dinner

Make Warm Memories

On January 7th you can remember the warm, cuddle ups from yesterday. Today you can add even more of those warm memories.  January is National Soup Month, National Slow Cooker Month, and National Sunday Supper Month.

You can enjoy soups, stews and many other great dishes by doing some meal prep and slow cooker days. Nothing is better at the end of a long day in the cold than coming home to comfort foods like Beef Stew, Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup, Everyday Beef Stew, Beef Pepper steak, Minestrone, White Chicken Chili, and even regular Chili. Did I mention lots of these are good for game days as well.

Best of all you can do the prep ahead of time and put it in your Crockpot. Imagine a warm hearty comfort food hot and ready to eat after a long day.

Reynolds Metals Slow Cooker Liners 13"X21" - 3 Pack (12 Liners Total)

by Reynolds Wrap
Reynolds Metals Slow Cooker Liners 13″X21″ – 3 Pack (12 Liners Total)

by Reynolds Wrap


Freezer meals and a crockpot should be among some of your best friends. Any of these family-friendly meals will definitely make National Sunday Supper something to look forward to. These are some of the favorites at our house….

Shepherd’s Pie
Greek Turkey Burgers
Greek Turkey Burgers
Mom’s Pork Roast Dinner


Starting a new semester?  Save big on the textbooks you need.
Starting a new semester?  Save big on the textbooks you need.

NATIONAL KETO DAY

On January 5th kick off your New Year’s resolution with The Keto Diet. The easiest change, and best thing you can do for you and your family.

Okay we’ve all made those resolutions about diet an exercise, now what? I know there are a lot of choices out there. Me I’m staying with what works the best and easiest for me. I lost over 150 lbs after back surgery. My Dr loves this diet now, as I have not only lost weight it keeps my diabetes under control. My husband also a diabetic for years has shown the clinical proof to his Dr as well.

Introducing Prime Pantry - Everyday Essentials Delivered to You
Introducing Prime Pantry – Everyday Essentials Delivered to You

While we are usually, more low carb than strict Keto but so many of the products and recipes work for both. According to the blood work it keeps our overall cholesterol down, bad cholesterol even more and good cholesterol goes up. Blood sugar numbers drop significantly and stay down. In my case it has reversed my type 2 diabetes. Not forgetting the weight loss. One quick note there is a big difference between types if diabetics so please be aware of what type you are, and consult you dr. What works for type 2 could produce bad situations for type 1.

DIRTY, LAZY, KETO: Getting Started: How I Lost 140 Pounds Paperback – September 4, 2018

by Stephanie Laska  (Author), William Laska (Editor)
DIRTY, LAZY, KETO: Getting Started: How I Lost 140 Pounds Paperback – September 4, 2018

by Stephanie Laska  (Author), William Laska (Editor)
Kodiak Cakes On The Go Cups -Variety Pack 12 Different Cups - Try Them All - Plus Unique Magnet

by Kodiak Cakes
Kodiak Cakes On The Go Cups -Variety Pack 12 Different Cups – Try Them All – Plus Unique Magnet

by Kodiak Cakes


So here’s the good news.  You can have things like chicken, steak, eggs and cheeses, some types of vegetables,  even dairy and things like Dark chocolate.  The bad news is just say “no”, to most breads, pasta, sugar, cake and cookies.  There is a small selection of convenience foods out there.  Here in the south one of the biggest complaints is no macaroni and cheese.

With recipes like Garlic Butter Steak bites, and tons more, chances are they won’t be missed as much as you thought. Even Lasagna can be converted to low carb and Keto Friendly. Veggies like cauliflower, zucchini, broccoli, spinach, take over for potatoes and pasta. Be sure to check My Recipes Page often for new culinary creations.

As we do a none strict version we have learned to change out certain ingredients to make them more friendly. Buy Yukon gold or red potatoes instead of Idaho russets, whole wheat pasta for spaghetti, and with store like Amazon Fresh Groceries we are no longer limited to only what’s on your local shelves.

My best secret is join some groups who share their tips and recipes. Choose the version of Keto that works best for you. Your family will join the bandwagon without major tribulations. Most children only notice the absence of sugary sodas and snacks. Best of all these changes will set them on a path to a much healthier, happier life. Try one of our family favorites and start changing your health. Check out some of the great foods now stocked at Walmart.  Zoodles, Whisps, Veggie Tots by Green Giant, Sweet Potato Fries, Kodiak Frozen Waffles and Pancakes, Crepini Egg Thins Cauliflower, Caulipower Frozen Pizza.

