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Resolutions: Your’s, Mine, and Ours

This is my first post of 2016 and I’m a little nervous. I have been thinking about what to write all day. The start of a new year means the start of a new you. Right?

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The reality is I doubt any single one of us will 100% succeed on all of the things we vow to do better this year. But I still think we should try.

 

That is why we make these New Year’s Resolutions: To do better, to see part of ourselves that have room for improvement, and set a goal to do something about it.  I read today that people who write down their goals are 60% more likely to achieve them and those that tell the people around them their goals are also very successful in their achievements. I think this was an article in “Real Simple.”

 

So here goes, here is what I am planning on improving this year:

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  1. Put the phone down. I want the people around me especially my family to know that they are more important than what is going on on social media, email, Pintrest, You Tube, all of it.
  2. Work out again-I ran yesterday Go ME! I know this is one of the MOST common resolutions but… Hey- what if it sticks?
  3. Be a better friend. I am TERRIBLE at calling and texting back. I love my friends dearly, and have every intention of keeping in better touch, then I realize a week (or three) has passed and I forgot to reply to a message or return a call. Friends/Family I’m sorry-this year, I’ll work on it.

 

I think many people are starting to give up on even making “New Years Resolutions” especially ones in the eat better and work out more (see #2 above) category. I totally get why. Resolutions require commitment, change, and a commitment to change. If it was easy we would all be able to slip on our skinny jeans, complete the 5k, call our girlfriend back within the month, and maybe walk through our living room in the dark without stepping on a My Little Pony or Frozen accessory.

 

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These cute ponies are taking over my living room.

 

But I noticed something today that sort of irritated me a bit. In the office I work there are a number of super duper fit people, fit people, truly lazy folks, and everyone in between- the spectrum is wide. But those super dupers and the standard fit people were talking loudly about how crowded the gym (yes, there is a gym in my office) was going to be, how annoying it was, how these new gym go-ers weren’t going to last a month, and various other not nice things. While I understand their annoyance-we all have our routines and preferences in how we like our day to go, the conversation came off callous.

 

We all have the odds stacked against us when it comes to making changes in our lives and lifestyles.  But the last thing any of us wants to hear is that we can’t do it or that our effort in making a change is “annoying” to people- even those that don’t know us. I realize to some, this will spur a “I’ll show you” attitude but for others it won’t, and it may even prevent them from trying because we don’t want to look like a failure.

 

So here is my thought, if someone has a Resolution and especially if they share it with you; be supportive.

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We all have things we want to improve and with the help and encouragement of those around you, that bread basket or Diet Coke could be easier to decline.

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What to Do About Those Little Ghosts and Goblins?

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Happy almost Halloween!  I have to admit, this is not my favorite occasion.  For obvious reasons, the sugar aspect causes issues in our family, but the doorbell that makes the dog go crazy, kids out in the dark, and then the after effect for the next two days isn’t so much fun either.  I LOVE fall, but I am always happy when the 31st of October has come and gone, and there is an official start to the holiday season that awaits around the corner.

The holidays are a whole other ball game, but let’s get through Halloween first.  Erin posted earlier in the week about how she handles Halloween for her daughter.  We do things slightly differently, mainly because we have older children.  The age/s of the child/ren in your household can make a big difference.  My children are 10, 8 and 5 if that helps at all.  They range from being all about Halloween and the candy, to really  just wanting to be with their friends.

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We are extremely fortunate to be invited to the same party with the same people every year.  This helps me because I don’t have to have my internal struggle about handing out candy at my house.  I have a voice in me that screams, “How can you hand out candy when you preach about sugar?”  Luckily, I get to turn that recording OFF!  The kids (and adults) are fortunate because we are all with friends and the focus turns to playing and visiting instead of tracking down the best candy in the neighborhood.  Don’t get me wrong, I let the kids trick-or-treat, but that is not our sole focus of the evening.  This helps a TON!

