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Old 07-22-2012, 07:14 AM   #1
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Tips and tricks with food.

I thought it would be interesting to talk about some of the things you have learned about food on you low carb journey.

For instance, someone was talking about frozen spinach in the food porn thread and was doing the same thing I do. I can't find frozen organic spinach so I make my own by buying fresh (big tub from Coscto). It is organic, washed, baby spinach and throw it into a large ziploc bag and throw it in the freezer. Ready for use whenever it is needed for a recipe!

What have you discovered along the way?
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Old 07-22-2012, 07:29 AM   #2
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I just ordered a food saver. I can't wait to get it. I plan to buy a bunch of veggies, chop them up, and save various combinations. I discovered that Big Food puts evil "stuff" in the frozen veggies. I'm also going to try putting salads in a jar. If you google "salad in a jar" you will find the blog that talks about this. It's very clever. The salads last up to TWO weeks!

I came up with a protein rotation to keep variety in my diet. Every five days (for dinner) I rotate through chicken, beef, pork, turkey, and seafood (crab, shrimp, fish). Chicken might be a breast, wings, or a whole roasted chicken. Beef might be a steak, ground beef, or a roast. Pork could be pork chops or a pork tenderloin. Turkey could be a breast or even a whole turkey (who needs to wait for Thanksgiving?). And seafood can rotate w/shrimp, crab, and different types of fish (like salmon, tilapia, halibut, or cod). Once in a while, I'll change it up a bit -maybe have buffalo burgers or a nitrate free, sugar free ham.

I'm typing up a chart of the typical foods I eat with the carbs, protein, fiber, fat, and calories. I'm going to laminate it, stick magnets on the back, and hang it on my fridge. This way I can plan meals w/o constantly googling.
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Old 07-22-2012, 07:35 AM   #3
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Great idea for a thread!

One thing I've learned recently is that 'cauliflower rice' is really, really good when fried in toasted sesame oil (with salad onion, sliced mushrooms and a beaten egg stirred in at the end)! I wonder if that would freeze? Might be a bit soggy, I guess.

It really does almost mimic a starch, which I do miss sometimes.

Twilight, my mouth is (honestly!) watering after reading your post! Good idea to rotate proteins like that.

Last edited by clanger; 07-22-2012 at 07:38 AM..
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Old 07-22-2012, 07:35 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twilight View Post
I discovered that Big Food puts evil "stuff" in the frozen veggies.
Twilight, i'm still confused about this- I never buy frozen veggie 'mixes' - just whole veggies (like broccoli, green beans, peppers, spinach) and I always check the labels - it's always just the vegetable itself. If they were to add something to the vegetable, wouldn't they list it on the label? What vegetables are you referring to that have additives?
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Old 07-22-2012, 08:18 AM   #5
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I decided to check the back of my bagged veggies one day for carbs (I have Green Giant, Schwan's right now). I thought the carbs were high for straight up veggies, so I looked at the ingredients list: in addition to veggies - corn starch, sugar, fructose, maltodextrin, gelatin, natural flavors, xanthan gum, annato extract color...

There were similar ingredients in every bag I have in my freezer. They are mixes, so that could be the difference. I've written down the various combinations of veggies I like, so that I can create my own bags without all of the other garbage.
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Old 07-22-2012, 08:58 AM   #6
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hi twilight
what is a food saver i am in the UK so wondering what would be the same over here ? im going to check out salad in a jar i love salads so the longer they will stay fresh the better thanks for that ! i only tend to but individual type veg thats frozen but will certainly have a look at ingredients now
xx
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Old 07-22-2012, 09:47 AM   #7
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These really aren't low carb tricks, but I didn't cook before I went low carb. One trick I picked up was that I love adding a little onion to food, but I hate cutting them up and throwing away a bunch. The frozen onions in the store are always stuck together. I saw a hint that you should cut them up and freeze them for about 30 minutes spread out on a cookie sheet and then transfer them to a freezer bag. That way, they won't all freeze together and you can just take out what you need.

Another thing is that because I live alone, I have tons of leftovers. I freeze the leftovers in a single serving baggies and group the items in a larger labled and dated freezer bag. That way I cn grab one for a quick meal. Better than a commercial frozen dinner every time.
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Old 07-22-2012, 09:56 AM   #8
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This is not very exciting, but...

