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Cabbage Soup Magic

15 Jan

“I decided I’ll never get down to my original weight and I’m OK with that.  After all, 7 pounds 6 ounces just isn’t reasonable.”  Malcolm West

I know.  I said I wasn’t going to do this recipe thing and then here I go!  Is there no one you can trust.

But I have a reason.  (Don’t they all!)  Someone sent me this cabbage soup recipe.  You know the one where all you eat is this cabbage soup and you loose a ton of weight but you can’t go out in public because of the flatulence.  Well I took this recipe and left out some of her ingredients, namely the red pepper flakes and cayenne, and added some sun-dried tomato hummus that I got at HyVee from their hummus bar.

Humor me.  There is such a thing as a hummus bar.  Not a good bar to get picked up in unless it’s by another hummus lover.  On second thought…



2-3 T olive oil, I used grape seed because that’s what I had on hand

1/2 head of cabbage, chopped

1 cup celery, onion, and carrot, diced – that’s a cup of each

1 green bell pepper, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced (that means chopped small)

4 cups chicken or veggie broth

14 ounce can diced tomatoes

1 t oregano

1 t basil

1 t salt

1 to 2 T sun-dried tomato hummus


Heat oil in large pot and sauté celery, onion, carrot and green pepper until slightly soft.  Give it about 3 to 5 minutes

Stir in garlic then add broth, tomatoes, and cabbage.  Bring to boil and reduce heat.  Simmer until cabbage is tenderish.  Stir in seasonings, taste, and adjust seasonings.

What about the hummus, you might be asking.  I actually put the 1 to 2 T in the bottom of my soup bowl just before I ladled the hot soup into the bowl.  Then I mixed it in and enjoyed a cabbage soup that I could actually eat more than once a day without invoking divine assistance.

Did you notice the square bowl in the picture?  That was a gift to me after I got rid of my boring, blue bowls that I’ve been using for years because I owned them.  Not a great reason to continue to live with something, a fact I learned from the book about creating a tidy house that I wrote about a few bog entries ago.  Pay attention!

Great thing about a square bowl is that you can drink the last few drops of soup from the corner of the bowl, a feat not possible with a round bowl, which should need no explanation after all the modern math we were exposed to.

Loveya – The Grandma


Love It Pizza

28 Feb

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”  J. Krishmanurti

This pizza recipe is adapted from Everyday Paleo by Sarah Frangoso.  If you do not have a copy of this cookbook in your collection you are a loser.  Scratch that.  I meant to say that you should really consider the purchase. It’s a great cookbook.

However, I did dramatically change the recipe to accommodate things in my pantry.  This is my version.


2 cups almond flour

2 eggs

3 T extra virgin olive oil

1/4 t baking soda

1 t garlic powder

1 T Italian seasoning – oregano and basil if you don’t have an official blend of Italian seasoning


1 pound Italian sausage – I bought bulk at Whole Foods

1 small onion, diced

2 small tomatoes, diced – or use canned well drained

peppers – I used the package of frozen red, green, and yellow, about a half cup

1/2 cup sliced black olives – I used sliced black olives

1 cup organic, gluten-free marinara sauce

DISTRUCTIONS:  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all the crust ingredients together with a spoon until you can easily get in there with your hands.  Did you remember to wash your hands?  Good.  Form the dough into a ball.

Place the dough onto a round pizza pan or a cookie sheet that’s been lightly greased with olive oil.  Press the dough into the pan getting the dough as thin as possible.  Bake the crust for 20 minutes while you prepare the toppings.

At this point I chopped and diced.  I also squeezed the pork sausage into little flat pieces so they’d be ready to pop onto the crust and they would be thin enough to cook through.  True confession – I did not have an entire pound of the Italian sausage because it looked so good that I fried up a patty the previous day as part of my lunch.  Still had plenty for the pizza.

After the crust has been in the oven for 20 minutes top it with the marinara sauce, then the sausage, and then pile on the veggies.  Bake an additional 25 to 30 minutes.


