Wednesday, December 28, 2011

#Lowcarb Squash #Recipe - Another way!

The other day I wrote about making squash pancakes that were more savory, then yesterday I made them differently and LOVED them! Can't wait to have more.

I used the other half of the squash, and added about 1/4c almond flour and 2T coconut flour, plus an egg, a Tbsl of brown sugar sub, 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, a Tbsp of sour cream, 1/s tsp each of baking soda and baking powder. These were pretty delicate and fell apart more easily than the ones with 2 eggs but they were totally delicious just with butter!

In A Cheesy Kinda Mood... #lowcarb #recipe

Yesterday I had some leftover ground pork rinds I wanted to use up. I tossed them with an equal part of parmesan out of the green can and 2 parts of grated cheese - colby-jack because that's what I had in the house. (So 1 part ground porkies, 1 part parm., 2 parts colby-jack.) I sprayed my muffin top pan and pressed the mixture into each of the 6 wells. After about 12 minutes in a 325* oven - just until fully melted together and just barely starting to brown around the edges - I pulled them out and let them cool, then removed them from the pan.

My 31MO grandson and I both liked them plain, and today I had one with a little spicy mustard and a slice of ham on top - DELICIOUS! Easy. Cheesy. And did I mention DELICIOUS?? They'd be great with tuna salad, chicken salad, egg salad, or whatever on them too. Really good!

Friday, December 23, 2011

#LowCarb Sweetening

Is it me, or is the term "artificial sweetener" really misleading? I watch a LOT of cooking videos, especially lowcarb or diabetic, and that term is used frequently, to mean "sugar substitute". Not only are many people turned off by eating "artificial" anything, but many sugar subs aren't artificial at all. Natural sweeteners like xylitol or stevia aren't artificial at all, but are referred to as if they were, and that does them an injustice - as well as the whole lowcarb community. Many, if not most, of us eat mainly whole foods, and don't eat much artificial anything, but those who think we do have another excuse to bash our healthy lifestyle.

Please folks, get it right!

Just sayin'... :)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

#Lowcarb Squash #Recipe - PANCAKES! + a Tip :)

Free for nuthin', here's a tip: If you want something to rise and you add baking powder, you're off to a good start. But if you want to make that baking powder do it's very best for you, you need to give it an acid: some yogurt, sour cream, buttermilk, kefir... It is something that doesn't seem to be too common in the lowcarb recipes I read, and I see large amounts of baking powder used in baking to try and get a good rise...it's not really necessary to use so much though, if you just add a spoonful of something acidic to give the baking powder some oomph.

Just wanted to mention that while I'm thinking of it...

Anyway, I had a half a dumpling squash left over. I scooped it out into a mixing bowl and mixed it with 2 eggs and about a half-cup of parmesan cheese, about 1/2t of baking powder and about 2t of sour cream, plus S&P, then mixed well with a stick blender, and cooked on my griddle - oiled with coconut oil - like pancakes. Served 'em with butter on top and sausage patties on the side. DELICIOUS!!!!!!!!!

I still have the other half left, and for breakfast tomorrow morning I'm going to try it with a nut flour instead of the parmesan cheese, and cinnamon with a touch - just a touch, since it's already fairly sweet - of brown sugar sub. Served with some bacon on the side. I imagine it will be even MORE amazing that what I made this morning, the sweetness of the squash cakes with the saltiness of the bacon...I'm getting all giddy just thinking about it!

Winter squash is cheap, maybe too carby for some, and not induction-friendly if you're doing Atkins (in this recipe the squash is probably only half of the batter in quantity), but very nutritious. I imagine with all the nutrients of the squash, together with "nature's perfect food" the eggs, and when I use nutrient-rich nut flour also, it will be a nutritional powerhouse to start our day!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Golly, THAT was a strange #lowcarb lunch!

But it was really good :).

I have really been craving fat lately, and it doesn't get a whole lot fattier than this:

I hard-boiled some eggs, and mixed up some tuna with loads of full-fat mayo. (Can you even BUY tuna in oil anymore? I haven't seen it in ages!) Then I chopped the eggs in with the tuna, and tossed it with a bunch of finely-chopped lettuce that I had to use up before it started to go bad. And I spooned it onto pork rinds. It was surprisingly wonderful - go figure eh?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Promising New #Lowcarb Blog

http://lowcarbcookery.wordpress.com/

I "met" this delightful blogger when she followed me on twitter yesterday. Today I went to her blog, read her first few posts, and am impressed! This is someone who "gets" lowcarb! She may be a newer low carber, but she finally found a nutritionist who actually knew the truth, and started her on the way to a much healthier life!

I think many of us can relate to her experiences in her Why I Went Low-Carb post, which is gutsy and honest. And I know by the time I go to the end, I was cheering (mentally) that at last she's on the way to the health and energy and better life that so many of us have found.

I will be keeping my eye on this blog!

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Pizza Crust #Recipe Review

Actually it's not mine, I found it on the Low Carbin' Made Simple blog. I made it yesterday.

Pete liked it a lot. And it's correct that you can pick it up and eat it - a BIG plus. The crust wasn't crumbly or dry, but it wasn't chewy either. And I like chewy. There was nothing wrong with this crust, the flavor was great! While it wasn't crumbly, though, it was crumblier than I like.

I'm not giving up on it. One of the things that the blogger likes about it is that it isn't full of cheese, and I agree with that, to a degree. I think the next time I make it, though, I might add some mozzarella to it, and see if that makes it a little bit chewier than it is.

And then, in my opinion, it will be perfect :).

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Stuffed Squash #food #lowcarb

I admit that I am a food video junkie. I can't get enough. They don't have to be lowcarb, even. I always learn something from them...or, at the very least, drool.

One of my favorites is Chef John. I had made stuffed squash a few nights ago, and it was delicious! Then the very next day, he posted a video for stuffed squash! Mine was very basic, consisting of ground sausage browned with onion and tossed with plenty of parmesan. (The next time I think I will add diced tomatoes also.) I split, cleaned, and cooked the squash about 75% in the microwave while browning the meat and onion, then stuffed it, topped with more cheese, and put it in the oven for a further 30 minutes or so. Very basic. Yet delicious. I don't get too fancy with stuff, but it always tastes good.

Anyway, his recipe uses rice. I don't think I will do anything different the next time I make mine except for the aforementioned tomatoes, but the whole faux rice thing (cauliflower) does sound good as well. Too bad cauliflower is so pricey, especially at this time of year. Maybe I can half-thaw some frozen and "rice" it in my food processor...yes, that might be a good addition after all.

I don't know what kind of squash I used. It is about the size and shape of acorn, but it is ivory in color, and the flesh inside is just as pale - nearly white. It didn't matter when I bought it, as I have yet to meet a squash I didn't like. But it was very very mild, milder than acorn, and was a nice complement to the spicier sausage.

Winter squashes are considered to be pretty carby by most, and indeed they are carbier than their summer counterparts. However they have such amazing nutritional profiles that I eat them anyway, and they've never caused me to gain weight, or even to stop losing. I'm truly a squash lover and don't intend to change :).

And now, after midnight, I find myself wanting to go roast up a nice little squash for a snack. I think it's time for bed...but I know what I'll be fixing tomorrow! :)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

When the Cupboard is Bare: #Lowcarb Challenge Day 7 - And Beyond!

We made it through the day, grazing on what was left. No big meals, just a little of this and a little of that, supplemented by popcorn - lol.

I was totally excited about Friday and being able to shop. Did I mention that my minpin hurt his back late Wednesday night? Well, I had $150 set aside to shop on Friday...but a vet bill knocked that down to $60. I stocked up on our dairy - cheeses, half'n'half, butter - and picked up a few things for meals: a pot roast, some frozen pizzas (Pete loves them, about 100gN/each, I eat half of one and don't eat any more carbs for the day; this has never caused me to gain), and fish. We've eaten the fish, cooked and nibbled the roast to death, and still have the pizzas. And a bunch of dairy :).

Stopped at the store again last night, and got a big ham and a bunch of chicken, for about $30. That will get us through this week, along with the remainder of our frozen vegetables. I also got some rutabagas. And today is a potluck at church, which I always cook a nice main dish for, but I am sick and not up for cooking, so last night I also picked up a 3# bag of chicken wings in some sort of asian sauce that I will make and take. Not even sure if we'll stay for the potluck, as I'm pretty miserable and will probably come home and go to bed. But we'll see...

As the bills are paid and the gas tank is filled, if/when we end up with a few $ here or there, I will add to the larder. I won't be stocking up as much as we had before all this since we're living on one income in the winter, but we're doing just fine, and I'm pleased at how our Bare Cupboard week turned out!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

When the Cupboard is Bare: #Lowcarb Challenge Day 6

Almost there! Yesterday - day 6 (I didn't have time to blog last night) - we did fine. For breakfast/lunch I made pancakes. Not in the plan, but my grandson wanted macaroni and cheese or hot dogs, neither of which I had in the house, and I knew he loved pancakes and we had Carbquik so that's what I made. Mine were heavily buttered with just a little SF syrup...his were more syrupy.

Hubby had popcorn when he got home from work, and ate leftovers later in the afternoon; he and I ate supper at 11 p.m. before he went to work. I made the last steak in the freezer, which we split, and a big sheet pan of roasted cauliflower. I'm out of olive oil so I had to use Crisco oil (yuck!) to coat them, then tossed with seasonings and parmesan cheese (the "green can" kind) and it was one of the best suppers - if not THE best - this week!

Today is day 7 and we not only survived but I think we ate pretty well!

Another bonus to eating without grocery shopping is that our big chest freezer in the garage is empty, so we won't be paying to keep that monster running until I get the opportunity to build up my stock of meats and vegetables to the overflow point; meanwhile my freezer here in the house can contain a couple of weeks' worth at least, and I will use that. I planned a large grocery shopping for tomorrow, but 2 things happened: I was asked to work, and also my dog injured his back. The vet can see him tomorrow morning but the vet bill is an unexpected expense. Since we don't "do" credit (Romans 13:8), I will have to get the $ for the vet bill by taking from other planned expenditures from tomorrow's paycheck...that's how it goes in the wintertime when I'm not working full-time, but it's ok, God always supplies our needs and I am grateful and thankful!

So hopefully we can do some shopping tomorrow evening, I will be done with work, and will know what I have to work with after paying the vet bill. Meanwhile, we still have popcorn - lol!

(Seriously, I still have a few eggs, some chicken, 2 chubs of sausage, several packages of frozen vegetables, butter, a little half'n'half..and plenty of Carbquik - hahaha!)

When the Cupboard is Bare: #Lowcarb Challenge Day 5 - Update

I didn't end up making the roasted cauliflower on Day 5 but everything else worked out just as planned and posted :).