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I do have  a few ideas for your weekend:

  1. Watch the forbidden food syndrome.  Unless sugar is going to have severe health consequences on your child (sort term), let them partake in trick-or-treating.  These years fly by, and if they enjoy it, it is one night out of 365.
  2. Give them a time period that candy will be allowed in the house.  I tell my kids (you are not going to believe this one), “Eat what you want on Halloween, pick out a few for tomorrow, and on the third day it will magically disappear.”
  3. Find a place to donate the candy.  Yes, I know it is bad for everyone, but there ARE people that deserve a treat every once in while like our troops overseas.  There are places around that will take donations (Schools, banks, etc.).  They collect unwanted Halloween candy and ship it to the troops.
  4. My friend, Mona, recently told me about the Switch Witch.  You can give your kids a choice (or not) to leave their pumpkin full of candy on the front porch on Halloween night, and the Switch Witch will take the candy and exchange it for (you fill in the blank – some toy they want, baseball or football cards, dark chocolate, an iTunes gift card just to give examples).  Start planning now if you want to use this idea.
  5. Divy out a certain number of pieces for each day – and specify the number of days.  Then stick to it!
  6. Use the candy for teaching any number of things.  For younger children, it is great for sorting, patterns, and counting.  It is always fascinating to people how much sugar is in those little pieces of candy.  This is a great time for the older children to understand conversions.  Read the labels.  Remember, for every 4 grams of sugar or carbs, that equals 1 teaspoon of sugar.  This is a great multiplication and division activity for the older ones.  You can even make up word problems about the candy.  Tina, that one was for you!

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No matter what you decide to do with your candy, you, just like I, will get through this day.  It is one of my most dreaded, but we always power through.  Your kids will be on a sugar high, but then we will be there to catch them on the way down to lift them back up with healthy foods.  The best thing you can do is to have a plan in place.  Figure out how and when you are going to dispose of that white powdery substance disguised as candy and follow through.  Then life returns to normal.

Have a very safe and memory filled Halloween!

God Bless!

What’s For Dinner?

It is hard to believe that we already have a month of school under our belts!  Time certainly does fly!  Not only do the months fly, but the hours in the day seem to get shorter and shorter as well.  The best advice I can give you for dinners is to PLAN AHEAD!

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You need to know your busy days – these are my leftover days!

Know the days that you will have an extra hour or two – these are my cooking days!

Lastly, know the days when you have a little extra time to throw something in the oven – these are the days when I usually use something pre-prepared.  Yes!  I said it!  I DO use prepared foods every so often, as long as I know how they are prepared and what is in the package.  Other prepared foods are foods that I have made and previously frozen.  If I make a chili, stew, lasagna, etc., I always double the recipe and freeze one to pull out on a busy day.  It doesn’t take much more effort, but it saves you loads of time in the future for a home cooked meal!

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Planning ahead makes all the difference in the world.  As long as I know what proteins, veggies, and other sides I have in the fridge, (and always have 3 or 4 days worth of all the above) – I know my family will survive, and even better, be full and satisfied.

For instance, I know that Wednesdays are my worst day.  Not only am I in the car for 2 hours in the morning shuttling the kiddos to school, but I am also in the car for 2 hours in the afternoon getting three kids to four different activities.  I couldn’t believe it when I timed it!  I am actually in the car longer driving around the neighborhood getting kids to gymnastics, soccer, and more soccer than I am taking my children to another town for school.  I wouldn’t give it up for the world, but it does take serious planning.  Really, though, there is not another better day in the week to have a leftover day!  It’s the midpoint of the week, and time to clean out from all that weekend cooking!

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Tuesdays are my best day!  It is our only day this sports season that we do not have a scheduled regular activity.  This is my shopping day and big cooking day.

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Mondays I am usually prepared from the weekend before when I hope to have time to prep some things for the week.

Thursdays are always busy so this is usually a pre-prepared day.

Fridays are more relaxed.  We either eat out or I cook something easy.

Saturdays are usually cooking days as are Sundays, but this is a good left-over day to clean out the fridge for the week ahead.  I generally spend a lot of time preparing for the week ahead on Sundays.  This is when I bake for breakfasts, make Keto desserts, my sauces, and my seasonings.  It always feels great to start the week prepared.

Here are a few really simple dinner ideas to throw together on those super tough week nights:

The kids favorite:

Taco night – We always have ground meat, and this is super easy with lettuce as your tortilla!  We make a taco bar and the kids LOVE it!

