Showing posts from 2010

Forgiving Myself and Literally Moving On

Okay, I confess. You haven't seen much of me lately because I've been naughty. I fell off the wagon and piled on ten pounds. Could I blame stress? Yeah, but the point is that no one put a gun to my head and made me eat more carbs. I did it. I think the point is to forgive myself and get back on the bandwagon. There will be days like today (Thanksgiving) where I'll indulge. However, I can say no to certain things like mashed potatoes and dressing and say yes to things like more turkey. I had just a sliver of pumpkin pie instead of pigging out. For me, total denial means I get resentful and eventually defiant. Giving in to a little and having what I want in reasonable portions means I avoid a self-hating binge in secret later. So, now I have to come up with strategies to increase my calorie burn when I can't control what I eat. That means increasing my exercise. That's as easy as getting out of the chair. I can take a walk or dance to my MP3 player. I can do a lot of…

Impossibly Easy Octoberfest Pie

1/2 lb fully cooked bratwurst (about 3), cut into 3/4-inch pieces 1 1/3 cups drained sauerkraut (from 14-oz can) 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese (4 oz) 3/4 cup Original Bisquick® mix 1/2 cup milk1/2 cup regular or nonalcoholic beer 2 eggs
Print these coupons...About Concordance™
Heat oven to 400°F. Spray 9-inch glass pie plate with cooking spray. Sprinkle bratwurst, sauerkraut and cheese in pie plate.In small bowl, stir remaining ingredients until blended. Pour into pie plate.Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Success Pie plates vary in size from manufacturer to manufacturer. Using too small a pie plate will cause the pie to run over while baking. Pie plate sizes are usually marked on the backs of the plates; if not marked, measure from inside rim to inside rim. Serve With Make a quick salad of sliced beets and red onion rings on a bed of greens drizzled with vinaigrette dressing. Serve rye rolls or bread on the side. Nut…

Machine Quilting by a Neophyte

Just before my best office desktop computer blew chunks, I downloaded and printed out a PDF file from Quilting Arts Magazine on how to learn machine quilting for the ordinary sewing machine. (Whew! Sighing with relief that I have a hard copy.)

Thanks to a clue from the president of my quilting guild, the very lucky and kind Diane Kelly, I found “universal” darning foot on Nancy’s Notions. It arrived just after I came back from retreat. I’ve been patiently finishing current projects and waiting until I could spend a bit of time following the step-by-step instructions on machine quilting.

Today was that day. I had some 6” blocks from my Halloween project left, some 6” squares of muslin, and some 6” squares of batting. I made a sandwich for a test, hooked up the darning foot, dropped the feed dogs, and decided that I would just play first to get a feel for how easy it was to move the sandwich.

Oh, my goodness!! I had such fun I didn’t want it to end. So what if it was a silly old rand…

Unleashed in Quilt Land-- Report on Wednesday 27October PBS shows

Unleashed in Quilt Land (What I do instead of stress eating)

Quilting is what I do instead of stress eating. My daughters read this blog, so it's a way to share what I'm learning with them.

1. Fons and Porter #1605 Bluebonnet Baby Quilt

a. Use the window technique when preparing the Heat-n-Bond so there’s only a thin line of adhesive around the edge. Do this before fusing to the fabric.

b. Cut the stems on the bias so they curve easily, 1” wide.

C. Fold the stem in half lengthwise and iron to create the first crease. Mark with pen or chalk if necessary to make the crease easier to see.

D. Fold ½ the stem again, to hide the raw edge. Overcompensate a little to make sure no raw edge is showing. Iron again. Finger press open.

E. Stitch down the center crease created earlier.

F. Roll it over, add leaves, and press it all down. Blanket stitch down.

G. Make and use a placement guide to ensure accuracy of placement. You may also note thread colors, machine settings, and even fabr…

Quilting 101: Supplies and Demands Part One

Supplies and Demands for Quilting

As I read this chapter of Super Quilter by Carla J Hassel, I’m struck by how much has changed in the past 20+ years since she sat down to write it. My amusement has faded to awe. I’m now wondering how my grandmothers managed with a cigar box as a sewing box, a set of hand-sewing needles, pins, scissors, thread, beeswax, chalk, a ruler, tape measure, pin cushion, thimble, seam ripper, and fabric. They made do or did without.

