Super Lunch

Todays lunch was a little bit snacky, and a lotta’ bit healthy.

Heres what it was, and why I HIGHLY recommend it!

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Tuna

Tuna fish is good for you in many ways: It is super high in protein which you need for healthy muscles, hair, blood, skin and nails. It’s high in Omega-3s which helps you maintain a healthy blood-pressure and cardiovascular system as well as lower your odds of heart disease and obesity. It is high in B-Vitamins which help build and maintain red blood cells and strengthen the immune system. Tuna can help you keep your tri-glycerides low which helps keep your cholesterol in check (and your doctor happy) as well as being an excellent source of Selenium, an antioxidant that helps improve the body’s immune system.

Avocado

Avocados are funny because while most fruits are full of carbohydrates, avocados are full of heathy fats and nutrients. They are loaded with potassium (more than a banana even!) and fiber, and are an awesome source of Vitamin E, Vitamin K,
Folate, Vitamin C, Potassium, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin E as well as trace amounts of Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Iron, Zinc, Phosphorous, Vitamin A, B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin) and B3 (Niacin). Yeah… SUPER FOOD!

Hulled Hemp Hearts

Hulled Hemp Hearts are the insides of the tiny seeds from the hemp plants. They have absolutely no narcotic value, but a ton of nutritional value! Hemp Hearts taste like sweet little peanuts and are wonderful in aiding the heath of your brain, heart and digestive system. Hemp seeds are also essential if you are diabetic, or are at risk for diabetes, as they can help to control your blood sugar levels. This is due to the healthy fats which help the body to absorb the glucose from the bloodstream and turn it into energy. As a result, energy levels will increase and sweet cravings will decrease. (site)

Olives & Olive Oil

I don’t think I have ever met an olive I didn’t like. I love green olives in my egg salad, kalamata olives on greek salad, garlic stuffed, blue-cheese stuffed, anything stuffed really…and my favorite: lined up on a toothpick and floating in a martini glass with kettle one. 😉 Aside from being briney and salty and delicious, they are also super good for you! They can help protect against colon, breast and skin cancer. Olive oil contains little something called biophenols, which help suppress the absorption of LDL (or “bad cholesterol) which has been shown to play a role in the development of cardiovascular disease. Olives have strong anti-inflammatory properties and can aid in the pain relief of inflammatory diseases such as artheritis.

Sheep Cheese

Sheeps’ milk & sheeps’ cheese isn’t just earthy and delicious, it also contains almost twice the beneficial goodness of cows milk. It has more protein, calcium, zinc, riboflavin and folic acid than goat or cow milk. It is very digestible and there is some scientific research showing that sheep milk can aid in the treatment of asthma, eczema and other skin problems. It also has naturally high in the B Complex Vitamins.

Ta-da! Super lunch!

 

 

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On The Road Again

As you may or may not already know, about 90% of my year is spent on the road, traveling for work. Most of the time it’s for CS’s job and we take the camper and I go where ever he goes… We’ve been to some really awesome places (Connecticut in the Fall) and some fairly less desirable destinations (West Texas in the icy winter)

Every once in a while there is a deviation in the schedule and we head in separate directions for work…like right now for instance: CS is working off the coast of sunny Florida, (poor baby) and I am trapped in the forever-winter of Southern New York.

I left West Texas the last week of January with my Jeep, a seasonal variety of clothing options and my little dog… It took 3 nights and 4 days of driving but I eventually made it to  my sister’s house in S. Vermont, before heading straight into NY. (I would have gone to my parents house on Cape Cod, but unfortunately it was the middle of a blizzard when I finally hit New England and since the roads coming into and off of The Cape were all closed, I detoured to Mary’s house in Brattleboro.)

