Masthead header


July 2, 2020 ~ A trend is occurring with this pork chop and tater tot theme we have going. Kate has been contributing to our food supply with a monthly ButcherBox shipment. It is sometimes hit or miss with what is available. Chicken breasts were difficult to get for a bit so she filled in with the other white meat, pork chops. The chops have been a solid replacement in terms of flavor. They do require more attention when cooking than chicken breasts. For example, searing them seems to be a good technique to lock in the juices. This is not necessarily so for chicken breasts. In fact, typically I will cook chicken breasts in a baking dish in the oven. I put some broth, and balsamic light salad dressing over them, maybe some sundried tomatoes, maybe Italian sauce on Tom’s, and the dressing just on mine. I cook them for about 35 to 40 minutes at 400 degrees. It’s lazy, easy, and tasty. Though I am still sold on pork chops as an alternative they do need more tender loving care.

The kabob dinner was mine to make. The marinade for the pork was outstanding. I cut up the chops into chunks and onion as well then sit them in the marinade for an hour. I know, it should have been hours, but I forgot. The weather was perfect for kayaking so we lit out of the house in the early afternoon without giving it a second thought. Based on Tom cleaning his plate I would say an hour in the marinade was just fine.

This is the recipe:


  • 2 1/2 lb pork tenderloin trimmed and cut into 1 1/2″ pieces – I used two pork chops instead
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large red onion cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 Tbsp fresh parsley to garnish optional

I used wood skewers and wasn’t crazy about them. The metal ones would be better because they will hold the heat and helped to cook the meat and they are easier to turn.

The sides were tater tots and all the fresh summer vegetables I could put my hands on.

Hands-down, good meal. It was light in calories, and tasty. Worked out well for diabetic Tom and easier than most foods for ALS Tom since no cutting was involved.

It was a good low-calorie meal as well as coming in at 469 per serving.

Until the next time!

July 1, 2020 ~ Smothered pork chops surprised me equally in flavor and calorie count. When Kate first said this was what she was making I had a throwback thought to Long Island diners and super salty heavy gravy with tons of mushrooms in it, sort of the chop getting drowned out by the gravy kind of feel. My imagination was 180 off. Another good reason not to have an opinion until you have had all the facts.

We were getting tired of rice so Kate made tater tots. For a vegetable, we had Tom’s favorite fresh asparagus spears cooked in olive oil with garlic until they were nearly unrecognizable. We compromise when we can.

The recipe can be found here:


  • 1 pound bone-in pork chops, 1-inch thick
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning or seasoning salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter  – Kate used 1 tablespoon of salted butter
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced – Kate used a red onion
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream – Kate used half and half as we do not keep heavy cream in stock
  • chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Total calories per serving are approximately 613. It is an outstanding meal, flavorful, repeatable, and not heavy, at all.

Pork chops are gaining a whole new level of respect.

Until the next time!

June 30, 2020 ~ Sophie wants to know what are these crazy humans cooking up again!

Whew, is all I can say about making this meal. I’ve been busy podcasting with my co-host Jennifer Smith Mackinday. “This Caregiver Life” podcast is taking a break for the summer so we crammed in a few recordings over two days. It was my turn to cook on one of those days between podcasting. I barely remember making this meal, though, the good flavors are still in my memory. It was a busy meal to make yet worth it!

I’ve been hankering to cook with dijon mustard and found this recipe that piqued my interest:


  • 1 to 1 1/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil + more for lightly coating chicken
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup sliced shallots – no shallots in the house. I subbed in onions
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (can sub chicken stock)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 tablespoons Dijon mustard, smooth, whole grain, or a mixture of both
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme – no thyme in the house. I subbed in nothing.
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream – no heavy cream in the house. I subbed in half and half, it was a good sub.

For sides I made summer veggies – squash, zucchini, onions, pepper, asparagus – and jasmine rice. All good complements to the chicken. The dijon for the chicken was divine!

Total count: 557

This was another evening in which Tom enjoyed the meal, had a good portion, and was still hungry an hour later. We satisfied this ALS calorie deficit with hardboiled eggs. His diabetes continues to be wonky. He has fasting labs this week. I’m anxious to see what his diabetes numbers show.

Until the next time!

June 28, 2020 ~ Well aren’t sliders just the cutest little burgers? They are a tad tricky if you are counting calories because you could easily pop a few of these in without realizing how many you’ve had!

To be honest, it was another way to make a hamburger without calling it a burger. We already had burgers during the challenge. A slider is a slider though, not a burger, right?

Kate pulled this recipe from this website:


  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs (soft white) used gluten-free breadcrumbs, thank you Kate!
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon marjoram – did not use this
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 pound ground beef (85% lean)
  • 10 to 12 slices American cheese – I did not have cheese, too many calories
  • Mini buns – I did not have these either. I avoid bread due to the caloric load.

Click on the link to the recipe above for the directions. There is also a vegetarian option. They turned out great. Hamburgers are basically Tom’s love language and pizza too. He could live on these foods. Maybe some donuts too. He would definitely rock donuts if I was a willing partner in food madness.

The sides Kate prepared: gluten-free mac and cheese and Tom’s least favorite on the planet broccoli. He can’t be “made” to eat these crazy, green things so no one tries. Sometimes we make him an alternative like green beans or asparagus. On this night he went vegetable-less and was happier for it.

The calorie count for this meal, minus the buns, is approximately 618.

It is absolutely a repeatable meal for us.

Until the next time!



photo caption: this is where we paddleboard and kayak

June 28, 2020 ~ Sunday was a paddleboarding day. It was the thing Kate and I had planned on for our retreat-at-home. Although I knew dinner was on me I didn’t get caught up in searching for a recipe and getting all complicated with meal planning. I went for the easy. Paddleboarding is fantastically fun and challenging but also exhausting. I planned for how I would feel after an afternoon on the water paddling and trying, that’s the operative word, trying to stand for more than a second on the board.

It turned out to be a smart move. It was super windy out there. Kate and I paddled in place for what seemed like an eternity. By the time we got home, we were whipped.

Before we left to paddleboard I trimmed the pork butt then cut it into thick slices. I put it in a slow cooker with vegetable broth nearly to the top of the meat then finished it off with Baby Ray’s Hickory barbeque sauce. I turned it on and walked out the door.

When we came home the house smelled sooo good. I made some coleslaw – Miracle Whip, horseradish, some sugar, and lemon juice and brown rice as the sides.

Our portion size was not large. The calories per person I estimate in the 655 range.

We all enjoyed this meal though it was on the high side of calories and the meat is fatty. If I did not have to care about calories and fat, like the fat you consume and the fat on the body, I would eat this several times a month.

True confession: this was the first time I made a pork butt. I’ve had a few firsts in this challenge and it isn’t over yet!

Until the next time!