Sep 162015

Eggplant is my new vegetable. In fact, I love it so much it’s more like dessert. I don’t know why I had never tried it before. Now that I eat low carb, it is one of my favorite vegetables. The other two favorites are cauliflower and zucchini. They make great substitutes for cauliflower mac & cheese, pork fried rice and zucchini spaghetti.

Version #1 is a meal that serves 8. It can be adjusted for fewer servings.

Versions #2 and #3 are for a simpler snack or side dish. Version 2 tastes great, but Version 3 with egg is so much better!

Version #1 – The Real Eggplant Parmesan

This will serve 8 people, so adjust for fewer servings.


  • 9″ x 13″ casserole
  • 1 or 2 eggplants, depending on size. You would need 2 slices per serving.
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 or 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 26-oz. jar of spaghetti sauce
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese (I prefer whole, but you can use low fat)
  • Italian spices (Italian seasoning and/or oregano)
  • salt and pepper
  • Peel and slice eggplant in 1/2″ slices, dip in beaten egg, then dip both sides in grated parmesan cheese. Lay out in a single layer on parchment paper on a sheet pan. Roast at 400 for 20 minutes, turning halfway through.
  • Meanwhile, brown ground beef in skillet, drain.
  • When eggplant is finished, remove from oven and lower oven temp. to 350.
  • Spray a 9″ x 13″ pan with cooking spray. Put a small amount of spaghetti sauce on bottom of pan, then layer with half of the roasted eggplant slices. Top with half of the spaghetti sauce, then spread the ricotta evenly over the top of the sauce.
  • Spread ground beef over the ricotta. Hmm, I might just add the meat to the sauce and layer like I do lasagna. Your choice. 🙂
  • Then layer with remaining eggplant, top with remaining spaghetti sauce, then mozzarella.
  • Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Let set for 5 minutes.

Version #2 – Simple Roasted Eggplant Slices with Parmesan Cheese

This makes a great snack or side dish.

Peel and slice eggplant in 1/2″ slices, lay them out in a single layer on parchment on a sheet pan, spray with either spray butter or olive oil, and sprinkle with grated parmesan. Bake at 400 for about 20 to 30 minutes, depending on thickness of slices. They came out a bit thinner in the photo below, but they were delicous!

Baked Chicken with Green Beans and Sliced Eggplant

Baked Chicken with Green Beans and Sliced Eggplant

Version #3 – Roasted Eggplant Slices topped with Tomato and Mozzarella Cheese

These are like small pizzas. You can add any toppings you like, such as pepperoni, sausage, ground beef, mushrooms, etc.

Peel and slice eggplant in 1/2″ slices, dip in beaten egg, then dip both sides in grated parmesan cheese. Lay out in a single layer on parchment paper on a sheet pan. Roast at 400 for 20 minutes, turning halfway through. Then, top with sliced tomato and shredded mozzarella. Lower oven temp to 350 and roast for additional 10 to 15 minutes until cheese is melted.

Roasted Eggplant with Tomato and Mozzarella

Roasted Eggplant with Tomato and Mozzarella

Roasted Eggplant Chips

Eggplant chips make for a really nice low carb snack, or as a side dish with any meal. This time, I sliced the eggplant as thin as I could, approximately 1/8″ thick, using my Deli-Pro Slicing Knife. I love this knife because you can slice most things evenly, such as lunch meat, tomatoes, bread, and eggplant. Just set the dial for the thickness you want. I would have used a mandoline slicer but the eggplant is a bit too big for it.

Roasted Eggplant Chips, thinly sliced

Pork Loin Chops with Green Beans and Roasted Eggplant Chips

Aug 212015

Cauliflower mac & cheeseI came across this recipe when I was trying to find recipes that substituted cauliflower instead of rice or potatoes. Check out my recipe for Cauliflower Pork Fried Rice. It never occurred to me that it could be used as a substitute for macaroni.