Anyways, my point here is: just when I got comfy and cozy in my housewifery routine of cooking every meal in my regular kitchen, and making my meal plans to include likeable options for both my (semi) picky, meat & potato loving cowboy, and for my low-carbing self, now I was suddenly finding myself not having to tend to anyones my by own diet. Now, left to my own devices I am admittedly sometimes tempted to eat a can of tuna, or a handful of snap peas and call it a meal but I have been down that road before and a lack of preparation can easily lead to binge eating a bunch of bullshit convenience foods and I’m not taking that route this time!!

While I was actually traveling, being low-carb was the hardest. I genuinely don’t prefer to eat fast food. I know I can have a hamburger without the bun, or a salad without the croutons but I’m very picky about knowing exactly what is in my food, and exactly whos hands have touched it (not in a crazy person kinda way) LUCKILY i found THESE little gems at Love’s Truck Stops all across the highways on my trip (almost 3,000 miles of highways, by the way)

Good sized cups of fresh vegetables, olives, pickles and a little cup of ranch dressing. How convenient is THAT?! They also had other cups of salami and cheese cups, fruit and yogurt cups and leafy green salads in a cup. THIS along with bottles of water, sunflower seeds and the occasional bag of beef jerky are what fueled me (and Oscar Dog) on our cross-country. voyage.

 

Fast forward to right now. I have been working 12 hours a day (14 if you count commute time…which I DO!) for 6 days a week and one of the many chores I squeeze into my short day off every week is a major meal prep. I know, that if I don’t take the time to prepare at least a few meal options I will try to live off green beans and lunch meat.

First order of business cook some eggs.

Last week I boiled a dozen eggs and every day I either cut them in half and ate them with mustard, or smashed them up in a Ziploc bag with some mayo and a little mustard powder and made egg salad (I mention the ziplock bag smashing method because I want you to know what a classy and fancy chef I am.)

Pre-Scrambled Eggs and Sausage

For lunches, my biggest meal of the day because I get home so late and don’t ever want to eat anything big before I go to bed, I usually make something a little denser – something that will tide me over from 1pm to about 7pm.

Chicken “pot stickers”

Italian Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

Chicken Piccata

Noodleless Lasagna

And finally, for dinner I will usually have things like a bag of cooked & thawed shrimp, some mixed up tuna salad, a disassembled head of lettuce for some lunch-meat lettuce wraps or sometimes – if I’m feeling particularly famished – a tortilla pizza

Buffalo Chicken Flatbread

Is there anyone else out there who works long hours with this lifestyle? I am always looking for new make ahead meals, or ANYTHING to simplify the task of meal making on limited time! Please, share away!!

TURNIP FOR WHAT?! *cue the music*

Please don’t judge me by that song reference/terrible pun, I’m just really excited about turnips today!

I’ve been experimenting lately with turnips as an alternative for potatoes and it’s crazy how well it’s working! I’ve diced them up and fried them in a pan, I’ve boiled them and mashed them up with cauliflower, and today I decided to try shredding them and cooking them like hash browns… ding ding ding! We have a winner!

I know you’re a smart person, and you can probably figure this recipe out on your own, but I am a chatty person with no one to talk to today so I’m going to go step-by-step on this…ready?!


Step One:

Acquire a turnip. I use the little ones, with the white flesh (also called a rutabaga) but I’d imagine the waxy, yellow ones would probably work too…I’ll have to try them next 🙂

Step Two:

Trim ’em up. I always peel the skin off the outside, and cut the ends off. From here you can dice them, slice them, or like I did…shred them! Now, try not to be put off by the smell… I know it’s strong (almost horseradish-ish) but they totally mellow out when they’re cooked.

Step 3:

Wrap your shredded turnips in a cheese cloth, flour cloth or even a bunch of paper towels and squeeze the life and liquid out of them. They will brown up SO much better if they’re super dry. Next, I put some bacon fat in a pan (you could just as easily use coconut oil, or ghee) heated it up over medium heat until it was super hot and spread the shreds evenly in the pan. This next part is hard so listen closely… DON’T TOUCH THEM! Just let them sit there in that pan, and brown up.  It’s going to take a couple minutes, but really let them get a little dark and crunchy on the bottom and then you can flip them. Or scatter them, how ever you want to do it…After everything seems soft and brown then you should season them.

