My Life with Candida Albicans(Here I Go Again)

Afternoon everyone, hope your Wednesday has been a blessed one so far. Today I want to share an update on my candida detox, plus an article I just found that explains what foods to eliminate when you suspect you have a candida overgrowth, and a recipe that I made a couple of nights ago that was absolutely delicious and dairy free! So this will be a jam packed post, but bear with me! ☺️ Below is a picture that is NOT the most flattering, but it shows just how bad this mess has gotten. 

Picture from Sunday night. It spans from shoulder to shoulder, the worst of it in the center. It’s still creeping slowly up my neck, but for now it’s not as bad as it was last Wednesday. As of today, it only itches around the edges of the rash site. There is a soap I found that I plan to try, it’s designed for these areas so I’ll share more after I give it a go. 

For a while now I have been dealing with this candida overgrowth and die off. Ever since my first die off from a few years ago I have done just enough to get over the worst of the symptoms and once the die off would clear up I would slowly begin to add certain foods back into my low carb diet. I can already hear the clucking of tongues from certain folks πŸ˜‰, trust me I have been kicking myself since last week for not having realized sooner how detrimental that decision was to my health. Just like low carb/keto is more than a diet, it’s a lifestyle, so is eat to keep your candida in check. And yes, EVERYONE has candida in their bodies. It’s a nasty bacteria in your digestive system and when we aren’t eating right, when we are pumping our bodies full of antibiotics(including the animal meats we eat) we are feeding the candida. That’s when things get out of balance and we start having issues with our sinuses, allergies, skin related problems(ie rashes, eczema), flatulence, brain fog, IBS, fibromyalgia, yeast infections, and so on. It just seems to snowball and we can’t figure out why all of the sudden we are having all these issues. 
That’s been my life now since 2011 and quite possibly longer if I think about it. This could explain my most recent issue with the top of my left foot. It was hurting to the point where I could barely walk. Which that has actually started to improve over the last few days! I’m not hobbling around as much and I can stand for short periods of time with minimal issues. This is great news since this means I will be able to get back to my workouts! 

So what is it EXACTLY am I doing to improve my health? What protocol am I following to eliminate the candida overgrowth? It’s not any one thing or method. I spent last weekend reading anything and everything online, refreshing my memory of what needs to be done. The first thing I did was change my diet. Since I am already living a lower carb life, I knew I was going to have to give up more even MORE foods that may have been contributing to the overgrowth. And Saturday night proved to be a near breaking point for me. I was emotionally drained and frustrated by the realization that I would have to give up a lot of my favorite low carb foods for a while(possibly forever) and it all hit me that night. I was hungry and wanting stuffed green olives. My go to snack food when I have the munchies. High in fat, zero carbs, and I can easily eat half a jar! No judging. πŸ˜’My 13 yr old comes in and asks me what I’m doing. Trying to keep the shreds of emotions in check I tell him I’m hungry and can’t have the things that I would normally go to. At this point I could feels the tears welling up and I absolutely hate crying in front of people. When I cry it’s messy and ugly, so I took a few breaths to calm myself and without skipping a beat G-Man told me “so fix yourself some eggs.” 

I won’t lie, I scoffed at that idea. For one eggs don’t like me. Honestly, they make me sulfur gassy(and there goes any hope for finding a future husband). Before I could stop him, G-Man was already grabbing the container of eggs and asking me what meats and veggies I can have. He was shocked when I told him I can’t have sausage patties, deli ham or turkey, and no more bacon. Pitiful, I know. πŸ˜” So he grabbed tomatoes(which aren’t EXACTLY a safe thing but it added color to my dish), frozen green beans, and a green onion. He stood there watching me fry a couple of eggs in coconut oil with a handful of green beans, added in a few tomatoes for color, seasoned it all with Himalayan seas salt, black pepper, and turmeric. Garnishing the top with thin slices of green onion. And that was dinner! It was so satisfying, delicious, and simple! 

