Lost in the journey of life…

Posts tagged “cooking

Can I lose Weight Eating Cereal?

Cereal? How in the world does cereal help me lose weight?

High fiber cereals can help you lose weight…or do they?

Many name brand cereals claim you will lose weight in the form of test studies. When you read these studies remember the participants are eating less by substituting their meals with cereal. Adding fiber to the diet, eating less fat (key), and exercise (key) can help you lose weight, but is it the healthiest way? Will I keep the weight off?

Every time I see or hear (which my sister recently mentioned) that they are going to replace meals with this special (uh huh you get the idea) cereal, because they will lose an unwanted few pounds. I cringe. Why? Because first of all I do not like cereal. Had to eat it many times as a poor child in the sixties and seventies, and second most people have to survive boredom when they diet.

What happened to getting healthy?

I am also bugged by the fact that many people who quite eating all those manufactured meals by so-and-so, and replace meals with cereal; until they stop and then they all gain the weight back. Most people either for financial reasons stop, or simply get bored and stop eating the cereal. Many simply lose the weight they want, and begin with the old eating habits.

Sure eating less calories and smaller portions will help shed the pounds as these companies promise, but you have to make it a part of your LIFE eating plan, not just to shed a few for a new dress or an outfit.

How amazed I was at finding websites that promoted quick weight loss by replacing meals with 3/4 cup of cereal, skim milk, and adding some fruit. Quick fixes never work. We all know that!

Have you written your food journal yet? I have, and I admit its easy to let it go…just like eating Halloween candy, and how it slipped into the diet. Just go back and begin again. Its like falling down, dust yourself off and get back up. Who cares if you slipped, just move on.

How does fiber in the cereal help our diet?

Detoxing is a good way to get that junk out of our bodies. I have had issues with eating gluten (lots and lots of bread and processed flour products) over the years. Once I began to reduce and eliminate these products along with sugar foods, I began to lose weight. Fiber helps clean your intestines. I know ‘EWWW’ on waste removal note, but it is true. Cereals low in sugar and high in fiber may not taste as good as the junky sugar brands, but they do help eliminate and clean our your tummies; it is also a better alternative to visiting a drive through!

Check your labels- after you grab the cereal box; it helps to keep the sugar under 8 grams. I know its hard, but your taste buds will adhere to your knew eating philosophy (no adding sugar either). Careful, not all fruit is created equal- bananas have 80 cal per serving, and strawberries have 45 cal per serving, so be cautious about how much of that you eat as well.

Don’t replace meals, try eating it as a dry snack in between balanced plates of 1/2 plate of green vegetables or dark leafy green salad; 1/4 protein, and 1/4 starch. Or eliminate the starch at night and have 2/3 of dark green vegetables al dente or dark leafy green salad with low fat dressings.

I find myself hungry now and then, not sated as one needs to survive on this LIFE journey, so Rebecca, my dietitian buddy recommends eating a 3/4 bowl of high fiber or whole grain cereal, and it worked. Fiber helps make your body feel full. Cereal bars made from oats will give you a healthier snack in between meals as a snack and are better than skipping a meal.

If we develop an eating plan, we begin to shed the weight, add exercise and you can treat yourself to something you like…but if you continue to eat recommended dietary food sources- the weight will stay off. Careful though, even they have hidden sugars.

Next we will talk about why its important to read labels…


Chef Elizabeth Stelling

What else am I up too?

Food- Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!
Wine- Partners In Wine Club
Poetry- Creative TMI


Chicken Tortilla Soup (comparison)


Not pretty, but tasty!


A blog, Girlichef has been taunting me with her Mexi-goodness posts over the past years, and especially the Tortilla Soup Challenge. So I thought, “What a better way to show examples of how to adapt recipes for diabetic eating, than to search for recipes,. This is how I end up making one of my favorite soups”!

I found two recipes for Tortilla Soup- one with chicken, and the other without. Hubby would die if his soup (he has no choice but to eat what I cook *evil laugh*, and will too benefit from the low fat and sugar diet) was not ‘rustic’, without bites of vegetables and chicken, and was all broth! I am just as happy with a bowl of broth, but let’s see if we can make this work.

