Apple, Cream Cheese & Cinnamon Snack

Last week my sister introduced me to the most A-M-A-Z-I-N-G snack using ingredients I already had inside the house.  It’s hard to describe just how the flavors of the cinnamon and cream cheese blend with the sweet flavor of the apple.  Simply put, it melts in your mouth without all the extra sugar and carbs you would find in a caramel dipping sauce.

There really isn’t even a recipe for this just a creative idea.  You can do it the easy way and simply slice up your apple, spread some cream cheese on top and sprinkle with cinnamon (to taste).  However, when you have little ones who see those ingredients come out of the refrigerator and cabinet, you have to be prepared to produce this snack FAST.  Haha!

I softened a chunk of the cream cheese in a bowl then mixed in the cinnamon before spreading on the sliced apples.  It was easier to work with the softened cream cheese.  Even with the cinnamon mixed in, it was nice to add a dash more on top of each slice to really pump up the cinnamon-y flavor.  Hint, you can even add some Chia seeds in the mix too to get a boost of fiber without any little ones being the wiser.  Tehe! 😉

There are two big benefits to this snack.  The first is that the high fat content in the cream cheese is good for filling up your belly and holding you over longer between meals and has no sugar or carbs.  (Great for those doing the Ketogenic Diet a.k.a. LCHF.) The second is that the cinnamon has no sugar or carbs and is actually beneficial for regulating blood glucose.  Not that my kids care one bit about any of that as long as it tastes good! 🙂  I, however, love that I get to enjoy the snack too without worrying about throwing my body off ketosis and having uncontrollable blood sugar.

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Less is Still Best

It might be the middle of January, but sometimes it feels like spring here in Arkansas when the temperatures go from single digits one week up to the high-60s the next.  This past weekend, the spring-cleaning bug hit Tim pretty bad, so he used some of his weekend free time to condense more.

He loves the Pottery Barn style and is constantly on the lookout for ways to improve our home.  I had to laugh when I started thinking about what my bachelorette apartment looked like before we were married.  Never thought I was overly fufu-frilly, but compared to Tim’s style, my decorating was Wwwwaaaayyy too girly.  Porcelain dolls, dried flowers, vases, crocheted doilies, patchwork quilts, you name it!  When we moved from our first apartment in Cabot to our next apartment in Maumelle, we condensed A LOT.  I believe most of the things we purged from our new home were my belongings.  Haha!  Of course, I did convince him to relinquish his Ben-Hur shield that had been used as one of the original movie props.  Harsh of me, I know! 🙂  Figured if I could give up the porcelain dolls my mom and I had been collecting together since I was a girl, he could give up some of his “manly junk.”

We ended up with a style that has over the years continued to adapt to our lifestyle; however, it has remained with a more simplistic look.  This latest project was condensing books.  Aaaahhhh!!!  Tim and I both LOVE books, but with a small home, four small children, and a very dusty house, books just aren’t the perfect thing to fill precious space.

We had originally wanted to have matching bookshelves on either side of our cast iron stove but at the time could only find some cheap ones that fit the needed dimensions.  Instead of having the nice calming, organized effect we were hoping for, they instead were a constant eye-sore.  Always dusty from wood ash floating around and constantly all contents dumped onto the floor by little hands. Argh!  There are too many other important jobs for me to do during the day instead of organizing bookshelves again and AGAIN.

We got rid of one of the bookshelves and condensed all the books in our collection down to 1) ones we knew are no longer in print, 2) ones that we knew we wanted to use in our up-coming homeschooling years, 3) ones Tim uses in sermon preparation, 4) ones Tim just couldn’t let go of. 🙂

We shifted around the furniture and ended up with this…

This is the remaining black bookshelf. We removed the matching one of the other side of the stove.