I know not too many folks like to give God credit these days, but I have to take a moment to. If my son hadn’t come into the kitchen when he did I wouldn’t have eaten such an amazing meal. I would have eaten half a jar of stuffed green olives, maybe some cheese slices, and hated myself later. God intervened by using my son to ground me (meaning forcing me to focus) and get me thinking what I should do instead and kept me from eating the very things that have led to this overgrowth and further the issue more. 

Sunday was even better! I had to make the decision to stay home from church since I was experiencing some IBS issues(again I’m just killing my prospects here lol) and didn’t want to chance anything. I rarely eat breakfast y’all, I take after my Memaw, leave me alone for an hour after I get up and let me enjoy my morning coffee(only for her it was hot tea). Coffee fills me up but I made half a cup instead and fried up two eggs just so I could get something into my system. Lunch came and I was starving! That’s when I made this…


All right, it’s not the prettiest bowl of food, but it was tasy! Stir fry veggies and garlic ginger chicken, it made four servings so I had enough for dinner and some to freeze! Sunday afternoon my detox pills arrived and I was actually excited! Me, I hate swallowing pills, but I was actually excited about having THOSE! I know, crazy. 😏 With my biggest meal I take my pills every day and haven’t had too many issues with them(mild burping…I’m batting a thousand already who cares anymore?!). And this is what is helping me to combat the candida overgrowth. I still pine for the foods that I used to eat, but I know in the end it’s better that I go without and finally get well after years of neglect. 

So…

Goodbye to : dairy(heavy cream, butter, cheeses, cream cheese), processed meats(kielbasa, spam, hot dogs, bacon, pepperoni, deli meats), mushrooms, peanut oil, mini sweet peppers, fathead pizza dough and bagels, creamy/cheesy casseroles, homemade ranch dressing, ketchup, mayonnaise, low carb brownies(because of the chocolate and butter), pork rinds, low carb protein smoothies(because the protein powder I love has whey in it), mashed cauliflower(I tend to make it with cream cheese, parm cheese, and heavy cream), pickled foods(sliced jalapenos, dill pickles, stuffed green olives), naturally sweet veggies and fruit, and the list goes on. 

Say hello to: dark green veggies(kale, broccoli, chard, romaine), cruciferous veggies(cauliflower, cabbage), organic meats(beef, chicken, and pork…not a fish fan), peppers, fermented foods(soy sauce, sauerkrauts, kimchi), squash, zucchini, green beans, onions, garlic, coconut oil, evoo, safflower oil, avocado oil(and avocados), hemp seeds, chia seeds, almonds, eggplant, blueberries, unsweetened cranberries, stevia, xylitol, vitamins and supplements, and candida detox pills(two pills once a day). 

Here’s a link to a site I found today that gives a basic outline of what foods to avoid and what foods are safe when killing off the candida. CLICK HERE

A friend recently asked me how my ice cube diet is going. 😏 I love her cheekiness! If it were anyone else I wouldn’t have laughed. For the most part I am able to maintain my low carb lifestyle while incorporating more of the anti-candida regimen. I don’t feel as bloated, the gas is slowly going away, mental clarity is emerging, I’m not as tired during the afternoon, but I am still battling with cold extremities, that might take a bit longer to get over since I’ve dealt with it for years. Plus I actually dropped a pound over the weekend which I haven’t been able to do for a while! 

Now, what yummy recipe do I have for you?! 


It’s baked chicken legs(you can use breasts, thighs, wings, or the whole chicken, go nuts!!) with oven roasted broccoli and cauliflower, served over a very basic romain salad topped with spicy brown mustard. 

What you’ll need:

12 chicken legs, skin on

No salt added seasoning of your choice(the one I used is pictured below)

Evoo

2 pounds frozen broccoli

1 pound frozen cauliflower

Pink Himalayan Sea Salt

Directions:

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two sheet pans with non stick foil. Coat the chicken legs evenly with salt free seasoning and place on sheet pan. Bake for 40 minutes uncovered. Crank the heat up to 425 degrees and bake for another 30 minutes. 

In a large mixing add frozen broccoli and cauliflower. Drizzle on evoo and season with pink Himalayan sea salt. Spread out on remaining sheet pan and bake for 30 minutes or until it reaches a desired doneness. 

