Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Our garden has exploded with Zucchinis this season so I went looking for some new recipes.

I received a blog post from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe for  ‘The Best Chocolate Zucchini Cake’

https://www.melskitchencafe.com/best-chocolate-zucchini-cake/

and boy is this cake and chocolate whipped cream good!

To make this cake Gluten-free I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free 1 to 1 Baking flour and the only other change I made was I used dark, unsweetened cocoa powder since that is what I had in the pantry.

I sent the leftovers with the husband to his work and his coworkers loved it and I received multiple requests for the recipe.

So, thanks to Mel’s Kitchen Cafe for posting the recipe and whipped cream.  I will definitely be making this recipe again.

Do you have a garden?  If so, do you grow Zucchini?

Later – Heather

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Crispy Slow Cooker Carnitas

I made a slightly modified version of this recipe tonight and it was a hit.  So, I figured I would share and post it here so I don’t forget where I found it.

Do you watch/ listen to YouTube bloggers?  Well, I have found some I really like, but that list will be for a post in the future.

But, this recipe was published on YouTube on June 28, 2017 by ‘She’s in Her Apron’.  A friend of hers found it from ‘Gimme Some Oven’ and the direct link is below:

https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/crispy-slow-cooker-carnitas/

I actually had two cooked, plain, shredded chicken breasts in the fridge that I didn’t have a plan for.  So, I put the shredded meat in a saucepan and made the sauce with the addition of the juice from one Halo mandarins.  I then simmered it on medium-low for about 30 minutes.

After than I followed the actual recipe.  The husband commented on how good the house smelled when he came in the door and was more than happy to eat three tacos with this meat in them for dinner.

So, let me know if you try it and if you liked it.  This is definitely going in my list of Go To meals.

Heather

 

I am still here and takeaways

The end of January / beginning of February have been an interesting and sometimes stressful time for my family.  Here are some takeaways :

  • Don’t take your health for granted – We abruptly learned that one of our brother-in-laws was having double bypass surgery (with no previous health warnings).  I am so happy to report that he is doing fine and is healing nicely.  (And I can’t wait to give him a hug the next time we see him!)
  • Make sure that both the husband and wife have keys to the mailboxes.  I had to overnight our keys to dear husband since I had been out of town for a while.  Good thing I did since we had a package in the box.
  • Sometimes the ‘kids’ have to become the ‘parents’ to their parents.  My mom has always lived in her own house independently, but it became obvious a few weeks ago that it wasn’t the best idea anymore.  So, the last few weeks I have been trying to help my mom move into a Senior Living place near us.  When she is all settled I will post an update.
  • Dogs (especially Pepper the Golden Retriever) sense when a person is older and needs some company.  My mom has been at our house for the last week and Pepper will bring her toys, sleep at her feet and is very gentle and loving to her.  Now, that doesn’t mean that Pepper still doesn’t love to be hyper and run around, but it means she tries to not do it near my mom.
  • Plan for natural disasters.  We recently had a horrible wind storm.  The worse part was we were out of power for 27+ hours.  We have a well which meant we could not pump water.  I am happy that we had gallon bottles of drinking water in the garage, used the water in the hot tub (which had dirt and leaves blown into it) to flush the toilets and we were able to use our wood stove to heat food and drinks once the wind died down.  We know multiple people that lost part of their roofs (and/or trees).  Do you have an emergency stash  / plan??
  • Keep your mind active – Do you do word puzzles, play Scrabble, etc?  My mom has spent the last few years just watching television by herself (definitely not something that keeps the mind active).  Since she has stayed at our house we have been playing multiple games of Scrabble daily (not keeping score though).  She is amazing (and not even just for her age)!  I have already asked if there is a group of people at the Senior Living place that plays games.  If not, I will go and play it with her.  (She even has been asking me to play it if I don’t suggest it.)
  • Love and appreciate your family since you never know how long anyone will live (this one should be obvious).  I have been having a conversation with my mom this week since she is trying to figure out why she is still alive, but her parents, sister, brother, friends and two husbands have all died (and most of them at a younger age than her).  The only thing I keep saying is ‘God decided a long time ago the number of days you will live.’  I hope I am loving and honoring to my mom for the rest of her days.
  • If you see a problem then take action – I am so glad that I didn’t ignore the signs that my mom was having difficulties (or come home when she just told me to leave her in her house).  After having a doctor evaluate her (and having her eat good food and drink water) we determined that mom needed to be on medicine.  Once she started to take it she remembered that she used to take it ‘years ago’, but for some reason she stopped.  My family is noticing an improvement in my mom since she has arrived.
  • Housecleaning can wait – I am not saying to completely blow it off, but I have realized that my mom needs my attention also while she is here.  So, I have been randomly doing house work and trying to recover from being gone for over a week.

