Friday, December 31, 2010

Almost 2011

(NOTE: If you are seeing this on Facebook, please go to my blog - - to see my whole post. I don't make my points in the first paragraph, which is all that shows up on my Facebook page :).)

For those who celebrate, Happy New Year! If your new start comes at midnight, all the best with that, too :).

I don't see midnight tonight as magical, or really different than any other midnight, just because the calendar flips a year. We don't celebrate it or do anything special on New Year's Eve or on New Year's Day. Life tomorrow will be much like it is today in every way. We can make our new starts every morning, or every noon, or every 2:47 a.m.. The important thing is that we recognize when we need to turn away from old things, and embrace the new - whenever we need to do so.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day!

(NOTE: If you are seeing this on Facebook, please go to my blog - - to see my whole post. I don't make my points in the first paragraph, which is all that shows up on my Facebook page :).)

Lovely day! Soup turned out beautifully. The grilled cheese sandwiches looked and smelled amazing! I used English muffin bread, real butter on the outsides, and did them on my electric griddle. I used a slice each of American, swiss, and havarti cheese. My mom ate half of her sandwich and took the other half, plus a Christmas cookie, home with her. Pete had two sandwiches and two bowls of soup. (He usually eats double portions of things, that's why I try hard to keep him low carb but sometimes it is an uphill battle.) I didn't bake cookies this year but bought a package of 10 (?) cookies yesterday that would look pretty on the table - and they did. They are full of sugar and carbs and I ate 2. Won't have any more.

Since I can't eat bread, I had to forgo those lovely sandwiches. What a horrible thing that was, but the threat of great pain kept me from giving into temptation. Still, my pita cheese crisps were pretty good. I used a low carb pita, sliced it in half to make two very thin pieces, then I cut those into a few large pieces. Buttered them, sprinkled colby-jack on them, topped with havarti, and into the oven on a rack until the cheese bubbled and the pitas crisped up. They were better than nothing but I was still drooling over the grilled cheese sandwiches!

I nibbled a lot today. Started out with a dish of cottage cheese, then nibbled on cheeses while I made dinner, tasted a spoonful of my soup several times, then a half-cup of soup and some of the pita cheese crisps for dinner, a cookie about an hour later, the rest of the crisps a couple of hours after that, and another cookie just now.

Both the pita and the tomato soup were new re-additions to my post-fundoplication diet, as was the cookie. I am happy to report that I did fine with them all! Tiny bites, well-chewed, warm tea, and walking around - it was all good!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Some GOOD Shopping! #lowcarb

(NOTE: If you are seeing this on Facebook, please go to my blog - - to see my whole post. I don't make my points in the first paragraph, which is all that shows up on my Facebook page :).)

I guess because tomorrow is Christmas and the grocery stores will be closed, and because they are closing early this evening, the merchants didn't want certain items to just sit around for 2 days, so there were a lot of markdowns today that we were able to take advantage of! Here are some samples:

1# smoked turkey ends and pieces: $1.19 (Many of the packages had a single chunk, which I can use in so many ways!)

33 oz. Maxwell House decaf - $6.99 (WOW!)

These aren't something I would normally buy but I do have a use for them: 6 oz. thin-sliced honey ham from the deli that is usually $4.99 but were on sale for $2.00

5# Budgie seed mix (a CLEAN mix of millet and oat groats that I will mix with the usual mix I feed my cockatiel and lovebirds to "stretch" it) for $2.99

Walden Farms bacon dressing for $1.99 (half price); I can't eat salads now but it will be great as a dip or spread!

Chicken legs for 65c/lb

10# Idaho Russets $2.99 (I'm eating small amounts of potato - not a low carb food but have incorporated them once or twice a week into my eating plan; plus the fam loves them!)

Havarti cheese - just about my favorite! - sliced, 25% off, or $2.79/pkg

So I did buy some things that I still consider expensive. Take for example the Havarti cheese. I don't pay $5.58/lb for anything, typically. But as little as I'm eating right now, and as much as I love Havarti* I consider it a worthy splurge.

[*I told my husband, "If we ever get into an argument and you want to apologize because you know you were wrong, a package of Havarti cheese will work well." He said, "So what will you get me when you're wrong?" and I told him, "I never am!"]

For Christmas I made a couple of other splurges: They had a pound of lovely saucy BBQ ribs, already cooked, for $5.49, marked down from $6.99; I got those for Pete's Christmas Eve dinner. (I can't eat them but I'm happy with smoked turkey and havarti!) And we splurged on some English muffin bread for tomorrow's Christmas dinner. Since my mother developed Lewy Body Disease we have had a new Christmas dinner tradition: grilled cheese sandwiches and homemade creamy tomato soup. I can't eat the sandwiches anyway, but the english muffin bread will be marvelous for them I think! And I got the ingredients for my soup also, but it is inexpensive to make anyway. (I will post the recipe tomorrow, if I remember.) Instead of a sandwich I will make my cheesy pita points for myself, even though I'll just eat one triangle at least it will be in the spirit of a grilled cheese sandwich!

Overall we spent about $130 today. Considering this is my first grocery shopping of the month, and that we (well, I wasn't here the first 2 weeks of December) have been eating almost 100% from our stocked foods - and eating well! - I'm pretty proud of this month's food budget.

Merry Christmas! Free Cookbooks and Cookbook Samplers | Cookbooks in Pdf format to download

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It's Still All About The Food

(NOTE: If you are seeing this on Facebook, please click below to see the entire post or go to my blog itself. I don't always make my point in the first paragraph, which is all that shows up on my Facebook page. I mean, if you actually want to see it all :).)

I'm posting this to both of my blogs, and those who only follow ChiaChatter will have to go to yesterday's post to see details of my recent surgery, if you want to get up to speed.

Thinking of how I am now eating, food is still my passion. The big difference is, how can I make my miniscule (2-3 Tbsp) meals a little more interesting, especially given my current limitations? Especially since I have to eat so freakin' many of them to get even a minimum of nutrition into my system...

My doctor has said that I can eat anything except bread, raw veggies, and - oh, I can't think of the other thing, but I won't be eating it anyway. Because he instructed me only to avoid those 3 areas, and chew well.

But before I had the surgery I did ALL kinds of research, from pdf instructions sheets of other docs who do the procedure, to medical sites, to a forum especially for fundoplication patients. And the vast majority, in talking about getting back to regular food, have much more specific instructions or experience. So, because the failure rate of this surgery is so high, and because the side effects can be disastrous, I am electing to collect all of the knowledge I gained, and create my own plan based upon the most conservative and logical of them all. I want to have the best possible outcome with the fewest possible post-surgical issues, and feel I need to be my own best "meal planner". It seems to me that most of those who are living with awful lifetime side effects or have had to repeat the surgery didn't go the most conservative route. I may be wrong, but this is how I am proceeding.

24 hours after surgery I was put on clear liquids. 48 hours post op I was put on full liquids. This includes things like yogurt and custard. The first day I ate only yogurt. I could only eat a couple of bites at a time without feeling uncomfortable, so I nibbled at it all day. The next day I included a few bites of cream of wheat with butter (yeah, they consider that liquid), and my doctor said that if I wanted to try soft food, he would change the order. So Saturday I tried some tilapia. The kitchen sent up rice with it though, and I put a few grains on the tip of my fork. Big mistake, lots of pain. I walked as far as I could to help things pass.

I think I need to insert here that my esophagus is considerably smaller than it was where it empties into my stomach. Stuff can get stuck. I have to eat taking tiny (1/2 tsp) bites, and chewing my food to a liquid consistency. I cannot drink more than a few tiny sips while eating (google "dumping syndrome"), or for 30 minutes before or after. Any foods that are hard to digest (including fiber), have skins, or seeds, or nuts, or cause gas, or could swell after swallowing or are carbonated - all off limits for now. So I need to get the maximum nutrition into the minimum intake, and the maximum hydration into the minimal time I have between the tiny meals - while observing the above cautions. Should something get stuck, I can take small sips of very warm (can't have anything very hot or very cold either) water and try to walk it off.

The problem on Saturday evening was that I was in the throes of pneumonia, weak as a kitten, and could only walk a short distance before becoming wobbly and winded. But it did pass, and I decided I would wait a few more days before trying soft or softened solid foods again.

Sunday I continued with yogurt, and added custard. Monday morning before my discharge I ate half of a scrambled egg. Introducing only 1-2 "new" foods a day is part of my conservative dietary after-care per one of the instructions sheets I'd read.

I was still living with a lot of pain when I was discharged, and no appetite to speak of. The hour+ ride to my sister's left me very weak; liquid lortab helped with the pain. I added both applesauce and cottage cheese to my diet that evening without a bad result.

Yesterday I got a little experimental, and discovered that 2 spoons of plain full fat yogurt with 1 spoon of applesauce, sprinkled with cinnamon, and stir in a drop of liquid sucralose - creamy apple pie in a dish! This was my first really enjoyable dish. And for supper, a small piece of leftover potato, put through the chopper with some milk and butter until creamy and smooth, and heated. Who would have thought that a leftover potato could taste so amazing??