The reasons I waited to season them are:

  1. pepper burns really easily
  2.  adding salt to a vegetable will draw the water out.

If I’d put salt in there too soon it could make them mushy and thats not what I wanted!! Once I was confident that the water had been cooked out, I cracked some black pepper, and some sea salt on top, tossed them around in the pan to season everything thoroughly and partnered them up with some fried eggs…

Spaghetti Squash *A Love Story*

I’m not going to lie, I love pasta.

I don’t know if its the doughy smell of it cooking, the chewy bite and the way it twirls on your fork, or the fact that it makes a perfect delivery device for sauce, but pretty much all pastas played a big role in my family dinners growing up, especially being from up north.

There was the classic meat sauce that as soon as we (my sisters and I) spotted on the stover would groan and “ugh” over, why- I don’t know..maybe we thought it was boring, or because we were crazy, bratty little children, but we did the same thing for homemade chicken soup (which we would also claim to hate, and then eat all of it) Then there was my fathers famous linguini with clam sauce and pasta putanessca, mom’s notorious penne with beans, there was pasta salad, Nana’s lasagna with pepperonis, bow-ties and pesto, pasta pasta pasta carbs carbs carbs….mmmm I love it.

And now, I don’t eat it at all and am totally okay with it.

Why the change of heart, you ask?!

SPAGHETTI SQUASH!

I know its not the real thing, and I’m not here to convince you that you’ll never know the difference, but give me a chance!

I realized that with a little paleo-minded creativity I could still enjoy all the best things about pasta (THE SAUCE!!) without all the gut clogging, high gluten pasta.


Spaghetti squash is a little tough to crack into but once you get in there, it works are a perfect substitute and I seriously can’t sing its praises loud enough.

Step 1: get a spaghetti squash

Step 2: get an axe, and a sledge hammer.

Just kidding! You’ll understand that joke better once you try to crack one of these suckers open… it ain’t easy. The best way I’ve found for cutting one of these in half is this: I put the whole squash in the microwave, and nuke it for 3 minutes per pound…take it out (it will be hotttt!!) and slice the top and the bottom off…that way it will have a stable, flat surface for slicing and starting from the bottom to the top just press your knife all the way down…like I said, it’s not easy. That dude is going to make you work for it, but stay strong!

Step 3: Now that you’ve got it open (and have done your arm exercises for the day) scoop the seeds out just like you would with a pumpkin or a butternut or even a cantaloupe and throw that junk away.

Step 4: I take a baking sheet and line it with foil, or parchment paper. Drizzle some olive oil, or coconut oil, or my favorite – ghee, on the inside of the squash. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty and really rub your squash with that oil…it’s going to help it steam and flavor the flesh as it cooks…I usually add some salt and pepper too before flipping it over, flesh side down and putting it in the oven. *sometimes I get REALLY crazy, and add a few peeled garlic cloves under the flipped squash and let them roast too.

I cook the squash at 375, until the outside skin presses in when you poke it…usually about an hour, sometimes longer.

Flip the squash over and pop them back in for about 10 minutes just to toast the inside a little bit, and dry it out so it’s not super soupy (say that 3 times fast)

Now the fun part!! Run your fork along the flesh, and watch the squash spaghettiize (shut up. that’s a word)

TADAA!! Now you can do all kinds of stuff to it!!

I like to put some spaghetti sauce, meatballs and mozzarella cheese in it and broil it until the cheese is toasty and melty

Or I like to mix it with some pesto, and some grilled chicken

Or mix it with some alfredo and bacon for a spaghetti squash carbonara

Fill it with pulled pork, fajita meat, make it into a mac & cheese type casserole…

Really, once you get past the obstacle of actually cracking open and cooking the squash, the possibilities are endless!!

What’s YOUR favorite way to eat a spaghetti squash?!

Meal Prep

It’s Meal-Prep Monday!

