Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas to all my friends and readers

I want to take this oppurtunity to wish all of you and your families the very merriest of Christmas'.

I will be posting as many of my Christmas recipes as I can on my other blog, as time permits. I'm so far behind on both blogs it's unreal!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Cooking and Bundling Services

While on the surface many of the bundling plans seem too good to be true, they are in fact a major pain in the behind. A couple of years ago when AT&T was still SWB in the area they had a bundling plan that would bundle your phone along with a DSL internet connection. In the beginning, this saved me a fair amount each month but it did not last long. Soon I started noticing little added charges here and there, and while it still saved me a little money each month (no second phone line for dial up), I now have to pay a long distance carrier charge when I don’t make long distance calls.
This time around, they were offering to bundle a high-speed DSL with phone and a new fiber optic cable service. We absolutely hate Time Warner and on paper, this will save a good bit each month. While I fear the savings won’t last I was hoping the cable service with far exceed that of Time Warner. So we signed up.
There were so many people signing up for this bundle package up we had to wait two weeks for installation. We reluctantly agreed and counted down the days until we’d have DVR and a faster internet service. Finally, the day arrived for hook up. The installer arrived only about an hour late, not too bad, considering. He fiddled around for about an hour, then came in and reported that the order hadn’t been placed for some thing I’ve never quite understood what is and that he couldn’t do the install that day, but promised to come back the next day (Sunday) if he could get the order pushed though. Sure enough, he showed up bright and midday Sunday, but this time it seems the order wasn’t put in properly. He left with a promise that someone would call us first thing Monday morning with a new install date. Come Tuesday afternoon we were calling to find out what was going on. Of course, no one knew what the problem was nor did they have any answers for us. They said that they could come out for the next morning between 9 and 11. At noon we called to find out what the problem was. We were told we’d been pushed back and they would be out between 6 and 7 pm. I hate when people can’t call and tell you these things, leaving you hanging.
The problem is the install takes about 4-5 hours and if they didn’t come out until 6 or 7pm they were going to be in and out of the house and attic until rather late. Cindy has to be at work at 5 am these days, which means she has to get up at 3am. Having someone stomp around in the attic until 1am wasn’t going to be very conducive for sleep. So, I asked to speak to a supervisor, which they refused to do, nor would they give me a number. What they would do is transfer me to dispatch. Frustrated I agreed no knowing what dispatch could do to help me. Nevertheless, the man that answered in dispatch was kind enough to transfer me to his supervisor. I calmly explained out problems so far and asked if there was anyway he could help me clear all this up. He was very apologetic and asked me to hold while he checked to see what the problem was. A few minutes later, he came back on the line and said he’d have someone out within the hour to do the install and he was very sorry for the inconvenience.
The installer arrived, set to work only to inform us that the order still hadn’t gone through and he couldn’t do the install, but that someone would call us the following morning. However, they did disconnect our internet service, that part they could do without any hassle. Fast forward until today (Friday) I called again and this installation manager promised someone would be out first thing tomorrow morning and that there would be no more problems. I guess we’ll see how long it takes to get back on line. But if this isn’t published until after Christmas you’ll know we didn’t have any luck.
As far as Christmas cooking goes, I’ve made a lot more progress. I’ve made my nut clusters, caramel and peanut butter filled chocolate cups, my lower carb version of “Trash” or party mix as most call it. I made my sister cheese popcorn. I made my niece her yearly batch of peanut brittle. I made a batch of cranberry walnut biscotti that I still need to dip one end in sugar free white chocolate. I made a low carb version of snickerdoodles, which while very yummy taste nothing like a snickerdoodle, so I’m hoping to tweak it a little.
I will be posting recipes for all my low carb treats and if anyone would like my recipes for cheese popcorn or peanut brittle let me know. Neither are low carb and with the exception of a little nibble here or there I’ve stayed OUT. The brittle wasn’t a big problem for me, I did eat one little piece to make sure it turned out ok since it is a gift. But I had to get my sister to take the popcorn somewhere else, popcorn is a big weakness for me and cheese popcorn is about the worst!
Now if I can just get internet service so I can post everything!
Until then, I hope you’re all enjoying the countdown until Christmas and that you’re eagerly awaiting or already enjoying family and friends.
Like Paula Dean would say Merry Christmas from My kitchen to yours!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas Baking

It's that time of year again, when everyone turns into a baker and sugary sweets come out of the kitchens of even those folks that don't cook. So as a low carber I've got to arm myself with low carb treats so I stay out of the carbivore's treats.

I started my baking this week, I got 4 loaves each of my Banana Nut Flaxbread and Cranberry Nut Flaxbread which I made in loaf pans instead of my normal flat baking pan. Oh my they were so pretty.

Then I started on cookies. My first effort proved to be so good, I'm going to have to freeze a good part of them or we will eat them all! They are Laura Dolson's Cranberry Walnut Cookies

Trust me they are addictive so be careful. I did make a few adjustments to the recipe. I added a full teaspoon of black-strap molasses (4 net carbs) and 1/4 cup of flaxmeal (I thought the batter was too wet and I wanted more fiber trace amount of carbs) plus instead of 32 cookies I got 47. The were not little cookies either.

These are a soft chewy cookie not a crunch crisp cookie. Much like my aunt Val's famous date nut cookies, but without all the carbs... yum!

My next venture is going to be chocolate nut clusters, a low carb version of party mix, almond cookies, and fudge then of course I have to make the carbivores in my life peanut brittle, caramel popcorn, and cheese popcorn. They are family traditions I've made for years. We decided not to make any of the other Christmas goodies, these are for specific family members.

