Low Carb Lows

Before and after pictures would be pretty pointless at this point. I didn’t anticipate a lot of what’s happened this month. I certainly thought I would’ve lost more than 11lbs/5kg, considering I didn’t cheat at all for the first two weeks. Then we were travelling and we tried very hard but I’m sure we went over a few times. This Saturday when we went to the movies we had to cheat; we go to the movie theater maybe once per year so popcorn was mandatory. Then there’s the matter of insanity that has been my hormones. Out of the past ~5 weeks I’ve been on my period for 3. I had no idea this was common and somewhat “expected” when you’re on keto. That’s okay, I can deal with the extra hassle of it all. But that also means I plateaued for 3 weeks. Which has done glorious things for my own motivation and desire to keep it up. As I’m sure you could understand. Combine that with the meal planning, shopping, cooking, and portion controlling every single meal we’ve eaten for the past month…

Some metrics:WL

  • Neck 3″ loss
  • Underbust 3″ loss
  • Waist 2″ loss
  • Hips 2″ loss
  • Overall loss 11.8lb
  • Average Loss/week 2.9lb
  • Projected date for reaching goal weight: 12/5/14

My favorite kitchen tool

Don;t bother trying to steal the numbers, it's already been spent 😉

It may seem crazy but hear me out. When it comes to cleaning an old gift card/ credit card is my favorite tool. Scraping off dried on food, cleaning out the sink (and around the edges), and getting large food spills corralled nothing beats a card. I’ve saved more soap because my sponges weren’t getting mucky on the first pot for it to be a noticeable drop in usage.

Kolache Cookalong

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Kolache Cookalong, a set on Flickr.

Kolache is a Czech pastry, it can be filled with meat, cheese, jams or jellies, it’s pretty versatile and the dough they use is more fancy than your typical croissant tin wrapped hot dog. And now after reading the wikipedia page it seems I’ve been making both kolache and klobasnek. Whatever. In Texas, they’re both kolache. I grew up a few blocks from a Shipley’s so I always figured everyone knew about kolache 😛

Sweet or savory, breakfast or dinner, they make a fine addition to your meal planning.

Pumpkin Seed Saving

I made granola! Sort of. My version probably isn’t that healthy but it is pretty darn good mixed with my morning yogurt. You could also add more nuts and make it like a snack mix for the holidays as well. I kinda sorta adapted it from a recipe,  mostly just to look at proportions, this is a very flexible base that you substitute and make it pretty much any way you desire.

2 cups oats (I used regular rolled oats)
1/4 cup sunflower seed kernels (they were slightly salted)
2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup walnuts
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/3 cup vegetable oil, or flax or sesame or whatever
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup Water
1 cup dried fruit; (I used cherries, cranberries, blueberries, and strawberries mix)

Preheat to 300’F.

If you’re going to add dried fruit, you may want to reconstitute it in a bowl of hot water, let it set until you’re done baking. Take all your dry ingredients and mix them together until fairly uniform. In a separate small bowl mix all your wet ingredients together as if you were beating an egg, you want it to be homogeneous. Pour the wet into the dry mixing as you go.

Pour a tablespoon or so of your oil into the baking pan, use some paper towel to get an evenly coated grease into corners and edges especially. I guess you could be fancy and use parchment paper instead but I’m not.

Dump the mix and spread it out in your baking dish. Pop it in the oven and stir it every 20 minutes or so. I only cooked mine for 45 minutes but my oven is very wonky and the base recipe says an hour. Essentially you want crispy crunch, not mush like it was pre-baking. Let it cool down enough so that you can handle the dish with a bare hand and mix in the fruit, at this point you want it get down to room temperature before you freeze, refrigerate, or otherwise store.

Hubby says it could’ve used more honey, but I think I probably should’ve just added the sugar I had previously omitted.

My Mouth is on Fire: Spicy Sausage Pasta

1 package Earl Hot Links

1 onion (cut in circles)

1 can mushrooms (small)

16 oz uncooked fusili (or spiral or whatever :P)

1 can fire-roasted tomatoes (I used some with jalapenos and more onion)

1/2 tsp black pepper

Cook your pasta based on what the package says, drain and return to the large pot you probably used. Fry up the sausage, onion, mushrooms, add in pepper once the onion is cooked thoroughly. Mix it all together and serve it up. Prepare for the heat wave to approach your mouth 😀

In a world where blog posts happen bi-monthly…

I made pizza. Not the wonderful goodness that gets carted to your door or even the stuff you pull out of the freezer. Real super nice pizza. Dough recipe is kind of pieced together from a few recipes. My main changes to this was to proof the yeast first, substitute olive oil, and add in 1 1/2 teaspoons of garlic A Resting Doughpowder. Olive oil is just my personal preference but it’s also what I used to make the tomato sauce/pizza sauce. I love garlic, so anywhere I can add it in… plus it’s good for you! Proofing the yeast in the warm water first allows it to grow and gives you a less crispy crunchy crust (more like a hand tossed variety). A word on proofing and the type of yeast I use, active dry yeast usually needs warm (110’F) water and some sugar. I skip the sugar and just have it get “creamy” over the course of approximately 10 minutes. After I got all the flour mixed in I let it rest like you do for bread dough for a short period of 30 minutes.

