“Playwrights are like men who have been dining for a month in an Indian restaurant. After eating curry night after night, they deny the existence of asparagus.”
~ Peter Ustinov

CLICK: Spring/Autumn
Event Details HERE

Photographer: Bee
Camera: Canon EOS 300D
Lens: 100 mm macro
Shutter speed: 0.3 sec
ISO Speed: 200
F-stop: f/9

DEADLINE: April 30, 2009

If you hang your swimsuit
On the refrigerator door,
The goodies inside
Will be easier to ignore.
~ from The Quote Garden

That, and telling yourself that the less carbs you eat, the more fat you can eat. Like dark chocolate and avocados.

We’ve been trying to exercise regularly the past couple of months. The spike in energy and strength is palpable. While I’m lifting heavier weights and swimming faster laps, the numbers on the scale don’t quite tell the story. My fat-muscle ratio has remained kind of constant with slight deviations. For the past week, I made one simple change in my diet. I’ve been cutting carbs.

Earlier, five minutes after eating lunch, I would struggle to keep my eyes open. Tea/coffee didn’t help at all. My annual health checks show that all’s fine. However, I do have a lower tolerance to carbs than most people. They easily throw my insulin levels out of gear.

I stopped eating carbs for lunch – as in sugar, fruit and starches. I do eat lentils and beans, though. I stick to protein or veggies or a combo. The very first day, I could tell the difference. I was no longer fighting sleep at my desk in the afternoon.

I started watching what I ate for breakfast and dinner as well. I try to keep carbs (as in whole grains, potatoes and sweet potatoes) at less than 30% of what’s on my plate. I limit sweets and dessert to maybe once or twice a week and fruits to about two a day if I don’t include them in my protein shake.

I’m not obsessive about it, just more aware of what’s going into my system. Carbs, even whole grains, can increase bad cholesterol if you consume more than your body needs.

I love potatoes, bread, rice and margaritas too much to give them up, but I save my treats for dinnertime and restrict portions.

I realise that I’m eating a lot less overall with a lot more energy. The fewer carbs I eat, the fewer I crave. And the results are evident. This week, my fat percentage is lower than it has been in the past two months.

These quiches are an ideal low-carb lunch item. Add a few nuts or a small bowl of salad, and I’m full until dinner time.

They are inspired by Kalyn’s Swiss Chard and Mushroom Squares. She used four eggs. I ended up using many more. How many eggs you use would depend on the type of pan you use.

This is not a recipe, just a formula that can be improvised on the go. They freeze very well, so make a big batch and just pull them out and heat then when you need them.

Let me tell you about the salad. It’s got lettuces, lychees, almonds, cucumbers and carrots. The lychees are from a can. They come dunked in some nauseatingly sweet liquid. Save that liquid. When you’re eating lunch, dream of dinnertime – of adding tequila, triple sec and lime to some of the lychee liquid in the fridge. Yes, lychee margaritas make me very, very happy. :)

CRUSTLESS ASPARAGUS MINI-QUICHES

I.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Warning: Whatever you make these in, make sure they are LINED. Please don’t put them in mini-pie pans like I did. The quichelets had to be scooped out with a spoon and I spent half an hour with a toothbrush to clean the stuck-up bits.

With these quantities, I got 6 muffins and 6 mini-pies. You can make one big square and cut it into smaller portions like Kalyn did. Just remember to grease the pan and line it on both sides with parchment with some overhang.

II.

Prepare the seasoned veggies.

You need
Two cups veggies and seasonings after cooking

Use anything you like – blanched greens, mushrooms, peppers. Your veggies should be crunchy, not soggy – as in 3/4 done. If you’re using blanched greens, they should be bright green, squeezed dry and chopped.

This is what I did:
Heated 2 tsps olive oil, seasoned it with garlic, cumin, cayenne, oregano and lots of cracked peppercorns and thyme, added

1 bunch chopped asparagus,
some chopped spring onions
and
3 tbsps chopped sun-dried tomatoes

III.

Add the cheese and binder.

