Saturday, December 29, 2012

Welcome 2013!!

Happy New Year!!

It's been a wild and crazy year, but aren't they all??  This is the time of year for reflection and looking forward.

Reflection:  Here are the top 4 things that I have learned this year:
  1. Sugar is toxic
  2. Wheat and grains are not necessary for health
  3. Pharmaceutical companies don't want to cure you, just maintain you as a customer
  4. Saturated fat is actually good for you 
What have you learned??

Looking forward:  Here are my top 4 goals for 2013:
  1. Get at least 7 hours of sleep a night
  2. Exercise regularly
  3. Read all I can and share the wealth
  4. Blog at least once a month
 What are your goals?

I'll leave you today with a tasty dip for your New Year's Eve party!!



Spinach and Artichoke Dip

1 box (10oz) of frozen cut spinach, cooked, cooled
       and drained well
1/2cup artichoke hearts, drained and finely chopped
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup sugar-free mayonnaise
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
freshly ground black pepper to taste
sea salt to taste
Mix everything today in a medium bowl.  Cover and refrigerate for one hour.  Serve with crudities or sunflower seed crackers - recipe here.


I hope you and yours have a happy, safe and 
healthy new year! 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

I'M BACK!!!! (to shed some light on the pharmaceutical machine)

Remember me??  Life has been busy for me of late.  Just like everyone else, right?  I'm starting my New Year's Resolution early this year - going to really try to blog at least once a month.  There.  I said it.  I'm now accountable for my actions.



Speaking of being accountable, the video link below shares a former Pharmaceutical rep's opinion on the state of our Pharmaceutical Industry today.  Please watch:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G00Wmw2mN0w

 
So....how do we manage without our prescription drugs?  
I have always believed that everything we need to keep us healthy and free of disease can be found in nature.  I'm a big fan of Shane "The People's Chemist" Ellison and he shares my belief as well.  The People's Chemist, like Gwen in the video above, used to work in the Pharmaceutical Industry, so he knows his stuff.

The People's Chemist has a very informative book available through my Amazon Store:  Over the Counter Natural Cures:  Take charge of your Health in 30 Days with 10 Lifesaving Supplements.  This book was a real eye-opener for me and really affordable - Less than $11 for a paperback and under $9 for a Kindle** version delivered immediately! Click here for buying info:  http://astore.amazon.com/kwelln-20/detail/B003TFE06S

You can also follow The People's Chemist on Facebook and on his own web page:    http://www.facebook.com/thepeopleschemist 
http://thepeopleschemist.com/



You don't need a Kindle to read Kindle books.  You can download a Kindle app for your iPad/iPhone/iTouch or Android tablet or phone.  You can also download an app for your PC or Mac.  

Find the app you need here:  
http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000493771

Or just buy yourself an early Christmas present and get your Kindle through my Amazon store here:  http://astore.amazon.com/kwelln-20/detail/B0051VVOB2



Saturday, September 22, 2012

Sausage Patties and busy mornings

As much as I love bacon, sometimes I do want a little something different for breakfast.  Pork sausage patties!

But...have you ever looked at what is in the pork sausage patties or links you get at your grocery store?  Most sausages are cured with sugar or have added corn solids.  A no-no in my book.  Others include MSG.  

Here is the ingredient list for a couple different sausages:

  • Bob Evans sausage links:  Pork, Fresh Hams, Pork Tenderloins, Water, Salt, Dextrose, Spices, Flavoring, Monosodium Glutamate, Formed in Collagen Casing. 
  • Jimmy Dean sausage links:  Pork, Water, Contains 2% or Less of the Following Salt, Sugar, Spices, Corn Syrup, Monosodium Glutamate, Spice Extractive, BHA, BHT, Citric Acid.

eeeewwww!  Why eat this garbage when it's super simple to make your own pork sausage patties?

 
Breakfast Sausage

1 pound ground pork (make sure it's just pork and nothing else added - read labels!)
1 tsp sea salt 
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp rubbed sage
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp fresh grated nutmeg - just a couple of grinds

Mix all together and form patties. Fry in a hot pan.  Depending on the fat content of your ground pork, you may or may not need to grease the pan first.  Use butter, olive oil, coconut oil or coconut oil spray.


