Sunday, February 28, 2010

a great weekend

I've had a great weekend and I hope you have, too! We spent Friday evening with the kids - enjoying a really nice dinner and some awesome family time together - playing games and hanging out. Brian & I are so very blessed that our kids love hanging out with us!!
I haven't spent much time in my kitchen this weekend. But I will be working on posting recipes that my son, Matt, came up with Friday night. I'll let you know as soon as I get his recipes for creamed spinach, crab cakes & sauted shrimp. Everything was soooo good!
Let's talk spinach for a minute. I've been using fresh spinach in salads lately because a 9 oz bag of fresh spinach has only 4 net carbs. But I have never liked cooked spinach. My mother used to make cooked spinach frequently & I hated it. When I got married, I made the recipe for my husband because he loved it - but I wouldn't even try it! I guarantee that I would never have tried creamed spinach, except that Matt made it and I didn't want to hurt his feelings when he asked me to try it. Seriously, that's the only reason I tried it. So I took a little bite and was totally prepared to swallow it and tell him how good it was. But it was absolutely amazing. I had 2 helpings and then had the remaining leftovers last night for dinner.
And another thing that totally surprised me - our whole family loved it. I couldn't believe that Lori was even going to taste it, let alone eat 2 helpings of it and dip her other food in it! I was surprised that Bradley ate it, too. I will definitely be adding additional spinach recipes to the web site soon.
Well, according to my wonderful husband, I'm supposed to be relaxing and taking the day off - you'd think it was my birthday or something... So that's all for now. I'll be back tomorrow with some new recipes. Take care!!
One more thing, here's the link to our story posted in the local newspaper today & the video:
the article and the video

Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday, birthdays & family time

Good evening! I'm so glad it's Friday & I'm so excited. Brian's birthday was Wednesday, my birthday is Sunday and the kids are here to help us celebrate. Matt's cooking - more on that in a bit - Anne Marie, my daughter-in-law, just walked in the door and they're both spending the night. It's going to be just like Christmas - they always spend the night with us on Christmas Eve!
So Matt's in my kitchen whipping up an amazing feast - all of which is very low carb. He's an absolutely awesome cook! Since I've been spending so much time in the kitchen lately, it's really special to have someone cook for me. He's been marinating steaks for hours. He just finished the crab cakes & creamed spinach. I snitched a bite of both and I was truly impressed! He's also fixing some kind of shrimp dish. For dessert, we're having leftover cheesecake. And all of this is very, very low carb!
It's been a very busy week. I'm excited about all of our new visitors to the website, blogs & facebook, too. I'm glad to see that so many other people are following or are interested in following a healthy low carb lifestyle. And now it's family time - we're going to eat and then play games all evening!! Have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

birthdays and favorite foods

Good afternoon! Hope you’re having a great day. First of all I’d like to wish my wonderful husband a very, very happy birthday! I’m really looking forward to celebrating with him tonight!
When I was growing up, my mother always let us pick what we wanted for our birthday supper - which usually turned out to be our favorite food. My choice was always spaghetti! I still love spaghetti but I don't think I have eaten it for at least 3 yrs. Weird! I've tried to keep this tradition with my family. Sometimes our menus have been kind of strange - like the year we celebrated my son, Bradley's birthday with biscuits & gravy, Texas eggrolls, some other appetizers and an ice cream cake.
My husband's favorite food is meatloaf. I’ve decided since no one else in our family particularly likes meatloaf, I’m just going to make a special one for him! He’ll be ecstatic if he has leftovers for later in the week. For the rest of us, which includes my daughter, my sons and my sons’ band, we’ll be having burgers. Burgers made with ground beef & sausage – yummy!
To go with our meatloaf & burgers, I’ll also be making creamy mock mashed "potatoes" made with cauliflower. I think I might add some garlic and cheese to the "potatoes" and bake them for a bit. Also, I'm going to make spinach salad with warm bacon dressing. Last summer we had a gathering at a relative’s house, so I took a double batch of my spinach salad. I wasn’t sure if everyone would like it, but it disappeared so quickly that not everyone had a chance to try it! I’m also working on an idea for a dessert but I want to keep that a surprise…
My lunch break is up and it’s time for me to get back to work, especially since I’m planning on leaving a little early today. Have a good day!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