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

When the Cupboard is Bare: #Lowcarb Challenge Day 5


I'll post again at the end of the day but I just wanted to share with you my super-cheap breakfast/lunch meal for today...and I actually remembered to take a picture :).

First, I had purchased a bunch of brown-and-serve-type sausages during a 10/$10 sale. Yes, full of all kinds of nasty chemicals, I know...but handy to have around for something quick - especially when my husband gets home from work in the morning, or when we're rushing around to get somewhere and don't want to be tempted with fast food, or whatever. So when there's a sale like that, I get 10 boxes that I thought were used up. Then yesterday when I was digging through the drawer at the bottom of my freezer (side by side, so it was near the floor) for some vegetables I saw a box of sausage patties that had slipped behind the shelves and fallen back behind that drawer! Since I couldn't get to it, this morning I had my 30MO grandson dig it out for me...and that was the "inspiration" for today's breakfast/lunch.

I laid the patties out on the bottom of a greased pyrex cake dish, then put some cubes of sharp cheese around them. In a bowl I whisked together 5 eggs and some half'n'half and had planned to stop there but really wanted a little more substance so I stirred in about 1/2c of Carbquik (about the only thing I have a lot of this week!). Poured that over the sausages and cheese and baked it for about 45 minutes at 325.

It was WAY good! I mean really REALLY good!

The next time - tomorrow maybe, when I use one of my ground sausage chubs I have left - I will try something a little different: I'll cook/crumble the sausage first of course, them probably just mix it with the eggs/half'n'half/Carbquik, and fry it as "cakes" on my griddle. And pour SF maple syrup over them! And now I can't wait, it sounds so good!

I will post again later tonight if things change, but right now I'm planning pork chops, fried cabbage, and roasted cauliflower for supper. Pete likes to eat a bowl of popcorn before he goes to work so I'll probably have one too. Thus will end day 5, with only 2 more days to go, and not totally out of food yet! :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

When The Cupboard is Bare: #Lowcarb Challenge Day #4

We're going to make it, I think :). I spent my $15 today (actually $17...found an extra couple of bucks...) on a few things that will get us through the next few days, until I can shop Friday morning. I picked up a half-gallon of half'n'half to use in various dishes (scrambled eggs, for example, for $3.58) and/or sauces; plus my husband likes it in his coffee. I got myself more decaf tea (99c), a small roasting chicken that was a buck off (4.5 lbs for about $3.25), some shredded italian cheese blend $3.19/12 oz), about a pound of fish ($3.29) for tonight's supper, some no-sugar-added Hunts tomato sauce (99c), dish detergent (99c for the grapefruit Ajax - the ONLY kind I use), and a tiny head of cabbage to go with my last package of pork chops in the freezer tomorrow evening.

Today for late breakfast/early lunch (I only eat 2 meals a day) I made a one-minute bread, split it in half, toasted it, and ate one half of it with butter, cream cheese, and SF raspberry jelly. They are big, 1/2 is plenty! Supper was fish which I baked, and I diced some sweet potatoes, tossed them with melted coconut oil and sea salt, and roasted them. My grandson and husband of course ate the lion's share, I had some too but mostly I ate fish.

And that's about it for the day, will be heading off to bed shortly, only 3 more days to go! In my freezer I have the pork chops for tomorrow, one last 1.65# steak for Wednesday, and I'll roast that chicken on Thursday. Friday morning, if I'm not working (I work as-needed) I will be at the grocery store! Meanwhile, leftovers, scrambled - or fried - eggs, still have some sausage, and plenty of frozen vegetables such as spinach, cauliflower, and green beans...we're gonna make it, I do believe! :)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

When The Cupboard is Bare: #Lowcarb Challenge Day #3

Good day today! Before church I had a sausage patty "sandwich" on one of last night's Carbquik biscuits split in half. Mid-afternoon I had supper of a chicken thigh, green beans, some squash, and a small spoonful of the leftover cranberry sauce from Thursday. I stopped on the way home from church and bought some squash, it is sale-priced at 59c/lb from a local business that will be closing for the winter in a couple of weeks. So we'll be eating some of that most days. (It's one of those carbier foods that's so nutritionally dense that I indulge in about 1/2c of it when I prepare it.)

Tonight if I get the munchies - as I surely will - I will either make some cheese chips, or else I'll have more heavily buttered popcorn. Today didn't feel challenging after all! And only 4 more days to go, for Friday we shop! :)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

When The Cupboard is Bare: #Lowcarb Challenge Day #2

Counting down the final week of living on whatever is left from previous grocery shopping trips, 5 days to go until pay day, and groceries! (As I posted here, we chose to live this month without doing a typical shopping trip so that we could make a large purchase. The first few weeks weren't too bad as I do tend to stock up on things that are on sale; this final week is getting tougher, and this is day 2 of that final week, and how we are managing.)

Late morning Pete found a package of hot dogs and cooked them on the grill. I had some leftover sweet potatoes from Thanksgiving which I peeled and warmed up in some butter, tossed with cinnamon and SF brown sugar sub. Leelan and Pete ate their hot dogs on their plates, dipped in lowcarb ketchup; I ate mine on the last couple of wraps that I made a few nights ago. The guys also ate most of the sweet potatoes, I had 5 bites because of the carbs. But it was all enough :).

For supper we had an english cut pot roast and, as we frequently do, Pete sliced it across into 2 thin "steaks" which he then grilled. I prepared creamed spinach to go with it (frozen spinach, butter, full-fat cream cheese), and some CarbQuik biscuits to which I added a generous spoonful of french onion dip into the batter...and how delicious was that! (I only ate half of one but it was REALLY good!) It was definitely an adequate dinner, and didn't feel challenging in the least!

As the guys slept this evening, I watched episode 2 of The Buccaneers on Amazon Prime (on the new SmartTV that we bought this month), and made myself some popcorn - heavily buttered of course.

I'm out of half'n'half, and nearly out of decaf coffee - and I don't drink coffee without lots of cream. (I can't take caffeine since I got my wrap nearly a year ago.) So I've been drinking decaf tea mixed with some herbal and flavored blends. I boil water in my 4c Pyrex measuring cup, then steep 4 bags of tea in it. And I mix'n'match the bags that I use. This 4c of tea gives me 3 mugs of tea to drink, and when I'm not drinking coffee I can drink 6 mugs - or 8 actual cups - a day. I will need to buy another box of decaf tea bags I think but they're just 99c at Sav-a-Lot for 24 - MUCH cheaper than another can of decaf coffee so it won't cut too deeply in the $15 I have remaining until Friday. I already have plenty of herbal and flavored teas here to mix with it.

For tomorrow I got out a package of 4 chicken leg quarters. My mother will be visiting, plus with Pete and I and grandson Leelan we will consume 3 of those, with the last one being saved for one of Pete's lunches for work...I will report back tomorrow evening on how the day goes tomorrow :).

So far, so good, I think we're doing great in spite of empty-looking cupboards and freezer!

Friday, November 25, 2011

When The Cupboard is Bare: #Lowcarb Challenge Day #1

So I had some ground sausage - mild - that I fried up and crumbled. It was a 12 oz roll - same price as 16 oz. but they take away 25% and think we won't notice. It cost me a buck during 10/$10 at Sav-a-Lot. Anyway.

Made up a batter with some CarbQuik, some carbalose flour (so it wouldn't be biscuits), milk (yes, I did say I had no milk - but I had water and some dry milk, of which I used about 2-3 Tbsp so we'll call it milk), and an egg. Mixed it well to a thick batter consistency - thin enough to spread, but just barely.

Put the crumbled sausage in the bottom of a 9x9 baking dish, and spread the batter over it. Baked in 350 until the top started to turn golden, I don't recall how long that took. Then I spread part of my last jar of tomato sauce over the top, and sprinkled the last of my shredded mozzarella on it. Back in the oven until the cheese melted and started to color.

It was really delish. Next time I will put more sauce on it. It wasn't dry, in fact it was quite moist, but I just wanted more tomato flavor. There was plenty of flavor from the sausage though, and the batter became fluffy and moist with crispy bits where the sausage fat mixed with batter on the bottom and edges. Quite filling as well which, when we're talking about an empty cupboard challenge, is a good thing! And my husband loved it :).

And so we made it through the day. That was our only real meal. Earlier I had had a piece of balogna between 2 of my flatbreads, with mayo, while Pete was sleeping. But now just 6 more days until payday, and groceries! :)

Our #Lowcarb #Thanksgiving - The Day After

So all my plans for what to prepare went out the window. Except for the duck! I had $20 to spend and most of it went for the bird. Another 99c for a carby can of cranberry sauce (even better with duck than with turkey, IMHO!). Daughter brought sweet potatoes. There were 4 of us: Pete and I, daughter Casey, and her 2½ son Leelan. We'd planned to have my mom also but she didn't want to come at the last minute. (She has Lewy Body Disease and lives at a nearby nursing home.)

After buying the duck and the cranberry sauce I planned to fill in the rest of the meal with whatever we had on hand, which I'd had all figured out for several days. But then Thanksgiving morning, everything changed.

I had looked up instructions on how long to roast a 5½# duck, and learned it would be 4 hours. We'd planned a 12:30 mealtime (so that Casey and Leelan could also go eat with her dad later in the day, otherwise we'd have eaten later). So I got up early and prepared the duck and put it in the oven, setting the wrapper aside in my garbage bowl. I read it a little later, and it said 2½ hours - DARN! Then Leelan got up and started vomiting. Thankfully Pete got home from work, and dealt with all that, but the poor kid was sick over and over and over again...even with Pete taking care of Leelan, that added to the morning chaos. I still had to mop the kitchen and bathroom floors, so I got busy with that. Pete helped with moving things and sweeping since my back was already in bad shape. (Without pain drugs I couldn't have done anything at all yesterday!)

The floors got done, the duck got done WAY early, Casey got here with the sweet potatoes which needed to be baked (I would have had them in the oven with the duck, had my original plan worked out!). The duck sat in its roaster on the stovetop for an hour while I made the dessert and while the sweet potatoes baked. I forgot all about the rolls I'd planned to make, forgot all about the roasted cauliflower, and Casey forgot all about bringing a green vegetable. So I had a half-bag of frozen corn (which I keep for Leelan) that I heated up with butter. And I tossed some frozen green beans into a pan with duck fat and lots of onion powder, some garlic powder, and sea salt. The dessert turned into something much simpler than originally intended: I put a small can of pumpkin, a brick of cream cheese, a package each of SF cheesecake and vanilla pudding, a scoop of vanilla protein powder, a couple cups of cream, some brown sugar sub, and cinnamon/nutmeg/cloves into the mixing bowl of my kitchen aid and hit the switch. 5 minutes later I stuck it in the fridge, and voila! Pumpkin cheesecake pudding!