Now I admire my lovely computerized sewing machine, my collection of rulers and templates, stabilizers, Heat-n-Bond, glues, and myriad of gadgets available. Am I the one deprived because I’m not sitting around a frame with other women, learning from those who came before me? Maybe I am. They fearlessly attacked their ignorance and knew they had a lifetime to perfect their skills.

So I use a plastic tote and a photo box instead of a cigar box. It’s not a crime. I made my own pincushions from my early experiments with different blo…

Re: BEST Diabetic Zucchini Bread EVER.

Hi Kathy! Yeah, the zucchini bread recipe has been a family favorite for at least ten years. BTW, they aren't for bandsters, but on my Depraved Duchess blog (see below) I've posted a few recipes and a few guest authors have posted their Halloween faves.
A Haunted Halloween Blog Tour
Visit the Depraved Duchess for a Sexy Halloween

With Lena and her Friends

Lena Austin

From: Anonymous <>
Sent: Thu, October 21, 2010 8:53:13 PM
Subject: [Fat Frog Diary] New comment on BEST Diabetic Zucchini Bread EVER.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "BEST Diabetic Zucchini Bread EVER":

Hi lena,

I will give this one a try for sure. I love a moist bread.
I started swimming and have been so busy.

I love your site and I cook more because of your great easy recipes. Best wishes Kathy imaluckydog

Posted by Anonymous to Fat Frog Diary at October 21, 2010 8:53 PM

Bittersweet Hot Chocolate

Bittersweet Hot Chocolate
Makes: 12 (3/4-cup) servings
Prep: 5 minutes Cook: 5 to 6 hours (low) or 2-1/2 to 3 hours (high)

mnmilnes1 says:

Excellent, but VERY rich! Ingredients4  cups  half-and-half or light cream4  cups  milk2  3-inch pieces  stick cinnamon1  12-ounce package  bittersweet chocolate pieces or two 6-ounce packages bittersweet chocolate, chopped1  tablespoon  vanilla    Marshmallows (optional) Directions1. In a 3- to 4-quart slow cooker, combine half-and-half, milk, and cinnamon sticks. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 5 to 6 hours or on high-heat setting for 2-1/2 to 3 hours.
2. Remove and discard cinnamon sticks. If necessary, skim &qu…

Recipe: Twenty Clove Chicken

Twenty Clove Chicken
Fix-It and Forget-It Lightly, p. 7
Nancy Savage, Factoryville, PA
Makes 6 servings
Ideal slow-cooker size: 4-qt.

¼ cup dry white wine
2 Tbsp. chopped dried parsley
2 tsp. dried basil leaves
1 tsp. dried oregano
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
20 cloves of garlic (about 1 head)
4 celery ribs, chopped
6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 lemon, juice and zest
fresh herbs, optional

1. Combine wine, dried parsley, dried basil, dried oregano, and dried red
peppers in large bowl.
2. Add garlic cloves and celery. Coat well.
3. Transfer garlic and celery to slow cooker with slotted spoon.
4. Add chicken to herb mixture. Coat well. Place chicken on top of vegetables in
slow cooker.
5. Sprinkle lemon juice and zest in slow cooker. Add any remaining herb mixture.
6. Cover. Cook on low for 5-6 hours or until chicken is no longer pink in
7. Garnish with fresh herbs if desired.
For browned chicken, saute uncooked breasts in large skillet in 1 Tbsp. o…

BEST Diabetic Zucchini Bread EVER

Zucchini Bread
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour ½ cup wheat germ 1 tbsp baking powder ½ tsp baking soda 2 tsp salt 2 tsp ground cinnamon ½ tsp each ground nutmeg, mace, and cloves ½ cup skim milk ¼ cup vegetable oil 6 packets Sweet-N-Lo sugar substitute (or 2 tsp bulk version) ½ cup sugar 4 egg whites (or scant ½ cup liquid egg substitute) 3 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray one 9x5 inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients up to the milk. In a large bowl, combine milk, oil, Sweet-N-Lo, sugar and egg whites. Stir in dry ingredients and zucchini. Blend well. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack 5 minutes before removing from pan. Cool completely on the rack. Makes one large loaf.
Cut loaf into 14 slices. Each slice is 180 calories, 5 g protein, 5 g fat, 30 g carbohydrates, 0 mg cho…

Saved by My Grandpa-- The Original Recessionista

My grandfather was born and raised during the Great Depression. Consequently, he was one of those incredibly frugal men who lived well below his income because he "didn't need much." He drove a POS car until it became a classic, then an antique, then he sold it for ten times what he'd bought it for. He even had his own garden until he was too old to tend it properly, but his neighbors all had gardens and felt sorry for the lonely old widower and brought him extras from their gardens for free! When he died, he left my Mom a small fortune.

