Coconut Oil – Trick!

{I am back!!  It’s been a LONG break.  I hope to be able to share more with you  in 2016!}

Small kitchen – big problems.  

At the Little Red House I have a small kitchen.

How do you keep things you really need to use daily close?  Especially when it is Tropical Traditions coconut oil and you buy it by the tub, storage becomes an issue.


Coconut oil and summer weather are a dream.  Soft creamy and ready to scoop out of the container.

Fall, winter & spring – not so much.  In fact, it is rock hard.  So hard I have bent a spoon or two scooping it out.

PicTapGo-Image2A butter knife works much better!

I ‘crack’ out as much as I can and melt it on the stove.  It is important not too use too high a heat – this is oil and you could burn yourself.

PicTapGo-Image 3 It eventually melts into a clear glorious liquid.

Then I simply fill my jars.  A wide mouth jar work best for me.

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Let it cool.  In my 67 degree kitchen in January this does not take too long

Then cover, seal and store the jars individually.

I have been taking advantage of a small area in my kitchen on the counter where I store all my fats (olive oils, avocado oils and coconut oil).  Everything is close for when I am cooking.

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Yes, it takes a tad longer to do it this way but this saves me so much time when I am in the middle of cooking dinner or baking and my jar runs dry.

It works for me~



I Love… Keds

One thing I do not love is shoes.

Well, I do love shoes.

 I just do not love having wide feet with a bone spur.  And throw in plantar faciitis which decides to pop up off and on.

This makes finding shoes especially difficult.

One pair of shoes that has treated me well over the years is white Keds sneakers.

And they have to be white.

I remember sporting them in high school with my fancy Guess jeans.  And with my summer shorts.

We are talking 1984 people.

I remember wearing them while dating the Mr. all through the 90s. And commuting in and out of Boston on the train.

I know I was wearing them as I was raising two toddlers.

They are just a staple.

And it seems they are ‘in fashion’ again?  That is what Pinterest is telling me anyways!

Not to be confused with white Converse low tops.  That is what my teen wears.


And she rocks them.

Or Vans.  That is what the Tween wears.


But, I am old.  And they don’t sell them in wide width.  Sad.

I will be sporting them again this Spring – with leggings: (images from Pinterest)

keds leggings

rolled up jeans

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and even with skirts/dresses

keds dress.

It is just the only way to go for old tired sore feet like mine.

This is the pair I have been wearing for the past few years.

The standard Champion is fine I have just really liked the fit on these.

Keds Spirit in Leather.

keds side

  keds top ok

I think I am partial to the blue stripe.

I order a new pair every Spring.  In my trusty 6.5 W.

I just wish it was Spring right now!

Love It!

I Love… Favorite Kitchen Tools

We are on Winter Vacation this week.  I am re sharing a post I wrote about Kitchen Tools. Enjoy!

I was recently asked what my most used kitchen tool was.

I had to think!

Kitchenaid rKP26M1Xcs Professional 600 Stand Mixer 6 quart 10 speed Power SILVER

I wanted to say my new shiny Kitchen Aid Pro mixer, but no.

I wanted to say my salad spinner that I use so much I broke one recently and had to get a new one, but no.

Or could it be something big and obvious like the dishwasher or stove – it is not.

Or small like a big name brand chef’s knife – no, I don’t even have one of those.

Maybe my slow cooker? Close but no

It is this – the one simple thing that I have been known to use sometimes 3 times a day.

My Lodge Cast Iron skillet.  


For years I avoided it because it is SO HARD to clean. But I have learned a few things:

1. this is the perfect replacement to my non stick pan for eggs – YES, I make eggs in mine every morning.

2. the heat retention is amazing – perfect for cooking meat, hamburgers, chicken, sautéed veggies or even tomato sauce.

3. I use this as my pizza pan now too!

How do I care for mine?

2 things: cold water in a hot pan & a scraper.

That’s it.

