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Monday, November 30, 2015

Pepper Jack Zoodles

What the heck is a Zoodle you may be asking yourself! Well it's a simple little Zucchini Noodle I make using my Veggetti. Ok, now you're probably asking what the heck is a Veggetti???

Let me explain and show you how I made this yummy dish right here.

This is super simple...first you buy one of these. You can find them on Amazon for a great price or usually any stores that has the "as seen on TV" displays. There are several other different kinds of vegetable noodle makers out there but this one works great and doesn't take up a lot of valuable kitchen space. Easy to clean too!

Veggetti on

Then you buy a zucchini (not pictured as we all know what a zucchini looks like right?)

Then you do this.

Here's a few tips. Wash the zucchini first and dry it so it won't be slippery as an eel and you end up noodling part of your finger in there... just saying! Also if you want super long noodles, just leave the zucchini as is. For shorter noodles cut lengthwise being careful not to slice the zucchini in half.

Once you have your Zoodles (Zucchini Noodles) place them in a microwave safe bowl and heat for about 30 seconds. Then take one or two depending on how much you are making and how creamy your want it, Laughing Cow Cheese Wedges, there's no science to this, just do what makes you happy! Place the cheese wedge in the bowl and heat again for 30 seconds, take out and stir and keep heating in 30 minute increments until it's all melty, ooey, gooey, cheesy! Then serve alongside your favorite protein. Today I had mine with left over Thanksgiving Ham!

Oh, another tip, Pepper Jack when it's heated is kinda spicy! So don't say I didn't warn you. But of course there are so many other flavors of Laughing Cow Cheese. There's Creamy Original, Swiss Garlic and Herb, Queso Fresco Chipotle, White Cheddar, Creamy Mozzarella Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil and French Onion. Most of them have only one carb per wedge. I plan to try these Zoodles again with one of each!

So here's another easy peasy low-carb/high fat side dish for when you don't have a lot of time. I Veggettied this in the morning before I left for work and heated it at the office! I'm all about the easy!


Friday, November 27, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

So I'm sure you're all wondering how my first low carb/high fat Thanksgiving went and did I stick to the plan. I'm happy to announce that I sure as heck did!

Of course it's not that hard to stay low carb on Thanksgiving because the main event of the meal are pure protein.

But those side dishes!!! Mashed potatoes with gravy, rolls with butter, dressing made with cornbread and/or bread, pumpkin pies, breads, rolls!

Luckily I have help in my WOE (way of eating)! My mom made for me a special low carb stuffing alongside the regular stuffing she made for the rest of the family. As luck would have it I did not get a picture of it, but she took the ground beef she had browned and put about two cups into a separate pan. She added chopped bell pepper, green onion and celery. When I saw what she was doing I gave her a big hug and then I added some chopped cauliflower. She added the chicken broth and when it was almost done I added about a cup of chopped pecans! It was delish and I didn't even miss the bread! It had a nutty rich, crunchy texture and that wonderful bell pepper/celery/green onion taste that I love!

I also made a low carb version of cranberry sauce, this one from Gourmet Girl Cooks. It's a Cranberry Orange Coconut Sauce. Her picture is much prettier than mine, but it still tasted delicious! Some of my family members that swore they did not like cranberry sauce tasted it and loved it.

As I am not one to love feeling left out I made a low carb pumpkin dessert for me to enjoy while the rest of the family enjoyed the regular pumpkin pies that I made. The recipe for this I found on the most awesome low carb site ever!!! Linda's Low Carb Menus or

This website is a staple for almost all low carb eaters. I've enjoyed many of her recipes and they always turn out perfectly! The recipe I chose was Jody's Pumpkin Bake and it was better than real pumpkin pie! Again, those that tasted it had a slice of this instead of the regular pumpkin pies I had baked. I added a dollop of whipped cream and then had the bright idea to top it with slivered almonds which gave it a delightful crunch and a nutty flavor!

