Bacon and Tomato Soup

This makes a lot. My grandmother used to make a similar soup and keep it in the refrigerator to snack on when we were kids 🙂

Bacon and Tomato Soup
12oz bacon, cut into small pieces
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, sliced thin or minced
1/2 pound chicken breast, diced small (or sausage, ground beef, turkey, etc)
20oz canned diced tomatoes (or whole tomatoes, broken up)
20oz tomato sauce
3 cups chicken or beef broth (your preference), reserve 1 cup
2 large carrots, chopped fine or shredded
1/2 a large cabbage, chopped (about 6 cups)
2 bay leaf
1 heaping teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 large eggs (optional)
Optional: bag of frozen green beans, peas, carrots, etc

Fry the bacon in a large pot until crisp. Add the chicken, onion, garlic and carrot and saute for 2-3 minutes.
Add everything except 1 cup of broth and the eggs(if using).
Bring to a simmer, cover and simmer for 30-45 minutes until the cabbage is cooked soft.
If you’re using the eggs: blend the eggs with the reserved broth and stir into the lightly simmering soup. It will enrich and lightly thicken the soup.
Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if desired.
*Optional: add 1tsp crushed pepper flakes, or use 1/2-1 cup of your favorite salsa in place of the same amount of diced tomatoes.

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Spicy Zucchini Noodles

“Zoodle”: spiral or julienne cutting zucchini into noodle-like ribbons.
(Also works with carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, potatoes, jicama, turnips, rutabagas, etc).
If you go to Amazon.com and search for “spiral slicer” you’ll get a wide range of kitchen gadgets for under $40 that will change your life! Ok so maybe not change your life, but certainly add a novel way to change up your thoughts on “what’s a noodle?”.

There are as many ways to prepare “zoodles” as there are vegetables that can work as noodles.
Some people prefer raw.

I like mine lightly cooked so that they’re al-dente more or less.
My prep method is really easy: spiralize your zucchini, then wrap it in damp paper towels and microwave for 2 minutes to steam. That’s it, all done.
You can add them to most recipes that call for cooked noodles.
If you’re adding them to a dish during the cooking process, add the zoodles near the end so they don’t overcook and become mush.
With a little practice (and edible mistakes!) you will figure it out 🙂

Spicy Zucchini Noodles
Serves 4
The noodle base:
2 large zucchini that have been washed and the ends cut off and zoodled into whatever size and shape you like
1 bunch green onions, sliced thinly
2 tablespoons slivered almonds (toasted)

SAUCE:
2T chicken broth
juice of 1 large lime
1-2T sriracha sauce
1 teaspoon sweetener of your choice
1/4 cup gluten free soy sauce
1 slice of ginger
1 clove of garlic
2 green onions
1-2 Tablespoons peanut butter or almond butter (I use 2T PB2 to cut back on the calories)
Salt and pepper

Wrap the zoodled zucchini in damp paper towels and microwave for 2 minutes.
Toss with the sliced onions.
Blend the sauce until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Toss with the warm noodles and refrigerate, tossing every 10 minutes, for 30 minutes or until chilled.
Sprinkle the individual servings with almonds to serve.

*You can substitute sesame seeds and tahini for the almonds and peanut butter.
There is no added oil to this, you can certainly add some sesame or almond oil to the dressing as well as adding cooked chicken to make this a meal-size noodle salad.

Article about why eating less than 1000 calories a day is pointless

http://www.fitwatch.com/weight-loss/3-reasons-why-eating-less-than-1000-calories-is-a-waste-of-time-3347.html?utm_source=FitWatch%20Fitness%20Tips&utm_campaign=c84ee8bf32-Why_Less_than_1000_is_a_Waste9_23_2013&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_76f5e39d62-c84ee8bf32-198640641

Interesting points.
I’ve never believed completely in “calories in/calories out” as the only way to lose weight, and I definitely believe that eating too little for too long can really screw up your metabolism.

