Monday, January 14, 2019

McGriddles.... Low Carb Style

Ok, so I don't know about y'all but I love love love breakfast and everything it entails. Well, after a long week, I knew breakfast was just the answer my hubby needed. Breakfast seems to just bring everything together. If you've had a rough week, make breakfast! If you've had a rough day, make breakfast! Yes, the answer is always, Make Breakfast. So I wanted to try something a little fun. WE love those fast breakfasts on the go, but don't always want all those carby calories, so I wanted to find a low carb way to do it, but something that still tastes good and I came across this... A Low Carb McGriddle, which by the way, I'll be honest, the McDonalds Mcgriddle is actually one of my favorites. That savory with a little sweet... OMG!!!! Party in your mouth!!!!

Jack kept coming into the kitchen as I whipped up this breakfast and I wouldn't spill the secret of what I was making. I didn't want to tell him. I wanted it to be a surprise and a surprise indeed. I watched him as he sunk his teeth into that first bite and he loved it! I still need to perfect my egg. I'm thinking I need a square egg pan like the ole Mickey D's has so I can make a cute square folded one, but the scrambled egg one worked just fine and it still had an amazing taste.

Ingredients

For Pancake "Buns"


  • 1/2 cup sugar free pancake syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 oz cream cheese
  • 2/3 cup Almond Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp maple extract
  • 10-15 drops liquid stevia

For filling

  • 4 eggs scrambled or fried
  • 4 slices cheddar cheese
  • slices bacon or breakfast sausage, cooked

Instructions

Heat the syrup to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Continue to boil for several minutes until syrup has thickened and reduced by half. 

Pour the syrup onto a parchment lined pan and place in into the freezer for at least 1 hour. 
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and grease a whoopie pie pan. Spray the inside of the rings with non-stick spray. 

Place the remaining ingredients for the buns into a blender and pulse until smooth. Pour evenly into the rings (approximately 2-3 tablespoons per pie mold)

Remove the syrup from the freezer and gently peel the parchment away from the syrup. Break it into small pieces and evenly distribute the pieces into the batter.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until set. Allow to cool slightly before removing from the rings.  




Assemble to sandwiches by topping one pancake bun with one slice of bacon or sausage, one egg and one slice of cheese, then top with a second bun.



Thursday, January 10, 2019

Forever Behind the Badge


It use to seem so natural when Jack would leave for work. I would say a prayer at night and pray for the safety of the officers he's with and all those on duty at night. Tonight was quite different. Two months ago when he took his new position, I was like, "Oh Yay! I'll get him every night now." Unless of course something big happens. Well that night was tonight. 

The kids had just finished eating dinner tonight. Brooklyn had some make-up work to do for school and Nicholas I knew was tired already.  And Jonathan was playing with a Build-A-Bear saying it was my bestie's new baby.... "That's baby Forrest!" he would say and then he would wrap him in his Paw Patrol Blanket and give him a kiss on the head. I just love when he does pretend play... It's so cute. 

It was a little after 8 o'clock when he received the call. There was an officer involved shooting, so Jack was to come in and assist the officers. I had never seen him get ready so fast. With every strap of the kevlar as he put it on, and the rest of his attire. He was rushing to get everything he needed. I, being the wife that I am, I wanted to make sure he would have something to eat just incase because I have no idea how long he will be gone.  I quickly throw together pretty much everything I would put in one of the kids lunches because it's something he doesn't need to keep in a fridge and he will have something to munch on just incase. 

As I kissed him goodbye, all my memories flew back into my heart.... The memories when I would kiss him goodbye every night. The memories and feelings flooded as I just sat at home with the kids. I put Nicholas and Brooklyn to bed and Jonathan wanted some snuggles, so I snuggled him until he passed out. And now he's just sleeping... On Daddy's side of the bed of course! LOL.

As these memories flooded me though, I said a little prayer. As I said goodnight to our babies, I told them to say a prayer as well, for daddy and the other law enforcement officers working tonight.  This was the first time Jack has had to leave so quickly, so they were both concerned, so I tried to explain as best I could to a 6 and 7 year old about what was going on. 