So these dishes along with some green beans sauteed in bacon fat with almonds were so satisfying that I didn't even miss the rolls or the mashed potatoes. I had planned to make a cauliflower mash but time got away from me and it's hard to make room in a kitchen when there was already so many other foods being prepared.

So it was a great Thanksgiving spent with family and I'm glad I didn't give in to temptation, in fact, I wasn't even tempted! Now we'll see how I cope with Christmas as that is when we make and eat Tamales and it's really hard to find a low carb method of making those since three quarters of the tamale is made with corn masa. But I'm not worried, I'll figure something out!


Monday, November 23, 2015

Easy Low Carb Lunches

With my Low Carb/High Fat way of eating I find that I am more successful when I spending time prepping my lunches and planning my dinners.

But sometimes life gets in the way or I run out of steam and I just don't want to think about or plan a menu for a week of breakfast, lunches and dinners.

Luckily I noticed these little pouches of different flavors of tuna at our local Wal-Mart a week ago. I've bought the regular tuna in pouches and found them to be convenient and just as good as tuna in a can. So I bought three different flavors and I had them for lunch last week, one on Thursday, Friday and one today.

**Thursday: StarKist Tuna Creations, Hot Buffalo Style
I bought this one because I love buffalo wings. I use Franks Red Hot Buffalo Sauce a lot and I love spicy foods so I was really looking forward to this one.

Photo Credit - StarKist

I ate it plain and simple with just some celery and blended in a dollop of mayonnaise. If you are someone that loves to drench your fish in lemon juice then this is the flavor for you. I unfortunately am not one of those people so this was way to lemony for me. Not sure why either because the list of ingredients didn't even name lemon! This was ok, but I will not be buying it again!

**Friday: StarKist Kid's Creations - Bacon Ranch Flavor
I bought this one because I love bacon and I love ranch and because it was for kids and it looked like they are serving it in a taco!

Photo Credit - StarKist

I ate this one the same as I ate the buffalo one, just celery and a dollop of mayo which you can barely see in the photo above. It was good, I enjoyed it and will be buying it again! I didn't really taste bacon or ranch very strongly but it did have good flavor!

**Today: StarKist Gourmet Selects - Mexican Style Tuna
I bought this one because c'mon, I'm Mexican and I love spicy. I loved the idea of having jalapeno peppers in there!

Photo Credit - StarKist

I really liked this one, it had a nice spicy bite. Not so hot that you can't eat it but you could definitely tell there was jalapeno in there. And for having Sunflower Oil in these it was still fairly dry but had a good texture.

Of course I did dress it up a bit adding some sliced avocado, mayo and dill pickle relish and served it alongside a hard boiled egg. I probably could have taken all the ingredients and mixed them together but it made for a prettier serving this way.

These pouches are 2 carbs each and they are 97 cents, so they are a great quick lunch or snack and I will be buying them again. Not the buffalo one but the other two.  I want to try these two flavors as well.

Photo Credit - StarKist
So if you are looking for a quick low carb food give these a try and let me know what you think!


Friday, November 20, 2015

I Can't Adult Today

This is how I feel today!

Remember how when we were kids we just wanted to be grown up? To be like our parents, no one telling you what to do, what to eat, when to go to bed? Ahhh, that was the dream.

Well I'm living the dream folks and gotta say, "It's not all it's cracked up to be!"

Not too long ago my car died. I think this was back in April. So I had to get a new car. After more than 10 years of having no car payment, I had a car payment!

Then our cooler caught on fire on August, we were lucky that we caught it before it caused damage to the roof or burned the whole house down, but I had to get a new cooler!

And now...our refrigerator has given out! So tomorrow it's refrigerator shopping! When it rains it pours.

I guess everyone in my household is getting a refrigerator for Christmas! Hahaha! Oh well, what can you do. Take the hits as they come and keep on keeping on, right?

But sometimes it does suck to be an adult and I remember back to when I couldn't wait to be an adult. Can you imagine all the problems that my parents had and on top of that they had to deal with me? I guess I can't complain.


