Sunday, December 27, 2015

Come Back Sauce

Do you have any family members who could be classified as "dippers?" We have several generations of them. No matter what they're eating, it's got to have a condiment added to it. My grand-daughter has even eaten a honey bun with ranch dressing. While you are absorbing that combination, she gets it honest. She inherited the ranch and/or ketchup on anything to be consumed gene from her Daddy.

Sun-Drop Punch

What is it about the holidays that make you want to break out the punch bowl and mix up a concoction that is safe for the kiddos to drink and just as good for the adults to add a little somethin', somethin' to?

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Loaded Cauliflower Salad

My Mother makes the best potato salad hands down. Granted, I was old before I accidentally found out how she made it and now mine is almost as good as hers. Along the way, I experimented with numerous ways to fix potato salad. Running in close competition to Momma's is my baked potato salad. To say I could hurt myself eating it is an understatement.

Left Over Roast Beef Hash

Does it seem like when you fix a roast or pork loin in the crock pot you have just enough meat left over that you don't know what to do with it? Times when you end up with no carrots and potatoes so you're stuck with making sandwiches (which you're sick of doing)? Here's an alternative way to use leftover roast for breakfast or brunch on the weekends. Be sure to save some of the broth when you remove the meat from the crock pot. Whether it's beef, pork or even goat (especially around the 4th of July), Andy likes to fix a hash that he can serve over biscuits the next morning. We've eliminated regular biscuits from our diet and substituted with low-carb English muffins and that has worked out great.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Cauli and Cheese

If I had to pick one thing I miss the most about our food-style change, it would have to be pasta. Dreamfield's pasta has been a pretty decent substitute but you can't eat it as frequently as I did growing up. And what about a big dish of macaroni and cheese? When the boys were young, I probably fixed it a little more frequently compared to what I would do with just Andy and myself since I consider it kid food. If grand kids are coming over, it's definitely going to be on the menu. There are some dishes that call out for that cheesy dish on the side...like meatloaf, green beans and mashed potatoes. Since mashed potatoes have been replaced with mashed cauliflower, I thought I'd combine the best of both worlds. This is simple and if you close your eyes really, really tight, you might think you're eating macaroni and cheese. Fool your kids? Maybe...if they're really hungry!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Andy's Easy Red Chili



It's barely above freezing this morning so I'm thinking about how good a pot of chili would be on a night like this. 
 Andy makes a simple red chili we love to eat. It's not spicy, but you can add as much heat to it as  you want. We love to eat it with my homemade pimiento cheese scooped up in a Frito Scoops chip with a jalapeno on top. The combination of the hot chili, cold, tangy cheese, salty Frito and hot jalapeno is to die for!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Mississippi Roast with Potatoes and Carrots

We received an invitation for dinner and checking out my son and daughter-in-law's new house last month. Amanda treated us to a delicious Mississippi Roast and several other mouth-watering dishes. The pictures with the pepperoncinis slow cooking caught my attention, but I had never taken the time to fix this.Big mistake. Once you prepare a roast this way, all the other options pale in comparison. My son Andrew was eating with us that night and he said, "get plenty of the broth." Seriously, I could have used a straw!!! I went to Food.com and found their recipe matched up to what Amanda used and I added my own twist.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin

KEEPER ALERT! Go ahead and print this out, bookmark or whatever you need to do so that you have it close at hand.  I was lucky to get a couple of spoonfuls of this dish on my plate. My kids and husband just about wiped it out before I served myself.

Sugar Free Cheesecake Pie Filling in a Low Carb Nutty Crust

So now that I've posted several healthy food recipes in a row, I didn't want you to think I've forgotten my husband's sweet tooth. Since we got his stellar 90-day follow-up results, I'm going to start expanding my not bad for you dessert collection.

Mashed Cauliflower Is A Great Potato Substitute

Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and peas...Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans...Thanksgiving turkey, mashed potatoes and giblet gravy...Shepherd's pie...the list could go on forever. If there's one thing I love to eat, it's real mashed potatoes. I have tried the fake ones a few times many, many moons ago but no matter how I "doctored" them up, I never was convinced they were a suitable substitute.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Healthier Zucchini Lasagne

Raise your hand if you have some weird shaped zucchini growing in your garden that might be just a tad too big. Me! Me! Here's your solution.

