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Posts Tagged ‘Low Carb’

bilblcooksCheesy Garlic Cauliflower Pizza Crust

I first heard about this recipe from one of the YouTubers I follow, VSGTanya. Her video gives step-by-step instructions. This recipe interested me because I’m trying to keep things low carb, and who doesn’t love pizza? This recipe does take time to prepare, but it’s definitely worth it.

Ingredients/Nutrition:

cauliflower crust

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The best thing about this pizza (and all pizzas) is that you can top it with whatever you like, so I’ll show you what I topped this with in a little bit.

Preheat oven to 450.

Cut cauliflower into florets and boil for 10 minutes.

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20130222-103652.jpg Drain cauliflower thoroughly.  The video emphasized how important it is to remove as much water from the cauliflower as possible.  I should have heeded this warning a bit more, because I think this is one of the reasons that my first attempt was softer than I’d have liked.

20130222-103724.jpg Rice the cauliflower.  Rather than a ricer, which I don’t have, I used my Cuisinart, which made quick work of it.

***After trying the recipe and realizing that the crust was too soft, I did a bit of research online and discovered a slightly different method for these first steps on Eating Bird Food, which I’ll use when I make this the next time:

  1. Rice the cauliflower in the Cuisinart.
  2. Sauté the cauliflower for 6-8 minutes in a nonstick skillet.  This seems like it would really help with removing the moisture.

20130222-105840.jpgIf you have a pizza stone, use it, because that will really help the crust get a bit crispier.  Since I don’t have one, I put some olive oil on a cookie sheet that I covered with foil (makes cleanup easier), then I added parchment paper. (The olive oil helps the parchment paper stick to the cookie sheet).  Then I used my Misto to spray a tiny bit of olive oil on the top of the parchment paper, too.  I had absolutely no problem with the pizza sticking.

20130222-103747.jpg The recipe called for for one riced up of cauliflower.

20130222-103803.jpg Combine the cauliflower, quattro formaggio (or shredded parm), light mozzarella, crushed garlic, 1 egg white, and spices.  I used Italian seasoning, dried oregano, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder (the title does have ‘garlic’ in it!).  I didn’t add any salt, since I’d salted the water I boiled the cauliflower in and the cheese can be salty.

Now comes the messy part: flattening and shaping the crust onto the sheet.  The recipe calls for the crust to be fairly thin, to aid with crisping.

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In terms of cooking time, the original recipe I was following said to cook it for 15 minutes at 450.  Because I felt it was a bit soft, I think I’d cook it for at least 10 minutes more next time (25 min).

Now let’s talk toppings: I used pizza sauce, jalapeño chicken sausage, and mushrooms, plus a bit more of both cheeses (a 1/8 cup of each, total).

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The possibilities are endless in terms of what you could top the pizza with.  Next time I’m thinking of bbq sauce, chicken, and purple onions.  I’d also love to try a veggie version one of these Fridays of Lent.

My finished product looked and smelled delicious!

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Other than the crust being softer than I’d like, it was simply delicious.  Definitely a better, lower calorie, lower carb version of something I love.  I ate mine “Italian style” with a knife and fork because the crust wouldn’t allow me to pick it up with my hands.  Reviews of the second method I mention said that the crust was strong/crisp enough to eat it by hand.

20130222-104009.jpg I ate 2 servings – 1/2 the pizza, and as I made it with my toppings, it came to 367 calories, 8g carbs, 23g fat (high because of the cheese), and 35g of protein.

I highly recommend this recipe with the second set of directions for the prep of the cauliflower.  I can’t wait to have the leftovers and to try it again.

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bilbl_shoppingsofiYou might be asking, if you’re not really eating during the day, what kind of shopping haul can you have?  Good question.  That leads me to my first bit of news.  A change…which can’t really be surprising, knowing me, can it?