I suggest these groups on social media. Some of my favorites on Facebook: Keto for Beginners, Keto for Women Only, Keto Recipes for beginners, and lots more just search for them on your favorite platform.

Find these and other great meals on my Recipe page. They are not all Keto diet but if you just have to cheat or treat yourself you can find a great one here too.

Mushroom Swiss Chicken
Mushroom Swiss Chicken
Garlic Butter Steak bites
Garlic Butter Steak Bites
Deviled Eggs
Deviled Eggs
Jen's Easy Chili
Jen’s Easy Chili

Information provided by National Day Calendar. Check out this and other great holidays throughout the year.

Two of the most significant perks seen with the keto diet are weight loss and healthy blood sugar support. In fact, studies have shown improved glycemic control for those with type 2 diabetes while adhering to a ketogenic diet.

Other health benefits of a keto diet may include healthy cholesterol and blood pressure support. It may also be beneficial for those with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

National Day Calendar
Benefits

Two of the most significant perks seen with the keto diet are weight loss and healthy blood sugar support. In fact, studies have shown improved glycemic control for those with type 2 diabetes while adhering to a ketogenic diet.

Keto Plan

How does the diet work? By eliminating carbohydrates, your body will use up its store of glycogen first. Then it will move into ketosis and begin burning fat.

Primarily, a keto diet consists of healthy fats, like eggs, avocado, olive oil, and sustainably-raised meat. Nuts, seeds, dairy, and low-carbohydrate vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, and green peppers are also easy to incorporate. Coconut oil, grass-fed butter, and ghee add fat and flavor to a keto diet. Occasionally, small servings of berries are added to the menu.

Eliminate these foods if you are considering a keto diet:

  • sweets, sugar, sodas, baked goods
  • grains, whole grains, and starches
  • fruits, starchy vegetables
  • hydrogenated oils, vegetable oil
  • diet foods, including low sugar, sugar-free, low-fat foods

NATIONAL CHOCOLATE COVERED CHERRY DAY

National Chocolate Covered Cherry Day on January 3rd spotlights a favored treat during many holidays. The National Confectioners Association has even been noted to recognize the annual event. 

It is almost impossible to eat just one of these chocolate covered cherry candies. The combination of two favorite flavors into one delicious treat turns into something irresistible. The candy often is made with a sweet liquid center and in some cases has a liquor filling.

DOVE Fruit Dark Chocolate With Real Cherries 17-Ounce Pouch

by Dove
DOVE Fruit Dark Chocolate With Real Cherries 17-Ounce Pouch

by Dove


Known to many as a mid-winter pick-me-up, chocolate-covered cherries, also called chocolate cordials, can be either store-bought or homemade. There are also many recipes that mimic the flavor of the long known and well-loved candy.

In the 1700s in England, cherries were enclosed in chocolate with a little kirsch (cordial) liqueur. After finding their way to the United States, Americans received them quite well, delighting in the little bit of alcoholic cordial surrounding the fruit dipped in chocolate.  Although originally made with the liqueur, cordials/chocolate covered cherries are more commonly made with a sugar syrup flavored with cherries.  The pitted cherries have been cooked in sugar syrup and jarred.

HOW TO OBSERVE #ChocolateCoveredCherryDay

Harry and David, Milk Chocolate Covered Cherries, 8 ounces.

by Harry & David
Harry and David, Milk Chocolate Covered Cherries, 8 ounces.

by Harry & David


Use #ChocolateCoveredCherryDay to post on social media.

Share your favorite chocolate cherry recipes for cake, cookies, candy and beverages like hot chocolate or a milkshake. Smoothies would be so good too.

NATIONAL CHOCOLATE COVERED CHERRY DAY HISTORY

While the National Confectioners Association recognizes this day honoring this tasty chocolate treat, National Day Calendar continues to seek the origins of the celebration. 

Shop Amazon Gift Cards - Instant Delivery or Free One-Day Shipping
Shop Amazon Gift Cards – Instant Delivery or Free One-Day Shipping

January 1, 2020! New Years Day

Happy New Year! If your bleary eyed and looking for Asprin, that was an energetic whisper instead of a yell…

Pensacola Pelican Drop with great friends.
The Pelican Drop may be gone but the memories live on!  Happy New Year! 

Well 2020 is officially here. Now if I can just train myself to write that year, on important things like billing, receipts and checks. If you haven’t adjusted your organizer, calendars, and yearly to-do lists, it’s a good day to spend quietly preparing to rejoin the world. (If you’re lucky enough to have time off to do so.)

