Posted in Favorite Recipes, food

Ginger Snap Pumpkin Cheesecake

We had a great Thanksgiving this year and lots of great food. The menu included two fried turkeys, a honey spiral ham, macaroni & cheese, sausage stuffing, corn, green bean casserole, and of course, desserts, which included this Ginger-Snap Pumpkin Cheesecake. I am told it was quite delicious. Of course, I tasted it my self, but, it is always good to hear feedback on a dessert you made yourself. My daughter contributed an Apple Pie, and Michele, another of our clan made the traditional Pumpkin Pie.

We had a great celebration. It’s always great to be with family on the holidays. I hope you enjoy this recipe. It’s sure to be a big hit at your next special occasion.

Ginger Snap Pumpkin Cheesecake

Ingredients:
12 ounces gingersnaps
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
6 tablespoons salted butter, melted
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
Dash of kosher salt
Three 8-ounce packages cream cheese softened
One 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Salted Caramel Sauce:
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) salted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Whipped cream, for serving (I used canned whipped cream)
Chopped pecans, for serving

Directions:

For the pumpkin gingersnap cheesecake: In a food processor or blender, grind the gingersnaps until fine. Pour into a bowl and stir in the pecans, melted butter, brown sugar, and salt. Press into the bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the filling, beat the cream cheese in a stand mixer until soft, scraping the sides once. Mix in the pumpkin, scraping the sides once or twice. Add the eggs 1 at a time, allowing them to mix in, then add the sour cream and mix. With the mixer on low, add the granulated sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg. Thoroughly scrape the bowl and mix to ensure everything is smooth and mixed in.

Pour the filling into the pan, smoothing the top. Set the pan on a baking sheet and bake until the filling is no longer soupy but still slightly jiggly, about 50 minutes. Turn off the oven, open the door just a hair and let the cheesecake sit in the oven for 15 more minutes. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool for 30 minutes, then cover it with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.

For the salted caramel sauce: Mix the brown sugar, heavy cream, butter, vanilla and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-low to medium heat. Cook, while whisking gently, until thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Let cool, then refrigerate until needed. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Slice the cheesecake and top with the salted caramel sauce, whipped cream, and chopped pecans.

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Posted in Diet, goals, Health

Still Hanging On

belly barrow

It is and has been a slow process to try to get back 0n track with my diet. I know it will probably be even more difficult with the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays coming up, but I am determined. By the new year, I really want to be back on track with my diet & exercise, and feeling better.

Today when I got out of bed I did some stretching because I have been having more back pain than usual. I thought it might be because I had been gaining weight. However, on the scale, I had only gained a pound since the last time I weighed in. So, I suppose it is because I have not been exercising. During the winter months before summer, I had been walking every other day. So the exercise had been helping with the pain.

I need to be in shape anyway. Next summer I plan to audition for a gig onboard a cruise ship as a musician. They have a health standard just like the Navy, but not near as hard to meet. Not that the Navy’s standard was that difficult, but it did involve being able to meet some physical activity requirements. The cruise ship just wants to make sure I don’t fall over dead before my contract is finished.

I have, of course, been practicing the saxophone for about a year and a half. I think I will be ready by summer. I have also promised to play at my church at some point. I will keep my promise. And if possible, I would like to play with some of the musicians in the Charleston area; at least a jam session or something, or, maybe a solo gig in a restaurant or coffee shop.

Anyway, the bottom line is I will not give up. I have a plethora of reasons to keep at it, number one being my health. I’m only 54. I’m too young to quit. I will keep you all informed about the ship thing. For more about playing music, you can follow my music blog tonelovette.wordpress.com.

 

Posted in Diet

Blueberry Scones?

The other day I made blueberry scones. Now, I’m not supposed to be eating blueberry scones or any other kind of scones. This is my problem; I know how to bake. I can’t even blame this on my son. He’s already back at school. I told him about them and now he wants me to make some the next time he’s home.

Sometimes I just want to give up on this health thing. I haven’t lost or gained any weight. It is extremely frustrating. Frustrating because I have not lost any more weight. Frustrating because I am glad I haven’t gained. That’s not an accomplishment. I’ve just been lucky.

I keep saying I need to get serious about this thing yet, I keep breaking my diet. Even as I write this I am thinking if going into the kitchen and making more scones! I don’t know what to do. Obviously, it takes some amount of discipline to stay the course, but, I don’t seem to have it.

God, I’m not in the mood for this…

Posted in Favorite Recipes, food

Fresh Apple Cinnamon Scones

First, the picture above is not mine. The link leads to the source of this recipe. Scones are considered a quick bread, like a biscuit. In fact, they are made same way. Before I began my Culinary studies I didn’t know what a scone was. And since I changed my diet I can’t eat them anymore, but, that doesn’t mean you can’t! These are great for breakfast with a nice cup of coffee. They’re easy to make. So let me know how you liked them.

