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We are looking to adopt two little girls preferably abroad. Please help us raise money to cover the expensive costs or donate to support us to do various things. Keep up to date here: http://bissynut.com/fundraiser Are you thinking why so much??!! More information here. http://bissynut.com/adoption-expenses

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Re-Enlistment Ceremony

Not long ago we had planned that Paul would retire this year from the military (after twenty years), however we found out that if he did Ethan may not be able to get the full educational benefit. We want those kids to be all trained up and smart right? So recently I was honored to be invited to watch my husband re-enlist as well as two folks getting promotions. It was a beautiful day and really pretty entertaining, not to mention I am extremely proud of Paul. One of the guys belted out the Army song and I do believe he may do well on The Voice. I worry he will be deployed again but I’ve got my fingers crossed.

Crackslaw with Beef and Bacon

Crackslaw

Have you heard pretty much everyone in the LCHF world raving about “Crackslaw”? Yeah me too. We finally decided to give it a go, the boys moaned, complained and whined when they heard it had CABBAGE in it. I mean lets be honest, I was skeptical myself. My only other real run in with cabbage was that horrible diet soup from the 80’s and after three days of that who wants to even face another cabbage again.. EVER?  There is coleslaw and that is okay once in a while and depending on the sauce so as you can see I hesitated for a long time before trying Crackslaw myself.

There are a MILLION recipes for crackslaw, seriously just punch that into the search engine of your choice and prepare to be overwhelmed. I have tried three or four variations and this one is BY FAR our very favorite.

Paul bought me a HUGE pan so I could make this on top of the stove but I actually found a cheater way to do this in the oven so now I do that instead.

 

Ingredients:

2 Pounds of ground beef

1 pound of bacon

1 large head of cabbage (you can use the pre-shredded version but it is much more $$ when you need a bunch of bags)

1T Minced Garlic

1 Sweet Onion Diced

2 Bell Peppers Diced

1.5 Carrots (I use a peeler and put the carrot “curls” in) *OPTIONAL*

4T Frank’s Hot Sauce

2T Red Wine Vinegar

6T Tamari Sauce (Gluten free Soy Sauce)

 

Slice or Cut bacon into small pieces

Chop up the cabbage into small pieces, Take a peeler to the carrots, dice the onion and bell pepper.

To save time I toss the ground beef, bacon, onion and bell pepper all in and brown together in that big pan. If you do it separately please note I do not drain the fat off.

When the meat is browned I add the “sauce” to it. Franks, Vinegar and Tamari, Mix well.

I put the cabbage and carrot curls into two rectangular Pyrex 9×12 baking pans. There will be a TON of cabbage but don’t worry it will cook down.

Spoon the meat and sauce mixture over the cabbage/carrot mix dividing it up equally between the two pans.

Put in the oven at 350 degrees for about an hour. Stir occasionally to get the sauce covering all the cabbage.

This is a great one dish dinner.  Prep is super easy and should take about 30 minutes.

Alternately you can do all of this on the stove top (because there is so much cabbage it tends to be a little messy).

Now this was such a huge hit they wanted to know when I would make it again and the boys practically licked their plates clean. This recipe does freeze well *IF* you have any leftover to freeze.  I know I will need to add this to my do ahead recipe list for when we get our Zaycon beef in December. We purchased 80 pounds this summer, everyone pitched in and we cooked 32 pounds of it upfront making a number of meals to be frozen for nights I’m gone all day. It sounds like a lot but basically that worked out to be just 16 meals. The rest we packaged up in 2 pound increments and everything went into the freezer.

Zucchini Lasagna

I was trying to locate something different to try and came across Zucchini Lasagna, It looked easy enough and I was hoping it would work out. I did have to make a few adjustments because my husband is NOT a fan of ricotta cheese. I found this one on Skinny Taste and this is my version of their recipe. Their photos are fantastic (I took mine with the iPad, so keep that in mind.

