|November 19, 2013||Filled under Recipe Remake, Recipes: Vegetables||
Once people hear you try to avoid eating things such as potatoes, rice and bread the first thing they ask is “don’t you miss them?” Then they immediately say that they could never give any of those things up. Personally I think the key to not missing certain items is to find another food that works in its place. Sometimes a replacement can be found quickly and other times it takes a while. Mashed potatoes were pretty easy to replace especially when you use this low carb faux cauliflower mashed potato recipe.
Low Carb Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
- 1 to 1½ lbs of frozen cauliflower or 1 medium to large head of fresh cauliflower
- 3 ounces of cream cheese, softened
- 2 to 4 tablespoons of heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon butter
- salt and pepper to taste
- If using fresh cauliflower remove the outer leaves and break the head up into florets and place into a microwave safe bowl and add 2 or 3 tablespoons of water.
- If using frozen cauliflower place it into a microwave safe bowl and add 2 or 3 tablespoons of water. Since every microwave is different start by microwaving the cauliflower for 10 minutes.
- Check to see if the pieces are soft. If not, microwave in 5 minute increments until all the pieces have become soft and tender. If you do not want to use the microwave then steam the cauliflower for approximately 20 to 25 minutes until soft.
- Remove the cauliflower and drain off any water present. In a food processor or blender add the cauliflower, cream cheese, butter and 2 tablespoons of heavy cream. Process until it is smooth and thickened. If the mixture is too thick add an additional 1 to 2 tablespoons of heavy cream and continue to process. Add salt and pepper to taste.
One of my favorite ways to use cauliflower mashed potatoes is to make Shepherds Pie. Make your ground beef base, mix it with your favorite gravy, add some low carb vegetables and bake in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with the cauliflower mashed potatoes and return it to the oven to bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, cool and serve.
Cauliflower mashed potatoes is one of my favorite high carb food replacements. Have you replaced a favorite high carb food with a low or lower carb version? Leave a comment and let others know what worked for you.
|November 10, 2013||Filled under General Health, WLS Tips|
Ah mindless eating.
One of the enemies of weight regain that I know all too well.
I’ve struggled with regain after WLS several times before. I’m sure I will always continue to struggle with it. A few times the regain was caught in the beginning when I had only put on 5 or 10 lbs. At one point I had continued on until I had regained 50 lbs. Each and every time one of my biggest issues was mindless eating. I refer to it as drive by snacking. It’s the type of eating or snacking you do when you just take “a few” pieces of something and eat it without much thought. It’s only a few pieces right? What could it possibly hurt? Usually it doesn’t do much unless you keep repeating it over and over again. For me this is when problems begin.
I know I’ve personally walked by a candy dish with M&M’s taking a small amount each time. A short time later half the dish is gone and there’s no one around eating them except for me! When one of my college classes required us to create an infographic, a visual representation of information or data, as one of the class assignments I used the theme of mindless eating. I wanted to show how mindlessly eating just a few extra calories each day, beyond what you need to maintain a stable weight, can quickly add up over time. I bet you’ll be surprised at how much you can gain by simply eating an extra handful of this or that.
I know I’ve mindlessly snacked on all of these items and many more over the years. Any time I see the scale starting to move upwards and stay there I start to pay attention to what I’m eating and quite often discover I’ve been drive by snacking.
How about you? Have you ever noticed that this type of snacking is causing regain? If so what have you do to get it under control? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
|November 8, 2013||Filled under Freezer Tips, Misc, Recipes: Burgers and Sandwiches, Recipes: Chicken||
I found several packages of ground chicken on sale and brought them home. My hope was to duplicate a cilantro chicken pattie that I had purchased from Trader Joe’s a while back. They were great and I loved having something protein packed that I could quickly make. While they may not taste exactly like the ones from TJ’s they are still quite good.
Cilantro Chicken Burgers
- 1 pound ground chicken
- ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 2 teaspoons lime juice
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- In a large bowl mix the ground chicken, cilantro, soy sauce, garlic, black pepper, lime juice and ginger.
- Form into four patties.
- Cook in a skillet that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Cook until the centers are no longer pink, approximately 4 to 5 minutes and the internal cooking temperature is 160F.
- If your doubling or tripling the recipe to freeze extras do NOT cook. Follow these directions instead:
- Use your hands to form into patties. Or use an ice cream scoop to remove some of the mixture.
- Place mixture on sheets of waxed paper. Place another sheet of waxed paper on top and press down to form a pattie.
- Stack the patties and place in freezer until firm. Place frozen patties into plastic freezer bags (don't forget to make it with the date and the name) and store in the freezer for up to 6 months.
People have asked how to tell when chicken patties are done cooking. The easiest way is to use a thermometer and check the internal temperature of the pattie. Chicken is properly cooked when a thermometer inserted into the center reads 160F. Check out the Food Safety site for the safe minimum cooking temperature for all meat, seafood, eggs and casseroles.
These burgers taste great alone or topped with a bit of ranch dressing, lettuce and slice avocados.
