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June 27, 2020 ~ Scallops are a favorite around here. The ones that come in the ButcherBox are large so we cut them in half to reduce cooking time.

Since we had already made scallops during the thirty-day dinner challenge Kate searched for a recipe that would take making scallops in a direction we have not pursued until now: Kabobing. She used the recipe “Best Grilled Shrimp and Scallop Kabobs”: 

The two ingredients missing from the recipe were cayenne pepper and shrimp. We did not have either in stock. Kate cut the recipe down to serve three people. On the skewers, she put slices of yellow squash, zucchini, and onions between the scallops. We had three kabobs each. She served the kabobs with basmati rice.

We did not have the timing down with cooking the skewers on the grill. We speculate that one reason is we cooked them on foil instead of directly on the grill. We took them off too soon and had pulled the food off the skewers before we realized the scallops and veggies needed more cooking. It was more of a collective “OH NO” kind of feel when we realized the scallops were not cooked through!

To address the undercooked food we finished cooking them in a frying pan for another ten minutes. It was perfect after that!

The total calories are approximately 344 per person.

Kate and I were fine with this as calories for dinner. It was not enough for Tom. The ALS has kicked into high gear lately burning up muscle. He needs to feed that burn calorically and still balance quantity in relation to the diabetes issues. The combination, ALS + Diabetes, does not get any easier. It sometimes feels like they are the road to crashing into one another.

With some tweaks this a total do again kind of meal for us!




June 26, 2020 ~ Pizza on the fly is simply this: frozen pizza for those days you don’t want to cook. If we were not into our thirty-day cooking challenge I probably would have gotten us pizza take-out.

The cooking challenge is one way to alleviate boredom and outdoor living is the other. Recently, Kate and I have been kayaking and paddleboarding. They are great for workouts, change of scenery, and generally make it easy to distance from others. Wouldn’t you know the one time we kayaked across the bay to a little patch of beach in swirling tides a couple pulled ashore not ten minutes after we did? Of course, they did, right? It’s Murphy’s Law 101.

We burned up a ton of calories kayaking. I felt like I could have eaten piles of food by the time we got home. I was looking forward to a scrumptious pizza and it did not disappoint.

I had taken the chicken out of the freezer earlier in the day for the pizza topping. The thing about a diabetic is pizza is okay but you’ve got to have some protein, hence, the chicken. The balance has to be there. If Tom only has carbs he is sure to fall asleep within a half-hour of the pizza. It’s just bad for him so we’ve got to avoid it.

For the chicken I cut it up into bite-size pieces, diced up a load of basil, and cooked them together in some olive oil.

When they were done we added them to the frozen pizzas. I had a gluten-free pizza. Tom and Kate had a four cheese pizza. Tom added a bunch more cheese and sauce on theirs as well.

Calories? No clue. I didn’t count. Sometimes you just have to eat the food!

Until the next time!

June 25, 2020 ~ Pat. Pat. Pat. Patting ourselves on the back. We successfully accomplished fifteen days of different dinners!

If I were to classify my enjoyment level of cooking prior to the challenge I’d put it at neutral. These past two weeks I have intentionally created meals more than I have over our forty years of marriage. I usually make stuff on the fly and somehow it all works out. I bet many of you reading this would agree that you do the same.

As a way to get through staying at home during the COVID-19 crisis, it has been a worthwhile endeavor. Check back at the end of the challenge and see if I still feel the same. It’s quite possible I may never cook again. Just kidding.

Confession – I miss going out to eat. It isn’t just the greater variety of food a restaurant may have than we do at home, it is the experience. I miss seeing people, overhearing conversations at tables around us, and people watching. There are days when the isolation of this kind of living softly washes over me. The 30-day dinner challenge has helped alleviate some of those feelings.

The mid-point day of the challenge brings us to a meal Kate made. She found this recipe and adjusted portions based on us being a party of three instead of serving four to five:

Kate used the following ingredients and measurements:

1/4 Ricotta cheese

5.3 ounces of chicken per person

1 tablespoon of Gluten-free flour

1 tablespoon of butter

7 ounces of chicken broth

A splash of white wine

1/2 of a 1/3 of a cup of parmesan cheese

A splash of lemon juice

Kate did not bread the chicken breasts. Saved us a bunch of calories.