The other side of the stove without the shelves and books.  We moved the chair out of the corner and made room for a much-needed toy basket to collect the stray toys every night. 🙂

The funky-looking curtains are only temporary during the winter months.  They are simply large pieces of flannel that we cover the windows and frames as soon as the sun sets to help keep the cold air from seeping in and the warm air from leaking out.  Did you know you lose 33% of your heat through your windows and frames?  We want to invest in some nice curtain rods and a nice material to make permanent curtains with.  Since I have the flannel, I can sew it onto the back of whatever material we purchase to make the nice insulated curtains.  Would be nice to have them for the summer as well to help cut down on the heat from the sun hitting the front of the house.  We are learning as we go!

The kiddos enjoy their new little space just for them, and again, cleanup is sooooo much easier!

My little music corner.  When the kids are older, I’ll be able to leave my music stand up on the other side of the piano along with my violin.  For now, everything must stay safely put away when not in use.  Stinks because I like to grab my violin to play a little bit when I have a few minutes.  In the past I found that I played more when my instrument was within quick grasp.  Right now it’s “out of sight, out of mind.” 😦

Two Years Later…

No working drains, no hot water, temporarily without running water, no refrigerator, no dishwasher, no pantry or kitchen cabinets, no ability to wash clothes in my washing machine, no bedrooms, no sidewalks, no driveway, no porch, rickety set of metal steps, no outside storage…Wow!  The list could go on and on about all the things we didn’t have when we actually moved into our home exactly two years ago today.  God has been soooo good to us!!!!!   Would I want to go back and relive those early days – NO!  Are you crazy?!?!?  Hahaha!  However, we have all learned so much about hard work, how to be more content living with less and the absolute JOY of looking around and seeing what can be accomplished with a lot of determination and sweat.  We are nowhere close to being done with all the things we dream about for this homestead, but we are just a matter of years away from being completely debt free, our children are gaining hands-on experience of caring for animals which is helping I overcome his sensory issues, growing their own food, and we are all daily reminded to trust in the Lord for our every need.

I can’t wait to see where we will be in another 12 months!

January 2013:

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January 2015:

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Easy Gluten-Free Pizza Crust

I honestly can’t believe it has been so long since I’ve posted on here, but so much has been filling our lives of late that sitting down at a computer is the last thing I contemplate in a given day.  It’s easy to just snap a picture and post on Facebook with a quick caption letting people gain a glimpse of what we are up to, but actually sitting down to write is right up there with “taking a vacation” in my book.  Haha!

Eli's Eggs FlyerSome of the biggest changes taking place is the fact that E started his very first business selling free-range eggs.  Tim and I have been helping him get things off the ground, but he is learning how to do a lot of the work himself.  People have been telling us that our prices are too low, but we feel that they are perfect.  The point of selling the eggs is to teach E about small business ownership, responsibility, math skills, stewardship and to provide good food at an affordable price.  The whole reason we started raising chickens was because we wanted to be able to enjoy the healthy eggs ourselves.  It’s actually cheaper to keep live chickens than it is for us to purchase the free-range eggs from a local farmer’s market or Whole Foods!  We go through eggs like water now a days, which brings me to the second big change in our lives….

Since the beginning of November I got completely fed up with my weight and failing health.  I never had energy and found that I was becoming more and more cantankerous as the days passed simply because of the constant fatigue and just feeling sick all the time.  I’ve been wanting to get rid of the extra weight for a LONG time now, but nothing I tried was working.  I was so hopeful that once my hypothyroidism was under control with the medication, it would help get my metabolism and hormones back in line allowing the weight to come off more easily.

Too bad it didn’t work! 😦  There are so many supposed “quick fixes” out there that promise to help you lose weight and feel better, but they all come with a pretty big price tag.  Tim assured me that he would support whatever direction I wanted to choose as long as I could stay within budget.  Well, to even supplement one meal per day with one of the health shakes would cut out half our monthly food budget.  I still had to feed five more people plus the rest of my meals for the month!  Looking at the cost of everything, I decided to go a different direction.  Instead of spending half our grocery budget on a miracle powder, I invested in a Ninja Nutri Blender (my birthday present!) and changed up how I cooked and grocery shopped.  No more processed food and majority of items purchased are raw fruits, veggies, eggs, nuts, etc.

