Are you looking for a new recipe? Something easy? With simple ingredients? And that is low carb? Well, look no further. This could easily become a staple in your dinner rotation. This Low Carb Taco Pie recipe is one the whole family is bound to enjoy!
Ingredients and Instructions
I was trying to think of something to make with the ingredients I had on hand. Due to my work schedule, I did not get my weekly grocery shopping done. I decided to make something featuring ground beef. But what?
After looking through the cupboard and refrigerator, I noted that in addition to ground beef, I had plenty of eggs, cream, cheese, and a package of taco seasoning. This seemed like it could easily make a low carb quiche sort of dish.
I browned my beef and drained it and then added a package of spicy taco seasoning. Once the beef was browned, I beat three eggs and added a small can of diced chills and a cup of shredded cheddar. These ingredients were then transferred to a greased pie dish. First, the beef was added. Next, the egg mixture was poured into the pan and spread evenly over the beef. Next, the dish was placed in an over preheated to 350 degrees and baked for 30 minutes. Finally, I added extra cheese and baked it for an additional 5 minutes allowing the cheese to melt.
I served this dish with sour cream and taco sauce on the side. If I had lettuce, tomatoes, black olives or green onions in the house, I would have garnished the taco pie with them as well. Avocado would also be fantastic served on the side. Be creative!
This pie made two generous servings. Of you were serving other side dishes it might serve up to four. However, it is really quite tasty and I would probably make extra because I think it really be excellent as a leftover tomorrow.
A couple of summer ago I came across Black Eyed Susan Vine (Thumbergia) for the first time. I was instantly attracted to the colorful plant. It had such a tropical feel that I found irresistible. It quickly became one of my go to basket plants, especially for around my patio.
Black Eyed Susan Vine (Thumbergia) is a low maintenance vine that can be grown as an annual in colder climates. It is hardy in zones 9-10. This vine produces 1 1/2 inch flowers in a a variety of colors including white, yellow, orange, and burgundy. Each flower contains a dark center and five petals and grows on a 6-8 foot vine.In climates that are warm year round vines can reach upwards of 20 feet.
Plant Care and Habits
One of my favorite things about this plant is that it produces flowers in zone 6 from May through fall. Unlike some of my other basket plants, this one requires little deadheading. They do great when placed in a hanging basket or grown on a trellis.
Growing Black Eyed Susan Vine
I have heard that this is an easy plant to germinate. However, I have not personally tried it. If you want to give it a shot, I would recommend soaking the seeds overnight and germinating them in humus rich soil. In my part of the country, you can pick them up at a pretty reasonable price at local nurseries. I buy mine already started.
When growing these lovely plants in a sunny spot in my yard, I have found that they benefit from a daily drink. But, other than that they are very low maintenance.
If you would like to learn more about this plant, please check out the following link:
As we geared up for what I hope is the last snow of the season, I began to think about what I would cook. The governor had already declared a travel ban on the roads and I would not be going to work. Therefore, this would be a perfect day to cook something that takes a little longer. After surveying what I had in my freezer, I settled on making a turkey breast.
I have been on a quest to develop a recipe for turkey breast that can not be rivaled in taste and juiciness. There are many different recipes online for turkey breast, but I often find myself feeling a little disappointed. So, after deciding to make turkey during the storm, I scoured Pinterest for a new recipe to experiment with. Ultimately, I selected one from Amy Johnson at She Wears Many Hats. Below is the link to her recipe:
At a glance, this recipe seemed to have several things going for it. First, it seems quite simple. But, it also seemed like the mayonnaise would prevent the bird from becoming dry. Lastly, the herbs could easily be adapted to personal preference and availability.
Ultimately, I made a few modifications to this recipe. For example, I adjusted the spices a little, changed some of the quantities, and omitted the onion and celery. However, credit for coming up with this fantastic method must be given to Amy Johnson! If you have never visited her website, I would suggest you stop by.
The ingredients for this Mayonnaise Oven Roasted Turkey Breast recipe are very basic. I selected a turkey breast for this recipe but you could also use a whole bird. Next, you will need mayonnaise. Select the herbs and spices you would like to use. I used a combination of Italian seasoning, garlic, rosemary, paprika, salt, and pepper. If I was making this in the summer, I would use fresh herbs from my gardens. Lastly, you will need a 1/2 stick of butter.
