Have more faith in friends who give you recipes – Cauliflower Casserole – 1

DSCF3688I bet you didn’t expect me back so soon did you? Well, SURPRISE! Here I am. Todays pic is of the mess I discovered around one of our pine trees in the back yard after we got home from vacation. I guess the squirrels have decided which tree is the most fun to have a picnic in as the ground around the other trees is all pretty much clear of debris.

Todays recipe is not an original from my kitchen, it’s a fantastic recipe that I got from my friend Lynn, The Low Carb Traveler. She suggested this recipe to me a few years ago as a side for my thanksgiving dinner. I finally tried it last year as my experiment for the holidays. I really should have tried it when she first told me about it. It’s fantastic. Really and truly fantastic. You can find the original recipe on her site at the link above as you know I had to tweak it just a touch to make it perfect for my own use. Personally I loved it just the way it was but hubby thought it had a bit too much cream cheese and onion so I tweaked until we hit a level we both love. I’ve been making this thing 3 and 4 times a month since then and we just cannot get enough of it!

Cauliflower Casserole – 1

2 lb frozen or fresh cauliflower florets <I use frozen>

8 oz cream cheese

4 oz shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 oz diced green onion

butter to lube the casserole dish with

DSCF3699 This is some seriously simple cooking. First set out the cream cheese to start warming while you put the casserole together. Then you dump the cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl and zap it for 10 mins on power 8. If you don’t have an awesome plate cover for reheating in the micro like I do then just cover the bowl with plastic wrap, it’ll work just fine. When the 10 mins is up take the bowl out, carefully remove the cover and stir the cauli well as the center will still be cold and mostly frozen. Re-cover the dish and pop it back into the microwave for another 10 mins, again at power 8.

DSCF3701When the microwave is done take out the bowl, uncover it and plop in the cream cheese. Chunk it up with a spatula and start gently mixing it in. The hot cauli will melt the cream cheese lumps to help you along with this. My hubby did not like the way I left big lumps of cream cheese when I made this the very first time so I am careful to mix it well to avoid any more complaints. I liked the lumps myself but marriage is the art of compromise.

DSCF3703Once all the cream cheese is melted and nice and creamy toss in the shredded cheddar and the diced green onion. I usually just put the whole bowl on my scale and weigh the cheese and onion that way as I think it’s silly to deliberately make more dirty dishes for myself to deal with later. If you own a dishwasher then go right ahead and weigh these ingredients out in seperate containers if you like. Once you have the cheddar and onions in the bowl give it a good stirring up.

DSCF3705Now grab your casserole pan and butter the inside really well. A nice thick layer but don’t go crazy. The pan I used is a 2 qt casserole dish, both oven and microwave safe. If you need this dish fast you can nuke it. The only difference is that it won’t brown on top and be all pretty. Since I am rarely in a hurry in my kitchen and I like pretty on occasion I prefer to bake mine. It also makes for some lovely crunchy brown bits at the sides and edges. I prefer to use clear baking dishes as it makes it super easy to tell when I need to pull something out before it burns.

Now just dump the whole mixture into the buttered dish, scrape the bowl well and level it out sorta. Turn your oven on to 400F, pop the dish in and bake it, uncovered, for 40 minutes. As you can see I start with a cold oven. I have a huge fear of shattering a glass baking pan by putting it in a hot oven. Perhaps this is no longer a real concern with today’s better bakeware but not all of my baking dishes are modern ones so it’s best to be safe. If you prefer to preheat your oven then be sure and check the dish after 30 minutes as you don’t want it to burn. You are only baking it until it is nicely brown and a bit bubbly. Remove it from the oven and serve hot.

DSCF3709This casserole freezes fantastically and reheats like a dream in the microwave. If you top it with crumbled, cooked bacon like in the original recipe from Lynn, I would suggest you not freeze it as the bacon loses all crispness and gets a bit chewy after freezing. So if you plan to freeze it and you want bacon on it then freeze it plain and add the bacon just before serving.

A double batch of this casserole fits perfectly in a 9 x 13 inch pan. I have also subbed broccoli for some of the cauli, up to a half and half mixture, with excellent results.

I really hope you give this recipe a try instead of pondering for a few years like I did. You will not regret it!

