carbs

Light Carb

I haven’t been around here much lately and there are a few reasons for that. First, (broken record time), I was sick! Yep…mid-February I got a cold that turned into strep throat, then pink eye again (thank you daycare), then another cold that turned into bronchitis and a sinus infection. On top of that I’ve been dealing with a nagging hip injury that I’m doing PT for. So I’ve been crabby and not in the best of moods. Thankfully Logan and Michael haven’t really been that sick lately. I’m finally on the mend (after yet another round of antibiotics, sigh).

Second, last time I really wrote a post about my weight loss efforts I said that I was buddying up with a friend to try and lost those 20 pounds that I’ve been battling for the last year. (I can no longer use the excuse I just had a baby!)

Sadly, I gained and lost the same 4 or so pounds since starting in the end of February. Same old story that it’s been since I had Logan. The same 5 pounds I gain and lose over and over and over again.

My friend Debby has been steadily losing weight, which is fantastic! She’s doing Weight Watchers and she swears by it. She says any time she needs to lose weight she goes back to WW and it always works. As she put it–weight loss is about food for her, not exercise. The old adage “You can’t out exercise a bad diet” is very true. Even if I don’t want to admit it!

So recently, once I was feeling better from my plague, I decided to try something different.

I cut out bread, pasta, rice, etc. I decided that I would give this a try and see if it worked.

 

 

*I’m not doing a Low Carb diet.

Not really, anyways. But I can easily cut out worthless carbs like bread. Pasta? I rarely eat pasta. The only time I ever eat pasta is in a frozen meal that I’d eat for lunch and I’ve decided to stop doing those. Even though they are quick and easy for work, they aren’t exactly healthy. So for the last month I’ve stopped buying the frozen lunches.

What carbs am I eating? 

Sweet potatoes on occasion, fruit, my plain Greek yogurt, beans and hummus. There are carbs in most foods, but I’m really trying hard to keep it to a minimum.

Typical day of food:

Breakfast: two scrambled eggs with turkey sausage or bacon, coffee with cream. 

Snack: fruit, usually an apple or whatever is in season.

Lunch: Salad with a protein and roasted veggies.

Snack: Hummus with veggies, usually carrots or cucumbers.

Dinner: Protein and veggies and salad, for example: chicken thigh, sauteed brussels sprouts with bacon, salad. 

Dessert: Depends on what we have, trying hard not to eat it every day.

The first week was kind of hard. I crashed a few times because I didn’t have enough calories for the day and had a headache and was cranky and hungry. But after that it was ok.

Here is an example of two days:

 

Right now I’m just paying attention to carbs and calories. In a few weeks I’ll focus on lowering my sugar count. It’s a gradual process.

The hardest part is taking a moment to think what can I have? Sometimes you want a quick and easy dinner and you think, hmmm how about a burrito? But then you realize the tortilla has a lot of carbs. Damn. Ok…burrito bowl salad instead!

It also takes time to prep everything. Today I had the typical breakfast:

…and then packed a lunch for work that was kind of labor-intensive. Strawberries for a morning snack; black bean hummus and cucumbers for an afternoon snack; lunch was slices of ham and roast beef rolled up with a piece of pepper jack cheese, olives and pickles. Doesn’t sound like much but it took time to put everything together! Tomorrow I’m going to roast some veggies to take to work–that also takes time!

I had one “cheat” meal last week.

Michael made lamb burgers with feta and olives in it and I had it on a bun! With a beer! The beer was amazing. Lots of carbs, yes, but worth it for one day out of the week. The next day I was back on track with low carb.

The results? I lose 2 pounds last week. I’m slightly encouraged–enough to keep trying this diet and see where it goes. But I’m also not that excited about it because like I said, I’ve been gaining and losing the same 5 pounds for a year. So until I see myself lose a few more, I’m not getting too excited yet.

It’s funny…I was talking to Michael about how much easier it was to lose weight the first time…I lost 75 pounds fairly easily. It was slow and steady and took effort and time, but I was really only counting my calories and exercising. I wasn’t TOO restrictive and still had some treats here and there. Then when I got to about where I am at now, the weight loss got REALLY hard. And once again, it’s hard. I don’t know why those last 20-25 pounds or so is the hardest to lose, but it is. It’s so frustrating!

Anyways, that’s the update for now.

QUESTION: If you’ve done a low carb diet before, what were your go-to low carb foods?

Create Your Own Masterpiece + A Giveaway

Recently I was approached by Barilla to create my very own summer recipe using their new pasta called Barilla Plus. It’s a multi-grain pasta rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and fiber — all things I like. The pasta is made from semolina, oats, spelt, barley, legumes, ground flaxseeds and oat fiber. It was easy to say yes because Barilla is the pasta that I usually buy anyways. It’s tasty and affordable.

I was intrigued by this challenge because cooking is something I’ve struggled with in the past. Over the last few years I’ve been practicing trying new recipes and improving my cooking skills. I was really excited to create my OWN recipe. The first step was visiting my local Farmer’s Market. I wanted to get produce to go in my recipe from a local grower and the Farmer’s Market is the perfect place for that. I also wanted to use some of the things from my own garden.

