Friday, December 21, 2012

Cajun Shrimp Alfredo

Cajun Shrimp Alfredo
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves minced garlic

1/2 pound sliced mushrooms
1 tbs cajun seasoning
1/4 pound raw shrimp, medium sized ones work best for this
1 cup fat free half and half
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Peel, de-vein  and remove tails the shrimp, basically whatever is necessary so that you don't have to work  between bites of food. In my opinion, there is nothing more annoying, than sitting down to eat a nice dinner and having to remove things before each bite. I hate it. 
So take care of that, and set them to the side. Then, combine your olive oil, garlic, cajun seasoning and mushrooms, saute over medium heat until the mushrooms start to soften.  Add the prepared shrimp to the pan and cook until they begin to lose their transparency. Add cream, Parmesan and nutmeg, and continue cooking until the shrimp are no longer transparent. Salt and pepper to taste. 
Another thing I love to add is spinach. Toss in a few handfuls of fresh spinach after you have cooked the sauce for a few minutes. Let it wilt down and you have a very delicious meal.

If you are short on time, substitute low fat Alfredo sauce for the half and half, Parmesan and nutmeg.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Getting back on track

I talked to you the awhile back about falling off the wagon, and moving forward again... It's ok if you don't remember. The point here is that we are moving on.
Moving forward.
Always f'ing moving.

Truthfully I stare at where I need to (and want to) be and it is daunting. But, because I've been here before I've learned a few things. The survivalist in me, or maybe the compulsive planner, has set a few steps in place to get back on track.
There are several phases.
Do not move on to a new phase unless all requirements have been met for at least one week. Are you listening to me?? ONE WEEK!

My body doesn't handle stress well and it certainly doesn't deal with sudden changes gracefully. My theory is that jumping into hot water make's me more likely to jump out. But if I ease in... if I let that leg acclimate before forcing another one to succumb to the heat, I'll stay longer. I'll actually find that the hot water is comforting and amazing... Ahhhh dang it. Now I wanna go sit in the hot tub.

{ Btw, I should note that this doesn't work for everyone. Some of you masochistic folks enjoy that horrendous torture. I don't get it... but that's just me. }

{ Phase 1 }

  • Dramatically increase water intake.
    Women should be getting 9 cups a day or 72 ounces. When I start Phase 1, I increase that amount to 100. There is a 25 ounce water jug on my desk and I drink at least 3 of those during my 9 hour work day. I always drink 2 cups of water immediately when I wake up in the morning, and I have another 2 while at home. Knowing that I need to drink that amount as a minimum helps me feel full and flush toxins I've accumulated during recent misbehavior. 
  • Eat by the clock
    I hate having to remember snacks. Once upon a time I enjoyed taking the 5 minute break to go eat. Now my time is crunched and it is inconvenient to take breaks.. yes... it's inconvenient to take care of myself. This is by far the hardest thing for me to do, but it is the most rewarding. So I have a timer app on my phone and when it goes off I eat, and I reset it for 2 hours later. The nagging reminder alerts everyone in ear shot that I need food. For those of you with iPhones the app is called Nag. I hate it and I love it. 
{ Phase 2 }
  • Correct food group intakes
    Veggies and fruits are
    not the default grabs when I am stressed. Phase 2 is all about making sure the amounts are following the diabetic guidelines. That's it. Phase 2 focuses on getting the right intake in addition to mastering the components of Phase 1.Wrap your head around what you should be eating and when you should be eating it, portion sizes will be fixed later.
{ Phase 3}
  • Workouts
    It's really easy to dive into fixing all problems at once. Working out is phase 3 for me because if I haven't been eating right, I will not have the blood sugar stability to survive a workout.  Those of you with hypoglycemia have been there...midway up the hill with the shakes and a toddler in a stroller and a dog while the world around you begins to blur. It's terrifying.
    Please, get your BS under control before working out, and PLEASE travel with glucose tabs or a  kid-sized boxes of apple juice when working out.
    Once you have adapted to the 3x a week workouts, (yes three, and get that heart rate up there people) then you can move on to the final phase.
{Phase 4}
  •  Calorie Counting
    Many people jump to this immediately when put on the Diabetic Exchange Diet. I've done it a few times and it goes something like this: I cut back to the 1200 calories my doctor wants me on, but then my body is completely unwilling to work. I'm tired and cranky and lord help that person who brings treats into the office. I'll let them have it. But, changing eating and moving habits first, before cutting back on the amounts makes a world of difference for me.
    For the most part your calorie intake should go down by mastering the other phases, but this final phase is where you tie it all together. I recommend using a calorie tracking app (and there are many to choose from) to record the things you eat. 
  • Re-write Food Porn
    There are a million places online to find deliciously dirty pictures of food. I could stare for hours at the amazing butter-laden concoctions and dream about making them. I'll dream so hard I can practically taste them.. then one day I talk myself into making it. Pinterest is a great way for me to avoid the porn. I pin delicious recipes I've made, or plan to make or plan to makeover. Knowing that those are the options helps me avoid the bad for me pictures. It also means that I have something to look at when I need healthy inspiration.
I hope these steps help you plan a little better and stay on track. More than anything I hope it helps alleviate the guilt you may feel from going off  the wagon. We all fall, but the stubborn ones find ways to get back on track.
{Hugs} & best wishes,

The Hypo Chic

PS: I'd love to hear your "back on the wagon" tricks. Feel free to share your tips below.

