Canning/Preserving: Freezing Corn on the Cob

Our corn harvest usually happens around the 4th of July. This year it happened a little early, which coincided with me leaving to go to Washington DC for 8 days. So the two days before my trip were spent putting up about 200 gallons of corn. There are two ways that I freeze it: on the cob and cut off. Because time was an issue for me, most of it was put up in the cob.

20160624_175119_resizedShuck the corn as you normally would.

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Get a pot of hot water to a roiling boil and place the cobs in for about 90 seconds.

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Take corn out of the boiling pot and place directly into a cold water bath.

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After the corn has mostly cooled place cobs in gallon freezer bags and place directly in freezer.

To reheat place frozen cobs in boiling water until cobs are hot, about 5 minutes and enjoy. It’s a simple way to keep the corn frozen and to put it away. I always enjoy being able to  serve my family garden fresh corn in the winter. Corn will keep up to 18 months in the freezer.

 

Bacon Cheeseburger Bombs (keto)

Yes, yes I know. I have abandoned all ye faithful! It’s not because I wanted to but rather because I have been traveling for work. No one misses my cooking like me…..and probably my husband.  So because you all have been so patient, here is the best recipe!!  Although I have only been making this for a few months, my entire family loves it so much, there for a while we were eating it at least once a week. 20160623_182919_resizedI started with 2 pounds of ground beef. I rolled them into 1/3 pound balls that I would normally make into patties, however,  not this time….kind of.

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Take each ball and roughly smash in into a patty. Get your favorite can beverage and place it in the middle of the patty.
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Build the patty around the can, like this.

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Grab a piece of bacon and wrap it around the patty. Secure with a skewer or toothpick (don’t forget that the toothpick is there and remove after cooking).

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Remove the can and then season the patty on the inside. I just use season salt and pepper.
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In a mixing bowl add 4 oz. (half of a package) of cream cheese, 1 cup cheddar and 1 cup mozzarella. Combine completely.

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Put the cheese in the center of the patties.

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Cook the patties on the grill, just as you would a regular hamburger, but DO NOT FLIP. Just leave them there to cook until they are done to your taste. I left them on about 20 minutes on a 400 degree grill, but all grills cook differently. If you want to check for doneness, just look at the meat on the inside of the burger.

20160623_195710_resizedOnce you have pulled them off of the grill let them set for about 5 minutes before eating. Remove the toothpick and enjoy.

This recipe is something that my family adores. All 4 of us enjoy these and they are keto friendly. My girls remove the bacon and put them on a bun and make it a traditional burger. B and I just eat them with some grilled veggies. So delicious and so satisfying! Enjoy.

 

Meatball Casserole with Zoodles (keto)

So last time I showed how to make and freeze zoodles.  What do you do with the zoodles now? Also, how do you eat healthy and keto when you have a busy evening?  The other night we had volleyball camp, volleyball league, I was in the garden and had two meetings. We were not going to all be home to eat dinner until 8:30pm. I needed something that I could make ahead and wouldn’t take long to bake in the oven. Enter the Meatball Casserole.

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I used ground pork and ground elk, but you could use sausage and beef if you wanted to, or chicken, or turkey, whatever floats your boat. The key to this is the seasoning of the meat. I used granulated garlic, oregano, basil, red pepper, seasoned salt. I also added almond flour and an egg for a binder.
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I rolled the meatballs and put them on a foil lined cookie sheet. I baked them at 375 for 30 minutes. Then I drained off the fat prepared my casserole dish.
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Using olive oil, I prepared the pan, then lightly covered the bottom of the dish with red sauce (I used my homemade, but you could use a store bought with low carbs and low sugar. Then placed the meatballs in the dish, covered with the rest of the sauce and then covered the sauce with mozzarella and parmesan cheese. I then covered the dish with foil and put it in the fridge for later.

20160620_203029.jpgWhile I was watching my youngest at volleyball, I called my oldest and had her put the dish in the oven. It was ready by the time we got home. The zoodles were ones that I had frozen and naturally thawed in the sink all day. I blotted them with a paper towel and put them in a saucepan and sauteed them with 2 tbsp of grass fed butter until they were tender. It took about 5 minutes.  The above picture is blurry because honestly, I was starving, and I took the picture of my plate in a hurry.

The great thing about this casserole is that you can use it with zoodles, or if you aren’t keto, or your kids don’t like zoodles (gasp) you could substitute with pasta. Recipe below.

Meatball Casserole with Zoodles

Ingredients:

1 pound ground pork

1 pound ground elk (ground beef, turkey, chicken, venison, or whatever is a good substitute)

1/2 cup almond flour

1 large egg

1 tbsp granulated garlic

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp basil

1 tsp seasoned salt

1/2 tsp red pepper

1 quart spaghetti sauce (homemade or store bough of your choice -low sugar/low carb)

1 cup mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup. Parmesan cheese

Directions: 

1.Preheat oven to 375.

2.  Combine spices, flour, egg and meat in a bowl.

3.  Form meat mixture into meatballs (about an inch in diameter).

4. Line a cookie sheet with foil, and spray foil with cooking spray or olive oil. Place meatballs on the cookie sheet and place in the oven.

