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Shrimp & Apple Cinnamon Sausage Skillet

Occasionally, our Kroger will have uniquely flavoured sausages, such as apple cinnamon or gyro. They are raw sausage, not the precooked kind. This recipe was born – as many of mine are – from looking at what I had in the fridge and getting an idea from a googled recipe. This is a very easy meal and very hearty. This also freezes well, so you can double this and freeze half for a quick dinner later!

Shrimp and Apple Cinnamon Sausage Skillet

Shrimp and Apple Cinnamon Sausage Skillet

Shrimp & Apple Cinnamon Sausage Skillet

1/2 pound large shrimp (or whatever size is on sale), cleaned and cut in half crosswise, soaked in vermouth
2 Tbl dry vermouth or dry sherry to marinate shrimp
3 uncooked apple cinnamon sausages (or sub the precooked kind)
1 Tbl olive oil
2 Tbl butter
2 roasted bell peppers (jarred), diced (sub 1 fresh pepper if you like)
2/3 cup halved and sliced red onion (about 1/3 of a big onion)
3-4 cloves garlic, diced
2/3 cup halved and thinly sliced fennel (about 2/3 of small head)
6-8 sliced cremini mushrooms
3/4 cup basmati or any long grain rice, uncooked
1 cup chicken stock (half stock, half water)
1 Tbl mirin
1/2 can diced tomatoes with juice (fire roasted is best)
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1.5 Tbl fennel fronds, chopped

Mix together shrimp and vermouth (or sherry), set aside. Put olive oil and butter in a large skillet over med hi heat. Open the sausages and crumble into skillet. Sauté sausage until it starts to brown. Add peppers, onions, garlic, fennel and mushrooms and sauté until soft, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the uncooked rice to coat thoroughly. Add stock, mirin, tomatoes and spices and cover over med heat for about 10-15 minutes until rice is cooked. Add more water if it gets dry. Check seasoning. Turn off heat and stir in shrimp and vermouth. Let sit another 5-8 minutes until shrimp become pink and opaque. Turn on low heat if the shrimp are not getting cooked enough.

Simple Gorgonzola Sauce

This is a riff on Ina Garten’s recipe for gorgonzola sauce. It is super cinchy and really delicious on beef or pork – or anything, really. I think it is sublime with gorgonzola dolce if you can find it. My newly renovated Kroger now has an extensive cheese bar, and I found a block of gorgonzola dolce ON SALE, which is what spurred this idea. I served it on flat iron steak and it was amazing. (See my Instagram!)

Gorgonzola Dolce Sauce

3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp salt
pinch pepper
1 tsp garlic paste
4 oz gorgonzola dolce, in pieces (or regular gorgonzola)
2 oz parmesan, grated

Put cream, salt, pepper and garlic paste on medium heat and let it simmer for 20 mins to reduce. When the cream is reduced to your liking, take off the heat and add in the cheeses. You can put over low heat if the cheese is not melting enough. Check seasoning after you add the cheese. That’s it! Easy!

Flat Iron with gorgonzola dolce sauce

Flat Iron with gorgonzola dolce sauce

Mixed Fruit Galette

UPDATED!! The dough recipe has been perfected! It makes a bigger pie and rises more.

I’ve been slowly bringing more baked goods into my repertoire. I can make a good madeleine and now I can make a pretty good galette! I use a mix of blueberries and peaches, nectarines, and plums. You can use any fruit you like, but if you use apples, they need to be VERY thin and the cook time might be a bit longer. The best part is the short dough crust! You’ll need parchment paper for this recipe. It will stick like crazy if you don’t use parchment. Trust me.