Have a happy!
TT

Posted in Cooking Tips, Low Carb, Phase 1, Recipes, Veges | Tagged , | 2 Comments

It’s been a While

Yes I know it seems like forever since you heard from me but have no fear, Tiger is still near. Life has slapped me in the face a few times since I lasted posted but things are starting to calm down again <I hope> so I should be able to start posting recipes again in the near future. I’ve also decided that I’m going back to the orig concept of this blog which is food as well as food for thought, so don’t be surprised if you pop in and find the occasional post that has pretty much nothing to do with food.

I’ve been mostly off plan since my last post and trying desperately to cope with the new curve balls that life has tossed my way. I’ve also gotten away from the exercise, vitamins, drinking enough water and stepping away from the puter. This is already changing! For the past month I have been taking my vitamins every other day, upping my water intake until I am almost back to the minimum of 2 quarts and forcing myself to make daily to-do lists and then actually DO the things on the list. I’m eating more veges and more often, though still not quite all on plan. Earlier this week I ordered, and received, a new supply of almond flour to try the stack of recipes I have been putting off for a year. I’m back to waking up early with no alarm clock but have yet to be able to fall asleep before 11 due to elevated energy levels. Adding yoga back into my routine will probably be next as my hip has been bothering me too much for the past few months to even think about twitching or weight lifting right now.

Wish me luck and I will see you soon, I promise!

TT

Posted in Thoughts | 1 Comment

Saturday Adventuring: the food we found eating at an indoor flea market :)

We’ve been going out & about on odd saturdays this summer and some of the restaurants we’ve stumbled on were pretty durn good, so I decided to give them my version of a review. The LC version of course, with some of the hubbys opinions thrown in for good measure.

On May 8th we decided to go check out an indoor flea market in the north of Houston called Armadillo Market Place. I have no pics to offer since I didn’t carry my camera that day. It was jam-packed with small shops and vendor booths inside. While it was fun to walk around and see all the stuff, the prices outstripped the quality of the items for sale. I had searched online for indoor flea markets and this place was a serious disappointment. It was all vendors of the cheap and gaudy, not at all what I expected for something that I thought was a flea market. At a flea market I expect those types of vendors but I also expect to see lots of handmade things as well as a nice dose of old items that were discovered in attics and sheds. This place had none of the good stuff.

There was however ONE vendor who had great stuff and excellent prices but I cannot remember what she called her booth. She had the only Bob Marley/Jamaican/Reggae shop in the place. Lots of great shirts, carvings, incense, excellent music and some fantastic handmade jewelry. I bought a pair of earrings and the price was totally acceptable. If you go to this place be sure to check out her booth!

The best part of our day at the market was the food court. Not very large but clean and well-lit, they had a minimum of eating choices available. Hubby went for the little pastry & cafe shop. He got a philly cheesesteak. Now my hubby has been to Philly and had the real thing several times. He has also been eating these things every where he travels, so when he says “This is the best cheesesteak I have ever eaten, bar none!”, he means it. It was a family run place with mom behind the grill and her 2 sons running the counter. The boys were super polite and mom was tickled when my hubby took the time to go back and tell her how wonderful her food was. At $6.50 for the cheesesteak meal , the price was well within what we were willing to spend for lunch. The look on his face was pure bliss and he even convinced me to try a bite. I don’t like philly cheesesteaks but this one WAS tasty I have to admit. So we now have a reason to stop in there again if we are in the area and we’re hungry. Of course the LC eater will want to bring their own water and give the fries to a friend. There was plenty of stuffing in that sandwich to satisfy your hunger if you get a fork and only eat the filling.

What did I eat? I went to the burger place because I always have room for another cheeseburger! They too only did meals with fries and a coke according to the menu but when I asked she was more than happy to sell me just the sandwich at a reduced cost. I ordered my usual, meat, cheese, pickles, lettuce, and can I have it without the bun please? The look on her face was priceless. She pointed at a picture and repeated back, “you want no bun?” and I said “yes, no bun”. I think she was questioning her english as it was obviously not her native language. Once I assured her she heard correctly she looked at me like I was a nut job. She had obviously not met a low-carber before. So she went and asked the grill cook, who also looked at me funny, then he agreed that yes, he could do that. Then I ordered a big side of deep-fried mushrooms with some ranch to go with them. My meal ended up being $6.50 also. The food was great and the strange looks I got for peeling the breading off my mushrooms was very entertaining. I love it when I get to enjoy free entertainment 😀

So yes, even in a place that appears to encourage high carb eating, you can get a decent meal on your LC plan. We really liked the food and the prices were quite decent. The next time we are driving on north I-45 we will definitely stop in for lunch again even if we don’t go there for the shopping.

