Thursday, December 27, 2012


I have fallen in love with Coconut Oil. The local grocery here has a fairly nice selection of organic products so I was able to find a nice organic coconut oil to add to my pantry. Not only has it become a staple in my diet (I eat 2 tbsp, everyday!) but it has also become a beauty must have! It is truly miraculous!

For years I have suffered with really severe dandruff and excessively oily hair (doesn't seem like the two should go together, does it?) and I have tried tons of different dandruff shampoos/treatments with -zero- success.  If I so much as lightly scratched my head, it would trigger one hell of a blizzard and no matter how hard I tried, my hair was always lightly dusted in flakes which just made it look unwashed. It was really just awful and very embarrasing!! After some extensive research, I discovered a few new things about my condition. I mistakenly thought that my "dandruff" was just the scaling of an extremely dry scalp. Wrong! Actually, it is a fungal infection of the scalp!!! (Ewwww!!) Not only did I have a fungus ( Malassezia) on my scalp but I was actually feeding it! Apparently, this fungus was feeding off of the sebum that my over active sebaceous glands (another lovely symptom of PCOS)  were pumping out by the gallons! No wonder I had it so badly, this stuff was absolutely thriving on my scalp!

 Coconut oil has natural anti-fungal properties (and is also a great moisturizer) so I decided that if it was good enough to ingest, surely it couldn't hurt to slather it on my head! I warmed it up (until it was soft but not liquid) and massaged it into my scalp then I covered my head with a shower cap and let it sit for about 30-45min. I did this every other day for one week. By the end of the week, my dandruff was completely GONE. I am dead serious. Now, I do it once per week (because CO is kind of expensive) to prevent any future fungal growth. I could not be happier!!!!!

Now, on to the second amazing cure! My sweetie is an auto mechanic. This means he is always working with his hands and during the cold winter months they really take a beating. His poor hands are so chapped that they crack, bleed and are very painful. We tried all kinds of different salves and lotions that were supposed to treat them but never saw much improvement with any of them. One night I decided that we should try some coconut oil on them. I got a big glob out of the jar and massaged it into his hands (it melted very easily with the body heat) and the very next day, you could SEE the improvement!! Not only were his hands softer and less cracked but he also said they no longer felt "tight". He now uses coconut oil on them every evening after his shower and no longer has sore hands!

I keep 2 different types in the house. Unrefined and Refined. Refined has hardly no scent and only a very very light flavor to it. This is most useful for cooking when you don't want to add coconut flavoring to your dish. The unrefined probably boasts the most health benefits but it does taste like coconut. I really like to cook my chicken in it because it sort of reminds me of my sister's coconut chicken. I also think the extra coconut flavoring adds something special to stir frys and such.

The most important thing about buying Coconut Oil - make sure that it is NON-HYDROGENATED!! If it does not specifically state "non-hydrogenated" on the jar, I put it back on the shelf. I am only familiar with Spectrum brand CO but it clearly states that it is "non-hydrogenated" right on the jar.

 I guess I have ranted enough about my love for coconut oil! Have any of you tried it? If not, I recommend giving it a try! ^_^

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Untimely Demise of the Gingerbread Man

Ack! Staying on plan around the holidays is always the hardest. Seems like every time I turn around, something yummy is there, just calling to me! Most of the time I am able to resist the temptation. I have this self imposed rule about off-plan eats. I will only indulge if it is something that is truly indulgence-worthy. If it is something that is really out-of-this-world delicious, I have some (a small portion, I might add) without any feelings of guilt or remorse. This keeps me happy and happiness keeps me on track. About a week ago, I had a package of gourmet dark chocolate covered pecans. They were absolutely AMAZING and I relished eating them. Did I feel bad about it afterward? Not at all. They were a gift to me from my employer who can afford gourmet chocolate covered pecans (which I most definitely can not!) and they were phenomenally good. In fact, I believe they were so good that I am probably ruined for any other type of chocolate covered nut, forever.

