Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Seared Ahi Tuna Steaks & Soy Sesame Asparagus

When I thawed out the package of tuna for the previous meal, I still had a 14oz. and an 8oz. piece left which I decided would feed three people so I saved it for our Friday get together – Joe, Cindy, and I ate tuna and Bev and Pat leftover Pasta Di Angelo.  I found another Asian recipe for Six-Minute Seared Ahi Tuna Steaks on the "Bowl Of Deliciousness" blog.

I increased the marinade amount by 50% to get the recipe below.

I had mentioned in the previous post that most tuna is gassed (with carbon monoxide) to achieve the bright red color and it's easy to understand why as ours looks like beef liver.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Sesame Crusted Seared Tuna & Knockout Roses

Last fall, Bev cut her knock out roses way back and was afraid she had overdone it but they look like they loved it.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Spaghetti D’Angelo

While I plan to stay on a Keto-like diet, I’m also going to indulge with some carbs on occasion – such as pasta a few times a month.  I had been saving this recipe for Spaghetti D’Angelo from Chef Dennis since last fall and it seemed like a good one for my first real pasta dish in 2022 (I ate just a little back in mid-March).  I upscaled the recipe for 3 servings (shown below) but believed it would be plenty for four.  I used mini farfalle pasta as I believe shaped pasta works better with chunky sauces – it’s hard to get a mushroom to cling to rolled up spaghetti on a fork.  As you can tell from Chef Dennis’ pic below, he added the sauce over the plated pasta while I mixed them together prior to plating.  Click on the above link for the original recipe and more photos.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Pineola, NC Rally – Trip Day 7 – Campground And Trip Home

Our original plan was to return home on Saturday but since the weather for Friday was mostly rain and then all rain predicted on Saturday, we decided to go on home on Friday so we left during a lull in the showers and in time to beat the Friday afternoon traffic near home.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Pineola, NC Rally – Trip Day 5 & 6 - Camp Meals & Louise's

There was no planned group activity for Wednesday so it was an opportunity for folks to do as they pleased, except we did have two group meals planned at the campground, beginning with breakfast.  During our rally, we had use of the campground’s open-air pavilion and this was the location for breakfast including a fire in the fireplace – also our evening fire location nice setup on the banks of the Linville River.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Pineola, NC Rally – Trip Day 4 - Roan Mountain & Little Switzerland

The group plan for Day 4 was to start with a visit to Grandfather Mountain State Park but I could not interest my girls in going and it would have been more walking than I wanted to do so we made an alternate plan for ourselves.  After not being there for 10 years, we made the 20 mile drive to Roan Mountain, TN for breakfast at the Smokey Mountain Bakers and Wood Fired Pizza for breakfast.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Pineola, NC Rally – Trip days 2 & 3 - Blowing Rock

We awoke Sunday to a cool (42F), misty mountain morning and I could just imagine how nice it would be here on a hot July day at home.  Since the rally didn’t officially begin until 6pm today (three coaches had come in on Sat), we decided to just drive around the area a little before we had to cook our dish for this evening’s pot luck supper.  The trees are fully leafed out at home but they are several days behind here in high county.

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Finally, An RV Trip – The Drive & Campground

Covid-19 had significantly waned, the hip replacement surgery is behind me, the coach is hopefully readied, and Cindy is in place to house-sit so we headed out for our first RV trip in 53 weeks.  Our friends and neighbors, Steve and Pat, have put together a great sounding Tennessee Travelers Club Rally to the western North Carolina high country.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022


You know what this is?

Yes, of course, it’s a hamburger.

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Chicken Fricassée

Perhaps being a novice to French food, I’m easily impressed by the names of dishes and Chicken Fricassee is one of those names, so when I recently saw a blog posting for the dish, I wanted to make it – while I’m still dieting, I’m no longer on a near starvation diet so I can eat meals like this on occasion.  As best I can learn a fricassee is between a saute and a stew because it is cooked without liquid to begin then in liquid at the end.  I believe the chicken version generally uses thighs and legs to get a dish that looks like this. 

