Cabbage Roll Soup & Bulk Barn Addiction

28 02 2014

I can’t be trusted in Bulk Barn. This is a hard place for a recovering sugar addict.. I cruise the aisles looking at all the candy and remembering how it all use to be my best friend. I can’t go into these places without some morale support and wont kid myself to think I can just “pop” in to buy some nuts and be done with it. The memories are too strong in those places, that I need a buddy.
The sobering truth is while I am healthy and almost five years out from my W.L. surgery, I have to be more vigilant about where I came from and how easy it could be to slip back into old ways.

It has been f-ing cold this winter so after my dodging and weaving at the Bulk Barn, I needed some comfort food. Enter Cabbage Roll Soup. It has all the components I love, cabbage, chorizo, and horseradish bitey-ness. I will also add it is pretty darn low in calories and mighty delicious. Ken had two bowls and said “blog worthy” so we make it again. Fart-tastic as well.. your colon loves cruciferous veggies. This is like kimchi in soup form… YUMMO

Cabbage Roll Soup
adapted from Anna Olsen’s recipe

3 strips diced bacon or pkg of PC chorizo
1 medium onion, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 medium carrot, grated
1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef or pork
1 clove garlic
6 cups diced green or savoy cabbage
1 28oz tins diced tomato
2 cups sodium reduced chicken stock/broth
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tbsp. prepared horseradish
1 tbsp sweet paprika
2 bay leaves
to taste salt and pepper
garnish sour cream

Cook diced bacon or chorizo in heavy bottomed soup pot until crisp and the fat renders out. Add chopped onion and let the onions cook for 5 minutes until they start to get soft. Add celery, carrot and saute for 5 minutes.

Add the ground meat and garlic and let it all brown. Pull off any excess fat coming off the meat (or not) depending on how you are feeling.
pork cabbage
Stir in the cabbage, tomatoes, chicken stock, cider vinegar, horseradish, paprika, and bay leaves.

Bring to a strong simmer and then turn down to low simmer and neglect until the cabbage is yielding. This soup gets better the next day so let it simmer all day or make it the night before and reheat. Garnish with sour cream and serve.

This makes about 10 cups of soup, serving size is 1 cup. Ken, who doesnt believe soup is a meal, ate two bowls and told me he really liked it.
Nuts are as follows made with chorizo and ground pork. This will change with bacon and lean etc.
Calories 217, Carbs 10 (7g NET), Fat 12g, Protein 18g, Sugar 5g


Fitbit Addiction: No Intervention Required

25 09 2012

Fitbit ROCKS! and no, I have no kickback or endorsement deal with the people at Fitbit.

“SO what is this Fitbit thing you are so insane about?” you ask. It is LIKE a pedometer but not. It is a clip you wear all day and it measures steps, but also intensity of activity, and has an on board altimeter that tracks stairs climbs. You can’t cheat by hopping around, as it uses the same technology as in the Wii to track movement, so it knows when you are moving and in which direction.

Tracks ALL Activity
So for example, it is noon at work, and this is my activity chart for the morning (click to zoom in on the image)

It Tracks Sleep
This little thing also can be worn as you sleep and it records every time you move around, which in turn signals how many REM sleeps you had, and the “efficiency” or “quality” of your sleep. I am a FABULOUS sleeper I guess. I printed off my stats for a week of sleep to show my doctor and did you know the average sleep efficiency is 60%? No wonder people are grabbing crappy sugary food so they can stay awake. How awful. If you REALLY want to be good to yourself, get a good rest. Surfing the internet is way less of a priority than a good rest, especially if you are battling weight issues.
So you wear your Fitbit in a band on your wrist and push a button when you climb into bed.(click to zoom in on the image)

It takes a charge for about a week, and you clip it on a stand to charge it back up. The charger stand is a way to synch the device to an online tracker-food-sleep system, similar to MyFitnessPal. It also works with MyfitnessPal and will track all calories burned from a day’s activity, but it ignores the sleep component (BOO..IMO the coolest part). It is wireless though, so if you are wearing it and within 20 feet of the stand with the Fitbit log open on the internet, it periodically updates throughout the day. Super cool,non?

What motivated me to buy this??
Whelp, I had a bit of a weight fluctuation over the summer, and it also corresponded with a change in (shield your eyes men) birth control and a new gym. I felt like I was on track all summer but the scale went up 7 lbs in 3 months and I had a bit of a “WTF” moment. Let’s face it, we were fat, and were pretty good at the whole denial game. I bought this to see if I was active as I thought I was. It turns out I am way more active then I thought and when I switched my BC back around (sorry boys for the TMI) I dropped all the weight in 3 weeks. I am back down to my “fighting weight”. It is scary to have a weight fluctuation when you have spent the last three years getting the weight off and never wanting to go back.

