Keto Zoodle Pie Redux, only Different.

Yes, I know there I have posted similar recipes. This is the best one of them all.

Most often, the best recipes come from trying to make use of vegetables before they go bad in my refrigerator. This weekend I realized I had three zucchini just sitting there, so one morning I decided they had to be used. What’s easier than zoodle pie, right? (I’m being sarcastic. I know some of you are going, “EXCUSE ME. She thinks everything is easy!” This really is. I promise.)

First thing in any recipe is to assemble the ingredients.  For this recipe, however,  time is needed for the zoodles to sweat out excess water, so the first thing I did was use my handheld vegetable spiralizer to turn the three zukes into long spirals. After this, I laid them out on paper towels and sprinkled a little bit of salt through them. I did the same thing with the tomatoes.

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The longer you let them sit, the more moisture is released. I let these sit there the entire time I was caramelizing one large onion. I think it was about thirty five minutes. The red fleck you see is one eeensy beeensy red pepper I found in my garden. I just added it for a little color. As you can see I’ve got plenty of seasoning in the pan: Italian seasoning, salt & pepper, dried basil, and Trader Joe’s “21 Season Salute”.

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After the onions have cooked, I set them aside to cool. At this point, I blotted the zoodles with a paper towel, then wrapped them (one third at a time) in a clean dish towel. Over the sink, get your frustrations out by squeezing the heck out of them to get rid of the excess moisture. Some people do the same with the tomatoes but I have never had an issue with them.

Here I’ve just laid them out and mixed them with the tomatoes and the cheese. The onions were still cooling. Also, I used kitchen shears to cut the zoodles into more manageable lengths. Zucchini spirals can be two to three feet long; cut them to about the size of spaghetti or even a little longer. This pie works because the zoodles add a really unexpected texture. If you cut the noodles too short, you won’t get the full effect.

By the way, the short white strips you see below are cheese. I used Trader Joe’s blend of shaved Gruyere and Swiss.

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I was impatient so I added this mixture to my pan (pre-sprayed with pan release) before I mixed in the onions. It didn’t make a huge difference. In the photo below you can see all of the ingredients incorporated. I think it looks so pretty!

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Next I poured in the egg mixture. (7 eggs and one half cup of full fat cream). After the eggs have gone in, I use a fork to make sure it’s fully incorporated. Also, gently wrap the pan on the counter top to bring up any bubbles. Once I’m satisfied that everything is fully incorporated, I grated some Asiago cheese over the top.

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This goes into a 400 degree oven for 35 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean. As you will see in the photo, I stayed outside in the garden just a little bit longer than I should have. This is a little bit browner than I’d have liked, but it was still delicious!

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We let this sit on the counter for a couple of hours while we played at the pool. I ate the first slice cold, topped with sour cream, chives and hot sauce. I could have eaten the entire pie.

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This recipe would be great for brunch or a light summer supper. Pair it with fresh veggies or a summer salad! It’s also wonderful for a quick, healthy snack. Hubs and I are doing the keto lifestyle, so I often add half of an avocado as my side dish!

If you make this, please let me know what you thought!


Ingredients:
7 eggs
½ c. full fat cream
3 medium zucchini, spiralized
1 large onion thinly sliced
18-20 cherry tomatoes sliced
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp butter (full fat! Do NOT use margarine, its poison)
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 ½ tsp. pepper
½ salt
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp Trader Joe’s 21 Season Salute
1 Tbsp Asiago Cheese (finely grated)

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Lightly grease the bottom & sides of a 9 x 14” Pie Plate

  1. Using a skillet, over medium heat, caramelize the onions in 2 Tbsp. olive oil & 2 Tbsp. butter. Season with a little salt and pepper, plus half of the other dry seasonings. When caramelizing the onions, it’s important to let them go low and slow. Don’t bother them constantly. Turn them once or twice (to coat) when they first get in the pan, then let them sit for ten minutes before turning again. Repeat until desired color & consistency.
  2. While the onions are going, place the zucchini spirals on a paper towel and sprinkle with salt. Slice the tomatoes in half and place them cut side down on a paper towel that has been sprinkled with salt.
  3. Whisk the eggs and cream together until smooth. Set aside.
  4. When the onions are ready, remove from heat and set aside to cool. Then pat the zucchini dry with a paper towel. Place one third of the zucchini into a clean dish towel and squeeze out the excess water. Repeat with the remaining zoodles.
  5. Combine zucchini, onions, cheese and most of the tomatoes into a bowl. I always add more seasoning at this point. Stir well.
  6. Place it all into the pie pan and then pour in the egg and cream mixture. Using a fork, swirl everything around a little in order to ensure that everything is mixed together. Gently wrap the entire pan on the counter to release bubbles and evenly distribute the eggs.
  7. Top with finely grated Asiago cheese.
  8. Bake 35 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.

