Eating Right.

I did something crazy over the weekend.  I started a low-sugar, low-carb diet.  Diet is probably not the right word because I'm not dieting, per se, I'm just trying to eat better.  To know me is to know that I love carbs.  Love, love, love.  Especially sugary carbs, like donuts.  They are fantastic.  But here's the thing: I have been feeling slugglish and gross lately, and I know it's because I have been eating way too many carbs throughout the day without much else in between.

One of my favorites to rely on for a quick snack is a granola bar/protein bar/cereal bar/whatever you want to call it bar.  I love bars.  You can find some with a lot of good ingredients in them.  The problem with them: they are loaded with sugar.  I just happened upon this article last night about sneaky sugar.  It states that women need about 20g of sugar a day, and some of those bars can have 24g-plus in just one bar.  That right there makes me not want to eat them anymore, and I don't want to give any to the kids, either, which were a really easy snack (kids need only 12g a sugar at the most!  I'm horrified!).

So anyway, cut out the granola bars, the crackers, the bread, carb-y snacks, candy, sweeties, and goodies, and what am I left with?  I am a snacker!  I need quick options!!  Except, really, I don't.

I've stopped myself often in just the past three days- grabbing a cracker, looking aimlessly in the cabinets, snicking one of the kids' cereal squares- and realized just how much I eat and just how much I don't need to.  It's crazy the amount of times I've wandered around the kitchen looking for food.  I don't need to be eating that much!  And what's ended up happening is I grab a few pistachios that have been sitting on the counter or a few grapes, and I go on my way.  If you feel like you're eating a lot for no purpose, I encourage you to try cutting something out and see how many times you find yourself looking for that type of food.  I bet you'd be surprised.

 This one heard me crack open a nut.  She loves pistachios.  Can you see the tail wagging?

So what do I eat?  I haven't cut out carbs completely- I still think there are good cereals and oatmeal and things like that so I'm starting slow.  I've had more fruit each day, eating a banana and an apple (with some kind of nut butter on it!) or a pear, berries, melon, etc.  Salad with  dinner instead of bread.  More beans, more nuts.  Yogurt, cheese.  I found some crackers that I love that are sweet potato-based.  They have flour but that's not the only binding ingredient.  It's definitely being creative.  The sugar is the harder part because it's in everything, even salad dressing, so we'll have to make some changes as we run out of things.  I've had to stop myself from grabbing something many times already.

In the end I'm hoping to feel better and get more energy.  I know a lot of people have said that when they cut out carbs and sugar they get both, so I'm hoping to see the results in those areas.

Are you a carb monster too?  Constant snacker?  Health-food junkie?  
If you have good snack suggestions for me, please share!!

Chili Party: Beef, Bean, and Beer Chili

It's that time again!  Paige organized another food extravaganza to make us all hungry.  (If you missed the taco party, click here.)  This time around we're doing chili!  Since football season has started, Paige thought it might be fun to share recipes for one of football's favorite treats.  I don't care much for football, and you won't catch us watching it, but that doesn't mean I can't join in on the food, right?.

(Please excuse my poor photos. We were salivating at this point.)

This recipe is adapted slightly from one my uncle gave me.  His called for a shot of Old Grandad in it, but since whiskey is a scant find around here, I opted for a cup of beer instead (Beer is also scant, but much more easily purchasable at the grocery store.)  This is a nice thick chili that is great by itself or over rice, and we always have corn bread with it.

Beef, Bean, and Beer Chili

1- 1.5 pounds ground beef
Spanish/vidalia onion, chopped
small bell pepper- pick your color, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
4 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1 can diced tomatoes with chilis (14.5 ounce or close to it)
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1 cup dark beer
1 14.5-ounce can beans (I typically use black beans), undrained
salt and pepper
shredded cheddar cheese

Heat a pot over medium-high heat, add the ground beef and brown.  Depending on the percent of fat content of your meat, you may need to strain the excess grease out of your meat. (90/10 you generally don't, but 80/20 you definitely do.)  

Once the meat is browned and grease is removed, add in the onion, bell pepper, and celery and combine.  (I don't list amounts because it depends on how much you like to use.  I generally chop one thick slab off of a vidalia onion, and that's plenty.)

Add chili powder, cumin, and oregano to the meat and vegetable mix and combine, then add in the can of tomatoes and cornmeal.  Combine, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the dark beer and undrained beans, salt and pepper to taste, combine again and simmer for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  The liquid will cook down and thicken, leaving you with a nice meaty chili with lots of flavor.  Ladle into bowls and top with shredded cheddar and you're good to go.  (Also, this would be great over nacho chips.  Just saying.)

I hope you give it a try- it certainly doesn't last long around here.

Before you go, please stop by and visit my other chili party friends, too!

Friday Finds and Link Love.

It's Friday!  As I'm writing this it is 49.8 degrees outside, and I'm wondering if this is the official slide into fall or if we'll have one more heat wave before summer quits on us.  I certainly don't mind the cooler weather (we'll revisit that statement when winter hits) and neither does a certain curly dog who was snuggled so close to me this morning she was almost on top of me.

I've been spending a lot of time working on new things for my shop this week and trying to get things on my very long to-do list made finally.  I feel a little bit like I have crafty ADD, sewing scarves one minute, then a bag, then assembling keychains, all in one night.  Because I've been staying up late some nights, I've been spending part of the next day worn out, stuck in front of the computer, surfing, meaning I've found some things to share with you.

1. Heidi's blogging for herself and not for her readers.  It's an epic struggle a lot of us face.  (Okay, maybe not epic, but you know what I mean.)

2. I love Mike Rowe and I love Dirty Jobs and I love the whole concept behind the show.  And listening to him speak on the value of work and how we are attacking the important jobs is just so interesting.  He tells a funny story first but it really gets into the heart of it around the 10-minute mark.

Link to the original post here.

 3. 19 Jokes Only Grammar Nerds Will Understand.  #2 cracked me up for real.  (Thanks to Ayla for sharing that one!)

4. Good carbs vs. bad carbs.  Many of us are trying to eat healthier and feel better.  This might help.

Good Carbs Vs. Bad Carbs

 5. I want one, I want one, I want one.

6. Ditto.  Too bad (for me) it sold!

We have company coming Saturday night so I'll be cleaning from now until then but I'm going to try to keep adding some new stuff at Milo and Molly and then there may be a little sale.  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!  Do you have anything fun planned?