I’ve followed the very low calorie, high protein plan for two weeks and had success.  But now that I’m home for the week, I’m really missing not chewing.  It’s so hard.  And I know some of you are thinking, just do it, you’re almost there.  That’s true.  I have 7 lbs to lose, which is so close.  But after I get to that milestone (which I WILL get to!), I’ll have another 6 weeks to go to get to my surgery date.  And I just don’t think I can keep up this type of highly restrictive diet for that long.

I’ve gone back and forth with this decision for the past few days, and I do think it’s better for me to go back to Kaiser’s pre-op plan: eating 1200 calories, low carb.  I will still have the protein shake for breakfast most days, because it’s been a great way to start my day.  Beyond the carbs that are in veggies, I’m only going to have complex carbs earlier in the day – Flat Out wraps for lunch, popcorn as a snack.  No potatoes, rice, or pasta. That’s not Kaiser’s rule, it’s mine, because I know that it’s very difficult for me to stick to proper serving sizes of those types of carbs.

I’m also going to be keeping up with all of my workouts, of course.

I can’t tell you the relief I feel with this decision.  I was starting to feel panicky about my ability to sustain the diet I was on, and when I start to get that way, I know that it’s not long before I go completely off the wagon.  And I just won’t allow myself to derail that way.  I’m actually really proud of myself for recognizing all of this early enough to make a change.

If you’d like to see a grocery haul of the foods I bought to eat this week, check this out:  (I’ll tempt you by saying it has a cute intro with Sofi)

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For the month of December, I’ll be participating in #WEverb11. Each day gives a new prompt, each of which is a chance to reflect and look forward.

December 12: Thrive

What was your healthiest habit of 2011? What would you like to change or do differently in 2012? Contributed by Tonya.

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Focusing on protein in my daily diet and eating fewer grains (bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, etc) was my major healthy habit for this year.  And even though I’m an Italian girl who loves her pasta, ravioli, and arborio rice, I didn’t find it that difficult to stick with a low carb lifestyle.

I found that the key is allowing myself to have the carby foods I love once in a while.  So while sushi isn’t a Friday night mainstay anymore, I can have it once every month or so.  The same can be said for the traditional carb-heavy Italian dishes that I love.  I can’t eat them on a regular basis, but I can have them now and then.  Ravioli will be eaten on Christmas Day, but probably not again for months.

The other big thing for me has been to play around with my favorite recipes and make them lower carb, if possible.  It sounds weird, but for me, substituting leafy greens in place of rice or pasta really helps.  The volume of the meal remains intact, as does the fullness factor.

I think the reason low carb is working for me is that I actually feel a lot more energy eating this way. I don’t finish a meal and feel the need to rest, or wake up feeling sluggish.  And when I feel better, it’s much easier to put in any extra effort it might take to adjust my meals to this new lifestyle.

In 2012, I want to be much more consistent with my workouts. I’ve struggled with this for years. I got on tangents of working out really well for a few weeks, then life happens, things get hectic, and working out drops off the priority list.  In 2012 (and really once Winter Break starts for me next week), I don’t want to let the workouts slide.  In fact, hectic days are the times when I know I should strive to get my workouts in because exercise helps to alleviate stress.

What’s your healthy habit from this year?

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If you’d like to join in on the daily writing prompts, go to WEverb11, sign up for the email notifications, and join us! Or follow along on Twitter using the #WEverb11 hashtag!

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I’ve been in the mood for soup lately.  So much so that I made 10-Alarm Chili on Saturday, and a low carb version of the Michigan-Rainstorm Soup on today.  I love those two favorites, but I’d been wanting to try something with a bit more of an Asian flare.  And so I came up with this soup, Asian Soup with Shu Mai & Chili-Lime Meatballs.  (The meatballs were a bit of a last-minute addition, but they will definitely become a staple to the recipe).

Ingredients:

Since MyFitnessPal has such a cool way of displaying the ingredients when you create your own recipe, I thought I would just show that list.  Scroll to the bottom for the “per serving” totals.

