Thursday, July 28, 2016

Chicken Broccoli Cheddar Zucchini Boats

My husband and I changed our eating habits and have lost 
about 110 pounds between us:  he has lost 50-55 and I have lost
almost 60 lbs since October.  We've drastically cut or eliminated
most carbs and sugars while eating more vegetables, protein
and fats- the good fats such as animal fat, not the fake fats.
Some might call it Paleo, some may call it Keto
but it's really a variation of either.

I developed ulcerative colitis and diabetes which meant I had
to make some changes quickly and the diets that the doctors
suggested didn't really work well for me.  Then my husband 
mentioned the Keto Diet.  I saw the results with a girl I have
worked with for several years and was convinced. 
I still have a few carbs due to the requirements of 
two conditions but it's minimum.  Wheat Thins with 
my block cheese slices and a bran cereal in the morning. 

My husband's physical in January came back with terrible results.
The doctor suggested that he start statin drugs right away
and to eat lean with no fats.
My husband said he would change some things and come back in six
months for additional testing.  I will tell you that his numbers 
are now stellar.  The doctor can't quite believe it.

So, Google the Keto diet or search for Keto on Facebook 
for more information.  I am providing a great recipe that 
we made tonight using our own home grown zucchini plus
one of the chickens we processed!


1 very large zucchini or 2 large ones
2 TBL melted butter
Shredded cheddar cheese (use the block cheese) to taste
1 Cup broccoli florets
1/2 chicken shredded (we boiled ours but you can use a rotisserie chicken)
3 strips bacon, chopped and fried crisp
4 TBL sour cream
green onion, chopped, to taste
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F

Slice the zucchini open long ways
Scoop out the center of the zucchini leaving a sturdy base (1/2 inch thick wall)
Pour half of the melted butter into each half zucchini
Salt and pepper 

BAKE 20 minutes, or fork tender, on a cookie sheet

While baking:
Mix broccoli, shredded chicken, half the bacon and sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Set aside

Remove zucchini from oven when the zucchini is tender
fill with the chicken, bacon, broccoli, sour cream mixture
Sprinkle on the other half of your bacon
Top with shredded cheddar to taste 

BAKE until cheese is melted and started to brown
We turned on the broiler at the very last to get the cheese nice and bubbly
Top with green onions and, if desired, more sour cream.

*** use BLOCK CHEESE, not pre-packaged shredded cheese.
Read the ingredients in the shredded cheese.  The block cheese
has basic ingredients:  milk, cheese culture, salt, enzymes
but the shredded has a lot of ingredients that are not natural
such as powdered cellulose! 

Slice and season, add melted butter

Broccoli, chicken, bacon, sour cream mixture
We added additional sour cream

Place in oven until melted
Broil at the end if you want the cheese browned nicely 

Top with green onions
Delicious and filling

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

One Squash, Two Squash . . .

Our squash is finally coming in!! 
Everything is late this year due to the cool spring;
however, we are in a hot period now and things
are starting to happen!

I normally plant enough squash to feed an army,
only because my seeds all come up, every one of them.
This year I selected plants, only two, so I would have
two nice plants rather than 10.

Well, the two pots each had thee seeds that "took"
and I couldn't just pick the strongest and throw the
rest away.  What if the two I chose didn't make it?
So, I planted all of them and figured that the weak
ones would die a natural death.

I was wrong.
I now have five or six plants.
Back to square one.

So, what to do?
Grilled squash, pickled squash, sliced and pan fried squash . . .

I saw this and thought I'd give it a try.

Please go to the link on the photo credit
to see the ingredients.

I'll let you all know how it turns out.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

We're in a Pickle

Oh boy, do we ever have a lot of pickles!  
We have been canning pint jars every few days
before the cukes get too big.
Some of them are hotter than others, 
my husband adds hot peppers or hot pepper
flakes to his, but mine are just garlic dills.

The first batch were not very crispy,
normally we add Pickle Crisp to it but 
it must have been too old.

He did a batch or two of pickled sweet onions too
for burgers and anything else you want to top 
with onions.  If we get enough squash this year
I'll make some relish out with it like we did last year.

I grew dill to add as well but we're almost out!
We have lots of cucumbers to go through.
Now if the tomatoes would only get red!!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

A Little Rain Must Fall

I had a wonderful break in the weather a couple of days ago, 
clear skies and beautiful blooms on the garden wall.
The cone flowers stand out right now, typically 
covered with bumbles that flit from cone to cone.

I noticed only one of these little guys and found the other
when I moved the photo to my computer.
Click to enlarge.
They are sitting on one of the flowering weeds that
are very invasive and try to take over the garden.
Some get to stay because they are pretty.

