Dot to Trot

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Archive for the tag “low carb”

Paleo Challenge Week 2: Rethinking Recipes To Avoid Triggers

Wisely, veggies and fruit make the base of the Paleo diet food pyramid. I just need to keep in check the high-carb produce that sends my sugar cravings into overdrive.

Wisely, veggies and fruit make the base of the Paleo diet food pyramid. I just need to keep in check the high-carb produce that sends my sugar cravings into overdrive.

Many of the Paleo recipes I used over the last two weeks called for vegetables I normally skip or use in small amounts, due to their high sugar/carb count. I think that’s what kicked my cravings into high gear this past week.  I never would have guessed onions, carrots and sweet potatoes are my new trigger foods.

Let me say up front that the issue is more my choice of recipes and not the Paleo diet. I chose recipes that sounded the most appealing. I made the mistake of not running the recipes through My Fitness Pal to get the carb counts before going to the grocery store.  It’s clearly a case of my eyes being bigger than my stomach. The meals sounded so appealing and healthy (which they are) I didn’t see any consequences to adding-in foods with higher carb counts than what I normally ate.

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Slaying The Movie Popcorn Monster

My favorite snack is a low carb diet killer. I successfully passed the concession stand and went straight to my seat at the movies last night.  Image courtesy of  Kromkrathog and FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

My favorite snack is a low carb diet killer. I successfully passed the concession stand and went straight to my seat at the movies last night. Image courtesy of Kromkrathog and FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

While at the movies last night, I actually did not give in to my inner popcorn demon. Many times my husband asked if I wanted any popcorn. And every time I said “no.” Starting with the weight loss, my weekend was going great – no mishaps with the diet – so why mess it up with hot, crunchy, over-buttered theater popcorn (oh, I’m starting to drool).

Popcorn is my one great weakness. I love it so and I cannot stop at one portion. Nope, once it touches my lips I’m driven to keep going.  While going low carb, I’ve tried to avoid it. I purged my pantries of the stuff. It is not allowed in the house.

But going to the movies…ugh! It is the one monkey I can’t get off my back – until now.

I’ll admit, I did waver. I thought a small bag wouldn’t hurt. But when I opened my mouth to give in, I could only say “just water.”

Something in my brain kicked in right in time. Maybe it’s the jacked up prices, I’ve conditioned myself to only eat when hungry, or it’s my new dedication to getting the weight off…or it’s all of those things.

One of my weekly goals is to eat only 20g of carbs for 4 days this week. Why bust that goal at the start of the week with popcorn?

I’m much more focused with the weekly goals and I think about my food choices and not going on autopilot.

I made it through the film without popcorn. The world didn’t end and I didn’t crave the stuff.

Oh, I’m sure it helped that the film was amazingly awesome!

 

Low Carb Turkey Cauliflower Hash

Turkey Cauliflower Hash. Very tasty, especially topped with an egg. I'm adding a little spinach to add some color to this yummy dish!

Turkey Cauliflower Hash. Very tasty, especially topped with an egg. Next time I’m using spinach to add some color to this yummy dish!

I found this little recipe in my new Atkins cookbook. I whipped it up this weekend and loved it! Pretty easy to make, although I plan to add some chopped spinach to it on the next go round.

Cauliflower is key to this dish. It takes the place of potatoes. It is amazing how cauliflower has completely replaced potatoes in many of the meals I cook. I think it’s the buttery taste.

Turkey Cauliflower Hash
Makes 4 to 5 1-Cup servings, based on size of cauliflower used; I topped the dish off with an over-easy egg (or try a poached egg). Wow, what a difference!
Net Carbs: 4
Weight Watchers PointsPlus: 6 (not including egg)

Ingredients
1/2 small head of cauliflower, trimmed and broken into florets
2 tbsp butter
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground pepper
1 lbs. roast turkey breast, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/4 c heavy cream

Directions
1. Bring water to a boil in medium pot. You want enough water to cover the cauliflower. Add cauliflower and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and cool cauliflower under cold water, then drain again. Chop cauliflower coarsely.

2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook until onion is soft and lightly browned, roughly 6 minutes. Be sure to stir occasionally.

3. Stir in cauliflower and cook for an extra 2 minutes.

4. Increase heat to high and add in turkey and cook. Stir occasionally, will dish is well browned, about another 6 minutes. Add cream and cook until the dish is almost dry, about 2 minutes. Serve warm. Top with poached or over-easy egg if desired (you’ll love it even more!).

