Getting Back Into Low Carb Menu Planning

Menu planning always kept me on track with my health and fitness goals. Given my weight gain over the last few years, it’s clear that I made a huge mistake not sticking with this habit. Well, that changes this week!

I just posted my first menu for 2021. Going forward, I plan to post  my weekly menus here every Saturday morning. Thankfully it wasn’t that difficult to jump back into planning my meals. Thank God for muscle memory. However, I wasn’t quite on the ball when it came to food prep for these delicious meals. That’s my chore this afternoon.

The meals I’m making this week are all focused on hitting my new macro-nutrient (protein, fat and carbohydrate) targets, which you’ll find below. However, those are just targets and my menu is only as good as my hunger.

For example, today (Sunday), the menu shows I’m breaking my fast at lunch time with a New York strip steak, sauteed mushrooms and cabbage and onion noodles. That sounds delicious. Just one problem. It’s nearly 3:00 p.m. and I’m still not hungry.  This is a very good thing!

You see I got into a habit of eating when my husband wanted to eat. And his eating time was driving more by time of day rather than actual hunger.  So, I’m eating when I’m hungry, and ONLY when hungry.

I’m sure the hunger will kick in during my food prep time. If so, then I’ll eat a larger dinner than expected. That should help carry me into my 24-hour fast tomorrow.

Dot’s New Macros
I used Keto Gains’ Macro Calculator for my macros. I added the fiber information as I’m incorporating elements of Dr. Ted Naiman’s P:E Diet into my keto lifestyle. Fiber is one of these elements. For now, I’m tracking net carbs. That means I’ll eat vegetables high in fiber to keep me at the 20g net carb mark.

Calories (kCal): 1,661
Protein: 168g
Fat: 101g
Net Carbs: 20g
Fiber: 30g

I’m planning a post on the P:E Diet this week.

Updated Dot2Trot’s Menu Page
I removed my old menus from the site. Having gone through them, I noticed a few of the carb counts are out of date. Yes, the nutrition content of food changes thanks to adjustments in farming and the food manufacturing process.

Foods are routinely tested to determine if the nutritional information is accurate.  Those changes are reported using the US Department of Agriculture FoodData Central database, and updates to food labels.

So remember: Periodically check the labels of your favorite foods!


Whole Lotta Cookin’ Going On

chicken zoodle soup

Evenings are quite cold now. Time for my carb chicken zoodle soup.

Sorry for the lack of posts recently. The husband and I decided to pack up the pup and take a road trip to Texas to visit my sister. We loved the trip and it’s always great to see family. But once home, I got back into the kitchen. The thought of eating out again made my head spin.

So over the last few days I’ve whipped up some of my favorite and easy dishes: chili, chicken zoodle soup, Scotch eggs, taco omelets, and huge Cobb salads.

I also had a good time trying out a few new recipes. The biggest mistakes I made with my garden this year?  Not enough low carb/keto recipes for all the food I grew.  Planning is well ahead for 2020. I finally figured out what I want to grow. Now it’s time to start concocting some tasty and keto friendly dishes.

taco casserole

Layering the first test of my taco casserole. A few more tweaks and it’s a go!

This week I tried out 3 recipes. Two need work. The third…a disaster never to be spoken of again.

  • Shredded chicken taco casserole (too many eggs, not enough smokey salsa!)
  • Roasted poblano soup (too many carbs!!!!),
  • “What was I thinking” casserole (always make sure the diced zucchini you grab isn’t actually cucumber instead).

After several days of cooking, experimenting and cleaning, the itch to go out for dinner hit me real hard. Thankfully my husband just ignored my hints and I went back into the kitchen to cook some Peruvian chicken with green sauce and green beans.

hungry pup

My constant companion while I cook. Just waiting for morsels to fall or a few scritches.

Dinner was delicious. We saved money. Most importantly, I’m loving being back in the kitchen.

And the timing is good with Thanksgiving just weeks a way. Let the cooking (and recipe testing) commence!