I thought this was an interesting read, and they have some nice tools, too 🙂

I don’t like that study… I’ll wait until tomorrow!

The internet is awash with “what is golden today is bad for you tomorrow”.
You can find a study to prove, or disprove, pretty much anything.

Dieting is a real minefield of “eat this, that is bad for you; NO! eat that, this is bad for you”.
Almost weekly you can find a new study to tell you that what you learned last week was wrong.
Low-fat is good; no it’s bad.
High fat is really good; no it’s bad.
Low-carb; high carb; calories in, calories out; metabolic advantage; paleo/primal; #confusing!

People driven studies are, IMO, the worst.
Have you ever seen a tv show called “HOUSE”? He says “everyone lies”.
In studies, this is probably more true.
When they do a study for diets where people are saying “yes, I followed xxx plan exclusively with no breaks/cheats for 6 months”, without the subjects of the study being observed 24/7, you have to take their word for it.
Then there are the results. “I lost 87 pounds in 2 months taking xxx pill without a change to diet or exercise!” Really? Meanwhile test subject Placebo lost 40 pounds in the same time frame.
So: no change to diet or exercise, yet… well you get the picture.
Of course the Placebo group results are usually in the fine print.

Best bet: Pick a plan, see your doctor, have your blood tests done and make yourself your own study group 🙂

“What are you having?”

Those words are the opening volley for the war.

Whenever we go out for a meal, the Hubbs invariably asks me “what are you having”.

If I tell him, he has one of two reactions: he screws up his face like a little kid and says “I don’t like that” (seriously almost 58 years old and he still acts like this) OR he scowls and says “That’s what I was going to order”.

My reaction is usually: “Well good thing you’re not eating it” or “Dear, I’m sure they have more than one (of the item)”.

So, about five years ago, I just started responding with “I’m not sure”, then I don’t say anything until the waiter takes the order lol.

Here’s the deal: our ideas of what we eat are vastly different.
Me: steak/fish/chicken, not breaded with a salad(I smuggle my own EVOO or dressing in unless the place has awesome blue cheese dressing:)) and a vegetable side. That can be fajitas with the vegetables and guacamole, or a steak/chicken grilled with broccoli. You get the picture.

Him: chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes or fries, corn, etc.

The only time our meals cross paths is when I am in the mood, once or twice a year, for a burger and fries.
Then it’s the biggest, greasiest, nastiest burger I can find lol, I want a white bun, grease running down my arm – yes! It has to be the best burger around, then I’m good for 6 months or so.

And every time we go out, he always leaves it up to me to pick a place.
While that’s charming for a while, after almost 28 years of marriage, I don’t always want to pick.
His excuse: I don’t know what you can eat. Well, really, I can find something I can eat wherever, even if it’s just a salad.
No real point to this entry other than that is was on my mind 🙂
Have a great Tuesday everyone!

Sharing a recipe: Paleo Leap Fish Tacos

http://paleoleap.com/fish-tacos/

This looks like a keeper!
I ran it through myfitnesspal and here is the breakdown per serving @ 4 servings per recipe:
228 calories; 10g carbs; 4g fiber; 25g protein; 11g fat

Even on Intermittent Fasting low-calorie days, paired with lettuce as a wrap, these appear to be a good fit.
Of course 70 of those calories are from the avocado, so if you eliminate or reduce that, the calories are even lower. But who would want to? I mean, it’s avocado! 🙂

Thank you Paleo Leap!

I Was at My Lowest Adult Weight Doing Intermittent Fasting

I don’t know – physically -why I stopped short of goal.
I know it was all a head game.
I followed JUDDD (The Johnson Up Day Down Day Diet) about 2 years ago and was within 15 pounds of my goal weight.
Then I stopped.
I don’t know why other than people who saw me eating only 500 calories every other day were on my butt about it being unhealthy.
So I stopped, and started gaining back what I lost.

