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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Zaycon Foods Boneless Chicken Review

 My family eats a lot of boneless chicken breast.  I normally purchase it on sale for $1.99 at either Kroger, Martin's, Costco, or Sams; however, once I get it home sometimes it is a gamble as to the quality of the chicken and what I can't see in the package.  Back in the summer I saw a review for Zaycon Foods in a magazine and since I love to save money and buy quality products, I was very interested in checking the company out.   After researching online, I decided to make my first purchase and I bought 40 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast for $1.84 lb.  The 40 lb box was $73.60.  I went online to and looked for upcoming events, near where I live and found one about 20 miles away. They deliver to areas several times a year and you can buy fresh chicken in 40 pound boxes.  Once I placed my order and paid online, all I had to do was go pick it up at the scheduled time and place.  They did need to delay it one day, but informed me of the change ahead of time.  I went to a church parking lot and picked up my box. They put a large piece of plastic in the back of my svu and put the box, pictured below in the back for me.  The chicken was cold, from the refridgerated truck and I could tell it had not been frozen.

 When I got home I opened up the box and found a sealed bag.  I cut the bag open and found several bags inside. 

 I pulled the first 2 chicken breasts out one of the bags and was very pleased to see how big the breasts were and how good they looked with minimal fat.  Trimming them and repackaging into meal portion bags went quickly, since there wasn't much to trim away.  In fact, I ended up with less than 2 pounds of fat and skin from the entire box, much less than I would normally end up with from the store brands.

 While we were repackaging the breast, we cut several up and grilled them for dinner and leftovers.  They were delicious.  I am very happy with ease of the transaction, the quality of the chicken breast, and the overall taste.  Each breast was approx. 1 pound and I was able to divide them easily into smaller portion controled servings.  I plan on ordering from them again.  They have other items and I  have already placed myself on the waiting list for bacon and in the spring, plan on placing an order for the 93/7 Ground Beef.  I highly recommend you check them out, if you get the opporunity.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Zucchini Spaghetti

Zucchini-1 per person
Spaghetti Sauce

You can use zucchini in place of spaghetti noodles in any of your spaghetti recipes.  I .  normally use 1 zucchini per person.
Use a juliene peeler and run it along the long side of the zucchini, to make your "spaghetti noodles". 
Place the Zucchini in boiling salted water and boil for 3-4 minutes.  Drain and serve with spaghetti sauce.

Friday, August 30, 2013


1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
2 tsp orange zest
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup semi sweet chocolate pieces
 1/2 cup toasted almond pieces(optional)
Preheat oven at 325 degrees.  Line baking sheet with parchament paper.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, vanilla, almond extract, and zest. Combine flour, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt. Stir into the creamed mixture until just blended. Mix in almonds. 

Divide dough into two pieces. Form into long flat loaves about 1/2 inch tall and 12 inches long. Place the loaves 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.   

Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until a light golden brown. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.

With a serrated knife, cut diagonally into slices about 1/2 inch thick. Lay the slices flat on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, turning over once. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.  

Place chocolate chips into a small, microwave-safe bowl. Melt chocolate in the microwave, stirring every 20 to 30 seconds until smooth. Drizzle chocolate on top of pieces. Let stand at room temperature until set. Store biscotti at room temperature in an airtight container. 

Cocoa Brownies

 Cocoa Brownies

Makes 16 large or 25 small brownies

10 tablespoons (140 grams) unsalted butter(you can use light butter)
1 1/4 cups  sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, cold
1/2 cup  all-purpose flour


Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.

Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium microwave proof bowl. Place in microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each 30 seconds until melted and combined.

Stir in the vanilla.. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes.  Spread evenly in the lined pan.
Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack. Place the pan in the freezer once cool, for 30 minutes, if you want to cut them with clean lines.
Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

4 Minute meatloaf in a mug

4 oz ground beef
2 Tablespoons oatmeal
2 Tablespoons milk
1 Tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon onion soup mix

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and but in a microwave safe mug or ramekin sprayed with cooking spray.  Microwave for 4 minutes, or until cooked. Drain and let sit an additional 3 minutes.

I made up additional single servings,wrapped in plastic wrap and froze.  These can be pulled out and microwaved as above.  You may have to cook a little longer if you do not defrost first.   