Monday, November 16, 2015

Doing Thanksgiving Day Low Carb Style

I can't believe that November is almost over! Next week will be Thanksgiving already. How time flies!

And speaking of Thanksgiving being next week I have to admit I'm a bit worried about what to eat. You mom makes the best stuffing/dressing on the planet. I love her stuffing, it's my whole reason for living! But as all good stuffing is, it's made with bread and bread is one of the item that I don't eat in my new way of eating, LCHF (low carb/high fat).  So I've been researching ideas in my head of how to have a Happy Low-Carb Thanksgiving.

The Turkey and Ham are a given, luckily I can have that without too much worry. The ham may have a syrup glaze on it so of course I would need to be more careful with that. But what about all those lovely sides? Buttery mashed potatoes drenched in gravy, stuffing made with bread and those fluffy soft dinner rolls that we all love to slather with butter. Then there are the pies and cheesecakes and cookies and pumpkin breads! What's a low carb girl to do?

I am not a foodie, I don't invent foods or make tweaks to current recipes to transform them to low carb, but lots of others do. There are hundreds of bloggers and foodies out there that love to share their ideas. This is the best time ever to be a low-carb eater!

My mom's stuffing, that is my kryponite! That is what will be the hardest to stay away from. I have promised myself a small helping in the morning while mom is making it. Just 1/4 of a cup. I'm not even going to try to figure out how many carbs will be in that 1/4 of a cup I'm just going to eat it and savor it and be extremely grateful that my mom is still with me and able to make stuffing for me again!

However, I am also going to make this lower carb version from Davida of The Healthy Maven blog,  Cauliflower Rice Stuffing from The Healthy Maven.

Cauliflower Rice Stuffing from The Healthy Maven
Doesn't that look delicious? The stuff that looks like bread...that's cauliflower! This sounds so amazing, it also uses yellow onion, garlic, celery, mushrooms, pecans, sage poultry seasoning, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. I'm not a big fan of the mushroom so I think I will leave that out. Mom makes her stuffing by using ground beef, I know lots of others use sausage, to I will replace the mushrooms with ground beef. One serving made with the ground beef instead of the mushrooms will be close to 8 carbs.

Photo Credit - Ocean 
Another favorite of mine is the cranberry sauce. You're all going to shake your head at me and "tsk-tsk" me because I love and adore canned cranberry sauce, both the jellied and non-jellied version. Hey! It's what I know, it's what I was brought up on! Love this stuff!

Unfortunately it's a bit high in carbs as well as it's made with sugar and high fructose corn syrup. 1/4 of a cup will be 28 carbs.

So I have been searching high and low for an alternative as I really do love this stuff on my turkey!.

I came across this recipe that was also shared on The Healthy Mavens blog but is a creation of Gina from the blog Running to the Kitchen.

This is 5-ingredient slow cooker Cranberry Sauce. Best thing it's slow cooked, so you can prep it, set it and forget it! This will lower the carb count to about 8 per serving. I will miss my canned jellied cranberry sauce though!

What I will be on the hunt for next is something to replace my pumpkin pie! That was even hard to type, but it must be done. For those of you that have been following my low carb journey, I have now lost 23 pounds. I feel so great and I am having so much fun fitting into my skinny clothes again! Yay me! So yes, I could splurge, I could do a cheat day, but looking at these yummy recipes above, why would I want to when I can substitute with equally fulfilling and delicious dishes?

What is your favorite Thanksgiving food that you can't live without?


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Our Halloween and October in a Nutshell

Well today is the 1st day of November and October was a blur! Not sure why starting in October the day's just fly by!

But it was a great month. The weather is finally feeling a little bit fallish, even though today is back to 82 and sunny.

We had some great times this month. We had Baby J all to ourselves one Saturday so we took her for a walk in the neighborhood! She loves to walk the dogs, even though you can tell in this picture that Chorizo is not too sure about Baby J walking her!