One thing grandpa did very well was save money on food. He rarely threw anything out. He composted his organic garbage right back into his garden, washed out his cans and took them to a steel mill that happily bought all his cans long before "recycling" was even a word. Even his soups were recycled.

Grandpa kept several containers stacked neatly in his freezer. Three were for cooked meats he shaved off the bones and saved…

Why “Diet” Mayonnaise and Salad Dressings are Not a Dieter’s Friends

Mayonnaise and Salad Dressings are some of the staples of the American dieter’s repertoire. Without a salad for lunch or the ubiquitous tuna sandwich, the American dieter is lost in a sea of pre-packaged and tasteless frozen dinners.Perhaps the most feared alternative is –oh, the horror!—raw vegetables with nothing to flavor them but the forbidden cream cheese or peanut butter.
However, the mayonnaise available on most grocery store shelves has many flaws, not the least of which are high carbs and an overwhelming amount of unpronounceable chemicals and preservatives.
There is an alternative. Surprisingly, it’s easy to make one’s own mayonnaise with a few simple spices, two eggs, two cups of cooking oil, and two tablespoons of an acid liquid such as vinegar or lemon juice. By combining these ingredients in various ways, the humble mayonnaise can become a sublime catalyst to elevate even the humblest salad to stardom.
The same thing has happened in the salad dressing market. The so-call…

Recipe: Crock Pot Breakfast Migas

Breakfast Migas Crock Pot
Ingredients    Plastic slow cooker liner1  pound  bulk breakfast sausage, browned and drained1  4.5-ounce package  tostada shells, coarsely broken3/4  cup  chopped red sweet pepper (1 medium)1/2  cup  chopped onion (1 medium)1  4-ounce can  diced green chiles12    eggs, or 3-1/2 cups refrigerated or frozen egg product1  10.75-ounce can  condensed fiesta nacho cheese soup1/4  teaspoon  ground black pepper2    avocados, chopped2  cups  …

Easy Chicken Rarebit

Easy Chicken RarebitPrep: 20 minutes
Cook: 4 to 5 hours (low) or 2 to 2 1/2 hours (high)

omg - this sounds soooooo good - for summer crockpot users: cook on back porch to keep heat out of kitchen and house cooler! Ingredients 1-3/4  pounds  skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (Yeah, I'll just use cheap thighs, thanks)1  14- to 16-ounce jar  cheddar cheese pasta sauce1  tablespoon  Worcestershire sauce1  large  onion, halved crosswise and thinly sliced6    pumpernickel or rye buns, split and toasted, or 6 slices pumpernickel or rye bread, toasted and halved diagonally Lower the carb count by skipping the bread. Serve on romaine lettuce rollers.4    slices bacon, crisp-cooked, drained, and crumbled (optional)1    tomato, chopped (optional)    Kosher dill pickles (optional)Directions 1. Cut chicken diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices; set aside. In a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker, stir together pasta sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Add o…

Recipe: Soft Pretzels Recipe

Okay, so this one's not a low carb. Let's face it. Once in awhile, you need something that is a bit "naughty" for a variety of reasons. My band hates popcorn, and those soft pretzels sold in theaters turn to glue in my pouch. Painful! However, I can do these homemade versions if I eat one very, very slowly. DH is happy because he gets his favorite treat again. Fair trade! Soft PretzelsIngredients1  package  (8) refrigerated breadsticks1    beaten egg white1  tablespoon  water    Poppy seed DirectionsUnroll breadsticks so they lay flat. Gently pull each breadstick into a 16-inch rope. Shape each rope into a pretzel by crossing one end over the other to form a circle, overlapping about 4 inches from each end. Take one end of dough in each hand and twist once at point where dough overlaps. Carefully lift each end across to the edge of the circle opposite it. Tuck ends under edges to make pretzel shape. Moisten ends; press to seal. Place on a greased baking sheet. Brush w…

Recipe: Chicken and Sweet Potato Stew

Crock Pot Chicken and Sweet Potato Stew 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces 1 can (28 oz) stewed tomatoes 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp black pepper 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg 1 tsp paprika 1 tsp celery seed 1 cup chicken broth 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil Combine all but the basil in the crock pot. Cover and cook on Low 6-8 hours until done. Sprinkle with basil just before serving.
Coming Soon!
A Haunted Halloween Blog Tour
Lena Austin

