Category Archives: Tasty Tuesday

Because you have to feed them too

The Menu is a Tool

Menu ~ Lifeofjoy.meSo this week I thought it’d be a great time to talk about how I use a menu. You see, for the first, maybe ten years? of our marriage I flew by the seat of my pants when it came to meals. It was always about what I felt like making or eating, mostly eating. I went grocery shopping when I got very low on food or could no longer throw together something from what I had available.

Of course that usually included eating delivery several times each month because I did not feel like fixing anything or eating what we had available. We generally ate out after church on Sundays and then usually had pizza delivered at least once during the week.

About twenty years ago, we’d moved to a new state and being self-employed, it was like Michael was just starting his business all over again . . . well, that is exactly what he was doing, only this time without the referrals he’d had the first time. It was definitely a difficult time for us.

My dear friend and neighbor, Joyce, taught me about looking at sale papers and making a menu based on them. Of course, when money is tight, you don’t veer very much from the menu because there isn’t really much else available.

As time passed, Michael’s business grew and things weren’t so tight but I still made menus because it made it easier to have some idea of what to have for dinner. You see, a menu enables you to think about dinner once and then each day is easier because you don’t have to wrack your brain to come up with an idea when you are hungry and have people depending on you for dinner.

For many years now, my menu has become a list of suggestions. I buy the ingredients necessary to make the things on the menu but sometimes I just don’t want anything I have planned.

For example, it may be eighty-some degrees out and thus I don’t feel like having soup. Or making Light and Luscious Enchilada Casserole sounded like a good idea because I really like that meal but it I have to make two recipes before I can assemble the casserole and I’m just not up to all that. So, I either switch gears and make something from another night or fly by the seat of my pants and come up with something completely different.

This past week this is what I had on the menu:

  • Quinoa Goes Cajun
  • Cauliflower Fried Rice
  • Grilled Chicken, Mac & Cheese, & Salad
  • Skillet Butternut Squash & Penne Pasta
  • Trim Zuppa Toscana Soup
  • Roast with radishes and carrots
  • Hamburgers, Hot dogs, coleslaw, baked beans, onion rings (homemade buns)

We did end up eating the Quinoa on a different day. Still haven’t had the second or third ones. The squash recipe got eaten before the week even started, since I had the ingredients already on hand. We subbed in BBQ ribs and baked thighs for the other two nights, from stuff I had in the freezer.

We did have the zuppa and roast and even on the days I listed. Mostly because I put a lot of thought into the meals for those days because we were going to be busy and/or cold. But come Saturday, I didn’t feel like making the listed thing and we ended up having tacos. We haven’t had tacos in ages and it was delicious.

So you can see how I used the menu as a guideline but changed as the need or desire arose. When there is a good deal on meat, I stock up and work it into a future menu.

cheese and cashew-free queso ~

Cheese-Free Queso

I would never guess that this queso had absolutely zero cheese in it. Totally amazing! Give it a try.

This recipe starts with half an egg plant. Simply slice it into rounds, salt them, and place them in a strainer to pull out some of the moisture from them.

Draining Eggplant ~ Lifeofjoy.mePat dry with a paper towel. (I do not rinse because I figure that will just put back in moisture I worked so hard to remove. ;) )

Dap Eggplant dry ~ Lifeofjoy.meI spray once side with oil and place that side down on my air fryer rack, which is a bit different than how Dana does it, since I have it available and spray the other side too.

spray eggplant ~ Lifeofjoy.meI then air bake it until golden. I actually did this part the day before we were going to eat it, just because I could, no other reason. ;)

roasted eggplant slices ~ Lifeofjoy.meWrap them loosely in foil for a bit to get the skins to let loose. Then peel the skins right off.

peeling eggplant ~ Lifeofjoy.meI made a double batch this day but it was not necessary. This makes soooo much! It really does feed 6. :)

Add almond milk, eggplant, and garlic ~ Lifeofjoy.meAdd the milk, garlic, eggplant, and seasonings in blender.

queso seasonings ~ Lifeofjoy.meAdd slightly drained salsa.

add salsa ~ Lifeofjoy.meBlend away. :)

queso in blender ~

Now, I have a Vitamix, so I use the soup setting and let it heat up. Takes just 5 minutes total. At some point, I sprinkle in a bit of glucomannan to thicken it rather than the cornstarch Dana uses. I’d say it’s probably about 1/8 teaspoon for a single batch but adjust to your liking.

