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 (not permanently, anyway). 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.

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