One of my favorite parts of the turkey is the skin. It has to be big in flavor and crispy. I started the turkey breast at 425 for approximately 30 minutes. This allowed the skin to brown up. Next, I turned it down to 325 and continued to cook it for around 1 and 15 minutes. When your turkey is done its internal temperature should be at 165. My bird had the pop up thermometer in it but I do not like to rely on these. When I have my birds have sometimes come out overcooked. Instead, I insert my meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast. After taking the bird out of the oven, allow it 15 minutes or so to rest before carving.
We were quite happy with this bird turned out. I am planning to experiment more with this mayonnaise concept. I think the next time I make a turkey breast, I will season underneath the skin as well. But, I must say this bird was moist and tasted delicious. Thanks Amy!
If you have any questions, please leave me a comment and I will be happy to respond. As always Happy Cooking and Eating!
So, what do you do with the leftover corned beef from your St. Patrick’s Day feast? Well, this is assuming that you have leftovers. One of my favorite options is homemade corned beef hash. It is both delicious and easy to prepare.
Ingredients and Instructions
This recipe simply involves chopping up the leftover ingredients (corned beef, carrots, potatoes, and onions) from your corned beef dinner (minus the cabbage) and browning it either via frying or broiling. I like to initially heat the chopped hash ingredients in an oven safe pan with a little oil and then transfer it to the oven to broil until the potatoes are a golden brown and the corned beef starts to crisp.
You can get a sense of how fine I chop my ingredients form the pictures posted above. This is not like what you get out of a can. The ingredients still have the original texture.
So, my husband and I have different preferences around how to eat our homemade corned beef hash. However, we both agree that it is delicious. I prefer to eat it for dinner with anything added. My husband, on the other hand, loves it for both breakfast and dinner but prefers it to be served with a couple of poached eggs.
I hope you enjoy this recipe. If you have questions or comments, please share them with me. I love hearing from readers. As always, happy cooking and eating.
If you would like to learn more about this holiday or to find a recipe for making an oven corned beef dinner, please check out the following links:
I love corned beef. However, over the years I have had some the were excellent and some that were, well, not as good. So, how do you ensure that your corned beef comes out on the excellent side? I share some general tips and my recipe for oven corned beef and cabbage.
What is Corned Beef Exactly?
Corned beef is made from beef brisket. Brisket comes from the front end of the cow close to the top of the leg. As such, it tends to be a tougher cut of meat unless cooked properly. Brisket is cured in a brine to make it into the cut we call corned beef. Please be aware that different brands use different amounts of nitrates in their corned beef. This helps it to keep its pink color.
Flat Cut v. Point Cut
There are pros and cons to each of these corned beef cuts. The point cut is a cheaper, thicker, and fattier cut. However, it is very tender when cooked slow. The flat is more expensive and is leaner. You can also opt to by a whole corned beef brisket which contains both the flat and point cut. So which is best? Really, this is a matter or personal preference. I like the flat side better myself. If you are serving a larger number of people, you could certainly get both cuts.
Corned beef can be cooked in a several ways. Generally, they involve cooking with liquid at low heat for an extended period of time. This helps to ensure that your meat is fork tender. Regardless of the technique you choose, hear are some suggestions:
Open your coned beef package over the sink. It tends to contain a fair amount of brine.
Corned beef tends to be salty. Therefore, rinse you cut before you cook it.
Corned beef often is sold with a packet of seasoning in the package. You can also buy pickling seasoning in the spice aisle.
Cook with the fat side up over low heat for a long period with some type of liquid.
This is a matter of preference. I cook my vegetable separate after the corned beef has finished cooking. I use the liquid from the corned beef to produce flavorful veggies that have prefect texture.
First, be sure to cut your corned beef across the grain. Otherwise, it is likely to be chewy. Platter your beef with your cabbage, potatoes, and onions, and serve. I like to my corned beef with mustard and horseradish. I also put out butter and sour cream for people who might like to add it to their potatoes.
Many people report that deer wreak havoc in their gardens. Last year, I was pretty lucky in this regard. However, the previous year I experienced a similar fate. In this post, I will be highlighting some great deer resistant plants.
Two years ago the hostas that surround my patio came in beautifully only to become salad to hungry deer right as they were looking their best. Up until this time, I had experienced very little trouble with the deer. It shocked me that they came this close to the house to dine. I have two dogs whose scent is prevalent in this area. After this experience, I began paying more attention to planting deer resistant perennials.
