Thursday, December 25, 2014

Margie's Cheese Ball

This Christmas I am miles away from family and was invited to my sweetheart's family Christmas gathering.  I couldn't go empty handed, so I asked what I could bring, and a cheese ball was suggested.

I immediately knew which recipe I would use!  My mind immediately traveled back in time to the late 70's when I worked at Citizens Bank in Evansville.  I remembered those waistline expanding  Decembers when we had food from the beginning to the end of month!   So much great food that we had a sign up calendar to help spread out the feast and as you can imagine, there wasn't an empty day!

Margie was a very sweet lady, loved by all.  Her contribution each December was this fabulous cheese ball.   She has since passed away and in her memory, I am honored to share her cheese ball recipe with everyone to use in their holiday celebrations!  It's a little late for Christmas, but certainly something you could make for your New Year's parties!


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Janet's Christmas Gingerbread



How many of you are like me and running behind with your holiday preparations this year?  It won't be long and the reindeer will be flying and the jolly old man in the red suit will be visiting our homes and comparing notes on the cookies and milk left on the hearth for him.

This weekend I made gingerbread men, or as I've been saying, gingerbread boys and girls.  
I'm making them for a really special group of first graders as a treat on the last day of their Junior Achievement class.  

I've never made gingerbread men before and they are a lot of work,  I also will confess that I had a few casualties, but they are so cute and tasty they were worth the trouble and  I am sure the kids in the class will love them.

Since I don't have a tried and true recipe for gingerbread, I put out the call to my Facebook friends to see if anyone had one that they would share.  Paula, a friend from the town I grew up in, shared her recipe.   

This isn't just any recipe, it is her mother's recipe and is a treasure.  Growing up her mom and dad lived kitty-corner across the street from us and later they were backdoor neighbors to my mom and dad.  I asked Paula if she minded if I shared the recipe on my blog and she said "go for it".

I hope you will try this recipe.  It has lots of wonderful memories for their family.   Start a new tradition at your house this year. I bet if you make these cookies you will get brownie points from your family and also Santa might just decide the cookies he got at your house are the absolute best!

I wish I could share a plate of these with Janet and her daughters!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Tasty Meatballs

Mama Mia!

That is what you will be saying when you make these for the first time.

If you are looking for a good incredible meatball recipe to try, buckle up and give this one a test drive.

I've always been a meat sauce kinda of gal.  Why?  I can't say really, other that we always had spaghetti and meat sauce when I was growing up.  I've always thought making meatballs was way too much trouble.  Yup, you can see, that I am lazy!  It's easier to brown up the meat and add the sauce.

I know you've all heard the saying "try it, you might like it".  You will be delighted to find that these meatballs really aren't too much work  (okay, maybe a little messy) but they are so worth it and I bet you will agree that they are slap yourself silly awesome!

This recipe is an adaptation of one I had Pinned from Kaye's Low Carb Lifestyle.  Thanks for the inspiration!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Low Carb Strawberry "Pretzel" Salad

Crunchy, salty, creamy, sweet.  All these flavors come together in the traditional Strawberry Pretzel Salad.

I've taken the traditional recipe and tinkered with it to turn it into a low carb delight!
There are several steps, so don't be intimidated, just be patient and soon you'll have a dessert that is pretty darn close to the original.








Saturday, July 12, 2014

Almond Cookies

Today was a busy kitchen day that included lots of cool tasty treats, one of those being lemon ice cream.  As a result of making the lemon curd, I had egg whites I needed to use and was reminded of a recipe for these fabulous little almond cookies that I enjoyed on a trip to Italy.  While this isn't quite the same, they are good and I've altered the recipe to be more carb friendly so they can better fit into my way of eating.  

