Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Microwave Flaxseed Bread

Sorry for being so silent lately. Tracey has about 100% less free time now that she's out of grad school and has a job, and I've been moving to a new apartment and obviously paying too much attention to my other blogs. Rest assured that we're still on the wagon and talk daily to each other about our struggles and successes with low-carb.

I happened to have a really positive "cooking" experience last night that made me excited to have chosen this way of eating, and I'm sure you know well how important these little motivations to keep going are.

I made a flaxseed bread shared by TNT Man, a friend of our friend Grace. Since I spend almost all of my time at my boyfriend's small apartment with a stovetop and microwave but no oven, I never get to try any of those low-carb bread recipes that keep most low-carbers from going crazy when a muffin craving hits. But this one's made in the microwave!

Microwave Flaxseed Bread

1/4 cup ground flaxseed meal
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1 teaspoon sweetener (I used a packet of Truvia)
1 teaspoon butter

Mix all dry ingredients in a straight-sided coffee mug. Add egg and butter, and beat until smooth. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes until it reaches your desired consistency (the top will be a little firmer than the bottom). Allow to cool slightly, then loosen edges with a blunt knife and remove from coffee cup and cut into slices. This is a lot like a nutty whole-wheat bread and can be toasted.

It comes out looking like a muffin and tasting like nut bread. It was somewhere between sweet and savory, so I could see using it for sandwiches or icing it with low-carb cream cheese frosting. And it's all fiber and protein!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

When Cravings Attack

This pretty much sums up my relationship with food lately:

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Meatspiration

A little Thanksgiving meatspiration this week:

Even though this photo comes from Worth1000, a sharing forum for creative uses of Photoshop, we can all dream of Thanksgiving turkeys that actually come in this size.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Low-Carbing When Life Hands You Lemons

I read somewhere once that the key to maintaining a low-carb lifestyle is taking advantage of the heightened energy you get from having a stable blood sugar in order keep up the hard work of planning and preparing more healthy food so that you continue the process. It made total sense to me, since sugar and carbs make me feel way too sluggish and lazy to even think about spending time in the kitchen.

For the last week, though, I've been under the weather with a nasty cold, and until yesterday, I've been all too happy to use my lack of energy as an excuse to go back to eating fast food, sugary treats, and instant boxed meals. Part of me knew that eating better would probably make me feel better faster, but the thought of toiling in the kitchen while in my drowsy, congested, cold-medicine-induced state was so unappealing that I just gave in to the temptation to get food in the easiest way possible.

So how do you stay on track when you're thrown for a loop? Are there any strategies you use when you find yourself in a position where you have little time or energy to plan for healthy eating? Or if you allow yourself to slip a little when life gets tough, how do you get yourself back on track?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Healthy Weight Does Not a Healthy Person Make

You might have seen the CNN article yesterday about the human nutrition professor who lost 27 pounds in two months while subsisting on a diet mostly made up of Twinkies, Little Debbies, Doritos, Oreos, and the like.

He wanted to prove that what matters most in losing weight is calorie-counting, not nutrition. And when it comes to the markers society traditionally uses to measure health, this "convenience store diet" was a real winner: his body fat dropped from 33.4 to 24.9 percent, his "bad" cholesterol dropped 20 percent, his "good" cholesterol increased 20 percent, and triglycerides level decreased by 39 percent.

The professor questions, "What does that mean? Does that mean I'm healthier? Or does it mean how we define health from a biology standpoint, that we're missing something?", and I'd tend to agree, especially after these past few years of reading low-carb research. I know I can lose weight on a low-fat, high-carb diet, but I don't think the constant sugar high is good for my long-term health. And I'm positive I could never sustain a low-calorie diet, especially one centered entirely on sugar.

At least the Taco Bell Drive-Thru Diet, as counter-intuitive as it seems, has a couple of lower-carb options; the creator of the Belly Fat Cure recommends 3 crunchy tacos (at 39 carbs total) for an easy meal option.

And those tacos will keep you full for hours, unlike the blood-sugar-spiking Twinkies, which must have left the professor starving half the time.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Recipe Roundup

Enjoy this weekly list of great low-carb recipes. Leave your own links and recipes in the comments!

Sugar-Free Low Carb Recipes: Low Carb Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Cream of Mushroom Soup, and Chocolate Chip Cookies

GoodLife Eats: Pumpkin Soup with Toasted Walnuts

Elana's Pantry: Creamy Cranberry Dressing

Jennifer Eloff: Tuna or Salmon Burgers and Red Pepper Soup

24/7 Low Carb Diner: Pizza Supreme Casserole

Kalyn's Kitchen: Pan-Fried and Roasted Pork Chops with Apricot-Dijon Sauce and Five Recipes for Roasted Winter Squash

Nutty Kitchen: Crock Pot Spiced Whole Chicken

A Doctor's Kitchen: Curried Mango Chicken Thighs

Before the Cookie Eats You: Savory Chuck Roast with Rosemary, Onions, & Dried Mushrooms

Kelly the Kitchen Kop: Homemade Thousand Island Dressing

The GFCF Lady: Migas (This "Tex-Mex Omelette" sounds delicious, and it's totally BFC friendly if you count the tortilla chips carefully.)

Heart of a Country Home: Sausage Cream Gravy on a Low Carb Biscuit

The Food Lovers' Primal Palate: Slow Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef: Roasted Pumpkin Seed Spread

Simply Sugar & Gluten Free: Almost Pumpkin Pie

Big Daddy D: Pumpkin Cheesecake

Comfy Belly: Portobello Pizza

Mrs. Ed's Research and Recipes: Grain Free Butter Cookies (Replace the honey with sugar-free maple syrup or another sweetener to cut carbs.)

Grace2882: Broiled Asparagus with Parmesan Cheese and Cranberry Pecan Muffins

And I don't want to keep my personal distaste for cooked cauliflower to keep you from enjoying these great-looking cauliflower-based recipes from Maria Emmerich:
Carmelized Cauliflower Gratin
Easy Cheesy Scalloped "Potatoes"
Sweet "Potato" Casserole

Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday Meatspiration

Last year at Christmas, Katie and I decorated a gingerbread house with sugary frosting, gumdrops, and candy pieces. But now that we're back on the low-carb train this year, we may have to consider constructing this Atkins-friendly "gingerbread" log cabin, made from cream cheese, Slim Jims, meat snack sticks, and nuts:

Because nothing says "yuletide cheer" like processed meats. Yum!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Back on Track

I went on vacation and never got to individually thank all of you for your comments on my post publicly bemoaning my inability to commit to my diet, but I really think your support finally pushed me to start caring more about what goes into my mouth.

