Category Archives: meal ideas

Day 3: Successfully dodging the temptations at work

Yesterday was hump day. I started the day with breakfast at home: scrambled eggs with cheese and a side of bacon.

I decided to start acknowledging the successes in each day:

  1. There was a workshop going on at work. I circumnavigated the donut and juice table and went to my cubicle.
  2. On the way to the printer, I passed the Doritos, grabbed my paper and returned to my cubicle.
  3. After a skype meeting with the boss, I ignored the candybar bowl and grabbed a handful of almonds from the can in my drawer.

WHEW. I made it! I may “fail” quite a bit at staying on plan, but I also succeed several times a day/week/month.

I heated up my Indian butter chicken over cauliflower for lunch.

Screen Shot 2013-03-21 at 11.49.27 AMOnce home, around 7pm, I relaxed with my man and a Michelob Ultra 2.5 carb beer. For a snack, I had barbecued pork rinds. I can’t believe it myself. The thought of pork rinds used to make me gag. They weren’t so bad, especially since they are zero carb. I can see this is one of those items I need to buy in bulk from Amazon. In fact, I’m a little disappointed that Amazon no longer offers 3 packs of chili lime almonds. I can only order one pack as an add-on to any $25 order. Bring back the cheap 3-packs, Amazon! I need my daily almonds.

For dinner, I heated a Costco pot roast and made 2 or 3 days’ worth of cauliflower mashed potatoes. It’s good to be prepared!

2013-03-20 20.34.52Rick and I have started watching old episodes of the Twilight Zone on Hulu. We each had an Adkins coconut bar.

Day 2: Chicken Marsala in a foil pack

So far so good.

I was running late yesterday morning. I would have gotten to work about 1/2 hour early if I skipped breakfast or stopped for a drive thru McDonald’s breakfast. Hmm. Hardly the way to get back on track. I had really been looking forward to hitting the diner with Rick, but we both hate rushing through breakfast in fewer than 25 minutes.

I hit on the remedy – carryout breakfast from the diner. It’s just a little out of the way from work, so I called ahead and ordered an omelet and bacon. We swooped by to pick it up, and I arrived at work 1/2 hour early, where I relaxed, did a crossword and ate breakfast at my desk.

It was more expensive than a breakfast at home, and a couple of dollars more than a Micky D’s breakfast, but I’ve spent money on worse things. It was a good start to a fresh keto diet day, and I’m glad I thought of it.

Lunch was late – around 2 pm, after an afternoon meeting. I ate 2 Beddar Cheddars and some almonds.

Dinner was a recipe I haven’t posted before: Rick’s chicken Marsala. He makes a quick and convenient dinner in individual foil packets that we can both easily eat as leftovers the next day – or for lunch. He usually sacrifices and leaves the leftovers for my eating pleasure, because he can eat anything, after all.

Here’s his recipe.

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And the final product, with some cauliflower mashed “potatoes.”

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Dessert was an Adkins coconut bar.

Day 318: Mongolian Barbecue inspires

Total weight loss: 41 1/2 pounds

After the usual breakfast at the diner, I headed off to work. I only needed to work until 1:30 because I worked late a couple of days this week. Rick called and offered to take me to Bonefish Grill for lunch to make up for a “bad vacation weekend” as he called it. It’s true, Thanksgiving Day/birthday was great fun, but driving up north and back in two days, followed by an upper respiratory ailment did make for a short and awful vacation.

But I digress. We stopped by the Apple store to pick up a new battery for my Macbook, then headed to Bonefish Grill. We were both very hungry since breakfast was at 7:30 am. I am not a fish lover, but I do really really like their shrimp tacos. Unfortunately, the sign on the door said they opened at 4!

What to do? Well, if you read the title of the blog, you know the answer. Brandon has been telling me that Mongolian Barbecue is a great place to eat on keto, since they now labeled all their sauces with nutritional content plus offer lettuce for wraps in place of tortillas. We decided to check it out.

