My Weight Loss Progress:
This includes about 16 lbs. lost on my preop diet. I've lost the rest since surgery.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Comfort food: chicken, mushroom, and rice casserole

This recipe is adapted from a recipe I found on Kalyn's Kitchen. Excellent comfort food - and it's really easy and  relatively healthy due to the brown rice.

a couple tablespoons olive oil
a couple tablespoons dehydrated onions (or you could surely use the real thing, I just don't like them)
16 oz button mushrooms, chopped
Italian seasoning
salt and pepper
3-4 cups cooked chicken (I used rotisserie, skin removed)
3 cups cooked rice
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayo
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used lowfat mexican blend because that's what I had)

Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Brown dehydrated onions, add mushrooms, and saute until liquid evaporates. Add seasoning, salt and pepper to taste. Stir in chicken and remove from heat. Mix sour cream, mayo, and chicken broth in a large bowl. Add chicken mixture and rice, stir well. Add cheese and, again, stir well. Bake at 350 for about a half hour.

Next time, I'm going to add more veggies. Maybe green beans.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Just Tomatoes!

Just Tomatoes Just Strawberries 'N Bananas, 5-Ounce Tubs (Pack of 2)In addition to what my sister and I have christened "pumpnies," I discovered Just Tomatoes Just Strawberries 'N Bananas this week. They're a little pricey, but are possibly the best snack I've found yet. It's like eating fruit snacks or gummy bears but without the sugar (or diarrhea-inducing sugar alcohols)! It's freeze dried fruit with literally nothing added. The fruit isn't even treated with sulfur dioxide or the like, like dried fruit. I'm not sure how, but it's also not hypercaloric like dried fruit - a 5 oz tub, which they say is equal to an entire pound of fruit, is only 180 calories. If strawberries and bananas aren't your thing, they have pretty much every other fruit available (think blueberries, peaches, and pomegranate, among others), plus veggies - corn, peas, get the idea.

I think this is especially good for sleevers - especially early out, when we have such a hard time even squeezing in the protein we need, let alone any extra food that may actually contain micronutrients! I haven't tried the veggies, but I suspect they may also be especially good for reluctant veggie eaters like myself. I bet the mixed veggies would be really good to snack on tossed with some garlic powder or maybe cayenne pepper and salt.

PS: No, nobody paid me or gave me free stuff to do this review. I just found these and think they're great, so I'm sharing them with all two of my faithful readers.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Un-Stuffed Pumpkin Recipe

Mmmmm....fall is here, and to me that means SQUASH! I love winter squash, but for some reason, I hadn't really tried cooking with pumpkin before now (other than, you know, pie).

I went out to dinner last night and had the best roasted veggies I've ever had - there were pumpkin and kale in them. And THEN, I went to whole foods and they were having a freaking amazing sale on sausage. And thus, this recipe was born. It has pretty much every color of the rainbow in it, so you know it's healthy - although it is definitely NOT high protein.

(You could definitely vary the amounts/quantities of veggies in this recipe if you wanted. The peppers were kind of a whim, because my neighborhood fruit stand was selling them for 59 cents and I couldn't resist. I also think this would be good with butternut squash or even yams instead of pumpkin.)

Un-Stuffed Pumpkin
(about) 1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 large sweet onion, chopped
2 red peppers, chopped
1 small sugar pie pumpkin
herbs and salt to taste - I used rosemary
1 bunch kale
2 large mild Italian sausages (about 2/3 lb raw)
2 eggs
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 cup shredded parm (optional)

- Heat oven to 350.
- Brown onions in a couple tbsp. olive oil (you could skip this - I just like my onions REALLY cooked).
- Mix the onions and peppers in a baking dish and put them in the oven.
- Gut the pumpkin (save the seeds and roast them - yum!) and cut it in quarters.
- Place the quarters face-down on a plate, add some water, and microwave for about 10 minutes.
- Allow to cool, remove skin, and cut into 1" cubes.
- Add to the onions and peppers and toss the whole mix with another couple tablespoons of olive oil, salt, and herbs. Return to oven.
- Remove sausage from casings and brown in a skillet. Set aside.
- Remove stems from kale and chop leaves. Wilt in the sausage drippings and add to the veggies in the oven. Turn down the oven to 300 and roast veggies for about 45 minutes.
- Beat eggs and mix with sausage and breadcrumbs. Toss meat mixture with veggies and top with parmesan. Bake for about 20 minutes.

Makes about 12 servings, with about 200 calories and 7 g. protein each.

By the way, a sweet tip I learned about pumpkin seeds: pull them out of the pumpkin guts as best you can, then put them in a bowl of water - guts sink, seeds float - viola!