Fortunately, there a number of deer resistant plants to choose from. Because, lets face it, a hungry deer will eat almost anything. I live in an area of New England that is heavily populated with deer. The plants highlighted below are ones that I grow in zone 6 that have varied well. If you look at some of their shared characteristics, you will see they have a few things in common. They are:
Bleeding Hearts: Bleeding hearts are a great shade plant that is poisonous to deer, rabbits, and your pets.
Daffodils– Daffodils contain a toxin that deer tend to avoid. Be aware that they are also poisonous to pets and people.
Iris: Iris also contain a toxic substance and tend to be avoided.
Salvia: Salvia are a heavily scented plant. As mentioned before plants with heavy scents tend to be avoided by deer,
Liatris: Liatris is not only deer resistant but it tends to be a butterfly magnet. What could be better?
Russian Sage: Russian Sage is a highly aromatic plant that holds little to no interest for deer.
Yarrow: Yarrow has aromatic leaves that make it less appealing to deer. It also comes in a number of colors making it easy to fit into your landscape.
Bee Balm: Bee balm is a fragrant plant that is bound to attract bees and hummingbirds. At the same time, it is fairly deer and rabbit resistant.
Coneflower: Mature coneflowers tend to left alone by deer. However, deer have nibbled on mine while they were young.
Joe-Pye Weed: Joe Pye is another plant that tends to be avoided, likely due to its fragrance.
Lavender: Like many aromatic herbs, lavender is not favorited by deer. However, it has many other great uses.
Speedwell: Speedwell is another perennial that is easy to grow and less favored by deer. Again, this plant offers a second benefit. Butterflies and bees love it.
Coreopsis: In zones 5-9, offer Coreopsis a sunny place and it will likely be very happy.This plant needs little care, and again is not a preferred meal for deer.
Barrier and Repellant Methods
If you are trying methods such as fencing or repellants, remember a couple of things. First, you need a very tall fence to be successful at keeping a determined deer out. Do your research before going this route. If you choose the repellant route instead, here are a few things to consider. One, you will likely need to reapply it throughout the summer, especially after it rains. Two, I have heard that deer will sometimes develop a tolerance to the smell and taste. Therefore, you might want to consider changing up what you use.
Please check out the following link for a more extensive list of deer resistant plants:
Have you ever wondered how to take care of your hydrangeas, and ensure that you have beautiful blooms the following year? This summer when some of my hydrangeas had no flowers, I found myself wondering this very thing. Why did some have flowers, and not others? To answer this question, you need to know what type of hydrangeas you have. Many of mine were already on the property when I purchased it. So ,I really wasn’t quite sure. Therefore, I started to research this topic online.
Old Wood Versus New Wood
Please, let me share what I learned. The first major concept is that some hydrangeas bloom on old wood and some on new. This has major implications in terms of the care they need.
Hydrangeas that Bloom on Old Wood:
Oakleaf is perhaps the easiest hydrangea to identify. It has leaves that resemble those of red oaks. It initially blooms in white but the flowers may turn color throughout season. Its blooms are cone shaped. Some oak leaf varieties can get large. However, there are some smaller varieties available. I just planted one of these this fall. I will add pictures in the spring after it gets leaves.
Lacecap and Mopheads are sometimes referred to as large leaf hydrangea. Their foliage and care requirements are similar. Their primary difference is in the appearance their flower heads.
Mopheads have large showy flower heads and lacecaps have a flower head that is more delicate and flatter. Both have shiny, deeply toothed leaves that often have a heart shaped appearance. This type of hydrangea can change color based on the ph level. Blues occur at lower Ph levels and pinks at higher levels. These are the only hydrangeas that start with colored flowers. All other ones are white when they open. The common colors are blue, pink and purple.
Pruning Hydrangeas that Bloom on Old Wood
If your hydrangeas bloom on old wood and you feel they need to be pruned, do so in June into early July to be safe. If you prune later you risk removing newly developing buds for the following season. Generally summer flowers early to mid Safest to prune just as flowers fade Cut just below flower is compelled to tidy up of canes at solid line if straggly I personally prefer to leave the faded flower heads on my hydrangea for interest in the winter. In the spring, I tidy them up by cutting right below last year’s flower but above new buds. With my older bushes, I will sometimes remove a few branches to help rejuvenate the bush.
Hydrangeas that Bloom on New Wood
These hydrangeas produce their flower buds in the current season in the few months leading up to when they bloom.
