Monday, November 27, 2006

9 Day Thanksgiving Diet Vacation

I have just returned from our road trip. My wife and I departed from our diet for 9 days. She gained only about 5 pounds and I gained 10. I'm not sure how much is water. The key lesson that I have learned from this is that when I officially leave the diet, I should ease off of it rather than going cold-turkey back to my old lifestyle. Also, I am hoping that this break has reset my body's resistance to low-carbing so that I will realize the initial rapid weight loss often associated with the first few months of low-carbing. Only the next few weeks will tell.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Pumpkin Cheesecake* - 5 net carbs per serving

If you like pumpkin pie and you like cheesecake, you'll love my pumpkin cheesecake! And, it's just in time for the holidays! The recipe is my own invention and I am extremely pleased with the result. The cheesecake turned out light and fluffy with no cracking. Because it is so light, I don't' think you would want to exclude the crust. The entire 10 inch cheesecake has 95.4 net carbs. For guilt free gluttony, split this into 12 generous portions for 8 net carbs per serving. Or, if you have a lot of other food for Thanksgiving, it can easily be cut into 20 pieces of 5 net carbs each. The best way to slice a cheesecake, by the way, is to use dental floss. Cheesecakes also freeze well. So, you can make this weeks in advance then thaw when you will have company.

Servings 20.

Crust Ingredients: (Total 15 net carbs)
1 cup Almond Meal
1 cup Soy Protein Powder
2 T. Splenda
1 stick of butter (slightly chilled)
1 egg white

Crust Instructions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place almond meal, protein powder, Splenda, and butter in mixing bowl. Mix with pastry cutter until crumbly. If you don't have a pastry cutter, put it in a foodprocessor and barely process until crumbly. Press into bottom and sides of 10 inch springform pan. Brush with eggwhites. The eggwhites create a barrier that will keep the crust from getting soggy. Pre-bake for six minutes.

Filling Ingredients: (Total 80.4 net carbs)
2 1/2 pounds Philadelphia cream cheese at room temp.
1 c. Sugar Equivalent (I suggest 1 splenda quick pack)
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 egg yolks
3 T. vital wheat gluten
2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground cloves
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/2 t. ground allspice
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 T. vanilla extract
1 can (1 pound) mashed pumpkin

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, Splenda, eggs, and yokes. Mix until smooth then add vital wheat gluten, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and allspice. Beat in cream and vanilla.Add mashed pumpkin. Beat on medium until mixed thoroughly. You will likely have to stop occasionally and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Pour the mixture into the prepared crust. Place pan full of water on bottom rack and cheesecake on middle rack. The water will increase the oven's humidity and help reduce the chance of cracking. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 275 then bake for another hour. Turn oven off and leave in oven to cool overnight. Do not open the oven door. Peaking could make the cheesecake cool too quickly and cause cracking. You can serve warm or chilled, with or without whipped cream. Enjoy!

*This recipe is the intellectual property of Big Daddy D, copyright 2006, 2007.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A Plateau? Plus discovering new ingredients.

Today is the end of week 13.... I've actually gained 3 pounds this week. I have not cheated on the diet. I fear that my body has grown accustomed to the low-carb diet. However, my ketostix today showed a score of 30 which means that my body is still in ketosis, burning fat. So, I must assume that instead of gaining fat, I'm retaining water. Regardless, it is quite depressing.

I went shopping this weekend and bought lots of new ingredients to experiment with. I bought some soy protein powder, vital wheat gluten, and almond meal. This evening, I prepared a low-carb pumpkin cheesecake utilizing all three of these new ingredients. The recipe is completely of my own making. I just turned the oven off and am about to head to bed. The cheesecake will remain in the oven to cool overnight. It smells fantastic. If it is as good as I think it will be, this will be my low-carb masterpiece. I'll provide an update and recipe tomorrow, just in time for Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Compliments and Upcoming Holidays

Yesterday, the lady who cuts my hair commented on how much weight I'd lost. She said I was looking very good. It's this sort of feedback that keeps me going.