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This next is a prepared dish: Stuffed Pork Tender (Cream cheese and jalapeño) with a side of zucchini topped with parmesan and bacon brussels.

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This one is super fast…Steamed broccolini with butter, alongside broiled salmon and stuffed mushrooms.

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Beef pinwheels with a side of asparagus:

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Top with queso and you get a thumbs up:

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ABC burgers with a side of squash casserole:

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Stuffed bell peppers with stuffed mushrooms!  Apparently, I was in the mood to stuff!

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Keto spaghetti with zucchini and grilled sausage:

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Grilled skewers with a veggie…we did grilled asparagus.

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I hope that this gives you some easy, quick dinner ideas for your family.  These are some of our favorites along with a host of others!  Happy cooking!

 

 

 

 

Swap the Salts

Here is another SUPER simple and painless way to improve the health of your family.

 

Swap out that blue can of chemicals: either the salt, lite salt, or salt free can that has been gracing your dinner table.    For one of these two:

Himalayan Salt

 

Containing all of the 84 elements found in your body, the benefits of natural Himalayan Crystal Salt include: Regulating the water content throughout your body. Promoting healthy pH balance in your cells, particularly your brain cells. Promoting blood sugar health and helping to reduce the signs of aging.

I buy the grinder from Costco for around $4.00.

The richer and more varied the colors in the salt the better!

Add this to everything! Top your eggs, finish your protein and veggies! EVERYTHING.

 

The also amazing but less easy to find is The Grey Celtic Salt:

Grey salt is a “moist” unrefined sea salt, usually found in the Brittany region of France’s Atlantic coast. Its natural light grey color comes from the minerals absorbed from the clay lining the saltponds. The salt is collected by hand using traditional Celtic methods and wooden tools.

Grey Celtic Salt

 

 

These two completely blow away the competition! They will not break the bank and once you switch you will notice the pure real, healthy, and difference of good quality Salt.

 

We are need salt!So make sure its a good one!

 

We are here for you!

 

Thank you greatly to Fit Fusion and to those who came out to listen to Cindy speak this morning!

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We sincerely hope that you left feeling empowered and armed with some tools to help you. I apologize greatly for not being there this morning and getting to meet with you as well. Cindy told me it was a great group!

 

Cindy and I LOVE talking about our lifestyle! While our way of eating may not be for every person, we believe that everyone should look at the way they eat, the way they feel, and how those two things are completely intertwined.

We would love the opportunity to help you, those you love, or even those with whom you work.  If you have a group that you think would benefit from a nutritional talk, along with a question and answer session, we would absolutely be thrilled to talk to you!

 

We offer individual and group consultations, multi-session packages, and group talks, among other services, like pantry clean outs and cooking classes to help you get started on your path to healthier eating. Please visit our services page and remember we can customize as well.

 

In fact, we are currently helping some clients by simply monitoring, measuring, and simply trying to hold them accountable. If any of these things sound like something you maybe interested in, please do not hesitate to contact us through our website, email, or on Facebook.

We love what we do, and would enjoy the opportunity to help you feel better.

 

What We are Reading/Listening to

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It’s Posted! YAY!

We just posted a page for those out there that would like to do more reading (or listening) and research a bit further on their own.

 

Sample of Erin’s Keto library

 

There are TONS of books, sites, Podcasts, and articles out there, and we have read or listened to so many of them. Together we have created a list of a few of our favorites and brought that list to our site to share with you. You can purchase these off of our Amazon store – right out of our page (EASY!).
Yes!  We have read pretty much everything we can get our hands on regarding the topic of Keto! We have read a ton about Paleo as well (if you have questions on that) and the Paleo resources are much more abundant.
I will also say, from first hand experience, the selection of material at the San Antonio Library has also been very good. And if its not there you can ask online or at any branch they are extremely helpful in locating anything specific. This is a great way to try out cookbooks as well!

 

We are full of suggestions on this topic! Please just ask if you would like to know where to start depending on your goals we will lead you in the right direction.

 

 

 

A Natural Way to Settle a Tummy

We have all been there – you know you’re not sick but your stomach is just… off.

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I remember when growing up, the go-to would be 7-Up. Not exactly Keto Friendly.