So Christmas is coming, and Fitbit just released a newer model of the one I have (which is the Fitbit Ultra). For $100, it is a good thing to put on your Xmas list. Quite frankly, what geologist in their right mind doesn’t love a motivational message like this every day???

Meat Skillets – Meaty Primal Fast Food

7 06 2012

I meal plan once every two weeks. People ask me all the time “how do you do it? How do you continue to make good meals day after day?” It isn’t rocket science, it is just spending an hour sitting down to plan. Ken and I love food, we love to grocery shop, we love to shop at the market…hence why we were fat. While we STILL love to shop, and cruise an occasional grocery store, we limit exposure. If you enter a grocery store once every couple of days, you WILL end up buying stuff you dont need, nor should be eating. Hence our two weeks rule. Sure we will pop to the corner market to pick up almond milk or cream if we need it, and happily pay the extra 50 cents it cost to avoid going into a grocery store and come out $40 later with the cream, almond milk plus 6 other items. Part of this new lifestyle is behaviour modification.
“we are living the dream grandma”

People/vendors at the market look my list and think I am crazy.I will endeavor to take a pic of my magical list for you to have a look at it. We are heading to the market this weekend so a list is being drawn up as we speak. Essentially my list is a food story board for my two weeks. Eat your heart out Pinterest.. people used paper before you were born.

So when I am having a blond moment in the morning I look at the list, pick a meal, and make sure the meat is thawing before I leave the house. There is never a rush for ingredients, because every ingredient I need is listed and bought. No pop outs to the grocery store.

Meat Skillets are based on Health-Bent’s Cowboy Breakfast Skillet. I have made a “pizza” inspired skillet, and this week we did a Philly Cheese steak inspired skillet. These are fabulous one pot meals that you can make and serve in under an hour with minimal oven time (which is important in the summer months)
I also love, love, love using my cast iron skillet. So good for you as it adds iron to your food and I can go from stove top to broiler and not have to worry about melting handles.

Philly Meat Skillet

loosely adapted from Health Bent

2 lbs of flank steak, or any beef, cut up into thin slices
1 red pepper
1 tbsp FOC (we used duck fat)
1 onion, sliced
1 handful of mushrooms, sliced
3 fresh jalapenos, chopped
2 tsp Montreal Steak Spice
4 to 5 eggs

potato starch for thickening

Start off with heating up your skillet and adding your FOC. You can do this one of two ways, onions and veggie browned first, or meat first. It is entirely up to you. We did the onions-veg first. Brown onions, then add chopped peppers and mushrooms and saute until limp.

Add the thinly sliced meat and saute only until it is slightly browned. Make sure your broiler is on in your oven. Add the spices and really give everything a good stir. If you have a lot of liquid in your pan, then you can either drain it, OR add a bit of potato starch and make a gravy. We will always choose gravy.

Get your eggs ready and crack them on top of the meat base. I added some avocado to get sort of yummy and buttery under the broiler. Slip this under the broiler in the oven for 5 minutes at least, watching to make sure the eggs are done to your liking. Some people dont like runny eggs (freaks)

Voila done! I always slip an oven mitt on the handle of my skillet because I am always inclined to grab the handle and not thinking it may be scorching hot.
I serve about 3/4 of a cup of this into my little plate and am STUFFED. This is a whack-o-protein and ultra filling. Experiment with using your skillet for last minute meals… use any veggie in the crisper that is looking a bit sad, and using a bit of curry or nutmeg can transform this into a Moroccan or Indian inspired skillet.

Pumpkin Protein Un-Bread

7 12 2011

So I am going to start off with what I ate today…some days I could get EVERYTHING, and other days I can get very little into the system. I have made a commitment to myself this holiday to plan in my treats and make sure I hit the gym almost every day. I am finding it stressful over the holidays and the running-spinning-elliptical-combat classes allow me to sleep like a rock without my head spinning too much.

SO today.. I am hot and cold on soup in general, as it is really a slider food but I made Jess’ Thai Coconut Shrimp Soup but jacked up the protein content (up to 24g per cup) by adding a half a package of silken tofu to the mix. It was a good time.
Protein coffee for breakfast, a medium 10oz cappucino for mid-morning snack, and 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt with some sf jam for afternoon snack. A turkey pepperoni before I hit the gym, and frijoles charros for dinner. Snack for tonight will be pumpkin un-bread. Before snack tonight I have close to 970 calories and 97g of protein in.. not too shabby.

This pumpkin un-bread is delicious, and loaf-like without using flour, which drives the carbs WAY down. Un-bread is like bread, but not, and it feels different enough that this doesn’t feel like old habits. I have full control when this is in our house.. an ACE Bakery baguette may be more of an issue. I can only eat half a slice of this un-bread, but Ken can eat a whole slice. This recipe makes 12 slices of bread (24 if it is all WLS sized). While the half of a square will LOOK small, this feels pretty heavy in the system… just a word of caution, don’t overdue it the first time eating it.