During the week of Thanksgiving, my wife and I are taking our 6 month old son, Skylar, on a roadtrip. We will drive to Kansas so that he can meet his great-grandparents. Thanksgiving at home would not be much of a challenge. But, eating at relatives houses could be quite difficult as nobody would understand our dietary requirements. We are contemplating dropping the deit for the entire 9 days (from Saturday before to Sunday after). I'm a bit worried about how much weight I might gain back. But, at the same time, I wonder if returning to the diet after such a long break might result in the rapid weight loss usually experienced during the diet's first month. It might be just what I need to leave my plateau. Regardless, it'll be an interesting experiment to see how quick I might regain the weight and how quick I can re-lose it.

Monday, November 6, 2006

The Mrs.

The first 2 months that I was on this diet, my wife lost 10 pounds. She ate her normal breakfast and lunch but was eating my low-carb dinners. This along with my successful weight loss inspired her to officially join me. She has now been on the diet one month and has lost an additional 20 pounds. I've tried my best not to pressure her into dieting. But now that she's joined me, I'm doing my best to encourage her. Her mother has diabetes and this puts her at risk. I'm hoping the diet may avoid future medical problems. She now complains about her paints slipping down... I can't convince her to wear a belt. She's also re-discovering old favorite clothing that now fits again. She's already looking much thinner and healthier. I'm hoping we will celebrate in the spring with a beach vacation... her in a bikini and me in a speedo. Haha... my stretchmarks will be my badge of honor, telling the world about my successful weight loss!

Divine Low Carb Chili Verde - 4 net carbs per serving

Wow, this stuff is awesome! Chili verde is a thick stew with a South Western influence. It consists of pork, peppers, onion, and tomatillos. It's spiced with garlic, sage, oregano, and cumin. I got this recipe from another blog. The blogger's family history regarding this dish is a great read. There's no way I could do it justice here. So, rather than posting the recipe, I'm providing a link: http://thedivinelowcarb.blogspot.com/2006/10/chili-verde-meat-supreme.html.

The net carbs will vary depending on the type of peppers and beer you choose. I used some small sweet red peppers, green bells, and 6 Jalapenos. It was spicy but didn't burn. Also, for the beer, I used Micholob Ultra (2.6 carbs per bottle). In my carb calculation, I estimated 4 grams per cup. The author calculated about 1 1/2 per 1/2 cup.

I fixed this dish Saturday night and let it simmer in the crock pot overnight. My father, who has recently begun a low-carb diet came over for lunch. He liked it so much that he helped himself to a second big bowl.

Until this, I had never cooked nor eaten tomatillos. Tomatillos are small green tomato-like fruits wrapped in a leafy husk. I remember them growing wild in the wheat fields where I grew up. A friend used to pick them and bring them home to his mother to cook. Occasionally, I see them in stores. I've not purchased any because, until now, I didn't know what to do with them! Their flavor, to my surprise was not as much like green tomatoes as I had suspected. Instead, they have a fuity but not sweet flavor somewhat resembling a mild kiwi.

I strongly recommend this recipe and the blog from which it came.

Divine Low Carb Zucchini Cobbler - 9 net carbs per serving. (revised)

I borrowed this recipe from http://www.thedivinelowcarb.blogspot.com/. First of all, I consider this an excellent blog. I have tried two of her recipes, both of which turned out fabulous!

I like zucchini, but found this not to taste much like zucchini. Instead, it tastes exactly like apple pie. Lemon juice is cooked with the squash and gives it a slight tart flavor, not all that much different than a granny smith apple. I was able to utilize the last of my garden's fall zucchini. Cooking with home-grown veggies always pleases me. Unlike most zucchini recipes, I think this one would work best with larger overgrown squash. The recipe has one ingredient that you might have a hard time finding -- carbquik. I'm quickly becoming a big fan of carbquik and learning what it can do well and what it can't. I'm not great at following directions, so the recipe below is my version, with slightly different measurements and ingredients than that on "The Divine Low Carb" blog. My package of splenda says it has less than 1 carb per serving. I looked Splenda up online and found that it contains a whopping 24 grams per cup. So, I calculated the dish to have 72 net carbs total with 9 net carbs per serving.

Servings 8.

Crust & Topping Ingredients
1 2/3 c. carbquik.
2/3 c. sugar equiv. I used Splenda.
1 1/4 c. butter, slightly chilled. Not too hard not too soft.
1/2 tsp. cinnamon.

Filling Ingredients:
3 1/2 cups zucchini - peal it, quarter, remove seeds and pulpy part, slice into 1/2 inch pieces, resembling apple slices. Next time, I may try doubling this ingredient.
Juice from 1 large lemon. Next time, I may also add 1/4 tsp. of zest.
1/2 c. sugar equiv.
1/4 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/3 of the crust mix (see above).

