Nut Butter Ball Crescent Cookies

  • One cup butter
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp almond extract or 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1-2 cups pecans, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix butter with sugar until very light and fluffy.
  3. Add salt, extract, flour, nuts and mix well.
  4. Chill until dough is easy to handle.
  5. Shape into crescents.
  6. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  7. Bake until light brown, 12-15 minutes.
  8. While the cookies are warm, dust with confectioner’s sugar.

“I thought you said you didn’t like these cookies>”

“No, I never said I don’t like these cookies. They’re just my least favorite cookie you bake.”

Least favorite means I like the other cookies you bake better than this one. But the damage to our relationship was already done. My penance was being limited to one cookie. One. Cookie. Ouch!

Note the last two lines on the recipe card. Yes, these cookies are much better with chocolate. (and the picture of the cookie is for the reader who complained once about not enough food pictures).

More Random Thoughts on Sunday After Thanksgiving 2020

Sunday 11/29

Never get too high, never get too low. Trust the Process which has been developed and refined for nearly 45 years of weight loss followed by weight gain followed again with weight loss… The Truth Machine today displayed 177 and I am both pleased and relieved. I survived another Thanksgiving feast! Reading this you might think I’m compulsive about my weight. Guilty as charged. You get kind of obsessed with your weight when you never want to be 370 pounds again, ever. I am 70 inches tall. In high school I was the shortest (and heaviest) power forward on the hardwood. I had a decent shot but was better at rebounding because I took up so much space. I was also Captain of the tennis team but that’s a whole other story.

The roller coaster of shifting weights has been the story of my life. A constant struggle. A battle between the food within reach and my brain, one saying yes, the other saying well, here we go again. Part of the problem of losing a lot of weight is complacency. Knowing what works and what to do is not the same thing as doing that thing. I got lazy and allowed myself to balloon back up to 200-205. The Truth Machine had lost its policing effect. My brain started rationalizing, hey it’s a hell of a lot better than 370! Besides most people gain weight as they age…

I’m old enough now to remember what life was like before unsocial media. One (of the many) things I dislike about unsocial media are those dumb ass reminders in your online photo collections: One Year Ago Today…Two Years Ago This Week, etc. Well, at Thanksgiving this year for me, this unsocial media feature got a bit less unsavory.

“I saw a Memory on my photo timeline the other day. We were on the beach in Rhode Island and you looked heavier than you do now.”

“You mean fatter.”

“Not fatter, just heavier. You look really good now.”

And this ends the story of the best Thanksgiving ever observing Covid-19 pandemic guidelines while preparing turkey in a way you’ve never done before. Random Thoughts the Day After Thanksgiving 2020. The turkey turned out great and I got validation my weight loss efforts were working (again). The Mojo is back. I’ll be working on my book for a few hours today.

Random Thoughts the Day After Thanksgiving 2020

Friday 11/27

Remember the Mantra: never get too high, never get too low. The Truth Machine this morning stared back at me with the number 179. Yes, we had a very good Thanksgiving how did you know? Too much sugar, too many calories, too much of a good time. But remember the mantra. I’m convinced my number will come down again. Maybe not today or tomorrow but the number will come back down.

A random encounter at the grocery store may have changed my Thanksgiving turkey buying habits forever. As I was mindlessly staring at the frozen birds another shopper came over, excused himself and reached for what appeared to be a very small turkey breast. He already had one in his other hand so I just had to ask,

“What is that?”

“Boneless breast. My wife doesn’t want any other type of turkey for Thanksgiving and told me to get two.”

I picked up one of these from the freezer section and examined it. I’d never seen a boneless turkey breast roast before. Bone in yes, boneless no. What the hell why not? I bought one only to be told by MY wife when I got home to go get another one so we can have leftovers. Which I did. The only picture I snapped was the pre-roasting picture. I didn’t take a picture when the turkey came out of the oven because the turkey skin didn’t brown but the veggies in the pan did.

Uncooked and not recommended to be consumed without cooking first.
  1. Defrost for two days in the fridge.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  3. Remove the outer wrapping, pat dry with paper towels and do not remove the string webbing holding the breast meat together in a roast shape.
  4. In a roasting pan scatter chunks of onion, celery and carrots (peeled or unpeeled, up to you).
  5. Season the veggies well. I used salt, pepper, garlic powder, thyme, and parsley ( I couldn’t find any rosemary or that would have gone into the mix). Sprinkle the veggies with some olive oil.
  6. Place the roasting rack in the pan, spreading the veggies enough so that the rack sits firmly in the pan. Position your breasts so that they don’t fall through the rack.
  7. Rub olive oil (or melted butter, your choice) on the breasts. Season well. I used the same seasonings as in Step #5 with the addition of onion powder. No rosemary unfortunately.
  8. Tent the pan with aluminum foil and roast for 1.5 hours. Remove the foil at this point and continue roasting for another 30 minutes. (broil for five minutes if you want to try and get the skin brown for pictures).
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 15 minutes, foil tent back on to keep the meat warm. Using a pair of kitchen scissors carefully cut and remove the string webbing.
  10. Slice and serve.