KETO PEOPLE! Here are your numbers:
1 serving is approximately 1/8th of the pie
4 net carbs
9 grams fat
5 grams protein

 

 

Dreamy Creamy Cauliflower Casserole

I wasn’t prepared to love this as much as I did. Try it. You will see for yourself!

Yesterday, I started over on my keto program. I had been doing it in earnest all the way through Lent and then poof, I fell off the wagon. I could blame it on the fact that I am a potato chip addict and every time I visit my mother she insists on putting out bowl after bowl of junk food. Every Thursday she puts out a bowl of chips, a bowl of Cheetos, a bowl of Doritos, etc. Then she chides me until I humor her and eat some. (Anyone else have a person like this around?) In her defense, she’s in her mid-eighties and she’s hard-wired like this. Plus, I should have better will power.

I like to start my projects on Mondays, so yesterday was the day to re-invest in the keto lifestyle. Sunday night I planned out my weekly menu and last night was the night to try the cauliflower casserole! Honestly, I wasn’t expecting it to turn out as delicious as it did! Charlie and I both got up this morning talking about how great it was and how neither of us felt hungry for breakfast.

The instructions and the ingredients are very basic, so here you will see only the last steps. This is what it looked like all mixed together prior to adding the cheese and bacon toppings. I could have just baked it like this and it would have been great.

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Add the remainder of the cheese on top:

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Then add the last of the bacon. Don’t skip this step. The extra bacon makes the house smell divine and it adds a little bit more of a smokey flavor to the dish.

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Here it is freshly out of the oven. I didn’t wait for it to get really brown.

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Dreamy Creamy Cauliflower Casserole (serves 8)
Ingredients:
1 head fresh cauliflower
8 oz. cheddar cheese, freshly grated, divided
8 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, freshly grated, divided
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
¾ cup full fat cream
2 bunches green onion, chopped
6 pieces of bacon, cooked
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the cauliflower into bite-sized florets. Place in a microwave safe bowl with a half cup of water and cover. Microwave on high 4-5 minutes until cauliflower is steamed through. (I took mine out at about 4 minutes because I wanted it to still have a bite to it. Keep in mind, it is still going to be baked.) Drain into a colander.

Cook the bacon (I used the microwave for mine), chop it up and set it aside.

In a separate bowl, combine 8 oz. softened cream cheese with 6 oz. each of the cheddar and Jack cheeses, salt and pepper, and garlic. Add the cream a little bit at a time until the mixture is combined. Add the bacon (reserve 1 ½ Tablespoons for the top) and green onion; then add it all to the cauliflower. Stir gently to combine. Pour into a baking dish.

Smooth the surface with a spatula. Sprinkle the remaining cheese and bacon over the top.

Bake uncovered for 25 minutes or until brown and bubbly.

PS- If you don’t feel like grating your own cheese, you may substitute with pre-shredded. Keep in mind that pre-shredded cheese never has the same flavor as freshly grated.


Nutrition information:

1 serving is 1/8th of the casserole.

Calories: 379, Fat: 27g, Net carbs: 8, Total carbs: 10, Protein: 23g,Fiber: 2g


Here is another cauliflower recipe that I adore.


Seriously, does anyone else out there have a person who is constantly trying to sabotage your eating plan? How do you handle it?

 

 

Marinated Zoooooodle Salad

I don’t know where the inspiration for this salad came from. Every time we make it, we add something new. Here is what we did recently…

Happy Summer Solstice! I was just out in my garden this morning telling my zucchini, cucumbers and tomatoes to hurry and grow, grow, grow! This salad is part of the reason why! Summer is here and those of us who have planted gardens or who frequent the Farmers Markets are about to have an abundance of vegetables! OH happy day!!!!!!