You see, I have Type 2 Diabetes, and a very low tolerance for foods high in carbohydrates, especially pasta and rice. Even the smallest amount of these starchy foods with spike my blood sugar into the 200’s. That’s pretty high considering a normal blood glucose reading should be between 70 and 105. Anyone who counts carbs, whether they have Diabetes or not, knows how difficult it can be to eat certain foods. It’s so much easier when we can find a substitute that is just as satisfying.

A little bit of info about cauliflower. A small head of cauliflower equals 1 to 1-1/2 pound of cauliflower, or approximately 1-1/2 cups chopped. One medium head will be 1-3/4 to 2-1/4 pounds, or 3 cups chopped. A large head will yield approx. 4 to 6 cups of florets. One 10-ounce package of frozen cauliflower will equal 2 cups chopped. The following recipes assume a large head of cauliflower equals 4 to 6 cups chopped florets.

I found two ways to make cauliflower Mac & Cheese, and they are both delicious. The first recipe is so much better, though. It is thick, creamy, browned and bubbly. Yum!

The second way is for when you just don’t have the time to go through all of that. And, it really is good. So, without further ado, here is my twist on Cauliflower Mac & Cheese.

Cauliflower Mac & Cheese – Stove-Top Method:

Quite sometime ago, I purchased this Hoosier Hill Farm Cheddar Cheez Powder from Amazon. I bought it solely for making regular macaroni and cheese, hoping to simulate the name brand stuff, if you know what I mean. 🙂 This cheese powder totally eliminates having to buy the pre-boxed mac & cheese, and is a real cost savings. I like it with mini penne, when I make it for the rest of the family. just cook 1 cup of elbow macaroni (or mini penne), drain, then add 1/4 cup of butter or margarine, 1/4 cup milk, and 1 tbsp. of the cheese powder, and mix well.

So, last night, while I was making hot dogs with regular mac & cheese for the rest of the family, I decided to try the cheese powder with the cauliflower.

Jul 222015

Do you know how many calories and carbohydrates are in a cup of rice? First of all, the box of Minute Rice shows that one serving is 1/2 cup. A 1/2 cup of Minute Rice has 170 calories and 38 grams of carbohydrates (Yikes!) Who eats 1/2 cup of rice? Usually, it depends on whether you eat rice as a full meal or as a side dish. Not me, I can eat pork fried rice by the quart. Let’s see, a quart of rice is 1360 calories, or 304 grams of carbohydrates. Good grief, 304 grams of carbs is more than six days worth of carbohydrates for me! No wonder I got myself into this predicament. Oh, well, it just reinforces my decision to change the way I eat.


When I eat pork fried rice it reminds me of my childhood Summers at the amusement park, where they had this fabulous little walk-up Chinese Food stand. Anyway, I blogged a little about that here.,

Again, I digress.

So, onward and upward. I am trying to make healthier choices when deciding what to eat, but at the same time I don’t want to feel like I’m missing out on my favorite foods, like pork fried rice. In this case, the healthy choice is using cauliflower instead of rice. I’m not a big cauliflower eater. I’ve had it roasted with olive oil, and I like it raw with a dip, but that’s about it. The next thing I want to try is cauliflower mashed potatoes.

I’m going to show you the few changes that I made to my Pork Fried Rice recipe. Please excuse me for copying the main recipe because I’ve only made a few changes.

I usually make this when I have an extra pork chop, but it would also be good with chicken, beef or shrimp. You can also add whatever vegetables you choose, such as broccoli, shredded carrots, or peppers. I usually only add small peas. In this case, I left out the peas because they are not carb-friendly. The combined flavors from the garlic, green onions, ginger, and the addition of sesame oil, rice vinegar and soy sauce, makes it oh, so good!