Each boneless breast is approximately 3 pounds and will provide 4-6 servings. Since our Pandemic Inspired gathering was 4 adults and 2 Tiny Humans we had plenty of turkey for leftovers. Two of the four adults are dark meat aficionados and we sacrificed our personal preferences for ease of preparation. Everyone was quite pleased with how the boneless roasts delivered very moist and flavorful turkey.

Mmmm…good turkey!
Just avocado for me please.

Happy Thanksgiving – 2020

Look, I know 2020 has been an awful year. But no matter how bad things seem to be always remember the good in the world. Find at least one thing to be thankful for and let that one thing be your reminder to find other things you are thankful for. And if this doesn’t work imagine you are three years old running in between tall trees, well dressed for the occasion in a stylish coat, a really cool mask, Minnie tucked under your arm. Then there she is right in front of you. Dad! Pick this one!

McPlant?

The company launched the plant-based Big Vegan TS burger in Germany in May 2019, and started testing the “P.L.T”—a plant, lettuce, and tomato sandwich with a patty made by Beyond Meat—in Canada later in the year. Competitors already have plant-based burgers in the market, including Burger King, which tested the Impossible Whopper in April 2019, and rolled it out nationwide in August.

What we know about McDonald’s new “McPlant” plant-based burgerhttps://www.fastcompany.com/90573484/what-we-know-about-mcdonalds-new-mcplant-plant-based-burger?partner=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=feedburner+fastcompany&utm_content=feedburner

Remember in the end it’s still fast food.

The Pandemic Pantry – Election Week Update- 11.08.20

Sunday 11/8

To be honest I’ve not paid much attention to the Covid-19 numbers very much for quite some time. Yesterday though, the numbers caught my attention:

Holy Crap Batman!

My initial reaction was shock. But my thoughts quickly came back to food and preparing the pantry for the next lock down.  I’m using this blog to maintain my personal pandemic pantry list and it is not intended to be THE LIST to follow.  (At least I won’t forget where I put my pantry list.) IMO there are several reasons to keep your pantry well stocked:

  • government mandated lock downs.
  • self-imposed periods of sheltering in place either from direct exposure to an infected individual, becoming infected or living with an infected person, rampant uncontrolled viral spread in your community and/or social unrest.
  • Panic buying/hoarding.
  • Supply chain disruptions due to Covid-19 outbreaks at various points in the supply chain and/or panic buying behavior.

We just survived the worst ice storm imaginable and several days without electricity teaches you a thing or two. So I’ve started a list of non-food pantry items which over time will consist of stuff you need to have around when the lights go out. My shopping the past several months included picking up one of this and one of that to build up and back up the pantry. So here’s what the Pandemic Pantry looks like today with the supply on hand in parenthesis. Zero = no backup.

Pandemic Pantry Items – Last Updated 11.08.20

  • Mayo (1) Mustard (0) Salsa (1) Ketchup (0)
  • Pickles (1)
  • Canned tomatoes in 14.5 and 28 ounce cans.  Diced, crushed, diced with green chilies and stewed (8)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (1)
  • Brown and white sugar (0 and 1)
  • Bay leaves, dried oregano, basil, and parsley (0)
  • Onion and garlic powders
  • Salt (1) and black pepper (0)
  • Baking powder, baking soda, corn starch (0)
  • Parmesan cheese (1)
  • Bread crumbs (plain, Panko, seasoned) (1)
  • Dried pastas (10 lbs)
  • Dried beans such as brown and green lentils, pinto, black, adzuki, mayocabo, yellow and green split peas, black eye peas and cranberry (5 lbs)
  • Canned beans such as garbanzos, black, black eye peas, pinto, great northern, navy (10)
  • Broth, vegetable, beef, chicken (3)
  • Rice – multiple varieties like basmati, brown, Texmati, arborio  and plain long grain white (6 lbs)
  • Flour and corn tortillas (0)
  • Wheat germ (1)
  • COFFEE ground (0) — K-cups (50ish)
  • COFFEE FILTERS (0) — I suggest owning a single cup drip cone.
  • Tea (120 tea bags all green decaf plus a few normal ones for me)
  • Nuts (1)
  • All purpose and whole wheat flours (or alternative flours if you’re into that sort of thing)
  • Canned tuna (6)
  • Canned green chilies (1)
  • Oats (0)
  • Cornmeal (0)
  • Dried fruits (1)
  • Whole grain and fruit/nut bars (20ish)
  • Dry cereals and granola (0)
  • Crackers (3)
  • Vinegar (red wine, white wine,Balsamic, white Balsamic, apple cider, etc.) (1)
  • Oil (besides EVO, vegetable, avocado, corn, etc.) (3)
  • Peanut butter (2)
  • Jelly and/or fruit spread (1)
  • Glenmorangie 10 and 14 Single Malt Scotch (2)