Check out Dana’s site, Minimalist Baker, for the complete recipe and directions here. I’ve had this with baked Tostitos and loved it. Hubby eats it with blue corn chips.

cheese-free queso ~ Lifeofjoy.mequeso ~

Here are the changes I made to keep it usable in a THM E setting:

  • only used a light spraying of oil
  • used about 1/8 teaspoon glucomannan in place of cornstarch

I believe the queso itself is actually a fuel pull. :) Yummo!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Sprouted Spelt Rolls ~

Spelt Rolls

I learned that sprouted spelt flour cannot be used interchangeably for sprouted whole wheat. Yeah, in spite of a recipe saying that was indeed the case, every time I made that bread, it required more spelt than listed. I finally did some research and found that spelt flour needs 25% less water. I finally decided to just look for a spelt flour recipe and found a gem!

I chose to weigh my flour to ensure it would turn out right.

Sprouted Spelt Flour ~ Lifeofjoy.meI add the yeast and salt. I skip the sugar because I chose to use some honey instead, so I added that to the wet ingredients later.

Added salt ~ Lifeofjoy.meAdding Yeast ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen I put it into my KitchenAide mixer because it’s just easier.

Whisk dry ingredients ~ Lifeofjoy.meNext I heat up the water, almond milk, honey, and olive oil to 110º – 120º.

Add almond milk ~ Lifeofjoy.meWater ~ Lifeofjoy.meAdd honey ~ Lifeofjoy.meheat wet ingredients ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen add the wet to the dry and mix for a couple minutes.

mix ingredients ~ lifeofjoy.meI switch out the whip for the dough hook and continue beating as described in the directions on the link.

Kneading spelt roll dough ~ Lifeofjoy.meI failed to get pictures of the rest of the process (but may remember next time I make them ;) ). I just follow Dana’s directions and they turn out wonderful.

Sprouted Spelt Rolls ~ Lifeofjoy.meI tried it as bread too but had a mishap with the rising of the loaf.

Spelt Bread ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt was still edible and yummy. :)

So, go check out Dana’s recipe over on Minimalist Baker. These marvelous rolls work in an E or S-Helper setting on Trim Healthy Mama. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Soup’s Here!

Hallelujah! It is soup weather here in sunny Oklahoma!!! I’m so happy, which is really odd because growing up there was really only one soup we had and that was Granny’s chicken soup. We occasionally had chili but I didn’t really care for chili until I ate some at Michael’s step-mom’s house before we got married; she made hers sweet and had CHEESE to add to the top and EVERYTHING’S better with cheese. :)

In the past couple of years I’ve really come to love some soups. I have found that in my beginnings of trying soups that I really preferred thicker soups or stews rather than thin ones. I thought I’d share some of our favorite soups with you today. These are in no particular order.

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis soup is yummy. Nice and creamy and wonderfully filling, even for one with carbs. ;) It is a Trim Healthy Mama cookbook (page 100) recipe but also available online.

This soup uses some 1/3 less fat cream cheese and cauliflower to cream it up. I made some of Granny’s Chicken Soup the other day and used the remaining chicken and broth for this yumminess.

