Clutter Clearing, causes Spirit Cheering.

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If you’ve been around my blog for any length of time you already know that I’m a foodie in every sense of the word. My parents think I am crazy. My father often remarks that Charlie and I are obsessed with food. (It’s true. We ARE! We are not ashamed!) It’s the first thing we talk about in the morning and the last thing we talk about at night. Our most frequent outings involve seeking out new markets and grocery stores and the most watched channel in our home is of course, The Food Network.

One of the Blessings in our life is being able to creat the Fellowship meal for Crescent Hill Baptist Church once per week. (Having grown up Catholic, I seriously think our religion missed out by not adopting this practice.) I love the fact that once per week, the people of this church meet together to share a meal and fellowship. They probably don’t stop a lot to realize this, but it’s a beautiful practice and I love witnessing it. This Wednesday we’ll return to the kitchen after having had the month of July off and we are ready! In fact, only a select few of them will know it, but we are DOUBLE ready!

Bear in mind that a church, is a church, is a church. Think about the times you have cleaned your home and have found items that you feel still have life and that someone could use? Where do you think about taking them? The church? Yup. Speaking for “THE CHURCH”; it’s always appreciated, but it can get overwhelming. (Example: Once upon a time we had a bunch of last generation Big box big screen TV’s taking up HUGE space in the basement. They still worked! WHO could fit one into a tiny apartment or afford to have it moved?)

And the church kitchen? It’s just about impossible to keep the refrigerators and freezers free of random packaged items that people drop off, afraid to throw away, certain that someone out there can use it. Our cabinets have been stuffed to overflowing with donated plastic containers, cutlery, napkins, etc. for as long as I have been there. We share the space with a school and since the first day I started cooking there, almost seven years ago, I’ve always wanted to go through and organize and clean every single cabinet. I had to wait, however, until it didn’t seem too presumptuous. (LOL!) This past Friday, six+ years into our catering, I finally decided to do it.

Friday Charlie and I cleared our schedules in order to tackle defrosting the Industrial freezer, cleaning out the refrigerator and clearing out about ten years worth of “stuff” from four very large, sprawling cabinets. Both of us worked the entire day, yet we couldn’t finish it all. Monday I went right back in there and tackled the rest and I still didn’t get 100% finished.

Oh, but what we have accomplished makes my heart sing with glee. The entire feeling of the kitchen has changed. I was so grateful when a co-worker walked in and said, “You can literally FEEL the difference in here.” It’s absolutely true!

I am a huge advocate for clearing the energy of a space simply by eliminating clutter and giving it a good old fashioned cleaning. Do you ever feel restless, irritated, or uncomfortable in your home, office, car, or in any other space? Chances are good that you’re existing within trapped energy. You may in fact be tapping into stagnant or even blocked energy, which can have an adverse affect on your spirit. (The church kitchen definitely felt stagnant to me before we cleaned and organized.)

I recently heard the greatest quote from a friend who said, “Turns out, we’re all a little like Pig Pen from Charlie Brown.” We were discussing energy and how even though we don’t see it with the naked eye; we’re constantly walking around in a cloud of particles and we’re unconsciously leaving bits and pieces wherever we may go! Think about the last time you walked into a room just after something negative had happened? You felt it, right? The same goes for starting out in a bad mood and running into someone or something that instantly lightens your spirit. We feel things long before and after we ever say a word.

Now imagine a place like the kitchen I just cleaned. Every nook and cranny had some form of something that was placed there by who knows who? Each little baggie or piece of plastic ware or roll of paper towels arrived already laden with energy. Then it was shoved into a cabinet where it co-mingled with a plethora of other things. Every time a new person used the kitchen or passed through, even more stagnant energy piled up on top. Sounds pretty gross, doesn’t it? (Go on admit it, you’re in the mood to get up and clean house now, aren’t you? ha ha.)

The entire point of my writing this out is to illustrate that if you are experiencing any type of blockage of spirit; an easy and free remedy is right in front of you: Clear your corners! (Translation: clean and organize your space!) When I am at home, I like to burn white sage throughout the house and as an exclamation point, I pull out the Holy water to Bless every room.

Go on. Give it a try.  You can thank me later.

Love,

Bobbe

 


Dearest Lord,

Thank you for the Blessing of reflection. So often lately I am presented with opportunities for growth and learning. I find myself looking back in time fully able to see where I have come from and how I have grown and changed. I strive every day to work for you whether it be ministering to others or simply to get on my knees and clean a cabinet.