 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 lb 93% lean beef
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1  onion
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • 28 oz canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 4 medium zucchini, sliced 1/8″ thick
  • 8 oz part-skim ricotta
  • 32 oz part-skin mozzarella cheese, shredded (Costco)
  • 1 cup Parmesan Cheese (Costco)
  • 1 large egg

Directions:

In a medium sauce pan, brown meat with the garlic & onions and season with salt. . Toss meat, tomatoes, basil and salt into larger pot . Simmer on low for at least 30-40minutes, covered. Do not add extra water, the sauce should be thick.

Meanwhile, slice zucchini into 1/8″ thick slices, add lightly salt and set aside or 10 minutes. I put my slices on a baking rack and had it drain onto a cookie sheet so it would be easy to clean up. Skinny Taste says to use a mandolin and with as many kitchen contraptions as I have that is one I am lacking. I sliced mine with a knife.  Zucchini has a lot of water when cooked, salting it takes out a lot of moisture. After 10 minutes, blot excess moisture with a paper towel. Seriously do not skip this step, if you do your lasagna will be really soupy.
Skinny Taste used a grill but I skipped that step, it might remove even more moisture but I have no idea. Place on paper towels to soak any excess moisture.

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a medium bowl mix ricotta cheese, 1/2 the mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese and egg. Stir well. I used a food processor and it took just seconds.

In a 9×12 casserole spread some sauce on the bottom and layer the zucchini to cover. If you have the deeper lasagna pan, by all means use it because my lasagna dripped over in the oven in the 9×12. Then place some of the cheese mixture and repeat the process until all your ingredients are used up.   I thought I did not have enough for the last layer of either the meat sauce or the cheese, so I zipped all of it together in the food processor and it was great (next time I might start there, ghetto I know but it would make the entire process less messy and much faster).  Top with mozzarella and cover with foil.

45 minutes covered at 375°, then uncovered 15 minutes. Let stand about 5 – 10 minutes before serving.

For us this was roughly 11 servings. Feeding 2 men, myself and 2 young women. Everyone loved it. I served it with a simple salad.

I also feel like this would freeze well if you used an aluminum pan. So if you could bring yourself to make a double or triple batch it would be really great to have it ready in the oven. I may have to keep this in mind when making freezer meals.

Bulk Buying for LCHF

What I buy at Costco:
Organic Butter
Eggs
Parmesan Cheese
Mozzarella Cheese
Sour Cream
Cream Cheese
Heavy Whipping Cream (the best)
Bacon if I don’t have any in the freezer
Canadian Bacon (for Fathead Pizza)
Ham
Olives
Mushrooms
Berries
Romaine Lettuce for sandwiches
Tiny Cucumbers for my husband’s lunch
Chia Seeds
Almond Flour (If I am out)
Pistachios
Pecans
Cashews

When we got the first shipment from Honeyville I was a little overwhelmed because it was in this huge bag inside the box. I separated it into gallon freezer bags and stored it in the freezer until my canister was empty.

Other things we buy in bulk:

Coconut Flakes
Almond Flour
Coconut Flour
Arrowroot Flour
Hazelnut Flour
Erythritol
Flaxseed
Cacao
Coconut Milk
Coconut Oil
Almond Butter

And last but certainly not least, we buy meat, chicken and bacon in bulk. Most of the time we purchase from Zaycon Foods, we now order 80 pounds of ground beef or chicken breast at a time and this we have decided to double our bacon order so we will be getting 72 pounds of the most fabulous bacon.  We did order the box of steaks once, they were very good but seemed small in portion size to me (this might just be because I am thinking LCHF), I used them on the grill, in a stir fry, pan seared and broiled.  I know it seems like a lot of money to come up with at once but in the long run you will save both time and money.  They offer events all over the country and on the designated day you drive up to the stated parking lot, get in line and someone will take your information and put your order in your trunk. It has never taken more than 5 minutes (and that is only if there is a long line). It is so fast.  Aside from Ground Beef, Bacon, Chicken Breasts, and Steaks Zaycon Foods also offers Ham, Sausage, Salmon, Cod, Chicken Wings, Chicken Strips, Buffalo Wings, Turkey Breast, Pulled Pork, Pork Ribs, Catfish, Strawberries, Peaches, Honey, Milk, and most recently Belgian Waffles.  We ordered milk from Zaycon when it first started in our area but that was before I went LCHF. The milk was local and organic and very good.