Annabelles are frequently called snowballs although there are other varieties. Annabelles also have heart shaped leaves but they tend to be thinner and floppier. They also are coarse and have less shine. Annabelles have large blooms that consist of tiny flowers. When they first open they are green. They then turn white before reverting back to green as they dry. At the end of the season, these can be cut back a few inches above ground level. If you opt not to cut them back, plan to neat them up in the spring by removing damaged branches.
Pee Gees have smaller, thinner leaves than other hydrangeas. Their leaves are whorled at the tips. This group of hydrangea includes a lot of variation. It can be a bush or trained into a tree form. It can have snowball flower heads or cone shaped ones. They are always white when they open but can change color, often turning pink. Deadheading can be done throughout the blocking season to clean it up. In late winter or early spring (before new growth appears), you can prune to adjust the shape and size.
As a rule, if hydrangeas bloom on new growth you can prune them anytime other than spring or summer. These tend to bloom later because they need time to make the buds in the same year as they are blooming.
Hydrangeas that Bloom on Both New and Old Wood:
More recently there hydrangeas that bloom on both would types have been developed. These are referred to as remontant.
General Care Tips:
1.) Remove any dead branches and tidy up in the spring.
2.) Remember that hydrangeas do well with some afternoon shade and prefer morning sun. The hotter the climate, the more important a little shade becomes.
3.) If it has been dry, provide a weekly drink.
4.) Fertilize once a year. (This is what works for me. Some people do more. Be careful not to over fertilize). I use 10-10-10.
5.) Pay attention as to whether the type of hydrangea you wish to plant is suitable for your climate.
6.) Be aware that a late frost can also ruin your chance of blossoms with types that bloom on old wood. You can opt to protect them and hope for the best or count your losses.
7.) Although fairly trouble free, a couple of things to watch out for include: aphids on new growth, powdery mildew, rust, anthracnose (discolors leaves and can be fatal), and leaf spot (caused by fungus).
8.) Yellow leaves can also be caused by an iron deficiency.
With hydrangeas determining type can take a little research and experience. And, there is a little to know about hydrangeas to get the most enjoyment from them. But, with a little nurturing these beauties will reward you for many years! Please let me know if you have any comments or questions. I love hearing from readers.
March 17th is St. Patricks’s Day. This day is celebrated by many including both the Irish and non-Irish. What do you think of when you hear Saint Patrick’s Day? For me, it’s green, corned beef, Guinness, and four leaf clovers. But, do you know why this day day is actually celebrated?
A Look Back in History
So, who was St. Patrick and why was he important? To start, St. Patrick was named Maewyn Succat at birth and was born and raised in Britain. Subsequently, Maewyn was kidnapped by pirates as a teenager and enslaved in Ireland as a sheep herder for 6 years. After this period, he escaped and returned home. Once home, he reportedly had a vision that told him to return to his place of captivity and convert the people to Christianity. Reportedly, he was quite successful.
Today, he is the Patron Saint of Ireland and is credited for bringing Christianity to the nation. Many believe that he died on the 17th of March and that this is why it is celebrated on this date.
Legends of the Snakes
According to legend, Saint Patrick drove the snakes from Ireland. However, it is considered unlikely that snakes ever existed in Ireland. Some have suggested that the snakes were used in some ancient pagan ceremonies, and that driving the snakes from Ireland may be symbolic for St. Patrick’s role in converting Pagans.
Traditionally, Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations involved focusing on spiritual renewal and saying prayers for others. Although for some, this has become a day associate with lively celebrations, many Irish continue to attend mass on this day. Pubs in Ireland were also traditionally closed in observance of this day. However, this changed in the 1970s.
Leprechauns, Shamrocks, and Green
What is the significance of the Shamrock, the National Flower of Ireland? According to legend, St. Patrick used it to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagans. And, what about Leprechauns? Leprechauns are Irish fairies who were said to be shoemakers that hid their earnings in pots at the end of rainbows. Green is a color often associated with the Irish. It is featured in the Irish flag and is the color of shamrocks. Ireland is also called the “Emerald Isle.” In America, a tradition developed where if you do not wear green you get pinched. Truly, this is an American tradition.
St. Patrick’s Day is not a federal holiday in America. However, towns and cities that have a large number of people of Irish decent tend to host parades and other celebrations. Chicago goes so far as to dye the river green (a tradition since 1962). Even those who are not Irish will often celebrate by preparing Irish foods, and maybe wearing green to avoid a pinch.