The change in eating helped lower my blood sugars dramatically.  It got to the point where I wanted to quit eating the healthy stuff because I was having such an awful time dealing with hypoglycemia.  A friend in our Down syndrome group recommended a diet called the Ketogenic Diet.  The whole basis of the diet is to decrease the amount of carbs consumed in a day and increase the amounts of fats.  The body will eventually switch from burning carbs/glucose for energy and begin burning off the fat.  Fat burned for fuel produces 70 percent MORE energy than carbs/glucose.  It also requires a lot less insulin to control.

In less than 2 months, I am down 17 pounds with no extra effort other than eating a ton of butter, bacon, coconut oil, eggs, etc. Hahaha!  The biggest change but one that has made the most difference in how I feel healthwise overall is by going gluten-free.  It made sense to just do it because breads have the highest carb value and cause my blood sugars to spike more than eating a chocolate candy bar.  The more I’ve read about the negative affects of gluten, the more convinced I am to stay away from it!

So, finally….CONCLUSION. 🙂  This recipe is one that I discovered digging around online for good Keto cooking ideas.  My favorite part is that it can be made into a thin crust pizza or a deep dish Chicago-style pizza.  I’m posting the instructions for the deep dish.  The original crust recipe can be found over at Cooky’s Creation (thin crust pizza) and Eat Keto (deep dish pizza).  I did some adjustments to the crust ingredients as well as the meat in the deep dish.

Crust

  • 2 C. shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 C. shredded Mozzarella
  • 3-4 Tbl. cream cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 C. almond meal/flour
  • 1/2 C. coconut flour

Melt the cheddar and mozzarella cheese inside a glass bowl in the microwave stirring every 30-45 seconds.  When completely melted, dump into a large mixing bowl and add the rest of the ingredients.  Mix well until it forms a slightly sticky dough.

Spray a large springform pan and press the dough up the sides and bottom.  Bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  Remove from oven and fill with toppings.

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The original recipe said to just put the raw sausage in chunks onto the bottom of the crust.  Umm… I have a thing about mixing raw meat in a pizza.  That seems to just scream bacteria to me.  Instead, cook your sausage and drain off the excess grease.  I did one pound of Italian sausage and set it aside.

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Slice one onion thinly and throw into the hot pan you used to cook the sausage.  Oh yeah, it helps soften the onions just enough and gives them a little extra flavor as it soaks up the sausage bits from the pan. Oo lala!

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Place all the meat inside the crust.

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Layer thinly sliced red or green peppers on top of the meat.

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Add the cooked onions.  (Look at the lovely brown speckles!  That means FLAVOR!!!)

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Add 1 1/2 C. shredded mozzarella cheese (or more if you can get it to fit).

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Either use crushed tomatoes with a little salt or some pizza or spaghetti sauce.  I used my homemade spaghetti sauce for this one.  Sprinkle a good helping of Parmesan cheese.2015-01-13 17.31.17Place back in the oven set at 325 degrees and cook for approximately 30-45 minutes (or until cooked through and the center is hot).

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Remove from oven and gently remove the sides of the pan.  I would recommend gently running a spatula around the inside to help loosen any parts that might want to stick.

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So after eating two slices  of this delicious pizza along with a nice helping of Waldorf salad made with just apples, craisins and mayo, I didn’t take any insulin with the meal.  My blood sugars stayed between 78-96 the rest of the evening.  Again, this is very low-carb and EXCELLENT for maintaining good blood glucose levels without needing tons of insulin.  Another tid-bit is that my eldest son requests this pizza crust over any other.  And to think it’s GLUTEN FREE!!