Here is the first recipe with chicken (breast cooked separately):

6 cups (1.4 l) 98% fat-free, no-salt-added canned chicken broth

canola oil cooking spray

1 cup (160 g) chopped white onion

2 jalapeño chile peppers, seeded and minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups (600 g) chopped plum tomato

1/2 tablespoon (7.5 ml) crushed dried oregano

freshly ground pepper to taste

6 fresh corn tortillas, cut into thin strips

1 cup (140 g) shredded cooked chicken breast

3/4 cup (84 g) shredded low-fat Monterrey Jack cheese

1 small ripe avocado, pitted, peeled, and cut lengthwise into twelve wedges

2 scallions, white part and 2 inches green, chopped

3 tablespoons (12 g) chopped cilantro

1 fresh lime, cut into six wedges

1. In a large soup pot, bring chicken broth to a boil; reduce heat to simmer.

2. Lightly coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Add onion, chile peppers, and garlic. Sauté over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomato, oregano, and pepper. Sauté, stirring, for 1 minute. Transfer mixture to soup pot and stir into simmering broth. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450° (230°C), Gas Mark 8. Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Arrange tortilla strips in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes, tossing strips occasionally. Remove from oven and set aside.

4. Stir cooked chicken into simmering soup.

5. To serve, place 2 tablespoons (14 g) shredded cheese in each of 6 shallow soup bowls. Divide the soup equally between the bowls and top each serving with two avocado slices and some of the scallion and cilantro. Float tortilla strips on top and offer a wedge of lime to squeeze over each serving.

My first alteration on this recipe, would be to delete the tortilla strips. I rarely eat chips, even at restaurants I ask them not to bring them to exchange my calorie points. My next exchange would be to leave out the cheese, but having some ‘Lemon Peel Stilton’ Cheese I had already bought; it seemed like a gourmet exchange, but cut the amount in half. I would also measure the soup into cup and half portions, and not just ‘divide’ between bowls. Portion control is important.

Second ‘Tortilla Soup’ recipe, without chicken:

3 olive oil cooking spray (to coat pan & tortillas)

2 low carb tortilla (10-inch) , cut into 2×1/4 inch strips

1 small onions , chopped

1 cup fresh chopped celery

1 medium tomatoes , coarsely chopped

1/2 tsp dried basil , leaves

1/2 tsp ground cumin

5 cup low sodium vegetable broth

15 1/2 oz Beans, pinto, unsalted, fat free, canned , rinsed, drained

2 tsp fresh cilantro , finely chopped

2 tsp fresh lime juice

1 pinch salt (to taste, optional)

1 pinch ground cayenne (red pepper) (to taste)


1 Heat a cooking spray coated medium frying pan over medium heat. Arrange tortilla strips in pan and coat with cooking spray. Cook 5 minutes, flipping a few times; tortillas will be golden and crispy.

2 Heat a large cooking spray coated pot over medium heat. Cook onions, celery, tomatoes, basil, and cumin in pot 3 to 5 minutes. Pour in stock and beans and let boil. Lower heat and let simmer 3 to 5 minutes. Mix in cilantro and lime juice and season with salt (if desired) and cayenne.

3 When ready to serve, arrange tortilla strips in bowls and spoon soup over top.

Once again I would remove the tortillas strips, add 1/2 avocado slices, use olive oil instead of cooking spray, and cut beans in half. Personally I only eat lentils or black beans, and NEVER use canned food products. Frozen is you have too, otherwise make dried beans and freeze portions if you feel time is of the essence. You will cut down on salt. Jack up the onions for crunch to replace the tortillas!

I leaned towards the first recipe with chicken- my suggestions:

Sugar free and low salt chicken broth in the box (canned contains more sodium, but homemade is the best!)

No corn is usually allowed in a diabetic diet- I missed this a bit, but what can I do?

I cooked my chicken breast with no skin, and in a seasoned tomato-chicken broth puree too keep them moist

Made my bowl more brothy, so hubby could have more ‘rustic’ bite to his

Added more seasoning and deleted salt

Used smaller amount of cheese, but tried the ‘Lemon Peel Stilton’, and was yummy!

Extra celery and onion added towards the end added more crunch to replace strips

Always measure your portion sizes- 1 and 1/2 cups of this soup with some raw veggies, salad, fruit and nuts will be a complete and well balanced meal.

Chicken broth, and or Chicken Breast Recipes:

Since having high blood pressure I have learned to cook things by flavor blasting them, and leaving out the salt, or reduce salt. I hope you enjoy this easy chicken recipe!

1 whole chicken, skin removed (breast is preferred due to fat content of dark meat- remove skin), or 4 large skinless chicken breast (you can remove skin from rib breast, leave bone to add flavor to use broth for soup or future meals)

6 to eight plum tomatoes, small chop and use all but core top

2 Tablespoons paprika

2 Tablespoons chili powder

6 whole garlic cloves (more if you like, it lowers sugar levels), or 3 Tablespoons garlic powder

1 Teaspoon black pepper

1 Teaspoon of sea salt of choice (optional, if you use canned tomatoes, although not recommended, it contains salt, so delete)

2 Tablespoons cumin powder

3 Tablespoons chopped cilantro

2 cups chicken broth

Bake for about 45 minutes, covered in a 350 degree oven (internal temp is 165 degrees with a cooking thermometer)

Uncover and let cool until you can comfortably shred the chicken and add back to the pan ingredients. Freeze half or less, and use in Tortilla soup recipe. I have also been know to plate this in a bowl atop spinach, or other greens; even add it to the soup! Eat more weeds!