I really should have done this on Sunday, but since I’m not going back to work for a few more weeks, I have the time today to prepare myself for the month.

Being low-carb/paleo and living with someone who loves bread with every meal, can be a little challenging. I think I do pretty well to make meals that work for me AND work for him, without changing a whole lot. I’ll cook tacos and make mine into a salad, I’ll make kale soup and cook the potatoes on the side for him, and I most commonly prepare a dinner of meat, a vegetable and a salad so it’s an easy no-brainer.

Taking the time to pre-cook snacks, and prep vegetable and things ahead of time is a LIFE SAVER for the week!

My plan for today is to prep a few easy things that can be used all week…


I’ll be boiling a dozen eggs, slicing and shredding a big block of cheese, cutting veggies, mixing up some tuna salad, cooking down some bacon ends and pieces (they’re literally a vacuum sealed package of bacon scraps and heaven)

 to jar up some bacon fat (master fat) AND to have bacon bits for omelets or salads, fermenting some sauerkraut, making a pan of chicken pesto (recipe to come) and, my favorite – slow cooking a great big Kalua Pork.

Traditionally a Kalua Pork isn’t cooked in a slow cooker, but today it will be. In Hawaii,  kalua literally means ‘to cook in an underground oven’ and is a staple at luaus. It’s a minimally seasoned, slow roasted hunk of pig that is simple and delicious, and really easy to mimic at home.

The best cuts of pork for slow roasting (in my opinion) are the cuts that come from the shoulder. They’re marbled with fat, which keeps them moist and they almost always contain a bone or blade. You could use a Boston-style butt (the name is deceiving, I know…) also called pork shoulder, or butt roast, or…like I did, use a picnic roast.

I chose a picnic roast because I know I needed a big slab of pig, and this roast weighed in at almost 10 lbs. I also really like the big bone in the center of the meat. When you’re cooking something so big, for such a long time, that bone is irreplaceable when it comes to flavor and keeping the meat moist, BUT as I said before, you can really use any cut from the shoulder.

As you can see, on a picnic roast theres a huge side of fat and skin. We need some of that fat, but definitely not the leathery skin part so I cut it off…

I cut a slit into the pork, almost butterflying it in towards the bone and added about 6 cloves of garlic, folded the meat back over the garlic and then salted the meat with a Hawaiian pink salt. You can also use corse sea salt (wouldn’t recommend table salt) and as a general rule of thumb I like to use about 3/4 tsp per pound of meat… (if you use a fine grain salt, use about half that)

Put 3 (yep, just 3) slices of bacon on the bottom of the crockpot, add the garlic stuffed, salt covered pork, put it on low for about 24 hours and let it roll.

When the meat is falling off the bone, TAKE IT OUT! There will be a good amount of liquid at the bottom of the crock-pot from the fat melting off and the moisture the salt draws out and its going to look delish, be please promise me you won’t shred this meat in the liquid.

Because of the amount of salt that was applied to the outside, and the amount of time spent cooking really intensifies the flavor in that pot, it would be CRAZY salty if you used the juice. Just throw it out, and stop worrying about.

Now when the pork is all shredded I’ll  plan on using it for a bunch of different things… Salads, turnip hash (recipe will be posted in the future), wraps, with eggs, straight out of the tupperware (don’t judge me) mixed with some low-carb bbq sauce… it doesn’t matter.

What matters is, it’s pork. It’s delicious. And its already cooked so I don’t need to worry about what to eat for lunch…I don’t need to hem and haw about what I’m going to fix for myself and I don’t need to go wandering into CS’s pantry of triscuits, trail mix  and powdery donuts (he’s the devil, I swear!)

Now all I have to do is try to restrain myself from lifting the lid of the crockpot for the next 16 hours. *sigh*

Pizza Cups

I love pizza.

Doesn’t everybody?

I don’t even know if I would trust someone who said ‘no’ to that question…thats like saying you don’t like dessert… WHATEVERRRR

As much as I would LOVE to go to Mellow Mushroom and devour a Hawaiian Pizza on whole wheat crusts, I can’t. Because I don’t take cheat days (unless its my birthday) and because the regret is never worth the indulgence after all is said and done.