Recipe: Spicy Cheese Soup

Well, ol' Lena needs to get ready for the menfolks to come home. Starting about 4:30 PM, they stumble in the door, pitifully hungry. I think I'll treat them with some cheese biscuits to go with their Spicy Cheese Soup

Spicy Cheese Soup

1 lb processed cheese, cubed (like Velveeta)
1 lb ground beef, cooked and drained
1 can (8-3/4 oz) whole kernel corn, undrained
1 can (4-oz) green chiles, chopped
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 can (14 oz) stewed tomatoes
1 envelope taco seasoning
Corn chips for garnish, optional

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker, and cook on Low 4-5 hours. Serve with corn chips if desired.

Original recipe in Rival Crock Pot 3-in-1 Cookbook. ISBN: 978-1-4127-2584-2
Coming Soon! A Haunted Halloween Blog TourLena Austinhttp://www.LenaAustin.com

The Recessionista’s take on Bus Riding

Call me spoiled. I deserve it. I've ridden a bus once in all my fifty-one years of life. That time about eight years ago, I paid my change, rode down the street to the shopping center, got what I wanted, got back on the bus, and rode home. One stop, no changes, no major hubs. Dante held my proverbial hand like a baby and led me the entire way. Yeah, I was that clueless.Frankly, I still am that clueless. Well, I'll fix that as soon as possible. There's no reason that I should be this ignorant of how to ride a bus, especially when I'm well aware of how to use the Trip Planner feature on the bus company's website. What I need is practice. A simple ride down to the bank and back, just to get familiar with the procedure, and then continue to expand my horizons a bit. Perhaps even meet Tuesday at Regency Mall or perhaps make my way to the library for a peaceful day of typing in quiet. That does have a certain appeal. Lena Austin

Do you love my work…

Impossible Coconut Pie

Yes, for Dieters. Really. Sure, it's a little high in carbs, but compared to a graham cracker crust cheesecake, the carbs are negligible. You do know to use Splenda instead, right?

Recipe: Tangy Beef and Vegetable Stew

Tangy Beef and Vegetable Stew6 cups cubed potatoes (peel if desired.)8 medium carrots, cut into ½ inch pieces2 medium onions, cubed or chopped4 lbs beef stew meat, cut into 1" pieces1/3 cup canola oil1/3 cup all-purpose flour4 tsp beef bouillon granules 3 cups boiling water1/3 cup white vinegar1/3 cup ketchup3 T prepared horseradish3 T prepared mustard2 T sugar (I used Splenda)2 cups each frozen peas and corn2 cups sliced mushroomsDo all the cutting and slicing of the vegetables first. Place the potatoes, carrots, and onions in the bottom of the crock. In a large skillet, brown the meat in the canola oil in a skillet. Place it in the crock and sprinkle the meat with the flour. Use the boiling water to scrape up any brown bits in the skillet. Add in the bouillon and stir. Stir in the vinegar, ketchup, horseradish, mustard and sugar. Stir it all together in the skillet, and then pour over the meat. Cover and cook on Low for at least 5 hours. Add the peas, corn, and mushrooms. Cover…

Frog-Eyed Salad

I miss this recipe. The "Frog Eye" part comes from a tiny pasta not available around here. (sniffle) I miss it. The kids, however, think it's a cool recipe since it sounds gross.

Freezing Zests

Ever have a recipe demand you have fresh lemon or orange zest, but you end up throwing away the rest days later? Don't!! There's an easier way. Juice the fruit into a plastic freezer jar and save it too!

Dream Pie

While this does have more carbs than usually allowed, when compared with a "normal" pie, the differences can save your shrinking butt. Just don't eat the crust! The DH or the dog will thank you.

Dream Mousse

This recipe has saved me several times for going down that evil path. Is it worth the extra trouble? Yes! I've used just about every flavor of sugar free pudding I could find. It works just as well.

Dream Cake

For the next few days, I'll post some delectable alternatives to naughtiness. If you're crazy with need for a treat, this may be just what keeps you from a trip to the bakery.

Crock Cubed Steaks with Gravy

Gravy helps it slide down...

The Best Dessert-- Basic Bavarian

This is my favorite dessert recipe because it's so versatile:

Slow Cooker Bacon and Mushroom Chicken

Man, this is gooooood!

