Dot to Trot

My world is expanding as my butt is shrinking!

Archive for the tag “healthy eating”

Kicking Caffeine To The Curb…Seriously This Time!

morning turkeyJPG

My Saturday morning project .

While most people like to sleep in a little Sunday mornings I’m up at 5:00 am. Why? Turkey. Yep, I’m roasting a 22-pound bird this morning. Tomorrow I start on the real cooking: LCHF versions of curry turkey, turkey pot pies and a turkey & bacon casserole.

While I enjoyed some coffee this morning, I am bright-eyed and bushy-tailed without the black nectar of the gods.  It’s looking like my new-found energy isn’t a fluke.

Part of this new energy is a serious effort at cutting back on my caffeine intake. I tried giving coffee up cold turkey, but the headache that hit me was insane.

Giving Up Coffee…For Real This Time
Okay, I’ve written about attempts to give up coffee before, but this time I’m seeing tangible benefits. As my coffee intake goes down so does my anxiety and stress levels.  Read more…

Yummy Lemon Blueberry Scones

For those of you who love scones in the morning, here’s my Lemon-Blueberry Scone video. Yummy + healthy = awesomeness!

If you want to even more flavor greatness, I’ve also attached the Lemon Buttercream Cheese frosting video.

Not a fan of lemon? Then just use a different flavored extract. The frosting is perfect for pastries, cakes and cupcakes (like red velvet, my fav!) too.

Cookbook Review: Nom Nom Paleo


I spent the holiday weekend drooling over the recipes in Michelle Tam’s Nom Nom Paleo cookbook.

I picked up a wonderful cookbook – Michelle Tam’s Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans. It’s been out since 2013 but it is still one of the most creative cookbooks I’ve come across. And it is a fun read…how many cookbooks can you say that about?

I’m a big fan of Tan’s blog (same name as the book). If you are looking for healthy recipes and cooking inspiration, you need to check out her site.

Like her blog, the book includes recipes and cooking tips that are easy to follow. The combination of her witty prose, awesome cartoons and wonderful photography (by her husband) depict her love of real food, kitchen gadgets, and cooking.

You can’t read this book and not want to have fun in the kitchen. Regardless of your diet of choice she inspires you to turn away from the processed crap. Read more…

Chimichurri Rib-Eye & Zoodle Salad

steak & zoodle salad

What initially started off as a boring steak and zucchini dish turned into an awesome salad thanks to some heirloom tomatoes and chimichurri sauce.

When putting together my weekly menu, I originally planned a Wednesday lunch of grilled rib-eye steak with 1/2 a large zuchinni. Wow, there’s excitement for you. Then it dawned on me to make zoodles with the squash and add some Argentine chimichurri sauce. That sounded tastier. Toss in some slices of heirloom tomatoes and now you’ve got an awesome salad.

Chimichurri sauce, if you haven’t experienced it, is just wonderful. Garlicky and tart, the bright green color really pops. It can double as a marinade or sauce that you can use for chicken, pork or vegetables. But I absolutely love it with steak.

Typically it’s made from fresh parsley and oregano, garlic, vegetable oil and white vinegar. For mine I used what I had available: flat-leaf parsley and cilantro.  Read more…

Recovering From This Weekend’s Carbopalooza

tape measure fork

Six weeks since my surgery and I’m officially getting back into the healthy eating business. Image courtesy of and Mister GC.

This weekend the hubby and I visited some friends at a cabin in West Virginia. We haven’t seen them since my diagnosis and they thought it would be a great chance for me to rest, relax and heal. Before going I made the decision early to not sweat the food choices and it was a good decision.

The food was home cooked and tasted great. I ate low carb when I could but I didn’t beat myself up if I strayed. I mean, when a cute 12-year-old offers you (a fellow baker) a brownie she made herself, it’s hard to refuse.

Now that I’m back at home I decided to start the week with a two-day fast. What better way to kick this weekend’s carb monkey off my back and jump into ketosis?

Following the fast I’m doing a pretty simple ketogenic food plan that’s high fat, moderate protein and very low carb. This is a real test as I’m significantly lowering my carbs and limiting my protein and dairy. I’m still eating 20g of carbs daily, but I’m counting total carbs rather than net carbs.

Oh and of course no alcohol or coffee either.

You can check out my menu for this week. I’m still tweaking it…why not as I have 2 whole days to finalize it. I’m not thrilled with the total carb count for Friday’s lunch, but hey I really do want to work in an awesome ketogenic BLT! Maybe Friday night’s dinner becomes fat and protein only.

That might work.


June Food Challenge: SEAFOOD

Fish cooking

OK, so the cedar plank did catch fire, but the dish came out awesome despite a little set back on the grill.

