I love those cheese cracker sandwiches with peanut butter inside of them, and could easily eat a dozen before I thought about it, if I let myself. Which, of course, I don't. So I wanted something that might be reminiscent of those, that was cheap'n'easy of course, but a little better than cheese baked until crisp and schmeared with peanut butter. And these little gems definitely fill the bill!

2c finely shredded cheese (I used mild cheddar - next time I'll use sharp)
1c light peanut flour
2 flax eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
hot water

Line a 14x20 baking sheet with parchment paper; spray with nonstick cooking spray

Toss first 2 ingredients in a mixing bowl; add the next 3 ingredients and mix well with hands to form a soft dough - if dough is stiff or crumbly, add hot water by the tablespoonful until it is soft enough to work with easily.

Spread dough on parchment-lined pan; pat down as flat as possible with wet hands; cover with sprayed plastic wrap; roll out until dough is thin and even; this will take the dough all the way to the edges of the pan and shape it naturally into a rectangle about 1/8" thick.

Place in 175 degree oven overnight. Break apart to eat. (If you want perfect squares, wait until crackers are set but not crisp and score with a knife. I don't care about perfect squares.)

These hold up to being spread with room temp butter or cream cheese or peanut butter. They are also great topped with some tuna salad or, I'd imagine, any other kind of salad. And they are great all by themselves!

It took me about 10 minutes to make the recipe, from lining the pan to putting them in the oven. Very very easy, and definitely worth the time!

The entire recipe has about 18gN carbs and cost me a little less than $2 to make. So far it has lasted - just stored at room temp on the countertop - 5 days and we've nibbled and munched our way through about 3/4 of them.



 
 
I have blogged these before, but was asked for the grain-free breads that I use, so I'm posting them here to make them easily accessible.

The first is my variation on Oopsie Rolls. I like them but they were just a tad too eggy for me. I use the Oopsie recipe but to the yolk mixture I add a tablespoon of either almond flour, or golden flax meal, 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum, a drop of liquid sucralose (you could use the sweetener of your choice - not enough to sweeten, but enough to add another layer of flavor), and 1/8 tsp of salt. These additions are enough for me to get a breadier texture and taste :).

The 2nd is my variation on similar grain-free breads:
Beat 1 large egg in a buttered bowl; the bowl should be the shape you want your bread; mix in well 1 Tbsp sour cream or plain yogurt.
In another dish, whisk together 1 Tbsp golden flax meal and 1 Tbsp almond flour, plus 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/8 tsp salt.
Combine the two; add enough very warm water to make a thick (barely pourable) batter; let stand for about 5 minutes; microwave for 60-90 seconds, depending on your machine. Let cool a bit, then tip out of bowl; cut horizontally to make 2 slices.
I love these when they are toasted! Sort of like a very light english muffin :).

Either of the above can be made sweeter, add cinnamon, or have other variations of your choice. If you do a search on Oopsies you find forums where numerous variations are described.

The other recipe that I make on occasion, also grain-free, is Maria's "Healthified" Sub buns, which I've made in various shapes and sizes. (When I make these, I simultaneously make a nice custard with all of those yolks, just by mixing in a whole egg or 2, some cream, a dash of salt, some cinnamon, and sweetener, then baking in a water bath alongside the pans of buns until just set.)

The other bread that I sometimes use (but which isn't grain-free and are eaten more by my husband than by me) is my Lovely Loaf - it is amazingly delicious, but does have wheat in it so I don't make it as much.

Hopefully one of these will satisfy your desire for a sandwich or a piece of toast now and again :).
 
 
I don't really like these months when I can't do a big shopping, and have to go to the store so often for little things. I always end up spending more! But we will be going to Saginaw (hubby has doctor stuff down there) later this week, and I can go to Aldi's, Meijer, and/or GFS while there if I want to. Will see what we need when the day comes. We do have enough meat for a couple more weeks, so will probably make a trip to my favorite meat place, Steve's, after the 1st of the month. This month I've been buying meats here in town, when I see them with the big red clearance stickers on them, and that's gotten us through just fine - but I still like to open my freezer and see stacks of meat (and vegetables!) in it, just waiting to be used :).

Anyway - I spent $43.35 at Sav-a-Lot on the 17th which included some half'n'half, some cheese, almost 16# of meat and fish, and some frozen foods. It was a good shopping trip!

This brought my food grocery receipts for the month to $138.74.
 
 
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This was a GREAT supper! What you see here is creamed spinach, cheesy caulimash, half of a NY strip steak, and sauteed onion!

For the spinach, it's simply chopped frozen spinach, cooked, with butter, sea salt, and then onion chip dip mixed in. (I am using chip dip instead of sour cream a LOT lately - so much more flavor! And Kent Altena recently recorded a video about how make your own!)

