In 2020 the pandemic put trips to the hair salon for regular trims, hair coloring services, a wash, and set, or a blowout on pause. We were forced to pivot and turn our bathrooms and makeup tables into an in-home salon on the fly. While most of us are knowledgeable when it comes to our own hair, many of us still found ourselves going through a process of trial and error when it came to finding the right products for our hair type. Moreover, age can play a factor. Many women who are north of forty and fifty plus are dealing with changes in their skin and hair as a result of hormonal fluctuations, perimenopause, and menopause.
As a black woman who is north of fifty, I found this to be especially challenging after I stopped relaxing my hair. My decision to go natural was the result of getting older and from having an autoimmune disease (MS) for twenty-plus years. However, my relationship with Ms. Clairol was safe. I made the transition with the guidance of a skilled hair professional who took care of my hair every two weeks. I received a combination of services including deep conditioning treatments, hair coloring, and styling.
When the pandemic forced salons to close, I had to figure it out. At first, I was able to wash and blow my hair out at home. I worried about the use of heat weakening my hair. So, I decided to embrace the curls I’d been avoiding for most of my life. It didn’t take long to discover that finding the right products for my curls was going to be a challenge. Nevertheless, it was a challenge I was willing to accept.
From time to time I will post my experiences with different products. I will review the products, provide price ranges, product effectiveness, and more all in an effort to give you as much information as possible.
My first review is Mark Anthony True Professional Hydrating Curl Cream.
The pitch: Extra Frizz Control! This Sulfate-Free Curl Cream is a hydrating blend of Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, and Biotin that help de-frizz and add moisture to your dry brittle curls. It provides extra curl styling control with humidity resistance. Curls are now shinier, more defined, and tangle-free. Lightweight enough to use daily after shower. Color safe.
Usage: Apply to wet or damp hair. For my purposes, I applied after I washed and conditioned my hair. I section my hair in two. Then I use about a half-dollar size amount of cream in my palm and work it through from the roots to ends with my fingers. I try to follow my curl pattern and repeat on the other side. I let my hair dry naturally, but you can use a diffuser to blow it dry as well.
Results: I’ve found that my curls have great hold while still feeling soft. I’ve found that some products with coconut oil and shea butter can make your hair smell like a tropical fruit salad, which if you live in a warmer climate, or it’s spring or summer, can be tricky once you go outside. Bees don’t know the difference. Marc Anthony’s hydrating cream smells nice and it’s not overwhelming.
Cost: The cream ranges in price from 8.99-9.99 (depends on where you purchase it)
Available at: Walgreens, CVS, Target, Walmart, and Rite Aid. Check online to see which stores in your area have it in stock
Even though the official beginning of fall is still a few days away, many of our favorite coffee shops and/or coffee houses have begun to offer fall-themed, or more specifically, pumpkin-spiced hot and cold beverages. The pumpkin theme also extends to donuts, muffins, and quick bread. If you would like to try something a little different that’s easy to make and save you a little money, we have two terrific recipes for you to try.
At the beginning of the pandemic, there was a banana bread baking movement that seemed to be everywhere. As time went on, interest in making banana bread waned. Many people enjoy Starbucks banana bread, so we made a concerted effort to find a recipe that most closely replicates the taste. This recipe was found on the Butter Your Biscuit Blog.
If you are not into pumpkin-spice flavored coffee, we came across a recipe for an Iced Maple Frappe Coffee by Dan McLaughlin on TikTok. It’s super easy and if you’re into maple this is a wonderful twist on a delicious fall-themed beverage.
Both of these recipes are quick and easy. Start the week off on a deliciously thrifty note.
The recipe has been adapted for:
Low Sugar diets
Copy Cat Starbucks Banana Bread recipe by Butter Your Biscuit adapted by Still A Chick Lit
2 cups flour (gluten-free all-purpose flour, 1 to 1 gluten-free baking blend, sorghum, sweet or brown rice flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg (2 tablespoons Aquafaba, 1/4 cup silken tofu pureed with 1/8 teaspoon baking soda, 1 flaxseed or chia seed egg, or vegan egg replacer)
1 1/8 cup sugar (Swerve sweetener, Splenda granulated, monk fruit sweetener granulated, coconut sugar, turbinado, or raw can sugar, pulsed fine)
1/2 cup vegetable oil (Canola oil)
2 tablespoons buttermilk (dairy: whole fat buttermilk or low-fat buttermilk) (non-dairy: 2 tablespoons rice, soy, almond, or light coconut milk mixed with 1/2 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, let sit for 5 minutes before using)
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 extra ripe bananas
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 325 degrees, spray an 8 x 5 loaf with nonstick spray and line it with parchment paper if desired.