There were more carbs on the table than I'd planned too. I ate duck, green beans, cranberry sauce (my only carby food for the day, so sue me!), and dessert, and ate pretty much as I always do. It was wonderful to know that I wouldn't wake up the next day fearing the needle on the scale, and that I didn't exchange my thankfulness with gluttony. That felt seriously much better than had I made myself stuffed with gravy and potatoes and dressing and pie!

So did the dinner turn out differently than I expected? Definitely! Was it delicious and even amazing? Absolutely! Was the real meaning of the day - gratitude to God for His many blessings and care for us throughout the year - any less meaningful or evident because of the menu changes? TOTALLY NOT!

It was a good Thanksgiving :).

When The Cupboard is Bare: A #Lowcarb Challenge

Between November and March, we live on a single income. And we do just fine :). This year will be no different, when I look back on it in the spring, despite the present challenge...

When we went over budget to buy our new TV this month, I knew that the grocery stock would suffer, since we can't make cuts from our budget anywhere else. And as I've written in the past, I don't make menus and purchase according to meal plans when I shop; I keep my own stock of food on hand, and depending on what we're in the mood for on any given day, we "go shopping" in our own freezer and cupboards. I'm not talking about stockpiles as seen on Extreme Couponing, but we typically have enough food for at least a month's worth of meals, since I do buy a bunch of meat, frozen vegetables, dairy (cheese or butter, or anything that freezes well) canned goods, etc. when it's on sale. Whatever is on sale when I'm shopping - usually soon after payday - is what we eat the most of that month. (I don't plan my shopping around sales either, I go when we have the money. Although if the funds are available when there's a good sale on something I would use at other times, I will buy as much of it as I can.)

So this month I didn't do my usual big shopping to restock, and I didn't place my usual netrition order for baking supplies either. We put the $ toward our new TV instead, just picking up a little of this and a little of that as needed - a half-gallon of half and half or a pound of butter or whatever. And I spent $19 for Thanksgiving. I figured we'd simply clean up what's left from previous months' shopping this month. I have about $15 left for food between now and next Friday, payday. I don't see this as a hardship though, I see it as a challenge and an opportunity for creativity!

We eat a lot of meals. I typically prepare at least 2 full meals during the day for Pete and I - and grandson Leelan is here at least half the time also to eat with us - plus I make a lunch for Pete to take to work to eat during the night. Depending on when he's awake, he (and Leelan) will usually eat something in the morning after work, and sometimes I join them. Late afternoon is another meal for Leelan and I, and Pete if he's awake - that is our main meal. Leelan, when he's here 4 days a week (or more), requires a snack in between as well, since he's just 2½. (I also buy milk and juice for him but no juice this week.) Then Pete and I have our supper late in the evening, before Pete goes to work...or, if he was awake for the earlier meal, a lunch-sized snack. I can't plan because I never know when Pete will be awake on any given day, but I know I have to have something ready to make (thawed or whatever) to accommodate him. And Leelan, whose schedule isn't the same. And I just eat whenever, with whomever, since my schedule is the most flexible. Most days I don't plan anything for myself, but just wait until the next mealtime comes along, whenever that happens to be.

So far it's been going fine, and now we're coming down to the wire! Now is the time I need to get creative. We have a few 2-2½ bags of frozen vegetables, a couple of pounds of ground sausage, one pot roast, one steak, about 4-5 chicken leg quarters, and a few canned vegetables left. Pretty much out of decaf coffee (what I drink - hubby has enough regular for himself, I'll be drinking tea instead this week), half'n'half/cream/milk, most cheeses, bread-making supplies (I may be able eke out one more loaf this week for Pete's lunches). Down to our last dozen eggs, too. But this is the kind of thing I love, this type of challenge! I think I'll be able to feed us for another week, we may have some strange meals but we'll get through :). And I'll let you know how we do at the end. My $15 will probably buy us more eggs, some more tea (only 99c for that), and some whole milk - cheaper than cream or half'n'half plus Leelan can drink it - for using in other dishes as I figure them out.

WOOHOO, off to the races! :)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Messin' With My TooGood #Lowcarb Wraps Recipe

I knew I couldn't improve on those wraps I made for camping a few weeks ago (if you click on the title of this entry it will take you to that recipe) but I was wrong. I am out of oat flour but had some rye flour which is only slightly more carbohydrate, but not enough per flatbread for me to worry about. Because I didn't want a really heavy rye flavor I also added an extra drop of sweetener.

OH YEAH, BABY!! Just sayin'....HAPPY MOUTH!!

(The oat flour I had contained 54gN/cup - the rye flour contains 68gN/cup...I used 1/2c, some in the recipe and some for dusting/kneading/rolling, and divided by 16 - 1.7gN vs. 2.1gN - the difference is negligible per flatbread.)

Everything else is the same. I'm thinking I need to buy a tortilla press though - or ask for one for Christmas. The standing and rolling out of them all is hard on my back...but WORTH IT! :)

Tonight we had hot dogs in my wraps (I had 2) plus I made rutabaga fries, tossed with olive oil and seasoned with onion and chili powders. Great supper!

#Lowcarb #Recipe: Creamy Savory Cabbage with Ham

I needed to make a dish to pass for a lunch at church earlier today, using what I had in the house. This is the result. Note that my husband and I were the only low-carbers there, and I got questions from people like, "What about the noodles, they're not low carb are they?" and "But there are potatoes in here!" Pretty deliciously wonderful dish! I also made a couple dozen little biscuits - started with carbquick, added melted butter, cream, an egg, and a bunch of shredded cheese, then dropped them by the rounded teaspoonful. One biscuit, one bite. These together would make a complete meal for us...anyway - on to the recipe :).

2Tbsp olive oil
1/2 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 daikon, about 10" long, chopped
1 small head of cabbage, thinly sliced
1# ham (check for sugar!), chopped
black pepper
seasoning salt
2/3c full-fat mayo
3/4c full-fat sour cream
2Tbsp yellow mustared

Heat the olive oil in a large electric chicken fryer (that's what I used, anyway); over medium high heat drop the onion in and stir; once onion is translucent, add daikon and stir, then add cabbage. Season, stir, reduce heat to medium low, cover.

When cabbage is soft but still a bit firm, stir in ham; return cover and continue cooking about 5 minutes until ham is heated through.

Meanwhile, whisk mayo, sour cream, and mustard together until creamy. After ham is heated, add sauce and blend well until sauce is heated through. (When it started steaming, I knew it was ready.)

This recipe was loved by all who tried it, I think it was one of the best things I've ever thrown together, and I can't WAIT to make it again! Plus it was, of course, cheap: $1.69 for the ham, 45c for the cabbage, about a buck for the daikon and half that for the onion. The entire sauce was about a dollar...and I'll add a quarter for the olive oil and seasonings....WELL under $5 for 4 very generous or 6 average-sized servings!

Friday, October 28, 2011

First Week Back on High Fat #lowcarb

So I'm down 8# - yeah, it's all, or mostly, water weight...but that's good, it's the first step.

This week I've eaten a couple of delicata squashes LOADED with butter (1/2 squash per meal) which isn't considered a low carb food, but obviously it's not hurting me too badly. I've also eaten fatty pork chops, eggs fried in butter, lots of mayo on anything I could think of, I cooked up a good fatty hunk of beef brisket that I've been eating - I make enough for leftovers, then have a little when I get hungry, so haven't been really eating full meals; had a couple big bowls of popcorn also, 1/2 stick of butter on each bowl (we're talking BIG bowls), which obviously also didn't hurt me any (it's never been problematic for me when I've been losing weight in the past)...and I made a chocolate cake :).

My grandson wanted to make cookies yesterday but my back still isn't up for standing at the counter spooning out dough. So we made a chocolate cake. As usual I didn't keep track of the ingredients, but I know I used 4 eggs and about 1/2c of coconut oil...some salt, vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, granulated splenda (about 3/4c) because I'm out of erithrytol and xylitol, a lot of cocoa powder (1/4c maybe?), a couple of scoops of chocolate whey protein powder, and for my "flours" I used mostly coconut and almond flours (maybe a cup each?), plus a little oat fiber (not bran), polydextrose, and peanut flour (maybe 1/4c each?). Then as it was all mixing together I drizzled in strong decaf coffee until it was thinned out to cake batter consistency.

The batter was enough for an 8x8 baking dish which went in the oven @ 325 for about 35 minutes. Next time I will add butter also, because I miss that hint of a buttery taste in the cake - but other than that is is excellent :).

While the cake was baking (pan "floured" with coconut oil and protein powder) I made up the frosting: a couple of scoops of the chocolate protein powder, a little splash of vanilla, a couple Tbsp. of soft butter, a tiny dash of salt, a couple drops of liquid sucralose, and then I drizzled in cream as I whipped it until it was the consistency I was looking for. It made an AWESOME frosting!

This cake is very very filling, and a 2x2x2" square is more than enough for a serving. Since I didn't keep track of ingredients/amounts, I can't look up the carb counts...but since I didn't put anything carby in it, and since the servings are so small, I'm not worrying about it. If you read my blog you already know I don't count my carbs - I just don't eat carby foods, and do eat lots of fat.

Not sure what I'll be eating over the weekend, but I do know it will be low in carbs and high in fat! I'll keep you posted...meanwhile, I hope I'm about done losing all the water, it would be nice to sleep through an entire night, or get through an entire hour without a potty break - lol!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

1st 2 Days Back on High-Fat, & Eggplant #Recipe #lowcarb

Yesterday I had an egg fried in bacon fat with chopped ham and some cheddar cheese for my first meal, and a pork chop - the fattiest one I had - with half of a delicata squash, which I mixed with 2Tbsp. melted butter. Not enough fat for the day.

Today I had chopped turkey with a lot of mayo for my first meal, my own sort-of eggplant parmesan for my 2nd, and a leftover porkchop, reheated with butter, for a snack.

Here's how I made my eggplant dish:

peeled and sliced an eggplant, laid out the slices on a couple sheets of paper towels, and salted both sides of each slice; set aside.

Mix together in a dish finely-ground - like powder - pork rinds with parmesan cheese in the can, about 50-50.

chopped 1/2 onion and sauteed in olive oil over medium heat until translucent; added hamburger (high fat) and browned; stirred in SF pizza sauce (without draining fat); let simmer, covered, over low heat.

Coated a baking sheet generously with olive oil; topped the eggplant slices with more paper towel and pressed out the water; mixed up 2 eggs in a shallow dish, dipped each slice of eggplant into the egg, then the porky/parm mixture, laid them out on the baking sheet, and lightly sprinkled a little more parmesan on them. Put them in the oven at 425 for about 12 minutes until bottoms were browned and crispy, flipped each slice, sprinkled more parm lightly, and returned to the oven for another 7 minutes. Cooked until eggplant was soft but not mushy and coating was very very crisp.

To serve I put several slices on a plate, spooned some sauce (after mixing the beef fat back into it) over the slices, and topped with some finely shredded "italian blend" cheese.