Easy Low Carb Broccoli Salad



90-day update coming your way!!! Allow me a few seconds of your time to update you on our little healthy eating journey. Andy got his A1C results back from his doctor this week. All weekend we were wondering if we had made enough changes to get those numbers down. We were able to breathe a sigh of relief after his phone call. 7.4 (166 blood sugar) down to 5.4 (102 blood sugar). You can't cheat on an A1C test. Those really tell the tale. Doc said to keep doing what you're doing. Over the past three months we have been eating well and are continually finding great recipes to enjoy and share. This adventure proves once again, change begins with you.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Almond Chocolate Mousse

Since Andy and I started on this healthier eating kick, I have been amazed that we've been able to enjoy the food we're eating, stay fuller, and slim down all while enjoying a little dessert. What's that you say? You heard me! Dessert was not something fixed in our household very often, but Little Debbie and Sara Lee cakes managed to sneak in the back door and typically stored out of my reach. Let's just leave it at that.

Chicken and Garden Vegetable Shish Kabobs

My friend Lisa P., who is quick draw on the comments, had me rolling when I posted this picture to Facebook with the comment "Shish Kabobs...it's what's for supper when you don't catch any fish. #itsallgood". "Well shish, no fish" was her quick witted reply. That comment spurred round after round of hilarious posts.

Cucumber Salsa

What to do with all the fresh cucumbers from the garden? Even with the dry summer, our little garden has managed to produce enough cucumbers to eat healthy salads or slice and enjoy with our meals. Every so often we'll go out there and find several odd-ball shaped cucumbers hidden and a little bigger than I normally would eat because the seeds have grown way too big for my likes. This recipe from "Time to Lose It" popped up on my Facebook feed and I shared to give it a whirl.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

"Faux" Banana Split

One of our favorite once-in-a-blue-moon treats was to go to the local Sonic for a decadent banana split. Looking in my little fact book, we're talking 82 carbs! My favorite shakes are even higher! Yikes! My "Faux Banana Split" which yields a total of 32 carbs, is very delicious and satisfying. I'm sure some of you hard-core low carb counting folks out there are cringing. 32 carbs in a dessert? I look at it as I've reduced 50 of the carbs and I'm adding real fruit to my diet every chance I can. In addition, I've eaten a healthy piece of grilled chicken and either a salad or steamed vegetables as opposed to a rich casserole filled with pasta or rice and bread on the side.

Oven Roasted Veggie Angel Hair Pasta

We are coming up on three months of healthier eating and still going strong. If you follow my posts, you know we are not starving ourselves, denying ourselves or otherwise changing our lifestyle in a manner that cannot be sustained for the long haul. Over this period of time we have controlled our portions to the point we are not overeating and getting full with less. Both of us have changed pant sizes and we're wearing shirts we've had stashed because they got a little snug.

I used to fix this dish many, many years ago. The original recipe called for a lot of molasses and I wondered if I could tweak it a little to make it a meal with a lot less carbs but keep all that delicious taste. This dish is a great way to make use of the bounty you are gathering from your garden during these summer months. I used what I could pick but I have used carrots, cauliflower, broccoli and bell peppers in the past. If you use carrots, but sure to cut them into smaller pieces so the rest of your veggies don't turn into mush before they get done. 

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup Red Wine or Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1-2 tbsp. dried Italian Seasoning*
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1-2 zucchini
3-4 small yellow squash
Cherry tomatoes
1 large red onion
Shredded Parmesan Cheese
Dreamfields Angel Hair Pasta (Cooked per directions on the box, drained)

*We like a lot of flavor. The spices I use from The Spice House are a little stronger than what you buy at a grocery store; so use your own judgement.
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice all veggies into hearty pieces. In a large bowl, mix the vinegar, olive oil, and seasonings. Stir in the cut up veggies and allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes to an hour.

Spray a 9x13 casserole dish with cooking spray. With a slotted spoon, spread the veggies evenly in the dish.
 Reserve the marinate and save to dress the cooked veggies and pasta. 
While the veggies cook, fix your pasta.
Stir veggies every 15 minutes. Add shredded Parmesan cheese over the top of the veggies the last time you check them. Cook for a total of 45 minutes or until vegetables are cooked to the texture you prefer.

Place a portion of pasta in the middle of a bowl and spoon a little additional marinade. Gently coat pasta and then top with veggies and additional Parmesan cheese (optional).

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Low-Carb Chocolate Milk Shake

When Andy and I were looking for ways to eat well but wise, I found a few great pages to follow on Facebook. One of my favorites feeds to read regularly has turned out to be Low Carbing Among Friends. That's where I found out about DJ Foodie and pre-ordered his new book "Taking Out The Carbage." (Hurry, if you pre-order, you can get an immediate pdf download of the book to tide you over until August delivery.) I was delighted to see he had a low-carb chocolate milk shake and couldn't wait to try it out. All I can say is we busted out Andy's vintage olive green Waring blender the other night, mixed up a batch and will be doing it again really soon. (We made a whole batch of the chocolate sauce and drinks for two). It was delicious and we couldn't believe we could enjoy something this good and not feel guilty about it. Be sure to check out the above links for a great healthy eating resources. The link to DJ Foodie's official recipe includes all the nutrition facts. Below is what we did to enjoy this treat for two (with extra sauce for another night).
In a small saucepan, on medium, whisk the following ingredients together until well blended and thickened. The official recipe states not all whipping cream may be necessary, so add the cream a little at a time. I ended up using the whole amount.
  1. 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  2. 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream (add just enough to blend ingredients nicely)
  3. 3 tablespoons sugar replacement (I used Truvia)
  4. Dash salt 
In two glasses, drizzle some of that delicious chocolate sauce down the sides and set them to the side.