Serve with chopped organic romaine lettuce and use your favorite dressing. It’s simple, it’s easy, and leftovers are great the next day for breakfast with a couple of fried eggs. Leftovers can be frozen or used for those Bento boxes. Just make sure to debone the chicken first before storing. Makes it easier to enjoy later on! 

Below is the no salt added seasoning recipe I used. 


I store mine in a regular mouth glass jar and washed off a screw on lid from a Kraft Parmesan cheese container. This way I can shake on the seasoning on one side or measure it out from the other. I can’t remember if I doubled or tripled the recipe at the time I made this, but it is worth it! I use it on my eggs, veggies, beef, pork, and of course chicken. 

You can make a non-spicy version by leaving out the cayenne pepper. I think the next batch I make I’ll add turmeric and ginger powder since both of those are amazing anti-candida seasonings. 


If you have any questions please feel free to ask me below or email me at nightowlkitchen@yahoo.com, don’t forget to follow me on Instagram(@nok_amandagayle). I tend to post a little more frequently on IG these days since it’s quicker. But I hope this post has helped to shed some light on this growing issue. If you suspect you are suffering from a candida overgrowth, here is a link with a list of symptoms. CLICK HERE. This is definitely something you DO NOT want to leave untreated. I will be honest with you, there is a lot of controversial information out there, please be careful with your research and take a majority of it with a massive grain of salt. What works for one person won’t always work for another, there is no one size fits all protocol. There’s a basic outline that we all have to follow, but how I am approaching treatment is not necessarily going to work for the next person. 

In the meantime, take care, happy healthy eating, and hope you all have a blessed week! 

Low Carb Gumbo(Rouxless)

Hey y’all! I hope everyone has been having a wonderful Wednesday so far! I’m not sure how many of you are gumbo lovers, and I sincerely hope I don’t offend anyone with this non-traditional version. I’m a gumbo lover and I’ve had it a few different ways, but I must say this recipe was absolutely amazing last night! The heat, combination of flavors, three different meats, everything was absolutely perfect! So much so that I ate two helpings, which is unheard of for me. Normally I am content with a single helping, but I think that since this does not have a thick roux in it that it makes it easier to eat more than one ought to! πŸ˜‰ No regrets!! 


I started out making this recipe in a dutch oven pot, which quickly proved to not be big enough. So I used an 8qt stockpot and once everything was in it the pot it was nearly full to the top. If you don’t have a pot big enough for this recipe then use two dutch ovens, cut the recipe in half, or you can purchase this one from Amazon! Ours is a Tramontina, only we don’t have those nice handle grips like the one on Amazon. Boy that would make it easier for sure instead of having to use pot holders. I always have to ask my nephew or dad to move the full stockpots around because I don’t want to risk dropping everything, especially when the contents are hot. So the grips are a nice addition and I highly recommend Tramontina cookware. Out of all of the pots and pans we have ever had these are the ones that have stood the test of time. I love that it’s stainless-steel, works great with our electric gas stove top, and it’s dishwasher safe(a major plus for this gal)! 

Here’s what you’ll need:

4 large chicken breasts

8 c filtered water

2 large onions, chopped

2 medium green bell peppers

2 c mini sweet bell peppers, chopped (red, yellow, and orange)

1 can Rotel tomatoes

2 cans Hunt’s diced tomatoes

2 pounds kielbasa

4 tblsp minced garlic

2 tblsp Tone’s Cajun Sasoning 

2 tblsp Phil Robertson’s Cajun Seasoning “Zesty”

3 tsp Kosher salt

2 tsp ground black pepper

2 1/2 c heavy cream

4 c 16/20 frozen precooked shrimp, thawed

In 8 qt stockpot add filtered water and chicken breasts. Bring to boil over high heat, cook till chicken is cooked through and tender. Remove and set aside to cool. Chop onions, bell peppers, and kielbasa; reduce heat so broth is at a slow boil and add chopped vegetables. Cook till fork tender, add the Rotel, diced tomatoes, kielbasa, and minced garlic. Chop cooked chicken breasts and add back to pot. 