Not fatty enough for weight loss...but definitely low carb, cheap, easy, and DELICIOUS!

Once again...

...physical issues (arthritis in my spine, lumbar problems) prevented me from doing things the last week or so, and my dear wonderful husband did the shopping and cooking last week, in between working his full-time+ midnight job, taking care of me, and everything else that needed to be done around the house and for our 11 pets...so convenience food was what he was fixing. Time was more important that quality, and as I was helpless, I had no right - or desire, my love was running himself ragged because of me - to complain. 10# gained in a week or so was the result. Yes, mostly water weight I'm sure, but hate seeing that on the scale!

So now I'm on steroids and strong drugs (percocet for pain, valium for spasms), and determined never to go through that again! Such pain was hell...but the helplessness was almost worse. And I've been-there-done-that way too much in recent years. So, as much as I've said I don't want to, I'm going to lose more weight. I hate the thought of all the ugly hanging skin on my body, I absolutely detest it to the point that I'd already determined to remain 100# overweight than have any more than I already do. But the hell I went through last week I hated more.

Losing weight hasn't been difficult for me in the past, although I haven't really tried in a few years. The last I tried, though, simply increasing my fat intake to 75-80% of my caloric intake (NOT EASY!) and eliminating all grain-based foods was enough to guarantee 2-3#/week gone, even though I was eating 3000 calories/day and sometimes more.

So I'll go back to that again I guess. It's actually easy and painless...the thing that will be tougher now is avoiding my Lovely Loaf. I've grown accustomed to a sandwich now and again...but I will experiment with other options that are out there if I feel the need. Meanwhile, lots of butter, coconut oil, mayo, and olive oil on or in just about everything I eat. And we'll see if my body still responds the same way it did the last time I did it. If not, well, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it :).

Monday, October 10, 2011

Can't Resist a Sale #lowcarb

I mentioned last week that Sav-a-Lot was having a 10/$10 sale, and also that I got a lot of meat very inexpensively there. Well, today was the last day of the sale, and I got to thinking about it, and since I hadn't seen beef roasts for $2.79 in MONTHS, I figured I might not again. Plus some of the 10/$10 lowcarb things I might get more of, and stock up on. So hubby and I went back, and here's what we got:

10/$10 (or $1 each):
(5) dozen more eggs
(5) Eckrich balogna (hubby's pick), 1# each
(5) Eckrich franks (hubby's pick)
(5) pkgs pepperoni for chips
(10) 10 oz roasted peanuts (hubby's pick)

Other special prices
(3) 20 oz. turkey ends & pieces @ 1.67 ea
(3) 20 oz. ham ends & pieces @ 1.67 ea
7.5 lb. beef chuck roast @ $2.69/lb
10 lb. pork sirloin chops @ $1.69/lb

And then I picked up a pound of butter (most of last week's pound was used up by campers last weekend - plus I buy a pound every time I go to Sav-a-Lot, so I never run out!) for $2.99, a quart of half'n'half for $2.99 (which is more expensive than Walmart's, but a half-gallon of gas round trip to Walmart would add $1.60), 12 oz. of finely shredded Italian blend cheese for $3.19, a jar of horseradish for $1.99, and 24 oz. of cottage cheese for $2.49.

Another $90 or so. But our freezer is now half full, we have enough meat and eggs to see us through November, and frozen vegetables as well. We'll need more dairy in a few days (esp. half'n'half and cream), and fresh produce later in the month. But we're in great shape for several weeks, at the least! And that's such a good feeling :).

On another note, I don't plan on cooking for a few days. From the camping trip we brought home half of a big pot of chicken vegetable soup (I added some fresh spinach that needed to be used up), lots of hot dogs and grilled chicken, HB eggs, and about half of the wraps I made. Plus we had some hamburgs that Pete grilled up today. So we'll be eating that bounty for a few days yet :).

#Camping #Lowcarb

This weekend we went camping with a group of people from our church. We all ate together, everyone bringing something to the table to share, kinda like stone soup :). I knew that there would be carby foods galore, and not much I could eat, so I spent the 2 days prior preparing a bunch of low carb foods. And guess what? I walked right past the donuts at breakfast, the pancakes and syrup, and the candy, marshmallows, and potato chips that were sitting out all evening!

I know I mentioned previously what I would take, and I pretty much stuck to that plan. I didn't take the tuna salad and lettuce leaves for wraps that I intended, nor the cookies...but I started to make the cookies, then just plain ran out of steam, tossed the batter onto the pan before it was a dough, and cut the resulting cake into pieces. It wasn't as low carb as I usually make because there is one gluten-free eater than came, and another can't have nuts of any kind, including coconut. That didn't leave me a whole lot of flour choices, so I ended up with sort of an oatmeal-tasting (oat fiber, poly-D, ground oatmeal for my flour) cake with lots of cinnamon, brown Sugar Twin, and butter in it. Delicious actually, and saved me from the donuts each morning! I just had a butter sandwich with 2 of them - heavy on the butter. (Hubby told me they were great with syrup on them too.)

I took HB eggs for breakfast with the cakey-cookie-things above, plus sausages for everyone. That covered the 2 breakfasts. Friday night the pastor's wife made a delicious chicken vegetable soup. Our main meal on Saturday was chicken - lots and lots of chicken! - that hubby grilled. The song leader brought her amazing potato salad (I never say no to Mary's potato salad - 1/2c on Saturday and another 1/2c on Sunday), and I had tomato slices also, from one woman's garden. As everyone munched Saturday evening I had my cheese crackers and pepperoni crackers (which were both a BIG hit, BTW!) to fall back on, and didn't miss the potato chips at all! Sunday afternoon we all had hot dogs and more chicken; I ate my 2 hot dogs on my 1.5gN wraps with salsa.

All told, it was a great success and I even lost 2# over the weekend - probably from the extra walking and other activity. What a great time, and I feel really good about being prepared, and being able to resist the carby stuff that was there in abundance!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

TooGood #Lowcarb Flatbread #Recipe

I've been messing around with recipes for wraps, mainly to wrap around hot dogs that were cooked on a campfire, but for other things as well.

Tonight I reached as close to perfection as I'll ever get I think, these wraps are better than any I've ever had, low carb or not! Totally delicious, and just right for hot dogs! (I will make them bigger when I want to use them for sandwiches or something...although a couple of these would make a superb grilled cheese too, no doubt!)

I don't usually measure but I have been so I could duplicate this when I finally got what I wanted. Here is the recipe, before I forget it:

1.5c Wheat Protein Isolate 5000
1/4c fine almond flour
1/4c oat fiber (NOT bran)
1/2Tbsp baking powder
1/2Tbsp baking soda
1/4tsp salt

3 drops sweetzfree (equal to 3tsp sugar)
3/4c hot water
2Tbsp full-fat sour cream (plain yogurt would probably work too)

oat flour for dusting (I used 1/4c total)

Whisk together the first 6 ingredients until very well blended and "fluffy" looking.

Mix sweetzfree, and sour cream into hot water well with whisk until sour cream is fully melted in.

Using a wooden spoon (so it doesn't stick so much) stir while pouring water mixture into flour mixture. The dough will puff up, develop holes, and get fluffy. Only add enough water to make a sticky, loose dough; it will be wet and sticky. Mix until blended but no longer. Set aside for about 10-15 minutes to allow reaction (between lactic acid and baking powder) completes.

With wet hands (to prevent sticking) remove dough from bowl and knead on a floured (oat flour) surface until it is smooth but not tight. Form a loose ball, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside for 30 minutes, during which time it will rise by about 50%.

Cut into 16 equal pieces with pastry cutter (or knife dipped in water); roll each into a walnut-sized ball, pat to flatten, then roll to about 6" (that's the size I made to use with hot dogs) on lightly floured surface; re-dust surface as needed between dough balls.

I used a cast aluminum griddle that is well seasoned from over 30 years of use because I have parrots, so don't use non-stick. Turned it on high, and when a drop of water bounced across the surface I put the wraps onto the griddle, which holds 6 wraps, one at a time. By the time I put the 6th one on, the first one had puffed up and the bottom was golden; I flipped them in order, left the 2nd side to cook until golden (a minute or less), then removed them to a cooling rack. All 16 of them took less than 10 minutes to cook.

After cooling the wraps were pliable, soft, very very tasty, not dry at all...just amazing! I don't know for sure how I will store them yet, probably in a bread wrapper, but I'm just so excited about these - totally excellent!

The whole recipe contains 23gN carbs, so it's about 1.5gN per wrap.

Some October Shopping #lowcarb #frugal

I bought a few things that I don't consider "frugal", because I want to take them camping, or because my husband specially requested them. He works so hard that I don't say no to anything, and he isn't extravagant anyway :).

I spent $20.64 at Walmart, for cheese, SF treats (peanuts, chocolate - <$5), and 3 half-gallons of half'n'half.

Sav-a-Lot has gotten a lot of business from me this month, as they were running their 10/$10 sale, plus I got some meats at a good price, so I added to my freezer. (I still have about 1/3 of the meat I bought at Steve's last month.) Today I spent $100.94 there. The 10/$10 items I bought included 5 dozen large eggs, 3 packages of pepperoni, 5 brown'n'serve* links and patties, 4 frozen pizzas*, and five 12 oz. rolls of pork sausage. I also got fresh produce, butter, canned tomatoes, mushrooms, and tomato paste, shredded cheese, decaf coffee, a 24-pack of water for the camping trip, 9# of english cut roast (my favorite cut of beef) for $2.79/lb,, 11# of chicken leg quarters for $0.79/lb, and almost 5# of pork sirloin chops for $1.69/lb.

*These are prepared foods that my husband likes to have on hand. If I'm not hungry or not available to cook or whatever, he enjoys having something quick. The pizzas (1 is a complete meal for him) are less than 60gN carbs, and the sausages are 1-2gN each - it isn't the carb counts that are so important to me, it is the junk that is in prepared foods. But, as I said earlier, there are a few things he likes once in a while, and I don't deny him :).

I also spent $12.19 on 5# of pre-cut and pre-cooked chicken breast strips. These ARE a splurge, and I know it. They just make my life easier, as I can make up a quick chicken salad or sandwich, toss some onto a salad, create a quick casserole around them, snack on them dipped in ranch dressing, or give them to my grandson to tide him over until supper. At nearly $2.50/lb it is expensive for chicken breasts - but maybe not when they've saved me the work of cooking and cutting and are so handy for quick use on busy days.

Our larders are pretty full, although if I see another sale, I'll buy anyway :).