    Tuesday, August 28, 2012

    Campfire Pizza Sandwich

    As some of you know, I've been under a great deal of stress the last year. So perhaps we should talk about stress and MS?
    Many people experience bodily woes when under stress. Things like headaches, nausea and general aches are considered normal reactions to internal stressors. People with MS don't have any escape from this human ailment. Some even argue that their symptoms of MS get worse when the are stressed out. The thing is...while I completely agree with that theory... deep down I also know that there isn't any real evidence proving MS is made worse by stress alone.

    It's hard to remember that sometimes.

    It's also hard not to stress about current stress levels. You know that circle right? You worry about being sick even though you are not sick which sometimes manages to make you sick.  UGH!

    Shortly after my diagnosis I received a long-winded letter from a family member saying that I had given myself MS because of the stress I put myself through. While I know that is not true, it's hard not to wonder if I could have done things differently.

    Did I GIVE myself MS?

    There is a great article that I found through the MS Society website that I recommend you read. Even if you don't have MS, my guess is that you either know someone (or will one day) and they'll benefit from your wisdom, or at least your kindness.
    And for heavens sake, take this lesson to heart: Even if you are 200% certain that someone caused themselves to have a serious illness, do not rub that in their face. I don't care if you know for a fact that the reason they grew a tiny baby arm out of their back is because of the summer the spent swimming in the glowing pond. Do NOT write them a letter about how it is so clearly their fault.

    {le sigh}

    So back to why you are here...

    I knew (as did EVERYONE around me) that it was time for a break. And thanks to the generous friends in my life I was able to run away for the weekend. No kid. No dog. No grown up worries.

    It was glorious!! I love camping, and the feeling of freedom that comes with it. Without proper planning it can be difficult to eat responsibly while away from home. Here is one of my favorite camping recipes that can be adjusted for everyone in your group.

    Campfire Pizza Sandwich
    Take your whole wheat sandwich thins or whole wheat English muffins (or similar vessel that meets your health needs), split it in half and place on heavy duty tinfoil. Apply a layer of marinara or spaghetti sauce to each side.

    Add your toppings. We chose turkey pepperoni and reduce fat mozzarella.

    Fold a sandwich.

    Wrap in tinfoil.

    Place away from the flames on some hot coals or on a grill grate. Flip occasionally and cook until too hot to handle. USE YOUR TONGS to remove it. PLEASE!

    Peel apart and enjoy.... or eat like a sandwich.

    This picture here is with a regular English muffin because I INHALED my whole wheat one.  I left it to show how easy it is to modify this dish for the whole family. After all, when on vacation stressing about food is simply not allowed.

    By the way, my favorite way to de-stress is to spend some time by the water. I love how it helps me slow down and re-prioritize.

    Regardless of the connection between MS and stress, we should all be doing things to help us cope better under pressure.
     What do you do to de-stress?

    Sunday, August 5, 2012

    Fish Taco Salad

    Anyone else out there seem to be unbearably busy lately?
    My severe Type A personality makes me want to be the perfect mom and cook everything from scratch ALL THE TIME.
    Unfortunately there just aren't enough hours in the day for that to be a reality. That's why I love looking for products that allow me to trade my time in the kitchen for time with my daughter. These Van de Kamps 90 Calorie Fish Fillets are a great weeknight option for when we are super stressed. And no, I'm not being bribed by the Van de Kamp's rulers... they are just a quick and tasty option for when I am short on time.

    I learned about Fish Tacos when I moved to the Seattle area about 6 years ago. A friend ordered them at a restaurant, and since she was from California, it was obvious that she was nuts and her taste buds were broken. That same meal, she proved me wrong...very, very wrong.
    (Moral of the story...most Californians are not nuts... except when it comes to your driving... your driving is nuts.)

    Now Fish Tacos are among the top 5 foods I can not live without.
    In my house we make these 2 ways... into a Fish Taco Salad or Fish Tacos.

    BOTH of these are delicious, and I'm not kidding when I say I could eat these every day.

    Since tacos are one of those "build your own" kinda things, I'll give you the basic guide here and trust that you'll  follow the diabetic guidelines for portions ;)

    Fish Taco Salad
    Bag of shredded coleslaw mix
    Box of 90 Calorie Van de Kamps
    Fat Free Thousand Island Dressing
    Finely diced onion
    Reduced fat shredded cheese
    Spinach (for salads)
    Whole wheat tortilla (for tacos)
    The instructions are simple. Cook fish filets, then assemble salads or tacos.

    How's that for an easy weeknight idea? Plus, a taco will set you back about 280 calories, and a salad only 170. With those numbers I can relax, and devote more time to my family.  After all, we only have 24 hours in a day, and sometimes stressing over dinner is just a bad use of that time.

    What meals do you revert to on your crazy nights?

