Thursday, December 31, 2009

December is gone, January starts in a few hours!

I didn't post much in December (hope I didn't disappoint either of my readers! ) but not because I had nothing to post. Quite the contrary I could have - if I'd have had more time to do so! Like most other people the holiday seem to be an extraordinarily busy time. I didn't post my shopping receipts, since I bought so many things that I typically wouldn't buy. This month's shopping was quite different from the norm. But I'm still eating low carb of course.

Something interesting: Even though I haven't been eating to lose weight, and even though I have at least one carby meal every week (and occasionally a carby DAY!) I've lost 18 lbs this year, my doctor informed me last week. I don't even keep track of my weight, but they do. So that was rather surprising - and interesting.

So all is well, I've got a couple of meals and/or dishes I've prepared that I want to write about the next time I have a large chunk of time to spend at the computer. Have the photos on my computer, just need the time to do it! Next week I will be out of town for several days, hopefully I can get it done before then.

So Happy New Year, may it be another great year of healthy low carb eating and good health for us all!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving Weekend

I've written about Thanksgiving Day already, and the next 3 days were a combination of leftovers and other foods. One more reason I'm thankful: I'm not trying to use up huge amounts of turkey :).

A couple of interesting things: One Friday I was reheating the mashed rutabagas and on a whim I mashed a block of cream cheese into it. What an EXCELLENT addition! I will never again mash rutabagas without it! Very creamy in addition to its slight sweet flavor. An entire block (8 oz) may seem like a lot, but I had a lot of rutabaga left...6 servings or so. (And it is wonderful with pork as well!)

The rest of the oopsies have made totally wonderful grilled cheese and salami sandwiches! Those puppies take to the butter and fry up like nobody's business! Even better than plain or toasted, I I'm thinking of other dishes for which I can fry them!

The pumpkin dessert and whipped cream didn't last long either. A couple of snacks for each of us and that was it. But it was so cheap and easy to make that I will stock up on the canned pumpkin during the season, and then have it for use during the rest of the year.

I ended up eating another 2 slices of the gel cranberry sauce on Friday, then I threw the remainder away rather than be tempted by the carbs. It about killed me to do it, too, because I really love the stuff. But that's why I had to.

Yesterday for supper I made a lovely chuck roast, searing it in my electric frypan, then adding some water and some peeled potato chunks. (The potatoes were for the others; I got the peels, though, which aren't nearly as carby @ about 4gN for a potato skin.) In the oven I sliced some small zucchini lengthwise, tossed them with olive oil, and seasoned them with sea salt and parmesan cheese; they occupied one end of my baking pan. The other end had a frozen blend of big chunky vegetables including cauliflower and broccoli, zucchini and yellow squash slices, and red peppers. I also tossed them in olive oil and seasoned with sea salt and roasted. And on another baking sheet, I did the same with my potato peelings, then buttered them on my plate. That was an excellent supper!

Today's supper was ham chunks with the last of the rutabaga (I was actually sad to see it go) and spinach with lemon and butter and sea salt.

This is the first 4-day Thanksgiving "weekend" on record that I didn't find myself struggling to use up leftovers, or eating the same things day after day until I was sick of them. It was quite nice to just have enough left from Thursday to add to my other meals, and by Sunday be done with it all!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Dinner 2009

This post will be more recipe and less accounting :).

Supper was delicious. The cornish hens turned out beautifully. After rinsing and patting them dry, I rubbed the skins with butter, then roasted them in a covered roasting pan in a 350° oven for an hour. While that was roasting I peeled and cut into chunks 2 rutabagas and diced half of a large onion, and set them all to boiling in heavily salted water, then covered, lowered the heat to left them to finish cooking.

I'd made the oopsies earlier in the day, but I made the pumpkin cheesecake dessert next. It was quite simple. 1 sm. can of pumpkin, 2c heavy whipping cream, 1 box of SF cheesecake pudding mix, 1/4c Diabetisweet brown sugar sub, ½c cold water,and hefty shakes of cinnamon and allspice. (Where did my nutmeg go???) Whipped it all at high speed until light and fluffy, then put it into a serving bowl and refrigerated it.

30 minutes before dinnertime I uncovered the hens and turned the oven temp up to 375°.

15 minutes before dinnertime I started heating the frozen whole green beans in a small frying pan with some olive oil and sea salt over medium heat, stirring occasionally while I set the table. Then I opened the can of jellied cranberry sauce (my one guilty pleasure today, I love the stuff!) and sliced it, mashed the rutabaga/onions with salt, pepper, and butter and moved them to a serving bowl; moved the green beans to a serving bowl and added a little butter on top, and put the now-golden hens on a serving platter from my childhood. A few of the oopsies were already on the table.

The photo above is our low carb (except for the cranberry sauce!) Thanksgiving dinner, plus the little dish of pure butter (and my mom's crossword books and tissues that she takes everywhere with her). For the 3 of us I felt no need to make a dozen dishes, and in fact this was plenty, and we have leftovers for tomorrow!

The dessert, served with freshly-whipped cream (to which I just added a splash of vanilla and a little Altern (Walmart's sucralose brand), since the dessert was already plenty sweet enough, and this is the result.

I have much for which to thankful, not only on Thanksgiving but every minute of every day of my blessed life. But to spend the day with the people I love, and to offer the food that I create for them with my own two hands, is what really makes the day special for me!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

And The Plan For Thanksgiving Is...

...Cornish game hens. It will just be my husband and I, and my mom. Looking at turkeys in the store, we decided even a small one would be overkill, so we picked up 3 little hens. I'll mash rutabaga, and my mom wants green beans. I'll make oopsie rolls today (they're always better on day 2), and also the pumpkin mousse. Considering the bacon/onion/brussels sprouts dish that we love but not sure yet as that would involve some shopping and going to the supermarket on Thanksgiving eve isn't something I relish doing. No stuffing or gravy or sweet potatoes, we decided.

It will be easy and we can spend the day being thankful rather than cooking :).

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A More Expensive - But Very Easy! - Day

Lunch was cheap: 2 slices of lowcarb bread ($1.99 for the loaf of 20 slices), a slice of american cheese, and some butter for my grilled cheese sandwich.

Supper was expensive. I was starving, and ate half a head of lettuce (65¢) with half a pound of shrimp ($2.50) and probably 15¢ worth of buttermilk ranch dressing. 

Still, under $5 for the day...
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Monday, November 23, 2009

Today's Good Lowcarb Eatin'!

I've had a craving for days that I finally satisfied at lunchtime: cut 1# of bacon into ½" pieces and fried lightly (to get "bits"); drained off most of the fat for later use; added 1/2 yellow onion, chopped, and fried with the bacon until onion was translucent and bacon was crispy; added a head of cabbage, chopped, with about ½c of water. Covered, reduced heat, and cooked for about 20 minutes, until the cabbage was soft; stirred it all up, then cooked for another 10 minutes. (If you like heat, you might want to add some red pepper flakes!)

Definitely cheap and easy! The cabbage was 60¢; the bacon was $1.79; the ½ onion was about a quarter. It made 3 large servings, so the total per serving was about 85¢. Doesn't get any cheaper than that!

Supper was a pork butt roast, which I'd gotten on sale for $1.19/lb. I brined it with sea salt (of course), chili powder, garlic and onion powder, and ginger - about 1/4c of salt and a couple of Tbsp of each of the spices. Then roasted as usual after a few hours of brining. It made an awesomely tender and flavorful roast that we'll be eating for several days. Each of us chose what we wanted to have with it (nuking frozen vegetables is easy enough); I opted just for some meat, about 6 oz., because I wasn't that hungry. Later I may nibble on some cauliflower dipped in ranch dressing or some veggie sticks.

