Showing posts from 2009

New Year's Eve Cocktail-- Caramel Martini

Image had this recipe, and it looked so good I thought I’d share. I don’t normally drink, but if you want to toast the New Year, this looks good. Besides, 149 calories and 0 carbs? I can get behind this for one little drink.Caramel MartiniSource: Cooking.comActive Time:  5 MinutesTotal Time:  5 MinutesMakes 1 cocktail
Remove Image"We have a young, hip crowd and a relaxed, after-dinner loft atmosphere," says John Baydale, who, as vice president of WB Stage 16, which operates the Venetian, helped develop the cocktail. "And I have a sweet tooth. This is a drink that can stand in for dessert."

INGREDIENTS1/4 cup chilled Stolichnaya vanilla vodka2 tablespoons chilled butterscotch schnappsSplash of chilled iced tea6 ice cubesFried sliced plantainDIRECTIONSShake all ingredients except plantain in cocktail shaker until shaker is frosted and very cold. Strain into one 8-ounce martini glass. Garnish by laying fried plantain across glass and serve immedi…

Healthy Holidays Recipes, Menus and Cooking Tips

Stop Dressing Like a Fat Woman

“Lena, stop dressing like a fat woman!” Those were the words of my co-workers and fellow teachers at JoAnn’s Fabrics this past weekend. My only pair of new size 18 jeans were dirty, so I’d thrown on my old size 24 black jeans, a nice shirt, and my favorite black butterfly brocade jacket. I thought I looked pretty snazzy, even if my jeans were held up by my belt. Apparently, I was wrong.The two sewing instructors insisted on giving me a detailed analysis of how I need to cut down my clothes and re-tailor them to fit. Moreover, my lovely butterfly jacket is “only something fat women wear to hide their rolls of flesh.” (Oh, dear.) Guess this means I’d better pull out some of my patterns and make myself some new clothes or my co-workers may just rip my clothes off my body next meeting! EEEK! Still, what they said bugs me. Do I dress like a fat woman? What does a fat woman dress like? Lena Austin

Make Ahead Egg Sausage Casserole

With the holidays approaching fast and furious, we bandsters need to re-think our holidays. While our friends and family think, "Good food" we have other things to consider. This recipe covers our needs-- it's low carb, serves a crowd, and nicest of all it's make-ahead.

Egg & Sausage Casserole
From Eating Well: November/December 1998 — Subscribe Now!

A dozen for brunch? No problem with our delicious makeover of a classic egg casserole. Assemble the casserole the evening before you plan to serve it.

Recipe 12 servings

Active Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 6 1/4 hours (includes 5 hours chilling)

5 ounces turkey breakfast sausage, (4 small links), casings removed
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 large eggs
4 large egg whites
2 1/2 cups low-fat milk
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2/3 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
10 slices white bread, crusts removed

1.Coat a 9-…

Easy Overnight Oatmeal in the Slow Cooker

Overnight Oatmeal

Here is an easy way to serve a crowd a hearty breakfast before facing the elements for a day of winter sports. You can assemble it in the slow cooker in the evening and wake up to a bowl of hot, nourishing oatmeal. The slow cooker eliminates the need for constant stirring and ensures an exceptionally creamy consistency. It is important to use steel-cut oats; old-fashioned oats become too soft during slow-cooking.

"Easy and delicious! I would award 5 stars except for the fact that the dried fruits lost their flavor during the overnight cooking. Hereafter for better flavor, I'll add fresh or hydrated dried fruits when I serve the oatmeal in the...

Lena's note: Raisins work very well, but I recommend adding fruits and flavorings just before serving. Steel cut oats are better for you anyway. However, compared to the sugar bombs many moms are forced to serve in the name of effciency, this kind of breakfast wins hands down despite the hig…

What a Difference a Year Makes

Yesterday, Dante, my DD Susan, and I went to the Jacksonville Zoo. Not that big of a deal, right? It was for me. One year ago, I couldn't have hauled my badly overweight carcass around a grocery store, much less acres of walking trails. I would have been humiliated and restricted to one of those expensive rented electric carts, unable to ride the train or get "up close and personal" with the exhibits. I'd have been in my black stretchy knits, hoping no one noticed how sweaty I was. My swollen feet would have been crammed into my black Crocs, just so my feet could breathe and cool me. A few years ago, I would have jonesed for a cigarette and been unable to satisfy my craving because the electric carts would have been difficult to get to the few places where smokers could be.

