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Good morning protein!

By Mike Thayer

Carb-Check Diet_smallBreakfast is my favorite meal of the day.  I'm a believer in the saying that it's the most important meal of the day, as your body needs some fuel after an 8-hour session of sleep.

Here's a great way to kickstart your morning.

  • 1/4 pound of pork sausage
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 egg, slightly scrambled
  • Two slices of American cheese

You can either brown up the sausage in patty form in one pan while you cook up the onion and eggs in another, top each with cheese.....  Or you can crumble up the sausage and combine it with the onion and eggs for a one skillet breakfast, topped with cheese.  It's up to you!  If you go with the crumble, there's no need for the olive oil, the fat from the sausage will do.

This breakfast delivers about 28 grams of protein and less than 5 grams in carbs, most of those carbs coming from the onion.  That's good body fuel and those onion carbs are better for you than toast!

This is an inexpensive breakfast to prepare too, costing about $1 per serving.

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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Mushrooms, fantastic on the grill, good for the diet

By Mike Thayer

MushroomsI love mushrooms, all edible varieties, White Button, Chanterelle, Crimini, Shiitake, Portabello, Oyster and my favorite....  The coveted Morel.

Mushrooms are an excellent add to the Carb-Check Diet because they are so versatile and the carb count is almost negligible.  One cup of mushrooms (pieces/sliced) has anywhere from 2-5 grams of protein and just 2-5 grams in carbs, depending on the variety. 

You can grill them, saute them, stir-fry them, bake them, deep-fry them or eat them raw.  Include them in any number of dishes, soups, salads, casseroles, create some great appetizers or make them the main dish.

The flavors range from bland, to nutty, to beefy.  White Button mushrooms for example are considered somewhat bland in flavor, but that's actually a good thing, because they can take on just about any flavor you decide to add to them.  They're great in salads for that very reason, they provide a nice texture contrast to lettuce and really absorb and enhance the flavors in the salad dressing.   Paired with a steak, button mushrooms embrace the steak's juices and steak sauce.  And speaking of steak, Shiitake and Portabello mushrooms deliver an almost beefy flavor and can be main dishes.

Bonus: Mushrooms are reasonably priced too!  You can get an 8 ounce package of white button or "baby bella" mushrooms for less than $3 and you can get two meals out of that.

Here's a go-to recipe for me, especially during grilling season:

Marinated Portobello Mushrooms

Portobello Mushrooms (yes, the big ones) are indeed the 'steak' of veggies, one of the few veggies that can be made into a meal of its own and one of the few veggies that can handle being in a marinade for hours to take on added flavor without turning to mush.

Ingredients:

  • 4 mushroom caps, cleaned, stems removed
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon steak sauce
  • 1/2 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried, minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

 Directions:

Carb-Check Diet_smallPlace the mushrooms in a large Ziplock bag, set aside.  Mix the remaining ingredients together in a small bowl, pour over the mushrooms and marinade in the fridge for at least two hours.  When the coals are hot, place mushrooms over direct heat, gill side down, reserve the marinade for basting.  Grill for about 10 minutes, turning every two minutes and basting.  Despite the marinade, mushrooms can dry out, hence, the basting.  Serve immediately.  These are excellent served as a side, sliced up and enjoyed.  They're also fantastic served on a bun with lettuce and tomato like a burger. 

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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If you appreciate the article you just read and want to support more great content on BachelorontheCheap.com, you can help keep this site going with a one-time or a monthly donation.  Thank you so much for your support! ~ Mike

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The many uses for Tzatziki Sauce

By Mike Thayer

Tzatziki Sauce

Tzatziki on a burgerTzatziki isn't just for gyros....   The sauce is actually a fantastic change of pace addition to any grilled meat or fish.  Use it as a topping on a burger, put a generous dollop on salmon, serve it on the side with kabobs.  It's also excellent used as a veggie dip, salad dressing, put it on a pork rind, a lettuce wrap sandwich and more.  You can pretty much substitute Tzatziki sauce for anything you might use mayonnaise on and with only about two carbs per two Tablespoon serving that makes it Carb-Check Diet friendly!

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 an English cucumber, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • One Tablespoon dried dill
  • One Tablespoon lemon juice (citric acid is a nice alternative)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, mix until thoroughly incorporated, cover and chill for about 30 minutes or until ready to use. 

Carb-Check Diet_smallNot only is Tzatziki delicious, versatile and easy to put together, it's cheap to make!   You can whip up a batch of Tzatziki for less than $5 and have plenty of leftover ingredients to make more, or create something else.

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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If you appreciate the article you just read and want to support more great content on BachelorontheCheap.com, you can help keep this site going with a one-time or a monthly donation.  Thank you so much for your support! ~ Mike

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Carb-Check Diet: Don't eat this for lunch, eat this instead!

