Pumpkin Chili

When other people talk about how it’s “Pumpkin Spice” season, I’m just talking about pumpkins because I love pumpkins. I’m not even sure why. They just make me incredibly happy. Which is why I bought 3 sugar pumpkins a few weeks ago so I could make some of my favorite pumpkin treats! We’ve made, pumpkin purée, pumpkin shortbread, and now, pumpkin chili! I still have a pumpkin left and I plan on making pumpkin pie with that! Though, I also want to make pumpkin butter. Hmm. We’ll see. I’ll probably have plenty of purée left over from my pie to make some pumpkin butter.

I found this recipe back in, I want to say 2011 or 2012, when I first decided to do a Paleo diet and start powerlifting. I’ve made it many times over the years because it’s my favorite chili. This time, I made modifications to the recipe by omitting the sweet potato and adding bell pepper and jalapeños; I also omitted the fresh basil, oregano, and cilantro and, naturally, added hot sauce.

Normally, I do this recipe in the crock on low for 8 hours. This time, however, I’d had this idea that I’d fill the pumpkin shell with it, but that turned out to be a bad idea, so I just did it on the stovetop. It’s not all that long of a recipe to make–probably about 45 minutes. I would not walk away from your chili, though. It has a serious potential to burn onto the pot, and you do NOT want that! Stay vigilant!

Thanksgiving is coming up soon and I guarantee I will have at least two videos about Thanksgiving foods! They will be low-carb, gluten-free, and delicious! I’ll even have a video (on a Thrusday) about how to dress a turkey (using Cornish game hens because there’s only two of us and I have no need–or place to store–a 12+lb turkey). Patreons have some videos just for them already posted–and we may even do a special Thanksgiving Patron-only video for a from-scratch, gluten-free green bean casserole! If you’re not already a patron and you want to see these videos, the $5 is where you want to be! You’ll get exclusive content in addition to what you find here!

Regardless of what you choose, thank you for your support! We’ll see you next time!

No Video

No video today. Cameraman Ken has been back for a week and we had some major house cleaning to do, because…

My burlesque endeavor is about to take off. We had to make a space for a photography shoot (Tuesday), and I’ve had to gather the last things I needed for the video shoot (Saturday). My debut show will be virtual on November 12. If you decide to purchase tickets, use the code LAVINIA to save $5 and kick me some cash from the show.

That’s it for today. I’m trying to keep my spoons manageable. I have a single edit to make in my dissertation proposal, but it’s causing me stress; the burlesque stuff is causing me stress; my brain weasels are having a field day. I hope to be able to record stuff for Thursday this week. I have videos planned, but time and energy are the two factors that are holding me back, currently.

Keto Tiramisu for Two

Lady Floppinwrist

Look at me go! Here’s a second blog post for the week! This one is for my favorite dessert, Tiramisu.

The recipe I used can be found here. As you will see if you watch the video, mine looks nothing like hers. And that’s okay. Mine tasted amazing and that’s what really matters. What I like about this recipe is that you can make just the cake part, if you are full of sadness and don’t really want to bother with the delicious marscapone part. It’s all still really good, low carb, high fat, and all delicious.

I’m going to go ahead and share my progress shots with you. I also do burlesque (or, am trying to. It’s difficult with the lockdowns in place), so you get one of my burlesque shots as a progress shot. Go you!

I can, at least, see a difference over the most recent two week period.

So, as I’ve mentioned, I have Lupus. I also have an autoimmune thyroid issue they think could be Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, but it could be Graves’ Disease, or it could be something else entirely. My TSH is low-normal. And because of that, they’re not doing anything about my metabolism/hormones. Fine, whatever. In April of 2018, I was miserable. I couldn’t move, I felt like a blimp–I was at my heaviest weight and afraid I was going to hit 200lbs. But, I didn’t know what to do. I was gluten free, so I wasn’t eating breads and pastas all that much and I cooked everything myself (or Cameraman Ken did). My joints ached all the time (bilaterally in the fingers, wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, knees, ankles, and feet/toes); I was in constant gastrointestinal distress. And nothing was working.

I made the decision to eliminate pork completely from my diet. No bacon, ham, pork sausage, etc. I don’t really like pork, anyway, and now the only pork I eat is in the form of chorizo from The Chori-Man. Regardless, that was the only change I’d made. That was in August; by October, I had lost 30 pounds. I was excited about that weight loss, but low-key concerned, too. Doctors didn’t even question anything. It was, “Great, you lost 30lbs. Your a1c went up from 5.8% to 5.9%. So, you need to lose some more weight and watch your carb and sugar intake. Oh, and exercise.”

After I had lost the 30lbs, I was able to move, so I started walking 1.25mi every morning. Then I started doing DDP Yoga 3/week. And that was what I was told at my last appointment, March 11, 2020 (when I tipped the scales at 167lbs…4lbs heavier than my last appointment, which I had gained from walking and doing DDP Yoga).