Non-food Items Paper

  • Paper towels (66 double rolls)
  • Toilet paper (56 double and MEGA rolls)
  • Tissues (16)
  • Napkins (2 small, 2 large packs)

Hopefully you’ll find this list useful. Personally while updating the list I’ve thought of items to add to this list and to my shopping list. Stay safe, stay well.

One of the Tenderest Steaks

The duo compare the flat iron to a famously tender and expensive steak: the filet. “The flat iron is the second most tender muscle on the animal but it has so much more flavor, and is a fraction of the price,” Turley says. “The customers that come in for the first time…they think ‘I gotta get the most expensive thing, that’s going to be the best thing.’ You don’t have to…this is a better value and you’ll be super happy with it,” says Young.

Meat Experts Butcher One of the Tenderest Steaks — https://www.eater.com/21547837/meat-experts-butcher-flat-iron-steak-beef-chuck

There isn’t a home cook alive who doesn’t appreciate a good value at the grocery store. In fact I was at the store today and couldn’t help but notice shoppers routinely ignore the flat iron steaks and head straight to tenderloins. I had some already in the freezer but I picked up some more.

Source: https://www.certifiedangusbeef.com/

Note this cut is also known as Top Blade Steak.

Source: https://www.certifiedangusbeef.com/

Due to the strip of cartilage in Top Blade you’ll do better low and slow with moist heat. Flat Iron Steaks are cut to remove the cartilage and is the better cut for grilling. But none of this really matters in our house because these are two of my favorite cuts for pot roast, stew, stroganoff, etc. Tri-tip is another good choice for low and slow treatment as in my Tri-Tip Beef Stew.

This post is prelude to my Beef Stroganoff post which I’ll get around to writing one of these days. Promise.

More on Entomophagy

Black soldier fly larvae contains more zinc and iron than lean meat and its calcium content is higher than milk. Less than half a hectare of black soldier fly larvae can produce more protein than cattle grazing on around 1200 hectares, or 52 hectares of soybeans. New research has identified the barriers for introducing fly protein into Western human diets as a sustainable, healthy alternative to both meat and plant proteins.

Black soldier fly larvae as protein alternative — https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/10/201029104951.htm

I’d rather eat crickets. See my earlier post This Giant Automated Cricket Farm Is Designed To Make Bugs A Mainstream Source Of Protein.

Neither product coming soon to a grocery store near you.

The Apology Post – 11.01.20

Before we go any further I am guilty as charged. I’m spending a lot of time with https://lifeunderwriter.net/ and even more time at my Day Job so the posts here have been somewhat sparse. I promise to be better. A lot of time has also been devoted to my Pandemic Weight Loss Program. I started the year at 192 pounds. This morning the scale was 176.2 pounds. A lot of folks have been on the Pandemic Weight Gain Plan. And for faithful readers who want to know more about my weight plan you’ll just have to buy the book (if and when I ever finish writing it). But for now, here’s the latest I’ve stumbled upon in the plant based diet craze.

CONCLUSIONS: Young adults who increased plant-centered diet quality had a lower diabetes risk and gained less weight by middle adulthood.

A Shift Toward a Plant-Centered Diet From Young to Middle Adulthood and Subsequent Risk of Type 2 Diabetes and Weight Gain: The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study — Diabetes Care 2020 Nov; 43(11): 2796-2803. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc20-1005

Small study (n=206) but still interesting.

CONCLUSIONS: Replacement of red and processed meat with cheese, yogurt, nuts, or cereals was associated with a lower rate of type 2 diabetes. Substituting red and processed meat by other protein sources may contribute to the prevention of incident type 2 diabetes in European populations.

Replacement of Red and Processed Meat With Other Food Sources of Protein and the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in European Populations: The EPIC-InterAct Study — https://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/43/11/2660?rss=1

Another interesting study but with serious limitations as the authors themselves point out:

A limitation of the current study is that the food substitutions were inferred based on a statistical model that compared individuals with different average intakes while no one actively changed their diet.

Well, I’ve actively changed my diet the past several months. I know increased exercise did not contribute to my weight loss (I have some physical limitations and actually cancelled my gym membership due to the virus). Hopefully I’ll find the time to review and document the changes that generated the loss.