Showing posts from February, 2010

Alice in One-der-land and the Water Caterpillar

Alice backed out of the spare one-room cottage the fairy Locarb had loaned her. “Thank you so much for that wonderful breakfast, Locarb! Who’d have thought I could have a whole two-egg scramble loaded with onions, peppers, broccoli and all the cheese I could want plus bacon and sausage! I’m stuffed!”

“Wait!!” Locarb ran up and pressed a silver cylinder in Alice’s hand. You’ll need this today. “See? It comes with a lanyard string so you can clip it to your belt.” Suiting words to action, the fairy used a stainless steel clip in Alice’s favorite bright blue color to clip to the bright blue lanyard strap. Thanks to the elastic in the waist, the jeans sagged a little, but not uncomfortably. “There! Nice and tidy! Have fun today!”
Alice waited until her friend had disappeared back into the cute cottage before beginning her journey to discover One-der-land. She pulled the magical map out of her pocket provided by the Lord and Master when she’d met him for the second time. As promised, most of…

Heroin Wings plus a bonus way to make chicken broth

While I think these are good, the author swore they were addictive and that's why she gave them the name. I'll grant they are a treat, and the batch I made served me lunches for quite awhile. I recommend cutting off the wing tips and throwing them immediately into a small crock pot of water, celery tops you've saved for this, onion, a little salt, pepper, and a little poultry seasoning for easy homemade chicken broth. Then make the wings and know you've not wasted a bit of your precious money. After the broth has cooked, strain out the used veggies and bones. Let it cool in a bowl on the counter, stick it in the fridge, skim off the fat that hardens at the top, and measure into one cup increments. Store in the freezer until needed. I put them in 1 quart ziplock bags and freeze in square storage containers. That way, I can remove the storage containers after they're hard, and they still stack nicely in a corner.

Marinated Cucumbers for Snacks

Many folks act like we dieters can never have a snack again. Wrong. We can we just need to adjust our thinking. These delicious marinated cukes take a matter of a few minutes to make and stay for weeks in the fridge. Save a pickle jar and keep these around instead. IMHO, skip the sugar and use Splenda. I've not tried the creamy version. I was after a recipe for "refrigerated pickles" when someone recommended the Marinated version. I've been hooked ever since.

Kale And Smoked Sausage Soup

Today's quickie post. Do try kale, if you haven't. This recipe is not only relatively easy, but also good for you. While the lentils do add some carbs, they are also high fiber. The tiny bit of flour isn't going to kill you, but I'd definitely consider purchasing Wondra flour (in the bright blue can) for this. Wondra is made to be used in soups, gravies, and sauces and therefore less likely to create lumpy messes.

The Legend of No Desserts in One-der-Land

Once there was a woman named Alice who fell down a spiraling hole of guilt and shame while following an elusive White Rabbit of Beauty. She discovered a magical place called One-der-land, though at first it seemed a place of madness and horror. I'll occasionally recount (not in chronological order because this is a place of madness, after all, at least to Alice) some of her adventures.

Alice landed at the bottom of the Shame Spiral in tears, her body shattered by so many years of abuse, both from within Alice herself and from others, who felt she didn't deserve anything. She wondered if she'd ever be able to get up, but she managed to heave herself erect and walk, still hoping for another glimpse of the beautiful White Rabbit. Alice had to rest often, and had trouble breathing, but the path seemed familiar somehow, as if she'd traveled upon it or at least seen it many times. Her feet swelled, her knees hurt, and upon occasion she considered just lying down at the side …

Carmelized Pork Tenderloins and Faux-tay-toes

This quick little gem is perfect for those nights when time is at a premium. I used my electric skillet to make this extra easy.

Non-aerosol cooking spray
1 lb lean pork tenderloin, cut into 1/2-inch slices
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 T. packed brown sugar
1 T. orange juice
1 T molasses
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Coat a large skillet with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add pork and garlic and cook for 6-8 minutes, turning occasionally, until pork is no longer pink in the center. Mix up the remaining ingredients. Pour over the pork. Cook until the mixture thickens and coats the pork.

Serves 4.
Calories 171
Carbs 9g

Non-carb diners may have mashed potatoes with this. I was able to make up a batch of Faux-tay-toes.

Faux-tay-toes-- Steam cauliflower until tender. Drain. Whirl in the food processor with butter, cream cheese, salt and pepper to taste until you get the consistency of mashed potatoes.