Today I had some SF jello with a scoop of cottage cheese that lasted me for several hours (about 1/2c total). Just now I took some of my broth that I'd saved up from my pre-surgical meals (frozen), and heated it with a chunk of butter, then mixed in a few mashed potato flakes to thicken. I let it sit for quite a while to make sure the flakes were fully "inflated" before I ate it. In fact I am still eating it, and it will last throughout the evening most likely. It was delightful to taste my own seasonings again.

So it is all about baby steps - and baby bites! - and patience and listening to my own body. If my stomach starts sending out the "full" message, one more bite will cause pain. And today is the first day I have really felt hunger. To me this is a good thing, a sign of healing. So many people are unable to burp or vomit after this procedure that these issues are to be almost expected, although I have been able to burp a few times. And life of flatulence will also be a result. Lots and lots of flatulence...

Whereas before I took great satisfaction in a delicious plate full of food, in creating an entire glorious meal, now it is much more simple - just blending a couple of flavors to keep the boredom at bay, and the anticipation and even excitement of adding in a new food every now and again.

Everything will be different from now on. But given what I have suffered the last 19 years, progressing to what it became the last few (my husband, daughter, and sister are really the only ones who know the extent of that), this is a small price to pay to get my life back. As time goes on it will become natural, and I will also be able to eat more normally. Doc says a year to heal completely, the first 100 days will be critical. And it is these 100 days that I don't want to do anything to mess it all up. Baby steps, slow and steady...and simple pleasures like apple pie in a bowl where I can find them :).

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Easy Custard Recipe

Click the title to go to my amplify page where I put the recipe. It will be easy to sub the sugar to make it low carb. We love custard here, I might make this tomorrow.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Planning for Thanksgiving

I don't know who will be here for Thanksgiving this year. It may be just Pete and I and my mom, or my daughter and her toddler son (who live with us) may spend it here this year. Or who knows? If I find out about someone who will be alone, I'll invite them also.

Thanksgiving has become known as a holiday of excess to many but to us it is still a day that we concentrate on giving thanks to God - even more than every other day - for His blessings and provision in our lives. And we also celebrate the traditions that make our lives so rich.

We are dark meat eaters here, and a whole turkey is too much for just a few of us, so I will be trying to find turkey thighs. I have done a breast in the past but we ate it out of duty rather than enjoyment, so we'll do the thigh thing if I can find them. We'll have mashed potatoes, which will be mostly fauxtatoes but I'll throw in one or two of the real thing so there will be bits of skin and a more potato-y flavor. Green bean casserole hasn't been one of our traditions, but we will have other vegetables - the more colorful the better! Foregoing sweet potatoes, I'll do a winter squash dish, probably roasted chunks, and butter spinach. And also Pete's favorite, brussels sprouts, cooked with bacon and onions. Gravy will be of the creamed variety, with real cream. And dessert will be a whipped pumpkin dish using SF pudding mix, cream, diabetisweet brown sugar sub, cinnamon, and plenty of nutmeg.

And I want to mention this blog as a source for ideas, suggestions, and links to recipes for a lowcarb Thanksgiving meal too!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Low Carb Eating and Priorities

I find I am not worrying about carbs as much as I am concerned with comfort at this point. Whatever doesn't cause pain is what I eat. And trying to reduce any inflammation in my gut before the surgery (the reason for the liquid diet suggestion by my primary doc) is a priority as well. The two should go hand in hand. I have been sticking with soft foods though, rather than liquids. I am not getting a whole lot of pain eating this way - along with my digestive enzyme supplements to help break things down - and I am guessing/hoping that the levels of pain and inflammation are connected...

At any rate, this is about carbs and not about pain or surgery :). And I have introduced some carby foods that I wouldn't normally eat, for the sake of the above. Low carb foods that I am eating are eggs/heavy cream scrambled with cheese...cottage cheese...chicken...cream soups (homemade)...string cheese...SF jello/whipped cream (sweetened with sweetzfree)...SF ice cream...yogurt...

What I have eaten that is comfortable to my gut but not low carb: potatoes (baked or mashed) and rice, both well-buttered, and both eaten minimally (only made rice once in fact).

I'm finding that more things bother me than I thought. Most vegetables are all but out of the question, as are many meats - although I do a pot roast the other day, cooked until very very tender - falling apart in fact - and could eat small amounts of that, very well-chewed. But only very small amounts.

This is only temporary, but I miss my cooking and the types of meals that I am so used to eating. I will get past this in a few months, and be able to get back to my beloved and precious low carb eating. I think I will pick up a good protein shake mix to add from now until the surgery, because I know I'm not getting enough protein. I also need a liquid vitamin supplement since the big pills are just too much...

Anyway, just an update on how I'm doing with my soft-foods and my eating. Nothing earth-shattering. Which is probably a good thing :).

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Request for Ideas Please?

As I wrote in my ChiaChatter blog this morning, my doctor has strongly suggested that I go on a liquid diet from now until my surgery on December 1st. While I'm not on a CLEAR liquid diet, and while it is "just" a suggestion, I believe it to be a good one. I have had such pain and such bloating every time I eat (I may as well be flat-chested as my double-DDs are smaller than my bloated belly!) that it has become hardly worth it anyway. I've been eating one meal - a small meal - per day for over a week, and then suffering terribly the rest of the day. It doesn't matter what the food is, only that I ate it.

Today I had some leftover mushroom soup from the other day. It still tasted AMAZING! But now I am in agony again. I can't believe that just those few bits of mushroom could hurt that much...but maybe it is just that I ate at all. Doc also told me to drink a can of Ensure every day - BLECH!!! Maybe some protein powder mixed into my eggnog? I need to figure out my

Speaking of which, I'm trying to think of things I will enjoy, that will go through a straw. I like eggnog, and eggs are such nutritional powerhouses! I'll make soups, both creamy and clear, but avoid my favorites of broccoli and cauliflower because I can't afford "gassy" vegetables right now. Cheese soup might be good. Jello of course...home-made whipped topping is a rare treat. Pudding? I don't know if that is really a liquid...but it isn't hard to digest, and should move right through, shouldn't it? I will have to try...soft-boiled eggs? I guess not really a liquid...what else? No carbonated beverages but I drink my diet Vernors flat anyway; hubby keeps an open bottle on the counter for me so it is warm and flat just like I like it. And tea of course. I don't care for fruit juices but maybe just a little, mixed with yogurt to make a smoothie...

I am not going to worry overly much about carbs during this time; however I don't like sugary sweet things much anyway. To sweeten my eggnog I will use a drop of sweetzfree and that will be enough for the little bit of "sweet" that I like, just by way of example. So I doubt that I'll be getting too many carbs in my "diet" anyway.

So. 3+ weeks of liquids (and of course afterward, although at first probably clear liquids?) until the Big Day...I need ideas, if you have any please :).

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Cream of Mushroom Soup and "Crackers"

Today's soup was AMAZING! I should really make soup more often, it is time-consuming but simple. Anyway, yesterday while we were shopping* we picked up a big package of sliced mushrooms - just your plain white, semi-flavorless mushrooms - on the sale rack. I had a couple of cans of shitake mushrooms here though, which have more flavor. All out of dried unfortunately...but gave it a shot anyway. Ahhh, the miracle of reduction to increase flavor...

Chopped half of a HUGE onion into small pieces, then sweated it in a couple of Tbsp of bacon fat in the bottom of a heavy dutch oven. When they were translucent I added all of the sliced mushrooms (they filled the pot), lowered the heat, and covered it. After about 20 minutes on medium low there was enough room in the pot to stir the mushrooms and onions together; then I added S&P, covered it and let it cook another half hour or so.

Once the mushrooms were cooked way down, I added a quart can of beef broth. After stirring, I increased the heat to medium-high and let it reduce bay about 1/3, seasoned it with more more sea salt and a couple of squirts of worchestershire sauce, added both small cans of shitake mushrooms (which I had drained), and stirred in a quart of heavy cream. I reduced the heat to medium and stirred until I saw the steam starting, turned off the burner, and it was ready.

This soup is WAY too good to put crackers into (even if they weren't too carby!) but I wanted something with a little crunch. So I split some low carb oat/flax pitas (4gN each) and put them on the oven rack, sprinkled them with about 2T of shredded cheese each (I had colby/jack so used that), and left them in a 400-degree oven until the cheese was melted, the edges were browning, and they were crisp. I only used 2 pitas (so 4 halves) but they were so filling we couldn't eat them both with the soup. We did each have 2 bowls of soup though...but the pitas with cheese will make great snacks in the future as well, dipped in salsa and/or sour cream...or just plain.

What a great meal, we'll have the same thing for supper later, although I'm about to fire up the bread machine, so we'll have a slice of bread with our soup instead of the cheesy pitas.

As for the cost: it may be a pricier meal than I typically make; including the cheesy pitas my best guestimate would be $13. But it is easily 8 generous bowls of soup (with half of a half-pita with each - 2 shown above) so really, I suppose it isn't really that pricey after all, not when you consider how filling it is!

