Surviving Another Nasty Day & My Mandoline

More chemo caps on the way.

More chemo caps on the way.

Today rated up there around 10 on the nasty day scale.  Grey, rainy, windy and cold.

So we went to Hobby Lobby.  Ron indulged me as I meandered around in there for a really long time.

I got some more of my favorite yarn — Hobby Lobby’s own *I Love This Yarn* brand.  Soft, silky and feels so good against my skin.  So now I can make some pretty caps.  I also got a chemo hat pattern book for ideas to keep me from getting bored.

My basic, efficient julienne mandoline.

My basic, efficient julienne mandoline.

I’ve had a couple of people ask me what type of mandoline I used to make my zucchini pasta in the previous post.  I’ve tried several ways. The most unsatisfactory was the hand held peeler style julienne strip maker.

The very best is one that is simple, non-adjustable and sturdy.  It works quickly and cleanly.  I think Amazon calls them Japanese vegetable mandolines.

.

.

.

Advertisements

Still Playing with the Hat Pattern, Come on Spring & Zucchini Noodles

This hat pattern is pretty versatile

This hat pattern is pretty versatile

I tweaked the chemo head warmer hat pattern to accommodate my wonky working gauge.  Now it fits a lot better than my first version.  The brim can be worn down, which is my favorite look.  It can also be worn out, creating a wide brim hat.  Either way, it holds its shape.

It is an extremely versatile pattern because it can be worked with the little brim or with a smooth band to hug the head.

I’m still using green yarn because that’s what I worked my afghan in.  But I am very anxious to try the pattern in pretty colors.

The pattern is here if you are interested.

I realized today that I am getting seriously depressed by not being able to get out camping.  So after I get the parts in from Casita and get the essential fixes done, I think we will head out somewhere even if it’s cooler than we prefer for camping.  With the crazy weather, I’ll pack shorts and long johns and rain jackets and hope we have our bases covered.

Shredded zucchini to be used as low carb noodles.

Shredded zucchini to be used as low carb noodles.

I haven’t done a low-carb cooking post in a while.  Tonight I did shrimp and broccoli alfredo served over zucchini noodles.  I very lightly cooked the zucchini just enough to get rid of the raw taste.  Linguini would have been nice — but my noodles didn’t mess up my blood sugar.  🙂

.

.

.

Spring Cleaning, Tablet Tote, Israeli Salad & Bonito Soup

Making a padded tote for my ASUS Transformer Book

Making a padded tote for my ASUS Transformer Book

Today I woke up with energy to burn.  I washed our bedroom windows, the mirrored closet doors, put a pretty tablecloth with lace over that on my dresser, put my jewelry box, tiny crystal hurricane lamps and a couple of favorite old collectibles on it, then put a doily, silk flower arrangement and a larger hurricane lamp on Ron’s chest.  I still need to put my framed tatting on the wall over my dresser.

It gave the room such a sweet, old fashioned air.

We got the big limbs that were blown down by the storm picked up.  I still have thousands of little broken branches and pine cones to go.  But it was a little cool out today, so I decided to play inside instead.  🙂

Israeli salad over avocado

Israeli salad over avocado

I made a curry tonight, but it didn’t made a pretty photo, so I’m posting a picture of an Israeli salad I made a couple of nights ago.  An Israeli girlfriend taught me how to make it back in the early ’80’s.  I think all she used was very finely minced cucumbers, tomatoes and onions, splashed with lemon juice and olive oil.

I like mine with added peppers and radishes if I have them.  Sometimes I’ll put finely shredded lettuce in it, too.  The secret for making the taste superb is to allow the flavors to blend for a couple of hours.  It’s even better the next day.

I used to make it only to stuff with falafel in pitas, where it really shines.  But now that I’m doing low carb, the bread is off limits.  But I discovered it is also out of this world served in an avocado half.

I discovered another wonderful cooking secret.  You know how anchovies give Caesar Salad Dressing that special taste?  I was browsing through Amazon’s Oriental foods a few weeks ago and saw comments that said bonito fish stock gives a very special touch to chicken soups.  You can’t taste the fish, and you can’t really tell what is doing it, but something is extra special about the dish.