In a blender mix:
  1. 2 cups ice cubes
  2. 1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  3. 1/8 cup sugar replacement
  4. 1/4 cup of chocolate sauce
  5. Dash of salt
Divide between the two glasses and top with a little whip cream and a sprinkle of unsweetened cocoa. All you need now is a straw!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Bacon, Lettuce and Fried Green Tomato Sandwiches


What can you fix while you're waiting for your home grown tomatoes to turn red? A bacon, lettuce and fried green tomato sandwich! This is easy to fix and almost as good as a vine-ripe tomato BLT. Just follow the recipe to fry your tomatoes here. (Should be the next post) To crank up the flavor, fry your tomatoes in the just cooked bacon grease. Pour off all grease into a glass bowl. Pour back enough grease to cover the bottom of the skillet. Add a little grease in as needed. Yes, these are probably a little sinful but we did use 5 carb per slice bread.

DIRECTIONS:
Fry bacon, drain on paper towel. (I use two thick slices cut in half per sandwich)
Fry green tomatoes (Recipe 1 here; recipe 2 here)
Toast bread
Cover bread with a light layer of Hellman's mayonnaise
Layer four slices of bacon, 1 large or two medium fried green tomatoes and crisp lettuce.

Fried Green Tomatoes II

The other night Andy and I went out to check out the garden. The tomato plants are hovering at five feet tall and loaded with tomatoes! 
We are growing Roma, cherry and Better Boy this year. We managed to get a few ripe red cherry tomatoes for a salad but there weren't any for slicing. We talked about fixing some BLFGT Sandwiches (Bacon, lettuce, fried green tomatoes) and found a couple green tomatoes off one of the Better Boy vines that were the perfect size. After pulling my original fried green tomato recipe, and noticing it contained both flour and sugar, I wondered if I could cut those two ingredients and get the same results. We didn't miss the extra sugar and were very satisfied with the taste. These are a wonderful side dish and ended up being perfect for our sandwiches.

INGREDIENTS:
DIRECTIONS:
Combine cornmeal, salt and pepper into a zip lock bag and shake to coat the tomatoes. Let the bag sit on the counter and give it several more shakes while the oil is heating in a medium-high skillet. (When a pinch of corn meal dropped into the oil sizzles, the oil is ready)

Fry tomato slices, a few at a time, in a large skillet with oil about 1/8" deep.
Wait until the grease has bubbled up as seen above. Let them fry until browned, turning once. Don't get impatient and turn them too soon. Add a little oil as needed until all tomatoes are fried.

Drain on paper towels. Serve hot.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Easy Chicken Parmesan

Here is my twist on Chicken Parmesan. Let me clearly state again...I am not a dietician or a health expert by any means. I am simply showing you some of the meals we are incorporating into our healthier lifestyle. We are not on a zero carb diet. When planning meals, we really pay attention to what we are consuming and how much of it. When my Mother was learning to make better food choices to live with diabetes, my sister and I attended a couple of classes with a nutritionist who educated us on READING LABELS, eating balanced meals and controlling sugar intake. Did I mention READING LABELS? Unfortunately, I am a back slider because I got out of the habit of doing that. Now that my husband is ready to make a change to eating healthier, it was easy for me to jump back in and do the right thing. Several years ago, my Aunt's nutritionist told her about Dreamfield's pasta.
This is not an advertisement for them, I'm just sharing what we switched to years ago and it enables us to enjoy pasta salad, spaghetti and meatballs and more instead of cutting it out completely. When you grew up eating pasta and rice dishes like I did, it was a blessing to find this. For a long time, we couldn't buy it in our little home town and had to load up on it when we did find it. It tastes just as good as any other pasta you can buy. Having said that, it doesn't mean you can eat five servings worth of pasta....which I can easily do. A serving size is 2 oz. (1/2" circle) of dry pasta. There are 6.5 servings per box. Each serving has 41 g. carbs, 5 g. dietary fiber (3 g. soluble fiber and 2 g. insoluble fiber) and 7 g. protein. I have not found a way to eat pasta carb free, so we enjoy this from time to time and don't overdo it.