    Tuesday, July 31, 2012

    Low-Fat Cornbread Crab Cakes

    I feel like this is a poor girl recipe for crab cakes.. and it kinda is...but it's so good. It's right up there on the comfort wagon with Mac and Cheese for me. Let's face it, sometimes you need quick, cheap comfort (go ahead you dirty birds, insert your inappropriate commentary here__ )

    Now that you got that outta your system....

    Low-Fat Cornbread Crab Cakes
    1 package corn bread stuffing mix
    2 stalks celery, finely chopped
    1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
    1 tsp olive oil
    1 tsp parsley
    1/4 tsp dry mustard
    1/4 tsp paprika
    1 can crab meat, drained with juice reserved
    1/2 package imitation crab meat, chopped
    3 egg whites
    Saute celery and onion in olive oil until the onion is translucent and the celery is tender. Stir in water according to package directions and bring to a boil. In a separate bowl mix together the stuffing mix, parsley, dry mustard, paprika and 3 tbs of the crab juice.
    Pour the boiling water mixture evenly over the top of the stuffing, cover it and walk away. Seriously... go! Leave it. If you don't, you might be tempted to touch it and check on it, and that will lead to burning the S#!t out of your hands.
    Set your timer for 5 minutes. After that you can remove the cover and mix in both of the crab meats.
    Then walk away again.  I mean it!
    You need it to cool down before adding the egg whites.
    So once it has reached a temperature that is nearly lukewarm, add in your eggs. Preheat your skillet, you want it at a medium heat. Once it is there, spray the pan with olive oil, shape that gooey crab cake mixture into a...well...a cake...duh. Plop it in the pan and repeat a few times. They'll need about 5 minutes per side, but the best way to tell is by touch. When they are gooey you probably noticed how soft the cake was, right?  Well they will firm up when they are done (again with the inappropriate commentary____ ).

    Each crab cake is under 80 calories, and it's a quick weeknight meal (when paired with a simple spinach salad) that always makes me feel special. Oh yeah, and if you aren't a poor girl on a poor girl budget feel free to use real crab. ;)

    Monday, July 9, 2012

    Falling off the Wagon

    It's been a long time since I wrote for you,
    It's been a long time since I paid my due.
    Ooh, let me get it back, let me get it back,
    Let me get it back, baby, where I come from.
    It's been a long time, been a long time,
    Been a long lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time. Yes it has.

    I feel like the long lost friend who didn't return your phone calls.
    And... well... I'm sorry.
    I've missed you I promise...
    I just got wrapped up in life for a bit there. Forgive me?
    It happens to the best of us I'm sure, and so I thought I'd take a moment today to talk about what happens when you fall off the wagon.
    Changing lifestyles isn't easy, and often times we will find ourselves slipping into old habits when stressful situations arise. One or two "I'll just grab some fast food on my way up" doesn't always stop at one or two visits.
    In my case... it hasn't.
    While I'm pretty damn proud of my ability to stay away from beef or pork (and I honestly don't think I will go back to them), I haven't tracked, monitored or minimized my food intake in more than a month.

    { insert giant sigh of disappointment here }

    So where do we go from here?
    Honestly, we have to just start over. We force ourselves to relive that initial diagnosis. We remind ourselves over and over that we are doing this for everyone that cares about us. We forgive ourselves for not playing by the rules. And the tough one... we make ourselves a priority again.
    Just like the airlines dictate "secure your own air mask before helping others" we must also help ourselves so we can better help others.
    This blog, and all you crazy readers help me stay accountable to that. So here I am with my foot on the doorstep ready to start again.
    To go through the awful detox period, to fight the cravings with both fists flailing like a scrawny pubescent teen.
    We go.
    We fight.
    We win.

    Wednesday, May 30, 2012

    The War on Beans is Over

    Anyone that knows me knows that I HATE beans. Yes, hate is a strong word and it is a fitting word as well.  The thing was right. "I know you don't like it, but you still need to try it." is what she'd tell me. I get it now, and I'm sorry for all those temper tantrums. 
    At our last blogger night we tackled garlic and I was thrilled until I found out she was making bean dip. BLECH. With the words of my mother like an air horn in my head, I tried it and it was AMAZING. I mean it when I say that it was life changing. I see beans in a new light and it is the most delicious light there is.
    It's important to continue trying those things you shouldn't hate in different ways. I taught myself to like tomatoes through another friends amazing bruschetta. Allowing the tomato to be overwhelmed by other flavors worked. I still don't eat it plain like my daughter... oooo except for those delicious cherry tomatoes. HAHAHA. Do you hear me? A few years ago I couldn't be paid to eat them.
    My point is...continue to try them. Maybe you drown it in garlic until you adapt, at least you are adapting.

    So without further ado please say hello to my friend, guest blogger and the lady who put an end to my War on Beans, Bree from Three and a Half Stones to Go.

    Hello Everyone! I'm very excited to be blogging here today. Melissa has been an inspiration to me and has inspired me to eat healthier. Even though I don't have MS, I've even been following the Swank Diet myself and I can tell you that so far I feel amazing. I feel like my body is running better than it has in a long time. Because of this I am sharing one of my favorite swank friendly recipes. This bean dip is so creamy and rich tasting that you'd never believe it was low fat!