I love this pizza.  It had all the pizza flavor without cheese and gluten.  And think of all the other things you could top it with to make it your very own favorite.  I’m going to make it the next time I entertain the ladies.  Knowing my lady friends I’ll probably make two.  We are still ardent members of the clean plate club!

Loveya – The Grandma

Chili Cha Cha Cha

1 Feb

“No diet will remove all the fat from your body because the brain is entirely fat.  Without a brain, you might look good, but all you could do is run for public office.”  George Bernard Shaw

Chili is one of those dishes that has 1000 varieties.  Really?  It’s my blog so I get to say what I want.

Truthfully, variations with chili are seemingly endless. Here’s a basic recipe that will allow you to dash off in various directions, rethink ways to serve chili, and stock your freezer with chili for a quick-thaw meal.


1 T coconut oil, or other oil appropriate for browning meat

1 pound meat – I used ground turkey in this version

1 onion, chopped

2 cups diced carrots

2 cups diced celery

1 to 2 cups diced peppers – red, yellow, or green or a combination thereof

Large can diced tomatoes

1 T chili powder, more or less

1 T ground cumin, more or less

1 T cocoa powder (Yes!  This is the secret ingredient that will make you chili sing!)

S&P to taste

DISTRUCTIONS:  In a large kettle or skillet brown the meat in the oil.  Add the chopped veggies and cook until the mixture is nice and hot.  Add the tomatoes and spices.  Season.  Mix.  Cover.  Cook on low heat until the veggies are tender or dump the mixture into a crock pot and cook on low until you’re darn good and ready to eat.  Check seasonings one more time.  Was that so difficult?

Other things that could be included in chili are corn, lima beans, or any other kind of beans that you like.  You’ll notice that my recipe does not contain beans.  Just a personal preference but it still tastes like chili.  


This is not the entire batch of my chili, but simply a small portion that I’m heating up for breakfast.  Breakfast!  Yes.  I really enjoy a small amount of chili or any other kind of soup for breakfast.  Or it could be a lunch.  Just plop on an egg or two, cover, and cook until the eggs are done to your liking.


Feeding a crowd?  Use a large skillet and festoon the mixture with eggs for everyone!  

Loveya – The Grandma

Mexican Chicken and Pepper Soup

28 Jan

“Self delusion is pulling in your stomach when you step on the scale.”  Paul Sweeney

The following recipe will make it unnecessary for you to pull in your stomach when you step onto the scale.  That’s because it follows the guidelines of Paleo eating.  Following these guidelines will make you svelte and irresistible to your heart’s desire.  I promise.  Have I ever lied to you?

I found this recipe, which sounded delicious, and of course I didn’t have the proper ingredients on hand so I improvised.  Didn’t have red and yellow peppers to cut into thin strips but I did have a bag of frozen red, yellow, and green pepper.  Didn’t have chicken chests so I used chicken thighs.  We all lived happily ever after.


1 T olive oil

1 onion, thinly sliced

1/4 t chili flakes

1 t oregano

3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

1/2 bag frozen pepper strips

1/2 large can diced tomatoes

3 skinless, boneless chicken thighs

Parsley and lime wedge to serve

DESTRUCTIONS:  Saute the onion, garlic and chili in the oil until fragrant.  I started this whole thing in a large skillet.  Easier  for me to control.


This is what was going on in the skillet with the first four ingredients.  The original recipe called for a teaspoon of chili flakes.  Even cutting the amount to 1/4 teaspoon gave this soup enough kick for this spice-loving lady.  More or less to suit your personal taste would be a good idea.


Next add the stock, tomatoes, and oregano and bring to a boil.  Lovely aromas will begin to waft through your kitchen!  Next, add a half bag of frozen peppers.  Easy and no sliced fingers!


Frozen peppers just waiting to join the fun!