Pass on the bun and serve this burger over a salad for a great low carb meal.
|November 4, 2013||Filled under Nutritional Information, Recipes: Vegetables|
The topic of vegetables came up yesterday while I was at school. I always bring my lunch and, since there is no microwave, I bring stuff that I can eat cold. Or at least lukewarm since my thermos never keeps anything hot. My free time between classes is spent in one of the study rooms on campus. The topic of my lunch often comes up since people figure that a nutrition student will be eating something healthy. So, when they ask what I packed and I say salad it seems no one is surprised. The topic of salad is usually followed by a quick discussion of how much people hate veggies. And it’s easy to see why. It seems that many of us grew up being forced to eat life less piles of over cooked veggies that were lucky to see a dash of salt for added flavor. Raw veggies? That often meant tasteless salads with fat free dressing or a low calories snack of plain carrot and celery sticks. Blech! No wonder most people hate veggies. I know I use to until I discovered a few tricks that can make vegetables the favorite part of your meal. Give some of these a try and see if they don’t change your mind about vegetables.
Vary Your Cooking Techniques and Don’t Overcook!
Don’t just toss your veggies in a pot, add water and boil them until they are a few shades duller in color and limp as a wet noodle. Most fresh vegetables should steamed/sauteed for 5 to 10 minutes until just tender. If you hate veggies cooked one way then try them another. Grilling is a great way to cook your vegetables. How about roasting in the oven? Steaming perhaps? I grew up with a father who boiled the life out of spinach on a regular basis. I thought I hated the stuff until I tried a recipe where fresh spinach was cooked in a pan long enough to just wilt the leaves. Then I discovered I actually loved the stuff! Try a different cooking method and you may discover the same thing.
Eat them raw!
Don’t like them cooked? Then try them raw. Sometimes cooking changes the flavor of the vegetable or makes it stronger. Broccoli and cabbage fall into this category. Yet, when eaten raw, they don’t have that over powering flavor that is a turn off to some people. Me? I love raw carrots but don’t care for them cooked.
Give Them A Flavor Boost!
Naked vegetables are ok. But toss some fresh herbs, citrus based vinaigrette, a homemade dressing or some sauce on top and watch your family gobble them up. No one likes bland. Here’s some herb and spice combo’s that taste great together:
Squash, pumpkin, sweet potatoes: cinnamon and/or nutmeg
Summer squash or zucchini: basil, garlic and oregano
Peas: thyme or lemon and mint
Broccoli: oregano, basil and sundried tomatoes or garlic and crushed red pepper or ginger, garlic and some orange zest
Green Beans: oregano and basil or garlic and onion or tarragon and butter, onions and thyme
Cabbage: butter, garlic and caraway seeds
Spinach: basil and garlic or dill and lemon or bacon and balsamic vinegar
Presentation is everything!
Are you serving up chicken, mashed potatoes and cauliflower? Doesn’t look too appetizing when everything on your plate is pretty much the same color. Try mixing various vegetables together to brighten up the plate and make it more appealing as well as nutritious. Veggies are made colorful by the types of antioxidants they contain. Not only does eating a variety of vegetables (and fruits) in a range of colors keep you healthy but they also make the food on your plate look good too.
Try Something New!
If I let my family decide which vegetables to eat we would be stuck eating potatoes, corn and broccoli every night. Glad I don’t let them choose. Instead I make one vegetable that I know they will eat and one that I’d like them to try eating. I even cheat a bit more by only making enough of the one they prefer to give everyone a serving. Once it’s gone there’s only the other vegetable left. Sometimes this doesn’t work and they pass on the other veggie. Many times it does and they end up trying something new only to discover they actually like it. Don’t be surprised if you have to introduce them to the new vegetable several times and in different ways before they end up finding that they like it.
Don’t Forget The Fat!
We often think of fat as adding calories but it does much more than that. Fat adds taste. Sure butter adds a buttery taste to food but any type of fat will add to the taste and flavor of food. It does this by allowing the particles that give the food it’s flavor to spread in your mouth. This is why fat free foods are often bland and tasteless. Let’s not forget that fat also helps fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) be absorbed into your body. You don’t have to cook like Paula Deen and add a stick of butter to every dish. Even adding a teaspoon or two can boost the flavor. Try mixing olive oi with Dijon mustard or balsamic vinegar and drizzle over your veggies. Try toasted sesame seed oil for it’s delicious taste.
If you think you hate vegetables why not give some of these tips a try and see if you don’t change your mind.
While your at it stop by the Choose My Plate site and learn more about vegetables including serving sizes, nutritional benefits and more.
|October 23, 2013||Filled under Nutritional Information, Recipes: Soups and Stews, Recipes: Vegetables||
It’s that time of year when you can find just about every type of food made with pumpkin. I don’t know about anyone else but I don’t just wait until fall to eat pumpkin. I use the stuff year round. Now is a great time to stock up on cans of pumpkin since they frequently go on sale especially as we get closer to Thanksgiving.
Did you know that canned pumpkin is loaded with vitamin A? It even has more then fresh pumpkin. Check this out:
Who knew that 1/2 a cup of canned pumpkin packs a whopping 540% of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin A! Fresh pumpkin only has 26.5%. Make sure when you buy canned pumpkin that is says 100% pumpkin and pass on the pumpkin pie filling which is loaded with sugar. Once you pick up a few cans why not make this great pumpkin tortilla recipe.
Pumpkin Tortilla Soup
- 4 corn tortilla (6 inches in size)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ cup finely chopped cilantro
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 - 15 oz can 100% pumpkin
- 1 - 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cut the tortillas into small ½ inch sized pieces.
- In a large stock pot heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and tortilla pieces. Stir frequently while cooking until onion is soft.
- Add in the cilantro and cumin. Saute for another minute until cilantro has softened.
- Add in the canned pumpkin, tomatoes and chicken or vegetable stock. Stir to combine and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.