Bonito fish soup crystals

Bonito fish soup crystals

So I ordered some and have started adding 1/8 teaspoon whenever I do boiled chicken dishes.  It does make a huge difference.  I didn’t tell Ron what I was adding, but he has said that the last two chicken soups and stews I have made were the best ever.  Might be something to try if you are brave.  😀

.

.

 

.

 

.

Pale Sunshine, the Dogs & Low Carb Oriental Style Chicken

Low carb oriental style chicken -- after we had already eaten half the pan full.  :)

Low carb oriental style chicken — after we had already eaten half the pan full. 🙂

Last night was one of those occasions when I really LIKED what I had cooked!  The flavor was rich and good.  And the chicken melted in our mouths.

Pale sunshine -- but it's sunshine!

Pale sunshine — but it’s sunshine!

I wsn’t sure what I was going to do with the package of chicken thighs I had thawed when I first walked into the kitchen.  I knew I didn’t want to bake, grill or fry them.  So I put a little oil in the pan, salted the chicken pieces with Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, and put them into the oil to brown.

Sheba and Sunny (in desperate need of grooming)

Sheba and Sunny (in desperate need of grooming)

As I watched them, I thought, Ginger would brighten up the taste.  So I grated a fat inch of ginger and put a little pile on each piece of chicken so it wouldn’t burn in the oil.  Then I thought, Garlic would go nicely with the ginger, so I added some.  Then I thought, Soy sauce would give it a nice oriental flavor… so in went a couple of generous shakes of soy sauce.

By then the garlic was starting to brown too much, so I added water to the pot, covered it, and set the timer to let it simmer for 45 minutes.

Sheba pestering Sunny :)

Sheba pestering Sunny 🙂

I thought of adding a little Splenda but decided to wait.  And I’m glad I did!

At 45 minutes, the chicken was so melt in your mouth that you could cut it with a spoon.  So I chopped up yellow squash and shredded 1/4 head of cabbage, added the vegetables to the pot, then cooked it, lid off, until most of the water was gone.

By then, the cabbage had almost melted, adding texture and flavor to the liquid.  The squash was soaked through with the flavor.  The vegetables had slightly caramelized, adding just the right touch of sweetness.

Last year's sweetgum balls

Last year’s sweetgum balls

Ron and I both though it was superb!  And it was both ultra low carb and low calorie!

Waiting for spring

Waiting for spring

Low Carb Chicken Tenders – Meal, Salad & Snack

Low Carb Chicken Tenders

Low Carb Chicken Tenders

Recipes for low carb chicken tenders are on almost every beginner low carb website on the net.  They are amazingly simple to make, and no one would ever guess they are “diet food.”  I’m including them here only because not many of my readers spend a lot of time at low carb diet boards.  🙂

At some point, every new low carber will start craving something breaded and fried.  And even long-time low carbers sometimes miss an occasional junk food fix.

Here’s a legal solution!

Ingredients:

Fresh or frozen chicken breast strips
1 beaten egg
dry grated parmesan cheese (the kind in the plastic jar)
Oil for frying

Cut chicken breast strips into bite sized pieces.  Dip in beaten egg.  Put 1/2 cup parmesan in a bag and drop chicken pieces into bag, shaking to coat, adding more cheese as needed.

Fry chicken tenders over medium heat.  (High will burn the cheese.)  Cook just till white, moist and tender inside.  Drain on paper towels.

Chicken tenders in salad.

Chicken tenders in salad.

The cheese is pretty salty, so you might not need additional salt.  If you do, sprinkle the salt over the tenders while they are draining on the paper towels.

You can use the tenders as a main dish for a simple meal, in salads, or just as a snack.  I use spicy brown mustard with a little splenda stirred in to make a “honey mustard” dip.

The tenders are very portable and are easy to pack along for lunches or picnics.

.

.