We also were lucky in finding my cousin Art outside cleaning out his Koi Pond. Baby J loves the beautiful fish and I thought she would be scared of them but she had no problem petting them! Child has no fear! You can see that her grandmother who Baby J calls Nini is full of fear, fear of Baby J falling into the pond! See her grabbing the back of J's shirt? 

After our walk we headed to the Little Bear Pumpkin Patch. There is nothing like seeing the holidays through the eyes of a little one! She loved it and we loved watching her!

Baby J and I in a pumpkin cutout!

Baby J and I and my mom. Baby J is my moms only great granddaughter.

Baby J and her Nini at the Pumpkin Patch!

Then last night of course was Halloween and Baby J came trick or treating to our house. The funny thing is she tried to give us her candy, silly baby! She looked adorable as Minnie Mouse and she loved Chorizo's costume, a big red lobster!

And now we're in November. Thanksgiving, changing of the leaves, football and hopefully more Baby J awaits!


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Fall of the Squash

Recently mom and I were watching The Food Network and we saw a Chef preparing Acorn Squash. "What's that?" my mom asked. "Have you ever had Acorn Squash?"  

And no, I had never had Acorn Squash so we said next time we went grocery shopping we would pick one up, and we did.

We were going to make it the way we saw on the Food Network in a dish called Acorn Squash Agrodolce. Argodolce is Italian for Sour/Sweet.

Their recipe started out with cutting the acorn squash in half then scooping out the seeds then slicing it into 1 inch slices. Which I did, easy-peasy! 

Then you toss with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast about 30 minutes. Then it said to remove the peel. 

Well, I did all of the above but when it came out of the oven I tasted it with the peel as other websites said you can eat the peel and O.M.Goodness!!! It was so delicious. I almost ate the whole thing right then and there. Mom loved it too and she's a very picky eater.

Here you see a few slices that I had with my dinner that night, alongside some coleslaw and some cubed Parmesan crusted pork chop.

The rest of the recipe called for the agrodolce, which sounds terrific but it's very high in carbs due to sugar content. It calls for red wine vinegar as the Agro (Sour) and Dolce (Sweet) in the form of dried currants or raisins and honey. Also some crush red pepper, fresh mint and salted almonds. You can find the complete recipe HERE.

After I had eaten my fill of Acorn Squash I had to log it in to my food tracker which I will share more about in another post. 

Turns out that Acorn Squash is pretty high in carbs. Which makes sense because it was so delicious. 1 cup cooked has 30 carbs, then you minus the dietary fiber and you end up with 21 net carbs. Again, too high when you stick with 20 to 24 carbs per day. 

However I can eat a slice here and there once in a while. It is very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. It's a great source of Vitamin A, Thiamin, Vitamin B6 and Magnesium and Dietary Fiber, Potassium, Manganese and Vitamin C.

Photo Credit -
Have you ever had Acorn Squash? What other squashes would you recommend? I think this fall I am going to try different ones. A friend of mine recommended I try Carnival and Kabocha Squash, so I'm on the hunt for those.


Monday, October 12, 2015

Living Low Carb and the Challenges that come with it.

Happy to report that as of this morning I have lost 18 pounds! 

That's just slightly more than 1 pound a week. If I can manage to lose 1 pound per week, I will have lost 52 pounds in one year. I don't need to lose 52 pounds, but I have set a goal to lose at least 1 pound a week and so far I'm hitting my goal!

I'm not going to paint a pretty picture and say that this has been easy because it's not easy.

One of the biggest challenges I have encountered is eating out. For the most part I eat at home, or I pack my lunches and snacks for work. But once in a while I have to eat out. My sister Lisa and I try to keep one night per week as a sister night. This used to be a lot of fun. We would go to a favorite Mexican food place and have margaritas and eat baskets of chips with salsa. 

Since I am eating low carb/high fat and Lisa is watching her sodium intake, it is very hard to find a place we can eat. I can't eat the chips due to the carbs and Lisa can't eat them due to the salt. We try to go places where we can eat salads but that's difficult because many salads have hidden carbs in the shape of croutons, won tons, rice, beans, corn and sugar in the dressings. For Lisa just the dressings themselves are packed with sodium.