I got a jump-start on my June Food Challenge. Last night I made a macadamia crusted Mahi-Mahi with cauliflower mash and sautéed mustard greens. I had no idea what I was doing when making the crust. It really was on a whim and not thought out. I ended up topping it with a pesto sauce just in case the crust didn’t come out.

Why A Fish Challenge?
I’ve always hated fish. Always. When I was a kid I’d go fishing with my best friend’s family. I just remember being repulsed by how slimy the fish were and the whole cleaning process. Heck, to this day I still refuse to put bait on a fishing hook. The whole process is just icky to me.  And that pretty much drives most of my aversion to fish.

Most, but not all. Let’s not forget the fishy taste. Canned tuna always made me gag. And salmon…don’t get me started.

However I started rethinking the whole fish thing a few years ago when I tried sushi.  Yep, I ate raw fish…and loved it. No fishy flavor. I didn’t even mind the texture so much. Of course all that dang Wasabi may have had a hand in it, but it got me thinking.

Plus the health benefits. There is no way around that. I’m missing out on Omega-3 because of my aversion to fish. Taking fish oil just isn’t the same.

Finally my husband loves seafood. And it isn’t fair that he rarely eats fish because his wife is grossed out by it.

But eating fish is always hit or miss. Freshness is really important for a fish hater trying to become lover. I’ve had amazingly good Chilean sea bass and god awful salmon (Yes, I’m a bit like Ahab…but salmon is my Great White).

So June I’m making a serious effort to add fish to my diet. This month, twice a week, I’m eating seafood. Ultimately I want to be able to enjoy fish once a week after this challenge ends.

Fire In The Hole
My first attempt at grilling fish exceeded my expectations…despite the fire. The crust was a bit mushy going on but got pretty crispy (not burnt). Rather than chopping the macadamia nuts, I mistakenly pulverized them in my herb grinder. I basically turned the nuts into mush. In an effort to firm up the nut mush, I added my homemade salt seasoning (pink Himalayan salt, fresh cracked pepper, garlic powder and paprika) and some Parmesan cheese.

I ended up patting the crust mix on top and sides of each filet before adding them to the cedar plank.

Keep Calm & Eat Fish
Adding the pesto sauce was done out of panic. Again, this wasn’t planned out. I saw the fish at my grocery store earlier that afternoon and decided to pick up 3 fillets. The pesto sauce was just in case the crust or fish tasted bad.

The panic was for naught. The crust was yummy as was the pesto. And as for the fish…it was delicious. Mahi-Mahi was a good first choice for this challenge. My Wegman’s fishmonger recommended I start my challenge off with a mild white fish before working my way up to the dark and oil rich fish.

Apparently there are 5 types of fish.  So for the first few dishes I’m focused on milder white fish. That should help me get over hangups regarding texture and eating the skin before moving towards stronger flavored fish and eventually wild salmon.

As for the recipe, I tracked how much food I ate, but didn’t calculate the nutrition value of the fish dish. I’m working on that today and will post it later today.

I was too excited (and nervous) about starting this challenge to do some calculations. But I’ll make sure to have it ready to go when I post about my next dish: Steamed Muscles & Bacon-Wrapped Scallops.

Weekly Weigh-In: Less Wine Means -1.5 Lbs!

weekly weigh in May 28

Make smarter decisions — less wine, make my own food — and the weight loss pick back up…amazing how that works!

It really is amazing what happens when you make better food choices. I’m down 1.5 pounds this week thanks to eating out less and cutting back on wine. Funny how that works.

This was also the week where I could consistently go outside and enjoy walks. The weather finally turned the corner and we said good-bye to lots of cold, wet rain. Since I’m no longer with a gym, my primary exercise right now is walking and interval running.

My eating habits and activity level are closely linked. On days where I can do a morning walk or jog, I’m much more mindful of what I shove in my mouth. So I’m grateful for the sunshine.

Grilling Season Is Here
More sunshine is in our extended forecast. When presented with the option of going out to eat or staying home and grilling, we normally opt to grill. So I’m creating a menu for the upcoming week that focuses heavily on grilling – Shrimp and Scallop Kabobs, pork and beef ribs, burgers and dogs.

And if we’re lucky on our excursion tomorrow, fresh fish. Yep, we’re going fishing in the morning. Depending on which spot the husband picks we might land a bass, trout or catfish. Read more…

Low Carb Baking With Cacao Butter

cacao butter

My cocoa butter arrived! Let the low carb baking and ice cream making commence!

