Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Low Carb Zucchini Spinach Meaty Cheesy Lasagne!

As I have been continuing my low carb lifestyle, I have been sharing some of the recipes I make on my personal facebook page. Many of my friends and family have asked that I do this, as they have to watch their carbs, weight, health and I have no problem doing so. I like to advertise for the original poster too because if I liked their recipe enough to post it to my facebook, I want them to get traffic from it!

Lately, I have been craving some sort of lasagne. Since noodles are 100% off limits for me, I needed to come up with a way to have a similar dish without them. I see lots of recipes with zucchini noodles, so I have been experimenting with them lately, and this is a dish that just came together. I wasnt planning on blogging it or I would have taken better pictures, and actually planned out the recipe. I have had several people on my facebook page ask for the recipe, so I knew I needed to write something up! The thing is.... I had only taken one crappy picture, and we had eaten all of the lasagne, so this one pic will have to do! When I make it next time, I will try and take better pictures and switch them out. 

This recipe went over very well with my husband, which is always a plus, especially since we have both been wearing thin of the low carb lifestyle. I actually want to make it again already! 

**This recipe is for 2 mini loaf pans. If you need more, I'd pretty much double it, although with the recipe below I had leftover ricotta cheese mixture and half the spinach leftover so I plan on making 2 more mini pans of it and freezing it

1 - 15oz tub of Ricotta Cheese
1 small box frozen spinach (warmed up and drained)
1-1.5lbs of ground beef
Jar of pasta sauce (I used 4 cheese by simple truth cuz it has less carbs)
1 1/2 cups of Shredded mozzarella cheese (more or less as needed)
2 medium zucchini
One egg
1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
Ground basil
Garlic powder
Mini loaf pans or a bigger loaf pan, or baking dish

1. Use a mandolin to cut the zucchini length-wise in thin strips. No bigger than 1/8 of an inch thick. Salt them and lay them in a strainer for as long as you can before cooking. Best to let sit for 30 minutes- 2 hours in order to get some of the moisture out. 

2. Cook the ground beef. Drain the grease. Add in the pasta sauce, some basil, garlic powder and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes. 

3. For the mini loaf pans, we used 1/2 of the spinach (warmed up), and 1/2 of the ricotta cheese. Mix them together. Add one egg and mix together well. Add in some garlic powder and the Parmesan cheese. (If you do not want left over mixture, I would suggest starting with 1/4 of the ricotta and 1/4 of the spinach).

4. When you've let the zucchini set for as long as you can, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and start to build your lasagne. Spray the loaf pans with cooking spray, and pour in a layer of the meat/sauce mix, then a layer of the zucchini, then the ricotta cheese mixture, layer of mozzarella and then repeat.  End with a layer of the shredded mozzarella on top. 
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, and let sit for at least 5 minutes after it's done.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my husband and I did. It rejuvenates you to find a good recipe that tastes amazing and keeps your health on track! 


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Loaded Low Carb Cauliflower Soup

Living a low carb lifestyle is a lot easier when you have a partner to live it with! Some moments are hard, but I have been working diligently to make meals, snacks and even desserts that are lower in carb, healthy and taste good enough that we don't miss the unhealthy things. Skillet Pizza, Crustless Quiche, and now a warm, hearty soup? The chances of staying on track are looking good!

We had another major snowstorm here in Michigan. There were two days in a row where we were able to go outside without a jacket... and we thought... SPRING IS HERE! Then BAM. 7 inches (at least) in one day. Let's just say that I was less than prepared for a snowstorm as far as groceries go. Then I remembered the head of cauliflower I had in the fridge that needed to be used up. So a loaded low carb cauliflower soup was calling my name!

