Sunday, January 27, 2013

sickness strikes

I was going to do a post about my new grocery routine which is saving me about $50 a week but then the Norovirus struck our house. When the bathroom floor seems like the most inviting place ever, blogging is definitely not going to be taking place.

I'm 3-days poke pukefest though and am starting to get a little energy back. Obviously, I haven't eaten much these past few days, and unfortunately what I have eaten yesterday and today have been carby and salty. I've tried chicken broth and a bit of protein here and there but it just doesn't set right. Water, grape juice, Gatorade, Ramen noodles and Cheez-Its seem to be about the only things that don't re-upset my stomach.

While trying to look at the bright side, I'd hoped that the torture that is the Norovirus would at least help me get past my weight hump at which I seem to be stuck, but with all the carbs I'm eating, I'll probably stay about where I've been.

I'll be back at some point about my grocery budget!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Vegetable Soup - 7.4g

This is yet another one of my mom's recipes that I make regularly, especially when the weather gets cold. It makes a huge batch and is even better-tasting the next day after it's had time to marinate in itself over night.

The next time I make this, I'm going to tweak it a bit, adding more sirloin and low carb vegetables (celery and carrots) and putting in less potatoes (4 instead of 6 so it doesn't become so potato-heavy for the rest of the family). I also pick out the corn since it's a very carby vegetable.

Vegetable Soup
1/4 cup salad oil
1 small onion
3 celery stalks, sliced
2 medium carrots, sliced
1 small head of cabbage, shredded
1 medium zuchinni, cut in 1/2" chunks
1 1/2 pounds sirloin, cut in 1/2" chunks
6 medium potatoes
6 cups of water
1 28 oz can of tomatoes
1 16 oz can of corn
1 16 oz can of green beans
4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp basil

In an 8-quart pot over high heat in very hot salad oil, cook the onion, celery, carrots, cabbage and zucchini until veggies are lightly browned, stirring frequently. With slotted spoon, remove the vegetables to a medium bowl and set aside.

In same pot over high heat in the remaining oil, cook beef chunks, stirring frequently until meat is well browned on all sides. Meanwhile, cut potatoes into 1" cubes. To the meat chunks, add reserved vegetables, potatoes, tomatoes with their liquid and remaining ingredients. Heat to a boil then reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until beef and potatoes are fork-tender.

As is, makes about 16 servings or more. Without the potatoes, it makes about 12 2-cup servings.

The counts (without potatoes and corn)
Net Carb: 7.4g
Protein: 19.5g
Fiber: 3.9g
*All counts listed are based on my best guesstimation and not necessarily correct. Remember to check the specific nutritional content of the brands you are using as each one is different.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Oops... I did it again

I had a moment of stupidity yesterday and completely forgot that I had splurged a bit at Red Lobster for lunch with a biscuit and some dessert. I had such a huge meal then that I wasn't hungry come dinner time, so by 9 p.m. my stomach started growling. I then stupidly forgot that I hadn't eaten dinner so instead of throwing together some sort of healthy meal, I snacked.

And chose pickle-flavored Pringles and Oreos.

The Pringles aren't too bad... 14g for 16 chips. My plan was to have like 5 chips, which would have only been like 6g. However, I wasn't paying attention as I snacked and the next thing I knew, I'd eaten almost half the container.

The Oreos... well, I have no explanation there. They were the tiny ones so I guess my thinking was that I'd just have a few but I grabbed the bag and just kept snacking while I was distracted doing some research online. I don't even know how many I ate. :(

Anyway, so this morning I woke up feeling completely hungover. Luckily, the kids spent the night at my parents last night so I was able to sleep in and basically just take it slow and easy all morning. By the afternoon, I was starting to wonder if I was getting sick - queasy, headache was coming back, dragging, etc., but I just kept drinking water and taking it easy. By about 7 p.m. I started feeling well enough to do some cleaning.

I'm hoping by tomorrow morning I'll feel completely back to normal. We ended up taking a day off today - no chores, no exercise, no school, bare minimum cooking, no errands, etc. - so now I'm behind on all that.

I did finish reading a book though! Here's to a new day!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

berry green smoothie - 10g

I kept hearing about these green smoothies everywhere and decided to try making one that was low carb.