Beefy French Onion Soup

OMG!! I despise onions. Really hate them. I cook with them normally only when I can whirl them to oblivion in the food processor. This recipe made me change my mind. I'd serve this ANYTIME. I made one major recipe change. At my favorite grocery, the sweet onions were available by the bag. Knowing I'd have to make this recipe, I wrinkled my nose and bought the bag of sweet onions. Do try the sweets for this. Vidalia is the best known.They're only available late April through mid-June and only from a certain area of Georgia. However, other sweet onions are available at different times of year. Mine this time came from Peru.

3 small onions, thinly sliced
1/2 T butter, melted
1 T. Splenda
1 dried bay leaf
3/4 lb. beef stew meat. Note to bandsters-- I whirled my beef in the food processor to get them small enough to pass my band. You may have to decide if you can cut up the chunks finer, or if you need the processor.
16 oz condensed beef consomme
2 T. dry sherry o…

Recipe Reprise--Impossible Salmon (or Tuna) Asparagus Pie

I've been playing with this one a little, and I've found that the tuna alternative is just as tasty! How inexpensive can you get? Next, I think I'll try a can of tiny shrimp, or maybe I'll even splurge just a little and get a bag of frozen shrimp. That'll make several pies.

Soup-Slow-Cooker Saturday-- Slow Cooker Chicken Gumbo

From the Food Network!

Again, I never bother with buying chicken breasts when I have leftover cut up cooked chicken or boneless chicken thighs available for much, much cheaper. (See my notes on the Slow Cooker Jambalaya on Feb 13 for more cheap cooking hints, like making your own chicken broth.)

My Doc has a Spiffy New Office!

I'll repeat this on, but I'm guessing my bariatric surgeon, Dr. Michael Baptista, is getting more and more successful. He's moved from his partnership with another doctor and into his own spiffy new office MUCH more conveniently located for me, in Arlington right off 9A and Monument in the Brooks Rehab Building.

Now, I'm not saying his former partner was a bad doctor-- not with that many awards-- but I didn't like the other doctor and that's the honest truth. I'm allowed my opinions, and my two experiences with the former partner were unpleasant.

Now I feel much freer to help Dr. Baptista with his newer patients! I'm pleased to say Dr. Baptista asked me to start attending the monthly support group so I can provide cheerfulness and inspiration to a group that has recently begun to focus on negativity in his opinion. One subject he mentioned specifically I could help with was the low carb diet. Many have difficulty in going beyond what'…

Egg Salad Three Ways

You don't have to have an egg salad SANDWICH. You can just have egg salad, or use a tomato cup. Remember that the carb counts below include the bread. Take that away and the carb count becomes very good indeed! Plain old white bread slices can be 70 calories and a whopping 13g of carbs EACH. Pita isn't any better at  130 calories and 30g of carbs. Nope, not even the so-called "healthy grains." Forget it. Eat it without the bread and save yourself the carbs. If you don't, you may as well just superglue the bread directly to your hips.

Kale and Rice Stuffed Peppers

Don't discount this because it's meatless. This is good!!

Recipe Reprise: Impossible Ham and Cheddar Pie

Yeah, I've posted this one before, but this bears repeating. This is a fast and easy quiche with no crust. You can mix and match the meat, cheeses, and veggies to anything you want! My fave substitution is a classic-- make this into Quiche Lorraine by substituting pre-cooked (you do bake your bacon and save it, right?) bacon and Swiss Cheese. Don't be afraid to toss in some frozen veggies! I've been known to raid the freezer for the remainder of a bag of frozen green beans, a few broccoli tops, and about a cup of bell pepper strips for stir fry.

This is one of those recipes that also makes a superb leftover for the lunch box. While I do prefer mine warmed in the microwave for a minute, it doesn't have to be. Cool the pie in the fridge overnight, then cut into 1/6 slices. Wrap them up in foil or zip-top bags, and freeze. I gave up making just one pie at a time. I make two and take the remainder of the second one as lunches for later days.

If you need more similar reci…

Slow Cooker Jambalaya

I made a few changes to this recipe, I admit. First off, I used cut up cooked chicken from my stash of leftovers instead of the expensive boneless skinless chicken breasts.

I did manage to find andouille sausage, but it wouldn't hurt my feelings if I had to substitute another kind. This is a Cajun recipe, and they're famous for making do with what they have.