For the pizza sauce I mostly just made it up on the fly.

1 can Diced Tomatoes (~15oz, not drained) or fresh if you have it
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 garlic cloves (pressed or minced)
1 tsp. Basil
1 tsp. Oregano
1 tsp. black pepper

Combine all ingredients and let simmer while covered for 10 minutes. Pulse a few times in a food processor or blend to liquefy further. I used dried spices, so if you’re using fresh scale to your tastes, I mostly just checked to see if I got a good spice to liquid ratio going on in the pot. This was also enough sauce for 2 cookie sheet sized pizzas.

Photo_556ADCEC-9865-A58C-0B2E-6DDF00F1AA3BWhile the dough rested and the sauce cooled I prepped out the toppings. Ikea kid food bowls are awesome for setting them out if you’re letting people make their own personal pizzas. I chopped up some Cotto salami (which turned out really gross on the pizza), onion, black olives, mushrooms, string cheese (low-fat mozzarella), and a couple slices of provolone. As you can tell I used what I had in the pantry but I can see remaking this with some amazingly fresh ingredients and having it be really healthy.

I didn’t get a chance to take a picture of the first pizza (we were all very hungry) but I did manage to snag one of the second. It even reheated well for lunch the next day 😀


Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad 1

In between grocery shopping you’ll find that almost all your vegetables are about to turn at the same time. If you’re not willing to stand over a hot stove and make soup, you can always make a nice Salad from them. Unfortunately my lettuce bit the dust a few days so I decided to crack open a can of Cooked Chicken Breast and make a quick lunch. Of course I use what I have available to me but you can always substitute in whichever ingredients you wish.

Chicken Breast – 16oz shredded

Celery – 2 stalks chopped chunky

Carrot – chopped up coarsely

Green Onion – 3 or 4 chops worth, maybe 2 tablespoons

Ground Black Pepper & Celery Salt – this is purely on preference, I’ve used this combination for a few years, it’s just what tastes best in my opinion.

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If you’ve still got leftover beans, I have an excellent way to reuse them without the added calories from refrying them. Fideo’s a quick way to reuse leftovers when paydays a little further than you thought. You can “green it up” with a lot of fresh veggies or you can use whatever canned stuffs you’ve got in the cupboard. Sometimes I’ll add corn or cut green beans, and I think I’ve added some potato chunks at one point. In it’s purest form you would only use the “Mexican trifecta,” which has been defined by my husband as onions, tomatoes and cilantro. If you look at most Mexican recipes, they will use the trifecta or a slight variation of it for almost any recipe. For example, remove the beans and replace vermicelli with rice and you’ve basically got the recipe for Spanish Rice with some adjustments of course. If you look at the recipes online for Fideo, a lot of them are not what I’ve been making. I’m now confidently assuming that every family will make it with their own recipe and preferences.

Vermicelli is a strange pasta to me, but it’s also crazy cheap. I found a package of it for 33 cents at the grocery store and decided that this would a meal that can save me ample money during my biweekly meal planning. Let’s go ahead and jump right in with the recipe I most commonly use.

    • 1lb Ground Beef
    • 1c of cooked beans or 1 can of Ranchero Beans
    • 7-8oz vermicelli/fideo (1 package)
    • 1 small onion
    • 1 large tomato or 1 can of diced tomatoes
    • ~2Tbsp of chopped cilantro
    • 1 can tomato sauce
    • water to cover
    • 1-2tsp of vegetable oil
    • 1tsp cumin, 1Tbsp black pepper, 1/2tsp garlic powder

In a separate pan, brown ground beef until cooked fully and drain off excess fat. Pour your vermicelli and oil into a larger soup-sized pot and brown the noodles, adding in the onion once they look “done.” Add in the rest of your ingredients after the onions are “medium done,” bring the mixture to a boil. Set the heat to low, cover and simmer for the amount of time prescribed by your vermicelli package, typically 8-10 minutes. You may need to give it a couple stirs during the simmering period to prevent your noodles from burning to the bottom. One of the great things about this recipe is the amount of time it takes, maybe 30-40minutes from pulling out ingredients to plating the dish.

Spanish Rice

Now that we’ve covered the protein filled Bean Soup, let’s move on to the most popular starch in Mexican cooking. Spanish Rice isn’t as Spanish as you might think but it’s still yummy as all get out!

Preparations before you start cooking should include: chopping all vegetables, opening cans or tubes, and cooking meats if you choose to make it a one-pot meal. The vegetables are pretty much up to your choice, think of Spanish Rice as being a tomato based pilaf. We use celery, onion and tomatoes regularly. I try to simplify meals in terms of the amount of dishes it soils so I usually add some shredded chicken breast or ground beef right before I throw the lid on. The proportions used for the rice and vegetables are entirely up to you. For my example I’ll be using 2c dry white rice, 1 small sweet yellow onion, 2 stalks of celery (thinly sliced), and 2-3 Roma tomatoes. Which means you’ll want to have 4c of water set aside, 1 can of tomato sauce or 1Tbsp of tomato paste, and your spices.

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