To the 2 cups cooked veggies, add

half cup cheese (I used some super-yummy organic smoked Gouda)
and
1/4 cup of some binder.

Kalyn used whole wheat panko bread crumbs. I’m trying to cut the carbs and hence went for a combo of ground almonds and nutritional yeast flakes.

You can use ground up whole grain oats, bread crumbs, anything you like.

Season with salt.

Spread this mixture in the pan/pans you are using. Fill it about 3/4 to the top.

IV.

Put the filled pans on baking sheets. Add the eggs.

Beat up some eggs with salt and pepper. Kalyn used one pan and needed four. I used many smaller pans and needed many more.

You need as many eggs as you need to almost fill the pans to the top. Start with four or five. If you need more, you can always beat up some more.

This mixture will not rise much. Actually, it will rise and fall back to the level it was. So you can fill the pan/s almost to the top.

For 6 muffin cups and six mini pie-pans, I needed

6 organic whole eggs plus 6 whites.

Those yolks in the pic below are what I had left over (One yolk fell on the floor).

Bake at 350 F for about 20 minutes.

Don’t let them dry out too much. When they start rising, but are still a bit watery on top, you can pop them under the broiler for a minute or two to set. Even if they are a bit wet, if you let them rest a bit, they will probably set on their own.

Crustless Asparagus Mini-Quiches with lotsa cracked peppercorns go to Divya @ Dil Se for Think Spice. This month it’s Peppercorns.

And for Lets Go Nuts: Almonds at JZ’s Tasty Treats, ‘cos there really are almonds in there.

- b.

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43 Comments

  1. Madhu says:

    Very gorgeous Click..

  2. sunita says:

    I’m struggling with carbs…find it really difficult to give up :-( yummy quiches :-)

  3. Uma says:

    ooh, yummy quiches! Looks gorgeous.

  4. indosungod says:

    The mini quiches look just perfect. I have been wanting to make them forever, will soon. I am on the bean diet as well so much that I am almost immune to its bloating effects.

  5. Johanna says:

    what a superb lunch – i love my soups for lunch but should try this sort of quiches for a change – I wonder if i could bake them in ramekins

    you can, johanna. line the bottom and grease the sides very well.

  6. Arundathi says:

    I do a carb-full breakfast, low-carb lunch and no-carb dinner. It feels great!

    Having no carbs for dinner makes you feel light and full of energy the next day. Just my $0.02!

    Love the mini-quiches and I just bought a bunch of asparagus and mushrooms. Thanks.

  7. Paz says:

    Love the swimsuit quote. ;-)

    Love the recipe. So what do you have for breakfast and lunch. I’m looking for ideas. I’m not happy with what I’ve been eating.

    Paz

    check this out:
    http://jugalbandi.info/bbpress/topic/sample-vegan-athletes-menu

  8. Cham says:

    I don’t know how u re controlling ur carb craving, Bee. I will do for a whole week and boom I go back to the starting point the next week!
    Quiches are gorgeous!

  9. Nirmala says:

    Nice CLICK! The bunch of asparagus is simply stunning! And when u have a high carb diet and feeling slepy afterwards, have something sweet a chikki sud be fine. Suganya’s tip on Daily tiffin. It helps to shoo away the sleep bug ;)

  10. Suganya says:

    Amen for that! I was noticeably energetic, light and active when I followed a vegan diet. But I slowly developed an allergy toward soy. But now I am making all kinds of legume+whole grain warm salads for lunch. Keeps me full and focussed. But it doesn’t ward off my laziness towards blogging and visiting other blogs :)

  11. Miri says:

    My friend has lost 14 kilos over the last 5 months by cutting carbs – not obsessively, but by watching portions and stuffing herself with lots of raw veggies at the beginning and then getting to her meal by which time she isn’t craving food and be content with smaller portions. Now that she is done with the hard part, she has become less restrictive, but since she didn’t deny herself in the last 6 months, she is not craving carbs like she used to before and is able to manage her portions very well.