Snow Dog, Oral Surgery & Low Carb Skillet Quiche (Leftovers Supreme)

Sheba taking advantage of a rare snow day in Georgia!

Sheba taking advantage of a rare snow day in Georgia!

At least someone is enjoying the weather today, so I thought I’d document it for posterity!

I had the oral surgery yesterday.  It was pretty extensive and includes an incision almost to the center of the roof of my mouth.  But amazingly, I am doing GREAT today.  The doctor did not prescribe antibiotics.  Really weird for such intensive surgery.  All he said was do salt water rinses.  Fortunately, he did prescribe pain pills, but he wasn’t too happy about doing that.

I think it’s great that doctors are trying to cut down on overuse of antibiotics, but I don’t think senior citizen are an appropriate age group to experiment on.  It might be better to start on 20 somethings with fantastic immune systems.  I’m keeping a close eye on it and at the first hint of infection, I’ll go go my regular doctor who will provide standard treatment.

And if I ever need an oral surgeon again, I’ll find another one!

I started with the veggies....

I started with the veggies….

I’m still eating pureed foods, but I thought I’d share the skillet quiche I concocted the day before the surgery.  At least, that’s what I named it since I couldn’t think of anything more appropriate.  🙂

It evolved when I realized I had two yellow crookneck squash that were going to have to be thrown out if I didn’t use them that day.  So I trimmed them and decided to shred them… maybe make low carb hash browns out of them.  But after I got them grated, I noticed I had a little piece of cabbage that needed to be used up, so I shredded a little of it.

I topped the cooked veggies with leftover bacon and country ham pieces....

I topped the cooked veggies with leftover bacon and country ham pieces….

I put 1-1/2 T butter in a skillet, added the squash and cabbage, then seasoned the squash with celery seed, salt, pepper, minced garlic flakes, and a few red pepper flakes.  Next I cut up some green onions and sprinkled them over the squash.  I had two cherry tomatoes left in the refrigerator, so I sliced those and added them. I cooked them slowly until they were soft on the bottom, then turned the veggies over with a spatula.

Next I topped everything with the rest of the leftover country ham and bacon that I had, and cooked until all the veggies no longer tasted raw.  Then I poured 5 beaten eggs over the mixture and cooked until the eggs began to set.  Finally I covered the eggs with shredded cheddar and pepper jack cheese and cooked until the cheese started melting.  Then I turned off the heat and put the lid on the pot so the eggs would finish cooking and the cheese would finish melting.

After the eggs started setting, I sprinkled cheddar and pepper jack cheese over it....

After the eggs started setting, I sprinkled cheddar and pepper jack cheese over it….

If you let this concoction set for about 10 minutes, you can cut it in quarters or sixths and serve it like a quiche.  Kinda.  🙂

I thought it turned out okay.  Ron really liked it.  But the best part is that it helped me get rid of a bunch of leftovers without them looking or tasting like leftovers!

Leftovers Supreme aka Skillet Quiche

Leftovers Supreme aka Skillet Quiche

 

 

 

.

 

 

 

 

.

 

 

 

 

Nothing but Low Carbing Today

Low carb mock macaroni, cheese & ham

Low carb mock macaroni, cheese & ham

I had intended to get so much done today.  But an oral surgery consultation and errands drained all of my motivation.  So the only productive thing I ended up doing today was cooking. (Besides taking a nice nap!)

The recipe for low carb mock “macaroni” and cheese is all over the net with dozens of variations.  So I figured it was time I tried it.

I wanted it to be a main dish, so I decided to add ham to it.  I didn’t have any regular ham, but had some country ham for seasoning.  So I boiled and drained it to get rid of the excess salt and went with that.  It turned out to be a good choice!

Even considering that this was a salad plate instead of a dinner plate, my portion wasn't chintzy!  :)

Even considering that this was a salad plate instead of a dinner plate, my portion wasn’t chintzy! 🙂

The “macaroni” is actually cauliflower.  Care must be taken to cook it just crisp tender.  Longer cooking will make it stronger tasting, soggy, and it will make your sauce watery.