One of our favorite places to eat was Coco's Restaurant. Our favorite dish there was the Spicy Asian Chicken Salad. Below is how the carbs/sodium facts play out. Remember I stick to 20 to 24 net carbs per day and Lisa I believe sticks to 1200 to 1500 Mg's of sodium per day. Our favorite salad has a net carb count of 81 carbs and sodium level of 1410 Mg's. Just one salad!

I also have the same problem eating out with my mom. Mom and I like to go shopping on Saturdays. We both love going to Goodwill and we also do our grocery shopping. We also usually have a nice lunch somewhere. But Mom is a very picky eater. She doesn't do salads and she has such a small appetite that she can't eat in a steak house where she would have to pay $15 or more just to eat one or two bites. Yesterday we went out and the only place she wanted to eat was Del Taco. I ordered their Chicken Bacon Avocado Salad. You can see the nutrition info for carbs is a net of 18. I figure it was less than that as I didn't eat the tortilla chips shown in the photo. I estimate I ate about 7 to 10 carbs. But the salad was horrible, not at all as pictured below.

Another challenge is exercising. My problem with exercise is that I've hurt myself exercising! You remember my post a few weeks ago about my heart attack scare where I actually had only hurt myself exercising. I was diagnosed with Bursitis. I didn't blame exercise at that time, but just this Friday I had to see my doctor for a horrible pain in my left ankle and foot. I explained to my doctor that I had started a walking regimen and she said it's either a heel spur or Plantar Fasciitis. I had x-rays taken and hopefully it's not a heel spur.

Unfortunately this has derailed my exercise routine. I tried all last week to continue doing the 1 mile walking video but by Friday I couldn't stand the pain anymore, and yesterday going shopping with my mom we had to shorten our day due to the pain. It really is irritating because I was enjoying the was daily exercise.  I'm going to start riding my stationary bike since that doesn't affect either my arm or my feet, we'll see how long my knees can hold up! But I'm not going to stop moving!

Another challenge is that because it's so hard to eat out I've literally stopped going out. No more Happy Hour with the girls. Margaritas have sugar in the simple syrup, about the only thing without carbs is drinking straight alcohol, like tequila or vodka and I'm not big on that. I can maybe have one Michelob Ultra which I believe has 3.6 carbs, but what about the happy hour foods? Chips and Salsa, Guacamole, Chicken Wings, Potato Skins? None of that is carb friendly.

But challenging as it is I am determined to continue with my new WOE (way of eating) and if I have to give up girls night it's worth it to feel as good as I do, to have the energy I have now. Sometimes it is disheartening and I guess that's why I'm venting now, but it would make my life so much easier if all my favorite things didn't have so many stinking carbs!!!


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

My Version of Bullet Proof Coffee

There's a trend that's been going on for the past few year for a coffee that is made with such ingredients that it can replace or enhance your breakfast. It's called Bullet Proof Coffee.

Have you heard of it? Have you wondered what it is? Well, the original Bulletproof coffee is the creation of Dave Asprey, Founder and Author of the book The Bulletproof Diet. 

My version of the Bullet Proof Coffee is a bit different. I don't include the Grass Fed Butter and I use Organic Virgin Coconut Oil in mine.

Here's a picture of the one I made this morning. Doesn't that look delicious? It's so creamy and the ingredients I use give it such a unique flavor. It definitely enhances coffee!

So how do I make this? 

1.  Coffee - We just brew it normal in a Mr. Coffee coffeemaker. I do have a Keurig but my mom makes coffee each morning so I drink the one she makes cause...well...she makes it for me!
2.  1 Tablespoon of  Coconut Oil, this is the one I buy at Trader Joe's . It's about $7 a jar, but you can see there are 30 servings so that will last me a month.