This year was radically different than all years past where I sat in my wheelchair while Dante and Susan had fun. This year I was in size 18 jeans and a pink tee shirt, bouncing all over the zoo i…

Sweet and Crunchy Ghosts-- NOT Low Carb

This recipe comes courtesy of my fellow author, Mychael Black. I had to share. Note this is a very high-carb recipe. Serve this to the kids and that skinny person in your life who needs a few pounds.

Sweet and Crunchy Ghosts
By: Pegi Lee
Online Rating: (0/10)

Beneath their marshmallow coverings, these ghosts have a crunchy, salty surprise: pretzels! If the marshmallow starts to stick as you roll it out, just add more powdered sugar to the work surface.
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar, divided
1 cup marshmallow creme
4 (3-inch-long) pieces thick pretzel rods*
8 mini chocolate chips

1. Stir 1 1/2 cups of the powdered sugar into marshmallow creme in large bowl, kneading with hands towards end as necessary.
2. Dust work surface with remaining 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Divide marshmallow mixture into 5 balls. Roll or pat 4 of the balls into 6 1/2-inch flat rounds. Divide remaining piece into 8 balls; place 1 ball on each end of pretzel rods. Place pretzels upright on serving platter, pressing bottom…

5 Ways to Save Time and Money in the Kitchen

For me, the soda machine is not necessary, even ridiculous. However, I agree on the others. C'mon, give up the carbonated beverages. You know they're bad for you, so stop lying to yourself.

This is very, very true even though I no longer use my bread machine the way I used to. However, baking my own bread in the bread machine does save money. I make the dry ingredients in ziptop bags all at once, and then all I have to add is the wet ingredients and the yeast. Fast and easy! Most bread machines come with recipes.

The slow cooker is a godsend! Right now, I have Carolina Slow Pork in there, and have since about 6:30 AM. By the time the guys come home, even I will be able to choke down a little well-cooked pork, something my band usually hates.

The coffeemaker is my biggest money saver. While I was never a Starbucks addict, I do love flavored coffee. I use the DaVinci Sugar Fr…

The Greener Way to Mop than even Swiffer?

Okay, I'll admit that I've been a fan and buyer of Swiffer Wet Jet since it came out. I still have my originally purchased Swiffer even though a newer, cooler version has come out. However, it had one problem: I was constantly buying the replacement pads at a minimum of $7 a box (on sale.) Worse, all those pads went into the trash and into the landfill, and that's not very "green." So, what's a girl to do who loves a clean floor, but hates the old "mop and bucket" routine? I found my answer at Look at the link below.
The initial outlay is about the same as what I paid for my Swiffer, but the microfiber pad is washable! Now that's cool. I could buy the mop and a set of pads, and they'll pay for themselves in about two and a half months. Between this and the MagicJack, I may have found the best money savers of the year.  Lena Austinhttp://www.LenaAustin.comWriting blog: http://depravedduch…

Pepper Steak

Now of course, any low-carb bandster knows to steam up some cauliflower and pulse it through the food processor until they have bits resembling rice, but a whole lot easier to get past the band.

I highly recommend cutting the steak in a half-frozen state, and cutting across the grain is vital to make the meat tender enough to eat.

To reduce carbs even further, don't bother with the cornstarch.

Easy Halloween Treats

Now these are easy treats! Marshmallows on sticks with a candy coating. Wow! I'm so doing this.
Lena Austinhttp://www.LenaAustin.comWriting blog: http://depravedduchess.blogspot.comRecipe and Pagan blog: http://third-infinity.blogspot.comLow Carb Diet blog:

Overnight Prime Rib

This reminds me of the old "Sunday dinner" scenario, where you might have a large meal at noon after church. I saw many a housewife hop in the car and zoom home to attend to the Sunday dinner while the men hung around to talk to the preacher. Eventually, the husband whose wife drove off would get a ride with his son or father back to the house, just in time to pull off his tie and sit down to a huge feast.

However, a little reversal here and change of timing, and you might find this delicious roast on your dinner table some night. Prime rib rarely needs more than salt, and maybe a dash of pepper.

Onion Soup

For the low-carb version, skip the toast and just sprinkle shredded cheese right on top of the soup.

If your band is very, very new or you've just had a fill, cool the soup completely then whirl it all up in the food processor before heating and eating.

Old Fashioned Vegetable Beef Soup

Again, you can avoid the noodles and use a vegetable peeler on the carrots to produce noodle-like strips.

Old English Cheese Balls

It works fine in the food processor as long as you pulse so the motor doesn't heat up the cheese into goo. Definitely give this a thorough chilling. A small disher scoop or melon baller makes the small balls a snap. I prefer the small balls so I can avoid the carbs in the crackers.