At this point in the original recipe you’re supposed to add chicken breast and simmer about 5 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.  However, I did not have chicken breasts so I added diced chicken thighs (cut with a scissors into diced-sized pieces) and put everything into my trusty crock pot on low for about two hours.

The results were delicious and picture perfect!


The squeeze of lime cut some of the heat.  A lovely, light soup that’s simple to prepare.  Can life get much better?  Yes!  I discovered a way to make my own, delicious, chili powder.  Stay tuned.

Loveya – The Grandma

Pizza Veggies w/ Homemade Italian Sausage

11 Dec

“You’d better cut the pizza into four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.”  Yogi Berra

Giving up gluten for religious reasons (Lie.  Just checking to see if you’re paying attention) left me without one of my favorite foods.  Or so I thought.  I love pizza.  But how could I make it easily, without a crust.  Key word is “easily”.  

Also, if I want to make food that my husband, Jeff, will eat so I’m not cooking double at every meal (cue violins) the food better taste darn good.  What follows is a recipe for pizza style veggies that tastes so darn good that it’s become our go-to weekend dish.  And bonus, it lets me get rid of that half of cauliflower that’s left over from Lemony Cauliflower Rice!


Picture taken while attempting to rip pan from my husband’s hands!


1/2 head cauliflower

Broccoli, equal to, or not, amount of cauliflower

Other pizza ingredients including, halved black and/or green olives, chopped onions, chopped green and/or red pepper, julienned uncured pepperoni, sliced smoked turkey sausage, and homemade Italian sausage

1 T ghee

3 T tomato paste

3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

1 T white balsamic vinegar

1 t each dried oregano, basil, and parsley

Sprinkling of red pepper flakes, optional

S&P to taste 

1 T extra virgin olive oil

DISTRUCTIONS:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Break the cauliflower and broccoli into bite-sized pieces, place into a large bowl, and mix with other pizza ingredients of your choosing.  While these ingredients get to know each other you’re going to make the sauce.

Melt the ghee in a small saucepan and add the garlic, balsamic vinegar, spices, and red pepper flakes if you’re going to use them.  No more cooking required once the ghee is melted.  Mix well and pour the sauce over the bowl of veggies and other sundry pizza ingredients.  Mix well again.  Hands work.

Spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet.  Bake for about 30 minutes, until the veggies are tender.  Add salt and pepper to your liking and sprinkle with the extra virgin olive oil.  


You’re probably going to ask about this homemade Italian sausage thing.  I make my own Italian sausage because it gives me choices and it’s easy.  Also, I want to know exactly what’s going into my Italian sausage.  I purchase my ground meat at a store that sells grass fed, humanely treated, sung to sleep pigs, chickens, and turkeys.

As far as easy goes, making sausage is as easy as mixing together ground meat and spices with a little water.  You can then stuff the mixture into casings if you have that stuffing attachment for your mixer or leaf blower, or you can make the mixture into any sized patties you desire and freeze them, baked or unbaked, for future use.   


2 pounds ground pork, turkey, or chicken

2 t salt

1 t black pepper

3 T fennel seeds

1/2 cup water

1 t ground hot pepper or pepper flakes, optional

DISTRUCTIONS:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees and cover a large baking pan with parchment paper if you’re going to bake the patties.  Soak the fennel seeds in water for at least 10 minutes.  I always forget this step and nothing terrible has happened.  Mix everything together.  Hands work.  Best to wear gloves when handling raw meat.  Wash hands thoroughly before and after handling raw meat, even if wearing gloves.

At this point I drop the meat mixture, using a small scoop, onto the baking sheet, so I have meatball sized portions.  When they’re cool I either freeze them in spaghetti sauce (now you’ll want a recipe for spaghetti sauce!) or slice them in order to mix into my veggie pizza ingredients.  Or sometimes I just start popping them into my mouth.  Quality control.  It’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Loveya – The Grandma 

Jambalaya Revisited

6 Dec

“Life is too short for self-hatred and celery sticks.”  Marilyn Wann


Dish of Jambalaya with Shrimp Garnish

I though I’d begin this blog entry with a picture so all of you artsy people will be impressed.  Notice the shrimp garnish.  Because I purchased the shrimp already cooked (yes, I’m lazy) I didn’t want to add them to the mixture during cooking time, which would make them tough.

