son’s second birthday. And yes, I squished it together with a mixture of willpower, upper air strength, and frosting. It held together long enough to take this picture, sing Happy Birthday, and look at it sideways. And then, it was frosting-covered chocolate dust.

It was horrible (tasted OK, as I recall, but it wasn’t pretty. Boy child didn’t seem to care, but then, he’s boy child. He’s not picky, unless it’s green).

In any case, shortly thereafter, I discovered that I also have celiac disease, so welcome to a wheat-free lifestyle. At the time, I thought I’d never eat dessert again. It was depressing.

I discovered, after a while, and reading many, many blogs, that I can bake. It’s just a matter of being creative. And using pumpkin. I’m an expert on using pumpkin these days.

So,  here is my recipe (and yes, it’s pumpkin.). It’s an adapted version of one that I found in Sunset magazine. The original is a two layer cake, but it was too much, and everyone felt over-full and sugar comaed (yes, I just made up a word) afterward.

Gluten free praline pumpkin cake

1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar

1/4 c butter

3 tbsp plus 3/4 c whipping cream

1 c chopped pecans (this I kept, because, well, pecans are fabulous)

2 flax eggs (to make a flax egg, combine 1 tbsp flax with 2 tbsp water. Normally, recipes call for three, but I find that with pumpkin recipes, it needs to be thicker, or you’ll never get it cooked through)

1 c granulated sugar (because this cake is so stinking sweet)

1/2 c vegetable oil

1 c canned pumpkin

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 c flour (I had a mixture of 1/2 c gluten free all purpose baking mix, and  1/2 c sorghum flour. The all purpose tends to be made with garbanzo bean flour, which in baked goods isn’t awesome unless you really overdo the sugar. Sorghum is sweet and delicious, but doesn’t rise very well without some complicated mixture involving arrowroot and tapioca and xanthan gum–all of which I have, and have made before, but it’s complicated, and I didn’t want to have to think too hard on Thanksgiving. So here you go)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or you can make your own with ground cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Which I did this year because I ran out on THANKSGIVING DAY, but I added ground cloves because I like cloves. If you don’t, just leave it out).

1/2 baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 c powdered sugar

So… Now that you have all the ingredients, here’s what you do with them:

Preheat over to 350 degrees

Butter one 9 inch cake pan and line with parchment.

Over low heat, mix the butter, 3 tbsp whipping cream and brown sugar together until melted and blended. Pour the mixture into the pan and sprinkle with most of the pecans (reserve some for the topping)

In a bowl, mix the flax eggs, granulated sugar and oil until well blended. Stir in pumpkin and vanilla. In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients (omit the powdered sugar; that’s for the frosting)

Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet stuff (I’m being totally specific here… I harp on my students all day for using non-specific language, and here I go, doing the exact same thing). Pour the batter into the pan.

Bake 30-35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. At higher elevations, decrease the heat and extend the cooking time. It just works better. i’m not at a high elevation, but I cook as though I am because it just seems to work better for me. I think I live at that funky “in-between” elevation. Let it cool in the pan for a bit, then invert onto racks and remove pans and paper. Let cool completely.

For the frosting (topping), take your remaining whipping cream and the powdered sugar and mix until soft peaks form. Once the cake is completely cooled, then you can put the cream on top. Top that with the remaining pecans.

It is a pretty cake, and it tastes fantastic, even for people who are accustomed to wheat cakes with eggs (which are admittedly a whole lot easier to bake). This cake came out super moist, and sure, my cakes don’t rise like a normal cake, but it was delicious. This is very, very rich, though, so you only need a small piece to be satisfied. I’ll admit, I wondered if Husband’s blood sugar would ever be normal again.

I wish I’d taken a picture. But since I don’t Instagram my successes (only my dismal failures), I didn’t take one.

Happy eating!

 

 

 

 

Romance Weekly: Recipe Time


So here was our recipe challenge: one meal, start to finish, in 15 minutes. Those of you who follow my blog routinely know I have celiac disease, which is really more fun than one person can possibly stand, and therefore can’t eat gluten. This, combined with my food allergies, generally makes quick cooking harder than it has to be. Which is probably a good thing, since husband is diabetic–so the big batch of spaghetti is out the window (not that I haven’t done it, but I have to have another plan for Hubs and me).