Once I am done cooking with it – I splash it with cold tap water – and all the baked on stuff just scrapes right off.  Then I paper towel it down while it cools right on the burner.  I typically rub some coconut oil back into it before I store it.

There are times it starts to show ‘gray’ and I season it (coconut oil, in the oven for an hour, then cool).  But it is not often.


I mentioned that it is my pizza pan.  How does a grain-free low carber eat pizza?  This is my secret recipe.

The Mr. even eats it – maybe because I withheld pizza for so long!

My favorite recipe Deep Dish Pizza can be found here at Maria Mind Body and Health.

Just some egg whites and protein powder mixed together and presto I have crust.  I do prefer other crusts with nut flours but this one has very low carbs.


It really does not take me any longer to prep than a homemade pizza with old fashioned wheat laden-ed dough from the market.


And as you can see there is an actual crust.   We all it the perfect delivery system for the good stuff – cheese and sauce!


I was the queen of non-stick cookware.  Yes, I still have one or two pieces but I rarely use them.

Anyone stopping over will usually see it sitting on my stove – it gets used that much.

What is YOUR most used kitchen tool?

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I Love… Project Life App

I touched on Project Life a while back. I wrote about it here.

At the time I was doing hands on, cutting, pasting, real life scrap booking with this process that was new to me.  The major shift in iPhone photography vs. my Canon DSLR was the main catalyst for this.  I take more photos now.  I want to preserve more and share my story differently.  I had never taken to digital scrapbooking.  I need to touch and feel everything.

iPhone Screenshot 1

Over the summer Becky Higgins released a Project Life App.  This people, is a game changer!

I can now sit with the iPad where ever I am and bring all my iPhone photos into the app and simply drop and drag, edit, add filler cards and write text in one sitting.

Yup, that easy!

I do make in app purchases for card sets I want.  Considering my usual costs to paper scrapbooking these .99 – 2.99 purchases are nominal.

I then print the 12×12 pages – which come out beautiful at Persnickety Prints.  I get gorgeous printed pages for 1.99.  Again, nominal to me.

So I started here with full on paper scrapbooking


and switched to the Project Life method


and now I have this

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Yup, that easy!

These are now printed and added to the album.


Yup, the photo is upside down! I am NOT perfect.

This is what works for me right now.

I am pleased to report I am officially caught up on all my scrapbooks to the year 2015.  This is not an easy thing to do.

I Love That!

I Love… Bullet Proof Coffee


Yup, I love it.

I have favorite mugs, flavors, ways to prep it, and times to drink it.

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It is the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning.  My Keurig is on and heated just waiting for me.

I love to Bullet Proof it.

Bullet Proofing is adding a serving of fat to coffee other than cream that sustains me for the majority of the morning.  It cuts my hunger in half and gives me great energy.

Here are a few ways to Bullet Proof your coffee.

NOW Foods Mct 100% Oil, 32-Fluid Ounces


Before you cringe – keep in mind I eat a Low Carb High Fat diet.  Fat is important to my day.

To accomplish this I add either a tablespoon of unsalted Kerrygold – the heat of the coffee melts it.  Or I add 1-2 teaspoons of MCT Oil.  Which is a Medium Chain Triglyceride from Coconut Oil.  It is not for everyone and you need to build up the serving size slowly (tummy issues).

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Now for the yummy stuff!

I use flavored stevia drops for sweetness and flavors.  Butter Toffee and Hazelnut are my favorites.

A shake of Tumeric spice

   and CinnamonI still use a stir of cream as I just like it light.  Or I add a dollop of Coconut Cream.

Then the key to all of this –

A frother. Any inexpensive one will do.  Which I should mention if you have kids who like Hot Cocoa and you don’t have one of these… get one!

Ikea Produkt 100.763.20 Milk-frother, Silver

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 All warm, creamy and spicy.  The perfect start to my day.

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You should know that I have a Dunkin Donuts in very close walking distance to my Little Red House.  And I prefer this coffee over theirs – any day!