Start as you would any soup, with some olive oil and chopped onion sauteeing in the bottom of a large pot.  Then add the sauces – I used Veri Teriyaki Island and Newman’s Own Low Fat Sesame Ginger Salad Dressing. I also added black pepper and red pepper flakes, but I like things to have a bit of a kick, so omit that if you don’t like the heat.

It looks so rich, but is actually really great on calories.

Chop the bok choy. I used two packages (six baby choys).

Add chopped bok choy to onion and sauce mixture.

These are the shu mai before cooking. I added two boxes, plus 1 sauce packet to the soup.

Next add two 32-oz boxes of chicken broth with the shu mai and bok choy.

As I was waiting for the soup to come to a boil, I remember that I had two Trader Joe’s Chili Lime Chicken burgers in the fridge that I needed to use.  (I’m really trying not to waste food this year).

I am so glad they were uncooked, so that I could "re-form" them into mini meatballs!

Since they are only 150 calories per patty, I thought they’d be a nice addition to the soup.  Chili-lime can definitely be an Asian flavor, too.  Plus, I liked that they would be a low cal way to add more protein to the soup.  I had the idea that I could turn the burgers into meatballs.  And I knew that to get meatballs that don’t fall apart in this sort of a soup, you have to brown them first, so out came a mini frying pan.

Since the frying pan was small, I had to do them in two batches. These six mini meatballs were from 1 burger patty.

What a hearty helping - a little bok choy, a shu mai, and a meatball

So warm and so healthy! Yum!!

I absolutely loved this dinner.  The flavor was phenomenal and I surprised myself with just how inventive I can be.  I am proud to say that I am now what I consider a really good cook.  I can’t wait to see what other “stewoups” I come up with this season.

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(I know that this Bellina is the one that I normally use just for workouts, but since this post is all about combating some boredom I’ve been feeling with my food, I figured I needed Super-Bellina’s help).

It’s finally hit – boredom with my food plan.  Every single day for the past 42 days I have had the exact same breakfast, almost the exact same lunch, and pretty much the same snacks.

  1. Breakfast: Premier Nutrition bar (280 calories)
  2. Lunch: Premier Nutrtion shake + Medifast Parmesan Cheese Puffs (270 calories)
  3. Snack (2-3 of the following): string cheese, almonds, Medifast Ranch Soy Crisps, carrots, sugar snap peas, crimini mushrooms (230 calories)
  4. Dinner: Lean and Green (this hasn’t been boring, as I can keep changing it up)

And that spells one thing – BORING!  Plus, 1 bar for 280 calories is A LOT.  And while it’s satisfying, it isn’t what I feel like eating many mornings.  Now that the weather has gotten cold in the mornings, I really would rather have something warmer.  And when the food starts getting really boring, I start looking elsewhere/eating off plan.  Which isn’t going to get me to my goal.

And then I saw my friend BeautyJunkie824′s video about a food haul she had from a (new to me) company selling low carb/high protein snacks and meal replacements.  Similar to Medifast, but as I was soon to find out, half the price

So I looked at the Bariatric Choice website and I loved what I saw:

  • Oatmeal for 100 calories, 6g carb, and 15g protein!
  • Cinna-choco snacks for 150 calories, 15g carb, 10g protein, plus a way to satisfy my nighttime sweet cravings!
  • Lots of new choices for bars and snacks that are around 100-120 calories each.

I filled my cart with enough breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and desserts for 2 weeks and it only totaled $65.  That’s half of what I would’ve paid on Medifast.  And they offered free shipping for orders over $49.  Win! The food should arrive in another week or so, and I can’t wait.  Having some new items to look forward to are going to help me stay on plan.

Which is not to say that I’m going to completely throw out the Premier Nutrtion, because I’m not.  I love those shakes and the bars taste really good. It’s just time to incorporate some other items into my daily plan.

Other than that, things are going well.  I hit a bit of a stall which I’ll blame on the boredom, but now that I have some new foods to look forward to, I know that I’ll be back to losing in no time.