You can use this sausage wherever you would normally use breakfast sausage.  To make my busy weekday mornings easier, I make a large batch of egg bake on the weekends.  We then pop a square of the egg bake into the microwave and munch on our commute to our jobs.  Easy and tasty!


Egg Bake

1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 pound breakfast sausage (from recipe above)
1 10 oz box of frozen spinach - defrosted, drained well and chopped
12 eggs
1 Tblsp hot sauce
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper 
optional:  1/2 cup grated cheddar (or other cheese)

Pre-heat oven to 350˚.  Heat a large skillet.  Saute the onions and peppers with enough butter, olive oil, or coconut oil to prevent sticking.  When onions and peppers are just starting to get soft, add the breakfast sausage and saute until sausage is done.  Drain any excess fat.

In a large bowl, combine eggs, hot sauce, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Add spinach and mix well.  (You could also use about 1/2 bag of fresh spinach - chopped - instead of the frozen).  Add sausage mixture to egg mixture and combine well.  Mix in cheese if desired.

Spray a 13X9" pan with coconut oil (or butter or other oil) and pour in the egg/sausage mixture.  Bake at 350˚ for about 30 minutes.  (Mine usually takes about 35.)  It is done when the eggs are set and the top is just starting to brown.

Cut into 12 pieces.  Serving size is 1 piece (this gives you approximately 1 egg and 1 1/3 ounces of sausage in each piece).  Refrigerate and use as needed.  These can also be frozen.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

International Bacon Day!

Today is the most sacred of all holidays:  International Bacon Day.  "sigh"  :-)  Do you really know how good bacon is???  They wrap OTHER food in bacon!  Filet mignon's are often served bacon-wrapped.  It's THAT GOOD!


According to wikipedia, this is an "unofficial observance" held on the Saturday before Labor Day - or today.  "Unofficial"?  Hogwash!

Everyone knows I love bacon.  It is a long-standing joke in my family.  For my birthday this year, my niece gave me this t-shirt!!             --->        --->      --->      --->
My sister-in-law gave me a bacon wallet (ok...not REAL bacon - but it looks real!) 

Bacon fits well into my way of eating, as long as it's sugar-free.  High in fat*, good source of protein and no carbs - not to mention tasty!  Here is my latest find from my local Piggly Wiggly store.  It even states No Sugar on the package.  You can find others - just need to search a bit.  I have noticed that whenever I do find a sugar-free version, it is usually lower in sodium too.  Coincidence?  dunno.

There are several ways to fix bacon:  frying, baking, and nuking.  I'm not real keen on using the microwave more than necessary (another thought for another day), and I don't like turning on the oven on hot summer days, so frying is my method of choice.  Frying in a cast iron skillet is the best - nothing beats a Lodge cast iron skillet.  Get your own here:  Amazon lodge skillet.    The key to successfully frying bacon is to heat the pan up first on high and then lower to medium heat.  Add your bacon making sure not to crowd it.  You want plenty of room to flip and flip and flip your bacon until done.  Place cooked bacon on paper towels to drain excess fat and continue frying until you have enough (can you ever have enough?).  I like to cut my bacon in half first - it makes it easier to fry that way.  Oh, and, never, EVER, do this naked.

Now that you have enjoyed your bacon - what to do with the fat?  Do what your grandmother did:  save it in a jar on your kitchen counter.  Bacon fat is a wonder...it doesn't go bad.  Ever.  I keep my fat in a special grease container - like this one:  Amazon grease strainer.    I keep the same fat for months and months - it just never goes bad.  If you're concerned about that, store yours in your fridge.  

I use my bacon fat to saute veggies - my fav way to cook and eat brussel sprouts is to cut them in half and saute them in bacon fat.  I also use it to make my own barbecue sauce - so nummy - see recipe below.  Other ideas for bacon fat include:

• Use in place of butter when scrambling eggs or frying potatoes
• Use in place of butter or oil to caramelize onions
• Rubbed on chicken breasts (and under the skin) before roasting

See a theme? Essentially, use a spoonful of bacon fat anywhere you'd use a pat of butter or a glug of olive oil.  You can even strain it very well, chill it, and use it in place of butter when baking - I'm thinking it would go great in my Cheesy Biscuits (click for recipe)  - might need to try that tonight!

So....here's a suggested menu for today:  
Breakfast:     Bacon and eggs
Lunch:          Bacon, lettuce and tomato salad or wrap
Dinner:         Armadillo eggs (click for recipe) or any meat wrapped in Bacon!!