Trim Train Italian Soup

We really love this soup from the Trim Healthy Table (page 160) and online here. We are having it for dinner this week, so I’ll add a picture (hopefully) later. ;) This is a variation on their taco version, which is good too but we prefer this Italian version. I made this for the volunteers that helped me prep for the Holiday Bash last year and it was a hit with most. ;) This one uses cauliflower and okra (both pureed) to cream it up but seriously, give this a try because you cannot tell it has either of them in it. :)

Split Pea Soup

split pea soup ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis soup we just had last night. When I first made it, Sean informed me that he would give it a try but didn’t think he’d like it and would probably be fixing himself a sandwich. :D He loved it and requests it now. It is not a pretty soup but it sure is good even though it does not use a ham bone for flavor. I really wish that I could use a ham bone, but Michael cannot have it a this time. Thankfully this recipe is made without it and still tastes great. :) You can find it in the Trim Healthy Cookbook, page 88 where it is called Cheapskate Soup because the split peas are so inexpensive.


Chili ~ LifeofJoy.meThis is my husband’s stepmom’s recipes, basically. ;) We change things up a bit to eat with THM by substituting Sukrin Gold for the brown sugar. It would be an S helper because of the beans. If you want to make it an E (carb meal), rinse the browned meat with hot water and only have a very small (garnish amount) bit of cheese.

Chicken and Dumplings

The guys in my family love chicken and dumplings soup for dinner but my daughter does not prefer it. I love a variation of this by either America’s Test Kitchen or Cook’s Country called Chicken and Slicks. It is simply delicious and all my family likes it. :) It is a bit involved but really yummy. Unfortunately I don’t have the recipe for either one that I can share today. :(  But I had to list it because it is one of their favorites and they ask for it a lot.


I don’t know how authentic this recipe is but we really like it. However, I must admit that we haven’t had it in a long time because currently (on THM) it would be a crossover for us with the fats and the carbs. I’m going to have to figure out how to remake this one. If I roasted okra, we’d probably like it in this now days. :D

Trim Zuppo Toscana

This is a knock-off of the Olive Garden soup but it is slimming instead of calorie laden. ;) I was hesitant to fix this the first time because of the kale but trust me when I say that it is delicious! There are a lot of low carb versions of this on the internet but you can find the THM version on page 86 of Trim Healthy Table (I think ;) ).

Well, those are our favorite soups at the moment. There are lots of others we love too but I need to keep this a reasonable size, so maybe I’ll share more soups at a later time.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Starting THM and Feeding Your Family

After changing diet ~ Lifefojoy.meWhen my kids were younger (teens) and I’d start a new lifestyle of eating, I’d sit down with the family and share my reasons for the new plan and the health benefits of it. Then I’d explain that we could not afford to have two different food lifestyles in the house and I was only cooking one dinner a night.

They would need to try it with an open mind and if they just could not stomach it, then they could fix themselves something else from what I had in the house. I would not buy off plan foods.

Boys 2005ish ~ Lifeofjoy.meThey all did fine and even lost weight they needed to lose; my boys were “husky” ;). I did keep allowable snacks on hand.

Fast forward ten years and I have two young adult children still at home (contributing to the household, but living with us until they get married). I did the research and learning about THM (Trim Healthy Mama) and how to eat this way for several months before starting. My husband found this video and solidified the decision to stay off of sugar. It is now their decision too.Single Grown Children ~

The big thing for my family is that they get to eat snacks, 3 meals, and desserts every day. I started us out on strawberry big boy shakes (fruit based snacks and desserts) as I was researching and learning. Once fruit tastes sweet you know your tastes are changing and you can more readily delve into other sweets. I provide some healthy crossovers for my hubby who doesn’t have much weight to lose and works out in the heat.

I started with modifications of things we already liked. Meatballs were a big one and there are lots of good meatball recipes on that are suitable for THM. My family learned to eat Troodles/zoodles (zucchini julienne cut or now with a spiralizer) and caulirice (cauliflower processed in the food processor until it is broken down into rice-sized pieces); although children should have brown rice for an on-plan crossover.

