In spite of the gloom, we're all happy because summer has officially begun in the Hyzy household. The kids are out of school. That's really when summer begins, right?
So, what's my challenge?
You may remember that I have a vegetarian daughter. No problem.
My husband and I are currently counting carbs. He and I had very good luck with an Adkins-ish diet ten years ago, and we know that if we watch our carb intake we'll both lose the ten (or so) pounds that crept back over the past few years.
Right now you may be nodding. You're seeing my dilemma. Adkins and its many derivatives call on participants to increase their protein intake (i.e. more meat) in order to avoid carbs (i.e. pasta and bread). Main dishes of meat won't work for my daughter. Main dishes of pasta won't work for us.
So, how do I keep everybody happy?
Fortunately, my vegetarian daughter really is vegetarian. She loves all vegetables except possibly asparagus (gets that from her dad), and those carbs are more complex than simple carbs found in pastas. I've upped our already respectable veggie intake by a lot.
But that doesn't make for especially exciting meals. At least not every day. Rather than prepare pasta dishes for her that would only serve to tempt us, I've pulled out some cookbooks and have begun experimenting with vegetarian dishes that aren't too high in carbs.
Mind you, my husband and I still enjoy our proteins at most meals. (Notice how lately "meat" has suddenly morphed into "protein"? If I had more self-discipline, I'd try to wean myself away. Maybe when these ten pounds disappear...)
Anyway, I digress.
Today I wanted to start with something that pleases everyone!
No, this isn't carb free, but it isn't terrible. When my husband and I follow our plan, we allow ourselves one "reward meal" per day. We have it in the evening and at that meal we're allowed to have one helping of carbs, in any shape we prefer. Sometimes I choose corn on the cob, sometimes a piece of fresh Italian bread with butter. Today, it's an ice cream sandwich!
These are *fairly* low in carbs. I checked the nutritional info on the ice cream before I bought it. A half cup has 15 carbs (I use less than a 1/2 cup per serving, maybe 1/4 cup). Add in the peanut butter 7g for 2 Tbsp (I used less of this, too) and 11g for one chocolate graham cracker, and that's probably less than 30 grams. Yeah, not zero, but as long as I only have one, I'm okay.
My vegetarian daughter, and my other daughters (who don't have to count carbs) think these are a delicious, fun treat. They actually prefer them over ice cream sandwiches because the graham cracker is sturdy; that their fingers don't get gooey while eating.
To me, they're my reward for staying carb free during the day.
And they're so easy to make.
Break chocolate graham crackers in half to form two squares.
Slide a thin layer of peanut butter on each side (left)
Scoop a small helping of softened vanilla ice cream onto one of the sides
Top with the other.
Wrap in foil
Place in the freezer for about an hour.
All that's left is to enjoy them. Just be aware that the graham crackers tend to shed a few crumbs every time you bite. Totally worth it, though!
BTW - I tried making them with smooth and with crunchy pb, and I have to say--much to my surprise--I prefer the smooth.
My kids are already talking about changing the ice cream flavor to Chocolate Chip Mint, or to change out the pb in favor of caramel.
The possibilities are endless.
Darn... I'm hungry now.
Over the next few weeks I'll be posting some vegetarian offerings and a few meat-based ones as I search for the right balance here at dinner time.
Wish me luck!
Don't forget - Grace Interrupted comes out June 7th! There are plenty of exciting moments in store for Grace and the gang this time. And you're invited to help launch it!
If you'll be in the Chicago area on Sunday, June 12th, please come to my book signing party! (I'll be on the WGN - Rick Kogan's Sunday Papers radio show that morning, too!)
Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore
7419 W. Madison
Forest Park, IL
1:00 - 3:00