Today was a great, flavorful, cheap and easy low carb day!
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Saturday, November 21, 2009

...and the Big Shopping

Today was stocking up on a lot of things. Didn't score a bunch of deals, but did get the things I like to keep on hand.  Here's the list:

from Meijer -
about 2¾# mixed zucchini & yellow squash off the "last day" rack - 52¢
a quart of half'n'half for $2.33 (they were out of heavy cream)
a 12-pack of diet cola cans $2.58
a buck for a rutabaga
(2) 1# bags of cooked/peeled shrimp @ $4.99 each

from GFS -
52 oz can of dry roasted peanuts for Pete - $5.99
5.5# hard salami (sliced free) for $17.88
5# sliced american cheese - $9.99
16 oz. granulated garlic - $ 4.79
half-gallon jug of olive oil - $14.99
(2) 2½ bags of whole frozen green beans @ $2.99 each
 (NOTE: I can get 1# bags of frozen green beans for 99¢ but not nearly the same quality!)
(1) can alfredo sauce mix $10.49
several big bags of frozen vegetable mixes for $4.99 each
 (These are great for roasting!)
2½ dozen large eggs for $2.49
2# frozen cauliflower for $2.79
3# bag of cauliflower florets (my favorite snack, dipped in ranch!) for $9.99

There is enough olive oil, cheese, and garlic to last for months. We'll probably go through the vegetables by the end of the year, and the eggs, salami, peanuts, pop, and shrimp in less than a month. 

The remainder of this month's budget will be spent on Thanksgiving dinner for Pete and I and my mom. (Casey and Leelan will be spending it with her dad's family.)  And then leftovers which are CHEAP! :)  But our larders are full now, and the only things we'll need besides Thanksgiving food will be cream, fresh produce (if marked down or on sale), and maybe some meat (if marked down or on sale) if I see it for a great price, just to put into the freezer.

Now. Enough blogging about shopping! I want to get back to blogging about EATING! :)

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Friday, November 20, 2009

MIA, and More Shopping!

I've been gone for a week or so, if you've noticed. Well, not gone, just gone from here. After my laptop died, I was backing up everything onto my external HD and setting up my desktop which heretofore had been used only for recording with my electronic keyboard...but after a week of such nonsense, I'm ready to talk about cheap and easy low carb living again - or to talk about ANYTHING else but computers!

I've had several small shopping trips this week also, to fill in here and there where needed. I have of course saved the receipts so that I could report what I bought and what I spent, lest anyone suspect me of cheating in any way :). So that is what this post will be, simply logging in my purchases.

On 11/11 I went to Walmart and got (3) quarts of heavy whipping cream for $3.12 ea., or $9.36 total...(2) lbs of butter for $1.50 ea., or $3.00 total...and (2) cannisters of their SF drink mix (like Crystal Light) for $1.98 ea., or $3.96 total. My bill came to $16.32 but it felt free because we had sorted and returned over $40 in pop cans and bottles that we had accumulated, and that Pete had brought home from the hotel where he works, that guests had left behind.

Also on 11/11 I went to Sav-a-Lot and got a 3.33# pkg of pork steaks for $4.63 (or $1.39/lb), some pizza crust mixes for 49¢ each (more on that in a future post), 5 cans of mushrooms for 59¢ each, 2.5# of turkey lunchmeat for $3.99, 2.5# of roast beef lunch meat for $4.99, and 2 heads of cabbage (nearly 5# for 39¢/lb) for $1.90. Also all "free", paid for by the can and bottle deposit refunds.

On 11/12 I went to Sav-a-Lot again, and came home with (2) 1# frozen corn, a half-gallon of chocolate milk (for hubby although I had a little bit), several pounds of chicken leg quarters ($2 off coupons for each package), a yellow onion, a pound of frozen pollock, some frozen  sausage patties, 2.63 lbs of "produce" and a bottle of worchestershire sauce for 99¢; we were in a different town that day, and went to a different Sav-a-Lot just to see how it differed from our store here in Houghton Lake. I saved the receipt so I could post my purchases here, but it isn't nearly as detailed as our store provides. The total bill was $19.73 but $1.05 of that was dish detergent/tax.

Lastly, on the 18th we went to our local Sav-a-Lot and got a loaf of Sara Lee lowcarb bread ($1.99), a pound of butter ($1.79), 2 boneless chuck roasts @ $2.39/lb (Pete slices them across so they're thin, and we broil them like steaks), 1.61# of pork sausage for $3.20 (a splurge because I wanted my hash!), a bottle of honey mustard for $1.39, 2 packages of hot dogs (Pete loves them) for 79¢ each, a 10# bag of potatoes for $1.49, 4 packages of cole slaw mix for 79¢ each, and 2 yellow onions for $1.75. $27.05 in food.

So for the week of 11/11-11/18, we spent $81.93 on food. Of that, the chocolate milk and the potatoes aren't typical low carb purchases, but the chocolate milk was a treat for Pete, and the potatoes I use for Sunday dinners because Pete, Casey, my mom (who lives in a nearby nursing home but spends Sundays with us) eat them - and occasionally I do as well.

It was a pretty pricey week for us; but of course half of that food wasn't eaten, but rather purchased to have on hand.

Tomorrow will be a big shopping day, as we will be buying food to fill our freezer which is getting low on staples. And of course, that means the food bill will be high - but then it will be much lower in future weeks.

So if you're keeping track, consider yourself up to date on our food purchases :).

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Friday, November 13, 2009


Tonight we couldn't decide what to eat for supper. I'd gotten fish out of the freezer but it was still frozen. So I decided on nutcakes, my lowcarb answer to pancakes.

Before I get into the recipe, let me say that I order certain things in bulk, as they are so much less expensive. I get my almond and pecan meals, flax and sunflower seeds, and other things in 5# bags from Country Life Natural Foods here in Michigan, and things like corn bran and polydextrose from Honeyville Grain, also in 5# quantities. I spend about $100 once or twice a year, including shipping.

When I cook or bake, I don't really measure, I just follow my instincts. So the quantities below - as in all of my recipes - are just guesses.

4 large eggs
2 tbsp heavy cream
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp baking powder
1/4c almond meal
1/4c pecan meal
2 tbsp polydextrose
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix all the ingredients well and cook as you would in any other pancake.

I served them with butter melted over them, and SF maple syrup.

It's a nice little change of pace from what we usually eat.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


I went shopping again today for a few things I needed between my bigger "payday shopping" and got a few good bargains.

First, a couple of days ago I went to Sav-a-Lot's website and signed up for their shopper's club; in return I got a $5 coupon that I could use on a $20 purchase; that's a 25% savings!

So, coupon in hand, I started my shopping. First I got 2 bags of romaine with red $1.00 off stickers on them, for $1.29 each net. Then I picked up almost 2# of yellow squash for the regular price of $1.29/lb. In the meat dept. were chicken leg quarters for the great price of 79¢lb., with a red $1.00 off sticker on the 7½# package, netting them at 66¢/lb. They also had pork butt roasts for 99¢/lb, so I got a couple of those - nearly 12# - and will get several meals out of each. Lastly in that department, I picked up three 1# chubs of ground turkey on sale for 99¢ each.

I also bought 2 loaves of low carb bread for my husband, $2 each.

I spent $23.53 but would have paid over $37 for all that good low carb food without the coupons and sale prices!

Also, a lesson learned that sometimes lower prices just aren't worth it. My other stop was at Walmart for some heavy cream. I usually buy a quart carton for $3.12, but they had another brand for $2.97. When I got it home I found that the quality just isn't the same. It makes my coffee taste greasy instead of rich, and I have my doubts about how it will taste when whipped as well. It wasn't worth the 15¢ savings.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Video Link: Cheese Stick

Kelly says that these taste like cheesy bread sticks, I'll have to take her word for it because I don't have any nonstick pans in the house (because I have parrots), but this does look fantastic and SUPER easy! (Update the day after: found Linda's recipe for these here - might be the one that Kelly was doing in her video, I didn't watch her credits to see if this is the original.)

Cost-wise, you'd get 4 sticks out a standard 8 oz. package of shredded mozzarella. I always see the stuff on sale though, averaging about $2/package, or 50 cents per stick plus the garlic powder.

If you haven't watched Kelly's videos before, you might want to see a few. She does a really good job, and does some great recipes! She's very personable and cute (yeah, I'm old enough to be her mother!) and it's been nice to watch her shrink too.