Have a happy!
TT

Posted in Houston, Low Carb, Restaurant Review | Leave a comment

Tried my first zucchini and I liked it! – Zucchini Pizza Boats – 1

DSCF3002We went to the sandcastle competition in Galveston earlier this month and totally had a blast. No sunburns, no sand in the picnic and our umbrella only blew away once. Today’s pic was one of my favorite entries. I know it’s not a typical sandcastle, most of them aren’t, but it made me groan then laugh. Yes, I do have a strange sense of humor. I would have thought you had that figured out by now.

I got it into my head last month that hey, I have never tried zucchini. What brought this thought on? One of my sister’s in law shared a recipe on facebook. So my next trip to the grocery I bought one. Yes, just one, I’m not very brave when it comes to new food if I have to pay for it. It sat in the refrigerator until it got soft. Now we happened to be checking out a farmers market that weekend and I asked one of the few people there who were actually selling produce how to tell when my zucchini had gone bad. She was extremely helpful and gave wonderful descriptions of what to look for in a zucchini gone wrong. I threw mine out when we got home based on her input.

A few days later I tried again and I bought 2 this time. Cooked them similar to the recipe my sis posted and they were ok but I knew they could be better. The zucchini at least was acceptable and my hubby was willing to experiment further. Not that he cooks, maybe I should say he was willing to be experimented on again. So last week I splurged and bought 4 of them. Half of one got chopped up and dumped in our salads one day and that was ok with us. The rest became boats and yummy little boats they were. Here’s what I did with them…

Zucchini Pizza Boats – 1

zucchini

tomatoe sauce

pepperoni slices – cut into quarters

mozzarella cheese

parmesan cheese

black olives – sliced in half

whatever else you require for a LC pizza experience as far as toppings go

DSCF3137First you need to wash and dry your zucchini. Cut the stem end off then slice them in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out the center of the zucchini half, which turns them into little boats. Now flip the boat over and take a VERY thin slice of skin off straight down the back of it. This keeps them from rolling over while they bake. Set your boats right side up on a baking sheet, not touching each other. Line the inside of each boat with the pepperoni. DSCF3140Of course I used turkey pepperoni since we all know I don’t eat pork. Spoon a little sauce over the pepperoni. Add a vegetable topping like black olives, onions or mushrooms then sprinkle on the cheeses.

Here’s a picture of how I put mine together as well as a pic of the boats after they came out of the oven. Bake your boats in a 400F oven for 20 – 25 minutes. These are actually the ones I fed my hubby as I refuse to eat black olives. Why not show you a pic of mine? Because they look kind of plain with just a cheese topping so I went for the exciting pic instead.

***Cooking Tip*** save the center of the zucchini to toss in your next salad! Let us not waste good veges 😀

If you have never tried a zucchini before at least buy 1 of the things and give this a try, you might like it you know.

Have a happy!
TT

Posted in Cooking Tips, Low Carb, Meats, Phase 1, Recipes, Snacks | Tagged , | Leave a comment

So you wanna go on a diet. Pt 3 Exercise helps

Once you figure out what you are doing after you start LC, which took me about a month, I suggest you add exercise to your routine. Now don’t go all freaky on me because I used the ‘E’ word. Remember how I defined diet as simply the foods you eat? Well I define ‘exercise’ pretty much the same, it’s the way you move your body.

It is so easy for strangers to say, well you just need to go jogging or swimming or lift weights or ride a bicycle or do aerobics or jazzercise or zumba or yoga or just plain old calisthenics, but it’s almost never realistic. When you are overweight only YOU can know what your body is capable of and what it can handle. If you are 20 lbs overweight then your body can probably handle a lot more exercise than if you were 300 lbs overweight. I am not turning my nose up at those who have less than 20 lbs to lose, overweight is overweight no matter how much overweight you are. When I say exercise ‘helps’ I mean that literally and no it doesn’t matter what type of exercise you do. If you are eating properly your body will lose weight with no added exercise. But if you have a lot of weight to lose that is not going to be enough for you as you want to avoid saggy skin if possible, you want to increase your flexibility, you probably want to tone up those unused muscles a bit and since you have probably spent a lot of time being seriously inactive, you need to build up your endurance some too. Been there, done that, and it is possible so don’t give up!