I Love That!

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I Love… Soup!

I write a lot about soup.

Making Chicken Stock, Chicken Noodle and Coco’s favorite Italian Wedding Soup.  Those are some old links from when I was on Blogspot.  Seems like years ago!

Soup to me is the perfect meal.

While I used to be more interested in the fresh baked buttered bread I would serve with the soup – soup has become the main focus now.

My girls prefer their soup with pasta in it.  Why wouldn’t they?

I now appreciate the massive dose of veggies and healthy bone broth it provides.  The gut healing kind.

When my mom is ill the first thing I do is take her soup.  In fact one of her Christmas gifts was a box full of my soup jars for her freezer.  I think she liked that more than the gift I wrapped and put under the tree.

One of my new favorites is yes, from Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain.  She outlines her Left Over Roast Chicken and Roast Vegetable Soup here.

Here is mine in action.

Making the roasted veggies: butternut squash, carrots and onion

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Preheating the broth

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Transforming broth into this

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And finally enjoying

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This is another of those BIG quantity recipes.  I prep mine for the freezer when I make.

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I Love This!!

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I Love… My New Crepe Pan

Low carb Wraps or Crepes are fairly new to me.  Sometimes, I usually just do better ‘without’.

I was looking to try a new recipe from Against All Grain Meals Made Simple called Wraps.  Not to be confused with her Crepe recipe from her first book.  In hindsight I should have tried that one first… I will share why in a bit.

I chose the Paderno 8.5 inch pan.  It was the one Danielle Walker recommended.  Then when I finally decided to try the recipe I burned my pretty new pan in the seasoning process 😦

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But the good news is that it still worked!

Once I started the recipe I realized it called for a good amount of Arrowroot Powder.  Something I had on hand but had not played with much.  After I dumped the 1/4 cup in I realize the carb count had skyrocketed.  And some further research showed her Crepe recipe did not use arrowroot and I should have tried that first.

I heated the pan, and poured it in

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I waited and waited for the edges to lift

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Flipped it

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I waited too long on this one

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This is what they are supposed to look like.  I came close with most of them.

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Using my trick of halving the recipe I ended up with 5.

I calculated the carb count to be 5 per wrap.  Okay, if I treat them as treats.

I bagged them as she suggested with parchment between each layer.

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I sampled one right away by spreading some almond butter on it.

It was good.

Like – so good that it felt wrong.

The next morning I made egg & cheese wraps for the Mr. and I

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I would like to try these next time as a layer in lasagna as she suggested.

Very glad I made in small investment in the pan!

Love it!!


I Love…

It is February.

I am going to focus on things I LOVE this month.

Winter is here.

We get complacent about things we do everyday.

I wanted to share the things that make me happy and share those with you.


Low Carb Buffalo Wings – Pressure Cooker

It is Superbowl Weekend.

No mention here of Deflate Gate.  We are a solid Pat’s household!

While I would prefer to sit and watch football with my iPad on my lap scrap booking Project Life pages – this game I do like to watch.  If only for the commercials!

Superbowl = Chicken Wings.

I want to share our new favorite easy way to make wings.

Coco is a wing connoisseur.  She loves them and she gave me the thumbs up for this way of cooking – that says a LOT!

Typically in the summer I will grill them.  Sometimes even in the winter I will stand over the grill on a cold day.  This is our new preferred way.

I follow this process from Hip Pressure Cooking (great website!!) using my trusty electric pressure cooker.

Buffalo Style Pressure Cooked Chicken Wings

Hip Pressure Cooking

 The Instapot seems to be all the rage right now.  Mine is about 5 years old from QVC.  I had a stovetop one for about 10 years.  Then when I switched to a ceramic stove top it stopped working for me.  I love the electric one.

Hip Pressure Cooking does a great job detailing how to make the wings. The pressure cooker in 10 mins gets the meat almost falling off the bone.  A quick toss in the sauce then under the broiler they go.