Good stuff!

Sometimes Things Just Aren't What They Seem

A quote from Mark's Daily Apple:
"...where I come from bunk is bunk, however you spin it. And selling out is selling out, however you justify your deal with the devil in a red can."

I'd like to believe that health-conscious consumers can think for themselves. But there is an issue of validity that just doesn't sit well with me, I guess...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Eatin' on a Busy Day

Lots of big projects around the house right now. And today's lunch was my weekly splurge meal, although I measured so it would be 50gN of carbs so not really all that bad. My daughter and I were working around the house and she said that she wanted some buttered rice.

During the painfully frugal days after my divorce from her dad when she was little, a staple of our diet was rice with butter and salt. Just white rice (neither of us likes brown very much), boiled in salted water with butter added at the end. It's been years since we've had any, but she went and got some from the shop (where I keep the organic bulk foods that I use to make food for my parrots, I mill rice flour for certain recipes for them), I took my white kidney bean extract, and we thoroughly enjoyed it! And it's about as CnE as it gets!

By suppertime I was exhausted from the busy day and just wanted something quick. I had a pound* of ground beef thawed, so I sliced up half an onion and browned it in a little bacon fat. Then I split the beef into 2 large burgers, seasoned them heavily with garlic powder and salt, and put them in the pan on top of the onions. Reduced the heat and covered. After about 15 minutes I flipped the "burgers" and put a can of drained mushrooms on top, covered it for another 10 minutes or so. Meanwhile I just made some green beans from frozen, buttered of course. And that was supper. Not fancy or complicated at all, and definitely not much time involved.

The ground beef was bought in a 4.5# package for $1.49/lb. I separated it into 5 almost-one-pound pieces before freezing. The onion was 49¢, and I used half. The can of mushrooms was 59¢, and the half-pound of frozen green beans was 50¢ (99¢ for the whole bag). Supper for both my husband and me was under 3 bucks.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Butternut Experiment

Having a couple of lovely butternut squash sitting in my kitchen I've been trying to think of different ways to prepare them. Previously, I've usually just cooked them, mashed them, and mixed them with butter/cinnamon/SF brown sugar sub, or cut them into bite-sized chunks, tossed them with olive oil and sea salt, and roasted them in the oven. I have also used it in a dessert dish...

This week I read in HungryGirl's blog about butternut french fries, so I thought I'd try those. And Jamie VanEaton does the olive oil thing but uses cinnamon and a little nutmeg before roasting. I was intrigued by the fries, so I decided to try some of those in the turbo oven. HG has written that it's tough to get them crispy, and I figured the turbo would crisp them up nicely. So I did half the squash as fries, salted/set/rinsed (to try and remove excess moisture and increase the chances of crispness). Then I tossed the other half with the oil, and decided at the last minute that I wasn't in the mood for the sweeter cinnamon-y flavor with beef. So I just put those in the turbo oven with the oil and salt.

The fries were good, but dry and a little boring, although of course sweet/salty. And they did crisp up but not until they were browning, so there wouldn't be much time between "soft" and "burning".

The olive oil/sea salt tossed fries, though, were amazing! I've roasted chunks in the oven before, but not in the turbo - and the turbo makes ALL the difference! They crisped up around the edges, had a little bit of crusty skin over them, and very sweet and tender inside. I am hooked.

The next time I make pork I will definitely be doing these with the cinnamon and nutmeg and I see now that they will be totally AMAZING!!!

Monday, November 2, 2009


Tonight's supper was hash, low carb style. Browned some ground pork sausage ($1.27 for about 1.25#), added 1/2 of an onion (was 49¢ for the whole thing), coarsely chopped, 2 yellow squash (99¢ ea), diced, and a box of mushrooms that were on the "last day" rack for a buck, sliced.

A nice, CnE, "pile it on your plate and pour some ketchup on top" kind of meal. I used 2Tbsp. out of the $2.29, 14 oz. bottle of lowcarb ketchup, 16¢. Pete used some out of the big huge Gordon Foods bottle, so his was less. Anyway, still under $5 for all we could eat (there are leftovers), for both of us.


The first rule of saving money on food: Don't throw anything away! If you aren't a fan of leftovers, then make sure you only prepare enough for a single meal.

In our house, I like to have minimal leftovers, so I have something for lunch. Hubby and daughter seem to fend for themselves at lunchtime (or do without, I don't know because they're usually not here), but I'm busy during the day at home, and I want something not only CnE but also quick!

Today I had a leftover smoked sausage ($1.00) in the fridge, so I diced it up and fried it. When the pieces were brown, I scrambled 2 eggs (22¢) and poured them over it, then piled the last of my spinach leaves (about 50¢) on top, and covered it until the spinach was cooked. After pouring off the liquid in the pan, I tossed it together, and sprinkled parmesan cheese (a Tbsp maybe? Let's call it 10¢ worth) on top.

Huge lunch, I'm only eating half of it and will have the other half tomorrow. About a buck and half for lunch.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sunday Dinner

Lunch was just a burger on lowcarb bread with SF ketchup. We were busy, had the time change, some of us are still sick, etc...and putting a few frozen burgers in the turbo oven makes a quick lunch.

For supper Pete put a package of chicken thighs into the turbo oven, and just roasted them plain until the skin was good and crispy (the best part, I think!). I made some asparagus with butter (large portions, from frozen), and a cucumber for me. Here is a photo of my supper.

Cost: The chicken thighs were about 40¢ each (9 in the package that was just over $3.00); I used about 1/3 of the bag of asparagus, which was $2.59 on sale at Gordon's last summer, so we'll call that 86¢. 2T of butter (@ $1.79/lb) for 11¢. About $2.00 each - and I'm figuring high, as usual - plus 25¢ for my cucumber and maybe a dime for the ranch dressing for dipping, negligable cost for the paprika I sprinkled on my cuke, and my supper was a little more than Pete's. But I just LOVE cucumbers and chicken together!

Pete and I ate for <$10.00 today. The burgers are pricey, from Gordon's but they are the pure-angus-beef burgers, and so cost about a dollar each. We don't buy them all year but in the summer when I'm working at my seasonal job we do; these are the last of those. And low carb bread is about $2.59/loaf. So our burgers are rather expensive for this time of year when we're down to one paycheck but they're so quick and good and I'm glad that we had them, especially on a day like today!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Late Lunch/Early Supper: Leftovers

So today I had a little bit of leftover meatloaf and was really hungry, but so was hubby. As I reheated it I layered some packaged salad mix and some spinach leaves on plates (35¢ total). Crumbled the meat loaf and put it on top, with some shredded cheese (33¢) sour cream (39¢) and salsa (50¢). The entire meat loaf cost about $3.50 (rounding up) originally, and we've had, now, 4 meals out of it - today's portion was MAYBE 1/10th of the whole thing, but probably not even that. So for 2 huge taco salads, our meal cost about 2 bucks. For both.
(NOTE: I was too hungry to bother prettying up this photo, or removing that piece of lettuce in the upper left corner that was losing its color from the shot...but this is how we eat, folks! *G*)

Friday, October 30, 2009

A Quick Post About Today's Lunch

I won't do the math for this one because it's easily <$1.00 for the whole plate of food (plus what's left over in the kitchen that didn't fit on the plate).

These are crackers (grated swiss & ground sesame seeds, spread in a pan, melted in the oven, scored, cooled, & broken into crackers), each topped with a spinach leaf, a teaspoonful of tuna/mayo, & a little paprika and dried parsley on top because I was going to take a picture :). Usually I wouldn't bother with the fancy stuff.

My daughter has my camera, so this was taken on my cell phone. Poor quality, but you get the idea.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Smoked Ham Casserole

Today I haven't gotten hungry, although I did have a cup of coffee this morning with heavy cream, and a tall glass of diet Vernors with a splash of heavy cream in it - I'm thinking the fats have kept me from wanting food. But now that supper is done, it's great!