Chicken Cordon Bleu-low calorie

Cooking Spray
6--3 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast pieces
2 slices wheat bread
1/2 cup fresh spinach
2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese 
6 slices ham*
6 slices swiss cheese
3 egg whites

*I used a package of costco that has 4 slices for 70 calories, allowing me to use 4 thin slices per portion. 
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray.

Lay slices of chicken between waxed paper and pound with a mallet to thin out slices.

Place one slice of ham and cheese on each slice of chicken.  Fold in half or roll up if you prefer.

In a food processor, mix bread, spinach, italian seasoning, and parmesan cheese.
place egg whites in one bowl and bread mixture in another bowl.

Dip chicken in egg wash and then in bread mixture, before placing on cooking sheet.

Spray top with cooking spray and cook 25 minutes or until cooked thru.  

Under 230 calories a piece.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Eggplant Parmesan Stacks

2 eggplants
1 cup crushed fiber one cereal
1 cup bread crumbs
3 TBSP flax seed
2 eggs, whisked
Cooking spray
Spaghetti Sauce
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese 

Slice eggplants in 1/2 inch slices and place in a colander with salt.  Allow to drain for 30 minutes and then rinse off salt.  Pat slices dry.
Preheat oven at 375. 
Place egg in a bowl and in another bowl mix crushed fiber one cereal, bread crumbs, and flax seed.  Dip each slice into egg and then coat on both sides with dry mixture.  place on parchment lined baking sheet.  Spray top of slice with cooking spray before cooking for 20 minutes. Turn over and spray again and cook for another 10 minutes.

Top one slice with spaghetti sauce and mozzarella cheese.  Place another piece on top and repeat.  Place stack back into oven to melt cheese.  You can add as much sauce and cheese to your liking.  I prefer this to regular eggplant parmesan because it is not as soft and mushy; but still has a great taste.   Since this is baked, not fried, you also cut a ton of calories and fat.

Lentil Tacos

We have been trying to eat healthier and add more fiber to our diets.  I made this Friday night and had to make another batch on Monday.  My family did not even miss the ground beef and in fact we told one of our teen age daughters it was taco meat and she ate it no questions(normally she will not eat anything "healthy".

1/2lb cooked lentils
1 package low sodium taco mix
2/3 cup of water

Mix all ingredients and cook until thickened.  Serve on taco shells, with toppings of your choice.  Three were a very filling dinner for an adult.

Microwave Granola

3 cups oats
1 cup 5 grain blend
1/2 cup flax seed
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup nuts
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup cheerios
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup coconut
1/3 cup raisins/craisins

Mix first 8 ingredients in a 9 X 11 casserole dish.  Mix in honey and vanilla.  Add dish to microwave and microwave on high for 2 minutes.  Take out and stir up ingredients.  Microwave another 3 minutes.

Allow to cool and then mix in last 3 ingredients.  Store in an airtight container.

This recipe can be changed depending on your individual tastes and what you have in your pantry.  I have been making this recipe for years and this last batch I added flax and chia seeds for the first time.  Adding these two ingredients made the granola more filling.

Pepper Steak

Our garden is brimming with peppers--green, red, banana; which means one thing to my husband--pepper steak time.  This is a quick and easy meal to wip up in less than 30 minutes and can be served with rice or potatoes.

1 1/2lb steak, sliced thin
1 TBSP olive oil
5 green peppers, cut into strips
3 red peppers, cut into strips
7 banana pepper, cut into strips
1 large onion,sliced thin
1 large garlic clove,minced
1 1/2cups beef broth
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 TBSP soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup water
2 TBSP corn starch

Heat olive oil in a wok and once heated, add steak, onions, and garlic to pan.  Stir-fry until onions are transparent and steak is still a little pink.
Add beef broth, tomato sauce, salt, and soy sauce to pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, uncover and increase to high heat.  Add peppers and cook for 5 minutes.  Add cornstarch to 1/2cup hot water.  Once mixed, add to pan and reduce heat to simmer.  Simmer 3 minutes or until sauce is thickened.   Serve over rice or mashed potatoes. 

Low calorie Yogurt Strawberry muffins

2013-07-09 11.01.15.jpg

This is a low calorie basic muffin recipe, that can be substituted with different ingredients to change the flavors.  This makes 12 muffins, and has 70 calories as written below.

