Goodbye September…

Hard to believe that this is the last day of September. It has certainly been a full month, so thankful for everyone who has helped in spreading PCOS Awareness this month, for joining me speaking out and making sure pictures and articles get passed around. Just because this awareness month is ending doesn’t mean the work is done. We live with this on a daily basis and every day we can help make a difference in another woman’s life by spreading the word. At least once a week from here on out I will be posting on Health Check Tuesday/Teal Tuesday continuing this good fight against Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Please join me on Tuesdays, post your pictures, testimonies, questions, or links to more information about PCOS. If you don’t have a local support group, like me, let’s come together on here once a week and create our own support group. Encouraging one another to not give up, to not lose hope or sight of our dreams and goals. Let’s all welcome October with renewed vigor and positive outlook as the year winds down to a close.

Last week proved to be terrible for me, not motivated to do really anything for the blog or for fall. That’s just how things go some times. But this week I’m pulling out some of our favorite flavors of fall, trying out new recipes that I have found recently, and finish up my fall bulletin board. Most of it is handmade decor, free printable items that I was able to get in black and white and color it myself. My son has enjoyed it so far and is helping him to work harder in school 🙂 I don’t plan to change it up for a while, I might add some turkeys later on but for now it’s good the way it is.

In a couple of weeks I’m going to be baking up a lot of goodies for a Missions Conference that I’m attending. Right now I’m making my final decisions on what to take (leaning more toward some pumpkin scones to add to the snack table and making a simple chocolate sheet cake with homemade frosting on top as a dessert). Everything I plan to make will definitely make its way to this blog along with recipe reviews and even trying out some “new” vintage recipes to ring in the autumn season! So get ready for another fun and full month!!

Happy fall and have a blessed day!

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Write HOPE on Your Arm Day

It has arrived, it’s the one day I let my child write on himself, but for a good cause 🙂

Today my I asked my child what PCOS stood for, what it affected, and why we were writing HOPE on our arms. He answered each question accurately, and though you can’t see it clearly on his little arm he wrote: There is hope, help them…they need it. He’s so sweet, we talked about what the symptoms are (since the word ‘symptoms’ is on his Spelling list for the week). He asked me about cancer, I explained the importance to remove as much as sugar as possible from a woman’s diet so as not to feed any cancer cells. This is why lowering our carbs is important and only using natural sweeteners, such as Stevia, in our food and drinks. Going more alkaline helps in warding off cancer because cancer needs a more acidic environment to thrive, just like colds and flues do. 

Why write HOPE on your arm? I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I wanted to make sure it’s understood why I did it…

  • To let all my Cysters around the world know they are not alone in this.
  • I know and understand the daily struggles, this week has been horrible for me.
  • To keep moving forward, don’t stop trying to reach your goals, dreams, or the opportunity to make a difference.
  • To keep the faith, remain strong, and keep fighting!

Seeing the excitement on my son’s face today when he realized what day it was just made my day that much better! His sweet message of hope to everyone, a reminder that yes we need your help, we need your voice, and that we need your courage to not give up should be a message to not only women with PCOS but to every person on this planet. We can’t make a difference without you…please join us!

Have a blessed Thursday 🙂

HOPE Collage

(From L–R: Twitter and Tumblr handle, Instagram handle; From L–R: Blog and Facebook Name, my son’s message to everyone! There is HOPE!)

NCIS Season 11 Premiere Special

I am hooked on NCIS, I love the characters, the story lines, plots and any time it’s on, even the re-runs, I am watching it! To kick off the new season premiere last night I whipped up a  batch of “bloody” thumbprint cookies!! *queue sinister music* I think Abby would have been impressed! They were amazing, soft with a hint of a crisp to them and the homemade strawberry preserves I used killed it with perfection!

The recipe comes from Simply Recipes(<—click there for recipe). I had this whole NCIS theme planned out and ready to put together but alas I could not find my low temp glue gun, uber sadness over here. But I didn’t let that stop me! I pulled together photos of each character from the show and made this collage in honor of the new season.

ncis collage

Since the season is opening up with Ziva’s farewell I decided to keep our dinner a little more kosher, if you will. Served up some chicken scratch chicken with baked kale chips on the side. I am uncertain if any of that is truly kosher, but since I used Kosher Salt for both I’m just going to go with it 🙂 Ziva is going to be greatly missed on this show, I have loved her character from the beginning and how Cote was able to play her off of Michael’s character, Tony. The opening of this new season is definitely bitter sweet.

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When I decided to make these cookies I had Abby in mind, what would she think about these deceptively delightful confections? At first a few of my followers on Facebook were unable to make the connection between the cookies and the show. After a brief explanation it clicked and the cleverness roared on! Above I just had to indulge in a couple of the cookies, it was a difficult decision to make but it had to be done 🙂 These are definitely a keeper!! @nok_amandagayle is my Instagram handle, feel free to follow me there if you like.