Carb-Check Diet_smallBy Mike Thayer

So you don't quite know what to have for lunch, you've only got 30 minutes and that fast food joint is convenient......

Don't do it!

That fast food meal is going to come with a price and I'm not talking about what you'll pay at the counter.  I'm talking about excess carbs and sugars.  Did you know that a Taco Bell $5 Buck Box packs more than 130 carbs?  That's NOT a good thing.

Don't eat this!

Taco Bell Cravings BoxThis meal looks great and it may taste great, but it's not great for the body, even if you're NOT on a diet.  The Taco Bell Cravings Box starting at $5 contains about 1,000+ calories (about half of the government's recommended daily intake), has around 48 grams of fat, a WHOPPING 135 grams in carbs, 11 grams in sugars and 37 grams in protein.   That last number is great, but the rest of those numbers are frankly unacceptable.  Fast food is convenient yes, but the creators of these value meals aren't thinking about your waistline.  Even if you behaved yourself and had a reasonable breakfast, this lunch pretty much blows your day and you would essentially have to starve yourself for dinner and who wants to go to bed hungry?  I know, the $5 price is attractive, but going for the deal at lunch just isn't a good thing.

Eat this instead!

Taco SaladA Chicken Taco Salad that you can easily make at home!  It's delicious and yes, it includes a corn tostado base to give you that crunch, it's loaded with guacamole, salsa, black olives and shredded cheddar cheese.  The total carb count on this lunch? Just 24 grams, compare that to the 135 grams in the Taco Bell lunch.  The total calorie count on this meal is just under 500, has 16 grams of fat, just 6 grams in sugars and 29 grams of protein.  With this tasty lunch, you don't have to starve yourself for dinner to maintain your diet or go to bed hungry!  And depending on how far away you live from your job site, it can actually be a quicker meal than fast food if you've prepped all the items to put the salad together.

Don't waste time and money in the fast food drive through, eat in your own kitchen!  Your body will thank you.

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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If you appreciate the article you just read and want to support more great content on BachelorontheCheap.com, you can help keep this site going with a one-time or a monthly donation.  Thank you so much for your support! ~ Mike

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The Carb-Check Diet: Don't eat this for breakfast, eat this instead!

Carb-Check Diet_smallBy Mike Thayer

Frosted Flakes fan are 'ya? 

Stop it.

Did you know processed sugars and carbohydrates are WAY worse for you than fat?

It's true.  Sugars and bad carbs do WAY more harm to the body and contributes WAY more in weight gain than natural fat does.  Truth is, your body NEEDS some fat to function properly.

Don't eat this!

Frosted FlakesA typical bowl of Frosted Flakes and 2% milk puts the following into your body:  530 calories, 94 grams of carbohydrates, 54 grams of sugar, 20 grams of protein, 10 grams of fat.  Now if you did the recommended serving size, just one cup, you could cut all those numbers in half.  But unless you're in a hospital bed, NOBODY eats just one cup of cereal with milk.  That's the serving size listed on the label on the box, but you and I both know that most everybody ends up pouring about two cups of cereal in a typical bowl for breakfast.  Look at all those carbs and sugar in that two cup serving!  Your body doesn't need all that, not even close!  But it tastes so good right?  That's the lure......

 

Eat this instead!

Bacon and eggsThree strips of bacon and two eggs scrambled, over easy or sunny side up puts the following nutrition into your body:  318 calories, just 2 grams in carbs, NO sugars, 21 grams in protein and 24 grams in fat.  Yes, that sounds like a lot of fat, but it's natural fat and yes, the Frosted Flakes intake of all those processed sugars and bad carbs is far worse for your body than natural fat.  Your body actually needs good fat to process normally.  It does NOT need excess carbs and sugars.  We've been told not to eat so many eggs or bacon.....   But who started that nonsense?  Cereal companies perhaps?

I don't know about you, but I'd rather have bacon and eggs for breakfast than cold cereal and it's not that much more expensive than cereal and milk.  A large box of of Kellogg's Frosted Flakes and a gallon of milk will run you about $8.  A dozen store brand eggs and a pound of Farmland bacon will run you about $9 so it costs just a little bit more, but it's better for your body and it tastes better too!

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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If you appreciate the article you just read and want to support more great content on BachelorontheCheap.com, you can help keep this site going with a one-time or a monthly donation.  Thank you so much for your support! ~ Mike

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Cauliflower isn't just for lunch or dinner

By Mike Thayer

Scrambled egg with cauliflower breakfast bowl
Cauliflower pairs well with eggs

Here's a great way, a very easy and tasty way to get a not so typical veggie for breakfast in that first meal of the day.

Yesterday for lunch I had Polish sausage with a side of roasted cauliflower topped with cheddar cheese.  So for breakfast this morning and thinking about whipping up some scrambled eggs, I decided to include those leftovers to create a nice scrambled egg breakfast bowl!

