companion blog to the e-book the 24/7 Low Carb Diner

Companion blog to the e-book
Available at

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Crazy Schedules!

Having a streamlined meal planning system is so vital when life gets crazy--which for many families is several times a day! Yesterday made the Suzy Homemaker in me do the equivalent of the Olympic Decathlon. I have taken on a new job trying to pay the bills. My trainers, i.e. bosses, were scheduled to arrive at 10 a.m. That means breakfast needed to be prepared and cleaned up in time...not to mention the added touch ups to the house. I promise my house will not stay clean longer than 15 minutes at a time. I digress...

Thankfully, I had individual servings of breakfast casserole in the fridge. That's an easy fix. Check. Then, I had to make sure hubby had some lunch to take. He was helping with my computer training, but needed to leave for work in the middle of it. Okay...the menu plan says taco salad. To my elation, there actually IS taco meat in a baggy in the fridge and the salad greens are living happily in a paper towel lined Tupperware container. One salad to go. Check.

Computer training made me feel like an idiot, but at least my hubby did have lunch to take with him so I looked organized in that respect. Maybe there is hope for the old girl. My son informed me that women over the age of 40 seem unable to learn new things. This is his experience in training cashiers at work. Yes, I wanted to slap him. Yes, a part of me felt it was absolute truth. Great confidence booster going into this new job. After grueling training, which should be the subject of another blog, we move on to homeschool.

That goes well. Nothing like diving into the politics of ancient Rome to make you forget about dinner and computers. Then, alas, I remember that my family really likes to eat, and that I have to take one son to work at 4, then cook dinner and be out of the house for a meeting at 6:30. The meal plan says Lisa's Sweet Sauce. One number ten can of tomato sauce later, wonderful "mama mia" scents are wafting through the house. But what to do with that extra sauce--low carbers can't eat that many tomatoes. Into jars they go to chill. Some will freeze, some will go into the upcoming taco soup and sloppy joes. I sauteed some zucchini to go under the sauce. I couldn't wait until after my meeting because it smelled so good. Got that done and still had time to talk on the phone. No one but my youngest was actually going to be home at dinner time, so he agreed to snack and wait til every one came home to eat. When everyone arrived home, Christian cooked up some pasta and the guys devoured it European style--9 o'clock dinner. Dad had given in and eaten his earlier.

If I hadn't had the meats already cooked, the casserole made, and a plan on the fridge, it would have been another one of those days when our diet relied on MacDonald's and Pizza Hut. So, am I a success? As Suzy Homemaker, yes. As the next computer whiz...well, that jury is still out. Please buy my cookbook so I can cook and give you great recipes instead. What cookbook you say? It is coming soon. Now where is that computer geek hubby of mine?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Taking advantage of great sales

I like to do my menu planning after I see what is on sale. For my family this week, it is ground beef. We are fortunate enough to have a meat processing plant fairly nearby. They have a monthly dock sale. Yesterday, my sweet hubby found ground chuck for $1.35 per pound. Needless to say, this week's freezer meals will center around ground beef. I'm headed into the kitchen now to make some "Minute Beef." This is the handiest stuff to have around. It is the jumpstart to so many meals!

Here are the recipe variations...since that same sweet hubby still doesn't have the recipe book posted. I'll make some plain and some Italian this week. I already have some taco meat in the freezer.

Minute Beef

You’ve heard of Minute Rice. This is similar, because it is ready to use in just a minute or two. The idea is to brown up large quantities of ground beef to use in lots of different recipes. You always have them handy in the freezer...ready at a moment’s notice to make a taco salad, a pizza bake or a burger in a bowl. Watch for sales on beef and keep this great recipe starter in the freezer.

Mexican version:
5 pounds ground beef
1 26 ounce jar salsa
1/4 cup chili powder
4 Tablespoons cumin
2 teaspoons salt

Brown meat and drain. Stir the salsa and seasonings. Cool and divide into 4 freezer bags for family meals, or 16 individual bags. Good for taco salads, quiches, casseroles, etc.