    I have to give you one teensy little warning: Raw garlic is potent! Add at your own risk! Since I have Melissa completely obsessed with The Vampire Diaries (100% Team Damon over here), we decided to make our recipes garlic infused this time around. You can use the base of this recipe to create your own dip (like the southwest version I made for my blog), but here is the garlic version:

    Creamy Garlic Bean Dip
    • 16oz Fat Free Sour Cream (make sure you get a sour cream that contains a binding agent or it separates)
    • 2 15oz cans of white beans (rinsed and drained)
    • 4-5 green onions (sliced)
    • 1 head of roasted garlic
    • ½ – 3 cloves of raw garlic (½ clove is enough to bring out that bright garlic flavor, 3 if you want tons of flavor and to ostracize yourself from civilization for a week)
    • ¼ cup low fat mozzarella
    Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix all the ingredients together, except for the mozzarella, saving a few green onions for garnish. I used an immersion blender to make it even creamier. Pour the mixture into a baking dish and cover with the mozzarella. Bake for 15-20 minutes until it is warmed through and the cheese has melted.

    Use your favorite low fat chip or vegetables to dip and enjoy! And remember when the garlic overwhelms you how many great anti-oxidants are in there.

    Thanks Bree! This amazing dip is the perfect stepping stone to incorporating beans into more of my recipes. I've been dreaming of using this as a pizza sauce since the second bite.  Be sure to stop by her site and show her some blogger love. 

    Sunday, May 27, 2012

    Roasted Garlic Veggie Spread

    Have you ever had a TV show that you refused to watch
    because it sounded like the stupidest thing you've ever heard?
    Seriously! It even looks lame,
    I can't believe I am hooked on this.

    I had one of those.
    It was The Vampire Diaries. (Sounds lame doesn't it?)
    Then one day someone tied me down and forced me to watch it. (Yes, that's my story. I was LITERALLY tied down.) Now I am hooked. After that it didn't take much for her to coerce me into a marathon night. My sickening desire to be productive turned it into a blogger night...a GARLIC themed blogger night. You see, according to this vampire tale, vampires have absolutely no problem with garlic and THAT is a cause for celebration.

    Before I became obsessed with this show I'd been craving a veggie spread. I wanted something easy to prepare that could be served hot or cold at barbeques this summer. Often I find that there are plenty of carbs and proteins at parties, but rarely veggies other than a last minute veggie tray that no one really touches. Has anyone had their entire veggie tray finished at a party, ever?! It should happen, but we all revert to teenagers when faced with a buffet and go directly towards the "good stuff". Not this summer. This summer I am fighting back with delicious veggies and I'm starting with this Roasted Garlic Veggie Spread.

    This could be perfect for tea parties (yes we still have those) or even a nice picnic. It's delicious served on toasted whole grain bread with cream cheese. We even made grilled cheese and veggie sandwiches with the leftovers which I HIGHLY recommend.
    Also, and I say this with the seriousness of a thousand ninjas, you NEED to try my blogger buddies bean dip recipe. If you've been following my blog, you know that I hate beans, and this magical thing she created is quickly converting me. More on that later... for now here is my contribution to society.

    Roasted Garlic and Veggie Spread
    1 garlic bulb
    1/4 green bell pepper
    1/4 red bell pepper
    1/4 yellow onion
    2 tomatoes
    2 cups chopped broccoli
    Salt and pepper to taste
    Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees. Take your garlic bulb and peel the loose skins away. Chop between 1/4-1/2" off the top. You want to expose the tops of all the cloves and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Normally I would tell you that you want the garlic to cook for about 30 minutes or until golden and soft. Instead I wanna show you what it should look like when it is done....ready for this?

    I think I need to frame that picture for my kitchen.
    Allow the garlic to cool while you roast the other veggies. Before going into the oven these should all be chopped into somewhat equal sizes. Spray them lightly with your handy dandy olive oil spritzer, season with salt and pepper and mix to insure all the vegetables are coated nicely before placing them in the oven. They'll need about 30-40 minutes.
    After they are done, add the veggies to your food processor along with the garlic. (The awesome part about roasted garlic is how easily it slides out of the skins.) Pulse until you achieve your desired texture and serve. 

    Also, don't be afraid to try other vegetable combinations. This is what I happened to have on hand.
    If this was featured on a buffet table, I know I'd grab it. How about you? What are you bringing to make your next feast a little healthier?

    Sunday, May 20, 2012

    Garlic Mashed Broccoflower

    If I ever had to describe the series "Vegetable Mind Games" to someone I think a picture of  Broccoflower might sum it up nicely. As a rational adult I know it is nothing to be afraid of, that I should give it a try, but the tiny toddler voice in my head doesn't wanna. Broccoflower is definitely a member of Vegetable Mind Games.

    Despite the fear I was really excited to cook this up like mashed cauliflower and serve it along side my Hypo Swedish Meatballs. (I had noodles to serve as backup in case of an epic fail.)

