April 25, 2016

Drunken Chicken with 40’leven Cloves of Garlic

Have you heard of the recipe ‘Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic’? This recipe is a combination of that one and ‘Drunken Chicken’. You marinate the chicken in a beer brine with an entire bulb of garlic and the result is super juicy chicken with incredible flavor that’s seasoned from the inside out!

Since I didn’t actually use 40 cloves of garlic (I used one whole bulb which yielded about 12-14 cloves) I’m using the Southern euphemism “40-leven” which is our universal term for “a whole lot” of something. ['leven' pronounced like the number ‘eleven’ without the first letter 'e']

Don’t worry, the chicken doesn’t taste like beer. Well, not like what you’d think anyway. You don’t take a bite and think, Well hello, Old Milwaukee! What you get is a hint of sweetness with an almost nutty undertone. The salt infuses the flavors of the garlic and spices into the chicken and helps it retain moisture throughout the cooking process.

You could totally grill this but when you cook it like this, you cook the garlic too which yields these golden little gems of roasted garlic that you scan schmear on a nice hunk of crusty bread or do like I did and toss it with some roasted cauliflower. OMG! So good!!

Note about the photos: These aren’t the best. I let the chicken sit out too long before I photographed it (long story!) so this almost looks a little dry. Trust me, it’s not! Even after this sat out, got covered in foil, sat out some more while I roasted some cauliflower then got put back in the oven to reheat, it was still insanely moist and juicy and delicious and I already want more!

Of course, if I were a professional food photographer and blogger, I could have sprayed it with WD-40 or hairspray but we actually eat the food I share with you here. If I was a real pro this blog could be so much better in so many ways but I’m no pro. I’m a regular mom with a regular job taking regular pictures of my regular supper right before we actually sit down and eat it.

If you want to have your mind blown about what goes into professional food styling and photography, check out these links:
13+ Secrets a Food Stylist Won’t Tell You
Random Things You Can Use to Make Food Photos More Appealing
10 Strange Food Photo Photography Tools and Tricks

Drunken Chicken with 40’leven Cloves of Garlic! Beer brined chicken marinated with whole garlic cloves and simple spices roasted or grilled for super juicy chicken with incredible flavor that’s seasoned from the inside out!

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April 20, 2016

My Low-Carb Weight Loss Plan

First things first… This is my plan... meaning this is what has worked for me. I am not a licensed dietitian. I am not a weight loss expert. I am not telling you that if you eat the food listed below that you will lose weight. I am simply sharing with you what I have been eating in the last four months that has led to my losing 35 pounds (35!! SQUEEEEE!!!)

My 'secret"? There's no secret. I simply do these four things:
  1. Limit my carb intake. I follow the Atkins "net carb" counting method when looking at carbs which means you subtract the amount of fiber from the amount of carbs to arrive at your "net-carb" count. This is what makes it possible for me to enjoy all the soups and chili below!
  2. Eat breakfast and don't skip meals.
  3. Drink lots and lots and lots of water.
  4. Stay active.
I try to stay between 20-40 net carbs per day (20 on a good day, 40 if I'm eating Sunday dinner at Mama's). My intention is to continue eating this way until I reach my goal weight and then slowly start introducing more carbs back into my diet. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to eating many though because, I’ll tell you, I can’t believe how fantastic I feel when I limit my carb intake. Even after eating a huge meal, I don’t feel sluggish or weighed down. I always have energy and I never have cravings.

Note that all text IN BLUE is a link to a recipe or other source.

I lost 35 pounds in 4 months and this is how I did it! Find low carb recipes, tips for eating out and my favorite low carb fast-food choices.

I never used to eat breakfast – at all – but when I hit a weight loss wall a few weeks ago (barely lost 5 pounds over a 6-week period after having lost 20 pounds quickly) I decided to try to “reset” my metabolism by eating breakfast as soon as I woke up every morning and not skip any meals. If you follow my Facebook page then you would have seen this post where I shared how I lost 10 pounds in 9 days simply by adding breakfast to my schedule. Can you believe that?! So, I’m a bona fide believer in eating breakfast now!

I hope this section doesn’t disappoint but I do not – repeat: DO NOT – have enough time in the mornings to cook anything special. I already get up at 5AM… I’m not getting up earlier than that for gourmet breakfasts!

I work across town so I’m not home at lunch time. I either pack my lunch with leftovers from supper or eat out, choosing some of the following.