Finding a pancake recipe that we liked was important because that is a Saturday tradition and beloved meal for my family. I now have many choices. :) We’ve had banana pancakes from Trim Healthy Table cookbook (THT) with blueberries and a bit of Greek yogurt and legal syrup (I make THM syrup from the book and my son buys Sukrin Gold Fiber Syrup, which does not seem to negatively affect them). We also love the Chocolate Chip Pancakes  from THT. It is written as a single serve recipe so I have sticky notes in my book with the amounts of the ingredients for four times, five times, and eight times the recipe because I make it that much for my family and my guys like to eat one and a half servings. ;)Giant Blueberry Baked Pancake ~

We also enjoy the baked blueberry and baked pecan pancakes. The blueberry ones are in the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook and the pecan ones are in THT. I’ve even baked the chocolate chip and plain pancakes both in a sheet pan and in muffin top pans. And sometimes for a light pancake breakfast we’ll have the Chocolate Monkey Crepes from page 267 of THM Cookbook. Yeah, we love pancakes. :)

My homemade spaghetti sauce is legal without any adjustments, so we learned to eat it on Troodles, spaghetti squash, or occasionally Dreamfields pasta. Hamburgers are a favorite here as well. I either have mine on a Joseph’s pita half or just eat it plain depending on my mood and provide legal bread for the rest of the family: either the Joseph’s pita or lavash, homemade s bread, or crossover E bread (I buy sourdough bread from Aldi). I like to serve hamburgers with “green fries” which is simply roasted green beans.

OH! Pizza! I had to find a way to eat pizza that we enjoyed because that is a family tradition/recipe as well. It would not be a sustainable way of eating for us if we could not eat pizza within the parameters of the eating plan. We now have several pizza and pizza tasting dishes we enjoy. I recommend trying the butterfly pizza (THT) for pizza night. There are also some great pizza recipes that use mozzarella cheese in the crust. I shy away from these right now because I need to limit my cheese and dairy intake in order to lose weight right now.

Pizza ~

Someone once asked me about their family tradition of Friday night pizza and movie night, complete with popcorn. If you eat it early enough you can have the popcorn following the guidelines in the THM Plan book 47-48. I’d recommend letting the family have the popcorn and you fixing something like crunch puffs in THM cookbook pg 460. The crackers in THM cookbook are good too.

If you have a particular recipe or meal that your family misses, let me know and I’ll try to help find some help for you. :) You can do this!!! And your family will be better for it.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Recipe Failures

What do you do when you have something you fix and it did not turn out like you thought it would? Do you blame the recipe? Well, I don’t. I assume I did not do something exactly as directed, even though I think I’m pretty good at following directions, sometimes I just miss it. Other times I do stupid stuff. ;)

Case in point: I made these delicious spelt rolls!

Spelt Rolls ~ Lifeofjoy.meThey were lovely the first time I made them. The next time I decided to make it as a loaf of bread instead of rolls. Unfortunately, I accidentally put a lid on the corner of it when it was nearly done rising.

Spelt Bread loaf ~ Lifeofjoy.meYeah, I baked it anyway and we still ate it. It wasn’t as wonderful as it could have been but it still nourished our bodies.

A similar thing happened when I made Wonderful White Blender Bread from Trim Healthy Table cookbook.

FP Bread ~ Lifeofjoy.meYep, you guessed it, we still toasted it and ate it. I work too hard on things not to eat them. Sometimes I will have to add something to it to make it more enjoyable, like a dusting of powdered alternative sweetener or, as in this case, toasting the bread, lathering it with butter and some xylitol sweetened jelly.

But I also don’t stop there. I keep trying.

WWBB ~ Lifeofjoy.meNow isn’t that one lovely? :) I found some say that they had to lay it on its side as it began cooling.

It helped!

Sometimes with desserts, we have to change the amount of sweetener. And it isn’t necessarily the recipe, it could just be our tastes that day. I have had my tea made the exact same way on many days and some days it seems sweeter than others.