This is simple, and fills you up easily. Here is what you need:

* 1 Cauliflower head
* 1 Large onion
* 1 Leek
* 1 tbs of olive oil
* 2 tbs of butter
* 3 1/2 cups of vegetable or chicken broth (or can do half and half)
* Food processor
* 6 pieces of bacon
* shredded cheese (your choice but I used colby jack blend)

Lets begin!
Chop the onion and leek. If you do not know how to chop a leek, never fear. Google it and watch the video and in seconds, you will know how. For speed, here is one you can use! Super easy and you want the flavor from it, so don't skip it if you can help it!
Saute the onion and leek together with the olive oil and butter for about 3 - 4 minutes. Do not brown
While those are sauteing, cut the cauliflower into florets, chopping the stem into small pieces. Toss them in with the onion and leek and saute them all together for about 2-3 minutes.
Pour in your broth. Bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer for around 20 minutes. You want the cauliflower very soft. While that is simmering, cook your bacon - crisp so that you can crumble it.
When finished, spoon into a food processor and puree until it is smooth. You may have to do this in halves. Mine didn't all fit in the food processor at once, so I spooned about half in, pureed, then poured that into a soup pot, and did it again with the second half. Be careful as you do not want to lose your broth all over the counter. So go slow.
Warm the soup, crumble your bacon and grab your cheese! You have a nice, low carb, hearty bowl of soup to keep you warm while we wait for winter to end!


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Antique Booth Move

Sometimes, a change is good. And that's what we are hoping for with this antique booth move. A booth became available in a different part of the building, in a main aisle, and I just couldn't pass it up. There was a storefront design already built up in front of it, which I believe gives it an inviting, cozy feeling.  As usual, I forgot to take before pictures... I just can't figure out how to remind myself to do that! I will try to explain what it looked like before we got our hands on it. Below the blue, where the pink is around the windows... that was a bright bright red. The inside of the booth was a bright yellow. Since we were moving our shabby chic themed booth here, we decided on the pink. We have received a ton of compliments on it from staff and customers which has made me very happy!

I love the storefront look. We have lights coming down under the overhang to showcase some items. I thought the dress form would look lovely there, with a beautiful fur collar coat and a vintage shabby hat box to adorn.

We hung some light colored burlap on the top half of the booth, to give it some texture. I just love it!

Lighting is a must and we made sure to have plenty to showcase our items as best we could. 

So... what do you think? I just love it and I am excited to see where we go from here. Now, we just need it to stop blizzarding here in Michigan so that people can actually get to the antique mall!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Low Carb Skillet Pizza

I recently tore a ligament in the heel of my foot, and with that injury, making food that fits a low carb lifestyle has been tough. I hobbled around to make the Crustless Quiche, but I needed something to calm down my cravings. My pizza cravings. It would have been easy for me to order pizza and be done with it. But one slice can have 36g of carbs! Thats more carbs than I should have in a day! But I LOVE pizza. Love it. I could eat it multiple times in a week and never get sick of it. Its my.... "thing". So I needed a pizza that I could eat, without the carbs, and make easily with this injury I have going on. Thats a lot to ask. But I saw a skillet pizza floating around Pinterest, and thought that I would try making a version of it, to see if it would suffice my cravings. And it MORE than did!

It is so easy to make. A great snack and great for a meal. So let's get started!

Here is what you need:
  • Extra small nonstick skillet ( 6-9 inches preferably)
  • Bagged* shredded cheese of your choice (I used the colby jack blend, but any blend should work)
  • Optional: Pizza sauce (lowest carb you can find)
  • Toppings: I used pepperoni and pizza seasonings, but we will use veggies when I make this for my hubby
*We tried this with shredding our own cheese, and it was a MESS. very oily and tough to eat. Stick with the bagged cheese. 

1. Put the shredded cheese directly onto the non stick skillet (measuring about 1/3 inch thick) 
2. Dribble pizza sauce on top of the cheese. You only need about a tablespoon. A little goes a LONG way.
3. Place some more cheese on top of sauce. It will now measure about 1/2 inch thick. 
4. Place toppings on top of cheese
5. Turn on high heat, and lightly cover with a top so that the top of the cheese will fully melt. Watch carefully. 6. After just a short time, you will see the bottom cheese start to bubble and crisp up. When all the cheese is melted, you can turn off the heat, and slide onto a plate. Cut with a pizza slicer. As shown below, the bottom should be crisp and brown, and should cut nicely with the pizza cutter.