In any case, there are a few things that I can do quickly. Most of my meals are all about ease, but 30 minutes is generally how long it takes.

So what to do for a complete meal, including dessert, in 15 minutes? I have two options.

First meal:

Margherita pizza
Salad
Homemade fudge (we call it ghetto fudge in my house–I’ve even made it in the trailer, and it’s a huge hit. I honestly have no idea why)

MARGHERITA PIZZA

Ingredients:

Instant pizza crust (because I’m also allergic to eggs, I have to make my own, which totally ruins the 15 minute thing, but I generally have a home made crust in the fridge for weeknights). Pillsbury makes some good crusts, and even makes a gluten free crusts (but, alas, not egg free).
Jarred spaghetti sauce (I use Classico, but you can use whatever you want)
Pre-sliced buffalo mozzarella
Fresh basil

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Take the pizza crust out of the packaging** and place the pizza crust on a pizza pan or cookie sheet. Use whatever’s clean.***
Use as much of the spaghetti sauce as you feel is necessary. I like sauce, so I use a lot, but if you don’t…then don’t. Reserve the remaining sauce for dipping.
Put as much or as little of the pre-sliced buffalo mozzarella on the pizza as you want, and fill in the gaps between slices with basil. If I’m in a rush, I don’t even bother to tear the leaves; I just set them down whole.
Bake in the oven for 12-18 minutes, or until bubbly and golden brown

** Taking the items out of the containers probably sounds obvious, but you never know. I knew someone who once cooked an entire turkey without unwrapping it… it was messy. And a health hazard. And gross. But the fire department came, along with cute firefighters, so there is that. That part was fun, because I got all the benefits of having cute firefighters, but it wasn’t me who did it, so I didn’t have the embarrassment, either.

*** If you want a crisper crust, bake for 7-9 minutes before you put any toppings on it.

While the pizza is cooking, make the fudge (this is so easy, it’s embarrassing).

FUDGE

Ingredients

One package of semi sweet chocolate chips
One can sweetened condensed milk

In a large, microwave safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips and the condensed milk. Put in the microwave for two minutes. Stir the mixture, put in the microwave for another two minutes. This usually achieves desired smoothness for me. If it doesn’t for you, stir again and put it in for another minute.

When it comes out of the microwave, be sure to smooth the chocolate down.

Since we’re in a time pinch, you’re then going to put this in a FREEZER safe bowl (generally, Pyrex does just fine between the two venues, but you know your cookware best), and throw it in the freezer to set until it’s time to eat. If you want to be all fancy and have single (large) servings of fudge, you can put the melted concoction into a muffin tin that you’ve sprayed with PAM, and put that in the freezer. The kids do like having their individual servings of fudge in their lunches the next day, and I can lord it over them if they argue or get in trouble… “NO FUDGE FOR YOU!”

SALAD

Ah, the salad, the easiest of all.

Ingredients:

One bag salad

Package of tomatoes

Put these ingredients into a bowl and combine. If you have any leftover mozzarella cheese, you can throw that in, too.

By this time, the pizza is done, so you just let it cool for a couple of minutes, slice it up, and you’re done. While you’re eating, the fudge is setting, and it’s totally done and set by the time you’re ready for dessert!

So that’s meal number one. Because husband is diabetic, we don’t actually get pizza all that often. So, more often than not, a simple meal for us will look like this:

Big salad

Fudge for the kids/Sugar free chocolate for the hubs.

Ingredients:

Baby greens

berries of your choice (I like strawberries and blueberries). Hull and slice the strawberries, pick out the bad blueberries and throw them on the salad.

Cheese of your choice (personally, i prefer gorgonzola or goat cheese with fruit, but it’s totally up to you). Because crumbles may contain gluten, I just get a large piece and crumble it myself.

Pre-cooked sliced chicken (from the deli counter) or canned chicken (I keep several cans on hand for things like chicken salad sandwiches, big salad, and chili (or tortilla soup). It just makes life easier, and really, no one in my house knows the difference)

Blue cheese vinaigrette (I can’t recall the brand right now, but it’s delightful).

Then I combine it all together, and we’re ready to go!

So there you have it. Two different option for dinner. I hope you like them!