I’ve seen people on facebook complain about wasting ingredients and actually throwing things away! :o I don’t think we have ever thrown anything away (well, except those veggies and fruits I have bought with good intentions of eating but they went bad on me instead :( ).

Now you may be assuming that we like anything but actually I have some very picky eaters. ;) We all have grown and give things a shot and will find some way to use what we have. After all, it’s either eat it or go hungry. ;) Things are too expensive to be throwing them away and I don’t have alternatives available.

My mess ups have not just been bread related, as my pictures would indicate. :D I messed up ice cream once . . . don’t even remember how we salvaged that. I’ve messed up the cream filling for Mostess Cupcakes several times. Oh! I did throw one batch of that away once, as I messed that cream up so bad it was chunky! AND it was for a birthday. But I’ve made that cream before with little chunks in it and we just ate it any way. ;)

I guess all this to say, if you make something and it’s not to your liking, try adding a syrup, more or different sweetener, or combining it with other things you do like, hiding it. I have to admit that although I love the idea of an air fryer, I have yet to get it to make my items “fried” and done but not burnt, which is okay because we’ve learned to like the charred taste of burnt food. :D Of course it probably isn’t the best thing for us but we don’t let it go to waste.

I have such a tendency to overcook, aka burn, onions when I caramelize them that it isn’t until we smell them burning that we know they are done. :))

I hope this encourages you to find ways to eat your failures and improve your skills and recipes. Everyone’s tastes are different and you just have to “own” it, as Pearl and Serene would say.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Open-face Philly Cheese Chicken ~

Philly Cheese Chicken Skillet

Creamy, cheesy chicken cooked with onions, mushrooms, and bell peppers.

When I was in my early twenties, I worked at a pizza and sub shop. I love pizza but when I worked there I realized that I also loved sub sandwiches. Specifically Philly cheese steak sandwiches. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I also really liked Italian  hoagies and hot ham and cheese subs too. Most every time I worked, instead of getting a small pan pizza, I got a Philly Cheese Steak.

Early in my marriage, I found Steak-Umm steaks and figured out how to make them at home. Yummo! Well, Michael cannot have steak currently, so I decided that I’d try to make this over with chicken. We all loved it. :)

Without further adieu, here’s how to do it.

Slice the veggies and chicken into thin strips.

Slicing onions ~ Lifeofjoy.meSauté the veggies until nearly done to your liking.

sauté veggies ~

Sauté onions peppers mushrooms ~ Lifeofjoy.meAdd the chicken strips

cook chicken strips ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhen chicken is cooked, about 5 minutes or so, depending on how big or small you cut your chicken pieces.

saute chicken and veggies ~

Add the cream cheese (or Greek cream cheese) and stir to combine until cream cheese is melted.

philly cheese chicken ~ like our veggies VERY well done.)

Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese.

Mozzarella cheese on chicken and veggies ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhen it is melted, it is ready to serve.

Philly cheese chicken ~

Philly cheese chicken ~ Lifeofjoy.meI heated some Swiss bread to serve this on.

Heating swiss bread ~ Lifeofjoy.meWe like green fries (roasted frozen fancy green beans) with ours.Philly cheese chicken ~

Philly Cheese Chicken Skillet


  • onion, sliced
  • green bell pepper, sliced
  • mushrooms, sliced
  • chicken breast, sliced thin
  • salt, pepper, and oregano
  • about 2 ounces of cream cheese, neufchatel, or greek cream cheese
  • about 3-4 ounces mozzarella, shredded


  1. Slice veggies and sauté in a bit of oil.
  2. Add sliced chicken when veggies are nearly cooked as desired.
  3. sprinkle with salt, pepper, and oregano to taste
  4. add cream cheese, mix in and allow it to melt.
  5. sprinkle with shredded mozzarella
  6. Serve either in low carb roll, on low carb bread, or just eat off your plate. 😉

I hope you enjoy this.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

IP Creamy Pork ~

IP Creamy Pork (Chicken)

I had some pork in the freezer that I wanted to use for dinner one night. I searched online and found a few interesting recipes. But what got my attention was this cream of mushroom soup DIY recipe that was already THM compliant. Her choice was to use her instant pot as a slow cooker and I wanted to use it to get it done quickly and as hands free as possible. I wasn’t really interested in her ranch flavor either.