The beauty of cauliflower is that it's kind of like a blank canvas, you can 'paint' just about any kind of flavor you want into it.  A boring veggie on it's own, cauliflower takes on whatever seasoning, sauce or whatever flavor you want to add to it, whether it's soy sauce, curry or in this case, sauteed with a lot of onion and garlic!

Try some cauliflower for breakfast!

Mike's Cauliflower & Sausage Breakfast Bowl

Ingredients:

  • One Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup leftover cauliflower
  • 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese (if your leftover cauliflower doesn't already have it)
  • 3 ounces of Polish sausage (or whatever leftover meat you may have on hand)
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • Two eggs, beaten
  • Dash of Cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Green onion, chopped, for garnish

Directions:

Carb_Check_DietHeat up a medium sized skillet over medium heat.  Add the olive oil.  Once the oil is warm (you can tell when it slides easily in tilting the pan to coat the bottom), add the onion and a dash of salt and pepper.  Stir occasionally until the onion is translucent.  Add the cauliflower with cheese and Polish sausage, another pinch of black pepper, stir to incorporate.  After the sausage and cauliflower is heated through, add the garlic, stir and let those flavors marry for about a minute.  Add the beaten eggs.  TIPCreate deeper layers of flavor by seasoning ingredients as you go rather than seasoning a dish at the very end.  Add the dash of Cayenne pepper along with a little salt and pepper before beating the eggs.  This is going to create a better overall flavor profile for the dish.  Stir to incorporate the eggs and until the scramble reaches your desired level of consistency.  Garnish with green onion and serve. 

Not only does cauliflower pair well with eggs making for a great breakfast bowl, this meal was Carb-Check friendly.  Cauliflower has only 5 grams of carbs per cup.  This breakfast bowl as prepared has only 9 grams of carbs (2.5 from the cauliflower, 3 from the onion, 2 from the Polish sausage, 1 from the garlic, 0.5 from the cheese) and these are all good carbs!  Compare that to including the same amount of potato instead of the cauliflower in the dish along with a side of toast and that would shoot the carb count way up to 33 grams!  This bowl has plenty of protein in it to start your day too, packing 21 grams.

Utilizing leftovers this was a very Bachelor on the Cheap wallet friendly meal, costing far less than hitting the fast food drive thru or heating up one of those pre-packaged diet (and not so delicious) breakfast bowls in the microwave.

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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If you appreciate the article you just read and want to support more great content on BachelorontheCheap.com, you can help keep this site going with a one-time or a monthly donation.  Thank you so much for your support! ~ Mike

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Radishes & Ranch for an afternoon snack

By Mike Thayer

Radish snackI used to eat a lot of raw carrots, I love 'em, they have a nice crunch to them and an ever-so-slightly sweet bite.  Back in the day when I was trying to lose weight the hard way and before the Carb-Check diet came to be, you would see me with a snack plate of baby carrots and ranch dressing.  But once I discovered the carb count and developed the Carb-Check Diet, carrots were eliminated from my daily snack menu, they are just too high in carb count to be included in every day eats if you're trying to lose weight.   Carrots are more of a maintain weight food, not a weight loss food.

Replace those carrots with radishes! Radishes have a similar crunch to carrots and while they don't share the slightly sweet element of carrots, the peppery flavor of radishes still satisfies.   And yes, by all means eat those radishes with Ranch Dressing!  Pictured right radishes, Ranch and some seasoning salt, a snack of about 4 carbs with about half that coming from the Ranch dressing.

Carb Comparison:

  • 1 cup of of carrots:  12 carbs
  • 1 cup of radishes:  4 carbs

It's a no-brainer!

And with radishes so easy to grow in the garden - you can start harvesting in about 30 days - this is an item you don't have to purchase at the grocery store.  They're low maintenance, put some seeds in the ground, thin them out a bit once they sprout to ensure bigger radishes and 30 days later, you've got some great snacks!

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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If you appreciate the article you just read and want to support more great content on BachelorontheCheap.com, you can help keep this site going with a one-time or a monthly donation.  Thank you so much for your support! ~ Mike

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If you want to lose weight, you can't drink..... (much)

By Mike Thayer

Martini
A martini isn't a bad choice if dieting, just don't drink to excess

It's true, you really can't drink alcohol AND lose weight.  That nightly cocktail, that weekend of drinking with the boys (if you're still young and single), that tailgate party.....  Lot's of drinking.....  You can't do that kind of thing if you're serious about losing weight.

Why?  Because alcohol dramatically slows down your body's ability to burn fat and frequent and/or binge drinking compounds that inability.  Drinking a six pack of beer or more during a tailgate party can mean all that work you did during the week to lose weight was for nothing.  Yes, seriously.   Alcohol slows down your metabolism and increases appetite....  Worse yet, it lowers the discipline to eat sensibly.