Whenever we want to make something special for a summer gathering, this is one of the dishes we select. It’s one of our personal favorites for many reasons: People enjoy all of the different flavors and textures; it can sit at room temperature with no concern; it gets better with age; and it can be made ahead.

Why do I like it?

  • It’s pretty.
  • It’s healthy.
  • It’s easy.
  • It’s delicious!

Because we cater, we have several spiralizers that we use to make large amounts of zoodles (noodles made of zucchini), but you don’t need to buy a big one unless you plan on being the Zoodle-Queen of your neighborhood. If you don’t have one, this little contraption costs about $14.95 and you can find them at Walgreen’s, your local grocery store, or you can order one on Amazon.  Also, the salad works just as well with the zucchini sliced like the cucumbers. We like the zoodles because they create nice texture.

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I am going to take a risk and assume everyone reading this recipe knows how to peel and slice, so there will be no photos of the process. One word of advice though, use the biggest vessel you can find in order to mix this salad, then transfer it to a serving bowl. We use our hands, but since you don’t have our hands, you can use a spatula. Or spoons. Or your own hands.


Marinated Zoodle Salad:

This recipe will serve millions.

Okay not really.
This will serve 6-8.

FOR THE SALAD:
2 cups Baby Spinach
2 large zucchini, ends trimmed, spiralized
2-3 cucumbers sliced (we use English Cucumbers)
2 red onions, thinly sliced
1 (15 oz.) can quartered artichokes
2 large ear sweet corn, kernels removed
1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved (I like to use red and yellow)
8 oz. fresh Mozzarella pearls
8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced (use the variety you like)
3 tablespoons freshly chopped basil
3 tablespoons sunflower seeds
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
½ teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning

FOR THE DRESSING:
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic
Salt and black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:
First, make (or cough cough, “buy) the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper. Set aside. Note: If you are afraid of making your own dressing, use a bottle of your favorite Balsamic or Red wine vinaigrette.

Use a spiralizer to make the zucchini noodles. We use scissors to cut them into manageable spirals (about 2 ½ inches long). Slice the corn off the cob and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine zucchini noodles with the spinach and all of the chopped and sliced vegetables, herbs, seasonings and seeds. Pour on the dressing and toss. At this point, you may serve or cover and refrigerate. I believe this salad is best when allowed to marinate for a few hours.

THE SECRET TO SUCCESS: Do NOT skip the step even if you are using bottle dressing! A few minutes before you intend to serve, take the salad out and toss it once more. Then add a few more shots of pure Balsamic Vinegar and a few more twists of freshly cracked pepper and a little more salt and garlic. Toss and serve.

Options: Think of things you like to eat and add them in.
Here are some suggestions:
Chopped avocado
Bean Sprouts
Pepperoni
Mini corn on the cob
Diced or shredded chicken or ham
Black olives
Bamboo shoots
Sliced carrots & celery
Sliced red, yellow and orange bell peppers

See? The list is virtually endless. Can you think of other variations? If so, feel free to leave suggestions in the comments and IF you are a food blogger and you have a great summer salad to share, by all means drop your link! I’d love to check it out!

Zucchini Roll-ups ~ Lasagna-style!

If you liked my Chicken Alfredo Zucchini Roll-ups, you will love these zucchini lasagna roll-ups!

Whenever I make meatballs, I always seem to make enough sauce for an army of people. Since it’s just Charlie and I (and I hate left-overs), that’s not a great thing. Because I loved the Chicken Alfredo Zucchini Roll-ups  I made a few weeks ago, I decided to make up some zucchini lasagna roll-ups using the additional sauce. I did look around Pinterest for recipes but in the end, I made up my own.

These little things are really tasty and you will not miss the pasta. However, be warned, they are a little bit of a pain in the butt to put together. This time I ended up doing them “assembly line style”, which meant I figured out how many I would need to fill a row (four for my little dish). I then laid my zucchini out across the counter top so I would be making four roll-ups at a time. It shaved off some time and made it easier to get them into the baking dish. Try it.