I love Farmer’s Markets–especially when the booths have samples. 🙂 I admit, I got a little sucked into the free sample tastings (vegan chocolate, goat cheese, guacamole, and bean dip).

But I was on a mission. I needed red onions, garlic, lemons, cherry tomatoes and zucchini for my recipe creation. I would use the tomatoes from my own garden but they aren’t quite ready to eat yet. I did use my own basil.

Then home to cook! Here is the recipe I created:

Summer Salmon Pasta

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 4-5 servings

Serving Size: 1 serving of pasta and 1 salmon fillet

Ingredients

  • 3 cups Barilla Plus farfalle pasta
  • 2 Salmon fillets
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • Lemon juice (to taste)
  • Onion powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • Crumbled feta cheese
  • 1.5 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • Fresh basil, torn
  • 1 Zucchini, chopped
  • Cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • Grapeseed Oil

Instructions

  1. Cook the BarillaPlus pasta per package instructions.
  2. Mince/mash garlic into a paste and mix into plain Greek yogurt to taste (add more if desired). Add a splash of lemon juice, onion powder, salt and pepper. Mix in feta cheese.
  3. Bake salmon fillets with salt, pepper and butter at 350degrees about 15-18 minutes depending on the thickness. Cut into bite size pieces.
  4. Sautee zucchini in skillet with Grapeseed oil. (I actually put the zucchini chunks in the oven with the salmon and cooked them that way.)
  5. Toss the pasta with the cream sauce and a splash of the reserved pasta water, mix in zucchini and tomatoes. Top with the salmon bites.
  6. Serve.
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=33175

I crushed and minced the garlic and mixed it into the Greek yogurt with salt, pepper, onion powder and a dash of fresh lemon juice. Then I mixed in some of the feta cheese. This is the part where it depends on the person’s taste so I can’t be exact. I added a little bit more feta because I love the taste. You can always go light on the garlic and feta cheese.

The salmon was baking in the oven with the zucchini while the pasta was cooking. Michael was skeptical about it but started reading the box and was intrigued. He was impressed with the amount of protein that was in the pasta! Who ever heard of protein in pasta?

When the pasta was done cooking, I mixed in some of the Greek yogurt mixture with a bit of the reserved pasta water and mixed it all together until creamy. Then I added the fresh basil, halved cherry tomatoes and the chopped red onion.

The salmon was done so I cut it into smaller pieces and added it to the pasta dish. Michael and I sat outside on our deck with the cool breeze rustling the trees, the sound of the kid’s baseball practice at the school next to us, and the setting sun behind the house. It was peaceful and relaxing after a long week at work.

I lit some candles and Michael poured the wine. I used the book that my brother got me for Christmas to pair the correct wine with dinner. The book was amazing–so in depth. I was able to break it down to a pasta dish with salmon in a lemon cream sauce. Pretty specific, huh? Seriously–this book is crazy. It even lists what wine to pair with McDonald’s fish filet, Dominoes Pizza and Taco Bell’s Gordita. Too funny.

I chose the Bogle Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc. I’ve had Bogle wines before and enjoyed them quite a bit. The Sauvignon Blanc went with dinner superbly. It was crisp and light, with a hint of sour apple and a sweet, tropical fruit–pineapple perhaps? It balanced the richness of the salmon nicely.

Now for the important part: how was my recipe? It turned out to be wonderful! Somehow I was able to get the vision I imagined onto the plate with success. The flavors were rich and delicious. I loved the creamy Greek yogurt sauce and of course tomatoes, garlic and basic go brilliantly with salmon. This recipe could be tweaked in any way to fit your palate: more garlic or less, goat cheese instead of feta, or chicken instead of salmon. I think all of those things would blend nicely.

I devoured my dinner and so did Michael, in fact we both kind of had second helpings….which is rare. It was just too tasty to pass up. The carb-loading helped my bike ride the next day AND the leftovers were fantastic as a cold lunch. The best part: there wasn’t any of that “I just ate pasta” bloating or Pasta Remorse. Maybe because of the protein content in it? Not sure, but we give that aspect two thumbs up!

Now for the fun part!

BarillaPlus asked me to share the love with some of my readers. I have one $25 VISA gift card to give out and 2 boxes of pasta. I will pick two winners!

1) Follow me on Twitter and tweet: “I want to win a $25 gift card and @BarillaUS pasta from @lisaeirene  at http://wp.me/p116Lc-8D5″ Then leave a comment here telling me you did so.

2) Join my Facebook page and leave a comment here telling me you did.

3) Leave a comment telling me what pasta dish you will create if you win.

I will pick the two winners on Friday, August 17th . Good luck!

Barilla PLUS is available nationally at most major and independent supermarkets or by contacting My Brands, Inc. at 1.888.281.6400 to place an order. For additional information about Barilla pasta and sauce, or to obtain recipes and meal ideas visit www.BarillaUS.com.

DISCLAIMER – WHILE THE PRODUCT WAS PROVIDED TO ME FROM BARILLA, MY REVIEWS AND OPINIONS ARE ENTIRELY MY OWN.