Thursday, February 5, 2015

Sugar Free Dessert of the Month

Quick post tonight since it's so late and I have to work tomorrow… 

Food for the day:

B:  Bacon & Cheddar Wrap (on low carb tortilla)
L:  Tuna w/mayo & mustard on Joseph's Lavash
S:  Choc. PB Cups (I mentioned these yesterday - OMG YUM! - recipe/link to follow)
D:  Chicken w/Broccoli & Cauliflower topped w/Sour Cream, Cheddar & Bacon Bits
S:  Cheated at Taco Bell - half a bean burrito and half a chicken soft taco

Didn't plan the cheat at all - we were driving home and dinner had been light and like 5 hours ago, and my stomach got the best of me.  Sadly, it was terrible - hence the "half" listed in the foods above.  Hopefully, I won't pay for it too much on the ol' scale.

I did get in some exercise today, so I'm 2 for 2 days in a row doing that.  Every little bit helps, right?  

Looking over these daily meals is a big help.  I can tell I'm still not getting in enough fruits and veggies.  I will make that my goal for tomorrow!  

Oh and before I forget… the original recipe for the choc PB cups… is here at The Sunny Patch.  You can checkout how I made them below.  

This recipe has just been dubbed (by me) as DESSERT OF THE MONTH Month month!!!  

Wow, did ya hear that echo?  It must be good.  Seriously though, you won't believe how tasty it is!  And best of all, sugar free!  My kids immediately started calling them the "frozen little Reeses' Cups".  Ohhhh so good.  This is something I'm gonna be making for a very long time. 

Sugar Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Ingredients I used:

For the chocolate (I used the Trim Healthy Mama Skinny Chocolate recipe): 1/2 cup coconut oil, 3 tsp stevia blend, and 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa.  Mix well and pour into a mini-muffin pan.  Freeze for approximately 10 minutes.  

Peanut Butter - 1/2 cup natural peanut butter, 1/4 cup coconut oil and a healthy squirt of Skinny Girl Stevia Extract - mix well.  Pour over top of the frozen chocolate and freeze again - another 10 minutes and these babies are all yours.  My batch made about 20 of these delicious little treats.

Now, if you're thinking that these ingredients are too weird and that you'll never find them, well, you'd probably be mistaken.  All these ingredients are available at Walmart.  I listed a link with the stevia blend because that's where I buy it, but the Truvia (stevia and erythritol) blend is the same stuff.  And I just picked up a new brand I found (also at Walmart) called Pyure - also a stevia and erythritol blend, also organic and certified non-GMO, AND it's less expensive than both.  Anyway, my point is that you could eat this tonight if you so desired…

And finally, I'll sign off with the easiest movie quote ever - I thought of this especially for all you folks up north…

"Do you wanna build a snowman?"

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Trying New Foods

I think we get nicely tucked into our comfort zones when it comes to food, don't you think?  But given that our taste buds can change and given that it's important to remove processed sugar from my life, I'm finally, after several years of staring change in the face and doing nothing, finally I'm ready to try some stuff outside of my comfort zone.

Recently, it was a soda called "Zevia" and if you couldn't tell by the name, it is sweetened with stevia.  Also has zero calories.  I stumbled upon these at Publix, tucked away on the bottom shelf.  Well, I was feeling adventurous, so I bought 2 six-packs - one Orange flavored and one "Dr Zevia."  Any guesses to that flavor.

Well, we all tried them and were promptly disappointed.  You know how (back when you used to drink regular road) a fountain drink tastes when it's running out of syrup and you get more carbonated water than actual flavor?  Yeah, that's how these taste.  Not good.  I mean, I could drink them if I had to, but even a Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi would taste better.  So I will hold on to these until my tastes have adapted to stevia over sugar.

