Friday, January 30, 2009

Shrimp with Proscuitto

OK - Quick post tonight. It was a busy day. Made a stop at the grocery to prepare for the weekend. A couple of weeks ago I purchased some procuitto to make a procuitto, goat cheese pizza, but I just couldn't deal with having my delicious flat bread within eating distance.
So tonight I decided to wrap some shrimp in the proscuitto, drizzle it with a little olive oil and bake it. I skewered the shrimp and procuitto, but I'm not sure that was necessary. I paired it with some turkey italian sausage. Low carb, remember!?! I really need to work on some fresh vegetables.
Notes: Proscuitto was pretty salty and dry. The wrapped shrimp were OK alone, but would be better with some kind of creamy sauce to balance the salt. Or maybe use low-sodium bacon next time. But not a bad option for a low carb dinner - and pretty easy to make. Plus, I really miss seafood and would love to make it as much as possible.
We don't have many plans for this weekend, so I'm going to try to do some creative low-carb cooking. Sunday I'll be making the Gimme More Meat recipe from my friends over at The Duo Dishes. I'm sure it will be delicious.

Sweet Surprise!

I just got home from a crazy morning of dropping kids off at school, running errands, getting gas, blah, blah, blah. And when I pull into my driveway there's a box at my door. Imagine my surprise when I find it is full of candy!!

Now, for a low-carb eater like myself, it is pretty tempting - but I have two girls (the youngest is above with the candy), a scout troop and lots of neighborhood kids to share in the bounty. It was a gift from They were running a little contest on their blog and I applied. They have a great selection of popular, jelly, sugar free, chocolate and nostalgic candy - all at wholesale prices! With Valentine's Day right around the corner, you could give candy to everyone you love!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

More Canned Tomatoes

My life is about simple dinners. Now, simple low-carb dinners. Everyday on Foodbuzz I read a ton of fabulous recipes, but I don't happen to have lamb or truffles or pancetta around my house. Now don't get me wrong every special occassion deserves a special recipe. But Thursday 'round my house is just another night. Tonight we have a friend coming over who is doing weight watchers, so I needed to make something low-fat and low-carb. And easy.

So I had two cans of diced tomatoes. The DelMonte brand is made with high fructose corn syrup. Completely unnecessary. I am only using them because I already bought them, but I will not buy this brand again. The Jewel (our store) brand is made with sugar - again, not sure if it is necessary, but real sugar is better than the HFCS. But both defeat my low-carb intentions. Can't wait until summer again when I can grow my own. Maybe I'll learn how to can.

Turkey Sausage, Tomato and Peppers

2 lbs. Lean Smoked Turkey Sausage - sliced
2 medium green peppers - sliced in chunks
2 cans diced tomatoes (mine had garlic and onions, too)
2 T Penzey's Greek Seasoning

In large pan, heat turkey sausage (it is already cooked) until browned on edges. Add green peppers and tomatoes. Serves at least 4 with leftovers.

Other food today:
Breakfast: Turkey
Lunch: Morocan salad from Cosi
Snacks: 2% cheese, olives, almonds

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Today's menu - 1/28/09

Boring day of eating, but trying to be really good with low carbs. And note to self: don't be so hungry that you eat everything before you take a picture of it.

For breakfast and lunch I had turkey. Plain 'ol turkey. I had some almonds and pepper jack cheese for a snack.

Dinner: Hamburger patty topped with the blue cheese butter and red wine sauce that I used on the filet the other night.

Yes, I did resist the new batch of Friendship Cake that I smelled all day. I also made pancakes for my girls. Oh, woe is me. Why do I tempt myself so? :)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Crockpot Pork Roast with Giardiniera

So, I've lost a total of 10 lbs. in three weeks and a day. Not bad at all. Losing the carbs is really working and it has not been a bad journey at all. My initial goal was to lose ten pounds by Feb. 20, so I am way ahead of schedule. The weekend of February 7 will be a rough one because we are having a little Mardi Gras get-together and I plan on eating King Cake and whatever other New Orleans food I decide to cook. So I'm trying to be really good this week and next. Soon I'll start introducting whole grain items and a little more fruit.
A couple of quick notes about canned tomatoes. I buy a lot of canned tomatoes - some diced, some with garlic and onion, some with Mexican flavors. When I went to use one brand last week, I noticed high fructose corn syrup as an ingredient. So when I went to the store I searched around and found others with sugar, some with just tomatoes. Even in the same brand, some had sugar and some didn't. So shop around - who needs extra sugar? or high fructose corn syrup?