Monster Claws


Leftover Pot Roast Soup

This one is a bit high in carbs due to the corn and potatoes. The general idea here is to use up those leftover veggies, so don't hesitate to substitute lower carb veggies like green beans, yellow squash, zucchini, broccoli, and brussells sprouts.

I dedicate this recipe to my brother Scot, who is up there in the wilds of western Virginia. Today is his birthday, and I miss him.

Apple Stuffed Sausage Patties

Pay attention! These delicious patties are high in calories. You can skip the stuffing mix and water if you're a bandster and still get a delicious meal. Just be aware of that calorie count.

Hearty Noodle Soup

In this day and age, even the lowly soup bone must be considered from a meal when times are lean. Since I can't have noodles, I've taken to substituting long strips of vegetables like zucchini, yellow squash, or even using a vegetable peeler on a carrot to get "noodle" shapes.

English Roast in Wine


Cranberry Orange Bread Pudding-- 11g carbs


Chuck Roast in Foil

I've been doing this for years in my crock pot, and all I have to do is bring down the onion soup mix for the family to guess what's for dinner. LOL!

I do serve the gravy over mashed potatoes or rice for the boys, but thanks to the band, I don't want any. I'm happy with some sauteed veggies, thanks.

Chili Cheese Rounds

Instead of potato chips on the side, serve these!

Chicken Gumbo


Espresso-rubbed Steak with Green Chili Pesto

Does this look good or what?

Bacon Wrapped Franks

No, you don't have to use a bun. You can use a wrap, or simply do without and eat the delicious frank with a fork.

Bread and Butter Pickles - A Handpicked Recipe from Splenda and Allrecipes

Lena Amanda Austin ( has sent you this recipe from (Email address has not been verified.) Personal message:Bread and Butter Pickles
Submitted by: Maker of SPLENDA(R) Sweetener Products
These crisp, sweet pickles are a welcome accompaniment to sandwiches and salads. When you've eaten the pickles, use the pickling liquid to add zing to dressing for potato or pasta salad.
Servings: 24Ingredients:
2 pounds 4- to 5-inch cucumbers, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons kosher salt
2 1/2 cups white vinegar
1 1/4 cups SPLENDA(R) No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated
1 tablespoon whole mustard seeds
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon whole clovesDirections:
1. Place cucumbers and onions in a large non-reactive bowl. Sprinkle with the salt and toss to combine. Let stand at room temperature 2 hours. Drain the vegetables, rinse and drain again. Blot dry using paper towels.
2. Wash jars and lids in hot soapy water; …

Sweet and Crunchy Nuts - A Handpicked Recipe from Splenda and Allrecipes

Lena Amanda Austin ( has sent you this recipe from (Email address has not been verified.) Personal message:Sweet Glazed NutsSweet and Crunchy Nuts
Submitted by: Maker of SPLENDA(R) Sweetener Products
These spice-crusted nuts are great for holiday gift giving.
Servings: 8Ingredients:
3/4 cup pecan halves
3/4 cup walnut halves
1/2 cup whole blanched almonds
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1/3 cup SPLENDA(R) No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamonDirections:
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Spray a 15- x 10- x 1-inch pan with cooking spray.
2. Combine pecans, walnuts, and almonds in a mixing bowl; add egg white, tossing to coat.
3. Combine SPLENDA(R) Granulated Sweetener and cinnamon; sprinkle over nuts, tossing to coat. Spread mixture evenly in prepared pan.
4. Bake 30 minutes or until nuts are toasted, stirring every 10 minutes. Cool on waxed paper. Store in an airtight tin.--------------------------------
To view this recipe's nutrition f…

Cinnamon-Pecan Monkey Bread - A Handpicked Recipe from Splenda and Allrecipes

Lena ( has sent you this recipe from (Email address has not been verified.) Personal message:This looks too good not to try, right?Cinnamon-Pecan Monkey Bread
Submitted by: Maker of SPLENDA(R) Sweetener Products
This impressive yeast bread starts with a frozen roll dough. It can even be assembled the night before baking.
Servings: 18Ingredients:
1/2 (3 pound) package frozen roll dough, thawed
1/4 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup SPLENDA(R) Brown Sugar Blend
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup SPLENDA(R) Brown Sugar Blend
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons butter, meltedDirections:
1. Spray a 12-cup Bundt pan with vegetable cooking spray. Sprinkle pecans in bottom of pan; set aside.
2. Combine 2 tablespoons butter, 1/4 cup SPLENDA(R) Brown Sugar Blend and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon in a small saucepan; cook over low heat, stirring constantly until blended; pour mixture over pecans. Set aside.
3. Combine 1/3 cup SPLENDA(R) Brown Sugar Blend and …

Bumper Crop Zucchini Muffins (Yes, for dieting)

Yeah, they're a bit heavy on the carbs. I recommend trying this with honey first, then attempting to substitute with Splenda for Baking to lower the carbs.