For the past 10 days, I've made conscious food decisions based on the Belly Fat Cure, and I've lost 6 pounds in the process. The weight isn't "falling off of me" like it does some low-carbers who are super-diligent with their counting, but I'm not interested in dropping a dress size if it's going to make me completely miserable in the process.

At my monthly dinner outing with co-workers on Thursday, I ate three corn tortillas with my fajitas but left behind the other three. During my company's lunch on Friday, I ate a slice of pizza but threw away the edge crust, which I didn't care about. On Saturday, I ate a handful of French fries and gave the rest to my boyfriend. On Sunday, instead of pigging out on Halloween candy, I ate a single-serving Haagen Dazs, which has 17g of sugar, instead of eating half a pint like I usually do, which is more like 60g.

I've seen that it's entirely possible to be physically healthy while still being completely happy with the food that's available to me. I gave myself a set list foods that I could easily make or buy and that I found really delicious. I discovered that I didn't even crave dessert when I allowed myself a little bit of bread or some complex carbs like beans in my meal. And when I did need dessert, I went for a can of diet soda, a stick of gum, or some Greek yogurt.

I'm just really scared this feeling will pass as quickly as it arrived, you know? It turns out it's SO EASY to make good choices with what's available to me if I just get into the habit of doing it. But it's just as easy to slip up and make a habit of eating the old way, too.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Recipe Roundup

Happy Monday! Here are some low-carb recipes that were featured on blogs this past week. Leave your own in the comments!

Saveur: Brussels Sprouts with Chorizo

24/7 Low Carb Diner: Pumpkin Pancakes and Chicken Pizza on a Nutty Crust

Nutty Kitchen: Bacon Mango Butternut Hash

Before the Cookie Eats You: Lingonberry and Mascarpone Waffles and Chicken Paprikas

Kalyn's Kitchen: Spicy Lime Coleslaw and her monthly roundup of South Beach Phase One recipes

Heart of a Country Home: Coconut Flour Pancakes, Cheesy Burger Skillet, and Peanut Butter Cookies

Dana Carpender: Hot Buffalo Wing Dip

Mrs. Ed's Research and Recipes: Chile Rellenos Con Pollo (SCD) Stuffed Chilies with Chicken

Smitten Kitchen: Spicy Squash Salad with Lentils and Goat Cheese

Maria Emmerich: Lasagna Cupcakes, Chicken Enchiladas, and Extreme Chocolate Birthday Cake

The World According to Eggface: Sugar Free Dirt Cup

The Nourishing Gourmet: Lemon, Horseradish Mustard, and Bacon Deviled Eggs

Simply Sugar & Gluten Free: Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies (The agave nectar in this one isn't low-carb, but it can be replaced with your sweetener of choice.)

Ginny's Low Carb Kitchen: My Leftover Soup

Jennifer Eloff: Linda's Herb Parmesan Crackers, Minty Chocolate Cheesecake, Creamy Pumpkin Cheesecake, and Fudgey Chocolate Chip Brownies

Mark's Daily Apple: A whole post full of Primal Holiday Desserts.

And our BLCBFF (Best Low-Carb Blog Friend Forever!) Grace2882 was, as usual, ON FIRE with the recipes this week:
Pizza Potroast
Chalupa Wraps
Salisbury Steak with Onion Gravy
Cranberry Pecan Muffins
Macaroons with Blackberry Jelly

Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Meatspiration

For Halloween, this year, it's SCARY MEAT HEADS all around.Craft bloggers and food bloggers alike are showing their excitement about the opportunity to sculpt cold cuts around a plastic skull and fashion eyeballs out of eggs, onions, & olives.

I'm not quite sure how you're supposed to eat one of these things. Let your party guests pick off the slices to put on their sandwiches until they clean him off and hit the red-jell-o-y, cream-cheesy skull?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Low-Carb Snack: Cocoa Roast Almonds

After admitting our noncommittal tendencies, whining about how hard it is to avoid trigger foods, and spending three days in a row eating tons of sugar and deep fried foods at The Circleville Pumpkin Show, Katie and I are back on the low-carb wagon this week hardcore. (It deserves mentioning that our guest-poster Ryan was able to visit the Pumpkin Show and eat only a turkey leg, while we gorged on stromboli, corn dogs, chocolate-dipped cheesecake, and deep-fried buckeyes.)

I thought I'd share a snack that's helping me get through the sudden loss of sugary treats: Cocoa Roast Almonds.

Just almonds, dusted with delicious cocoa powder, and sweetened ever-so-lightly with sucralose (Splenda). Only 3 net carbs per serving. They even come in 100 Calorie Packs, which are the perfect size to throw in your bag, stow in your glove compartment, or pack in your lunch, And they're so filling that I usually don't even eat a whole serving unless I'm starving.

I never thought nuts would be able to replace dessert and actually be satisfying, but these really do the trick.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Recipe Roundup

Grace2882: Bacon Burgers, Curried Beef Stuffed Squash, and Salisbury Steak with Onion Gravy

Kraft Foods: Cheesy Spaghetti Squash

Before the Cookie Eats You: Pumpkin and Thyme Chicken with Mushrooms

What I Crave: Brined Pork Chops

The World According to Eggface: Shelly's Veggie Leftover Bites (So smart! I almost never eat my leftover veggies.)

Simply Sugar & Gluten Free: Oven Roasted Beets (I've never purchased or cooked a beet before, but this post makes me want to try!)

Mark's Daily Apple: Silky Celery Root Soup

Elana's Pantry: Carrot French Fries

Nutty Kitchen: Sausage and Beef in Coconut Milk

Kalyn's Kitchen: Five Favorite Bean Soups or Stews for Autumn

Jennifer Eloff: Chicken Curry with Peaches

Marissa's Kitchen Talk: Low Carb Sausage Stuffed Jalapenos

Comfy Belly: Chicken Parmigiana

Maria Emmerich: Buffalo Chicken and Blue Cheese Mashed "Potatoes" and Chocolate Lava Cakes

The Food Lovers' Primal Palate: Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Bites

Ginny's Low Carb Kitchen: Gingerbread Pancakes With Lemon Cream Topping

Lucy's Low Carb Kitchen of Trial and Error: Cheesecake (No Bake)

Dana Carpender: Almond-Coconut Hot "Cereal", a BUNCH of pumpkin recipe ideas and Decarbing Strategy #2

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday Meatspiration

Super Meat Boy:

Available now for Xbox download and coming to WiiWare, Windows, and Mac in November.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

What's Your Trigger?

