Thursday, March 26, 2015

Ahi Poke

Poke (pronounced "poh-kay") is a traditional Hawaiian dish of raw fish, almost always yellowfin tuna (also known as 'ahi tuna'), marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil and chili sauce. It's frequently served with fresh avocado as well, or in lettuce cups. Basically, it's like a ceviche, but with a great ginger-y, spicy incredible flavor.


Ahi tuna can be quite expensive - many recipes call for a pound of the stuff, which runs anywhere from $16-$20 for sushi-grade here. I usually make poke in smaller quantities, especially since I can usually purchase ahi in individual servings, vacuum-sealed and frozen, from stores like Whole Foods & Sprouts. I also try to go with the most sustainable option whenever possible. 

The traditional recipe usually calls for green onions. I'm not a fan of them, but, if you want to keep things traditional, just add 2-3 Tbsp of chopped green onions to the marinade mixture. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Thin Mint Smoothie

Lately, everyone I know has been posting pictures of their Girl Scout Cookies on Facebook or Instagram. A few friends have even taunted me with theirs, asking me if I want some, knowing that I no longer eat processed foods like cookies. It doesn't bother me at all, though - honestly, after 9 months of this lifestyle, and 50 lbs lost, I have lost the taste for sugar almost completely!

Luckily, I can still enjoy all of the flavors of Thin Mints, while still maintaining my lifestyle. How? With a Thin Mint Smoothie! The vibrant green color comes not from artificial food coloring, but spinach leaves and fresh mint. Plus, I HAD to do something green for St. Patrick's Day, right?



Also, if I really wanted to enjoy Thin Mints, I have this candle... 


With 16g of net carbs, this version is a little higher-carb for ketogenic plans, but fits into my macros now that I maintain my current weight at a daily limit of 30g net carbs. However, the original version used honey and sugar-sweetened chocolate chips, coming in at 41g net carbs, 35g of which was sugar!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Cheese Crisps

Maintaining a low-carb lifestyle means giving up a lot of things - a lot of my friends thought I'd never be able to give up cereal (which was easy, actually). For me, one of the foods I was really bummed about was Cheez-It crackers. They were almost always on sale, and I ate them more frequently than I'd like to admit. 

Luckily, there's an alternative that is low-carb (actually, ZERO carb!), and absurdly easy to prepare - Cheese Crisps! Basically, it's just cheese that's baked until it melts into a light and airy crisp. Basically, it's a cheese tuile! All you need is a block of cheese and some parchment paper...seriously, don't skip or try to substitute wax paper or foil for parchment. Trust me on this one.


I've noted this below, but harder cheeses tend to work best. Parmesan is great, as is cheddar. For an added flavor, you can even sprinkle the cheese with seasonings like garlic powder or even Ranch mix. Enjoy these crisps on their own, or with dips and spreads!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Slow-Cooker Filipino Pork Adobo

Lately, I've been remembering just how easy it is to throw a meal together in the slow-cooker while I'm out running errands. Last week, before spending the entire day with Mom, I took about 5 minutes to start my Slow-Cooker Buffalo Chicken, and came home to dinner being pretty much ready to eat.

I had been considering making my chicken adobo again, when I remembered that I had a nice pork loin in the freezer, purchased during a particularly great sale. I usually use pork loins and shoulder roasts for pulled pork, so I knew it'd work well with the classic adobo flavors of soy sauce, vinegar and garlic. Plus, I knew I was going to be out of town ALL day and wouldn't feel like cooking (or spending $$ to go out) once I got home.

Also, I neglected to get a plated picture, so this will have to do: 


Maybe it's not entirely authentic, being shredded/pulled pork instead of large cut-up pieces of meat, but the flavor is still all there and authentic. It's great served over rice (cauliflower rice for me), or even as a sandwich or taco!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Chicken Fajita Bake

I don't know why I don't do dishes like this more often - they're easy, inexpensive and delicious! The last time I made something like this was when I made similar Chicken Fajitas  about 2 years ago! Though that recipe is pretty easy, this is even more simple...

All you need is chicken, some sliced peppers and onions (I've even seen pre-sliced peppers and onions sold at the grocery store), some taco seasoning, and some pre-shredded Mexican cheese. I usually prefer to shred my own cheese, but in order to get that 4 cheese blend, it's FAR easier to just buy the stuff in the bags. For what it's worth, I prefer the Sargento "off the block" kind, as it seems to be the 'least dusty'. Toss everything together, drizzle with a bit of oil, then bake - EASY!


I made my own taco seasoning, which is the same seasoning mix I use for taco salads and plain old beef tacos - I did this to avoid any sugars or cornstarch that can be in storebought packages. However, feel free to use homemade, storebought, etc!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Meringues

Meringues are a superbly light dessert from Europe - crisp on the outside, yet slightly soft on the inside. Made from egg whites, beaten until the ovalbumin protein is denatured, then baked until set and airy, meringues are surprisingly easy to make at home.

Also, slowly baked meringues are still referred to as "pets" (meaning "farts" in French) in the Loire region of France due to their light and fluffy texture. If that's not a reason to make/eat meringues, then I don't know what is! 

Farts!

 
The key to making these is the rest time - you want to let the meringues cool in the oven as the oven cools. This adds time to the process, but the amount of ACTIVE time involved in the whole process is minimal!