Note: Eating beans and legumes that are higher in carbs but also super high in fiber and protein has worked great for me but it might not work for you. Try things out and see what works for you and what doesn't.
Cauliflower Shrimp Fried "Rice"
8 slices bacon
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
Black pepper
3 tablespoon butter
1 onion, halved then sliced
3 stalks of celery, sliced on a bias
1 head of cauliflower, shredded
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
2 tablespoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons soy sauce, plus more to taste
3 eggs, beaten
Cut bacon into small strips then cook in a large skillet until crispy. Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon then add shrimp to skillet to cook in the bacon drippings.Season with pepper then sauté until cooked through. Remove shrimp from pan with a slotted spoon.
Add butter, onion and celery to pan then sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add cauliflower, garlic, ginger, sesame oil and soy sauce to pan and continue sautéing until cauliflower is al dente (about 5 minutes). Season with black pepper and additional soy sauce to taste.
Clear a spot on the side of the skillet, pour eggs in and scramble. Add cooked bacon and shrimp to skillet and mix everything well.
Another thing I do is cook up batches of the vegetables I love most over the weekend so that I can eat on them throughout the week. If Husband and the kids are having pork chops and mashed potatoes, I have pork chops and whatever yummy vegetables I have on the ready. It makes everything easier so you don’t feel like you have to cook two entirely separate meals. My favorites are:

Restaurant Choices:

Chicken Wings with Celery and Ranch or Bleu Cheese Dressing
Yes, I’m serious! I’m doing the low-carb thing so as long as I get a dry rub or wing sauce that isn’t sweet, I’m good to go.

Pork Egg Foo Young from your favorite Chinese Restaurant
Just don’t get the rice and also skip (or skimp on) the gravy

‘Meat & Three’ at any diner
Choose any meat that isn’t breaded and avoid potatoes and pasta side dishes. I usually get green beans, broccoli, black-eyed peas, pinto beans, cabbage, collard greens, sliced tomatoes or zucchini.

Most any Burger at Red Robbin wrapped in lettuce (instead of in a bun)
Red Robin (and lots of other places too) will wrap any burger in lettuce instead of putting it in a bun. Order steamed broccoli instead of fries – the broccoli is ‘bottomless’ just like the fries!

Chori Pollo with a Guacamole Salad at your favorite Mexican restaurant
This is chorizo and chicken that’s seasoned and sautéed then topped with cheese sauce. Note to self: figure out how to make this.

Fast Food and Quick Service:

Blackened Blue Zalad with Lite Ranch Dressing at Zaxby’s
Just ask them to leave off the Texas Toast. They’ll look at you funny but if you’re like me, you can’t stare down a buttery, perfectly crispy hunk of bread without losing your religion and shoving the whole thing in your face.

Chicken Finger Plate from Zaxby’s
Ask for a side salad instead of fries, celery sticks instead of coleslaw and ask them to hold the Texas toast.

Roasted Chicken Bites Combo from Bojangles
Order green beans and pintos instead of fries and a biscuit! It's hard to say no to a Bojangles biscuit but if I can do it, so can you :)

Cobb Salad with Avocado Lime Ranch Dressing from Chick-fil-A
This is, hands-down, my favorite fast food salad of all!

Roast Turkey & Swiss Wrap Combo from Arby's
The carbs on this are a little higher than the other choices but you can only eat so many salads, right?? I order this WITHOUT the spicy brown honey mustard because it's terribly, syrupy sweet. I don't know the carb count on the mustard but it's got to be pretty high so ordering it without reduces the carb count. I also rip off as much of the wrap as I can and still manage to hold the thing together (which is usually quite a bit). Order with a side salad instead of fries.

Double Chicken Chopped Salad from Subway
Just say ‘No thanks!’ to the crackers they offer you and stay away from the fat-free dressing because it’s full of carbs.

Philly Cheesesteak Omelet with a side of Sliced Tomatoes from Waffle House (no link available)
You can get fresh sliced tomatoes instead of grits or hash browns at any WH!

Chicken or Steak Cantina Power Bowl from Taco Bell
Just order this without the rice. The cool thing is every Taco Bell I've gotten this from seems to add extra everything else to make up for the missing rice. Score!!

BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad from Wendy’s
I always ask for this without the sweet barbeque glaze drizzle because a) I don’t like it – I think it makes the salad super sweet and overpowers all the other flavors but also because b) it knocks off 11 grams of carbs when you leave it off!

I had a hard time switching from my favorite dark beers to the low carb varieties (like, really hard) but I got used to it eventually. I got a GREAT TIP from my friend Stuart who said to add a chunk of fresh ginger to the beer (if you have your beer in a glass you can just keep using the same knob of ginger for a while). This totally transforms the beer into something worth drinking! It reminds me of, well, ginger beer! Thanks, Stu!

If these recipes and selections don't fit your definition of "low-carb' then please, do call the Carb Police. I think the number is 888-WORKSFORME.

This collection was featured at the Weekend Potluck!

I lost 35 pounds in 4 months and this is how I did it! Find low carb recipes, tips for eating out and my favorite low carb fast-food choices.

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March 14, 2016

15 HAMazing Recipes for Leftover Ham!

I’m not sure which I look forward to the most: the ham we always cook on Christmas and Easter or the leftovers! Some of my all-time favorite foods are made with leftover ham so I thought I’d round up my favorite recipes and put them all in one place!

15 tried-and-true recipes (with pics!) to use with leftover ham. Soups, sandwiches, pasta and more!

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