Friday, September 24, 2010

New info (to me) about B12

I wrote a post a while ago about my vitamin regimen that I realized was wrong. I still learn something every day about life as a sleever, even now, almost a year out! I was talking to my nutritionist about supplementation the other day. I don't take B12, except what's in my multivitamin, because a.) I can't tolerate the sugar alcohols used to sweeten the sublingual tablets and b.) I know I eat at least the RDA (according to,"a day's supply of vitamin B12 can be obtained by eating 1 chicken breast plus 1 hard-boiled egg plus 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt") every day. HOWEVER, she informed me that supplementation is still necessary for sleevers because the creation of "intrinsic factor," required to process B12, is one of the few stomach functions that we sleevers lose most of. I always thought that our bodies absorbed everything we eat, but apparently B12 is an exception! Like I say...learn something new every day! So I guess I'm gonna have to either figure out a way to tolerate the sublingual tablets (I wonder if I would be more tolerant of sugar alcohols now than I was early on...although, to be fair, they've always done a number on my stomach!) or get monthly shots :( Bummer dude.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Newest Incarnation of Lasagna

Recipe of my own invention - this is seriously the best lasagna I've ever had. I don't have the health info for this, sorry - but it has no starchy white carbs in it!

~ 1/3 lb. lean organic Italian sausage
~ 1/4 lb. lean grass-fed ground beef
16 oz. marinara sauce (if you get the jarred kind, be sure it is very low in added sugar)
6 whole wheat lasagna noodles
1/2 bunch raw spinach leaves, cleaned, chopped, and dry
8 oz. part skim ricotta (use organic dairy!)
8 oz. part skim cottage cheese
~ 1/2 cup egg whites (choose free-range!)
2 cups + 1 cup part skim mozzarella, grated
1 cup + 1 cup parmesan, shredded
Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper

1. Brown sausage and ground beef together in a large frying pan. Add marinara sauce, season to taste, and simmer on low for as long as possible.
2. Parboil noodles for 5 minutes in heavily salted water. Drain, rinse, and lay out on waxed paper so they don't stick to themselves.
3. Mix ricotta and cottage cheese with egg whites. Add 2 cups mozzarella and 1 cup parmesan, stir well. Fold in spinach gently.
4. (this is probably a good time to preheat the oven to 350). In a 9x13 pan, layer a sauce/noodles/cheese, repeat. End with a layer of sauce and cover with the remaining mozzarella and parm. Bake, covered, for about 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for about another 15 minutes to brown the cheese.  Enjoy!

Sunday, June 6, 2010


I realize that I didn't invent this combination, but I am SO happy that I found it! A little background: I was a HUGE diet coke drinker pre-op. I mean, like 8-10 cans a day huge. HUGE. I kinda did everything huge pre-op. Anyway, I still really love pop, but don't want to drink that much of it for obvious reasons - #1 being that it's not that comfortable in the sleeve unless I sip it and #2 being that it's really not very good for you! And I've really tried to cut waaaay down on the aspartame. But god I love that fizzy pop feeling! SO, I created this spritzer:

Sleevey's Spritzer
1 part 100%, no sugar added juice (any kind, I love the Old Orchard apple-combinations and Mott's Medleys)
2 parts water
1 part club soda (or diet ginger ale if you don't mind a little aspartame)

I like to think that it's relatively healthy because of the small amount of juice (low calorie, but does provide some vitamins etc) and the water diluting the whole thing. The juice and the water really tone down the bubbliness of the soda. What I generally do is buy the frozen Old Orchard juice concentrates and then make them up super diluted (1/2 can to about 2 liters of water). Then everything's waiting in the fridge for me to make a cool and refreshing beverage.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Artichoke Chicken Salad

It's been a long time since I posted a recipe! This is my latest obsession...

Artichoke Chicken Salad
25 oz (2 large cans) canned chicken breast, drained well and shredded
1 cup mayo
2 tsp lemon juice
garlic powder to taste
2 stalks celery, very finely chopped 
45 oz canned artichoke hearts, drained well and chopped
1 - 3.8 oz can sliced olives
1 cup shredded parmesan

Mix chicken breast, mayo, lemon juice, and garlic powder. Gently fold in celery, artichoke hearts and parmesan.

Makes 12 - 1/2 cup servings. This is great on crackers, in sandwiches, or all by itself! I like to make a big batch and keep it in the fridge for snacks, lunches, etc.