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I did manage to catch the perp red handed…jammy fingers and all!! She was “tampering with evidence”, but I let her off with a warning 🙂 Were there any leftovers? Sadly no, it was a mob attack that descended upon this beautiful scalloped serving plate. Two narrowly escaped the delicious slaughter last night but were discovered in the wee hours of the morning and met their end in my son’s tummy 🙂 It’s a tragedy really, but they shall always be in our thoughts, our taste buds, and the recipe will forever be within an arms reach to make more 😀

In all seriousness, this was an easy recipe, I had never made thumbprint cookies before and was pleasantly surprised at how they turned out. I didn’t deviate from the recipe, other than not covering the them in nuts. I asked my child what he thought and he said he wants them for his birthday along with his strawberry poke cake! He’s taking after me, not much of a chocolate fan but loves his fruity desserts! I must say these are so much better than the store bought variety I remember from my childhood. No chemical after taste, the homemade strawberry preserves brimming with strawberry flavor and the cookie just utter perfection. Light, buttery, and melts in your mouth! You can use any jam or preserve you like (perhaps apple butter or pumpkin butter to give a more harvest vibe), but these are definitely going on my holiday cookie list (only doubled)!

What is your favorite cookie? (Share below)

AND

Have you ever honored your favorite tv show with a party and themed food? (Share below as well)

Write HOPE on Your Arm

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Get your washable markers ready (permanent ones are welcomed too if you like) to write HOPE on your arm this Thursday! It may sound silly, childish even, but it’s something I find helps spread the word about PCOS. It makes people stop in their tracks and ask HOPE for what? Many do not realize that PCOS exists, how PCOS affects a woman’s body and the daily struggles we have to go through.

Plus there are millions of women out there who cannot have children, who are struggling with their medication, who can’t seem to catch a break with their PCOS symptoms, are struggling to get healthy and find it difficult to cope with their daily lives (thanks hormones).
This is a message for them as well, to remind them to not give up hope. That one day they too shall become mothers (adoption counts too), one day they will find the right medicine to work for them, that each good thing they do for themselves is helping to make them strong and healthier…it can be a powerful message if we all will take a few seconds this Thursday and post a picture of HOPE to them.

It can be as simple or as elaborate as you like, please consider joining me, my son, and nephew on this day to help spread PCOS Awareness and letting all the women around the world know that they are not alone! Have a blessed day 🙂

 

Zucchini Pasta with Chicken

I can’t say enough good things about this low carb and somewhat alkaline dish. It’s a nice alternative to regular noodles, especially if you can’t have them anymore. I don’t like to over cook mine and like for there to be enough of a crunch to them so it doesn’t feel like I’m eating mush.

Over at A Sweet Pea Chef, you can see just how easy it is to make these zucchini noodles. Granted I prefer mine without the skin but you can leave it on if you like. Just be sure to wash them thoroughly if you decide to leave the skin on.

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3 zucchini, washed, and peeled into strips

1/4 onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tblsp peanut or coconut oil

2 tomatoes, cut into strips

handful of marinated chicken strips

1/2–1 tsp favorite Italian Seasoning

pinch of salt and pepper

Parmesan cheese, optional

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Add the zucchini noodles, chopped onions, minced garlic and marinated chicken strips into a large saute pan with peanut or coconut oil.

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I like the flavor of the Mrs. Dash Tomato Basil Garlic seasoning. Add it, the pinch of salt and pepper to the pan. Give a little stir and let this cook down for 5–10 minutes.

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Before serving, add in the strips of tomato and cook just to take the chill of the tomato.

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Parmesan cheese is optional, but there you have it. In about 15 minutes you’ll have a delicious low carb meal, you can serve this us with gluten free low carb garlic bread and salad on the side.

Enjoy!

Mexican Lasagna

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There are so many recipes out there for Mexican Lasagna, you really don’t have to look very far. All you have to do is pick one that appeals most and go with it! Growing up, this was a family favorite, a staple. Mom found the recipe in a Southern Living cookbook and the recipe was called Matador Mania. Over the years it has evolved into something else now, it’s juicier, spicier, cheesier and just down right awesome! Of course each time we make this no two pans are ever alike, unless we’re making these in bulk. Sometimes the spices will vary or the refried beans will vary depending on what we can find. Since we are watching our carbohydrates I now make this with low carb high fiber flour tortillas. I posted a video on my Facebook page showing one of the steps I have to take in preparing this dish. The full 2 minute and 25 second video on my Page (sorry for the background noise, I had the floor fan running since I had three burners going and an oven preheating).