*Speaking of shopping...if anyone is interested I will post my receipts. But since I've never gotten any feedback on my grocery receipts I stopped posting them...not that I've had a whole lot lately. We have spent most of the summer eating the stockpile of meats and frozen veggies that I had stockpiled in the chest freezer, having bought it on sale previously. So mostly I've just bought fresh produce, dairy, and a few things here and there that were needed for a dish or to satisfy a craving :). But as all good things come to an end, we got to the bottom of the freezer recently, so yesterday I started the process of restocking it...anyway if no requests, I will toss my receipts that are cluttering up my space :).

Monday, November 1, 2010

Things Are Changing...

...for the better I hope.

First, my gut surgery, which I have mentioned previously, is scheduled for December 1st. This is NOT weight-loss surgery. And I don't completely understand all of it but will probably mention it later either here or in my personal blog.

Meanwhile, I have a month and will work on losing some weight before that time. Actually I have already started. Don't plan to weigh myself, will just eat right and go from there.

As I've had so many health issues, and as my independence and entire life has become more and more limited, I believe depression had started to set in. I'm pretty familiar with the signs, having been hospitalized twice for it in the past (the WAY past, the last time was over 30 years ago), and have been fighting it with the help of God's grace. But when so many other things were taking priority in my life - like trying to manage just getting through each day - how and what I ate weren't at the top of the list anymore. I knew it but also knew that it was ok and had peace about it.

As I'd written before, I've been maintaining well for several years. During the periods when I've been unable to do the shopping and cooking and my wonderfully nurturing husband has stepped in, we've eaten carbier. And when we have had to resort to restaurants or carry-out, we've eaten carbier. It is only that I have shopped and cooked as much of the time as I have that I didn't regain all of my weight.

Anyway, I still don't want to lose so much weight that I have all of the hanging skin issues (yes, people keep telling me this will resolve in time - it's been well over 5 years and frankly folks, it ain't happening!) but I know that even if I lose another 10# this month it will help for the surgery and also afterward.

Speaking of afterward...I guess I'll be on liquids for some 2-3 (or more? don't remember) weeks, then on mushy (oatmeal consistency) foods, then gradually onto real foods. He mentioned something about not being able to eat raw vegetables (a staple to me!) but I don't know if that's temporary - I hope not. And I don't know if the dietary regimen after surgery is the same as after WLS (and it doesn't matter), but I do know that eating a liquid diet will probably cause me to lose even more weight.

I did tell Dr.F that my diet consists of 90% vegetables, meats, and dairy - in that order - and he said that will be fine, with the exception of raw veggies. So I guess that's something that I will need to clarify somehow...he also said something about not eating bread but that won't be an issue for me either, I do ok with my modified version of oopsies.

So. The whole point is that I'm back off maintaining my weight, and back to losing, at least for this month. Then after I get back to "normal" (either my old normal or a new normal) eating I will re-evaluate if I want to stay with my new weight, whatever that might be, or will continue losing until the loose skin issue approaches the intolerable level...but I am already doing self-talk with the latter option as the goal.

Things change, minds change, bodies change. Here we go!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

More than 40,000 still without power in mid-Michigan

This lists, by county, the number of people without power yet. I live in Roscommon County, the one with the highest number of "powerless" people...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Bread Machine Bread

We stayed with my sister and brother-in-law for a couple of nights this past week, and my BIL made some bread machine bread while we were there. I have made low carb bread in my machine in the past with great results, and decided to make some today. However, I didn't have my old recipe so I looked one up to use as a starting point. I chose #2 at this site and made my changes: rather than using soy flour I used a mixture of almond flour and ground sesame seeds, and I also added a Tbsp of powdered milk (which I've always used in bread recipes). Because I have no clue where my machine's manual is ever since I organized my drawers, I had to hazard a guess as to which setting to use on my bread maker: 1#, 1.5#, or 2#. I went for the middle.

The bread is great. Very slightly spongier than I like but toasted it is excellent. Only thing I would have done differently would be to use the 1# setting, as it was a bit overdone.

Next time will use 3/4c vital wheat gluten, and for the remainder of my "flour" will mill some sunflower seeds, flax meal, and oat bran as well as oat flour...I'm thinking 3/4c oat flour, and 1/2c blend of the others. Unless I find my old recipe first :).

BTW, when I eat toast (not often obviously) I always slather it generously with real butter. a couple of tablespoons can improve a slab cut from almost any loaf!

Spinach Quiche with Gruyere Cheese & Almond Flour Crust #lowcarb

Had some quiche at my sister's house this week, it was delicious; saw this recipe tonight, I think I might have to do this!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Low-Carb Moussaka (YouTube video)

I didn't know I could share videos here, this opens up whole new worlds :). Anyway, can't wait to try this one, I haven't had moussaka in years, but I loved it when I had it! I'm thinking I'd use yogurt instead of sour cream though, and of course more feta cheese :). If you try this, let me know ok?

Friday, October 8, 2010

LC's Cheap'n'Easy, QUICK Lunch - #lowcarb

I didn't set out to make my 18MO grandson a lowcarb lunch, but given what I have in the house, that's the way it worked out. And it is SO GOOD that from now on it will be another meal idea for "Ugma" and "Umpa" too!

I put some EVOO and butter into a pan on a hot burner. While it was heating I took my julienne peeler to a yellow squash and made some "squashetti". Put it in the pan, on high, and let it sizzle until it started to brown around the edges while I diced a small piece of leftover ham. Stirred the squashetti, added the ham, and stirred - still on high - for about a minute until the ham pieces also started to color. Put it on a plate, sprinkled with a little parmesan (he likes anything with parmesan!) from the green can, and he's LOVING IT! Of course I tasted it too :) and I think it would taste great with just about kind of meat in it. And I'd toss a few chopped tomatoes in at the end as well...and probably do some thin-sliced red onion with the squashetti...

But the baby loves it and it took less than 10 minutes start to finish! He watched me, perched safely away from the heat on the countertop, as I described everything I was doing as I always do when I do anything in the kitchen while babysitting, and he couldn't wait to try it. We love cooking and baking "together"...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Lovely late breakfast of scrambled eggs and sausage patties today; grilled chuck steak and buttery acorn squash for supper. #lowcarb

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Cheap'n'Easy Lowcarb Living: So I Had Some Tater Tots... #lowcarb

So I Had Some Tater Tots... #lowcarb Sonic last month when on my weekend away with hubby, and have wanted more ever since. (That's the thing about cheats - even planned cheats - is that you have to have an iron will to get back on plan immediately and not look back! Thank God for my stubbornness - lol)

My favorite subs for taters in most recipes are root vegetables, or root vegetables mixed with cauli. I don't know, it just seems that the cauli flavor is too strong. But I found a recipe and a discussion about lowcarb tots, and definitely will be making these. Only difference is, I will probably use a 50/50 mix of cauli and daikon for the "potato" and will use onion powder instead of garlic...or maybe both!

Just used my last daikon though. I haven't done a big grocery shopping in months. When there's a big sale on meats, I fill the freezer ($1.19/lb for the big country pork ribs for example - $40 worth in there now!), and had enough frozen vegetables to last through the summer since I'd pick up some lovely summer fresh vegetables when I was out; ditto with dairy. But all of my little $20-40 trips have still added up to about $300-350 for the month each month, which is all I ever allow in the budget. (exception: my once-a-year big online orders from and Still eating well, still eating cheap, I just haven't bothered to put all of my purchases here because frankly, I never got any feedback that anybody even read or used all that info :).

Back to tots: here is the LCF discussion. And after I get another daikon I will give it a shot.

Meanwhile, my seasonal job ends this month, and after that I will have more time to mess around in the kitchen - and to blog :).

Monday, October 4, 2010

Nice little lunch...broke 2 eggs into hot butter, broke yolks, topped with a slice of #lowcarb bread, buttered on top; when eggs were done, I flipped it and ended up with a crispy open-faced fried egg sandwich. Might add bacon and/or cheese next time but was great this way too, better than the boring fried-eggs-on-toast. Would probably work with oopsies also since they make great grilled cheese sandwiches but I didn't happen to have any made up.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Just made some lovely "energy bars" for my #toddler grandson and he LOVES 'em! An egg (whipped WELL), some canned sweet potatoes (drained but not rinsed for sweetness), a little oat and a little rice baby cereal leftover from his babyhood, a dried prune for sweetness, some unsweetened coconut flakes, a little healthy coconut oil, a scoop of his toddler formula, a tiny bit of baking powder and a tiny bit of baking soda. (Sorry, I don't measure when I cook or bake.) Poured the thick batter into a small greased loaf pan, and baked at 350 about 30 minutes until done (bounces back, knife comes out clean). When it cooled, I sliced it into toddler-sized slices and put them back into the oven on a flat baking sheet to harden slightly. He is nuts over these things, wants more and more!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sweet Potato Pone Patties ( #lowcarb with subs)

As written, not low carb. And some lowcarbers don't use sweet potatoes at all. But if you do, this could be a fantastic side dish I'd think! Sub out the sugar for the sweetener of your choice, use unsweetened coconut or toss it with some powdered sweetener, and Bob's your uncle! (I don't keep mace but would probably sub about 1/2 tsp nutmeg.) These would be great with ham or pork roast to serve when I had guests, and I might even make a raisin sauce (a basic sauce with SF raisin syrup adding just a few raisins as "garnish") with them. Add a salad of mixed dark greens and maybe some brussels sprouts halved and fried with bacon and red onion...great meal!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Starches and Nausea

The people in my family tend to have stronger-than-your-average-bear reactions to anesthesia. Despite assurances from anesthesiologists that they are able to prevent the nausea following being knocked out, that's never been the case for me. So after my cataract surgery a few days ago, which required just a few minutes under the influence of propofol, I spent the next 36 hour experiencing waves of nausea.