Every Sunday, its a tradition for me to make pizza for CS, and to find a pizza alternative for me…. sometimes I use low carb wraps, which are typically packing-peanut flavored. Sometimes I make pizzas on portabella mushroom caps (DELISH!) And sometimes, because I currently live 1,000 miles outside of East Bumblefu*k Egypt, and the grocery store is an hour away, I have to deal with what I have in the house and get a little creative…

SO! About 2 weeks ago I made these little pizza cups, and have made them twice since then. They are SO easy, super portable and totally customizable!


Pizza Cups

Sandwich Pepperoni

Canned Mushrooms

Ricotta Cheese

Mozzarella Cheese

(you can obviously use anything you would typically put on a pizza… I’m just telling you what was on mine)

I used a muffin tin, and first put in a piece of the pepperoni (i cut them a little up the middle to make them fit in the tin better) and then added the toppings second, cheese last… bake it at 350 until the cheese is bubbly and enjoy!

SO easy, right?!

Chips & Dip

Let’s start with the chips!

As you probably know, finding a crunchy snack on a low carb diet pretty much limits you to celery.

Finding a crunch, salty snack pretty much limits you to… well, celery with salt? IDK.

Lately I’ve been practicing with baking vegetable chips…

Kale, Celery root, Kohlrabi and my new favorite… Turnip!

It’s so easy too… Here’s what you need:

INGREDIENTS
2 large turnips –  peeled
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper


Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees and line two baking sheets with tin foil or parchment paper.

Spray foil with non-stick cooking spray.
Using a mandoline, thinly slice the turnips into chips and place in a large mixing bowl.
Drizzle turnip slices with olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss well to coat evenly. (the salt with draw out a bit of the liquid but thats totally okay.)

Spread chips in an even layer on baking sheets. Be careful not to over-crowd.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning once halfway through to ensure even cooking.
Let cool 10 minutes to continue crisping then serve.

The thinner you slice the chips, the more prone they are to burning. I prefer them on the crispier side but you are welcome to cut them slightly thicker.

I like to experiment a little with the flavors too… Curry, Cajun and Salt & Vinegar have all turned out REALLY well!!


Now, on to the dip!

I am a condiment person… I love ketchup and mustard, salsa and hot sauce, sour cream dips and my new favorite…this cheese dip.

Living in the south, pimento cheese is kind of a staple around her… My only problem with it is the mouth-feel of pimentos kinda creep me out, so unless I make it myself (and chop everything into pimento-dust)… I probably won’t eat it.

Recently, a follower on my Instagram page told me about a Trisha Yearwood recipe for a cheese dip called Charleston Cheese Dip.

Ya’ll.

This dip is so good, and so stupid easy to make that there’s really no excuse for not bringing this to your next party, or just having in the fridge for random snack attacks.

You can warm it up* (like the recipe suggests) or, like I do, keep it cold and warm it in small batches. (if you don’t plan on eating the whole thing at once, it gets a little funky once its heated and then reheated…blame it on the mayo)


Heres the recipe:

Charleston Cheese Dip

1/2 – cup mayonnaise
1 – 8oz package cream cheese, softened
1 – cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 – cup grated monterey jack cheese
2 – green onions, finely chopped
Dash of cayenne pepper
Small bag of pre-cooked bacon bits
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, mix the mayonnaise, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, monterey jack cheese, green onions and cayenne pepper.

Transfer the mixture to a shallow baking dish. Top mixture with cracker crumbs and bake for 15 minutes, or until heated through. Remove the pan from the oven and top with the bacon.

Serve immediately with celery or vegetable chips.

Crazy Water

Crazy Water is a real thing.

I live in a town in Texas thats known for its mineral wells, and alkaline water.