Until next time.  Later – H

 

 

Grocery Outlet – bargains and Gluten free

Note:  I got nothing from Grocery Outlet (or any of the brands listed) for this review.  I am just really happy that the Grocery Outlet opened in our town.

Since my favorite grocery store closed last year I have been bouncing around the local stores and Costco for my shopping.  I was happy when a Grocery Outlet opened locally.  I knew from extended family (and other blogs) that they didn’t always have everything, but when they had something they usually had a good price on it.

Did you know that each Grocery Outlet is locally owned?  The statistic is that for every $100 spent in a local store $45 stays in the community.  I am definitely willing to try the local stores to keep the money and jobs here.

So, here are some of the items we have been buying there lately.

Morasch Meats  – Beef New York Striploin Steak (2 pack, 14 oz,  $5.99) – Wow, we put some Dry Rub on these yesterday and cooked them on the BBQ.  They were great!   The husband and I were able to share one of them so we have the second one for another meal.   (Note – I went back today and bought two more packages of them since it was so good.)

Organic chicken legs – I got a great price on these (I cooked them up the same day and took them on our camping trip a month ago).

Smart Balance spread for $1.99 – this is a great price and the expiration date is way out there

Individual Garlic Bulbs (3 for $1.00)

Flaked Coconut

Cans of soup – today I picked up a can of Muir Glen Organic Homestyle split pea (14.9 oz) for $1.49

Frozen Ore-Ida potatoes (I just picked up a bag of Zesties for $1.49 for the first time today so I will let you know what we think).

Hummus – Since I am the only one in the family that really likes hummus I bought a container for a great price (don’t remember the cost now since it was a month ago), and then froze it in smaller containers.

Gluten free mixes – Arrowhead Pizza crust mix , 1-2-3 gluten free Rolls Mix and Poundcake Mix (haven’t tried them yet, but I know their prices were definitely cheaper than other places)

They also have bags of Gluten-free All Purpose Flour and other gluten free mixes which I am thinking of trying in the future.

So, now I stop at the local Grocery Outlet before I head to any other grocery store.

Have you checked out your local Grocery Outlet store lately?  Here is the link to their website if you want to find your local store:  https://groceryoutlet.com/

Let me know if you try them out and what bargains you found.

Later – H

Udi versus Rudi Gluten free bread and Walmart

So, for a few years now we have eaten Udi Gluten free bread.  The family likes it toasted and plain (when we rarely eat a sandwich).  Up until now we have been buying it at Trader Joe’s.  Well, this spring Costco (yeah!) started carrying a larger loaf in the frozen food section (in ours it is near the frozen berries – who would have guessed).

Anyways, I had seen coupons for Rudi Gluten free bread, but had never seen it in a store.  Well, the last time I was in Walmart (yes, I go there now, but not often) I went looking around and I found Rudi Gluten free bread in the frozen food section so I picked up a loaf.

The first time I tried the Rudi Gluten free bread I made it into toast.  It was tasty and didn’t fall apart.

On Father’s Day we took a picnic so I took some Rudi Gluten free bread (frozen when we left the house, but defrosted by the time we got there).  I hate to say it, but the bread fell apart as we were eating it.

(Note:  I did email the company that makes Rudi Gluten free bread and got a response that their bread does crumble.)

So, even though I don’t go to Walmart often I will be using the coupons I find to get some reduced gluten free bread for making toast in the mornings.