M

Why not check out what Sarah Hegger is having for dinner!

The Care and Keeping of an Allergic Celiac–Recipe Time!


Cooking, in my family, is a dangerous proposition.

I’m allergic to eggs and beef. I also have celiac and, even after having my gallbladder removed, too much fat sends me into fits of agony.

Husband is Type I diabetic.

Daughter gets stomach migraines from artificial colors.

Son is lactose sensitive. He can have dairy, but I limit it. Otherwise, he’s moaning in the bathroom, and that’s no bueno. (He’d take the hit every day if left to his own devices, though)

Anyway, so I made these cereal bars. They’re pretty easy (have to be, with my schedule), everyone liked them, and it was easy enough to adapt to GF. They’re good snacks to put in lunches, too! Just freeze and let them defrost in the lunch box. My child is particularly messy, so sure, he might come into my office after school looking like a crime scene, but hey. That could happen anyway, so I’ll take my chances.

Very Berry Oatmeal Bars

1 3/4 cups gluten free flour of your choice
(all purpose is easy; a sorghum/quinoa/tapioca/arrowroot blend has more protein and fiber, but that’s a lot of flours to have on hand. And a pain. And I’m lazy)
1 1/2 cups GF oats (many celiacs are sensitive to oats, so you have to be careful with this. I do okay, so here we are!)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup melted butter
(you could just as easily use margarine if you want to go totally vegan, but margarine gives me the willies.)
1/2 cup agave nectar (I have replaced this with stevia and whey sugar. If using a dry sugar, decrease flour by 1/4 cup, and increase butter by 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup frozen mixed berries, defrosted and drained (Jam can be used, and because of the consistency, holds up better for lunches–it’s less like a crime scene–but I like the decreased sugar of mixed berries. Hm… I bet that apple compote I made in October would be great with this.)

Mix together flour, oats, baking powder, and salt. Stir in agave nectar and melted butter until crumbly. Press half of the mixture into a prepared 8×8 inch baking pan (because the last thing you want to do is expand your child’s vocabulary in new and exciting ways because the darn bars got stuck! Incidentally, darn was not one of the words I used.) Spread the fruit or jam over the top. Sprinkle remaining oat mixture on top of the fruit layer, pressing down to cover.

Bake in a 350° oven for 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely and the cut into squares. I refrigerate mine before I wrap each bar individually and then put in a freezer bag and freeze them!

(I was going to include a picture, but we ate them all. So, uh, sorry?)

My Summer of Being Granola


I know I’ve been a bad blogger–bad Meggan, bad Meggan. Let’s just say that, after two hernia surgeries less than six months apart, and more mesh than a stripper in fishnets, I **should be** on the mend.

But the surgeries and work and life (read: t-ball and softball) took their toll on my blog. We weren’t getting home until almost 8:00 on any given evening, and then it was a rush to get dinner and showers done by a reasonable hour. And the morning time? Forget it. That was all about me nagging my children about their homework, and trying to make sure they completed their chores and didn’t forget anything on their way out the door.

It was… busy.

But softball season is over (yay!) and school is out, so I’ve decided on embark on yet another project. This one revolves around both food and outdoor activities.

For a background on the food project, I’ll tell you: my family has some weird dietary restrictions.

I have celiac, and I’m allergic to eggs and beef (and a mystery, TBD spice, but we won’t mention that). Husband is diabetic. My young son gets a glorious rash that mysteriously gets better when I don’t feed him wheat products, but the doctor swears up and down he has no allergies (granted, he also didn’t see the hives he got from the latex tape, either. They bled). Now before you scoff at the rash, I’ll tell you this: he has scars from it, it gets that bad. So when I say it gets better without wheat, that’s something, because, honestly, corticosteroids helped, but not as much as the giving up of wheat did. And both of those together actually cleared it up for a few days.

And Monkey, AKA Tiny Daughter (who, at eight, is not so tiny anymore)? Well, she gets stomach migraines (yeah, I sort of thought that was a “Get out of here, crazy Mom” diagnosis, too. Except it’s been mentioned a couple of other times, not in relationship to Monk, so maybe it is a real thing.) Anyway, her stomach aches get better when she’s not eating artificial colors.

