Monday, March 22, 2010

Dinner Plans for March 22 - 26, 2010

I've decided to try something a little different this week. Well, okay, the food isn't different, just the time spent cooking. Can we say casseroles and microwave? All together now...

All in one evening (okay, Sunday would have been better if I didn't get all lazy, but I did work out for the first time in a few months, so that should count for something) bake up -

Low Carb Meatloaf (I like to add chopped onion and bell pepper.)

Cheeseburger Pie (I like to add a package of real bacon pieces and a healthy dose of Greek Seasoning. I added a tsp. of seasoning salt tonight. We shall see...)

Supper Popover

Now keep some quick grilling sausage in the fridge, frozen bags of steamable vegies, and you are good to go for lunch and dinner. Good thing too because DH is working late. Perhaps I can talk him into frying me up some wings on Friday night...yum (Frank's Hot Sauce & butter). I really need to talk myself into going to the store and buying eggs. I'm out and I think it would be a good idea to boil a dozen (not to mention I need eggs for breakfast), but it's 8:00 p.m. and I have a novel to write, so perhaps I can talk DH into picking up eggs on the way home (rolling eyes).

I realize this is a simple week of meals - nothing new (the Supper Popover is new), but I need an easy week of cooking, so it's good to make plans and cook ahead at times. And when all else fails - go out! Okay, maybe not.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Supper Popover

I'm beginning to learn that it's possible to enjoy favorite foods when you alter the ingredients to make a low carb version. I have a wonderful Supper Popover recipe I've avoided for years due to the flour. Now that I've discovered Carbquik, I was able to recreate one my favorite dishes.

Heat the oven to 425 degrees.

Brown, drain 1 lb. of ground beef

Stir into the ground beef:

1 15 oz. can of tomato sauce
1/4 cup chopped bell pepper
2 tbsp. Carbquik
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. parsley flakes

Heat to boiling for 1 minute & stir. Pour into an ungreased rectangular pan or casserole dish (about 9 x 9).

Spread 2 cups of cheese over the ground beef mixture.


2 eggs (beat)
1 cup whipping cream
2 tbsp. oil
1 cup Carbquik (sifted)
1/2 tsp. salt

Pour the mixture evenly over the cheese. Sprinkle diced onions on top of the cheese. Bake for 30 minutes. 6 carbs per serving.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I'm In Love - Low Carb Chocolate Heaven

I just died and went to chocolate heaven.

Okay...seriously. I just found Chocoperfection. I was in my local health food store the other day when I ran across a chocolate bar that claimed to be low carb. I laughed and thought, "Yeah, right. Like those Russell Stover's so called sugar free chocolates." I turned the bar over to look at the nutrition facts (always look on the back for the nutrition facts of a product).

Total Carbohydrate: 16 grams
Dietary Fiber: 14 grams

2 net grams of carbs for the entire bar! Are you kidding me? Zero sugars. I thought, "I bet this tastes like dirt."

I forked over nearly $4 anyway.

OMG! I've tried Ghirardelli dark chocolates coming it at about 4 carbs per square. They work. I've tried Godiva dark chocolates coming in at about 3 carbs for a small bite. It's good. But who needs the leaders in chocolate when there is Chocoperfection?

The smooth, sinful European dark chocolate is naturally sugar free, gluten-free, and made with 60% cocoa. And it tastes a little milky, you know, like milk chocolate instead of just bitter dark chocolate. I can break off a piece and let it melt into my happy mouth. I'm satisfied. I can literally live off of a piece a day, but if I want, I can indulge in the entire bar.

In case you were wondering: dry cocoa solids, 60% Oligofrutose (a prebiotic fiber?), cocoa butter, soy lecithin(no tummy aches, so I'm ignoring this ingredient), and natural flavors (chocolate?). I honestly don't know what all of these things are, and quite frankly, I don't want to know. I've found chocolate heaven! And I'm staying there.

This is exactly what I was looking for and it's worth the price (although I wouldn't mind if the price were lower). There are times when I need chocolate. Really I do. It's a girl thing. Kind of like shoes. Speaking of needing chocolate. I finished off the last bar. Gotta go...

Wing Stop - The CARBS Are In!

First let me say this is a sad, sad post. I love Wing Stop wings. I can eat 20 without taking a breath, but I was concerned that I was gulping down too many carbs. I checked their website for the nutritional info. Nada. I asked in two different store locations. Nothing. No info.

Today I received an email back from their corporate office. For every two wings, you get 1 carb. 20 wings = 10 carbs. Yikes! That's half my daily allowance. Now let me tell you. I will still eat their wings. Especially on DD's dance night when I am stuck across town for three hours in the evening. I will plan for a zero carb breakfast and VLC lunch. I can indulge in my wings guilt free if I plan right.