And craving starches. Somehow that's what my body still wants, even after 6-1/2 years of mostly-starch-free eating.

So this week I had a baked potato with butter, and some dreamfield's with butter and cheeses. Not earth-shattering, and I doubt that I gained a single ounce from them. As I've said before, unless and until I choose to lose more weight, I can be a little more flexible, can have the occasional baked potato...

But the whole point is that I find it interesting that, even after all this time eating lowcarb, even though my body is perfectly in sync with its healthy diet of veggies, greens, meats, dairy, fats, nuts, and seeds nearly every day of its stomach still demands starch when it is churning?

Just an observation. :)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Artisan Flat Bread Recipe #lowcarb

Something I tripped over while surfing...looks like a good one to try!

Amplify’d from
Artisan Flat Bread (Ciabatta/Foccacia

Artisan Flat Bread (Ciabatta/Foccacia

Another "old" recipe that I don't know who the OP was, sorry. This bread is so good, just had to resurrect it again! Don't have the nutritional info on this, either.


8 oz cream cheese

3 eggs

1/2 cup almond flour

3/4 cup bake mix of choice

1 tsp fresh minced garlic

1 tbs chopped fresh oregano or 2 tsp dried

2 tbs chopped parsley or 3 tsp dried

1/2 small onion, diced and sauted until soft

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

4 to 5 tbs olive oil

15 chopped black or green olive (optional)

Mix all except the olives, if using, in the food processor until smooth.

Drizzle in about 4 to 5 tbs olive oil with the processor on low.

Turn off processor and stir the olive (if using) in by hand.

Bake in a muffin top pan at 350F for 20 minutes or until golden.

You can also add a 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese to the recipe, if desired

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Day After #Cataract Surgery

Sorry...I posted this entry in the wrong blog - if you are interested in reading it, you can find it at my other blog.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Your Lighter Side...: To our (

YOU GO, JAMIE! So much common sense here, hope the corn industry sits up and takes notice! (As an aside, I've used xylitol as my main sweetener for several years and love the stuff!)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Change of plans! A not-so- #lowcarb supper but it was great!

Was going to have fish with roasted radicchio but when the fish thawed it had a strong odor so I threw it out. We had some potatoes in the house (a rarity!) and dinnertime was upon us so I decided on an old standby from my early days when it was just Casey and I. She was little, we were alone and broke (in spite of my 2 jobs), and we ate pretty darned cheaply. One of our favorite cheap dinners was stuffed baked potatoes. I haven't had one in years!

So today it was a medium-sized thick-skinned russet, baked until the skin crisped up and the flesh was fluffy. I scooped out half the flesh for my toddler grandson (and heaped the toppings on!), so that saved me a few carbs anyway. And our stuffings were cheese, bacon, broccoli'n'cauliflower (raw, chopped fairly small), plus butter and full-fat sour cream. I ate more of the toppings than potato of course, so the medium potato (less half the flesh) was perfectly adequate.

I gotta was truly a pleasant walk down memory lane. And still cheap! I can't begin to calculate the exact amount but the potatoes were approx. 35c each, and I got the raw broccoli'n'cauliflower for $1.20 for a 1# bag on sale. (We used half the bag.) The bacon is from a package of real bacon pieces I got at GFS, only used a few spoonsful for us all (2 adults and aforementioned toddler) - same with the cheese and the sour cream. Plus about a half-stick of butter (25c)...yeah, definitely a cheap'n'easy meal - even if it wasn't as low carb as we usually eat.

Living #LowCarb with Sugar-Free Syrups ( #diabetes )

Wow, DARdreams, you ROCK! I don't know what Squidoo is but I can see that I will be spending the rest of the afternoon looking at all of your pages!

Monday, September 13, 2010

#Dreamfield's Pasta Side Dish - AMAZING!

With our seasoned pork steaks (so thick I roasted them) and salads I made an absolutely DELICIOUS cheap'n'easy side dish with Dreamfield's elbow macaroni!

While the pasta was boiling in heavily salted water (and I always put a squirt of olive oil in the pot so the pasta doesn't stick) I cooked some sliced mushrooms - some fancy kind I got on sale, don't remember what they were - in butter and olive oil. When the pasta was al dente (never overcook Dreamfield's!) I drained it, returned it to the pan, and added the mushrooms as well as the fats from the pan and tossed it with a little more butter, and generous handful of finely shredded italian blended cheeses, and a few shakes of parmesan from the green can. And the result was simply AMAZING! There simply are no words...

And, if you are interested, here is the rub I used on my pork: garlic, onion, ginger, and chili powders, cinnamon, sea salt, and brown sugar sub.

And the salad was just poured out of a plastic bag with most of the carrots picked off, and served with bacon bits (the real ones) and full-fat ranch dressing.

It was my only meal of the day, was just too busy to eat and didn't get hungry so I didn't stop to do so...then I had a dish of SF butter pecan ice cream later in the evening....

But that macaroni dish was simply WONDERFUL! :)

The cost for all of this? bag of salad, bought on sale for 99c, + 2 pork steaks @ $1.38/lb, + 1 package of mushrooms on special for $1.01 + 1/2 box of Dreamfield's macaroni for $1.30 + $1.65 in cheeses, + a generous allowance of $1.00 for seasonings, butter, EVOO, and bacon pieces. TOTAL for dinner for 3 adults and a toddler = about $8.25. For an AMAZING dinner, yet! This is great eatin', and great cheap low carb livin'!

Garlic Roasted Radicchio Recipe (link)

I have never bought radicchio but I got some yesterday, and will be trying this recipe this week. It looks wonderful!

Amplify’d from

What Grows Together, Goes Together

Garlic Roasted Radicchio

One of the central
tenets of seasonal eating is the notion that
things that grow side by side taste good
together. That’s the idea behind chef Todd
English’s Olives restaurant in Boston.
"The whole concept of Olives was of cooking
food from where olives grow. The whole
Mediterranean belt," he explains in the
introduction to his new cookbook, The
Olives Table

Olives must be in his blood, he goes on
to say. His great-great grandparents had an olive
farm in Italy and he spent time working in
restaurants in Italy.

The following recipe is one he
picked up in Italy. It brings out the
"better bitter qualities" of radicchio,
a vegetable that in its raw form has a different
type of bitterness that English does not like.

"Be sure to cook the
radicchio until it is fully crisped," he

What to serve it with? Roasted
chicken or rabbit ravioli.

Roasted Radicchio

8 garlic
cloves, finely chopped

¼ cup olive oil

1 tbs chopped fresh rosemary leaves

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

1 tsp kosher salt

½ tsp black pepper

4 large heads radicchio, halved through
the root

Grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish

1. Place the
garlic, olive oil, rosemary, vinegar, salt, and
pepper in a large bowl and mix well. Add the
radicchio and gently toss so that it is well
coated. Cover and let marinate at room
temperature for at least 1 hour.

2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

3. Place the radicchio in a
baking pan and pour the marinade on top. Place in
the oven and roast until the edges of the
radiccio are crisp and almost beginning to look
burnt, about 20 to 25 minutes.

4. Serve immediately, with
grated Parmesan cheese.

Read more at Congrats 2 the #lowcarb bloggers that made the cut!

Did Some Great Shopping Yesterday!

I'm planning some great meals this week! As I've written previously, I don't plan each meal...but with the things I have "in stock" and the fresh produce I got yesterday (it was a splurge, I didn't worry about $ as much as I usually do but rather just got what looked good!) I will make some great meals!

Bought radicchio, which I've seen used on TV but have never bought. This recipe looks very good, and I have everything I need to make it. But since I only bought one head I will obviously adjust the ingredient amounts accordingly.

I also got a daikon, some yellow summer squashes, and a couple of big yellow sweet onions that I will use, with ground sausage, to make a hash which we love.

Pork steaks and country-style ribs were on sale for $1.38/lb this week so we stocked up on 25# which will make a few good meals! In fact, we're having pork steaks today, with sauerkraut and salad. If time permits I may make some rolls (using the basic Oopsie recipe but adding some oat bran and golden flax meal to pump 'em up a bit) to go with them also.

I just love to shop, and love to cook, and love to eat! Even with my ongoing gut issues and pain (which will hopefully be resolved surgically yet this year), my enjoyment of food rarely wanes even as my ability to eat does. That I can eat lowcarb fare without worrying as much about portion sizes as other plans require (YMMV) is one of the greatest benefits of the plan! On those days that I can eat, I don't have to hesitate to enjoy GOOD food, EASY food, and CHEAP but HEALTHY lowcarb meals!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

And With The Last of the Fresh Spinach... #lowcarb

...I had pasta :). Dreamfield's actually. All 3 of us (hubby, me, and 16MO grandson who lives with us) had our spaghetti different ways. Pete had his with SF spaghetti sauce and cheese - the traditional way. The baby had a hard-boiled egg with his, and parmesan cheese on top. He decided to put the egg actually into the spaghetti, and mash it all together with his fork - and loved it that way!