First make it a point if you’re not totally digital to transfer any dates, notes, or important information to this tears planner. Sync the digital, worlds of desktop, laptop, tablet, and mobile so you have your information handy. You should do a complete backup of your contacts, calendars, and any other vital information.

For digital media burn real back up disks. I know, it sounds old fashioned today, but that thumb drive, external hard drive, micro sd card can all be wiped out. The wrong delete command can undo all your hard work. What would you do if you lost all those irreplacable photos?

The Cloud?

Ok, like most of us I have cloud storage. So why do I need to do anything physical like a real disk? Cloud storage has gotten better but, experts still agree if you go with this method, you need more than one. A physical disk also lets me keep my private files…Private!

Data breaches happen all the time. Google, Banks, Stores where we shop, they appear in the news all the time. Sensitive information like credit cards, financial records, taxes, contacts, and any photos, you don’t want out there don’t store it anywhere that has network access. Yes, it makes it easier for you to get to your files but internet security is really only good until the next hacker breaks it. Do you really want to learn through social media that “That” photo is out there. With identity theft rates going higher, do not want to take chances with your sensitive information?

Staying on Track

As a blogger, and in charge of the family finances, I safeguard this information. I use a variety of both physical and virtual tools to make my life easier. To keep my days on track and remember appointments I still use a paper planner. Everything from holidays, birthdays, and planning for both my family and my blog go here. I find it easier to stay focused, complete tasks in a timely manner and use things like alarms on my phone for special reminders.

Blue Sky 2020 Weekly & Monthly Planner, Flexible Cover, Twin-Wire Binding, 5" x 8", Laila

by Blue Sky
Blue Sky 2020 Weekly & Monthly Planner, Flexible Cover, Twin-Wire Binding, 5″ x 8″, Laila

by Blue Sky


Outside of that and a secret stash of sensitive login information I’m fully digital.  We use app named Prism to keep track of paydays, bills, credit cards and so on. It let’s me track and make payments easily with an easy to understand interface that covers everything. It reminds me when the water payment is due. Keeps my bank balance, tells me the car insurance is next week and keeps up with my automatic payments. With bank-level security and automatic locking features even if I lose my phone no one else can get in.

Prism Bills & Money (Kindle Tablet Edition)

BillGO, Inc.

Or on Google Play
For fire tablet edition simply click the logo. Google Play Store here
Give yourself the gift of Prime Membership

My Blue Cheese, Spinach stuffed Beef Wellingtons

While these do take a bit of work, you will be rewarded with each bite of these delicious Wellingtons. I usually do these as a labor of love on special occasions like New Year’s Eve or an Anniversary. They also work well for a special dinner for 2. Just add candlelight, and a salad. A great pairing is my Winter Arugula Pear Salad. It makes for a really good dinning experience. Add a decadent desert and anyone dinning will be very impressed. See Loaded Brownie recipe.

Components

Puff Pastry

  • 3 packages frozen puff pastry, Pepperidge Farm brand
  • Flour for rolling
  • 2 eggs Whisked with 2 Tbsp water

Mushroom Filling

  • 1 – 8oz pkg Baby Bellas chopped
  • 6 Tbs. olive oil; more for cooking
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. Rosemary
  • Salt and Black pepper to taste

Carmelized Onions

  • 4 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 3 medium onions thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • Salt and Black pepper

Spinach and Blue Cheese

  • 2 – 10oz pkg fresh spinach blanched
  • Pinch Black pepper (optional)
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • Crumbled Blue cheese about 6 oz

For the Steaks

  • 4 – 7oz Ribeye or Eye of Round steaks
  • Salt and Black pepper
  • About 4 Tbsp butter, more as needed
Wilton Perfect Results Premium Non-Stick Bakeware Cookie Baking Sheets Set, 2-Piece

by Wilton
Wilton Perfect Results Premium Non-Stick Bakeware Cookie Baking Sheets Set, 2-Piece