Amazon’s delivery fairies left a little package at my doorstep today – cacao butter (a.k.a. cocoa butter)! This weekend I’m experimenting with a few chocolaty fat bomb and dessert recipes. Double yum.

I’ve wanted to try cocoa butter for a long time. It’s an awesomely healthy fat. However I couldn’t find any at Whole Foods, Wegmans or Trader Joe’s near me. So I started searching Amazon. And yes, there were plenty of vendors who sell it, but who do you trust when you’ve never heard of any of them? And the prices ranged from dirt-cheap to “are you kidding me.”

If you decide to pick up a block, there are a few things to consider besides price.

Consistency. Does the quality of the butter change from order to order? For a lot of sellers, that isn’t the case. Read more…

IVF, Hormones & Diet: The Balancing Act

weigh in may 22

So the weight gain thanks to my estrogen injections stopped…for now.

This week I bid adieu to my estrogen injections and (temporarily?) the weight gains. My weight held steady this week, and considering my hormones are all over the place, that’s a victory.

I still feel bloated and a bit moody … a bit like having PMS on and off for 2 weeks. Ugh!

Estrogen Injections – Mixed Results
(Warning: Female stuff ahead. I suggest the more delicate flowers out there read with caution or skip to the diet changes.) After 2 weeks of taking estrogen, the results were a bit mixed. On the plus side, the ultrasound indicated that my uterine lining thickened like it was suppose to.

On the minus side, while I was taking the estrogen, I noticed that the day following the injection, I’d start spotting. While it’s not typical to have vaginal bleeding during these injections, some women do. It turns out my estrogen level is lower than the doctor would like.

So now I’m 3 days (out of 7) into taking my new med – progesterone. The idea is that the new med will get my menstrual cycle properly regulated. About 5-7 days after my last dose, it will induce my period. Then the birth control pills start up.

Yep, I need birth control pills to get pregnant. Oh, the irony.

Then a saline sonogram and afterwards we might start the estrogen injections again.

Improving The Diet … & Bank Account!
On the diet front I noticed that I’m experiencing cold hands and feet on fasting days. What’s up with that?

I have too much of a calorie deficit on non-fasting days. Seems strange since I only eat when I’m hungry. That means I need to retool what I’m doing by upping my protein back to 6 ounces per meal. I cut back to 4 ounces months ago. Sure enough, I started feeling colder not too long after cutting back and just didn’t put 2 and 2 together.

I’m also making a sincere attempt at adding more fish into my diet, eating it twice this week. In June I’m going to start a seafood challenge – eating fish 2 times a week. That means I’m on the hunt for recipes as culinary skills in this area are severely lacking.

Besides improvement on the fish front, efforts to cut coffee from my daily grind are going well. This week I only enjoyed the Black Java during the weekend and limited myself to 2 cups in the morning. I expect by June I’ll be so over coffee.

As for cutting my ties to wine, I’m making progress there too. We no longer have bottles at home. But when I go out for dinner, I have a glass or two with my meal. I’ve essentially created a habit. Normally I’d consider this a little indulgence rather than a habit. The problem is we’re going out to eat far too often – 4-5 times a week! That’s a lot of wine.

And its wrecking havoc on our bank account (cost of restaurant + wasted food at home = stupidity). It also kicks me out of ketosis since my body burns the alcohol before any fat. Not to mention the sugar in wine is getting stored somewhere.

It also can’t be great on the hormone front either.

I don’t want to set foot in a restaurant until June. And even then I’m limiting eating out to twice a month. That way its more of a special treat.

Slow Cooked Pulled Pork & Low Carb Mustard BBQ Sauce

I’ve tried to make a pulled pork dish a few times over the last couple of years and found some success using rubs rather than sugary sauces. But the leftovers never stayed tender or moist.

So about a week ago I embarked on creating a mustard-based BBQ sauce without any sweeteners. I don’t think what I came up with is considered an official “according to Hoyle” South Carolina mustard sauce, but I loved it and that’s what counts.

The recipe for the sauce makes a little more than 2 cups. I ended up using just 1 cup and used up the rest on burgers, salads and steaks. Hmmmm…

Now when I say this is slow cooked, it is…about 6-7 hours in my Dutch oven at 300 degrees. I always thought it was an art to transforming tough cuts of meat into tender bites of deliciousness. But there is also a science to slow cooking meat too. It’s important that the temperature is low enough to breakdown the collagen in the meat – that’s what turns tough meat into tender, falling off the bone awesomeness. If you cook the collagen too quickly the meat turns tough as heck. Too slow and it never breaks down.

This recipe worked best if you season the pork and make the sauce the night before cooking the pork. It’s important to let the ingredients meld together overnight. Your taste buds will thank me. Read more…

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