I went home upset. Maybe my a1c wasn’t going up because I was eating carbs and sugars. Maybe, just maybe, it was due to the underlying thyroid issue no one wants to do anything about because my TSH is “normal”? It’s not like that is anything that has ever happened.

I continued my DDP Yoga for another 2 weeks. I should have known what was coming. When my labs came back, I was notified that they were all fine, except ONE inflammation marker was high. I should have known. What happened next was a 3-month flare in which I had severe fatigue and random illnesses ranging from nausea with eating to a sinus infection to a UTI. I had very few “good days,” and I was starting to believe my QoL was going to be reduced to being content with 75% functionality at best.

What do you do when you can’t do anything else? Research. So, besides the research I was already doing for my dissertation, I started researching diets. “Watch your carbs and sugars,” she’d said. I had a food tracker. I tracked my macros meticulously and I wasn’t over-indulging like she thought I was. I researched Paleo more (I’d done it before when I was powerlifting). I researched Keto. I did a bit of research into carb cycling and thought the best way to “watch my carb and sugar intake” was to do a Keto-Paleo diet. That didn’t go as planned because I found the Paleo meals boring when I went to make them. So, I just did Keto, starting on June 1, 2020. By June 15, I was feeling really good–I wasn’t so puffy, I didn’t wake up with joint pain every morning, and I wasn’t so fatigued by 3pm that I had to sleep. So, I restarted my DDP Yoga program. Friday will see me completing week 4 of a 13 week program and I couldn’t be more excited. The program is ramping up, as well, so that gets me even more excited.

I added MCT oil to my diet–I have it in my coffee every morning–and I’m trying to do Intermittent Fasting (IF). I bought some test strips for checking my ketones (I’m very deeply in it), and figured I was good. For funsies, I decided to check my blood pressure the other day. It’s normally 110/70, unless I have coffee, then it’s 120/80. But, I tend towards low blood pressure. With all my working out and eating healthy and all, I thought maybe it would have gone down a bit. I had noticed my pulse would start at 120bpm before my workouts, but my pulse is normally high (like 75-90bpm, resting), so I thought nothing of it. Imagine my horror when the BP reading came back as 133/90.


I’m doing everything right, why is my blood pressure and pulse going up!? Is it because fats are harder to burn for fuel, so my heart–which is a muscle–is working harder? I don’t have any symptoms of high BP, so, I’m not sure. I mean, I drink 70+ ounces of water per day!

Except water isn’t enough, as I discovered. I am fairly dehydrated, as it turns. In all my understanding of diet, exercise, etc, I’d forgotten the most important thing: Replenish your Electrolytes. So, I’m making electrolyte drinks twice a day for my non-workout days and three times for my workout days (basically, rather than drink water during my workouts, I drink the electrolyte mixture because, I am not a “glow” woman, I am a sweat like moose woman).

So! What have we learned? Keto is fantastic for helping a person lose weight, as long as you are willing to meticulously log everything that goes into your mouth. If you do choose to do a Keto diet (which is different from low-carb in that Keto is 20-25g or less of net carbohydrates; low carb is over that, but under 100g), make sure you’re replenishing salt, potassium, and magnesium. We have also learned that I run on bulletproof coffee and spite. Thank you for coming to my TedTalk. 😛

Look! A NEW VIDEO Post!

I am endeavoring to be better with posting here. Before I go into other things, I want to first say this video comes with a trigger warning. So…


Click! BOOM! …yes, I watched Hamilton this weekend…

July 4 celebrates the successful rebellion of angry white dudes from England who were tired of King George’s “Love” (please see at *least* “You’ll Be Back” from Hamilton). I am finding it difficult to be celebratory this year with the current administration, the rampant and blatant racism, and all the murdering of PoC. “None of us are free until all of us are free.” We still have brown children in cages; brown families separated and held hostage in a land which had the promise of a new life away from governmental oppression. Indigenous peoples are being shunted off as if they don’t belong and their sacred lands are being stolen, violating centuries-long treaties. What is there to celebrate? We’ve come full-circle from a dictatorial monarch to a dictatorial President.

But, my neighbors (who are predominately brown people) really love explosions. Cinco de Mayo, June graduations, July 4, Memorial Day…. I mean, really, just lighting off some bottle rockets really makes them happy. I’ve become numb to it, for the most part. My cats no longer flinch. They were more worried that there weren’t as many explosions as previous years.

Anyway. Enough of that. You want to know about the Keto Big Mac Casserole I made. First of all, the link is here. Second of all, the sauce is what makes this. Third of all, I’m hoping to make a Vegan version of this in the near future. Did I mention the sauce is amazing? I’m planning on making a batch of just the sauce to use on burgers, hot dogs, pretty much everything. This casserole could be made into a salad, too, if you leave out the eggs, and put it over lettuce and tomato. May still want to toss it in the oven to melt the cheese (or just melt the cheese on the stove top) and pour it on the salad then top with Dat Sauce.