Now I think I'll go toss together a salad for my supper with the marked-down bag of fresh spinach and some of those chicken strips! :)

CAMPING! #lowcarb

We'll be going camping with some people from our church soon. This is always a challenge, especially when they break out the s'mores, but I'm hoping we can do well anyway. One thing while camping, I don't want to carry a whole grocery store with us, nor do I want a lot of work and time involved in food. So here's the plan:

I'm making a bunch of flatbreads. Last night was the first time I made them, and they turned out really well! (Who knew they were so EASY??? And LOTS cheaper than store-bought, and lower in carbs!) Next time I will just roll them a little thinner and make the dough not quite so stiff, but other than that they were/are great! I'm also making cheese chips, pepperoni chips, hard-boiled eggs, pork rinds, and tuna salad. I'll make up a simple dip for the rinds and chips with salsa and sour cream, we can also put this on our hot dogs and our tuna salad sandwiches. A batch of chocolate cookies for our sweet tooth is a must. And lastly, I'll make some breakfast "muffins" with eggs, spinach, bacon, and cheese. For reheating, we'll have our portable grill (with an warming upper rack) and foil. I have an old-fashioned stove-top drip coffee pot to use on the grill as well. And I'll splurge on a 24-pack of drinking water. Of course I'll have lowcarb ketchup, mustard, cream (for coffee), and a baggie of chopped onions for dressing up everything.

I believe this will sustain us for 2 days, and if we have plenty of easy, grab'n'eat lowcarb options with us we will be less likely to eat carby foods that others may offer us. My goals are easy - not sloppy - needing few utensils - no, or next-to-no, prep time and effort - enough variety and quantity to enable us to fight carby temptations.

After the trip I will post how it went, and what I will change for next time. If you have any ideas, I'd be happy to hear them!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Ham'n'Eggs with Frosting #lowcarb #recipe

Added 2 eggs to a little hot bacon fat in my mini-cast-iron skillet, then just broke the yolks and spread them around a little. Took a slice of ham and layed it in the middle, pressing down until egg covered it on top. After the bottom was cooked, I turned it to cook the egg on the other side, and put a chunk of cream cheese on top of the lightly-browned egg. Covered it and turned off the heat (the iron stays hot enough to cook the egg!) and let it sit for a few minutes.

When I slid it out onto my plate, the cream cheese was soft; I spread it across and it looks like frosting - lol.

EASY #lowcarb Cream Sauce, & A Lovely Chicken #Recipe

This sauce is so easy that I will be pouring it over everything now I think! I poured about a cup of cream into a bowl, added a half-cup of parmesan out of the can, about 1/8 tsp of xanthan gum, and whisked it until well-blended but not whipped cream.

Browned bite-sized pieces of chicken breast in some bacon fat, then added a bag of frozen broccoli/cauliflower/carrots, a full Tbsp of onion powder, some thyme, parsley, paprika, S&P, and garlic powder. Stirred it all together and cooked on med-low, covered, for about 10 minutes until vegetables were softened but nowhere near mushy. Poured the sauce over the top, stirred in, and let cook an additional 5 minutes. The sauce thickened nicely and took on the herbs and spices very well. I poured it into a casserole dish, sprinkled more parmesan on top with some paprika and parsley on top of that, and it was pretty - cheap - and delicious!

Chicken was $1.87; vegetables were $1.19; cream was just over $1.00. Bacon fat and spices were negligable but even if I add another $1, it's still under $5 for 4 large servings.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Rest of My September Shopping

I posted my first - my major - shopping trip for the month a few weeks ago; the total from that one was $165. I have in front of me my receipts for the rest of the month:

I've made a few trips to Sav-a-Lot this month. Being just a mile away and convenient for when I just need a couple of things, that's my go-to store most of the time. The problem is - and I admit it's a problem - I go for 1 or 2 things, and see other things I forgot I needed, or see a sale...then I come home with more than I intended! But I did pretty well this month with that, spending an additional total of $94.89 for lots of meat that was on sale (last-day/red-sticker, which I rarely pass by if it's a good price), extra supplies for the large casserole I took to a church potluck, canned goods (mushrooms, tomatoes, tuna), bottled water, porkies, and condiments.

I also made a trip to GFS for the big bags of frozen vegetables that I use. While I spent $55.68 there in September, the food will actually last through October (plus of course we used it the remainder of September). I stocked up on (9) 2# bags of vegetables, plus 24 cans of Diet Coke for my mom when she's here, plus Pete likes to take one in his lunch, and a big package of hot dogs - 40 for $8.99. The last two things I wouldn't buy for myself, but Pete loves his hot dogs, and I paid more for the better hot dogs with fewer objectionable ingredients.

Then while I was at other stores (Big Lots, KMart, Walmart) I picked up a couple of other things that I use and that were a good price, such as a 16oz. can of Parmesan for $4.00, a liter bottle of EVOO for $6.50, a 24 oz. jar of Peter Pan PB (my favorite brand; it contains some sugar but I don't eat that much of it - certainly not enough to worry about - FOR ME, YMMV) for $4.29, and 3 half-gallon cartons of half'n'half for $3.58 each.

In addition, I placed an order at Netrition that came to $98-something. The items in that order will last for a MINIMUM of 3 months: WPI5000, Vital Wheat Gluten, coconut flour, almond flour, polyD fiber, oat fiber, resistant corn starch (1st time buying that), peanut flour, CarbQuik, EZ-Sweetz, and 3 bottles of SF flavored syrups. I still have Carbalose flour from my last order. Many of these were in multiples as well - AND I got a free t-shirt :).

I spent quite a bit more this month because of the netrition and GFS foods, but of course those weren't just for this month, and because of all I bought in September, I anticipate that October will be much much lower. It all evens out in the end :).

So, doing the math in my head (and therefore rounding off), I figure I spent $440 during the month of September, for enough food to get through the month, much of October, and even beyond!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Grocery Prices Are Going UP! Now What?? #lowcarb #frugal

It is getting harder and harder to eat low carb meals cheaply. I've never seen the price of food rise so much, so quickly, in the 35+ years I've been buying groceries. On many of my usual purchases the price has doubled in the last year. It is impossible to buy as much as I did when I started this blog, for the same prices. Even while I'm spending more, however, I'm also finding ways to stretch our dollar. Some of things I'm doing now, I've always done - but now it is even more important if I want to continue to feed my husband and myself (and several days a week, my grandson) as well as I always have.

I want to mention that we are big meat eaters. We like a big hunk of meat on our plates, and I typically serve it with 2 veggies. Once a week or so we do have a potato also, which many (most?) low carbers don't do. But we do. On potato days I can get away with a smaller portion of meat, which is of course our biggest cost.

First - and I've always done this, for the most part - I only buy meats that fit in with my budget. I have $/# in my head that I won't go over: $3.25 for beef, $2.00 for pork ($3.00 for bacon), $4.00 for fish, and $1.00 for chicken. Mostly I can get my meats at a meat market in the next town, and they have excellent quality fresh meats there. I usually make a trip there once a month - sometimes more, sometimes less - and then throughout the month if I'm at another market and see meat on sale that falls within, or below, these prices, I buy as much of it as I can afford and it goes into the chest freezer.

Second, in season I buy fresh vegetables, and I shop the "last day" racks at the local markets when I'm already there for other things, then plan the next day's meals around what I buy. What I can't buy fresh, I buy frozen in big bags - 2.5-5# - usually from Gordon's. I've always done this, but never really shopped the "last day" racks so much. Roadside stands are a wonderful way to save on fresh produce, but we don't have many (any?) that I've seen around here.

Third, I'm in the process of learning to make my own condiments and pasta. I bought a pasta maker, and am experimenting until I can get a decent result (which I will post here). Once I can do a decent pasta, that will replace one of our more expensive meals once in a while. Ketchup is nearly $3 for a small bottle (the 1gN kind from Heinz), and mayo has more than doubled in price since last year for a smaller jar. Forget that! I have a blender, I have eggs and oil and I'm not afraid to use them :). But it is typically less expensive - and definitely gives you more control over what goes into your body - to make as many foods yourself as you can, rather than buy processed.

Fourth, shop around, including the internet. If you live in a city where low carb ingredients are available (I don't, our small town has mostly the basics), compare the prices locally with amazon.com, netrition.com, honeyvillegrain.com and others. Watch for free shipping offers (Amazon Prime has saved me a LOT of money...although not necessarily on food) and sign up for newsletters and sale flyers through email. Always figure your price per ounce or pound, and include shipping costs if buying online - but also include costs for your time and gas if shopping locally! If you drive past your local health food store all the time anyway, not a problem; if you have to go out of your way, or to the next town, a low shipping fee (or all for one price shipping, like netrition.com charges) may be less expensive, with gas prices being what they are. Typically I buy my flours and baking products, sweeteners, and some of my seasonings online.

Fifth, buy whole, and make it small for yourself. This applies to big hunks (tenderloins or whole strips) and "family size" packages of meat as well as grains (flax, quinoa) and other dry foods (nuts). MUCH less expensive in many cases, especially when you find a sale! A small coffee grinder from KMart for less than $20 is perfectly adequate to make rough flour and meals out of most dry ingredients. There are exceptions but most of the time, you can get more for less.

Sixth, make adjustments. My husband and I both eat larger meals (although I don't eat as much at a sitting as I did before my fundoplication surgery in December), and I have learned over the years that if I try to reduce portion sizes, my husband especially will go looking for snacks a short time later - and an additional snack costs more than a larger portion. But I will often reduce the portion sizes of the more expensive parts of the meal, and increase the portion sizes of the cheaper parts of the meal. Also, sometimes adding a sauce made from the drippings (the seasoned oil the veggies were roasted in plus the meat drippings, a pinch of xanthan gum and a squirt of cream) which would otherwise go to waste will also add to satiety, enabling me to reduce portion sizes.

Seventh, replace at least one meat dish with a casserole every week. No, not with noodles and rice, as we did before :) but with other filling but lower carb options. My casseroles typically consist of meats - but in smaller quantities -and vegetables, lots of different kinds of vegetables!, with some high-fiber additions (baby corn, water chestnuts) and a fatty sauce to fill us up. (Fat=satiety and we don't have to fear fat when we're eating low carb!) Add some low carb rolls or biscuits from one of the trillions of recipes on the web and in low carb cookbooks, and you've got a great meal plus leftovers for lunch the next day!

Lastly, I have made cuts in other areas of my budget that enable me to spend a little more on food. This is a personal choice, and not one that many would want to make. But for me, making a single tank of gas stretch for an entire week and keeping the thermostat at 62 instead of 65 are acceptable trade-offs. We like our beef twice a week and our fish every week, both of which are more expensive and also more important to us than extra trips in our gas-hog van or walking around the house without a sweater. And as dairy prices have skyrocketed but we aren't willing to give up our cheeses, cream, and butter we need to make a way to pay for those. It's rotten when we have to choose between heat and healthy food but such is our country now, decisions made by leaders who don't have to pinch every penny...but that's a post for another blog :).

