Cutting the Carbs

Dieting is NOT fun. And the least fun of the NOT fun diets, is the low-carb diet. It’s also been the one that’s worked the best for me recently. When Jason and I first turned to low-carb, we dropped weight FAST. I lost just over 40 pounds in a school year.

The thing about low-carb dieting though, is that you really do need to make it a long-term life change. It’s near impossible to be successful if you “cheat” on a low-carb diet. That weight will creep right back up if you don’t follow-up the low-carb strategy with something else.

When we first started, we were really good–and we went back and forth from low-carb (doing a 2-3 month stint) to a low-fat diet (for about a month) to change things up and kick-start our metabolisms when we felt the weight loss was tapering.

This past year, with the stresses of selling our house and a new living arrangement, we focused less on dieting and more on figuring out the best way to get back on track financially.

But we’ve again committed to each other that we will work toward healthier lives.

We eat a lot of eggs, meat, and dark green veggies.

A lot of the recipes we’ve been able to use has come from low-carb groups on Facebook, as well as tons of resources on Pinterest.

This week, we had these tasties…I liken them to French toast without the toast. I even found a sugar-free syrup that paired well with them.

Low-Carb Pancakes

My favorite discovery, however, has been fried green-beans, because we can’t eat french fries (or any potatoes at all), but we can have green-beans. We can have fried food, so long as it’s not breaded. Fry these up for about 15 or so minutes in 350-degree oil, lightly salted… AMAZING! Jason is making these tonight!

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And for a sweet treat; I highly recommend this: Diet root beer float. For a better low-carb option, I use heavy whipping cream rather than half and half. I’ve also found that the vanilla extract doesn’t really add to the flavor, so I haven’t added it recently. So good!

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Show Me Your Foods

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Since I first began introducing solids into Tucker’s diet, he’s been able to try a wise assortment of foods. Most of which have been my adventures in homemade baby food making.

Tucker loves him some sweet potatoes.

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Mamma goes baby food-making crazy!

20130615-070522.jpgBaby like!

20130615-070607.jpg20130615-070651.jpgTucker practices self-feeding.

20130615-070625.jpg20130615-070724.jpgThe stash

Including Ella’s and Gerber, along with plain ol’ organic applesauce and plain yogurt (not pictured) and lots of freezer and fresh fruits and veg.

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Reduce, Reuse, Repeat

Lunch is usually one of those meals where every one sorta does their own thing. Recently, Jason and I made a ‘pact’ to eat more salad in an attempt to get healthier.

We’ve been walking more with the baby, and we’ve been upholding (for the most part) our ‘eat more veg’ agreement.

The other thing we’re working on, since we’ve now got four, sometimes five, adults to feed, is making less at dinner time. Leftovers are a pain, especially if they don’t get eaten. Stinky, smelly, mold-growing leftovers in the fridge is no good. By making smaller meals, we have less leftovers. Hoorah!

But sometimes, leftovers happen.

saladMonday night’s meatloaf was a great topping for my salad-y lunch yesterday! Toss on a bit of shredded cheese and my favorite dressing (Sesame Ginger), and this salad went from blah to bam!

mealLast night’s lasagna made for a great lunch. I paired it with yet another salad (this time dressed in a Raspberry Vinaigrette).

**Question: How do you fun-up your leftovers?**

Thanks Jenn, for hosting today’s WIAW!

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Undiscovered…Until Now

I’ve decided that quinoa is my new favorite grain. It’s super easy to make, and absorbs flavor really well.

This week, I had cause to make it not once, but twice for my family.

The first, a very simple stuffed pepper. I used the quinoa along with ground beef and a bit of shredded Monterey Jack as the filling. A bath of marinara, pressed baked potatoes, and cheesy garlic bread rounded out the meal.

Then, last night I wanted something to accompany baked chicken and green beans. Quinoa again came to mind. Only I simply cooked it up in some low-sodium chicken broth and seasoned with pepper.

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           Thanks Jenn!

‘Taters and Turnips

Yesterday I posted the video of Tucker sampling the deliciousness that is sweet potatoes.

I thought I would briefly share the how-to of how I’ve been prepping homemade baby food.