Blueberry and Plum Galette

Blueberry and Plum Galette

3/4 cup almond flour (grind up one small bag of slivered blanched almonds)
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbl A/P flour
1/2 cup S/R flour
2 Tbl sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 stick butter, cold, cut in pieces
1/4 – 1/2 cup ice water (depends on the weather!)

half a pint of blueberries (check for stems!)
2 peaches or nectarines (or one of each, OR 3 plums), peeled, pitted, halved and sliced 1/4 inch
juice of half a lemon
1 Tbl cornstarch
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Glaze: Apricot preserves
Optional but looks great: large decorative sugar crystals (specialty, by Wilton, I found it at Target)

Method for dough:
Put first 5 ingredients into a large bowl and mix. Cut in butter with a dough cutter. (OR put into food processor and process for 5-10 seconds just until it comes together.) Butter should be pea sized. Pour in half the water and work in with a spatula. (OR process for a few seconds.) Keep adding water until the dough just holds together and you still see the butter chunks. Some days it will be 1/4 cup, some days it will be 1/2 cup. It depends on how humid it is.
Turn out on a floured surface, give it a couple of kneads and pat into a 6″ flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 30 mins – or you can do this a day ahead.
While the dough is chilling, put fruit, lemon juice, cornstarch and sugar into a bowl and stir. Let it sit until the dough is ready. This step is to let the excess juice come out of the fruit, which will give a better overall galette. Stone fruit is very wet, so there will be a good amount of juice; apples, not so much.

Put 3 Tbl preserves in a small bowl and add just a splash of water to loosen it up enough to spoon on.
When the dough is chilled, unwrap and place on floured parchment sheets, leaving the plastic on the top. Preheat oven to 375F.

Roll out dough to about 14″ diameter, 1/4 inch thick – don’t make it too thin or it’ll leak. By rolling it under plastic, you keep the rolling pin clean; the parchment makes the dough easier to move right onto the sheet pan. This is a rustic type pie, so the dough shouldn’t be perfect. Move the dough on the parchment to a sheet pan (or pizza pan) wrapped in foil. This galette will leak and you don’t want it to stick. USE PARCHMENT PAPER!!

Place the fruit filling into the center of the crust, leaving all the juices in the bowl. This will make a less soggy pie. It also makes this a very low sugar recipe, so if you prefer your fruit a bit sweeter, add more sugar as you layer in the fruit. Fold up the edges of the dough to create a rustic pie. Spoon half the apricot preserves glaze along the edges of the crust and over the filling. Sprinkle with large crystal sugar.
Bake for 30-40 minutes at 375F or until crust is nicely browned. There will be leakage, it’s ok.

While galette is hot, spoon the rest of the preserves on the crust and fruit, then sprinkle with decorative sugar again. Use a spatula to loosen the pie and remove any burnt leakage. Move carefully to a plate for serving.

Serve at room temperature.

Blueberry Peach Galette

Blueberry Peach Galette

Real Talk About Being Fat

I know it’s en vogue right now to be “body positive” and all that shizz. But I have to tell you something: I hate being fat and I do not think it is ever pretty.

There. I said it.

I am still fat, but just getting my face back has been a revelation. You can see my eyes! I have only one chin!

I’ve been reading a lot of fat positive blogs and books and while I agree that you should wear whatever the fuck you feel like wearing, I do not agree that it is cute. I just don’t think obesity is a pretty sight, no matter what you’re wearing. I’ve tried really hard to accept being fat, but ultimately, it just never worked for me.

Which brings to mind a girl at DragonCon about 15 years ago. She was easily 300# and she wore the LeeLu Dallas white strappy thing ALL WEEKEND. I saw her and I was all at once hugely impressed and grossed out. It was impressive that she had no fucks to give and she rocked that minuscule cosplay despite the jeers and mean looks. I’ve never forgotten that girl and her bravery. Wonder what happened to her? Is she still fat 15 years later? Is she still as fierce?