Theres a reason why they call it “Crazy Water” and the legend goes like this:

‘In late 1881, a women who suffered from dementia would sit by the well all day drinking the mineral water. People slowly began to notice that the crazy old lady was not so crazy anymore. Had the water from the well alleviated the lady’s “crazies”? The well became known as the “Crazy Well” and thousands of people from all over the country flocked to this magical well, including a man named Ed Dismuke. Mr. Dismuke was told by his doctor that there was no remedy for his ailing stomach. But Mr. Dismuke began drinking the magical water and before he knew it, he was restored to health. In 1904, Mr. Dismuke founded the Famous Mineral Water Company, selling and distributing the mineral water. Now, more than 100 years later, people are still drinking Crazy Water.’

In the early 1900’s, Mineral Wells becomes known as the premier spa resort town in the south. Over 150,000 visitors and health seekers travel from all over the country to drink and bathe in the healing mineral waters. Over 100 years later, Crazy Water is still being bottled and sold locally (and on amazon, I’m sure)

{extended history available on http://www.drinkcrazywater.com}

Now, I know you can make your own alkaline water at home. I also know doing so isn’t necessarily safe, smart or useful. As with most things, I’d prefer the natural version, and so should you.

Why alkaline water?!

1. Detoxify Detoxify your body to remove normal acidic waste products accumulated daily, plus remove toxins accumulated in your body from your environment, prescription drugs, unnatural foods and from the “normal” process of aging. Acid wastes collected in the body can lead to more serious health conditions. Drinking alkaline water daily can neutralize the acidity and wash acid waste products from cells and tissues.

2. Hydrate Hydrate your body: this is basic to maintain or regain optimum health. During ionization your alkaline water filter forms your water into micro clusters that are more easily absorbed at the cellular levels thus “super hydrating” your body.

3. Oxygenate / Antioxidants Alkaline water acts as an antioxidant, scavenging for and neutralizing harmful free radicals. Because alkaline water has the ability to give up electrons, it can effectively neutralize and block free-radical damage to the body. Ionized alkaline water seeks out free radicals and converts them into oxygen which your body can use for energy production and tissue oxygenation. Cancer and most other illnesses cannot survive in an oxygenated, alkaline environment.

4. Alkalize your body’s pH Alkaline water helps balance the body’s pH, which tends to be acidic because of our high acid food diet, stress and exposure to environmental toxins such as smog. Alkalize your body pH from acidic to alkaline pH, because cancer and many other illnesses cannot live in alkaline environments. Alkaline is the “normal” state of healthy persons.

5. Enhance your immune system Enhance your immune system to maximize your body’s ability to fight off disease and heal itself.


Now, I’m not gonna lie… it tastes a little different than flat water.

It has a mineral taste, and the higher the pH – the stronger that taste gets…

I know it’s not for everyone, but I LOVE it!!

I Don’t Miss Bread

I miss potatoes, and pineapples, bagels and cupcakes…but I don’t miss bread.

I have a sister who would eat like 3 english muffins, or 8 pancakes in one sitting but I don’t think I’ve ever loved bread or bready things like that!

(FYI that sister is built like a supermodel so…let’s talk about some hereditary injustice, right?)

Now, the reason I mention my aloofness for wonder bread is because I actually LOVE things that belong in a sandwich… ham is my jam, tuna come in at a close second.

I’m here to show you how I make sandwiches,and other bread-related meals in my bread-free life.

Lettuce Wraps!!

Do you LOVE a good cheeseburger every once in a while?

Wrap it in lettuce.

Do you celebrate Taco Tuesday?

Use lettuce as a taco shell!

Breakfast Burritos?!

How about a B.L.C.E (bacon, lettuce, cheese and egg?!)

Or, if you’re like me, and you work long hours and eventually run out of lunch ideas, just skip the lettuce altogether and indulge in a lazy lunch of prosciutto and provolone…or turkey and swiss…bologna and cheese…Oh, the possibilities! (be careful with bologna tho…aside from being made with eyeballs and bootyholes, bologna also has a lot of fillers in it..I was just using it as an example)

Even when it comes to pizza… I LOVE pizza, but I’ve yet to find a low-carb crust that doesn’t taste exactly like a pizza box, or doesn’t become soggy and nasty… so

WRAP IT IN LETTUCE!