1 cup crushed fiberone cereal
3/4 cup flour
2 egg whites,or 6 TBSP egg whites in a carton
12 oz Strawberry non-fat yogurt(100 calories a cup)
1/3 cup Splenda
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup low calorie strawberry jam,

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place 12 baking cups in a muffin pan.

Mix together egg whites, applesauce, and yogurt.  Stir in cereal and remaining ingredients, just until moistened.  If you want to add fresh, frozen, or dried berries, add them right before portioning out to muffin cups.  Divide batter among 12 cups, or you can make mini muffins(reduce cooking time).

Bake 23-25 minutes until toothpick comes out clean and golden brown.

**Jam is an optional ingredient,but we love adding jam, if we are making a compatible muffin.  I have also used vanilla non-fat yogurt, when making apple muffins.  I have added flax seed to replace some of the flour.  I have made batches with both wheat and white flour. I have made blueberry muffins, with blueberry yogurt and dried blueberries. These are very filling and not too sweet. 

Beef and Asparagus with Noodle Stir-fry

1 lb sirloin steak, thinly sliced
7 oz chinese egg noodles
1 tsp olive oil
1 lb asparagus, chopped into 1-2 inch pieces
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 inch chopped fresh gingerroot
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
4 tbsp beef stock
1 1/2 tbsp rice wine
2 tbsp soy sauce
sesame seeds and chia seeds for garnish, optional

1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 tsp rice wine
Stir the marinade ingredients together and add the thin slices of steak, coating all sides.  Let this marinade at least 15 minutes, the longer the better if you have time.

 Boil the noodles, drain and set aside.

Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a wok or skillet.  Add the asparagus and stir-fry for 1 minute.  Add the beef and marinade into the wok and continue stir-frying until the beef is cooked to your taste, about 1 1/2 minutes on medium high.  Remove the beef and asparagus from wok and set aside, leaving an liquid in pan..

Stir-fry the garlic, gingerroot, and onion for about 1 minute, until onion is soft.  Add the stock, rice wine, and soy sauce, and bring to a boil.  Return beef, asparagus, and noodles to wok,  Mix all ingredients together and stir until everything is heated through.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and chia seeds to taste.

Serves 4, 356 calories a serving.
Reheats well for leftovers and lunches. 

Ground Beef and Cilantro Soup

 This soup is very filling and I normally make it with a stirfry or as a light lunch.  This reheats really well and is about 100 calories a serving.
8 oz ground beef
8 cups chicken broth
3 egg whites, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
1 TBSP finely chopped fresh ginger
1 TBSP finely chopped scallion
4-5 TBSP finely chopped cilantro

1 tsp salt
1 tsp splenda
1 tsp Rice Wine
1 tsp light soy sauce

 Combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl and marinate the beef for 20 minutes.

Bring stock to a boil.  Add beef, stirring to break up any clumps, and let simmer for 10 minutes.

Slowly add the egg whites, stirring rapidly so that they form into fine shreds.  Add salt and pepper and taste to check seasonging.

To serve, place gingerroot, scallion, and cilantro in the base of individual bowls and pour soup on top.

Serves 4-6. 

Low Calorie Baked Chicken Nuggets

A nutritionist suggested we start using Fiber One Cereal while cooking, to bulk up the amount of fiber in our diets.  Using this crushed, allows me to use it as a coating, in sauces, and even in granola.  The cereal to us is nasty tasting as a cereal, but it does not change the taste  when used in cooking.

1 lb chicken cut into chunks
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup wheat bread crumbs
1/4 cup crushed fiber one cereal
3 TBSP Flax seed
1/4 cup milk

1.  Mix bread crumbs, crushed fiber one cereal, and flax seed in a shallow bowl or plate.  Pour 1/4 cup milk into another bowl.
2.  Preheat oven to 400.  Spray baking sheet with olive oil spray.
3.  Dip chicken chunks into milk and then dip into bread crumb/fiber one mixture.  Press mixture into chicken and place on baking sheet.
4.  Spray chicken nuggest with olive oil spray and bake for 10 minutes.  Turn chicken over and spray with olive oil and bake for another 10 minutes or until done.  These chicken nuggets are very crunchy without the fat. 

Makes 4 servings 166 calories each.