Serves 16 461 calories 3 carbs

Italian version:
5 pounds ground beef
1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
2 Tablespoons Italian seasoning
3 teaspoons garlic powder

Brown meat and drain. Stir the sauce and seasonings. Cool and divide into 4 freezer bags for family meals, or 16 individual bags. Good to eat with sautéed zucchini or cabbage, or added to omelets, pizzas, salads, etc.

Serves 16 447 calories 2 carbs

Here's what I will do with it this week:

Cheeseburger Salad

1 package Minute Beef, thawed
1/2 teaspoon hickory salt
1 pound prepared salad
1/2 onion, sliced
Pickles, chopped
Tomato slices
1 cup shredded cheese
Special Sauce Dressing: Mix 1 Cup Mayo, 1/2 cup mustard, 1/2 low carb ketchup.

Mix dressing ingredients. Put salad greens in individual bowls. Heat the beef in the microwave. Stir in the hickory salt. Build salads with the ingredients of choice. Top with special sauce.

Serves 6 724 calories 3 carbs

Doesn't that sound good?

Friday, August 1, 2008

Akward First Impressions

It's almost like a first date, or that first day at school...that strange gnawing in the pit of your stomach. That paranoid wondering, "Will they like me?"

It's my first day to blog about my new endeavor. My attempt to share my method with the masses...or at least with a few friends who will stop by. What method you ask?

Well, I wish it was a diet pill that would melt the pounds off while you ate anything you wanted, is instead my meal planning system for low carb dieters and diabetics. One would have made us rich, hopefully the other will make us healthy. I'm not a doctor, so please do not substitute this blog for medical advice...yada yada yada, you know the routine.

Earlier this year, my hubby was diagnosed with diabetes. He had lost weight before on a low carb plan and loved it. It was so time consuming though--and expensive. When a son went off to college, we decided we had best switch to the beans and rice diet. Much cheaper. Not so great for a soon to be diabetic, though. After the diagnosis, we immediately began to research, and found the low carb plans for diabetics. It all seemed to make more sense than the ADA high carb plans. Seeing that the remaining 3 out of 4 of us show signs of insulin resistance, we opted for low carb, family style. The doctor approved and off we went. Converting the whole family to a lower carb diet was going to take some planning.

Restaurants just are not geared toward the low carb dieter--at least those of us who don't have the extra cash to order two entrees and throw out the parts they can't eat. My hubby's snack bar at work could feed him one legal meal for lunch. Grilled chicken salad. That is it. I began to shift into homemaking gear. I tested recipes for months, converted family favorites and returned to freezer cooking. Low carb cooking is not difficult, but it does take planning. That is how I developed my system. No one wants frozen casseroles every night. And who wants to get stuck in the eggs, steak and salad rut?

I use some of the ideas from other meal management systems and I tweak them to fit our life. It takes a lot of cooking to feed three teenage sons. There are so many good plans out there, but it seemed like each one had a big drawback---either it was too time consuming on one exhausting cooking day, or you needed to let someone else choose your recipes, or you were still left staring into the fridge wondering what to cook that night...even though you had a gallon container of frozen spaghetti sauce. Don't laugh, I've been there.

We are in the process of turning the system I now use into an ebook. I decided to call it the 24/7 Low Carb Diner because I really need to have homestyle food available all the time. Someone is always hungry around here, and I now always have something ready at a moment's notice. I have spent the summer creating recipes and cooking. Lots of cooking. I'm pleased to say we are all losing weight (except my already skinny boy who isn't suffering either), John's blood results are good, and I have enough time out of the kitchen to write the book, begin a blog, and homeschool.

Most of my blogs will be about how we are doing this system-- one day at a time. I'll share recipes from time to time. Like right now, I am eating homemade sugar free bread and butter pickles from my mom's garden. Yum. I'll share that recipe soon. The recipe book will be ready to purchase within a week or two. If you are a low carb dieter or diabetic, I hope you'll join me on our journey, and I hope you like me...