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.