Hope some of my changes will help you too!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

YUM YUM YUM!!! Pumpkin MiniCakes #lowcarb #recipe #glutenfree #grainfree

Yesterday evening my 28MO grandson and I talked about making bread, which he really REALLY loves to do. But I had sort of a sweet tooth so I was able to persuade him to make cupcakes instead. I didn't know what kind yet, and of course didn't have a recipe (I rarely use them, and even when I do it is just for guidelines), but I sat him on the kitchen counter, pulled out the mixer, and got started anyway. These are pretty close approximations of ingredient amounts, since I do measure when baking with him. He likes using the cups and spoons, and is learning to level off the tops as well. So here we go.

- 4 eggs
Whip with whisk attachment in mixing bowl until fluffy.

- 1/2 of a 15 oz. can of pure pumpkin
- 1 tsp. vanilla
Add to eggs and continue whipping until very smooth.

- 1c pecan meal/flour
- 1/2c coconut flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2c erythritol (or your choice)
- 1/4c brown Sugar Twin (or your choice)
Mix well with fork or wire whisk.

Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and mix thoroughly with paddle attachment. It will be very thick, almost like cookie dough.

- 1/2c melted coconut oil
Drizzle into "dough" with mixer on low speed.

This will help thin it a little but it will still be too thick for cake batter.

- heavy cream
Drizzle into bowl with mixer on low until "dough" becomes batter and reaches desired consistency; I used probably 1/3c (guesstimate); mix until well incorporated.

Grease (or spray) your mini-muffin tins WELL. Bake in preheated 350*F oven about 25 minutes, until a knife inserted into the middle of the largest muffin comes out clean.

Remove from tins to a cooling rack and cool completely.

NOTE: This recipe made exactly 48 mini-muffins, or 2 trays. I did make frosting for these, and once I put it on, they went from superb to SUPER AMAZING! Just did a standard cream cheese frosting, whipping together about 2 parts cream cheese to 1 part butter, with a splash of vanilla, sweetening to taste with liquid sucralose drops, and drizzled in cream while whipping until desired fluffy consistency. Since the frosting needs to be refrigerated we are frosting them as we eat them - I don't want the muffins to dry out in the fridge.

These are SO SO SO SO good, especially with a nice hot cup of coffee!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Some Good #Lowcarb Eatin' This Week! #recipes

Just a few Cheap'n'Easy Low Carb meal ideas, in case you're interested :).

Pork dinner: I love pork with something sweet! Saturday I made a very pretty and delicious roast pork rib (country style) dinner that was easy prep and easy cook! Got some brussels sprouts out of the freezer, and tossed them in a bowl with a little olive oil and sea salt. Washed 3 small sweet potatoes and put them in the oven to roast, right on the rack. Seasoned my pork (this time very simply - S&P, garlic and onion powders) and put it into the oven. Then I sat with my feet up for about 30 minutes while I checked my facebook and email accounts. Poured the brussels sprouts onto a small baking sheet and added it to my oven for the last 30 minutes or so. Fiddled around for another half hour, then dinner was ready. Beautiful plates of color and nutrition! Served my sweet potato with a lot of butter and cinnamon, and a little brown Sugar Twin. Everything else was perfect as it was. Served 3 of us for about $7.

Fish dinner: While I really love crunchy coated fried fish, I've never managed to get it right. The coating either slides off or sticks to the pan, and I'm not sure why. (Christmas gift idea - a deep fryer that doesn't have a nonstick coating!) So I usually just season and bake my fish. On Monday it was pollock, which is so easy! I coat both sides with butter/olive oil mixture, very lightly sprinkle some coconut flour and seafood seasoning on top, and that's it. I had a couple of small potatoes (most low carbers don't eat potatoes at all; I eat 1-2 small ones/week) so I cut those into chunks, tossed with olive oil and sea salt, and roasted them at 375. Then I put a couple of Tbsp of butter in a saucepan with a couple cupfuls of frozen chopped spinach, covered, and set it on the "vent burner." After the potatoes had a 20-minute head start I put the fish in the oven and let them get acquainted in there for 25 minutes. When it was time to serve I turned the vent burner on and added a splash of lemon juice to the spinach while I pulled the fish and potatoes out of the oven, poured drinks, and so forth; since the spinach was already thawed and warm it only took a minute and a quick stir before it was good and hot. $4 for the meal for 2 of us.

Steak dinner: As I've mentioned, I buy chuck - it is my favorite cut, and it is cheap. And I buy the roasts, which I slice across into 2 "steaks" when I get home. I have grilled these, broiled them, fried them, you name it, and they act and taste like the chuck steaks that cost more. Anyway...I fried a chopped-up onion in plenty of bacon fat, then moved it to the side and added a "steak" that I had cut into big (about 2 oz.) chunks. Seasoned with sea salt and granulated garlic. I turned them until they were nice and brown on each side, but rare in the middle (how we like it). With a salad on the side, this was a great meal for about $4.50.

Chicken and bacon: I put my chicken thighs and bacon into the oven in separate pans (because I save my bacon fat) and just cook them together. I think chicken and bacon go well together, and with a big heaping side of my saucy green beans it makes a great meal. Plus, the next day we get another meal out of a big plateful of greens or lettuce (this week lettuce because I'd gotten it on sale), piled with leftover chicken and bacon plus a handful of shredded cheese and some chopped veggies - whatever is in the fridge at the time. Lots of food, very filling, about $3 for both plates of salad fixed the way we had them this week.

Saucy green beans: Everybody loves these, but they're so simple! I melt some bacon fat in a saute pan, and add the powdered onion (not granulated, it's fine powder, like flour), and it makes like a roux - maybe 3 Tbsp of bacon fat and 1 tsp of onion powder will do it. Once it thickens I add my frozen whole baby green beans, some sea salt, and some granulated garlic and cover. As soon as the beans are softened, I stir it all together and return the cover to let the beans cook well (but not mushy). The liquid comes out of the beans and mixes with the "roux" and makes a lovely light but tasty sauce. So easy but really REALLY great! And cheap - about a buck for the whole panful which serves 4 - or 2 when my husband and I have them :). Add some bacon and it's a light meal!

Simple Stir-Fry: Only it's not really a stir-fry because I don't make it like the Chinese do, in a hot wok, quickly. But I don't know what else to call it. I use an electric skillet, and fry my meat chunks and chopped onion in fat. Then I throw in a package of frozen stir-fry vegetables and a package of cole slaw mix, season with soy sauce, ginger, and sesame oil, toss it all together, lower the heat, and that's it. Ready to eat in about 10 minutes. Depending on what I have on hand I also have been known to add a can of baby corn, water chestnuts, mushrooms...whatever. Sometimes I chop up shirataki noodles and add those too (at the beginning, with the meat and onion). But it is filling, inexpensive (under $5 for 4 portions - and the 2 or 3 of us usually eat it all), fast, and easy.

Cucumber salad: Did I already write about this? I take 4 cukes, peeled and seeded and cut into bite-sized chunks...4 tomatoes, de-seeded and cut into bite-sized chunks...1 onion (red is pretty, sweet yellow ones are tastiest, sometimes I use both!) sliced into thin slivers...toss with balsamic vinaigrette and a little sea salt. The longer it sits in the fridge the better it tastes - next-day is excellent! We paid 49c each for the big cukes, the tomatoes were from our own plant, and the onion was about 50c ($1.29/lb, less than 1/2#). The balsamic vinaigrette was $1.79 for the bottle, I used 1/4 of the bottle. So the salad, which feeds both of us for several meals/snacks (8 servings?) cost $3 with the free tomatoes. I've taken this to church potluck and gotten rave reviews, and it is colorful and beautiful as well!

This is what we've been eating the last few days. Of course we've also had breakfasts and other things, but we've had some great suppertime meals using the bounty of groceries I purchased on Saturday morning!

OOPS! Sorry about the #foodforthought amp...didn't mean to post it here :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Another #LowCarb Shopping Trip - MEAT!

We like to buy our meats at Steve's in Harrison, MI for the most part. It's about 20 miles away but I have found their meats to be far superior to what I can buy for a decent price in Houghton Lake. We have Glen's, who have good meat, but unless it is last-day-marked-down or part of a super-sale, it is just out of our budget. Sav-a-Lot has decent meat. But it's nothing like Steve's. So once a month we drive down to Steve's and stock up for the month. I plan on spending about $100 each time - we are big meat eaters.

This month we did it for just $80 and change. And here is what we got:
3.84# of Pollock
6.55# of chicken thighs
13.38# of pork (steaks, chops, country ribs)
11.87# of chuck roast, which I usually slice across and broil as steaks

We averaged $2.24/lb for our meat. Last year I would have been disappointed in anything over $2/lb but this year, considering many prices have almost doubled since last summer, I consider this excellent!

After rewrapping the meat for the freezer, I ended up with 8 chuck (my favorite cut!) steaks, 9 packages of pork, 5 packages of chicken, and 3 packages of fish. Easily a month's worth, considering we go out for our fish dinners once a week, and sometimes we have dishes that don't involve much meat...

Then I went to Sav-a-Lot to stock up on $70 of other stuff, like dairy, eggs, tuna, and other canned goods. I haven't shopped as much as usual this summer, so we'd use up all of the meats and veggies in our big freezer. I don't have my usual "stock" on hand at the moment (except baking supplies), so we're eating what we're buying. This is a great chance to have a more realistic picture of what we are actually spending each month.

So far this month I have spent $165 on groceries. We will probably need some more dairy and some more produce, and I will place my monthly amazon.com and netrition.com orders...but we'll still be under $300 for the month for food. YAY!

My Produce Haul - Yes, REALLY This Time! #lowcarb

So I uploaded a photo directly to this blog from my DroidX the other day, thinking that it posted...but I see that it didn't, so here it is again WITH the photo.

Just $15 and change...that's all I paid for ALL THIS yesterday! I also got more fresh produce today...more about today's shopping trip later, but isn't this just BEAUTIFUL??? I bought a lovely eggplant, a butternut squash, a spaghetti squash, 3 small sweet potatoes, 2 heads of iceburg lettuce, a MASSIVE cantaloupe, 4 big cukes, 2 big red onions, and 3 bananas. (only 1 shown - my grandson ate the other two!)

Doesn't it just make a wonderful picture?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Deliciously Simple #Lowcarb Day!

Because we were saving up for our anniversary celebration trip I didn't do a big grocery shopping in August. Besides, if you've read my blog for long, you already know that I keep a good stock of foods on hand so that I can "shop" each day for whatever meals we are in the mood for - or have the time to make. At any given time I have a minimum of several weeks' worth of frozen meats and vegetables; once a month I fill in gaps in my stock and buy sale items to add, and several times a month I fill in with fresh produce and dairy.

So I didn't do a bigger monthly shopping in August, and didn't even do any smaller shopping trips the week before the trip. As a result we are getting low on our stock and have had to be very creative to make our meals until I get a chance to do a BIG shopping on Saturday...