I loaded up my bowl with chicken, shrimp, onion slices, and mushrooms. Brandon recommended the Asian black bean sauce. I know beans have carbs, but the label says 1 gram of carbs per ounce. Sounded good to me! I added a bit of garlic and waited for the griller to do his work.

It was very very very good. It was one of my favorite keto dinners to date! Rick liked his alot too. I went for seconds, and didn’t change a thing. It was spicy, nutritious, and delicious. We didn’t take the waiter up on the offer to take a full dish home in a carryout container for only $2.49. I was full and it didn’t appeal to me, but the next day, I rued that decision. It would have made a cheap and delicious leftover meal on Saturday at home. Oh well. Next time.

I do have to say, the only spoiler was trying to roll up a lettuce wrap around a portion of my meal. It was just too soggy to handle. I ate the meal with a fork and ignored the lettuce altogether. I also ignored the bowl of rice. I know it is deceivingly delicious looking. In reality, I didn’t need it as filler to detract from my flavorful dish.

All in all, I would say this is in my top five low carb keto meal choices when eating out. In fact, if I could find that Asian black bean sauce, I would cook this at home in our wok at least once a week. So far, I have scoured Amazon.com and other sites, but many of them have similar looking sauces without any nutritional info. I’ll keep searching.

Day 303: Home-made chicken salad

Total weight loss: 41 1/2 pounds

We went to the diner for breakfast, again. I had the usual grilled onion and cheese omelet with bacon.

For lunch at work, I went back to an old stand by. I love Mexican food, and I concocted a simple yummy and quick lunch. Two low carb tortillas (3g each), a handful of shredded cheese in each. This time, I also added 3 dollops of cream cheese, just for the heck of it. I microwaved them (open) for about 1 minute and a half, then added a few sliced jalapeno peppers to each and ate with a sour cream garnish. For some reason, I don’t like the peppers as well when cooked inside the tortilla, so I add them last. Quick, a bit spicy, and low carb. Yum.

I worked late and I was famished, but I didn’t feel like cooking. We passed fast food places and restaurants on the way home, but nothing appealed to me. I really didn’t want a sit-down restaurant meal, but I didn’t want a processed fast food meal, either. As we passed Big Boy, I was tempted to order a buffalo chicken salad to go, then realized that I had all the ingredients at home, and the only cooking required was the chicken tenders. I decided to give it a go.

I thawed a few chicken tenders in hot water, then sauteed them in oil until cooked, then sliced it into smaller pieces. I had one of those big plastic bowls of mixed greens that Costco sells, so I tossed some of that into a bowl, topped with chopped onions and chicken, drizzled buffalo hot sauce on top, then ate the salad with a side of blue cheese dressing. Oh, and I had no crumbled blue cheese, so I used feta instead. It was as delicious – or more – than the restaurant version!


It seems to get easier and easier to come up with quick keto-friendly dishes. I guess when you do something for nearly a year (!), you learn lots of tricks. There is no need to pay $8 or more for the carryout version when this recipe is so easy.

Day 296: Yummy pot roast from Costco

Total weight loss: 41 1/2 pounds

You may notice that I skipped Tuesday’s blog post (day 295). It was election day, and I knew I was going to attend a party at my friend Jo’s and would probably succumb to the temptation of her moist and chew brownies. I declared a cheat day in advance, and ate a Mexican pizza from Taco Bell for dinner, plus the aforementioned brownies and some chips and dip.

I had actually planned to have a cheat meal yesterday, since we were supposed to close on the home sale and celebrate at Macaroni Grill. Unfortunately, the closing was postponed until next week. This is the most difficult home sale we’ve ever had – and we’ve been through a few in the past 15 years. Since the cheat meal on Weds. was cancelled, I just moved it to the election party on Tuesday.

Yesterday morning began with a cheese and onion omelet at the diner. I added a side of crispy bacon and it was a very good meal.

Lunch was at my desk. I ate 2 Beddar Cheddars.

I had chili lime almonds for a late afternoon snack.