For me, the ultimate trigger food is Pepsi.

I know that not everyone feels this way about it, or about soda in general, but I crave it with every meal, and every time I eat, I have to make a conscious (and often difficult) decision not to crack one open and guzzle it down. Nothing tastes better and more refreshing with food, and only regular, high fructose corn syrup-filled Pepsi will do. There are few substances on the planet that taste worse to me than diet soda.

The problem with ANY trigger food is that it's extremely difficult to consume in moderation. Having a little leads to having a lot more, and what's worse, trigger foods tend to lead to other unplanned indulgences, making it tempting to abandon healthy eating altogether. This totally happens for me with Pepsi. When I drink it, I can rarely stop at one can or one glass at a restaurant. And once I'm drinking it, a combination of physical cravings and a feeling of throwing caution to the wind sets in, and I just go ahead and eat whatever starchy food I can get my hands on. The stuff just tastes so darn good with anything and everything that's bad for you, and in a way that water or iced tea never could, so drinking Pepsi ends up being the ultimate excuse to squeeze in some of the worst eating possible before I "go back" to eating low-carb at the next meal. It's a pretty vicious cycle.

Every time I get serious about healthy eating, I do pretty well at cutting Pepsi out. When I first discovered low-carb eating a few years ago, I went cold turkey and lasted an entire three months without so much as a sip. When my husband and I decided to give up Pepsi together a couple of months before our wedding, I only cheated at my bachelorette party. And over the past few months of the hit-and-miss not-quite-fully-committed low-carbing I've been doing, I'm down from averaging 3-4 cans a day to 1-2 a week.

But regular Pepsi, with 41 grams of sugar per can really has zero place in a healthy diet. I know that. And I know and understand why nearly every diet expert out there recommends identifying your trigger foods so you can KEEP THE HELL AWAY FROM THEM, but the thought of a life entirely without Pepsi makes me feel downright panicky. Probably because it's a real addiction, huh? I'd like to think that there will be a time in my life where I'll be able to allow myself to have a little Pepsi on a special occasion and stop there, but I'm not sure that will ever happen.

What are your triggers and how do you deal with them? Is it better to stay away from them entirely or to make them a rare treat? Is it healthy (or even possible) to resolve to never eat a beloved food ever again?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Why Can't I Commit to Dieting?

I've stopped weighing myself. I don't think I'm losing any weight, and I don't want to know about it, because I'm plenty happy casually low-carbing and feeling the improvements in my energy level, my joints, and my skin. The problem is that I ultimately do have a goal of losing weight, and it's upsetting to me that I can't commit to it.

I can't commit.

Two weeks ago, it was my birthday. Last week, it was my boyfriend's birthday. This week, it's a trip to Ohio to see Tracey and my family. Next week, it's Halloween. Then it's Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year's Eve. There's just plain never a good time to get serious, because I already have cheats planned.

In theory, low-carbing is so easy. Especially with a plan like the Belly Fat Cure, where I can eat as many as 120 carbs per day, 40 carbs at a time, and 15 grams of sugar. That's a LOT. Back when I was doing the Induction phase of Atkins a couple of years ago, I was so serious. The carbiest thing I allowed myself was a sprinkling of carrot on my salad. When my office had weekly birthday celebrations, I'd cut the cake for everyone else and then walk back to my desk if I felt myself being tempted. At restaurants, I'd alter my meals significantly to cut carbs, not thinking a thing of asking for grilled instead of fried chicken or broccoli instead of pasta. Now, I use eating out as an excuse to dip into the bread basket.

The fact that it seems like everyone else has no problem sticking to their low-carb plans makes it much worse. I know that the Belly Fat Cure is working for lots of other people, and I know it'd work for me if I was just willing to put in the work for more than 5 days at a time. The creator of the diet, Jorge Cruise, even offers easy meal ideas from well-known fast food joints that I have access to. Yet when my boyfriend and I were craving Taco Bell on Sunday morning, instead of getting the three hard-shelled tacos Jorge suggested, I went for the XXL Chalupa (which has 50+ carbs) just because I told myself I was off the diet for the weekend and wanted to try the thing.

I'm concerned that even if I get more serious, I'm still going to need to cheat when my boyfriend and I go out to dinner and I review our meal for my food blog. But I know it's self-defeating to say, "I'm not going to even bother trying to commit as much as I can if I can't commit 100%," because even a little bit of low-carb eating goes a long way toward health.

I just want to be able to announce to the world that I'm changing my life and suddenly have all of my temptations go away. I don't want to live in a world where I can't have a chalupa, but I don't want to live in a world where I'm overweight, either.

How do I decide which is more important?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Recipe Roundup

Another Monday, another amazing list of low-carb and/or low glycemic recipes from around the web. Know of a recipe that deserves to be featured? Leave it in the comments!

Heart of a Country Home: Low Carb Spicy Deep Fried Broccoli and Blender Coconut Pie

A Doctor's Kitchen: Red Cabbage and Celery Root Slaw (This one has CAPERS in, it! I'm sold.)

The Nourishing Gourmet: Roasted Delicata Squash Slices ( or “Fries”)

What I Crave: Green Powerhouse Smoothie and Accidental Pumpkin Biscuits

Comfy Belly: Pad Thai (made with zucchini noodles)

Kalyn's Kitchen: Crockpot Pumpkin Chili with Ground Beef, Black Beans, and Kidney Beans

Before the Cookie Eats You: 3-2-1 Cincinnati Chili

Mrs. Ed's Research and Recipes: Garlic Parmesan Chicken Wings

The World According to Eggface: Shelly's Mexican Layered Salad

Jennifer Eloff: Chocolate Strawberry Torte

The Rogue Cookie: Pumpkin Bread

Maria Emmerich: Pizz-A-Roni, Pumpkin Pancakes, and Cinnabun Cookies

Marisa's Kitchen Talk: 3 Basic Low Carb Mousse Recipes

Finally, Dana Carpender gives us the first of what I hope will be a series of lessons in recipe de-carbing. There's no shortage of great low-carb recipes out there, but it's especially empowering to be able to confront a traditional recipe and know you can make it work for you.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Meatspiration

Meat Puppets:

Feeling inspired?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Low-Carb Dinner: Crispy Onion Chicken Tenders with Roasted Acorn Squash

Sometimes, unbreaded meats and green veggies feel too much like diet food, and you need a dinner that sticks to your bones a little without going overboard in carbs.