First make the zoodles and yes, if you follow my blog you’ve seen this photo before. I didn’t feel like taking a new one since a zoodle is a zoodle is a zoodle. They always look like this.

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Here are two of them before I spread the mixture out across the zoodles. I did four of these at a time.

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Here is what they looked like in the pan. The red flecks you see are sauteed red peppers I had leftover in the refrigerator. They were an after thought because I wanted the dish to look prettier. I did NOT include the peppers in the recipe below, but if you want to, feel free.

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At this point, I just filled in the empty spots with more sauce.

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Then the last step is the cheese. What you see here is just a thin layer. I wasn’t sure how much cheese I wanted at this point, so I baked it with a little bit, then I took it out and added more. (You don’t have to do what I did. I am a freak. I own this.)

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Poof. When it comes out of the oven, it smells spectacular and it looks like this:

And THEN, it looks like this:

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Ingredients:
5-6 medium zucchini
1 (15 oz.) can artichoke quarters, drained and chopped
10 oz. fresh spinach, sautéed. (Frozen works well too. Thaw and drain it.)
3-4 cups prepared marinara sauce
3 cups ricotta cheese
1 ½ cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
2 Tbsp. Italian Seasoning
1 Teaspoon pepper (or to your taste)
½ Teaspoon salt (or to your taste)

Directions:
Preheat Oven to 375
Using a vegetable peeler, create the zucchini ribbons. (You can use a mandolin set on “thin”, but the peeler really works best for me.)

Drain and chop the artichokes and the sautéed spinach. Place both into a clean dish towel, twist tightly and smash out as much liquid as is humanly possible.

Mix together the ricotta, 1 cup Parmesan, 2 cups Mozzarella, 1 ½ cups of marinara sauce, eggs, and seasonings. Add the artichokes and spinach to the bowl and mix again. IF it is too wet, add a little bit more Parmesan & Mozzarella.

Spread about ¼” of sauce into your baking dish. Keep in mind that you will need this much sauce to support the roll ups vertically.

On a clean surface, lay 2-3 pieces of zucchini down slightly overlapping each other. I made mine to be about 2 & ½ inches across, so depending on the size of the zoodle, I either used two or three slices. Spoon & spread a thin layer of the ricotta mixture over the slices. Roll up tightly and place vertically in the prepared baking dish. Repeat with remaining zucchini.

Top with the remaining sauce and cheese.

Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until the cheese has melted and is brown and bubbly.

NOTE: I had leftover sauteed red peppers and onions in my fridge, so I cut up some of the peppers and stuffed them into the tops of the rolls to make them look pretty. You do not have to be as crazy as I am OR you can make these rolls your own and add whatever else you like to them. They are very forgiving!

PS-If you like my recipes, I would love for you to please subscribe to my blog. Thank you in advance!

Crustless Quiche Cups to the Rescue!

Here is a fool-proof recipe for crustless quiche cups. These are great to have on hand for grab and go breakfasts or snacks.

This is such a simple recipe, I’m almost embarrassed to talk about it. Besides this, all one has to do is google, “Basic Quiche Recipe” to find something similar. I am sharing this here because if you are like me, you’re a fan of the following three things:

  1. Easy recipes
  2. Re-purposing leftovers.
  3. Healthy & Delicious grab & go food

I started making these every other Sunday because Charlie, my husband, is a body-builder and a sugar addict. Before and after the gym, he needs healthy snacks to feed his body. These are packed full of protein and vitamins and the bonus for me is that he loves them. Typically I make a dozen regular sized muffins and six extra large ones. Out of the dozen, I usually take four or five to my father. I’m trying to get him OFF those horrible, processed protein milkshakes and onto something better for him.

The basic recipe for a dozen cups is simply six eggs and a half a cup of heavy cream whisked together and poured over anything your heart desires! The possibilities are endless. Seriously. The photo below is from four weeks ago. These were filled with leftover rotisserie chicken that I shredded, broccoli, bacon, red bell pepper & onion, plus one can (drained) of Mexican style diced tomatoes and some cheddar cheese. I seasoned them with cilantro lime seasoning, some fresh cilantro, salt, pepper and a little bit of cumin. They came out smokey with just a hint of spice and they received rave reviews.