So I kept searching and found this keto recipe for cooking pork chops. I shied away from this recipe because it had heavy whipping cream and I need to back off the dairy and lots of fat for a while. I decided to mesh the two recipes into my own making and share it here with you today. :)

Warning: Start an hour before you need to eat, so not exactly INSTANT.

I do this recipe with both chicken and pork. I used some bone-in pork sirloin steaks, I’ve used chicken thighs and boneless chicken breast. All turn out well. :)

Start by turning the instant pot on Saute and add a little bit of oil so the chops don’t stick as you brown them.

saute in instant pot ip ~ Lifeofjoy.meSeason the meat on both sides. Now you could be all professional like and mix the seasonings in a bowl and then rub them on the meat but I’ll be honest here, I just sprinkle on the salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika. I try to season one side, then put the meat, seasoned side down onto the pan or in the instant pot then season the other side while the first side is browning.

brown meat ~ lifeofjoy.meWhile that is browning, dice or slice up the mushrooms and onions. Now, I’m going to be honest with you, you should probably take the meat out and put in the veggies but I didn’t do that. I just dumped the chopped onions and mushrooms on top of my meat. Then I sprinkled in the rest of the seasonings and added the broth and almond milk.

Add remaining ingredients ~Lifeofjoy.mePressure cook for 25 minutes. Let it warm for 10 minutes and then release the pressure on the instant pot. Now here is where I goofed this time around. I was so hungry and ready to eat that I forgot to thicken the gravy.

Push the meat to the side. Press the saute button and once the broth in the pot is starting to simmer I shake in some gluccie (gluccomannon) and sprinkle in about a half tablespoon of baking blend. Let it simmer for a few minutes and then add the meat back in or serve separately, your choice.

We serve this with a big head of cauliflower, mashed (caulitaters) and three cans of fried green beans.

Instant Pot Creamy Pork ~ Lifeofjoy.meTHM IP Creamy Pork ~

IP Creamy Pork (Chicken)


  • Meat (pork chops, steaks, chicken breast or thighs, etc.)
  • about 1 Tablespoon oil
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder
  • salt
  • pepper
  • paprika
  • cayenne
  • parsley
  • about 6 ounces mushrooms, sliced, diced, or chopped
  • about 1/2 an onion, sliced, diced, or chopped
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • sprinkling of glucomannan or xanthan gum
  • about 1/2 tablespoon baking blend (optional)


  1. Heat the oil in instant pot on saute.
  2. Season one side of the meat, with desired herbs and spices (I hold out the parsley and cayenne until they are browned.)
  3. Brown the seasoned side of the meat and season the other side.
  4. When browned, flip and brown other side.
  5. Add remaining ingredients except for glucomannan/xanthan gum and optional baking blend.
  6. Pressure cook for 25 minutes with vent closed.
  7. When it beeps, let it sit for another 10 minutes if you can wait. 😉 Then quick release.
  8. Move meat to side (or remove for easier whisking)
  9. Press saute.
  10. Add glucomannan and optional baking blend as you stir and it simmers. It will thicken up a bit as it sits.

I hope this recipe is helpful to you. We enjoy it. ;)

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Broccoli Salad ~

Broccoli Salad

This is a salad with a twist. :) The flavors meld together nicely and this is a family favorite here. I am met with cheers when it is announced as a side dish for dinner.

