June 22, 2017

Moon Cheese

Moon Cheese

The low-carb, keto community on Instagram is a wonderful resource for discovering new products. Any item that is trending will begin to appear in individual posts. One such product is Moon Cheese. The ingredients read "JUST CHEESE". Think about it. We are not only used to multiple ingredients in products, but there is usually a list of harmful additives. 

Unfortunately, when it comes to new products or popular businesses, Idaho is not the quickest gun in the west. I have lived here for 6.5 years. In this time period, we have introduced only 1 Trader Joes and 1 Whole Foods to Boise. Granted, I do not shop much at Whole Foods (mostly because of cost), especially since I am a member of the Boise Co-Op. 

One Instagram gal mentioned that she found Moon Cheese at Target. I checked my local store and struck out. (I will be investigating Walmart tomorrow.) In the meantime, I just received a 3-pack of Moon Cheese directly from their website. The bags are only 2 ounces, but the contents are most delicious! They feature the flavor and crunch that we are used to in empty snacks, but without the carbage and garbage!

Say CHEEEEEEEESE!
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So, how did I do?

Allure of the Seas | A typical cruise breakfast.

With my Caribbean cruise over, I have paused to evaluate my eating and energy expenditures. I stated in a previous post that my cruise goal was to eat low-carb and still lose weight. I know, vacations and weight-loss do not often occur together unless there is an illness. I was perfectly healthy. So, how did I do?

Shrimp Cocktail | I ordered this each night.

SUCCESSES
  • I passed on grains, alcohol, sugary beverages, and dessert.
  • Every meal consisted mostly of low-carb veggies and meat.
  • With 17 floors on the ship, I chose to use the stairways on many occasions.
  • I danced to top hits and Caribbean music.
  • I did a great deal of brisk walking.
  • My clothes fit loosely throughout the cruise.
  • I did not experience bloat until after I flew from Florida to Idaho — which was mostly due to the flight and extra water consumption.

ALLOWANCES AND CHALLENGES
  • Our evening meal in the dining room was pre-scheduled for 8:00 PM. We were eating the main course at 9:00 PM. For best weight-loss results, I need to eat earlier.
  • Small amounts of potatoes were allowed from time to time.
  • I drank occasional Starbucks breves.
  • There was so much meat to choose from! I admit to consuming a little more than usual.
  • I got less that 8 hours sleep for the duration of the cruise. We had early morning island tours and I enjoyed being in the jazz lounge until at least 12:45 AM.

END RESULT

I gained 3 pounds which are quickly disappearing as I return to a normal schedule and lifestyle. I am quite pleased with myself. I was never deprived, my energy was great, and I did not miss the things I chose not to eat.

Allure of the Seas | Mahogany Black Cod
(whipped parsnip, baby bok choy,
and mustard sauce)

Allure of the Seas | Final breakfast...
Happily,
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June 19, 2017

The Party's Over

Nassau, New Providence

My high seas adventures have concluded. Our cruise was a floating family reunion, along with a celebration of my parent's 60th wedding anniversary and mom's 80th birthday. I have an amazing family!

St. Pete Beach, Florida

I was resisting a return to responsibility because I spent one week meandering from one happy moment to another. I followed musicians from venue to venue, listening to Broadway, Jazz, Dixieland, Ragtime, and decades of top hits. I danced to Caribbean music, saw top notch acts on stage, ice, and water; toured 3 islands; and was up-close-and-personal with a vervet monkey. I lounged, daydreamed, and made new friends. I also enjoyed more low-carb choices than I dared to imagine and made excellent use of stairs.

Jazz Lounge on the Allure of the Seas

Ragtime on the Allure of the Seas

I enjoy meeting people with different cultural backgrounds and cruising hits the jackpot. The cruise staff and entertainers represented countries worldwide. Likewise, I met passengers from an assortment of places. A Persian family and I became fast friends. We spent evenings in the jazz lounge with a Greek quartet, listening to spectacular sets and artist tributes. Our paths intersected on every level.

I told Barry that we need to start saving for a cruise of our own. He's already on board!

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June 6, 2017

Cruisin' and Losin'

 

I reached a 40 pound weight loss marker before leaving on my cruise to the Bahamas. "You'll want to cheat on the ship," my dad advised me. I confidently responded, "I have no desire to cheat." 

Ah, what a feeling! My goal is to eat scrumptious, satisfying low-carb food and arrive home slimmer!

I am presently sipping a St. Arbucks iced latte on the 15th level pool deck. I pushed my shaded lounge chair up against an observation window. The pool is crammed with soggy guests. I am content to bask in the balmy breeze and admire the vast Atlantic.