Recipe: Chilled Espresso Custard

Chilled Espresso Custard (Phase 1)Description
Complement your meal with coffee at its best – a simply lovely baked custard of rich-tasting espresso.Makes 4 servingsIngredients
1 1/2 cups 1% milk
2 eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons sugar substitute (like Splenda)
2 teaspoons espresso powder or instant decaffeinated coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Ground cinnamon, for garnish
Lemon twists, for garnish
In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, sugar substitute, espresso powder or coffee, and vanilla extract until well-blended. Pour into four 6-ounce custard cups or ramekins and place in a 10" skillet.Fill the skillet with water to 1/2" from the tops of the custard cups. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the cups from the skillet, cover with plastic wrap touching the surface of the pudding, and refrigerate for 3 hours, or until chilled. Garnish with the cinnamon and lemon twists.This recipe is…

Recipe of the Day: Tender and Tangy Ribs

TENDER AND TANGY RIBS1 cup white vinegar1/2-cup ketchup2 tablespoons splendor2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce1 garlic clove, minced1-teaspoon ground mustard1-teaspoon paprika1/2 tsp. salt 1/8-teaspoon pepperTwo pounds pork spare ribs1 tbsp. canola oilCombine the first nine ingredients into three-quart slow cooker.Cut ribs into serving size pieces; Brown in a skillet in oil.Transfer to slow cooker.Cover and go on low for 4-6 hours or until tender. "It's easy to write. Just sit at your keyboard and bleed." Ernest HemingwayLena Austin

You don't have to be Fancy to be Good

Yesterday was One of Those Days. You know the kind I mean, where it seemed the whole world conspired to ensure you couldn't get anything done? Many of you know I'm an ardent fan of (Go on, go look. It's okay. I'll wait.) Thank goodness for those lessons on management. I'd already done my 5 Minute Room Rescue, done my Mission, and had shined my sinks. I'd even managed a little control of a large Hot Spot. (Yes, I'm deliberately using the jargon to make you look it up.)

You see, this isn't all about cooking and recipes. Occasionally, it's about stopping to take stock and overcome a challenge. My weight loss challenge lately has been about learning new coping mechanisms. Before, when I was morbidly obese, I coped by consoling myself with food. I lied to myself and said I was providing comfort and love via food to my family like a good GRITS (Girls Raised In The South) do. Liar, Liar!

Now that I'm much thinner and healthier, I still suf…

Recipe: Slow Cooked Pepper Steak

Yield 6-8 servings (if you're a child. Double this)

1-2 lbs beef top round steak, cut in strips
2 T canola oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp Splenda or equivalent
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp ginger
1 can (16 z) diced tomatoes with liquid
1 lg green pepper, cut into strips or about 1 cup of the bag of frozen pepper strips (use the whole bag if you double)
1/2 cup cold water
1 T corn starch
Rice, noodles, or steamed cauliflower "riced"

1. Cut the beef into small, bite-sized strips or whirl up in the food processor into small chunks. Brown in the oil in a skillet. Pour the browned beef into a large lined crock pot.
2. Mix the rest of the ingredients in the skillet with no heat on. Stir up to catch those tasty brown bits. When thoroughly mixed, pour this into the crock pot on top of the beef. Lid it up, turn on low, and walk away for about 6 hours.
3. Use a small jar to mix the water and cornstarch into a slurry. Give it a good shake! …

Recipe: Crock Southwest Chicken

Crock Southwest Chicken

Yield 6 servings.

1 can (15 oz) whole kernel corn, drained
1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 jar (16 oz) mild salsa
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (5 oz each)
Optional garnishes (highly recommended)
Sweet red and yellow pepper strips
Sour cream
shredded cheddar cheese
sliced green onions
Cooked Rice

1. In a 4-qt slow cooker, layer chicken in the bottom, then the corn, beans, and salsa.
2. Cover and cook on Low 4-6 hours or until chicken is tender.
3. Shred the chicken with a fork, or stir with a spoon until chicken comes apart. If you removed the chicken, return it to the crock to rewarm while you prepare the garnishes and make the rice, if necessary.
4. Set the garnishes out in their own bowls.
5. To serve, place rice in a bowl. Ladle the Southwest Chicken over the rice, and garnish as desired.

Capsicum ratio is very low. You may wish to add hot sauce, jalapenos, or use a spicier salsa.

Note from Lena-- I used chicken thighs, stirred, and re…