One day I was looking for a bit of a different salad to have with dinner. I was tired of regular lettuce salad and was looking for a broccoli salad similar to the one I’ve had before–broccoli, red onion, and cheese with a mayonnaise dressing–when I came across this gem.

I had to change some things up a bit because of my picky family members and because I don’t keep pesto on hand most of the time. So, because of these tweaks, I can share it with you rather than just sharing a link and procedural pictures. ;) But do go over to LivingChirpy and see her version of the recipe.

So, star by cooking 2 cups of broccoli. Roasted Cauliflower & Broccoli ~ Lifefojoy.mePasta Salad ~ Lifeofjoy.meSteaming this is the best option. I have heard that you should never eat broccoli raw as it can slow the thyroid; also, cruciferous veggies can cause an inflammatory response, so don’t eat them daily.

When the broccoli has steamed to your desired level of doneness, about 5 minutes or so, remove it and let it cool off.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon. I’m using turkey bacon because the hubs cannot have pork at this time.

Cooked Turkey Bacon ~

And begin chopping the other ingredients:


Lettuce in salad bowl ~ Lifeofjoy.meBell Pepper

Dice bell pepper ~ Lifeofjoy.meCheese: I slice about 1/4″ slab off my block of cheese

slicing slab of cheese ~ Lifeofjoy.meCut it in half

cut cheese in half ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd cut into cubes.

Cutting cheese into cubes ~ Lifeofjoy.meNow it’s time to make the dressing. Here’s where I make some significant tweaks. Since Tiffany doesn’t like mayonnaise, I use heavy whipping cream and whip it a bit so that it is the consistency of mayonnaise. :)

Now, if you have pesto on hand, then you can simply slightly whip up the heavy cream and add the pre-made pesto to it. I, however, do not have any on hand but I keep pinenuts in the freezer for just such a time as this. ;) OH! I should also admit that I do not have any fresh basil on hand either and use dried in a pinch. So here we go.

Place a few pinenuts and a bit of Parmesan cheese into a mini food processor.

Pinenuts and parmesan cheese ~ re-reading the original recipe, I realize that I used a bit too much. ;) ) But we still liked it. Ultimately you only need a tablespoon of pesto. There will not be exact measurements because I just grabbed bits of this and bits of that. ;)

Add a good bit of dried basil.

Added dried basil ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen drizzled in some olive oil.

Olive oil, basil, pinenuts, parmesan ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd then about two tablespoons of heavy whipping cream . . . yep, just poured some in.

Creamy Pesto dressing ~ Lifeofjoy.meNow, give it a good whirl, until it is the desired creaminess.

creamy pesto ~ Lifeofjoy.meAdd all of this creamy loveliness, to the salad with all the rest of the ingredients.

Broccoli Salad ~ Lifeofjoy.meCombine and serve! :)

Creamy Pesto Broccoli Salad ~ Lifeofjoy.meI do need to say that I do not include the peas in this salad, that the original recipe called for because of the amount of fats here. On Trim Healthy Mama, we separate our fats from our carbs, except at specific times ( s helper and crossover meals) but if you are at the point in your journey where you can have this type of meal, I’m sure the peas would be a tasty addition.

Creamy Pesto Broccoli Salad ~ Lifeofjoy.meCreamy Pesto Broccoli Salad ~

Broccoli Salad


  • 2 cups broccoli, steamed
  • 6 strips of bacon, cooked and chopped or crumbled
  • about 1 cup diced bell pepper
  • about 2/3 cup small cheese cubes
  • 2 cups or so of lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • about 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon basil pesto
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine lettuce, broccoli, bacon, bell pepper, and cheese cubes in a salad bowl.
  2. Whip the heavy whipping cream and add the pesto or combine ingredients for pesto and the heavy whipping cream and whip together. 🙂
  3. Add dressing, salt, and pepper.
  4. Combine and serve.

Here is my recipe to make easy pesto.