It has not been difficult sticking to a low-carb regime. There is no temptation or "special-treat" reasoning. The low-carb cuisine is so delicious and plentiful that any feelings of deprivation have been quelled. 

Again, my goal is to slim down while maintaining my lifestyle and using the ship's stairs. I believe!

May 23, 2017

Jicama, Avocado, and Cucumber Salad

Jicama, Avocado, and Cucumber Salad

I was looking for jicama at my Walmart Neighborhood Market. I asked 3 ladies if they had spotted jicama and none of them even knew what one was. This surprised me. I finally found jicama blending in with the coconuts. 

I returned home to Spiralize™the jicama and placed it atop spring salad greens. I added avocado, cucumber, a sprinkling of herbs, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. I love how jicama absorbs the vinegar!

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May 21, 2017

"The Plant Paradox" by Steven R. Gundry, MD

Unlike diets with set meal plans, my low-carb lifestyle gives me leeway to experiment and make connections between various foods and their effect on my body. When my weight loss slows down, it is often a signal that something is not beneficial. 

I have been allowing small amounts of peanut butter into my diet. I have no known food allergy and it seemed harmless. Yet, I am observing that my intestinal happiness is compromised after consumption.

I was listening to The Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Show with Jimmy Moore. In Episode 1254, Jimmy interviewed Dr. Steven Gundry, MD, a heart surgeon, about the effect some plants are having on our health. Their conversation introduced me to the danger of lectins and the importance of polyphenols. 
Definition of lectin: of a group of proteins especially of plants that are not antibodies and do not originate in an immune system but bind specifically to carbohydrate-containing receptors on cell surfaces (as of red blood cells) 
Lectins are the part of a plant's protective system that was never supposed to be eaten by humans, let alone animals. In fact, they are meant to dissuade consumption.

Unfortunately, once lectins are consumed, they wreck havoc on our bodies. Modern diets have steered us away from leafy greens, nuts, moderate meat consumption, and berries. Instead, we favor grains, starchy vegetables, and sugar. Many of the plants we eat consistently are the culprits behind our weight gain, lack of energy, and chronic health issues.

I groaned when I heard some of the offenders. No surprise, peanuts are big problems, which explains my own issues with them. When I heard some of the other lectin-loaded foods, I was thinking, what's left? My low-carb lifestyle has already removed a lot of items. Nevertheless, my overall goal is to lose weight while regaining health and vitality. My ears are open.

Dr. Gundry has a lengthy video that spells everything out for us. He does offer supplements at the end. Whether you are interested in those or not, there is much to learn from his presentation.

Click on => Suffering From Low Energy? 

If you are interested in Dr. Gundry's book, simply click HERE.

Also, check out the doctor's "Brand New Food Pyramid" HERE.

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National Strawberries and Cream Day


Strawberries symbolize a sweet passage into spring. Amid flood warnings here in Idaho, we have finally pushed away from our record-breaking winter, nippy nights, and relentless rain. Children's voices are again resonating through our neighborhoods, along with the antiquated music of ice cream vendors. 

WELCOME STRAWBERRIES!
1 cup, 5.5 oz = 12 carbs
6 medium/3 large, 2 oz = 4 carbs
Chocolate Dipped, 1 large = 6 carbs

Sweetly,
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Brunch with the Bear

Steak and Swiss Omelet

Barry, AKA Bear, took me to brunch after church. Julie was our cheerful food server. I am in the habit of introducing the two of us as the Kare-Bears: Karen and Barry. People chuckle, but they remember our names.

I ordered this steak omelet with sautéed onions, mushrooms, and swiss cheese. I delivered myself from temptation by forgoing the potatoes and choosing sliced tomatoes. I was quite content.

Bear, on the other hand, was resolutely no-low-carb, but he was happy. He had cinnamon French toast, scrambled eggs, sausage, and I gave him my side of biscuits and gravy. Honestly, nothing on his plate looked better to me. I can thank low-carbing for that. My husband, however, looked just fine!

Cinnamon French Toast,
Scrambled Eggs, and Sausage

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Describing Bacon


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May 18, 2017

My Motto


Happy Exploring,
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Happy Bite-Seeing

Steak and Veggie Kebabs

I was still being pampered the day after Mother's Day. My husband loves to fire up his new barbecue. This serving of steak and veggie kebabs had me feelin' the love!

Asian Fusion Bowl at Monsoon is Nampa Idaho

Monsoon opened in Nampa, Idaho. It is the Asian fusion version of Chipotle. The diner is able to design their own bowl. They graciously worked with my low-carb preferences and I was delighted with the outcome. I swapped out noodles and rice for a bed of vegetables. I added chicken, peanut lime sauce, mushrooms, another layer of veggies, and garnished it with sprouts. I weighed less the following day!