Thank you for all of the beautiful people I share this Universe with, especially my family, friends, and the multitude of strangers I encounter, who stir something in my heart.  I know the stirring of my heart is your hand upon on my soul. I love you. Thank you. 

Amen.


“Let all things be done decently and in order.” 1 Corinthians 14:40

 

Bittersweet Blessings.

I count myself as pretty Blessed among my friends and family because although my parents are in their upper 80’s, they are both still here and both in reasonably good health. There are times when they might need assistance doing certain things and when the occasion arises, I like to try to help. Having had a rocky relationship with them “back in the day” and even sometimes in the present; I still want to do what I can for them while they are here.

Sometimes I am asked why I do it and my response is simple, “They aren’t going to be here much longer. I want to know I did my best to love them well while they are here.”

Yesterday my Dad needed some help getting to the new location of the Driver’s License Bureau. It happens to be in my neighborhood, so I offered to drive him. Then we received word that one of my parent’s old dear friends had passed and that the celebration of his life would be held yesterday at the country club where our family practically lived my entire life. I knew Dad wouldn’t feel comfortable going by himself, so I offered to drop by and take him to both places.

Bear in mind I really am a creature of habit and practically a social recluse. Charlie and I have carved out a peaceful routine that works for us. We laugh at ourselves frequently for excitedly making plans to go somewhere new or to some social event and then at the very last second we look at each other, shrug our shoulders and say, “Naaaaaaah. I don’t reaaaaaaally wanna go, do you?” Nope. And then we stay home. (99.5% of the time, this is the exact scenario.)

The prospect of having to make small talk makes me recoil with intimidation, so I was sort of dreading going to the Country Club. Add to this the fact that I knew I would be seeing people who hadn’t seen me in almost forty years. I have been over weight off and on for a lot of years and whenever I think about seeing people from my past I become very insecure. (Translation: I used to have a very high level of confidence regarding my appearance! In fact, one might argue correctly that long ago my entire sense of self was wrapped up in the package of my outward appearance.)

All morning long I wrestled with the same feelings of dread that a person goes through when he/she is about to take and important test. Then I arrived to pick up my Dad at 3:00 PM.

This is a memory I won’t forget. After I had been there for a few minutes talking with my Mom, my Dad appeared all dressed to go. The man is 87 years old, yet when he stepped into the room, he was styled from head to toe looking as modern as any other person on the planet right down to his socks! He and my Mom giggled telling me that she had recently bought the pants he was wearing and hadn’t realized she was picking up, “the skinny leg” variety. It looked so good on Dad it made my heart smile. (My Dad has fought getting old his entire life. At almost 88 next month, it persists.) I was struck by how adorable he looked. It made me feel so good. He was dressed up to go out with ME, regardless of the occasion. (Sniffle. So sweet. I wish I had taken a photo, but that memory will stay with me forever more.)

Our trip to the License Bureau went off without a hitch and soon enough we were walking across the parking lot of the country club. This was a walk both of us had taken separately and collectively hundreds of thousands of times. This time, however, my Dad reached for my hand and we walked up the stairs together to pay respects to a dear friend and his family. It was a bittersweet feeling. This was a place that was a second home to us from birth until my early thirties. My Dad spent nearly every day there playing golf. (He reminded me on the trip over there that he and his buddies used to play on New Year”s Eve no matter what the weather.) I spent my youth in the pool and at the snack bar and then when my daughter was born, we were there together daily during the summers. This is the place we celebrated every special occasion; birthdays, weddings, Anniversary’s, Funerals, out of town guests, and of course, the Kentucky Derby and Breeders Cup!

We were both unprepared for the wash of feelings that hit us at the door. The first thing I noticed was a giant portrait of my Dad’s old good friend, Pee Wee Reese. Dad and I walked over to it and then noticed they had created an entire area dedicated to him. It was fun looking at the art and then peering out the window to see the pool area that had meant so much to me. Then we walked through the archway into the bar to pay our respects the family. The son of my Dad’s friend is a person I ran in the same circles with in high school and his wife graduated with me. It was so good to see them both and to hug them and just spend a few moments together. Looking around, it didn’t take long for Dad and I to come to the unspoken realization that he wouldn’t be seeing many of his old friends. They have all passed on or are in too ill health to socialize.