But on to the spinach part. I put a thin layer of spaghetti on my plate that I tossed with butter (it was cooked with EVOO on the water, as well as sea salt), then I layered the last of the spinach leaves, another layer of hot pasta, and cheese on top. OH YEAH BABY! We're talking good eatin', now! I love spinach in any way shape or form, and this was new but amazingly delicious. The hot pasta wilted the spinach just enough...

Anyway, we didn't end up having the burgers with our supper...didn't need them.

Now I (purposely) have some leftover Dreamfield's so tomorrow I will make a spaghetti pie :).

Lovely #Lowcarb Spinach Salad...PLUS lunch!

Last night I made a lovely spinach salad. I finely chopped about 1/4c of onion and fried it in bacon fat until translucent, then added some already-cooked bacon, chopped. Then about 1/4c of coconut oil, 1T of granular splenda and 2T of Ideal sweetener (I mix the splenda with the ideal until the splenda is used up - then I will be an Ideal cook!), a few scrapings of nutmeg, and a splash of balsamic vinegar. This I tossed with spinach leaves and chopped hard-boiled eggs, and it was an amazing salad for supper!

The bacon was $1.49/lb. The whole bag of spinach leaves was $1.99 - I used half. The onion was about 50c. The eggs were 11c each, I used 4. Excellent generous-sized supper for 2, for about $4.00.

Today I spread some honey mustard on a slice of Flatout flat bread and loaded it up with more spinach leaves and leftover (warmed) bacon, then rolled it up - it was really loaded and really thick - and REALLY REALLY GOOD! Excellent lunch!

Tonight: Dreamfield's pasta with EVOO, butter, and cheeses (sauce for hubby but not for me). Leftover grilled ground beef patty on the side. Each of us will eat for about $2.

Shakin' It Up, and Amazing Steak Dinner #Lowcarb #Recipe

I haven't been posting the samo-samo meals I've been eating recently, and in fact have started getting bored. So the last few days I've tried to shake it up a bit, using food I already have stockpiled. (For those of you following my grocery shopping posts, I haven't done a big shopping in at least a couple of months - yeah, I have that much stuff on my shelves and in my big freezer! Just filling in with the perishables, such as fresh produce, and dairy.)

Sunday dinners I like to "fancy it up a bit" especially since my mom spends Sundays with us - the nursing home where she lives has good food, but it tends to be a bit "institutional" anyway. This past Sunday I made some NY strips on the griddle. First I started frying up a pound of bacon because I needed the fat. While that was cooking I seasoned the steaks (onion/garlic/chili powders, sea salt) and let them sit while I halved half-thawed brussels sprouts and yellow squash slices - just had a small amount left in each package I wanted to use up - and quartered, then thinly sliced, a medium yellow onion.

After spreading some fresh bacon fat on the hot hot hot griddle, I put the steaks on. Then I removed the bacon from the frying pan and much of the remaining fat for later use, and tossed the veggies in the same frying pan. They required frequent tossing to brown evenly and cook through. The steaks cooked about 5 minutes on the first side and 3 on the 2nd, then I removed them to a platter and tossed about a cupful of straw mushrooms (from a can) right on the hot griddle with the bacon fat and the seasonings the steak left behind. As the liquid came out of the 'shrooms and I scraped/tossed them, they deglazed the griddle nicely and picked up some wonderful flavor. Meanwhile I also add butter, sea salt, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar to the vegetables.

What a lovely meal! A platter of medium-rare steaks with a pile of delicious mushrooms and colorful vegetables next to was a feast for the eyes as well as the palate! Unforunately, after a day trip the day before, I'd left my camera somewhere out of reach (found it later) and we were too hungry to wait for me to find it...but I will definitely be making this again!

The steaks had been on sale for $2.49/lb - I used 3# of meat - certainly less than $2 in vegetables (and that's figuring HIGH), a $1 can of mushrooms...some butter, bacon fat, and seasonings - dinner for 4 adults plus a toddler for right around $10!

Every time I make a meal like this one, I want to defy the lowcarb naysayers to show me why they think that low carb eating is unhealthy...pfffffft! :)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

THE BEST @Dreamfield's Mac'n'Cheese Recipe #lowcarb

This is one that I could easily go hog-wild on if I didn't have a lot of self-control. Thankfully though, yesterday was my cheat meal (love the Friday fish dinners at the local eateries, although I got frog legs yesterday) and I'm always craving the low carb foods - meats and vegetables mostly - after a planned cheat meal. So today I ate a heap of pan-fried green beans (the skinny whole ones from GFS, fried quickly over high heat in butter and EVOO, seasoned with sea salt and onion and garlic powders), a couple of grilled Kogel natural casing hot dogs - nice and dark and almost crispy like I like them...and only a small serving of the mac'n'cheese.

Let me say from a "cheap" perspective, this wasn't as inexpensive as my meals usually are. That's because we really splurged on the Kogel's. No other hot dog is the same, so when we have some extra $ left in our food budget we buy a package of 24 for $9.99. At 40c/dog it's pricey...but we think it's worth it!

Back to the mac'n'cheese: I boiled a whole box of Dreamfield's elbows in salted water to which I'd also added EVOO (keeps the pasta from sticking), just until al dente as instructed, then drained it and returned it to the pan. I stirred in 1/4c butter, 1/4c heavy cream, 1/2c shredded colby-jack, 1/2c shredded italian blend, 1/4c parm from the green can, and a half-tsp of nice strong paprika which spiced it up a bit and also gave it a great color.

Obviously we have a lot left, and I will use it tomorrow mixed with ham and asparagus chunks in a casserole, topped with a little more cheese and baked. With a salad on the side it will make an amazing Sunday dinner too!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Lovely Luscious Cinnamon Nutcakes #lowcarb #recipe

3 large eggs
1/4c heavy cream
1/4c almond flour
1/4c coconut flour
1/2t vanilla
dash salt
1/2t baking powder
1t cinnamon
1T brown sugar sub

Whisk first 2 ingredients together until they start to lighten up; add remaining ingredients and blend thoroughly. Scoop onto hot coconut oil-coated griddle; when they come easily away from the surface, flip to cook other side.

I put butter between them as I put them on the plate, and then SF syrup over the top. Very very rich that way and I don't eat a whole lot :).

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Brussels Sprouts COULD Become my Favorite Vegetable! (recipe)

Tonight's supper was excellent! I have a freezerful of pork tenderloin that we had sliced into 3/4" slices by the butcher. I fried a few slices on our griddle, greased with bacon fat, and seasoned them with just some onion/garlic/chili powders and sea salt.

I did a "seat of the pants" brussels sprout dish to go with them. Here is what I did.

2T bacon fat
1/2 red onion, sliced into "slivers"
about 30 thawed, previously frozen brussels sprouts, halved
1/4 tsp. nutmet
1/4 tsp. sea salt
2T balsamic vinegar

First I cooked the onion in the bacon fat until the edges started to brown, then I stirred in the brussels sprouts. When they were tender (and the onions were quite brown, like I like them!) I stirred in the remaining ingredients, stirring in the fat over high heat until most of the liquid had evaporated and there was just a couple of spoonsful of "sauce" left in the bottom.

These were AMAZING! And so simple, and so cheap!

Let me just say here that I have never been a fan of brussels sprouts. I would eat 3 or 4 with a meal but that was my limit. Tonight, I even had SECONDS! Really really excellent! :)

At 1.5gN each, that's a little carby. Add in the 4 gm carbs from the balsamic vinegar and the 5gN from the onion and we're talking about 55gN here. I ate about 1/3 of the whole amount, for maybe 20gN. The meat had a low amount of carbs from the seasonings also - but just over maybe 20gN for a meal - yeah, that's fine with me...especially for a meal that was SO GREAT!

Going to Church - OOPS! Posted to wrong blog...

I posted this to the wrong blog, it should have been in apologies!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Still Plugging Along...

My eating habits are still not as usual, and probably won't be until my gut issues are resolved. When I'm hungry I eat, when I'm not I don't, and I am allowing myself more leeway as far as carbs: most days are less than 50gN/day - often way less. But some days may go as high as 100. As long as I don't gain weight I don't really care at this point. I just eat what I can, when I can.

It's strange how priorities change. In 2004 losing weight was my top priority, and my daily plans all revolved around that, and to accommodate meeting that goal. By the time I decided to stop losing weight, shopping, cooking and eating low carb was 2nd nature, and I didn't really have to think about it much...and that's how it's been for the last 6 years. I guess maybe that's why my way of eating has dropped lower on my priority ladder: it's become a no-brainer. Nothing special about it anymore, just our way of life.

Given this, however, with all of my gut issues has come some interesting changes. I am wanting - and eating - foods that haven't been part of my life for years. Such as grilled cheese sandwiches...sure they are great with Oopsie rolls as the bread, but with the amount of pain and fatique (pain in itself is very wearing, as so many can unfortunately attest!) Just as an example, I find it easier just to buy a loaf of low carb, or even moderate carb (pumpernickel) bread and use that. Sure, Oopsies are easy as heck to make, but minimizing pain by minimizing my activity and time on my feet has taken over as a priority now.