As one of the unlucky bandsters who cannot do any form of bread, I'm hoping someone will tell me how this tastes. Better yet, don't.

Diabetic Sweetened Condensed Milk

Jo's Sweetened Condensed Milk 1/2 cup cold water 1-1/3 cups Carnation Nonfat Dry Milk Powder 1/2 cup Sugar Twin or Sprinkle Sweet Place cold water in a 2-cup glass measure. Stir in dry milk powder until mixture makes a smooth paste. Cover and microwave on High (100% power) 45-60 seconds or until mixture is very hot, but not boiling. Stir in Sugar Twin. Mix well to dissolve. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours before using. Will keep up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Use in any recipe that calls for sweetened condensed milk. Makes the equivalent of one 12-oz can of commercial brand. Each recipe contains (the whole thing) 366 calories 0 gm fat 32 gm protein 59 gm carbs 520 mg sodium 0 gm fiber
From: The Diabetic's Healthy Exchanges Cookbook by JoAnna M. Lund
ISBN 0-399-52235-2
Lena Austinhttp://www.LenaAustin.comWriting blog: http://depravedduchess.blogspot.comRecipe and Pagan blog: http://third-infinity.blogspot.comLow Carb Diet blog:

My Muse is Crazy

Let me set the scene for you, here. I was driving home after a very long morning power-walking with my best buddy from 7-8 AM, then I made a mad dash to the doctor's office for my monthly weigh-in. I was proud of myself, because I'd lost another six pounds. So proud, even the rain pelting down on us didn't bother me in the slightest. My daughter was chattering happily away about our upcoming holiday plans and how we could implement the suggestions the nutritionist had recommended. Then my ADHD Muse Cleo decided to have a brainstorm right in the middle of the Buckman Bridge during the worst of the downpour. Seriously. What other muse would decided to start quoting Shakespeare and decide that moment was the perfect time to reveal how the book will end, SIX chapters from now.  I darn near wrecked the car. Cleo rambled on, totally oblivious to our upcoming watery deaths. (Yeah, I wrote it all down when we got home and I restarted my heart.) My muse has a death wish.  
Lena Austi…

Recipe: Summer Squash Carpaccio

Selena Illyria Again...You'd think this girl actually eats healthy food.  From Food Network Magazine
Recipe Link: http://www.foodnetw food-network- kitchens/ summer-squash- carpaccio- recipe/index. html
Recipe: DirectionsThinly slice 1 yellow squash and 1 zucchinilengthwise (a mandoline works best); arrange a few slices on a plate in a single layer. Sprinkle with minced shallots and chopped mixed herbs, drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Repeat to make about 5 layers. Top with grated pecorino; let marinate for 20 minutes.
Dear Reader, Let Me Seduce You . . . Love, Selena Illyria: www.selenaillyria. com, www.pinkchairdiarie

Out Now at Changeling Press: Carnevale
Out Now at Loose-Id: Blood Claim: Prelude
Out Now at All Romance eBooks : Ba'al & Bondage


Cheese Straws


Cheese Snacks

Another quick and easy snack. Do you need the pecans? Not really. They just add extra flavor and crunch. They are somewhat dry, so don't be afraid to add more cheese, a dash of hot sauce, or something.

Next time I make them, I'm going to try substituting ground up pork rind for the flour to lower the carb count even more. Maybe I'll even put little slices of bacon or cheddar sausage on top of the cheese in place of the pecans. Hmm...

Cheese Balls

This is a dependable do-ahead. I make it in the food processor, let it age double-wrapped in plastic wrap so it avoids picking up food odors, and serve it with low carb alternatives like melba toast, celery, and romaine leaves.

This works as "author food" when I need something to munch on while on marathon writing sessions.

Save this for the holidays as well. You'll want something to keep hungry family out of the kitchen but happily munching. If I don't serve up appetizers, I may have masculine vultures hovering! LOL!

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JourneyLite Patient Houston, TX
Looking at all the things she can do now, Arlene thinks getting the band is one of the best things she has done in her life.