Here’s the thing: even on JUDDD, I kept my carbs fairly low (let’s say under 50g carbs a day) most of the time.
Yes, my weakness was the occasional pasta and/or bread.
Seriously, I think a sourdough, meunseter and pesto grilled cheese needs to be the national food!

I wasn’t looking for a lot of fake, processed foods to keep my Down calories low.
I stuck mainly to lean proteins (fish, chicken, very low fat beef) and fresh vegetables along with my Misto sprayer of olive oil, vinegars and spices and was pretty content most “down days”.

I posted about mono-food-diets the other day.
It was not unusual for me to have 4 eggs and some lettuce, along with EVOO misted on them for my low-cal days.
Baked potatoes, plain except for truffle salt and a mist of evoo.
I was, I guess, incorporating the mono-food into the JUDDD plan.

If there’s a point to this entry, I guess it’s self reflection.
I know what works. I know how to do what works. I know I can stick to it.
SO WHY DO I DERAIL MYSELF?
It’s frustrating.

In a cooking rut?

Yeah, me too.
One go-to meal when I am just stumped for ideas is a shredded beef (or pork) in the crock pot.
It couldn’t be easier to throw together, and it cooks without supervision.

2-3lb beef roast or pork roast
8oz salsa or pico de gallo, or canned tomatoes with green chilis(diced style)
1 tsp salt
1/2tsp pepper
1/4tsp each: garlic powder, chili powder, onion powder and ground cumin

You have an option: you can salt and pepper the meat and sear it off first OR you can just toss it all in as-is.
Either way: once everything is in the crock, cover and cook on low for 6+ hours, or high for 3-4. You want the meat tender enough to shred apart with forks.
Now, for added flavor, remove the meat and reduce or thicken the remaining juices.
AND, heat a cast iron (or other heavy skillet) skillet and add 1-2T good cooking fat and sear the cooked, shredded meat until it’s nicely browned.
Serve as-is, over lettuce for mexican salad, use your plan acceptable wrap/tortilla, etc.

Leftovers: Soup!
Add any leftover meat and liquids to a pot with shredded/chopped veggies and additional broth. I like to add tomatoes, cilantro, onion and diced zucchini to my soup mix.

Mono-Food-Diets?

I’ve been reading a lot about how eating a single food, for several days, can reset your metabolism, ease cravings and hunger, and cleanses your palate.
Interesting concept.
I’m tempted to try all potatoes one day (resistant starches are “trending” lol); then all eggs + limited added fats the next.
I’m more curious than hoping for a miracle.
My thoughts:
It would be boring, which could cause a reduction in appetite and cravings, because well… it’s boring food!
1. I know me, and it would be easy to eat too much because of that boredom.
2. I don’t really like eggs all that much, but nutritionally, they’re egg-ceptionally good for you.
3. I don’t do well with no seasoning. Reading the mono-food threads on various blogs and forums, most people do well with no seasonings, at all, or with just a smidge of salt.
4. What the heck? I can do anything for a few days.
Oh and 5: cooking for the hubbs and son may present a “sensory” problem. I may cook ahead today for their suppers lol.

So I guess I’ve talked (typed) myself into trying it. Monday is grocery day, but I already have eggs and potatoes, so I guess it’s tomorrow!

Blue Cheese Custard (sort of)

Trying to find savory, high fat dishes can be a challenge.
Sweet is easy!
Here’s one that you can 4x and make in a pie plate (bake at 350f for 30 minutes).

Blue Cheese Custard

2 large eggs (or x-large, not picky here)
3T heavy cream, half and half or coconut milk
2T water
3T crumbled blue cheese (if you like it really strong, use Gorgonzola)
big pinch each salt and pepper
little pinch of nutmeg
splash of hot sauce if you like

Blend everything except 1T blue cheese, then stir that in gently.
Microwave safe bowl/cup, 2 minutes.

A little over 400 calories, about 4g carbs. Not bad 🙂