Category Archives: weight loss

{ faux potatoes }

Wow, I didn’t realize how far behind I am in posting.

It’s been a whirlwind fall/Christmas/birthday, along with starting a new job in October, etc., etc. I have been trying to get back on track after the holiday season, and unfortunately it’s harder than I thought. I know I’ll get there, and I know it will take time – it’s just frustrating because I want the holiday weight to come off quicker. “Excuses” to eat keep popping up, and I need to be stronger.

I want a body where I can eat an “off” meal here or there without consequence. I want a “normal” body that will stay consistently at one weight with only the slightest fluctuations like so many other people. Unfortunately, I am the complete and utter opposite. I can literally gain 4+ pounds from one “off” meal. Yes… literally. It’s absolutely ridiculous. I suppose my body was screwed up by bad eating for so many years that it all makes sense. It’s just so discouraging.

Enough with the self pity – moving on… I have a couple of recipes I want to start posting over the next few weeks. I will start with an old standby in our house. If you think you don’t like cauliflower, TRY THIS. I do NOT like cauliflower. I don’t enjoy the “cooking” portion of this recipe because of the cauliflower smell, but once it’s all together… so. much. YUM.

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At Christmas dinner a couple of years ago, I made this recipe for the very first time and it has been a household favorite since the first bite. Now I make it for every holiday, potluck, and was even requested by my daughter in lieu of cake for her birthday last year. I quadruple the original recipe so we have plenty to eat for days (or have leftovers from potlucks), it warms up in the microwave wonderfully (or back in the oven), and fills a 9×13 dish nicely. The only modifications from the original are the amount and type of cheese I use, and the method – I use a hand masher so I don’t dirty up my food processor.

Cauliflower Casserole (Mock Twice Baked Potatoes)

4 pkgs 16-oz. cauliflower (frozen)
16 oz. pkg. sour cream
8 ounces cream cheese (cut up)
4 tablespoon butter
6 cups Colby jack shredded cheese, divided
2 pkgs. bacon, fried and crumbled, divided
salt, to taste
fresh ground pepper, to taste (we use quite a bit)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (if cooking immediately).

Place 1 bag of frozen cauliflower in a 1 1/2-quart casserole. Add 1/2 cup water. Cover and microwave on high for 7 minutes. Stir and cook another 4 minutes. Let stand 2 minutes. Place in a colander to drain and blot (squeeze!) with paper towels to absorb as much moisture as possible. Repeat with the rest of the bags.

Place the cauliflower in a large bowl and mash well – it won’t get completely smooth, which is fine. Add the sour cream, cream cheese, butter, 4 cups of the cheese, 3/4 the bacon, salt and pepper and stir well (taste test for seasoning).

Grease a 9×13 dish (I’ve always used glass or glazed stoneware) and pour in the cauliflower mixture. Top with the remaining crumbled bacon and cheese.

You can bake uncovered 20-30 minutes at 350º or until heated through and lightly browned – however, I typically make this dish the day before any event, so I do not bake until I’m ready to eat. I place the finished casserole in the fridge (before baking), covered with foil, and bake uncovered at 325-350 degrees until warmed through in the center and lightly browned, usually 30-40 mins. If time permits, such as a potluck – in the morning, I leave foil cover on with the oven around 200 and will warm up by lunchtime.

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This is super delicious, even for those who don’t like cauliflower. At my potlucks, I don’t even tell people it’s cauliflower and are amazed when they find out.

Enjoy!

{ I.F. round two }

After hitting goal back in May 2016, I did some celebrating, of course.

Then July 4th, I celebrated more.

Then we went on vacation to New Mexico for 10 days, and I celebrated even more.

As the saying goes, the struggle is real. I know you have all experienced the same situation(s) and you kick yourself for “letting yourself go.” It happens. We have to pick ourselves up and move on, which is exactly what I did. But, things don’t always go as planned. When we returned from New Mexico in late July, I went back to my 100% strict low carb as usual. The extra “vacation weight” came off pretty quickly. Then… nothing.

A few days ago, I was still the same weight I was on August 1st. I was hovering around the same three stubborn pounds no matter what I ate. It just so happened I was finishing up a great book, called The Obesity Code: Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss by Jason Fung, MD. I highly recommend reading it. This book is one of best I’ve read as I’ve researched low carb and weight loss these past 2 years. Dr. Fung writes how the main culprit of our weight is our insulin levels. He goes into this topic in great detail and mentions tips on weight loss I had never even thought or read about, such as snacking. Don’t do it. It keeps your insulin levels elevated, which keeps the weight ON.