Nutrition stats: 275 cals, 17 g fat, 6 carbs, 19 protein.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Barley risotto

Last night I made barley risotto (aka "orzotto"). SO YUMMY!!  Why would anyone use plain old rice for risotto when you can use delicious, nutritious barley? I followed this recipe and while it was insanely, addictively delicious I think it's too fatty. Four tablespoons of butter is NOT necessary. I bet I can take out the butter entirely and just add more cheese (which is high in calories but at least also packs a protein punch). I'm gonna tweak it and figure out the proper proportions, and then I'll post it for y'all. Just fyi, if you're going to try it, that recipe's proportions are WAY off - I only had about 2/3 cup of barley and it took 3 - 14 oz cans of chicken stock.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Vindication of Fat

I've been following with interest lately the plethora of articles about how American's war on fat (since the 1980s) has actually made us fatter and sicker. It seems like every day a new study is published on how fat isn't as bad as we (simplistically) assumed, and how carby crap (although, don't rush to overly simplify carbs either!) is the devil incarnate. Today, I read an article on called "End the War on Fat: It could be making us sicker," which I thought nicely brought together so much recent research. I'd highly recommend it to anyone who has had a sneaking suspicion for awhile that the food pyramid might be a little, well, back-assward (and just maybe influenced just a little by Big Food...)

Although I could go on and on about food politics here (I'm still on a anti-Republican tear after an extremely unpleasant exchange on the OH message boards about healthcare reform), I'll spare you. Instead, I'd just like to point out how positive it is that we are actually starting to recognize this and call out big food on their crap.  I sincerely hope that the Obama administration can truly be an agent of change in DC, and continue making laws that are truly in the best interest of the American people rather than corporate lobbies. I mean, sure, allow the companies to keep selling junk food all they want, just like they still sell cigarettes (I'm far from a prohibitionist!) - just make sure that it's actually marketed as such, rather than as health food. I mean, junk food's yummy, right?  And I'd like to be able to make the decision to have a Hostess fruit pie if I damn well want to - but quit saying crap like "a trip to the snack cake aisle can be like visiting a country fruit stand" cuz it isn't. It's more like swimming in the Ganges, minus the potential mystical healing powers.

I predict that we will feel about food in 20 years the way we feel about tobacco today - and the fortunes of big food will have gone the same way as those of big tobacco. Our grandkids are going to shake their heads in pity at us the way we do at our poor cig-addicted grandparents.

Related good reads: Is Big Food as Evil as Big Tobacco?  -  Monsanto's Harvest of Fear  -  Michelle Obama calls out Big Food (I have the world's biggest girl crush on Mrs. O!)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Parmesan Oven-Fried Chicken

I made some really tasty oven-fried chicken today. It was inspired by several recipes that I found, but is my own creation. Sorry for the extra-crappy (even for me) picture - I was so hungry that I forgot to take a pic until after I'd chomped it!

Parmesan Oven-Fried Chicken
2 large chicken breasts (about 12 oz each)
3/4 cup mayo
about 3 T skim milk
about 1 cup panko bread crumbs
cayenne (to taste)
poultry seasoning (to taste)
salt (to taste)
1/4 c. grated parmesan

Preheat oven to 375. Place chicken breasts between 2 pieces of plastic wrap or in a large ziploc and pound thin. Mix mayo with milk in a bowl and mix dry ingredients, except parm, on a plate. Dip chicken in mayo mixture, then in the bread crumbs. Ensure each piece is thoroughly coated - press bread crumbs on if necessary. Place in a baking dish lined with parchment paper (or sprayed with Pam). Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes or until chicken reaches an internal temp of 165.

Makes 8 servings, about 2 oz (cooked) each. 205 calories, 6 g fat, 10.5 carbs, 23 protein. I served it with a few oz of shirataki noodles for a truly excellent meal.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

More Mac and Cheese

I'm always tinkering with my mac and cheese recipe. Mac and cheese is probably my favorite food in the whole world, so this makes sense (I hope).

Anyway, I recently discovered Trader Joe's new smoked cheese blend. I LOVE smokey cheese. So it seemed natural to use it in the next incarnation of Sleevey's Mac.

Other changes...I found a technique in Cooking Light for eliminating butter entirely by using a flour-water slurry instead. I think it's an acceptable change - let me know what you think!  The trick is to make sure your slurry is very, very smooth before you add the rest of the milk, and that the mixture stays smooth.

I also ran out of Tabasco, so I used a tablespoon or so of dijon mustard to add a kick. Pretty good!

Oh, and a tip for the cauliflower: I pretty much always use frozen. It's just easier. I had always boiled it before grating it, but this time I steamed it. MUCH nicer. The firmer texture is definitely better, plus it's less wet.

Sleevey's Mac and Cheese - Version 3
1 cup (dry) macaroni noodles
2 cups cauliflower - steamed, grated and dried
2 T flour (I use whole wheat)
1 1/2 cups skim milk
2 - 12 oz bags of TJ's smoked cheese blend
Dijon mustard (or Tabasco, or whatever) to taste
Salt and pepper
Cooking spray

Boil macaroni in well-salted water until al dente. Drain and mix with the grated cauliflower, set aside. In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk together flour and 1/2 cup of milk until very smooth. Add remaining milk and heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Mixture should thicken enough to coat the back of a spoon. Mix in all except 1 1/2 cups of cheese (a little bit at a time - keep it smooth!). Mix in mustard/Tabasco/whatever, plus salt and pepper, to taste. Press into a baking dish prepped with cooking spray and bake for 30 minutes at 350.

