The pin that started it all – Grilled Avocado

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Grilled avocado. Who wouldn’t want to eat this?

This was the first recipe I pinned. And I knew someday I’d make it. If we ever had an extra avocado in the house. Who the heck has that? When did anyone ever go to the kitchen and say “Oh look! An avocado I have no use for!”?

Well evidently I am because that’s exactly what I found when I went to the kitchen looking for something to make for lunch.

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Ok, well I didn’t have everything that that recipe called for because we are not Tabasco people. I did have some Dakota Buckaroo sauce. It’s this amazing sauce they were demoing at Walmart a while back. I haven’t found a meat that this doesn’t make more awesome and since we had nothing even close to the flavor I thought I’d give it a shot.

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The cheese, for the record, is real Parmesan cheese, I just like the container for storage. A container I now need to replace because I got it too close to the broiler just after this shot when I added the second round of cheese.

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The finished product was amazing. I could go with a little more of the sauce next time but I didn’t want to overdo it the first time around.

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Grandpa gives them his vote of approval but I have just one word for the next time. Bacon. Oh yeah baby.

The original recipe.

Grilled Avocado

Snacks are wonderful. Even better when they’re quick and easy to make.

This is my lazy fall back dinner. It’s made from four ingredients and couldn’t be easier to throw together.

Assemble, grill, eat.

After a long day at work, when all you want to do is crash on the sofa and watch TV, this is the kind of comfort food I turn to: quick and delicious.

Grilled Avocado w Melted Cheese & Hot Sauce

Anna’s very own recipe. Serves 1 as a snack.

Ingredients:
1 avocado
1 Tbsp Dakota Buckaroo Sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
¼ cup parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Cut the avocado in half and remove seed. Pierce all over with a fork to help the sauce sink in.

2. Pour the sauce over each half, then top with lime juice and salt and pepper.

3. Sprinkle cheese in the cavity of each half and a bit over the rest of the avocado. Place under the broiler for about 2 minutes.

4. Top with remaining cheese and broil for another 2 minutes until completely melted and avocado warmed through. The next time I make it this will be where I sprinkle on some bacon bits.

Eat it while its hot.

I love how quickly this dish is ready. Since its best eaten hot this is going to be really easy to add into a meal at the last minute.

It started with a cast iron pan…

That was the first time I realized this husband of mine was as excited about my love of cooking as I was.

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A little panko, a little tempura and some fresh green beans & onions….can’t wait

It wasn’t the first thing he bought me. That was one of these bowls. I don’t recall which one but this is my favorite style of bowl to cook with. No idea why. But I love them. If I had four, no, lets say five, in every size I’d be a happy cook. I don’t care about the outside design, I just love these bowls.

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This morning, as Grandpa was cooking hash browns in that same cast iron pan, I realized that my love of cooking has infected him. He always does the hash browns but lately he has begun his own quest to get them Just Right which has led to him working to find the right balance of oils to cook in. This morning he says he used too much beaslings and is going to cut it back.

Also I love that he has adopted the use of both the word beaslings and the use of them. My paternal grandmother was a diner cook from back in the day. She cooked in diners all her life and the woman loved her some beaslings. Beaslings are simply reserved bacon grease. Grandma always had a can on the stove, we keep ours in the fridge but as a nod to Grandma I still use a can.

I always thought beaslings was a Missouri term but I rarely find anyone who knows what the heck I mean when I say it. Quite frankly, m not even sure I spell it correctly.

At this moment my darling husband is out in his shop fabricating me a clamp to use my iPhone on my tripod for this blog. It’s not enough that he patiently holds the reflector trying to get more light into our poorly lit kitchen as I learn to shoot halfway decent pictures for this blog. No, now he’s making me something to hold my phone because I’ve not been impressed with the tripods I’ve found.

On top of that, when I grabbed some green beans for tonight’s dinner he decided that he was going to make a surprise for lunch and today he set up the ingredients for me to shoot.

I love this man!

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Turned out pretty awesome if you ask me.