Time to add in the seasonings and this is where you can go as crazy as you want. You can add in tabasco sauce, habanero peppers/sauce, chopped jalapenos, minced ghost chile peppers…or you can go mild and keep it sane with a little red pepper flakes. Last night I used a combination of Tone’s Cajun Seasoning and Phil Robertson’s Cajun Seasoning and that stuff has got some serious kick!!! Add in salt and blac pepper, stir to combin and let this simmer for 10-15 minutes over medium heat. 

Add heavy cream and bring back up to temp before adding the precooked shrimp. Stir in thawed shrimp and let those warm through for a few minutes. Serve immediiately and enjoy! 

NOK Notes:

All right, this is obviously NOT a thick gumbo. It is rouxless, meaning you don’t need to melt butter and whisk in flour, making it therefore a low carb friendly but not induction safe. The carb count per serving(and there’s a lot…nearly 8 qts worth) is 16 net carbs. That’s a lot I know, and admittedly I ate two servings. Ouch. Was worth it, so good! By the time I ate my second serving my lips were on fire. There is no good way to thicken this and for it be remotely like a real gumbo while maintaining a lower carb count. Personally I enjoyed the “broth”, my mom ladled some of the broth out and used it in her version of shrimp scampi. There was plenty leftover to freeze and have for another meal(a full gallon bag), which will fit easily into a dutch oven pot. 

Rotisserie chicken can be used instead of boiling your own chicken, but keep in mind that if you buy a rotisserie chicken from Walmart/Sam’s Club that it does have MSG and is not exactly the best chicken to use. Check around at other stores that offer rotisserie chickens and read the ingredients label. If you don’t see the letters MSG or the word monosodium glutamate then you’re good to go. 

A healthier option would be to buy free range chickens from a local farmer, have them humanely butchered, and slow cook them for 18 hours. This will yield a rich stock that you can keep in your freezer and use for just about anything! The gelatinous stock is beneficial for our health, it’s what we use during the flu and cold season. 

I know the recipe looks insane with that list of ingredients, but it is worth the time and effort. It certainly helped me get rid of sinus headache that had been lingering since Monday. Opened up my head for sure! Make this recipe as hot or mild as you like, cut it in half if you need to. It makes awesome leftovers and is perfect during the winter! 

Hope you all have a wonderful week! 

Seriously Sharp Cheez-it Crackers

These are seriously the EASIEST crackers you can ever make! And I truly believe that the sharper the cheese the better the flavor! I use the recipe from The Brown Eyed Baker blog, in the past I have used the food processor to combine all the ingredients. Which works perfectly, something to consider when you make this recipe. 

Pay close attention to the amount of ingredients. I made this today, after not making them for two years, and did not add enough flour. So, needless to say my batch did not turn out right. That’s ok, sad but it was still edible. I have another brick of cheese in the fridge and will be making more this weekend…and maybe some sausage balls πŸ˜‰ These are so much better than the store bought crackers, hands down! 

Hope you all enjoy! 

  

Ingredients:

8 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

ΒΌ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 to 3 tablespoons ice water

Directions:

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the cheese, butter, and salt on low speed until combined. Add the flour and mix on low until pebbly. Slowly add 2 tablespoons of the water and mix as the dough forms a ball. If needed, add the additional tablespoon of water a little at a time until the dough forms. Pat the dough into a disk, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the dough into two pieces and roll each into a very thin 10×12-inch rectangle (the dough should be no more than β…›-inch high). Using a fluted pastry wheel, cut the rectangles into 1-inch squares, then transfer them to the baking sheets.



3. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until puffed and browning at the edges. Immediately move the crackers to wire racks to cool completely, then store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
NOK Tips:

*If you don’t have a fluted pastry wheel, a pizza cutter will work just well. 

*My nephew, JJ, had the idea of making jalapeno cheez-its. Now my suggestion would be to use 8 ounces of a pepper jack cheese. 

*Add in a little cayenne pepper for heat.

*Garlic powder and parmesan cheese would make a yummy addition to these crackers. Use an herb butter as well!