If I said it were easy, I would be lying. I may make it look easy on the surface from the beautiful facebook posts, the happy smiles, the positive quotes, the endless amount of positivity that you see on my cover… In reality, there are very hard moments. Moments where I cry myself to sleep, moments where this man who is one of the strongest I know can somehow endure everything he sees at work and doesn’t shed a tear except for those few instances where he has brought his work home with him. Those times are few and I remember them vividly because I watched the man who is so strong suddenly crumble. 

Jack never likes to bring his work home. He doesn’t want to scare me because he knows I get scared and worry about what goes on while he’s in the line of duty, but I do worry. It’s my job as a wife and I never know what may happen when he walks out that door and I think that’s what scares me the most. 

Some friends never truly understand, but my close close close friends and my family gets it thank goodness. There’s the absence of my wonderful husband at so many holidays, birthdays, get-togethers, but it’s what I signed up for and even though there are absences, he’s doing this job and putting himself in the line of duty everyday so that I am able to stay home with our kids everyday. 

All in all, being a LEO wife life is amazing, it’s challenging, it has it’s ups, it has its downs, but it’s worth it, every second, every minute, every hour of every day…. Because he’s mine…. Each and every day, I walk the LINE……



Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Roasted Red Pepper Chicken


Day 8 of 365:

Today was the kids first day back to school from Winter Break.  I would be lying if I said getting out of bed was super easy this morning. Since we returned from Hawaii, the kids sleep schedule has been a bit off, so last night I wanted to make sire we were all up in time, so I got a little OCD and setup multiple alarms. 6am rolled around this am and it was the ole, "Why are we up this early mom????" for the first 30 minutes. I guess the kids really were enjoying that beauty sleep they had been getting the past 3 weeks. Well, that time is over now kiddos!!! LOL

Thank goodness I had the kids get their clothes ready last night cause getting dressed this morning was super easy and I even had some extra time to do breakfast requests. Brooklyn wanted an over easy egg with a side of apples, Nicholas wanted the homemade granola I made the other day and Jonathan spent the night at my parents last night so he had no requests for me this am and when I swung by this am to drop off the car seats, he was still sleeping, so he got an extra day of beauty rest. 

My dad was so great and was a big help with the kiddos today and pickup for school and helping with Jonathan. Nicholas started his Anatomy class today and he had his first field trip for home school which was to the theater. We saw the new Mary Poppins which was super cute! We loved the movie, minus the numerous bathroom trips, but it never fails when we go to the movies.... multiple bathroom trips. The joy of taking kids to the movies. Nicholas loved his Anatomy class though, and asked if he could go back tomorrow, which I told him he could cause he is going to be taking 3 classes on Wednesdays. He's so excited to be spending some more time at the new Center. His Wednesdays are definitely going to be busy busy busy between school and ABA. 

Today with the field trip, we didn't get done until almost 4:30, and so I went to my parents to relieve my dad. Brooklyn had Brownies tonight so I knew I wouldn't be done running around with the kids until 7:30. Yes, Brownies... and guess what???? Guess what time it is??? It's cookie season!!! Taking Pre-orders stating Friday!!!! 

Since this day was such a crazy day, I didn't have a chance to cook anything. It was leftover day for me, but I didn't want to leave you guys hanging and I wanted to share with you one of my favorite recipes. I made this dish for my bestie on one of our dinner nights. It was one of those recipes that I was just trying out and OMG it was so good!!!! Definitely at the top of my list for good recipes!!!!


Roasted Red Pepper Chicken

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5 lb chicken thighs, boneless/skinless
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp pink salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • oz goat cheese
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

ROASTED RED PEPPER SAUCE

  • 4 oz roasted red peppers (in water)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and heat a large skillet to medium high heat.

Add the thighs to a large mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper. 

Add coconut oil to the hot skillet and lay the thighs in the skillet. Cook 4-5 minutes on each side.

While the chicken is cooking, make the sauce. Add the roasted red peppers, garlic cloves and olive oil to a blender and pulse until pureed. 

Add heavy cream to the sauce and blend once more.

Once thighs have cooked through most of the way, remove from heat and pour the sauce over the thighs. If desired, flip the thighs over to fully coat them.

Crumble goat cheese on top of the thighs and place in the oven for 10-12 minutes.

Garnish with fresh parsley and serve immediately! I served mine with spiraled butternut squash noodles and asparagus, lightly tossed with browned butter. 

Best stored in an air tight container in the fridge up to 5 days. 