We don’t have a baby food maker. So, I baked the potatoes, steamed the parsnips and turnips in our double-stack steamer, and just mashed up the avocado and bananas.

The potatoes were mashed by hand as well.

Everything was spooned into the nifty (albeit not the easiest to use) silicon ice-cube trays and then set to freeze over night.

IMG_2546Storing all our little cubies in freezer bags make things easily accessible at meal times. I pop 2-3 in a bowl and heat them up for a few seconds to soften. If I’m less rushed, I can put the cubes in a plastic container and let them thaw in the fridge over night.

IMG_3572Tucker has already had [white] sweet potatoes, avocados, and bananas.

The only reason we have parsnips, turnips, and even some rutabaga, is because Jason had made a roasted root vegetable dish last week. We have a few pounds of carrots and leftover sweet potatoes (both white and red) from this recipe as well. My plan is to process all of these so that we can slowly introduce them to Tucker over the next few weeks.

I know that turnips are probably asking too much, but, what the heck? It can’t hurt to try it.

 

I’m NOT a Quitter

The last few days have been rotten, to say the least. On Wednesday, I had a fever, chills, and achy joints. I had wanted to write O’s post about a fantastically amazing orange cake I made once before. And it tastes just like one of my favorite childhood cereals: Trix.

Yesterday, and this will be an overshare for many of you, my right breast hurt so bad, that I actually called my doctor. I try not to go to see her very often, mainly on account of our crap health insurance. But the pain, coupled with the bright red tinge of my skin, the fever and chills… I already self-diagnosed mastitis, but because of infection, it required antibiotics, hence the doctor.

Today I’m going to triple post about the orange cake and just a short service announcement about pain: PAIN SUCKS! and being sick sucks too. And, just so you all know: I haven’t quit–I just took a break to recover. I’m partly back to good, just the meds are wreaking havoc on my milk supply, so I’m pumping more and drinking Mother’s Milk Tea (which isn’t as terrible as I anticipated). Hopefully I can maintain through the next thirteen days remaining on the medication.

On to the main part of this post: Orange Cake!!

Last time, I used huge Jeju oranges I received for Cheusok from my work.

This time, I used Cuties.

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The end result was a.maze.ing. I hadn’t made the icing before and it did not disappoint.

Here’s where I got the recipe.

Hot Jam!

A few years ago, I made strawberry (and orange, and banana) jam the wrong way. We were in Seoul, and while the berries were awesome, the world of home canning wasn’t known to me there. I didn’t have any of the cool tools. We did have a huge pot to use as a canner. We reused our spaghetti sauce jars.

Today, I did it the right way!

Thanks to Katy’s bridal shower gift of a canning kit (yes, it was on my registry), and my trip to Sprouts and Target the other day, I was able to get the job done easily.

I opted for the pectin-free recipe with just two ingredients: Strawberries and sugar.

8-10 cups cut strawberries, 6 cups white sugar.

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In a large, heavy bottom pot bring strawberries and sugar to a rapid boil. Stir occasionally.

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You’ll want to have your jars in a hot water bath to sanitize (boil the jars, lids, and rings in water).

To test if the jam is ready, dip a cold spoon (let it sit in the freezer for a while) into the jam. If it drips pretty fast, it’s not ready. If it sorta oozes off the spoon, it’s ready.

Once the jam is ready, ladle it into your prepped jars (which should now be out of the water). The canning kit is awesome for this… it comes with a funnel, a pair of jar tongs, a magnet to get the metal lids and rings, and a jar tightener. The funnel is great to keep the jars clean. Fill the jars up to about an inch from the top. Wipe off any jam that spilled onto the lip of the jars. Place the lid (the flat metal thing) on, then loosely screw on the ring.

Set the filled jars back into the hot water bath to set the seal and extract all the air from within the jar. I had them in there for about 5-10 minutes.

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When I removed the jars, they seals popped (a fun sound indicating a good, strong seal) and I tightened the rings with the tightener. And I’m letting the jars cool before refrigerating.

jam3These should last a good while unopened. Since there are no preservatives, once the jar is opened, it should be used within a week or two.