My chicken broth was homemade, and you don't get much more "reduced sodium" than that. (That's what I do with all those leftover bits like the pointy wing tips, necks no one wants, and the occasional "sale meat" that is a bargain only if you stew it to death. Grin)

Also, here's a little trick to gladden the heart of any cook-- You can make your rice in the slow cooker too! Just use the "converted" rice (I use Uncle Ben's) and it cooks up just fine. (This is why I have two crock pots, and I'm thinking about getting another.) I'll make the jambalaya in the big pot, and t…

Chicken, Ham, Salmon, or Tuna Salad

I was surprised to learn there are people in the world who don't know how to make this ubiquitous lunch food, or worse, who stir together canned meat, mayo, maybe a little instant minced onion, and call it good. Then again, I used to be one of them, until I found this recipe and made it, just to be different. I will never go back to plain old chicken salad ever again! I found Nirvana. Then I looked at the variations. YUM-OH!

Slow Cooker Pork and Cabbage

If you're a bandster, use the ground pork. I ground up the pork chops before cooking, but even the bite size bits were too big. I'm not normally fond of cabbage, but this was sweet and delicious! Give it a try. Oh, and have some chicken stock standing by. My slow cooker started to dry the recipe out, but the addition of a cup of stock worked well. Slow Cooker Pork and CabbageServes 4
1 cup chopped onion 2 cloves garlic, pressed 4 cups chopped green cabbage 1 apple, peeled, cored, and chopped 4 (4 oz) boneless pork chops OR ground pork 1/8 tsp white pepper 1 tablespoon olive oil ¼ cup brown sugar ¼ cup apple cider vinegar 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
Prepare all ingredients first. Cut up pork chops into very small bites OR whirl in food processor until it is ground up fine. In a slow cooker, combine onion, garlic, cabbage, and apple. Brown the pork in the olive oil. Add to slow cooker with vegetables. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, vinegar, and mustard. Pour into slow cooker. Cove…

Sugar Free Flavored Syrups make Low Carb Treats

Who says life must be dull and flavorless? Who says we can't have delicious low carb desserts? Whoever THEY are, they're WRONG! Dead wrong.

I use and recommend both DaVinci Sugar Free and Torani Sugar Free Flavored syrups.

Both can be found on the links section of this blog. Come on!! Are you craving ice cream or yogurts? You can have a very reasonable substitute in flavoring cottage cheese and plain yogurt. Go ahead. Mix up a pina colada yogurt using pineapple and coconut syrups and adding a sprinkle of Splenda.Add nuts. Almonds are low carb, too!

Do you miss your Starbucks? Why don't you mix your own? I can have a sugar free White Chocolate coffee anytime I want using the syrup. Did you know whipping cream has even less carbs than milk? Go ahead and indulge in that morning brew. Just make it yourself and pocket what you didn't spend at Starbucks.

Flavored teas? Same thin…

Homemade Salad Dressings-- Take out the Carbs and leave the Flavor!

In the same way as my comments on Feb 4 concerning mayonnaise, the same thing has happened in the salad dressing market. The so-called "diet" dressings can be higher in sugar and carbs because they're supposed to be lower in fat. Yet at the same time, the "regular" dressings are so loaded with chemicals and preservatives as well as carbs, the choices are very limited unless you like vinaigrettes. I happen to like creamy dressings, though I've learned that dipping my fork into a small cup of 2 T of dressing (average serving size on bottled dressings) and then stabbing a forkload of salad means I get a much tastier mouthful than pouring the dressing over the top and hoping it's still around when I get to the last fork full.

Imagine having fresh dressings to dip your veggies into, and I don't mean just for a bowl of salad. Imagine taking a small sealed container of this with some celery, green pepper strips, and fresh broccoli when you need a snack. YU…

I took the easy way out??? NO!!

This girl is telling it like it is!! I refuse to reinvent the wheel. Wendy Tippens tells you the truth about banding.

Breakfast for Dinner-- Baked Eggs (Lena's Lazy Eggs)

First, an explanation and elaboration. I love Baked Eggs, aka Shirred Eggs. They're easy, first and foremost. I keep a pile of custard cups around, as well as some cheap Corningware coffee mugs just so I can make baked eggs whenever I like. Custard cups work best, but when feeding a crowd, sometimes my little six cups just aren't enough! Thank goodness for Corningware!

Now take your basic Baked Egg recipe and put on your thinking caps. How do you like your eggs?

