Lost in the journey of life…

Posts tagged “weeds

Losing Weight and Keeping It Off #2

Taken in June/2010- I'm 49!

In Losing Weight and Keeping It Off #1 our dietitian, Rebecca talks about how eating a well balanced diet and exercise is key to keeping off the unwanted pounds which down the road can cause physical problems. For instance with illnesses like heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. These are among the top three killers in many adults.

Medication is available to keep our ailments under control, but until you are willing to do what it takes to get healthier, we will only see an increase in the damage they can cause.

Has a doctor told you to change your lifestyle along with medication? Mine did. Years ago they gave me high blood pressure medication, but I barely attempted to make changes. At forty you still feel you have a chance to continue down the road you were on with little consequences, but it does catch up sooner or later. Later I began to have issues with breathing and asthma I had as a child, my feet swell, my back began to hurt from the weight I was carrying around, and I could not walk when my family was on vacation. Things began to spill over into my family’s life, so the problems only worsened.

Six months ago I went back to the gym, am seeing a personal trainer, and when the doctor told me three years in a row of high blood sugar was getting serious- I changed my eating habits. No more late night writing, snacking and drinking, bed early and up with breakfast, lunch, and timely dinner meals (two snacks) I began to see my weight and swelling disappear. It works! As a chef I knew better, but we make excuses. Stop making excuses and if you are finally sick of yourself feeling like crap- do something about it.

Confession is good for the soul, or so they say- so I gave it a try! Yes, I finally admitted publicly I was over weight and was out of control. I posted my photo of my trainer, Brian and I in the gym and will eventually post more photos of myself getting fit!

Exercise is key to being able to eat that hamburger now and then, but with a healthy mind and body. I cross train six days a week. Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday- I do water aerobics or walk. Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday- I work out in the gym with my trainer (you can do it on your own, but he makes me accountable) who makes sure I alternate weights and work on different areas of my body to keep things moving. Sure its hard, and I am sore, but I know in the long run- I will be a rock star!

My family has a history, like many do of some illnesses like high blood pressure, so losing weight may not completely get rid of it, but I figure getting fit will only help matters. Do the same for yourself, you will feel so much better!


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

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