Monday, July 8, 2013

How I went to Key West without Lymphedema compression hose for a week.

 My week of vacation without wearing compression hose and how I came home with only minimal swelling.

My husband and I went to Key West, FL for a week June 26-July 3, 2013 and except for wearing my compression hose on the plane, they stayed packed away for a week.  This is the second year that I have given myself a week vacation from my compression hose, and I caution you as you read this to look at the possibilities and see if you are able to build up to this or even go a couple of days without your hose.  I was diagnosised in 2004, and very closely monitor and maintain my full body lymphedema on a daily basis.  This works for me so that I know what I can get away with at times and also so that I know if my LE swelling is maintained.  Closely monitoring your measurements and skin condition, is a must for lifetime management, because you have to know what works and doesn't work for your body, as it is different for all of us.  

Several days before my vacation, no matter if I am riding in a car or flying, I take it easy and do not schedule any appointments or big chores.  I wear my reid sleeves more around the house and keep my legs up.  If I am flying I wear my reid sleeves on the flight.  This year we took a Delta flight instead of Southwest and it was the first time I did not have room to wear my Reid sleeves on my flight and the pain was horrible and almost unbearable, the worst was when the plane was decending.  Extra pain meds did not even help, so from now on I don't care what I need to do, I will wear my Reid Sleeves, because it makes the flight bearable.  When I go by car I keep my legs up on the dash or in the backseat and stop frequently for stretching.

As soon as I got to my room in Key West, FL it was hot and the hose had to come off.  Key West is very humid and the temperatures are in the high 80s or 90s, so humid that we sweated thru everything we had(yuck).  The island is very small--only 2 X4 miles, so we did not rent a car and chose to walk and bike everywhere.  We remained active thru the week, but by closely monitoring my limbs for swelling, taking breaks, and sometimes just not pushing it if my pain became too much.   I was able to be comfortable the majority of the days.  I was in the water a lot and when you are in the water, the water acts as compression, so stay in those swimming pools, lakes, and oceans.  Also, another added benefit is that the salt water is great for killing bacteria on our LE limbs.  I normally take 2 Extended release 40mg Ocoytins a day and take another as needed pain medicine.  During vacation since I know I want to be active and I only allow this once a year, I take extra as needed pain meds, so that I can enjoy my activities.  I normally do not take many as needed pain meds, but my doctor told me long ago, if you need to take them to do an activity you would miss doing otherwise then that is what the pain medicine is there for.  During this week I was able to snorkel 3 times, learn to scuba dive and take 2 one hour scuba dives to the Key West Reef(3rd largest in the world) jet ski, parasail, lay on the beach, swim in the ocean, walk around and sightsee, and bike.  I can honestly say, this was the best vacation of my life and worth sacrifices I made to enjoy myself.  I brought my flexitouch machine and my reid sleeves with me and while I was in the room I wore my reid sleeves and kept up with my daily cycles on my flexitouch machine and was able to come back with only 1/2-1 inch difference in my limbs, which I have been working on since vacation to get them down to where I try to maintain them.  I did have another glitch in this plan because of Delta.  They left my bags with my flexitouch and reid sleeves outside in the rain and they were all soaked when I got home and it took 2 days for them to completly dry out, delaying me working on getting my limbs back down to size, but now that they are dry, my swelling is coming down again.  I will continue to take these yearly 1 week vacations from my hose, as long as I am able to manage this treat, without putting my body in jeopardy. For me, knowing my body and what it needs, allows me to effectively manage my Lymphedema, while still living my life.  I know I need to wear my hose and daily management is very time consuming, it is worth it when I can take a little holiday and get back on track.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Importance of a Routine Physical for Adults, even if you have a chronic illness

I have a chronic illness, so I seem to be going to one doctor or another at least once a month during the year.  I also see my primary doctor every 3 months, for pain medication follow-up and a check-in with how I am feeling.  One doctor oversees some labs and medicine, but another may focus on something else; which is why once a year I schedule a routine physical/pap smear with my primary doctor.  I make sure she takes labs for everything I am being treated for, but also labs you would normally get taken at a routine physical.  I schedule my routine physical and also my yearly mammogram in May each year, so I can keep track of when I need to schedule from one year to the next, but I could also say I do it so I know how my health is when I greet my birthday that year on June 1st.