by Wilton


Preparation

  • Roll out and cut the pastry—Roll out each pastry sheets to about 3/16-inch thick, with a sharp knife, cut out a 9-inch round. From the scraps, cut out leaves or other shapes to use as decoration. Layer the pastry rounds (and the decorations) between pieces of waxed paper or parchment, lay on baking sheet and store in freezer until ready to assemble.
  • Cook the mushrooms—In a bowl, toss the chopped Baby Bellas with olive oil, garlic, thyme, and rosemary; cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours overnight is better. Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, add a thin film of oil, and sear mushrooms until they’ve softened and browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer them to paper towels. When cool, set aside till ready to use.
  • Caramelize the onions— Melt butter, add the onions, cooking over medium heat, slowly, stirring occasionally, until well browned, and soft, about 20 minutes. Add the wine and cook until the pan is dry. Set aside to cool. Put the cooled onions in a bowl; cover and refrigerate.
  • Prepare the spinach and cheese
  • Wash spinach well and remove any stems. Prepare an ice-water bath. Put half of the spinach in a large sauté pan with a touch of water, and 1 Tbs. of the butter. Cook over medium-high heat, until justbwilted and immediately put it in the water bath to shock the color and stop the cooking. Scoop it from the ice water and put it in a colander to drain. Squeeze the spinach, in a clean kitchen towel, as much as you can and set it aside on paper towels to continue draining. Repeat with the remaining spinach. Cover with plastic and refrigerate. Stir in blue cheese, salt and Black pepper.
  • Cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble.
  • Sear Steaks—Season each portion of meat with salt and pepper. Rub the seasoning into the meat to keep it in place. Add butter and dash of olive oil to a heavy sauté pan. Sear the steaks over high heat for 2 minutes on each side until brown and crisp on the outside. Be sure your pan is very hot for searing the meat. Do not overcook it, or crowd the pan. It will cause the meat to steam instead of sear. (Check the sides to be sure the filets are still red in the middle.) Work in batches if needed. Refrigerate until ready to use, up to 24 hours.
    Searing the steaks makes for a nice crust but a still-red center—once wrapped in pastry and baked, they’ll cook to medium rare.
AmazonBasics Silicone Baking Mat Sheet, Set of 2  by AmazonBasics
AmazonBasics Silicone Baking Mat Sheet, Set of 2

by AmazonBasics

Some Assembly Required

  • Arrange your mushrooms, onions, spinach, and steaks within easy reach. Divide mushrooms, onions into four portions. Spinach into 8 portions.
  • Make sure the caramelized onions are well drained (they tend to collect liquid as they sit).
  • Cover a large rimmed baking sheet (that fits in your freezer) with kitchen parchment or silicon baking mat.
  • Have a ruler, a small sharp knife, a pastry brush, and the egg wash on hand. Lightly flour one area to lay pastry, (the cooler the area the better).
  • Pull a pastry round from the freezer and lay on the floured surface. Working quickly lightly score a 4×3-inch rectangle in the center of the round; don’t cut through the pastry. Extend the lines of the rectangle and cut out the corners of the round created by the line extensions, leaving a cross of pastry with a 4×3-inch center.
    Cut a cross shape out of the pastry round. Save the scraps to cut out decorations.
  • Spread Spinach in thin layer on the rectangle of pastry. Follow with a layer of onions, the steak, a layer of mushrooms and second layer of spinach. Spread each layer as evenly as possible. Brush a light coating of the egg wash on each of the four panels of dough.
  • Check to be sure that the pastry is now pliable enough to fold without breaking (wait a minute or two if necessary). Fold up the longer sides first and then the end Fold each side panel onto the top, stretching the dough a bit if necessary to make the ends meet, or slightly overlapping if necessary. Follow suit with the top and bottom panels. Seal the panels together by pressing in the top panel where it meets the bottom panel and by pinching each of the four sides together where the panels meet. It’s important that pastry iswell sealed so the juices don’t leak out.
  • Hold upright in your hands, securing all the seals and smoothing any rough spots to make the package into a neat, rounded block. Set it seam side down and gently press the top and sides to make them as even all the way around as possible. Brush the top and all sides with egg wash. If desired puut decorations on top and brush with egg wash. Set the Wellingtons on the lined baking sheet. Set in freezer to set and chill the pastry. Repeat with the 5 remaining Wellingtons, adding each to the pan in the freezer as you go. Allow 1 hour in freezer.

Cook the Wellingtons:

  • Heat the oven to 400°F. Make another egg wash. Remove the Wellingtons from the freezer (do not thaw) and brush them with a fresh coat of egg wash. Cook for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350°F and cook another 35 to 40 minutes. Set them aside to rest for no longer than 10 minutes. Serve immediately.
Outlander returns for Season 5 February 16, 2020
Outlander fans rejoice! Season 5 starts February 16, 2020

BACON DAY – December 30

On December 30th each year, bacon lovers celebrate one of nature’s favored gifts on Bacon Day!