Enter Crispy Onion Chicken Tenders with Roasted Acorn Squash.

A little spinach, and the meal is complete.

At only 3 carbs per 2 tablespoons, french-fried onions are a much better choice than bread crumbs, and their bold flavor makes regular old breading seem boring.  (They're also fantastic in meatloaf.)

For the chicken tenders, I used the Crunchy Onion Chicken recipe from the back of the can, with just a couple of tweaks.

Crispy Onion Chicken Tenders
-2 cups FRENCH'S® French Fried Onions
-2 TBSP soy flour (or other low-carb flour, or low-carb bake mix)
-seasonings to taste (I used this.)
-1 egg, beaten
-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
butter or nonstick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 and grease a large baking sheet with butter or nonstick cooking spray.

Cut chicken breasts into long pieces and set aside. Put onions, soy flour, and seasonings in a gallon-sized plastic bag and crush fine.

Pat chicken pieces dry with paper towels. Dip each piece in egg, coating both sides, then place in the bag with the onion mixture. (I did this in small batches of 4-5 tenders at a time.) Seal bag and shake to coat chicken with the "breading". It may help to squeeze breading onto the chicken through the bag. Remove chicken pieces and arrange on the greased baking sheet. Repeat until all chicken is coated, and press extra breading from the bag onto any bare spots on the chicken pieces.

Bake 20 minutes, or until no longer pink in the center. I recommend turning the chicken once halfway through cooking, as the onions on top brown significantly.

Now, for the squash. I used this Food Network recipe for Acorn Squash Pizza and just made the delicious-sounding squash to eat on its own. The combination of the sweet maple syrup and spicy red pepper flakes made this delicious. All I did was switch to sugar-free syrup, and this recipe was good to go.

Roasted Acorn Squash
1 (1-pound) acorn squash
2 TBSP Sugar-Free Maple Syrup
1 TBSP olive oil
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (I cooked this on 400, watching closely, right along with my chicken tenders, and it turned out just fine.)

Slice the squash in half from top to bottom. Scoop out the seeds. Slice the squash into 1/2 to 3/4-inch wide half moons and place in a medium bowl. Toss the squash with the syrup, olive oil, red pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place the squash on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake the squash until tender and golden, about 20 to 25 minutes. The skin will peel off easily after baking.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Recipe Roundup

More low-carb finds from around the Internets. Share your own in the comments!

Grace2882: Blueberry Power Muffins and Buffalo Wings

Before the Cookie Eats You: Minestrone Soup

Kalyn's Kitchen: Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pecans

Maria Emmerich: Easy Almond Joys

This Primal Life: Perfect Primal Pizza Crust (Also see this very different "Perfect Primal Pizza" recipe on Mark's Daily Apple.)

The GFCF Lady: Egg Salad

The Nourishing Gourmet: Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce

The World According to Eggface: Shelly's Banana Bread Protein Smoothie Also check out Shelly's World Egg Day post on 10/8, in which she shares FIFTEEN egg recipes.

Finally, see The Rogue Cookie for all of your low-carb, eyeball-resembling Halloween reccipes, including Upside Down Deviled Egg Eyes, Eyeball Tacos, and Radish Eyeballs. Check out her blog for even more Halloween recipes.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday Meatspiration

The Mona Lisa, rendered in Italian sausage:

Not quite as timeless as the original, but bigger and tastier.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Why I Love Low-Carbing: the Butter Edition

On Monday night, I decided I needed to use the French-cut green beans that were slowly thawing in my tiny half-refrigerator that barely also functions as a freezer. I was lazy and threw them into the microwave with some real bacon bits, sea salt, and fresh ground pepper. I sprinkled a little basil on top, because what the hey, I had it sitting around.

I pulled them out of the microwave a minute later, stuck my fork deep into the bowl, pulled a few juicy-looking bean strips out, crunched down, and thought, "Eww, vegetables!"

I looked around my kitchen, trying to think what I was possibly missing, and in a moment of clarity, I added a pat of unsalted butter to the bowl and mixed until it melted amongst the beans.

It was delicious! And healthy, too! And all I could think was, "I could never do that on any other diet."

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Joy of Smoothies: Part II (Pumpkin Edition)

The Chocolate Mixed Berry Smoothie may be my favorite, but there's also a special place in my heart for pumpkin.

Katie and I grew up near Circleville, Ohio, the home of The Pumpkin Show, an annual festival where hundreds of food vendors line the streets offering everything pumpkin -- from pie and donuts to burgers and chili. There's really no way to describe how amazing this event is. There's a pumpkin tower, prize-winning GIANT pumpkins, and the world's largest pumpkin pie. (Oh, and rides, parades, pageants, crafts, and non-pumpkin carnival food, if you're into that.)

Circleville's pumpkin-love is even evident in the city's water tower.

Since my mom never liked it, I grew up in a sad, pumpkin-less home and relied on The Pumpkin Show to get my annual fix. But now, I'm finally realizing that I can enjoy pumpkin more than just once a year.

For me, this smoothie beats any pumpkin milkshake I've ever had at a fast food or ice cream chain. And without the mass amounts of sugar.

Tracey's Pumpkin Protein Smoothie
2 eggs (optional)
1/2 cup canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie mix)  (9g carb - 5g fiber = 4 net carbs, 4g sugar)
4 oz. water (give or take, use more if not using eggs)
2 oz. heavy whipping cream (2g carb)
1 scoop vanilla Max Protein (3g carb, 1g sugar)
2 TBSP granular Splenda (6g carb, 0g sugar)
a pinch of salt
pumpkin pie spice OR cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves to taste
ice cubes
(6 oz. unsweetened almond milk can be used in place of water and cream)

(Total of 15 net carbs, 5 of which are sugar)

In a blender (I use this single-serve one), mix all ingredients except ice cubes until well blended. Taste and adjust spices as needed. Add ice cubes a few at a time until smoothie reaches desired consistency.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Recipe Roundup

Our weekly list of low-carb recipes from around the web just keeps growing and growing! Check these out, and show us what we've missed by leaving a recipe or link in the comments.