Almond Cookies

Yield: 48 Cookies

Ingredients:


6 egg whites
1 1/2 cups erythritol, or sweetener you prefer
4 1/2 Tablespoons Almond Flour
2 cups almonds
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

Directions:


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 

In a food processor bowl, add the almonds, almond flour, 1 cup of the sweetener and process to a fine powder.  Add the baking powder and lemon zest and pulse to mix well.

In another mixing bowl, add the egg whites and beat until frothy.  Gradually add the remaining sweetener and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.  I use my Kitchen Aid for this job.

Sprinkle about 1/3 of the ground nut mixture over the beaten egg whites and gently fold them in.  Repeat 2 more times until all the nut mixture is folded into the egg whites.

Drop tablespoons of batter onto the parchment lined cookie sheets.  Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes.  (My time was closer to 15, but keep an eye on them because they brown fast once they start.)  Cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to complete cooling.
Store in an airtight container.


Per Cookie:  29 Calories; 2 grams fat; <1 net carb if using erythritol

...and That's What's Cooking at Cathy's ~ Enjoy!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Fresh Green Beans


I was visiting the local Sprout's Farmer's Market this weekend and they had some of the best looking fresh green beans I've seen in a while.   I couldn't resist and bought a huge bag of beans.    Today I'm cooking them up and I'm here to tell you that I am already looking forward to having a good size portion for supper!

I shouldn't tell, but I did have a sample as part of the taste test, to determine seasoning adjustment and they were yummy!

This recipe is far from exotic or complicated.  I have often not posted very simple recipes but a friend of mine kindly reminded me that not everyone knows how to cook.  So with that in mind, here's how I cook fresh green beans.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Ham Salad




























What to fix for my lunch box next week?  I get tired of salads, and can't always guarantee there will be leftovers from supper.  Last Thanksgiving the local grocery was running a special of a free ham with the purchase of a turkey.  Well, I was in the market for a turkey and wasn't going to say no to a free ham!  Meat is so expensive, you just can't look the other way on those deals!  So along with the turkey I took home the free ham and stashed it in the freezer.


Earlier in the week I moved the 6 pound ham to thaw and today is the day to figure out what to do with all that ham.  I used my KitchenAid food processor fitted with the shredder blade to do the heavy lifting for me.  Do you guys have any idea how much shredded ham a 6 pound ham produces?  Holy Moley! I'm glad I have some super-sized crockery bowls!

I used part of the ham to make this tasty ham salad and froze enough shredded ham for another batch.  The rest I mixed up into the ham loaf that I posted previously.

Without further adieu, here's the star of the show!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Ham Loaf



































I've been hamming it up!  Today was all about cooking with ham!

I also made Ham Salad, which will be in a future post, as a result of my "free" Thanksgiving 6 pound, fully cooked ham, that I've had stashed away in the freezer.

I doubled the recipe with the intent of having one for quick suppers during the upcoming week and the second to seal with my Foodsaver and freeze for a later time when I'm not in the mood or just too busy to cook. Believe it or not, that does happen!

I can only recall having Ham Loaf a few times growing up.  I guess because ham leftovers were few and far between at our house.  When we were lucky enough to have one, the entire family devoured it.
We devoured at our house growing up.  Mealtime was focused on eating and not leisurely dining with conversation as there was often work yet to be done before dark.  While this may be foreign to many folks, it is the way I grew up.

I've altered the recipe for the Ham Loaf to fit my low carb way of eating, but I've included the original ingredients beside each item for those of you who want to make the original version.

I just pulled this out of the oven and had to snitch a sample to see how it tasted (quality control you know).  It is yummy! I ate 1/2 the slice while taking the photos!


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce


I have a new found love for tomato sauce.  This recipe is quick, easy and versatile.  You can use it for pasta sauce, pizza sauce, or as a base for a wonderful creamy soup.  Best of all you are controlling what you eat!  Say good-bye to high fructose corn syrup and hello flavor!   No more added sugar or other ingredients that you can't pronounce or know what they are.  Plus, this sauce packs a ton more flavor than the name brands we all have in our pantry for the sake of convenience!

