Tag Archives: LCHF

Things I’ve learned as a home cook

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

(Sorry, couldn’t resist the photo. It’s ridiculous, right?)

I was watching “The Taste” on TV and I was really excited that a home cook made it SO far in the competition.  I shouldn’t be shocked, Nigella Lawson herself is a home cook.  But the big thing is, I really loved seeing someone with no formal training totally kicking ass.  Marina had lived on multiple continents, and wasn’t afraid to do crazy things… I mean, she made a soup with rooster testicles.  C’mon.  She’s crazy, but in a good way.

I’m not an expert cook, but my cooking is always getting better and better.  I have a couple of things that I’ve learned over my many years of cooking.

  • Play with your food.  If you’re at a restaurant and you’re eating something good (or bad!) tasting, figure out why you like it or hate it.  Pick it apart.  Is it cooked wrong?  Are you liking the seasoning?  Is this something that you could cook at home?
  • Try something crazy.  I’ve been cooking since I was tall enough to stand at the stove, and helped out with cooking since I could stand at all.  I’ve added some CRAZY things to my food.  My sister will tell you that I used to add cinnamon to the pasta water.  But sometimes when you try something crazy, something amazing comes out of it.  I discovered that adding orange juice to pancakes tasted amazing.  Obviously that’s not a LCHF food, but it sure tasted good back then!
  • Find a recipe site that you really like.  I love Nom Nom Paleo for savory dishes, and Comfy Belly for baked goods.  Their style is similar to mine.  If the recipes appear on their sites, I can be pretty sure that I will like them.  If I go to a catch-all site with user-submitted recipes, I don’t have as big of a success rate.
  • Challenge yourself.  I didn’t grow up eating a lot of these recipes.  My mom DID make amazing food (her chicken stir fry is INSANELY good) but I didn’t learn how to make chicken stock from her like most people do.  I had a desire to make it, and learned how to make it.  Maybe you’ll find a recipe that is unlike anything you’ve ever done before.  Maybe you’ll find a veggie at the farmer’s market that you’ve never cooked with (hellooo bok choy).  Whatever it is, jump into the water and man/woman up.
  • Perfect is for prissies.  My food isn’t always pretty.  Master cooking the food first, then worry about fanciness.  Food is no good if it looks good but tastes like crap.  Focus your energy.  You can be prissy later.

Home cooks, what are your tips for people trying to become better at cooking?

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Recipe Round-up: Braised Coconut Spinach with Chickpeas and Lemon

 

Photograph by Blake Royer, thepauperedchef.com

 

Here’s another great vegetarian and vegan dish that is secretly LCHF.  Skip the rice and you’ve got a yummy meal!

http://www.yummly.com/recipe/external/Braised-Coconut-Spinach-with-Chickpeas-and-Lemon-Serious-Eats-200318

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Recipe Round-up: Cheese taco shells

I’m fine with just using pork rinds or digging into taco meat (or lentil tacos!) with a fork, but Superhusband was needing something a little more like the real deal.  I heard rumblings about microwaving cheese in a circle and letting it cool in the shape of a taco shell, to basically make the equivalent of the hard corn taco shells, without, you know, corn.  This seemed a little like a weird “too good to be true” hack, but after the success of the Fathead pizza, it was worth a try.

I microwaved a slice of provolone cheese (you can use shredded, though, as the recipe states), and after dabbing away any grease that had pooled off, I let it rest around a round container of garlic powder.  It’s not the prettiest setup, but it worked.  By the way, the grease dabbing isn’t because i’m afraid of grease (obviously, I promote fats!), it was just a mess.  When the shell cooled, it was time for Superhusband to eat.

He’s a picky eater, so I was waiting to see what his reaction was.  His official response was: “Can you make some more?”  I’ll take that as a score!  They are a teensy bit chewier than a “real” taco shell, but it’s really tasty.  We’ll be doing this again.

It's not really a sexy picture, I can't really spice of a picture of microwaved cheese. Sorry.

It’s not really a sexy picture, I can’t really spice of a picture of microwaved cheese. Sorry.

http://www.food.com/recipe/low-carb-taco-shells-85258

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I’m tapping out.

I’m really kinda bummed to write this, but I’m giving up vegetarian month.  I’ve been really pushing hard through it and trying out some awesome recipes, but my body was giving me signs.  I was doing blog maintenance last night approving comments, deleting spam (no I don’t want your site design or penis enhancement help) and I re-read my entry about shoes/listening to your gut.  Starting this month, I was trying new recipes and my gut got mad, so I backed off and started going with tried-and-true recipes.  This helped some, but the last few days I’ve had an increase in migraines, a BIG increase in hand tingling, and leg swelling.  These were things that used to be everyday experiences for me pre-LCHF, but have gone away since.  I’ve been wanting to keep going, but  I decided I need to take my own advice, and return to my original way of eating a bit early.