In a medium bowl add flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon and whisk just until combined.
In another medium bowl add egg, sugar, and oil and whisk until combined.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well, the mixture will be thick and dry.
Add in the buttermilk, vanilla, and mashed bananas and mix until combined.
Pour into a loaf pan, sprinkle walnuts over the top.
Bake on the center oven rack for 60-75 minutes or until the knife comes out clean.
You can adjust the cinnamon to up to 1 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, depending on your taste.
Maple Greek Frappe by Dan McLaughlin @softpourn on TikTok
1 tablespoon maple sugar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar (Swerve brown sugar substitute)
1 tablespoon good quality instant coffee
8 ounces of Milk (Whole, Low-fat, 2%) (non-dairy: Almond, Rice, Soy, Oat, Light Coconut, or hazelnut milk)
In a glass or travel mug add the maple sugar, brown sugar, and instant coffee.
Add enough cold water to cover, but don’t add too much
Using a frother, a small immersion blender, blender, or something like a Nutri-bullet. Mix the ingredients together until it’s thick
Labor Day is the unofficial end of summer. The kids are back in school. Fall is on the horizon. One of the things I love best about the fall is putting the oven on once again. After ditching it in favor of no-bake desserts and dinner on the grill, it’s nice to have the aroma of something delicious in the oven wafting through the house.
It was Google’s baking and cooking feed that led to finding this wonderful recipe for a perfect morning treat. 31 Daily, is a blog by Stephanie from Puget Sound is an author, publisher, and former television news writer and producer. She describes this recipe as divine and she’s 100% correct. This donut is lovely and the perfect way to begin your morning or you can save it for your afternoon snack. The recipe is straightforward and since it’s baked and not deep-fried, it seems a little less guilty. The only special equipment needed is a donut pan to bake them.
To make sure as many of you can enjoy this, we have adapted the recipe for:
Gluten sensitivities or Celiac disease
We hope you enjoy this recipe and make it this holiday weekend and many more weekday mornings. Enjoy in good health,
Double Chocolate Glazed Donuts recipe by 31 Daily adapted by Still A Chick Lit
1 cup all-purpose flour (gluten-free all-purpose flour, 1 to 1 gluten-free baking blend flour, sorghum, sweet rice, brown rice flour)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/2 cup chocolate chips (vegan chocolate chips)
1 large egg (2 tablespoons Aquafaba, 1/4 cup silken tofu pureed with 1/8 teaspoon baking soda, 1 flaxseed or chia seed egg, or vegan egg replacer)
1/2 cup brown sugar (Swerve brown sugar substitute, organic brown sugar, turbinado sugar)
1/3 cup milk (dairy: whole, 2%, fat-free) (non-dairy almond, rice, soy, or light coconut milk)
1/4 cup sour cream (dairy: light sour cream, plain yogurt, plain Greek yogurt, whole milk or low-fat, do not use fat-free) (non-dairy: almond or coconut yogurt, vegan sour cream)
3 tablespoons cream or milk (dairy light cream whipping cream) (non-dairy coconut or almond milk)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (vegan butter)
If you would like to add more fiber use 2/3 cup all-purpose flour and 1/3 cup white whole wheat flour
If you don’t have instant espresso, you can use regular instant coffee or 1 teaspoon of strong brewed coffee
If using turbinado sugar, pulse it in a food processor a couple of times to give it a finer texture. Turbinado sugar can have more of a rock candy type of consistency.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a donut pan with oil or butter; set aside.
Make the donuts: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, espresso powder, and chocolate chips. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg with brown sugar until well mixed. Add the milk, sour cream, melted butter, vanilla, and vinegar; whisk to combine.
Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and stir until just combined. The batter will be thick. Using a spatula transfer the batter to a piping bag or zip-top plastic bag. If you don’t have either, a spoon will do just fine! Cut off the tip of the piping bag or plastic bag and fill donut cavities with batter until 3/4 full.