You can tailor this sauce to include additional vegetables such as red or green bell pepper for a slightly different taste and additional nutrition.  The flavor will knock your socks off and the wonderful aroma you have wafting from your kitchen will have your family salivating!

I've always been a "from scratch" kinda cook. However, "from scratch" spaghetti sauce never included making the tomato portion of the sauce.  I have always seasoned up a can of tomato sauce and tomato paste to make my pasta sauce.  This oven roasted sauce is fresh and tasty.

I can only imagine how much better it will be when summer finally arrives and the tomatoes are fresh from my farmer's market along and the herbs fresh from my garden!  I suspect I'll be making big batches and freezing some for the long winter months!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Low Carb Rhubarb Custard Crisp



I'm a skeptic.  Yep, it is just my nature.  This recipe was one that caught my eye and I adore Rhubarb and they had a lovely supply at the local Sprouts market that I couldn't resist buying.  I had pinned this recipe that I wanted to try and alter just a bit for carb reduction.  However, the fact that the fruit filling contained cream cheese had me a little unsure whether I would like it or not.  I like cream cheese and all, but I just wasn't convinced it was a good option for mixing into the filling.  Well, I conquered my skepticism and gave the recipe a try and while it is not like your traditional "crisp", it is very good. The recipe really is more like a light custard pie with a crisp-like topping.  This is another recipe that I adapted from http://mariamindbodyhealth.com/.  I find her recipes to be very dependable on results and taste.

I'm anxiously awaiting spring and seeing the rhubarb in my garden push it's way through it's winter blanket of compost.  I will be coming back to this recipe when I have my first spring rhubarb harvest!


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Low Carb Quiche Lorraine

This recipe is not mine, it is one that I tried from Maria Emmerich's blog, Maria's Mind Body Health.

I've been making an effort to reduce my carb intake and eat healthier.  To help me along that journey, I am constantly on the lookout for new recipes that are low carb.

Maria's site is a good source for low carb, healthy recipes.  You can find her original recipe here.

I made her recipe exactly as written and it turned out wonderful. Okay, I did make a small tweak.  I used a little more cheese, adding some to the top, before putting it in the oven.  

This quiche is excellent and has versatility.  It can be a savory breakfast or shine as a main event accompanied with with a nice green side salad for lunch or dinner.



Saturday, February 1, 2014

Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Chicken Breast
























Bacon...that's all I need to hear and I'm ready and salivating.
I probably consume more bacon that I should, but what can I say, I love the stuff and it is a staple in my low carb way of eating and I don't see that changing anytime soon.

This recipe was inspired from a picture I saw on Pinterest.  I was looking for something different to jazz up a normal boring chicken breast, and remembered the picture I saw and that was all the inspiration I needed.

The chicken was so juicy and moist, and reheated well in the microwave.  When I took my leftovers to lunch, folks in the lunch room were totally envious!

Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Chicken Breast


Ingredients:


2 chicken breasts
2 slices pepper jack cheese
2 slices Virginia Baked Ham
8 slices of bacon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Instructions:


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a baking sheet with foil.

Create 4 slits in each chicken breast by diagonally slice the chicken breasts, being careful to not cut them all the way through.


Quarter each slice of cheese and stuff into each of the four slits.
Do the same with the ham slices.  It doesn't have to be pretty, you'll be wrapping bacon around the entire thing, so don't worry.

Salt and pepper each breast.

Next carefully wrap the bacon around each chicken breast, making sure the cheese and ham stay in place, overlapping the bacon ends until you have swaddled the entire chicken breast in bacon.  Secure the top and the bottom pieces of the bacon with a toothpick to keep everything in place.


Add some additional pepper to top off the wrapped chicken if desired.

Place the chicken on the foil lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.  Flip the chicken breast and cook an additional 30 minutes or until the bacon that was on the underside turns crispy.
Add a salad or some nice green veggies as a side and dig in!