Another alternative is too not fry the tortilla pieces and add them to the soup fresh, corn tortillas are better for diabetic diet if they are not fried (girlichef noticed I forgot to mention this, lol).

I know the photo is a bit hard to see when it comes to the soup, but the other photos I took are a bit blurry. The soup is brothy, something hubby does not care for, but I LOVE! I thicken it up with the lemon peel cheese, and top it off with the avocado. You fill up on this very easily (2 cups). I am also entering this into Girlichef’s ongoing Tortilla Soup Challenge, so enjoy…


How about you, any tortilla soup recipes that would fit this profile? Give us a link, and tell us what you think if you have made either before…


Chef E

What else am I up too?

Food- Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!

Wine- Partners In Wine Club

Poetry- Creative TMI

Losing Weight and Keeping It Off

Today I am honored to have a guest writer who is a registered dietitian, and writes a wonderful blog and host a radio blog program! She is helping me on my journey with losing weight, so I can beat full blown diabetes-

With great pleasure I am doing this guest post on Chef E’s new blog. I really admire her efforts at leading a healthy lifestyle to control blood sugars and feel well. We should all strive to practice portion control, eat a balanced diet, and stay active. It is also not as hard as you may think. There are no good or bad foods; its all about balance and having fun cooking healthy meals at home. As a registered dietitian both in the UK and the US I have found the following tips to be a good starting point, but the key factor for long term success is support from your family and on going support from a registered dietitian or doctor to get you through the tough times.

So you want to lose weight and keep it of?

On the surface it seems simple to lose weight eat less and be more active however the number of overweight and obese people continues to rise in America. Americans try many strategies in an attempt to lose weight often the latest Hollywood diet or fad. How often do you hear the words I am on a diet or I’ll eat what I want before I start my diet, many times losing weight while on the so called diet only to re-gain it and some when they return to their usual eating habits. This yo yo cycle isn’t healthy for mind or body.

The best approach is to work towards a healthy lifestyle and making long –term changes.

Consider these questions before beginning-

 How ready am I to change? if you are thinking about it but still not all that motivated brainstorm the health benefits and focus on how much better you would feel

 Break down your barriers to change-write a list and work through them, develop good time management and prioritize time for you to cook and be active

 Do you eat when hungry or for other reasons such as emotions, habit or boredom. Work towards a regular meal schedule and listen to your bodies cues to eat when hungry

 Do you perceive certain foods as good and bad and follow dieting rules? Re-program your mind and have a healthy relationship with food there’s no good or bad foods you just need to get the balance right

 Eat slowly – it takes time for the brain to get the message that your full

 Develop effective emotional coping strategies try not to use food for comfort, break the cycle of eating when stressed then feeling guilty. Call a friend, take a walk, pray, have a hot bath and try yoga.

 Increase physical activity try to find activities that can be worked into your daily life you don’t have to join a gym. Take the stairs, walk on your breaks, try pilates and yoga at home or take a class, get some weights and lift at home, try tennis with friends and family or get a bike, find lots of activities you enjoy and have fun!

Overtime as you work towards a healthy lifestyle and face each challenge in a positive way you’ll slowly start to feel stronger more in control and enjoy better health.

Rebecca Subbiah RD, LDN, SRD
Chow and Chatter

Cooking By The Book

Hake- Acorn Squash- Greens

I have learned how to cook from watching my grandmother, my mom, jobs, others, culinary school, but technically I always change recipes according my mood. I am a moody eater, always want spice and heat, but almost always want to experiment with flavors. So, often 3 out of 5 times my dishes are different in some way.

My biggest challenge today is admitting I may need some help with ideas for reducing sugar and sodium in my everyday eating, and using recipe books and sites for once. Me, follow a diabetic pyramid?