Tonight's supper is a Smoked Ham Casserole. I started by coating a 9x13 glass casserole dish with bacon drippings (negligible cost). In the bottom I put 1# of frozen/semi-thawed brussels sprouts ($1.29), cut in half, and a half-cup (one serving) of Dreamfield's penne pasta (40c worth); to this I added about 2c of water, covered it with foil, and put it in a 350 oven. (NOTE: Do not overcook the pasta, as overcooking will cause the carbs to become digestible.)

While the pasta and sprouts were cooking, I cut up about 2# of smoked picnic ham that I'd gotten on sale for 99c/lb yesterday. After 40 minutes, I removed the foil, stirred in the ham, and put it back in the oven at 375 until the remaining water had evaporated. Tossed with 1c (66c) of shredded cheese and returned it to the oven until the cheese melted over all. (Another note: I didn't add salt because the ham and cheese are both rather salty; I never add pepper to anything because I don't like it.)

4 servings (of which my husband ate 2) for about $1.12 each. I could have added a salad or rolls (oopsies or flax or whatever) but it was plenty hearty for a complete meal on its own.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


After being down with the flu for 12 days, and only out of the house yesterday when I went to the doctor and the pharmacy, it was good to get out today and get some much-needed grocery shopping done. I don't actually plan my menus in advance; rather, I plan my menus around what is in the house - and that depends on what was on sale. (Remember as you're reading this that I don't serve desserts or sweets as a rule...once a week I might make a sweet dish or cookies or something similar.)

First of all, I already have some meat in the freezer from former sales, so I didn't have to buy much that way. I did purchase 2 packages of smoked picnic ham chunks (99c/lb), 4.5# ground beef (which is ground fresh at our store, for $1.49/lb), and 2# ground mild sausage for $1.00 each. In our freezer we already have pork (country ribs and/or roast and/or steaks), chuck roasts (which we slice and broil as steaks sometimes), and chicken - I don't typically stock up on chicken because I can almost always get it for <$1/lb. We also have salmon burgers (expensive but a nice treat once in a while!). I will add meat in larger quantities to the freezer as I find great sales on it; otherwise, our meals get planned around what we already have.

Shredded cheese was on sale also; 3c packages for $1.99, or about 66c/cup. (There is no point in figuring $/lb if you use it by volume rather than by weight, right?) So I got $10 worth. 2 heads of cauli for $1.25 ea on sale. A large but lovely eggplant (lasagna this weekend, I already have full-fat ricotta and sauce on hand!) for $1.49. A cuke for a quarter - will have tuna salad "boats" for lunch tomorrow, <$1.00 for the meal. Ready-to-eat salads for half off, or 65c/bag. Fresh spinach, half off, or 1# for 99c. Fresh mushrooms for $1/8 oz (and that's a lot of mushrooms!). Yellow onions for 59c/lb.

Staples: canned mushrooms (59c/can)...quarts of heavy cream ($3.12/qt)...canned tuna (59c/can)...parmesan cheese ($2.49/can)...a quart each of full-fat sour cream ($1.57) and plain yogurt ($1.82) - although the yogurt is for the dogs, not us ...and a loaf of lowcarb bread for my husband.

Obviously there are things I didn't have to buy, like low carb tomato sauce, SF peanut butter, lowcarb ketchup, mayo, eggs, and so forth, because I already have them on hand. But I will continue, of course, to post my shopping trips, since that's a big part of the reason for this blog - so that you can see that eating low carb doesn't have to be expensive - as well as the meals I prepare with the food that I buy - so that you can see that eating low carb doesn't have to be complicated or difficult :).

So what's tonight's supper? 1# of ground beef & 1# of ground sausage with an egg, 1/4 chopped onion, seasonings, and ground porkies for a meat loaf; fauxtatoes; salad.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Low Carb Pancakes - Video Link

I found this video on YouTube. They look easy and delicious, although I'd probably use coconut flour instead of soy flour, or a mixture of coconut flour/protein powder, or whatever. When I make them I will experiment. But don't they look really good?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Day 10, and...

...I don't much care if - or what - I eat. I'm so physically worn out from being sick, and still have no appetite. I eat because I know I should, but beyond that I don't much care. So today Casey got pizza and that's what I ate. For the most part though, through this worst-flu-of-my-life, I've eaten low carb because that's what's in the house.

Tomorrow, day 11, I see the doctor. This is getting ridiculous. After she gives me the magic shot (or pill, or whatever) and I feel all better, I will be back up and at 'em, cooking up a storm, having fun in the kitchen with all of my healthy vegetables and meats and seasonings and sauces, using my gadgets, and posting about it here :).

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Breakfast Fish

I'm still sick, still lack an appetite, but my husband tempted me this afternoon with our favorite breakfast fish. I can never make it like he does, but it's wonderful!

He just starts with some tilapia fillets, which are thin and cook quickly, and he fries them in butter (although today he used olive oil as well and it was deliciously rich!) with a little seafood seasoning. That's it. Lots of little crispies from the pan, and it is a delight to the mouth, and carb-free, yet Cheap'n'Easy. With a 24 oz package of tilapia for $3.99, a splash of olive oil, a pat of butter, and a sprinkle of seafood seasoning, it is a filling, high-quality, single-dish breakfast or lunch for 2 at real close to two bucks apiece. And takes all of 10 minutes to make. Add a side of veggies and/or a salad and it's supper for about $5 for 2-3.

(I will take a picture the next time he makes it, I didn't today because my camera needs to be charged.)

It doesn't get any cheaper, easier, or more healthfully delicious, than this!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

And now it's Thursday!

Still sick...since last Friday. Not much of an appetite but what I am eating, is good low carb stuff. Salads, pizza (with Jamie VanEaton's wonderful cauliflower crust), meat...I did have 2 pieces of lowcarb toast, buttered, around a hunk of leftover steak this week, because it sounded good. Maybe when I start feeling better (no improvements yet) I will get my appetite back. But it is certainly possible to lowcarb cheap'n'easy on mostly leftovers, eggs, and salads - it doesn't get easier or cheaper than this!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Eating - or Not

I'm still sick. Over 96 hours, and I'm not getting any better, if anything I'm getting worse every day. But the good news is, no appetite! I don't care if I eat or not. For lunch I felt like I should eat, even though I wasn't hungry, and had a small salad with ham and ranch dressing. A little while later my precious baby girl (my daughter, a mom herself, will always be my baby girl!) fixed me another salad, this time with chicken and ranch. Then tonight hubby grilled steaks, and I had part of half a steak.

I want to know this: how do I keep my appetite away when I'm NOT sick? Hmmm???

Monday, October 19, 2009

Catching Up On Monday Morning

It's no fun being sick, no fun at all. I started coming down with whatever this awful bug is on Friday evening, and I went from being fine to being totally miserable in about 2 hours. I don't know about you, but when I'm sick I don't care what I eat; in fact, I don't care if I eat. I don't even recall everything I ate over the weekend, but I know yesterday's main meal wasn't low carb. I told the fam that I wasn't making Sunday dinner, after church I was just going to bed. When I woke up several hours later, I had Burger King (where my daughter works) waiting for me.

Still sick and miserable, but alone today while husband and daughter are at work, and baby is at day care (because I can't watch him and do my phone answering job also), so will be fending for myself if I get hungry - and all we have in the house is low carb food. It's all ok, maybe just a couple of scrambled eggs. And we'll have simple hamburgs for supper, and green beans or some other frozen vegetable.

Not every day is a perfect low carb day. Some days I just "make do", and this weekend was 2 of those days...

Friday, October 16, 2009

10/16/09 - Leftovers Lunch

I was hungry and wanted something quick. Opening the fridge I saw part of a serving of Dreamfield's, which had been served previously with butter, olive oil, garlic, and cheeses tossed with it. I also had about a half-pound of heavily-seasoned ground beef. I pulled them both out and gave them a toss together, then nuked it for 2 minutes. While that was heating I opened the fridge again, and saw shredded colby-jack cheese, and sour cream. I also saw salsa and green onions, but since the pasta and the beef were already well-seasoned, I ignored them.