Here's what was on the menu for today:

Breakfast: Turkey

Snack: Pecans and Cheese

Lunch: Turkey and Greek Salad (cucumber, tomato, olives, feta)
Snack: Spinach and Artichoke dip with green peppers.

Dinner: Crockpot Pork Roast


1 bottle of Muffeletta Olive Salad or Giardiniera
1 can Hunts Fire Roasted Tomatoes
1 Pork Roast (1-2 lbs.)

Put all ingredients in crock pot on low for 6 - 8 hours. Serve port in slices and top with giardiniera or shred the pork, mix with olive salad and serve on a bun.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Filet with Blue Cheese Butter and Red Wine Sauce

Since it is ZERO degrees here in Chicago, there's no way I can grill my steaks. And everything I've stuck in the oven lately just seems so bland. I wanted to do just a blue cheese sauce for my little filets, but came across this mouthwatering recipe from The Weekend Griller. Today, unlike most of the rest of the week, I had a little time so I decided to give it a try.

Seared Filet Mignon Steaks with Maytag Blue Cheese Butter and Red Wine Sauce

Maytag Blue Cheese Butter
½ cup Maytag blue cheese
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
Red Wine Sauce
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup finely diced onion
20 black peppercorns
½ cup Cabernet Sauvignon Wine
2 cups Veal Stock

4 Omaha Steaks Filet Mignon steaks, about 8 ounces each, sliced crosswise into 2 medallions (The Weekend Grillers think that Filet Mignons are overrated and bland. We always choose Omaha Steaks Ribeyes, Sirloins or T-Bones. They work just fine.)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Blue Cheese Butter

whisk together the cheese and butter in a mixing bowl and refrigerate until set.
Heat the butter in a sauté pan.
Add the onion and sauté over medium-high heat for about 2 to 3 minutes, until the onion turns translucent.
Add the peppercorns and sauté 2 to 3 minutes longer.
Add the wine and reduce the mixture until almost dry.
Add the stock and reduce the liquid by half.
Remove the pan from the heat, strain the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean saucepan or double boiler, and keep warm.

Steaks and final Instructions
Dust the Filet Mignons (or better cuts - Mark) with salt and pepper then grill to the desired doneness.
Place the steaks on a plate and top immediately with a dollop of the blue cheese butter.
Spoon the sauce over the butter and meat and serve immediately.

MY CHANGES: Used merlot instead of cab. Probably used really cheap blue cheese. Couldn't get my pepper grinder open, so I cracked lots of pepper.
This is really rich and high in fat - perfect for a low carb diet or special occassion. It was really delicious and not that difficult - just a little time consuming to make the red wine sauce.
Rest of today's menu:
No breakfast, again!!
Lunch: Chicken salad from the deli.
Snack: Pecans
Weigh in tomorrow!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Stir Fry and Pizza

Well, this has been quite a week. I've hardly been home for a meal it seems. And I've conquered quite a few tempations (with special thanks to my old friend Tara). This morning my daughter and her friend wanted to make and decorate brownies - lots and lots of icing! Brownies are hard to resist. But I did it!

Then I went to the deli for a few hours to get some work done - and that means Challah bread and bagels. Again, no cheating!! Yea for me!

Then to my friend Lisa's for dinner with the kids - homemade pizza. Stop already! You're killing me!! Luckily I brought a salad and we added some sliced turkey to it, and I just ate the tops of a pizza - cheese, sauce, tomatoes and basil. Just enough to satisfy the craving.

I'm really trying to make it through this weekend with basically no carbs. I'm having a little Mardi Gras party on February 7 and I don't think I can pass up a slice of king cake.