The picture at the very top of this post is the first one I made. I think I used just enough sauce. The pictures with the white background shows the second one I made, and I feel I used just a little too much sauce, so like I said, a little sauce goes a LONG way. You can also make one without sauce. The pizza sauce I have has 5 carbs for 1/4 of a cup. You should only need about a tablespoon, so you aren't getting many carbs for the little you are using. 

I encourage you to give this a shot! Its so easy, why not?! Let me know what you think! 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Low Carb Crustless Quiche and Living a Low Carb Lifestyle

My husband and I had a long talk Saturday morning, and decided that it was time. It was time to make some changes. We both have been quite inactive (although recently I started back into yoga and playing volleyball once a week) since winter hit. It has just been hard to do anything. And we have not been eating healthy. Given the fact that I have PCOS, I have to - HAVE TO - follow a lower carb lifestyle, which I have not been doing. When you have PCOS, your body is unable to metabolize carbohydrates like a normal person can. I lost 27 pounds this summer, by walking 4-6 miles 3-4 times a week, cutting my carbs down, and getting back on my birth control (which helps me lose weight) but once winter hit and I could not walk outside, and got back off my birth control, things stood still. Eating a low carb lifestyle is hard. Very hard. Especially when in the definition of PCOS, it actually states that you have uncontrollable cravings for carbs. Great. It's already challenging enough without adding "uncontrollable cravings". But changes must be made. I want to be active and healthy parents (once we have children). We want to be good role models to our children. So changes must be made.

We both agreed that following the low carb lifestyle would be best, since I don't have a choice, and that having my husband follow a different lifestyle could be very trying to me with the fact that I would have to cook two different meals. We can work carbs back into his diet at a later point, little by little, but for now, this is what's best. I knew it would be much more challenging for him than me, as I have had to do this a lot in my life and so I was used to it (in a sense), so I wanted to find some recipes that wouldn't shock him out of thinking he could handle this new lifestyle.

I've already lost 8 pounds in 5 days. So that is encouraging and helps me keep going.

One thing that is difficult for my husband, is breakfast. He has to drive an hour to work (that is if the roads are in perfect condition and there are no traffic issues, so lately its been more like 2 hours), and he is always in a big hurry. I have bought some low sugar oatmeal, but as men are, he is a bit picky in the sense that he doesn't want to eat the same thing all the time. So I needed to find something that he could substitute in, if he is in a hurry. He loves the breakfast casserole I make, but that is filled with hash browns which are off limits right now, so I wanted to figure out something that was similar, and that's when I remembered the crustless quiche that my parents had made years ago when we were following a low carb lifestyle. So I asked my husband what he would want in it, and went from there!

I made a spicy sausage, bacon, feta and monterey jack cheese crustless quiche. You can really substitute anything you want for the meat and cheese. Here is how I made it!

For this one you need:
  • Bob Evans spicy sausage (the kind in the roll) - cooked. You can use regular instead of spicy if you wish
  • 6 strips of cooked bacon (crumbled)
  • Feta Cheese (crumbled)
  • Shredded monterey jack cheese
  • 7 eggs
  • 1/3 cup of milk (you can use the low carb milk if you wish, or skim is fine too)
  • 9 inch pie plate
  • skillet
  • butter flavored cooking spray
  • Pepper
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. While your bacon is cooking in the microwave, cook and crumble the spicy sausage in your skillet. 
2. Spray your pie plate with the cooking spray, then crumble the cooked sausage, cooked bacon, feta and shredded cheese in the plate, in that order. (You can choose how much cheese to use depending on what you like.) I used a few small handfuls of the feta but wish I would have used more. I used about a handful and a half of the shredded cheese, but again, this can be altered to your taste. 
3. Beat the 7 eggs lightly with the whisk. Add in the milk and pepper to taste. I gave a couple turns of my pepper grinder. 
4. Pour the egg mixture into the pie plate, and place on the middle rack in the oven. Cook for 35 minutes, or until your knife comes out clean. 
~Enjoy! It is wonderful as leftovers!