Monday, January 7, 2019

Blackened Shrimp with Spaghetti Squash Alfredo


Day 7 of 365:

I could not agree with this quote more and I just love Ina Garten. I love watching her on show and yes someday, I will be going to The Hamptons, but until that day, I will daydream a bit.... 

Cooking is definitely one of my greatest gifts. I love cooking and love serving my family. No matter how crazy our day may be, I always find myself at almost a place of meditation while I'm in the kitchen cooking. I'm in my own world, in my own thoughts and it just comes natural.... with every stir of a spoon, every chop of a vegetable.... as I bring the tasting spoon first to my nostril to smell the essence of what I'm cooking and then to my mouth to indulge.... and today the indulgence was worth it.... Jack was pleasantly surprised when he got home and I had this meal ready when he walked through the door. And for a man who's pretty picky about vegetables, he devoured his bowl!!!! 

Tonight was a night of savory indulgences.... a night of yumminess, a night to just be with each other and enjoy family dinner together. A day that starts the rest of our week off. It sets the tone for the rest of the week and it went well. The kids ate so much too! Woo hoo!!! 

I know now that this week will just fall into place. Everything will happen the way it's suppose to and whatever the cards may have in store for us.... I'm ready... Ready to give these great gifts of food to the ones I love...

Blackened Shrimp with Spaghetti Squash Alfredo
Ingredients:
  • 1 bag of frozen shrimp, medium size, shelled, deveined, and tails removed
  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • butter and olive oil (or cooking oil of your choice)
  • Parmesan cheese (fresh or canned - to top the dish)
  • parsley (fresh or flakes - for garnish - optional)

  • Alfredo Sauce:
1 stick of butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups of cream
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup of fresh grated Parmesan (buy a block and grate your own!)1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. black pepper
            Blackening Seasoning (you can use this for fish, chicken, shrimp)
            • 2/3 cup paprika
            • 3 Tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons Lawry's Seasoning salt
            • 4 teaspoons garlic powder
            • 4 teaspoons onion powder
            • 4 teaspoons dried oregano leaves, crushed
            • 4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
            • 2 teaspoons black pepper
            • 2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
            • 2 teaspoons gumbo file powder
            Instructions:
            First things first, we need to cook that beautiful Spaghetti squash. One of my favorite methods to cook these babies is in the microwave to knock it out super fast. I take a fork and poke holes all over the squash, then microwave it for 10 min, check it to see if it's fork tender, then microwave it again for an additional 10-15 minutes. I do it it 5 minutes increments after the first 10 minutes. That way you can keep checking on it so you don't overcook it. After you've cooked your spaghetti squash, cut it in half and take a fork to remove the seeds first to toss out, then using for fork, fork it some more... lol get those squash strands nice and looking like spaghetti. It's so gloriously beautiful... If you can't tell already. I love love love spaghetti squash. OK, back to the cooking....
            Meanwhile go ahead and make the Alfredo sauce.  Melt butter on medium heat. Stir in garlic and sauce until fragrant. Add the cream and pepper. Simmer 10-12 minutes stirring constantly (it will burn!) until it begins to thicken. (It won't thicken a lot until it cools a bit) After it has thickened up a bit add in cheese.  Stir well and set aside while you cook the shrimp.  This will give it time to thicken more. 
            Thaw shrimp according to package directions.  Dry them off with a paper towel because frozen shrimp always have excess water left behind.
            Make blackening seasoning and set aside.
            Spread shrimp out on a large platter in a single layer and sprinkle with blackening season on one side.  No need to season the other side, we'll do that after they're in the pan 
            Depending on the size of your pan, you may have to cook the shrimp in batches.  Don't pile them up on top of each other.  They need some breathing room.... 
            Heat over medium/high heat 1/2 butter and half olive oil (a nice combination in my opinion to get that brown on the shrimp) in a very large skillet.
            Now place the seasoned side face DOWN in the pan.  While they are cooking lightly sprinkle the blackening season on the shrimp in the pan.  See, now both sides are covered.  It won't take long to cook - a couple minutes on each side - tails will curl and shrimp will be opaque when done.  Set aside.
            Now simply fill your plate with the desired amount of spaghetti squash (1 cup), top generously with Alfredo sauce, add shrimp, and garnish with a little extra Parmesan cheese and parsley flakes (if desired.)