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As you can see in the photo above, I am very generous when I fill the cups. This last time, I added even more filling than you see. In order not to make a huge mess, I always pour my egg/cream mixture into a measuring cup or other vessel with a spout. If your vegetable/meat/cheese combo seems too dense, just poke the backside of a knife around a bit and pour in little batches. Once the cups are full, wrap the pan on the counter gently to be sure the mixture gets to the bottom. Often, I use a fork to poke around to make sure I’ve gotten the egg evenly incorporated. I do not mix the eggs and cream with the veggies and then pour because it would come out in plops. I don’t like plops. Plops are messy. However, I do like to say the word, “PLOP”. Say it with me…

Plop! (you’re smiling, I can see it.”)

When they come out of the oven, I let them sit in the pan for about five minutes; then I cover them with a cooling rack and flip it upside down so the quiche fall out. They’re upside down at that point, so I turn them over and let them cool to room temperature. These were the Mexi-style ones I made weeks ago.

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Below are the muffins I made this past Sunday. These were filled with freshly sauteed onions & red peppers and freshly fried bacon crumbles. (We like onions & peppers, so I usually have to make them fresh for my quiches because we never have left-overs of them.) I always have broccoli on hand, so I also added chopped cooked broccoli, cheddar cheese & chives. Per usual, once the cups were filled, I added more cheese, bacon and chives to the tops. (I like pretty food!)

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Crustless Quiche Cups

Ingredients: (Makes 12 regular-sized cups)

For the Egg Mixture:
6 eggs scrambled
½ c. cream
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
Optional: Dash of hot sauce

For the filling:
2 ½ cups cooked chopped broccoli florets
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
5 strips of bacon, fried (reserve the bacon fat)
1 tablespoon butter (USE REAL BUTTER)
2 cups shredded cheese (whatever you like, I used cheddar)
1 bunch chives, chopped (you can use the dry variety if you need to)
½ teaspoon Lawry’s Seasoned salt
½ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper.

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Whisk together all of the ingredients for the egg mixture. Set aside while you work on the filling.

Fry the bacon until crisp, then remove it to a paper towel. Do not drain the skillet.

Sauté the onion and red bell pepper in the bacon grease. IF you are scared of bacon fat, you can clean out the pan and use 2 Tablespoons of olive oil or butter instead. I added 1 Tablespoon of butter to my bacon fat because I’m craaaaaazy about butter! Once the onions and peppers are just barely translucent, turn off the heat and set the pan aside to cool.

Once cooled, crumble the bacon (reserve 1/4th of it for topping) and add it to the pan along with the cheddar cheese (reserve a little for topping), broccoli, chives (reserve a little for topping), and seasonings. Combine gently using a spatula.

Spoon the mixture evenly into prepared non-stick muffin tins. (I spray mine even though they are non-stick.)

Pour the egg/cream mixture evenly into each cup.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.

Note: Ovens vary, so start checking at 20 minutes.

Once they have cooled, I put them in pairs inside sandwich-sized zip-locked bags. From here they go into the refrigerator. If I am going to freeze them, I wrap each one in plastic wrap and then put them all in a large zip lock bag or container.

When we serve these, we usually heat them in the microwave about 30 -40 seconds, then top with hot sauce or sour cream, salsa, and/or fresh herbs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken Alfredo Zucchini Roll-ups. Um. YES!

This recipe is one of my favorites of all time. Check it out.

By now most people have caught on to the health benefits of the occasional switch from pasta to zucchini noodles. I saw a version of this recipe floating around on Facebook and decided it was so pretty, I had to try it. (I love pretty food!)

My husband and I are on a strict low-carb diet, so I made my own Alfredo sauce without using flour, but if you are not under any dietary restrictions, feel free to buy your favorite bottled or frozen variety and use that. Also, if you are going to go that route, buy more than you think you will need. One of the best parts of this recipe for me was that I had enough sauce to use inside the rolls and also to pour over the top before baking. Plus, if you reheat this the next day for lunch (I do that all the time), it’s nice to have leftover sauce to drizzle over the top for more flavor.

To make it extra special easy peasy, pick up a couple containers of of shedded rotisserie chicken from your local market! That’s what I did. I did not buy enough though, so ended up boiling about three chicken tenders and shredding them by hand. Be smarter than me!