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the donuts comes out clean. Let the donuts cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the chocolate glaze: Microwave the chocolate, cream, and butter in 30-second intervals, stirring in between until melted. Or use a double boiler and melt the chocolate, stirring until smooth. Once the donuts are completely cool (this only takes a few minutes), dip the tops of the donuts into the chocolate glaze and place them on a rack to set. While the chocolate is still wet, add sprinkles or other decorations to the top.
The donuts are best on the day they are made. If you have any leftovers, store them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
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It’s hard to believe that August is nearly over. School is already in session for some but will soon be in session for kids all over the country. As summer fades, so does summertime’s fresh produce, which gives way to fall staples like apples, pumpkins, and hearty butternut squash.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t still time to enjoy the berries of summer. Blueberries are a superfood. Packed with antioxidants and phytoflavinoids, these berries are also high in potassium and vitamin C, making them a favorite of doctors and nutritionists. Moreover, blueberries don’t just lower your risk of heart disease and cancer, they’re anti-inflammatory. They are wonderful in muffins, buckles, coffee cakes, and pancakes. Or you can enjoy them by the handful.
Blueberry muffins have always been a favorite at my house. When you make them yourself, you are in control of the sugar, fat, and sodium content, unlike the muffins you get on the run from your favorite coffee place.
This blueberry muffin recipe is quick. easy, and delicious. The recipe has been adapted for:
Gluten-Sensitivities, Celiac disease
Jumbo Blueberry Muffins
½ cup unsalted butter softened (vegan unsalted butter)
1 ¼ cups sugar (Swerve sweetener, Splenda granulated, monk fruit sweetener granulated, baker’s style coconut sugar, turbinado, or raw cane sugar pulsed)
2 eggs (1/4 cup Aquafaba, 1/2 cup silken tofu pureed with 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, 2 flaxseed or chia seed eggs, vegan egg replacer)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
zest from one lemon
½ cup buttermilk (1/2 cup whole 2% or skim milk mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Mix and let sit for five minutes) (1/2 cup rice, almond, soy, or light coconut milk mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Mix and let sit for five minutes)
2 cups all-purpose flour (gluten-free all-purpose flour, 1 to 1 gluten-free baking blend, sorghum, brown rice, quinoa, or millet flour)
1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups blueberries; or 2 cups frozen blueberries, thawed; or 2 cups rehydrated blueberries
3 teaspoons sanding sugar, optional
optional: 2 tbsp melted butter
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cream together the butter and 1 ¼ cups sugar until it becomes light and fluffy, preferably in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer.
Add in the eggs, one by one, making sure you beat well after each addition.
Stir in vanilla, lemon juice, and buttermilk and mix well to combine.
Sift the flour, salt, and baking powder into the sugar, buttermilk, butter, and eggs. Using a sifter will help to reduce clumping and prevent you from overworking muffins.
In a small bowl, lightly mash/smush about half of the blueberries with the back of a spoon (sort of like muddling mint in a drink) and then stir into the batter.
Fold in the remaining blueberries. We also like to save a couple to drop right on the tops of the muffins.
Line a 6 cup jumbo muffin tin or 12 cups standard muffin tin with cupcake liners.
Fill with batter – leave ⅓ muffin tin/liner for muffins to rise above.
Sprinkle the 3 teaspoons sanding sugar over the tops of the muffins, reduce oven heat to 375, and bake at 375 degrees for about 30-35 minutes.
Optional: Reserve sanding sugar until the end of cooking. In the final 10 minutes of baking, brush tops of muffin with melted butter. Top with sanding sugar. Continue baking the muffins until l the toothpick inserted comes out completely clean.
Remove muffins from tin and cool for at least 30 minutes.
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According to the National Center for Education Statistics, young people with disabilities of all types have a high level of school dropout rates. Physical and mental health issues additionally take younger people out of college before they achieve their career goals. Some disabled individuals find success when they discover a career that suits their needs and provides the correct accommodations for their disability.