Makes 18 servings. The serving size is based on what my sleeve holds comfortably, so ymmv.

3/8 cup (1/18 recipe) = 175 cals, 11 g fat, 9 carbs, 10 protein.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Why does a salad cost more than a Big Mac?

Interesting graphic from Consumerist. Of course, those of us on the low-carb bandwagon do benefit more from the 73.8% of subsidies going to meat and dairy than the average American. Unfortunately, those subsidies are going to feedlots and the like, rather than small, humane farms selling to their local communities.
A more interesting graphic to me would emphasize not only how bad government food subsidies are for our health, but also for the planet. Not to mention inhumane. Any graphic designers around?

Monday, February 22, 2010

More on aspartame

Check out the link below: Cleochatra over at The Lighter Side of Low-Carb's great post about her experience eating, then giving up aspartame. This is really amazing stuff. I know that the research isn't 100% negative about aspartame, but to me, this kind of anecdotal evidence is really convincing. I mean, it's not like there's a super-positive side, like the whole vaccine-autism thing. I think I can give up the benefit of aspartame based on anecdotal evidence.

The Lighter Side of Low-Carb: Diet disaster: Aspartame 

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Mah-velously Moist Mini Meatloaves

This is a recipe that I distilled from about 10 different recipes, picking and choosing the parts I liked best from each. I was really worried about keeping it moist because Sleevey does not do well with dry meat, yet I wanted to use lean ground beef.

Sleevey's Mini Meatloaves
1 cup quick oats
A splash of milk
1 T olive oil
Minced garlic (to taste, I used about a teaspoon)
About 2 cups sliced mushrooms
About 1 cup chopped frozen spinach, defrosted
2 eggs, lightly beaten
About 1/2 cup V-8 juice
Liberal amount of Worcestershire sauce (to taste)
1 lb. 90% lean ground beef (choose grass-fed!)

Prepare a 12-muffin tin with cooking spray and preheat the oven to 325. Set the oats to soak in just enough milk to soak them. Saute the mushrooms and garlic in olive oil for about 5 minutes, set aside to cool. Combine eggs, V-8, and worcestershire sauce in a small bowl. When the mushrooms are cool, mix oats, mushrooms, spinach, and meat; add egg mixture. Combine just until mixed - don't overmix! The mixture will be runnier than normal meatloaf at this stage. Divide meat mixture evenly into 12 "muffins". Bake, checking temp. frequently, until each of the meatloaves reaches an internal temp of 160 degrees (this took about 35 minutes in my oven).

Makes 12 (large, for WLS-ers) servings with 138 calories, 6 g fat, 6 g carbs, and 13 g protein each.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Shirataki noodles: how have I never eaten these before?!

Ever heard of shirataki noodles?  Well, I hadn't either, until I stumbled upon them in my search for low-carb mac and cheese recipes. They're super low cal noodles made from some kind of Japanese yam flour and tofu. There's only 20 calories and 3 g of carbs in a 4 oz serving. The fiber in them is also supposedly some kind of super-fiber - it's actually sold as supplements for colon health. Not that I'm freaked out about colon health at my age but hey, it's a nice bonus!
I'm glad I didn't use them in mac and cheese - I think that cauliflower is much better in that context - but tonight, I finally tried them out in a stir fry. YUM! They're like veggies (calorie-wise)...but NOODLES!!  How have I waited so long to try these? I stir-fried them up with some asian veggies and chicken. Using them this way is a total no-brainer, if you ask me. I'm never using other noodles in a stir fry again! They taste just as good as any other kind of noodles you might use. They have a pleasant chewy texture and no discernable taste of their own.
Like I said, I'm not sure I'd try them in mac and cheese (anyway, I love my cauliflower mac and cheese!) but I think they'd be absolutely delicious as spaghetti and meat sauce. I think that the strong flavors would cover any hint of shirataki-ness that might linger after the noodles are thoroughly rinsed, par-boiled, and dried. I also hear they're great with alfredo, so I'm going to have to give that a try as well. I'll keep ya posted!
BTW: You can buy these online, if you wish, but they have to stay refrigerated so shipping might be kinda pricey. I got them at Whole Foods (after striking out at QFC and Safeway, the jerks!), but I'm pretty sure they have them at TJs too. $1.49 for an 8 oz package - not half bad, especially for wls-ers!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Super-natural(ly delicious!) Crustless Quiche

Like so much of my cooking, tonight's cooking adventure is brought to you by stuff in my fridge that needs to be used up. This time, eggs. Somehow I'd ended up with 2 dozen (this is sloppy grocery shopping at work, folks!) and we just don't eat eggs that much - plus J is out of town visiting his parents for the next week

I was actually inspired by Eggface's Bites recipes. She makes and posts about them frequently and I always think "yum! I should make those!". Unfortunately, I do not own super-snazzy mini-muffin tins like hers, and for some reason could not find my regular muffin tins OR a pie plate (aaaannnnd I JUST remembered where they are. I'm a moron). So I made it in my trusty Pyrex baking dish.