 

There are a TON of medicinal remedies, and back before being diagnosed with the Big C, I would have reached for the “pink stuff.” But these days I’m trying to be nicer to my insides and make healthier and more natural choices.

Today has been one of those days, and I have been sipping on Ginger Tea. There are MANY varieties that can be found in the coffee and tea aisle, but it is also incredibly easy to make at home.

 

What you need for a single serving of super simple Ginger Tea:

  • 1 12 cups boiling water
  • 1 12 teaspoons freshly grated or sliced ginger root

Boil your water, add the grated ginger, and let it steep for roughly 10 minutes.

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**This is a starting point – adjust the amount of ginger to your taste.

 

Ginger is great for you, and while for some it can be an acquired taste, it’s ability to settle a tummy is amazing. I absolutely loved ginger ale, but once I cut out sugar, it had to go.

 

The source of my recent onset of nausea is related to my radiation treatment. I was told that due to the location of the radiated tumor I would likely experience nausea and vertigo. This is all new territory for me! I was extremely lucky to not experience morning sickness, but I have several friends who are dealing with not just morning but all day sickies. Y’all are troopers!! This is NO FUN!  The ginger tea is great for that too though.

 

I will post more about my treatment in the future. I have completed radiation but have several other balls still in the air about the next steps.

 

http://dailynaturalremedies.com/10-health-benefits-of-ginger/

 

Camp Time!

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Last Sunday I sent my two oldest children off to camp in another state.  They were super excited about their time at camp except for one thing…the food!

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It is kind of funny that this was somewhat upsetting to them considering other children look forward to the pancakes at breakfast, chicken fried steak, and the candy store.  Other children that go to this camp rave about the food, but mine, of course, were anxious.  I have to admit, it makes me a little anxious too, but so proud of them at the same time for knowing that they understand the foods that fuel their bodies best.  If you read my post recently about my children refusing the almond flour muffins it makes sense.

My oldest is definitely Keto-adapted.  The other two have a way to go, but my middle child would be closer if not given outside choices.  As parents, it is virtually impossible to keep our children healthy at all times.  Erin and I have a 90/10 rule.  If you are sugar-free and Keto-adapted 90% of the time, forgive yourself for the other 10%.  Many times it can’t be helped if you are away from home also.  If my children are 75%/25%, I am happy.  I can’t control everything that happens at birthday parties, grandparent’s homes, and eating out with friends, nor do I try.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a bit of a control freak, but I know a bad ending when I see it coming!  The last thing we want to create is the forbidden fruit syndrome.  They need to experience the difference in how food makes them feel to make them WANT to eat healthy.  This takes time, just as it does for us. My goodness, it took me over 35 years to figure it out!  Hopefully with our guidance it won’t take our children as long.

Once they figure out that carbs and sugar make them feel badly, it becomes much easier.    That is, until camp time; or really anytime they are away from home for a prolonged period of time!  I tried to counsel them about food choices before they left.  I thought about requesting no sugar from the camp, but my husband talked me out of it saying this is their time to be kids.  Again, the 75/25 for them, and he was right.  My prayer is that they always make good choices, and just like most other bad choices, they will feel the consequences of them quickly if they decide to buy three candy bars and a gatorade at the camp store for snack.  I have to admit, I am really curious to see how it goes.  This is a lot of freedom for them.

The best advice I could give them was to remember the foods we eat at home and try to mimic them.  If everything is fried or brown, go for the salad bar option and pile on the proteins and full-fat salad dressings to make sure you are energized.  Instead of the cinnamon rolls and waffles at breakfast, remember how much better and energized you feel when you choose eggs and bacon for breakfast.  They can skip the extra bread, have two patties instead of a bun, and go for extra veggies instead of the mashed potatoes.  Pick the bag of nuts or sunflower seeds in the camp store instead of a candy bar or crackers.  They know how food makes them feel now, so now is the time to put that into play.  I think we all realize there will be days when there may not be a better choice, but that is okay too.