Miracles do happen! This week I have eaten breakfast, had snacks, and cooked two evening meals with my dietitians advice of-

Well as a rule of thumb 1/2 your plate should be non starchy veggies (so no corn or potatoes) 1/4 meat fish protein but lentils (these also contain carbohydrate) – 1/4 carb like rice, bread, potatoes, pasta (have about 1.5 cups of rice, pasta or potato cooked) this will be a 1800 calorie meal plan for each day- R.S. RD, LDN, SRD

For example my first meal back from Spain was a pot of ‘Stewp’ (stew/soup). A thick rich bowl of vegetable and beef broth goodness. I added healthy things like hummus to thicken and added protein, but cooked it to death. I got busy and forgot it was downstairs boiling away, so everything was like a can of Dinty Moore’s Stew; it was full of potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, and peas. All starchy foods for the most part. I also added Sambar spice from the local Indian store, so it had a nice flavor. Post vacation food is always a quick fix until you can get to the market.

The next night I made a big fat salad, following her advice above. Wednesday, I made the dish from the first post photo. Baked Hake (a cross between cod and whiting) with apple and poppy seed puree (no sugar- only peeled apples, onion, poppy seeds, olive oil, white pepper, sea salt), along with Roasted parsnips (which I did not eat, I put them on one side of the pan), onion, celery, shallots, white sweet potatoes, and acorn squash halves. Drizzled and tossed with with olive oil, white pepper, sea salt, whole grain cereal, pecans, and a light light drizzle (2 tablespoons) of maple syrup. I covered the vegetables with foil and baked for thirty to forty minutes; until fork tender.

4 oz of fish, 1 1/2 cups vegetables over a heaping serving of mixed salad (Mache and spinach greens). I also drizzled (about 2 Tablespoons) some of the juices from the fish over the whole dish when I plated it. Now I served myself less of the roasted vegetables (hubby- 1/2 cup more), and ate more greens.

Any ideas on what you would do with this dish? What have you made for dinner recently? Leave a link or suggest some great diabetic recipes for me and other readers. Play with your food, even if you have a base recipe- just leave out the sugar and use less starch!


Chef E

What else am I up too?

Food- Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!
Wine- Partners In Wine Club
Poetry- Creative TMI

Amongst The Weeds

Hello, my name is Chef E. Some of you know me from my Partners In Wine Club and Food ~ Wine ~ Fun! sites. I have been blogging for three years now, and my passion is writing, poetry, music, and food. Not always in this order, but mostly certainly I am doing a little of it all each day.

My decision to begin a separate blog is due to the recent visit to my doctor and learning that my obesity weight has affected my health. In the food and creative world I have felt ‘In The Weeds’ often, and now feel its pertaining to my eating habits as well. I have never been one to eat the same time, or the same foods, nor do I cook the same menus on a regular basis. I have always been a mood eater.

I grew up with both parents having a sweet tooth- one who ate in moderation; the other a ‘mood’ baker, but she cooked the same ‘regular’ meal food the same day of the week, every week, every year, and I deemed it boring and bland. So hence the ‘mood’ monster with a dash of my father’s moderate and cold turkey habits.

Most of us hope to never hear the word ‘diabetic’, but it can happen. My eating habits have finally caught up with me. My blood work has been dangerously close to high sugar levels for the past three years, but I kept thinking if I just cut back it would be okay.

The reality is, you cannot run. Get off your rear end and move. Exercise is the key along with eating foods in moderation low in sugar and fat. I had been doing the eating thing, but working from home gave me an excuse to lock myself in the house seven days a week.

Four months ago I began seeing a trainer twice a week, and swimming when I felt like it. Evidently my efforts were not wasted, because I began to become a bit more active, but it did not help my blood sugars as I had hoped. It is not too late to turn it around.

Alcohol is also a no-no when your blood sugar is high, and it does not help I had developed a taste for scotch since my daughter passed away. You have to make SERIOUS diet changes. So I did. No more drinking during the week, and only 1 or 2 if I do. Only special occasion wine until I drop some serious weight the doctor told me (and hubby’s sister is getting married this weekend. Yikes, nothing like a Catholic wedding reception!).

I turn fifty in nine months. I hear there is life after fifty, being fit is a key to living through the ‘mid-life’ and I will be the first to admit its been an adjustment the past few years.

Maybe we can learn something from each other! So join me…I would like to hear your experiences in eating, weight issues, writing, or even growing older. The young can learn from us, and we also can learn from the young. My twenty three year old son amazes me all the time!

The past few nights I have been making and plating more greens (1/2 plate), proteins (1/4 plate), and non-starchy vegetables (1/4 plate)- suggested by my dietitian, and cut sweets totally from my life. Writing down what you eat is also a big key to success. I have been using a meal app on my droid phone, but now I will take that a step up. I will journal my meals and report to my dietitian once a week.

Lets face getting healthy together, pursue our passions, and live amongst the weeds. There is beauty in all things…


Chef E Food ~ Wine ~ Fun! Partners In Wine Club