Today, I was also adventurous and tried the "uh-oh order" from Amazon (my fault not theirs) the Sweet Leaf Vanilla Creme stevia.  I had the thought that those Zevia drinks just needed a little more flavor and what if that flavor was Vanilla Creme?  Maybe it'd be like an Orange Creme Soda right?  And it was SOOOOO much better - I added a wee little dropperful - well not even a dropperful really, more like 1/3.  Wow, what a difference.  So much so that I'm taking the Dr Zevia to work tomorrow and see how that does with some Vanilla Creme.  I will certainly report my results.

Let's talk about the food side of things today…

A quick low carb tortilla wrap with some bacon and cheddar (this really holds me for awhile - half the time I have to set a reminder to eat!  Much different than Oatmeal days where I'm hungry in a couple hours.

Leftovers from dinner "Egg Roll in a Bowl"

(Another recent new try) Oikos Triple Zero Coconut Creme, mixed with a TBS almond slivers and a half serving 56% cacao chips.  It's like an Almond Joy, but healthier.  I had been using Chobani in the past, but alas, those were sweetened with sugar.  They called it "Evaporated Cane Juice", but we all know what that means - sugar.  Yeah, had to stop eating those.  Then I heard about Oikos new line "Triple Zero" Zero added sugar, Zero Artificial Sweeteners and Zero Fat.  Awesome combo.  I actually think this one tastes better than Chobani - it's more smooth and every so slightly sweeter along with the typical Greek yogurt "bite"being much more subdued.  Wow, sound like I was tasting wine, not yogurt.  Longest snack entry - ever.

Taco "Rice" Taco-seasoned ground beef over steamed cauliflower chopped and pretending to be "rice".  Yep, I don't have a better name for it yet, but I like throwing out the air quotes to the kids when they ask what's for dinner.  Then they go, "so what is it really?"  HAHA it's fun having kids, even if they are college students.  Anyway, the taco seasoning is homemade (or at least "home combined" as opposed to the little packs of sodium attacks at the grocery store.  Also made a topping with some equally mixed sour cream and Picante Sauce.  I was very happy with how it turned out. - the kids added more salsa and/or hot sauce.

Ahhhh, this one was a hit!  It's from Pinterest.  Skinny Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups.  Oh. My. Word. These were AMAZING.  What a success - Pinterest is hit and miss for me, but this one - keeper.

Til tomorrow!  Hope your Thursday is spectacular!!  In the words of Arnold  "I'll be back."  Anyone know how may other movies he said that or some variation of it?  Seems like it was more than ten.  Anyway,  g'nite!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Trying out Liquid Stevia

I'm in search of a sweetener that is natural and has zero calories, but most importantly, tastes good.  I don't like the aftertaste of artificial sweeteners like Equal and Sweet n Low.  I've tried Splenda and it's just ok - still not sold.  I tried stevia a few years ago and threw out the whole box - it was so bitter!  Then I tried a stevia brand guaranteed not to be bitter - guess what… it was still bitter to me.

I used to enjoy a soda every once in a while and Mtn Dew was a fave.  Well, with a new lifestyle of no processed sugar, Dew went out the window.  Diet sodas never appealed to me either - same problem - aftertaste.  I did find that Diet Dr Pepper and Vanilla Coke Zero are tolerable and eventually likable.  Problem is both have aspartame - I don't want to include aspartame in my sugar-free lifestyle.   So apart from an occasional need for both caffeine and soda during the work day, I stay away from diet drinks.

This just makes me more determined than ever to find a suitable substitute for soda.  For a REALLY long time, my caffeine and sugar fix came from sweet tea.  I'm from the south ya'll and the only way to drink tea is sweet.  In fact, when you order it from a menu and you want UNsweet, you better say so, or else you'll get sweet.  The rest of the country is the other way around.  Here's my problem, if I can't have the tea taste the way it's tasted my ENTIRE life, I'd rather just do without.  But I know there is a solution, I just have to find it.  Until then, there's that nasty diet soda crap.