Anyway, back to me. When I look at the few pics I have of me at 250#, I am stunned by just how horrible I looked. I knew it was bad, but dayam. All you fuckers who told me I looked great can SUCK IT. LIARS!! While I appreciate your support, I feel it was more for my feelings than the truth. So, thanks for the support despite your lying to my face. :P

I’d also like to publicly apologize to Nick, for ignoring his gentle nudges to be more active and try harder to lose the weight. And I’d like to acknowledge his continued love and support for all these years, during all the sizes and all the mood swings. I love you, honey, and I couldn’t have done this without you. Yes, I wanted a better life for myself, but I also did the VSG for you. I was tired of being an old fat wife. I’m still old and currently still fat, but soon I’ll be old and average rather than fat. And I’ll be much more able to be the partner Nick needs me to be. He deserves that.

I’ve only lost 44# so far, but I already feel SO much better. I’ve still got issues with the new stomach (Pouchie is an ASSHOLE), but I think I eat enough to start exercising again. I just ordered a NuBand Activ+ and I plan to start walking every day again. Starting today!

I like that I’ve dropped from an 18/20 to a fat 14 (Avenue is a fat store, so their 14 is bigger than a straight 14). But I can tell I’ve lost lots of muscle mass. I’m going to ask a bodybuilder friend for some guidelines to get my muscle tone back. I’ve got a lot of weight to go, but the carrot is wearing straight sizes again and being able to cosplay next year at DragonCon. I’ve always responded better to the carrot than the stick and this is no exception. The fact that I did Dragoncon this year and only had a sore lower back (no muscle tone) is AMAZING.

To all the fat and fabulous out there: good for you! I’m really happy that you are fine with your body and rock it daily. That just wasn’t me. I was never fine with being fat. Which is why I did VSG. I’d had enough of the fat and the inflammation and the sore joints. I’d had enough of my face looking like a bloated balloon. I’d had enough of the huge belly. I’d had enough of not wanting to go out because I hated the way I looked.

VSG is not for everyone, true, but for me, the surgery was a breeze and despite the reflux, it has been worth it. I feel SO MUCH better about myself as I come to my 51st birthday than I did at my 50th. Last year, I was beyond unhappy. This year, I feel a glimmer of hope that our future will work out. I’ve not had hope for a VERY long time. I feel like throwing a party! And I just might. My cooking mojo is coming back – thank the gods. The loss of my desire to cook was pretty devastating after surgery. But it’s coming back and that is another reason to rejoice!

I’m happy to leave behind the world of the fat girl. More power to those that are rockin’ it, but it just ain’t me. I hope to reach my ultimate goal of 150, but I’d be happy with 170. Even at 170, I’ll be in a 10 or 12 straight size. And THAT, my friends, is what I’m after.

Etsy and Storenvy Marketing Tools

So, for all you small biz and artists out there, I’ve found some things in Etsy and Storenvy you might like! We also use Spreadshirt for our T Shirts, but I might move to TeePublic, so I didn’t explore the SS options.

Etsy: You can add a “mini” store to your site by going to your Etsy admin area and clicking the Etsy Mini link towards the bottom. You can set up how many thumbnails you want and the size and then you get a link. Simply add the link to a page and voilà! You’ve got your Etsy on your site. Caveat: You cannot choose which items are displayed. If you have lots, like I do, it’s a drag because it is not showing my newest, but it’s still nice to have it on your site. Here is mine:

Storenvy: You can add a Storenvy section to your FB page via an app that you add in your storenvy dashboard. Login, go to your admin area and click the FB tab at the top. Caveat: not all my pages showed up in the app settings. I wanted to add to IDS, but I only saw POAS and TEV. So I chose POAS and it added the app button to IDS, POAS and ThinkWeasel pages. Fortunately, it did not add it to the TEV page, which would have been a problem. So, a little wonky if you have many pages. But it works well otherwise and does, indeed, put your whole Storenvy shop on your FB page. Another caveat: it is a generic looking icon that is under Apps, so people will probably not know to click it. It also adds a Store link along the left hand side. Here is what it looks like:

There are your Etsy and Storenvy marketing tips for the day!