Could it be the increase in nuts and dairy to make up for the lack of meat protein that caused the issues?  Maybe.  Could it be some sort of omega 6 overload?  Dunno.  Here’s what I do know:  I represent me.  There are six billion people on this planet.  I’m one of them.  Just one.  N=1 experiments are intriguing, but don’t really tell you much (and this really wasn’t meant to be an experiment, it was just something fun anyway).  So you shouldn’t take anything from my experiences beyond that they’re mine.  I find Sam Feltham’s self-experiments fascinating, but he’s one person.  For every one person who has an issue taking out meat, there’s tons more who thrive on plant-based diets.  I’m still going to continue to try new vegetarian and vegan dishes like I always have on this blog, but it seems that my body likes it better when they are spread out between meals with meat.

I still want to continue this month with featuring higher-fat grain-free sugar-free vegetarian dishes, so that’s my plan!

Still friends?

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How a waitress in Wisconsin reacts to a meat-free grain-free order

“I’d like 3 over-easy eggs, please.”

“And what kind of meat with that?”

“No meat.”

“And what kind of toast?”

“No toast, please.”

“OOOOOooooohhh.” (In a tone like I just said “My family was just brutally murdered by a werewolf.”)

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Day 9: Sofritas and musings on shoes

Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Today I went to Chipotle and got a sofritas (tofu) bowl with guacamole, sour cream, pinto beans, lettuce, and cheese.  I’ll be honest… I didn’t miss the meat.  It literally tasted the same.  Score!

I was thinking today about a pair of shoes I bought a few years ago.  I WANTED them to fit.  They were cute, they were like what other people wore, and they were a good deal.  But every time I wore them was a disaster.  I’d get blisters within a quarter mile.  I didn’t get the arch support my poor feet needed.  They squeezed and tortured.  Yet I still put my feet through that laced suffering over and over again.  I didn’t need a podiatrist to tell me that those shoes weren’t good for me, my feet were SCREAMING at me that I needed to stop wearing those shoes.

If you’re someone who still eats a food that still hurts you,  you need to seriously ask yourself why.  I don’t care if that “hurt” is diarrhea, joint pain, migraines, or heartburn.  Your body is telling you that it shouldn’t be eating that food.  You don’t need to take tylenol or antacids or eat some fancy yogurt to fix it.  There is no pill for common sense, and common sense would tell you to stop eating that food.  I know you probably like the taste of it, maybe it’s a cheap food, maybe it’s convenient or is in lots of things, but you owe it to your body to listen to what it is saying.  You don’t need a doctor to tell you that when you eat bread/tomatoes/insert-name-of-your-offending-food, it hurts, and when you stop eating it you feel better.  You also don’t have to be allergic to an item to have an internal sensitivity to it.  I’m not allergic to tight shoes, but I get blisters from them.  I’m not allergic to wheat but it gives me migraines and joint pain.

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Day 8: Those plate-face looks

Day 8 was sort of a rush in the morning, and I quick packed a bag of walnuts, pecans, and sunflower seeds.  Awesome decision!  That was some great fuel.  My husband and I went to Pizza Ranch for dinner.  If you’ve never been there, it’s basically a pizza buffet but they also have a salad bar and fried chicken.  I grabbed some cheese pizza and ate just the toppings, and then went up to grab myself a salad.

Here’s where the heading of today’s blog post comes in.  I made myself a delicious garden salad and topped it with buttermilk ranch dressing and sunflower seeds, and dished myself out some cottage cheese as well.  As I was walking back to my seat, I got some of those plate-face looks.  You know, when they look at your plate, then look at your face.  It’s that “That’s a lot of fat” look.  It’s even worse when you’re overweight, because they think that you got fat eating that way, when you’re actually losing weight by eating fat.  I feel like I need a t-shirt.

I’m pretty much immune to the look, but I wish people wouldn’t do it!  How ridiculous.

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Day 6 (whoops, a day late)!

I totally forgot to post yesterday.  It doesn’t mean that I was holed up eating bacon I promise 😀  Although, I did discover one minor oops when I was taking my vitamins: fish oil.  I’m just gonna count this as an “oh well”, because I’m not going to go buy flaxseed oil instead and I’m taking it by doctor recommendation so I can’t stop taking it altogether.

Last night for dinner I wasn’t really in the mood to cook, and Superhusband had worked a long day so I certainly wasn’t going to make him cook.  We did what we do sometimes in this situation: We ordered a pizza.  We usually order a meat lovers pizza, but this time we ordered half of it with extra mozzarella and feta cheese.  We scrape off and eat the toppings and toss the crust.  I discovered pretty soon after starting LCHF and grieving what I thought was a totally depressing loss of pasta and bread an ultimate truth:

The good stuff isn’t the bread and the pasta, it is what’s ON the bread and the pasta!