Oh, and both Udi and Rudi Gluten free bread are made in Colorado.

What new gluten free products have you tried lately?

Later – H

Chili’s and gluten-free menu

Did you know that Chili’s have a wheat / gluten-free (and other health options) menu?  Our copy was dated 3/1/2014 – 4/7/2014.

Last time we were there the server happened to ask if we needed one.  I said yes (I don’t have to eat gluten-free, but I try to stay away from as much wheat as possible and multiple family members have to eat gluten-free).  He handed me a paper sheet with suggested the menu options.

I was happy to see that some of the items we usually buy are gluten-free.  For example:

– Loaded Baked Potato Soup

– Southwest Chicken (without the Tortilla Strips)

Memphis Dry Rub Baby Backs Ribs ** without sides

Original Baby Back Ribs ** without sides

What I was surprised by was that even the french fries were not listed as gluten-free.  I guess that is since they are fried with their other items.  Too bad.

Have you asked for a gluten-free menu at a restaurant?  What was the reaction?

Later – H

Gluten-free Carrot Cake Cupcakes….

I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter.  We were supposed to go out of town to visit family, but the family is sick.  So, we decided to stay home.

Yesterday we went to Costco and they had their (wheat) Carrot Cake Cupcakes on sale.  They looked so good!  I didn’t pick any up, but I did come home and decided to make some Gluten-free ones.  Not sure if mine cost less, but I at least was able to control all of the ingredients that went into them.

This is the link to the recipe I used:

http://glutenfreecooking.about.com/od/glutenfreecakerecipes/r/glutenfreecarrotcake.htm

Oh, and by the way I added a page that lists other people’s gluten-free recipes that I have tried and liked.  This is partly so I don’t have to keep finding the recipe and to give you some help also.  Your welcome.

Later – H

 

 

sad news and Did you really get a good deal?

Do you remember when I posted earlier this year that Walmart had come to our smallish town?  Well, the only Nevada owned and operated grocery store announced yesterday that they are closing the store in town.  Am I happy?  No, since I have shopped there regularly for the last 20+ years.  It used to be the closest grocery store to my house, but now I have a Walmart that I have to drive by to get to town.  Oh, well.  Now I will have to decide which of the other non-Walmart stores I will go to more starting in December.

I started the lower section of this post before I heard about my normal grocery store closing.  I saw this blog post on HappyMoneySaver.com a few weeks ago:  http://happymoneysaver.com/ripped-walmart-packaged-chicken/

I realized I couldn’t even attempt to write a similar article since I don’t usually shop at Walmart or Winco, but I thought Karrie of Happy Money Saver did a really good job of pointing out that we all are responsible for making sure we are getting a good deal (and not just assume).

And when I say that I am not just talking about prepackaged meat.  For example – when is the last time you have figured out how much you were actually paying for an item (per ounce, etc) versus just picking up the ‘usual’ when you go to the store?

I had planned on making a written (versus by memory) price book so I could tell when a store has a super deal on a product so I can stock up at that time.  I guess it is time to start working on it.

Later – H

Grass fed beef – Maui

Do you eat grass fed beef?  Have you ever tried it?  When we stayed in Hana, Maui for a few days on vacation we took most of the food we thought we would eat with us (no, not from home, but went to the Safeway near the airport).

We decided we would go out to eat, etc in Hana at least once.  Well, the Hana Ranch Store had some Hawaiian made Chocolate Macadamia Nut ice cream so we picked up that (who could resist?) and we decided to pick up a package of Grass fed hamburger (from a ranch on Maui).  Our choices were really the grass fed hamburger or small steaks (hey, it is a small town).

All we had in our condo was Kirkland Sea Salt (which was completely caked over – what humidity will do for you) and pepper.  My first thought was I hope the hamburger had a good flavor since there wasn’t much we could do to improve it.

We were pleasantly shocked at how good the hamburger tasted!  Since we are now home and live in area with cows I am seriously thinking of looking for some grass fed beef to see if it tastes as good.

Otherwise, I will have another reason to hope to visit Hawaii more often 🙂

Later – H