    I didn't need the noodles though. Monkey had her first experience with the food processor and was licking the spatula with pride at what she had made. Yes, you read that right. My 4 year old helped with the food processor and also licked the broccoflower off the spatula. As her mother I couldn't help but mimic that pride ...and also lick the spatula. 
    Give this combo a try, the flavor when the broccoflower combines with the Hypo Swedish Meatball sauce is delicious.

    Garlic Mashed Broccoflower
    1 large broccoflower bunch
    2 cloves garlic, pressed
    1 teaspoon olive oil
    1/4 cup fat free sour cream
    salt and pepper to taste
    Steam the brocoflower about 15 minutes or until tender. Drain. Saute the garlic in olive oil for a few minutes to coo it through. Combine everything in the food processor and pulse till you obtain your preferred consistency. Salt and pepper to taste.

    If you aren't able to find brocoflower near you,
    try this recipe with 50% broccoli and 50% cauliflower.

    This would also be delicious with roasted veggies instead of steaming them.
    Shared on: Show Me What You Got Tuesdays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Thriving on Thursdays, Thursday Favorite Things

    Thursday, May 17, 2012

    Hypo Swedish Meatballs

    This post should really be called Cheater Cheater Meatball Eater. Let me tell you why...
    I currently work full time, I also run a one parent household and operate a design business on the side. When I'm not doing all that I volunteer for Bountiful Baskets, my daughter's school and blog about what I manage to make that supports my restricted diet.  I'm just a teeny bit busy.  I always strive to stay away from processed goods, but sometimes the semi-homemade route is necessary with my schedule.
    Processed meat is one thing I don't like to eat but I appreciate it for the time it saves me. It's kinda like the dentist, I don't like to go there, but I appreciate things like having a clean mouth free of disease.
    I'm sure most people wouldn't compare these Turkey Meatballs to a trip to the dentist...but I'm not most people. For this recipe you can use store bought meatballs or you can make your own.

    Healthy Swedish Meatballs
    1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
    1 pound button mushrooms, sliced
    1/2 cup onion, chopped
    2 cups reduced-sodium fat-free chicken broth
    1/4 cup whole wheat flour
    1/4 tsp nutmeg
    2 tbsps dried parsley
    2 teaspoons Worcestershire 
    1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
    1 tbsp sugar-free seedless lingonberry jam (I couldn't find it so I used strawberry)
    Salt and pepper to taste
    Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and onion to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through.In a separate bowl, whisk broth and flour and add to the pan along with the meatballs and seasonings including the Worcestershire. Bring to a simmer and cook until the meatballs are heated through and the sauce is thickened. Remove from the heat. Add sour cream, jam, and salt and pepper to taste stir until combined.

    Now on to the nitty gritty. In general a serving of Swedish Meatballs will cost about 400 calories. Obviously this varies from dish to dish, but the consistent part is the high levels of saturated fat. You all know I am more concerned with saturated fat than I am with calories, after all calories equal energy and as long as you are burning what you eat... well whatever. Anyway, my version adds way more mushrooms than most because I like 'em. Oh, and they are good for you, so eat 'em.  This dish is also waaaay too high in sodium to be eaten on a regular basis. You can (and should) swap out the meatballs I used with some of your own or some low sodium turkey ones (if that exists). Making them yourself will cut the sodium easily in half and get you back on track.
    Here are the results of this recipe using the standard meat size portions for dinner. (For me that was 2 and a half meatballs.)

    Calories 280.4Total Fat 10.4 g, Saturated Fat 3.1 g, Polyunsaturated Fat 1.0 g,  Monounsaturated Fat 4.0 g, Cholesterol 40.3 mg, Sodium 1,270.2 mgPotassium 372.9 mg , Total Carbohydrate 28.8 g, Dietary Fiber 5.1 g, Sugars 9.5 g, Protein 19.4 g

    So, on final review. THESE ARE SO GOOD!!! These are great for those on the Swank Diet as well as those with diabetes or hypoglycemia. Those of us with hypoglycemia need to pair it with a carb like noodles or my Mashed Broccoflower. Also, please watch your sodium intake. Your average daily intake of sodium should be no more than 2,300 and unfortunately you can't just flush it out with extra water. Your kidneys can only filter out a little at a time so keep your intake low with the remaining foods you consume.
    So, silly question... I grew up with the meatballs and mashed potatoes, but I saw a lot of recipes during my research that served these with noodles. What is the proper way, or what do you like Swedish Meatballs served with?
    Shared on: Thriving on Thursdays,Thursday Favorite Things

    Tuesday, May 8, 2012

    Cheesy Spinach Stuffed Squash

    I briefly thought about not posting this recipe. Not because it wasn't delicious (it was), but because I am very, very late with this post. To make it even worse, it was for Spinach Blogger Night, and my blogger buddy over at Three and a Half Stones to Go was a show-off who got hers up within days of the event. See that salad in the picture below...that's her amazing Spinach Salad with Sweet & Sour Curry Dressing.
    Not that I'm competitive or anything, but I like to have mine up first. Ok, fine. I'm competitive with all the wrong things, like who can have the most paper clips sorted by size and style, or who can get to the house first carrying the most things, or who knows the most random song lyrics. It's stupid and my first step in recovering is to tell you that you HAVE to try her salad dressing. (Yo, I'll tell you what I want, what I really really want.)

