Barbecue chicken barley soup

A bowl of barbecue chicken barley soup

The summertime isn’t a usual time for soup, I’ll admit, but since I’ve been on this lower carb kick, I’ve been eating a lot of soups and stews. Avoiding too much pasta cuts out a lot of casseroles, right? So I had a pre-cooked barbecued chicken in the fridge from the grocery store. But honestly, I am not a fan of chicken noodle soup. I think I got sick too many times when I was a kid, so I’m just not a fan of one of the best home remedies in the world. I’ll eat it if I’m sick, but I’m not going to eat it “just because”.

So, I thought, why not make something heartier? Why not make something more flavourful? I still had barley in the cupboard and a lot of veggies in the fridge and freezer that could be used up. Why not? Before long, I was saying to myself, “Soup’s on!” I’ll warn that since I don’t use a lot of salt anymore, my soups are getting heavier and heavier in the seasonings department. But don’t worry, it’s worth it, and it’s not as bad as it looks.

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A REVIEW: The Crepe House, Port Dover, Ontario

A brightly-coloured house with a sign that says The Crepe House.
Restaurant:
The Crepe House
Address: 2012 Park Street, Port Dover, Ontario
Online: Facebook and Twitter (website in progress)
Price: about $13 per crepe

I know that I don’t do restaurant reviews too often, but this one is extra special. To anyone who watches The Food Network, specifically the show You Gotta Eat Here, The Crepe House might be a little familiar, as John Catucci paid them a visit on the show in the last year.

I’m going to be completely honest up front: I have a connection to this place — my aunt is the owner of this joint (and is the one that John Catucci hung out with on the show). But I am in no way biased about this restaurant as a result. If I didn’t care for it, I just wouldn’t write about it. If you’re in the Port Dover area and are looking for a decent meal, it’s worth stopping by. Let me share with you why.

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Lower sodium tuna croquettes

Two golden brown tuna croquettes (tuna cakes) on a plate with corn and baked potatoI think I’ve already said this but I’ll say it again: I do not like fish or seafood as a general rule. It’s true. I wasn’t even much of a frozen fish stick fan when I was a kid. Some of it upsets my stomach. A lot of it throws my texture issues for a loop. And mostly, I can’t stand the smell.

However, one thing I do eat because we had it a lot as a kid and I got a taste for it is canned tuna. Specifically, I enjoy Clover Leaf’s white tuna packed in water. I’m not a fan of all the fancy ones they have out now, like the dill-flavoured ones, jalapeno, lemon and herb and all that jazz. I guess with canned tuna, I’m a bit of a purist.

As I mentioned recently, I found out that Clover Leaf produces a low sodium version of this tuna, so I was pretty pleased with the prospect of looking for it in the grocery store. The difference is 100mg less sodium per half can. Considering half a can is a good-sized sandwich, this is awesome. Instead of 340mg in a whole can, it’s only 140mg for the whole can. And honestly, I can’t taste much of a difference.

Just beware: the flaked can has more sodium than the solid can. Do what I do and read every label.

With that said, I found myself with the prospect of baked potatoes and steamed corn on the cob last night but had no planned protein. Checking the cupboards, I grabbed three of the cans of tuna and thought to myself, “Tuna croquettes!” If you are asking what a croquette is (as I was, when I first heard it), just think (in this case): fried tuna cake. Kind of like a crab cake.

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Omelets are low-carbers’ best friends

An omelet made out of 1 egg and some various ingredientsI will admit that I love a good plate of eggs, bacon and toast. But when you’re trying to cut back on carbs, you might not want to be having the toast component all the time. So why not cut out the middle-man and make an omelet? I know I’ve spoken about omelets before, but I’m going to talk about them again. Sometimes the 2-egg breakfast can be a bit too much, too.

You can have a 1-egg omelet with two strips of low sodium turkey bacon and some veggies and cheese thrown into it and it’s a pretty decent meal. Here’s what I did recently with a 1-egg omelet:

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A COMPARISON: Tuna sandwiches

A side-view of half of a toasted tuna sandwich, loaded with tuna, green onion, lettuce, tomato and light provolone cheese on whole wheat bread.I used to think that a tuna sandwich was a healthy meal choice. In theory, it is. But no two tuna sandwiches are the same, it seems, and some are better for you than others. Admittedly, I am not a big fish-eater, so eating the tuna out of the can without any mayo is a cringe-worthy thought for me. Tuna salad sandwiches are my “thing” and pretty much the only way I get any fish into my diet.

But let’s compare: my old tuna salad sandwich to my new tuna salad sandwich. Both are between two pieces of bread. Both have cheese. Both have butter, lettuce and tomato. One is toasted. One is not. But one of these things is not like the other, so to speak. Let’s have a closer look, shall we?

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REVIEW & REJIG: Hungarian mushroom soup recipe

A bowl of low-sodium Hungarian Mushroom SoupI was off sick from work today and slept most of the day away. When I awoke, I was feeling much better, but was absolutely famished. I considered calling and ordering some take-out chicken soup from Swiss Chalet until I looked up the nutritional value. For one bowl of chicken and vegetable noodle soup was over 1000mg of sodium!! No thank you!

My husband suggested that I make my own. The problem with that was that I had no chicken in the fridge! I had veggies and broth and whole wheat egg noodles (no yolk) but no chicken. Can’t have chicken soup without chicken, can we?

But by this point, I knew I wanted soup. So I went scouring around the web, looking for ideas. I knew I had about a pound of mushrooms that needed to be used up soon, so I based my searching on that ingredient. What I found was an intriguing recipe over on AllRecipes.com called Hungarian Mushroom Soup. I was surprised to find out that with the exception of the fresh parsley (I just had dried), I had all of the ingredients.

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Homemade salsa

A bowl of homemade salsaI’m going to give a disclaimer on this one: this does not taste anything like the pre-packaged jars of salsa that you buy in the store. I think I know why, too; I omitted the scads of salt they use.

This is fresh-tasting with a bigger spice-kick than I expected (I generally reach for the mild salsa, so this is probably on the upper limit of mild for most people). You can taste the ingredients, not the salt. I think I prefer it, to be honest.

YMMV, however. Spruce this one up how you like it. Add more or less than what you see and don’t be afraid to experiment. Here’s what  I did:

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