SCONES

11-1/2 ounces King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2-3/8 ounces granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon Apple Pie Spice or ground cinnamon
4 ounces cold unsalted butter
2-3/4 ounces chopped fresh apple, in 1/2″ pieces (about half a medium apple); leave the skin on, if you like
4 ounces cinnamon chips
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces applesauce, unsweetened preferred
TOPPING
3 tablespoons coarse white sparkling sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and spice.
  2. Work in the butter just until the mixture is unevenly crumbly; it’s OK for some larger chunks of butter to remain unincorporated.
  3. Stir in the chopped apple and cinnamon chips.
  4. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, and applesauce.
  5. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until all is moistened and holds together.
  6. Line a baking sheet with parchment; if you don’t have parchment, just use it without greasing it. Sprinkle a bit of flour atop the parchment or pan.
  7. Scrape the dough onto the floured parchment or pan, and divide it in half. Gently pat and round each half into a 5″ to 5 1/2″ circle about 3/4″ thick.
  8. To make the topping: Stir together the coarse sugar and cinnamon. Brush each circle with milk, and sprinkle with the topping.
  9. Using a knife or bench knife that you’ve run under cold water, slice each circle into 6 wedges.
  10. Carefully pull the wedges away from the center to separate them just a bit; there should be about 1/2 inch space between them, at their outer edges.

*For best texture and highest rise, place the pan of scones in the freezer for 30 minutes, uncovered. While the scones are chilling, preheat the oven to 425°F.

  • Bake the scones for 18 to 22 minutes, or until they’re golden brown. When you pull one away from the others, it should look baked all the way through; the edge shouldn’t look wet or unbaked.
  • Remove the scones from the oven, and cool briefly on the pan. Serve warm. When they’re completely cool, wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for up to several days.

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Posted in Health

Hurricane Irma

First, I would like to report that my doctor’s appointment went well. My numbers were better than I thought they would be. I do have some work to do though. My doctor was very encouraging and made me feel sure that I could do better. My blood sugar levels were okay. They could be better and I intend to do better. My son is back in school so I won’t have to resist any foods he usually has in the house. I guess I do need to discipline my self a little more.

Now, later today we will face what’s left of Hurricane Irma here in South Carolina. It’s about 5:45 a.m. here. She will be here by late afternoon or evening. By the time she gets here she will probably be downgraded to a tropical storm. I am about 56 miles north of Charleston. Of course, they are expecting some flooding in Charleston. It is possible that we could have some flood here in Saint Stephen as well but I don’t think any of the floodings will be anything like what happened in Texas or South Florida.

Ricki Kitty (my cat) is inside. She is anxious and pacing around the house. She is used to living outside. My hope is that she chooses to use the litter box instead of the bath tub or a corner in the house some place That would suck. I know she will be happy when the storm is over so she can get back to chasing birds and squirrels.

I will certainly be glad when this storm is over. I hate this time of year. We are well-informed about the storm. However, I am a little irritated by the media. It is hard for them to hide how giddy they are with this storm. They actually seem very excited about the storm and the potential and real damage happening, and I think it about ratings for them. I know that’s not true about everyone who works with the media. It is just very frustrating to watch sometimes.

Anyway, I’ll be glad when this is over and people who have had their property or homes destroyed can try to get their lives back. I am praying for the people of Florida and Texas. And there are people praying for us. I had family in Texas who had major damage to their homes. Several of them have called or texted me with encouragement and to find out if I’m ready or doing okay. I’m sure I will be.

 

 

Posted in Health

Health Update Sept 2017

On this coming Tuesday, I have a doctors appointment to go over blood work I submitted about a month ago. I don’t expect a good report. I have struggled unbelievably to stay on my diet this year. The last time I had this meeting with the doctor my numbers were, for the most part, pretty damned good. Well, at least my numbers were certainly trending in the right direction.

I don’t know what I will hear this time. I will take it in stride, whatever I hear. I will simply keep fighting. I won’t ever quit trying to improve my health. I do seem to have a weakness when it comes to resisting foods that I don’t need. My best defense is still not to have those foods in the house. However, when I’m at someone else’s home my defenses seem to go out the window.

I’m also afraid I’ve begun to gain weight again. I have been reluctant to weigh myself. So I won’t know if I have gained weight until I go to the doctor’s office on Tuesday.

Needless to say, I will begin the week with the best of intentions and eat the right foods. If I don’t end up eating some place other than at home I will be fine. Really, I should have more discipline. But I can never seem to find it when needed. I will keep trying though. I will let you all know how it goes.

Last month’s visit with the orthopedic surgeon, I was told that my carpal tunnel was a mild case. He also told me that higher blood sugar levels could cause the tingling & numbness in my fingers and other extremities. It does seem to have lessened since I  began to be more diligent in watching the foods I am consuming.

