Monthly Archives: January 2015

BLT Baconnoli Bites Low Carb Superbowl and Tailgating Snacks

image

This past week, I was out shopping and I came across some cannoli tubes. Cannoli is a type of Italian pastry that is really very wonderful and filled with assorted sweet fillings. The singular word, cannolo, means “Little tube” which is what they look like upon completion.

I stood there, looking at the tubes, and found myself thinking “What would happen if I wrapped these with bacon, then filled them with something savory or even fresh ingredients after cooking?”
I bought the tubes.
All the way home, I dreamed about what I would do with them.
Is that normal?

See, most bacon wrapped things come to you after being baked all together, like poppers or water chestnuts or green bean bundles, but with these, you can go with fresh ingredients! This is going to rock your world. I promise.

After two days of test cooking, I felt pretty confident about the finished product and dropped a pic of it in the inbox of a friend, not to mention all the test bites that ended up in the mouth of Mr. Incredible. She went googly and insisted that I needed to blog the recipe so others could make these for the Superbowl. So, here it is.

First you need some cannoli tubes, You can get these Here if you don’t have any already

image

The tubes are there on the bottom. I put them on a rack on my foil lined sheet pan. Sorry the pic is in black and white, I didn’t realize till it was too late.

Wrap the bacon. Do this kind of loosely BUT make sure you overlap the edges while you wrap, You’re not trying to make curlicues, you want a relatively unbroken finished tube. This is not going to be a perfect process unless you buy the really pricey, beautifully sliced bacon. I buy the cheap stuff and sometimes the edges take a bit of work to line them up well.

Along with that step, you also want to place them with the ends of the bacon against the rack to keep them from unrolling as they cook.

It shrinks, which means it will tighten up on the tubes. You don’t want it to stick.

So…Wrap loosely, overlap the edges, and place them with the ends on the rack.

image

You see the one on the top? See the tip portion? Sometimes, that’s gonna happen. And it will come loose on the end when you bake it. Don’t sweat it, just cut that little, dangly piece off and pop it in your very deserving mouth, consider it a job perk. I’m not a big advocate of perfection.

image

My first batch, I put into a cold 425 F oven. By the time it has preheated, they will be almost finished, depending on the thickness of your bacon. The second and third batches, take a look at them after about ten minutes to see if they’re brown and crispy yet.

When they’re finished, take them out and let them cool for a couple of minutes so you don’t burn your hands removing them. Then, take the top of the tube in your primary hand and hold it, grasp the entire baconnoli firmly in your other hand, and gently twist left and right till you have it loosened and can slip it off. Don’t sweat it if a little bit falls off here or there.

image

Since I only have four tubes and wanted to make 12 baconnoli, I did this process 3 times for these pics. If you buy 12 tubes, you can do more at a time, of course, but this was a test run, so I didn’t want to buy a bunch of tubes.

When you’re done, you will have a plate of empty tubes. Then, I took them and cut them into bite size rounds with my kitchen shears and set up an assortment of things to stuff them with.

image

Some, I stuffed with just a veggie mix. I find that if you take a small piece of lettuce and put your other veggies inside, it stuffs very easily.

image

These are the full size tubes, filled with a mix of jalapeno and cream cheese. I found that they were just too much, and bite sized was much better. I used a piping tube to fill them. I piped them on the bite sized, too. Huge improvement.

image

image

In the end of it, the plate above is what I’ll make when I make these. Some BLT bites, where I stuff them with lettuce and slivers of tomato, some with turkey and guacamole (MY personal favorite!) and some with a slice of jalapeno in them and a shot of cream cheese and chive. I used the piping tube to do the guacamole and the cream cheese mix.

The piping bag really makes it a lot easier. I’ve been getting by with a sandwich bag with a tip snipped off for years, but I’ll not do that again. I love using the actual bags much more. I bought a small set that came with everything I’ll need for a while. You can get one here. They’re not expensive.

So, there you have it. When you’re trying to figure out some tailgating and game day foods that are low carb friendly, give these a shot! The only thing you’ll regret is that you didn’t make them sooner.

Weekend Family Camps with Full Life Ahead Foundation

For the past few years, we have attended family camps with an organization based in Birmingham called Full Life Ahead Foundation. FLAF is a 501c3 non-profit with a goal of helping families of disabled kids with transition issues, transition being the time from middle school age through adulthood. It is because of FLAF camps that Superman is taking classes in Improv comedy.

One of the purposes of these retreats is to help parents of children and adults with disabilities network with each other and with professionals who can help lay the framework to get them ready for a “full life”, whatever they conceive it to be. Our participation in the camps has transformed over time from the four of us sitting through seminars and children’s and teen groups, to both Mr. Incredible and Superman becoming weekend volunteers in different capacities. I still sit in the parent seminars. The information I pick up in them proves itself invaluable not only for us, but for me to be able to pass on and help other families, including directing them to Full Life Ahead.

The FLAF offices are based in Birmingham, while the camps are at the Children’s Harbor campus on Lake Martin in Alexander City. Camps run from Friday afternoon until Sunday noon-ish for checkout. Each family gets a private cabin that sleeps four twin beds plus a foldout couch. The cabins are built in sets of four, like a fourplex, with a big, covered back porch with doors leading out and fully outfitted with chairs to sit and enjoy the lake view during your down times.

image

image

image

The campus is fully handicapped accessible, from the wheelchair showers to the banks of the lake, so it can accommodate all levels of people with disability. It is owned by Children’s Harbor, which is another entry entirely, and they host camps year round for families and children with special needs.

image

During the weekend of camp, you can be introduced to a wide variety of people who want to help you help your child find his/her place in society and by that, I mean getting out and working and experiencing life as independently as possible, not sitting on their couch, playing video games forever.
Some of the seminars I’ve attended include Vocational Rehab, SSI, setting up a special needs trust, “customized employment”, parent support, they bring in professionals who work with Medicaid, ADAP, schools, and many more places I had never even heard of, all for the purpose of helping them show you how to locate resources.
Your food is provided. They have a team of volunteers (Including Superman!) in the kitchen who work themselves weary all weekend to provide us with 3 squares. Superman loves volunteering in the kitchen. WHY doesn’t he volunteer in the kitchen at home? The world may never know, but he would likely do literally anything for Lisa, the kitchen manager.

image

So, you eat, you attend seminars, you network with parents and professionals, you learn how to help your child. This isn’t really meant to be a respite weekend, although there is something about being on the lake that centers you. It is also set up for young people who are middle school age and older, except for siblings of older disabled people and they are still accommodated in a class for kids. Your child’s needs are provided for so you can attend seminars without worry if they require supervision. You make so many connections and forge relationships at these camps that you will want to come back. And you will love Henry and Judy and Jan, who are the ones who dreamed it up and made it all happen. There is something to be said for being in a place where you’re not different by virtue of your family’s differences.

If you’re a parent or caretaker of a person with a disability, check out their website at Full Life Ahead and register for a weekend to see what it’s like. If you’d like to make a donation, they can always use your money or a donation of specific office supplies, items we can use at camp like coffee and snacks, and if you have a heart for volunteerism, well, there is always a need for great volunteers. There is a wish list and a donor form on the website.

Last but not least, if you love thrift stores, this camp is a MUST! Children’s Harbor operates a big thrift store right next door, within walking distance. It is always, ALWAYS loaded with great items.

Even if you don’t live in Alabama, I really recommend these retreats, and maybe this can help you see what to expect. The info and love and acceptance you will pick up here will prove itself invaluable.