Confession number two, which will bore you to death.  I have this thing when I eat gluten and other grains that cause my ears to itch and get crusty and the heels of my feet to take on the texture of a pachyderm.  Cutting gluten, grains, and dairy out of my diet has, once more, restored me to a state of beauty.  (Dare to dream.)

Therefore, I was forced to reinvent Jambalaya without the rice.  One would think that simply leaving the rice out of the recipe would do the trick.  Think again.  I also took the 5 cups of chicken broth and parred it down to 1 cup.   No need for all that liquid if there isn’t any rice to absorb it.

And then there was the spice mixture.  I should have cut that in half, as there were only half the ingredients to absorb the heat.  Fortunately, I like spicy food.  Unfortunately, my husband doesn’t.  I think it will freeze well.

One more thing, because I’m sure you’re interested beyond belief.  I wanted something under the Jambalaya that would be kind of like a gluten base without actually being gluten.  Enter, spaghetti squash muffins.  Yes, I turned something else into muffins.  They worked well with the Jambalaya.  I’ll share the recipe in the next bog.  I promise.

Loveya – The Grandma


5 Dec

“Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM.  Prayer and medication to follow.”  Church bulletin announcement

Jambalaya is an ethnic word that either means “the meeting of waters” or “ham”.  Actually, I think Milwaukee means “the meeting of waters” so let’s forget this part of the discussion.  On the other hand, Jambalaya is a fun word to say and if you’re old enough you might remember the song, which would lead to the question, what is file’ gumbo?

Jambalaya is a Cajun dish with a bit of heat.  However, you control the amount of ingredients so you can control the amount of heat.  Jambalaya, besides heat, contains rice and generally some pork, poultry, and/or seafood.  Can’t you just see endless varieties on the horizon!

Cajun cooking, the genre from which Jambalaya springs, is based around trinity, or three.  There are generally three vegetable ingredients that always appear – onion, celery, and green pepper.  There are generally three ground peppers that always appear – black, white, and red.  Onward! 

INGREDIENTS, PART I – In a small bowl combine:

2 bay leaves

1.5 t salt

1.5 t white pepper

1/2 t cayenne or red pepper

1/2 t ground black pepper

2 t thyme

1/2 t sage


1/2 stick butter

1.5 pounds cubed, cooked turkey breast

1 pound smoked sausage, cut into slices

2 cups each, onion, celery, and green pepper, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

2 cups chopped tomatoes, canned will work

1 cup tomato sauce

5 cups chicken stock

3 cups rice

DISTRUCTIONS:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  While oven is warming, heat the butter in a heavy pot on a medium high heat and brown the smoked sausage for about 3 minutes.  Add the turkey and continue cooking until lightly browned, about another 3 minutes.

Stir in the seasoning mix along with 1/2 the onions, celery, and green pepper.  Add ALL of the garlic and sauté for about five to eight minutes.  Stir frequently or the garlic will burn.

Add the tomato sauce and cook for another minute.  Stir in the rest of the onions, celery, and green pepper along with the tomatoes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the rice and chicken broth.

Pour everything into a rectangular pan and bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for about 1 hour.  Remove from the oven when the rice is done, stir, and remove the bay leaves.

Because there are numerous brands of chicken sausage you could make a turkey and smoked sausage variety for your friends who don’t eat red meat.  How about mixing in some cleaned and cooked shrimp at the end for a special dinner.

At one of your famous gatherings tell a regional joke from the repertoire of one of my favorite singer/entertainers, Kacey Jones – “I told my husband, Bubba, to take out the trash so he started dating my sister.”

Play a little accordion music in the background and you’ve got yourself a party!

Loveya – The Grandma