Today, I arrive at work and lo' and behold - the daughter has brought home-baked gingerbread men cookies. I have never been a big fan of gingerbread cookies but they were cute! I went on about my work day and attempted to ignore the cookies. I am just getting ready to walk out of the door and my employer insists that I take a cookie with me. Now, I could have declined. If he wasn't 91 years old and if it didn't look like it would just make his day for me to take the damn cookie! So.... I took the cookie figuring I could bring it home to my honey at least.

Not my best idea. During my ride home, I can feel this gingerbread man staring at me with his beady little frosting eyes. I feel as if he is trying to communicate with me. Like he is saying "come on, you know you want a bite!" and I am horrified! Noooooo!!!! I do not want a bite! I don't even like gingerbread that much! Finally I stuff him down in my purse figuring that would be the end of that. Nope. I was wrong. I am still thinking about that damn cookie! I have actually convinced myself that I looooooove gingerbread cookies and that it would be perfectly okay for me to have this one.

What!? Noooo!

I decide to dig the cookie out of my purse, car swerving all over the road while I try to reach the passenger floor board where I exiled him to. Finally... I get my hands on it. Yay! I just love gingerbread cookies! I am in the process of unwrapping him when blue lights flash behind me. OMG! I just had 4 points taken off my license in July for speeding. I promised myself, no more speeding tickets! Dammit! Damn this gingerbread man! It's all his fault! (After all, he is a man) Now my insurance is going to go through the roof again! ;_;

Well, as it turns out I wasn't speeding, he thought maybe I had been drinking because of all the swerving. I remember this happened to my sister when she first started to drive but I have never ever been pulled over for swerving. It was embarrassing. I told him I was messing with the radio. Anyhoo, I get back on the road with nothing but a warning ticket (phew!) and have now firmly decided that the gingerbread man and I now have bad blood between us. He has clearly wronged me so I decide to toss him out the window, but not before breaking both his legs! ^_~

Friday, December 21, 2012

Sherry Mushroom Cream Sauce *Yum!*

I promised that I would share some recipes here so that's what I am going to do today. I slightly modified last nights dinner menu. It was raining cats and dogs here so rather then tossing the pork chops on our outdoor gas grill, I elected to use our trusty ol' electric indoor table top grill (the knock-off-george) instead. I always prefer things cooked on the gas grill but when I'm not willing to get soaked, I'm just as happy using the electric one. I also opted to saute some fresh turnip greens and forgo the sauerkraut. I really love sauerkraut with pork but I picked up a bag of already washed/trimmed fresh turnip greens and I just couldn't resist! I did however, make the sherry mushroom cream sauce to top the pork chops. I have decided I am going to share that recipe. I am not sure if I can really call this an "original" recipe because I find it doubtful that someone out there hasn't already done this but I can say that this was thrown together in my kitchen on a whim, without any prior knowledge of similar recipes!

Things you will need:
  • Sherry Cooking Wine 2tbsp for a strong sherry flavor, one for a milder flavor
  • Heavy Whipping Cream 1/2C (or 8 tbsp) 
  • Mushrooms - if you like a "chunky" sauce, use more mushrooms - for a "saucier" sauce, use less. That easy! I used 2 large mushrooms (the kind you can buy out of the bulk bin at the grocery store)
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
Start by rough chopping your mushrooms. I like mine to still be "meaty" so I don't chop them very fine but this can be altered depending on personal preference. While I am chopping my 'shrooms I am melting the butter in a non-stick (very important!!) saute pan. Add 'shrooms to pan. Cook until browned just a bit and just tender.

Add the sherry. *This is when your kitchen will start to smell FABULOUS!!* Cook for another minute or so then slowly whisk in the heavy whipping cream. Once the cream is entirely incorporated, set your burner to low and let it reduce.

Continue to stir and cook until it reaches desired consistency (the more it reduces, the thicker it will get)

Once it reaches desired consistency, remove from burner and use it top meat of your choice!

Here's the carb breakdown for the entire recipe:

Sherry Cooking Wine - 2g/2Tbsp
Heavy Whipping Cream - 3.3g/per 1/2C
Mushrooms - 1g (actually it is less but I always count them as 1g anyway)
Butter - 0g

Total for the Sauce: 6.3g and it makes about 2 servings (maybe 3 if you don't like quite as much as I do!) so that works out to be just a smidge over 3g per person   ^_^

This happens to be my favorite sauce because I love mushrooms and I love Sherry so the combo just works for me but I do make other cream based sauces that I think are extremely tasty too. I will share some of those in future posts!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

For the Love of Food!

