Tuesday, July 08, 2014

CLCA Day 6

"Cyd's Low-Carb Adventure," Day 6

Breakfast: Strawberry-Mango Smoothie (with almond milk)
Lunch: Tuna and Chickpea Salad--pictured
Dinner: Roasted Boneless/Skinless Chicken Thighs with Cauliflower Mash and Sautéed Zucchini--pictured
Dessert: I am suspecting Sugar-Free Jell-O, though I wasn't around to witness it. ;-)

Tuna and Chickpea Salad

1/3 cup Miracle Whip Salad Dressing
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 cans (5 oz. each) white tuna in water, drained, flaked
1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed
1 stalk  celery, chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped red onions
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

Mix first three ingredients until blended. Combine remaining ingredients in medium bowl. Add dressing mixture; mix lightly. Serve with crackers, or spooned over torn mixed salad greens.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

CLCA Day 5

"Cyd's Low-Carb Adventure," Day 5

Well, Miss Thing was not feeling well, so she didn't eat all day. Of course, her sugars were bottoming out by the time I got home, so I forced a meal on her: An omelet with ham, a little cheese, onions, peppers, mushrooms, and asparagus and drizzled with a spoonful of  leftover Hollandaise from the Eggs Copenhagen the other day, plus two pieces of Ezekiel Bread toast. I'm calling that about 52 carbs today, give or take. (That's one way to cut carbs, I guess--don't eat! *sigh*)

Saturday, July 05, 2014

CLCA Day 4

Using those portobello caps as a bread substitute again! I also made a favorite Paleo lettuce cups recipe for dinner. The result? Only 40 carbs for the whole day! (Ok, it "helped" that someone slept through breakfast. Ahem.)

A low-carbing tip: One thing I've done that's been VERY helpful was to buy a big package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, then I sliced them all in half, marinated them, and grilled them all up at once. Now I have a big bag of them in the fridge to be able to make sandwiches or salads very quickly. 

"Cyd's Low-Carb Adventure," Day 4

Breakfast: Nuthin' (Someone didn't get up in time--hmph!)
Lunch: Primal Chicken Sammies (Sautéed Portobello Mushroom Caps, Grilled Chicken Breast, Real Bacon Bits, Swiss Cheese, Caramelized Onions, Grilled Yellow Pepper, Avocado, and Campari Tomato)--pictured above left
Dinner: Beef and Broccoli Lettuce Cups--pictured below
Dessert: Sugar-Free Jell-O

Friday, July 04, 2014

A Low-Carb Fourth of July

OK, so today was the first challenge to the low-carb adventure--that is, how to contend with a national holiday without feeling deprived. Cyd made her intentions clear that she was going to have corn on the cob for dinner (because it's unamerican not to!), so I knew I had to plan for that and to allow for the extra carbs...which is the name of the game, right?

Also, I wanted to do a twist on traditional potato salad using sweet potatoes, based on a recipe shared with me by one of my CrossFit/Paleo friends, Willow. She swears that she has taken this dish to potlucks and people raved about it, even people who aren't counting carbs. I must concur--it is FANTASTIC!

"Cyd's Low-Carb Adventure," Day 3

Breakfast: Watermelon and Mango Smoothie (with almond milk)
Lunch: Curried Chicken Salad with Dried Cranberries in Lettuce Cups--pictured
Dinner: Grilled Sirloin Steak with Montreal Seasoning, Corn on the Cob, Sweet Potato Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette--pictured
Dessert: Cauliflower "Rice" Pudding

Total: 149 carbs!

Sweet Potato Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

6 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
8 slices of bacon
1 red onion, finely sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup olive oil 
6 green onions, finely sliced
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Once your potatoes are cubed, boil them or roast them in a little olive oil until tender (400 degrees for about 40 minutes).
2. While potatoes are cooking, heat a skillet and fry the bacon. Cook until crisp. Once bacon is cooked, remove bacon and place it on a towel lined plate.
3. Now add the sliced onion and minced garlic to the leftover bacon grease and cook until soft.
4. Once onions and garlic are tender, remove from heat and add honey, white wine vinegar, and mustard.
5. Place cooked potatoes in a large bowl and drizzle with the olive oil (all of it if you boiled the potatoes, or the remainder of it if you used some to roast the potatoes in). Add onion mixture and bacon. Finally, add green onions. Season to taste.
6. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Low-Carb but Luscious Brunch

Here's a good, low-carb trick: Swapping out grilled portobello caps for English muffins to make Eggs Benedict, or in this case, Eggs Copenhagen with leftover salmon in place of Canadian bacon. Clever, eh? And yummy!

"Cyd's Low-Carb Adventure," Day 2

Breakfast: Strawberry-Banana Smoothie (with almond milk),
Eggs Copenhagen (salmon instead of ham) with Sautéed Peppers and Onions on Portobello Caps--pictured
Lunch: Sausage, Kale and White Bean Soup, Sugar-Free Jell-O
Dinner: Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad (with tomatoes, broccoli, scallions, and pine nuts)
Dessert: Cauliflower "Rice" Pudding

95 carbs for the day!

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Cyd's Low-Carb Adventure: The Beginning

Cyd is finally home from the hospital! Though she left with some pain, a tentative diagnosis, and an appointment to see a specialist in about a month, she is certainly doing much better than she was. One thing that has come out of all this is that she saw how much easier it was to control her blood sugar--and how much less insulin she had to take--when she was on the hospital's 1800-calorie, low-carb, diabetic diet. (I know, I know, but it's one thing to know something in your head, and another to see the actual effect when they test your blood every couple of hours and chart the changes.) She was also surprised that it seemed like a manageable way to eat, and she wanted to implement some of those kinds of changes at home to try and regulate her blood sugar better, and to see if it made other beneficial changes to her overall health. So she asked me if we could try keeping carbs between 150-180 grams a day, for 30 days (knowing, however, that we would be on vacation in Maine soon, which would interrupt this plan for a week).