warm weather, blue ribbons & cookies

Good evening! Hope you've had a great weekend. I certainly have! Even though its been cloudy this weekend, its been really nice to have much warmer temperatures and no snow. My husband even had my car cleaned for me! Then he got it stuck in our soggy backyard and now it's a little muddy. But that's okay, its cleaner inside.
Here's a funny thing that happened this afternoon - I was cooking away in my low carb kitchen when my husband came in and looked out the back door. Then he asked why the 2 little girls from next door were in our backyard with a broom & a spatula. Of course, I had no idea. So he asked them and they said they were trying to get their cat. Too funny! Every couple of days the littlest girl, probably about 5 years old, rings our doorbell, my husband usually answers the door and in the cutest little voice she will say that her cat is in our backyard and can she go get it. She's so cute!
I've been thinking a lot lately about my cooking experiences from when I was growing up. Here's a little something not many people know about me - I wonder if my immediate family remembers this. I was a member of the 4H club for a couple of years. I'm not sure how old I was, I just know it was before the 5th grade. Our family had a vacation planned during the time the 4H Fair was being held, but I wanted to compete in the fair. With a little help from my mother, we decided I could enter an apron in the sewing competition & peanut butter cookies for the cooking competition. We dropped both items off to my leader before leaving for vacation.
Imagine my surprise when I returned from vacation and soon found out that I had won a blue ribbon (first place) for my peanut butter cookies and my apron! I was so excited. As I was thinking about this over the weekend, I thought I'd love to be able to provide all you low carbers or just healthy eaters with a low carb option for cookies. So I have come up with a flourless peanut butter cookie recipe that consists of only 4 ingredients, takes about 5 minutes to mix up and less than 10 minutes to bake. And my family loved them!
When I came home from church today, I whipped up another new recipe: green chili stew. Most stews include potatoes, but for this recipe in place of potatoes I used turnips and celery. This is a hearty stew, made with pork sirloin and it's just a tiny bit spicy. I cooked this in the crock pot all afternoon, while I had a nice nap with my husband!
And now it's time for a little relaxing and tv watching with my wonderful hubby. I'll be back tomorrow, until then I hope you have a great Monday!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

newspaper interview, cooking lessons from my mother & balanced meals

Our interview with our local newspaper, "The Gleaner", went very well yesterday. During our interview, we cooked a nice meal - parmesan fried chicken strips, cooked cabbage with onions & green peppers and black beans with diced tomatoes & green chilis. I love cooking for people!
Cooking just comes natural to me. I learned a lot from my mother. I remember when I was a little girl, my mother used to let me bake 2 tiered cakes on Saturday afternoon. She'd tell me what to do, but she wouldn't help. I even learned to make icing from scratch. And I used icing to try to even out the uneven layers and then the cake would slide apart when you tried to slice it. For supper that evening, our family would have a nice little lopsided cake to enjoy - made by the baby of the family!
I still love to cook for my family. But switching to a low carb lifestyle, was a little difficult at first. We were used to having what I referred to as a well-balanced meal - a protein, a starch and a vegetable. That's basically what I grew up with - almost every supper meal consisted of all 3. So, if you're considering or currently following a low carb lifestyle, you may be faced with the same challenges of balancing your meals, especially your supper meal with your family.
Hopefully, the following ideas will help with your meal planning. A protein & a vegetable is still going to be easy when following a low carb lifestyle. Just be sure to choose low carb vegetables. Instead of a starch, how about a salad. Your salad can be as simple as lettuce or spinach leaves, lots of shredded cheese & a low carb dressing. Be sure avoid croutons.
Another option for a starch replacement is cauliflower. My family loves creamy mock mashed "potatoes" made with cauliflower. There's a recipe on the website. I'm also working on two additional recipes - cauliflower "rice" & a cauliflower substitute for hash brown casserole. I'll let you know when both recipes have been posted.
There are some instant "fake" potato products on the market. I haven't tried any, so there aren't any that I can recommend. However, we have tried the Miracle Noodles, which are made out of Shirataki mushrooms. The "noodles" contain no fat, sugar or starch. This means no calories & no carbs. Miracle noodles can be ordered on-line or bought in some Asian markets. I've tried a couple of varieties. My favorite are the smaller in diameter noodles. I haven't tried the "rice" version. The reviews were mixed - some of my family liked them & some, not so much!
If your family likes bread with their meals, that's still an option when following a low carb lifestyle. There are plenty of low carb breads available - just be sure to check the labels. You should be able to find a variety that is 5 to 7 net carbs per slice. I also have some bread recipes on the website. Our favorite is the flax seed meal flat bread with caraway seeds. If your family likes rye & pumpernickel bread, I think they'll like this bread, too.
I hope these suggestions help with your meal planning. If you have any questions or comments, just let me know. Thank you!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

