Sunday, December 20, 2015

Celebration of my Mom's 79th Birthday

Yesterday evening we celebrated my mom's 79th birthday. I can't even imagine that...79! But I am so happy that we still have her with us and even though she and I clash at times that unconditional love of a mother is something that I can always count on from her. I wish I was a wonderful a mother as she is!

For the past several years we have made Biscochos on her birthday. Biscocho is a special cookie that was made famous by her sister Nicolasa. The fondest memory of my child is these cookies. Whenever we went to visit my maternal grandmother in Arizona we always came home with a coffee can full of them.

But this year mom said that she wanted to make her famous chili beans and everyone was in agreement that they would rather eat right away than have to spend all day baking! Mama didn't raise no fools, we would all much rather eat!

Well if you are expecting pictures of the Chili Beans, forget about it! I forgot to snap even one picture. But I got plenty of the family and actually that's probably more important. So get ready for a slew of family pictures and no food! Well there was cake. Two delicious cakes that my sister Lisa made with her precious grand-baby, Baby J, and a yummy lemon pudding cake.

Where it all started, my mom and her children. Mom is in the middle of course. On her right is my brother Fred, on her left my brother Jaime, that's me on the right standing up and my sister Lisa on the left. And look! Cake!

From those four children came all of these, my mom and her grandchildren. There were a few missing due to work obligations. She has eleven all total!

Here's yours truly and her mommy! I am the first born and therefore her favorite!!! Behind me you can see the Nativity that she made for me in a ceramics class that she took back in 1983! Something that I will treasure forever. Mom has always been a very crafty person. She would sew matching dresses for myself and my sister when we were little, not that I was grateful! See this post to read about why I make that comment.

Next up my sister Lisa and her husband Guero. They have two boys, Sean and Issac who were both unable to attend as they were working. My sister has the most photogenic family, aren't they just gorgeous?

I'll post this picture next because this is my sister and I with our mom with the added bonus of Baby J. Can you believe how big she is now? She had just woken up from a nap and was not her usual bubbly self. Baby J is my moms only great grandchild, so she is my moms favorite just like I am!

My brother Federico aka Fred came with his whole family, minus one, his daughter Beatriz. But her big sister Alicia was smart enough to figure out a way to include her by pulling up a picture of Beatriz on her cell phone so she could still be in the picture. Way to go Alicia! No wonder you are my namesake, you're just as brilliant and creative as I am :)

The baby in our family is my brother Jaime. His whole family was able to make it! Good job family, you're all gorgeous. Sarena, the oldest one on the left in the ponytail with the beautiful smile just graduated from Nursing School! So proud of her!

Next a few random pictures, just so I can have them on the blog where family members can access them. Mom with both her boys!

Mom with her boys and her favorite son-in-law.

Mom had such a great time and we all loved her chili beans. Happy Birthday mom, you are the greatest blessing in all our lives.


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

You Can Have Your Cake and Eat It Too! Low Carb Snickerdoodle Mug Cake

I'm a self-proclaimed Saltoholic! I love and am addicted to salt. What I miss most on a low carb/high fat diet is Cheetos and Chips with Salsa!

I've yet to find a satisfying low carb alternative for those two things. That being said I sometimes do get a sweet tooth. Today I found myself wanting cake. I have so many things pinned on my Pinterest boards so I started there and I wasn't disappointed. I found a great recipe for Mug Cake and I actually had all the ingredients!

This is a Snicker Doodle Mug Cake from Carolyn of the blog, All Day I Dream About Food. Carolyn is a genius with low carb recipes! I've tried several and have never been disappointed and I was not disappointed again today.

This mug cake has the texture of cake, it's just like cake but it's made with Almond Flour. I added a cream cheese frosting but it would have been simply perfect without the frosting. It makes two cakes so I didn't bake the 2nd one and I stuck it in the fridge for another day. Not sure how it will turn out but we will see.

I'm not going to post the recipe as it's not mine, but the link to Carolyn's recipe is HERE. By the way, each serving, and her recipes makes two, is 4.98 carbs. I ate the whole cake tonight but it was so filling that I would easily have been satisfied with only eating half. Plus the cream cheese frosting adds a couple more carbs so it isn't something that I would have every single day, but it's a nice treat for those times that you are craving cake!

Go visit Carolyn, her picture of the mug cake is so much prettier and appealing than mine!


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Ground Turkey and Peppers

One thing that I really love about eating low carb/high fat is that there are so many others doing the same thing. And many of these people are actually talented cooks that come up with new and different recipes.

I found this great low carber that makes videos of herself preparing low carb dishes. I watched one of her videos last night and tonight I made my version of Cooking Keto with Kristie's Skillet Taco Bake.

I'm actually calling mine Ground Turkey and Peppers because I didn't exactly stick with her recipe even though hers looked really good!

I started out almost with the same thing. I browned a pound of ground turkey to which I added salt, pepper, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and Ancho Chile Powder. I'll be honest and tell you that I didn't measure which is very unlike me. I think I'm learning how to improvise in cooking!

I then added some sliced bell peppers. My brother Fred dropped off a big bag of red peppers straight from the field! They still had dirt on them. So I washed and diced them and some of them were multi-colored and were such beautiful colors. I also diced up about a quarter of a medium size white onion and add that also and stirred for about 5 to 6 minutes.

Then I opened a can of Rotel Lime and Cilantro flavored diced tomatoes and added about half. Tomatoes have sugar so try to limit how many you use.

At this point I had cream cheese and monterey jack cheese ready to add but the dish just looked so good and fresh with just the peppers and onions that I decided not to add the cheeses and it was just delicious!

