Thursday, April 29, 2010

I'm No Longer Obese!

When I started this journey my wake up call was an all-time high of 155 lbs on my digital scale. It flashed repeatedly and in my head I could hear the alarm sounds probably the same warning sounds they made when bombs started dropping. My BMI was 30.3. I was devastated but I had it coming.

It wasn't like I woke up one day and found myself 35 pounds heavier than I was mere months before. I knew it when my clothes were getting tighter, when I had to buy new jeans TWICE because the pair I got just a month ago wouldn't even go past my hips let alone button up. It was a scary spiral down the rabbit hole. I tried to make myself not care, consoled myself with thoughts that I was still pretty and it's my beauty inside that counts. I'm not saying that those things didn't matter, it's just that telling myself that is different from actually believing it.

I wish I could say that what triggered my desire to lose weight was a health issue but that would be a big fat (pun intended) lie. I'm vain. I admit it. It doesn't make me less of a person. I like looking good and feeling good. Being thin is not directly proportional to being happy, I know that but looking and feeling good is. So yes, I'm trying to lose weight so I can look good. Not for anyone else but for myself.

I have lost 17 lbs so far and with a BMI of 26.9 am no longer obese but overweight. Saying I'm overweight is not really pleasing to the ears but realizing how far I've come and how I've stuck to working towards my goal of having a normal BMI makes me really really happy. My journey is far from over, this is true, but at least I am going forward and trudging on. With hope. With faith. And with trust in myself that I will get there.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Eggplant Chips

I was one of those annoying kids who actually LOVED eating vegetables. My friends were amazed when I would treat vegetables as dessert. They gave me those looks that told me I'm weird but I didn't care. I continued to eat squash, string beans even bitter gourd (today my hubby is the one giving me that look when I eat bitter gourd).

Eggplant is one of my favorite vegetables and with a net carb of 2.3g/100 g, it's pretty low in carbohydrates. I thought about deep frying eggplant slices and they turned out great.

There really isn't a recipe. Slice the eggplant preferably 1/2 inch thick. Preheat oil to 350 degrees. Fry in batches. Drain in paper towel. After frying I sprinkled chili powder, cumin and salt and shook the eggplant chips around. And that's what it's all about.

Never Assume

Looking for good quality cocoa powder but Hershey's is too pricey? Check out the Ricoa Breakfast Cocoa. I used to pass this can by and not even bother to look at it, assuming it was a breakfast cocoa mix. Good thing I was bored enough to actually read the label one day. It's PURE 100% cocoa, no sugar added, in fact nothing else added. I got one can and used it to make (non-LC) cupcakes and they turned out fine (according to those who ate them, not me).

So, as a lesson, never assume. Read labels, double check, Google and wiki, do research on the things you put in your mouth. If I continued my wrong assumption, I wouldn't have had the pleasure of enjoying this delicious chocolate mousse. YUMMY!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Pancakes For Breakfast? Yes, Please!

You're probably wondering how I can go through 12 mini pancakes in a few days... let me show you the ways...

Pancakes with a tablespoon of heavy cream, sprinkling of Splenda and cinnamon. Tastes like dessert and there's fewer things better than dessert for breakfast. That's my motto, by the way.

Pancake sandwich with lesser carbs! I put ham and cheese slices between two pancakes. Sweet and salty is an awesome combination!

Bacon and pancakes. You don't have to say goodbye to a classic combo just because you're on low carb.

How about a cauliflower and broccoli omelet with sour cream to add to your bacon and pancakes? You get your protein AND your good carbs in one sitting. This meal was so good and so filling I actually forgot about lunch.

But you know what? SugarFreeSheila's pancakes are so awesome without too much stuff on them. So I like to just put a teaspoon of butter and a sprinkling of cinnamon and I am happy... so happy...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Chicken Curry - Second Time Around

Curry is one of my favorite chicken dishes growing up. I'm not a big fan of chicken, given a choice between chicken and pork, I would choose the latter in a heart beat. But chicken curry is different. It's so comforting with its thick and flavorful sauce and not to mention the delicious aroma. A whiff of it brings me back to my childhood when our nanny would cook it for Saturday lunch.