After having children, many individuals with disabilities often wish for a better work-life balance that can often be found by starting their own business. Entrepreneurship can give them the flexibility to address their medical or mental health issues at the same time they care for their families and have a fulfilling work life. If you are a parent with a disability, consider the following three ways to get your own small business started. Make sure to visit Still A Chick-Lit for more empowering content like this one.
Apply for a Federal Grant
Those with physical disabilities who wish to start a small business often qualify for special funding in the form of federal grants, state-specific loans, and private loans tailored to specific medical conditions or disabilities. Whether you deal with blindness, deafness, mobility issues, or a more complex neurological condition such as autism, you may qualify for a federal grant that can help you start your business. Specific grants and scholarships for disabled parents may be available if you need to find startup capital or acquire specific work-related skills through further schooling.
Service-disabled veterans can find federal grants that help them become entrepreneurs, while women can take advantage of funding opportunities that support their desire to become entrepreneurs and owners of their own businesses. Some of these opportunities are only for people with disabilities while others may be awarded to anyone. Check the application rules to make sure you apply for those that are the most appropriate for your situation.
Write an Airtight Business Plan
Sit down with any business partners you have and compose a business plan that contains this information as well as financial points such as your budget, your marketing plan, and your projected return on investment numbers. A business plan is a great document to give investors and add to your grant application packet if appropriate. Including your story as a disabled parent in your mission statement can help attract the right kind of investor who wishes to contribute to a cause and see people like yourself succeed.
Choose a Name and Business Structure
One of the first things you probably did when creating your business was naming it — but you’ll need to formally register with your state to make this christening official. While you’re taking care of administrative tasks, form your business as a sole proprietorship or a limited liability company to set yourself up for tax breaks and easier filing of paperwork when you file your quarterly or yearly taxes. Create a “doing business as” name for your company can open the door to additional opportunities such as when you want to sell products under a secondary name. A DBA or trade name can also allow you to market your products or services as the name you want if your desired domain name was already taken.
Getting your new small business off the ground as a disabled parent will be difficult, but it’s possible with the right plan and preparation. Set yourself up with great administration by filing your legal paperwork as early as possible, and don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance whenever you need it.
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We are always on the lookout for delicious recipes to start your week off right. To that end, we came across this lovely recipe by the Real mom Kitchen for an unstuffed peppers skillet. Many of us know and love a version of stuffed peppers made by our moms or grandmothers. The presentation was always as delightful to the eye as it was the palate. Laura Powell’s unstuffed recipe is a great take on this classic.
To make this recipe a little more inclusive, we have adapted it for vegans and vegetarians too. Remember, you can season it your way. The seasonings used in Ms. Powell’s original recipe work nicely, but feel free to go with your own palate. It can easily be more Italian with the addition of dried oregano, basil, or parsley too. For an Indian flare, a little curry or Garam Masala might be nice. You get the idea, make it your way and enjoy.
Unstuffed peppers skillet recipe by Real Mom Kitchen adapted by Still A Chick Lit
3 bell peppers, diced (I used one green, 2 red)
1/2 onion, diced
1 lb ground beef or sausage (beef 80/20 or 85/15, 90/10) (Chicken: ½ pound ground chicken breast, ½ pound ground chicken) (Turkey: ½ pound ground turkey breast, ½ pound ground turkey)
(Beyond meat, ground, Gardein ground, Impossible Plant-Based Burger Ground, Farmland Protein, ground, Good and Gather, meatless beef style ground)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes
1 (14 oz) can beef broth (chicken or vegetable unsalted stock)
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 tsp salt
pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup uncooked extra-long grain rice
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (Daiya cheddar cheese shreds or vegan cheese shreds of your choice)
additional diced peppers and/or green onion for garnish
3 tablespoons canola or olive oil, divided
In a large skillet with 1 ½ tablespoon of oil, add onion and peppers and sauté until tender. Remove from the skillet and wipe clean. Brown the ground beef or sausage until cooked through. Drain off any excess fat, then add the vegetables back in. * If you are using chicken, turkey, use 1 ½ tablespoon of oil to cook the meat thoroughly until no longer pink. For the vegan ground, you can cook the onions, peppers, and vegan ground together in the oil until the vegetables are tender.
Add garlic to the meat or meatless mixture and cook for a minute until fragrant. Drain off any excess grease (meat).
Add tomatoes, beef broth, tomato sauce, salt, pepper, sugar, Worcestershire, and rice to the skillet.
Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cover. Cook for about 20-30 minutes until moisture is absorbed and rice is tender. At 20 minutes check and give a stir and continue cooking if needed.
Once the rice is tender, sprinkle cheese over the mixture and cover to get the cheese melted.
Once melted garnish with chopped peppers and /or green onion and serve. Serves 4-6.
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It’s already August for many of us it’s been a hot summer. It is also the time when we begin to see more zucchini recipes as it’s the time of year there’s a bumper crop of zucchini everywhere.
I found this recipe in my inbox and it was a hit, even with my seven-year-old nephew, a very picky eater. The best part was that I got to sneak in a little nutrition with all the chocolate goodness. I hope you give this recipe a whirl. There’s a link for A Kitchen Addiction to see what other goodies she has.
This recipe has adaptations for:
Happy Monday to everyone.
Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins by A Kitchen Addiction adapted by Still A Chick Lit
Yield: 18 muffins
Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 20 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
2 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour (brown rice flour, quinoa flour, buckwheat flour)
1 cup unsweetened baking cocoa (Dutch-Process cocoa powder)
1/3 cup sugar (Swerve sweetener, Splenda granulated, monk fruit sweetener granulated, or coconut, raw cane, golden, or turbinado sugar, pulsed fine before using)
1/4 cup brown sugar (Swerve brown sugar substitute, or organic brown sugar, light or dark)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 Cup whole-fat or low-fat plain yogurt (non-dairy: almond, soy, or coconut yogurt) (dairy: Greek plain yogurt low fat, whole milk Greek yogurt, do not use fat-free yogurt)
1 cup milk (dairy: whole, 2%, or skim) (non-dairy: almond, soy, rice, or light coconut milk)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs (1/4 cup Aquafaba, ½ cup silken tofu pureed with ¼ teaspoon baking soda, 2 flaxseed or chia seed eggs, vegan egg replacer)
1/4 cup melted coconut oil (measured in the liquid state), melted and cooled butter or canola oil would also work (vegan unsalted butter)
2 cups shredded zucchini
3/4 Cups mini chocolate chips + additional mini chocolate chips for garnish, if desired
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners or spray muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, unsweetened baking cocoa, sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt until well-combined. Stir in yogurt, milk, and vanilla extract until the mixture just starts to combine.
Add in eggs and melted coconut oil. Stir until combined.
Gently fold in shredded zucchini and mini chocolate chips.
Divide batter into muffin cups. Depending on the size of the muffin cup, each cup will be anywhere from 3/4 to completely full.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean.
Like Beef Stroganoff, Swedish Meatballs reached the height of popularity in the 1950s and 1960s. The recipe is a mixture of ground beef, ground pork, minced onion, breadcrumbs, seasonings, eggs, and heavy cream. It fell out of popularity for a while but saw a resurgence when Ikea brought it to America.
The original recipe requires time and that’s not something a lot of modern families have while living busy lives. Fortunately, we found a recipe by Inspired Taste that includes instructions to make them in a slow cooker and an Instapot or pressure cooker.
Remember, seasoning can be adjusted to your liking. We adapted the recipe to include vegetarians and vegans, so they can enjoy it too.
We hope you will give this a whirl to perk up your Monday night meal.
Crave-Worthy Swedish Meatballs by Inspired Taste. Adapted by Still A Chick Lit
This Swedish meatballs recipe makes juicy and flavorful meatballs with a creamy, rich, and crave-worthy sauce. If you prefer, you can serve the meatballs without the gravy. Serve these with mashed potatoes (or mashed cauliflower), buttered noodles, or roasted vegetables.
For the gravy, Inspired Taste added a few unconventional ingredients. Soy sauce seasons, mustard adds a little zing, and lemon zest brightens up the flavors of the dish.