Since I eat so many hard boiled eggs with LC. I cook them in my Black & Decker veggie steamer. So quick and easy. Just put in up to a dozen, add water to basin, set timer for 35 minutes and walk away. Perfect every time.

(And I've read and tried all the HB egg tip threads on this board, and steaming is still the easiest for me!)
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Old 07-22-2012, 10:34 AM   #9
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@ticktock Go to Amazon website and do a search for food saver. You can order one. Basically, it's a device that allows you to shrink wrap / vacuum pack food (sucking all of the air out). It keeps your food fresher longer. You can also get a jar attachment, so that you can vacuum pack food in a jar (salad in a jar).

@snickygirl Love the hard boiled egg in the steamer idea! I'm going to have to try that.

@ocean I'm lazy. I buy my onion already diced up. The containers are in the veggy section next to the bagged salads! Haha!
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Old 07-22-2012, 11:06 AM   #10
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I just learned a trick by accident ()

If a recipe calls for shredded cheese and you despise sitting there shredding a whole block of cheese (i know I do!), freeze the block and then defrost it. I have no idea why this happens, but i learned today that frozen, defrosted cheese crumbles easily.
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Old 07-22-2012, 11:26 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyKT View Post
I just learned a trick by accident ()

If a recipe calls for shredded cheese and you despise sitting there shredding a whole block of cheese (i know I do!), freeze the block and then defrost it. I have no idea why this happens, but i learned today that frozen, defrosted cheese crumbles easily.
Also, if you have a food processor, use the shredder blade on the cheese, then freeze baggies of already shredded cheese.
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Old 07-22-2012, 11:29 AM   #12
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My laziness rises again. I buy shredded cheese. BUT, I was looking at the carbs on a package of shredded cheese and on a package of block cheese. Yikes! There is a difference. Once I run out of cheese, I'm going to buy a block, shred it, and freeze it in small portions (I'll save out one portion for the fridge).
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Old 07-22-2012, 11:42 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clackley View Post
I thought it would be interesting to talk about some of the things you have learned about food on you low carb journey.

For instance, someone was talking about frozen spinach in the food porn thread and was doing the same thing I do. I can't find frozen organic spinach so I make my own by buying fresh (big tub from Coscto). It is organic, washed, baby spinach and throw it into a large ziploc bag and throw it in the freezer. Ready for use whenever it is needed for a recipe!

What have you discovered along the way?
OMG. So simple. So ingenious. So cheap!!! Doh!!!
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Old 07-22-2012, 11:48 AM   #14
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I am hardcore about cooking and making my own about everything, however with low carb I discovered that:

Sliced cheese saves me from calculating and weighting. Plus slices make perfect lasagna sheets.
Mix more than 3 different vegs into the same meal and I'll feel full for longer.
Bagged pre-washed salad saves me a little washing after I buy a ton of other veggies at the store.
Getting ground meat and making my own burgers produced juicier results than store-bought burgers.
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Old 07-22-2012, 11:59 AM   #15
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excellent thread
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Old 07-22-2012, 12:42 PM   #16
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I also have a not-cooking tip. Okay, I do all my cooking/prep work on the weekends. Baking, bbq, chopping, slicing, etc. That way I can just whip up a good meal, and not snack myself to oblivion as I prepare dinner each night. I bbq up chicken tenders for salads, rice bowls (DS & DH), Noodle bowls (DS & DH), veggie bowls (me). I cook a batch of 2 lbs of hamburger - switching up the seasoning - one week taco, next week italian, next week asian, etc. A roast (pork, beef, tenderloin, etc) goes in the crock pot on Wednesday morning. We always make enough for 2-3 days of meat. Veggies seem to last all week. If not, Wednesday night I chop chop chop.

I love all these so thanks!!
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Old 07-22-2012, 01:36 PM   #17
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Twilight - that salad in a jar looks awesome. I will eat a salad anyonne else makes but hate to make them myself …. just lazy but the jar idea looks good … one day of work and a few days to enjoy!Thanks…I love this thread!
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Old 07-22-2012, 01:51 PM   #18
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I LOVE the HB eggs in the steamer trick!!
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Old 07-25-2012, 12:46 PM   #19
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Awesome tips!!!

Another one that I can't leave unsaid is bones! I try to buy 'organic' whereever possible and saving the bones has been a big bonus. Mostly chicken bones. I save them in a bag in the freezer and then when I have enough to 3/4 fill my stock pot, I make broth.