    Those mini quiches look really really good – I have tried all the ones on this site – the crustless one, the beautiful wheat and rolled oats one
    http://peppermill-miri.blogspot.com/2009/03/spinach-corn-quiche.html
    - I am definitely trying this one too..

    Miri

  12. sra says:

    I lost 19 kg on a low-carb diet about 11 years ago, went from really fat to plump. Maintained it for many, many years but a few kilos crept back in the last 3-4 years because I was told not to work out in a gym/do aerobics for various reasons. That loss of exercise also made me lose my diet discipline but since last year, I’ve been going back to gym and got back on the diet strictly too later. I’ve lost about half of the weight I put on but the pace is much slower now.

    These are on my to-do list. Not that I didn’t know about stuff like this before, but seeing it somewhere gives you a nudge :-)

  13. Happy Cook says:

    I should keep in mind the The Quote of hanging the bathing suit on my fridge, i for sure can’t fit in mine.
    I am trying to fit in though. I try to cut carb too, but then ilove them so much. I have strated running my 5 km twice a week, and also started going for walks, just hope the weather stays good .

  14. Joan Nova says:

    The sun-dried tomatoes are a great ‘add-in’. Photos fab.

  15. Deb says:

    My attempts to eat fewer carbs in order to be happier with the swim suit version of me always gets torpedoed by spring time allergies. Something about being on my allergy meds (whichever ones – I’ve been on several over the years) in combination with needing to hide inside for a period of time always seems to conspire to put me in a “what’s the use?!” kind of place.

    I think a lovely lunch such as this might be the answer. It does not represent a sacrifice so much as a reasoned approach to working within certain limitations. Thanks for sharing this (especially the warnings about them sticking-nobody likes an egg encrusted mess although calories spent with that toothbrush all count).

  16. Soma says:

    I have seen the same thing with carb. I start feeling very uncomfortable & i can just feel it even when i put on a couple of pounds.. & 1.5 weeks of 0 carb lunch & breakfast will put me back to where i was.. had been maintaining this for many years now…
    I love that lychee salad. used to buy a lot of those canned ones till i heard of someone we knew died of food poisoning from the can.. well it could happen to any cans:-( Ah! ha lychee margarita.. could even use that lychee juice:-)

  17. Asha says:

    As long as the doc doesn’t say I need to lose wt for medical reason, I am eating everything!! I like when my cheeks(of my face, okay!) are filled up like Idlis, can keep wrinkles away for few more yrs! ;P

    Quiches look yum, my kids love them.

  18. Mamatha says:

    I can keep away from grains (rice + wheat) if I want to but I find it *very* hard to keep away from sugar. As soon as I finish a meal, I start craving something sweet – a chocolate, fruit (the sugary kind), baked goodies – and if I don’t find anything, I pop in a few raisins. I try to do everything else right, exercise regularly, eat unprocessed or minimally processed foods but my weight refuses to budge. I wonder if these cravings have anything to do with my insulin levels or if it’s all in my mind.

  19. Giff says:

    yum :) I love that photo of the broken eggs Bee. marvelous shot

  20. Madhumathi says:

    The asparagus click is amazing!
    Quiches are looking yumm.Love lychees…Nice salad recipe..

  21. Priscilla says:

    LOL on Peter Ustinov’s quote! :)

  22. Divya says:

    Lovely healthy dish!! Thanks for sending it to the Think Spice event..

  23. Manasi says:

    I was on a protein diet when preg. but later all that went west :( I realise I was doing good then, now.. try as i might, i go back to my daal RICE!
    TIme to get my act together, the scales are tipping horribly..