5. Let cook for 30 minutes. Drain fat.

6. In a baking dish spray with olive oil or cooking spray. Cover the bottom of the dish with sauce. Place meatballs in baking dish. Cover meatballs with sauce and then cover sauce with cheese. Cover dish with foil.

7. Whenever you are ready to bake the casserole, preheat oven to 375. Leave foil on and bake for 20 minutes. Take foil off and finish until cheese is bubbly and starting to brown (about 10 minutes)

Serve over sauteed zoodles.

 

 

 

 

Canning/Preserving: Freezing Zoodles

 

When we started the Keto lifestyle, giving up bread was hard, but what was even harder was giving up pasta. Yes, there is gluten-free pasta out there, but it is usually highly processed and full of carbs. I swore I wouldn’t ever eat “zoodles” (noodles made from zucchini), but I tried them and loved them.  Fast forward to this spring/summer and my garden is exploding with zucchini. I finally broke down and ordered a Spiralizer.

Freezing these zoodles would be tricky. I tried a few different ways, but today I’m sharing the one that worked perfectly!

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Wash and dry the zucchini. For smaller zucchini I just cut off the ends, however, for some of the larger ones (that seem to make the best zoodles, I cut them in halves or thirds to be easier to handle.

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This blade is commonly referred to as ‘Blade C’. It cuts thicker noodles that make them easy to freeze.

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Start turning the crank of your spiralizer, and watch the zoodles appear.

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Now here comes the important part. Place the zoodles into a colander. Sprinkle thoroughly with kosher salt (I used Pink Himalayan salt). Let them sit for 25 minutes.  It’s best to place a bowl under the colander as the water will drip off of the zoodles.

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When the time is up, blot zoodles with a paper towel and then place in quart bags. Freeze for up to  a year.

To use, DO NOT MICROWAVE or PUT IN HOT WATER TO DEFROST!!!! Just simply get them out of the freezer and place the bag in a bowl, or in your sink and give them plenty of time to thaw. If you try to add heat, they will be a mess. Once they have thawed then cook as you would fresh ones. It really is THAT easy.

It’s MY turn.

I have been a blogger on and off since 2002. It’s always been an amazing outlet for me and I love to write. For years I was a “Mommy Blogger”. I told the stories of my life as a mom, but also the stories of my children. I was content, they didn’t mind, and it worked.

Early last year as my girls were 12 and 15 it was harder and harder to blog. The stories I wanted to tell weren’t mine to tell.  I tried to blog about this and that on this blog, but honestly my heart hasn’t been in it for awhile.

I wasn’t telling MY story. I wasn’t talking about MY passion. I had put myself not first, second, third….more like eighty-fifth. This was hard for me because I really didn’t know what I wanted.

It has taken a lot of thought. Some of the thought included not blogging. But that is what quitters do and I’m not a quitter. I had to think more about me. I quickly realized that I was going to have to do this in more areas of my life because I would have a completely empty nest in 5 years time.

What do I know? What do I love? What am I fiercely passionate about? The answer was always the same. Food.

With that in mind, I decided, eventually, to transition this blog entirely to one about food. But not just any food blog. I plan on focusing on recipes that having natural ingredients, and that are Keto-friendly (gluten free, low sugar, low carb). I will also continue to share my tips and tricks to preserve food from our garden through canning, freezing, and dehydrating.

I’m so excited to write my own story and share my passion with you. Hang on for the ride.

Keto Lifestyle Recipes: Mayo Chicken

Before we ever decided to choose the Keto Lifestyle, this recipe was a favorite of ours. When I am making this for dinner, if someone asks what I’m making and I tell them Mayo Chicken, immediately there are cheers.

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Baked Mayo Chicken

Ingredients: 

1 cup mayo (homemade, or store bought, but NOT Miracle Whip)

4 chicken breasts butterflied

1/2 cup Parmesan  cheese

1/2 cup. cheddar cheese (grated)

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup almond flour/meal

Directions: 

  1. Mix mayo, all cheeses and salt and pepper in a bowl.
  2. Lay chicken breasts on greased (cooking spray or butter) foil on a cookie sheet.
  3. Spread mayo mixture over each piece of chicken evenly.
  4. Sprinkle almond flour/meal on top of mayo mixture (like you would bread crumbs)
  5. Bake at 375 for 40 minutes.

Serve with fresh roasted veggies, or a salad.

This is a great recipe that you can prepare ahead of time and put in the oven when you’re ready to make. This was a go to meal for us during our busy sports seasons. Perfect for a practice night. The best part? You just pick up the foil and through it away. Hardly any clean up.

 

Our Keto Life

Many of our friends online and IRL have asked about the lifestyle my husband and I have made in the past 5 months. The opinions are entirely my own and based on my own experience. If this is something that you would like to adopt in your life, contact you doctor and/or consult a nutritionist, as well as research research research before you begin.