    I'll admit that when she told me she was making a sweet and sour curry dressing I was less than thrilled. (It's the name hun, it's not you.) I'm here to tell you today that Sweet & Sour Curry Dressing is my new love. Ironically the name that I found to be such a turnoff is really an accurate and delicious assessment. I used it to marinate some shrimp that I grilled and WOW. It was amazing.
    Anyway... try it. Try it. Try it. Now on to my ├╝ber late blog post. This recipe is a super easy and elegant meal option. The cheeses here count as your protein making it a great Meatless Monday option.

    Cheesy Spinach Stuffed Squash
    5 small yellow squash
    1 tbsp olive oil
    Basil paste
    2 tbsp fat free cream cheese
    1 cup fat free cottage cheese
    1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
    1 tbsp garlic, minced
    2 cups fresh spinach
    Slice your yellow squash in half from tip to tip. The next step is to remove the seeds. I used my medium sized Pampered Chef scoop and it worked well most of the time. Now the good news here is that if you slaughter the slicing and scooping process on a few of these guys, just slice them up and top them with sauce and a little bit of basil. The results are equally delicious.
    In a frying pan, saute spinach with garlic and olive oil until it has wilted completely. Press with a fork to remove liquid. Add the cream cheese, cottage cheese, spinach, Parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste.

    Place a dot of basil paste in the bottom of each squash. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes or until fork tender.

    So I'm sure you are wondering how many calories something like this will set you back. It's not much actually. This recipe makes 10 servings and each serving is only 67 calories. This counts as a veggie and a protein. Eat two halves if you are going for a meatless dinner and pair it with an extra veggie. Eat one half if you are looking for lunch and fill it in with a carb. You could also be awesome and it it along side the amazing spinach salad pictured above. There are pictures of me licking the plate for a reason. It is an excellent combo.  

    I talk a lot about basil paste and I really love the convenience. One day I will have an herb garden I'm able to maintain, that day is not today. Basil paste can be purchased at the store in a tube or jar or you can make your own by combining 4 cups of fresh basil in a food processor with 1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Keep it in the fridge and you can add that fresh basil taste anytime.

    Wednesday, May 2, 2012

    Toasted Coconut Waffles with Fruit Salsa

    I have an obsession with waffles. It's probably not healthy and I should probably talk to my therapist about it. Or maybe I could just talk to my friends about it over breakfast...

    I had some leftover Fruit Salsa that needed to be used so I found a PERFECT match in this Toasted Coconut Waffle. It's quick to throw together and the un-eaten waffles freeze well and re-heat nicely in the toaster.
    Toasted Coconut Waffles with Fruit Salsa

    1 cup whole wheat flour
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    3 stevia packets (or other sugar substitute)
    1 tbsp baking powder
    1/4 tsp salt
    1 cup fat free milk
    1 cup water
    1 tbsp olive oil
    1 tbsp coconut extract
    1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flake

    In a skillet, toast the coconut flake over medium heat until brown. Don't add anything to that mixture, and DON'T WALK AWAY FROM IT. (I believe my stove and oven conspire against me. As soon as I turn my back on this type of thing there is burning. Moral of the story - don't turn your back.) After the coconut is toasted remove it from the pan and allow it to cool in the freezer for a minute or two while you mix dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another. Then slowly add the wet ingredients into the dry ones and mix lightly.  Once everything is combined. Add in half of the cooled toasted coconut. Make sure to spray your waffle iron lightly with olive oil. Cook until toasty and delicious and top with Fruit Salsa and a bit of toasted coconut.

    I've done a lot of waffle variations and I never get tired of them. Any suggestions for flavors you'd like to see?

    Thursday, April 26, 2012

    Fruit salsa & Whole Wheat Cinnamon Chips

    Last weekend's Bountiful Basket seemed to be lingering a little longer than normal. Typically we devour the fruit within a few days, but I had a few strawberries and kiwis left and a lot of apples. (I volunteered so I was able to get an extra large item which meant 2 bags of amazing apples. Insert your jealousy here: _________)
    Anyway, I whipped this up Fruit Salsa as a way to enjoy the remains before they spoiled. I originally intended to eat it all with some freshly baked cinnamon chips, and to share it with the office. Instead I've hoarded it and taken to eating it by the spoonful.
    It was good with the chips, amazing on its own and it will also be used on my Toasted Coconut Waffles which I'll be making this weekend.

    By the way, this is so easy it really shouldn't be called a recipe.
    Fresh Fruit Salsa
    2 apples
    10 strawberries
    2 kiwis
    1 small can crushed pineapple
    Peel and chop apple and kiwi. Chop strawberries. Open can of pineapple. (I added that part to make the "recipe" longer.) Combine all fruit in a bowl and serve.
    For the chips I took a whole grain tortilla, misted it with my olive oil spritzer and dusted it with cinnamon. They baked at 350 until they were crispy. Honestly I lost track of time because I was fighting Monkey away from the salsa. I'm pretty sure it was about 8 minutes, but be sure to watch them.