The first go around didn't turn out too hot. I drank most of mine by sheer willpower and the kids did not drink theirs. I used too much spinach and not enough water so after sitting for a bit, it got really, really thick. Yuck. It did keep me full all morning/afternoon though! I just had a light lunch and ended up having a late dinner because I just wasn't that hungry.

Today I tried again, and I'm really happy with this one. I made it for myself, but my son tasted it and wanted some, too, which he promptly downed. I just finished this one with my lunch and expect to be pretty full the rest of the day!

Berry Green Smoothie
1 cup strawberries
3/4 cup blueberries
1/2 gala apple (for sweetness)
1 cup spinach
1 CARBmaster Raspberry YumBerry Yogurt
1 cup water
handful of ice cubes

Throw it all in and blend!

If it comes out tasting a little bitter, you can add more fruit or 1 tsp of sweetener of your choice.

Makes 3 8-oz servings.

The counts
Net Carb: 10g
Protein: 3.5g
Fiber: 3g
*All counts listed are based on my best guesstimation and not necessarily correct. Remember to check the specific nutritional content of the brands you are using as each one is different.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Massive Freezer Cooking!

Pinterest rocks.

I came across some pins where people show you how to do freezer cooking... putting together bags of food so meals are prepared ahead of time, either completely cooked and just needing thawed and heated up or ready to be thrown in a crockpot.

The kids are at my parents' house tonight, so I decided to give it a go.

I made up a list of needed items, hit the grocery store and then came home and got to cooking! I spent about 4 hours putting everything together.

Each bag will probably yield 2-3 meals for my family of four so that's a total of at least 26 easy meals!
1) Two bags + four single-serve meals for the husband to take to work of spaghetti. This is completely pre-cooked and will just need thawed out and heated up and topped with cheese. It includes pasta, extra meat, zuchinni, summer squash, mushrooms and my sauce.
2) Two bags of shredded chicken and salsa for chicken tacos. I love this crockpot recipe. You just put half a jar of salsa in the crockpot with 1 pound or shredded chicken. Let it cook on low for 6 hours or high for 4 hours and done! Serve it with taco shells or tortillas and all of your favorite toppings. (I'm partial to colby cheese, sour cream, avocados and tomatoes!)
3) Two bags of savory chicken. I found this recipe here and it sounded low carb and yummy so I thought I'd give it a try. It smells great and I can't wait to try it soon. It'll just need thrown in the crockpot, cooked on low for 6-7 hours, with broccoli added during the last 30 minutes.
4) Two bags of chicken with italian dressing and garlic for Parmesan Chicken and Broccoli. This is a recipe I got from Kraft and I haven't made it in forever. It's low carb if I use Dreamfield's pasta. The prepared bags I made just have diced chicken, Italian dressing and garlic. When I make it, I'll throw that stuff into a pan, add broccoli until done, serve over pasta and top with tomatoes and mozzarella cheese.
5) 1 lb of ground chuck and onions to use as base for chili or spaghetti sauce.
6) Two bags of teriyaki chicken. (Only one is pictured because we're having the other one tonight - it smells sooooo good!) I got this one from here, too. Throw in crockpot for 4 hours on high and serve over rice. I'm adding broccoli and mushrooms to mine.
I ran out of chicken or I would have done a chicken pot pie. I also ran out of steam and didn't get to my mini meatloafs.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

low carb lemon squares - 3g

My friend, Lauren, has an (awesome) food blog. Since 2009, when she originally posted this recipe, I've commented 3 times about how I want to make it and yet I had never tried.

Today, she mentioned it again on Facebook so while the kids were outside playing in the snow, I set out to try to turn it low carb.

I looked around online for some recipes, and found one that I combined with Lauren's to tweak it and make it my own.

The crust needs some tweaking. It tastes good, but it came out falling apart. (I didn't have any guar or xanthan gum, which just would help hold it together.) Edited to add: After it cooled completely and was refrigerated, it firmed up more and was fabulous!

The topping is yummy! Not as lemony or sweet as I thought it would be, but very mild and tastey! My husband even commented on how delicious it was!

