Recipe Roundup

Last time I did a recipe roundup, I had almost nothing to report. Compliments of quarantine we’d been doing a lot of simple, old-standby kinds of meals. As a general rule, however, that’s not a super healthy pattern for me so I sat down a looked up a bunch of new things to try.  I focused a lot on casseroles that I could prep ahead of time, and I was surprised how many winners I found!

Chocolate Keto Donuts – These are obviously a treat, but I was extremely happy with how they turned out! Quick, easy,  and delicious.

Low Carb Chicken Pesto Bake – This was excellent and shockingly fast and easy to make. As an added bonus, one container of pesto makes two generously sized batches, which means one for now and one for the freezer, so that’s a double win! (Just be careful when selecting pestos – always choose one with real olive oil for the base and not some cheaper, nastier oil.)

Keto Chili Cheese Dog – I don’t actually like chili cheese dogs as a rule, mostly because I’m picky about chili. This was amazing, though. Again, stupid easy, indulgent, and healthy besides! I feel like this would be a great summer picnic/potluck dish – just throw it in a crockpot and go!

3 Musketeers Bars Fat Bombs – fancy fat bombs tend to be more trouble than they’re worth. These are the exception. They’re quick and cheap to make but they look and taste impressive!  Definitely a keeper.

Keto Sausage Egg and Cheese Bites – These are a new favorite! You can prep the batter ahead of time, then just scoop and bake when you’re ready to eat. They come out as little puffs, making them equally suitable to eat with a fork or by hand. If you want savory, pair with some ketchup. In the mood for sweet? Drizzle some syrup on top. Either way, they’re delightful. They’d be a great alternative to making eggs and sausage the traditional way for a holiday or when you’ve got company because you can prep ahead of time, make a ton at once, and have almost zero cleanup.

Chicken Bacon Alfredo Casserole – If you use Primal Kitchen’s Garlic Alfredo Sauce this is incredibly fast and fuss-free to make and it’s delicious. Another fantastic option for taking to potlucks, etc… if you can bring yourself to share and not just sit down and eat the whole thing. : p

I’ve still got a couple of new recipes on the list to try, and it’s getting warmer here so I’ll need to start looking at more things that don’t require the oven, but I’m delighted by these finds and highly recommend you give them a try!!

My Entertainment for the Week

Friday, I received an email out of the blue from the company I worked for until December of last year. For the purposes of this post, we’ll call them OP.  As a refresher, OP was terrible at comunicating in general and, after hearing nothing for two weeks in November, I emailed them to see what the work schedule was looking like.

Their answer? “Oh, we don’t expect to have anything until after New Years.” No warning, no apologies, just a breezy, “oh yeah, we forgot you were all humans and not robots we just pull off a shelf as needed. Whoopsy!”

Needless to say, I redoubled my efforts to get a new job. In the midst of that endeavor, I got an email from my (very sweet) then-supervisor from her personal email letting me know that the company was under investigation by the FTC and she was leaving. I was a little shocked, but okay.

Then, between Christmas and New Years, after having heard nothing from anyone except that off-the-books heads up from my supervisor someone at the company I’d never heard of sent out an email saying “it’s been a very tough couple weeks for the company so you’re all fired. Oh, by the way, if you did any work in December we can’t pay you for it. Have a nice life.”

Happily, I got on with my life by finding two other (dramatically better) jobs to replace that trainwreck with. Last week, I got like three emails from LinkedIn saying “people are looking at your profile!” Now those emails annoy the snot out of me because they don’t tell you who or why, so what the heck is the point?! At any rate, my LinkedIn page is minimal and obligatory and I just assumed someone had clicked on it by accident and dismissed the whole thing.

THEN, Friday, I out of nowhere, I get a totally blasé email from OP saying “oh, hey, we got a new project. Let me know if you’re available to work on it so we can get started.”

That’s it. No explanations, no apologies, no “hey we restructured (again) so things are better” or even “hey, we cleared up that FTC thing so we can definitely pay you this time.”

Obviously, my response was a very polite version of “go kriff yourself.” I’ve got two solid jobs with companies that (a) recognize that  I am actually a human being (which is shockingly nice), and (b) actually know how to organize. I am not going back to that dumpster fire company ever, but I was shocked at the sheer brazen gall of them. Have they NO shame at all?

Fire This Is Fine GIF by MOODMAN

Anyway, that’s all there is to that story, but I thought that I would share my free entertainment for the week with all of you. The moral of today’s story: if you invited to hop into a flaming dumpster, DON’T.

Paranormal Home Inspectors

man-1283576_1920Last week, I ran across a recommendation to check out a youtube series called Paranormal Home Inspectors.  The reviews were hilarious so I pulled it up to listen to while doing dishes (while I was between audiobooks) and oh my goodness.

Here’s the show in a nutshell.

Homeowner: Weird things are happening! I think my home might be haunted! Help!

PHI Interviewer: Tell me all the weird things. Now let me go research your home. *gasp* There was a jail two lots down from your home 100 years ago! Who knows what terrible things could have taken place in this very spot!! *spends the night in the house with weird devices and no lights on* Did you hear that?! What the $%^ was that??! Is someone here? Can you do that again? ARE YOU SENDING US A MESSAGE?! OMG.

PHI Certified Home Inspector: This is a terribly built house. Everything is so out of square I am nauseous just standing here. There are branches outside that will tap your windows if the wind even thinks about blowing, you’ve got raccoons making out in your attic, and your wiring is so bad I don’t know how you haven’t burned the whole place down yet. Definitively not haunted.