Cheap and easy is my focus, as it always will be. But "easy" is relative, and "easy" on my body vs. "easy" in the kitchen these days. Hence the priority shift.

Things in my kitchen will go back to normal when *I* am back to normal. Meanwhile, I continue to recycle the same meals and recipes that have served me so well and that I've already written about here, even though my definition of "easy" has changed (to what previously I would have considered "lazy" - lol), it's still all about cheap and easy low carb shopping, cooking, and eating :).

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Stretching a Meal - Easy AND CHEAP! #lowcarb

One day last week I had planned steak with roasted vegetables for supper. Then my daughter asked if her friend could eat with us, and of course I said he could...though I'd gotten 3 steaks out of the freezer, cutting each into 4 chunks makes it easy to feed 4 people with 3 steaks. Then she asked if one of her girlfriends, who also has a toddler, could also come. So we were up to 5 adults and 2 toddlers for supper.

The roasted vegetables were no problem: I just added more to the baking sheet. I used cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, red & green bell peppers, and whole green beans - all simply tossed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and sea salt, and roasted at 425 until they just started to brown.

For the meat, I cut it into bite-sized chunks and seared it in just a little olive oil, then added a couple of cans of shitaki mushrooms and a couple of onions, cut into big chunks. Once those had cooked, I stirred in some garlic and chili powders, and some worchestershire sauce, and it was ready to serve with a big pile of vegetables, and some fresh tomato wedges.

We ate like royalty, on nearly double the amount of food I'd originally planned. The plates were beautiful and colorful, that last-minute addition of the fresh tomatoes added a perfect contrast to the hot dishes, and everyone had their fill, with enough left over for my husband to have an evening snack!

Best of all, the cost: I fed everyone for under $10! 2# of steak at $2.99/lb, a half-bag (2.5#) of frozen mixed vegetables at $1.50, 2 tomatoes were about 40c each, plus oil and seasonings. AMAZING!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Lately, It's Been All About Comfort #lowcarb

Between my pain and digestive issues, and things that have been going on in my life, my diet has been all about comfort. Not weight loss, not macronutrient ratios, not even about balance. Just about comfort. There have been days on end when all I ate was pasta - Dreamfield's of course - with olive oil, butter, and the mixed Italian blend shredded cheese from Walmart. Other days, it was buttered toast, just store-bought lowcarb bread, which I wouldn't usually eat, but it's been about getting through each day, so many days lately, and just being able to eat has been a blessing.

One of the great things about the way I eat is that thick'n'creamy - REAL creamy, with real high-fat cream - is comforting and lowcorb both! And while many days I didn't want creamy, many days I did. And I could. Creamy-cheesy comfort...

Some days, though, I have prepared actual meals, as I always have, but nothing very inspired. We're still eating through the surplus of meat, seafood, and veggies in our big freezer, and have just had to fill in the gaps with dairy and fresh produce - nothing worth reporting. But overall, June was a month of very few, very small grocery bills, and not a single "big" shopping. That really lowers our net average for groceries.

So while I don't have a whole lot to report, I do want to tell you about yesterday's fantastic 15-minute supper. So good, it deserves its own post :).

Friday, June 25, 2010

Great Article - Save $$ on Meat! #lowcarb

I have been getting Mary Hunt's newsletter, Debt-Proof Living, for years, and have an enormous amount of respect for her, what she's accomplished, and how she is helping others to get out of debt quickly, and fairly. She has some great money-saving ideas in her daily newsletter, and if you click on the title above it should take you to her article on saving money on meats. It makes such perfect sense! This is how I shop (am I paying for bone? added water weight? fat?), doing the math as to whether the edible portions of a $1.29/lb roast make it a real bargain over the $3.59 leaner boneless cut...but having the chart that she links to will really be a great help and probably more accurate. I hope you benefit as much from this article as I plan to do!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A New #LowCarb Player on the #YouTube Field

I think I've watched every low carb recipe video on YouTube so many times that I'd given up hope of ever seeing anything new. Not that I don't appreciate them all, of course! And I have so many favorites that I will never grow tired of watching! Somehow seeing other people make low carb foods is just really enjoyable to me even after 3-4 viewings...just the same though, the 'Tube was due for some new blood.

And last night I discovered FidgetForFitness. With all the zeal and enthusiasm of a new low carber she has been creating easy dishes and sharing them with us - nearly 100 videos (not all recipes, but still...) in just a couple of months! - and they look pretty darned good! I remember those days 6 years ago when I filled my kitchen with lowcarb ingredients and went to work creating, and it was so much fun! Well that seems to be where Fidge (an affectionate nickname, as I feel I know her after watching so many videos!) is right now, and it's almost as fun reliving it with her now!

I've already amassed my list of "gotta try" dishes, as well as a couple of questions that I will put forth to her eventually, but I'm so happy to have found new low carb blood on the 'Tube, and dishes that look easy and good, that I wanted to share :).

Friday, June 11, 2010

Stockpiling Meat #lowcarb (Comment on Another Blog)

If you click on the title of this post it should take you to Grace2882's blog, which I love! Today I read her post about stockpiling meat. I LOVE that idea! I guess I stockpile, since I load up on meat when it's on any given time I have at least a month's worth of meats in the chest freezer in the garage, usually more. But I don't to things as she does, with lists, plans, and menus, as I've written before. Rather, I tend to keep my own mini-low-carb-stock, as if I were stocking a personal-sized grocery, and choose my daily meals from that. I'm just not an ahead-planner.

Anyway, the reason I'm writing is because I was intrigued by Grace2882's numbers. If I'm reading it correctly, she spent about $70/wk for meats alone. She is happy with that, and that's great :). My budget, however, wouldn't allow $10/day for just meat - or even $10/day for everything. Granted, I do have the occasional day that is $10 or even more, but I can't do that on a regular basis for my husband and I (and he eats huge portions; what the 2 of us eat for supper would easily feed 3) and sometimes my daughter and her toddler son, plus my mom at least one day/week.

I think next month I will keep track of how much I spend just on meats. This month I won't be buying much (unless I see a big sale) because I have so much on hand at the moment. But because the focus of this blog is living lowcarb inexpensively, as well as easily, I thought I'd comment. I don't really know what others consider inexpensive when it comes to eating lowcarb, and it is interesting to find out and compare.

Thanks Grace2882, I love all of your menus, ideas, and information!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Strange Food Day #lowcarb

I didn't want much lunch so I took a handful of frozen cauliflower florets and partially thawed them, just so I could chop them with my chopping blade. Then I chopped some leftover ham and sprinkled cheese on top, then heated it up right in the bowl. It was maybe a cupful if that...and very very good.

For supper I'd gotten out a couple of NY strips for grilling for Pete and I, and planned to maybe heat up some green beans in olive oil...but suddenly got a taste for some great Koegel franks in the casings. So we went to the local market and picked a few out of the meat case, and grilled them with our steaks. And had a salad on the side, with my own salad dressing (about 1/3c mayo, 1/4c SF ketchup, 2T Ideal sweetener, and 1Tbsp vinegar). What a delicious supper! A little unconventional maybe, but totally delicious!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What I 8 Today (6/9/10) #lowcarb

No appetite today so I didn't eat until suppertime. But dinner was pork rubbed with brown sugar sub, garlic, onion, and chili powder, and sea salt, then roasted. I also peeled a rutabaga and cut it into 1/4" strips, tossed with olive oil and sea salt, sprinkled with a little balsamic vinegar, and roasted, plus I fried up some brussels sprouts in bacon fat.

My stomach handled everything ok, even though I ate a full meal. As I wrote in my ChiaChatter blog, I am not fully convinced that my illness and pain is even in my digestive tract.

Haven't done any shopping in weeks, except for some half'n'half and a couple of other misc. things. Nothing major. We still have so much food in the house and in the freezer that I may not have to do a big shopping at all this month. It pays to stock up on food when it's on sale!

Monday, June 7, 2010

You May Have Noticed I Haven't Posted Much...#lowcarb

I'm sick. Going through so much testing, different doctors, etc. And I'm not eating right. Oh I'm eating mostly low carb but my gut is so messed up that sometimes I don't want anything to eat, sometimes it doesn't matter what I eat I get sick, sometimes the pain is so awful that I swear I will never eat again...

So I eat what I can, when I can, and am just trying to get through this time the best way I can. What and when I eat are sporadic and based upon how I feel at the time, and certainly not worth blogging about.

If you're interested, I do talk about my health stuff on my ChiaChatter blog.

Drawing Your Attention To A Comment #lowcarb

I just approved a comment on one of my blog entries here. At first glance it seemed to be kind of spammy when I checked out the site, and certainly she's trying to promote a (free) ebook here. But that's ok, because the bread recipes on the page, though they don't show the actual carb counts, look good. And the website looks good - be sure to watch the video on how to not have to peel a hard-boiled egg! So, to make sure you see it, I'm putting her comment here:

Great Recipes for Low Carb Bread. Easy to make and really tastes great!!

Bessie Cook
Download your FREE Low Carb Recipe Ebook!

I will also add the URL to my blog roll.