I hope you enjoy this salad as much as we do.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

veggie quesadilla ~

Veggie Quesadillas

Here is another delicious way to get in those veggies. Use whatever veggies you prefer or have on hand.

As I mentioned last week, I’ve been on a quest to get more veggies into my meals. I don’t really love veggies yet but I’m making every effort to eat them anyway and eat them in a yummy way.

Today I’m sharing a veggie quesadilla. Now I know that quesadillas mean cheese. I love cheese but I have loved it a bit too much. I’m working on lessening it in my diet. But I have to say that this quesadilla is still delicious! :)

Today I used onion, mushroom, and zucchini for my veggies. You can use whatever you like. I am also trying to keep cruciferous veggies limited because cabbage seems to cause me to stall, so I’m not indulging in them as freely as I have in the past.

So, I start by slicing my zucchini nice and thin. I use a mandolin for this job; it’s easy and I can do the job quickly.

Slice Zucchini on mandolin ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen sliced some mushrooms.

Slice mushrooms ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen dice some onion. (I started by slicing it.)

Cut onion ~ Lifeofjoy.mePlace all in a heated skillet with a bit of oil melted in it.

Cook veggies ~ Lifeofjoy.meAdd a bit of salt and pepper, as desired. Salt helps them cook quicker because it helps remove the water from the veggies.

Sprinkle with a bit of oregano or your favorite herb.

Meanwhile, I prep my tortillas. I prefer to use a Joseph’s pita and separate it into two very thin circles by cutting around the edge by snipping a hole in the edge, sliding my kitchen scissors into the cup, and cut around the circle. But my store was out of them and the lavash, so I resorted to Low Carb Mission whole wheat tortillas. I got the small ones that are 3g net carbs each so that I could use 2 of them.

Tortillas ~

Spread half a wedge of Laughing Cow Cheddar Cheese or homemade greek cream cheese on each tortilla.

Spread with light greek cream cheese ~ Lifeofjoy.meWe shredded a little over an ounce of part skim mozzarella cheese on a medium-small grate, so it makes a bigger pile of cheese and it will melt more quickly.

We are trying to lose some weight, so we are being aware of how much fat we us, so we simply sprayed the pan with a little coconut oil spray and then put one of the tortillas on the pan.

Tortilla with cheese ~ Lifeofjoy.meAdd the warm cooked veggies.

Veggie quesadilla ~ Lifeofjoy.meI wasn’t sure how much protein was here, and I was hungry, so I added a serving of ham. But you could just heap on more veggies and have a protein drink with it, if you are on Trim Healthy Mama where all our meals are anchored with protein.

Ham and veggie quesadilla ~ Lifeofjoy.mePlace the other tortilla on top with cheese side down.

veggie quesadilla ~ Lifeofjoy.meI cover it so that the cheese melts quicker.

Cover with lid ~ Lifeofjoy.meFlip when bottom is browned, about 5-7 minutes, depending on the heat of your pan.

Flipped to cook other side ~ Lifeofjoy.meServe and cut once it is browned.

quesadilla ~ Lifeofjoy.meYum!

quesadilla ~ camera battery died near the end of the meal prep and I had to rely on my phone camera.)

Veggie Quesadillas


  • Veggies of your choosing (I used onion, mushroom, and zucchini.)
  • Laughing Cow cheddar cheese or greek cream cheese
  • about 1/2 ounce shredded part skim mozzarella
  • Joseph's pita, cut into 2 rounds or two small low carb tortillas
  • extra protein (I chose a serving of ham lunch meat)
  • salt, pepper, and sprinkling of oregano


  1. Sauté veggies with salt, pepper, and oregano.
  2. Spread half a wedge of laughing cow cheddar (or light swiss) cheese on each tortilla
  3. Spray pan with oil and heat.
  4. Add tortilla, cheese side up, then top with veggies and optional lunch meat.
  5. Top with other tortilla, cheese side down.
  6. Cover and cook, flip when browned on bottom.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº