Wednesday, May 26, 2010

last day of school, fishing & crispy fish softshell tacos

Good afternoon! Hope you’re having a great day! Today is the last day of school for my daughter, Lori. Yesterday, the seniors at her school did something they hoped to be remembered by for a long time. The students arrived 2 hours early for school, setup a ping pong table and played orange juice pong. They had loud music, doughnuts & bacon. And they ended up causing quite a commotion! It reminds me of what my senior class did immediately following our graduation ceremony – along with tossing our caps in the air – we all threw handfuls of super balls, the kind of small balls that bounce really, really well. Our family & friends thought it was pretty funny but the teachers and janitors at the stadium – not so much!
With the arrival of the warm weather comes lots of fun activities and one of my favorites is fishing, even though I haven’t been fishing in years. We have a friend that keeps his boat in our back yard – it’s just a small 2 person boat with a motor. He’s been having a lot of luck lately – this past weekend he even caught about a 4 pound catfish. After he’s finished fishing, he cleans & fillets the fish. He’s stocking them in his freezer and when he gets a few more we’ll be having a fish fry at our house. I can’t wait, we just love fish!
Speaking of fish, in my low carb kitchen last week I tried out a new recipe - crispy fish softshell tacos. It was kind of funny, every time I mentioned to my husband that I was going to try a new recipe for fish tacos, he kind of sneered. Then I realized why – his idea of any kind of Mexican dish revolves around beef, and sometimes pork, but mostly beef. So I asked if that’s why he didn’t like the idea of fish tacos and he said yes. So I told him just to think of them as fish wraps. He liked that idea… too funny! Anyway, I used tilapia but you could also use other kinds of fish, like cod. I also used whole fillets but you could use chunks instead. You could also use leftover fish fillets.
Well, it’s time for me to go. I hope you have a good evening. We’re having a quick supper and then heading out to our high school for one last time – to attend Honors Night. It’s a special recognition program for the seniors to receive their awards and scholarships. I’m excited about going but I’m also a bit sad to think it’s the last time we’ll be going to the high school for one of our children…

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

finally - steamed asparagus...

Good Tuesday afternoon!! Hope you had a great weekend! I sure did. Had a chance to spend some nice quality time with my daughter. On Friday night, we had dinner together & then Lori had an appointment for a haircut. Then we watched a movie together & were at our local Old Navy store on Saturday morning (at 7 AM) to purchase $1 flip flops - we bought 17 pairs! On Sunday during church, Lori, along with the other graduates, were honored.
So, what's been cooking in my low carb kitchen? Well, I finally got around to cooking steamed asparagus. I thought it turned out really well & my husband enjoyed it, too. It turns out my kids didn't even want to try it. That's okay - it just left more for my husband & I. Actually, I never ate a full order of asparagus before trying this recipe. Recently when we were out of town visiting my daughter's soon-to-be college, my husband ordered asparagus and insisted that I try it. I was sure it would be awful but much to my surprise, it was really good. So that's my inspiration for my recipe, which I think turned out just as well.
Whether your fixing burgers, brats, steaks, chicken or fish, this recipe would be a perfect side dish. And it's low in net carbs, too - only 2.1 net carbs per serving. It's also high in fiber.
Well, that's my recipe for the day and speaking of recipes, my husband is in the kitchen cooking - I can't wait to see what he is fixing! I think I need to check on him. Have a good evening & take care! See you tomorrow!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Yeah - it's Friday, graduation soon & chicken curry

Hello & good Friday afternoon to you all!! I am so glad it's Friday - how about you? Even though it is my daughter's last Friday to attend high school. Next Friday she graduates. I'm so proud of her. On Sunday she will be honored at our church and on Wednesday she will be honored at her high school's Honor Night. She has always been such a great student - I don't think I have ever had to remind her to do homework. Her first graduation party that she's attending is tomorrow - I hope she has a blast! There were so many parties this year that she decided she didn't want to have one just for friends. But that's okay, in a couple of weeks we will be celebrating graduation with a party for her and my nephew, Saxton. Too much fun!
As I said yesterday, I've been trying to come up with some quick and easy recipes for the summer. I also like a big variety, too. My family has never been big on having a menu that we follow each week. I know some
families that have spaghetti every Monday, pizza every Friday, etc. But we always like to mix things up! And speaking of mixing things up, I bought some curry powder a few weeks ago and I've been hard at work
researching curry chicken recipes. Here's what I came up with - easy chicken curry. Just a few ingredients - chicken, oil, a little onion, celery & curry
powder. My kids and I also topped our servings with sour cream - just be sure to check the carb count on the sour cream. Everyone really liked it!
So, of course, I forgot about the asparagus once again. I will work on my recipe this weekend and if all goes well, will post it on Monday or even over the weekend. I hope you have a great day & a great weekend. Take care!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

quick meals, shrimp & no asparagus...

Good afternoon! I hope you’re having a great day! My day is going pretty well, except for the weather : ( Don’t get me wrong, it could be a lot worse and we probably do need the rain. I’m just tired of it being so cloudy & gloomy. But, like I said, we probably need rain because, although it’s been very cloudy & gloomy for the last 10 days or maybe even longer, we haven’t had much rain. In fact, we’ve had to water our newly planted bushes, lavender, tomato & green pepper plants every evening. So it will be nice not to have to water them this evening.
I’ve been on a roll trying to come up with new quick and easy recipes. Usually when it’s warmer outside I tend to spend less time in the kitchen – so I’ve been trying all kinds of new recipes. My latest recipe is for what I call skillet shrimp. It’s a really quick & easy recipe using precooked & cleaned frozen shrimp, butter, seafood seasoning & garlic powder. Just be sure to thaw your shrimp first, if using frozen shrimp.
I like to keep frozen, cleaned, precooked shrimp on hand. First of all, the shrimp has no net carbs – yeah! Second, it’s so versatile – sometimes I just get a serving out of the freezer, thaw it in cold water for a bit and eat it plain, with a tiny bit of lemon juice, with "special" seafood sauce, with horsey sauce, or with shrimp cocktail sauce. I also like to add shrimp to salads or mix up a recipe of dilled shrimp salad. Delicious!!
Oh, I almost forgot – I was going to post a recipe for steamed asparagus, assuming the recipe turned out well. By the time I fixed supper last night, I completely forgot about the asparagus! So I will shoot for making it tonight. I’ll let you know how it goes. Thanks & have a great afternoon & evening. See you tomorrow! Take care!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

rain, rain, go away & super easy pepper steak

Good afternoon! Another very cloudy, dreary day here… I am so ready for some sunshine! Even if it’s just a couple of hours in the evening. When I woke up this morning I actually thought I had overslept because my living room was so sunny. But, by the time I left for work – it was cloudy, dreary and looked like rain was in store for the day. I just need some sun!! The forecast calls for clouds today, rain this evening, rain tomorrow, thunderstorms Friday and SUN on Saturday. I can hardly wait! Of course it’s supposed to get really warm, too.
So what’s been cookin’ in my low carb kitchen? Well, Monday night I decided to try something a little different. I came up with this super easy pepper steak recipe. I purchased very thinly sliced round steak at my grocery store, so this cut down on some of my prep work for this recipe. I used a little onion, a medium green pepper & celery. It turned out really good. My husband was so excited he said this was the best thing he’s eaten for a long time! He ate 2 helpings and finished my serving, too. Last night he was hoping there were leftovers for supper. He looked so sad when I told him that he had eaten it all the night before. Too funny!
I think tonight I’m going to try steaming asparagus. I didn’t used to care for asparagus at all but recently tried some freshly steamed and it was really, really good. I’ll let you know how it turns out.
Well, it’s time for me to go. I’ll catch back up with you tomorrow. Have a good afternoon & evening! Take care!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

recycling, cheesy chicken cauliflower casserole & a walking advertisement

Good afternoon! Hope you had a nice weekend! We did, despite the rainy weather. I think it has rained for about 2 weeks although we did have a little bit of sunshine on Saturday afternoon. During the drizzly morning rain on Saturday, my husband, a friend and I made a nice bench for our deck using recycled materials from our old pergola – it turned out really well. It looks like a nice spa bench and the cost was $0. I was then inspired to recycle some other materials to make flower pots. After all of the work we did on Saturday, by the evening we were beat! We ended up watching movies with my daughter, Lori.
The weekend first started out with a new recipe on Friday night. When Lori came home from school she said she wanted some type of a casserole for supper and would I make it if she went to the store to get any necessary ingredients. We discussed what we thought would be good – she wanted a hash brown type of a casserole but made with cauliflower or turnips. She decided turnips would be good but they didn’t have any at the store. So she brought home cauliflower instead, along with chicken, cheese, bacon bits & a few other ingredients. The recipe for cheesy chicken cauliflower casserole turned out really well! My son, Bradley, had said he wasn’t going to eat but quickly changed his mind when he saw the casserole. His reaction to his first bite was “Holy crap! That’s good! I’m eating!” My husband and daughter really enjoyed it, too. I think it turned out a lot better than what Lori had expected. She ended up eating leftovers for breakfast on Saturday morning and I think she also had some for lunch on Saturday.
On Sunday, I talked my husband into going to the grocery store with me. The first person my husband ran into was someone that used to work for him, years ago. Long story short, he started talking about how he’s been trying to lose weight and nothing seems to work, that he’s healthier than a horse but he keeps gaining weight even though he is eating lots of fruit & veggies. So my husband told him about his blog and our website. He said he’d check it out. It’s like my husband is a walking advertisement, especially after losing 65 pounds! When people have sent him for a while their first reaction is “wow, you are so skinny!”
Next we ran into a man we go to church with. He couldn’t wait to share a recipe with my husband – ground beef mixed with dry ranch dressing seasoning to make ranch burgers. No additional seasoning or condiments are needy with these tasty burgers. I can’t wait to try them. Then my husband shared “his” spicy pork loin recipe – it’s his recipe now since he made it for Mother’s Day : )
Last but not least, we ran into our neighbor in the check out line. He started talking to my husband out low carb and how he has a coworker that needed to lose weight - so he suggested she try low carb like one of his neighbors had. He said 2 days later our newspaper article came out and he shared it with his coworker. Now he also tells other people about low carb and our website.
It’s just great being able to help other people! Well, it’s time for me to go. I’ll be back with you tomorrow to share a recipe for something my husband said was the best thing he’s eaten in months. Have a good day & take care!

Friday, May 14, 2010

lunch boxes, very low carb [vlc] & pork patties

Good Friday afternoon! I am so glad it’s Friday & I’m really looking forward to having a weekend to get lots of yard work done. The forecast for this week has predicted rain & storms each day but so far I think we have only had a few sprinkles. I’m really hoping the rain stays away for the weekend!
I’m trying to go very low carb for a while - especially to make up for my weekend of splurges last week. During my work week, I bring my breakfast, lunch & a snack to work with me. I’m fortunate in that I have a kitchenette in my office, with a full size refrigerator. I carry a nice little lunch “box” that is big enough to hold about a 6 pack of canned drinks. It has several zippered pouches & the top even has a way to convert to a larger lunch box if needed. If I am going to be out of the office, I have freezer packs that I can throw in to keep my food cold. If you are low carbing, I suggest trying to take your lunch and investing in a decent lunch box.
So what’s in my lunch box? This week, since I have gone back to very low carb or VLC, I’ve had scrambled eggs cooked with sharp white Vermont cheddar cheese or boiled eggs, slices of cheese and shrimp. I buy a $5 package of cooked shrimp with the tails on, that is frozen. I usually have 2 servings per bag – which turns out to be a pretty good size serving. I simply thaw the shrimp in a bowl of water while I make my morning coffee. When it’s partially thawed, I put it in a plastic bag. The shrimp makes a nice, easy 0 net carb lunch. You can add homemade shrimp cocktail sauce – it has a few carbs but a lot less than the prepackaged stuff. For a snack, I’ve been having pork rinds or pork rinds with melted cheese on top. What’s not in my lunch box – peanut butter. I’ve been eating a LOT of low carb peanut butter and when I started adding up the carbs, I decided to eliminate it from my daily routine for a while. If you’re packing your lunch to work with you, what’s in your lunch box?
Last night for supper, my husband took a turn cooking in our low carb kitchen. He cooked pork patties – another great buy from our local supper store. A box of 8 patties for less than $6 – you can beat that. As a side, my husband had turnip greens – definitely not my favorite or anyone else in our house for that matter! Just ask my son Bradley – he definitely does not like turnip greens but he did give them a try. My daughter had her pork patties in a low carb tortilla and she had a side salad. I just stuck with cheese & pork patties, with a little mayo. A very nice meal indeed…
So what’s cooking my kitchen this weekend – I’m not too sure. Although I know that we have enough leftovers for tonite, so we’ll have a quick and easy meal. Well, it’s time for me to go. I hope you have a great weekend! Take care!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

my low carb coworkers & fried chicken strip salads

Good afternoon! Hope you’re having a great day so far. I’m glad it’s Thursday because I’m really looking forward to this weekend. We’ve had so much going on lately that I plan on getting lots of stuff done in yard. Hopefully the rain will hold off… the weatherman has been calling for rain with a possibility of very strong storms but so far I think we have only had a few sprinkles, lots of wind and way too much humidity!
So things are getting interesting at work with so many folks starting a low carb eating plan. One of the girls I work with has lost over 15 lbs. Another said she has lost over 2 inches on her waist and that her weight is just falling off & her 16 year old is dropping the weight off too, along with watching her carbs very closely. We discussed recipes, where to find low carb products, etc. I love being able to share info with them! After our discussion, I had a great low carb lunch – shrimp with shrimp cocktail sauce. Yummy!
And speaking of yummy, we had a great supper last night – not much cooking was going on in my low carb kitchen, thanks to my leftovers from the night before : ) We had salads made with prepackaged lettuce mix, cheese and leftover fried chicken strips, cut into bite size pieces and served cold. Of course we all like our salads a little different – I had Caesar dressing, my daughter had a combination of Caesar & Ranch dressing & my husband topped his salad with olive slices and bleu cheese dressing. Supper was ready within 10 minutes, thanks to my leftovers!
So what’s cooking in my kitchen tonight – I’m not quite sure. Maybe breakfast, maybe burgers… we’ll see. Time for me to go, have a great afternoon & evening. See you tomorrow! Take care!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

employee appreciation, freebies & chicken strips

Good afternoon! Hope you’re having a good day! We had a free lunch at work today – yeah! This week is “Employee Appreciation Week” and our hospital has something special planned for each day this week. Monday was free pancake day – yuck! Tuesday was free chips & soda day - so I had a free diet soda. Today we hit the jackpot – free outdoor grill. Hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, baked beans, sodas and lots of condiments. Several of my coworkers have recently started following a low carb plan. As I was standing in line they came by with their plates – filled with hamburgers, cheese & pickles – I cheered them on for their great low carb choices & no buns or bread or carbs! I’ve also been pleasantly surprised this week as several of my coworkers have asked for our website address. I wish them all the best of luck!
I spent about an hour in my low carb kitchen cooking last night. I made fried chicken strips. I started with frozen chicken strips, which I thawed about ½ way in a bowl of water, changing the water twice. Because the chicken was already cut into strips, this saved a lot of prep work & it didn’t take too long for the strips to thaw. I used 2 skillets for frying – this helped reduce my cooking time too – I cooked twice as many strips at one time. I think I cooked 3 to 4 pounds of chicken. Each of us had 3 to 4 strips, along with ranch dressing for dipping. Yummy!
After checking this morning to make sure I still had leftovers, I placed on note on the kitchen table asking my family to stay out of the chicken because we are having the leftovers for supper tonight. I purposefully, cooked twice as many as we could eat so that I would have leftovers for tonight. I am really hoping they stay out of them today. We’ll see!
By the way, I’ve shared this chicken recipe with many of my friends and coworkers & they all love the recipe. I hope you give it a try!
Well, I’ve gotta go now. Hope you have a great afternoon & evening! See you tomorrow. Take care!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