1/2 tablespoon of Truvia brown sugar because the sauce was lacking in something and we couldn’t figure out what. Thankfully, it worked.

See the recipe for the directions.

We, meaning Kate and me, had broccoli. You all know now how Tom might die if any passed his lips.

The estimated calories per serving: 550

We highly recommend this recipe if you are looking for another way to cook seemingly boring chicken!

Until the next time!


June 24, 2020 – Anytime the word surprise is in the title of a recipe I feel a certain level of concern. Even if I am the one creating the recipe the “surprise” is likely still unknown to me. It generally means I have no preconceived idea of what I am making. This was certainly true for this dinner.

I took out pork chops to thaw in the morning and then got on with the day. I didn’t give it a second thought until it was almost dinner time. These pork chops would be tough to ruin. They are thick and juicy. Kate gets them in the monthly ButcherBox delivery.

As I have said in previous posts I have learned searing is a beautiful thing, especially with chops, it holds the juices in. I put a smatter of butter in a non-stick pan and a light sprinkle of sea salt and pepper on each side of the chops. I cooked them for about 3 minutes on each side.

While the searing was going on I began my search of the pantry for the surprise elements of the meal. I came up with:

6 diced dried apricot halves

Half an onion chopped up

Light balsamic salad dressing + vegetable broth

Gluten-free mac and cheese (the quinoa kind)

Brussel Sprouts

And of course the two pork chops

After searing the pork chops I put them in a small baking dish. I poured in vegetable broth to come up midway to the chops and then added the balsamic dressing to the top of the chops. I put the onions in the fluid in the pan and the apricots on top of the pork chops. I cooked them for 45 minutes at 400 degrees.

About 20 minutes prior to the chops being finished I put the Brussel sprouts in the Insta Pot. To prep the sprouts peel off the outer layer of leaves and cut off the stem-like pieces then take what is left and coat in some olive oil.

Overall, it was a pretty good dinner. It was tasty but a little high in calories due to the mac and cheese.

I estimate each serving was 680 calories. My personal preference is for dinner to hang in the 500 to 600 calorie range.

Until the next time!

June 23, 2020 ~ The kitchen helpers. They hang around just in case we need some cleanup. Mimi is in the foreground. She is an eight-pound Dachshund. Sophie is looking at the counter. She stands ready to catch any morsel at any time.

Taco Tuesday is a delight of a meal. When raising my kids I do not recall ever making tacos. I made chicken quesadillas and chicken fajita but not tacos. I learned about Taco Tuesday when I became a high school teacher at the tender age of 45-years old. For many of my students, it was their favorite day in the cafeteria.

We recently embraced Taco Tuesday on Cinco DeMayo Day. This was before our 30-day dinner challenge and seemed like something interesting to prep for and partake in from a culinary perspective. This is the history of Cinco DeMayo:

I’m not sure if there are taco making rules but if so we probably broke them.

Kate’s tacos consisted of the following:

Brown rice – 1/2 cup per serving

Ground beef – browned up, 5 ounces per serving

Gluten-Free Taco mix

For toppings, Kate put on the table light sour cream, Mexican shredded cheese, and salsa.

For taco shells, we made do with Tostitos chips.

It was on the high side calorie-wise measuring approximately 700 calories. For sure we could have backed off on the meat a bit, and I could have had fewer chips. Chips are one of my addictions. I would do better by counting out a serving worth and putting the bag away. This is how too many calories sneak into our diets. One chip becomes one hundred before you know it.

For exercise this day I ran three miles in the morning and did some paddleboarding. Paddleboarding was immensely intense this day with the wind so strong I paddle in place for about twenty minutes. My calorie burn was good enough to sustain a higher calorie dinner than normal. It was such a good dinner I’d do it all over again.

For Tom the diabetic we could have backed off on the portion. It was a bit much for him. The voracious appetite of ALS loved it I’m sure. As always, balancing quality of life with health issues is the challenge of our lives.

Good meal. Good company.

Until the next time!