“Mac” & Cheese

16 oz bag of frozen cauliflower
1/2 c. cream
2 oz. cream cheese, cut in small pieces
1-1/2 t. spicy brown mustard
1-1/2 c. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 c. shredded cheese for topping
pepper
garlic powder or dehydrated garlic flakes to taste

Ham chunks, if desired

Oven 350

Steam cauliflower till just crisp tender and cut in small florets.  Grease baking dish.  Heat cream to bare simmer and add cream cheese.  Stir to melt.  Add mustard, pepper and garlic.  Mix well.  Add 1-1/2 c. shredded cheese and stir until just melted.  Remove from heat.

Put cauliflower in large bowl.  Add ham chunks.  Pour cream/cheese mixture over and mix well to coat the cauliflower and ham.

Pour into greased baking dish and top with remaining 1/2 c. cheese.  Bake until browned and bubbly — about 20 minutes.

I thought this was nice.  But Ron LOVED it!  He was more enthusiastic about this than any other low carb dish I’ve cooked for him.  I thought it tasted like mild cauliflower with a nice cheese sauce.  Ron thought it had a scalloped new potato taste.

Low carb raspberry cupcakes

. Low carb raspberry cupcakes

Next, I needed to make something sweet for Ron.  I found a low carb muffin recipe that looked okay, then I started playing with it.  It actually turned out more like cupcakes than muffins by the time I was finished.

.

.

Low Carb Cupcakes

2 c. almond meal
2 t. bakng powder
1/4 t. salt
1 stick butter, melted
4 eggs, beaten
6 T DaVinci Sugar free syrup (I used 4 T raspberry and 2 T vanilla)
1/4 c. Splenda or erythritol

Oven 350

The little cake in the nonstick loaf pan was the only thing that didn't stick.

The little cake in the nonstick loaf pan was the only thing that didn’t stick. The little loaf is also hiding the two cupcakes I already ate!

(Note:  Use non-stick bakeware.  Despite heavily greasing the muffin tins, the cupcakes stuck.  The small cake made in a non-stick mini loaf pan did not stick.)

Mix dry ingredients.  Beat eggs, then beat the melted butter into the eggs.  Add sugar free syrup.  Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix well.  Fill muffin tins 1/2 – 2/3 full.  Put leftover batter in mini loaf pan.  Bake about 20 minutes until tops are set and dry.

Those little cakes were a diet buster for me.  I really liked them and hit them harder than I should have! Ron loved them, too.

.

REALLY Warm Sweater! :D

Thanks to Hope for sending me this!  It is one of the very funniest pictures I have ever seen!

I had other things I had planned to blog about today, but will save them for tomorrow.  That photo is so timely as we endure yet another polar vortex freezeout!

For the low carbers who are following my blog, here’s a picture of my breakfast today — a really scrumptious omelet.  It’s also a great brunch idea.

Omelet ingredients.  I microwaved the pepperoni a few seconds before using in the omelet.

Omelet ingredients. I microwaved the pepperoni a few seconds before using in the omelet.

Almost done!

Almost done!

Superb breakfast!

Superb low carb breakfast!

 

 

.

 

.

Ramblings on Cameras, Camping Plans & Low Carbing

My little Panasonic Lumix has two dust specks behind the lens, which makes light spots in my photos.  Drives me nuts.

It’s such an inexpensive camera, I probably would do just as well to get a new one instead of taking this well-loved one in for a professional cleaning.  But a new camera will come out of the camping money I am trying to save for a spring trip to Florida.

Also, I’m going to have to have some oral surgery soon.  I’ve put it off until I can’t any longer.

I’d much rather camp than pay an oral surgeon!

……the best laid plans of mice and men…..  🙂

And there are little repairs that must be done on the Casita before a major trip.

So it seems that it’s a time for deferred dreams.  And I have learned a lot, but still don’t like those delayed gratification lessons.  I am running out of time.

Leftover roast beef solution.  A little carby with all the onions, though.

Leftover roast beef solution. A little carby with all the onions, though.