So here’s what we have going: diabetes, celiac, no artificial colors (and I’m cutting out the flavors). The doctor told M no diet sodas, because they mess with blood sugar, and, because I’m reactionary, I took out all artificial sweeteners except Splenda, which she said was okay. So M’s favorite sugar-free creamer? I trashed it. He gets fat-free half and half instead, which I actually like better.

So, with all of this, I’m doing a crazy crack down on processed foods. No nitrates, no sulfites, no artificial colors or sweeteners (except Splenda, because, well, I can only go so far). I’m using agave nectar to sweeten most things I have, because, in theory, it doesn’t raise blood sugar like regular sugar does, but even that I’m trying to do in moderation.

And all of this makes me feel… pretty granola.

And dude… it’s hard to be granola.

Do you know how hard it is to find nitrate-free lunch meat? Or bacon? Or sausage without MSG? I mean, if I go to Whole Paycheck, land of uber-granola, I can find it, but a) nitrate free lunch meat has the consistency of a slimy sponge, and b) who can spend that much money on food? It’s already three dollars for a gallon of milk if I buy the cheap stuff on sale ($4+/half gallon for the organic stuff, and there’s just no way). Can I really afford to spend $15/pound on almond flour? And two dollars for a bunch of kale?

No. And growing it myself is sort of out of the question this season.

But, with the wizardry of the internets, I can find bulk almond flour for about $6/pound, which is way more expensive than wheat, but is better and cheaper than the trip to the ER for one of my attacks–which I haven’t had since I gave up wheat, so I guess there’s that. So, I’m embarking on a project where I bake my own bread, make my own lunch meat, and basically, where I serve low-carb (but hopefully still good) food that is good for us, too. It’s a whole foods kick, low carb style (almost, but not quite, paleo). If I don’t know what it is, I don’t eat it.

So, for my first recipe in this endeavor, I recently made mashed cauliflower as a replacement for mashed potatoes. It went over relatively well. M liked it, I liked it. Chewey seemed to think it was okay, and Monk wouldn’t touch it, because heaven forbid I make a single meal where no one complains.

Bonus? It’s so stinking easy, and it was cheap.

So, here’s the recipe:

1. 1 head of cauliflower, cut up

2. 1 cup of chicken stock

That’s basically all you need to start. I added garlic into the pot because I like garlic mashed potatoes, but you don’t have to do that.

Anyway, I put everything in a Dutch oven. Any old pot will work, but I’m in love with my ceramic Dutch oven, so there’s that.

Bring to a boil and let it cook for 20 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft. If the chicken stock gets low, add more.

Once the cauliflower is ready, transfer it to a food processor. Blend for about 30 seconds, and then start adding what you like in potatoes. I like cream cheese, so I added some, along with two tablespoons of clarified butter. It was still a little dry, so I added a little more chicken stock from the pot. The chicken stock adds plenty of salty flavor, so I just topped it with some pepper (because my family likes pepper. A lot of pepper), and served it up. I’m sure it would be awesome with bacon and chives, but bacon doesn’t exactly make things low-fat. Or good for you.

But it is delicious.

 

 

 

 

I Didn’t Do It!


Five tons of Nutella was stolen the other day. I swear, I didn’t do it.

Deutsch: Ein Glas Nutella-Nussnougatcreme
Deutsch: Ein Glas Nutella-Nussnougatcreme (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sure, I rented a storage locker, but sheesh. Can’t a gal rent an empty storage locker and not have people get suspicious? And sure, I got addicted to Nutella in Germany. To this day, there is nothing better than that hazelnut/chocolate goodness. And it’s gluten-free.  Woot!

M

Join me on my blog tour. Today’s blog has a review. If it’s bad, well, we’ll just pretend I didn’t mention it.

April 9:  Review Must Read Faster <http://mustreadfaster.blogspot.com/>
April 10:  Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and
Interviews<http://lisahaseltonsreviewsandinterviews.blogspot.com/>
April 10:  STOP 2 Review  My Devotional
Thoughts<http://mydevotionalthoughts.com/>
April 11:  Words of Wisdom from The Scarf
Princess<http://wowfromthescarfprincess.blogspot.com/>
April 12:  Simply Ali <http://www.simplyali.com/>