 


Book Review: The Ketogenic Cookbook

My new cookbook. The recipes taste amazing. This to this book, I'm even more inspired to get into my kitchen and start experimenting!

My new cookbook. The recipes taste amazing. This to this book, I’m even more inspired to get into my kitchen and start experimenting!

Since going ketogenic, I’ve struggled with getting more healthy fat into my diet. Yes, I love butter. But I’d like to think I’m a little more creative in the kitchen than just adding a tablespoon of butter on top of my steak. That’s why The Ketogenic Cookbook is a godsend!

The recipes are high in fat, easily allowing me to hit my daily goal of consuming 75-80% of my calories in healthy fat. The recipes look amazingly delicious. And like my Julia Child’s cookbook, it inspires me to get into the kitchen and play with ingredients.

I’m working my way through the book, busily making lots of sauces and dressings in the book’s “Condiments, Dressings, Broth and Other Basics” section. The tomato sauce and yellow marinara sauce recipe were more than worth the price. This week I’m testing out the “compound butter” recipe using beef tallow and duck fat! Read More


Homemade, Low Carb Marinara Sauce

Last night we used the yellow marinara sauce over meatballs and zoodles. Absolutely delicious!

Last night we used the yellow marinara sauce over meatballs and zoodles. Absolutely delicious!

Powering through my new ketogenic cookbook, I spent a lovely evening making a marinara sauce for two dishes I’m making – Meatballs with Zucchini Noodles and a Pizza Casserole (recipe coming).

I love tomatoes, especially tomato-based sauces. While I’ve tried making my own sauce, it was mostly cooking down diced roma tomatoes in olive oil for a few minutes. Nothing to write home about.

Typically I’d just hunt the grocery store for the lowest carb sauce I can find. Not an easy task as many include added sugar.

Then I discovered the Yellow Marinara Sauce in The Ketogenic Cookbook. Intrigued, I was nervous about trying this recipe. Why? Peeling tomatoes. I’ve never done that before. It always seemed like an impossible task. Read More


Roasted Garlic – Keto Style

I'm loving The Ketogenic Cookbook. I picked roasted garlic as the first recipe to try.  Easy to make, I'll use all of the garlic pictured over the next few days.

I’m loving The Ketogenic Cookbook. I picked roasted garlic as the first recipe to try. Easy to make, I’ll use all of the garlic pictured over the next few days.

While flipping through The Ketogenic Cookbook I was trying to decide which recipes to try first. Turns out nearly every recipe I picked called for roasted garlic, one of the first recipes listed in the book.

As much as I love garlic I never tried roasting a whole bulb. This one calls for an even dozen. Why so much? Apparently you can preserve roasted garlic in the freezer. Who knew?

I don’t know why I never tried roasting garlic before. The recipe is so simple to follow. The garlic tastes amazing. Plus you’ll love the fragrance that fills your kitchen.

Cooking With MCT
The big surprise for me with this recipe was the use of MCT oil. For some reason I viewed MCT oil as something I use when making my morning Bulletproof Coffee. I never thought of using it in cooking. Silly Rabbit! Read More


Meat & Colon Cancer: Not What You Think

With our first nice weather of the year, I picked up some rib eyes and we fired up the grill. I like keeping the grill temperature low not just for taste, but for health reasons too! Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhoto.net and artur84.

With our first nice weather of the year, I picked up some rib eyes and we fired up the grill. I like keeping the grill temperature low not just for taste, but for health reasons too! Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhoto.net and artur84.

The Diet Doctor is on the case…again! This time around he tackles why red meat eaters get more colon cancer. Before freaking out and deciding to toss out that delicious cow meat, keep a couple of things in mind:

  • The studies conducted are observational. Meaning that correlation does not equal causation. Most findings from observational studies are typically proven wrong, exaggerated or misleading.
  • The associated risk is with processed meats. We’re not talking about prime cuts or ground meat. Think bagged pepperoni, ham and nitrate-loaded bacon.