But wait!!  There's good news.  I found a recipe for a DIY soda that is supposed to taste similar to Mtn Dew.  It uses a liquid-based stevia.  Hmmmm, liquid.  Good concept.  So I ordered some online and it arrived today!  Yay!!  But it was "Vanilla Creme" and I thought I ordered the plain, non-flavored stuff. Well, I checked my order and sure enough, it was my fault.  That's ok, I found some recipes for it so it won't be thrown out.  But now I was back to not having the sweetener I needed.  I had already checked 4 grocery stores near me and none carried what I was looking for.  What I need is a natural or whole foods store.  When I lived in Colorado, I had several to choose from.  Here?  Few and far between.  The closest Whole Foods is like 45 miles away.  But I did remember seeing a small mom and pop type somewhat closer, so off I went - in search of liquid stevia.

I found the store!  It's so cool!  And it's a co-op.  Membership is $50/year and if you are a "working member," you get even more of a discount.  How cool is that?!?  A "working member" works in the store 4 hours a month - either all at once or whenever.  I'm so totally in!!  Serendipity - looking for stevia, found a co-op.

AND I found the stevia among bunches of other stuff I've been wanting to check out.  Woo-HOOOO!

I made the fake Dew recipe and it wasn't bad.  Here's what I used:

I'm callin' it "MtZ" >>> Pronounced "Empty-Zee"

2 liter bottle of carbonated water (aka "seltzer" or "soda water" etc)
4 TBS Bragg Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
4 TBS Lime Juice
12 droppers-full Sweet Leaf Sweet Drops

It doesn't look like Mt Dew at all, nor does it smell like it.  But it does indeed have that citrus-y flavor.  I can live with it for sure.  Way better than a diet soda!

Oh yeah and a quick input for what I had for food today:

B:  Oatmeal w/cinnamon, sweetener & almond milk, topped w/blended cottage cheese & blueberries
L:  Ham & Cheese wrap with mustard
S:  Handful of peanuts
D:  Egg Roll in a Bowl (<<<< you have got to check out this recipe - it was FANTASTIC!!)
S:  Pumpkin Pie in 2 minutes flat (greatly improved recipe with shorter cooking time and pecans!)

We may have added a touch of Fat Free Reddi Whip too!  This could seriously become a habit.

Alrighty then, that's it for tonight.  I'm off to dream world.

Oh and here's another movie quote - not too hard at all…

"There is no spoon."

Monday, February 2, 2015

Satisfying and Energizing Meals

Let's talk about food, shall we?  I can't say enough about how much I love this new Trim Healthy lifestyle.  I mean, don't get me wrong, it has it's ups and downs just like anything else, but by far, this is the easiest plan I've ever followed.  It's also very forgiving.  If you mess up - whether purposefully or accidentally - you can start over 3 hours later.  Isn't that AWESOME?!?!

I'm more of a purposeful messer-upper than accidental though.  Most times it's that stupid $5 deal at you-know-where.  So easy, so cheap.  Well, now... that's a whole other discussion now isn't it?

ANYWAY!!  Food today...

Breakfast was interesting.  I decided to try some pancakes, but put the batter in the waffle iron.  Have I mentioned that, until yesterday, I didn't own a waffle iron?  The horror!  I know.  But I always thought, "why bother with waffles at home when there are places like Waffle House?"

Well, I know now of course, but in years past, I'd call it a cheat day and press on.  So today was an experimental day to say the least.  I had not made this pancake batter before nor had I used the brand spankin' new waffle iron chillin' on my kitchen counter.  Last night, I read all the waffle iron instructions and it didn't seem too complicated.  I washed the little grill plates or whatever they're called and then prepped the batter.  I learned that the batter could be made ahead and stored in the fridge overnight.  Sweet!  I cannot be expected to mix together more than 3 ingredients in the morning hours.  Let me give you examples:  1) coffee / sweetener / cream  2) tortilla / breakfast meat / cheese  3) cereal / sweetener / milk and so on… Therefore, a make-ahead breakfast meal is ideal.  Ingredients include:
8oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese, 6 eggs, 6 TBS oat fiber, 2 Tsp glucomannan 1 TBS cinnamon, 1tsp vanilla extract, 6 packets of Truvia.  I got the recipe from Erika @ AbidinginHimDaily on YouTube

I was surprised at the outcome.  These were not bad at all.  I expected eggy - I immensely dislike eggy. These weren't.  And the best part was adding bacon as the side!!  Oh yeah, I had bacon!  Oh and did I mention butter?  Butter on the waffles - yup - on plan.  See?  This plan is amazing!  