3-4 Tbsp vegetable oil
A few drops of sesame oil (optional)
1 pork chop, cooked or uncooked, and cut into 1/4″ pieces
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced or grated
1-1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger (I use a fine grater)
3-4 green onions, chopped (white and light green parts)
1/2 large head or 1 small head of cauliflower (comes out to about 1-1/2 to 2 cups when grated)
Your choice of vegetables (broccoli, carrots, peas) (Optional)
2 eggs, scrambled
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp rice vinegar


First, remove leaves and pull apart florets from half of the head of cauliflower. Add to colander and rinse. I then cut those in smaller chunks to fit in my food chopper. Or, you can use a box grater to grate the cauliflower. I was surpised at how well the chopper (or food processor) grated the cauliflower. It was so easy, and it looks just like rice. You don’t even have to cook it!

In a wok or large skillet, over medium high heat, add 2 Tbsp of vegetable oil and sesame oil. Mmmm! I love the smell of sesame oil!

If uncooked, add pork and cook 5-6 minutes until cooked through. Remove from skillet and set aside.

Lower heat to medium, heat up a little more vegetable oil, add onion and saute for about five minutes, until translucent. Then, add garlic, ginger, and green onions. Cook about 1 minute.

grated garlic and ginger
I store my ginger in the freezer and grate as needed

Add cauliflower rice to skillet and turn heat to medium-high. Let the rice get crispy, about 2 minutes. This is when you add your vegetables; broccoli would be good, and stir.

Move rice to the side and add eggs, scrambling them and working into the rice mixture as you go. You might need to add a little more oil.

Add soy sauce, rice vinegar, and cooked pork. Toss together and serve.

Add soy sauce

Add soy sauce

Chopped pork

Add cooked pork

Check out my posts, My Journey to a Healthier Low Carb Way of Life, and Cauliflower Mac & Cheese.

Printable recipe without images:

Jul 212015

I started my journey to a healthier low carb way of life 21 days ago. Yes, I can count the days, minutes and seconds since I started my diet. My last meal the night before I started my diet was on June 30, 2015, at approximately 7:30 pm. Oops! Let’s not forget the mini Mounds bar I had as a bedtime snack around midnight.

I should mention that I have Type 2 Diabetes.

This journey didn’t start out as a way to lose weight. My blood glucose (BG) levels were out of control and I needed to do something. My blood glucose was 230 the morning that I started my diet, and that was with medication and insulin. A normal blood glucose reading should be between 70 and 105, and no higher than 180 two hours after a meal. Those are the ADA guidelines, which I believe are old and outdated. From what I understand, it is when the blood glucose reaches 140 that it begins to cause damage to organs and nerves. This is why I have neuropathy in my hands and feet, and probably why I have had cataracts and have to get the pressure in my eyes checked every year for fear of glaucoma. I know many of my ailments come with age, but I also know Diabetes has been the cause of many of them.

It had been a real struggle trying to keep my diabetes under control. Over the years, my doctors have gradually added more and more medication until, finally, it wasn’t enough and I had to take insulin. I hated it! Having to prick my fingers three to five times a day, shots in the morning, evening, and before each meal. The more I ate, the more insulin I needed. My doctor told me I was just feeding my diabetes.

I had no will power. It was foods like fried rice or spaghetti that made it very difficult. I would outdo myself when it came to pasta, potatoes and rice. Now, they are not even in my repertoire of recipes when I cook for myself. I do still cook them for my family on occasion, but most of the time they can do without. They are much better off making healthier choices, even if it is me that is making the choices for them. Otherwise, hey, they can cook for themselves, right? I can’t even get my 21-year-old to make his own grilled cheese sandwich. I know, I enable and indulge him. I’m a mother, and that’s what I do. I enable and indulge.