As many of us send our kids off for a few weeks, we pray for their safety, lasting friendships, spiritual growth, and growth as individuals.  Encourage them to make good choices in all aspects of life including nutrition.  Know, however, that if they can’t always make good healthy eating decisions, it is okay.  The most important thing that you can do as a parent in teaching them, as in so many other aspects of life, is modeling.  If you are making good eating choices in front of them, and cooking good healthy, low-sugar meals for them when they are sitting at YOUR table, you are making a world of difference in their futures.  They will have those memories of dinnertime rituals at your table forever and carry those on to future generations.  So set those examples at home, and with a little hope and a lot of prayer, let’s look forward to a future generation of very healthy eaters that can make great decisions on their own.

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Happy summer!

But it said, “Sugar Free”!?!?

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For the most part, I think most would agree that sugar is bad, very bad!  It causes a copious amount of diseases, is almost entirely responsible for the obesity epidemic in our country, and is 8 times more addictive than cocaine.  Yes 8 TIMES more addictive than COCAINE!

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So what about all those “sugar free” choices out there?  Well, this is the definition by the FDA of “sugar free” : “Sugar Free”: Less than 0.5 g sugars per RACC and per labeled serving (or for meals and main dishes, less than 0.5 g per labeled serving) (c)(1)
Contains no ingredient that is a sugar or generally understood to contain sugars except as noted below (*)  You can read their definitions on the FDA website here.  The problem with this definition is the fact that there are a lot of ingredients these days that are hidden in our foods that will spike your insulin levels faster than cane sugar and are not identified as so called “sugar”.  Many of these are sneaky ingredients in foods you would never guess like salad dressings, spices and seasonings, and marinated products.  These are foods that you may still be eating because I know you are not eating those awful processed foods anymore, right?

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You need to know that just because you don’t see “sugar” or dare I say, “high fructose corn syrup” on the label does not mean you are home free.

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Here is a list taken from JJ Virgin’s Sugar Impact Diet book:

The Many Names for Sugar

Barley Malt

Beet Sugar

Brown Sugar

Buttered Syrup

Cane Juice Crystals

Cane Sugar

Caramel

Carob Syrup

Castor Sugar

Confectioners’ Sugar

Corn Syrup

Corn Syrup Solids

Date Sugar

Demerara Sugar

Dextran

Dextrose

Diastatic Malt

Diatase

Ethyl Maltol

Fructose

Fruit Juice

Fruit Juice Concentrate

Galactose

Glucose

Glucose Solids

Golden Sugar

Golden Syrup

Grape Syrup

High-Fructose Corn Syrup

Honey

Icing Sugar

Invert Sugar

Lactose

Malt Syrup

Maltodextrin (This is a BIG one!)

Maltose

Maple Syrup

Molasses

Muscovado Sugar

Panocha

Raw Sugar

Refiner’s Syrup

Rice Syrup

Sorbitol

Sorghum Syrup

Sucrose

Treacle

Turbinado Sugar

Yellow Sugar

And don’t forget the sweeteners:

Acesulfame Potassium

Alitame

Aspartame

Aspartame-acesulfame salt

Cyclamate

Isomalt

Neohesperidin dihydrochalcone

Nutrasweet

Saccharin

Spenda

Sucralose

If you see any of these ingredients – Stay away – far, far away.  If you are still drinking diet drinks – wean yourself, by drinking sparking water, La Croix, fresh brewed tea, or water!  It does the body good!

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The sneakiest one on the list for me has been the Maltodextrin!  It is in more than you could imagine.  I have found it in sauces, and especially seasoning mixes.  For instance, I used to love dumping a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix into 16 ounces of sour cream for a yummy veggie dip.  Then, I actually took a minute to look at the ingredients, and there it was, in black and white – #3 on the ingredient list – Maltodextrin.  That was a huge wake up call for me when I thought I was doing it all right!  I cannot say it enough, “READ YOUR LABELS!”  A really good rule of thumb to follow is this:  If it has more than 5 ingredients, you probably shouldn’t eat it, but if it has ingredients you cannot pronounce, you definitely should not eat it!  I guarantee that if you saw the manufacturing and chemical processing of these products you wouldn’t want them in your body.  Best to choose foods grown from the earth or raised grazing the green grass.  These are your REAL FOODS!