The recipe is simple and can be made ahead of time. Here’s what you’ll need:

1 pound ground beef

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and Pepper to taste

1/2 cup water

1 packet of your favorite taco seasoning

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1 can of refried bean (I used black bean refried beans)

16 oz  jar of your favorite salsa or taco sauce

6 (7 inch) corn tortillas

8 oz sour cream

1-2 cups of cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Brown ground beef with onions and minced garlic. Drain fat, season with salt and pepper to your liking. Stir in packet of taco seasoning, water and oregano. Let this simmer for 10 minutes on low to allow the flavors to blend. Stir in the refried beans, this will help bind it up and thicken the meat mixture. If it gets too thick just add a little water to help thin it, you want to be able to spread the meat, not deal with clumpy thick meat.  In a 7×12 or 7×11 baking dish spoon some salsa or taco sauce into the pan, just enough to cover the bottom of the dish.

Arrange three corn tortillas on top of the sauce, spoon half the meat mixture on the tortillas, half the cheese, half the sour cream and finish with more salsa/sauce. Repeat the layers on more time minus the sour cream layer (save it for anyone who might like to have some on top of their portion during the meal), your top layer should be cheese. Cover the pan with foil, bake for 40-45 minutes covered. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes to allow the cheese to melt and brown slightly on top.

Let the casserole cool for about 10 minutes before serving and enjoy with your favorite tortilla chips, sour cream, guacamole, rotel dip, or more salsa. This dish is simple, delicious and is always requested in our house.

To make this low carb, just use low carb high fiber flour tortillas. For best results, fry them up in a little peanut or coconut oil. The crispy texture will soften while baking and absorb some of the salsa. You can use ground turkey or ground chicken if you prefer. I find I have to use a little extra salsa when I make it lower in carbs, to help compensate for the fried tortillas, plus I leave the sour cream out when I make it since my Dad isn’t a huge fan of it. As for leftovers, last night I had one serving leftover…and I doubled the batch! LOL All I’ve heard today was how yummy it was, how it was better than before.  If you use the black beans it will darken your meat some and bake darker just like you see in my photo.

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Be prepared for no leftovers!

Happy eating!

Cheesy Baked Eggs on Toast (Throw Back Thursday Variation)

It’s a beautiful day outside here in Huntsville, AL. A slight breeze stirring the leaves, it’s nice to sit here and take in the view. I’m not much of a city gal, at heart I’m all country. Tapping into my inner country self I went in search for a vintage egg recipe, something I hadn’t tried before. That’s when I found this:

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At first I thought I could actually eat this, that it would be a doable meal, but I confess I’m not a fan of meringue. I cannot stand it’s frothy texture, while the picture looks deliciously tempting I just couldn’t bring myself to make it. Instead I did my own variation which produced some pleasing results.

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All you need:

2 eggs, whisked

1 tblsp butter

1 slice of American cheese

2 slices of homemade bread, toasted and buttered

Toast two slices of bread to a preferred doneness, I like mine lightly toasted. Butter lightly, or use margarine if you prefer. Place onto a lined baking pan and set aside.

In a small pan melt your butter over medium heat. Whisk your eggs in a bowl until they are very bubbly on top. You could use a blender if you like, this helps to make the eggs lighter and fluffier. Pour your eggs into your buttered pan and gently cook them, folding and stirring until they are halfway cooked. Tear up the American cheese slice and continue to fold the eggs until mostly cooked. Carefully spoon your cheesy eggs onto the toast slices and place in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes. The idea is to set the eggs a bit more, not over cook them or brown them.

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Once finished let it cool slightly and enjoy with your favorite breakfast meat(pictured are a few turkey and sausage breakfast balls), fruit, or yogurt. It will be a great meal to serve on the weekends, to your overnight guests or at your next ladies brunch! The bread is what truly makes the dish, so be sure to use the best!!

Have a blessed day 🙂

Turkey and Sausage Breakfast Balls

Afternoon, got some time to share this easy satisfying recipe. I don’t know where I found the original recipe, so if you’re familiar with it and know it’s origin please let me know. I would like to give credit where it’s due.

The original recipe:

2 pounds bulk pork sausage

1 pound ground beef

3 eggs

2 tablespoons dried onion flakes

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Mix all the ingredients together until thoroughly blended (it is best to use your hands or an electric mixer). Form into about 4 dozen 1 to 1 1/2 inch balls and place on a cookie sheet or broiler pan. Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes. Once they are cool, they can be sorted into individual zip bags and frozen for a grab–and–go breakfast. NOTE: for Scotch Eggs, mold a bit of raw meat mixture around a peeled hard–boiled egg (or eggs) and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Instead of beef I used ground turkey meat, about 1 1/2 pounds and 1 pound of bulk pork sausage. Reduced the eggs by one and added some garlic powder (1 tsp) and parsley flakes (1tblsp) for added flavor and interest. I used a 1/8 measuring cup to dole out the meat mixture and shaped them into balls. I was able to fit 40 balls to a cookie sheet and had another five that I put onto a smaller pan and baked in the toaster oven. The end results are tasty and will be perfect to have with boiled eggs in the morning.