Low Carb Lemon Squares
For the crust:
3/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup Carbquik
1/4 cup + 1/8 cup Swerve (erythritol)
5 Tbs softened butter

For the filling:
2 large eggs
2/3 cup Swerve
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tsp lemon juice (substituted for 1 tsp lemon zest)
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon salt
Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Blend crust ingredients using a pastry cutter. Press crust into an 8 x 8-inch foil-lined baking pan spayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake for about 18 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly.

Filling: Lightly beat the eggs, sugar, and flour together in a bowl. I used a fork. Add lemon juice, heavy cream, and salt and mix well.

Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Stir filling again, then pour filling over warm crust. Bake for 20 minutes or until filling no longer appears wet and shaky.

Set on a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Cut into 12 bars.
The counts
Net Carb: 3g
Protein: 3.5g
Fiber: 1.8g
*All counts listed are based on my best guesstimation and not necessarily correct. Remember to check the specific nutritional content of the brands you are using as each one is different.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Year, new start... again

The holidays got the best of me and I once again fell off the low carb bandwagon.

It started at Thanksgiving with my mom's pumpkin pie and was just downhill from there. I've gotten back into daily cups of tea with real sugar in them, have added clementines and apples (with parmesan cheese on top... mmm!) back to my snack list and just yesterday had a raspberry-filled Krispy Kreme donut, half a McDonald's pancake, a handful of McDonald's French fries and two oatmeal creme pies.

Yikes. (For the record, yesterday was supposed to be my "Start Over Again Day." Obviously, I failed miserably.)

The good thing is that I haven't gained weight. I mean, my smaller-sized pants that I just bought two weeks ago are now tight, but the scale is the same. I know with just one week of eating low carb, they'll be back to fitting nicely again.

I partly blame my lack of will power on us being out of our regular routine for the entire month of December. We have done so much running (which translate into "eating out") that we're just all over the place right now. Even the kids have been acting up a bit. So, with the New Year, I am very excited to get back into our (new) daily routine. I've tweaked our schedule and have worked in exercise, cleaning time, family time and school time. I know it all can be done - I just have to stick to it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

green bean casserole - 6.7g

My husband loves green bean casserole. I don't think I had even tried it until he recommended it for our first Thanksgiving together. I got the recipe off of the French's Fried Onion container, whipped it up and enjoyed it and thus began our GBC tradition.

So when this holiday season rolled around, I checked the carb content of that same recipe: 14g net per serving. Ouch. You already know TDay is going to be carby with its potatoes, rolls, stuffing and pumpkin pie so adding even more carbs to the meal just didn't appeal to me. Oddly enough I didn't even make Thanksgiving dinner this year - we went to my grandma's house instead.

Christmas follows quickly though so I started doing some research on how to make GBC lower carb and of course, I found an Alton Brown recipe. Once again, I love AB and everything of his that I have made has been phenomenol. He has his own GBC that you make from scratch so I tweaked it a bit and oh my... heaven. I doubled the batch for our dinner because we had people over but not everyone tried it (their loss!) so we luckily have leftovers. It will be finished off today because it is devine and I can't stay out of it!

Image via here
Low Carb Green Bean Casserole
tweaked from Alton Brown's version

For the topping, I cheated and still used the French's Fried Onions. They're good and low carb and easy. :)

For the beans and sauce:
2 Tbs plus 1 tsp salt, divided
1 lb fresh green beans, rinsed, trimmed and halved
2 Tbs unsalted butters
12 oz mushrooms, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 cloves minced garlic
2 Tbs almond flour
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Bring a gallon of water and 2 Tbs salt to boil in an 8-quart sauce pan. Add the beans and blanch for 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and immediately plunge beans into a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside.

Melt the butter in a 12-inch cast iron skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to give up some of their liquid, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and nutmeg and continue to cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Add the almond flour and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute. Add the broth and simmer for 1 minute. Decrease the heat to medium-low and add the half-and-half. Cook until the mixture thickens, stirring occasionally, approximately 6 to 8 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in 1/4 of the onions and all of the green beans. Top with the remaining onions. Place into the oven and bake until bubbly, approximately 15 minutes. Remove and serve immediately.