Trying to take the focus off of that fact, I took his hand and suggested we sneak around the club to see what it was like now. And so we did. What we found were a few changes named for other passed on men who were his best golfing buddies. We stopped in the bar and searched the wall for the plaque with his name on it for when he was the 1980 Club Champion. When I found it, I couldn’t help but reflect that in 1980 I was a Sophomore; probably the same year I started actively socializing in high school.

How did we get here, so far along in life? Gosh, it’s gone by so fast.

We took a few more steps out to the veranda to watch the golfers coming in. I knew Dad was probably remembering all of the times he’d played that course. The screaming elephant in both of our hearts was knowing he would not be playing that course again and that this is a place now predicated by the words, “used to”. I don’t have adequate words to paint what was in our hearts at that moment. I just have gratitude that we experienced it together.

On the way out we ran into two more of my high school friends and I got to hug their necks and say hello. Then I hugged my friend, who’d just lost his father and I told him from my heart, that I love him and although the occasion absolutely sucked, I was so happy to see he and his wife. I meant that. His Dad was important to me and by proxy, that made me always think of him as “brother”. I told him that too. It came out easily.

The drive home was filled with small talk and memories of days gone by. As he was getting out of the car, my Dad took my hand, and with tears in his eyes and told me how much it meant to him that I had suggested we go and that I took the time to come pick him up and Chauffeur him to and from. He said he was glad we were present there, “together”. I was too.

Having worked together for over thirty years, my Dad and I haven’t always seen eye to eye. There was even a time when we didn’t speak to or see one another for three years. Though it was emotionally hard, I count this day as a Supreme Blessing. I cried all the way home thanking God that love honestly does transcend all.

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PS- That photo up there was taken when I was just twenty years old. Dad and I were in San Diego attending a business meeting.


My Dear Lord,

Things pass so quickly here on this earth. While we are busy going about the tasks of our daily lives, please help us to remember to look up and to savor where we are in life. Far too often things happen in a flash and then we are left looking back lamenting and wishing we’d stopped before it was too late. Help us to cultivate the relationships we may be taking for granted and to communicate our feelings to those who may not realize how important they are to us. 

Thank you for allowing me precious time with my parents. Help us all to make the time to go the extra mile for our precious loved ones, even when to do so, requires supreme effort and extra energy. The are always unexpected Blessings there.

Thank you for the life you have given me. Thank you for the dear friends I’ve made along the way. Thank you for helping me speak the words that have long been hidden in my heart.

May we all be better vessels of your love and light today and always.

Amen


“Let all that you do be done in love.”  1 Corinthians 16:14

Confessions of a Spiritual Foodie.

I have a confession to make.

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I have a confession to make. As much as I adore cooking and sharing my recipes, there is something I adore sharing more and that’s who I am on the inside. Every time I come to this blog and post a recipe, I am pleased, but I have a secret sense of guilt because I’m not doing what I truly want to do. I go away asking myself what I really want to say and then I end up talking to God about it every morning on my drive to work. Quite a while ago I put a filter on myself for a stupid reason.

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I became worried that if I wrote about who I truly am on the inside, I might offend someone. How stupid is that?

This morning on my drive to work, I had a profound sense of knowing that it’s time to take off that ridiculous filter.  Undoubtedly this is coming as a result of a thousand and one walks around the Sanctuary where I work, talking to God and trying to be silent enough to hear what is said to me.

For the past four weeks I’ve been working hard on my self image and that includes being on a very strict keto diet. I joined a secret group of good friends who are also doing the keto way of life and with discipline and their support, I’m starting to feel a little more like myself each week. Yeah. It might surprise a lot of people to know that I’ve not been happy with myself for years. I am finally weary enough of saying, “I used to “insert whatever thing of the past I no longer am, no longer look like, or no longer do“.

It’s over.

The question, “What have you got to offer the world” comes to my heart a lot. The answer is always the same. I can lead almost anyone to a greater sense of spirituality and faith in God. So what am I doing turning this blog into an exclusively FOOD blog when I have so much more to offer the world?

At my workplace, which happens to be a Baptist Church (I am a practicing Catholic), the most frequent phrase I hear from members of the church is, “I have no idea how you do all that you do.” I usually smile and say, “me either”, but the truth is that I know perfectly well how I do what I do. My strength comes from my unwavering faith and constant communication with God. Period. (Don’t start unsubscribing yet. I am still going to post recipes!)