I topped it with some shredded Monterrey jack cheese and cilantro just for the picture but then took it off and just ate it without and it was perfect! A new favorite for me!

6 servings

1 pound ground turkey meat
1 sliced bell pepper, red or green
1/2 cup of sliced white onion
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 teaspoon each of Cayenne Pepper, Ancho Chile Powder and Garlic Powder
1/2 to a whole can of Rotel Diced Chiles with Lime and Cilantro

Brown the turkey meat and add the salt, pepper, cayenne, ancho and garlic powder. Add bell peppers and onions and saute stirring often for 5 to 6 minutes, then add the tomatoes and stir for another few minutes. This would be great served next to a green salad or maybe some cauliflower rice!


Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Biscocho Christmas Cookie - Low Carb Remake

We have a cookie that is a tradition in our family. It's call the Biscocho. It's a crisp little Cinnamon and Anise cookie that we've all grown up having at Christmas and other special occasions. It's as much a part of Christmas to our family as Tamales are.

Ever since 2010 we have been making these on my moms birthday. This year she said she would rather do a Chili Bean feed for her birthday but she still wanted these cookies, so I made them today.

If you would like the recipe to the original Biscocho you can find the link HERE.

After I was all done making them I wondered if maybe these could be made low carb and I came up with a low carb version that was just as satisfying as eating the real thing. My version doesn't have eggs and is made with Almond Flour instead of regular white flour and I use granulated Splenda instead of sugar.

Here's my version:


Oven Temperature: 350 degrees
Servings - 30 to 40 (I got 40)

2 cups Almond Meal
1/2 cup sweetener - I used granulated Splenda
1/2 cup melted Butter
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Cloves
1 teaspoon Anise

Preheat your oven.
Cream the Almond Meal and Splenda and Vanilla Extract, Cinnamon, Cloves and Anise and blend until creamy.
Add the Almond Meal and mix until dough forms.
On a lightly floured surface (use almond meal) roll out the dough. I would chill it for about 10 minutes next time to make it easier, or you could roll it into a tube then chill and cut slices with a knife.

Place on a parchment covered cookie sheet and bake 10 to 12 minutes depending on your oven. Let cool on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes.

As you can see, this is less than 1 carb per cookie! Of course I made these small so it just depends on how big you make them as to the carb count.

I was really feeling a bit sad that I would not get to enjoy a Biscocho today but I actually did and they were good. They were crispier than the original Biscocho but they had that Anise and Cinnamon taste that I love.

Hope you make them and hope they become a Christmas Tradition to you and your family!


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Faux Caldo de Papa with Cauliflower - Low Carb Style

Don't you love my multi-lingual title, a little French, a little Spanish, and some English! I'm weird, I know. It's the little things that I find amusing!

So Faux means imitation, fake or false. Caldo is Spanish for Soup. De Papa is of Potato. Be sure you pay attention, there will be a pop quiz! With Cauliflower is the English part and that is pretty self explanatory. So this is a post about how to make an imitation potato soup using cauliflower.

My dad who passed away in July of 2013 was famous for his Caldo de Papa. If we were sick, he made Caldo de Papa. If we were cold, he made Caldo de Papa. If we were pregnant, he made Caldo de Papa. We had to only hint that we wanted his Caldo de Papa and he would make it. It was delicious. Hot and spicy with the jalapenos he used and creamy and cheese with the Monterey Jack Cheese he used. Oh how I miss him!

Last night I got home from work a little later than usual as I stopped to do some Christmas Shopping and no one was home waiting for me and I was cold so I checked the fridge and saw that I had a lot of diced up cauliflower as I had planned to make CauliMash for Thanksgiving and I never did. I remembered that I had made low carb cauliflower soup before using my dad's recipe but I couldn't find the recipe and didn't realize that I had done a post last year in October, see that one HERE for a different version.

So I winged it!

Here's the basics: I'm calling 4 servings since I ate two bowls full and have about the same amount left for dinner tonight. Per bowl and using the website Calorie Count I estimate 2.2 carbs per serving.

2 cups of diced or riced cauliflower
Olive Oil
1 Diced Jalapeno, seeds and all
1 small can of Chicken Stock
1 cup of Half and Half Creamer
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese

In a soup pan add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the cauliflower. Saute the cauliflower until it's about half way done. I had to add a few tablespoons of water and cover it with a lid as it was browning more than I wanted. But you're the Master of your own Kitchen, so you do it your way!

I then added the diced jalapeno and stirred it around for a minute or so to let it soften a bit. Add the can of Chicken stock, or your own homemade stock, you choose. Add the Half and Half, Salt and Pepper and let it come to a boil, cover and lower the heat and cook for about 5 to 10 minutes, stirring once in a while. Throw in the cheese and continue to stir until it's melted and it's thickened a bit.

You could at this point puree it using an immersion hand-held blender and I may do that with the leftovers just for a different texture, but I left it as is so I could have the chunkiness I remember of my dad's soup.

I wish I had thought to cook some bacon to add as a topping, but you can certainly do that if you like.

It was warm and soothing and it was almost like daddy was there with me, and knowing how he liked to be in the kitchen all the time I'm sure he was :)

Now writing this I remember when my sister and I were little we had an Easy Bake Oven and we'd bake cakes using random ingredients we found in the kitchen. Lord knows what we used, but daddy always ate them and said they were delicious and I'm sure he would have had a big bowl of this soup as well!

Ok, pop quiz time! For 25 points, what does CALDO mean? Go!

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?