Shrimp, Avocado And Tomato Salad

A simple, easy, light salad for a sunny day.  Took less than 10 minutes to put together - and 9 were for defrosting shrimp!

A simple, easy, light salad for a sunny day. Took less than 10 minutes to put together – and 8-1/2 were for defrosting shrimp!

It’s another beautiful day. The outdoors are calling to me. Time for a little light lunch on the deck followed by some knitting as I sit in the sun.

So what’s on tap for today’s lunch?  Something light yet tasty. Perfect for a perfect day. I picked up some frozen shrimp at the grocery store. With my husband’s highly allergic love of all things shellfish, I never buy the stuff. Don’t want to tempt him or fate. But I am trying to eat more seafood. And I miss it. I figured frozen is the safest. Why? Well my husband is a lazy man by nature. If it’s not ready to eat, he won’t bother with it.

The recipe is fairly simple – just 4 ingredients and a bowl and 5g net carbs. I doubled the shrimp and avocado increasing the Weight Watcher’s PointsPlus value from 7 to 11. You can keep it at 7 points and just add lettuce.

Shrimp, Avocado & Tomato Salad
Carb Count: 5g
Points Plus: 11

Ingredients
6 oz shrimp, cooked and chopped
1/2 avocado, diced
1/2 tomato, diced
1 Tbsp low carb dressing (I’m using my Ranch dressing today)

Directions
Place the shrimp, avocado and tomatoes in a bowl. Add salad dressing and mix. Eat up!

Mixed Green, Avocado & Radish Sprout Salad

Beef patties with mixed greens, avocado and radish sprouts. Low carb and yummy to boot!

Beef patties with mixed greens, avocado and radish sprouts. Low carb and yummy to boot!

A simple lunch today. Just a yummy salad to go along with my cow. Yes, there are two ground beef patties in my photo, but their combined weight is under 5.5 ounces.

With salads, there is always the risk of boredom. It’s too easy to get into a rut of iceberg lettuce, tomato and cucumbers.  I suspect those three ingredients are the staples in most household salads. I say fight boring salads with a little creativity. My Grilled Chicken Salad is awesome (no doubt due to the bacon!) as is my Spinach and Strawberry salad (with bacon dressing…hey, I sense a theme here). Those recipes coming soon.

Today I’m using radish sprouts. I’ve used bean sprouts in stir-fry dishes and alfalfa sprouts on burgers. This is the first time I’m using radish sprouts. They taste like radishes. The sprouts and the mixed greens give the salad a nice kick both in taste and texture. Delish! I plan to rotate them into my staple of salad ingredients.

The meal is 5g of carbs and you feel satisfied after eating.

As far as Weight Watchers, this is a high point meal – 14 points.  Why so high? The ground beef patties. I use the 80-20 ground beef. Higher in fat, higher in points. However, I’m going low carb – no pasta, rice, potatoes, breads, grains, sugars, low-fat foods. So I actually increase the good fat content in my diet to keep me satiated.  If you are not low carb, you can simply substitute  3 oz of a lower-fat patty (yes only one) or a skinless chicken breast (also 3 oz) if you like.

As for dressing, I used 1 tbsp of my Olive Oil & Apple Vinegar dressing.

Mixed Green, Avocado, Radish Sprout Salad

Ingredients

Directions

Mix ingredients in a bowl. Add 1-2 tbsp of your favorite dressing and toss. Enjoy!

Got My Mojo Workin’

It’s amazing what eating right can do for you. Since Saturday I’ve averaged 22g carbs per day.  Result? My energy level is through the roof.  I’m pretty much on the go from 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Since energy without direction = bad things, I’ve harnessed this energy into fixing up the house.

Before you couldn't even see any part of the wall in our closet. This is what eating right does!

Before you couldn’t see any part of the wall in our closet. This is what eating right does!

The last 2 days I tackled our spare bedroom that really doubled for my home office and storage. I demolished 3 large bookshelves (with a lot of help from  the hubby!), sorted through all the boxes, files, and overall junk, made 3 trips to the landfill, walked 3 dogs, picked up new storage from The Container Store (a very happy place), re-organized the crap we are keeping, cleaned the room, made dinner, and cleaned the kitchen.

Now I’m off to look at 1. Paint chips for this weekend’s project; and 2. Pick pretty annuals and planters to beautify that deck of mine (this afternoon’s project)!

I feel amazingly great now. I’m totally motivated to eat the right things and exercise. Added bonus: my thoughts don’t seem scattered. There is a huge difference in me between last week (bad food binges) and this week (healthy eating).

My mojo’s back, baby!

