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

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.