ice cream & chinese food

Good evening! In my last post, I talked about my new ice cream recipe. Well, as you can probably guess, not every recipe is always going to turn out good. So much for my first try. My husband liked it but I thought it was too gritty. It had a really good taste, but there was that gritty texture. So I'll be working out the kinks to the recipe in the near future and as soon as I get it right, I'll post it:)
Well my low carb kitchen took a break for the night. We needed to make a trip to the grocery store in preparation for our interview tomorrow. So I suggested we go to the chinese restaurant near our supermarket. One of the reasons I really like going to this restaurant is because they have a grill and will cook your food for you. I also like it because they are very nice, it's very clean and even though we might only go there once every 4 to 6 weeks, they always remember what we like to drink.
For the grill, you fill a plate with uncooked vegetables and meat, let them know what kinds of spices and flavorings you'd like and they cook it for you on a grill. You can choose from fish, poultry, pork, beef, egg and bacon. Veggies include thin slices of celery (with just a tiny bit of carrot mixed in), mushrooms, broccoli, onion and I think that's about it. My favorite combination is celery, just a little onion, mushrooms, lots of shrimp & chicken. I have them cook it with garlic & low sugar soy sauce. Then I add a little bit of wasabi... delicious.
You know, sometimes you just need a break from the kitchen. And for me, I like to go to a restaurant that makes low carbing easy. Well, it's time for a little relaxation with my husband - we have a couple of our favorite tv shows on tonight. As for tomorrow, I'll post after our interview and let you know how that goes. I'm actually really looking forward to it!
Have a good evening!

Monday, February 15, 2010

college visits, snow days & ice cream

My daughter & I were supposed to visit the Northern Kentucky University campus today.  It must have snowed on & off all night long and we received an additional 4 inches or more of snow last night.  Our school system was supposed to have a makeup snow day this morning.  The phone rang at about 5:30 this morning - the automated school call system - with the school cancellation message.  And sure enough, the Northern Kentucky University campus ended up being closed today, too, due to snow. 
Since I already had a scheduled day off from work, I decided to get some of my new recipes posted.  First, I fixed a great breakfast for myself - mediterranean-style scrambled eggs & a cup of fresh brewed coffee with heavy whipping cream & splenda - the coffee was like drinking hot chocolate, so sweet & creamy!  I worked for a few hours or more and then set out to find something in the refrigerator for lunch - leftover wilted spinach salad topped with leftover broiled salmon with honey soy sauce - it was great!  I like cooking extra so that I can have leftovers for lunch - it makes lunch super easy, especially since I normally take my lunch to work.
I've got more recipes to add, but here are some that I've added today: mediterranean-style scrambled eggs, seasoned cabbage slaw, bacon & onion scallops, & lemon-peppered scallops.   I'll have some additional recipes posted later this evening.
This afternoon, in my low carb kitchen, I whipped up a little something special - vanilla chocolate protein ice cream.  It's been in the freezer for about an hour and I can't wait until it's done!!  I might even top it with sugar-free whip cream - doesn't that sound yummy?  After I try it, I'll post the recipe so that you can try it, too.  Actually, you could make all kinds of different flavors & there are only 2 basic ingredients - protein powder & egg whites - you just add your favorite sugar-free or low carb flavorings.  Anyway, you can check out the recipe later and let me know how you like it.  Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for variations.  I'm definitely thinking about strawberries or blueberries & pecans...
Okay, I doubt the ice cream is frozen yet, but I'm going to go check it anyway.  I'll be back tomorrow - have a great day!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