This year, I am making my St. Patrick’s feast a little early due to my work schedule and wanting to be able to post the recipe for you along with some pictures. Last week, I posted an Irish inspired Guinness Beef Stew. In interested, you can find the recipe below:
Later this week, I will post my recipe for corned beef slow cooked with carrots, potatoes, and cabbage. And, I hope you will check it out. As always, I love receiving comments and feedback. Please leave me a comment and I will get back to you as quickly as possible.
Wishing you a happy and safe Saint Patrick’s Day Celebration,
The 14th of March (3/14) is Pi Day. “What is that?”, you might wonder. The answer you might get may vary depending on who you ask. For example, if you ask a person who fancies math, you might receive an explanation of what pi means in math. Now, if you ask a baker you might hear about actual pies and National Pie Day with occurs on January 23rd.
Pi actually stands for the number 3.14 (rounded). Ok, so in math what exactly is pi? Well, it is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter.
Pi, a mathematical constant is an irrational number with an infinite number of digits that never enter a repeating pattern. The Guinness Book of World Records credits Rajveer Meena of India as holding the record for memorizing the most digits of pi. Reportedly, he spent 10 hours blindfolded reciting 70,000 digits.
Around 250 BC Archimedes identified the first three digits of pi as being 3.14. In 150 AD, the digits were expanded by Ptolemy to 3.1416. Through the use of supercomputers and algorithms over 13 trillion digit of pi have been found.
Physicist Patrick Larry Shaw founded Pi Day to celebrate “pi” in 1988. The first celebration took place at the San Francisco Exploratorium. Today, celebrations of this day take place in many parts of the world.
How to Celebrate
At my school, Franklin Academy, we get excited about celebrating pi. We have a number of students who are talented math students and passionate about the subject as well as a highly enthusiastic math department.
Let me share how. The day begins with an school meeting in which students participate in a number of activities such as:
Pin the tail on the face (picots of administrators)
Sharing digits of pi
Recalling words containing pi
Perhaps the favorite part, the math department writes a song about pi to the beat of a popular song and perform it for the school.
The day concludes with a “Pi” themed dinner that features foods such as pizza, pies, and pineapple.
Celebrating Pi at Home
Below is a link to my gluten free pizza that I am planning to serve:
If you love or someone on your family love math, it might be fun to celebrate pi day at home. With pie being a homophone of the word “pie,” you could serve pie for dessert or serve other pi themed foods such as the ones mentioned above. There are also some really fun pi T-shirts that your math lover might appreciate. What will your 2017 Pi Celebration look like?
“She turned to the sunlight And shook her yellow head, And whispered to her neighbor: “Winter is dead.” ― A.A. Milne, When We Were Very Young
Daffodils are a member of the Narcissus family and are said to represent friendship and regard. There are over 25,000 daffodil hybrids that are divided into 13 classes. They come in shades of yellow, white, orange, pink, and lime green along with combinations. The bloom size of daffodils can also range from 5 inches in diameter to a half inch. Similarly, they can bloom on stems that are only a few inches tall all the way up to stems that are two feet.
While there are a lot of different types of daffodils, they all have a few things in common. First, they have 6 petals with a trumpet shaped center. They have long flat leaves ad produce with stem that can hold one or more flowers depending on the variety. Another thing that they have in common is that all daffodils are poisons in their entirety. While this helps to make them highly deer and rodent resistant, it is important to be aware of this if you have young children or pets around that might put them in their mouths.
Daffodils due well when panted in the sun to part shade. The depth in which they should be planted varies based on the size of the bulb. All daffodil bulbs should be planted with the pointy side up. Large bulbs should be planted at a depth of 6-8 inches while medium bulbs should be planted 3-6 inches and small bulbs should be planted at a depth of 2-3 inches. It is recommended that daffodils be planted in fall for the best results.
I think daffodils look best when planted in groups. I always plant them in a circle with one to two bulbs in the center. Daffodil bulbs will multiply. I break up my clumps every 3-4 years. Daffodils can also naturalize by seed. New plants created this way may not resemble the parent plant and may take up to five years to bloom.
After your daffodils have bloomed and the leaves are starting to yellow, you may be tempted to remove them. Please don’t! These leaves need enough time to provide energy to the bulbs so that they bloom well in the next season. Therefore, allow the leaves to turn totally brown. At this point they should be easy to remove. If you dislike the appearance, consider other plants that you can place near them to help cover the foliage during this period.
It is also important to note that daffodils need a cold period in order to bloom. If you live in an area that is warm year round, daffodils may not do well for you. However, some types do better in the south than others. Check the growing zones before purchasing.