As an adult, I have only cooked it once before with the help of a seasoning packet. It was disappointing to say the least. It didn't pack the same punch and was just lacking in flavor overall. When I started LC-ing, I avoided dishes with sauce simply because they would make me wish for rice, my white enemy.

What about cauliflower rice, you say? Well when I made it before it was so time consuming (I don't own a food processor) and it wasn't that good to make me want to try it again.

So when I had a craving for curry I knew I had to do it right. Not just the curry itself but the cauliflower rice too. Let's just say this is my second chance on both dishes.

I'm so glad I didn't give up. This was so delicious and so filling.

Chicken Curry
*Adapted from Simply Recipe's Chicken Curry in a Hurry

1 pound chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
3 T curry powder plus more to taste
2 T olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced thinly
3 cloves garlic, minced
100 g red bell pepper, sliced in thin strips
300 g string beans, cut 1 1/2" in length
1 C heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
1 T chili powder (optional)


1. Rinse the chicken breasts in running water and pat dry. Lay them flat on a chopping board and sprinkle with half the amount of curry powder on both sides of each chicken breast. Gently rub the powder over the chicken. Let sit for a few minutes.

2. Heat olive oil in pan and saute garlic and onions. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Set the onions and garlic to one side of the pan. Fry the chicken. Cook at least 3 minutes on each side, make sure that the meat is cooked. Remove the chicken from the pan once cooked.

4. Add the remaining vegetables in to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. I sprinkled some curry powder in as well. Cook the vegetables until crisp tender.

5. Put the chicken back into the pan. Add heavy cream and remaining curry powder. If you want it to be spicier, add more curry powder and even chili powder. If the heavy cream is too thick, add a quarter cup of water.

6. Stir until everything is coated in sauce. Salt and pepper to taste.

7. Serve on top of cauliflower rice.

Here's a great video on how to make cauliflower rice.

Friday, April 16, 2010

SugarFreeSheila's Amazing Induction Friendly Pancakes

I stumbled upon while I was reading Cleo's wonderful blog, The Lighter Side of Low-Carb and I spent five hours straight just reading all about her experience with Atkins, her FAQs, looking at before and after pictures and of course drooling over recipes.

One of the recipes that caught my eye, not only because of the simple ingredients and easy steps but on top of that had the magic words: INDUCTION FRIENDLY. You know how in cartoons when someone has a great idea, a light bulb goes off? Well that light bulb went on for me and it didn't turn it itself off until I made the recipe.

It tasted good the first time I made it but it was too big and I had a difficult time flipping it. I admit I'm a little flipping-challenged. That's how I thought of using egg rings. The pancakes would be smaller thus easy to flip! Genius, right? Not really but if you say so, I'll run with it.

The second time I made the pancakes, they looked as good as they tasted. I made sure I let them "burn" a little to give them that browned look that pancakes have. When I posted pictures on the LCF forum, people wanted to know how I made Sheila's pancakes and now I'm going to share it with step-by-step pictures.

SugarFreeSheila's Delicious Low-Carb Pancakes
*I have scaled the recipe up because it's easier for me to just make a big batch each week. The recipe with the original serving size of 1 can be found here.

1 (8 oz) block of cream cheese
5 eggs
1 T Splenda
1 t Vanilla Extract
Vegetable oil for frying

"Special" equipment I use
2 cup measuring cup
4 egg rings

Plop the cream cheese inside the measuring cup. Don't be messy like me. Microwave it at high for about a minute. I would do it for 2 minutes and have pieces of burnt cream cheese which are AWESOME! But if you're not as adventurous as I am then 1 minute is fine. Prepare yourself for the wonderful smells that will fill up your kitchen and make your tummy growl and say, "Hurry with breakfast already!"

Stir the cream cheese until it is softened and well-blended. Add Splenda and vanilla extract. Stir some more.

Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. You might think that it will be too much for your two-cup measuring cup, you may use a bowl or a bigger measuring cup. I like using a measuring cup because it has a handle and makes cooking the pancakes easier.

This is my set up. I have the pan in the middle, egg rings and bowl with oil to the right and spatulas on the left. When I cook something, anything, the kitchen turns into a war zone so it helps me if I'm organized.