This is mine and I just realized this recipe didn't have carrots.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Asparagus Frittata with Goat Cheese

The other day, I mentioned that blogger Marcie from Flavor Of The Moment had posted an asparagus frittata recipe and we decided to give it a try for this meal – we had both asparagus and goat cheese on hand but no fresh tarragon so I used dried.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Grilled Pork Tenderloin

We made a similar dish about 10 years ago and after discovering a couple of pork tenderloins in the freezer, I decided it was time for a redo.  I’m often dumbfounded by how long it’s been since we’ve made some dishes.  I reduced the leftover marinade to make a sauce for the pork and Bev made some apple coleslaw using the recipe below.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Greek Fritatta with Asparagus and Feta Cheese (Previously Frozen) & Hip Update

Finally something to post about.  I was doing my morning blog reading when one of my regular reads posted a recipe for an asparagus frittata and since our asparagus patch is now producing, I became immediately interested.  As good as it looked, I decided I wanted something using Greek flavors and after a little web search, I settled on a recipe for Greek Omelet with Asparagus And Feta Cheese from All Recipes – I had everything on hand.  The recipe is for omelets but I decided to make it as a frittata so I used the ingredients as listed plus some onion and chopped ham that needed to be used but changed the directions.  The original recipe can be found by clicking on the above link.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Another Brand-New Hip

Monday morning, we showed up at 8am at Fort Sanders Hospital in Knoxville, TN and at 6:30 that evening I was sitting in my chair at home with a new hip – I find that pretty amazing.  The surgery took place about 10am then it was into recovery until about 12:30 and on to a room to wait for the spinal anesthesia to wear off and eat a little lunch.  Does this look like a guy who just had major surgery.

Then there was a little light therapy to be sure I could walk with a walker, go up a stair, get in a car, and urinate.  Then I got an IV of antibiotics, listened to my instructions, and hit the road about 5:15 for the drive home.  

At home, I have to walk and do breathing exercises every hour and I start going to thrice weekly therapy today.  If all goes as last time, I’ll be walking without assistance in a month and I am now the bionic man in my hip and knee joints.  These things have impacted about nine years of my life and if I had it to do over, I would have done them all as soon as I could.  Hopefully I can get through life with everything else as is, but I still might require a little toe work.

I had to lose 50 pounds for the surgery and while I am committed to losing more, after three months of pretty serious dieting, I wanted a special breakfast for my first post-op one - fried potatoes, onions, and peppers, topped with fried eggs - a meal Bev has been eating fairly often and driving me crazy with the aromas.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them and the blue words are links.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


04/11/22 event date

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Chicken Tacos With Mango Pico De Gallo

When we recently had steak and chicken fajitas, I mentioned the marinated chicken should work well for tacos as well and I thought it would be a good for our Friday get together.  So, I made up another batch of the marinade for the chicken along with the Mango Pico De Gallo that Chef Lea Ann recently posted on Her Highlands Ranch Foodie blog.  I followed her recipe below with my comments in ( ) and we got to use our new mango slicer that Lea Ann recommended and told how to use in her post - Bev loved it.

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Steak & Chicken Fajita Marinades

Our beef raising neighbor, Pat, called to advise she had some flank steak and wondered what to use it for and ask if I wanted to cook it.  Since it weighed only 1½ pounds, I suggested fajitas as it would feed our crowd that way (all of my girls are back home now).  To help it be really tender, I found a marinade recipe from Little Spice Jar that was labeled as “The absolute BEST Steak Fajitas you've ever had! This is my take on the tex-mex steak fajitas. Marinated for hours in lime juice, garlic, and cumin -- so good you'll never use another recipe again!”  For more pics like this one click on the above link to visit Marzia's blog.

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Roasted Lemon Pepper Herb Chicken Thighs Ala Pam

When I recently saw Pam’s recipe for Roasted Lemon Pepper ChickenThighs With Lemon Wine Pan Sauce on her “For The Love Of Cooking” blog, I knew it had to be tried.  And when I did the math to count the calories for the entire dish and discovered it was only 366 kcal per serving, I decided I could eat it on my diet - with only one week and a few pounds to go.  

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Genovese Sauce

When I saw this recipe for Genovese Sauce on Kevin’s “Closet Cooking” blog and knowing that shredded beef is one of friend, Kathy’s, favorite food, I thought it would be perfect for this week’s Friday get-together.

I have been wanting to go to Oak Ridge to try out some of J&M Butcher Shop’s in-house made sausages and since I needed to pick up something from Wende, I was able to do both and see Eliza as well, so it was a great trip.  While at the butcher shop, I realized I needed a chuck roast for Friday’s meal so I bought a 3½ pound one and after trimming, it was two pounds. 