1/4 cup (60 ml) milk (dairy: whole, 2%, or non-fat) (non-dairy: almond, rice, or soy milk)
2 tablespoons (30 grams) unsalted butter, plus more as needed (unsalted vegan butter)
1/2 cup (70 grams) finely chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Pinch fresh ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard or a pinch of dry mustard powder
1 large egg (2 tablespoons Aquafaba, ¼ cup silken tofu pureed with 1/8 teaspoon baking soda, 1 flaxseed or chia seed egg, or vegan egg replacer)
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
FOR THE GRAVY
Butter, as needed (vegan butter or margarine)
3 tablespoons (24 grams) all-purpose flour (gluten-free all-purpose flour, 1 to 1 gluten-free baking blend, sorghum, sweet rice, or brown rice flour)
3 cups (710 ml) unsalted beef, chicken, or unsalted vegetable stock (you can also use broth)
1/4 cup (60 ml) heavy cream (Dairy: light cream or whole milk) (non-dairy: full-fat coconut milk or unsweetened almond milk)
1 teaspoon light soy sauce (vegan soy sauce)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard or a pinch of dry mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
Handful fresh parsley, chopped
PREPARE MEATBALL MIXTURE
In a small bowl, tear or chop the bread into small pieces then cover with the milk. Set aside.
Melt one tablespoon of butter in a wide skillet. Add the onions and cook until soft, but not brown; 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the black pepper, allspice, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, and mustard. Cook, stirring everything around the pan for 30 seconds. Transfer to a bowl to cool, and then wipe the skillet mostly clean with a paper towel so that it is ready for cooking the meatballs.
Combine the beef, pork, bread, and milk mixture, and the egg in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large food processor). When the onions are warm, not hot, add them to the bowl as well.
Evenly sprinkle the salt over the top of the mixture then beat for about 30 seconds, scrape the sides of the bowl, then beat another 30 seconds to a minute until the mixture looks very well blended. (If you are using a food processor, you may need to stop the processor one more time to move the mixture around a bit.)
Form the mixture into meatballs; we like using a medium cookie scoop that holds about 1 1/2 tablespoons — you should get around 30 meatballs. Move onto cooking or cover and refrigerate up to a day or freeze them (see notes section for our tips).
Heat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment. (It’s likely you will cook the meatballs in batches. A warm oven helps to keep cooked meatballs hot while you finish cooking all of the meatballs.)
Melt half a tablespoon of butter in the pan used to cook the onions over medium-low heat. Add meatballs and cook, turning every few minutes, until brown on all sides and cooked through; 8 to 10 minutes. It’s unlikely all of the meatballs will fit so you will need to do this in batches (or use two pans). Add more butter to the pan as needed.
Transfer cooked meatballs to the baking sheet and place them into the warm oven.
MAKE THE GRAVY
After cooking the meatballs, make the gravy in the same pan. Depending on how much fat is left in the pan after cooking the meatballs, you may need to remove some or add a little bit of butter. You will need about three tablespoons of fat in the pan.
Decrease the heat to low then scatter the flour over the fat in the pan and whisk until medium blonde in color, about 2 minutes. While whisking, slowly add the broth. Continue to whisk until the gravy begins to thicken. Add the cream and continue to cook until the sauce thickens enough to coat the meatballs, another minute or so.
Whisk in the soy sauce, mustard, and lemon zest. Taste then adjust with salt and pepper, as needed. Remove the meatballs from the oven and add to the gravy. Serve with parsley scattered on top.
The recipe authors Adam and Joanne prefer the combination of beef and pork, If that doesn’t suit you, use 1 ½ pound of ground beef.
If you don’t want to use beef or pork, the combination of 1 pound of ground chicken breast and ground chicken makes for just the right bite.
You can use 1/3 cup of plain bread crumbs instead of fresh bread.
If you don’t have a stand mixer or food processor, you can mix the meatball mixture by hand. An immersion blender works too. If you use your hands, it will affect the texture of the meatballs.
Make-ahead tips: The meatball mixture can be made and refrigerated one to two days in advance.
Freezing the Meatballs:
To freeze cooked meatballs, let them cool enough so you can handle them then add to freezer-safe bags or containers. To reheat them, bake in the oven until heated through. To freeze uncooked meatballs, place the formed balls onto a baking sheet and then into the freezer. Freeze until hard then transfer to freezer-safe containers or bags. To cook them, thaw in the refrigerator overnight then follow the directions for cooking in the recipe above. We do not recommend freezing the gravy, but you can make that in about 5 minutes.
Making Them in a Slow Cooker
You can make this recipe in a slow cooker or crockpot. To do it, follow these steps:
Make the meatball mixture as directed and roll it into balls.
