Archive for July 27, 2014

Creative Lifestyle Changes

It’s hard to say “diet” and stick to it.  If you call it a diet it sounds like you are sacrificing every good bite of food to never be enjoyed again.  We are trying hard not to think that way.  We are trying look at lifestyle changes that are incorporated into our lives.  No one food is out…it just has to be enjoyed differently, and something has to be traded out for it.  Can he still have a beer?  Sure….just  not with a high carb meal.

Last week we went to Rocky’s Pizzeria, our favorite local pizza place.  Thin crust, greasy, lots of bad for you stuff.  We decided to go at lunchtime, when you can order a 1 or 2 piece special.  We each ordered one slice of pizza.  And we used knife and fork and those pieces last 20 minutes.  20 mouth water minutes.

Tonight we made our own pizza.  We went with the cauliflower crust that everyone has been raving about.


It was simple and tasty, although many dead Italians are, I’m sure, rolling in their graves at the nerve of us calling it PIZZA.

Cauliflower crust pizza
1 pkg frozen cauliflower
1/4 c grated parmesan 
1 egg

Preheat oven to 400. Line cookie sheet with parchment. Lightly spray with olive oil. (I have an evoo mister that I used.)

Using salted water, steam cauliflower for 15 minutes or until really tender. Remove from heat and chill. In the bowl of a food processor put cauliflower and process until finely chopped, it look kind of like rice.

Mix cauliflower with remaining ingredients. On the parchment, pat the dough out into a 12 inch ‘circle’. Bake 20 minutes until golden brown.

Add topings, then bake until cheese melts.

We both agreed that this should not have a heavy red sauce, the sliced tomatoes worked well. Ours was topped with sliced tomatoes, basil and mozz.


Blessing in Disguise

Saturday afternoon I received a message from Neil Hutchins of Committed Canines Dog Services, the company I work under.  He had a new client that would be a challenge as well as a blessing.  Autumn, a young girl, very ill, who needs a service dog to help alert to seizures along with other medical issues and to help to calm Autumn when she is agitated.

There was no time to do any research prior to our initial consult.  Arriving, we met Dawn and Johnny, parents to six children.  Their story is amazing, heartwarming and heartbreaking.  You can read more of her story here at her Facebook page at Autumn’s Mito Fighting Angels .

Dawn, wanting to find another way to help Autumn and their family respond to Autumn’s medical needs, researched service dogs and their use in this specific situation. She then started looking for someone to help train Mito, their new Great Dane puppy.  Others said that no, a dog cannot be trained to detect seizures Neil said yes, they can.  And we will do it.

I will work with them on basic obedience and some problem solving.  The training for the service dog tasks will be done by Neil and Dawn.  This training will include capturing as well as virtual conditioning.  Mito, named for Autumn’s disease (please check the link to her page for more information on that) is still very young but has already started building the bond and prefers to sleep next to her or on a leg.

Autumn and Mito…the bond has started

Our first visit was mostly asking questions to determine exactly what they need Mito to do.  We had the pleasure of meeting a wonderful family and a special little warrior.  I am honored to come along on this journey.


Prickly Pear Adventures

Prickly Pears A coworker of hubby’s was throwing a party to celebrate their anniversary and housewarming. She had a challenge for me, she was wondering if she provided the prickly pears from her cacti could I come up with a salad? Always up to a recipe challenge, I said sure. She sent a large bowl of the fruit home with hubby and, of course, first thing I did was taste them

Prickly Pears

I immediately noticed upon cutting them open was the large concentration of inedible seeds. The seeds were easily scooped out, tho, and I took a bite of the juicy flesh. It’s a different taste, hard to explain, but sort of a savory watermelon. And the lovely dark pink/purple color juice went everywhere. So I conned hubby, my sous chef, into seeding the prickly pear fruit.

With a little thought I decided the flavor would play off nicely in a sweet/heat salsa. To get the sweetness I wanted I roasted a 2 pound assortment of hot and sweet peppers, garlic and red onion.



Processing in the large bowl of a food processor, and working in batches, I whizzed all the veggies & a good handful of cilantro.

Along with the processed peppers, garlic, onion and fruit, I mixed in the juice of a lemon and lime along with a pinch of salt

Garnished with some cilantro and sliced lemon, lime and prickly pear fruit

Serve with chips.

Andrea has promised us more prickly pear fruit and I am looking forward to trying out some new recipes.

Prickly Pear Salsa

2 lbs mixed peppers (I used half heat and half sweet)
1 large red onion
1 head garlic
1 handful cilantro leafs
1/2 lb prickly pear fruit, de-thorned, sliced in half and deseeded
juice of 2 lemons and 1 lime
pinch of salt

On large baking sheets arrange peppers and garlic head in a single layer. Peel the onion and cut in 1″ sections, arrange on baking sheets. Roast at 350 for 30 minutes or so, turning halfway thru.

Prepare the prickly pear fruit by removing the thorns, slicing in half and scooping out the seeds with a spoon.

In batches process the peppers, garlic, fruit and cilantro leafs. Mix in a pinch of salt. Chil at least 6 hours for the flavors to meld. Garnish with slices of lemons, limes, prickly fruit and cilantro leafs.

Serve with chips.