The problem with these “findings” has more to do with researchers’ bias and bad reporting. We’ve been eating meat since man stood upright (and even before then). Yet now we’re seeing a slight increase in colon cancer. Hmmmm…something is afoot. Read More


Gobble, Gobble! Dot’s Healthy Turkey Day Menu

low carb thanksgiving, weight loss,

What am I thankful for this Thanksgiving? To have the smarts to plan my menu before Turkey Day arrives. A food strategy is the best way to make sure you don’t pig out! (Image via marthastewart.com)

Well Turkey Day is upon us and that means its time for another low-carb holiday menu. We’re staying put for Thanksgiving so that makes it easier for me to control the points and carb count. My goal for my weigh in after Thanksgiving is to maintain my weight. That means I need a menu that is both filling and delicious.

You can take a look at a snapshot of my menu with the carb and Weight Watcher point count. Below you’ll find either the recipes or links to the recipes for my Turkey Day menu.

Building My Menu
I’m allowing myself to eat up to 25g of net carbs. I have 29 daily Weight Watcher points. Because I plan to have wine and dessert, I’m going to tap into a handful of my weekly allowance points. But that doesn’t mean I go crazy. I’m allowing myself between 4-7 extra points. No more. I need to keep control. Just because it’s a holiday doesn’t mean food is the most important thing. Being with family is what it’s about…oh god, maybe I need to budget more points for wine! Read More


Paleo Challenge Week 2: Rethinking Recipes To Avoid Triggers

Wisely, veggies and fruit make the base of the Paleo diet food pyramid. I just need to keep in check the high-carb produce that sends my sugar cravings into overdrive.

Wisely, veggies and fruit make the base of the Paleo diet food pyramid. I just need to keep in check the high-carb produce that sends my sugar cravings into overdrive.

Many of the Paleo recipes I used over the last two weeks called for vegetables I normally skip or use in small amounts, due to their high sugar/carb count. I think that’s what kicked my cravings into high gear this past week.  I never would have guessed onions, carrots and sweet potatoes are my new trigger foods.

Let me say up front that the issue is more my choice of recipes and not the Paleo diet. I chose recipes that sounded the most appealing. I made the mistake of not running the recipes through My Fitness Pal to get the carb counts before going to the grocery store.  It’s clearly a case of my eyes being bigger than my stomach. The meals sounded so appealing and healthy (which they are) I didn’t see any consequences to adding-in foods with higher carb counts than what I normally ate.

Read More


Cracking The Spice Code

Inner foodie unleashed! I made my first infused oil and my own oven-dried tomatoes.

Inner foodie unleashed! I’m learning how to use herbs & spices. Last night I made my first ever infused oil with fresh rosemary and garlic.

I love cooking. But lately my inner foodie is tired of following recipes. I want to create my own dishes but need to build up my food knowledge. I’m starting with herbs and spices, the Rosetta Stone of cooking.

Once you knowing how to use herbs and spices you’ll bring out the flavor in foods and send your taste buds into orbit.

The spice aisle at my local grocery store is a mystery to me.  Unlike my wine store, there are no guides to tell me what anise seed taste like or which dishes call for saffron. There are so many spices but I have no clue which ones go with fish.  Which herbs go well with asparagus? Do you use different spices if you fry or grill a burger? By cracking this code, I feel I can really unleash my creativity.

I picked up Herbs & Spices: The Cook’s Reference: a wonderful book covering about 120+ herbs and spices, and  loaded with great info on aroma, taste, buying, storing and instructions on how to cook with them.

I started this new adventure by infusing olive oil with fresh rosemary and garlic. I also made my own oven-dried tomatoes. Yes, these are very simple to do, but I had to start somewhere. Each baby step I take builds my confidence.

Adding olive oil to fresh rosemary and garlic. It takes about 3-4 weeks for the flavors to mix.

Adding olive oil to fresh rosemary and garlic. It takes about 3-4 weeks for the flavors to mix.