"Always exploring, never boring!" 
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May 11, 2017

Low-Carb Biscuit Bites and Franks

Bread was once a major weakness for me. Although I have since tried some pleasing low-carb bread, ordered online, my greatest satisfaction comes from recipes that I bake myself.

Low-Carb Biscuit Bites and Franks

I recently featured "90-Second Microwave Paleo Bread" in my April 19, 2017, post. I have baked it with both almond flour and almond meal, each yielding tasty results! Swapping out the butter for duck fat also made a delicious difference. The fiber and fat kept me content for hours.

I baked Paleo "Almond Flour Biscuits" on Tuesday. These met any criteria I have for a biscuit. It was wonderful comfort food without the guilt. 

This recipe comes from Wholesome Yum, a wildly popular site that focuses on gluten-free and low-carb foods. My only variation was that I added Bragg Organic Sprinkle. I refer to these little yummies as "biscuit bites" because I did not flatten them. They were perfect for popping into one's mouth. Just ask my husband.

Biscuit Bites (before baking)

I allowed more space than I needed to at first. These biscuits retain their pre-baking size and shape. I found that I was able to bake in bigger batches.

Biscuit Bites (after baking)

An Instagram friend mentioned that these biscuit bites look like little scoops of ice cream. This just makes them more attractive to me.

A biscuit bite ready for butter...

I tried these with and without butter. Either way, I loved them. My husband said they were buttery enough for his taste. Get the recipe HERE.

A-tisket, a-tasket,
Put biscuits in my basket!

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May 5, 2017

Elk on Mashed Cauliflower

Elk on Mashed Cauliflower

Living in Idaho has its privileges! I sautéed elk meat in coconut oil, turmeric, garlic, and Maldon salt. I nestled it on top of mashed cauliflower and garnished it with julienned carrots. It was reminiscent of shepherd's pie.

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May 3, 2017

Burgers and Keto Bread

Burgers and Keto Bread


Ground beef patties were cooked in bacon drippings. The onions were then sautéed in the juices and the keto bread was pan-toasted.

Happily,
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Kebabs are back, baby!

Finished Elk Kebabs

We were given a well-used barbecue about 4 years ago. Owning one had never been a priority, but we eagerly welcomed it. Barry loves to cook, so it was no surprise that he quickly crowned himself Grill King. Even when the grill began to dump embers and ash onto the patio, he persistently created barbecued feasts.

Barry prepping his new grill...

We now have a new BBQ to play with — a joint gift for Mother's and Father's Day! It is a modest but sturdy grill. Barry is admittedly more domestic and rarely dabbles with assembly! Yet, he invested 5 hours into putting it together and emerged triumphantly! 

Elk Kebabs Before Grilling

Barry's second BBQ mission consisted of elk kebabs. Living in Idaho has fringe benefits! Barry delivers frozen food to rural areas. His customers often tip him with wild game and freshly laid eggs. This energizes my husband's grilling ambitions. The finished product has us drowning in drool!

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April 28, 2017

Fat is Back and it's Epic!


If you have never tried a sweet potato — flash-fried in duck fat — it is time to explore. Fat translates mundane into FUN-dane! It nurtures our brains and bodies back to how they were meant to function! (There's that "fun" word again.) Fat is fuel to burn and flavor to love!

I cannot imagine returning to a blasé, low-fat diet. Can you? Healthy fat is the key ingredient to low-carb satiety, pleasure, and weight loss success! After consuming enough healthy fat, I can go for hours without being hungry!

I just ordered this fatty trio from Amazon. Epic's Animal Cooking Oils Variety Pack (featuring 1 Beef Tallow, 1 Pork Lard, 1 Duck Fat) takes delicious to a new level! It is perfect for baked goods, roasted or sautéed veggies, and fabulously flaky pie crusts. Check it out HERE.

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April 27, 2017

A Wok-Up Call


Oh, what fun it is to whip up a meal using only what is in the fridge and pantry! In this case, I incorporated onions, green peppers, andouille sausage, and a package of shredded coleslaw mix. All ingredients were stir-fried with bacon drippings, Bragg Liquid Aminos, Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar, and Toasted Sesame Oil! I then served it up with a soft boiled egg. 


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April 24, 2017

Mini Asian Meatballs in Lettuce Cups


MINI ASIAN MEATBALLS IN LETTUCE CUPS
From: Martha Stewart Living

I have been reading Martha Stewart Living for years, always tearing out the 4 recipe cards that come with each issue. I have quite a collection and the recipes are simple to prepare. Nowadays, I sort through them looking for recipes that are naturally low-carb or can be easily adjusted.

Here is one that needs no tweaking. I have no recollection of what year or issue this was from. The cards are not dated. I scanned this recipe for your enjoyment.


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