PHI Energy Healer: I’m being drawn over here, people are talking to me. There are so many spirits in this home! Oh, what’s that? They’re telling me someone was murdered here! But it’s okay, these ghosts want to be your friends. Congratulations on your incredibly haunted home.

Seriously,  every episode is just like that with a few variations for flavor. (Sometimes it’s a cemetary or spiritualist church instead of a jail, for instance.) There’s a whole season and each episode is only 20 minutes long, so if you need a quick hit of low-investment entertainment they’re a great choice. Now please excuse me while I go laugh about it some more. 😁

Book Review: Dreadful Company

I’ve had a lot in my head recently with work projects and such, which has left me in that awkward space of wanting something engaging to listen to while doing dishes and laundry and other chores but not having the brainpower for anything really complicated or important (like all the nutrition books on my list). Happily, the Greta Helsing books have come to my rescue! The library had book two in the series and Audible had book three! Here’s a quick look at the short review I did of book two. If you need something to read, I absolutely recommend it!

Dreadful Company (Dr. Greta Helsing, #2)Dreadful Company by Vivian Shaw

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was positively delightful. The storyline was complex and engaging, and the author did a beautiful job of folding existing and new characters together. Exactly what I was looking for.

View all my reviews

Happy Star Wars Day!

may_the_fourth_be_with_you

Happy Star Wars Day!

I would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that we STILL don’t have droids and I, for one, consider that unacceptable. Dear Science, please get on that ASAP. Thank you.

Everyone else, go forth and enjoy the day!

Pillow Spray

Sheoolor Essential Oil Diffuser Humidifier, 120ml Bronze Himalayan Salt Lamp Diffuser with 7 Color Lights, Ultrasonic Aromatherapy Diffuser Waterless Auto-Off & Reduce Noise Design for Baby Room
Our new salt lamp diffuser
One of the most positive themes/trends I’ve seen during quarantine has been people thinking about (or prompting others to think about) what they want their lives to look like when this is over. There’s a strong opinion among people in the know that there will be no real “return to normal.”

The simple truth is that quarantine brought most things to a screeching halt, providing an unprecedented opportunity to stand back and take an objective look at what we were (or were not) doing.

With momentum lost and many activities slow to return or initially coming back in altered forms, we continue to have an ideal moment in time to ask ourselves what we really want to make our lives look like as we rebuild our schedules from the ground up.

The changes we make can be large or small, and one of the tiny changes I’ve decided to make it using pillow spray. Just before this whole mess began, My Prince spoiled me by buying a gorgeous salt lamp diffuser. It’s beautiful, efficient, and I love that it makes the house smell good for hours at a time. It’s far cheaper than using candles for that purpose and eliminates the risk of accidentally getting candles that use synthetic fragrances, which tend to give me ugly headaches.

With essential oils on hand, though, I was reminded of a pillow spray I used to have and love. If you’re not familiar, pillow spray is just something you spritz onto your sheets to make your bed smell nice when you crawl into it and to help promote good sleep. Seeing as I had an extra empty spray bottle on hand, I decided to make some DIY pillow spray myself.

(If you’re interested, the recipe is 1/2 cup alcohol or witch hazel and 10 drops of essential oil of your choice, although I’m using slightly more EO for a stronger scent.)

It took literally seconds to mix up and I keep the spray bottle right by the bed for easy use. Even though it sounds tiny and dumb, this small change is making me very happy. It aligns with my goal of being more intentional about the way we make and live in our home, and I look forward to finding more little things like it that I can layer in toward the same end as the year rolls foreward.

Air Fryer Update

Maxi-Matic EAF-8061BL Personal Compact Space Saving Electric Hot Air Fryer Oil-Less Healthy Cooker, Timer & Temperature Controls, PFOA/PTFE Free, 1000-Watts, 2.1 Quart, Aqua

Back in January, I experimented with an Air Fryer. At the time, I decided it had potential and could be really useful.

Since then, I’ve revised my opinion and thought it might be worthy of note here. Primarily, my reversal of opinion comes down to one thing: size.

As it turns out, the Air Fryer does not cook evenly at all. Food in the middle of the bin consistently goes thoroughly undercooked. In theory, the stirring/tossing you pause to do in the middle of the cooking process is meant to remedy this. Ideally, you should be able to use that opportunity to get all the stuff from the middle to the edgess and vice versa so that you end up with an evenly distributed cooking.

In practice, I have yet to find this to be the case. Short of individually picking out and rearranging each individual piece (which would take so long that I might as well just cook them in the oven), I haven’t found this shaking/shuffling/stirring to work. It’s annoying to consistently have the same problem and end up with insufficiently done food.

At best, I can make a single serving of generally-consistently-done something (e.g. potatoes). Considering that I never want just one serving and that it isn’t an efficient use of time to do so even if I did, that doesn’t help me at all.

Moreover, there are dozens of AF recipes I simply can’t make at all because they require being able to set whole individual servings of things side-by-side in the fryer. In order for that to be feasible, though, I’d need a huge AF… and I’m definitley not looking to add another giant appliance to my kitchen.

So although I very much like the idea of this cooker and I see how it could be a good fit for other people’s kitchens, I am opting not to keep mine. I haven’t been using it because I’ve been so annoyed each time, and there’s no room in my kitchen for frustrating and annoying things.

If you decide you want an air fryer, absolutely scale up – you will be much happier with a big one than a little one, no matter what size you think you need!