Tonight was another “I don’t feel like cooking” night.  So I grabbed a saucepan, sauteed onions and peppers, added chunks of left over roast beef, Linda’s Low Carb Taco Seaoning (I leave out the Xanthan gum because I want no possible hint of sliminess), cilantro, a few celery seeds and some hot red peppers.  I also sneaked in a couple of sliced link sausages left over from breakfast.

It was not great.  But it was decent.  Ron ate his like a fajita on a low carb tortilla.  I ate mine on a plate with a big glob of sour cream on top.

If you are watching carbs closely, you would probably want to replace the onion with green onions.  And if you are one to experiment with herbs, seasonings and spices, you could probably come up with a more robust flavor.  And jalapenos might help.

——-

P.S.  I checked my blood glucose 2 hours after dinner and it was pretty high.  I think the onions were too many carbs for me.  Will use green onions or very small quantities of regular onions from now on.

.

Winter Doldrums, LC Cooking & Ramblings

Tonight's dinner: small steak, mashed "potatoes" and salad

Tonight’s dinner: small steak, creamy mashed mock potatoes and salad

I am surprised at the number of people who are interested in low carb eating and encourage me to post my meals.  I would have expected that to be horribly boring to most people.  I’m glad that’s not the case.

Before Ron went in the Army, he worked as a meat cutter.  He is gifted at choosing tender, juicy cuts of meat from otherwise tough cuts.  Although some chuck eye steaks can be tough and leathery, these little heavily marbled steaks were melt in your mouth.

They are a little overdone because I was listening to Willie Nelson sing “You Were Always on My Mind” while they were grilling.  🙂

The mock mashed potatoes are actually cauliflower — like you never tasted it before.  Properly prepared, it is mild, creamy and delightful.  Improperly prepared it can be watery and strong tasting.

I steam, never boil, either fresh or frozen cauliflower until it is just done, being careful not to overcook it.  For a 16 oz. bag of cauliflower, I add 1 oz. cream cheese, 1 T butter and 2 T heavy whipping cream and salt.   Everything goes into a food processor and I process it for 30 seconds.  It’s superb!  (My food processor is a mini–I’m not sure how long it would take in a heavy duty full size processor.)

Yummy no-cook LC blonde fudge with almonds

Yummy no-cook LC blonde fudge with almonds

I have been falling behind in my job of keeping Ron supplied with low carb sweets.  He resorted to buying Atkins bars.  After he suffered tummy distress caused by the sugar alcohols, notably the maltitol, in the bars,  I felt guilty enough to make a huge batch of low carb blonde fudge with almonds for him.  So the refrigerator and freezer are now stocked, and that should keep him happy for a few days!

They are fat bombs!  Perfectly legal, but I have to leave them alone to keep from ODing on calories since my BMR is so low.

I found the recipe on one of my LC forums, but can’t find it now to provide a link.  Sorry!  But here’s how to make them:

(I doubled the following recipe so I would have plenty to freeze for later.)

No Cook Fudge

1/2 c. peanut butter
1 stick butter
2 oz. cream cheese
1 c. Splenda or erythritol (or combination)
2 scoops vanilla whey protein powder

I added a handful of almonds because I wanted more texture in the candy.

Put almonds in food processor and pulse until you have almond bits the size you want in your candy.  Melt peanut butter and butter in microwave for a couple of minutes.  Stir.  Microwave a little longer if needed.  Use a larger bowl than you think you need because the mixture can bubble up.  Stir in cream cheese.  Stir in sweetener.  Stir in protein powder.  Stir in almonds.

The recipe said to spread the candy in a buttered dish.  Instead, I put saran wrap over a cookie sheet and just spread the mixture on that.  Refrigerate for at least one hour to set.  Use pizza cutter to cut into small squares.

I kept half in the refrigerator so Ron could eat it immediately and froze the other half for later.

Well, I had some other ramblings to add, but this is getting too long, so I will save them for later.

Am really feeling desperate to get out camping, but it’s not an option right now.  I’m thinking about driveway camping in the Casita for a few nights.  🙂