This was so simple and is so tasty and nutritious that I just had to share the recipe with you. Also, it's vegetarian - so unlike me!

Sleevey's Crustless Veggie Quiche
2 T olive oil
About 1 t minced garlic
About 1/4 lb white button mushrooms, sliced (you know I used my handy-dandy salad shooter!)
1 box (10 oz) chopped frozen spinach, defrosted according to package directions
8 large eggs
1 cup milk (I used 2%)
1 cup cheddar cheese

Prepare baking dish with cooking spray and preheat oven to 350. Saute garlic in the olive oil for about 30 sec. Add mushrooms and saute 2-3 minutes. Squeeze spinach (mostly) dry and add it to the pan, saute with the garlic and mushrooms for another few minutes.
While the veggies cook, beat the eggs and milk together in a large bowl and fold in cheese. Spread veggie mixture in the bottom of the prepared baking dish, pour in egg mixture on top of it. Bake for about 30 minutes*. Serve with ketchup if you are four years old, like me.

* I like my eggs REALLY done, so I baked it for 40 minutes. I know that most people would consider my quiche overcooked, so I adjusted the cooking time so it doesn't reflect my own squeamishness regarding egg-doneness.

Makes 12 servings: 125 cal, 10 g fat, 2.5 carbs, 7 protein per serving. Also vitamins! Vitamins galore!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Mom's Tortilla Soup (again)

I've posted this recipe before, but it was a long time ago and there was no photo, so I'm posting it again. MAN, this stuff is YUMM-O!!
Mom's Tortilla Soup
For soup:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups onion, chopped
8-12 cloves garlic, finely chopped
8-12 guajillo peppers (available at Mexican specialty markets)
16 cups chicken stock, divided (I highly recommend the Kitchen Basics brand, it is the highest protein chicken stock I've found with 4 grams/cup)
Optional garnishes:
Corn tortillas
Canola oil
Cheese (cojito, jack, or cheddar)
Sour cream
Avocado, sliced
In a large pot, boil the peppers in 4 cups of chicken broth until they're soft (about 20-30 min). Remove peppers from the broth; add the remaining broth to the pot and simmer.
Remove the seeds and veins from the peppers, scrape the fleshy part off of the skin (you end up with a paste) and put it back into the broth.
Saute the onion and garlic in the oil until tender. Add them to the broth. Add salt to taste and blenderize until smooth (we use a stick blender). Simmer for at least one hour.
While the soup is simmering, cut the tortillas into small strips and fry in canola oil until crispy.
Makes about 16 x 1-cup servings of soup (50 cal, 4 protein). Serve with cheese, sour cream, and avocado, throw in some fried tortilla strips as a treat for kids and other non-dieters.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Revisiting Whey-Low Snickerdoodles

My obsessive-compulsive tendencies would not allow this to stand for my whey-low snickerdoodle review experience. I made another batch tonight with the recipe I always used growing up - the one from Betty Crocker's original Cooky Book from 1963. I did make a few minor modifications (other than replacing the sugar with whey low!). I found that the whey low did have a bit of a flavor, so I added some vanilla and almond extracts in an attempt to cover that up. I also smushed them down partway before I put them in the oven because I learned last time that whey-low cookies don't spread quite like real-sugar cookies. I also lowered the oven temp to 350 and 8 minutes was still the perfect baking time. I am pleased to announce that a lot of the bad stuff about the last batch was due to the last recipe. These cookies turned out bee-yoo-ti-ful! And yummy. Much moister. I'd say that whey-low does make things a bit dryer and have a teeny bit of an odd flavor. It makes it somewhat difficult to use in a cookie with as delicate a flavor as snickerdoodles. I think that the key here is to roll them in real sugar mixed with cinnamon. It's SO worth the extra 3 or so calories!
J is gonna gobble the CRAP outta these cookies. I bet they're half-gone by the time I wake up in the morning!