valentine's day, snow & what low carb isn't

It's a snowy Valentine's Day, here in Henderson, Kentucky.  How's the weather where you?  Good, I hope and I hope you're celebrating the day with your loved ones.  If there's snow in your area - how about going sledding with your valentine?  I love to go sledding.  There's nothing like riding a sled down a snow covered hill.  The only part I'm not so fond of is trying to walk back up the hill:) 
When I was growing up my oldest sister would take us sledding.  Sometimes my Dad would go to.  My Mother would always stay home.  When we returned, she'd meet us at the door with dry clothes & towels.  Then we'd sit around the kitchen table sipping the homemade cocoa she'd make while we were gone.  Those were the days!
Well, let's talk about my low carb kitchen.  This last week, I've been cooking a lot of fish. I've also been eating fish sometimes twice a day - for lunch & for supper.  If you like fish & horseradish, here's a great "fish salad" that I've been having for lunch - microwave a fish filet, mix mayo & horseradish together to make a sauce for the fish.  Then add the fish to the sauce and flake with a fork.  I love horseradish, so this dish is great for me.  If you like fish & horseradish, you might want to give it a try, too.  I'll post the recipe on the website later today.
One of the reasons I like fish so much is because it's so versatile.  Fish is good for you, it's low or no carb, and there are so many different varieties.  You can eat hot, cold, in a soup, on a sandwich, by itself, with veggies, etc.  Thankfully most of my family likes just about every kind of fish, too.  How about shrimp cocktail for a snack?  Shrimp has no carbs & you can easily make your own low carb cocktail sauce (there's a recipe on the website.)  We keep a bag of frozen precooked, shelled shrimp in the freezer - when you want a snack put the shrimp in cold water to thaw.  How about a good salmon recipe?  Look on the website for broiled salmon with honey soy sauce - it's delicious.
My thought for the day is this - you don't have to be a big "meat" eater to enjoy a low carb lifestyle.  I rarely eat beef but I have followed a low carb lifestyle for over 3 years.  Contrary to popular belief, low carb isn't just eggs, meat & cheese.  Studies have shown that most low carbers eat more vegetables than those on other types of diets.
Have a great Sunday and a great Valentine's Day!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

pork carnitas & valentine's sweets

Good afternoon!  I hope your day is going well and I hope your home smells as good as mine does right now!  I'm cooking pork carnitas and the aroma is wonderful.  I've also made a mexican-style coleslaw to go with the pork.  I'll post the recipes for both later on this evening. 
Since Valentine's Day is just around the corner I thought I'd share some ideas for celebrating, as far as food goes.  But first of all let me share one of my sweetest Valentine's memories with you. I worked in an office with about 10 other women.  Valentine's Day fell on a Thursday that year.  On Monday morning, much to my surprise, I received a single rose in a bud vase - I think it was yellow.  My coworkers had a good laugh.  They joked all day about how at least my husband sent something to me, even if he did have his days mixed up.  When I got home from work that day, I thanked him for the flowers and he just smiled and said "you're very welcome." 
The next day, Tuesday, my coworkers were all still having a good laugh about the early delivery.  As they were joking about it I received another delivery - a single rose in a bud vase.  They quit laughing after that!  I also received another rose on Wednesday.  On Thursday, I received a single long-stem deep red rose (my favorite)!  I thought after getting the delivery on Thursday, that would be the last one, but sure enough, Friday came and I received another delivery. 
I have the best husband!!  He always makes Valentine's Day special.  This year I already know something I'm getting.  Every year at Christmas we dance in the gazebo in Central Park while he sings "The Christmas Song" (chestnuts roasting on an open fire..)  Unfortunately we both kind of forgot this year - I think it had to do with some distracting family drama. Anyway, we're having our dance in the gazebo.  I wonder if he has a song in mind...
Back to the kitchen, so no matter who you are celebrating with or spending Valentine's Day with this year, there are so many low carb options now.  If you're cooking, check out some of the recipes on the website.  You can whip up something for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  How about serving your special someone a breakfast in bed - make sure you cook enough for yourself, too.  Who doesn't like breakfast in bed?
Or how about a nice slow cooked pork tenderloin?  Perhaps you'd prefer beef, seafood or chicken.  There are so many possibilities.  You might even want to whip up a cheesecake.  Or check out the low carb muffin recipe.
So, I've discussed flowers and food but what about those special little sweet treats?  After starting low carb, I remember receiving from my husband a very little box of chocolates.  We'd share them with the kids and that would be our splurge.  Nowadays, there are so many options for low carb sweets.  If you can't find a pretty red box with sugar free chocolates or candies, make your own basket.  Just find a small basket, fill with some sugar free chocolates or sugar free hard candy.  If you want your basket to look extra special, go to your local fabric store and pick up some tulle & ribbon for a bow.  Lay the tulle out flat on a table, place the basket in the middle, bring the edges up around the basket & tie together with a bow.  You could also use a small piece of lace.
I think I hear my carnitas calling me.  I'll leave you with this thought for Valentine's Day - just remember, it's the thought that counts!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