Everything is better with bacon. Someone said that once. And our research shows very little to dispute this assertion.

In the United States and Canada, bacon is made from the pork belly. Elsewhere in the world, the side and back cuts of pork are used. The meat is cured in either a salt brine or in a salt pack. It is then either dried, boiled, or smoked.

Bacon is a very popular food in the USA.  You can find many items also flavored or scented with bacon, including popcorn, soap, candles, air fresheners, and much more. While these uses are options, we suggest cooking with bacon.

It’s not just for breakfast anymore, either. Bacon improves everything from beverages to dessert. Some cocktails such as the Bloody Mary and Caesar add bacon to the olives, pickles, and other assorted ingredients. Bacon improves the flavor of many appetizers, sandwiches, and soups. Incorporate bacon into salads as a topping or mix it into the dressing. When it comes to dessert, bacon pairs well with maple frosting or maple ice cream. Thanks to the salty, smoky flavor of bacon, it compliments sweet quite well. The possibilities are endless. 

Bacon is both Keto and blood sugar friendly. Turkey bacon is also a good alternative. My favorite is leaf lettuce used as a wrap. Add Miracle Whip, tomatoes, and two strips of extra cripy bacon for a great tasting BLT without the carbs from bread. Two of these tucked into your lunch box with some cheese sticks and some blueberries makes for a great lunch that will give you plenty of energy till dinner without the 3:00 sleepies.

Share your favorite recipes with us. Here are some of our favorites featuring bacon!

Irish Skillet
Brussels sprouts the kids will eat
BLT Wraps

HOW TO OBSERVE #BaconDay

According to the founders of Bacon Day, we are encouraged to eat a variety of bacon while watching Kevin Bacon movies, or movies with bacon in the title. Since Bacon Day was created before the Discovery Channel show How It’s Made debuted, it’s safe to say, we can eat our bacon and watch those, too. Giving and receiving gifts of bacon is also recommended. Other suggested traditions such as bacon toasts and kissing under pork fat mistletoe are mentioned as well. Use #BaconDay to post on social media.

NATIONAL BACON DAY HISTORY

Danya “D” Goodman and Meff “Human Cannonball” Leonard founded Bacon Day in 1997 as the one great day to bond everyone together. 

Garlic Butte Steak Bites

The options to this one are many depending on diet and health needs.  Along with the steak you can have Zoodles as featured below (I get mine ready to go from Walmart produce).  You can also use a regular or pasta of your choice.  Potatoes are also great.  If you need another vegetable try a fresh leafy salad or steamed Asparagus.  All options are simply delicious.

Amazon Home Services offers customers over a thousand different services from quality, hand-picked pros and backed by Amazon's Happiness Guarantee. Top services available for Customers to purchase include: *House Cleaning *TV Wall Mounting *Smart Home Device Installation *Equipment and Furniture Assembly *Plumbing and Electrical *Handyman *House PaintingAmazon Home Services offers customers over a thousand different services from quality, hand-picked pros and backed by Amazon’s Happiness Guarantee. Top services available for Customers to purchase include: *House Cleaning *TV Wall Mounting *Smart Home Device Installation *Equipment and Furniture Assembly *Plumbing and Electrical *Handyman *House Painting

Ingredients


6 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
4 Tbsp Butter


Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet 2-Piece Set (10-Inch and 12-Inch) Oven Safe Cookware - 2 Heat-Resistant Holders - Indoor and Outdoor Use - Grill, Stovetop, Induction Safe  by cuisinel  Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet 2-Piece Set (10-Inch and 12-Inch) Oven Safe Cookware – 2 Heat-Resistant Holders – Indoor and Outdoor Use – Grill, Stovetop, Induction Safe

by cuisinel

Directions

Cut steak into 1 inch bite size pieces.
In saucepan heat butter and garlic.
Cook until butter is melted and garlic starts to brown.
In medium skillet or cast iron add olive oil.
Heat on high.
When oil is hot and shimmering add cut steak bites.
Cook 1 – 2 minutes letting them sear on all sides.  Should be golden in color.
Add 2/3 of butter mixture and toss to coat well. 
Stir well until fully cooked and coated evenly in sauce.
Microwave Zoodles as directed on package.
Add Zoodles to pan and remaining sauce.
Stir well together.
Serve warm.


Featured image provided by: https://chefshamy.com/recipes/garlic-butter-steak-bites-with-zucchini-noodles/
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