The caulimash is kind of pink because I added ham which I chopped in the food processor and it turned it all pink. But who cares, it was SO GOOD! I also added butter and LOTS of shredded Monterey Jack cheese...I have some left over which I'm looking forward to digging into for a snack later! (As you can see I added a big hunk of butter on my plate, as well as to the spinach. Everything is better with butter!)

The onions I just put in the electric fryer, sliced, with some olive oil over medium low, covered them, and let them cook until soft, stirring occasionally. When they were soft and starting to brown I moved them to the side and cooked the steak in there; by then the onions were started to get really dark (like we like them!). I of course took the fatty half of the steak!

This was a dinner that wasn't as cheap as most but I wanted to make something special, and this was definitely it!

 
 
Last year I kept track of every penny I spent on groceries throughout the first 6 months of the year. This year I will do the same, although I probably won't go into as much detail about each receipt since that is time-consuming and I am busier this year than I was last year. But I will highlight special deals, and at least describe what I bought.

The first receipt of the year was on 1/2, and I bought (3) guarts of half'n'half from Walmart for $1.68 each, or $5.04 total.

At Sav-a-Lot also on the 2nd of the month I spent $23.38, of which about $11 was meat (bacon, pork steak, hamburger) that was on sale or marked down...3.88# in all.

One evening we had a half hour to kill, so hubby and I went to Merchandise Mart; I often find marinades or sauces, and snack foods to pack in his lunchbox for work for a good price there. We spent $4.03 there.

Today we went to Walmart for some miscellaneous things. The total bill was $32.19; highlights were (4) quarts of Half'n'Half, 250 packets of saccharin, popcorn, 2# of butter, a big bag of shredded cheese, and a couple boxes of Dreamfield's spaghetti with a can of Hunt's sauce.

So far this month I've spent $64.64 on food. We are fairly well stocked right now, but within the next week or 2 we will be making a trip to Saginaw, where there is an Aldi's. So I will definitely be buying more of anything I can get cheaper there, even if we don't need it yet. We don't get near an Aldi's very often.

 
 
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I started the day with some cheese melted in butter with bacon, so naturally I wasn't hungry for many hours. Later this afternoon I nibbled on some ham slathered with full fat mayo.

Tonight I didn't want a huge supper so this was it. Tuna salad (just canned tuna, mayo, and some chopped onion) on a slice of store-bought low carb bread (which I hardly EVER eat!), with some slices of swiss on top, put under the broiler. And some frozen cauliflower chunks, tossed with olive oil and sea salt, put on the top shelf of the oven @ 400; tossed when starting to brown with parmesan (from the can) and garlic powder, then left until golden brown with crispy bits.

A lot of food on my plate, too much for me actually, but have plenty of leftover cauliflower to reheat for snacking tomorrow.

Sometimes the simplest meals are the best!

 
 
I have been eating more than usually low carb/high fat lately. For almost 3 weeks actually, with only 2 carbier* meals during that entire time. I'm down 13#. Golly - wasn't expecting THAT! Thought I'd take off 20# or so, but now I'm not so sure, as just with the 13# I'm dealing with increasing saggy flab and I hate that so much, it is the whole reason I choose not to lose any more weight than I already have.

But if I eat the way I feel the best, I automatically lose. Whether I want to or not. Since my Nissen Fundoplication 2 years ago, I tend to lose weight more easily. I lost 40# in the 7 months following that surgery and I was eating more carbs during that time as well; I've been gaining/losing by a few pounds ever since, depending on how in balance my macronutrients are. The lower the carbs/higher the fat, the more I lose - and the better I feel, of course...but I'd rather be at a higher weight than bumping my tummy skin with my knees when I walk!

Anyway, not sure how this will all turn out, maybe I'll keep the weight loss going (keeping the fat content this high is NOT EASY but it means my weight goes down easily) until I can't stand the flab anymore. Or maybe I'll change my mind again...all I know is that we are eating so well these last few weeks - like royalty! And it's all low carb/high fat, delicious, cheap, and easy!

* to me, a "carbier" meal means one that either has one carby food in it, or has more carbs than I would usually eat in a meal. Carbier doesn't mean going crazy and eating every carby food in sight. I usually do have 1 carbier meal every week.
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This was our breakfast/lunch today. And it was DELICIOUS! My 3YO grandson had his with ranch dressing; he eats EVERYTHING with ranch dressing! As you can see, it is very cheesy. But this is a teaser. I plan to do a post showing how it was done the next time I make it. So you'll have to wait until then...sorry!

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This was our supper tonight. Meatloaf, baby corn, and mashed "taters" with lots of cheese and butter.

The meat loaf was just ground beef with finely chopped onion, crushed porkies (pork rinds), an egg, some of my ketchup, and seasoned salt. 