By this time the food was heated through, so I sprinkled cheese on top, then plopped some sour cream on it. I took this picture before I spread out the sour cream so I could show what was under it - there wasn't as much as it appears...although if there were, that would have been fine with me! (Did I ever mention that my middle name is Nosuchthingastoomuchsourcream?)

[NOTE: In case I never mentioned it, I only use full-fat dairy. In addition, I add fats in the form of butter, bacon drippings, coconut oil, olive oil, etc. whenever appropriate.)

The result was totally delicious, took less than 5 minutes, and the cost was about a buck and a half: 50¢ for less than 1 serving of Dreamfield's, 50¢ for a half-pound of pre-seasoned ground beef that I got on sale for 99¢/lb, half-cup (probably less, but easier for the purposes of math) of sour cream @ 30¢, and < 1/4c of shredded cheese at a cost of <20¢ (bought on sale for $1.99 for a 3c package). AND it made 2 servings - so my own lunch was only 75¢!

Today is Friday, which means the AYCE fish fry at just about every restaurant in our town-on-the-largest-lake-in-Michigan, Houghton Lake, and Pete and I try to never miss one. I partake, but have learned to minimize the carb impact: ignore the potatoes and get a big salad and/or vegetables instead, get battered rather than breaded (yeah, very small difference, but a difference nonetheless!), and remove the batter from the top - or bottom - and sides of each piece. Don't worry, you'll still get that great battered/fried flavor, most restaurants really load up on that batter anyway for AYCE dinners, to fill people up so they eat less fish, and save money that way! So, supper will be $6.95 plus my cup of tea and the tip. Still, $10 or less for the day, including a restaurant meal...definitely cheap'n'easy!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My Cheap'n'Easy Low Carb Day - 10/15/09

I'm not a breakfast eater. I can read all the articles by experts about how important breakfast is for all kinds of reasons, but that doesn't stifle my gag reflex in the morning. Deal with it. :).

But I do put heavy cream in my morning coffee - so I'm getting a good boost of fat and calories, and maybe a little protein, which is better than nothing I guess! All that to say that "breakfast" costs the price of a cup of coffee with 10¢ (2Tbsp) worth of cream - hardly worth mentioning, but I'll consider it as a quarter every morning.

(Speaking of cream: Quite a while ago I discovered that I could mix heavy cream 50/50 with water in a pitcher in the fridge and use that in my coffee. It effectively doubles the $3.12 quart, and coffee still tastes rich. Adding some SF syrup to it makes my coffee taste every bit as decadent as if I were using a high-priced non-dairy - fake - "creamer" that costs a LOT more!)

Today for lunch I had a serving of Dreamfield's pasta, with olive oil, butter, and cheeses. Cheap: 70¢ for the pasta, a nickel for the butter, a quarter's worth of olive oil, and 15¢ worth of cheese, for a total of $1.15 for my lunch. Easy: Boil the pasta (don't overcook, or you lose the low carb benefit of Dreamfield's!), strain and plate, toss with butter and a drizzle of olive oil, top with fine-shredded cheese of your choice while still hot, final toss, and serve. 10 minutes, no recipe required :). Double that or my husband, and it's less than $2.50 for us both.

Supper for my husband and I was a little more time-consuming, but just as easy, and under $5 for BOTH of us! I sliced 2 yellow squash ($1.60) on a severe angle, tossed them with just enough EVOO (25¢) to coat, laid them out on a rack over a baking sheet, sprinkled with onion and garlic powders and sea salt (probably less than a nickel total), then topped with parmesan cheese from the jar (est. 15¢ worth), and baked at 425 for 30 minutes - until browned and starting to crisp up like chips. While those were cooking, I sliced up half of an onion (30¢) and started it cooking in a frying pan with a little bacon fat, then sliced up a package of smoked sausage ($1.99) and added it to the bacon. Covered the pan, and still had 15 minutes to kill until supper so it wasn't really all that complicated. In fact, very easy - and WAY less than five bucks worth of cheap - for 2 people!

I will continue to post my menus and costs although probably not every day, but as time permits. You will see that you don't need complicated recipes, cupboards full of ingredients, or a fat wallet and lots of time on your hands to do well eating low carb!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

First Day of the New Blog

I know there are already posts here, but that's because I moved them from my other blog, ChiaChatter, where I write about everything. Low carb is important enough that I think it needs its own space - so here it is!

For my first post of my new blog, I want to introduce you a little bit to my own philosophies about low carb eating.

First, not everyone eats low carb for weight loss. I don't. Yes, I still have weight to lose, but have chosen to hold off for the time being. I lost 90# in the first 5 months when I started, then decided to stop indefinitely.

Second, I'm not a low carb nazi. If I choose to have a carby meal every now and again, I've learned that it won't kill me, that all of my lost weight won't instantly pile back on, and that it doesn't sabotage my future efforts. YMMV.*

Third, low carb isn't just a way of eating for me, it's a philosophy. It isn't only about carbs. It's about fresh, unprocessed, no junk. I can eat 50g/N (read as 50 grams Net) of wheat bread a day and my body does NOT respond the same as if I'd eaten 50g/N of veggies, eggs, and nuts with some good high fat meat. My philosophy is this: Eat the naturally low-in-carbs that make me feel good, not the low-in-carbs foods that give me headaches, loginess, bloating, and mental fog. The whole point is health - and discomfort is a sign that I'm not eating healthy. I've read that the healthiest foods don't come with nutrition labelling...and that's certainly the truth! Fresh dairy, veggies, greens, meats, nuts, and seeds - all naturally low in carbs, unprocessed, and part of my philosophy.

Fourth, if it's carby it has no business in my house. I wouldn't have porn in my house, or deadly gases or anything else damaging to myself and my family, so why waste my money on something that's not healthy for us? I don't.

Fifth, and maybe the most important to my low carb philosophy: It doesn't have to be expensive, it doesn't have to be complicated. I spend no more time cooking now than I did before 2004, and I spend less on groceries than I did back then.

So whatever recipes and ideas I share here will be pretty consistent with these 5 points, as well as dispel the myth that low carb shopping, cooking, and eating has to be expensive or complicated. I hope that you'll be able to use these as a starting point to launch your own creativity! :)

* Your Mileage May Vary. I say that a lot. It means you may not get the same results.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Successful Squash Dessert Thrown Together

Made a buttercup squash tonight, just sliced in half, seeded, and roasted, nothing special. Planned to have it with our pork steaks, but the timing wasn't exactly right so we ate the steaks (they were HUGE) alone.

After supper I scooped the squash out into my mixing bowl and started mashing it up with the KitchenAid. Thought I'd add some butter, cinnamon (great for blood sugar control!), and DiabetiSweet brown sugar sub. Hmmm, thought I, it looks almost creamy...maybe it can be dessert. So I added a generous scoop (1/2c or so) of full-fat ricotta to cream it up a bit, then some ground cloves, since I was out of pumpkin pie spice and nutmeg both (how could that happen??)...some SF vanilla syrup...a little xylitol (because a combination of sweeteners always tastes better)...and finally some heavy cream (1/4c-ish). Then I combined it and turned the mixer on high until it got almost fluffy - certainly much lighter.

This is DEFINITELY a keeper recipe. Made enough for 4 generous servings. I don't know the carb count but the carbiest part of it was the squash. Next time I'll try it with that can of pumpkin that's been sitting in the cupboard since last Thanksgiving.

Oh my goodness, I want MORE!

Friday, September 11, 2009

LowCarb Eating, and Bread: My Own Experience

This won't be a bunch of recipes; a google search will turn up a bazillion of them. But it's about what works for me.

First, I do buy lowcarb breads of various types for my husband, as he loves his sandwiches and I think they're better than the carby breads. And about once a week I will make a couple of slices of toast with it. But they all contain wheat in some form and I do my best to minimize my wheat intake, which brings us to my second point...

Second, I try to avoid wheat. When I was a child I had an allergy to it. As an adult, I've suffered various problems from heartburn to bloating, from acne to insomnia...and all of them stopped when I did Atkins' induction over 5 years ago. As I added back grains, the symptoms recurred as soon as I added wheat back into my diet. The next few years of experimentation, as well as the experience of countless others, have proven to me that wheat is indeed the culprit. So I try to avoid it.