Monday, March 28, 2022

Baked Cod Recipe

We had a piece of Pacific cod in the freezer that I had been wanting to eat and when I saw a blogger buddies recipe for baked snook, my plan was to use it but then I decided to save it for when I could add all of the bread crumbs and not feel guilty.  So, I went in search of other recipes and found a good sounding one for “LemonGarlic Baked Cod” on the Healthy Recipes blog.  

My piece of fish only weighed 11oz, and the recipe was for 24oz. so I cut everything in half to get the recipe below.  You can get the original recipe and pics by clicking on the above link.

Friday, March 25, 2022

Tangy Mustard Cauliflower A Different Way

I’m a big fan of this dish from Chef Lea Ann’s HighlandsRanch Foodie blog and have enjoyed it several times but the last time I made it, I decided I wanted to try something different next time.  When it’s made as an entire head, all of the flavor is on the outside and much of the head is eaten as just steamed cauliflower but I wanted to get a bite of the tangy, cheesy topping into every bite by making it as a casserole.  I used the same basic ingredients, with increased amounts, but chopped the cauliflower into smaller pieces with a knife.  The original recipe can be found by clicking on the above link and this is how it looks.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

A Break From Food – St. Maarten & Panic Finally Over

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that Bev is gone so today I’d like to give you a look at where she is hanging out in the Caribbean for two weeks.  She and Pat are on the island of Saint Marten which is divided with one part belonging to France and the other to The Netherlands and is called Sint Maarten.

It is located about 100 miles east of the Virgin Islands and at the top of the Lessor Antilles group of islands and thanks to its large lagoon, it is home to many mega-yachts.  Wouldn't surprise to find some Russian oligarchs boats there.

With the war in Ukraine, Covid still around, and much of the country still experiencing winter weather I thought we could all benefit from these pics.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Creamy Crockpot White Chicken Chili

With my girls all gone, only friends Kathy and Joe were available for our Friday get-together and we all have various food restrictions and dislikes so for this meal I chose keto friendly, no gluten white chicken chili for a rainy day.  I think we have always used the chili recipe from local restaurant chain, Calhoun’s, but I opted to try a different recipe this time and I chose the recipe for Creamy Crockpot White Chicken Chili from The Chunky Chef blog.  Since I wanted more than the recipe makes and a heartier soup, I amended the recipe to get the one below but you can click on the above link to visit Amanda’s blog for the original recipe and more pics like this one, loaded with toppings.

Friday, March 18, 2022

Southern Fried Cabbage

I’ve seen information that says the origin of Doolittle is both Irish and English and on St. Patrick’s Day, I always choose to go with Irish and we usually celebrate.

With Bev and Pat in St. Maarten and Cindy in California, I was on my own for St. Patrick’s Day and since I was still dieting and had a half head of cabbage in the fridge, I opted for a Keto friendly, pretty low-cal Irish dish – fried cabbage.  After looking at several online recipes and finding them to all be similar, I settled on Mary’s Southern Fried Cabbage recipe from her “Deep South Dish” blog (I assume the title means southern Ireland).  Since I had just a half head of cabbage, I amended Mary’s recipe to get the one below but you can click on the above link for her original.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Chicken Cacciatore

It surprised me at how many years it’s been since we last made this dish but Bev and I have both been thinking about it recently so when I saw a recent post from Chef Dennis, we decided to make it for our regular Friday get-together (note at bottom).  This recipe for Chicken Cacciatore comes from his "Ask Chef Dennis" blog and it looked delicious.  His recipe is shown below as written but you can click on the link for some great pics of his dish.

Since I had made the dish the previous day for our friends Thursday meal, I knew it made lots of sauce and since most of our diners for this meal prefer breasts, I split the sauce into two pans. I followed Chef’s recipe as written for the six large thighs but only cooked the smaller breasts pieces for half as long.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Broccoli Purée & March

It must be March as we went to bed on Friday following a beautiful, sunny, 68F day and woke up to 4 inches of snow and temp of 28F with a low Saturday night predicted to be 14F.  Just north of us in Knoxville, they got 6-7 inches of snow.

It turned these tree blooms into big cotton balls.

Monday, March 7, 2022

Chanchamitos Tabasqueños

A couple of years ago, our friend who looks after a local Hispanic community at her church asked us if we would like some homemade Chan Chany’s (short a) which she described as being similar to a tamale.  Even though I never order tamales in a Mexican restaurant, I ordered a dozen and when they came they were round verses the traditional flatter shape and they had an orange cast to them.

