Happy Labor Day

Most of us believe the Labor Day is just a celebration for all of us that work every day. However, it started out in a violent manner involving a  labor union. Check out the history of Labor Day. Today also signifies the end of summer and for many the beginning of the school year. Does anyone remember when you weren’t supposed to wear white (especially white shoes) after Labor Day? I don’t believe that is true anymore.

How do you celebrate Labor Day? We will be having Jalapeno & Cheddar Dogs, Smoked Sausage and Lit’l Smokies with bbq sauce. For sides we will have homemade french fries or chips and a cucumber & tomato salad from the garden. If I get real ambitious, maybe I’ll make some homemade ice cream.  Yummy!! Mouth is watering – can’t wait!

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Garden

Yesterday I shared a picture of a large zucchini from our garden. It is that time of year when you are eating fresh vegetables. They seem to taste better when you get them fresh from the garden. Here is a picture of a large zucchini, some Early Girl tomatoes and a few tomatillos. The tomatillos are volunteers. We did not plant any the last couple of years but they keep coming up in the summer.

Lime Guacamole

Today is Avocado Day and what can you make with avocados – guacamole. The lime juice and Serrano peppers give this guacamole a little kick.


2 ripe avocados
½ tsp. Kosher salt
2 Tbsp. Fresh lime juice
2-4 Tbsp. Minced red onion
2 Serrano peppers, seeded & minced
2 Tbsp. Cilantro leaves, finely chopped
Dash of freshly ground black pepper
½ ripe tomato, chopped

 

Slice avocados in half and remove seed. Using a spoon, scoop flesh into a medium bowl. Roughly mash with a fork. Stir in salt, lime juice, onion, peppers and cilantro. Season to taste with black pepper.

Refrigerate, covered until ready to serve. Stir in chopped tomato and adjust seasons if desired.

Vegetable Lasagna

This recipe is is relatively easy to make and much lighter than regular lasagna with pasta noodles.

3 zucchini, washed, ends cut
Oil
2 Tbsp. Pork rinds, crumbled
15 oz. Can tomato sauce
2 Tbsp. Italian seasonings
1 egg
½ tsp. Garlic salt
8 oz. Ricotta cheese
¼ c. chopped green pepper
¼ c. chopped green onions
2 ½ oz. Can sliced mushrooms, drained
15 oz. Can artichoke hearts, drained, sliced
1 Tbsp. Chopped basil or 1 tsp. Dry
1 c. shredded Swiss cheese
1/4 c. Shredded Parmesan cheese

Cut each zucchini lengthwise into ¼: slices. Pat dry with paper towels. Combine tomato sauce and Italian seasoning. Beat egg with garlic salt. Add Ricotta cheese.

 

 

Oil a 7 x 11” baking dish, then sprinkle with pork rinds. Arrange zucchini in dish. Spoon half of sauce on zucchini. Spread half the Ricotta mixture over sauce, half the green pepper, green onions, mushrooms, artichokes and basil. Sprinkle with half the Swiss and Parmesan cheeses. Repeat layers ending with cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees F. about 30 minutes until heated through, cheese is melted and vegetables are tender. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Hamburger Day

There are many ways to make a hamburger. I have made them in my Hershey’s Kiss silicone baking pan,

as cupcakes and of course free form in the skillet. I think one of my favorite burgers is this Peanut Butter Bacon Cheese Burger. I know it sounds sort of weird but it is amazing how the salty and sweet flavors work together. Enjoy!

1 lb. Ground beef
½ tsp. Onion powder
½ tsp. Garlic powder
1 tsp. Fresh ground pepper
½ tsp. Kosher salt
½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
¼ tsp. Cayenne pepper
6 slices bacon
1 whole sliced tomatoes
4 lettuce leaves
1 c. peanut butter
1 tbsp. Maple syrup
1 ½ c. sharp cheddar cheese

Place the ground beef in a mixing bowl and, using your hands, combine gently with onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, salt, Worcestershire and cayenne.

Make beef into 4 patties. Ensure the patties are the same thickness on the edges as the middle. Place on a plate and cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

 

While burgers are chilling, cook bacon until crispy over medium heat in a skillet. The crunch adds a nice texture to the burger.

In same skillet, cook burgers to medium doneness or until the middle of the burger is 168 degrees F, about 4 min. on each side. Add cheese to each burger a minute or two before they are done.

 

While burgers are cooking, place peanut butter and maple syrup in a microwave safe bowl. Stir together and warm in microwave for about 25 seconds. Stir again. It should be slightly runny.

 

 

 

 

Remove burgers from skillet. Place bacon and peanut butter mix on burger.

 

 

 

To finish top with tomatoes and lettuce.

Chicken Ratatouille

Since today is National Poultry day I will be sharing a Chicken Ratatouille recipe from Great American Recipes.

4 boneless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
1/4 c. oil
32 oz. diced tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. Italian herbs
1 med. onion, chopped
1 med. green pepper, chopped
2 small zucchini, cut into cubes
1 small eggplant, cut into cubes
1/2 lb. mushrooms, sliced
Salt & Pepper

 

 

In a large pot, heat the oil. Cook the chicken over medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the tomato sauce, garlic, herbs, onion and green pepper; let cook approximately 20 minutes

 

 

 

 

 

Then add zucchini and eggplant; let cook until almost tender.  Finally add mushrooms and salt & pepper to taste. Simmer until vegetables are fork tender.