So, here's the recipe:

Sleevey's Whey-Low Snickerdoodles
1/2 c. butter (softened)
3/4 c. whey-low granular
1 egg
1 t. each vanilla and almond extract
1 t. cream of tartar
1/2 t. baking soda
1 3/8 c. flour
Cooking spray
2 T. sugar + 2 t. cinnamon to coat (note: I like it more like 1:1 sugar to cinnamon, but this ratio is what the original recipe calls for)

Cream together whey-low and butter. Add egg, vanilla, and almond, beat until thoroughly mixed. In a small bowl, mix together cream of tartar, baking soda and flour. Add slowly to butter mixture, pausing to mix thoroughly every 1/2 cup or so. Once thoroughly combined, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Prepare a cookie sheet by spraying with cooking spray. Coat hands with cooking spray as well, form dough into small balls and roll in sugar/cinnamon mixture. Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 8 minutes.
Makes 18 cookies: 90 cal, 5 g. fat, 9 g. carbs, 1 g. protein each.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Trying Out Whey-Low

I found out about Whey-Low via one of my favorite WLS recipe blogs: Eating Well, Living Thin. I'm not usually a huge baker - except around the holidays! - but I thought it would be cool to experiment with this new sugar substitute since I'm trying to cut down on artificial sweeteners and this is allegedly all-natural. So, I made some snickerdoodles. I just replaced the sugar with whey-low 1:1. I just found a recipe online, and I don't think it's my favorite recipe - it was pretty basic but I've never used it before.

The first batch turned out much puffier than snickerdoodles should be. I smashed down the second batch a little before I put them in the oven, and they turned out much better. Unfortunately, since I haven't used this recipe before I'm not sure if that was the whey low or the recipe - stupid me! They also passed the real test: they got rave reviews from J! I tasted plenty of dough (I ♥ cookie dough like, well, a fat kid loves cake!) and sampled one cookie. I can say that it tastes pretty damn good! They're a little caky-er than I prefer my snickerdoodles and have a slightly funny flavor, but like I said, I'm not sure if it's the whey low or if it's just not my favorite snickerdoodle recipe. It's not exactly like sugar - almost a little milky tasting, compared with sugar - but pretty good. I wonder if it would be better in a heavier cookie, like peanut butter or chocolate krinkles.

Anyway, I'd give whey low 4.5/5 stars. It's the best non-sugar sweetener I've tried so far, and certainly the only thing I'd attempt to bake or make fudge with other than sugar. I can't wait to try making fudge with it! It certainly doesn't make treats healthy, or low-cal, but as Bob from Biggest Loser says - "every calorie counts in this house!"

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Best. Enchilada. Casserole. EVER!!!

It's pretty rare that I invent a recipe completely from my head and have it come out the way I want on the first try(see, crab mac and cheese debacle). I'm just not that good of a cook! I'm more of a tweak-existing-recipes kinda gal normally. Now, I know that I didn't invent enchilada casserole (I'm not an idiot) but I did invent this particular recipe. Which is, if I do say so myself, the best enchilada casserole I've EVER had.

I decided to go with enchilada casserole rather than just plain enchiladas for the obvious reason that less tortillas are necessary. Although this recipe is obviously not low-fat or low-cal (something you will notice with most of my recipes!), it is low-carb. Oh, and did I mention it's DELICIOUS?!?!

A side note, before I give you the recipe: have you ever boiled chicken before? I haven't, except to make shredded chicken which is what I wanted for this recipe. I'd never tasted it by itself before because I thought it would be pretty bland and yucky. I was wrong! Boil it in salted and spiced water (like in this recipe) and it is deee-lightful! Try it! I think I'm going to make some more and keep it in the fridge for salads etc.

Anyway: Sleevey's Enchilada Casserole

4 chicken breasts (about 8 oz each)
lots of ground red pepper, garlic powder, and kosher salt
1 cup soft cream cheese (note: do NOT use light - it gives the filling a weird texture!)
1/2 cup diced green chiles - I used canned
1 1/2 cups 2% cheese, shredded (I used Mexican blend but I bet cheddar would work just dandy)
10 small corn tortillas (I used Mission's extra thin version to save on carbs)
about a cup of enchilada sauce
1 1/2 cups regular cheddar, shredded

Place chicken breasts in a saucepan with enough warm, well-salted water to cover them. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer until chicken is about 75% cooked. Break breasts apart with forks and add plenty of ground red pepper and garlic powder. Make sure the spices dissolve in the water and continue to simmer until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken pieces with a slotted spoon, set aside on a plate to cool. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.
Combine cream cheese, chiles, and 2% cheese in a mixing bowl. Add a little cooking liquid from the chicken - maybe 2 tbsp. Shred cooled chicken and add to the cream cheese mixture, combine well. Add a little more cooking liquid as needed.
Pour a little enchilada sauce on a plate and more in the bottom of a baking dish. Coat tortillas in sauce and layer on top of the sauce - tear them into pieces to make a solid layer (minimize overlap). Spoon some chicken mixture on top and gently spread out. Repeat with another layer of sauce-dipped tortillas, then another of chicken mixture. Finish with sauce-dipped tortillas and finally the regular cheese. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.
Makes 18 servings: 200 cal, 10.5 g fat, 5.5 g carbs, and 18 g protein per serving.
Whole recipe contains 3550 cal, 191 g fat, 100 g carbs, and 330 g protein.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Sleevey's Mac and Cheese Version 2.0

Well, like I mentioned the last time I made mac and cheese, I'm messing with the recipe to try to make it better. Meaning, of course, more protein. I'm not that worried about the calories, to be honest. And actually, the last time I blogged about mac and cheese wasn't the last time I made it. I had a disastrous attempt at making crab mac and cheese a couple weeks ago. But we won't talk about that - gag!