I worked late and didn’t get home from work until 7 pm. I popped a Costco pot roast from Costco into the microwave. I’ve had it before and I thought it was pretty tasty. It only takes 10 minutes to cook. I ran off to do some cleaning and sorting in the basement. When the 10 minutes were up, I tossed a bag of frozen cauliflower in the micro for 6 minutes and went outside for a quick vodka and diet drink on the deck.

It was a REALLY quick drink, because it was 40 degrees outside. Rick may enjoy the great white north, but not I. I cut my drink short and went back inside to whip up the cauliflower into mashed potatoes.

We had a quick and hearty meal in fewer than 25 minutes.

For dessert, Rick wanted me to whip up the keto-friendly chocolate mousse from heavy cream that I used to make. I did, and we had a lovely dessert.

Day 293: Trying a new chicken piccata recipe

Total weight loss: 41 1/2 pounds

Sunday morning and we decided to stay in for breakfast. It was a chilly, but sunny day and it was nice to eat in our cozy home. I had a leftover egg/sausage/cheese bowl that Rick had made for my Friday breakfast at work. I didn’t get around to eating it, and it was a perfect easy-peasy breakfast for someone who doesn’t love to cook. I ate that while attempting the NYT puzzle. This week’s was a bear!

On to the busy day: we went for one last clean out at the house we sold. I spent the day washing out the fridge, washing floors, vacuuming, sweeping, and for the grand finale: carrying old boxes, paints, and sundry items out of the basement. It was good exercise, but I was achy when finished.

We took a mid-day break at the Del Taco nearby. I wonder if that’s the last lunch I’ll have there, now that the house is sold. I ordered the macho beef burrito and was eating it without the tortilla, when I realized that it had beans in it. The guy taking our order did keep messing up, so I wasn’t surprised. I decided to eat it anyway, since I already had planned to have a cheat lunch due to the addition of 2 churros.

Eating the cheat lunch didn’t stop me from trying out a new keto-friendly dinner recipe. I think I am getting the hang of being balanced about this plan. I used to be so “all or nothing” that I would have just eaten a lot of carbs for the rest of the day since my lunch consumption was far from perfect. After more than 9 months on keto and nearing the 50 pound mark (woohoo!), I have learned to jump back on the wagon right away.

Chicken piccata ingredients include chicken (duh), garlic, white wine, lemon juice, and capers. I added mushrooms to make it similar to the meal I had at Angelo Brothers a few nights ago. Rick kindly shopped for the ingredients, and even cut the chicken and pounded it flat with a mallet. After that, the whole recipe took me less that 20 minutes to complete.

I sauteed the chicken in olive oil and butter, then transferred to a plate. Then I sauteed garlic and mushrooms, added wine and lemon juice, then added capers. I let this simmer.  

I put the chicken back in the pan and simmered some more. Unfortunately, here’s were I goofed up. I decided there wasn’t enough liquid, so I added more wine and lemon juice. I think adding these at the end made the recipe too lemony-flavored. I believe these ingredients need to be set early in the simmering stage so as not to be such a prominent flavor. It was good, but not exactly right.I had some leftover cauliflower mashed potatoes and those made a great side item, since the soaked up the delicious gravy.

All in all, it was pretty good, but I need to work on it. I was tired from a long day, and didn’t feel like cooking, but it was a really nice and quick meal. I’ll attempt it again next week and see if I can get the proportions right, then I’ll post the entire recipe on the blog.

Day 288: Oops, cheat lunch at Chinese restaurant / excellent keto-friendly lasagna

Total weight loss: 41 pounds

We finally decided not to go out to breakfast. Just too costly. Rick made my “breakfast bowl”: 2 eggs, 2 sausage patties, cheese, and Taco Bell hot sauce. He puts it in a bowl, and I reheat, chop up, and eat at my desk. MMMMMMMM. Thanks, honey.

I was going to eat 2 Beddar Cheddars for lunch, but I got a surprise lunch invite from my niece, Marsha. The AUCE Chinese restaurant that we both love is very near my workplace, so I agreed to lunch with her.