Serves 4-6 people.

The counts
Net Carb: 6.7g
Protein: 4.1g
Fiber: 3.7g
*All counts listed are based on my best guesstimation and not necessarily correct. Remember to check the specific nutritional content of the brands you are using as each one is different.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

egg nog - 4g

Egg nog was always one of those things that scared me. Drinking raw eggs? Ew! I'd tried some store bought stuff once and just wasn't impressed and didn't understand what the big deal was.

Then I saw an episode of "Good Eats" where Alton Brown takes you through the entire process and by the end of the episode I wanted to make some egg nog so friggin' bad! I adore AB so I knew there was a high chance that it would be yummy.

And it was. So, so yummy! It's one of my favorite holiday treats now!

Yesterday, we went and cut down our Christmas tree and were supposed to decorate it this morning. My husband comes home with store-bought egg nog and a new bottle of rum for the occassion and though very sweet, the egg nog is carby. (12g for 8 oz. That's 1/4 of my daily intake!) He had some things to do before we started so I decided to see if I could make a low carb version!

I wasn't too impressed at first. I used all heavy cream and that's practically all you could taste. I decided to make another half batch using some almond milk to cut down the cream taste but then it tasted too much like almond milk. Still not impressed and now I had a huge batch of egg nog.

I figured I'd try again tomorrow after a trip to the store for supplies but then this evening, I decided to have a cup (can't let it go to waste!) and the tastes have now all blended together and are really good!

AB does suggest you use bourbon, but my favorite alcohol is spiced rum so that's what I always use in it.

I was too busy enjoying the heck out of mine to take a picture. :)

Image via Alton Brown on the Hisotry of Eggnog

Low Carb Egg Nog
altered from Alton Brown's recipe

6 large eggs, separated
3 cups heavy cream
2 cups almond milk
1 Tbs nutmeg
2/3 cup Swerve + 1 Tbs Swerve
6 oz spiced rum

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the 1/3 cup Swerve and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Add the almond milk, cream, rum and nutmeg and stir to combine.

Clean and dry your mixer bowl and whisk before working with the egg whites. Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat to soft peaks. With the mixer still running gradually add the 1 tablespoon of Swerve and beat until stiff peaks form.

Whisk the egg whites into the mixture. Chill and serve.

*Beating the egg whites into soft peaks does make it a very frothy and thick drink. If you want your egg nog more liquidy, don't separate the eggs at the beginning.

Serves 10-12

The counts
Net Carb: 4g 
Protein: 5g
Fiber: 0.8g
*All counts listed are based on my best guesstimation and not necessarily correct. Remember to check the specific nutritional content of the brands you are using as each one is different.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Pumpkin Cake Roll - 6.5g

I love pumpkin cake rolls and assumed they had to be off my radar eating low carb. Then I realized that a pumpkin pie isn't too carby if you don't eat the crust and substitute a zero carb sweetener for the sugar. THEN I realized I could buy almond flour and make a pumpkin cake roll!

Then I was in heaven because it turned out perfect.

Pumpkin Cake Roll
3 eggs
3/4 cup Swerve (or other sweetener)
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 cups almond flour
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp. cinnamon

Beat the eggs and Swerve together for 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients then pour into a greased jelly roll pan (they measure 15x10x1) lined with wax paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Loosen all four corners with knife and turn onto towels with Swerve sprinkled on towel to help keep the cake from sticking. Roll up into towel and let cool. (I put mine in the fridge to speed up the process.)

For the filling:
1/2 cup Swerve
8 oz softened cream cheese
4 Tbs. softened butter
1 tsp. vanilla

Beat all together well. Even though the original recipe called for 1 cup of sugar, using 1/2 cup was still very sweet. It mellowed out by the next day though.

Unroll cooled cake ands pread with filling. Reroll and slice into 1/2 inch pieces.

Keep refrigerated. Freezes well. Serves 15!

The counts
Net Carb: 6.5g
Protein: 5.2g
Fiber: 1.4g
*All counts listed are based on my best guesstimation and not necessarily correct. Remember to check the specific nutritional content of the brands you are using as each one is different.