Homemade chili seasoning (mild)

A side view of a small Mason jar with a label that says "Chili Seasoning".Since I’ve been cutting back on my sodium intake, I’ve been finding it challenging to find spots to cut back on salt. I never really used to cook with a ton of salt to begin with — or so I thought. I suppose I should actually say that I never really added extra salt to cooking because it already exists in so many of our foods already!

Take a look at canned tomatoes. While I understand that sodium is used a lot in preserving foods, I know they have cut back on some things, marking them as ‘reduced sodium’ or ‘lower sodium’. So I compared two cans of diced tomatoes of the same brand. For half a cup of the regular brand, it was about 450 mg of sodium, but for the ‘reduced sodium’ can, it was only 25 mg. What a difference!

I didn’t even want to guess how much sodium was in a package of chili seasoning. Too much, I’m supposing. So I scoured the web, took some advice from a few different recipes and came up with my own chili seasoning to cut back on the sodium levels. Keep in mind that this is relatively tame compared to other seasonings, but in higher quantities in the crockpot, it can have a bite. My tastes prefer mild seasonings, so bump up the hotter ingredients if you prefer it spicy!

Here’s what I did:

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Lower-carb / lower-sodium adventures: chili stew

A bowl of chili stewI’m sure that I’ve probably posted my chili/chili stew before somewhere, but let me state for the record that it is not what most people think of when they think of chili. It’s more of a stew or soup with chili seasonings. I throw all kinds of vegetables into it and there are no beans.

But lately, I’ve been watching my sodium intake and carbs, so I’ve been  changing some of my old favourites up, as mentioned in previous posts. For this one, I focused on cutting right back on the sodium. Did you know, for example, that 1/2 a cup of diced tomatoes from a can generally has about 450-500 mg of sodium, but the same amount from a ‘no salt added’ can of tomatoes may only have 20-30 mg? It’s a HUGE difference! It allows you the room to regulate the salt how you’d like it, rather than dealing with all that sodium right from the start.

I managed to get my chili stew to the point of only being about 170 mg of sodium per 1 cup serving, which means I could have two servings if I wanted to! 😉

Here’s what I did:

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Low-carb adventures: bacon cheeseburger soup

A bowl of bacon cheeseburger soup topped with shredded lettuceI think all the rain we got over the beginning of the month got me searching for comfort foods and I’m still on that kick. I’ve been craving cheeseburgers. Bacon cheeseburgers. But I’ve been avoiding buns and bread for obvious reasons. So, why not make a soup with all the familiar flavours of a bacon cheeseburger? Here’s what I threw together in a pot:

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Low-carb adventures: vegetable barley soup

A large bowl of vegetable barley soupIn my quest for low carb-friendly comfort foods, I got thinking about the things  I loved when I was a child. One of those things was my mom’s beef barley soup. It was to die for! I miss that soup and wanted to capture that again, except that I had no beef in the house for  it. Broth, yes. Meat, no. Well, why not make  it without the meat? Despite there being no meat in it, I found this soup to be insanely satisfying and filling. Next time, I might even add some more veggies, like broccoli and cauliflower to add some texture to it. Here’s what I did:

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Low-carb adventures: ground chicken meatloaf!

A plate with chicken meatloaf, corn and coleslaw (vinegar-based).In my low-carb adventures, I’ve been introduced to some new foods and new ways of cooking, but after two solid weeks of really watching what I ate, I was craving comfort foods. One such comfort food from my childhood was meatloaf dinner! I wanted meatloaf, potatoes, corn on the cob, lots of butter, gravy, etc. Well, I came up with a compromise for  some of that heaviness by messing around with some of the components of  that dish. Instead of a whole corn on the cob, I snapped the cobs in half and steamed them, then cut the corn off one of the half-cobs and omitted the butter. Instead of potatoes, I whipped up a homemade vinegar-based coleslaw (no carrots, as I’m not a fan). And for the meatloaf, I used ground chicken instead of ground beef. Here’s what I did:

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Low-carb adventures: egg muffins!

A mini quiche made in a muffin pan.Breakfast has never been easy for me. I’m not one who can generally eat as soon as she gets up in the morning. I’ve had issues with feeling ill at the mere thought of eating so soon from waking, so often,  I’m not getting hungry until I’m on my way out the door to work in the morning, or by the time I get there. So, grabbing breakfast on the go is something really important to me.

I’ve been stopping at McDonald’s for McMuffins or Tim Horton’s for bagels, but both are not healthy choices. McD’s  is a no-brainer, but bagels are very high in carbs and sugar. I’ve been trying  to cut back on my breads/grains intake, so bagels are not the way to go. Well, I love omelets but couldn’t think of how to make one very portable until I got thinking about the muffin-sized meatloaves I have made and started poking around the net for some guidance on how to use that method for eggs. Here’s what I ended up doing…

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Low-carb adventures: Asian beef salad

A green salad topped with Asian beefI had actually made this Asian beef recipe for some lettuce wraps but the problem was that I only had Romaine lettuce, which does not  roll up too well. It turned out to be more like Asian beef lettuce tacos! *laughs*

I figured this  would be too messy for my lunch at work the next day, so I made up a green salad and simply topped it off with the flavourful ground beef mixture. Please have a look at the original recipe for the Asian Beef  Lettuce Wraps at the Comfort of Cooking website, but I made a few adjustments along the way for my own tastes and based on what I had on hand. Here’s the recipe for the beef mixture:

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