It’s the pasta SAUCE and the meatballs that give you that happy feeling.  Pasta tastes like eating soggy tree bark by itself.  And i’d rather eat a library book than eat a piece of bread by itself.  I want what’s ON the bread.  Now, obviously this month I won’t be having meatballs, but my point is, eating the toppings off of a pizza are just as satisfying as eating the pizza itself.  If you’re still looking to get that same pizza crunch and pizza holding experience, a fathead pizza is the way to go.

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Day 5: Cream of Mushroom Soup

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I used to be terrified of mushrooms.  I remember staring at them on my mom’s counter, just having this total confusion about what they were and who in God’s name would want to eat such terrible-tasting brown chunks.  They tasted like bland rubber to me.

Frankly, raw mushrooms still sorta give me that same reaction as they did way back in the day.  I’ve been known to throw them on salads but they certainly aren’t the star attraction on that salad by any means.  Cooked mushrooms on the other hand, now that’s something magical.  Something really special happens when you saute a mushroom.  That bland rubber turns all sultry.  It’s like a mushroom version of this:

You're welcome.

You’re welcome.

When I discovered throwing mushrooms into my vegetable stock, it totally enriched the flavor.  It brings a flavor profile unlike any other veggie, but it IS similar to something else: meat.  Yup, both have umami going on.  Today’s soup recipe is a umami bomb, bringing in another favorite umami star of mine: parmesan.

Maybe you’ve made cream of “whatever” soup in the past but couldn’t figure out how to thicken it so you figured this dish was in your past.  Nope, don’t worry, there are still LCHF-safe ways to thicken without flour.  Pinkie swear.  Follow along below!

Cream of Mushroom Soup

  • One pint heavy cream
  • 16 oz mushrooms, any variety/varieties, washed (I used baby bella, crimini, and oyster)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced or crushed
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cups vegetable stock/broth
  • 2 T nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3 T ghee/butter
  • 2 tsp guar gum
  • salt and pepper

Take a large pot and melt ghee on medium.  While that pan is heating up, slice your mushrooms.  What I did was slice them about the size as the pre-sliced mushrooms you find in the store (only, don’t buy those, slice them yourself so they aren’t dry and gross) and then I chopped them in half after that.  If you prefer a more rustic chop or really teeny pieces, do your thing.  When the ghee is hot, throw the onions in for one minute.  Then throw in the mushrooms and garlic.  Stir occasionally until mushrooms are just about tender.

Hello beautiful.

Hello beautiful.

When mushrooms are almost tender, dump in the cream, stock, parmesan, and nutritional yeast.  If you don’t have nutritional yeast, you’ll want to increase the parmesan by probably 1/4 cup.  Let the soup reach a simmer, then let cook for an additional 10 minutes.  If you’re wondering “what the heck is nutritional yeast, and why is she using it?”, well, it’s another umami thingy, and there’s seriously something about it that rounds out the dish.  Just trust me, k?

After the 10 minutes is up, add the guar gum.  Stir in completely.  Turn off the burner.  Soup will thicken as it cools. Promise.  Add salt and pepper as needed.

If you’re lactose-intolerant or are looking to make a vegan version of this dish, you can kick out the parmesan, double the nutritional yeast, you’ll need another tsp of guar gum since parmesan helps thicken it, and use a can of coconut cream instead of heavy cream.

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Day 4: “This would be really good with some bacon on it”

You know, if I hear another word about how whatever I’m eating would taste better with some bacon on it, someone is gonna get punched in the face.  You’ve been warned.  I KNOW it would taste better with bacon.  Stop being a jerkface, world.  Seriously though, you poor vegans and vegetarians.  I’ve had meat shoved in my face more times in the past four days than I can even explain.  I EAT meat normally and it’s pissing me off.

This is the dude standing by to take care of the next person to try and feed me beef. Image courtesy of vudhikrai / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This is the dude standing by to take care of the next person to try and feed me beef.
Image courtesy of vudhikrai / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

As far as food goes, for breakfast I had a cheese omelet and some hash browns (don’t judge, I was starving).  Morning snack was these little beauties, some nut butter bites to save my life.  I also had some blackberries with heavy cream, some pumpkin seeds, some almonds, and some homemade yogurt.  Dinner… well, that wasn’t one of my more proud moments.  It was vegetarian, but it involved fried food that I’ll surely regret.

Stay tuned tomorrow… my plan (knock on wood) is to make a cheesy cream of mushroom soup!

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