Today for lunch I ate some left over stir fry with chicken, bamboo shoots, red and green pepper, water chestnuts, white and black sesame seeds and black bean and garlic sauce.
On to the weekend!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Two Sisters Gourmet Closing

If you've checked out some past entries of this blog, you'll see that I was promoting Two Sisters Gourmet products. It is a home party company, and I was a pretty good sales consultant if I must say so myself.

Well, the company has announced that it will be closing in the next few weeks. If you've ordered from me before, you can stock up on your favorites within the next week or so at Blackberry Cherry Pepper Conserve, Flat Bread Mix, Island Ponzu Sauce, Sweet & Spicy Pepper Jelly, Hint of Mint Chocolate Sauce. I could go on and on. I still love the products, but I'll have to stock up just like everyone else.

I'll pick up with my low-carb menu tomorrow. Today I didn't even eat anything worth writing down.

And I think for now I'll keep the blog up even though I won't be talking about TSG anymore. Check me out on foodbuzz -

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Low Carb Pizza

My friend cancelled dinner, and so I decided to make tomorrow's dinner tonight. I've been craving pizza and remembered reading a recipe that used sausage as the crust. Definitely not low fat, but low carb. I couldn't find that recipe tonight, so I just started putting things together with what I had around. Here's what I came up with.


.75 lb bulk Italian Sausage
3 oz. tomato paste
1/2 green pepper, chopped
8 black olives cut in half
Cheese - lots of cheese - mozzarella, parmesan, white and yellow cheddar, pepper jack.

I made the sausage into one big pattie - to fit in my 8" springform pan. I pan fried both sides of the pattie and rested in on a paper towel. I placed the pattie in the springform pan and topped with tomato paste, then some cheese, then the green pepper and olives, then some more cheese. I gave it a sprinkle of oregano and popped it in a 350 oven for about 10 minutes. The "crust" was already cooked, so I really just needed to melt the cheese.
Lessons learned: The Italian sausage was pretty bland. Also make the giant patty very thin. It will shrink and bulk up when you cook it. More sauce.

Today's menu 1/21/09 (and yesterday, too)

I completely ran out of time yesterday to post my little diary. I spent the morning at the deli, the early afternoon watch inauguration stuff, then leading the brownie scout meeting and then playing bunco. I barely had enough time to post that picture of the big, huge corned beef sandwich, which by the way, I ate the insides of for lunch. Oh, not all of it - that was one huge sandwich.

Breakfast - nothing!! I've got to stop that.
Lunch - Corned beef from Schmaltz and broccoli slaw.
Dinner - Turkey and broccoli slaw.

I am now officially out of broccoli slaw - I love that stuff! It was bunco where I probably blew the day. I stayed away from all the snacks - even Molly's amazing blueberry white chocolate crumble bars, and snacked on red peppers and pepper jack cheese. Oh, plus had lots of red wine!! Haven't gotten on the new digital scale yet today, but will do in just bit.

As for today, I promise to eat breakfast. I'm going to a friend's for dinner tonight so I'm not sure what I'm having, but she promised to keep it low-carb friendly.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Schmaltz Delicatessen Corned Beef Sandwich

Monday, January 19, 2009

Today's menu - 1/19/09

Well, I didn't really do a great job on the diet today. The girls had off of school and I took them to the movies. So that means movie popcorn. And four - just four, I swear - M&Ms. I'm trying to drink a couple of big glasses of water tonight. And I bought that digital scale today. Uh-oh. More work to do than I thought.

Breakfast - None.

Lunch - Chicken caesar salad from Boagie's. Good chicken, bad dressing.

Snack - Lots of movie theatre popcorn.

Dinner - White meat pork chop seasoned with jerk seasoning. Artichoke hearts with olive oil, garlic, oregano and freshly grated parmesan cheese (baked for 10 min at 350).

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Today's Low Carb Menu - 1/18/09

Well , I know you're only supposed to get on the scale once a week, but right now I'm too obsessed. As of this morning I've lost 7 lbs since January 5. I had to check anyway because I really should buy a digital scale. I'm sure it will tell me my current scale is wrong. Maybe that's why I haven't bought one yet.