Kat’s Pumpkin Pepitas Un-Bread

1/2 cup almond meal(flour)
1 1/2 cups Splenda
3/4 cup of vanilla whey protein powder
6 tbsp vital wheat gluten
4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda

2 extra large eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup of sour cream, low fat
1 container ~ 1/4 cup of unsweetened apple sauce
4 tbsp canola oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup of pepitas, optional

Set the oven for 350 degrees and line a loaf pan with some parchment paper. This stuff wants to stick to everything, so spray won’t cut it for this recipe.

In a bowl mix the dry ingredients and set aside (first half of ingredients above)

Grab another medium sized bowl and crack the eggs, beat until scrambled, combine the pumpkin, sour cream, apple sauce, oil and vanilla extract.

Mix until combined..

Pour into your prepped loaf pan and again, don’t spray the pan and think this is going to come out clean. I have tried it, you need parchment paper to lift this out once it is cooled. Sprinkle pepitas on the top of the loaf, and pop into the oven to bake for 55 minutes, checking with a toothpick for done-ness.

TADA! Delicious, nutritious and like devil bread, BUT NOT!

Nuts on this are as follows (quoted with pepitas) per slice (12 slices per loaf). If you can only finish HALF a slice, adjust accordingly.
Calories 181, Carbs 10g (NET 8g), Fat 11g, Protein 12g, Sugar 3g

Beefy x 2 Stroganoff.. is there anything better?

25 11 2011

Those Russian know a thing or two about stroganoff, but I doubt many could afford two pounds of triple grade A lean beef to make it. Fill your boots on the richness of this dish without the full fat cream-noodle backlash!
I have posted a meatball version using turkey but was really craving a one pot meal, had some mushrooms that needed to be used, and 2 lbs of lean AAA beef. Voila Beef Stroganoff, minus the carby evil noodles.

This is a short and sweet post, as we are gearing up for a retirement party at work today, a visiting Young Mineral Club at work tomorrow, and my gran’s 95th birthday celebrations tomorrow night. I feel choked for time, but I also think it is the time of year. I really need to start and let some stuff go.
Courtesy of Natalie Dee

Beefy Beefy Stroganoff
by moi

2 lbs of lean beef, cut up into bite sized bits
1 onion, chopped
3 slices of bacon, chopped
1 tbsp oil
1 lb mushrooms, chopped
1 can of evaporated milk,, 2%
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup of beef broth (or bovril)

2 tbsp flour (to thicken near the end)

Saute onions and bacon together until cooked, add mushrooms and cook them until they have given up most of their moisture. Add cubed beef and brown the outside. I then added the flour at this stage, as it soaks up some of the bacon fat and creates a roux of sorts. This will thicken the stew up so you dont miss the noodles so much.

Add liquid and neglect until the beef is cooked, making sure you dont allow the stew to boil, as the milk will curdle, and look awful. You can totally do this in the crock pot, or chose to have it simmer on low on the stove with the lid slightly ajar. I find the flavours of this are slightly better on the stove.

This makes alot, like 10.5 cups of stew, which freezes like gangbusters, so make the full pot and tuck some away for a hectic week.
Nuts quoted are on 3/4 cup, which is challenging to get down because of the beef chunks, so skew accordingly
Calories 207, Carbs 11 (NET 10g), Fat 7g, Protein 25g, Sugars 5g

To Oatmeal or Not to Oatmeal…aka Wake and Bake

22 11 2011

I sit on the fence with oatmeal, and while I get it is good for us, I still shy away from any big grains in the morning. I think breakfast is the carb addicts best friend with the vast majority of the morning choices based on grains. While not all grains are bad, unless you are on a primal diet which means ALL GRAINS ARE BAD, I still feel slightly fearful of introducing my day to a carb right off the bat.
Natalie is pro-oatmeal, courtesy of Natalie Dee

If you want to find out more about the grain debate check out Mark Daily Apple to understand why grains aren’t so great for us.
It is with mixed feelings that I post this recipe. I made it to try out crock pot overnight oatmeal, and will have it on occasion, but leave it mostly for Ken. He was pretty darn excited to be eating this this morning, and had no idea I mixed a scoop of protein powder into it to even out the GI load to his system.

I will make this again, but be mindful that it isnt an everyday thing for me. I am still incredibly careful with my carbs and average about 60 grams per day, which is pretty darn low. Factoring in a breakfast with a whooping 20 grams in one shot is a big deal for me.