super bowl sunday & my mother-in-law's birthday

Who's gonna win the super bowl?  The score is really close right now:)  And there's not too much time left!
I don't know about you but we sure had a busy weekend at our house.  I spent the afternoon on Saturday at the grocery store and I think everyone else in town was there, too!  I bought enough groceries to stock my refrigerator and my pantry.  We're supposed to have snow move in Monday night, so I didn't want to have to step foot in a grocery store again this week.  Especially since every other person in town was in the store on Saturday afternoon - it took me forever! 
I ended up spending the evening in the kitchen last night.  I cooked up a batch of Matt's very, very spicy chili.  I also whipped up a "company cheesecake".  We had a get together for my mother-in-law today to celebrate her bithday.  Happy Birthday, Bettye! 
Each family brought a pot of soup.  A couple of us were supposed to bring desserts but I'm the only one that made a dessert.  I wanted to take a dessert so that we would have a low carb option for anyone watching their carbs.  I also took some of the milled flax seed bread with caraway seeds.
The chili was a huge hit.  Everyone really, really liked it.  Thanks to my son, Matt, for coming up with the recipe.  Okay, so a couple of people put crackers in it, but that's okay.  The flax seed bread was a big hit, too - I'm glad everyone liked it.  I had some with peanut butter on it, to go with my chili.
I'm also really glad I made the cheesecake.  Everyone loved it and it turned out to be the only dessert.  My mother-in-law really liked it, too.  So I'm glad she had a nice dessert to celebrate her birthday.  I hope she gets to feeling better though, she's a bit under the weather.
I'll be back in the kitchen tomorrow, whipping up a few new recipes.  This week I'll be posting a recipe for carnitas, so if you like mexican food be sure to check back later on in the week.  Well, it's time to finish watching the game.

Friday, February 5, 2010

takin' a break from the kitchen

It's been a long week and I'm ready for a break!  We may get some snow tonight but even though my groceries are running low, I just couldn't make myself go to the store after work today.  Of course, the store will be packed if there's a chance of snow because that's what everyone does around here when it's going to snow. 
Early last week, our forcast called for snow later in the week.  Well, about mid week I was reading a local news story about the bread factory and how they had started making extra bread so the stores wouldn't run out since there was a chance of snow.  They came up with a term for the stockpiles of bread - "snow bread" - isn't that crazy?!  I wonder if they stockpiled their low carb breads, too...
Today at work, they delivered free pizza to each department and encouraged departments to have carry-ins to bring in other "super bowl" types of food.  The day started out with one of our teams bringing in breakfast foods - bagels & doughnuts.  I took eggs with me for breakfast and thought I might top them with cream cheese from the bagels, but the cream cheese spreads were very sugary.  So I had plain eggs.  For lunch, along with the pizzas, there were chips, chips & more chips.  The selection went downhill from there but alas, someone brought in cheese!  So I had cheese & pepperoni for lunch - that was pretty good!
Okay, back to the kitchen, since I had no desire to stop at the grocery store or cook tonight, I needed an alternative for us for supper.  I still had pizza on my mind, so I placed an order for salads from one of our better pizza places in town.  I told them to hold the croutons, so our salads will be pretty low carb.  They use a lot of grated cheese on their salads - just the way I like them.  Oh, and I had them include 50 hot wings - I know they're low carb because I have their recipe :) 
My mouth is watering and the delivery man just pulled up.  Gotta go, see you back in the kitchen tomorrow!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

old favorites & new recipes

Good morning!  When we first started our low carb lifestyle, we pretty much stuck to the basics - eggs, meat, cheese, fish and a little salad.  After a few months, we craved a little variety so I began my journey to learn more about carbs.  We were looking to expand our low carb food options, so I began researching net carbs and religously checking nutrition labels in my quest to find more foods that we could eat.  Shortly thereafter, I discovered that a lot of traditional foods that I grew up with and foods that my family liked could be converted into low carb recipes. 
Well, yesterday I had a craving for the fish sandwiches that my Dad would sometimes order from a small little tavern in our neighborhood.  My mother preferred their brain sandwiches - yuck!  But my Dad & I always had the fish sandwiches, on rye bread.  I wasn't a big fan of rye bread when I was younger but the sandwiches were awesome.
So, yesterday I was on a quest to develop a crispy, fried fish sandwich - just like the ones we used to get from the tavern.  My first try was a total success!  I'll post the recipe in just a little while, but just so that you know it was really, really easy.  Ingredients included tilapia, eggs, parmesan cheese & olive oil.  While I thawed my fish, I whipped up a batch of milled flax seed flat bread with caraway seed.  You can find this recipe on the website, too!  The bread only takes about 5 minutes or less to whip up and only 20 minutes to bake.
As my bread was baking, I began frying the fish.  Most people think that when you are watching your carbs, you can't eat anything fried, but that is simply not true.  You can prepare awesome fried foods without flour.  Parmesan cheese works great for frying chicken, using as a bread substitute in salmon patties or for breading fish.  I'm even thinking about trying it on some low carb veggies.  We'll see how that goes.
Back to my kitchen... when the bread finished, I cut it into nice even pieces [almost], spread some mayo on the bread and added the fish.  I must admit, the sandwiches exceeded my expectations - they were absolutely fantastic!  I think the next time I make them, I'll add some cheese and maybe some tartar sauce.  I'm not sure on the carb count for tartar sauce, so I might have to come up with my own recipe...
Time for me to go, have a great low carb day!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