That said, however, sometimes I weigh the consequences and eat it anyway, usually in the form of Vital Wheat Gluten for my baking, or when I have purchased Carbquik in the past, or when I choose to have lowcarb bread or a tortilla or other premade lowcarb product. (A package of 10 torillas lasts me several months - I freeze them .)

I should note again here that, even though I'm still 100# above my desired weight (which differs from weight charts), I am not wanting to lose any more right now. The reasons for that are irrelevent here, but if I were, I would probably avoid most grains altogether since in the past they have slowed my weight loss incredibly.

So...back to bread. My current favorite way to eat a sandwich, or toast, is using my own version of one-minute microwave bread as inspired by this video . However, I've made a couple of changes to it: for the dry ingredients I use a combination of protein powder, flax meal, and almond flour in approximately equal quantities. I also add a tad less of the dry ingredients, so I don't get as heavy a bread. I whip my egg until really frothy, then I add in my baking powder, cream, and oil while still whipping to keep the volume. Then I stir in my dry ingredients so I don't lose too much volume before I nuke it. The difference between the video and my version isn't huge but I just like it a little better :). I've never followed a recipe in my life without making my own changes, and this is no different!

So, those are my answers to bread :). With the plethora of recipes online there seems to be a bread solution for everyone. If you have a favorite I hope that you'll let me know!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Some Nice Little Cookies (low carb recipe)

Yesterday I wanted something light and not too sweet to have with coffee so I went to my kitchen to create something from what I had on hand. This recipe gave me about 6 dozen delightful little delicate cookies that filled the bill perfectly!

1 stick butter, softened
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4c xylitol
1/2t salt
1/2c SF vanilla syrup
2c almond flour
1/4c polydextrose
1/4c coconut flour

whip together butter and cream cheese until creamy; whip in xylitol and
salt; add vanilla syrup and whip until well-blended. Add almond flour,
polydex, and coconut flour, and blend well.

dough will be light if it has been well-whipped. (I didn't even use the
paddle, just stuck with the whip in my mixer.) Scoop onto sprayed cookie
sheet in walnut-sized spoonfuls, bake @ 350 JUST until the edges start to
brown; remove from oven and let stand on cookie sheet for a few minutes
before removing, as they are light and delicate will break apart unless
given time to pull together; once they're a little "tighter" you can remove
them to finish cooling.

Do not seal up to store, they become too moist; I left these on a platter, open, on the counter last night and they're still very moist and good - sealing them up they would have been wet by morning.

I didn't do the math and figure up the carb count but it's around 30gN for the whole recipe. If you want/need to be more exact,

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

What Low Carb Eating Is - and What It Isn't

I'm seeing lots of misconceptions around the 'net about what low carb eating is, and what it isn't. Even within the variations of different plans, there are certain physiological truths that simply don't change.

First and foremost: There are lots of people who say, "Low carb didn't work for me" or "I did Atkins once but I gained all the weight back." To which I say: If you think you "did Atkins" then you didn't. Because Atkins is a lifelong plan. There is no "did" there is only "doing" and if you aren't "doing" it then you didn't do it - so you can't blame a plan you didn't follow when you gain back your weight. To whose who say "low carb didn't work for me", I ask the following questions: Which plan did you use - was it truly low carb or a "bandwagon" plan? Were you 100% faithful to the instructions? Did you cheat even a little? Did you lose weight and then gain it back again, so you consider the plan is what failed? Did you try a different low carb plan that maintains the tenets of true low carb eating but in a slightly different way? I understand that every low carb doesn't work for every body but before you blame the way of eating (WOE), make sure it was followed, 100%, perfectly, all the time. A car won't run if you do everything right, except decide that it won't hurt, just this once, if you don't fill the gas tank. You can't blame the car for not working then, can you?

Second. If you are doing low carb - properly doing low carb - you don't need to do low fat. In fact, you SHOULDN'T avoid fats, for several reasons:
(a) Your body needs energy at the ready and can get this quick energy for its functions from either fats, or from carbs. Protein needs to go through processes (which themselves use energy) to be utilized. If you are robbing your body of both of the "quick" energy sources it needs, you can really mess yourself up.
(b) Omitting both fats and carbs from your diet means you will have a much lower caloric intake. That's good, right? WRONG! We all know that when you lower your caloric intake you will send your body into "starvation mode" where your metabolism slows, you burn even fewer calories, and weight loss becomes increasingly difficult. If you eat fats, you keep that from happening.
(c) Your liver needs fat to burn fat. If you're expecting to burn off body fat without stoking it, you will be sorely disappointed.

Low carb eating causes certain physiological and chemical changes which is what makes it so excellent for weight loss, blood sugar control, blood pressure control, better blood lipid levels (HDL/LDL/triglycerides/cholesterol levels/etc. on your reports), and resolution of numerous other health issues. If you are eating carby foods - sugary fruits, pastas, grains, etc. - then you are preventing these changes that are the key to success. Your choice of course...but don't call it low carb eating and then claim that low carb failed you when it didn't work.

And a few general comments:
1 - Forget what you think you know about weight loss, what you've read and heard over the years about counting calories, how bad fat is, that you have to go hungry, etc. That isn't low carb advice, and people following it for the last few decades is why 95% of diets fail, and our population is getting fatter. Forget all of it, it doesn't apply to low carb eating.
2 - If you're not following a low carb WOE, don't tell people you are. If you claim low carb, yet eat sugar-laden (even natural sugars!) or grain-based foods for energy, then you're not doing low carb.
3 - Remember that the key to low carb eating is in keeping your carb intake low - hence the name of the plan. Not keeping your calories low, not keeping your fat intake low - it's about the carbs. Don't thwart the plan; it works when it's followed.
4 - You will fail if you don't give your body what it needs. It doesn't need all those carbs. It needs fat, it needs protein. If you don't provide fats and proteins (in that order), it will soon demand them, and you will fail. This isn't an opinion.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, if you are "dieting" to lose weight, and then go back to eating the way that made you fat in the first place, you will get fat again. It's simple. Follow an actual low carb plan. Don't deprive your body of the fats and protein it needs. Get your carbs from vegetables (not the starchy ones!). Eat until you're satisfied. Don't let yourself get so hungry you'll eat anything you can lay your hands on. Don't stuff yourself. Don't go cheat on your low carb plan, and don't go back to your old ways of eating. If you are following a low carb WOE faithfully, and if you are allowing your body to change how it gets its energy (from body fat instead of carbs), you will be successful, you will be healthy, and you will not have to say, "Low carb doesn't work."

Monday, May 11, 2009

My Most Excellent Low Carb Mother's Day Feast!

Got raves from all for dinner yesterday!
Rubbed a pork tenderloin (about 5#) with garlic powder, chili powder, S&P, and rosemary; roasted covered for 2 hours @ 325, then uncovered for 30 minutes @ 350. Rub made a nice crust!
Tossed chunks of frozen cauli, broccoli, zucchini, yellow squash, and carrots (I didn't eat carrots) with oil, garlic salt, dried onion, and italian seasoning blend, then roasted in an uncovered baking dish for the last half hour with the pork, stirring once.
Made Sam's napa cabbage salad ( with a few changes: made my own dressing with dijon mustard, oil, and sweetener; used feta cheese instead of blue cheese; cooked thinly-sliced onion with the mushrooms.
We don't eat desserts typically.
The whole meal was a huge hit, and looked very fancy even though it required very little work and left me lots of time with my guests! Nobody missed the bread or potatoes :).

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tonight's Low Carb Supper: Meatloaf with Sauce

Meatloaf was standard stuff: ground beef and ground sausage, 1/2 of a medium onion chopped fine, 1/2 bag of porkies, a couple of eggs...mixed well and baked at 350 for about an hour. With it we had one of the wonderful big chunky vegetable medleys we get from GFS. This one has yellow carrots (carby but I ate 3 slices anyway), broccoli, whole green beans, and red peppers.