I'm not into breakfast, as I've mentioned...but late mornings I start to get hungry. Today I had to really dig around to figure something out for a quick and easy meal for Pete and I. I ended up with some chicken breast strips (it is ALWAYS a great idea to keep a few pounds of chicken breast - bought on sale, cut into strips, roasted, and frozen - for last-minute meals!) and a bag of broccoli/cauli/carrots. I tossed those together with a partial bottle of salad dressing from the back corner of the bottom shelf of the fridge...in this case, a balsamic vinaigrette...and heated it all through. It was simple, quick, cheap, and delicious!

Suppertime I used a few "fabricated" black angus beef patties that had been in the freezer for a while, and fried those in a little olive oil on my griddle. I also sliced up our first tomato from our tomato plant (this is the first time we've grown anything, we just had a single tomato plant and are just now starting to get a few tomatoes) into 4 chunks, and threw those onto the griddle also. Then I made these - and they were AMAZING! Saved the whole meal, really. They don't have a chewy bready texture, but I thought they were rather like a cross between garlic breadsticks and crispy hash brown patties. Hard to describe, but absolutely delicious! They were easy, but not cheap at about $4 for the 6 sticks, so I'm not sure how often I will make them. But I was very pleasantly surprised!

And this evening I'm about to make one of my Lovely Loaf bread loaves, that I use for Pete's sandwiches for work. I rarely buy lunch meat because of all the junk in it, but Eckrich bologna was on sale for 59c/package a few weeks ago so I bought 4 packages, 3 are still in the freezer. Thankfully it's only 2 more days until I shop!

We can do this, we can make it through the day tomorrow, we will make it through Saturday! :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Yeah, it's been a month. I sort of took a week-by-week hiatus from blogging altogether. It was a busier month than I can recall in recent history, and anything internet-related (Facebook, email, blogging, games) had to take a back seat to real life. I did well all month, made some really tasty dishes - and thought, "I need to blog this recipe!" but then of course real life took over again and I didn't...no worries, there are plenty more where those came from :). Then over Labor Day weekend my husband and I went to Marquette, MI for a few days to celebrate our anniversary. My meals in all of the restaurants ran the gamut from spinach salads to hamburgs and onion rings. The good thing was that the lovely motel where we stayed had a nice breakfast buffet, and every morning had real eggs, meat, and melon among the many offerings. We only ate one other meal each day, in the late afternoon, so that helped...but did have snacks in our room that definitely were not lowcarb. (I don't have a big sweet tooth but a bag of fritos turns my knees to jelly!) So I'm up 7# and that'll take a couple of weeks of really low carb and really high fat to get back off - but it was worth it, and I don't feel badly about it at all. Plus I got a lot more exercise that I do at home, which was awesome because now I CAN do just about anything I want to do, compared to the last few years when I was so sick! So things should settle back down again now, I've missed blogging (in all 3 of my blogs) and it feels GOOD!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

My Simple Method to Make EXTREMELY WONDERFUL Yogurt :) #lowcarb

I thought that I had already posted my "how I make yogurt" method here a while back, but I'm not finding it now. I just wrote it up as a comment on another blog though, so if you are interested you can read that HERE.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Low Carb Meals to Beat the Heat!

Here in northern lower Michigan, we can usually count the 90°+ days on our fingers without even having to get toes involved. But the last couple of years have had more than our fair share of heat, and cooking is the LAST thing I want to do in my hot mobile home that doesn't have air conditioning! The GREAT thing about summer, though, is that there is plenty of food available - very cheaply! - that we don't even have to cook! Cold dishes are easy and tasty, and you can mix them up with just a few pre-cooked (before the heat wave hits, or in the cool of the early mornings or late evenings) foods to create complete meals!

Here are a few of my own ideas in the hope that they will trigger your imagination! Adapt these as you will, this is by no means an exhaustive list, but rather a jumping off point for your own creativity.

First, fill the fridge. Load up on raw veggies and dip, eggs, lunch meat/coldcuts (or whatever your diet allows), greens, cream, cheeses, berries, melon, torillas or wraps, pre-cut bagged cole slaw mix, etc. If it's cold, if it can be eaten without a standing at the counter doing a lot of prep work while your ankles swell, it's good! (A couple of other goodies I like to keep in the fridge are cottage cheese and yogurt, both of which mix with berries or top gelatin, as well as being good on their own.)

Second, prepare before the hot spell strikes, or pick an early-morning or late-evening that's a little cooler and commit to an hour of prep. During that time, hard-boil a couple dozen eggs, clean and wash your berries, slice and dice your veggies and melon, wrap some cream cheese with cold cuts, cook up some bacon, whip up some cream, mix your cole slaw, chop up a cooked rotisserie chicken or 2, clean, dry, and toss your greens & store them in a big zipper bag (or 2!), make up some SF gelatins, make up some tuna or chicken with mayo/celery/onion/pickes/whatever you use, and fill your ice cube trays. You will now be all set for your meals for several days!

With the above all ready to go, you can have some really great, filling meals! Here are some ideas:

- Chicken salad: peel, seed, and dice 2 cucumbers, half of a rotisserie chicken, 1/4 of an onion, and 2 HB eggs; toss with S&P, celery seed, mayo, and a short squirt of mustard

- Tuna unmelt: Flake 3 cans drained tuna into a bowl; add finely chopped onion and celery to taste; mix in 3T freshly-grated swiss cheese; toss with mayo. Serve in low carb wraps, or on a Sassy Sandwich Roll.

- Lay some greens on a Sassy Sandwich Roll, top with a scoop of tuna or chicken salad, and a slice of cheese.

- Toss chicken or tuna with your cole slaw, or apples (if your plan allows) and nuts, or cold cuts, chopped celery and mustard, or...? Cole slaw is a versatile starting point for several salad-type dishes, you can so many different things to it, and is also great to add with meats into wraps!

- Devil up some of those hard-boiled eggs. Just mash the yolks with mayo, a touch of mustard, S&P, and some onion powder. Then sprinkle with paprika and parsley for a festive look. Or fill your whites with your premade tuna or chicken salad and top with crumbled yolk! (You can use the rest of the yolks in other salads or add to the deviled eggs.)

- Use your greens, cold cuts, chicken, bacon, HB eggs, and veggies to make a Monster Salad on a big platter. Keep the salad bowls cold in the fridge so you can cool off and take care of your hunger at the same time.

- Serve your gelatin with berries and whipped cream as a snack or a dessert

- Toss together chopped raw cauli and broccoli florets, bacon, celery (or toasted walnuts!), and even an apple if your plan allows, and a dressing of mayo, cream, and your sweetener of choice - just enough so it doesn't taste mayonnaise-y.

- Toss together some cantaloupe, honeydew, and strawberries for a pretty summer salad.

Lastly, we are big coffee drinkers here, but iced coffee is easy and wonderful! Simply pour half a pot of cold coffee, 10 (or so) ice cubes, 1/2c cream, a couple tablespoons of your favorite SF syrup, and sweetener to taste to a blender. This makes enough for 6 servings for us, and stores for a day nicely in the fridge.

When it is hot out - and in! - I love to open my refrigerator door and see a slew of prepared dishes that I can just grab and serve - or eat on the spot. At suppertime, set out a combination of these dishes - such as your Monster Salad platter, a plate of deviled eggs, and some gelatin with berries and whipped cream - or a dish of chicken-cuke salad, some cream cheese roll-ups, and a bowl of melon-strawberry salad - and you can feast on summer's best, with very little effort! The whole point is to have a good stock on hand of cold foods, already prepared, that you can mix'n'match into various dishes for lunches, suppers, or snacks.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The "Cheap" Part: GREAT Shopping Trip Today! #lowcarb

Ooooh, yeah baby! Meat has been SO expensive, I've been unable to find beef (except ground) for under $4.00/lb locally in several weeks, and it is my favorite meat. I'm tired of pork and chicken, but pork as been over $2.00/lb, and chicken over a buck. Just last year, I got all of my chicken (we eat dark meat) for less than $1/lb...got all of our pork for < $1.50/lb, and beef for <$2.00/lb. In fact, those were my limits. I had no trouble finding meats that fit those prices, either on sale, or with "last day" red stickers on them. But this year with the sharp increase in food prices, no way!

Lately whenever I find beef for <$4.00/lb (other than ground), I buy it. I've raised my pork limit to $2/lb, but still <$1.00/lb for chicken with the except of the b/s breasts that I buy a couple of times a year. But beef is still my favorite, and I prefer to eat that several times a week than anything else. We also like our fish about twice a week...

(I'm speaking of our main meals above. Bacon is a staple for breakfast several times a week, or ham, and eggs just about every day. But for our main meal, we sometimes eat in the afternoon and sometimes before Pete leaves for work at night.)

Now, back to the subject at hand. Today I set aside $100 to buy enough meat for a month. We're down to our last few pounds of meat, and it's all "recipe meat" - meat that I use in other dishes, such as ground beef and sausage, or side pork, plus a single small steak and some all-beef patties...oh, and a couple of meals' worth of tilapia...

We went to my favorite place, Steve's Meats in Harrison. And we bought over 46# of meat, for $113 - about $2.24/lb overall! AND over half of it (27#) was BEEF! Totally exciting :). I got both brisket, a whole one which they cut into big chunks for me, and a bunch of chuck roasts (on sale for $2.99/lb). We slice the chuck roasts across to make them into 2 "steaks" which I broil or fry, and they are SO tender and flavorful, and so unlike the supermarket meat that we often pick up on sale. Very fresh. In total, I got
14.67# beef brisket
12# chuck roast
5# bacon (they have the BEST bacon!)
3# ham
11.75# pork chops - big fat ones!

We also stopped at our local produce market, Bart's, and got a bunch of produce from the "last day" cart (6 zucchinis, a couple pounds of grapes for my grandson and the parrots, a head of lettuce we'll use up tomorrow), and a massive fresh honeydew melon and some rutabagas. Oh, and a jar of yellow peppers for Pete, he likes them on his sandwiches. I'm still working my way through the frozen veggies I'd accumulated through the winter, still have about 20# of those in my freezer...but spent $16 today at Bart's.

So I'm totally excited about our meat haul today, and I wanted to share :).

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What a Casserole Tonight! #lowcarb

It's been a while since I've stocked up on groceries, I always keep the equivalent of a small grocery store in the house so I can "shop" daily for our meals, but other things keep getting in the way and when I have the time I don't have the $, when I have the $ I don't have the time! So I'm using things I've bought on sale or at a great price even though I didn't have an immediate use for it - like all those packages of fresh (now frozen of course) ground sausage, for example...

I had no idea what I was going to prepare for supper tonight - none! So just started pulling out a few things from around the kitchen to put with my 1# package of ground sausage. I had 4 turnips, an onion, a big container of ricotta...hm...need something green...well there's about a cup of frozen chopped spinach left in the bottom of a 2.5# bag...and I have a load of different shredded cheeses (yes, I know they have a little starch in them to prevent clumping) from a sale...