I buy nuts from several sources but the best nuts, are from Nuts.com.  I had been buying macadamia nuts at the store when my mom bought a bag from Nuts.com and gave them to me for my birthday (I love them).  I am totally hooked. They are the freshest tasting nuts I’ve ever had. Since then we have bought many items from Nuts.com and have been really pleased with every single one. I have to hide them or Carl will eat the entire bag.

We have been ordering from Tropical Traditions since shortly after we started LCHF and joined the Healthy Buyers Club soon after. Shipping is quick and we’ve been happy with every product we’ve ordered from them. We generally order three tubs of the expeller pressed coconut oil, I use it in my coffee to avoid any coconut taste.  I have not tried anything from Grass Fed Traditions or Household Traditions but they seem to have good deals often. I also appreciate that they have an amazing array of recipes for their products.

Someone from my LCHF Facebook group mentioned that they buy pork rinds in bulk from Sams Club. I might have to try it out and let you know how that works out.

My LCHF Story

BPC Egg Cups and Keto Pumpkin Bread

I started LCHF because of the pain in my legs (Fibromyalgia), I did not believe for a nanosecond it would work. I read that nearly 50% of the people who went LCHF had a 50% or better decrease in pain level. I thought SUUURREE. Since I had tried all sorts of meds including giving myself daily shots in the stomach, I had zero confidence this would work. I was not even thinking of the weight loss aspect, I had totally given up on that. I started December 2013.
I did have the Keto Flu for the first few days, almost everyone does. You feel like you actually have the flu, its your body begging for sugar. I had a headache and felt like I had been beaten with a stick, but the crazy thing is that after 2 weeks the burning pain in my legs moved out. It was crazy, I was very excited that I was starting to feel normal. A month later the telltale screaming hip pain that comes with Fibromyalgia was gone. It was such a relief. The other thing that I got control of was a touchy case of hypoglycemia. Amazing!
In February I traveled to Maryland to be with Paul, help him pack up his apartment and then drive across the country with him.
We are of course dealing with the military and at the time everything that could go wrong,.. did. We were on the East Coast much longer than we had anticipated. One thing I did before we left the apartment and every time we had a kitchen at a hotel was I made what I call BPC pucks. I melt Coconut oil and butter and then put them into Jello Shot containers in the fridge. I then had them to use in my coffee no matter where we were. I used a trusty Cuisinart stick blender (A birthday gift from Paul) to emulsify my BPC coffees (when you do this you avoid having that thick layer of floating fat on your coffee). I also made Fat Bombs. These items were stuck into a portable fridge in the car (before we got that I just put them in a small cooler with ice packs). We’d stop at Starbucks and I’d get a Heavy Cream Latte with room, toss a puck in there (emulsify if I had an outlet, if not I’d stir like mad).
While traveling across the country we would order burgers with no buns, pho tai with no noodle and double meat, steaks and salads, I splurged a few times on very thin crust gluten free pizza from Flippin Pizza.  The pizza was fantastic and I wish we had one here.
I did not notice any real change other than the pain in my legs moving out until we got home, and it was like WHOOSH All of a sudden I was in smaller and smaller pants. I now wear things I’ve not touched in 14 years (and some more like 20 years).  Things I lost: burning legs, hip pain, crazy hypoglycemia, dry scalp and 40 pounds.
I did not do super low carb, I was between 50-60 carbs a day, it is very livable. I am now within 10 pounds of my goal (the original goal I set maybe 7 years ago) and might have to go lower carb to get there, but I *FEEL* so much better now I’m not sure I will, I don’t like feeling deprived at all. The drawback with this way of eating is that you will need new clothes and EVERYTHING looks good.
The picture at the top is my breakfast. A Bullet Proof Coffee, a slice of Keto Pumpkin Bread and 2 egg muffins. This does not look like any other “diet” I’ve ever been on.