Let me start by admitting that I have avoided exercise for years, decades maybe. If I was with others doing a physical activity I did/do not count it as exercise, I count it as fun. Exercise is what you did all alone, behind closed doors with loud music playing and wearing clothes you wouldn’t be caught dead in let alone actually wear in public. After being a rather lazy, glued to my office chair person for several years I was overweight and could no longer avoid this horrible fact. After a month on atkins I was sleeping great and actually felt I had enough energy to get my butt out of that chair. I was starting to feel antsy when I spent too much time sitting down, I had to expend the extra energy somehow, but how? I was not walking my neighborhood because there were too many loose dogs. I couldn’t drive to a mall and walk because my hubby took the truck every day. I couldn’t use the weight machine he bought me 2 years prior to that because I couldn’t lift the smallest weight without it actually hurting my useless disgustingly out of shape muscles. No you don’t have to be morbidly obese to be too out of shape to walk around the block, I had less than 100 lbs to lose but had been so very inactive it took everything I had to walk the grocery store twice a month. I redefined ‘sedentary lifestyle’. I was FULL of reasons why I couldn’t exercise, the biggest being omg I bounce and jiggle in places that I do NOT want to bounce and jiggle in which for me, turned out to be what actually got me up and moving. I bought a cheap wall mirror and mounted that sucker right next to the refrigerator. Yes I hated that mirror but by god it helped motivate me to do something about what I saw in it and I tried very hard not to look at it for the longest time.

So what kind of exercise do people who have no muscle tone at all do? Whatever they can! I started with finding a peppy tune I liked , put on my tennis shoes, made sure all the curtains were drawn, turned up the volume and started to move. I cannot call it dancing and I only last just under 2 minutes before I collapsed, gasping, back onto my chair. I was so disgusted with myself. Woman can’t even make it through one lousy song! I can remember dancing all night at my favorite bars when I was younger and I refused to pretend that age was the defining factor here. So once I caught my breath I got up and did it again. I must have done that a dozen times that day. I looked kind of like a spastic chicken but I was moving. I slept like a freaking log that night LOL. I got up the next morning, sent my hubby to work and I got out my tennis shoes and I did it again. And again. And again. By the end of the week I could last an entire 5 minutes before falling out, that’s when I decided this needed a name that would inspire my friends and cause awe to sweep the masses. I called it…

Twitching 😀

Yeah ok so it’s not very impressive or awe-inspiring but it sure is descriptive. Only someone who is overweight and sadly out of shape can twitch properly, it kind of comes natural to that group. Within 2 months I was twitching for an hour and a half a day, using hand weights in an attempt to erase my ‘byebyes’ and I was using that weight machine every day too. Legs one day, arms the next, just like my trainer told me to. I was kind of scary but I dropped 8 dress sizes 😛

You don’t know what byebyes are? Hold up your arm and wave g’bye to an invisible person. Wave vigorously and watch your upper arm as you do it. Does the fat on your arm wave byebye too? Yeah, that’s a byebye and we all hate those. A double chin is no fun either and I was SO happy to see mine shrinking! Thanks to the twitching I was able to lose more inches than I did pounds, which made my entire year. I don’t really have a goal weight but I do have a goal size and no I’m not there yet. Yes, I said I had been eating LC for almost 4 years now. It’s not been the easiest 4 years but I am getting back on track again. Between injuring myself and the emotional fallout of my dad’s health and then losing him I was not at my best

I gained back a few pounds while I was stressing out and I was starting to make excuses about it, never a good sign. Happy to say I am eating properly again and experimenting with new veggies again too. I recently discovered zucchini and I promised I would add a recipe today so I’m going to take a break from spewing some of my experiences with LC for a bit. I’m not fully into the exercise thing again but I am helping my hubby with a ton of yard work and that counts too.

Have a happy!
TT

Posted in Exercise, Low Carb, Thoughts | Leave a comment