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put zucchini and lemon juice in covered saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 9 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, place all crust ingredients in large bowl. With a pastry cutter, mix until crumbly (you could do this in a food processor, just don't over-do it). Return to the zucchini on the stove and while stirring, add cornstarch, splenda, and spices. Then mix in about 1/3 of the crust mix. You should now have a nice thick caramel like filling. Remove from heat. Grease 9 or 10 inch pie pan (I like the butter flavored Pam, but you could use actual butter). Press crust crumbs into dish, reserving enough for the topping. Add filling. Top with remaining crumbs. Bake 30 minutes. or until golden brown.

Aug 16, 2007 corrections are in blue.

Dixie Carb Counters Brownie Mix

About a week ago, I bought a bunch of different mixes made by Dixie Carb Counters. The best prices with lowest shipping rates that I could find was on netrition.com. I bought some more of the country biscuit mix, dinner roles, mashed potatoes, and brownie mix. I tried the brownie mix and it was excellent! I highly recommend it. The package says 1 net carb each. However, I cut mine much larger. For ten larger squares plus added ingredients (bakers chocolate, cream, etc), I calculated it to be 4 grams per piece. If you want to try these yummy low carb treats, jump this link: Dixie Carb Counters Brownie Mix.

Now that my wife and I are learning to cook comfort foods with low-carbs, I'm starting to wonder if we are developing bad habits that we'll have to break if and when we go off this diet.

Sunday, November 5, 2006

End of Week 12 Results

Week 12 has come to a close. I seem to have gotten over my plateau and am losing weight at a pretty good rate. I have lost 49.4 pounds and 6 inches off my waist since beginning the diet in August. However, I am still 46 pounds away from my goal of 240. According to the Covert-Baily formula, my lean body weight has dropped by 3.6 pounds. I am not going to let this bother me yet because I know that the formula is not 100% accurate. But, I will have to watch this closely over the next couple of months.

Detailed stats* (end of week 12):
Total Weight: ..... From 336 to 286.6
Pounds of Fat: .... From 134.4 to 89
Lean Body Wt. .... From 201.6 to 198
Est. Body Fat: ..... From 40.2% to 31.7%
Waist: ................ From 56.5 to 50.5 inches
Hips: .................. From 54.5 to 51 inches


*Health Central's website, http://www.healthcentral.com/cholesterol/home-body-fat-test-2774-143.html, uses the Covert Bailey formula and came up with the value above, part way between the Navy and YMCA calculation. I know that none of these are accurate, but I don't have access to accurate measuring devices.

Brandi's Salmon Patties - 1 net gram per patty

These salmon patties are my wife's creation. She made them for dinner last night. Typically, she uses flour and cornmeal. This was replaced with, you guessed it, carbquik. The result was a pretty good salmon patty with very low net carbs. The recipe made 10 patties. We ate with microwavable frozen veggies in cheese (an additional 7 carbs for each of us).

Ingredients:
1 14 oz. can of salmon
1 c. carbquik
1 egg
3-4 shakes of Mrs. Dash original blend
garlic salt to taste
dried onion flakes to taste
oil

Instructions:
Pick salmon clean of bones. Mix salmon, carbquik, egg, and spices. On medium-high, heat oil on frying pan (about 1/4 inch deep). Make 10 patties and press out in pan to about 3/8 inch thick. Cook until browned, flipping to brown the other side. Serve hot with tartar sauce, low-carb ketchup, or plain.

More Experiments with Carb Quick - Sausage Cheese Balls

I tried making sausage cheese balls. This is the ubiquitous recipe except with carbquik instead of bisquik. Net carbs is 0.17 per ball. The recipe makes 70 balls. If using bisquik, the net carbs would be about 2 per ball. The experiment result was so-so. The balls were not bad but were a bit dense and didn't quite have the same texture as with bisquik. Also, they left tons of grease in the bottom of the pan. Apparently the carbquik doesn't absorb grease as well. I then, as a test, added quite a bit of feta cheese to the batter for the last 20 or so balls. To my surprise, the feta flavor was quite mild and it improved the texture substantially... but still not as good as the real sausage balls. Next time, I think I'll try half carbquik and half bisquik for balls of 1 net gram each.