Overnight Crock Pot Almond Oatmeal

1/2 cup (or two single serving containers) of unsweetened apple sauce
2 cups of vanilla flavoured unsweetened almond milk (you can sub in any milk of choice, but adjust caloric totals for the sub)
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons of sweetener (I used coconut sap, but a Splenda brown sugar would be fabu or just sugar for those who can consume it)
1 1/2 tablespoons butter or marg (i used becel, cut into little chunks)
1/2 tea almond extract
1 tbsp ground flax (fiberific)
1 1/2 cup of uncooked steel-cut or whole rolled oats (not instant oats!)
1 tea cinnamon

Assemble ingredients. I added some raisins to this recipe, but dont really recommend it as it made it too carby.

Spray crock pot with non-stick spray. Add all ingredients and give it a stir, popping the crock pot on low.

Neglect for 7 hours (i think I cooked mine 8 hours)
Give it a good stir, and serve. Top with almond milk, almonds etc.

This makes 5 cups of oatmeal, with a WLS serving to be 1/2 a cup with a scoop of protein added (not reflected in first set of numbers)
For the oatmeal alone:
Calories 136, Carbs 22g (NET 19g), Fat 5g, Protein 4g, Sugar 5g

With the protein and 1/4 cup of almond milk, it has impressive protein numbers.
Calories 256, Carbs 24g (NET 21g), Fat 6g, Protein 31g, Sugars 6g

Pretty F-ing Crazy Vanilla Panna Cotta

21 11 2011

Let me start right off my saying THIS ISNT A DESSERT IF YOU ARE STILL TRYING TO LOSE WEIGHT.. this is completely a maintenance phase dessert. I only say this because it uses ultra high fat cream, which IF you had a surgery that has mal-absorption (specifically RNY) this is rough on your system until the mal-absorption sort of “rights itself”. I can tolerate more fat now that I could in the beginning, and it is due in a large part to your body getting better at uptaking food you eat post 18 months of surgery.
This dessert is simplistic elegance

SO, anatomy lesson over, this is all about this amazing dessert.. one that my friend Linsday mentioned to me months ago. She was newly dating and made panna cotta as a WLS friendly dessert for a date night and she raved about it. I came across a recipe recently from a Low Carb cookbook from a chef in Vancouver that uses liquid Sugar Twin. I am not sure how many people use this, I always associated it with old school people who weren’t hip to Splenda, but this book set me straight. Liquid Sugar Twin is only available in Canada, and is made from a sugar derivative called cyclamate. It has fabulous stability in baking, like sucralose (Splenda) isnt a sugar alcohol so it doesn’t have GI upset some get from AS and it is much sweeter than Splenda, so you use a fraction.
I was doubtful but for $4 in Loblaws I was willing to give it a go.

SO how does it taste?? WELP… you know when you had a hard day, and would buy a Hagen Dazs Vanilla Ice cream, and then leave it on the counter for 15 minutes so it would soften up? That first scoop when you gather all the melted vanilla ice cream from the edges on your spoon.. that is what this dessert tastes like. It is wickedly delicious, and portion control is the key. I set this dessert in shot glasses, so you can have an ounce or two of deliciousness without killing your gut.

Vanilla Panna Cotta
from Low Carb Gourmet by Karen Barnby

1/4 cup water
2 1/2 tsp unflavoured gelatin (Knox brand in the orange box near the jello)
3 cups whipping cream (serious though.. use only whipping cream,35% -anything less wont gel properly)
1/2 whole vanilla bean
2 tbsp dry Splenda
2 tbsp liquid Sugar Twin

In a small bowl place 1/4 cup of the water and sprinkle the 2 1/2 teaspoons of unflavoured gelatin over the water and set aside.

Get out a nice thick bottomed saucepan, and add 1 1/2 cups of the whipping cream, slit the vanilla bean down the middle, open it up and throw the whole thing as you are going to let the entire bean infuse the cream. Bring this whole mixture to a gentle boil, not too fast though as you dont want the cream to burn.

Take off burner and add the bowl of unflavoured gelatin, which by now is a semi-solid and stir until dissolved in the warm cream. Remove vanilla bean, scrapping out any bits with a knife and adding it to your heated mixture. Stir in both sweeteners and the remaining 1.5 cups of cream and it give it a good stir.
You want all the black gritty stuff in the vanilla bean

Pour the whole thing out of the saucepan and into something that makes pouring into small mouth shot glasses easy. This recipe makes 3ish cups of dessert, I used 15-2 ounce shot glasses, so 30 ounces of dessert in total. Pour into the vessel of choice and let it sit in the fridge for at least four hours to firm up. I really like this dessert because I can make ahead, and have left it for 48 hours before a dinner party.

I think these were the hit of my dessert-a-palooza.. In the previous post (lemon squares) there is a picture of them in the foreground. It is a super rich dessert, so 2 ounces is perfect and please be pleasantly surprised by the nuts if you keep it small.

Calories 85, Carbs 1g, Fat 9g, Protein 1g