Rosemary-Garlic Infused Oil
Ingredients

  • Several springs of fresh rosemary
  • 8-10 cloves of garlic
  • bottle with airtight seal
  • extra virgin olive oil

Directions

  • Peal the garlic cloves and cut in half so they will fit into the bottle. Put the cloves in the bottle, making sure they are evenly distributed along the bottom.
  • Bruise the rosemary by rubbing or gently crushing the springs; place the sprigs in the bottle.
  • Add oil.
  • Close the bottle and keep in a cool dark place for 1-2 weeks.
  • Taste the oil and if you want a stronger flavoring, add more rosemary and garlic. Once infused, you can keep the oil in the refrigerator up to 2 months. The cold may make it cloudy, but that should clear up when it reaches room temperature.
Homemade oven-dried tomatoes add flavor to salads and sauces. I'm storing mine with olive oil and garlic.

Homemade oven-dried tomatoes add flavor to salads and sauces. I’m storing mine with olive oil and garlic.

Oven-Dried Tomatoes
Ingredients

  • 5-6 plum tomatoes
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ fresh ground black pepper
  • fresh herbs, like rosemary or thyme, (optional)
  • garlic cloves, chopped (optional)
  • extra virgin olive oil (optional)
  • Jar with lid

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 200 F.
  • Place an oven proof wire rack on top of a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Slice stem ends off of the tomatoes then cut each tomato in half lengthwise.
  • Place tomatoes in bowl and add in salt, pepper and herbs; mix well.
  • Place tomatoes, cut side up, on a rack.
  • Bake tomatoes in the oven for 5-6 hours (until wrinkled and shrunken). Cool completely on the rack.
  • Cut the tomatoes into strips or leave as is. If placing tomatoes in oil, add garlic and herbs to oil while tomatoes are in oven. Place tomatoes in a jar, and refrigerate up to 4 days. If not placing tomatoes in oil, store tomatoes in air-tight container in the fridge for several weeks.

Cooking Day! Prepping For The Week

food prepWhen I go to my Weight Watcher meetings, I always hear people talk about how they don’t have the time to plan ahead and that causes them to make bad food choices.  Well, I use to think like that too.  I did the 16-hour daily grind. Sat in traffic for an hour to get home. Did drive thru or order pizza for dinner because my day was grueling.   I use to tell myself I just don’t have the time. But that was really a lie.  I just wanted easy…and I got fatter.

Anyone who tells you they don’t have minutes to spare for their own health is fooling themselves. They just haven’t made themselves a priority.

And in fact, planning for the week only takes minutes. Every Saturday I do a weekly menu-10 minutes tops! Then on Sunday I cook a few items for the week. Not only is this a time saver, it takes the guess work our of what I’m eating each day and ensures that I eat healthy, low carb foods. Today, I’m whipping up:

Cream of Broccoli Soup
Grilled Chicken Breasts
Lime Chili Wings
Curried Egg Salad
Lots O’Chopped Veggies (snacks!)

Just try starting off prepping a few items, like chopping veggies for snacks or grab and go lunches. It will make your life easier and healthier.

Recipes will be posted after I do some chopping. But here is the cream of broccoli soup:

Low Carb Cream of Broccoli Soup

Makes 6 1-Cup Servings
Carb Count: 4g (if you make it without cheese, 3g)
Ingredients
1 lbs Broccoli, cut into florets, stems trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 C Chicken broth (can substitute veggie broth)
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1 C Heavy Cream
1 C Sharp Cheddar Cheese (optional, buy why leave tastiness out?)

Directions
Combine broth, salt and pepper in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat; bring to boil. Add broccoli, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until broccoli is tender, about 10-15 minutes. Transfer soup to a blender. Blend at low speed to puree soup. You’ll want to do this in batches. Place pureed soup into a sauce pan. Stir in cheese. Bring back to simmer over medium-high. Whisk in heavy cream; simmer and whisk occasionally until thick, about 5 minutes. Serve.  This can store in the fridge for up to 3 days.