And thanks to Erika for posting the video!  I heart YouTube vids.  It's so cool to be able to watch what needs to happen instead of just reading about it.  That said, I am planning on doing some videos as I come across recipes that don't have them.  I'll post links as soon as I have them.  I'm in the prep phase now.  Kind of wondering about setting up lighting and whatnot.  I'm a photographer (hobby), not videographer (new hobby), so we'll see how that goes.  

Now on to the rest… For lunch, it was simple… Tuna Rollup.  One package of Tuna mixed with a half tablespoon mayo and a squirt of mustard on a Joesph's Lavash wrap.  Very satisfying with a glass of water.  I don't know what it is about tuna and water that it just tastes right together.  Oh wait, tuna… water… I get it now.  <giggle>

For dinner, I had some leftover pressure-cooked chicken breast that needed to be used, so I went for an "E" meal.  "E" stands for "Energizing" and that means I needed less than 5g of fat and no more than 45g of carbs per serving.  Since I'm only two months into the plan, I have to calculate stuff like this because I want to be sure I'm getting it right.  Some folks don't do that, and I'm not even sure it's necessary to calculate exact amounts, but I'm a perfectionist and it makes me happy to figure it out - like a puzzle.  Ok, I'm weird, I know.  

Andddd… we're… back on topic… So, I combined the shredded chicken (1.5 cups) with a can of low sodium black beans, one cup steamed corn (from frozen), 1/3 cup Pace Hot Picante Sauce, 1/3 cup of chicken broth.  Let that simmer on the stove for a bit then topped it with a half ounce (yes, measured) of freshly-grated 2% cheddar cheese.  This was a perfect amount for the 3 of us.  Just the right zing in the spice department too!  Normally, I use ground turkey for this meal, but I think the chicken actually works better.  The per serving nutrition worked out to be:  5g Fat, 35g carbs and 31g protein - right where I want to be.  Got a thumbs up all around.    

Finally, 3 hours later, we had dessert.  Since dinner was an E and dessert an S, you wait 3 hours so that one fuel source is expended and you eat a new fuel source - mixing fuel sources like fats and carbs can and usually does lead to weight gain.  "S" is stands for Satisfying and it does indeed do that.  Fat is no issue when making an "S" meal.  I have a sweet tooth like you wouldn't believe and I love to try all the dessert recipes out there that are low carb.  I found this one through a blog - I saw "Paleo" in the title and figured it would be low carb and sugar free - sure enough it was.  It's called "Pumpkin Pie in 2 minutes flat" and <<<<<<click that link if you want to check it out, from The Paleo Mama.  This was one of the absolute best microwaved desserts we have tried - and believe me, we've tried a bunch.  I split the pumpkin mixture in half and made two ramekins of the "crust".  The crust was decent, though not really "crust-like" in my opinion.  It wasn't bad though.  The pie filling oooohhh - that was AMAZING!!  The texture was more bread-like than pumpkin pie, but that didn't detract from it at all.  We put a little Reddi-Whip on top and thought it was Thanksgiving all over again!  Glad to have found a good recipe that was quick and easy.

OK, wow, I seriously did not know this post was going to be this long - whew!  Time for bed already.  See ya next time!  Until then, this movie quote has been going over and over in my head tonight.  Sure I had pumpkin pie for dessert, but I thought about adding pecans.  And that lead to

"Waiter, there is too much pepper on my paprikash… but I would be proud to partake of your pecan pie… Peeee cahn Piiiiiii"  Name that movie lol!

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