When I do cook high calorie/carb foods for them, I can usually do without and add something I like instead. For example, they love spaghetti and I would never deprive them of my spaghetti and meatballs. So, while the sauce is simmering and the spaghetti noodles are boiling, I spiralize a zucchini (I call them zoodles) and saute it in a little EVOO and garlic. I then have the zoodles with a little sauce and meatballs. It is so good!

zucchini spaghetti and meatballs

Zucchini Spagetti and Meatballs – 291 calories, 15g net carbs

I started with a 3-day fast so that I could try to get my insulin dosage where it should be, without food. I then began to add carbohydrates back into my diet. I soon found that my body cannot tolerate too many carbs without spiking my blood sugar too much. So, I settled on a less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day (that’s right, not per meal, PER DAY!), preferably less than 30g. Now, instead of seeing BG readings in the 200’s, I’m seeing consistent readings in the 80’s and 90’s. I couldn’t believe it!

I have about 50 pounds to lose, so I decided to try and restrict my calorie intake as well. Believe me, calories do matter. It takes quite the balancing act to lower carbs and calories at the same time. So, in addition to lowering my carb intake to less than 50 grams of carbs, I now stick to a 1200 calorie diet. It’s not always easy, but it’s doable. I actually get to eat a lot of low carb food, so I’m not feeling hungry all day like I did with high carb, low fat diets. This diet has changed my life! In fact, to me, it’s not a diet at all. It is a new way of eating, a low carb way of life. Hmm, NWOE and LCWOL. Not Low Carb, High Fat (LCHF), exactly, because I’m not comfortable with eating a lot of fat. It makes me feel queasy when I eat too much fat. Besides, I read that too much fat can spike my blood sugar because it contributes to my insulin resistance. However, I don’t eat low fat, either, because I feel that some fat in my diet helps me feel full and satisfied. Like I said, it’s all a balancing act. Anyway, there are plenty of pros and cons out there about the LCHF diet, but I’m not going to get into that. I just want to write about what works for me and, hopefully, give others some ideas on making healthier choices. I know it’s only been three weeks, but I honestly feel that I’m in this for the long haul.

This is not about physical fitness, although I definitely plan on becoming more active as I go along. For now, a trip to the grocery store once a week, running a few errands, working around the house, and tending to my vegetable garden is about all I can handle for now. I look forward to the days when I can hop in my van, go from store to store, and shop ’til I drop.

This isn’t a recipe blog, but I do have quite a few of my favorite recipes. I have to admit, not too many of them are low carb or calorie. However, you can adjust many of them by excluding the potatoes or rice, or by replacing them with cauliflower. Just look at the drop-down categories under “What’s Cooking”. As I gradually add more low carb recipes to my blog, I will include a link to those pages.

Some of my favorite low carb foods:

Outback Steakhouse Alice Springs Chicken
Pork chops with cauliflower pork fried rice
Zucchini spaghetti and meatballs
Oven Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings
Sauteed chicken and green beans
Sausage and sauteed cabbage served over cauliflower rice
Oven baked cod and broccoli
Corned beef and cabbage
Romaine lettuce wraps with ham, roast beef, tuna, turkey and chicken salad.
Roasted asparagus, cauliflower, eggplant
Snacks: mozarella sticks, peanuts, cucumber chips, strawberries and whipped cream. I also found a mock danish that was pretty good.

I would love to hear your story, or any tips or words of encouragement that you might have. Please add your comments below. Thank you! ~Susan

Apr 222015

I make this all the time. It’s so easy, and can be adjusted for each family member. For example, only two of us like mushrooms, so I leave the mushrooms off of two chicken breasts. I make this in my 12″ cast-iron skillet so that it goes from stove-top directly to the oven.

Printable recipe without images:

This is a great recipe for a cast-iron skillet – from stove-top to oven. Otherwise, use a 9″ x 13″ pan or casserole dish. In fact, I just purchased a new 9″ x 13″ cake/brownie pan made by USA Pans (this makes the best brownies). I love their pans because they are sturdy, non-stick, provide even cooking, don’t warp, and are made in the USA. So far, I have the 13″ x 18″ sheet pan, 10″ x 5″ loaf pan, 6″ x 15″ New England Style Hot Dog Pan, and the 9″ x 13″ cake/brownie pan.

See my post titled My kitchen gadgets, utensils and bakeware recommendations