WHAT?! Just kidding…that doesn’t even make sense.

But I DO like to skip the crust, melt a little cheese on a piece of sandwich pepperoni and have a salad on the side!

Cape Cod Superfood (A History Lesson)

Since the early 21st century, raw cranberries have been marketed as a “superfruit” due to their nutrient content and antioxidant qualities.

In North America, Native Americans were the first to use cranberries as food. Native Americans used cranberries in a variety of foods, especially for pemmican (kind of like a rustic Powerbar, pemmican was used as a high protein snack in Native American diets. Usually consisting of game meat, animal fat and dried fruits), cranberries were also used for wound medicine, and dye.

Calling the red berries Sassamanash, Algonquian peoples may have introduced cranberries to starving English settlers in Massachusetts who incorporated the berries into traditional Thanksgiving feasts. The name “cranberry” derives from the Pilgrim name for the fruit, “craneberry” so called because the small, pink blossoms that appear in the spring resemble the head and bill of a Sandhill crane. American Revolutionary War veteran Henry Hall is credited as first to farm cranberries in the Cape Cod town of Dennis around 1816. 

As the second largest town in the state of Massachusetts,with total area over 72 square miles and with a population of less than 25,000* people (when I lived there the population was more like 14,000**), there was a lot of uninhabited land in Middleborough…Partly because a lot of the towns land was occupied by cranberry bogs.

As a matter of fact, Southeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod is the home of over 14,000 acres of working cranberry bogs and 63,000 acres of open, cranberry-related space. Many of the cranberry bogs and harvests were family owned and operated, and had been for generations passed down…there was a lot of money involved in owning a cranberry bog, and a lot of money to be earned by being the owner. There’s a very short harvesting season, and if you ever get to see the berries being corralled up in their bogs, after being flooded and shaken from their bushes… consider yourself lucky – it really is something to see!

In complete contrast to the small, family owned cranberry bogs, Middleborough/Lakeville is also the home of Ocean Spray’s world headquarters and food processing plant. Even though Wisconsin has taken over as the state responsible for the highest cranberry population, the Ocean Spray plant in Middleborough is the largest in Ocean Spray’s network.

Fun Fact: Since it opened in 1974, it’s  produced roughly 32 million pounds of Sweetened Dried Cranberries (SDCs) and 1.4 million gallons of concentrate!!

While you typically start to notice these berries around the holidays, there are LOTS more things to do with them other than sauce, and christmas tree decorations.

As a low carb-er its hard to find fruits that can accommodate out strict fruit-restricted diets but cranberries actually work quite well! With about 6 carbs in 1/2 cup of fresh berries, almost half of them are fiber making this super fruit perfect with only about 5 net carbs per serving!! That gives you the freedom to cook them down with splenda for a low-carb cranberry sauce, oven dried with a sprinkling of sweetner and a little oil for a chewy snack, or baking add-in.

Or, you can keep the bag in the freezer, and use them for…ICE!

That’s right. I am obsessed with making my water as cold as possible when I drink it, and lets face it – drinking a gallon of unflavored water every day gets booooooring. I’ve found that keeping a bag of the berries in the freezer and dropping a few into a glass of water, or diet ginger ale works great to keep it both cold, and slightly flavored…And, if you don’t eat the berries after their thawed, the carb count is minimal at best! (sometimes I do crunch on the berries, but usually I just toss them)

So, I’m sure you didn’t didn’t sign up for the history lesson you just received, but feel free to share all these fun facts at your next holiday party (just kidding..don’t be a weirdo)

But seriously, try new things! Find out where they come from! And, let me know how YOU use cranberries, Cape Cod’s most favorite “Super Food”!!

  • *according to a 2010 census
  • **according to a 1990 census