    On an interesting note, I think I might be allergic to pineapple and Kiwi. It's kinda sad because I love them both so much. Have any of you developed food allergies like this?

    Sunday, April 22, 2012

    Naked Shrimp & Mushroom Enchiladas

    Sometimes I like to eat the same thing as everyone else.
    Sometimes I don't want to embrace my special diet.
    Sometimes I act like a stubborn toddler when it comes to food.
    I know it, and I'm working on it. 

    This recipe started out as a restaurant copycat meal based on rebellion, and ended with a fabulous party idea. My friend from Three and a Half Stones to Go took me out for Mexican after a long day of chasing children and outlet shopping. I was so hungry I couldn't decide what to eat, so in a random act of indecision she chose the Shrimp and Mushroom Enchiladas for me.
    I don't know about you, but I get stuck in the restaurant rut. It's the same thing every time, and I probably wouldn't have tried this if it wasn't for that random act of indecision. So after devouring half of it there, and half of it the next day for lunch, I made my own version for dinner that night. (Yes it was obsessive... I know.)
    I knew I wasn't allowed to have the rice and the tortilla, but my inner toddler was in a full blown temper tantrum and I wasn't in the mood to argue with her. She's a cranky little thing.

    While cooking the rice it hit me.... why don't I make this naked!!
    (Get your mind out of the gutter. I meant naked in that "without a tortilla" sorta way.)
    So I quickly made an enchilada for Monkey thanks to the handy dandy microwave and an uber cute ramekin.

     Then a naked Enchilada for myself.

    Both options were incredibly easy to customize and this is quickly becoming a favorite party idea. Everyone gets what they want and what they can eat without having to make a fuss. Gone are the days of the taco bar, it's time for an enchilada bar!

    Naked (or Not) Shrimp & Mushroom Enchiladas

    1 can enchilada sauce
    1 package mushrooms, chopped
    1/4 cup chopped onion
    1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
    1/2 pound cooked salad shrimp, rinsed
    1/2 tbs garlic
    1 tbs olive oil
    Saute mushrooms and garlic until they are soft and delicious. Add  shrimp and enchilada sauce. Simmer for 10 minutes to allow flavors to combine.

    Mexican Brown Rice
    1 tablespoons olive oil
    1 cup vegetable broth
    1/4 cup chopped onions
    1/4 cup chopped green pepper
    1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
    1 cup mild salsa
    1 cup Minute Brand instant brown rice, uncooked
    Saute onion and pepper in olive oil until softened. Add salsa and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then stir in rice. Bring it to a boil again before lowering the heat. Simmer 5 minutes then remove from heat. Let this sit for 5 minutes with NO PEEKING before you fluff it, this will allow it to finish cooking and absorb the remaining liquid.

    So if you decide to dress your enchilada, find a nice long ramekin and drape your 6" whole grain tortilla over it. Microwave for 20-30 seconds (just enough to soften it). Remove from microwave and adjust the tortilla so that only 1/3 of it is inside the ramekin. Fill with enchilada mixture. Wrap the remaining tortilla around the mixture and tuck into the ramekin. Top with a little of the enchilada mix and fat free shredded cheese. Microwave for 30 seconds and serve along side rice, with sour cream or tomatoes, or olives or onion or whatever else your pretty little heart desires.

    Naked enchiladas are 5 times faster to prepare. It's basically a three step process. Add rice to bowl, top with enchilada mixture, then add toppings. So I guess sometimes having the dietary restrictions is good... it certainly made food preparation faster. While this endeavor started with a temper tantrum, I was more than happy with my special meal.
    It's important for those of us with hypoglycemia that we stick to rice or tortilla. Here are the nutritional facts for the enchilada mixture as well as the rice. One naked serving counts for 2 veggie, 2 protein, 1 carb and just under 3 fat. It is higher in fat than I would like and you can lower this by decreasing the amount of olive oil used to saute the onions and peppers and also by watching what type of enchilada sauce you pick up. The calculations I did here are based a standard brand. Also, opt for low sodium if available.

    All in all it turned out to be a great discovery.
    Have you ever been more happy with your restricted meal than you would have been with the original meal?

    Sunday, April 15, 2012

    Walk MS 2012

    This weekend I had the honor of leading a team for Walk MS South Sound. This came on the anniversary of my one year mark with MS. Around the middle of April last year was when my first episode began. It was a scary few months that followed and I wanted to start the anniversary of that event off on a positive note. Thanks to the work of my teammates we won a tent on team row and several people were able to learn more about the Swank Diet.
    Here are a few photos from the event.

    Posing with The Monkey. How cool are those orange frames?!
    Sharing information about the Swank Diet.

    This one tugs at the heart strings for me.

    I just had to have my picture taken with our virtual walkers.
    We drew them on balloons so they could join us on the walk.
    Look at that view!!

    This viewing spot was the perfect place for a rest on our trek up the big hill.

    Thanks again to everyone that donated and joined me for the journey. It was an incredible experience.