My rolling eyes occur due to the times I assumed (and we know what assume means) that my wings were 0 carbs. Not all wings are made equal, or carb free. Lesson learned.

Low Carb Restaurant Review - Logan's Roadhouse

Yesterday I went to Logan's Roadhouse for the first time. I wanted to go somewhere different (and did despite the balking of my two kids). We entered the nearly empty restaurant between lunch and dinner (what I call "dunchtime"). And waited. And waited. And waited. I was about ready to give up when a chippery girl finally approached us and showed us to a table right away.

The menu was as I expected. The usual steak, chicken, burgers, shrimp. No problem. They had "healthy" selections. I selected a 6 ounce sirloin, broccoli, and a side salad (I asked for full fat dressing). DH had grilled tilapia, broccoli, and a side salad.

The salad was simple: lettuce, a little diced tomato, and a few strips of carrots. It was just the right size and fresh.

The steak was okay, not Texas Roadhouse, but as good as it gets at home. The portion of broccoli was small. I was still hungry when I finished. Next time I will add seasoned vegys or something. DH said his tilapia was well seasoned, but like me, he was still hungry when he finished his meal. It was a low calorie meal that didn't last long. The price was a little higher than Texas Roadhouse for less food. Not sure how I feel about that.

I give Logan's Roadhouse 3 stars out of 5 for the food, and 4 stars out of 5 for low carb choices.

Carbquik Baking Mix - Oh Yes!

Biscuits, pancakes, muffins, brownies, cookies...oh my! And LOW CARB! Carbquik to the low carbers rescue. I finally broke down and ordered a box. Okay, it's not Bisquick, but it's darn close. Seriously. 2 net carbs for biscuit. 4 net carbs for a pancake. I can live with this a couple of times a week and keep my daily intake of carbs under 20. There are lots of flexible options available with this miracle baking mix, and I plan to do a great deal of experimenting. I can't wait to alter my supper popover recipe.

The first day we made biscuits. Actually, DH made the biscuits while I scrambled up some eggs. The biscuits looked like the English version - flat as a cookie, but they tasted good with butter and sugar free jelly spread on top. Yum! DH is making a batch right now. I can hardly wait for breakfast.

Yesterday we made pancakes. They tasted like...pancakes! Both recipes required more water than the recipe called for, so use your judgement. The only major difference I noticed was that the pancakes were thin. I used Smuckers SF syrup (careful, careful on the amount). They were so good.

I decided to experiment last night and make brownies. The brownies turned out good, but not quite chocolaty enough. I used the Carbquik brownie recipe and a Ghirardelli dark chocolate baking bar. I altered the ingredients a bit. 1 1/2 cups of Carbquik instead of 2. Two tbsp. of vanilla DaVincis instead of 2 tsp. vanilla. One tbsp. of real mayo (for moisture -read that they were a bit dry). I'm going to order the chocolate DaVincis syrup and try it in the brownie mix for a more chocolaty taste.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday's Menu, Restaurant Review of Salad Express

I'm going to combine two thoughts in this post. I'll share my "menu" and a quick review of Salad Express. Here goes -

After four cups of coffee this morning...

I baked bacon in the oven (see my previous post for directions). I microwaved a portion of the leftover egg/sausage casserole from yesterday for breakfast.

At lunch time I was out and about shoe shopping. DD and I were quite hungry. I remembered a salad place close by, so we decided to go there. Salad Express. This little trip got me to thinking. I should share the low carb finds and review the restaurants I visit on my blog. So here goes...

Salad Express is a salad, soup, & dessert bar. I was able to get a variety of vegetable and protein toppings for my salad. I chose the French low cal dressing. I'm not concerned with calories, but I've found that low fat dressings have more carbs, and low cal anything tends to have less carbs (interesting observation, don't you think). I drizzled on approximately two tablespoons of dressing (since I didn't know the carb amounts I wanted to be careful). It's great little salad bar. All you can eat for $6.95 (my location at least). Not bad. I avoided the soups and desserts, but I confess, I indulged in two bites each: watermelon and cantelope. Seriously...just two bites...

For dinner I had Alaska wild salmon in seasoned Cajun butter (HEB's store brand), grilled shrimp, and homemade low carb coleslaw. DH made salmon and shrimp and I made the coleslaw. I know you are impressed with how we work together, but I must admit, I spent most of the time on the couch watching the 20/20 special about The Bachelor.

I've increased my water, stayed on plan, and swallowed my vitamins. get to the next big goal of the week...going back to the gym. I did buy a really cute bag to carry to the gym. Does that count? Okay, okay...I will try to talk myself into it tomorrow.

How to Cook Bacon in the Oven

I love bacon, but I hate frying it in the pan. The popping grease freaks me out. When I was a kid I spent the night at a friend's house. Her mom let her make the bacon for breakfast. Somehow she tipped the pan and splattered grease all over her tummy. That required a trip to the emergency room. I'm still not over the trauma. Now that I've confessed...DH makes the bacon, but he doesn't like to do it because of the mess.