Gone is the thick breading on the chicken, but we didn't miss it one bit. Normally, I make my own vat of spaghetti sauce, but since we are cutting back on sugar intake, I've been searching for a low carb tomato sauce. So far, Wild Oats Organic Pasta Sauce seems to fill the bill. I add additional Italian herbs to bump up the taste, but it's been a hit with both of us. Each 1/2 cup has 6 g. carbs and 2 g. of fiber. Reading the labels may be time-consuming, but it's so worth it.
INGREDIENTS:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup (more or less) Italian bread crumbs*
4 slices Provolone cheese
Parmesan cheese
Wild Oats pasta sauce
Cooked & drained Dreamfields spaghetti
Coconut Oil

*I will make my own bread crumbs in the future with a low-carb bread

DIRECTIONS:
In a plate, mix bread crumbs and additional seasoning (salt, pepper & Italian herbs)
Place a chicken breast between plastic wrap and beat with a mallet until thin. 
Heat enough coconut oil in a skillet on medium high while you lightly coat the chicken breasts.
Carefully place a chicken breast in the hot skillet. Do not turn until  you can see the lower part of the chicken start to turn white and the bottom is a nice golden brown.
Carefully turn the chicken and cook until cooked through. Repeat until all chicken is cooked.
Place a slice of Provolone cheese on top of the hot chicken and let it melt. Bake in the oven briefly to further melt if necessary. Make a bed of spaghetti and cover with up to 1/2 cup of spaghetti sauce. Sprinkle grated or shredded Parmesan cheese on top of spaghetti. Place chicken breast on top and add a little more sauce (optional). We did manage to eat this WITHOUT a loaf of garlic bread. :-)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Low-Carb Thin Crust Pizza You Won't Feel Guilty About Eating

It is in my nature to misbehave just a little bit every now and then. All this healthy eating has not felt like dieting in the least, but severely limiting pasta and bread from our diet has been tough for me. I grew up in a home of incredible Italian dishes and home made breads. Just so you  know, you don't have to bother getting out the violin when you see what I fixed for me and Andy the other night. I found this "Where's The Crust" pizza recipe on the Plain Chicken blog on Pinterest and we loved it!

I doubled the crust recipe and made two pizzas. One of the pans was a little smaller (9x12) than the other (12x17). The crust in the smaller was OK and tasted great, but the crust could have baked just a little bit more due to the thickness. I listed the carb count for the ingredients we used at the bottom so you can mix and match to your heart's content. Seriously, we will do this again whenever we want to eat something decadent and not feel one bit guilty about eating. The pieces left over heated up nicely and tasted even better the next day.

CRUST INGREDIENTS:
1 8 oz. package regular cream cheese, softened 
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Lawry's Garlic Salt
1/4 cup grated (powder type, not shredded) Parmesan cheese

TOPPINGS: (optional)
1/2 cup Ragu pizza sauce
Additional Garlic Powder
Shredded Mozzarella cheese
Feta Cheese Pepperoni
Baby spinach
Fresh Baby Bella Mushrooms
Onions
Black Olives

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl mix, on low speed, mix the cream cheese, eggs, pepper, garlic salt and Parmesan cheese.
Beat until mixture is well blended.
Lightly spray the baking pans with cooking spray. Spread out the "crust."
This is the 9x12 dish during the baking process.
It puffed up quite a bit and took a lot longer to get "golden brown on the top and bottom.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove the crust from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes.
See how pretty the sides are? This crust had the perfect bottom!
Pizza option one: Spread the pizza sauce on the crust and top with baby spinach, fresh mushrooms, onions,  black olives and feta cheese crumbles.Sprinkle a little extra garlic salt and return to oven.
Pizza option two: Spread the pizza sauce on the crust and top with shredded Mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, mushrooms, onions and black olives. Sprinkle a little extra garlic salt and return to oven.
Bake until veggies are the texture you like or the cheese melts. 
Let it cool for about 5-10 minutes before cutting.

Cream cheese: 8 oz. block has 16 carbs
Parmesan cheese: Zero carbs
Eggs: Zero carbs
Ragu Pizza Sauce: 5 g. carbs per 1/4 c./1 g. fiber
Feta cheese: 4 oz. container has 4 g. carbs
Mozzarella cheese: 1/4 cup has 1 g. carbs
8 oz. pack Baby Bella Mushrooms: 3 g. carbs/1 g. fiber per 3 oz. serving  
Spinach: 4 cups have 3 g. carbs
Pepperoni: Zero carbs
Black Olives: 3.8 oz can: 7 g. carbs.

For example, Andy and I could have eaten both pizzas and consumed a total of 75 carbs, but of course, we didn't. One slice of a thin crust Veggie Lover's pizza has 23 carbs and one slice of a thin crust pepperoni pizza has 21 carbs. In the past, we always ordered the hand tossed crust and those would have run 29 and 27 carbs per slice.