The sauce was easy: in a small saucepan on top of the stove I mixed about 3 Tbsp ranch dressing with equal parts sour cream (full fat of course) and water, then added about 2 tsp of beef soup base, and a drained can of shiritaki mushrooms. Heated it while stirring, just until heated through.

The sauce is quite flavorful, so not much spice needed in the meatloaf...although I served it over the vegetables also. A nice slice of meatloat, with a half plateful of vegetables, and sauce over all...VERY good, VERY filling!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tonight's Low Carb Dinner

Tonight's experimental dinner was fantastic!

I made a meatloaf using 1 lb of ground beef, half a bag of porkies crushed, about a Tbsp of worchestershire sauce, a quarter of an onion chopped finely and an egg.

In another baking dish I poured enough oil to cover the bottom, then mixed in some dry basil and garlic powder. Into that I tossed a bag of frozen cauli, and tossed to coat. S&P lightly.

Both of the above went into a 350 oven.

On the stovetop I put 2 drained cans of sliced shitake mushrooms into a pan with 2T butter (not fake oleo stuff), covered it, and set it on the oven-vent burner. (I don't keep fresh mushrooms because they spoil so quickly; I buy them specially if I have an immediate use for them, but keep canned and dried 'shrooms on hand.)

After 30 minutes I tossed the cauli and returned it to the oven. Then to the mushrooms (with now-melted butter) I added 8 oz of sour cream - full fat of course - a tsp of chili powder, and tsp of beef base, and a generous shake of dry basil. I stirred it all together, re-covered it, and put it on the burner set to its lowest setting.

10 minutes later I removed the meat loaf and roasted cauli from the oven, turned the burner off, and stirred the sour cream/mushroom sauce. I served it over the meatloaf. The cauli was plenty flavorful to stand on its own. The mushroom sauce had a good strong flavor - if I wanted it milder (I didn't) I would have added some cream and used just a half-tsp of the chili powder.

A green salad would have rounded the meal out nicely but we were out of greens. Maybe next time...and I'll make some of Jamie VanEaton's oopsie rolls with it too!

(Note: I don't cook with salt when I'm using foods that have already been salted - such as the beef base.)

Definitely a meal I will make again.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Great Brunch Meal!

Today's late breakfast was so's one of my favorite easy meals!

In a frying pan of hot bacon drippings over high heat I broke 3 eggs, then lowered the heat to low/medium and broke the yolks with a fork, spreading them over the whites. Onto the eggs I sprinkled some chopped frozen spinach pieces, letting a few fall into the fat to fry alone, then some quartered pepperoni slices, and finished it off with a handful of shredded mozzarella. Covered the pan and walked away for 10 minutes. After I slid it onto my plate I put the fried spinach bits on top, just for the sake of embellishment :).

When I haven't used pepperoni, I also like this with salsa and sour cream (full-fat, of course!) on top!

Ahhhh...losing weight was never so delicious!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Low Carb-ness, part II

Just a quick bit about my own particular version of low carb eating, then I'll go on to other things :).

I started LCing about 5 years ago. Original plan: lots of veggies and meats and fiber. Most of my foods were high-fiber at that time. Lost 54# and then stopped. Started reading about low-carb-high-fat and loved the mere thought of it. (I've never been a big sweet eater, but bring on the butter, baby!) Switched over to that and have never looked back! Quickly lost another 36# for a grand total of 90# off by (a) keeping a 75% fat-20% protein-5% carbs ratio, and (b) minimizing my ingestion of grain-based products with the exception of occasionally using brans or gluten in my baking. Even though my caloric input for most days averaged 2500-3000, I was leaving trails of fat behind me everywhere I went.

But in the bathroom mirror (evil thing, it's since been removed!) I didn't like what I saw when I stepped out of the shower. I'm not a vain person but even *I* couldn't stand the way parts of my body were going south, and in a most unattractive, very uncomfortable way! Even trying to fit my clothes onto the saggy hanging flesh was horrible. So I decided to quit losing even though I still had 100# more to go. Carrying that weight was better, for me, than making my body any more grotesque than it had already become.

To maintain I adjusted my ratios to more like 60-30-10, and during our occasional restaurant outings allowed a carbier treat than I'd done for the previous 9 months. I happily continued this way for the next 3½ years...then in October 2008 I had a stroke. (One good thing to come out of this was an examination of my arteries while I was in the hospital, and I was told they were "squeaky clean"!)

During my 6 days in the hospital I was put on a "heart healthy" diet of about 90% carbs but at that point I didn't care; when my appetite returned, I just ate what they gave me. When I came home with horrific awful disabling headaches and vertigo, I wasn't shopping or cooking, my husband was. And he wasn't well-versed in carb-consciousness, and I frankly was too miserable to care. So for the next 11 weeks, I just ate what he gave me, thankful that he was such a good caretaker of me (and our 16 pets including all of my parrots, and my business, and our home, in addition to his job...). When there is so much pain involved in just moving, nothing else really matters, except the love and care that he showed me during that time.

Just before Christmas I found myself in yet another hospital, this time for 4 days. Again, the carby "heart-healthy" diet, but this time I got a diagnosis (CSF leak from the lumbar puncture I'd had the day of my stroke) and a remedy (15-minute procedure called a blood patch) for my awful pain , and by the time I came home, the pain and vertigo were gone, I was SO THANKFUL, and could start resuming my life. (It shocked me how weak I'd become during those 11 weeks of total inactivity, part of it from the original stroke but I sure lost a lot of strength afteward too!)

Meanwhile, all of those weeks of inactivity and carbs had left me 38# heavier. No matter, I had my life back, the weight wasn't an issue to me. After the holidays and a trip with my sister, I have decided that it's time to get the extra weight back off and I am now back to my 75-20-5 ratios. I'm not weighing myself, I'm losing, and I'll know when I get there, but of course I'm feeling so much better again and it is good to be back to LIFE again after nearly 4 months!

It will be 5 years on low carb, come April. As far as I'm concerned the way I ate earlier this winter is simply part of the nightmare that started last October, and like the awful pain, vertigo, weakness, and other things, will just go down as part of my history; I refuse to give it any more importance than that.

Will I ever want to lose those last 100#? I don't know. I will play that part by ear. If I'm ever in a position to have surgery to remove the excess skin, then yes. If not, then I can't say because there is nothing worse, for me, than the way my body looks from what I've done to it. Not the weight loss, but the gains that stretched it out in the first place.

Some day I'll shed this "earth suit" anyway; until that time comes I will do what I believe to be best for myself, and that will ALWAYS be eating low carb. For my health.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Turnips - oh yeah, baby...

Root vegetables, other than carrots, weren't something I ate much of as I was growing up. As a result, I never really had an interest in them. But now, eating low carb, it's a whole 'nother story! I recently got some turnips on sale, and had to use them. Since my husband had roasted chicken for our dinner earlier and had left the pan on the stovetop, I peeled and diced a couple of turnips and tossed them in the chicken drippings with a few pieces of bacon, and put it back in the oven. About 20 minutes later I had THE most delicious vegetable dish I think I've ever eaten! The turnips were dark brown and caramelized...I put them in a bowl with a little (1 Tbsp or so) shredded cheddar cheese on top and had them for my afternoon snack-meal-thing. (Hubby is at work and I usually don't have full meals when I'm alone, I just sort of graze.) So sweet and tender, a little sticky...oh no, my mouth is watering just thinking about it! And about 12gN carbs for the whole thing.

As my dad used to say, "You can't beat that with a stick!"

Friday, February 6, 2009

Thinking About Carbs

Since a discussion with a friend recently where I made the comment that "eating low carb isn't about giving anything up, it's just about shopping and cooking differently", I've been trying to think of something that can't be replaced with a low carb equivalent. I'm coming up empty.