My labs have been all over the place, since I had a gastric bypass in 1996, so I am use to seeing highs and lows all over my results.   During my routine labs, my primary doctor became concerned because my platlet count was sky high and she performed a Hep C test, which was negative. She wanted me to have a Liver Ultrasound asap, to see if I had any problems with my liver.  I scheduled the appointment and was surprised at how painful the ultrasound was on my right side, in fact I was still sore the following day from the ultrasound, because she was having to press so hard to get the pictures. That afternoon, my primary doctor calls me with a new diagnosis, like I need another and I hate the name as well, fatty liver.  It is not from drinking, as I don't drink.  Not sure why I have it, but I do know after having the gastric bypass I have many vitamin deficiencies.  I have lost weight the last couple of years and continue working on getting as healthy as I can be, so understandably this was not great news for me.  However, it is information I need,so that I can try to reverse the affects of fatty liver.  So I now have a new diagnosis to add to my list: Lipedema, Lymphedema, Hypothyroidism, Low Vit D, B12 deficiency, anemia, depression from chronic illness. 

Good news though, is that my mammogram, bone density(1st time having test), and pap all came back fine.  Knowledge is power, so even though I may have new diagnosis to manage, at least I know about it, and it is not sitting in my body undiagnosed and perhaps getting worse.  So now I am ready to greet my 48th birthday tomorrow, knowing where my health stands....having my Routine Physical was a priceless gift for me and my family, so Happy Birthday to me!

Potato Skins, using raw potato skins

If you make the tater tot recipe  you will have a lot of raw potato skins, that you have peeled off your potatoes, before boiling.  If you want to save some of these to make potato skins, you can cook and freeze them for later use.



Raw Potato Skins
Kosher or Sea Salt
Olive oil spray


Wash and Drain your potato skins.

Place skin side up on a sprayed cookie sheet and spray skins with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt.  Bake at 450 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until cooked thru.  Remove from oven and you can place your normal "potato skin toppings" and place back in over to melt, or eat as is.  You can freeze individually on a sheet pan in freezer and then place in a gallon size bag.

To reheat, place in a 400 degree oven for 8-10 minutes.

Tater Tots


10 Jumbo Russet Potatoes
1 small grated onion
8 Tablespoons flour
2 eggs
1 Tablespoon Rosemary
1 tsp salt
canola oil for frying


Peel and cube potatoes.  Boil potatoes until tender. If you want to make potato skins, using your raw potato skins, please see this recipe:  Potato Skins, using Raw Potato skins

Drain and pass through a potato ricer, into a mixing bowl.

Mix onion, flour, eggs,  rosemary, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.  Once mixed, pour over potatoes and mix with a fork.

On a floured surface(I put flour on parchment paper for easier clean up). Take about a cup of mixture and roll into 1 inch logs.  Cut log into tots.

Heat a few inches of oil in a dutch oven to 350 degrees.  Place small batches of tots into oil and fry a few minutes until browned.  Drain tater tots on a wire rack, placed on a covered cookie sheet.

This recipe makes a ton; however, you can freeze leftovers individually on a sheet pan in the freezer.  Once frozen, place tots in a gallon size bag in the freezer.

You may reheat tots at 400 for 12-15 minutes.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Strawberry Pie

I forgot to get a picture of this pie BEFORE people started eating it, so I will have to replace this picture, when I make it next.  It is really pretty, as a whole pie and when I serve it I place a dollop of whipped cream on top.  Everyone who tried it loved it and can not wait for the next time I make it.  We went strawberry picking and the berries were so beautiful and red, my husband asked if I could make a strawberry pie, with some of the berries we picked.

1 deep dish pie crust, baked
1 1/2 quart fresh strawberries
1 cup sugar
3 TBSP cornstarch
3/4 cup water
whipped cream


Bake a deep inch pie crust, per package directions.  Cool on a wire rack.

Core strawberries, leave 1 quart strawberries whole and place them in cooled pie crust. 

Mash  1/2 quart strawberries in a medium saucepan and combine with sugar.  Place saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.

In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water.  Gradually stir cornstarch mixture into boiling strawberry mixture.  Reduce heat and simmer mixture until thickened, about 10 minutes. 

Chill for several hours before serving.  Serve each slice of pie with a dollop of whipped cream.