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Pork Chops and Fried Apples

Before I get to the food let me talk about the weather a minute.  Since a home air conditioner must cool the entire house - walls, furniture, flooring, appliances - everything, I rarely turn it on until we are ready to leave it on for the season.  But this year, with temps predicted for nearly 80 on Mar 4 & 6, I decided to fire it up to cool some and be sure it was working okay.  I can't say for sure, but I doubt the A/C has ever been on this early.  More spring-like weather coming next week.

Now for the food.  I had eaten, or given away, all of my Canadian bacon so Bev picked up another half pork loin for me to make another one, but before making the bacon, I sliced off a few chops for supper.

I made up the bacon brine and added the chops for an overnight soak as well.  After removing them from the brine, I gave them a quick rinse and let them air dry in the fridge.  Since they had spent about 16 hours in the brine, I only added some pepper prior to cooking, but I did Jaccard them to tenderize.

Bev used our peeler/slicer to prep the apples – this is a great little tool.

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Greek Scramble

If you’ve been reading this blog for much time, you likely know that I am a big egg fan and it has become especially so on my Keto friendly diet.  My usual breakfast for a while has been fried or scrambled eggs with a couple ounces of ham or Canadian bacon which makes for around a 300 calorie meal.  With at least another month to go to reach my pre-hip replacement weight goal, I’m ready to get more creative.

I looked at several recipes online and used one from Kitchn for a Greek scramble as my starting point for this dish and to get an idea for ingredient amounts which I cut in half to get just two servings.  The recipe as I made it has about 680 calories total.  You can click on the above link for the original recipe. 

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Grilled Mojo Chicken

I was looking for a different chicken recipe for our Friday group and since I have always had success with those from Kevin’s “Closet Cooking” blog, I went there first.  We really enjoy Cuban mojo sauce so his recipe for Grilled Mojo Chicken sounded just right. I tripled the amount of sauce for the four pounds of chicken that I had but you can click on the above link for the original recipe and more pics like this.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Cheese And Chocolate Fondue For Valentines Day

When I asked Bev what she wanted to eat on Valentine’s Day, I was expecting to hear some sort of grilled meat and most likely beef tenderloin.  But after s few days of thinking about it, she decided she would like fondues.  For dessert, she decided to just melt some Ghiradelli Chocolate Flavored Melting Wafers and for the cheese, we opted to use a copycat recipe from the Melting Pot Restaurant that I found at CopyKat Recipes  I substituted white wine for beer and changed the instructions as we don’t have a fondue pot.

Friday, February 18, 2022

Excellent French Onion Soup

Many years ago, I used a recipe for French Onion Soup that cooked the onions in the oven for hours and it made a delicious soup.  When we wanted the soup again recently, I couldn’t find the recipe (I must have made it pre-blog) so I used another one and it wasn’t very good.  After a warm spell, a cold front came through and it was once again soup weather, so I went on line searching in earnest for the recipe and I found it.  The recipe is titled “French Onion Soup: The Cook’s Illustrated Way and it is shown below.  I followed the soup recipe as written but deviated for the crouton.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Maple Cured Canadian Bacon

I’ve been wanting to make some Canadian Bacon for a while as I really like it and it’s a great meat for my diet – about 30 calories per ounce and no carbs.  I couldn’t believe it when I looked back and discovered that my last batch was in 2013.  In the past I have used a dry cure but this time I opted to use a liquid brine and after research I decided on the recipe from “Serious Eats” for “Maple Cured Candian Bacon.”  I followed the recipe as shown below which is half of the original.  I prefer to use the single muscle half of the loin but the one with two muscles on part of it is all we could find.

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Pork Tenderloin Marsala

We had couple of pork tenderloins in the freezer and I wanted to grill them whole but Bev wanted Pork Marsala.  The recipes I found all called for pork chops or medallions but I decided to still grill the pork whole and use the Pioneer Woman’s Marsala Sauce recipe pared down for the less sauce that I needed (we weren’t serving it over a starch).

Monday, February 7, 2022

Ropa Vieja (aka Cuban Style Shredded Beef) & Cuban Black Beans

When I saw Kevin’s recipe for Ropa Vieja on his Closet Cooking blog, I knew I wanted to try just for a different version of shredded beef.  I amended the recipe for the additional beef that I had and I made it the day before to give the flavors more time to marry.  I also changed the directions to reflect use of my slow cooker.  You can get the original recipe by clicking on the above link. 

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Greek Souvlaki On A Pretty Day

It’s hard to believe how fast January went by and how much the temps dropped between December and January.  I enjoyed having fires in the fireplace and used my full rick of wood.  But on this 60 degree first day of Feb, it was time to fire up the grill.