            Chicken and Ham Chowda Chowda



            Day 6 of 365..... Well, since I missed posting this on Day 6, you're getting a two for one on Day 7!!!! So yesterday, I had no idea what to cook for dinner. It was a rainy Sunday, we were all cold. We had all stayed at grandma's house the night before because the low on Saturday night was in the 30's and the kids would have been freezing. So our wonderful rainy Sunday rolls around, our day to keep holy and my grandma, Brooklyn and I all attend mass together. It was a beautiful mass and since the Day of Epiphany just happened to fall on Sunday, Brooklyn was able to see the reenactment of the Three Kings bringing their gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh to baby Jesus. Brooklyn was so amazed to watch this. She thought it was the coolest thing to see at church and she sure did rub it in her Brother's face that he missed it. He was a little jealous, but we showed him the pictures. 

            After church service, we had lunch at grandmas and then the battle of the upstairs room and toy cleaning went down.... You know, like trying to pull teeth trying to get kids to clean. I seriously feel like they just go upstairs and walk around their toys and move them to a different spot in the room. They were upstairs "Cleaning" for 5 hours and it still wasn't done. Meanwhile, I deep cleaned the kitchen, living room, downstairs bathroom and did 3 loads of laundry... kids I tell ya!!! Gotta love 'em.

            By 5 pm it was time to cook dinner. I had taken out chicken breasts late afternoon, but I still had no clue what I was going to cook for dinner. Chicken... what else do I cook, should I make cauliflower rice? Should I do something fried, baked.... I couldn't think of anything for the longest time and then all of a sudden it hit me as I scrolled through Pinterest looking for some sort of inspiration... I came across a Loaded Potato soup recipe, so I was intrigued on how I could change it up to add this chicken, so I decided to make it a Chowder... Everyone likes that rich creaminess of the chowder and instead of doing the potatoes, I decided to do Cauliflower.... It was amazing. Everybody loved it and now Jack has meal preps for the rest of the week. Yes!!! Win for this mama!!!!

            Chicken and Ham Chowda Chowda
            Ingredients:

          • 6 slices bacon, diced
          • 4 cups bone broth (or veggie broth)
          • 1 head of cauliflower (cut into small pieces) 
          • 1/4 cup cream cheese
          • 1/2 cup diced onion
          • 2 tbsp butter
          • 1 tbsp minced garlic
          • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
          • 2 cups diced ham
          • salt & pepper to taste
          • Parmesan Cheese (for topping)

          • Instructions
            In a large pot, brown bacon over medium head until cooked to desired crispness. Remove bacon from pan, reserving bacon fat. 

            Add the butter and onions to the same pan you cooked the bacon in and saute until clear. Add the minced garlic and saute for an additional minute.

            Add the broth, seasoning and cauliflower to the pot and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender.

            Carefully pour half or more of the mixture into a blender and pulse a few times until creamy. 

            Place back on the heat, and add the cream cheese and about a cup of water or more chicken broth, depending on your consistency preference. Add Chicken and ham and simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the cream cheese is melted and blended nicely. 

            Top with crumbled bacon and enjoy! Feel free to add cheese for topping as well, or chopped green onions. 


            Saturday, January 5, 2019

            Zuppa Toscano Recipe Saturdays!!!!!


            Happy Saturday y'all!!!! Love Love Love my Saturday mornings. My time with Family. My mornings with Jack. Our Snuggles in bed with the kiddos as we watch Saturday morning cartoons. Saturday wine with mom and grandma. Saturdays are one of my favorite days of the week. It is our day that is always devoted to family. Saturdays have been about family since my grandma moved up here from the Bay Area and since we use to visit to the Bay Area on weekends. I love our Saturdays together. Our Saturdays of bonding and reconnecting after our week. No matter what happens during out week, Saturdays always bring us back together. Saturdays have grown. It started off just mom, grandma, me and Ashley, and it has grown by three children. They join our Saturdays every week. I mean, I dare not bring them, I would definitely get in trouble. Grandma loves her time with the great-grand babies. We're building tradition together. We're building memories and these are the memories that will stay with the kids forever. They will remember these good times, our laughter, and our moments that bring us all together every single Saturday.

            As far as cooking, I didn't cook today, but I didn't want to let y'all down either so I wanted to share a little recipe I had up my sleeve. It's a rainy windy day today.... Trust me, just ask my hair.... After pampering myself and getting dolled up today and I walked outside to have my hair completely blown like crazy by gusts of wind. That was fun. I swear it was going to swoop little Jonathan away because he's so little. He definitely got ALL of my Filipino genes!!!! 