Deb Cusick: Coffee Jello

No Sugar Just Spice: Mexican Chicken Olé

Grace2882: Meatloaf (topped with bacon!), Pumpkin Pie, and Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes with Pecans

Low Carb Pinay: No Bake ChocoNut Cheesecake

What I Crave: Better Than a Corn Chip

Mark's Daily Apple: The Perfect Primal Omelet

A Doctor's Kitchen: Turkey Kebabs with Spicy Cardamom-Mango Sauce

Elana's Pantry: Spunky Coconut’s Chicken Meatballs

Marisa's Kitchen Talk: Low Carb Sausage Stuffed Jalapenos

Maria Emmerich:Clam Chowder in a "Bread" Bowl, Pumpkin Mini Muffins, and Pumpkin Donuts with Pumpkin Glaze

From Apples to Zucchini: Acorn Squash and Feta Casserole

Jonny Bowden: Avocado Soup with Cheesy Tortillas

Jennifer Eloff: Ganache Cheesecake

Ginny's Low Carb Kitchen: Bavarian "Apple" (Zucchini) Torte

Mary Dan Eades: Low Carb Pumpkin Crème Brulee

The GFCF Lady: Baked Beans (This recipe uses a half cup of brown sugar, but this picture tutorial for making baked beans from scratch is too good not to share. I'd throw in some non-sugar sweetener and maybe a touch of backstrap molasses to replace it.)

Low Carb Confidential: Low Carb Ricotta Dessert with Vanilla and Mint

Also check out Kayln's HUGE list of South Beach Diet Phase One recipes. She does this roundup every month, and it's a great source for low-carbers.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Friday Meatspiration

For the executive looking to stand out in a crowd and provide a low-carb snack to potential clients, there's nothing quite like beef jerky business cards laser-etched with your name, title, and contact info.

These are, in fact, a real thing. Get 'em at www.meatcards.com.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Adventures

My first low-carb pastry crust burnt to a crisp, but as you can see, its pumpkin pie filling was delicious.

I could have kept experimenting with low-carb crust recipes, foil covers, and cooking times, but I decided it wasn't even necessary. Pie #2 just came out of the oven, and this one is crustless!

See how the filling just goes all the way to the bottom? Who needs crust, anyway?

And since I fully expect Katie to comment on it either way, here is a close-up of that weird navel-like dimple/crack that appeared on the pie during baking:

Who wants the piece with THIS on it?

The recipe I used is a quick, low-carb adaptation from the classic "back of the can" directions on Libby's canned pumpkin. All it took was swapping out the sugar with Splenda and the carb-filled evaporated milk with a little cream and unsweetened almond milk. I also added nutmeg. Because yum.

I was also delighted to find that the Libby folks (a.k.a. Nestle) have cooking temperatures and times for the crustless version posted on their website. I used a 9-inch glass pie plate for my pie, so those are the instructions I'm posting here, but visit the link for details if you're using another material or differently-sized cookware.

Crustless Pumpkin Pie
  • Butter or nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 cup granulated Splenda or other measures-like-sugar non-sugar sweetener (The original recipe calls for 3/4 cup, but I added more to make up for the sweetness lost by omitting the evaporated milk. You be the judge, here.)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 can (15 oz.) 100% Pure Pumpkin (NOT canned pumpkin pie mix or filling)
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream & 3/4 cup unsweetened plain or vanilla almond milk (Or just use all cream or all almond milk.)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees, and grease a 9-inch glass pie plate with butter or nonstick cooking spray.

In a small bowl, mix Splenda, cinnamon, salt, ginger, cloves, & nutmeg. In a larger bowl, beat 2 eggs. Stir the Splenda mixture into the larger bowl with the eggs. Gradually stir in cream and/or almond milk.

Pour filling directly into greased pie plate and bake on middle rack for 55-60 minutes. (Again, for cook time variations, see here.)

Let pie cool for two hours on a wire rack. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

That's it! So good! My only frustration is that canned pumpkin isn't available all year, since it's a delicious and nutritious low-carb food. I'm totally planning on stocking up while it's still around. The best part about it is that nutrition experts seem to agree that it's every bit as good for you as the fresh version, and some have even found that a few of the nutrients (like Vitamin A) are actually higher in canned pumpkin than in fresh, making the convenient route a no-guilt choice.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Joy of Smoothies

When Katie posted a couple of weeks ago about protein powder, it reminded me that I've never shared the recipe for the protein smoothie I use as my go-to low-carb breakfast. I've tried tons of different ingredient combinations and flavors, but to me, this one wins by far. The texture is a perfect marriage of creamy and icy, it's richer and more chocolaty than most desserts, and the antioxidants in the cocoa and berries plus the nutrient-filled eggs and protein powder come together to make this the most non-health-food-seeming health food I've ever tasted. Eating this thing makes me feel like I've made some sort of deal with the devil in order for it to actually be under 20 net carbs.

The recipe all rests on a basic formula of 8 ounces of liquid ingredients to 1 scoop of protein powder, so you could swap out any combination of water, low-carb milk, cream, yogurt, etc. for the liquid, and you could throw in pretty much anything else you want to make whatever flavor you desire. I've enjoyed peanut butter, canned pumpkin, flaxseed, instant coffee, flavor extracts, and sugar-free syrups in my smoothies, but this particular combination of chocolate and berries is my clear favorite.

Tracey's Dark Chocolate Mixed Berry Protein Smoothie
2 eggs (optional)
3-4 oz. water (give or take, use more if not using eggs)
2 oz. (1/4 cup) heavy whipping cream (2g carb)
1 scoop chocolate Max Protein (3g carb, 1g sugar)
2 TBSP granular Splenda (6g carb, 0g sugar)
2 TBSP Hershey Special Dark Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (6g carb - 4g fiber = 2 net carbs, 0g sugar)
1/2 cup frozen mixed berries (8.5g carb - 3g fiber = 5.5 net carbs, 5.5g sugar)
ice cubes

(Total of 18.5 net carbs, 6.5 of which are sugar)

Since large appliances feel clunky to me, and since I hate washing extra dishes, I make my smoothie in an inexpensive single-serve blender and eat it right out of the travel-friendly blender cup.

The dry ingredients will blend in best if you begin with the wet ingredients. I start by cracking two eggs into the blender cup. (I totally understand that not everyone is comfortable ingesting raw eggs. Since I've never been able to resist cookie dough and brownie batter, I've had more than a normal person's fair share of raw eggs in my lifetime with no problem, so I'm willing to keep taking the risk. The eggs make the smoothie super creamy and extra filling, but it's also delicious without them.) Then, I add enough filtered water to bring the blender's contents to 6 oz. (If not using eggs, just start with 6 oz. water). Next, I add about 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream.