I use my trusty buffalo sauce – it just gets the job done.

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I have learned to flip them over after 5 mins.  They key is to get both sides of the wings crispy.

Crispy is good! 

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They go quick!!

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I love that I control the ingredients & quality of the chicken.

New Recipes – Halve It

When I talk about all my new cookbooks, websites and pinned recipes that I try sometimes the results are varied.

Some are great, some are okay and some are not for me.  Some I love or like, but the family refused.  Or the Mr. and I loved, but the kids balked.

The problem is this way of eating can get expensive.  While I am not spending a lot on processed foods these days a lot of the ingredients called for can add up quickly.


(image source: Google images)

Need a 1/2 tsp of xanthum gum – the bag costs $10-$14.  Coconut aminos which is used as a soy sauce replacement is about $6.50 for a small bottle.  Almond Flour & Coconut Flour – trust me – expensive.  And when you are striving to use the healthiest cuts of protein (grass-fed beefs, organic chicken, antibiotic free pork) that is a checkbook killer.  Organic veggies…. you know how that goes.

When I try a recipe for the first time I try my hardest to remind myself – HALVE THE RECIPE!

This is quickly becoming my new favorite book!

Recently, I tried Danielle Walker from Against All Grain’s Minestrone Soup from her new book Meals Made Simple.  I was not paying attention.  I ended up with my large crockpot FULL to the top with a new soup.  I worried that it will be wasted or worse I will be eating all myself.

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Lucky for me it was a total winner!!

I was able to enjoy the frozen jars of soup from my freezer over the whole month of December.


Freezing soups in jars for single serving size quick meals. Click to read more.

One recipe I had REALLY high hopes for was All Day I Dream About Food’s Cinnamon Buns.  Anytime I can find a replacement for traditional foods that I used to enjoy I am game.

While they looked good…


I think the girls are onto me!

2-IMG_9415 These were just a miss.

I am also lucky enough that friends who enjoy this way of cooking are willing to share new recipes they try, photos, and best of all if their families gave it the thumbs up or down.

There is no replacing a ‘kid’s review’!

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Another Year and the Great Escape

This post accidentally posted earlier this month.  I am re posting on its original schedule date.  

Tomorrow is my birthday.

While the day used to be focused on which bakery in town would be supplying my sugar laden birthday cake and what they picked out for me these days I am just happy to be surrounded by those I love.

Right before Christmas I was woken to chirping fire detectors at 5:00 am.  Nora was panicking.  She’s very sensitive to the sound.  Before she became our forever dog she survived a fire in the family home where she lived.  The fire detectors really bother her.

And I know that.

She has a doggie door and after the third round of them ringing she bolted.  Through her door.  But she was not in a good frame of mind and apparently it took me until about 7:30 am to realize she had not come back in.  In her panic she got out of the yard.

I live in a pretty even keel place these days.  My anxiety runs low and I am pretty calm about most things.  She’s gotten out before but she always comes back quickly.  This was too long.  And she missed breakfast.

It was a tough day.  My dad had been readmitted to the hospital and I was due to pick my sister up at the airport.  The girls needed rides.  And I would not be home for hours.

Stress level was high.

I broke.

I went to that dark place of what could have happened to her.   I found myself driving around our neighborhood stopping to ask anyone out there if they had seen her.  It was clear I was upset.

I tried to get on with my day knowing the Mr. would be home.

Then about 11 am I got this photo on my phone

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Animal Control knew she was missing and called the Mr. when she was found.

Look at that guilt ridden face.  The Mr. tells me that animal control let her sit in the front seat because she was so sweet.

Later that night she never left my side.

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excuse the white socks… please

I felt an enormous sense of loss that morning.  It was painful.  And to have her back taught me a lesson.

Life is not about where your cake comes from or what gifts you got for Christmas.  It’s about having my family around me.

And the realization that time is marching on and they may not all always be here.   That my girls are still young enough that they are home with me and not at college yet or starting their own family traditions. That my parents are now well into their 80s.