So tell me what your making to hold off the tendencies to nosh on high carb holiday treats?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Getting ready for Christmas

I finally got my Christmas cards addressed and in the mail. The gifts are all bought but nothing is wrapped. Mom made her first batch of "Trash" what is now known as Chex Mix except we add a few more things in it and it's got a good dose of red pepper flakes too.

I've got several really ripe bananas just dying to become Banana Nut Flaxbread, and a stack of cranberries waiting to become Cranberry Walnut flaxbread. Since so many of my relatives have diabetes and so many well on their way, this year instead of my normal quick breads I'm making my flaxbread versions. I always make up tons of quick breads in mini loaves every year. Everyone gets a couple, home made candy, trash and Carmel pop corn. This year they will get flaxbread made in mini loaves, trash (too high carb to even fathom) s/f candy and jalapeno flaxbread.

I found a can of Lucky Leaf sugar/free apple pie filling that was fairly low in carbs, so I'm going to make an apple pie with a pecan or walnut crust. I haven't decided for sure which yet. And then put a nut crumble too on it. I'm also going to make cranberry cheese cake bars.

We will have both brisket and ham, broccoli rice casserole for the carbivores and squash casserole for us healthy folk. Bake mac&cheese for those that wish to carb load and spaghetti squash &cheese for those that don't. Mom's fruit salad, not one of those icky super sweet nasty jello things either. This is real fruit, apples, oranges, bananas, pineapple, coconut and pecans. I prefer mine without the bananas but this is to die for. I can't remember a Christmas without it. Relatives would beg my mom to make it for every gathering. It will be my one indulgences on Christmas and she makes it wish splenda these days. So although carby at least it's fruit with nothing icky added.

So it's two weeks til Christmas and I have lots of baking to do, presents to wrap and l all those little things you never remember until the last minute. But the tree is up, the cards are addressed and the gifts are all bought.

So where are you in your Christmas prep?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Another Doctors visit

Well I went to seem my new doctor yesterday. She confirmed that the rash is an allergic reaction to "something". What we may never know was her response. You see I've not changed anything, no new foods, no new soaps, creams, make up or other products. With the one slight chance that it might be the fabric softener. I've used this a few times before, but they were out of the one I normally use and so I got another brand. I guess time and new laundry will tell. Until them every time I get wet, warm or cold I break out in bright red dots all over my chest and arms. Quite colorful!

She's also running more blood test to find out about the elevate blood glucose levels. I'm so frustrated right now I could scream. I've worked so hard to prevent myself from developing diabetes. With my family history and my past eating habits it's a miracle I hadn't already developed it. But I've been eating low carb for the past 19 months and now my levels go up. But only after my blood pressure suddenly lowered? What's up with that? I'm not complaining mind you, I'm thrilled it's gone down. I was getting concerned, in fact it was one of the main reasons for my doctors appointment 2 weeks ago. It had been running borderline high for the 2 months before that. Now suddenly I'm averaging about 100/67 instead of 135/75 but my fasting bgls have gone from 100 up to 125-135 every morning.

And this after they just tested every hormone in my body...giggle Well life is suppose to be an adventure right, looks like I don't even have to go outside my own bod for it.

Take care, I hope you all are having wonderful fall/spring weather depending on where you live. We're having beautiful sunny cool crisp windy days. With temps in 50's and 60's. PERFECT!

NOTE: Just got an email from the doctor my A1c is 5.6 I'm so not a happy camper! That's way to high. Time to work harder I suppose. I refuse to go down the diabetic path ... regardless of genetics

Monday, December 1, 2008

I'm still among the living!

Just wanted to check in and let all my online friends know I'm still among the living. Thanksgiving went fairly well, with only a few turkey mishaps. I brined it for the first time this year and it was the tastiest turkey I've ever had, but the darn thing just wouldn't get done. I also went ahead and cut the turkey up into parts so it would cook faster, it worked for the dark meat but the breast just didn't want to cook.
All said and done I over ate, ate more dressing then I had planned, and ended up making a cake and eating more of it than I should. So we'll just say I failed the Thanksgiving test. But I have to keep reminding myself it's part of life. This is my new lifestyle and I can't expect to break a 40+ year old habits in one year. So next year I'll do better than this year.
Some things were on target. My golden nugget squash casserole was a hit and totally low carb, we only cooked one pan of dressing so there was none left over... very good thing. I made a low carb strawberry cheesecake bar dessert that was terrific. Much better than the Volcano cake that we also made (very high in carbs).
So now I'm having to fight the cravings, the habits of pigging out and eating high carb foods. My pattern has always been to eat crappily from Thanksgiving to the new year. Lots of junk, lots of homemade candy and treats. This year is going to be different.
So it's back in the saddle for me, and I'll try to do better come Christmas, but if not, it will only be a couple of days and then back in the saddle again.
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that your not beating yourself up for any "missteps" you might have made. We have to remind ourselves this is for life. I know there are high carb foods that I will allow into my life from time to time, while I'd like to say I can cut them all out, the truth is there are some foods I'm not willing to let go of, at least for now. My mom's dressing is one of them. There may be a few foods of your own, you're not quite ready to let go of. That's ok as long as we plan for them, jump back into plan once we've eaten them and not allow them to side track us.
So get those plans in place for Christmas, it will be here before you know it. And above all, enjoy the season, enjoy your family and friends and don't stress over silly things ( like rather the turkey cooks on time or not)!