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In the last chapter of the book, titled When to Eat, he describes intermittent fasting (IF), how to, the myths, and more. I immediately thought — oh great, here we go again. Been there, done that. Didn’t work. As Dr. Fung described it in more and more detail, he mentioned the duration… 24 to 36 HOURS.  WHOA.  Definitely NOT the intermittent fasting I tried. My usual fast was 16-18 hours (basically eating dinner early and skipping breakfast). I wasn’t sure I could ever handle a 24-hour fast, much less a 36-hour.

The more I thought about it, and how well he presented the information in the book, it seemed easy enough. I decided WHY NOT!?  I’ve got nothing to lose! (pun intended 😉 ) I CAN do it.

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This past Sunday, I had my regular 3 meals. On Monday I skipped breakfast and lunch, so dinner Sunday to dinner Monday was my first 24-hour fast. As my Monday routine played out, I actually ate dinner later than usual, so my fast was closer to 25-26 hours. I ate WINGS, and they were so GOOD. I thought I would be starving and would have to get the large 16-piece order, but nope, my usual small order of 10 wings was plenty. I was a little hungry here and there throughout the day, but as Dr. Fung mentions, it passes. Keep drinking water. Hang in there, and it will pass. And it does that exact thing — it comes in waves. Personally, as the day goes on, it’s less and less frequent. It went so well, I decided to continue with an alternating 24-hour fasting (twice) plan for the week.

During this time, I also decided to cut out *ALL* artificial sweeteners, which is also something Dr. Fung mentions several times in his book. Apparently, they can raise your insulin levels as much as regular sugar. EEK!! This is pretty huge for me. I love Sweet N Low in my iced tea, and I use sugar free (Splenda) syrups in my coffee with coconut oil (only one cup a day).

After my fast on Monday and wings for dinner, my plan included eating all 3 meals Tuesday, but since I only have coffee for breakfast, and I wasn’t using syrups (and NO black coffee for me), I skipped it and had lunch and dinner. Then the process started all over again, 24 hour fast until Wednesday dinner, eat all day Thursday (except breakfast). It’s a simple 1 day on, 1 day off plan, which makes it easy to follow. And since you never go a full waking-hour day without eating, it’s not so daunting. Skipping dinner on the fasting day would make it a 36-hour fast. I’m not so sure about that one. 😉

Finally… what you’ve been waiting for. The results!

After fasting Monday and eating Tuesday, I was down about 4 pounds total by Wednesday morning. Wednesday was my next fast, and on Thursday morning I woke up for a total of 5 pounds lost. 

So far it seems like this version of intermittent fasting works, at least it did for me this week. I’m sure I will try it out again soon.

{ butter pecan ice cream }

Today is officially the first day of summer!

What better way to celebrate and beat the heat than with ice cream? Even though it’s summer as of today, I may or may not have already made multiple batches this during the spring… 😉

This is not *just* butter pecan ice cream – this is BROWNED Butter Pecan Ice Cream. Need I say more?  Browned butter – YES. Pecans – YES. Ice Cream – ALWAYS! The browned butter adds almost a “warmness” and reminds me of a baked good. This ice cream was also dubbed as “Pecan Pie” ice cream by the family.

I came up with this new flavor using my original ice cream base (even tweaked it a little), and honestly this is my new favorite flavor. I can hurt myself on this stuff, it’s SO RIDICULOUSLY DELICIOUS. It is seriously addicting – so it could be a bad thing, but still good for you, right!?!

The ice cream base is very similar to my others, but I decided to cut back on the sweeteners. The ice cream is still perfectly sweet, however it does come out a bit more firm than my previous versions. You can use either base, but if you are concerned on how much sweetener is in the original, feel free to try this one.

Browned Butter Pecan Ice Cream | Losing Loads Weight Loss Blog

Low Carb Browned Butter Pecan Ice Cream
Makes 2 batches

1 can organic coconut milk, unsweetened
1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp Swerve
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp Xylitol
4 Tbsp butter, browned (56g)
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 cups heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cups pecans, toasted with 1 Tbsp of butter and 2 tsp Swerve, chopped

Toast pecans in a skillet with 1 Tbsp of butter and 2 tsp of Swerve until fragrant. Set aside to cool, and chop. Cook butter until slightly brown/amber and has a nutty aroma. Cool slightly, then in a large bowl, mix browned butter and sweeteners well to let them dissolve slightly, then add coconut milk and vanilla. Stir well, letting sweeteners dissolve more. Add heavy cream and stir well.
Add half of the mixture to ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions. When almost thickened, add 3/4 cup of pecans to ice cream. When thickened, place in airtight container and freeze. Then repeat with second batch. Enjoy!