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This is what my rolls looked like after I got them all in the pan. It’s a little tricky at first, which is why you want to have more than just a tiny layer of sauce in your dish. Mine was about 1/4″ deep, so the rolls had something to hold onto. I sprinkled a little bit of the crumbled bacon on top first.

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Afterward, I drizzled on some more Alfredo sauce, Parmesan cheese and more bacon! Then it went into the oven!

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Thirty minutes later, it came out smelling and looking beautiful!

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Chicken Alfredo Zucchini Roll-Ups

(Serves 6)

Ingredients
4 tbsp. butter
3 cloves garlic, minced (I love garlic so used 6 cloves.)
2 1/4 c. cream
1 1/2 c. freshly grated parmesan, plus more for sprinkling
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp. freshly chopped parsley, plus more for garnish (Chopped scallions or basil would work as great garnishes as well.)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4-5 large-ish zucchinis, peeled into long strips
3 c. shredded mozzarella (may not use all of it)
3 c. shredded cooked chicken (I used a pre-shredded rotisserie chicken plus a couple of my own shredded chicken tenders.)
4-5 pieces of cooked bacon, crumbled

Directions
Preheat oven to 375°. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Whisk cream into the butter and garlic and stir until simmering gently. Gradually stir in the Parmesan, whisking constantly. Let simmer until the sauce thickens, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add lemon juice and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon a layer of Alfredo sauce on the bottom of a baking dish (This will help the rolls to stand vertically, so make sure it’s not too thin.) On a clean surface, lay 2-3 pieces of zucchini down slightly overlapping each other. I made mine to be about 2 & ½ inches across, so depending on the size of the zoodle, I either used two or three slices. Spoon & spread a little Alfredo sauce on top, then the shredded chicken and a sprinkle of mozzarella. Roll up tightly and place vertically in the prepared baking dish. Repeat with remaining zucchini.

Top with remaining Alfredo Sauce, Parmesan and crumbled bacon. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden on top and baked through. Garnish with fresh parsley and MORE BACON!

The Struggle is REAL.

A long time ago I used to counsel people on how to find purpose in life. Now it’s my turn.

Does anyone else out there struggle with decision making? I am the absolute WORST lately. One minute I’m convinced I am turning this blog into a “food only” blog and then the angel on my shoulder whispers, “You are good at that, but it’s not your calling”. (Insert expletive here.) Then I sit for hours contemplating how to merge my inspirational/spiritual musings with my recipes. What would that even look like? Arch Angel Food cake, Angel-haired pasta, Heavenly potato chip casserole, Celestial peanut butter cookies, Saintly Sour cream cake, etc?

Um. No.

I seriously do not want to write two separate blogs, so what’s a girl to do? Insert this book right here:

(You can click on this photo later if you are interested in reading more about the book or if you want to order a copy through Amazon.)

I ran into this great book, “Crushing It!”, by Gary Vaynerchuck, via someone’s Instagram story and was inspired to see what it was about. (I’m happy I did. I have had such good luck finding great books via recommendations on IG.)  The book relates all sorts of stories about people who finally learn to turn their passion into a life. He says to stop worrying about numbers, followers, algorithms and to just be who you authentically are. The rest will follow. (Oh and the other part that I just adore is that he says Altruism is of the utmost importance. I could not agree more.)

This is the stuff I’ve actually been preaching about for years:

Authenticity: Leading and living from the heart.

Altruism: Doing Unto Others. Random acts of Kindness. Giving of oneself.

The thing is, I look around the Internet, especially on Instagram and YouTube, and see that it appears practically every person and her brother are aspiring Internet Gurus. I absolutely cannot stand Instagram stories where it’s nothing but 15 second segment after 15 second segment of someone opening a gazillion boxes of free stuff in exchange for free advertising. I admit, it overwhelms me and sometimes if I take a very large step back, it can make me a little bit sad. Is this what we’ve become?

I don’t want to be one of those people. (She says to herself while at the same time contemplating updating her YouTube Channel.) What happened to giving and sharing from the heart simply for the sake of putting goodness out into the world?