This recipe really does taste like a Big Mac. The first time I made it, I only had 1lb of ground beef, so I made a half-batch and it was so good, Cameraman Ken actually asked me to make it again. We were going to make this casserole (or burgers!) and hot dogs for July 4; I ended up playing City of Heroes too long (it was an ITF that took 4.5-5 hours and I was Over It by hour 3). So, we filmed as the fireworks were starting (which, to be fair, they had started around 4pm, anyway…they just got louder by 8pm). Nothing is more American than Big Macs, right? Except blowing up illegal fireworks. But, with all the unrest and injustice going on, I agree with blowing up things that are meant to be blown up…fireworks, Confederate statues, illegal pipelines… you know. Things like that.

So, this July, remember that the U.S. was built on the backs of black and indigenous people and we need to pay more attention to them and their lives and culture. Black lives Matter. Indigenous lives Matter.

“Until we are all free, we are none of us free.” – Emma Lazarus, 1883 “Epistle to the Hebrews.”

New Video: Chicken w/ Pesto & White Wine Sauce + Leeks & Sops in Wine

I really know what I’m doing…honest!

Hello, my Witchlets! We’re making food! Of course we are. These happen to be two dishes that both feature dry white wine! The best kind of white wine! So, kick back with a glass of your favorite and watch me make a fool of myself!

If anyone knows Gordon Ramsay or Alton Brown, could you let them know they should watch this video and tell me what “breaking the sauce” means, please! I’d be most appreciative!

New Video: Gorgonzola Burgers

It’s fantastic!

Bleu cheese is one of my favorite cheeses. It has been off my list because the mold spores used to create the culture to mold the cheese are grown on regular wheat bread. I actually did have a reaction to it at a restaurant once, which is how I found out about it. There was no cross-contamination in the kitchen; everything was prepared appropriately, yet I still got sick. Ken was speaking to a co-worker of his about the incident and that’s when she told him about the mold cultures. This was a few years ago (like, 3 or 4). “Use Gorgonzola,” she said.

But, as I was sitting down to write this post for this video, I wanted to look up how to word the “Bleu cheese is no bueno for gluten-free diets” when I came across an article that had updated information. According to the article, there is not a detectable amount of gluten in the cheese itself. Now, I will say this: Just because machines don’t pick up a “detectable amount” does not mean that your specific body won’t have a reaction. As I’d mentioned in a previous blog/video, as with any autoimmune disease–or disease, in general–how it affects your specific body may be different from another person. I have Lupus, celiac, and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Currently, Hashi’s isn’t overtly affecting me, that we know of; my Lupus, though called “mild” by my doctors, creates symptoms that mimic MS. So, I have weird nerve issues, weird (and sometimes severe) muscle cramping/spasming issues, low-grade fevers, and the Malar rash when I over-extend my spell slots (or spoons). With my celiacs, some days I can drink regular beer and be fine; other days, I get extremely bloated and swollen. I do tend toward porters, however, which tend not to upset my stomach. Although, I did just learn that Pabst Blue Ribbon, Coors, and Corona Extra would all be considered gluten-free since they have less than 20 ppm of gluten. There’s also this fascinating article for more information on gluten, celiac, wheat allergy, etc.

I hope you find this video of interest! If you do, give me a thumbs up; leave me a comment. If you didn’t find it interesting, give me a thumbs down, but especially leave me a comment to tell me what you didn’t like! Subscribe to the channel and make sure to ring the bell in order to be notified when new videos come out! And, of course, hop on over to Patreon, if I’ve earned your support!

Long Day, but Good Day

Today started with a never-ending car alarm going off from about 7:00am til I finally gave up around 9am. Ken had already gone to lie down in the bath when I got up and had the brilliant idea of making a Porter Cake for breakfast.

A Porter Cake is similar to a fruit cake, but uses beer instead of brandy. Then I discovered I didn’t have enough butter. So I made 3/4c of butter, which I then used for the cake…and then we made another 3 1/4 c of butter and a quart of buttermilk.

The cake took a bit longer to bake…and I thought it was because our over was off. I set up a herbal infusion in my mini crock, made a shopping list, then went out for our errand run. Once we got home (after about 3 hours of errands), we did some maintenance planting, I made some lemon curd in my Instant Pot, then we got started on veggies for dinner and dressing the chicken.

One of the things we purchased was an over thermometer. Turns out our oven is about 75°F cooler than what it says it is. Yikes. The chicken & root veggies cake out well. The lemon curd tastes amazing, and we have a bunch of butter!

Here are some photos from today:

Butter, buttermilk, & the Porter Cake
Roasted chicken with homemade herb butter, carrots, rutabagas, & turnips.

Tomorrow I have plans for videos. I’m thinking of actually showing you how to make the spaghetti omelette and definitely planning a video on how to make baked Scotch eggs. I think you’ll enjoy them. Until next time, blessed be!