The other mention on this subject is the Glycemic Index.  There is more study needed on this index, but it is a good resource going back to ingredients like Maltodextrin.  The Glycemic Index measures how much the food you eat affects your blood sugar levels.  The higher the rating, the greater the effect the food will have on your blood sugar.  The scale ranges from 0 to 100, with 100 being the highest (well-used to be the highest).  A 100 rating will shoot your blood sugar through the roof!  Here are some examples:

Remember that Maltodextrin? Well, it measured higher than pure Glucose which used to top the scale:

Maltodextrin – 110

Pure Glucose – 100

Splenda – 80

Sucrose (Table Sugar) – 65

Maple Syrup – 54

Honey – 50

Lactose – 45

Coconut Palm Sugar – 35

Maltitol – 35

Agave – 15

I like this website published by the University of Sydney, that allows you to enter in foods to calculate the impact it has on your body.  This website published by Harvard is also an eye-opening chart that lists common foods with their Glycemic Index as well as the Glycemic Load which takes into account the serving size, or “dose” of sugar.  The difference between the Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load is the serving size.  The “Index” measures the sugar impact on the same amount of food, not a typical serving size.  The “Load” uses the Glycemic Index as its foundation but takes serving size into account.

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Watch out for those hidden sugars.  “No Sugar Added” always mean sugar!  Food labels are tricky.  I really like the way JJ Virgin writes in her book, “Let’s be honest.  You get excited when you see that sparkly starburst on the box telling you there’s been no sugar added to those fruit roll-ups.  Well, I’ll be delicate here.  They’re taking some poetic license – with you health.  Manufacturers give you some credit, and they know that if you saw a box that read “21 teaspoons of added sugar for your metabolic upheaval!” you might think twice.  So they’ve spent a lot of time and money testing ways to get around your sensible objections so they can manipulate you into buying as much of what they’re selling as possible, guilt and worry free.  They’ve made all your favorite treats “without added sugar,” so you could have your cake and eat it, too….And just because a manufacturer labels a food or drink “no added sugar,” that in no way means that it doesn’t contain sugar.  No added sugar does not mean sugar-free.  It can also mean they’ve used fruit juice concentrate as their sweetener.  That’s essentially fructose without the fiber. (Fructose goes straight to your liver!)  And remember that white flour will end up as sugar anyway, so many of the ingredients in your no-sugar added cookie will turn into sugar as soon as you start munching.  Labels can be misleading.”  JJ Virgin – Sugar Impact Diet.

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In a nutshell, read your labels – the ones on the back, buy “Real Food”, and know your sugars and their impact.  And remember:

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Preparing for the Road Trip!

Yesterday, Erin posted about air travel, and relatives or friends preparing for your visit.  Summer also means road trips, and we do quite a few!  The Lutz clan just returned from the Texas coast.  I knew after a busy school year, that I wanted it to be a relaxing time for the family.  As much as I love to cook, I didn’t want to be running upstairs, while the rest of the family played in the pool, just to start dinner.  I also know that my kitchen at home is much more stocked than any vacation home on the planet – and I am not one that likes to be without my kitchen tools.  It is just so much faster and more efficient to have the right tools!  You can find many of the tools we use in our store.  The best thing to do is prepare in advance!!!

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There are a few staples we always take along with us (coconut oil, a spinner, cream, eggs, and Kerrygold), and several meals that are easy to prepare and freeze for easy travel that have become our “summer road trip meals”.  It takes a little planning, but it is totally worth it, to prep some food before you go.  I start making a list about a week before we leave, so I can do my grocery runs and start prepping!  A few of the things I did before we left were:

1. Spiraled some zucchini for noodles, and packed in a airtight container.  Spaghetti is a super easy meal to throw together in a pinch.  I took some precooked sausage that I boiled to throw on top with my favorite low-carb pasta sauce.  Normally, I would top with shredded mozzarella or parmesan, but I forgot the shredded cheese.  We did have string cheese, so for those that wanted cheese atop their spaghetti, I just pulled some strings off the string cheese.  Along with a salad, topped with avocado, we had a meal in a flash.