So, I went back to my original good recipe and made a few changes. I added two grams of protein per serving and only 9 calories!

Sleevey's Mac and Cheese Version 2.0
1 c. uncooked macaroni noodles
2 c. frozen cauliflower, prepared as directed on the package and grated
1 T butter
1 T flour
2 c. skim milk
salt and pepper to taste
a few drops of Tabasco
1 c. 2% shredded cheddar
2 c. regular shredded cheddar, divided
3 T sour cream (next time, I think I'll leave this out)
1/4 c egg beaters

Prepare the macaroni al dente (a minute or two less than it says on the package). Rinse with cold water and allow to drain. Mix with cauliflower in a large bowl and set aside. Make a roux with the butter and flour (melt butter, whisk in the flour until it's smooth) and slowly add the milk. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly. Whisk in salt, pepper, and Tabasco. Add 2% cheddar and 1 c. shredded cheddar, whisking until smooth. Pour cheese mixture over noodle mixture and gently combine. Spread into prepared baking dish and sprinkle remaining cup of cheese on top. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and edges are browned.

Whole recipe = 2050 cals, 128 fat, 136 carbs, 127 protein.
Makes 18 sleeve-friendly servings: 114 cal, 7 fat, 7.5 carbs, 7 protein

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Asian Chicken Coleslaw

I've made this before with bottled dressing, but this time I made my own. Full of healthy fats and a fair amount of protein (ok, and some junk. I love me some top ramen!). YUM!

Asian Chicken Coleslaw
2 T natural peanut butter
1/2 c. dark sesame oil
1/4 c rice vinegar (+ more to taste)
1/4 c soy sauce (+ more to taste)
1/2 seasoning packet from top ramen
pinch of sugar to taste
8 cups coleslaw mix (a 16 oz bag)
1 c. bean sprouts
12 oz grilled chicken breast (I used the premade ones from Tyson)
2 packages ramen noodles (yes, a calorie splurge - you could leave them out to save 38 calories of pure junk per serving)

Crush the ramen noodles and toast them in a saucepan. In the meantime, whisk together peanut butter, oil, vinegar, soy sauce and 1/2 seasoning packet. Add more vinegar, soy sauce, or sugar to taste.

Toss veggies, chicken, toasted ramen noodles and dressing together (personally, I like my coleslaw soggy so I mix it all at once. You could also mix together individual servings as you eat them, if you prefer).

Makes 20 - 1/2 cup servings, with 94 calories, 4 g of fat, 7 g of carbs, and 5.5 g of protein.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Cheesy Cauliflower Delights

Today, I went a little crazy with cauliflower. I found this recipe for low-carb cauliflower pizza dough awhile back and have been meaning to try it ever since. Well, today was the day and let me tell you, it was DELISH!! I know, sounds weird, right? I thought so too, but I thought, hey, I'll give it a shot. Somehow the "dough" (1 c cauliflower, 1 c shredded mozzarella, and 1 egg) turns into something resembling a crust in the oven! It must be the egg. It's the weirdest damn thing. Anyway, here's the recipe:

Sleevey's Pizza 

1 c. frozen cauliflower, prepared as directed on package and grated
1 c. part skim mozzarella
1 egg
2 c. part skim mozz
1/2 c marinara sauce
17 sl. Hormel turkey pepperoni
1/2 c sl. black olives
(you could of course use more or different toppings...just adjust the nutrition counts as necessary!)

Preheat oven to 400, and prepare a cookie sheet by spraying with Pam. Mix crust ingredients and press them evenly onto the cookie sheet (it won't take up the whole sheet, just form it into a circle or rectangle or octagon or whatever floats your boat). Bake for 12-15 min. Remove from oven and allow to cool a little - 15 min or so. Spread 1/2 c marinara sauce over the pizza (or pizza sauce, if you prefer - marinara is what I had on hand). Layer w/ 1 c. of mozzarella, then pepperoni and olives, then the rest of the cheese. Bake or broil (I guess the crust stays crisper if you broil) until cheese is melted and slightly browned. REVEL IN CHEESY PIZZA GOODNESS!