Chef’n Garlic Zoom Chopper review

Since I decided to become more serious about cooking Grandpa has become more serious about my tools. I love that I married a man who understands the importance of good tools. Of course it pays off for him when he needs a tool too.

It started with my Kitchen Aid mixer. Then a new stove. Then my mini food processor. Yesterday, we began the quest for a garlic press. Previous to Grandpa I was alone in my utter adoration of garlic. Too much garlic is a hard thing to imagine. Sure, it can be done but its hard to do. I feel much the same about mushrooms. For Grandpa its bacon. If there’s a way to add one of those three to a recipe, you can bet we will.

After a trip to my sisters I was reminded how much better the Fresh stuff is. I was using jarred garlic. A step up from my favorite Costco spice, granulated garlic for certain but Fresh Garlic. Yum. I had no idea a large bag of it could be snagged so cheaply from Costco. As soon as we got home from Utah we grabbed some.

This then led to me remembering why I switched to jarred garlic. I hated my garlic press. It was what I could afford at the time, a Walmart special by Farberware. It did the job okay but so much waste! My dream garlic press is one from Pampered Chef. I’ve always heard good things about them and I used one years ago at a party. I remember being quite impressed at how cleanly it minced the garlic.

The easy route would have been to find a Pampered Chef person and buy one but I had no idea if they had changed in the past 7 or so years. And thus the shopping started. We checked our usual spots while we were out and about. Walmart was a bust, nothing new there. Target didn’t have anything exciting. So yesterday Grandpa escorted me to Williams Sonoma. I was a little surprised that they only had 3 styles in stock.

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Rösle Garlic Press was heavy and nearly impossible for me to use. I wasn’t overly fond of the $45 price tag either. It had the feel of a serious kitchen tool but it wasn’t for my hands.

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Garlic Press-Slicer was up next. The price was more to my liking, $21.95, but the feel of it was not quite what I was looking for. I was more interested in one that I didn’t have to peel the garlic for but peeling garlic doesn’t bother me. I was ready to get it when the clerk showed me the next one.

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Chef’n Garlic Zoom Chopper was $14.95. I liked the idea of a garlic chopper that could also be used for more than garlic. I’ve also started using more fresh ginger lately but I hate chopping or shredding the stuff. It had the look of a gadget but with 90 days to try it, what was there to lose?

I brought it home and put the receipt in a safe place. Then came today and a craving for smashed avocado. It’s nothing more than an avocado that I put in the food processor along with whatever strikes my mood. Today it was avocado, garlic, lime, salt & pepper, cilantro and a Roma tomato. Some would call it guacamole but I have a different definition. This is more of the constancy of a dip rather than the chunky stuff I call guacamole.

I gleefully peeled three garlic cloves.

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Figured out how to put them in.

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And tried to roll the sucker. Then I took out a clove. And tried to roll the little adorable gadget again. Then I tool out a second clove. Nope. Couldn’t move it.

Finally I went down to one clove and easily minced that sucker up. Now that I had the hang of it I put the other two cloves in. So not happening! Sadly I could only chop one at a time. Definitely a problem that most people wouldn’t have to contend with. It did an amazing job quickly mincing the garlic.

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Cleaning it out wasn’t bad with the little scraper they have and it is dishwasher safe. It was a bit messy overall but I’m happy with the quality of the job it did. I’m not saying my search is done and I haven’t tossed the receipt.

Crockpot Italian Chicken Alfredo & homemade french bread

Tonight our daughter and her family were supposed to come over for dinner.  Sadly due to some truck issues they didn’t.  Because they were coming I made more food than I normally would but I’m glad I did.  This recipe is worth eating twice in a week.

Sadly I’m having one heck of a time figuring out where I got it from.  If I ever figure out where it came from I’ll gladly update with the source.  I didn’t know I was going to be blogging this guy so I apologize for the lack of pictures.  As I don’t have a source I’m going to post this one as I plan on making it next time to cut it down to enough for just the two of us.