busy day, not much time for cooking

I knew today was going to be a hectic day..  What I didn't know was that I was going to have to do some work from home this evening.  I had to rush home and check my email to figure out when I would need to finish up.  So, instead of checking my email and then waiting until 9 pm to dial back in and finish up, I ended up working for a while before I started supper.
Thankfully, I was prepared to fix a quick and easy meal tonight.  A few minutes of prep & about 45 minutes of stirring occasionally resulted in a really nice meal.  We had an oriental beef dish with veggies.  The recipe is posted on the website under Other Recipes.
In the meantime, my husband, the burger lover that he is, fixed some burgers - stuffed with some of his favorite ingredients.  Last night, he cooked what I would consider over-dressed burgers.  Tonight he fixed 4 different kinds of burgers - bleu cheese, cheddar & bacon, jalapeno & cheddar and last, but not least, a burger stuffed with feta cheese.  Wow, they were great!  I thought we'd save them for supper tomorrow night, but that didn't work out.  I think there is one left!  Great job, Brian. I'll post his burger recipes later this week.
We had fun working in the kitchen together tonight & we weren't in there too long.  Lately, I've been spending a lot of time in the kitchen working on low carb recipes.  I've been trying all sorts of new things so that I can provide lots of variety in the recipes I add to the website.  When Brian cooks he likes to have something fast and easy that he can fix.  Just keep in mind - low carb meals and cooking are all about being prepared.  I keep fish fillets & premade burgers in the freezer - 2 of Brian's favorite things to cook. 
Well, it's about time for me to dial in to work and finish up my work day.  Stayed tuned this week for more valentine's day recipes and maybe even some additional super bowl recipes - just in time for the big game!  And my mother-in-law's birthday - it's on Sunday, too.  I'm taking Matt's very, very spicy chili and company cheesecake - you can find the recipes on the website.

Monday, February 1, 2010

thinking about valentine's day

Sometimes I find that fixing a meal at home is much easier than going out for a meal, unless I'm already out.  I guess that could be because our town doesn't have a lot of really good restaurants.  Or the ones that we do have, we frequent enough that they don't seem too "special" anymore, at least not "special" enough for a "special occasion."  I hope that makes sense...
I've been working on low carb "romantic" ideas for having a nice date night at home.  With a little planning, you can have a very nice, special valentine's day dinner at home. Well, I was at the store the other day and there was a special on cornish hens - $2.47 each... I didn't think I had ever had one and well, they are so cute. I decided I'd try making them because I thought they would be really cute on a plate.  Weird, huh!
I also bought a shrimp cocktail package (on sale for $5) - the kind with the precooked, peeled shrimp & cocktail sauce.  
The cornish hens were frozen, as was the shrimp cocktail, so I placed both packages in the refrigerator (not freezer) when I came home from the grocery store.  That was 3 days ago.   
When I came home from work this evening, I decided to have cornish hens, shrimp cocktail & green beans as one of my romantic meal ideas.  I preheated the oven, seasoned the cornish hens and placed them in the oven.  The hens needed to cook for 1 hr and 15 to 30 minutes.  I also put on a pot with green beans & turnips - very easy!
While the cornish hens & green beans were cooking, I worked out on my eliptical rider.  I'm all about multitasking!! My workout lasted about 40 minutes, so I had a little time to spare before the cornish hens would be finished cooking.  I took the shrimp cocktail package out of the refrigerator & the threw away the premade cocktail sauce - because it's typically high in carbs.  Then I made my own cocktail sauce.  Very simple, low carb ketchup, horseradish & Louisiana hot sauce - it was really, really good. 
My point is this, with about 15 minutes or so of prep work, I had a really nice "special" meal.  Just a little something different but still very good and very low carb.  Check out the 3 recipes on the website: cornish hens, shrimp cocktail sauce and green beans with turnips.  A really nice meal for 2 that cost less than $15!  You can't beat that!