Monday, January 31, 2022

Greek Chicken And Vegetables

During her annual trip to Florida, Bev had purchased some Greek spices at the Marco Island farmers market and I wanted to try it on some chicken so I went to one of my favorite sources of Mediterranean food and found a recipe for “Rosemary Chicken and Vegetables” on Suzy’s “Mediterranean Dish” Blog.  I didn’t use much of her ingredients but I did follow her cooking directions.  You can click on the link for the original recipe.

Friday, January 28, 2022

Cowboy Chili

After a very warm December, January has been below average cold and all things soup are finding their way onto our menu.  On this particular day with a high temp of 33F, it seemed like a perfect day to try Chef Lea Ann’s Cowboy Chili from her “Cooking On The Ranch” blog.  Since I made several recipe revisions, you can click the above link for Lea Ann’s original plus more photos like this.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Egg Drop Soup

Rather than canned dog food, we mix the dry food with cooked chicken for our pups and, as a result, we make a lot of good chicken broth and Bev decided she wanted to turn some into egg drop soup.  I went online and found a recipe from The Woks Of Life that sounded easy and good.  I followed the recipe as written except as noted and I increased it by 50% to match our amount of chicken broth. You can click on the above link for the original recipe and more pics like this.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Mediterranean Style Chicken Wings

We had a package of wings in the freezer that needed to be used so I went looking thru my recipe file for something different and came across the recipe for "Mediterranean Style Grilled Chicken Wingsfrom Suzy on her “The Mediterranean Dish” blog.  Unlike the flavors I usually associate with Mediterranean cuisine (Greece & Italy), this dish has Middle-Eastern spices so I assume it comes from the other side of the Med.  I followed the ingredients list but used more of everything for my larger amount of chicken – a pkg of wings and two breasts for the non-wing eaters.  This is a pic from Suzy's blog.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

New Stairs & Weight Loss

Unfortunately, Kitty decided to begin using the bathroom inside the house sometime back and picked the stair landing as her spot.  We got her a litter box, which she quickly adapted to, but unfortunately the carpet on the landing was too far gone to save and it smelled pretty bad.  So, I ripped up the carpet on the whole stair case in late 2019 and began looking for our best option for the future and Bev decided she did not want to go back with carpet.

Then along came Covid-19 and any replacement plans were put on hold while we continued to explore our options all the while living with pine 2x12’s for our stairs.  In October, 2021, we finally decided to go back with the natural oak hardwood stairs that Bev originally wanted when we built the house 28 years ago and this is the final product.

I’ve mentioned before that I was facing another hip replacement and I finally decided the time had come but, unfortunately, as with the first replacement, I have some significant weight to lose and am using the same eating plan as last time – count calories, minimal carbs, intermittent fasting.  So far so good as I’m dropping 5-7 pounds per week.

I try to stay under 1000 calories per day and my typical daily meals look like this:

Breakfast: Two extra large eggs and a slice of Kentucky Legends Ham – 250 calories

Lunch: ½ cup of cottage cheese and a few cherry tomatoes or left over vegetables – 150 calories

Supper: Meat and salad or vegetables – 400-500 calories

Snacks if needed: Blueberries, celery and pimento cheese, nuts – 100 calories

While I’m not totally omitting carbs, I try to stick with complex carbs, as in beans, and avoid alcohol, bread, pasta, rice, and potato although I eat a little potato on occasion.

For the intermittent fasting, I don’t eat before 10am or after 6pm which gives me a 16 hour fast.

And since I can’t walk very far but need to speed up my metabolism, I got out the ole Bow Flex and do a little workout every other day.

My goal is for a mid-march surgery so I’ll be ready for RV season.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them and the blue words are links.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


01/10-1/14/22 event date

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Smoked Beef Tri-Tip, My First

I went freezer diving and discovered a nice beef tri-tip roast/steak that I wanted to use but rather than just grill it as usual, I decided to smoke it first.  I set up the smoker to run at 225F and used some maple for the smoke.  For seasoning, I used a brisket rub from master BBQer Chis Lilly.

Brisket Dry Rub Recipe:

1/2 tblsp salt

1/2 tblsp paprika

1/2 tblsp black pepper

1/2 tblsp sugar

1/2 teaspoon garlic

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1/8 teaspoon ground coriander

It took a little over two hours for the meat to reach an internal temperature of 130 F.