Since I am now officially done with school until August (YAY!), and I have the time to plan and shop and cook, I agreed to take the helm of "Cyd's Low-Carb Adventure." And to keep track of the experiment, I thought I might blog about it. Now don't freak out--this isn't turning into a full-on Paleo blog! Though I intend to use some Paleo/primal recipes as inspiration, the goal is not to be that restrictive, just reducing carbs, not eliminating them altogether. So here we go...

Day One of "Cyd's Low-Carb Adventure"

Breakfast: Strawberry-Banana Smoothie with Almond Milk, Omelet with Sautéed Asparagus, Mushrooms, Peppers, and Onions
Lunch: Green Salad with Strawberries, Snow Peas, Blue Cheese, Green Onions, and Spiced Walnuts with Grilled Chicken and Blush Vinaigrette (pictured)
Dinner: Grilled Salmon Drizzled with Sriracha-Lime Mayo, Grilled Yellow Squash, Watermelon, Feta, Onion, and Mint Salad
Dessert: "Rice" Pudding

I thought I did a bang-up job with the low-carb cooking today, although my first mistake was assuming that all fruits, like bananas and melon--are low in carbs (oops). Still, the carb count was 144 grams (yep, there's an app for that), and she certainly wasn't going hungry! But as I suspected, by about 8pm, she started texting me at school, asking me if she could have some cookies or pie. So out of love and devotion, after my play rehearsal (which didn't end until 10:30, mind you!), I stopped by the store and came home and made her a special dessert that she just LOVED!

Now don't freak out and judge prematurely, but I prepared a sugar-free, low-carb "rice" pudding made with...wait for it...CAULIFLOWER! Before you start making protestations and noises of disgust, let me tell you that I HATE cauliflower, and I tried it. It tasted AWESOME, and would totally fool anyone who didn't know what was in it. It's certainly not low-fat, so you'll want to portion it carefully, but it is low-carb and very satisfying.

Cauliflower "Rice" Pudding

2 cups cauliflower
1 teaspoon coconut oil
2 cups heavy cream
4 egg yolks
8 oz. cream cheese, preferably softened
1 1/4 cups Stevia (in the Raw)
2 teaspoons vanilla
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Cut the cauliflower into florets. Add to a food processor in two batches and pulse until approximately the size of grains of rice. In a skillet over medium heat, fry the riced cauliflower in the coconut oil until it starts to turn golden brown. Set aside to cool.

In a saucepan, whisk the heavy cream and egg yolks. Cut the cream cheese into pieces and add them to the sauce, whisking everything together over LOW heat. (You could use a double boiler to be on the safe side, but I like to live on the edge.) Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens.

Remove from heat and stir in the stevia, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Fold in the prepared cauliflower. Enjoy warm, or spoon into eight small ramekins and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

Monday, June 30, 2014

A Restorative Soup for the Ailing and for Their Caregivers

Well, my ridiculous roommate has gone and done it this time! After the end of a tiring week on Thursday night, I was looking forward to coming home, chilling out, and fondling the remote control for awhile. But when I arrived, poor Cyd was writhing in pain on the couch, and then running to the bathroom to be sick off and on for about two hours before we decided that it wasn't getting any better, and she needed to go to the ER. I was there with her all night, until they finally admitted her at about 6:00am for further testing. And she's been there ever since. They have run almost every test imaginable, but they still haven't been able to conclude what's causing her such severe abdominal pain. It's very frustrating, and it's hard to watch her suffer. :-(

Meanwhile, I'm doing my best to finish teaching my summer class, hold down the fort at home, attend my musical rehearsals in the evenings, and be at the hospital with Cyd as much as I can, all at the same time. It has been exhausting, to say the least. And, of course, I've been eating a lot of crappy food along the way.

So I decided, if I didn't get some nutritious food in me, that I was gonna have to join Cyd in the hospital soon! So before I left for the hospital today, I started a crock pot full of a Portuguese sausage, white bean, and kale soup. Then I just added canned beans and kale when I finally got home, and had a quick but very nutritious dinner. I actually bought the ingredients to make this awhile ago, because I have two other friends who have been battling illnesses, and I wanted to take something healing and nourishing to them. But now I'm hoping it will sustain me while I play nursemaid to my poor roomie. And--God willing--they'll discharge her soon, and I can help make her well with the leftovers.

Portuguese Sausage, White Bean, and Kale Soup

1 lb. linguica (but mild Italian sausage will do)
1 large onion, diced
2 large stalks celery, diced
1 large red pepper, seeded and diced (or a couple of roasted/jarred peppers)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes, to taste
2 teaspoons seasoned salt
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon paprika (you could do 1/2 smoked, if you like)
2 cans diced tomatoes, with juice (I like at least one of them to be fire-roasted)
1 quart chicken stock, preferably homemade
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
2 cans cannellini and/or Great Northern beans, drained
Small bunch of kale, de-stemmed and finely chopped

Sauté the sausage, onions, celery, pepper and garlic until the meat is browned and the veggies are tender. Deglaze the pan with the wine.

Scrape everything into a crock pot and stir in the rest of the ingredients, except the beans and kale.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4. Fish out the bay leaves and add the drained beans and chopped kale. Cook for another fifteen minutes or so until the beans are warmed through and the kale has wilted.