I had pulled the sausage earlier in the day to thaw. I peeled and diced the turnips and put them in some sweetened (Truvia) water to soak for a while. Chopped the onion. Browned the sausage in a frying pan, breaking it apart with 2 forks. Buttered my 9x13 glass baking dish. When the sausage was done, I moved it to the baking dish and poured in the spinach to thaw in the heat of the sausage. Drained the turnips, and put them with the onions in the same frying pan, with the sausage drippings, covered and cooked until almost done.

While the turnips were cooking I mixed together about 1.5c of the whole milk ricotta, 1/4c heavy cream, and an egg. Once the turnips and onions were done I added them to the baking dish and tossed them with some sea salt, then mixed in the sauce and about a cup of sharp cheddar cheese, adding another 2c or so of cheeses (I used several different kinds) on top, and put it into a 350 oven until it was bubbling and the cheese on top browned.

It was AMAZING. Absolutely NO turnip flavor, tasted just like potatoes. All the flavors melded so beautifully...the spinach was just for the color, but I'd like to try kale or slivered brussels sprouts or cabbage sometime. I'd also like to try it with seasoned ground beef, mushrooms, and peppers. And with chicken and broccoli/cauliflower/carrots...very versatile, I think.

I figure just over 100gN of carbs in the whole recipe, which I cut into 12 pieces, so less than 10gN per piece. The cost of the dish was about $14 - not one of my cheaper dishes by far, but made enough for supper for 3 of us, Pete's lunch for work, lunch for 2 tomorrow, and Pete's lunch again tomorrow night (sometimes eating 2-piece servings) or roughly $2/meal.

And most importantly, WE LOVED IT!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Such a Delicious Day Today! #lowcarb

Breakfast: 2 eggs and chopped spinach fried in butter with cheese melted on top

Lunch: 2 burger patties and a slice of melted swiss between them

Supper: mixed greens with shrimp and ranch dressing

Snack: pork rinds dipped in full-fat sour cream

I made a loaf of bread this evening so I could make sandwiches for Pete's lunches for work. With the lovely smell of fresh-baked bread filling the house, I'm not sure I won't have a piece of buttered toast yet this evening. It may be only a few grams of carbs but I'd really not wanted to have grains of any sort these few days...my resolve is crumbling though...we shall see if I cave or not :). (Of course I simply can say no, and I realize that - I think I'm just torturing myself!)

It's Still July 5th Because I Haven't Gone To Bed Yet! #lowcarb

Per my earlier post today, I'm going all out!

Today for breakfast I had 2 eggs fried in butter, with cheese and full-fat sour cream.

Lunch was a large chicken leg quarter, with skin including all the fat deposits.

Supper was a salad made up of a bunch of different greens, with leftover tilapia, cheese, and ranch dressing.

Meal #4 was two 100% beef patties with butter and a little bit of "low sugar" ketchup.

Cost for today's good eatin': 22¢ for eggs, 89¢ for the 1# leg quarter, 80¢ worth of greens (bought on sale), $1.20 for the tilapia, $1.60 for the beef patties, plus the butter, cheese, dressing, sour cream, and Tbsp of ketchup...let's be generous and add a buck for all that, for a total of $5.70. Yup, cheap'n'easy! :)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Weekend Splurge! #lowcarb

I haven't had a splurge in I-don't-know-HOW-long, but this weekend was it. And it was because we ate out more than usual. And if you've been reading my blog long, you know that my will power flies out the window at restaurants - sad, but true. So typically we only go to restaurants on Fridays for the fish fry a local eatery has. And I make no bones about enjoying it, especially since doing so has no effect on my weight - as long as it's just that once a week.

This weekend I not only went to the fish fry on Friday, but Saturday was the day we went to the city for our "big grocery shopping" for the month and went to a Chinese buffet for lunch; Sunday was the monthly potluck at church; Monday we stopped at a local restaurant on the way home from the Independence Day festivities over at our county seat, starved and not wanting to wait until we got home and took the time to prepare a proper meal.

4 splurges in 4 days is too much and I feel lousy. I'm up a few pounds on the scale but don't care so much about that as I do how I feel: logy, addle-headed, mildly achy and headachy...

So between now Friday evening's fish fry, I'm going all-out low-carb/mod.protein/high fat. NO grains, not even my Lowcarb Lovely Loaf, and of course no sugar. Butter and coconut oil on everything. This morning I had 2 eggs fried in butter with some shredded colby-jack cheese on top, and a generous dollop of full-fat sour cream. Lunch will be a huge chicken leg quarter that I baked this weekend, it has lots of fat deposits around the skin. And I have a box of frozen 100% angus beef burgers (not cheap!) in the freezer, I will fry them all up and put them in the fridge for some quick meals - reheated with butter and/or sour cream on top will be great! Lowcarb vegetables loaded up with butter and/or olive oil, and salads with shrimp or tuna...these will be my meals between now and Friday evening.

If I'm not back to normal after all of that, then I'll stick to it until I am. 'Cause this just ain't right!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Oh. My. Goodness! What a Supper! #lowcarb

You know I'm all about Cheap and Easy - hence the name of this blog. But what good is cheap and easy if food isn't also flavorful? People who eat my food tell me I'm a fantastic cook - I know I love my own cooking :) - but this SUPER-SIMPLE chicken was soooo good...

All I did was brine the chicken pieces, as I usually do, with sea salt, and some onion and garlic powder, in the fridge overnight.

Today I pulled the pieces out of the liquid and rolled them (without rinsing or drying) in a coating of 2 parts peanut flour to 1 part coconut flour. I put it on a rack in a baking pan, sprinkled all sides with S&P, and baked it at 375F for an hour. That's IT! And it was soooo good! Just a hint of the peanut flavor to remind me of peanut chicken at the Chinese restaurant, a little sweetness from the coconut flour...and a nice crispy coating. Plenty of fat from the chicken skin - plus it was all dark meat - kept it from being dry.

I served it with whole skinny green beans sauteed in olive oil and butter, seasoned with garlic and onion powder and sea salt - a favorite of ours that we have a couple of times a week.

The dinner was about $4, considering the chicken was only $2.47 (with a "last day special" red sticker on the package), the amount of beans was less than a buck, and negligible amounts for the flours and oils and seasonings. I thought about making some biscuits (easy CarbQuik ones) but I'm glad we didn't, so we could eat more chicken! (No leftovers tonight, by the way...)

The only addition I might make, if I were feeding someone who liked a little spice, might be some red pepper in the coating. We don't like heat in our food though...

This was so good that I will probably use this coating on chicken breasts, cut into strips, for our church's potluck dinner this-coming Sunday.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I'd Rather Gain a Few Pounds, Than...

...hurt or insult someone. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'm not a lowcarb nazi. I eat lowcarb for all but one meal every week (and that meal is what I'd call moderate, (less than 100gN, with very few, 10gN at most, the rest of the day). And I'm losing 1-2# every week now that I'm eating to lose again and in fact am now back to my over-20-years-ago weight!

I went downstate for a funeral earlier this week, and spent 2 days there. My step-mother, who is wonderful and not wicked in the cinderella sense at all, lovingly prepared a beautiful meal for our arrival with her rheumatoid-arthritis afflicted hands. And it was DELICIOUS! Chicken and pork chops, floured and breaded with panko bread crumbs, served with potato salad, applesauce, and bread and butter. I would never reject her offering just to save on carbs, or to avoid a temporary gain of a couple of pounds, the mere thought of that is hurtful to me. And I enjoyed every single bite without guilt!

The next day there was a lovely luncheon after my uncle's funeral, which included a pasta dish, scalloped potatoes, rolls, breaded pork chops, a roasted vegetable mixture, and salad. I started with a hefty helping of salad and a couple of spoonfuls of the veggies. Then I ate a little of each of the other dishes, and skipped dessert. It was my main meal - only full meal - of the day.

2 days of carbs have taken their toll on the scale, yes...to the tune of about 4# actually. I know it's mostly water bound to glycogen molecules and will be gone shortly, if not already. And I'm having bread cravings like crazy too, that I'm fighting with the help of my Lovely Loaf, and modified oopsie rolls that include a little flax meal to give them more body. I had a serving of the bread today, and will have a couple of rolls with supper later this evening. Tomorrow I'll just eat the rolls and skip the bread altogether, and should be past the cravings.

Would I have preferred to eat low carb? Of course! But given the options I had, I absolutely made the right choice for my situation. I'm blessed that I don't have a health condition that totally prohibits carb consumption, obviously that would be a different story - and you might have written the story differently if it were your situation as well :).

I have a gentler heart than many, perhaps...but as one who also shows her love for others through food, I can't imagine rejecting that, not even for a few pounds.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Fresh New Blog & YouTube Channel #paleo #lowcarb

She is delightful, adorable, smart, and does great basic cooking - from making cauli-rice to zucchini noodles, I've enjoyed reading this fresh new blog and watching her very informative videos!

Can I Talk Yet AGAIN About My Lovely Loaf? #lowcarb #bread

I just wanted to mention that I changed some amounts, and one ingredient, which has resulted not only in a consistently more beautiful, lighter, real "Bread-y" loaf, but also has reduced the total net carb count by nearly 25%! These small tweaks have been made, and marked on the last post I made about this bread as it has already been bookmarked by quite a few people. But changes have been clearly marked :).

Monday, June 13, 2011

Cheap'n'Easy - and Quick! Peanut Butter Cup-cakes #Recipe #lowcarb

I wanted to whip up something quick for my husband's lunch last night so I got out my hand mixer, a mixing bowl, and started adding things to it. Readers of this blog know that I don't measure anything, but I used a 1/4c measuring cup and a couple of measuring spoons for everything so I'd be able to repeat the recipe if we liked it. And we LOVED it! "Frosted" with a little sweetened whipped peanut butter, these are really really good!

Whip together
2 large eggs
2 Tbsp soft butter

Stir in
1/3c peanut flour (it was a rounded 1/4c actually)
1/4c polyD
2 packets Truvia
2 Tbsp erythritol
2 Tbsp xylitol
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
dash salt
tiny splash vanilla

Blend on high until smooth and creamy. Divide evenly among 6 well-greased cupcake wells and bake at 350F on center rack until a toothpick comes out clean; tip out on rack to cool. "Frost" with smooth peanut butter whipped with a little sweetening agent of your choice. (I used a drop of liquid sucralose.) (Note: you can add a little peanut oil or softened butter if your peanut butter is too stiff to whip.)

These were so fast and easy, I started them at 10:30 and by 11:30 there were 2 packed in his lunch bag!

(It is difficult to figure out the cost for these, the Truvia is the most expensive ingredient at 16c/packet, but these are EASILY less than Little Debbies with all of their sugars and additives!)