Weekly Weigh-In: Dodged A Bullet

Despite Wednesday’s food bender (and the alcohol last week) I’m up just 1 lbs. Sure I’m relieved, but I can’t help but feel that my body granted me a reprieve. So constant carb vigilance or I pay the piper the next time I set foot on that scale.

Low Carb Ranch & Russian Dressing Recipes

I’m making a couple of low carb salad dressings tonight. I got both recipes – Ranch and Russian dressings – from the Atkins site. 

Both require mayo, so I’ll be using mayo made with olive oil. I’ve made these before and they tend to be thicker than normal salad dressings, which make them a perfect dip for veggie snacks.

Since they are thicker, I highly recommend only using 1 tbsp for your salad. Just place your salad in a bowl, add 1 tbsp of the dressing and start mixing the dressing into the salad. I know the recipe calls for 2.5 tbsp per serving, but the truth is you really just need one tbsp if you mix it with the salad.

Ranch Dressing
Carb Count: 1 per serving
Points: 2
Serving Size: 2.5 tbsp/serving

Ingredients:
3/4 C Mayo made with Olive Oil
1/2 C Heavy Cream
2 Tbsp Fresh Parsley, Chopped
2 Tbsp Fresh Chives, Chopped
2 Tsp Fresh Lemon Juice
2 Tsp Dijon Mustard
1 Garlic Clove, Minched
1 Tsp Fresh Dill, Chopped
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/4 Tsp Black Pepper

Directions: Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl. Serve right away or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Russian Dressing
Carb Count: 0 per serving
Points: 2
Serving Size: 2 tbsp/serving

Ingredients:
3/4 C Mayo made with Olive Oil
1/4 C Low-Carb Ketchup (or Reduced Sugar Ketchup)
1 Tbsp Onion, Finely Chopped
1 Tbsp Fresh Parsley, Chopped
2 Tsp Fresh Horseradish
1 Tsp Worcestershire Sauce

Directions: Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl. Serve right away or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Which Grocery Aisles Do You Skip?

Image courtesy of digitalart/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I had to pick up a few groceries today. As I shopped, it hit me that my buying habits have completely changed. Before, I started watching my carbs, I use to go up and down the aisles. I’d swoop in for those Weight Watchers friendly, low fat food items.

But now I completely skip the middle of the store. You’ll only find me on the outer edges.

Why? Cuz’ that’s the way I roll…and its where you’ll find the veggies, meat and dairy sections. All I need to eat healthy and lose weight.

My wallet also thanks me. By only shopping the perimeter, I’ve saved more than $300 a month on groceries. I just don’t waste my money on low fat packaged foods anymore. They are too high in carbs, too expensive and helped me pack on the pounds. Bastards!

Easy Peasy Salad Dressings

I love salads. Always have. I tend to be someone who likes crunchy food. And salads are all about crunch to me. Since I’m low carb, I’m now making my own salad dressings. When I became focused on how many carbs I was eating, all of my low fat salad dressings in my pantry had to be tossed. I was shocked about how many carbs were in 1 servubg. I’m shooting for 6g of carbs per meal. And the low fat dressings alone blew my carb budget. So I decided to make my own.

It was amazingly simple. If you can follow directions, you can make a dressing. And with more people going low carb, you’ll find plenty of recipes online.

dinnerLast night I made this (photo taken before I added 5 slices of pepperoni, 4 oz of chicken). I whipped up a thousand island dressing in a few minutes. My hubby, not a salad lover, inhaled every last bit.

Tonight I’m making a NY Strip Steak Spinach salad with a simple oil & cider vinegar dressing.

Thousand Island Dressing
3/4 C low carb mayo (I use the mayo made with Olive Oil)
1/4 C low carb ketchup
2 tbsp finely chopped onion
2 tsp horseradish
1 tsp worcestershire sauce

I got this recipe from an Atkins forum. Very easy to make and tasty. Mix it all together and chill. Serving size is 2 tbsp. It does come out a bit thick, so I put the salads in a large mixing bowl and add in the dressing 1 tbsp at a time and mix it using a fork. Best way to spread the dressing and to make sure you don’t use too much (some times 1 tbsp is enough).

Oil & Apple Vinegar Dressing
1 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 C Apple Cider Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste

You should have a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio between your oil and vinegar. Otherwise your dressing will be too strong. I usually add 1/2 – 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of pepper…it really is to taste. Add all of the ingredients into a container with a lid and shake. Serving size is 2 tbsp but I normally use just one for my salads as oil and vinegar spreads easily.

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