I'm enjoying a lazy day off today so I haven't done much in the way of cooking. My super-yummy-honey-bunny made us breakfast this morning. He makes great eggs! Due to our conflicting schedules, it's rare for the two of us to actually have breakfast together so breakfast was a special treat today. For lunch I threw together a refrigerator salad and he had a can of soup. I'm telling ya, it's been a gourmet day!! ^_~

Anyhoo, I have been thinking about this blog all day!! Now don't you feel special? Great! You should! I used to do a lot of blogging years ago when myspace was still the 'in thing'. I haven't done it since and I'm feeling a bit like the tin-man! I decided to go back and read some of my old blogs in hopes that it would trigger the witty, clever writer that lurks somewhere beneath this girl, to resurface. No such luck. Maybe we can slowly coax her to come out and play again? If not, I guess you guys are just stuck with me!

I am going to add a link to my you tube channel somewhere on this blog. I haven't added any new videos in a couple of years but I am planning on picking it back up soon. I haven't been able to bring myself to go back and watch any of my Vlogs yet. Seeing myself on video just makes me cringe.

I have pork chops thawing for dinner tonight. I'm thinking grilled pork chops with a sherry mushroom sauce, sauerkraut and a crisp salad. Did I mention that I just love food? Yes, yes - I know that this is partly what caused my weight problems to begin with! I think that is probably why low calorie diets never worked for me. I love to eat. I have no shame in admitting it either. Fortunately, low-carbing gives me the best of both worlds. I eat delicious, healthful, wholesome foods and I lose weight doing it! I haven't stopped eating, I have just modified what I am eating.

I wasn't kidding when I said I love food. I love everything about food. I love the sights, the smells, the textures. I can spend hours leisurely wandering around the grocery store. This drives most people crazy, there isn't a person who knows me that would ever volunteer to go grocery shopping with me!! ^_^
Of course, since I love food so much it only stands to reason that I also love to prepare it. I really love creating original recipes and tweaking existing ones to fit my lifestyle. I will start sharing some of them in future blog posts :)

Smaller Jeans!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Pardon the Dust!

I am still in the process of trying to get this blog set up and organized, my apologies for the disorganization! I am very fortunate to have a very artistic, blog-savvy sister to help me out. I could have never set this thing up so nicely on my own. If you like my graphics you should hop on over to her blog, Faery Ink and check out all the goodies she creates and sells.

Now on to the good low-carb chatter! :)  I was first introduced to the low-carb lifestyle nearly a decade ago. At the time, I weighed around 300+lbs. I had already attempted numerous calorie-restriction diets but found them extremely difficult to adhere to. I was hungry and miserable all of the time so my attempts were usually short lived, ending in complete and total failure. I had never heard much about low-carb diets at the time. That all changed for me one day while I was browsing the book section at the Goodwill. I found a copy of Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution. Now, at this time in my life I had sort of made a habit out of collecting various dieting books. I believe I actually picked up a few others that day as well. I am not sure why I chose to read the Atkins book first but I am very grateful that I did. It really changed my life. I started Atkins induction (which is the first phase of his diet) about 3 days after bringing that book home. Within the first six months, I had lost nearly half of my weight. Unfortunately, I didn't commit myself to the long term lifestyle change that was required to maintain my loss. From that point on, I had an on again/off again relationship with low-carbing that resulted in cycles of weight gain and loss. I never reached my maximum weight again (I was lucky) but I was also not able to maintain my maximum losses either. This is because I refused to commit myself to a new lifestyle.

If there is anything that I have learned over this past decade, it is that everyone that has ever preached to me about lifestyle change, was 100% correct. Low-Carbing cannot just be a 'diet' if you expect to maintain your losses. In September of this year, I decided that I was finally ready to make that commitment. I have held strong ever since and I am down  another 40lbs since then and still losing!

I am hoping to utilize this blog as a place to share some of my knowledge, tips and tricks to help others who may be ready to make this journey themselves. So, if you're up for it, pack a bag and come travel with me!