 

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Wow, it’s been FOREVER since I did a weigh-in update, right?

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve really liked this new method of mine – weighing in every couple of days and tracking that progress on MyFitnessPal (more on that in a moment) and then limiting my actual “official” weigh-in posts to once a month or so. It’s a saner, more realistic way for me to see my progress.

This morning I felt so light when I woke up.  I knew I would see good things on the scale, but I felt so good that it didn’t even matter – I’m doing everything right, so I know I’m making strides toward my goal.

20110924-072946.jpg Which means I’ve lost 9.2 lbs since I started my own high-protein/low-carb diet on August 29th (3.5 weeks ago) and 19.2 lbs total. I’m especially pleased with my progress since I started this new “get serious” pre-op plan, and I think that now that I’m going full steam ahead with the diet every single day of the week it’s going to be even more steady. (Note: I recorded 291.8 into MyFitnessPal because the scale was fluctuating between 291.6 and 292.0, so I went in the middle.  The weight loss stats I mentioned above reflects the mid-range number).

And when I refer to this plan as a diet, it really is.  It is a short term, get-the-damn-pre-op-weight-off diet that will get me to my goal.  Period.  Which works out well, because once I have the VSG surgery, I’ll be hitting the “reset” button on the way that I eat, the way that I look at food, completely.  I’m actually perfectly happy in following this diet, too.  For me at this stage, keeping it simple and straightforward works wonders for me.  As some of you pointed out, I can be social with my Lean & Green meal or just with a cup of coffee/tea. Or even better by meeting friends and doing something fitness-related like taking a walk or riding bikes or something.  For example, tonight I have plans to go to dinner with a friend, but I told her I’m staying low carb and she actually said that she is, too.  Perfect!  Tomorrow I have other plans with a different friend to go  to another yoga class.  So it can be done – I can stick to my goals and still come out of the house.

Because in the end, I want to get to this pre-op goal way more than I want to eat carbs. And since I don’t do well in the blurred gray areas, it’s much better for me in the short term to just stick to this strict diet, reach my goal of 266, get the surgery scheduled, and maintain that weight loss until surgery.

I hate predicting goal dates, but I’m feeling like I need to “put it out there” in order for me to manifest it. So I’m going to follow what’s been predicted by MyFitnessPal and say that I’d like to get to 266 by the beginning of November, which is 7-8 weeks. Which is a little more than 3 lbs a week. For someone my weight, this is absolutely do-able, especially following the type of diet I am.

A big thank you to all that commented on that choices post. Your feedback and honesty really helped me know what I needed to do.

My next weigh-in post will be at the beginning of October because I want to keep these posts consistent with when I call into Kaiser’s Bariatric dept. with my progress.  Even thought it won’t be too far from today, I’m hoping to show another drop on the scale and be solidly in the 280s by then.  No need to wish me luck because I have my mind set that it WILL happen.

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I’m always on the lookout for low cal snacks that don’t break my low carb bank. Today as I was shopping I found two different “nut crackers” and I decided to give them both a try. Sort of a snack smackdown, if you will.

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On the left we have Blue Diamond Almond Nut-Thins in Cheddar Cheese.  On the right we have Keebler Wheatables Nut Crisps in Crunchy Cashew.

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Nutritionally, these stack up nicely against each other.  The serving sizes are the exact same, at 16 crackers. Blue Diamond “wins” in fewer calories (130 vs. 140), less fat (4g vs. 6g), and lower sugar (0g vs. 4g).  In terms of carbs, Keebler wins (20g vs. 22g).  Blue Diamond are also gluten free, if that’s important to you (it’s not to me).

But what about the most important factor – the taste?  Hands down, the Keebler are much, much, much tastier.  It felt like you were eating a real cracker instead of some sort of weird, hard rice cracker thing.  This one is a win by KNOCKOUT.