Then, the dry ingredients. Add the protein powder, cocoa, and Splenda, and cover and blend quickly until just mixed. This will keep the dry ingredients from sticking to the sides of the blender. Add the frozen berries and blend again to thoroughly mix them in. Add ice cubes a few at a time, blending each time you add them, until the smoothie reaches your desired thickness. A drinkable smoothie only needs few ice cubes in addition to the berries, but I usually add a couple of handfuls of ice and enjoy it with a spoon.

Do you drink shakes or smoothies as a part of your low-carb way of eating? I'd love to know how you make them and what your favorite "mix-ins" are!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Recipe Roundup

So many delicious recipes showed up in our Google Readers this week! Check these out:

Marissa's Kitchen Talk: Low-Carb Fried Eggplant

Grace2882: Portabella Pepperoni Pizza, Chicken Enchiladas, and Cream Cheese Brownies

Low Carb Confidential: Low Carb Zucchini Lasagna (To get zucchini "noodles" without a mandoline, you can use a vegetable peeler. They won't end up perfectly uniform, but they should work just fine.)

trulypat: Cream of Pumpkin Soup (This gluten-free recipe uses evaporated milk to avoid both lactose and nut allergens, but in the interest of keeping it low-carb, I'd swap that stuff out with unsweetened almond milk, heavy cream, or a combination of the two.)

The World According to Eggface: Shelly's Ham it Up Bites

Lucy: Breakfast Nachos (As an added bonus, reading this post includes a link to a delicious looking brownie recipe!)

Ginny's Low Carb Kitchen: Bacon Cheeseburger Soup

Kalyn's Kitchen: Black Bean Salad with Jicama, Tomatoes, Cilantro, and Lime

Dana Carpender: Low Carb Sesame Noodles

Maria Emmerich: Creme Brulee

Got a recipe you've recently featured on your own blog or saw one somewhere else that caught your eye? As always, leave a link in the comments!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Magic Behind Magic Shell

What do you do when it's the night before your refrigerator is being replaced and you have to finish off that container of low-carb ice cream in your freezer, but you realize that it's vanilla ice cream and therefore requires some sort of topping in order to make it delicious?

You make homemade Magic Shell!

Katie introduced me to Magic Shell when we were in high school, and if you're unfortunate enough to have never had it, you've pretty much been missing out on everything that's good in the world. It's a luscious liquid chocolate sauce that hardens into pure candy when it hits cold ice cream, and I'm ecstatic to report that this EASY low-carb version is every bit as good as the 16-grams-of-sugar-per-serving kind you buy in the store.

Here's how you do it:

Spoon some coconut oil (between 1 teaspoon and 1 tablespoon) into a microwave-safe bowl. Add a couple of squares of 85% dark chocolate and some non-sugar sweetener to taste. (I added about a half-packet of Truvia to mine.) Microwave on high power in 15 second intervals, stopping to stir, until the chocolate is melted. Pour it over ice cream and enjoy!

See how it solidified where it hit the ice cream? Magic!
You can experiment with the amounts and types of chocolate, sweetener, and coconut oil to find what works best for you. You can also add chopped nuts, shredded unsweetened coconut, or other goodies to make it your own. Whip some up for your family and friends, and they're sure to think you're a low-carb genius.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Recipe Roundup

It's Monday, and you know what that means. More exciting low-carb recipes from around the web. Leave us a comment with a link or dish of your own, and enjoy!

What I Crave: Spaghetti Squash (A great first-time or refresher course on preparing this low-carb staple. Helpful for anyone who hasn't given in to the joy of the amazing spiral slicer.)

Mark's Daily Apple: "Perfect Steak" (A detailed tutorial on types, cuts, and cooking methods.)

smitten kitchen: Skirt Steak Salad with Blue Cheese (There's a smidgen of honey in the dressing, but I know you folks are wise enough to use your sweetener of choice.)

Cheeseslave: Croque-Madame (An open-faced French breakfast sandwich for our readers who still allow themselves a little bread.)

Grace2882: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Jennifer Eloff: Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

Maria Emmerich: Cheesy Dehydrated "Popcorn" (This one was too weird not to share. It's dehydrated cauliflower!)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday Meatspiration

Yeah, yeah. So Lady Gaga wore a dress made of meat to last weekend's MTV Video Music Awards, prompting Jimmy Kimmel to claim, "This Atkins Diet is getting out of control!"

But despite all the attention she got for it, Lady Gaga is certainly not the first one to think of turning raw meat into fashion.

Remember Cycle 10 of America'a Next Top Model?

That's right, Gaga. Tyra beat you to it. Meatwear is soooo 2008.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Vitamins and Protein Powder

Once upon a time, Tracey’s mom consulted her local GNC employees about a low-carb protein powder and came up with SEI Pharmaceuticals’ Max Protein. It has a bit of a clumping problem that makes it very annoying to clean out of shaker bottles, but it’s delicious and very low-carb at 3g carbs and 1g sugar for a 30g scoop.

However, it’s $50 for 2 lbs., which didn’t bother me before when protein shakes weren’t a habit of mine, but now that I’m sometimes having multiple shakes in one day, it seems pretty excessive.

A muscle-building friend of mine talked me into buying the protein powder he uses, which is Dymatize Elite Gourmet. It has 5g carbs and 0g sugar for a 32g scoop because it’s made with sucralose, no clumping, and a different but still great taste. And it’s only $29 for 5 pounds, so it’s a major savings.

The problem is that the Dymatize contains almost no vitamins, whereas the SEI is loaded with them. I read a blog where a woman was breaking a multivitamin into her protein shakes to make them more nutritious, and I wondered if anyone had any thoughts on that.

Does it matter if my vitamins are part of the original powder or something I add myself? Does it matter if I have the vitamins in the shake or alongside it?

I kind of assume that taking a multivitamin right before or after I drink my shake is the same as breaking it up into the shake itself, but I’m no doctor of vitamin-absorption.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Guest Post: No Carb Digestion, or Why My Farts Don't Stink

Tracey and I like to think that we're leading our friends toward the low-carb light every day, but it turns out that some of them find their own way. One such friend is Ryan Cordle, who's lost an incredible amount of weight eating Paleo-style. I invited him to guest post for us whenever he liked, and I'm so pleased that he chose a topic Tracey and I often talk about but have not-surprisingly never gone public with. Thanks, Ryan!