My dad missed Christmas but is home from the hospital and my sister is back where she lives.  I wake up to that black face so happy to see me every morning.  She is my family.

That is what I celebrate this year for my 47th.

Ugh… did I just type that?

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Low Carb Hot Buffalo Chicken Dip

 I host Christmas most of the time.  We manage to fit all these people into The Little Red House, it’s once a year.

We start around Noon and have dinner around 4.  Apps are the key to this routine.

My ‘newly engaged!!’ niece brings some things for everyone to enjoy and I do the hot one.

I chose my new favorite – Hot Buffalo Chicken Dip.

I tripped on this in a restaurant over the summer.  I devoured it.  However, I suspect there was flour in it.  WHY do restaurants do that?!  I digress.

This is a huge crowd pleaser and is great for Football Sundays or parties.

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It is simple enough to make ahead.

I spread a block of cream cheese in a pie dish.

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Take some of my pre-shredded chicken out of the freezer and defrost.  Toss it with about a cup of wing sauce.

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While a true ‘primal’ eater would make their own sauce from scratch.  I have relaxed my standards a bit.  I prefer this one.  Mainly because they make it in a Mild version.  I am still have my Irish palate but I am getting better about the heat.
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Layer with a 1/2 cup of cheddar.  I always use aged raw cheddar 😉  It digests better for me.

Drizzle with some Bleu Cheese dressing.  (Yes, Marie’s is my second downfall for processed foods…)

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Wrap and label.  Cook the day of.1-2014-12-24 11.23.12

I serve with celery chunks.  They are my crackers.

It did not last.

I offered to heat it up half way through but the crowd told me not to take it away 😉

For sure this will be on our table this weekend when the Patriots try to take the AFC Championship – again!

New England Road Trip – Wahlburgers

I used to post about places we traveled around to in New England with the kids. Like beaches, little towns, corners of our beautiful area on Cape Ann.  Here are a few of my favs:  MOFA Boston, Plimoth Plantation, Beacon Hill and Salem.

Recently, we took a little trip to the South Shore of Massachusetts to Hingham that I want to share.

First some background:

Mark Wahlburg?  Donnie Wahlburg? Familiar with these names?

I have to admit I am a huge Mark fan.  In fact, I blame my first born for her 10 day delivery delay and keeping me in the hospital in June of 2000 when the movie The Perfect Storm opened and Mark was at the opening in my home town and I missed it!  Albeit for a good reason.  She was worth it.

Yes, I would have been in that crowd!

If you tune into the A&E Channel at all you will know that the brothers have opened a burger joint.

 And it is located here in Mass.  Lucky us!!

We popped down for a visit before Christmas.

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And while the burgers were good and well priced – we did not see Mark.  Or Donnie.

But we did see the other brother Paul, the celebrity chef, Wahlburg.  That had me my girls content.

Here are some shots from our day.

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Yes we totally pulled the whole groupie ‘let’s take selfies the whole time’ thing.  It was really fun!


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Meet the Author

Not much happens around these parts.

But when one of your favorite cookbook authors comes to the area it’s a good idea to go!

I have mentioned there is a small group of us who similarly cook .  One of the paleo cookbook authors we seem to like the best is Danielle Walker of Against All Grain.  She has a newer book out Meals Made Simple.  I even have her two e-book cookbooks which is a huge rule breaker for me – but they are worth it!

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I cannot name one recipe yet from either of these books that has not been a hit!  She has this way of making grain free foods taste just like the recipes in my old repertoire.  Like Beef Stroganoff, and Chicken and RIce Casserole.  Foods I have missed.

Her book tour brought her to our area Friday night.  And we went!!

Following a stop at Legal Seafoods we enjoyed her talk, Q&A and then the book signing!

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She is even sweeter in person.


And more beautiful.

She took the time to speak to everyone and asked us questions.  It was a lovely night!