The other day we tried making bacon on the George Foreman. It worked out well. The bacon came out great (although I had to cut the strips in half). No splattering grease, but it was a messy clean up (even with the drip grease catcher).

How do restaurants make bacon? Their bacon always turns out so perfect. It turns out that they bake it. You don't have the grease popping mess and it's an easy clean up job. This is by far the superior way to make bacon.

Directions for Baking Bacon:

(1) Set the oven at 425 degrees.

(2) Line a cookie sheet with a lip with foil (including the lip). I like Reynold's non stick foil.

(3) Lay your strips of bacon across the pan side by side. I was able to fit about 10 pieces on my cookie sheet.

(4) Bake 10 - 20 minutes (the longer, the crispier). Check every five minutes the first time in order to get your bacon to the level of "crispy" you desire.

(5) When you remove the cookie sheet from the oven, use tongs to place your bacon on a plate topped with paper towels. Roll up the foil and throw it away! The world's easiest bacon clean up.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sunday's Low Carb Menu (3/14/10)

This morning I got up and made an egg and sausage casserole. It turned out just right.

Egg and Sausage Casserole

Spray a 9 x 9 inch baking pan with pan. In a fry pan, fry a 6 inch tube of Jimmy Dean sausage (JD doesn't put out as much grease as some of the other brands) with some chopped bell pepper, onions, and a few dashes of onion powder. In a bowl mix 6 eggs, 1/2 cup of cheese, salt, pepper, and a couple of tablespoons of whipping cream. Mix the egg mixture with the sausage mixture and pour into the baking pan. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. This recipe does well the next day in the microwave. I also ate a leftover Carbquik biscuit.

Lunch time rolled around and I had some shopping to do, so I ended up eating 20 mild wings from Wing Stop (so yum). If I find out they are not carb free I am going to cry. They don't have their nutritional info. online. I sent an email today to ask. I will post it when I find out.

I made low carb meatloaf, Southern green beans, and cauliflower mashed (mock) potatoes for dinner. The meatloaf was wonderful as usual. DH complained about the butter I put in the green beans (I do like the butter). I totally screwed up the cauliflower mashed potatoes and had to throw them out. Oh well! You live, you learn. Overall, it was a very low carb day.

Losing Weight is a Journey, Not a Ride

My short term goal is to lose eleven pounds by Easter. This is my journey since I began:

2/14: 181
2/21: 178
2/28: 177.5
3/7: 180.5
3/14: 177.5
4/4: Goal: 170

As you can see I had a tough two weeks. Stress and lack of planning can get you every time. Planning can overcome stress, but it's not always easy. Sometimes my best laid plans are interrupted by life. The meal planned for Tuesday doesn't happen because my family's schedule goes awry.

I've come to the conclusion that I'm going to have to go beyond planning. I must prepare. I'm fighting the battle of my life, and the only way I can win is to strategize and be prepared. This week is spring break. The time off gives me a chance to refresh, recharge, plan, and prepare. I'm also going to try out new recipes this week.

Goals for this week: (1) Get back into the habit of drinking water. Cut down on the diet sodas (one a day is more than enough). (2) Get back to the gym and work out. (3) Get back into the habit of taking my vitamins consistently (I always take my fish oil and chelate minerals, but I've been bad about taking my multivitamin). (4) Try out new recipes. (5) Plan and prepare for the week after spring break.

Be Prepared: My son is a Boy Scout, and the scout motto is to be prepared. I'm going to act like a good scout mom and prepare meals ahead of time. Next Sunday I will boil a dozen eggs, fry up a batch of bacon (to microwave throughout the week), prepare snack packs (beef jerky, eggs, hard cheddar cheese, small low carb pickles, olives, celery, cucumber slices, nuts in measured amounts, and strawberries), bake 2-3 dinner casseroles, and a breakfast casserole.

Eating low carb requires cooking, but sometimes, I just don't have time. Sometimes everyone in my family has to eat at different times. This requires planning and preparing foods that can be thrown in the microwave. This also ensures me that I have something to carry to lunch each day.

There are times when I'm away from home and must eat on the run or out. I look for places where I can get 0 carb chicken wings, grilled chicken, salad (watch the ingredients and dressing for sneaky carbs), grilled fish, grilled shrimp, steak, or a bunless bacon cheeseburger.

This week I am going to post as I go about the business of getting my head back into the game, and my body readjusted to a new level of intensity. I will add menus and recipes throughout the weeks. I have a couple of awesome finds to share as well. So check back throughout the week to pick up new product ideas, recipes, and more.

Join me in my challenge and post your results in the comments section each Sunday. I'm going to begin posting challenges and results each week on my blog.