My rose, which seems to be a hedge type, blooms 
furiously in the spring and then not much happens
but I do see some new growth now.

There are some peaches remaining that the squirrels
and deer didn't get; however, I don't spray them so
they end up all buggy.  Funny, one side looks ripe
and the other is just as green as it can be.

Even weeds are interesting if caught at the right moment.

As I was finishing up some photos of flowers and bees
I heard what appeared to be heavy traffic traveling at 
 a high rate of speed on the county road down the way.
Then I realized I should not hear THAT MUCH traffic out here.
Then it dawned on me . . .
That's Rain!!

I scampered to the porch just in the nick of time.
It came down in buckets, for all of about 15 minutes
and then it was sunny once more.

Those poor bees drinking on the fountain edge.
I hope they flew away in time!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

They Bee Thirsty

All lined up at the Bee Bar!
My fountain has become the bees' favorite drinking spot,
so much so that it's hard to turn it on unless we make
certain all the bees are out of harm's way.

They prefer this warmer water, rich with algae over
their clean tub with nice stepping rocks so they have
a better footing,

I saw an unofficial survey of beekeepers that came to 
the conclusion that they really don't care for the cleaner water.

There are frequently 10-20 bees drinking at the various levels.
It has three bowls plus the deeper bottom section.
The wasps prefer the bird bath, of course there are 
bees in it too but more so the fountain.

The bumbles are thick this year.
Really, they are probably carpenter bees but 
they are great to watch and are good pollinators.
We live in the woods so there is plenty of wood for them.

They don't seem to care how close I get, in fact,
they sometimes hover right at your face level
to see what you're up to.  I just talk to them and 
they buzz back a bit before flying off.
Sometimes I think they get so much pollen they get drunk.
I find them almost listless, hanging onto the flower center
but very much alive!  They like my tomatillos and squash too.

I try to keep a good collection of flowers for them.
It's been a crazy year though.  Cool and wet in the early Spring,
almost swamping everything and then suddenly changing to hot
and dry. (And me without a drip system!)
It's cooler and we're getting more rain now so things are looking up.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Friday Afternoon at the River

We left work an hour early on Friday, a little perk we usually get
before a holiday, which gave me time to stop at the store and 
pick up a picnic dinner before jumping into the boat on the 
only dry day of the long weekend.  

I tucked my hair up in a cap and packed my towel
and some necessities that I might need.  You never
know how wet you might get or how cool the breeze
may be, even if your own backyard is pretty hot.

My husband is the boat driver.
I hate the ride, just hate it, because we travel through
water that is only inches deep and we're going pretty fast to do it.
When the river's deep, I love it.  I can face forward, 
uncover my eyes and enjoy the view!

We traveled light this time, knowing we would be there only
a few hours in the late afternoon when the sun would start
to go behind the hills and shade the beaches.  The water was cold,
too cold to take a swim that day, so we sat on the beach,
opened the cooler and dined on hard salami, crackers,
cheese, fruit and a selection of olives from Dierberg's olive bar.
(a very nice grocery store in St Louis)
There were green ones, giant green ones stuffed with blue cheese,
kalamata olives, feta cheese crumbles, marinated peppers and 
small chunks of hard parmesean, all in wonderful olive oil.

Even though it was a holiday weekend, we had the place to ourselves.
Hardly any boaters were on the river that early.  There were a few
jet skis and a boat here and there but for the most part it was quiet.

After a bit we knew we had to head back so we could
wait our turn to put out.  We could take a slower ride home
and look at all the vines and wildlife, in fact an eagle flew over
with another bird chasing it!  We talked to a guy setting
out jugs for fishing and watched people setting up 
their camping spots on the gravel bars with car access.

It's almost always pretty there, really pretty in the snow
but I have been on the river in snow maybe once or twice before.

We caught the sun at just perfectly to capture the reflection
of the bank on the glassy water.  

The next few days were almost completely rainy, a continuous,
steady rain that we needed.  It must have soaked in well since
we didn't see any flooding but our culvert filled up and that is a 
sure sign that we have had a lot of rain!

I hope your holiday weekend was very nice if you celebrate the 4th of July 
from wherever you are reading.  Sometimes I forget that I work for an 
international company and would return to e-mails from other countries
where they were not off work Monday but take a holiday that corresponds
to their country.  I'm thinking we need to be diverse and celebrate everyone's 
holidays (with a day off work!).  I'll even write a paper on their holiday.
So far the company hasn't taken me up on it!