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Right now they’re still on the pan cooling, hopefully in less than an hour I can get these bagged up and in the fridge. I don’t expect these to last very long 🙂 I’m sure they would be great with spinach and you could make them into patties or logs if you like. Plus they are low carb friendly, there’s no bread, crackers, or oats in them.

Hope you enjoy, have a blessed day!

Cinnamon Pancakes (or Squares) Recipe & Review

Afternoon everyone! I’m loving this more temperate weather, though I’m still waiting for that first hard freeze 🙂 Last night just as I was getting ready for bed I found a spider on the wall behind the lamp. I’m no longer freaked about spiders, unless they are as big as my hand and then all bets are off!  There was no good way for me to move the lamp without spooking the spider into retreat so I got out the bug spray and went to town spraying around my nightstand table, under it, under my bed, around my windows, and even in my bathroom where they like to come in at. I’m really tired of my room becoming the “hang out place” for these pesky vermin. Really praying for colder temperatures to arrive soon so I can have a break from them, be nice to not have to check my room every night for some unwanted creepy crawly tenet or spray citronella around my bed to keep the mosquitoes away. 

After spraying my room down I slept on the sofa, to allow the poisonous spray to settle down. Fingers crossed my buggy intruder is dead and I can enjoy a more peaceful rest from here on out. Yeah, I’m not a bug fan, you know growing up as the youngest of three sibs I got picked on and teased a lot. I have such fond memories of being chased with bugs by my two older siblings and finally all they had to do was pinch their fingers together, run after me and say “bugga, bugga, bugga”. Fun times. 

Since I bunked downstairs in the family room, I woke up earlier than I’m accustomed to, so I decided to make some pancake squares for breakfast. Not low carb, I know, and definitely not alkaline friendly, but hey I like treating my kid every now and then! But, I didn’t want to fix the usual recipe. Wanted to try something new 🙂 I found a recipe on Food.com called Cinnamon Pancakes. I didn’t deviate from the recipe, kept everything the same…except I made squares instead of individual rounds. Very simple and easy to put together! Perfect for any busy school morning.

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
4 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 eggs
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter

Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder and cinnamon.
Combine eggs, milk and butter, stir into dry ingredients just until combined.
Pour batter by 1/3 cupfuls onto a lightly greased hot griddle.
Sprinkle with additional cinnamon (if desired).
Turn when bubbles form on top of pancakes.
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On the left I mixed the dry ingredients together with a fork; sat it aside. Prepared the wet ingredients, love the foamy texture. I think I need to make mention, the butter needs to be melted which the recipe does not instruct. Otherwise you’re going to have issues adding it to your milk and eggs. Once the butter is melted, I kept the beaters going on low as I slowly poured the butter into the mix and eggs. I kept mixing until I felt it was all incorporated and a nice frothy layer formed.
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If you don’t want your dry ingredients dusting your kitchen, pour the wet ingredients over the dry. With your beaters off, gently mix to  get it started and then turn them on low to finish mixing until just combined. That just means you’re going to have a few flour pockets here and there. This is ok, as it bakes those disappear. You don’t want to compromise the integrity of your batter by over mixing it. Otherwise you’ll end up with flat chewy pancakes and nobody likes those. After mixing, I lined an 8×8 inch square baking pan with release foil (you could spray your pan if you prefer or use coconut oil), added the batter and baked in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. Depending on your oven you may need to cook it more or less, keep that in mind. You’ll know it’s done when the top has cracked and when a tooth pick is inserted in the center comes out clean.
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You can serve these up with syrup, caramel sauce (as pictured), chocolate sauce, or a yummy cream cheese frosting! I felt that the only thing missing were some pecans and maybe some pumpkin puree 😀 These were a huge hit with my child who wasn’t too sure about them at first. And in fact he told me that I should have made the cinnamon roll ones instead. He came around in the end and gave me a two thumbs up 😀 Baking them up will yield 9 squares, if you need more the recipe can be easily doubled and bake on a jelly roll pan. You can freeze any leftovers to have for another breakfast, just warm up in the microwave. Enjoy them with your favorite breakfast meat, maybe a fried egg on the side. These are definitely a keeper! Hope you all enjoy 🙂