And....as promised...my barbecue sauce!


BBQ Sauce 

  • 2 Tblsp bacon fat 
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (or 1/4 tsp garlic powder)
  • 1 small can (6 oz) tomato paste
  • 1 can (12 oz) sugar-free cola - Zevia cola is preferred - Zevia cola 
  • 1 Tblsp vinegar
  • Liquid sweetener to taste (try Stevita liquid stevia)
  • 3 Tblsp mustard
  • 1 Tblsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • Hot sauce to taste

Heat the bacon fat in a saucepan - a 2 quart saucepan works well.   Add the onion and  cook over medium until soft - 3-5 minutes.  Add garlic at this point if you're using fresh.

Add the rest of the ingredients, plus about half a cup of water.  Stir well.  Simmer for 20-30 minutes.  It will cook down a bit and flavors will combine.  Adjust the seasonings so you have the balance you want - you can add vinegar, sweetener, or hot sauce. (If it's too hot, adding more sweetener will remove some heat.)

The recipe makes approximately 10 servings of 1/4 cup each. 





*concerned about saturated fats?  Don't be.  Stay tuned to this blog for the reasons why saturated fats are not bad for you, but GOOD for you!  Really. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

August 16th is National Bratwurst Day!!

It’s National Bratwurst Day! What kind of a good Wisconsin girl would I be if I didn't recognize this as a true National Holiday??  

Did you know that the name bratwurst combines two German words?  "Brat” which means “fry” and “wurst” which means “sausage.”  Read more about brats here:  http://www.bratwurstpages.com/brats.html

Bratwursts originated in Germany (hence the German name) and have been around since the 14th century. These sausages are generally made from pork, veal, or beef and are usually grilled or fried.  True Bratwurst aficionado's never, ever, never eat brats with ketchup.  Never.  Spicy brown mustard, onions, sauerkraut - YES.  Ketchup - no - no - No - NO - NO!!!!!!!!!.
  
Brats are tremendously tasty right from the grill.  Some people pre-cook them to reduce the grilling time.  You can boil them in water, or do what most Wisconsinites do and boil them in beer.  Here's a recipe straight from Johnsville - they make a mighty fine brat.

Johnsonville Brat Hot Tub (www.johnsonville.com)
large (11-inch x 9-inch x 2 3/8-inch) aluminum foil baking pan 
2 to 3 cans (12 ounces each) beer* 
2TBLS butter 
medium yellow or white onion, sliced
Brats - of course you should use Johnsonville brats!
Put the pan right on the grill - pour in the beer, and add the butter and onions.  Grill the brats to a juicy, golden-brown perfection.  Serve immediately or place brats into the steaming hot tub.  Let soak for a while then serve. 
*Do what Julia Child always recommends.  Never cook with a beer that you wouldn't normally drink.  Ok..she said that about wine, but you know what I mean.  I suggest a hearty Wisconsin beer.  Something from Leinenkugels (www.leinie.com) or New Glarus Brewery (www.newglarusbrewing.com).  

Here is a really creative way to serve brats - as an armadillo egg.  Not a real egg - doesn't even include an egg.  Just an egg-shaped, bacon covered taste sensation!!

Armadillo "eggs"

6 medium to large jalapeno peppers (remove stem, cut in half and remove all seeds)
Cream cheese or goat cheese
12 slices of bacon
3 grilled bratwursts, cut into 1 inch chunks

Take one half jalapeno and fill with cream cheese.  Cover cream cheese with 1/4 of a chunked bratwurst.  Wrap all of this in one slice of bacon.  You can secure with toothpicks if necessary.  Repeat with remaining ingredients.  You will have 12 "eggs".

Place on grill (try to have cheese-side up) and cook until bacon is crisp and done.  No need to turn.  You can also bake these in a 350ยบ oven until bacon is crisp.

Get creative with this recipe.  Experiment with different soft cheeses and different meats like sliced chicken or turkey.  Don't like the heat of a jalapeno?  Try with bell peppers instead (use only 1/4 of a pepper or you'll need more bacon to wrap).  Always, I repeat, always, wrap in bacon.  No substitutions allowed there.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

1,000 hits!



YAY!  I finally reached 1,000 hits on this blog today.  