Brown the meatballs to add some sturdiness and color, and then add to the slow cooker.
Make the gravy as directed in the recipe below, but leave out the heavy cream. Instead of adding cream at this stage, add it once the meatballs are cooked, which prevents curdling the cream.
Cook the meatballs on LOW for 4 to 5 hours or on HIGH for 2 hours.
When cooked, turn the heat setting to WARM. Stir in the cream, taste the gravy, and adjust with additional salt and pepper.
Making Them in a Pressure Cooker (example: Instant Pot)
You can make this recipe in a pressure cooker. To do it, follow these steps:
Make the meatball mixture as directed and roll it into balls.
Brown the meatballs to add some sturdiness and color, and then add to the pressure cooker. Depending on your pressure cooker, this step can be done by using the SAUTE function.
Make the gravy as directed in the recipe below, but leave out the heavy cream. Instead of adding cream at this stage, add it once the meatballs are cooked, which prevents the chance of curdling the cream.
Cook the meatballs on HIGH PRESSURE for 8 minutes, and then let the pressure naturally release.
When cooked, stir in the cream, taste the gravy, and adjust with additional salt and pepper.
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There is nothing like brunch on a Sunday morning. It’s easy to pull together with fresh fruit, coffee, tea, Mimosas, and Bloody Marys. A trip to your local bakery can round it out with assorted pastries and rolls.
However, there’s no need to rush out to the store for a family brunch with eggs, bacon, sausage, and buttermilk biscuits that are a snap to make with ingredients you likely have on hand.
We like the Gimme Some Oven blog and found this recipe for buttermilk biscuits we think you will enjoy. We’ve adapted the recipe to accommodate vegan, vegetarian, gluten-sensitivities, and low sugar diets.
Buttermilk Biscuits recipe by Gimme Some Oven adapted by Still A Chick Lit
prep time: 30 MINS
cook time: 10 MINS
total time: 40 MINS
yield: 8 TO 10 BISCUITS
2 cups (284 grams) (gluten-free all-purpose flour, 1 to 1 gluten-free baking blend, sorghum, sweet rice, or brown rice flour)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon light brown sugar (Swerve light brown sugar substitute, organic light brown sugar)
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons (85 grams) very cold unsalted butter*, diced into 1/2-inch cubes (vegan unsalted butter)
1 cup cold buttermilk (dairy: low-fat, light, or whole-fat buttermilk, do not use non-fat buttermilk) (to make non-dairy buttermilk: 1 cup almond, rice, soy, or light coconut milk plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar mixed together. Let sit for five minutes before using)
optional toppings: extra melted butter
Mix the dry ingredients: Combine the flour, baking powder, brown sugar, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Stir or whisk briefly to combine.
Cut in the butter. Sprinkle the diced butter over the dry ingredient mixture. Use a pastry cutter, two forks, or the food processor to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it is well-mixed and forms pea-sized chunks of butter.
Add the buttermilk. Pour in the cold buttermilk and stir until the dough is just combined. (Try to avoid over-mixing the dough.)
Form the dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Use your hands to quickly shape the dough into a small rectangle. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out evenly until it is about 1/2-inch thick.
Fold the dough. Then fold the dough on top of itself into thirds (like you are folding an envelope, see image above). Rotate the dough 90 degrees. Then repeat the folding process a second time, rotate, repeat the folding process a third time, rotate.
Cut the dough. Roll the dough out once more into a roughly 10 x 5-inch rectangle. Then use a 2 to 2.5-inch biscuit cutter to firmly cut the dough into 8 circles, taking care not to twist the biscuit cutter at all when cutting the dough, and arrange the biscuits evenly on the prepared baking sheet.* If you would like, re-roll the remaining dough scraps and cut out 1 or 2 more biscuits. Do your best not to overwork the dough. If it becomes a little sticky, put it in the freezer for five minutes and continue to roll out the dough and cut out biscuits.
IMPORTANT When cutting out the rounds, cut straight down. Do not twist. If you twist the cutter, you will seal the edges and the biscuits won’t rise up. The steam gets trapped and results in a heavier biscuit.
Heat the oven. Heat the oven to 450°F (232°C). And transfer the biscuits to your freezer or refrigerator for 15 minutes as the oven heats.