A little about my diet - I've basically ruled out bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, flour and sugar. Whaaaaat? So, right now I'm not even doing whole grain bread, brown rice, and all those other good for you complex carbohydrates that still make you want to eat a big giant bagel or baked potato. I'm getting carbs from vegetables, nuts, beans, dairy - and whatever random carbs happen to be in some of the processed things I eat.\

So I long will I go on like this? Probably until I go to New Orleans at the end of February for Mardi Gras. You really don't expect me to pass up a fried shrimp po-boy, do you?

Breakfast - One and a half eggs with one slice of ham and some shredded cheddar cheese

Lunch - I think I just ate some of the leftover broccoli slaw and one slice of pepper jack cheese.

Snack - Some of yesterday's Buffalo Chicken Dip and celery sticks.

Dinner - Almond and Pecan encrusted boneless chicken breasts, pan fried. I know I had fish the same way yesterday, but I wanted to use of the rest of the coating.

Oh, and I had a very small piece of friendship bread before bed. No one else in my house is eating it, and it was just calling my name.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Today's menu - 1/17/09

Breakfast - One small egg and a slice and a half of bacon.

I guess I need to call that brunch for today because I didn't officially have anything for lunch. I did make a pretty substantial snack. I had been craving this dip that I had a party a couple of months ago - Buffalo Chicken Dip. The hard part on a low carb diet is what to dip in the dip. Since this was similar to buffalo chicken, I used celery. Not a bad option I guess. I ate a bunch.

Dinner - Almond and Pecan encrusted catfish, bacon wrapped shrimp and over-the-edge broccoli slaw.

--2 catfish filets
--1/2 cup ground almonds and pecans
--salt, pepper, TSG Chipotle Chili Seasoning

Filets were pan-fried in a little butter. Lesson - Don't bother trying to season the pecans and almonds before cooking. Might as well sprinkle a little seasoning on after the fish cooks.

--1 bag chopped broccoli slaw
--1 - 2 Tbls. TSG Over The Edge Herbed Spinach Seasoning
--4 - 6 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped
--1/8 - 1/4 cup of mayo (use light if you'd like) I never measure.
Combine everything and refrigerate for about an hour before eating.

If it were really Friendship Bread . . .

It seems to go around every year or so. Some love to get it, other dread it. You might have heard it called Friendship Bread or Amish Friendship Bread. But let me tell you right now that a true friend would tell you up front that you need a large box of vanilla instant pudding mix at the end.

I'm probably one of those people who doesn't mind getting the friendship bread chain letter and starter - but it's pretty rough when you're on a low carb diet. So I did what every good friend would do - mixed it all up, divided up the starter, baked muffins instead of a loaf, and divided it all up among four friends. Plus, I bought four boxes of vanilla instant pudding to put with the package.

I'll admit, though, I cheated. I had about a two inch square of the friendship bread - it was really really good.

If you're unfamiliar with Friendship Bread, a friend gives you a plastic bag with about a cup of batter in it. This batter comes from a batch of the bread she made. Your batter comes with a page of instructions that tells you what to do with the batter for a week and a half, like mush the bag, or add flour and sugar. Eventually you add items and then divide some of the mixture up to give to four of your friends. Then you bake the rest into a tasty cinnamon bread with a streusel topping.
Friendship Bread Starter Recipe

Here's the recipe from the sheet that comes with the starter batter:

Day 1: You receive the fermented batter in a 1 gallon ziploc bag. Do Nothing. Just place the bag on the kitchen counter.

Day 1: Do nothing. This is the day you receive your batter. Place it on the kitchen counter.
Day 2: Mush the bag.
Day 3: Mush the bag.
Day 4: Mush the bag.
Day 5: Mush the bag.
Day 6: Add to the bag 1 cup each of flour, sugar and milk. Mush the bag.
Day 7: Mush the bag.
Day 8: Mush the bag.
Day 9: Mush the bag.

Day 10: In a large, non-metal bowl, combine batter with 1 c. each flour, sugar, and milk. Mix with a wooden spoon. Pour four 1-cup starters into individual gallon ziploc bags. Give away starters to friends with this set of directions. It is important to follow this sequence exactly.