When I’m on Instagram looking at stories, or on here reading blogs, the people I consistently enjoy and who I always read, are those who are actually sharing real snippets of daily life or love or both! Two of my favorite Instagram-ers (is that a word?) are twenty-something Yogi’s who are best friends in real life. I haven’t the least bit of interest in Yoga, other than to marvel at the discipline/talent these girls and their other followers display, yet I watch every story they post from beginning to end. They are each unique, yet the same. One likes to film her fur babies and the other likes to film herself drinking tea and playing with her boyfriend. Both share their yoga practices, but also family life and a bit of their social life too. I watch it all and feel nostalgic for my twenties. Why? They are being authentic on their feeds.

One of my favorite bloggers here is a 30 year old woman who’s blog is entitled, “Damn Girl, Get Your Shit Together”. It’s the same with her; she’s successful because she’s being who she actually is. (Seriously, go read her latest blog, “A Very Stabby Birthday”. It’s great stuff.)

A gazillion years ago when I used to blog daily on MySpace (yes, I’m that old), I think people related to me because I was always writing from my heart about my real life. I wasn’t trying to fit into a box or aspiring to gain a certain number of followers. I was just writing about what was going on at the time. Some days I was feeling hopeful; some days I was feeling silly; other days I might have been feeling low or worried about life. What mattered was that I was putting myself out there because in real life, it’s who I am. I always felt that whatever I might have been going through at the time; someone else out there was also going through. Who doesn’t feel better knowing she isn’t going it totally alone out here?

Somewhere along the line I found myself in a strange state of writing paralysis because I couldn’t decide what box to cram myself into. If I write only about spirituality, I might lose my foodies; if I write only about food, I might lose my other followers; if I write about family, they might get mad; if I write about work, I might upset non-churchy people. I have even gone so far as to believe that my time has passed. I’m fifty four now, maybe the window on my meaningful blogging has closed. You see the dilemma.

I have always felt that when I really need it and I pray hard enough, God will send me pretty unmistakable signs in order to help me find my way. Lately there have been lots of them, including, but not limited to, the “Crush It” book up there.

“Hello reality, thank you for the slap in the face.”

Here is the fact: I don’t fit into a box, nor do you.

Or you.

Or you.

So, I’ve decided to stop being so hard on myself and just be me, which of course means this blog will be reflective of that. I really am not an aspiring cookbook writer. I just love creating pretty food. Hubs and I cater on the side, so sharing recipes is something I genuinely like to do to be helpful. I will continue to do it here, but I’ll be mixing in more of myself as well.

This of course means the occasional angel story, dream interpretation, prayer, complaint, inspirational story or even a silly home video and I can’t guarantee it won’t all happen on the same page sometimes!

PS- Speaking of Altruism: I am holding a #Giveaway on my Instagram page and there is still time to sign up. See that pretty red, enameled, cast-iron skillet (by Lodge). Someone is going to win a brand new one (comes with lid). I will announce the winner on Wednesday, May 16th, via Instagram. I am NOT being paid for this. This is coming from my own pocket because this skillet seriously IS one of my favorite things in the world and I want someone else to have one too. I got this for my Birthday back in March and I use it every day. They are NOT cheap and I know not everyone can afford a cool kitchen thingie like this! So this is me, trying to do something nice for someone else.

If you are interested, just click through the link to my Instagram and find this picture. Click on it and you will find the instructions on how to enter. It’s that simple.

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PSS: (Insert Angel Stuff here. hee hee)

I used to love to sit with my deck of angel cards and pull one as inspiration for each day. So here is today’s card which is perfect for where I am in life right now. I share this here because somewhere out there, someone else needs this message as well. ((hugs))

power

Power:   The power of your Creator is within you. It doesn’t matter if you’re facing a situation that seems larger than life or something that is a small hurdle, the angels and God want to help you overcome it all!

The key to finding resolve in so many of life’s circumstances is to stay in the right frame of mind. You have the power of your Creator within you, all of the His greatness brings into focus who He is; faithful, righteous, good, honest and it diminishes the negative problems you are facing.

You have all the power of Divine love it is unlimited allow yourself shine. He is the one who with just his voice spoke the world and universe and cosmos into being, yet he is interested in the smallest and most intimate details of your life.


 

Love to all!