Marriage is a very romantic, intimate, and beautiful thing. Part of that intimacy is deciding, consciously or not, how to deal with situations in private that may be slightly taboo in public. For example: farting. All couples decide whether or not they will freely fart in front of one another. My parents do not fart in front of one another. Perhaps they are a bit Victorian, but in my house growing up, farting was not something you did in the presence of a lady (later I learned that ladies fart, too). Therefore, if you must fart, you excuse yourself to the bathroom and let it rip.

Other families are much more free with their farting habits. The parents encourage their children with games like Pull My Finger. I always saw this family on TV and realized that for others, farting is not a shame to hide but an event at which the whole family laughs. I imagined mothers, fathers, and their 2-3 children sitting around the table after dinner, pulling one another's fingers and having a merry time.

My wife and I are somewhere in the middle. We will fart in each other's presence if it hits us. It's not something we brag about, and I never had the confidence to ask her to pull my digit. However, we do have a rule to regulate our has habits: on long car trips, the guilty farter is responsible for rolling down the windows. But my wife could tell you that the window rule no longer applies to me.

I have been eating a very low-carb "paleo diet" for 75 days and have lost 47 lbs. Obviously, there are a lot of benefits to eating low-carb, like losing weight, looking like gold, and forgetting what it feels like to be hungry. Yet, I submit to you there is an even more glorious product to this way of eating: my farts don't stink.

From a scientific perspective, it makes perfect sense. The innumerable bacteria that call our intestines home love starch and sugar. Those substances allow the bacteria to thrive and make baby bacteria at a significant rate. All of that bacteria eating and reproducing leads to an excess of gas in our digestive tract that must come out. This is why the bean is the magical fruit that makes us toot. Bacteria seem to love beans and other carbohydrate-rich foods.

So when I cut out nearly all starch and sugar from my diet, the bacteria went hungry. And when those bacteria go hungry, they don't produce much gas. Which makes road trips much more pleasant for my wife.

I still fart occasionally. I usually have to let one go in the morning when I go the gym, or sometimes after work, but that is it. Why don't they stink? I have no clue, but clearly it has something to do with what my gut flora is eating, and to me, it is a sign of good health that I do not have a stench leaving my butt on a regular basis.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Recipe Roundup

Once again, enjoy these recipes that caught our attention this past week. Leave your own concoctions and finds in the comments!

Marisa's Kitchen Talk: Blue Cheese Stuffed Endive

Jennifer Eloff: Eggplant Lasagna

Kimberly Bouldin: Spaghetti Squash Stir Fry

Kalyn's Kitchen: Baked Pesto Chicken

Fit Food Coach: Chicken with “I’m Not Afraid of Butter” Dressing

Maria Emmerich: Chicken "Noodle" Soup (featuring the lovable daikon)!

Lucy: P.B. & Pumpkin Protein Smoothie

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Healing Power of Gelatin?

Gelatin has always seemed like one of the most nutritionally-neutral foods in the world to me. I've never really thought about it being healthy or unhealthy in itself, instead just making sure to check whether or not it's sugar-free. (It also never really hit me that gelatin without artificial flavorings could even be considered paleo.)

But low-carb guru Dana Carpender has been researching and exploring the health benefits of consuming gelatin -- both in its baking-aisle form and in its more natural, animal-bone-and-skin form -- and it sounds like she may be onto something here:
"Here's the main thing I gathered from it: You know how, over the past century or so, we've skewed our fatty acid intake by eating less animal fat and more vegetable oils, so that we're getting way too many omega-6 fatty acids and not enough omega-3s, too many unsaturates and not enough saturates? In exactly the same way, we have been skewing our balance of amino acids, the building blocks of protein. Gelatin-rich foods, from bone broths to head cheese to foods like pig's feet and ox tails, were a large part of a traditional diet. Our ancestors relished every part of the animal, and just as they ate organ meats that most modern Americans now spurn, they also ate all the gelatin-rich bony and cartilaginous bits of the animal. In this modern era of muscle meat and little but muscle meat -- think boneless skinless chicken breast -- much of this gelatin has vanished from the diet, but our bodies' need for it has not.
After naming joint health and energy boosts as positive side effects of gelatin, she goes on to list some other health benefits of the stuff:
Gelatin... with its glycine and proline, apparently does everything from reducing susceptibility to stress, to fighting tumors, to soothing the intestinal tract, to improving thyroid function. Dr. Peat also says it stimulates natural sleep,exciting stuff for this lifetime insomniac. It should be generally relaxing. And it should do very good things for skin. You've heard of collagen cream, right? I've known for years that the molecules were actually too big to penetrate the skin when applied topically, so these creams did nothing to strengthen our own collagen. On the other hand, taking it internally should be helpful. If I suddenly start getting mistaken for a 35 year old I'll let you know.
So weird, right? Bone-in meats have sort of always turned me off a little, and when I do tolerate them, I rarely get anywhere near the bone before I give up and push away my plate, but I can certainly start eating more Jell-O** or using plain gelatin as a thickening agent in my cooking. To read more about the many ways Dana is supplementing her diet with gelatin (including taking the plain powder by the teaspoonful with water), check out her whole post.


**I should note here that Jell-O brand's sugar-free gelatin is sweetened with aspartame, which many health-minded folks try their best to avoid these days due to its reputation as a neurotoxin. Katie and I have explained in the comments discussion following this post how we still enjoy it in moderation, but I would hate for this post to encourage anyone to start loading up on large quantities of aspartame-sweetened Jell-O. I've read that there are a few ways to make your own flavored gelatin with your sweetener of choice, such as mixing unflavored gelatin with Kool-Aid packets and sweetener or DaVinci's sugar-free syrups, but I can't vouch for exact amounts of each since I've never tried it. Perhaps I'll give it a go and share what I find out.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday Meatspiration

I'm no trekkie, but this sausage/pepperoni/salami Starship Enterprise makes me want to live long and prosper.

(Via Foodbeast)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Vintage Ad: "It's all energy!"

Another one from the "Sugar Makes You Skinny" files, this vintage ad claims that sugar gives you enough energy to "undereat". Ummm.

Copy reads:
Enjoy an ice cream before lunch.

Sugar can be the willpower you need to undereat.

When you're hungry, it usually means your energy's down. By eating something with sugar in it, you can get your energy up fast. In fact, sugar is the fastest energy food around. And when your energy's up, there's a good chance you'll have the willpower to undereat at mealtime. How's that for a sweet idea?