The baby corn (just 10gN for the whole can!) always tastes just a tiny bit pickled to me. So tonight I rinsed it, added just a drop of EZSweetz to about 1/4c of melted butter with some salt, and simmered it in that. It helped.

The "taters" are from a box. Once or twice a month we have them as a guilty treat. They're probably awful for us, but we're not paleo eaters, just low carbers, so we do indulge. There are 17gN per serving; doesn't matter - they're great! You could, of course, sub fauxtatoes with cauliflower, as I usually do.

Between these 2 meals I've been full all day. No snacks, no need for anything else except coffee, tea, and water.

Is it so awful that I love my own cooking so very much???

 
 
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This was our Christmas Dinner. The sandwich wasn't low carb. Well, it wasn't TOO bad, at about 30gN per big slice of bread. You can see how huge it was on this 9" plate - I ate half of a sandwich (or 1 slice). The bread was sourdough, and it was fried in loads of butter, with 5 kinds of cheese inside. And that's all I'll say about that!

Parenthetical note, without the parentheses: On special days, when I eat carbier, like Christmas, I still try to keep my total carbs under 100gN. Today I had probably half of that. Just a steak for supper later. YAY for me!

I've posted a tomato soup recipe before, and it will end up here eventually, as I'm still working - but not very hard - at moving all of my recipes here from my old blog. Anyway, I made it differently today, and I think it's even better!


Here is how I made today's version:

2 large cans crushed tomatoes (NOTE: if you are here from the NF group and want to eat this during early healing, substitute tomato sauce so there are no chunks or seeds!)
1 big can of tomato juice
24 oz container of full fat ricotta cheese
7 drops EZSweetz (or equivalent)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp dried basil flakes
2Tbsp balsamic vinegar
pint of half'n'half
grated asiago for garnish

Using a BIG pot (mine was bigger than a dutch oven and about 2/3 full), warm the first 2 ingredients until they steam, stirring to prevent scorching; this will make the cheese melt more easily.

Whisk in the ricotta cheese until fully melted.

Whisk in remaining ingredients EXCEPT half'n'half and asiago; keep whisking as you bring soup back up to a simmer.

When fully blended and starting to simmer (it will be pretty thick at this point) stir in the half'n'half and return to a simmer. Once it is simmering, lower heat to medium low, cover, and let simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes.

Ladle into soup bowls; grate asiago cheese over the top.



 
 
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This is about as "cheap and easy" as it gets! We got a pork tenderloin @ $1.89/lb, sliced into 3/4" slices; there were 3-4 slices per pound. So these two lovely slices of meat were about a buck. Onions were around 70¢ for both. The can of mushrooms was 59¢. The beans were about 1/5 of a bag that cost under $3, so let's say 60¢. This is a great meal for 2 for well under $4! I did coat the onions and the meat with olive oil, as well as the bottom of the pan...and then sprinkled seasoned salt over the whole thing before I popped it into the oven. 350 for about 25 minutes. And then dinner! Low carb. Cheap. Easy. Pretty on the plate. And DELICIOUS!

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This is on my plate. I cut up the onion (it still held its shape - if you like your onions mushy, slice it in half horizontally before roasting) and slathered it with butter after I took this picture. I have to say, this is a favorite meal of mine. If the onion is too carby for you, certainly eat just half of one, or substitute the root vegetable of your choice; just be aware that many root vegetables will take longer to cook, and may need a head start.

 
 
I've looked at so many ketchup recipes online but frankly, for someone like me who wants "cheap and easy" my eyes just glaze over. I am not a ketchup connoisseur by any stretch of the imagination; I just like to slather something on my burgers or dip my steak into. (If you ARE a connoisseur, by all means feel free to stop here, before your sensibilities are offended!)

Early in the spring we scored a dozen bottles of Heinz low carb ketchup at an Amish store really cheap. I'm sure I blogged about it, as I did keep track of all of my food purchases throughout Jan-June of this year...anyway, they were well under a buck if I remember correctly. Anyway, last week we ran out, so I had to buy more. But in the meantime apparently Heinz shrunk the bottle AND raised the price! So I'm not buying anymore. Period.

And that leads us to tonight. With steaks in the broiler I didn't have time to mess around with long ingredient lists and lenthy instructions. So (which I usually do anyway) I just went to work...

As I've stated before, I don't measure. I just DO. So these measurements are approximate. You can just put them all in a bottle or jar, and shake or mix it all together. (NOTE: this will be thinner than regular ketchup; that doesn't bother me at all but if you want to thicken it up, let me know how you do it ok?)

1 sm. can (8 oz) tomato sauce
2T Worchestershire sauce
1/4t sea salt
1/4t garlic powder
1/2t onion powder
2 drop EZSweetz (liquid sucralose, equal to 4tsp sugar)
1 drop stevia glycerite
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar

That's it. Seriously. That's IT!

My husband was also pleasantly surprised, and delighted. I hope you will be too!