It all began in January with the “Terrible Twos”. No I’m not referring to the age of a toddler, but rather the number on the scale. I know, I know, it’s not all about the number on the scale, but this is what started the ball rolling.  On January 1st I got on the scale with the determination that everyone has to “be healthier in the new year” and had a reality check. I had never been 200 pounds, EVER. I can’t say I was surprised, but I was devastated nonetheless. I felt every bit of those 203 pounds. I was tired, irritable, and plagued by joint pain that made it almost impossible to walk for long periods of time. I swore that I would eat better, exercise more, and “do better”.  I ate low fat/high carb foods, but didn’t see the inside of a gym, or do much outside of just the basics of day to day living. In February, the scale hadn’t moved.

I figured it was all about my lack of gym time. So I resolved to go to the gym 5 days a week. I did it too, however the strain on my joints left me hurting, and back in the doctor’s office. I was quite bluntly told that I needed to lose weight and strengthen my joints, by my orthopedist. I told him that I had been trying, but that it wasn’t working.  He told me that I should seek out a certified nutritionist to help me find out what work would for me. I made an appointment for later that week as soon as I left the office.

The appointment was not what I expected. He was a “cross fit” type sitting across from me in his workout gear. After some discussion we started to talk about the Keto Lifestyle.  In a nutshell it meant that I would stop feeding my body sugar and carbs and teach my body to burn fat instead. (If you want an easier and more thorough description, check out this.) While it sounded fabulous, I was curious how feasible it would be and honestly how expensive it would be. Then I thought back to all the money I had spent, and all the empty promises I had sold to others about a pill or a drink that would make them skinnier without doing much. I was ashamed of myself and decided that I would try.

For one month I would consumer no more than 30 carbs a day. Period. I would be low sugar, no bread, no grains, only whole foods, real foods. In my version of keto, I don’t eat any artificial sweeteners or processed foods, if I do, it’s RARELY.  WTF? Yep, that’s my life. And you know what I love it! After the first month I went up to 50 carbs a day and that’s where I sit most of the time.

Sounds wonderful? Well it is…now. The first week SUCKED! I got what is commonly called, the keto flu. My body was screaming at me for carbs and sugar.  I felt terrible, like I had the actual flu without the vomiting. But it passed and I’ve never felt better. I will say that within the first 5 days all of my joint pain DISAPPEARED. The nutritionist told me that it was due to going gluten-free. After 3 months, I am down 34 pounds, and B is down over 40. We feel better than we have, even in our 20’s, B is 40 and I will be in a few months.

What does it look like? Here ya go. I don’t look like the same person, nor do I feel like that girl in 2015.

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Now for the questions I hear frequently

1. What do you eat ? Lots of veggies and fruits (no fruits that first month, they have quite a few carbs), meat, butter, cheese, almond flour, stevia (plant based). Bulletproof coffee (recipe coming up later).

2. Do you ever cheat? Sometimes, but usually I feel like total crap if I do. So I’ve learned that it’s not worth it. I save what little sugar I do eat and some carbs each day to have a half a glass of wine each night.

3. What is the hardest thing about keto? Honestly, it is convenience. This lifestyle doesn’t mesh well with our high carb, low fat, sugar/bread based society. I can’t just grab something easy, and eating out is a challenge. I cook almost every night (which I did anyway, but that’s not the norm). We have a few restaurants that we like that offers options for us. But it is frustrating.

4. What does your workout look like? I lived in the gym for about 2 months. 5 days a week, mostly lifting weights and some cardio. However in the last month, all of my workout time is working in the yard, mowing, and working in the garden about 5 days a week. I’ll go back into the gym when the garden work winds down in September.

5. How can you give up bread, cookies, cake, etc.? You just do it. At least for the first month. Then you’ll cheat, you just will. You’ll get a terrible headache and feel like you want to vomit. Then you won’t do it again. Seriously.

6. How do you keep up with recipes and what to cook? Pinterest! Honestly, I have found so many awesome recipes and ideas from there. Last night’s dinner was entirely a pinterest recipe and it was amazing. I also enjoy experimenting in the kitchen, so it helps.

7.So what is the step by step so that I can do what you do? Sorry, there isn’t a step by step. There are many versions of keto. Some people eat more carbs regularly, some less. Some don’t have any dairy (including NO CHEESE, can you imagine?),  or allow more sugar. You just have to find out what works for you. Honestly, do your research, ask me more questions, talk to your doctor, talk to a licensed certified nutritionist.

8. So how long as you on this “diet”? It’s not a diet. It honestly is a lifestyle. We had to rework out thinking, our body chemistry, everything. Food is not really our therapy, or our feelings anymore. Honestly, I don’t need food as comfort anymore, my moods are more stable, I spend more time outside, I weed my garden and flowerbeds as therapy, but you have to find something else other than food to deal with your feelings.  You can’t worship food anymore. It’s fuel. Plain and simple. That doesn’t mean that it has to taste bad. It doesn’t in fact, it’s phenomenal. You don’t have to starve yourself either. I eat 3 meals a day and rarely snack. Some days I have to force myself to eat because you just feel so full and satisfied with the chemistry behind the 1500-1750 calories a day you consume.

 And I would be totally lying if I didn’t say that nothing cures a bad day like a juicy bacon cheeseburger, without the bun!