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2.  I used my Cuisinart to make Cauliflower rice in about 2 minutes.  I put it in a Ziplock bag as flat as possible for easy packing, and freeze.  This freezes so well, and then all you have to do is defrost, throw on a cookie sheet for about 25 minutes and you have rice ready to go.  Serve with fish (you catch) or I used a chicken curry and broccolini that I had in the fridge.  Another well-balanced meal!IMG_2637

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3.  Pack those frozen casseroles you have made when you have extra ingredients.  I had a frozen zucchini lasagna made from extra ingredients when I made one recently for dinner.  Defrost, throw in the oven, and dinner is ready in 40 minutes – no cooking or dirty dishes!

One trick I use for freezing is to line an 8×8 pyrex with heavy duty foil before I start layering lasagna or any other casserole.  I wrap it up and freeze in the dish.   Once frozen, I lift the whole thing out of the Pyrex and wrap in Saran very well.  Now you have a brick of food that is easy to pack in the ice chest and don’t risk leaving your dish away from home.  When you are ready to cook it, remove the plastic wrap and defrost in an 8×8 dish.  Almost any condo or vacation home has an 8×8 pyrex or metal pan I have noticed.  You can cook it in the foil in which it was wrapped.  Check out this link at Southern Living for step by step freezing directions.

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4. Another easy meal is precooked Bar-B-Que.  I bought a precooked whole brisket which gave us dinner, a few lunches and dinner ready to microwave when we returned home.  My trick for this is easy – save your bacon grease from breakfast when you cook on a foil lined cookie sheet.  Yes!  You can leave it out all day – I promise it will be fine!  I plop that slab of meat in the grease, wrap it in extra foil, and you will have the juiciest pre-cooked meat you can imagine.  I shredded cabbage before I left home and cooked it with bacon, onion and garlic.  Store in an airtight container, and this re-heats better than any other veggie and is so good for you.  We will be sharing this recipe soon!  It is an excellent accompaniment to Bar-B-Que.  This is the shredded cabbage before I cooked it!

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5.  I made another casserole that I had in the freezer that was similar to Chicken Divan like most of our mothers used to make.  It’s the one with chicken, broccoli and cheese in a creamy curry sauce.  The original recipe is almost Keto, but I change out the canned soups for more mayo, lemon, broth, and cream.  Top with lots of cheese and you have a winner, winner, chicken dinner.  I always serve with a side salad.  Add the avocado my friends!

6.  Generally we have scrambled or poached (yes, I take my poacher) eggs and bacon for breakfast.  Check out our amazon store to see my poacher.  Sometimes I mix in chorizo with the scrambled eggs to change it up.  Last time I made a quiche at home, my kids requested ham and cheese, so I decided to do this ahead since the boys were playing golf early the next morning.  It made for a quick breakfast with no clean up.  I sprayed a casserole dish with Coconut Oil spray, cubed some ham, topped with cheddar cheese, and mixed 8 eggs with 1 1/2 cups of cream and garlic salt and pepper (go light on the salt for once on this one because the ham and cheese are already salty.)  Poor the egg mixture over the ham and cheese and store in the fridge overnight topped with saran.  In the morning when everyone is rising, remove the saran and pop it in the oven at 350 degrees for about an hour.  This gave us two easy morning meals that were very filling, and the kids gobbled it up!

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7.  We had tons of left-overs at this point, so we served buffet style one night, and also at lunch if we weren’t making lettuce wraps for the beach.

8.  We always eat out one night for some fresh fish.  It just happened to be Snapper season, so my husband and I both started with peel ’em and eat ’em shrimp, and ordered the Snapper Special at Seafood and Spaghetti Works that was fantastic.  It was blackened in butter and topped with sliced avocado and a crabmeat pico de gallo.  It was amazing, and it could not have been more Keto.  Once you learn to eat Keto, it really becomes easy to eat out.  See our tips in our eating out post.

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Isn’t that beautiful?  REAL food is just awesome!  These are the foods that were designed to  fuel our human bodies.

As you can see, I really did no cooking at all for seven nights.  It was all reheating, and I had a healthy dinner ready every night with less than 20 minutes of prep time.  I literally prepped dinner and set the table while the children were bathing each night!

If you want a relaxing vacation with your family, plan ahead!  It is so worth it when you can prepare dinner in a flash while the family is winding down from a fun day in the sun. (Wear your sunscreen!)

We all hope everyone has a safe, fun, relaxing summer filled with memory making vacations!

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