NOTE: I tested a batch with 1 cup of Xylitol only (no Swerve), but it made no difference in the consistency/softness of the ice cream once frozen – the sweeteners are up to you. Swerve only may make the ice cream rock hard when frozen.

Browned Butter Pecan Ice cream nutritional information: 20-24 servings, 1/2 cup serving – 349 calories; 33g fat; 3.3g carbs; 1.2g fiber; 2.1 net carbs.

{ blondie bars }

Memorial Day weekend is almost upon us, and with all of the family gatherings happening, I thought I would test out another recipe to share at a family reunion we have planned.

This recipe comes from Carolyn at All Day I Dream About Food. (So much truth in that title, am I right?!) I happened to have all of the ingredients on hand, and it came together very quickly. Carolyn’s recipe called for Sukrin Gold, or more Swerve with molasses – so I went with the Swerve/molasses option. I also cut back on the chocolate chips and added PECANS, of course. Baked goods NEED pecans!

Low Carb Blondies | Losing Loads Weight Loss Blog

I tasted the dough before it was cooked (that’s a RULE, right?!) and it had a great flavor, so I already had high hopes. Once they were in the oven for 20 minutes, I was afraid they would never hold together in an actual bar form because they weren’t firm.

I took them out of the oven to cool as we went out for dinner. Once we arrived back home, they were still slightly warm, so I cut into bars and easily picked them up as bars without falling apart!  We all loved the taste, plenty sweet with only a slight cooling effect (which is why I’m cutting back some on the Swerve), but totally worth it for the overall taste and texture. It definitely filled that chocolate chip cookie craving I’ve had lately. I loved the edge pieces the best, so I’m going to cook them a little longer next time to see how that works.

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies
slightly modified from original
Yield: 16 bars / Serving Size: 1 bar

1/2 cup butter
2 cups almond flour
1/4 cup Swerve Sweetener
1/4 cup Swerve and 2 tsp molasses, mixed well
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar-free chocolate chips (Lily’s Sugar Free Choc Chips – 42g)
1/3 cup pecans, chopped

Place butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook until the butter is melted and and becomes a deep amber, and has a nutty aroma. Remove and let cool.
Preheat oven to 325F and grease a 9×9 inch square pan (an 8×8 is acceptable but your blondies will take longer to cook).
In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, sweeteners, baking powder, and salt. Stir in egg, browned butter and vanilla extract until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
Press dough evenly into prepared ban and bake 15 to 20 minutes, until just set and golden brown. Let cool and cut into squares.

Wendy’s Notes: I cut back on the original amount of chocolate chips, and added 1/3 cup of pecans. I cooked mine in a 9×9 pan for the full 20 minutes. On my next batch I may cut back on the Swerve a bit, as well as cook about 5 minutes longer.

Nutritional Information: Serves 16. Based on my changes (and if my math is correct) Each serving has 174 calories, 16g total fat, 5.5 total carbs, 2.6 fiber, 4g protein; 2.75g NET carbs.

This past week or so hasn’t gone exactly as planned – that’s life, I suppose. I’m still trying to get back into my personal acceptable weight range after hitting my low point for goal. I suppose I celebrated a little too much after I hit that low point. 😉 It is coming back off, it’s just taking it’s sweet time doing so.

With a few events around Memorial Day weekend, I really wanted to have something like this available to keep me on track, since I was totally ready to enjoy myself that day (by eating the bad-for-me “good” stuff). But, I don’t think I’m ready for that yet. I need to keep the reins a bit tighter, I guess. It seems my body wants to either gain or lose – it’s not ready to maintain yet.

This is all new to me, so I’m learning as I go. My body is still trying to get used to this place (and so is my mind), and I’m still trying to teach it how to stay there. As I told my husband last week – I thought maintenance would be much easier. Boy, was I WRONG.

Even after almost 2 and a half years, I still have that little voice in my head saying “a little of this won’t hurt”… “one off meal won’t hurt” … “just this once.” And when I do, the number on the scale takes a beating. There’s no coasting along here. It may take a while for me to figure all this out, I just hope it’s sooner rather than later.

 

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