A starfish of our own

Starfish

When I was younger I was sure I’d have 6 small children hanging onto my skirt with a white picket fence and a family dog. Fast forward a few years and I had two kids and a dog but sorely missing the white picket fence. I wanted to adopt but honestly I was sure I would never be approved given the tremendous expense of adopting. I always wanted more kids.

The start to our adoption journey started last year we were approached by my daughter and her sweetheart about adopting a little girl (Miss M) in Ecuador. His aunt was doing an amazing job with this little Miss M but felt she was too tired to keep up with her. We talked it over and were all in.

We contacted everyone we could think of to see if this would even be possible. I read forums and blogs and wrote to all the agencies that work in Ecuador. Bethany’s then boyfriend Reggis spoke to attorney’s there in Ecuador. Due to the laws no one was willing to do an “identified child” adoption with Ecuador. Even if the mother says I want this family to adopt my child and even if we are approved to adopt in Ecuador we would not be able to adopt Miss M. The other issue is that she was not residing in an orphanage. To make a long story short it was a crushing blow when we were told it was impossible to adopt Miss M.

We decided we would go ahead and adopt anyway. Please visit our Adoption fundraiser page and help bring our daughter home.

Merry Christmas!!

Things have been crazy but I did manage a little holiday sparkle.   I had been picking up some pine cones every time we walked in the school yard, but I wanted more, because I only wanted nice pine cones.  My mom purchased a bag for me and they had the strongest cinnamon smell.. Holy cow! I used those pine cones on the front door because those overpowering vile cinnamon scented little buggers absolutely could not be in the house.  I bought some fabric ribbon to use for gift wrapping but had some left over. Using the trusty hot glue gun I glued the smelly pine cones to the ends of the ribbons and tied the ribbons around an old key ring (so I could easily hand it on the door).  Easy peasy and could be free if you had pine cones in your neighborhood.

Front Door

I put the Christmas Bells on the front door… they are cute and you hear the door when Bethany comes in late after babysitting.

Christmas Bells

The Christmas Tree…

Christmas Tree in Federal Way

Since Paul was not going to be home for Christmas I did not drag out the Christmas dishes and all of the Christmas decor. I only did a few little things around the house.

Santa Puppies

Tinkerbelle, Snickers and Fushi were very festive. The Shih Tzu Mafia have Santa Suits as you can see but they also have not one but two Christmas sweaters. Lucky Dogs!  So they have been very stylish all month long!

SnickersDSC_0150  Fushi

 

 

 

My moms house looked pretty festive. She had decorated early in December.. but even she decided to use a smaller tree and only drag out a few things this year. Although she did drag out the Christmas dishes which was better than I did.

My moms tree

Love this cute little tree.

Moon MirrorSanta's Lurking AboutNativitySanta Moon

 

 

 

My mom always decorates around this moon mirror for every season, it always looks so good. She put little Santa’s all over the house, put up the Nativity and this darling moon Santa. My mom has the best decorations.  We had a nice quiet Christmas Eve at my moms. It was a wild week here. My mom was not feeling well Thursday night (the 20th) and went to bed. She called me at 4am Friday morning to bring her some anti-emetic medication, around 10am mom said she needed to go to the emergency room. I took her to Allenmore Hospital and we waited for several hours before she got a CT scan.. but as soon as they had the scan results she was being prepped for surgery. She has a bowel obstruction by internal hernia. Four feet of bowel had wiggled through the opening and was turning black. Thankfully when the surgeon put the bowel back where it belonged and closed the hole the bowel pinked up and nothing had to be removed. We were not sure when they would release my mom, I thought we might be there for Christmas Eve. I had a plan however.. if we were celebrating Christmas there I was going to make her BE the tree. I thought a headband with a little star on top would be just the ticket. Luckily for Mom they released her the morning of the 24th and we celebrated at home.  Mom is doing really well and on the mend.