Sugar... only 18 calories per teaspoon, and it's all energy.

Empty calories plus blood sugar spikes plus undereating? SO nutritious!

I wonder if an all-sugar diet will make my eyelashes spike out like that.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Easiest Low-Carb Dessert Recipe Ever

Since I spend most of my time in my boyfriend's tiny apartment in Manhattan with no freezer and no oven, dessert recipes that are actually doable for me are entirely too scarce. So when I saw this suggestion in the comments section of one of the other low-carb blogs Tracey and I read, I was intrigued and added the ingredients to my shopping list.

Here's the entire recipe:

Mix sugar-free pudding powder into full-fat Greek yogurt.

I bought the 17.6 oz. Fage Total Plain and mixed about a quarter of a packet of Jell-o butterscotch pudding into it.

The tang of the yogurt was still present, but the pudding powder made it plenty sweet. I can imagine using chocolate protein powder, a little natural peanut butter, or some calorie-free Walden Farms strawberry syrup in future mixes.

And the best part is that the Greek yogurt is only 7g carbs for 1 cup. It does have 7g sugar for 1 cup, but yogurt is great for my gut, and I'm never going to eat a whole cup of the stuff at a time, anyway.

Thank you, unknown commenter, for you have changed my life.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Daikon Hashbrowns

For me, the biggest challenge of eating better and lowering my carb intake is not giving up sugary desserts or bread. It's keeping myself away from potatoes. I. Love. Potatoes. In all their forms. My dream life involves spooning mounds of loaded mashed potatoes onto deep fried potato skins, topping them off with a sprinkling of crispy shredded hash browns, and eating them EVERY NIGHT for dinner. With a double side of fries.

Sadly, I'm picky about "fauxtato" recipes. I despise the taste of cauliflower once it's cooked, which means that the zillions of delicious-looking low carb recipes in which cauliflower masquerades as potatoes are completely wasted on me.

Recently, however, I finally got to taste a potato-imposter I had only read about in low carb cookbooks. Meet the daikon:

I was stunned when I spotted a few hunks of the Japanese radishes sitting there among the other veggies at my local grocery store. My heart skipped a beat when I remembered that they were fabled to create a mean hash brown substitute, so I snatched one up, took it home, and went to work.

First, I removed the skin with a vegetable peeler and grated it up using a box grater:

I found the shreds only slightly more watery than the ones you would get from a potato, and since I like my hash browns as crispy as possible, I squeezed them dry between some paper towels:

I melted some butter (olive oil would do just fine, too) in a skillet and threw in the shreds, spreading them out into a thin layer:

I let them cook, stirring occasionally, until they were browned to my liking, and I served them up next to my cheese omelet:

The verdict? These things were surprisingly good. The texture was spot on, and the taste was somewhat potato-ish, but with a little extra bite. I'll bet if I added some onions, or even some cheese and bacon crumbles, they might even fool someone. And for only 5g of carbs -- 2.3 of which are fiber -- in an entire cup of daikon, I'd say this recipe's a keeper.

The only downside was the smell that lingered in the kitchen for a few hours after cooking. You know how some vegetables just create a unique stink when heated, even if they taste delicious (I'm talking to you, cabbage)? This was one of them. Next time, I'll just have to remember to use the kitchen fan and light a candle.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Recipe Roundup

Once again, some recipes from around the blogosphere. Leave a recipe or link of your own in the comments!

What I Crave: Savory Herb Crackers

Elana's Pantry: Squash Fries

Grace2882: Beefy Tostada Pie

The Rogue Cookie: Low-Carb New York Style Cheesecake with Raspberry Sauce (Also see Heather's tips and techniques for cheesecake baking.)

24/7 Low Carb Diner: Tinkerbelle's Avocado Pudding

Friday, September 3, 2010

Friday Meatspiration

Haute hot dogs with unusual toppings have been trendy here in NYC for a couple of years now, and I've approved of every last concoction.

A schmear of cream cheese and everything bagel seeds? Totally. Pineapple? Okay, sure. Avocado? If you say so.

But Bachelor Girl sent us a link last week to this hot dog balloon featured on Craft Gossip, and it's really testing the limits of what I consider appropriate hot dog condiment:

At first, I thought it was a heart-shaped hot dog with a ketchup kite string and a mustard middle. Even though I've never seen the sugar-free ketchup that the rest of the U.S. is apparently enjoying here in NYC, I figured a packet of regular ketchup here and there is no problem.

But then I realized that the yellow filling is egg. Am I being a baby, or is that objectively weird?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Worth the Hassle to Be Healthy

Kim of the wonderfully elitist Good Hair, Kim Luck commented the other day on Tracey's post about people naysaying low-carb dieting as "not real weightloss" and said:

I couldn't be paid to care if the way someone chooses to drop pounds includes drinking heavy cream through a straw.

And I was obviously like, "BFFs!" It also reminded me of a recent trip to Starbucks.

I'm not a big fan of Starbucks' coffee, but I'm a big, big fan of the fact that they'll sell me a cup of heavy cream for the price of a glass of milk. If I find myself with absolutely no desire to think about what to have for lunch, I just pop down to the Starbucks in my office building, buy a cup of heavy cream, and mix up a protein shake. No one has ever questioned me or even looked at me funny there.

I was on my way home from work the other day, though, and decided to stop in the Starbucks I pass by anyway rather than:

• go out of my way to the grocery store, or
• stop at the bank to get cash, since corner bodegas are known for only taking cash.

"May I have a grande cup of heavy cream, please?" I asked the barista.

"A cup of what?" he asked.

"Heavy whipping cream," I said.

"Do you . . . want ice in it?" he asked.

"No, thanks," I replied. "Just the cream."

He poured the cup halfway full and then said, "You don't want anything else in here?"

I said, "Nope, all cream."

He said, "Let me fill it up for you."

I said, "Uh, yeah, thanks."

"Are you gonna drink this?" he asked, looking so weirded out.

"Sure," I said. "I'm going to mix it into smoothies and cook with it and stuff."

He handed it to me, saying, "You are the first and last person who will ever ask for this."

I laughed, but this sort of thing happens way too often for comfort, especially since I eat practically every meal out. Whether it's a McDonald's cashier telling me "we don't do that" when I ask for a bunless burger or a deli including the rice with my grilled chicken when I ask them not to, low-carbing takes a little bit of gumption.

Sometimes I don't want to deal with the strange looks and just take the bun off later myself, but usually I remind myself that any amount of hassle is worth my health.