I debated if I could do a low carb lunch, or if it was too difficult with the few options that I should just do a cheat meal. I sort of did a blend of both options.

I went to the Mongolian section and made a bowl with chicken, onion, garlic, and a little crab. I asked the cook to use garlic oil – he offered spicy; I said sure. It turned out to be delicious. Unfortunately, the Mongolian counter was at the back of the store, past the crab rangoons and the tempura sushi. Sigh.

So, I sort of did a half and half cheat meal. I had a main course that was low carb, and side dishes that were coated with breading. I do think I’ll get some garlic oil and try to make my own “Mongolian” stir fry at home. It’d be pretty easy, and keto-friendly. Always looking for some fresh ideas for keto recipes.

While I was off galavanting with my niece, Rick was home slaving away over the stove – for me! He made marinara sauce with the low carb tomato sauce and diced tomatoes he found yesterday at Kroger. He also cooked a pound of ground up Italian sausage. He was preparing the ingredients for a new keto-friendly, low-carb lasagna recipe I wanted to try. I thought I’d make it pretty close to my Dad’s traditional recipe, only using spaghetti squash as the lasagna “noodles.”

I saw this idea on several low carb sites, but most of the recipes, although low carb, were too high in carbs for keto. Rick did some investigating while shopping and found that a 14 oz can of Del Monte diced tomatoes with zesty mild green chilis was 7g per can, and Kroger tomato sauce was ZERO net carbs per can. He used 2 cans of each in his recipe, with 2 tbsp of olive oil (og), and various ingredients like garlic, 1/2 cup onion (10g), and 1/2 cup of red wine (4g). The whole recipe is posted here.

After work, I cook a whole large spaghetti squash, gathered the rest of the cheeses and ingredients and assembled a lasagna. Approximately one hour later, we sat down to a delicious bubbly authentic-tasting lasagna meal. At approximately 7.4 grams of carbs per serving, it surpassed my wildest dreams. I am no cook, but Rick’s marinara sauce is really flavorful and added to cheese and pepperoni, this tasted almost like my dad’s traditional recipe!

Here’s a picture of the whole pan…

So, dinner was a hit, and I have lots of servings to warm up during the week. This will definitely be a staple of my keto diet, and I’ll be making it a couple of times a month. I have to recalculate and be sure I didn’t mistake any of the carb counts. For instance, the mozzarella cheese said less than one gram of carbs per serving. Well, if you have many servings, when does that become 1 or even 2?

We each had an Adkins coconut bar for dessert. It was kind of an up and down day in terms of the keto plan, but creating such a keto-friendly pan of lasagna was a real high point of the day.

Day 287: Monday – back to the old grind and trivia night

Total weight loss: 41 pounds

Well, we did it again. We went to the diner for breakfast. It was another nice relaxing outing before starting the workweek, but we do have to stop. It’s a bit extravagant on our budget.

Breakfast – cheese/onion omelet and 4 pieces of bacon

Lunch – once again, breakfast kept me full well into the afternoon. I was sure to drink lots of water, and I had an almond snack around 2.

I left work by 3:30 in order to get more done on the move before trivia started at 6. We unloaded some of Brandon’s things from the truck, but after that, neither of us felt like going over to the house. Instead, I made a list of grocery items for Rick to pick up and I worked on my computer backups and server issues while he grocery shopped.

I’m trying to plan ahead and make some interesting keto recipes. I want to bring back the sense of excitement that I had when I first started the plan. I saw one idea for making a fake lasagna using spaghetti squash. The recipe called for marinara sauce and it was a little steep in the carb grams for keto. Rick checked out tomato sauces and diced tomatoes. He found diced that were net carb zero! and sauce that had 4g of net carbs (1/4 cup, I believe). The plan is for Rick to make a marinara sauce during the day, and I’ll make the squash and layer up some lasagna after work. Fingers crossed that this turns into something edible!