The egg rings get a short bath in the oil and then placed on the pan like so. Turn on the stove, medium-high is fine. I make sure that the pan is hot before I pour the batter in.

I apologize for not including my ice cream scooper in the "special" equipment list. It really is handy. I use it for cupcakes, cheesecake muffins, cookies, etc. So anyway pour one scoop's worth of batter into the egg rings and let it cook until the sides are dry. It also helps to wiggle the egg rings gently one by one to make sure nothing is sticking to it.

Remove the egg rings. If there is a sticking issue, just use a spatula to gently nudge the sticking part until it lets go of the egg ring. Flip each pancake. Marvel at the nice browned side. Did I mention the really wonderful smells filling your kitchen? Well this time it's filling the entire house. It made my DH run downstairs to find out where they were coming from.

Once you feel like the pancakes are browned on the other side, remove them from the pan. Add more oil, if needed, for the next batch. I always dip the egg rings before each batch. With this batch I make 12 mini pancakes. The number depends on the size of the egg rings you will use.

There you go! A beautiful stack of pancakes, delicious, low-carb and drumroll please... INDUCTION FRIENDLY!


Monday, April 5, 2010

Deep Fried Bacon-Wrapped Scallops

Deep fried.



Need I say more except for the recipe? Well here it is:

Bacon strips
Oil, enough to fill a pot halfway

1. Wash scallops very well. Pat dry.

2. Cut bacon strip in half and wrap each half around 1 to 2 pieces of scallops.

3. Secure with toothpicks.

4. Heat oil up to 350 degrees. Fry the scallops until bacon is crisp.

5. Remove toothpicks. Enjoy.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Ugliest Cheesecake Ever

Wrinkles give these cheesecakes personality

For the longest time I have avoided making cheesecake. Don't get me wrong, I love it. So much. That's why I didn't wanna mess it up. That and the fact that an 8 oz block of cream cheese costs well over PhP 100 (that's just a local brand, not even Philadelphia!). So the thought of fudging it up and wasting money at the same time was enough to make me step away from all the delicious cheesecake recipes online.

Recently, I stumbled upon a recipe that really tempted me. It didn't have a lot of ingredients and instead of using a springform pan (which I've never seen in real life) made use of a muffin pan. I figured making cheesecake muffins would be a far lesser task. The recipe was a success. I made it a few more times, dressing it up with strawberries and whipped cream, eating it plain. It was just that good.

This is NOT low carb

When I decided to go low carb, I looked at that recipe and just by simply removing the crust turned it into something I could enjoy - albeit in small portions - and still stay on plan. Even better news is it's allowed on Induction! Magic words, right?

Now you can definitely make this prettier but unless you want other people to steal it, DON'T. Who cares about those wrinkles anyway? Or the fact that sometimes the middle part sinks? It might not be pretty but damnit it's good! AND LEGAL! Again, the magic word!

The Ugliest Cheesecake Ever
*Adapted from various cheesecake recipes and inspired by Chocolate Kiss' Sour Cream Cheesecake
serves 12


16 oz cream cheese
1 C Splenda (NOT sugar blend but granular)
2 t vanilla
4 T lemon juice
3 T sour cream
2 eggs

Forgot to take a pic with the cream cheese. Sorry!

1. Preheat oven at 325. Prepare 12 cup muffin pan.

2. With a mixer, beat the cream cheese until there are no more lumps. Slowly add the Splenda, incorporating both ingredients well.

Beat the cr*p out of that cheese!

3. Add vanilla, lemon juice and sour cream. Blend but make sure not to over mix.

4. Add eggs one at a time, gently mixing after each one.

5. Divide the batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups. I used an ice cream scooper to divide them equally.

Invest on an icecream scooper. It's convenient and not that messy to use.

6. Bake at 325 for 12 to 15 minutes depending on your oven. Check at 12 minutes and the tops should be set but not hard. I actually like to underbake this because the center has that ooey gooey cream cheesy filling that I love.

7. Let cool for at least 30 minutes. Put in the fridge for at least 2 hours. This is best eaten cold.

Carb count 3.7 per serving

If you want to make prettier cheesecakes, check this out.
If you're past Induction (woohoo!) you may add fresh strawberries on top or even do a nut crust.