graduations, Mother's Day & the guys take a turn cooking...

Good afternoon!! Sorry I’ve haven’t blogged since last week… But, I’m back! We had a really busy week last week – working on our deck and in our yard. My daughter is graduating from high school in a few weeks, so we’ve been busy with prom, college stuff and graduation stuff. Not to mention the other graduations in our family & get togethers to celebrate graduations, Mother’s Day & birthdays.
So what’s been happening in my low carb kitchen lately? Well, this year for Mother’s Day, my sister-in-law, Missy, decided it would be nice for the guys to take control of the menu planning. Thank you, Missy!! My husband put 2 hot & spicy pork loins in the slow cooker on Saturday evening so that they would be ready for early Sunday afternoon. My brother-in-law, Craig, grilled burgers & hot dogs. My brother-in-law, Brad, made a pasta salad with just a little pasta & lots of veggies & olives. And my brother-in-law, Mark, made a broccoli cauliflower salad & he also made a green bean casserole, that he forgot to cook! I was surprised when he sent me a text message asking for the salad dressing recipe! The meal turned out really good. In fact, it was so good that we told the guys they could cook again for Father’s Day. The only thing is, we don’t get together with this side of the family for Father’s Day. Too bad!!
Yesterday, things were finally getting back to normal and I was glad to be back in my low carb kitchen. For dinner, I fixed sweet Italian turkey sausages – although these sausages (similar to brats) are labeled “sweet”, they only have 1 net carb per sausage. I sauted a few onions, some green pepper & mushrooms to use as a topping for the sausages. We also used horsey sauce, mustard and grated cheese for toppings. As a side I fixed green beans. The kids & my husband couldn’t wait to eat! Seriously, I had to tell them that we were waiting to eat until everyone was ready. Don’t you just love it when you cook a meal and everyone gets really excited about eating? I know I sure do!!
Well, it’s time for me to go. I’ll catch back up with you tomorrow. Have a great afternoon & evening! Take care!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

another beautiful day, bike rider & a quick meal made with leftovers

Good afternoon & what a lovely afternoon it is here in the Ohio River Valley!! The sun is shining, there’s a nice breeze and the humidity has dropped a bit. A perfect day to spend some time outdoors, go for a walk, or a bike ride. For the last couple of evenings, we’ve been enjoying the nice weather in the evening while sitting on the front porch. We’ve also been watching the cutest little boy – he’s probably 4 or 5 – as he rides his bike up and down the sidewalk across the street for hours at a time. He’s always by himself, but that doesn’t seem to bother him. He rides fast, jumps off his bike, does little tricks, makes motor noises with his mouth, etc. Two evenings ago, our neighbor gave him a handful of candy. So he’d ride, then stop for candy, then ride, then stop candy… He reminds me of my oldest son, Matt. He was just like that!
On to my low carb kitchen. Last night, using my leftover tangy slow cooker pork roast, I made 2 different meals for me, my husband & my daughter. First of all, my daughter wanted her pork roast in a wrap. I topped a low carb tortilla with shredded pork roast, shredded cheese & ranch dressing. She also had ½ of an apple, cut into slices, with the seeds removed. My husband and I had shredded pork roast topped with pickled banana peppers & salad dressing – he had bleu cheese, I had ranch. We also had creamy coleslaw and slices of cheddar cheese. A nice cool supper, with no cooking & everyone really enjoyed their meal. I also had a little snack of pork rinds with peanut butter – this may not sound very appetizing but it is a really good snack.
I’m not sure what I’m fixing tonight, but I’m sure I’ll be fixing enough food for 2 meals so that I will be able to fix a meal really quickly tomorrow night. Have a good afternoon & evening. See you tomorrow. Take care!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