Bethany and Nan DSC_0261 DSC_0275

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday!!

A Keurig Elite 40 Machine and the Search for a decent K-Cup

Paul and I had talked about this whole Keurig thing for a while and recently it was on a great deal so we snapped one up. This is the Elite 40 model, there is nothing at all to set up really. This is a plug and play sort of machine, which is great.  The machine comes with a variety pack which is helpful – you can try those and see if something strikes your fancy.

The machine takes K-cups and the prices vary wildly from brand to brand. Most of them seem pretty expensive to me (unless you locate a sale). K-cups are also available in regular tea, flavored tea, chai, hot cocoa, apple cider and iced coffee/tea. Honestly I was excited to try all the varieties.  I even made a cup the night I opened the machine.

However cup after cup I find *most* of them to be watery and tasteless. How is this so popular? I am stumped.  I personally prefer a medium roast coffee, usually a medium roast is full of taste but lacks that burnt or bitter aftertaste the bold roasts seem to deliver.

In the mean time I ordered another variety pack online to keep trying more options.

I was at our local Safeway and see K-Cups are on sale. WHOO HOO! Carl wanted Swiss Miss Cocoa, I declined to buy it after reading that they use sucralose in them.. I picked up a box of Café mocha and sucralose is in there too. I finally pick a peppermint tea, an apple cider and a coffee from Caribou.

Carl tries the Green Mountain Naturals Apple Cider says it is tasteless. AWESOME. Wish that had been in the variety case!

I see Starbucks is now offering their own system, the Verismo. The comments on the V585 are really dismal. For $399 I think people want a little more. The Verismo 580 seems to have fared a little better with consumers but the price point is half of the V585. Man I am sure glad I didn’t run out and get one of these.    I am still forever hopelessly addicted to the little Starbuck’s Via coffee packets.

Home Goods is a Trap

I had to make a run to Trader Joes… but wait, it is right next to Home Goods right? Like a lamb to the slaughter I went willingly. I love that place, but its a total trap, you can’t leave empty handed.

Carl and I saw this pillow:

I thought it was funny and Carl quipped “I don’t want to have to worry if my pillow is having a bad hair day!”.  HA HA HA That was funny. Seriously though… what in the heck do you do with a hairy pillow? What on earth does this match exactly?

I did not buy the hairy pillow but.. I did buy something I might not have needed exactly.. but year before last “the boys” had these darling green candy cane pajamas I found at Target so this year the boys have Christmas tree pajamas and Tinkerbelle has gingerbread men PJs. Too cute.

They are going to be so cute!

 

Flame Mahogany Buffet

This summer while perusing craigslist.org I found a fabulous buffet available in Seattle, the guy wanted $25.00. Yes, yes I want that. I loaded Carl up in the van and we drove over as soon as we could. What a great deal. When we get there not only was the buffet stunning, but the little family selling it was really cute. The husband had done just an amazing job on their house, really he had some just incredible ideas, so that was fun to see. I wish I was even half as handy as this guy.

There are small pieces of trim missing and I may remove all the trim and see if I can replace it but I should say I love it just the way it is (even if there is a little damage). Originally I was going to paint it but I love the wood so much I’m not sure I can right now. Maybe I’ll change my mind later.  It sat in the garage for a couple weeks and then I decided I wanted it in the dining room.. now, as is. I am so glad we did that, because it is fabulous in there.

As a bonus as I was leaving the house the husband asked if I wanted the matching hutch. Really? YES!!For another $25.00. Carl and I would come get it at a later time but I was so excited. A matching set.. for $50.00! What a deal!

We did take that opportunity to go visit my best friend Susie while she was recovering from surgery. It was good to see her and see how well she was getting around.  We sat in the garden and visited, it was a great day!

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