3.  2 Tablespoons Half and Half Creamer
4.  1 packet Splenda

That's it! I put it all in a pretty mug, like the one above. (During the week I put it in my travel mug). 

When I want to make it special I used my Aerolatte Coffee Frother. Using this is what makes that beautiful head of foam you see in the picture above. During the week I just wait until I get to work and I shake, shake, shake my travel mug and it gets just as frothy and I get a mini-workout's a win-win! (I bought my Aerolatte Frother at Williams & Sonoma.)

So that's it. That's how I make my morning coffee. I could add the butter, but that just seems like overkill to me.

Coffee this way is the first thing I have in the morning and it gives me energy and helps me feel full until 10 am when I have my morning break and I eat my bacon and eggs. Yeah, eating LC/HF is really, really tough!

When I mention to anyone the way I drink my coffee they always are skeptical of the Coconut Oil, but once they try it and taste the flavor it gives the coffee they get hooked just like I am. 

On my LC/HF diet I am supposed to get 70% of my daily nutrition goals from healthy fats. I'm not a big lover of fat. I've never been one to like legs and thighs on chicken, I prefer the drier, less greasy taste of chicken breasts. I always trim the fat off of pork chops and steaks. This way is an easy and fast way for me to get my healthy fats. The net carbs on my version of Bullet Proof Coffee is 3.

And the facts on calories, net carbs, carbs, fat, protein, sodium and fiber in the graphic above come from a handy dandy little website I'll be doing a separate post on them later, stay tuned. 


Monday, October 5, 2015

The Sacrifices Women Make - From Left to Write - The Little Paris Bookshop

Before you begin reading this post I need to clarify that I am writing strictly from the woman's point of view. I'm not saying only women make sacrifices, but writing only about the sacrifices that I have seen women make.

Disclosure: This post was inspired by the novel The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George, where Monsieur Perdu--a literary apothecary--finally searches for the woman who left him many years ago.. Join From Left to Write on October 8th as we discuss The Little Paris Bookshop. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

We all know that women are strong, strong willed, and stubborn. I know this as a fact because that describes me. Those three attributes are not always considered to be an attractive or needed quality for a woman. We're the weaker sex, we should be submissive, quiet, recalcitrant. As women we sometimes fake those attributes in order to survive and prosper in this world.

This post was going to be about all the great things that women do for others, especially their children, but I deleted everything I had written after this because today I read something that really brought home the strength and courage of a woman and I think a lot of what is in that women is in all of us.

On Facebook, I follow HUMANS OF NEW YORK or HONY. HONY was started in 2010 by a fellow named Brandon who thought it would be cool to start photographing people in the streets of New York. He was going to photograph 10,000 people and plot their photos on a map.

Brandon didn't know what he had started, never dreamed where he would go, never imagined what HONY would mean to his life and the life of the over 10 million followers that he has worldwide! 

He's traveled and documented photos all over the world. Photos that make us laugh and photos that make us cry. Photos that prompt us to realize that we can make a difference in someones life other than our own. 

Currently Brandon is sharing his Humans of New York Refugee Stories. During a time when our country is horribly divided because of refugees here in our own country, he is showing us why refugees and immigrants seek to escape the countries they come from. It's gut wrenching and the photos and stories are not for the faint of heart, even the toughest of people read these stories and look at these pictures with tears in their eyes. 

The photo that I want to share today and the story that goes with it shows just how strong women are, how selfless, how protective.

Here is the story that goes with it...

This mother, this woman...the heartbreak she must have endured to send her beloved child out alone in the world. How does she sleep at night. How does she eat even a morsel of food knowing that her child is out there and not knowing if he is eating? I can't even imagine!

But she didn't think of herself, she thought only of him and of saving him. So many women do the same thing. 

In the book The Little Paris Bookshop, Manon, the love interest of Jean Perdu becomes pregnant while ill with Cancer and she doesn't tell anyone until it is too late to make a difference. She died so her daughter could live. 

Woman may be strong, strong willed and stubborn because it's the attributes we need to face the challenges that life brings so us.