To the remaining batter add:

1 c. canola oil
1 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
3 eggs
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
2 c. flour
1/2 c. milk
1/2 t. baking soda
1 large box of instant vanilla pudding
2 t. cinnamon
In separate bowl, mix 1 t. cinnamon and 3 T. sugar. Sprinkle into well-greased loaf pans and coat the sides with sugar mixture. Do not use Pam or other non-stick spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until done.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Today's menu - 1/16/09

Well, the kids are home from school today because of extreme cold- -23 to be exact, and that's without wind chill. Brrrrrrr. So, on lazy mornings they always want pancakes, which are just one giant carb circle. But being the good mom I am, I made the pancakes and didn't even taste one.

I haven't even really been craving carbs. Yesterday at the girls' gym class it seemed everyone (my girls included) had a bag of Doritos. Really! Even two of the parents.

So what am I going to eat today?

Breakfast - One egg with ham and some cheese.

Lunch - If I'm at the deli I'll have a salad, if I'm home, leftover stir-fry.

Dinner - Burgers - no bun for me. I think I'll make some sort of rich, fancy cheese sauce to go on top. I have gorgonzola, parmesan and mozzarella handy. Will report tomorrow.

Here's the simple pancake recipe I use:
1 cup of flour
2 tbl. of sugar
2 tsp. of baking powder
1/4 tsp. of salt
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla

A little sweet - almost like cake - perfect for little girls!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Today's menu - 1/15/09

Breakfast - Egg White Scramble with one slice of ham, a sprinkle of Tony Chachere's and a little bit of cheese.

Lunch - The other half of my favorite Schmaltz salad. I must have eaten most of the veggies out of it yesterday. Added 1/4 lb. turkey to beef it up.

Dinner - I haven't decided yet - The kids have gym class and we have dentist appointments after that, so I'll probably be picking something up for them. I think I'll have the left over stir fry from the other night - boneless chicken thighs, peppers, water chestnuts and bamboo shoots in black bean and garlic sauce.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Today's menu - 1/14/09

Breakfast - 1/8 or so lb. of turkey. Yes plain turkey. I just couldn't look at another egg this morning.

Lunch - 1/2 Stilton salad from Schmaltz. (Lettuce, cucumber, tomato, artichoke hearts, almonds, bleu cheese, balsamic vinaigrette)

Dinner - Pork tenderloin basted with TSG Porcini Mushroom Balsamic Vinaigrette, and whatever vegetable my friend Michelle brings over for dinner.

Must look for good snacks. Pecans are getting old. Maybe a little bit of pepper jack cheese today.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Today's menu - 1/13/09

Egg Beaters 100% Egg Whites with Two Sisters Gourmet Black Bean and Corn Salsa

Schmaltz Deli, 1/2 Overstuffed Herald Square on tortilla, minus tortilla, and 1/4 of Stilton Specialty Salad

Stir fry of Boneless chicken thighs, red and green bell pepper, water chestnuts and bamboo shoots with black bean and garlic sauce. I also attempted to make MooShoo Wrappers (crepes) with egg whites, a little flour, stevia and some milk. Probably not any where near low carb so I will probably not eat any.

Low carb livin'

So, this is a little different than my regular posts. Me, along with most of the free world, decided to go on a diet at the New Year. Technically, mine didn't start until January 5th, becuase there was no way I was going on a diet while I was still in New Orleans.

Well, its been a week. I'm trying to drink lots more water and I'm limiting myself to one diet soda a day. (Diet Cherry Coke is my poison.)

Here is my attempt to hold myself a little accountable for following this diet. I've decided to try low-carb. I have no idea if I'm following Atkins, Sugar Busters, South Beach or whatever. But for the time being, I've given up my beloved Schmaltz's bagels, sugar, flour - the really nasty carbs. So far, so good. Three pounds down the first week.

I've been eating a meat and vegetable for dinner, a salad or some turkey for lunch, and an egg white or egg beaters mini-omelet for breakfast. I've been snacking on raw pecans, a little bit of cheese, turkey and green veggies.

I'll be posting some low carb recipes as I go along. My goal is to lose 10 pounds by the time I go to Mardi Gras at the end of February - I guess so I can gain it all back while I'm in New Orleans -LOL. Here we go!

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