The Doc also gave me braces to wear which immobilizes my wrists while sleeping. It seems to be helping. However, sometimes the braces seem to cause more pain than I had before. But I was told me to give it a couple of weeks to start improving. It has only been about a week and a half. I think they will ultimately help me to avoid surgery, which is always good.

That’s it for now, until next time.

Posted in Health

Followup on Carpal Tunnel

This week I have a followup with the surgeon about my carpal tunnel. I’m planning on requesting the surgery. I’m really tired of the pains and the tingling. I don’t want it to get worse. It is already affecting my ability to play my saxophone. My appointment is Thursday. Hopefully, I will be in surgery in the upcoming weeks.

I am a little worried though. My back surgery in 2010 caused more problems than it solved. My neck surgery last year seems to have created other problems, but nothing near as bad as my lower back surgery. So I haven’t really had good luck with surgeries. Hopefully, that won’t be the case with this surgery.

I hope everything goes okay. I really enjoy playing the saxophone. And one day I plan to be really good at it. I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up😋. I just know it has to be musical. It’s the only thing I can do without extreme pain. I may even be willing be a cruise ship musician. Several of my Navy buddies have done it once they left the military. I don’t necessarily like riding on ships, especially non-navy ships.

Navy ships have what is called watertight integrity. That means all the doors throughout the ship become watertight once closed. This allows them to close off areas of the ship which may have been compromised. An example would be a torpedo blast. If the ship takes on water after the blast, that section of the ship can be closed off by “dogging down” the water-tight hatches leading to the flooded areas. If the ship list to one side a space on the opposite side can be flooded to balance the ship.

I said all of that to say Navy ships are safer than Cruise ships. And some of the cruise ship accents that I’ve heard about in the last several years were because of stupid human tricks. That is to say, human error. Anyway, that’s about all I have to say in this post. If you’d like to hear some of my musical progress you can find it at, https://tonelovette.wordpress.com.

Posted in Health

Health Update

Lately, I am having issues with numbness and tingling in my right hand, and sometimes my feet. I’m for sure that the foot issue is the result of pressure on my sciatic nerve. I initially thought the tingling in my right hand was carpal tunnel. Some of it may be, but, I think there is a problem with circulation. I say that because the problem seems to get worse when I lie down.

I didn’t just notice it recently. I’ve known for a while. I just assumed it was the carpal tunnel thing. It never occurred to me that it might be something else. Sometimes when I wake up I have extreme numbness in my right hand, and also there is a lot of pain; significant pain. It is not because I slept with my arm underneath me or in some weird position where I’m cutting off circulation. I sleep flat on my back.

So tomorrow I will be seeing my doctor again (sigh). The day after that I am also seeing a neurologist for a nerve study? It doesn’t sound like it’s going to be pleasant. I’m more concerned that it might be a circulation problem. A circulation problem would be indicative of an underlying problem with something else, like maybe the heart, or maybe I’m close to having a stroke. Those are worse case scenarios for me but that’s the kind of crap that runs in my family history.

Well, that’s all that is on my mind this morning. It’s time for breakfast and then to the practice room.

 

Posted in Favorite Recipes, soups

Avgolemono Soup

I realize that hot soups are not usually a summertime dish. However, summer is almost over. The nice cool fall weather is coming. And I love soup. And this one is quite tasty. This is from FoodWishes.blogspot.com, a Chef John recipe. It is pretty easy to make, and as I’ve said, pretty tasty. I hope you like it as much as I do. This is not part of the keto-diet. But when I cheat, I cheat well. Here are the ingredients below:

Ingredients:

Makes 6 Servings Avgolemono Soup:
1 whole chicken, about 3 pounds
3 quarts cold water
2 tsp salt at least, plus more to taste
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 bay leaves
1/4 Tsp dried oregano leaves
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups finely diced onion
2/3 to 3/4 cup Arborio rice, depending on how thick you like it
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 large eggs
1/2 Tsp freshly ground pepper
pinch of cayenne

Directions:

1. Add Chicken, celery, 1 carrot, bay leaves, 1 onion large chop, dried oregano, and water to the pot.
2. Bring to a boil then lower heat and let simmer until the desired doneness. Remove unwanted foam from surface.
3. Sauté the 2 cups fine diced onions with olive oil until soft, sweet, and golden. Reserve until needed.
4. When the chicken is done, remove it and the vegetables from the chicken stock. Chop chicken into pieces (as big or as small as you like). Also, if you don’t want chicken pieces in the soup, cook until it falls apart in the in the stock
5. Set heat at medium-low, and add the sautéed onions to the stock.
6. Add the Arborio Rice. Let cook 30-45 minute until the rice is very, very soft.
7. Add salt to taste.
8. In the meantime squeeze 1/2 cup of lemon juice.
9. Beat the eggs and lemon juice and black pepper.
10. Once the rice is done, temper the beaten egg mixture with some of the soup liquid (2 cups). Once the egg mixture is tempered, add it back to the soup.
11. Add chicken back to the soup and cook another five minutes.
12. Serve.

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