Bake. Once the oven is ready to go, bake the biscuits for 10-12 minutes, or until they achieve your desired level of browning on top. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack. Then, if you would like, brush the tops of the biscuits with some melted butter and sprinkle with a pinch of flaky sea salt.
Serve. Serve warm and enjoy!
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Maintaining our health is always important, but it is increasingly so as we age. While there are many things we can do to improve and maintain our physical appearance, taking care of what’s on the inside is the key to looking and feeling good.
Taking Care of Your Body
Over the past five years, more people are investing in home fitness equipment that comes with personal trainers for different types of workouts. Peloton is at the front of the pack. Fun fact about the word peloton. In a road bicycle race, the peloton (from French, originally meaning ‘platoon’) is the main group or pack of riders. Riders in a group save energy by riding close (drafting or slipstreaming) to (particularly behind) other riders.
Peloton is just one of a number of in-home streaming workouts. There are others that may be more suited to what you like such as:
Look for a program that fits your budget. Many of these services offer trial periods before your commit to the either monthly or yearly expense of the service. Some workout platforms like Fit-On, have free basic memberships. However, it’s important to remember that if you want more variety, the price of a pro-plan could be worth it for you.
A healthy diet is another key to maintaining balance in our lives. It’s important not to focus on calories, carbs, and fat. Rather, approach your diet by putting the best food or fuel into it. Vegetables, fruit, whole grain, lean proteins, and plenty of water are the basis for keeping your body running at peak condition. Treats are okay and don’t need to be measured and weighed if you partake in moderation.
There is a vicious cycle that results from denial. When you feel like some ice cream, chocolate, or whatever your preferred indulgence is, it’s best to go ahead and eat it. You are more likely to indulge moderately. Conversely, it’s the denial of what your body is craving that leads to overindulgence, binging, and guilt. Allow yourself a treat. When you want to snack, pick something that hits your flavor profile whether it’s sweet and crunchy, sweet and salty, or salty and crunchy. This way you snack smarter.
Read labels. Even light or healthy food products have hidden things in them like salt. Google all the alternative names used for salt and sugar. You would be surprised at how many healthy alternatives are filled with sugar, salt, and preservatives. Also, if you are looking into one of the many meal services available, research their ingredients too. The meals and components have to travel, which means preservatives and more. If this is something that would work for your lifestyle, make sure you pick one that benefits your health too.
Relax and get some rest
Powering down our bodies is as essential as powering them up. Most of us lead incredibly busy lives and spend oodles of time on the go. Find time to disconnect from your schedule to reconnect with relaxation and rest.
Spend time with hobbies- Whether it’s model airplanes or cars, sewing, knitting, crocheting, painting, or drawing, hobbies relax our minds to focus on something we enjoy.
Read- Turn the television off and put down the smartphone to pick up a book or magazine.
Watch television- Put on your favorite program. Watch a nature show or binge a series. There’s nothing like watching a guilty pleasure.
Get all the electronics (phone, television, computer, laptop) out of your bedroom. Make your bedroom a real place of rest. This will allow you to turn off the distractions so you can get the 7 to 8 hours your body needs.
Keep your mind clear and centered
Our mental and emotional health plays a big role in the health of our physical body. To keep everything balanced, we need to find ways to deal with the biggest enemy of good mental and emotional health, stress.
Stress, anger, and sadness, are three things that can wear us down. Therefore, it’s important to deal with the issues that cause them.
Talk to a professional. There is nothing wrong with seeing a therapist or psychologist for talk therapy. It’s a safe space to let our emotions out and to figure what’s a healthy way to deal with them.
Friends, family, spouse, or partners. Talking to the people we love can help us feel supported and loved. However, there’s a difference between unburdening ourselves and offloading our problems onto someone else’s shoulders. The latter is something to avoid doing for the sake of your relationship.
Worship If you’re a religious or spiritual person connecting with God through a church, synagogue, or mosque can provide a sense of being grounded and having a greater purpose in life.
Meditation – This allows you to connect with yourself. It also helps you learn how to quiet your mind, which keeps stressful thoughts at bay.
If you can find a way to implement some of these tips, you will be on your way to whole-body wellness as a woman who is north of forty plus shining brightly for years to come.