Where has the time gone?!

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Seriously, where has the time gone?! This was our first week back in school and I am still trying to figure out what is going on. G–Man is no longer a baby, he’s not the same little guy who was once learning his ABC’s and 123’s. Gone are the art days of let’s put a sticker on it and paint everything!!! I’m not going to cry, ok, maybe I have shed a few tears but I’ll spare you all that.

I will admit this week has been great, we’ve had a few bumps along the way but for the most part it’s been really good. Hopefully this will set the tone for the rest of the school year πŸ™‚ I can dream!

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Β My writing has had to keep to the back burner, obviously. The summer has been busy and now with school back in session everything I personally enjoy doing has come to halt. I think about this place often and when I think about needing to post, something else comes up. All I can say is bear with me friends. This night owl is having to learn how to become an early bird and it is not easy. Kind of like switching to decaf…I shiver at the thought. Even my cooking has had to change a bit to suit our busy schedule. Last Saturday, I prepped a few meals to make this week and it’s worked out nicely! One recipe in particular has become a family favorite.

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How is this different from every other recipe out there? For one, it’s low carb. Two, I kind of added a little extra something to the recipe to make it creamier and backed off the Frank’s Hot Sauce a tad.

Here’s what you’ll need:

2 pounds of chicken, boiled and shredded

salt and pepper to taste

Frank’s Hot Sauce, to taste

1 small onion, chopped

5 jalapenos, thinly sliced (seeds are optional)

1 tblsp cold pressed coconut oil

16 oz cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 tsp garlic powder

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Bacon, optional

Preheat oven to 375*F

Start by boiling your chicken. I like to let it boil for a couple of hours this way the chicken it really tender. Move it to a bowl and let it cool.
Chop up onion and jalapenos. Set aside a small amount of jalapenos to garnish with. Saute in 1 tablespoon of cold pressed pure coconut oil or an oil of your choice, until the onions are transparent. Set aside.
In a medium size glass bowl, mix together the cream cheese, mayonnaise, heavy cream and garlic powder. Set aside.
Check the chicken to make sure it’s cooled enough to shred with your fingers or you can use forks if you prefer. Season with salt, pepper and Frank’s Hot Sauce. For me I like less hot sauce and I just shook the bottle till everything was lightly coated. You could go with 1/4 cup but I find less is better. Stir to combine and fold in the cream cheese mixture and 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese. Pour mixture into a 9×13 baking dish. Spread out evenly.

Add remaining cheddar cheese and mozzarella to the top and garnish with leftover slices of jalapenos. Bake for 30–35 minutes or until bubbly around the edges.

This is a crazy good dish! We had it with a salad, nothing fancy, but you can serve this up with a number of your favorite sides or even have it on a lightly toasted bun. Since we’re still trying to watch our carbs, most of our sides are either vegetables or salads.
However, if you are not too terribly concerned about carbs, you can add about 8 ounces of cooked pasta to this. Just be sure to increase your liquid ingredients to help compensate.

The amount of fat in this recipe might look jarring to some folks. When living a lower carb lifestyle, a person needs a little more fat to help keep them sated between meals. This helps to curb unnecessary snacking especially at night. That’s why I stress to everyone to use the ingredients you feel are best for you and your family.

Nutritional Information: Yields 10 servings, info is per serving and is courtesy of MyFitnessPal.

Calories: 426

Fat: 33g

Carbs: 6g

Fiber: 0

Net Carbs: 6g

Have blessed day!!

Mexican Salad

Evening, I’ve had some requests for the recipe of last night’s dinner. I’m so honored to receive such requests and always happy to share! It’s a crazy easy recipe and really I could have just shared it on the Night Owl Kitchen Facebook Page but I want everyone to be able to see it and try it πŸ™‚

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Mexican Salad

1 pound ground beef, cooked

1/2 onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 package taco seasoning

1 can black beans

1 can Rotel (tomatoes with green chiles)

salt and pepper to taste

Salad mix of your choice

Sour Cream(optional)

Salsa (optional)

Shredded Cheese (optional)

In a medium pan brown ground beef with onions and garlic. If you want you can drain off the fat, but if you’re doing lower carb it’s essential to leave it in.** Season with taco seasoning, add beans and Rotel. Add salt and pepper to your liking and serve over your favorite salad with sour cream and salsa.

**The reason I mentioned that if you’re doing lower carb to leave the fat in is this…the fat is what helps keep a lower carb eater satisfied. It’s important to get enough fat with each meal so that you aren’t finding yourself munching or craving unhealthy foods. Not everyone needs as much fat in their food, but when you have cut back on your carbohydrates then you need to increase your healthy fat just a bit to compensate. If you are using a leaner meat just add a tablespoon or two of coconut oil(the flavorless variety). Adding homemade guacamole to your salad is another great way to add healthy fat to your meal! Plus, consuming healthy fat will help to burn the existing fat in your body. Sounds like that shouldn’t be possible but trust me that’s exactly how it works. I’m not encouraging anyone to eat lard from a bucket…but don’t be afraid of healthier fat options. The health benefits trump old school weight loss jargon.

As for the black beans and Rotel, if you are just starting out with a lower carb lifestyle you can leave those out. If you still want it to have a spicy kick, however, just add some chopped jalapenos, tabasco peppers, or red pepper flakes to the meat mixture. Green chiles are low carb friendly, so add a 4 ounce can to the meat for a little heat and flavor.

Play around with your toppings, if you have the time make your own lower carb tortilla chips to serve with it OR make ultimate nachos! Those are always a hit with our family πŸ™‚

Enjoy!

Chili Relleno Wraps (Low carb and High Fiber)

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Here’s a great low carb/high fiber recipe that’s both easy and quick! It’s based on a recipe I found on Linda Sue’s website. I never like making two beef dishes back to back (same for chicken or pork), I have to break it up to keep things interesting for the family lest we get ourselves back into a rut. So, last night I studied the recipe decided what I could change to suit our palates. Really doesn’t take any more time to make it this way either πŸ™‚

Amanda’s Chili Relleno Meat Mix

1 pound ground white turkey

1 pound sausage

3 bell peppers, chopped

2 small onions, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

2 Tablespoons homemade chili powder*

In a large skillet or dutch oven brown turkey and sausage with onions and bell peppers. Drain off most of the grease. Add in minced garlic and seasonings. Let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

For this meat mixture alone, if you make it just as I have above, the net carbs come out to 4 grams even. You can eat it just as is with a little sprinkling of mozzarella cheese, some guacamole and sour cream on top. But if you can handle a few more carbs you can add it to a low carb/high fiber wrap. Click HERE to see the wraps we use.

To assemble

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Put small spoonful of the chili relleno mixture on the wrap.

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Sprinkle on a little cheese. Here in the photo mozzarella cheese was used but you can use any that you prefer.

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Add a little lettuce and sliced tomato on top with a little dollop of sour cream.Β  Can ya dig it?!

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Fold it up like you would any wrap and enjoy! You get the flavor of a chili relleno without all the carbs. Our family really liked this, it was a little unconventional of me to use the turkey and sausage but both were a nice change. This can definitely be made spicier, just add some crushed red pepper flakes, jalapenos and for those who like to push the limits…add a few drops of habanero sauce to the meat!

Total net carbs for the meat and the wrap comes out to 9 grams. You really can’t be that! Of course if you’re not living a lower carb lifestyle you could add the meat mixture to tortilla chips covered in a white cheese sauce for some chili relleno nachos. Or you could layer it with corn tortillas in a casserole dish for a chili relleno casserole. The meat mix is versatile for everyone and you don’t have to sausage if you don’t want to. You could use all turkey, all beef, ground chicken, or a mixture thereof. Don’t be afraid to play with the flavors and spices. Happy eating!

The Week at a Glance and Recipe

Have you ever woken up refreshed, excited to meet the new day? Yeah, I did that once too πŸ™‚ Not that I didn’t jump out of the bed, I did especially after my alarm went off at 8:20am at a blaring volume that I swear should have woken up my son and nephew! Oy, not the best way to wake up. This week has been great, looking back over it and the memories that were made just gladdens my heart ❀

On Facebook I’ve been participating in a 31 day photo challenge. It’s something fun and different, challenging too. I had no idea something like that could be so tricky, honestly there have been a couple days where I wasn’t too sure about what I would post. You have to really tap into some creativity, think outside the box. On Instagram I share a collage of four pictures at a time of each challenge, if you’ve missed it or don’t have an IG account here’s a look at this weeks photo challenge.Β 

31 Day Photo Collage Days 6 to 11

From Left to Right on the top row: Day 6 was about fantasy, I struggled with this big time, so I colored a picture of sleeping beauty and wrote “waiting for him”; Day 7 was something that starts with P…I went with pecan tree, it’s on the right side of the picture. Day 8 was a quote: β€œThere is no happiness like that of being loved by your fellow creatures, and feeling that your presence is an addition to their comfort.”― Charlotte BrontΓ«, Jane Eyre, so I went with a picture of me and my son, he’s my “fellow creature” that I love very much!

From Left to Right on the bottom row: Day 9 was a good one, black and white. Wrote a quote up on our chalkboard. My all time favorite was yesterdays, Day 10, inspiration. It was a fun day spent doing fall crafts with my boy. Day 11 was another quote:Β  “I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It’s probably the most important thing in a person.”― Audrey Hepburn…who better to make you laugh than George Burns, Gracie Allen, Carol Burnett, and Lucille Ball?! My favorite shows!!

But the week wasn’t just about posting pictures onto Facebook, I’ve done some baking this week both sweet and savory that has all been very successful! Last nights dinner for instance, was quite tasty! Something I literally threw together! I’m calling it Queso Dip Burrito Bake. It’s simple, easy, and takes about 30-40 minutes to bake.

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You’ll need:

1 package low carb high fiber tortillas, or your favorite flour tortilla

1 pound ground turkey

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 package of favorite taco seasoning or homemade

1 can refried beans (black refried beans work too)

1/2 can of water

1/2 cup favorite salsa

1/2 can rotel tomatoes

4 ounces Velveeta, cubed

2 cups shredded cheese, mexican blend

Brown ground turkey and onions together. Add in garlic and cook for 30 additional seconds. Turkey has very little fat, you may want to add a little olive oil or peanut oil into the pan to make sure it doesn’t stick or burn. About a tablespoon or two should work. Stir in the taco seasoning, refried beans and water. I used the empty refried beans can and filled it about half way with water. Let simmer on low.Β  Cube the Velveeta and set aside. Pull apart your flour tortillas and get your shredded cheese ready, set aside. Remove mexican turkey meat from heat and bring over to your work area ( I like to work at our butcher block). In a 9x 13 inch pan pour salsa down in the bottom. To assemble burritos: On a tortilla place a healthy pinch of shredded cheese down first. A healthy pinch for me is four fingers full, if you’re using smaller tortillas use less cheese. Next add a healthy spoonful of the meat mixture. Don’t add too much or you’ll have issues when folding. If you’ve never folded a burrito before, here’s a picture to help.

Fold the tortilla according the above picture. Place the burrito seam side down into your salsa lined baking dish. Repeat this process seven more times. For the topping: Spoon half a can of rotel on top of the burritos, juice too, and top with cubed Velveeta and shredded cheese. Cover tightly with foil, bake in 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Remove the foil and finish baking for 10 minutes to finish melting the cheese. Do not let it brown. Let it cool for 5 minutes before diving in, unless you like molten cheese scorching the inside of your mouth πŸ™‚Β  Serve with favorite chips, salsa, guacamole, and sour cream!

Knowing that one pan wasn’t going to be enough for us I went ahead and made a second pan. It was killer! You get the best of both…cheesy beef–n–bean burritos, creamy queso dip on top…out of this world! My oldest nephew certainly loved it, and he’s not a ground turkey fan. It’s all about the seasonings and how you prepare it! I hope you all give this a try and let me know what you think. It’s a keeper for my family and hopefully it will be for yours as well. Have a blessed day!