Friday, May 28, 2010

CHEAP'n'EASY #Lowcarb Picnic Ideas!

Lots of picnic food is already low-carb - think grilled meats - but when you're with a large group of family and friends it just don't seem right not to have a table groaning with food! And since this blog is about "Cheap'n'Easy" lowcarbing, I have some suggestions for that crowd-pleasing, groaning table that people can be enjoyed by ALL - lowcarbers or not!

First, the meats. Grill several different kinds. You can get chicken drumsticks for <$1/lb any day of the week just about, hamburgers made from scratch or already-formed patties for about 25¢ each, brats for about 50¢ each, and hot dogs for as little as a dime each! (Note that the cheapest hot dogs have all kinds of fillers, even HFCS, so read that packaging carefully! Ditto your brats!) Once you put out a few platters of different grilled meats, you've got a great start on your groaning table!

Next, vegetables. Even vegetables haters can enjoy sliced eggplant, zucchini or yellow squash, or halved bell peppers, tomatoes, or onions once they've been grilled! Brush with olive oil and season liberally (try garlic and onion powders, chili powder, sea salt, your spice cupboard and use your imagination!) before grilling. All of the colors on the platters, with the lovely grill marks criss-crossing your veggies, some fresh herbs tucked in, and this creates quite an impressive showing!

And a grilled "salad" is an impressive and EXCELLENT offering! Halve a head of romaine, leaving the bottom intact to hold it together. Brush both sides with olive oil and grill the cut side first, just until it has grill marks and is starting to get limp. Turn it over and sprinkle the hot cut side with some chopped cooked bacon and a little shredded cheese to melt it all on as the other side grills, and serve your grilled salads across a platter with a variety of salad dressings, and little dishes of add-ons for your guests to top 'em off. Suggestions: more bacon pieces and shredded cheeses, halved cherry tomatoes, sliced 'shrooms, roasted/salted sunflower seeds, chopped hard-boiled eggs...even tuna, ham, or chicken! Guests will love these I promise!

For other side dish ideas, try slices of cucumbers with spoonfuls of chicken, tuna, or egg salad on top, garnished with smoky paprika and parsley. Or a standard faux-tato salad, using blanched cauli bites instead of potatoes...and you can add other veggies as well! Devilled eggs are an expected offering, and are already low carb! A fruit salad of berries and melons with unsweetened coconut is always lovely, and cheese chips and veggies with dips are great too! Nobody will even miss the potato chips but if you have the time, daikons sliced thinly on a mandoline, deep-fried until curly and brown, then immediately seasoned with garlic salt and parmesan cheese (from the green can) make a very reasonable substitute. These are best served warm, so bring them to the picnic in a big covered foil baking dish that you can toss on the grill for a few minutes before serving with your meal.

Since desserts are expected, meringue cookies, SF jello salads with REAL whipped cream, lowcarb no-bake cookies and/or fudge, or any of the many cake, muffin, or cupcake recipes made with almond and/or coconut flours and SF sweeteners that abound will definitely work, with dishes of nuts set among them.

There is no reason that we lowcarbers can't have just as great and plentiful of a family picnic as non-lowcarbers can, and do it just as simply and inexpensively!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Planning or Winging It? #lowcarb

I follow blogs about people who plan their meals in advance and shop accordingly. I guess I've never explicitly mentioned that that's not how I do - although it's probably obvious.

It's like anything else: whatever works for you! For me, I want to eat whatever I'm in the mood for that day. If I plan a taco salad on Thursday but wake up craving a steak, I won't be happy with a taco salad. So I stock up my house with all kinds of lowcarb foods and ingredients to keep my options open.

On the other hand, I can see another point in planning: less emphasis on food. Less giving in to our food desires/craving. Learning control over "living to eat" and rather concentrating on "eating to live" - providing what we need to survive, rather than spending our days craving and drooling and obsessing over that night's fare.

Because, the way I do it, that's what I do. As the day wears on that night's supper is always on my mind. I may be thinking of a lot of other things, but that supper is always there. I think about what time to make it, how to season it, what side dishes I'll have, and how great it will taste. I give it WAY too much power over my thoughts, all day every day. It becomes the focus.

Food is a fuel. An enjoyable fuel to be sure, but when it becomes more than simply a way to keep going and to keep healthy, then it becomes a god. Waaaaaaayy wrong.

I'm not a planner, in any area of my life, and won't become one, but food does have more power over my life than it should. I need to consider this, and decide what to do about. Those who plan are onto something.

Friday, May 21, 2010

A Lovely Dish! Sausage & Shrimp

I'd mentioned to my husband yesterday that for supper I was going to fix ground pork and shrimp together, seasoned with just chili powder, and "dressed" with maybe some sour cream and/or butter. By dinnertime however, I couldn't stand long enough to fix supper, so Pete took off on my idea and added some baby corn and some shiritake noodles, and seasonings of his own. I just put some butter on it in my bowl and it was fantastic! I had the rest for lunch today.

Supper was simple tonight. Just sliced about 4" of a pork tenderloin into 4 slices, seasoned them, and layed them in the bottom of an olive-oil-greased baking dish. They took up about 3/4 of the surface. In the remainder I put some brussels sprouts, frozen, that I'd tossed with olive oil, sea salt, and garlic and onion powders. Then I roasted them all together. It is wonderful how something so simple can taste so amazing! What helped, I'm sure, was the thick layer of fat on the pork...oh yeah, baby!
Oh yeah, and the sandwich I put in Pete's lunch for work today: A piece of FlatOut Light (6gN) bread, with mayo spread on it, then a layer of romaine leaves, a layer of thin-sliced SF ham, and a layer of swiss cheese. Rolled up it is lovely, huge, and filling! A 1/4c serving of roasted peanuts, 2 sticks of string cheese, and he had a very filling lunch that held him all day. Sometimes I also give him dill pickle spears, and I need to make a big pot of hard-boiled eggs also, he loves those - especially when I devil them!

Every meal I eat, I marvel at how anyone can believe that eating low carb is boring, or unhealthy - or expensive!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Pork Rub Revisited #lowcarb

I don't measure anything as I've mentioned, but this will be close. Obviously, you will need to tweak these according to your taste also.

1 part ground cloves
1 part ground pepper
2 parts cinnamon
2 parts sea salt
3 parts garlic powder
3 parts onion powder
3 parts chili powder
(the darker the better!)
4 parts brown sugar sub
(I used DiabetiSweet)

I rub this into the pork about an hour before I cook it.

WHOA! Great Web Resource! #lowcarb

I happened upon the eBookBeta site this morning while looking for resources for my other blog. After I finished there, I did a quick search for low carb recipes and really hit pay dirt! What an AMAZING resource, not just for this subject, but seemingly for any other subject as well!

In the search that I've linked to my title above, the first link I clicked was invalid (I hadn't found any invalid links in my earlier search for my other blog), but the second one - 300 Healthy + Tasty Low Carb Recipes - looked very promising. As I was perusing it I saw that it might not be appropriate for all low carb plans, as some of the recipes do use ingredients that the more conservative of us low-carbers might not use. But the same can be said for many "low-carb" recipes, as that phrase has different meanings for different people and different plans. But, as always, we have to do our own research, know our own plans, be familiar with our own bodies' responses, and then change or dismiss what doesn't work for each of us.

But there are an incredible number of links to recipes and collections here, and definitely worth perusing for say nothing of finding files of information on just about any topic! I'm really excited to have found this site :).

Saturday, May 15, 2010

What I 8 Thurs/Fri (May 13-14) #lowcarb

Thursday still not much appetite, had a chicken leg quarter, roasted, and some whole green beans fried in butter and olive oil. Some popcorn in the evening but not much.

Friday I 8 a piece of leftover chicken early in the day, and a piece of grilled fatty chuck steak later in the day. Snack was a small dish of SF chocolate ice cream, and some more popcorn but not much.

If my appetite doesn't pick up, this will be a REALLY cheap summer! :)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

What I 8 Wed. (5/12) #lowcarb

Couldn't eat much yesterday, so just had little snacks throughout the day. In total, I ate a piece of oopsie bread with SF strawberry perserves and butter; 2 grilled brats; 2 pieces of string cheese.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What I 8 Tuesday (5/11) #lowcarb

For lunch I had some crab meat mixed with LC ketchup, cream cheese, and horseradish on my homemade crackers. For supper I had a chicken leg quarter, roasted, with skin (the best part!) and some whole green beans cooked in olive oil, sea salt, and butter over high heat, stirring constantly, until they started to get some brown on them...tender but a little crispy...I LOVE them!

My snack was a CarbSmart ice cream bar. And, as a reminder, I always have my breakfast of coffee with a generous amount of heavy cream, and 4 prunes.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Jimmy Moore Goes Cheap! #lowcarb

Clicking on the title of this post will take you to Jimmy's episode of Livin' LaVida Low Carb that deals with budget. He has a few great suggestions that begin to dispute the myth that eating low carb is expensive - which is, of course, the entire purpose of this blog. Along with his and Christine's suggestions in this episode, you can check my actual shopping receipts that I post here each month for other ideas, as well as my Cheap'n'Easy recipes and meals.