Whole recipe = 1005 cals, 69 fat, 26 carbs, 103 protein
Makes 10 sleeve-friendly servings: 100 cals, 7 fat, 2.6 carbs, 10 protein
Pizza crust alone = 455 cal, 28.5 fat, 6 carbs, 40 protein

So, what to do with the rest of the cauliflower, I asked myself? After all, a 20 oz bag of frozen cauliflower actually yields 3 cups grated and I've only used one. Then I thought, some people make mac and cheese with cauliflower, right? And I have been jonesing for homemade mac and cheese ever since I saw Paula Deen make it on tv a few days I looked up some recipes (yes, including Paula's) and created my very own sleeve-friendly mac and cheese. Just a warning, if you hate cauliflower, you will hate this. The cauliflower flavor is not totally disguised like it is in the pizza crust. But I happen to like cauliflower, and I think it blends in remarkably well. Also, no, this is not the healthiest food ever. But it is better than regular mac and cheese! This is the decadent version. Next time I may try 2% cheddar (saving 320 cals for the whole batch) and maybe add some lean ham or LF turkey hot dogs for protein. I bet you could also use skim milk and it would make very little difference, flavor-wise.

Sleevey's Mac and Cheese
1 c. uncooked macaroni noodles
2 c. frozen cauliflower, prepared as directed on the package and grated
2 T butter
2 T flour (I used whole wheat, but I doubt it actually matters
2 c. milk (I used 2%)
salt and pepper to taste
a few drops of Tabasco
2 c. shredded cheddar, divided

Heat oven to 350 and prepare a baking dish by spraying it with Pam. Prepare the macaroni al dente (a minute or two less than it says on the package). Rinse with cold water and allow to drain. Mix with cauliflower in a large bowl and set aside. Make a roux with the butter and flour (melt butter, whisk in the flour until it's smooth) and slowly add the milk. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly. Whisk in salt, pepper, and Tabasco. Add 1 c. shredded cheddar, whisking until smooth. Pour cheese mixture over noodle mixture and gently combine. Spread into prepared baking dish and sprinkle remaining cup of cheese on top. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and edges are browned.

Whole recipe = 1910 cals, 114 fat, 131 carbs, 91 protein.
Makes 18 sleeve-friendly servings: 105 cal, 6.3 fat, 7.3 carbs, 5 protein

UPDATE: I made another batch of Sleevey's pizza - this time a pesto chicken version! Yum! I used 1 recipe of the pizza crust + another 3 cups part skim mozzarella, a little more than 1/2 cup homemade pesto, 6 oz grilled chicken breast (I used the Tyson precooked kind) and a chopped tomato. It made 10 servings, with 232 calories, 15.75 g fat (lots of healthy fat, though, from the pesto!), 1.4 carbs, and 20 protein.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Crab Cakes Recipe

I think I'm going to tinker with this recipe some more. I started with a recipe from Cooking Light. It didn't seem to need many changes! It definitely needed more egg as binder, so I used 2 whole eggs rather than 2 whites. I also used regular mayo because I like it better, added a few drops of Tabasco for a kick, and used pre-made breadcrumbs rather than making my own because I'm lazy. And I hate green onions so I left them out. Those changes added 20 calories per crab cake.

Upon eating them, however, I realize they are a little dry for Sleevey. Edible, but could be better. I think next time I will use less breadcrumbs (maybe 1 cup), which would allow me to go back to the original 2 egg whites, plus add some shredded parmesan (prob. also 1 cup), turning these into super-protein-y parmesan crab cakes (with approx 200 cals and 22 g protein). I'll keep you posted. 

1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
2 T chopped fresh dill
dash salt and pepper
2 large eggs
2 T mayo
A few drops of Tabasco
1 lb crab
1 T canola or olive oil
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400, and prepare a cookie sheet by spraying w/ cooking spray. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Beat eggs in a small bowl and mix in mayo and Tabasco. Add to dry ingredients and mix well. Gently fold in crab. Form into 6 equal patties (here, you could refrigerate for a couple hours to make them more firm, freeze for storage, or cook immediately). Brown patties on both sides in a skillet with the canola oil (if they fall apart in the skillet, just press them back together. They'll bind in the oven). Place on prepared cookie sheet, bake in 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. Delish with cocktail sauce or aioli (try a lemon-dill aioli: mix 3/4 c mayo, 4 t lemon juice, 3 cloves minced garlic,  and 1 T fresh minced dill. Be sure to refrigerate for at least a couple hours to allow the flavors to blend!).
1 crab cake (no sauce) has 160 cals, 6 g. fat, 8 g. carbs, and 16 g. protein.

UPDATE 1/18/10: I tried my parmesan crab cakes idea and am sorry to say I have not yet reached crab cake nirvana. Fortunately, I only made a half batch this time...I'm learning!!