"I couldn't live without bread!" is the most common excuse I hear - and the one that I used to use myself as well. But we eat bread. There are plenty of low carb breads on the market (our choice is Aunt Millie's Light Potato Bread which isn't far removed from evil white bread, hence my husband's enjoyment of it) if one must. There are some great recipes for low carb bread machine bread as well (my own version incorporates rich tasty sunflower and sesame meals and is YUMMY - makes great toast)! And we can make/buy/use low carb wraps or tortillas...

Rice? Cauli-rice, which, when used in casseroles or oriental or mexican dishes, is perfect! Potatoes? Fauxtatoes or other, less carby, root vegetables depending on the recipe. Or, just baked or fried potato skins! I can bake a nice big potato and scoop out the white part and just eat the skin, loaded with butter and sour cream, when I feel the need! Desserts? Baking without grain-based flours and sugar and high-sugar fruits is EASY, once you know how! Chocolate? Cocoa powder is very low carb; the healthy dark cocao-based bars are low in carbs! Chips and other crunchy foods? Deep-fried daikon slices, sprinkled with garlic salt and parmesan...thin slices of cheddar cheese, baked until crispy and eaten with a sour cream dip...even buttered popcorn which is high in fiber, eaten in moderation!

I've gotten really creative in the kitchen and lost 90# in 5 months eating my own versions of the carby processed foods, and never missed them.

Concerns about budget? It is cheaper for us to eat low carb than when we used to eat processed foods. Concerns about "artificial sweeteners"? Sugar alcohols are natural if you have to cater to a sweet tooth, you never need to eat artificial anything.

So what's the problem about eating low carb, again?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Speaking of Low Carb...

...tonight we're trying out the Magic Pizza Crust recipe I saw on YouTube. It is in the oven with the toppings now and should be ready any minute. It LOOKS great and SMELLS great, but who knows how it will taste, that is the important part after all right?

I'm still, by most accounts, morbidly obese. And I plan to stay that way. I've lost nearly 100 lbs., but what it has done to my body - UGH! I'm already sagging everywhere and have so much hanging flesh that I can't stand to look in a mirror. I even had my husband take the full-length mirror off the back of the shower door! The chances that I'd ever be able to have surgery to remove the excess skin, were I to get to a "thin" weight, are nil. So I've decided that where I am is where I will stay. I still eat low carb because it is the healthiest way to eat...but I adapt my plan so that I won't lose any more.

How do I do that? Well, when I was losing quickly, I was eating 5% of my calories from carbs, 20% of my calories from protein, and 75% of my calories from fats, and I had omitted ALL grains, even though my issues were probably only with wheat. I did average 2500-3000 calories a day but I lost rapidly - 90# in 5 months. To maintain my weight where I am, I change the ratios and don't force the fats into my diet like I used to. I also allow a few (minimal) grain products, such as low carb tortillas, into my diet a couple of times a week. It works.

All that said, however, I want to mention that I am now up by 23#. The last few months I have had some serious health issues, and haven't been the one doing the shopping and cooking. My husband is a great cook but we have eaten more carbs that in the last 4+ years while I was sick. In addition, hospital food on a "heart healthy diet" is about 75% carbs! Ugh...

So at the moment I'm working on getting back down to the weight where I was comfortable, even though it was 100# over where my doctor wants me to be. And that's why I will stay there.

By the way, I've now had some pizza made with the MPC as referenced above. Good, but too salty. I wonder if I replaced half the parmesan cheese with protein powder?...

Friday, January 9, 2009

Obsessing About Praline Bacon

Someone mentioned it on a yahoogroup today, so I looked up a few recipes, and now that I've read them I MUST HAVE SOME! Bacon is of course a staple of the way I eat, as are pecans...and I have some SF chili powder at hand. But brown sugar...hmm...obviously way too carby for me. I've used a couple of different subs: Diabetisweet is one, and Sugar Twin is the other. I've used both and find the Diabetisweet to be preferable but of course that's a personal opinion and about worth what you just paid for it.

Anyway, I need to find out if either of these products would get all melt-y and caramel-y so as to hold the pecan bits together and adhere the topping to the bacon, as real brown sugar does. I will get back to you on that, as soon as I find out - either from someone wiser than me about such things, or from my own experience.

Meanwhile I need to find a way to keep the drool out of my keyboard.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Family and Food

Spent the evening yesterday with daughter Casey and SIL Josh, they took us out to eat, then we went to the nursing home to visit Grandma (my mom, who has Lewy Body Dementia). Grandma was having a good day, and really enjoyed seeing Casey - they've always had a good and close relationship - and Josh, as well as Casey's "baby bump": Leelan Daniel will make his appearance in April.

Then the kids came over to exchange Christmas gifts, as this was the first time we could all manage to get together. Casey got me a neck pillow that I love, it's got beads or something in it, and is similar (different shape) to a pillow she got me several years ago, that goes EVERYWHERE with me, and I use it not only to hold my head but for other things as well...anyway, it was the perfect gift!

And onto food: I ate carbs at the restaurant yesterday, as I was afraid of...I just seem to lose all control when faced with so many delicious choices. FWIW, I did take my white kidney bean extract beforehand...

Today was much better: steak and salad for lunch, yogurt later, another salad with turkey and ranch dressing later, and 3 wasa fiber crackers with melted mozzarella later. So a good food day today. I sure love salads.

Went to the doctor, all is well, I'm back to normal activity, we talked about my GERD and a new med since the old one isn't working for me anymore. And about my recent neurological issues and most recent hospitalization and subsequent vast improvement. All is well, I'm back up to normal activity for the first time in months. And working on taking off the poundage that accumulated during those months...

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Low Carb-ness

I don't make New Year's resolutions. In fact, I don't even celebrate New Year's Eve or New Year's Day. It is a non-holiday to me. So when I say that I'm returning to my low carb way of life today, it has nothing to do with the calendar, but everything to do with my life.

I started eating low carb a few years ago. I lost quite a bit of weight, then realized that all the hanging skin and saggy flesh moving earthward thanks to gravity was despicable. I hated it and, even though I wasn't quite to my halfway point in pounds lost, I decided to stop and maintain. First, I wanted to give my skin a chance to Do The Right Thing, and suck up to my new body size. Second, I wanted to stop the horrible process of making my body ugly, until I saw the results of my "skin test".

I maintained well for the next few years, and enjoyed all the healthy advantages that come from eating a low carb diet, including digestive improvements (from GERD to gas), clear skin for the first time since puberty, more energy and better sleep, a greatly improved blood lipid profile, lower blood pressure, etc. Excellent!

Then about 10 weeks ago I had a "cerebro-vascular incident" followed by weeks of an unidentified neurological problem that left me at my husband's culinary mercy. His shopping and cooking wasn't necessarily low carb. And frankly, I had bigger concerns than what I ate. 2 hospital visits during this time when I was given their version of a "heart healthy" diet (read: loaded with carbs) didn't help - nor did the 2 courses of oral steroids that made me ravenous...

With any weight loss diet, when you stop doing it and go back to eating the foods that made you fat, guess what? They'll make you fat again! I gained about 25% of my lost weight back. I didn't care at first, worrying more about my brain than my weight. But once I started showing improvement, the dissatisfaction with the way I'd been eating started to surface. So when I finally improved to the point of being able to once again be the main shopper and cook of our household, it just happened to be January 2nd. And so, it just happens that I'm thankfully resuming my low carb lifestyle at the beginning of a new year.

Today I slept in, then ate a salad with ranch dressing and a heavily seasoned fried pork chop for "brunch". Suppers was a ground beef patty, fried with a small chopped onion and some mushrooms, with a hefty side dish of buttered green beans. My evening snack was salami "crackers" (lay out hard salami sliced on a paper-towel-lined, microwave-safe plate and cover with another paper towel; nuke for 30 seconds, rearrange slices carefully because they're hot, and nuke for another 30 seconds; depending on how powerful your microwave is, you may or may not need another 30-second burst; let them stand for a few minutes and they'll crisp right up) and cream cheese - 7 "crackers" with 1 measured tsp of cream cheese, full fat of course, on each. I also drank several cups of coffee with sweet'n'low, SF vanilla soy milk, and a squirt of whole milk in each.

I'm feeling better already.