Sure, having a drink or two on a Friday night after work is fine, one night and two drinks won't set you back.  But binge drinking, frequent drinking and perhaps most importantly WHAT you're drinking most certainly will.

Choose your drink wisely.

A glass of wine is a smart choice.

A hard liquor shot made with regular soda (i.e., Jack & Coke) is not.

A light beer is a smart choice.

A Long Island iced tea is not.

A vodka with club soda is a decent choice.

A whiskey sour is not.

I think you get the picture.

Yes, you can sin once in awhile while dieting.  In fact, I would argue you HAVE to sin once in awhile to stay sane and stick to the diet.  So sin once in awhile, but get right back to doing what's right the next day.  It's that simple.  Eat smart, drink smart.  Save money on the bar tab!

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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If you appreciate the article you just read and want to support more great content on BachelorontheCheap.com, you can help keep this site going with a one-time or a monthly donation.  Thank you so much for your support! ~ Mike

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Easter is over, it's time to get back on the diet routine

By Mike Thayer

Bacon
I like to cook my bacon in the oven, it's better than fried

Hopefully everyone enjoyed a wonderful Easter holiday, the great company of family and friends, the excellent eats, the traditional ham and all the spring vegetables to go with it, the pies, cookies, cakes and of course, chocolates...

But it's time to get back on the diet, back to re-establishing those good eating habits after indulging a bit over the holiday break.

Besides, just how many Easter leftovers can one have before that gets 'food boring?'

Here's a nice Monday morning breakfast with a bit of a kick.  After all, you can only eat so much of your Mother's Ham & Asparagus Quiche.....

Bacon & Egg Scramble

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices of bacon, rough chopped
  • 1/2 a medium onion, diced
  • 3 eggs
  • A splash of milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Louisiana Hot Sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • A handful of shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

Fire up a frying pan over medium heat and crisp up the bacon, remove the bacon from the pan and set aside.  Using that great bacon fat, put the onion in the pan to soften them up.  TIP:  Don't try to crisp up bacon and saute onions in the same pan at the same time thinking you'll save a step, it won't work.  The chemical reaction between onions and bacon means under-cooked bacon and over-cooked onions.  Once the onions are too your liking, drain off any excess fat, add the bacon back to the pan, add the Louisiana Hot Sauce and black pepper, stir lightly until the hot sauce and black pepper are well incorporated.  Scramble the eggs with the milk, garlic powder, seasoning salt and add to the pan.  Add the shredded cheese and stir until the eggs are creamy and delicious!

This is WAY better than Ham & Asparagus quiche.

This is an inexpensive breakfast to do and doesn't take long at all to prepare (about 10 minutes), so you'll have time to enjoy even on a workday!  You've probably got all the ingredients on hand.

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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Parmesan cheese is your low carb friend

Parmesan CheeseBy Mike Thayer

In giving up breads, pasta, rice, chips and the like in a low-carb diet, getting enough variety in the foods you eat can be challenging.  Enter, Parmesan cheese.

Parmesan cheese can give whatever you're eating another layer of flavor, a fun twist if you will, no more, 'ho-hum' if you're on the food boredom edge. Bonus: No carbs!

This morning I had Parmesan cheese on my eggs, over easy.  After cracking two eggs into the fry pan, I hit them with some black pepper and instead of reaching for the salt, I sprinkled the eggs with Parmesan cheese.  Remember, Parmesan has a salty edge to it - adding salt would have been an overdose of saltiness.  The Parm not only adds another flavor element to eggs prepared over easy, it gives them another texture too.  When you flip those eggs over, the cheese meets the oil which creates a nice little golden brown, slightly crispy bite to the eggs and combined with those flowing yolks, well, it's another does of YUM!

I'm sure you've sprinkled Parmesan cheese on spaghetti and pizza, perhaps even a salad, but don't stop there!  Parmesan is so good on many other dishes.  I like to use Parmesan for example in pan frying fish.  It's great on popcorn, excellent sprinkled on veggies like green beans, broccoli and cauliflower and it's a fantastic add to things like chicken and tuna salad.   The next time you roast or grill some asparagus, don't forget the Parmesan!   Frying up some country-style potatoes or home fries?  Hit 'em with Parmesan.   Try roasting some tomato slices in the oven, top them with Parmesan.   And here's one everybody should try, Parmesan crusted bacon!  Everything's better with bacon!

Play with it, add it to your favorite dishes for a new flavor profile.  Don't forget to hold back on the salt.

Parmesan cheese is a Bachelor on the Cheap wallet friendly cheese that packs a lot of flavor and if you didn't already know before reading this, it's also very versatile!

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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If you appreciate the article you just read and want to support more great content on BachelorontheCheap.com, you can help keep this site going with a one-time or a monthly donation.  Thank you so much for your support! ~ Mike

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