So for me, the Blue Diamond are decent, but not something I’d buy again if I  could purchase the Keebler.  Whereas the Keebler Nut Crisps are something I would go out of my way to find.  If you’re looking for a great-tasting nut cracker, I’d recommend that you try the Keebler.  Happy snacking!

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For those of you wondering why I’m eating any kind of cracker when I’m trying to do my strict, high-protein/low-carb diet, it’s because Bella does not live on protein alone.  A bit of carbs helps keep things moving (enough said), and it also keeps me happy.  These crackers work into my overall daily totals really nicely:

9/14 Daily Food Totals: 1,178 calories, 96g carbs, 37g fat, 120g protein

I bought more Medifast snacks (puffs, “pretzels,” and soy crisps), which will arrive in about 7-10 days, but until then, I like having a sensible option for snacks.

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Now that school has started, it’s more important than ever that I stay focused on making great food choices.  The most important way that I can do that is to stay organized, which means planning and preparing my food the night before.  Since I leave the house at 7am every weekday, making my breakfast and lunch the night before is a MUST.

I’m proud that this has become a regular part of my routine, and it makes me feel so on top of things to be so prepared.  I thought I’d do a bit of a photo food journal so you could see what I have in the lunch bag for tomorrow.

Breakfast: 246 calories

blueberries, nectarines, and TJ’s Greek yogurt, honey flavor

Lunch: 401 calories

Wrap filled with deli turkey, spinach, tomato, and laughing cow wedge*

TJ’s potato lentil curls; veggies – sugar snap peas, sliced crimini mushrooms, red & yellow bell peppers, and carrots.

407 calories may seem like a lot for lunch to some of you, but since I’m going directly to the gym after work, I need to make sure that I’ve got plenty of energy to burn off all those calories on the elliptical machine.  Plus, they say that eating the larger meal in the middle of the day is great for weight loss.

*I made this wrap almost every single day in the summer and I never got tired of it.  I made it for my dad and my sister and they loved it, and now I’ve made some other variations on it for school.  Since it was such a hit (and so easy and low cal/healthy), I thought I’d break it down for you.

Weekday Wrap

La Tortilla low carb wheat tortilla, 1 wedge Laughing Cow herb & garlic, spinach, tomato (not pictured here), thin-sliced deli turkey.

The steps are ridiculously easy, but because you may not have made your own wrap before, here goes:

1. Spread Laughing Cow on tortilla.

2. Add a heaping handful of spinach.

3. Add turkey – 6 slices = 45 calories!

4. Use ripe tomatoes (this one is from my dad’s garden).

5. Adding tomatoes really helps keep the wrap moist and delicious.

6. Wrap that thing up!  I use aluminum foil sort of like you would a burrito because it keeps it nicely contained and avoids messiness.  Because the worst thing in the world for me would be to spill lunch on myself and then have to go teach a room full of teens.

I did this all in about 15 minutes, so there really isn’t any excuse for me not to make sure I’m eating right by preparing my food ahead of time.  My lunch is all ready to go and it’s even chilling in the lunch bag as I type this:

Since I don’t put my lunch bag in the fridge at school (I don’t want it to get squished), I make sure to keep it really cold by adding an ice pack before I leave in the morning.

And because I don’t want to leave this day incomplete, I’m going to show you the gorgeous dinner I made for myself tonight, and you can just pretend that I am going to eat it tomorrow night.

Dinner: 307 calories

I bought Trader Joe’s salmon burgers and I can’t say enough about them.  Each one is only 110 calories, 1.5g fat, 3g carb, and 21g protein!  Not to mention that they’re delicious!  I just pan fried them with a tiny drop of oil.  I added the burger on a bed of spinach that I had dressed with Newman’s Own Lighten Up Low Fat Sesame Ginger Dressing.  I also added 3/4 of a cup of that brown & red rice medley I found at TJ’s a couple of months ago.  The result? Nothing short of gourmet!

I will definitely be enjoying this meal again.

Daily total: 954.  (I’d add a snack in there somewhere to bring my totals closer to 1200).