I can’t recall there ever being a time in my life when I didn’t have a lifeline connected to the Holy Spirit. I used to share this part of my life openly. The reason I did so was because it helped cement things in my heart and the bonus prize was that others would read and relate to it. Although it seems foreign to me, there are tons of people out there who are reluctant to share what’s going on in their hearts. Sometimes through sharing what’s in mine, the by-product is that it gives others courage and validation to really look at what’s taking place in their own.

Today my heart is calling upon me to post this blog. It’s been sitting in my drafts folder for over a month waiting for me to make my move.

Before I do here is my prayer for today:

Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my unwavering trust in You. It is amazing to me that the You would take time to listen to me and to care about what I say, but time and time again it’s been proven to me that it’s true. I ask that through my sharing, others may experience Your profound love, support and guidance, just as I do on a daily basis. Help us all to see with open eyes and to feel with understanding hearts, that You are a living presence among us and that we are to turn to You for guidance when needed. 

Thank you for all of Your Blessings, especially the ones we don’t readily recognize or understand.

Amen


Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.

 

 

 

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

 

 

Do Unto Others

Yesterday I was looking through my memory feed on Facebook and I came across the following post…

Yesterday I was looking through my memory feed on Facebook and I came across the following post. I cannot recall what I was going through at the time, but a dear friend of mine knew about it and she sent me this mantra to say each morning:

“I am loved, called, chosen. I am rich in every way and generous on every occasion. I’m anointed, appointed, equipped, and enabled by the power of God that works mightily within me! No weapon formed against me (including words) shall prosper and no enemy scheme against me will succeed. I live, breathe, and serve powerfully under the shelter of the Most High God. Amen” ❤️

Did you read it? Now read it again in your own voice and apply it to yourself. It’s the truth.

Driving to work this morning I was thinking about this beautiful sentiment. A lot of us are continually praying; yet how many of us are stopping regularly to note that our prayers aren’t just notes inside helium balloons floating off into the sunset? No. Our prayers are communications with a living God who listens, hears, and responds to our calls. It’s so important, now more than ever, that we remember that God isn’t some far away entity from long ago.

When I used to teach my angel classes, people were often so amazed when I told them that yes, guardian angels are in fact, real; and yes, you actually have a guardian angel in your presence at this very moment.

Stop and think about that. We are not alone here with no protection or guidance. YOU are NOT alone at this very moment. You also have a guardian angel or two or three. You sometimes have an unseen army of them with you.

Why is this important? One would have to be unplugged from virtually all media sources, living alone in a tent in the middle of undeveloped land, in order to not see that our society (the good old USA) has gone completely bonkers. The level of hatred, self righteousness and entitlement I’m seeing on a daily basis is enough for me to cry out to God to please come save us all from one another.

It’s 2018. How is it acceptable that there are people in positions of persuasion publicly calling for violence against elected officials and others they disagree with? How is it acceptable for two best friends to end a friendship because they have different political opinions? When is it appropriate for people to refuse to obey the law because they don’t “agree” with it? When did we become such hypocrites, constant complainers, and worse, JUDGES of every single person, place and thing?

For the record, we are still being called upon to treat one another as we would like to be treated. That means being kind and compassionate to one another.

I tell Charlie all the time that it’s not our job to judge anyone. It isn’t our job to jump on a bandwagon just because everyone else is. It’s not our job to fight with anyone who doesn’t agree with us. Our job is to serve God in the best way we can. Often this means turning the other cheek.

I know there are people out there who might be saying, “What are we supposed to do when we see/believe someone is being unfairly oppressed-just sit there and do nothing?” If it’s within the law; by all means intervene, but if it’s not, or if it’s not safe or appropriate go to war with your prayers! Believe it or not, prayer is an action and it yields far more positive results than screaming your opinions at a fellow human being. I am here to tell you that God is NOT removed from us and our prayers only go unheard when we aren’t saying them.

Period.

Respect and praying on nature background


Today’s prayer:

Dearest God,

Help us all to take a giant step back and try to look at ourselves through your discerning eyes. Are our actions making you pleased and proud? Help us to be more disciplined with self reflection. Help us to remember that You are still speaking truth into the hearts of men and women and that in order to truly hear You, we must be silent and listen. Help us to remember that we are to pray for one another and that this means we are to pray for ALL of human-kind, especially for those with whom we do not agree.

Amen.


“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12

 

 

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!