            So on this windy, rainy day, I wanted to share with you a little soup recipe because there is nothing like some hot soup on a rainy day to warm you up!!!! So.... here's a little something I had up my sleeve for y'all... please grab a bowl, a spoon and come enjoy this deliciousness!!!


            Zuppa Toscano Soup

            INGREDIENTS:

            • 4 slices bacon, diced
            • 1 pound spicy Italian sausage, casing removed
            • 1 tablespoon olive oil
            • 2 cloves garlic, minced
            • 1 onion, diced
            • 4 cups chicken broth or bone broth
            • 1 lb radishes, thinly sliced
            • 3 cups kale
            • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
            • Parmesan to top on bowls
            • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

            • DIRECTIONS:


            1. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside.
            2. Add Italian sausage to the skillet and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the sausage as it cooks; drain excess fat and set aside.
            3. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until onions have become translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add radishes and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
            4. Stir in sausage and kale until it begins to wilt, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in heavy cream until heated through, about 1 minute; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
            5. Serve immediately, garnished with Parmesan and bacon. 






            Friday, January 4, 2019

            Cooking with Love



            Love.... Love Love Love.... The Secret is love. Love for everyone. Those who know me, I love all. I lead with my heart and when I cook...... it's the secret to my cooking. I love love love to cook and I put all of my heart into my cooking. Whether it's making a fancy Steak Oscar for Jack, or something as simple as today's lunch like "Breakfast for Lunch." My heart, my love goes into it all. Love. I feel like when you put your love into it, especially something like your cooking, the ones who you're sharing your cooking with get to almost taste the emotion that went into your cooking. It reminds me of that movie Simply Irresistible with Sarah Michelle Gellar. She's a chef and her emotions go into her cooking. That's how I feel when I cook. Even after a hard day, an easy day, whatever kind of day it may have been, all of my love will always go into my cooking. 

            Today is day of snuggling up together.... A day of movies and blankets and warmth. Our heater is out, so the kiddos and I are trying to keep warm. We're huddled up in my bedroom watching movies. First we watched Inner World, Outer World (a pic from my best friend Chris and the kids loved it!!!). I definitely recommend this movie. It's a much watch. Next it was letting the kids pick a movie while I move onto cooking them a somewhat spectacular lunch of their choosing. 

            I asked what they wanted for lunch... Today's request: BREAKFAST FOR LUNCH!!!! You got it kids! This momma would not let my littles down! I love love love cooking for them and breakfast is one of my specialties! And since we're eating better for 2019, I wanted to do a gluten-free pancake recipe for the kiddos. They can never tell the difference when I do gluten-free, it's just coconut or almond flour which they get picky with sometimes. Today I used coconut flour, but they were all pleased.

            As I was cooking these pancakes, this little pancake thief decided to keep his momma company in the kitchen and by keep me company, I mean get first dibs on the pancakes as I got done cooking them. LOL. I think he ate 3 before breakfast was even ready. I mean, how do I say no to this face????



            Today's "Breakfast for Lunch" consisted of bacon, pancakes, eggs, and bananas. The bacon I cooked in the oven at 325 for about 30 minutes until crispy. Jack likes his softer, but the kids like theirs super crispy, so I let the bacon crisp up a bit today.  Pancake recipe is below and the bananas I just gave them a quick slice. Usually I would fan them out a bit more on the plates, but the kids were getting a bit impatient, so I had to quickly slice and had the plates over right after I snapped a pic. lol 

            Pumpkin Pancakes
            Ingredients
            • 4 eggs
            • 1 egg white
            • 3 tablespoons coconut flour
            • 2 oz cream cheese (or add substitute for pumpkin puree for dairy free)
            • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
            • 2 tablespoons Serve Confectioners
            • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
            • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
            • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
            • 1 teaspoon vanilla
            • dash of salt
            Instructions
            Put all ingredients in a blender and blend on high until thoroughly combined. Allow batter to rest for 5 minutes. 

            Grease Skillet or griddle with butter.

            Scoop approx 1/4 cup of batter onto hot griddle or skillet. 

            When you start to see bubbles in the top of the pancake flip carefully and cook the other side.