....and That's What's Cooking at Cathy's ~ Enjoy!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Low Carb Focaccia

Bread,  often referred to as the 'staff of life'.  Bread is an incredibly basic food that supports life. The world of bread is immense and varied: some type of bread is found in almost every society of the world and is made with the simplest of ingredients.  

With the evolution and modification of grains, many folks have digestive issues with gluten and wheat products, others have opted to eliminate wheat as well as grains from their diet. I personally feel better since eliminating wheat from my diet during my low carb journey.

As those of you who join me on the low carb journey probably know, finding a good low carb bread isn't easy and if you like bread, that's a big deal!

I adapted this from a recipe found in About.com and I hope that you will enjoy this recipe as much as I do.  It produces a thin, flat whole grain textured bread that is wonderful for dipping in your favorite olive oil, slathering it with fresh creamy butter, or thinly slicing it in half to make your favorite sandwich or panini.







Saturday, January 11, 2014

Low Carb Chocolate Chip Cookies

COOKIES!!! I want COOKIES!!!  I have quite the sweet tooth and cookies have always been my favorite sweet treat (well, pie too.....).  Anyway, as my venture into low carb eating continues, I need something to replace cookies to keep my carb intake lower.  Replace cookies....NO!!!   I'd never be able to stick with any alternative eating plan ever...period.  So, it's now time for me to add some new baking tools to my toolbox because life without cookies...well, that's not happening for me!

I have thought dozens of times about trying to convert the recipe, but opted for trying recipes I found on the web where others had already done the conversion work.  Yes, I will admit that is lazy, but the ratios and quantities are different and well, it's just scary.  Ingredients for the low carb versions are a little on the pricey side and rather than risk an epic failure and trashing the whole batch of cookies, I became a follower rather than a leader in the recipe conversion department.

Today, I decided to pull myself up by my apron straps and give it a try.  I spent a bit of time looking at other recipes, analyzing the ratios of almond and/or coconut flour, eggs, etc. to try to decide what would be best.  Shoot, I even went all out and made my own low carb brown sugar because I wanted something lower carb than the Splenda Brown Sugar substitute in effort to keep the cookies as low carb as possible.

Baking with almond flour (I used Honeyville Blanched Almond Flour) for this recipe along with a little coconut flour is definitely a skill I need to perfect.  The resulting cookies are not the same as the original recipe, but were definitely a very nice, satisfying and tasty low carb chocolate chip cookie.

If you aren't doing low carb, you can find the original recipe here and they are awesome!
Otherwise, for my low carb baker friends or those who want to convert....start your ovens!  Get ready to sample some raw cookie dough (I know, I can't stay out of it either) and bake yourself and your loved ones some cookies to enjoy and ones you feel good about serving.


Saturday, January 4, 2014

Cheesy Sausage Balls

While surfing Pinterest the other evening, I found this sausage ball recipe and decided it might be something nice to try for breakfast.

I get up really early to ride the bus to work, so in addition to packing my lunch, I also pack breakfast to take along.  A few minutes in the microwave once I'm at work and I have a nice hot breakfast.  Studies have proven that we function better if we provide our bodies fuel for the day. I can vouch for that! Along with my coffee, I have to have some type of protein to start my day.  It helps keep my hunger under control and prevents those embarrassing tummy growls during meetings!  

What I liked about this recipe is that it truly is low carb.  It does not contain baking mix that many sausage ball recipes call for.

These would also be great appetizers or game day nibblers.

About Me

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My career is in IT.  Cooking and photography are among a few of my hobbies. In my spare time, which is most weekends I tie on my apron and exercise my creativity by trying new recipes and adapting them to my tastes. I also have a passion for photography that I incorporate by taking photographs to go along with the recipes I post on my blog.  
I also enjoy travel, both near and abroad. Meeting new people, new experiences and cultures and oh, not to mention the food! I hope you enjoy my blog.