    Wednesday, April 11, 2012

    Italian Sausage Stew

    Around this time of year in the Pacific Northwest you can practically hear people bargaining with God for sunshine and warmer weather. The miserable rainy season has taken it's toll on everyone and while we don't have horrible winter weather, the gloom has gone on too long.
    My feeble attempt at embracing the gloom led to a giant pot of soup for my friends.
    It was delicious, but I still want need some sunshine.

    Luckily I have enough leftovers to hold me over until the sun appears...
    aka this weekend if the weather forecast is true.

    Italian Sausage Stew

    5 cups water
    French onion soup mix (one box with 2 packets)
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 onion, chopped
    1 pound mild Italian chicken sausage
    2 medium yellow squash, chopped
    3 medium zucchini, chopped
    1 package fresh sliced mushrooms
    3 cups baby carrots
    1 cup brown rice
    Form sausage into bite sized balls.  Bring water to a boil in a separate soup pot. Add the French onion mix packets and rice. Cover and boil 20 minutes.
    While that is boiling, add meatballs to large skillet with 2 tbs olive oil on bottom. turn over all the meatballs to brown on the other side and add the chopped onion.
    After meatballs and onions are cooked, add them to the prepared onion soup along with the remaining vegetables. Cover and boil for 20 minutes until the rice is cooked. If all the water is absorbed add another cup and allow it to come to a boil.

    It's not a quick weeknight meal, but it reheats nicely. I made this the night before I had friends over and was able to reheat the whole pot on the stove. It also creates huge portions.
    Following the hypoglycemic rules, this equals 8 servings with 1 protein, 1 carb, and 2 veggie.
     Calories     199.4,
     Total Fat     4.0 g
              Saturated Fat     0.6 g
              Polyunsaturated Fat     0.7 g
              Monounsaturated Fat     2.6 g
     Cholesterol     0.0 mg
     Sodium     598.2 mg
     Potassium     499.8 mg
     Total Carbohydrate     22.5 g
              Dietary Fiber     5.0 g
              Sugars     4.6 g
     Protein     3.7 g

    Dear Lord,
    now that I've shared this amazing soup recipe, can you please, please, pleeeeeease let us have some sunshine? I promise I'll start thinking of some delicious summer treats to share.

    Sunday, March 11, 2012

    Smoked Salmon Hash with Dill Vinaigrette

    Dinner for our blogger Irish Night was a challenge for me. It was hard to think of something traditional and also suitable for someone with my dietary restrictions. No white at night removes the staple potato from the mash-up. Get it? Mash up! Also, the traditional dishes use a lot of pork and beef.
    I was going to make a lovely Colcannon when it hit me. Just because the clock says dinner doesn't mean the tummy can't scream for breakfast!!

    Truthfully this wandered a little farther from the traditional Corned Beef and Hash that I was first envisioning. After a fair amount of research I've also learned that Corned Beef Hash actually has roots in Northern England. Oops. So while this doesn't represent St. Patty's Day very well, it was delicious enough to share anyway.
    Bree from Three and a Half Stones to Go took the prize for Irish Night. Her version of Shepherds Pie was amazing and my 4 year old is still asking for more of it.

    Smoked Salmon Hash with Dill Vinaigrette

    Dill Vinaigrette:
    2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    2 stalks green onion
    2 cloves garlic
    4 tablespoons fresh dill
    1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
    salt and pepper to taste
    Place vinegar, lemon juice, green onion, dill, garlic, salt and pepper in a blender and blend until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the oil until emulsified. Transfer the vinaigrette to a bowl or squeeze bottle.

    Smoked Salmon Hash
    8 ounces smoked salmon, flaked
    1 red bell pepper, diced
    2 large sweet potatoes, diced
    2 tablespoons horseradish
    2 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
    2 cups chopped kale
    1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    4 poached eggs or cooked egg whites

    Heat olive oil in a large, nonstick saute pan. Add the red bell pepper and sweet potatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally until the sweet potatoes are cooked through. Add smoked salmon, horseradish, dill, kale, salt and pepper stir until well mixed. Divide the hash among 4 plates and top each with a poached egg. Drizzle with the vinaigrette.

    Moving on to the nutrition...
    • The first thing we need to talk about are eggs. Obviously egg whites have no fat. It's that pesky yolk that brings in 5 grams of mostly saturated fat. On the Swank Diet we are allowed three eggs per week, but no more than one per serving.
    • So then we go on to Salmon. Fatty fish contains unsaturated fatty acids and must be counted in your daily oil allowance. You are allowed 50 grams of this unsaturated fatty acid (10 tsp.) per day.
      Salmon, Chinook -- 1 oz. = 1 tsp. oil (5 grams)
      Salmon, Coho -- 2 oz. = 1 tsp. oil (5 grams)
      The majority of people I know are aware of the incredible benefits of salmon, if you are not one of them read this, this, this and especially this.
      Smoked salmon adds a lot of flavor without needing too much. Just watch the sodium because the smoking process adds quite a bit.

    So there you have it. It started out brilliantly Irish, and ended as beautiful mix of flavors I didn't think I could have anymore. I absolutely love proving myself wrong!
    Have you ever done that with a recipe? Or maybe you proved you actually like something you thought you hated? I'd love to hear your stories!
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