sunny skies, beautiful weather & slow cookers

Good afternoon! It’s a beautiful day here – sunny and pretty warm, too. Hopefully it will be sunny this weekend. We’re hoping to go watch a friend’s band play at a local barbecue festival on Saturday & I’m pretty sure they’re playing outside. It’s going to be another busy weekend – my niece is graduating from nursing school on Friday – I’m so proud of her! And Sunday is Mother’s Day [don’t forget!] – we normally have a family get together, which usually includes a cookout. But no one has made any plans, yet.
Speaking of plans, I planned ahead this week – my plan is to cook enough on 1 night for 2 meals. That way I will be cooking every other night – we’ll see how that goes:) Yesterday I made a tangy slow cooker pork roast. I love using my slow cooker! Since I was planning on putting the roast on prior to leaving for work and since I’m usually in a hurry in the morning, I decided to do my prep work the night before. I sliced my onion & put it in a plastic bag. Then I made the sauce & put both the sauce & the onions in the refrigerator. I also got my slow cooker out of the pantry and put it on the kitchen counter. Combining the ingredients into the slow cooker took me just a few minutes.
When we were just about ready to eat, I cooked some green beans – I like to drain the water from canned green beans, rinse them well, then cook with real butter and pepper. Yummy and very low carb. My husband added additional hot sauce to his pork roast. I added a mixture of sour cream & guacamole – 1 tablespoon of each – to my pork roast. My daughter fixed a low carb tortilla stuffed with pork roast & cheddar cheese.
Tonight we will be having something made with the leftover pork roast, but I’m not sure what. I’ll let you know tomorrow! In the meantime, have a good day & a good evening. Take care!

Monday, May 3, 2010

prom, pork chops & a quick meal idea

Good afternoon! What a beautiful afternoon it is! We had rain all weekend, including Friday. I think we had about 4 inches, but we are lucky compared to our neighbors in Tennessee – some areas had 12 inches of rain. Wow! That’s a lot of rain. I’m just glad to see the sun shining again and things drying up a bit. In spite of the rain, my daughter, Lori was able to have a great time at her senior prom on Saturday. I haven’t blogged in the last couple of days because I’ve been so busy trying to help her get ready. We spent several hours at the beauty salon on Saturday morning. Then had to find a nail salon that could airbrush her nail tips because she said they looked dirty. And speaking of nails – she said she took all of them off this morning because they were bugging her. But that’s okay – she had a great time before, during and after prom – so that’s what counts! After what we went through for prom, I can only imagine what it will be like when she gets married…
I have been doing some cooking in my low carb kitchen, so I do have a couple of recipes to share. The first recipe is for pork & chicken soy & Dale's seasoning marinade. The second recipe is for marinated baked pork chops, which uses the marinade/sauce recipe listed above. My husband said that these were the best pork chops he ever put in his mouth! The marinade includes only 4 ingredients – it’s really more of a sauce because you can just use it prior to baking – no need to marinade ahead of time. Anyway, I suggest giving it a try – its really good!
Need a quick low carb meal in a hurry? Yesterday instead of having a big breakfast at lunchtime, my husband and I opted for a quick low carb meal. We split an apple (about 5 net carbs per 1/2) and had assorted cheeses & lunch meat. Just be sure to check the net carbs on the lunch meat. For supper last night we had breakfast – thick sliced peppered bacon & eggs. Delicious.
Well, it’s time for me to go. Hope you have a great day and a great evening. See you tomorrow! Take care!