By Mary Honrud
Special to The Courier 

Watering Plants, and Cooking

Green Spaces


February 2, 2022

Today is houseplant watering day, so technically I could say I’m tending my “green spaces in rural places” as a former editor termed what has become “my” column. It isn’t really gardening in the traditional sense, but it keeps my hand in.

Outdoor “real gardening” is getting closer. I can tell from the number and variety of seed and plant catalogs showing up in our mailbox. So far I haven’t cracked open a single one of them, but I’m also not tossing them into “file 13” where the ones that showed up in December went. One of these days, when the sun is shining more, and there’s less snow in my yard, I’ll start studying those catalogs. Pages will get dog-eared. Lists will be made. Prices will be compared. Wants will be winnowed down. I’ll be mooning over all the flowers and greenery. But not today.

Today I’m going back to cooking and sharing recipes, specifically recipes that are compliant to my current session of the Whole Life Challenge. I’ve just started the third week on Saturday. I’m doing great with drinking enough water and getting enough sleep. Even exercising and stretching daily is going well. Nutrition - well, let’s say I’m not getting all the points possible in that area. The desire for sweets keeps rising. This first recipe helps satisfying my sweet tooth. (I froze most of them to slow my consumption of them.)

Keto Sour Cream Cookies

• 1/2 C unsalted butter, room temp

• 1 C granulated sugar substitute

• 2 large eggs, room temp

• 1/2 C full-fat sour cream

• 3 to 3 1/2 C almond flour

• 1 tsp vanilla

• 1 1/2 tsp baking powder

• 1/4 tsp salt

Oven at 350. Combine butter, sugar substitute, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add sour cream, beating well. Mix together the dry ingredients, then mix in. Chill 30 minutes or longer. Lightly grease baking sheet (or use silicone mats). Form dough into 1” balls, place 2 or more inches apart, flatten slightly. Bake 10-12 minutes. Cool on sheet 10 minutes, then fully on rack.


• 1 1/4 C powdered sugar substitute

• 1/2 C sour cream

• 1/2 tsp vanilla

• Food coloring, if desired

Beat all together, adding more sugar if needed. Frost fully cooled cookies. Store in fridge 5 days or freeze 3 weeks.

I’d also made a small batch of compliant (meaning almond flour, no real sugar) chocolate thumbprint cookies (recipe shared in the past) that called for jam on top. I used my own raspberries from the freezer to make this sugar-free curd to use instead. It’s pretty good. Even when I’m not restricting sugar, I’ll make and use this.

Healthy Raspberry Curd

• 1 C raspberry purée

• 2 Tbl lemon juice

• 6 Tbl erythritol

• 3 Tbl arrowroot powder

Thaw raspberries and press through a sieve to make 1 cup. Whisk with the rest of the ingredients in a small, heavy pot over medium heat. Whisk occasionally until bubbly and thickened. Whisk constantly for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Whisk every once in a while until cool enough to handle. Store, covered, in the fridge.

For the noon meal today, I roasted two pork chops as part of a sheet meal. There’s no recipe per se, but sheet meals are very forgiving as well as delicious. I still have small potatoes from this summer, but they’re starting to sprout. I took ten of them, snapped off the sprouts, and scrubbed them clean. I prefer leaving the skins on spuds. I put them in a large bowl, with the larger two spuds cut in half to make the pieces roughly the same size.

I took a large tart apple, cored it, again leaving the skin on, and chopped it into 16 chunks. Then I peeled and added a lot of shallots to the bowl. I drizzled a generous amount of EVOO over all, added my dried tarragon, and sprinkled all with the spice mix I’ve made up for air fried potatoes. After stirring it all together, I poured it onto a foil-lined (sprayed with no-stick spray) rimmed sheet. I pushed half to each end of the sheet.

The chops were put into that same bowl, drizzled with more olive oil. Then I sprinkled the chops generously with the spice mix I’ve made up for ribs. (Both the spice mix recipes I’ve mentioned here have been shared in the past.) The chops were laid in the center of the sheet, not touching each other. I baked it all at 350 for an hour. Simple and easy, and minimal cleanup required.

Dessert was a mix of fresh fruits. I used honeydew, kiwis, mango, strawberries, blueberries, pomegranate pips, and a few blackberries. No sugar was needed at all. I did follow my fruit with a couple of those keto cookies while Dennis enjoyed a couple cinnamon graham crackers.


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