Back to the journal. For lunch, I brought leftover steak and cauliflower mashed. Ended up that I had about 4 bites of each left in the bowl, so I didn’t eat much. I drank another 2 glasses of water.

I didn’t eat again until trivia at Albert’s, where I ordered my traditional grilled chicken club salad with blue cheese. I haven’t been to trivia for a couple of weeks, and I sure missed this salad. My coworker and trivia team member, Jim, ordered a basket of steak fries. Sigh. I LOVE Albert’s steak fries. I decided to ignore the basket and eat my salad, then see if I was still tempted after eating. By the time I finished, his basket was empty. WHEW!

However, there was also a bucket of Halloween candy on the table. At the very end of the game, temptation overcame me and I ate 2 mini peanut butter cups. I’ll sadly check out the carb count now. . . . .

11 grams

Well, I may not have been knocked out of keto (if I’m even back in, after eating the churros on Sunday). I’ll have to use a keto strip later to find out where I stand.

That was it for the day. Oh wait. I lied. I ate an Adkins coconut bar while watching The Good Wife.

I do have to comment on something I’ve noticed this week: my pants are getting baggy! (and I only recently achieved going down to this size). And my rings are loose. How annoying, NOT!  KETO IS GREAT!

Day 286: Sunday at home – tacos

Total weight loss: 41 pounds

We stayed home today. There’s still a bit to do moving out of the sold rental house, but it was a chilly Sunday and we enjoyed taking care of business at home.

Rick and I made separate breakfasts, but ate them together. I grilled some diced onions, added 3 eggs and grated cheese. I microwaved 3 pieces of bacon to go with. The result actually tasted better than a diner breakfast and wasn’t very much trouble to make.

I wasn’t hungry for lunch, and I was busy on the phone chatting with a friend for awhile, then with my son and new daughter-in-law. By the time I was through, it was about 5 pm. I ate some almonds while I worked on some files.

For dinner, we decided to make do with what was left in the fridge. I had a pound of ground round and some low carb tortillas, so I cooked up some tacos, topped with cheese, lettuce and sour cream. They were pretty tasty. It was a big tortilla, so I only ate one.

I had an Adkins chocolate/coconut bar for dessert.

Day 285: Yummy steak with onion blue cheese sauce

Total weight loss: 41 pounds [I like typing that]

Saturday morning breakfast at the diner – cheese/onion omelet with a side of bacon

We worked on emptying and readying the house we  [finally] sold. We packed and cleaned for a few hours. This stuff seems to multiply. Afterwards, we went to Del Taco. I had the usual macho beef burrito and opened up and ditched the tortilla.

My 2 pounds weight loss yesterday morning buoyed my spirits. I’m sometimes tempted to “reward myself” with some kind of cheat meal, but realized it would be better to save that for when I’m not losing, to perhaps shock my body into responding to the diet. So, I didn’t have a cheat meal, but my compromise was eating 1 1/2 cinnamon churros. I have to admit they were good. Now I will look at the carb count…..egad – 21 carbs per churro. So much for being in ketosis. Sigh. So, I had approximately 32 extra grams of carbs yesterday. Not good.

Oh, another tip: carry a “real” fork with you. I carry one in my purse and it comes in handy when I order things like this burrito, or a burger with no bun. I HATE using a plastic fork, and some of those burgers actually break them.

Dinner was legal and delish. Rick grilled steaks. I made the accompanying blue cheese onion cream sauce and some cauliflower mashed potatoes. Before dinner, I cleaned the house, put the tv/pc back in order (the old hard drive had failed), and generally spruced up the place. While cleaning out the sold house earlier in the day, I had grabbed Brandon and Lindsey’s lamp set, which they aren’t currently using, and I put one on each side of our Ansel Adams print next to the table. It looked warm and elegant, so we ate our gourmet dinner using cloth napkins and each had a glass of cabernet. I had one more glass out on the deck [oh, what the heck? I already ate 30+ carbs of churro earlier - bad attitude, I know].

Dessert was the usual choco/peanut butter low carb treat.