Usually I have too much so once it is cooled in the fridge, it becomes gelatinous and easy to spoon onto a wax paper lined pan - frozen and transferred to bags.
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Old 07-25-2012, 01:28 PM   #20
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I can't make decent hard boiled eggs to save my life, so I Alton Brown's trick of baking the eggs for at least 30 minutes at 325F, followed by an ice bath. As I like the yolks more firm, I add at least 10 minutes to this. I also use a muffin tin to make it easier.

I've found that spicy food is more satisfying and that I can tolerate a lot more heat as the fat content of my food has increased. Right now I'm using Frank's hot sauce (0 carbs), but I'm looking for something hotter and with a different flavor for variety.
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Old 07-25-2012, 10:33 PM   #21
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Alessandre, try Valentina sauce with the black label. The other label really isn't hot even though it says so. These sauces are both absolutely delicious. I tossed my Franks when I found them.
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Old 07-26-2012, 07:32 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snickygirl View Post
This is not very exciting, but...

Since I eat so many hard boiled eggs with LC. I cook them in my Black & Decker veggie steamer. So quick and easy. Just put in up to a dozen, add water to basin, set timer for 35 minutes and walk away. Perfect every time.

(And I've read and tried all the HB egg tip threads on this board, and steaming is still the easiest for me!)
I'm trying this today. Even with my tried and true method (17 minutes to get to boil on stove, let sit 5 mins, then under cool water for 3 mins, then ice bath) its still a hassle. I would like to put on and walk away
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Old 07-26-2012, 07:40 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by hippygypsykaren View Post
Alessandre, try Valentina sauce with the black label. The other label really isn't hot even though it says so. These sauces are both absolutely delicious. I tossed my Franks when I found them.
Thank you! I will give it a try.
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:06 AM   #24
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I use Forever Green Bags for storing cut up veggies in the fridge. My veggies stay crisper longer using these reusable bags! I also buy pre cut foil sheets for cooking on the grill or in the oven. I cook a lot on the weekends and freeze stuff for quick access later - like sausage balls, turkey meatloaf muffins, hamburger patties, etc. and some of the low carb sweets.
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Old 07-26-2012, 12:53 PM   #25
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Wow. Did this last week and it was great: making cauli rice

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j..._PUQz81gi81iiQ

I hope this link works. Anyway, break up the cauli in the Vitamix, add water, pulse 2 or3 times, drain. Perfect rice.
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Old 07-26-2012, 02:26 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamasooze View Post
Wow. Did this last week and it was great: making cauli rice

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j..._PUQz81gi81iiQ

I hope this link works. Anyway, break up the cauli in the Vitamix, add water, pulse 2 or3 times, drain. Perfect rice.
OMG!!! Now that is a fabulous tip! Do you have any idea of the time I have spent, chopping, shredding cauli by hand????? Now I just hope that it works as well in my food processor! THANK YOU~!!!
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Old 07-26-2012, 02:37 PM   #27
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Instead of frozen spinach I buy the bags of fresh washed baby spinach and throw them in a recipe calling for frozen. The taste and texture are 100% better, IMHO. We go through several bags a week between omelettes, salads, and vegetable dishes. My kids live spinach any way except cooked on its own.

I used to have a food saver but it took up a lot of counter space and I didn't like putting my food in plastic. Now I have a hand held food saver vac and the jar lid adapters (good instructions for this on the "Salad in a Jar" website. I store most food in various sizes of canning jars (stock up this time of year, they are hard to find in winter or spring). As an added bonus, the food saver hand held vac works with Vacu Vin wine stoppers to really seal a bottle of wine!

And if you use a dehydrator for stuff like kale chips or homemade low carb granola or veggie chips or jerky they all stay really fresh if you seal them in jars.
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Old 07-26-2012, 02:40 PM   #28
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Quote:
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Wow. Did this last week and it was great: making cauli rice
Great minds think alike, I was just going to mention that!

Same method works for fine chopping cabbage for coleslaw.
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Old 07-26-2012, 02:44 PM   #29
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Heard this today and haven't tried it but it made sense. For storing cheeses. Wrap in wax paper or parchment paper and then in foil. Never use plastic. Then store in the crisper drawer of your fridge.
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Old 07-26-2012, 03:19 PM   #30
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Wrap your celery in aluminum foil before putting it into the fridge. It really does stay crisp for a long time that way.
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