 

 

 

 

Keto Hamburger Pizza

As you know, we have been doing the Ketogenic diet for well over a year. The food I miss most is pizza. I made a pizza with hamburger, onions, peppers, olives, tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. Here is a Keto Pizza crust recipe which is from “the ketogenic cookbook” by Jimmy Moore and Maria Emmerich.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a lasagna pan or 12” cast-iron skillet.

Whip 6 egg whites and ½ teaspoon cream of tartar until very stiff. Slowly sift in ½ cup unflavored whey protein while the mixer is on low speed. Using a spatula, gently fold the 3 ounces of softened cream cheese into the whites.

keto-hamburger-pizza-3

 

 

Spoon the dough mixture into the prepared pan and prebake the crust for 18 minutes.

 

 

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Remove the crust from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees F.

 

 

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Top with the sauce and hamburger mixture, tomato, olives and cheese and return to the oven. Bake until the cheese is melted and starts to brown about 5 minutes.

 

keto-hamburger-pizza-12

 

Chicken & Bacon Florentine

Just made this delicious & easy chicken dinner.  Forgot how good it taste.  It is relatively easy to make and has that familiar Italian flavor.

Chicken & Bacon Florentine

chicken-bacon-florentine-10

6 slices bacon
½ c. shredded Parmesan cheese
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 lb) (I used chicken thighs  instead)
½ c. sliced green olives (I used kalamata olives instead)

1 jar tomato & Basil sauce ( or you can use 14 oz can tomato sauce with 1 Tbsp. dry basil)
10 oz. Pkg. Baby spinach leaves
1 clove garlic, finely chopped ( or 1 tsp. garlic powder)

Cook bacon in 12” nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, 4 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon and reserve 2 tablespoons drippings. Mix together cooked bacon and cheese, set aside.

Meanwhile, heat sauce and olives in small saucepan over medium-low heat.

Season chicken with salt and black pepper. Cook chicken in reserved drippings over medium-high heat, turning once, 6 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Remove chicken from skillet and keep warm. 

Add spinach and garlic into same skillet and cook, stirring frequently, 2 minutes or until spinach is wilted.


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Evenly spoon heated sauce onto serving plates. Top with spinach, then chicken. Garnish bacon and cheese mixture.

chicken-bacon-florentine-9

Spanish Style Scrambled Eggs

I’m not really sure why these are called  Spanish style but they are basically a simple scrambled egg over a bed of cooked vegetables.  It is very tasty.  If you just want a twist on your normal scrambled egg this is the way to go.

 

Spanish Scrambled EggsOlive  oil
2 medium-sized green peppers, sliced
1 medium-sized onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ tsp. Dried thyme
Salt
3 medium-sized tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 tsp. Hot pepper sauce
8 large eggs
Parsley for garnish

 

In 12” skillet over medium-high heat, in 1 tablespoon hot oil, cook green peppers, onion, garlic, thyme and ½ teaspoon salt until vegetables are tender-crisp. Add tomatoes and hot pepper sauce; cook 2 to 3 minutes until tomatoes are softened. Spoon mixture onto warm large platter, keep warm.

In large bowl, with wire whisk or fork, beat eggs, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ cup water until blended. In same skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil until hot; add egg mixture. As egg mixture begins to set, with rubber spatula, stir slightly so uncooked egg flows to bottom. Continue cooking until egg mixture is set but still moist, stirring occasionally. Spoon egg mixture over vegetable mixture on platter. Garnish with parsley.

 

From Good Housekeeping August 1990

Expanded Aquaponics Garden and Plants

Expanded Aquaponic Garden (2)

 

We decided to expand the aquaponics garden by adding 50 feet of 4 inch pipe along the outside wall of our carport. Mac has cut holes so we can place cups with plants.

 

 

 

We have 36 strawberry plants: 6 Loran, 20 Sequoia, and 10 Ozark Beauties. We didn’t know which ones we would like so that’s why we got 3 different kinds. We also got a 6 pack of asparagus roots and 1 cherry tomato plant.Strawberry_Loran 2-29-16

Asparagus 2-29-16 (1)

Cherry Tomato 2-29-16

 

 

 

 

 

Seeds in Cheesecloth 2-29-16

 

Since we bought seeds Mac thinks that placing them in cheesecloth and then in a cup with an opening to the water will get them started. Time will tell. The seeds include Red Russian Kale, Rainbow Chard, spinach and green onions.

 

 

 

We have herbs planted in an old refrigerator on the back deck where rosemary is seeding out and basil took over last year. We’re assuming the basil will come back.

 

 

Dill 2-29-16
Stuvia 2-29-16
Mint 2-29-16We purchased 3 herb plants: dill, stuvia, and mint; to go in this planter. We will also be planting cilantro seeds with these other herbs.

 

 

 

 

 

Now we wait to see how everything grows and how long it takes for them to start producing fruit or the seeds to get roots and become a real plant.

Planted Aquaponic pipes 2-29-16 (1)

Planted Aquaponic pipes 2-29-16 (4)

Planted Aquaponic pipes 2-29-16 (2)