So happy to share my thoughts with you all.  

Stay tuned....more to come!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

National Zucchini Day!


Yes - it's finally here!  Today - August 8 - is National Zucchini Day!

I don't make this stuff up folks.  Punchbowl.com says so:  National Zucchini Day

By now, everyone's garden is bursting with these babies.  Let's celebrate with some new ways to eat this versatile veggie.

Grilled Zucchini

This is one of my favorite ways to fix zucchini - probably because it's the easiest.  

Measurements aren't really that important - just enough for how many you're feeding (or make lots and reheat for lunch!)  I try to have an equal amount of each of the veggies below - but go with what you like.

Zucchini - cut into medallions or thick sticks
Yellow Summer Squash - cut into medallions or thick sticks
Green bell peppers - cut into inch-sized chunks
Yellow onion - cut into inch-sized chunks
Olive oil
Sprinkle of Red pepper flakes (more or less for heat)
Sprinkle of Dried oregano
Couple shakes of Garlic Powder
Salt and black pepper to taste

Place the cut up veggies in a large bowl.  Pour enough olive oil over to coat well.  Season with desired seasonings and toss to distribute.  Place in a grilling bowl (here's one similar to the one I have - Grilling skillet) and pop in grill.  Stirring and tossing often, cook until veggies are browned.  Try not to let them get too mushy.

Mix and match any veggies you like or what you have on hand.  I have used yellow and red peppers, sweet and/or hot banana peppers and asparagus - but you can add what you like.  Sometimes I vary the seasonings as well - dried basil instead of oregano, for example.

Zucchini "pasta"

Pasta generally doesn't have a lot of flavor - neither does zucchini - so it is a good, low carb/no grain, substitution.  Here are a few of ways to make your "noodles".

1.  Use a veggie peeler.  Simply make long strokes with your peeler.  This will make rather thin noodles.
2.  Use a mandolin.  You can made wide strips of varying thicknesses with this - perfect for the last recipe below.  Here is a very economical one that I use:  Mandolin.  It even comes in its own case for easy storage.
3.  Use a julienne peeler - here's one with a protective cover:  Julienne Peeler  Always a good idea not to include fingertips in your meals.  This will make thicker noodles than the veggie peeler.
4.  Use a spiral slicer.  This will make "angel hair" noodles.  I use this one:  Spiral Slicer

Cooking time will vary with the thickness of your "noodles".  The angel hair noodles take only a minute or two in boiling water.  Run under cool water to stop the cooking process and then DRAIN WELL!!  Use your favorite sauce - marinara, alfredo, etc.  You could probably even cook the noodles directly in the sauce and save a pot to wash!


So you try making angel hair noodles and cook them too long...like I did the first time.  You end of up with a mush of cooked zucchini.  Never fear - you can turn that mush into another fine side dish!

Zucchini pancakes/waffles

1 cup leftover zucchini mush (or use shredded zucchini)
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 large egg
1/4 cup almond flour
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (more if you like it hot)
salt and pepper to taste

Mix together in small bowl.  You can either fry in olive oil on the stove top and make pancakes, or place into a greased waffle iron to make waffles.  If you use the waffle iron - let it sit and cook for a while.  If you open it too soon, you'll split your waffle apart - let the waffle iron do its job!  You can add shredded cheese to this if you'd like.  Experiment with different herbs...dill would be tasty in this.  I usually top with a little butter or a dollop of sour cream.


I haven't tried the following recipe yet...but think I will to celebrate tonight!

Grilled Zucchini Roll-ups
3 small zucchini (about 1/2 pound each), cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/16 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1 1/2 ounces fresh goat cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 ounces bagged baby spinach (2 cups lightly packed)
1/3 cup basil leaves

Remove the outermost slices of zucchini; brush the rest with oil on both sides. Sprinkle the zucchini slices with salt and pepper. Grill until tender, about 4 minutes per side. You can prepare the zucchini a day ahead and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

In a small bowl, combine the goat cheese, parsley, and lemon juice, mashing together with a fork.  Put 1/2 teaspoon of the cheese mixture about 1/2 inch from the end of a zucchini slice. Top with a few spinach leaves and a small (or half of a large) basil leaf. Roll up and place seam side down on a platter. Repeat with remaining zucchini slices. 

You can make these up to a day in advance; store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.