Good to see someone of Jimmy's stature in the low carb world helping to get the message out: healthy low carb eating CAN be done easily on a budget.

Monday, May 10, 2010

May 2010 "Big Shopping" #lowcarb

As always, I still have a lot of food from previous months; if I were to live on only what's already in the house, we wouldn't starve for WELL over a month. But we tend to run out of certain things. Plus, of course, I like to take advantage of the sales.

Once again I want to mention that we don't keep carby foods in the house. Doing so is just making cheating all but inevitable for us.

From Glen's (a local chain of supermarkets):
2 boxes of prunes @ $2.59 ea
5 bottles of SF ketchup @ $2.99 ea
1# of vital wheat gluten flour @ $7.99
(And now you see why we don't shop at Glen's - everything is much more expensive than anywhere else. But this month, it was the only place I could get the ketchup and the flour...and I'd forgotten the prunes when I was at Meijer.)
TOTAL - $28.12

From Meijer:
1 package Diabetisweet brown sugar sub @ $6.99
1 container of water chestnuts @ $1.01 (marked down 40%)
3 cans of crabmeat @ $1.59 ea
2 cartons of eggs, 24 eggs each @ $2.13 ea
4 boxes of Dreamfield's @ $2.29 each
ground chuck, on sale for $1.48/lb @ $8.64
chicken leg quarters on sale for $0.79/lb @ $6.73
6 romaine hearts @ $4.69
1 jar SF strawberry preserves $2.69
2 boxes CarbSmart ice cream bars @ $2.99 ea
2 packages of Ideal sweetener @ $4.99 ea
6 cartons SF soy milk (chocolate and cappucino) @ $1.56 ea (on sale, normally $2.09)
1 carton sea salt @ $1.79 (on sale, normally $1.99)
2 cans chicken @ $2.00 ea (on sale, normally $2.59)
1 can salmo @ $2.19 (on sale, normally $2.29)
1 can SF apple pie filling @ $2.42 (on sale, normally $2.69)
4 one-lb bags frozen cooked shrimp @ $3.99 ea (on sale, normally $7.99)
1# raw almonds @ $5.49 (on sale, normally $5.99)
2 one-lb bags frozen tilapia @ $3.50 ea (on sale, normally $5.99)
1 can white kidney beans @ 1.00 (on sale, normally $1.15)
2 bags salad mix @ $1.19 ea (on sale, normally $2.19)
1 package fresh portabello mushrooms @ $1.79 (on sale, normally $2.99)
2 one-lb packages fresh ground pork @ $2.17 ea
TOTAL $138.48

from GFS:
2.5 bag frozen spinach @ $2.49
2.5 bag frozen sliced yellow squash @2.29
(2) 2.5 bags frozen whole green beans @2.99 ea
(2) 36-ct string cheese @ $7.99 ea
5# bag cleaned/cut fresh cauliflower @ $8.99
11.22# smoked ham @ $15.60 (and sliced free!)
4# bag blanched peanuts @ $9.99
1# bag real bacon crumbles @ $6.79
1 box 50 natural sausage links @ $9.79
gallon jar of dill pickle spears $2.99
5# box of frozen brats @ $23.49 (These brats are huge, and worth the high price)
1 two-lb can of decaf coffee @ $9.99
TOTAL - $114.37

1 can chicken chow mein dinner @ $2.99
(4) 24 oz. packages of deli meat @ $0.99 ea
2 one-lb bags frozen stir-fry vegetables @ $1.39 ea
TOTAL $9.73


This food, along with what I already have, will feed Pete and I (full time) and my adult daughter and her toddler son (several days/week) for this month, and some will definitely carry over into next month. In addition, we usually spend about $100 more for odds and ends (fresh produce, dairy) through the month. I like keeping our bill to $75/week but I bought more convenience foods than I typically do. If I hadn't, I would have spent less. But I'm not able to stand for long periods in the kitchen, preparing and cooking meals, like usual. So I need simple right now in addition to cheap'n'easy :).

What I 8 Today (May 10) - Chicken Patties Recipe #lowcarb

For lunch I had a couple pieces of leftover roasted pork on romaine salad with buttermilk ranch dressing.

For supper I had 2 small chicken patties and steamed broccoli, with alfredo sauce. The sauce is made from a can of alfredo mix I got at GFS. I don't use it often, but the chicken patties turned out just a tad dry and they needed something, this was really quick as, of course, I didn't realize they were dry until I was just about to serve them.

Here is how I made them: put about a cupful of cooked chicken into the processor and processed until it was smooth; stirred in 2 eggs and about 1/4c of parmesan cheese; lightly made small (walnut-sized) balls which I pressed flat, then fried in a little olive oil until they were browned and crispy. I got 12 little patties. They were actually quite wonderful with the alfredo sauce on them, but the next time I will plan ahead and make my sauce instead of using the mix.

Then I had a CarbSmart ice cream bar.

Now to report on this month's grocery another post :).

Sunday, May 9, 2010

SF No-Bake Cookies #lowcarb #recipe

The other day I made these, based upon my memory of making the unhealthy ones way back before I started lowcarbing. I don't measure anything when I cook (or bake) so the amounts are just guesses.

First I melted in a pan:
1/4c SF peanut butter
1T butter

Then I added
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3c granulated Splenda
1/2c Ideal sweetener
1/2c unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4c cocoa powder
1/4c steel cut oats
1/4c oat bran
and stirred it well. Then I added enough almond meal to get it really really thick and stiff.

Then I scooped it out onto a baking sheet covered with parchment and put them into the fridge overnight. I got 42 cookie "balls" out of the recipe.

I didn't figure up the carbs, it's certainly not induction-friendly, and I wouldn't eat more than 2-3 a day, but they're so rich, I wouldn't want to.

What I 8 Today (Mother's Day) #lowcarb

Lovely foodie day!

Started out with some oopsie french toast with SF syrup, and 2 all-natural SF sausage links.

Dinner was wonderful! I fried onions in just a touch of oil in my dutch oven, then ground sausage with the onions just until browned. Then I added a bag of frozen stir-fry veggies, a can of drained mushrooms, a container of drained water chestnuts, and some leftover cooked shredded cabbage on top. I seasoned it all with some sesame oil and some soy sauce, covered it, and let it get all heated through, to really hot.

Meanwhile in a sauce pan I put some drained and rinsed shiritake noodles (angel hair) with some butter, soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic/onion powders. Actually I seasoned the noodles quite heavily.

When the pork and vegetables were done I served them over the noodles. EXCELLENT!

For dessert I had a couple of the SF no-bake cookies I'd made on Friday, and for an evening snack I had a bowl of heavily buttered popcorn.

The eating parts of my day really rocked!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

What I 8 Today Sat., 5/8 #lowcarb

We were out and about so stopped at a truck stop for lunch; got a lovely but huge chef's salad with buttermilk ranch dressing, half of which I brought home.

When I got home after an afternoon of shopping I had the rest of my salad, and some of the crackers I made yesterday with crab meat mixed with cream cheese, 1-carb ketchup, and horseradish as a dip.

This Week Cheap'n'Easy #Lowcarb

First of all, I still don't have a whole lot of appetite. (I wrote about that this week at my other blog.) So I'm not eating a whole lot of anything. But we've had a couple of stand-out meals this week anyway.

One was a restaurant where my husband took me for my birthday on the 5th. (I'm 53 but don't feel a day older than when I was just 52!) It was chicken breasts covered with smashed, cooked raspberries - not sweetened - and roasted almond slivers. It was AMAZING! The salad was good too, but the main dish was fantastic. And I'm sure I can duplicate it at home easily enough too.

The other was simple, and standard fare around here, but it just really hit the spot. We got a couple of hefty chuck steaks (my favorite cut, plenty of fat) on sale for $2.48/lb. I seasoned them with salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and chili powder, and broiled them to medium-rare. With it, we had a simple romaine salad with shrimp and buttermilk ranch dressing. So simple. But really great.

One day we also had another of my favorites, pork and cabbage, with the skinny "baby" whole green beans, cooked in a frying pan with olive oil and butter and sea salt, over high heat, stirring constantly. That tender-crisp texture really is fantastic.

With the leftover cabbage I plan to make potsticker patties, we can have them with shiritake noodles fried with some chinese vegetables (yeah, from a can), seasoned simply with soy sauce and sesame oil. That will be our dinner for Mother's Day I think, when my mom is here. It will be something different.

And that's what's been going on in my cheap'n'easy lowcarb world :).

Saturday, May 1, 2010

What i 8 Friday (4/30) #lowcarb

Some fish with mayo, and splurged on about a dozen waffle fries but took my carb blocker first, FWIW...later had some cole slaw for a snack.

Yeah, that's all I ate all day...

Tomorrow - well, I guess it's after midnight so it's today now - is my mom's birthday. We're going to take her to lunch at Coyle's, a local landmark. I have a hard time resisting the homemade cinnamon raisin bread on the bar there, and usually don't even bother trying. I only go to Coyle's once every few months. We'll see how I do with it tomorrow :). The one thing about Coyle's is that, even back when I had more of an appetite, I only ate one meal when I ate there. Now that I don't have much of an appetite it will still be one meal but a smaller one I'm sure!