Crockpot Italian Chicken Alfredo

Place the chicken breasts in the crockpot.  Stir together dressing mix, garlic and water.  Pour over top of chicken.  Cook on low 4 hours.  Depending on my mood I will shred the chicken or leave the breasts whole.

Mix soup with softened cream cheese.  I like to use the dried shiitake mushrooms most of the time.  I chop them up and toss them in with the chicken before mixing in the cheese and soup mixture.  Use whatever mushrooms you like.  Canned mushrooms can be dumped right in of course.  My cooking is more about using what I feel like rather than a tight regimen of what must be done.

Sometimes I’ll serve this over chinese egg noodles rather than using pasta.  That’s simply because pasta doesn’t always agree with me.  It’s equally good over rice or just by itself if you leave the breast whole.  Tonight it was whole breasts with no pasta or rice…that was mostly because of the bread.  Oh the bread!

The bread was amazing.  We had found this recipe and I knew right away I’d at least need to cut it in half.  After making the full recipe (again, we were expecting company) I think I’ll be making a quarter recipe.  The original is here.

I followed a tip from comments and turned the heat up a bit and tossed a couple of ice cubes in the bottom of the stove.  The crust was thick and crunchy.  The center was soft but a bit thicker than I like.  The best part was it really was ready in an hour or so.  Once I make a smaller portion of the recipe I’ll post how that went.

Here we go.

Not long ago I was infected with Pinterest.  In the good way, I hope.  It has inspired me to cook, to organize and to start making my house into a home.  Too many years have gone by that I allowed myself to be paralyized by uncertainty.  I didn’t want to invest money in furnishings I wasn’t in love with and had no idea what decor I liked.  I’ve finally figured out that I don’t like one certain thing and that’s fine.

I’ve also decided that rather than spend money that Grandpa & I don’t have on furnishings and decor that I’d start taking the things I do have and making them into what I want.  Mostly that’s been research up to this point but I’m about to start branching out.  We often joked about pinning our finished projects and tonight I decided I was going to start blogging about our adventure.

I tend to be verbose, I’ll work on that.  And I’ll tell our story.  A story that is just beginning.  And a story I love.

To start though, a few things.  I’m a 2 and a half year post op lap band patient.  At my worst I was over 400 lbs (I don’t know exactly how much because the doctor’s scale only went to 400).  There was nothing medically wrong with me.  I love food and I didn’t move as much as I needed to.  I’m still a food lover and I have a passion for cooking.  The trick for me is learning to make food that a non-banded person can eat and get full off while working to get the balance I need.  Cooking for just myself was much more simple but it was easy to get stuck into a rut.  I enjoy trying to find a balance between meals anyone could eat and making them lap band friendly.

There are things that I can’t eat because they are band no-nos.  Top of the list are celery, asparagus and anything carbonated.  There are things I can’t eat because my own band doesn’t allow it.  This varies from person to person.

Then there is personal diet.  We don’t eat beef.  Actually, Joe doesn’t eat beef.  It just doesn’t agree with him.  Since he doesn’t eat it, I don’t eat it.  Occasionally I’ll have a steak when he’s having something else or when we go out but I don’t cook with it for family meals.  We both have issues with milk but cheeses and sour cream are fine.  So far evaporated milk also seems to be okay, in small doses.

Much of this blog will be, I anticipate, about the recipes I find on Pinterest and how I’m adapting those for use firstly as a lap band patient and secondly for just the two of us.  When possible I will link back to the original post for the full recipe.  Sometimes it’s simply a matter of halving a recipe.  Sometimes the recipes are inspiration.

The one thing this blog isn’t is a how to do for weight loss surgery eating.  I’m the first to admit that I don’t follow the rules of post surgery eating.  I do focus on protein first.  I do try to limit carbs.  I rarely get enough veggies.  That has more to do with the way my band reacts to veggies and is one of the things I’m working on finding more ways to eat.  Eggface has that covered in spades.  Instead this is about how we eat, how we live and how we love.