Can you believe all of this well-balanced, healthy, scrumptious food is less than 1000 calories?  It definitely makes me wonder why I ever stray from eating this way.  It’s so tasty, makes me feel so good, and it fuels my body so well.

I hope you got some ideas from this food log.  It was fun presenting it to you.

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I just ate the best lunch I’ve had all week, and it was completely SBD-friendly.  This lunch was so good that I didn’t even miss the bagel.  :) I can’t really take credit for the recipe, though, because it appeared in SBD Supercharged, and then my mom suggested how to really doctor it up.  If you love smoked salmon as much as I do, read on for a terrific lunch or appetizer.

Smoked Salmon on Cucumber “Crackers”

Nutritional Info: (per serving) 268 calories, 10.9g fat, 9.1g carb, 30.2g protein

Ingredients: (for 1 serving)
1/2-3/4 of an English cucumber, cut in thick rounds
3 Laughing Cow Light, French onion flavor wedges (this was my mom’s idea, and it adds so much to the recipe)
4 oz smoked salmon

Directions: It’s so simple; it doesn’t get much easier than this recipe.  Just slice the cucumbers, spread the Laughing Cow wedges on each “cucumber cracker” and add the small pieces of smoked salmon.

It looks beautiful, tastes decadent yet fresh and light, all at the same time.  When I finished my lunch today I felt satisfied but not overly full.  I can’t wait to make this again, maybe for an appetizer for friends.  It looks impressive but is oh so easy.

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In my family, we’ve been eating Joe’s Special since I was a little girl.  I’m not sure exactly where the recipe originated; I thought it was from a local food institution known as Original Joe’s.  Another source says “Joe’s Special is a San Francisco specialty dating to the 1920′s.” Wherever it comes from, it’s delicious, and the best part is, you probably have all of the ingredients on hand.

This is how I made it tonight, but you should feel free to change the recipe so that it’s more to your liking. The “constants” are eggs, spinach, and some sort of meat (ground beef, Italian sausage, ground turkey, etc).  My mom adds potatoes.  Be creative and have fun.

Ingredients:

1 cup onion, chopped (I used a red onion tonight, because it was what I had on hand)
2 tsp olive oil
2 cups crimini mushrooms, sliced
6 Jennie-O turkey breakfast sausage patties
6 eggs, beaten
3 cups fresh spinach
1/3 cup reduced-fat shredded cheese
salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
Tabasco sauce to taste
.
Nutrition Info: (makes 3 servings) per serving – 343 calories, 18.9g fat, 12.4g carbs, 2.5g fiber, 4.8g sugars, 31.3g protein
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Directions:
(When you cook this dinner, you want to begin with whatever takes the longest to cook.  In this case, it was the mushrooms).
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Chop onion and saute with olive in a medium-hot pan.  Add salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Add mushrooms.
Add meat.  Since I was using the turkey breakfast sausage, I wanted to make sure it was cooked through before I added anything else.
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Beat eggs in a separate bowl and add salt, pepper, and garlic powder, to taste.  By mixing the eggs in a separate bowl, you insure that they’re seasoned properly and that the eggs get beaten well.
It also makes it a lot easier to incorporate into the rest of your dish
Add spinach next.  I used half a bag of spinach because it goes from this…
to this…
I love how colorful and healthy this dinner looks (and is!).
Next, add the cheese at the last minute.
Don’t worry, it looks like a lot of cheese, but remember, this is 3 servings. And when it melts, it looks more like this:

Yum!  This is the perfect dinner for a night like tonight.  It’s cold, rainy, and windy outside and eating something quick and easy, yet good for you is a nice way to start the weekend.

.

Of course, I can’t eat any meal that has eggs in it without this:

This is actually the perfect dinner for a Friday night in, because it’s easy to make, and if you keep a fairly well-stocked kitchen, you won’t even have to stop at the grocery store on your way home from work. I hope you try it on a quiet Friday sometime soon, because believe me, you’ll be glad you did.

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