Me, I like a little meat, a little broccoli, a little bell peppers, and a whole lot of cheese with my eggs. DH likes onion, hash browns, cheese, and peppers on his. Dante likes his with a whole lot of veggies and a little deli turkey or ham.. DD3 likes hers Mexican style with chilies, olives, and Monterrey Jack cheese.

Drag out those leftovers, wield your chopping knife, and add what you want to your cups the night before! Put the egg in the cups in the morning, and throw them in the oven in the steam bath. Bake them …

Soup or Slow Cooker Meal-- Hearty Tomato Soup

This recipe comes from the Food Network and Giada De Laurentis. They did not provide a calorie or carb count, so I made a guess at approximately 93 calories and 10 carbs per serving. I also substituted sour cream for the creme fraiche. (Sorry, Giada honey, not all of us are rich.) Also, I HIGHLY recommend you grind up the rosemary extra, extra fine, especially if you have to use the dried version like I did. Picking rosemary out of your teeth is never a cool look.

Deviled Eggs Four Ways

Deviled Eggs are a staple on my low-carb diet. They're easy, quick, and the stuffing can be made a ton of different ways to add variety. Below is my basic deviled egg recipe, plus a couple of variations for fun.

I'm too lazy to pipe in the filling! Two spoons or my melon baller scoop up plenty. LOL!

Make Peace with the Mayo and Make Your Own Mayonnaise

Okay, if you're on a low carb diet, I'm sure you've now seen that regular old mayonnaise is lower in carbs than the so-called "light" mayo. (Hey, they took out the fat, so they had to put sugar in to compensate.) Perhaps this is why when I followed slavishly the "diet rules" and ate only "diet foods" I actually gained weight!

Making my own mayonnaise to eliminate all those interesting and unpronounceable chemicals the commercial producers put in seems like the logical next step in my freedom from fat. Here's my recipe for mayo, done with several common kitchen appliances. (I'll be using the food processor, but you can use what you have, okay?) I can't wait to try these!

Making Dinner on a Budget

Are you finding it more and more difficult to feed your family with ever-rising food costs and all the health experts screaming at us to eat healthier? Who can afford to go to the fast food joints these days? Not us, even if my band would allow me to eat there.

So, I'm planning ahead a whole lot better. We're eating less meat, and less expensive cuts when we do. No one will die if they don't have beef every night, even if I do have a husband who believes that "Real Food Says Moo!" He'll live a lot longer this way, if I don't kill him myself for his comments.

So from now on, here's my plan:

1. Sunday-- Breakfast for Dinner. Eggs, Pancakes, Sausages, Bacon, Biscuits, and many other Egg dishes will be featured. DH can survive quite well on frittatas, quiches, and egg casseroles if I feel like working that hard. Eggs are inexpensive. Add veggies, cheeses, and a bread for those not on low-carb diets, and you have a meal fit for kings.

2. Mondays-- Beef. Mo…

Stuffed Mushrooms

Nothing like the good old red and white Better Homes and Gardens Cookbooks when I need a simple, old-fashioned recipe for the classics like stuffed mushrooms. Here's some goodies guaranteed to make a great bandster lunch. Imagine this on a portobella mushroom!

You may want to make your own mix, and don't forget to substitute ground up fried pork skins for the bread crumbs for even less carbs. I find bags and bags of the pork skins on the same aisle as potato chips, and they're so useful to keep around! I've been known to measure out a serving just to have a bit of crunch while everyone else snacks, so I don't feel deprived. However, their best use is when you grind them in the food processor and keep them around to replace those carb-laden bread crumbs.

Jan 31 Sunday-- Testing the Band FAIL

Jan 31 Sunday--
Today I learned an important lesson about trying to eat things a bandster shouldn't. This morning I ate bread. In my defense, it was a Scottish 9-grain oatmeal bread and deliciously hard to resist. However, I knew from previous experience I shouldn't. Yep, I threw it up in less than half an hour. Did I learn a lesson? Not really.
I worked very hard on a new low-carb recipe from one of my favorite websites, I did my best to cut up the round steak into thin strips, but it wasn't enough to pass my band and I knew it. So, I tried to whirl the cooked steak strips in my mini-food processor, hoping to grind them into bits about like ground beef. The recipe smelled so good, my mouth watered. Fail!! Despite my best attempts, I made a mad dash for the bathroom, gasping in pain. Dammit!!
Next, I ground up a boiled egg with some of the juice from the meat. Yuk! My stomach may be altered, but my taste buds aren't. Take it from me, don't bother …