  24. A&N says:

    This helps a ton! I’m on this diet this week: http://sixpackdoc.wordpress.com/2009/03/29/the-7-day-challenge/

    I’m feeling good already! :)

  25. Lakshmi says:

    aaaah…was so loking for such a post from you…about fitness and diet. Watch what you eat and exercise resgularly!! Thats my motto too..well only from the last 3 months ;) hehe
    My progress is slow but atleast scales are moving in the right direction atleast. I have lost 13 lbs in 3 months. And 30 more to go!!baah.
    Thanks a ton girl for this amazing post.
    - Lakshmi

  26. Ammu says:

    Bee, I see that you do weight training for an hour. This is an area I don’t know how to begin. Any website/book that could help a beginner like me?

    http://jugalbandi.info/bbpress/topic/weight-training-for-beginners

  27. Ammu says:

    Wow! That was quick! Thanks a lot. :)

  28. Raaga says:

    The pics aren’t visible to me… except the last one with the egg tray.

    I wish asparagus wasn’t selling at 500 bucks a kilo here… I shall bookmark this to use with other veggies that you’ve suggested :)

  29. smita says:

    Good point about the carbs. Long story short, at 120 lbs, 5’4″, I wanted to extend running time from a 5K to 10K. It was hard with low carb choices. The daily calorie goal was 1500-1800. (NEJM, 360 (9):859-873 Feb 6, 2009) I’m at 115, running slow 10Ks 2xweek, alternating with spinning / weight-training 2xweek. I’m still not completely satisfied w/ energy levels but multiple reasons for that. Look forward to seeing evolve.

  30. RedChillies says:

    The first picture of asparagus looks amazing. Giving up carbs is such a weak point for me. I just cannot seem to give it up. After a day’s work all I crave is for rice and yogurt…ok no wonder my scale does not move.

    mini quiches look awesome.

  31. Bharti says:

    I think I have the same issue with carbs. I eat whole grains and good for you stuff but still seem to have less energy than I should.

  32. Sunshinemom says:

    I tried something similar in muffin pans and could not scoop it out without spoiling the pans, so we ate it right out of the pans!

    Your quiches looks very crispy on the sides even without the tart cases. I made one with tarts recently but seeing this I am tempted to try crustless ones too.

  33. Poornima says:

    Made your tarts today with mushrooms and capsicum.I chopped up a few and rolled it up in rotis and had it for lunch!Really nice.Thanks.

  34. PG says:

    Now that’s very interesing. And I always thought carbs should be proportionately the highest as compared to fats and proteins in ones diet. I mean, that’s what they preach with all those health pyramids. In fact, lately I had been trying to minimise my protein intake, most of all milk and milk products. Hah!

  35. Nitha says:

    Hii,
    I am so happy that you are on low carb diet.I get another site to get ideas. I am on SBD, so I frequent Sig’s and Kalyn’s kitchen for menu ideas!!
    B/w, can you pls clear my doubt. How do you figure out “body fat percentage”?
    Thanks
    - Nitha

    you need a weighing scale that does that.

  36. Jude says:

    Amazing capture. Been starting at the asparagus pic for a while. Thanks for the reminder that spring is here :)

  37. Nitha says:

    Hii
    Thanx a lot.
    -Nitha

  38. That is really a beautiful shot of asparagus, Bee. It sings spring.

  39. yasmeen says:

    I bought a big pack of asparagus from Costco last week,the mini-quinches are such tasty low carb meal.Good going with the low carb diet,I know when I indulge in high carb and high sugar foods ,I always feel lazy or my immunity goes down.
    Thanks for the cauliflower leaves suggestions:),sadly we don’t have a home garden yet,live in an apt.Surprising vendors here trash the cauliflower leaves,I hardly see any leaves on them.

  40. Kay says:

    Hi Bee, Carbs throw my insulin levels off, too. My naturopath recommended eating wholegrain carbs for breakfast and no more carbs for the rest of the day. It works great for me.

    I noticed that too – The lesser carbs I eat, the lesser I crave. One spike in my insulin levels, I binge.

    Goodluck with your efforts!

  41. Divya Vikram says:

    Sorry for that. Somehow I missed including your entry in the roundup. Have included it now! :)

  42. [...] check out: Crustless Asparagus Mini-Quiches Vegan Quiche with Swiss Chard and [...]

  43. [...] Asparagus ~ Bee-Jugalbandi (Host) [...]



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