Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Whole 30 - Fail

A couple weeks ago, my husband and I decided to try and do the Whole30.  I have other friends, and bloggers who have done it. And, we have some friends that are currently doing it, reaching day 30 tomorrow! 

We gave it a try. We failed. I would have kept you all in suspense a little longer about how we did, but anyone following my instagram, and facebook has probably seen the birthday cake we had yesterday and knew that was not Whole 30 approved! 

What is Whole30? Eating only real "whole" foods for 30 days. Meats, fruits, veggies, eggs, seafood, and good fats. No foods with added sugar. No dairy. No grains. No legumes.  If you want to see the complete list of what to eat, or not eat, check out the rules.

I made it to Day 8.  While we were not successful, some good did come of it. Since moving to a lower carb diet, I have apparently become very dependent on dairy. And, I live in Wisconsin.. we eat dairy, it's what we do! But, I am going to put some attention to how much dairy we really do consume. 

Next is that with Truckin' Mans job, the food he takes with him needs to be portable and cold. This means a lot of sandwiches. He does get tired of all the bread he consumes, so we found some new things to send with him. And, some other idea's that we are still going to test out while in his off season.

Label reading! I thought I was pretty good at reading labels, but when I found that I couldn't eat a lot of the sausages and bacon we normally eat because of the added sugar, I was shocked! Honestly, I had never read the ingredients on bacon before. I mean, come on, it's bacon! So, note to self... Read all labels!

Would I try doing it again? Yes, but I want to try it when our garden is producing. It would be more fun, and interesting. Plus with my husband working more hours, it would be easier for me to eat a more strict menu.

If you would like to read about some who have successfully done Whole30, my friend Stacie  at Sincerely Stacie was successful. Stacie even did this with holiday foods around! Brown Eyed Baker was one of the first blogs where I read about this plan.

Have you tried Whole30?

In closing, here is some cuteness for you :)

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Wild Rice 'n Ham Soup

I originally shared this post for Wild Rice Soup back in 2012. I've wanted to get a better picture of this and update the post, but it seems I always make this on a weeknight, in the middle of the winter, and its just dark, dark, dark! This soup is still a favorite, and even my husband who insists soup is just an appetizer, not a meal, can eat this soup as a meal! 

This is not a "fussy" recipe. Just eyeball the ingredients. Do you have one sad little carrot left in the fridge after you grated your 1/2 cup?  Make that last carrot happy and throw him into the pot.  Just have a chunk of ham left over from the holiday dinner, skip the measuring and just add what you have.  A little extra, or a little less will be just fine.

It's hard to explain, to people that aren't from the St. Paul/Minneapolis area, how my favorite soup comes from a grocery store! Byerly's was always that higher end grocery store that had foods that were just a step above the rest.  Of course, they had all the normal foods as well, but they had the super yummy ones that you just craved. Waaaayyy back in the day, when my friend Stacey and I had our first apartment, we were in walking distance to Byerly's so we were fortunate enough to do a lot of shopping there.  In more recent years, I would love stopping there on my way home from work and picking up special meats for grilling.  Now, it is just a treat to stop at when I am in the cities, and get their pasta sauces, bakery treats, soups....  this list goes on, but you get the idea.  I guess they don't go by the same name anymore, I think they were bought out by the store from the other side of town. I believe their name is Lunds now.  Ahhhh....  the memories!

One of the best soups found at Byerlys', locally famous, is their Wild Rice Soup.  You could order it in their restaurant or purchase several different size containers in the store.  I would always try to have a container on stand by.  Feel a cold coming on?  Wild Rice Soup. Bad day at work?  Wild Rice Soup. Raining out? Wild Rice Soup.  See how I am?  I got even more spoiled the year that my mom bought the Byerly's cookbook.  Oh, life was good! Mom would always make a big batch so she had enough to share with me.  She still makes it often, and she usually serves it for Christmas Eve when we celebrate at their house.  

When making this, you can use Half and Half in place of the milk for the most indulgent version of this recipe. Just to lighten it up a bit, I use milk. 

Wild Rice Soup

1/2 c. finely diced onion
6 T. butter
1/2 c. flour
4 c. chicken broth
2 cups cooked wild rice
1/2 c. finely grated carrots
1 c. minced ham
3 T. chopped slivered almonds
1/2 t. salt
1 c. whole milk (Half and Half is the rich way to go)

In saucepan, melt butter; add onion and saute till tender.  Blend in flour; Cook for two minutes.  Gradually add broth.  Cook, stirring constantly until mixture comes to boil.  Boil while stirring, for 1 minute.  Stir in rice, carrots, ham, almonds, and salt.  Simmer 5 minutes.  Blend in milk.  Heat thoroughly.  

Serve with crust bread and enjoy :) 

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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Cherry Kiss Cookies

I really wanted to make these Cherry Kiss Cookies for Christmas, but since we already had so many cookies in the house I decided to hold these over until Valentine's Day. And, what a perfect cookie to Fill the Cookie Jar for February!

I thought these were just the cutest cookie ever. And, while I do recommend using a Hershey's Kiss for them when you make them, I did use Hershey Hearts. The hearts were a little to much chocolate in my opinion. But, that didn't stop my husband for going crazy for them. We did have Truffle Kisses in the house at the time of my baking, and while they tasted fantastic on the cookie, they melted into a pile of chocolatey goodness. So, unless you are going for the cute factor, stick with the traditional Kisses! 

These are a perfect fun treat for your Valentine. If you want a little more of a cherry "pop" in the flavor, add another half teaspoon of the cherry juice. I think that would be really tasty.

If you are interested in joining Fill The Cookie Jar group on facebook, fill out the form that can be found at Fill The Cookie Jar. Each month we bake a different theme for the cookie.
We bake, we share and we enjoy our cookies!

Cherry Kiss Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoon maraschino cherry juice***
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
4-6 drops red food coloring
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup maraschino cherries, chopped
36 Hershey Kisses, unwrapped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside. In large bowl, beat butter and powdered sugar. Once combined, add cherry juice, almond extract, and food coloring. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Gradually add flour, mixing until completely combined. Add chopped maraschino cherries, mix until cherries evenly distributed.

Using small cookie scoop, roll into 1" balls. Place on lined cookie sheets 2 inches apart.  Bake for 9-10 minutes, or until bottom of cookie is just turning golden. Remove from oven, and immediately press a Kiss into each cookie .  Cool on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack.

** Add an additional 1/2 teaspoon of juice for more cherry flavor

Sources:  Platter Talk & Taste of Home

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