Kalyn's Kitchen

Spiralizing, Slow Cooker Summer Dinners, Diet Soda, and Other Things I’m Thinking About (7-16-2015)

It’s summer and I’m thinking about spiralizing zucchini, summer dinners from the slow cooker, and diet soda.

In Utah the weather has been hot, hot, hot this summer, and when it’s hot outside, cooking feels more challenging, even though my house has good air conditioning. Go figure. But luckily, I’ve already gotten my first big bag of zucchini from the farmers market and broken out the Spiralizer a couple of times.

Shortly after I came home from the farmers market with zucchini, I was cleaning out the freezer and was ridiculously excited to find a container of frozen sauce from this recipe for Zucchini Noodles with Spicy Cherry Tomato, Sausage, Garlic, and Herb Sauce in the freezer.  Kara and I had just been saying that this sauce was one of the best things we cooked last summer, so that was a real find for a summer dinner!

I love zucchini noodles, but I’m intrigued by this post on The Kitchn about Five Vegetables to Spiralize Besides Zucchini. I did try broccoli once and it was a bust for me, and beets are too high in sugar to invest the energy making them into noodles, but the others sound interesting.

The other thing that works for a dinner when it’s hot outside is cooking meat or chicken in the slow cooker and then serving it with other cooling ingredients. On my slow cooker site, I call those kinds of meals Slow Cooker Summer Dinners, and I’m featuring them all through the summer. There are so many good recipes in that category I’d love to try.

One of my favorite slow cooker summer dinners from this blog is these Slow Cooker Green Chile Shredded Beef Cabbage Bowls.  It’s the spicy slaw and avocado that makes this such a good hot weather dish!

Say No to Diet Soda Photo from WellCommons.com.

I don’t talk much about my personal diet struggles on the blog, but of course I have them, and lately I’m struggling with my ongoing craving for Diet Coke. I know water is a better choice than soda, and earlier this year I had given up artificial sweetener completely, and was feeling happy and healthier too. Then I went to Istanbul and Kenya with Donna and the combination of feeling jet-lagged, having to buy water, and feeling like I was on vacation got me drinking Diet Coke again. No excuses, I just gave in to the cravings and now I’m working on quitting again. But yesterday I had lunch with Barbara, Becky, and Donna, and that was the type of occasion where I’d really enjoy a soda, but I had water. One step at a time, right?

Speaking of Donna, I’m so excited to see one of my good friends start on a healthy eating journey! (And thanks for the lovely hat tip Donna; I got a bit teary when I read that post.

Photo from Discovery.com.

There are probably no road trips happening for me this summer, but I do love this idea of how to drive across the U.S. and hit all the major landmarks. How long would you need for a trip like that in order to keep it fun and not all driving?  (And so many landmarks on that list that I haven’t seen!)

And finally, if you do happen to be driving through Utah, here are Six Amazing Spots in Utah That Most People Don’t Know About.

That’s all for this time, but you can use the label Things I’m Thinking About to see more round-ups of my thoughts like this one. What have you been thinking about this week? If you saw something fun or inspiring, please share in the comments.

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    19 Comments on “Spiralizing, Slow Cooker Summer Dinners, Diet Soda, and Other Things I’m Thinking About (7-16-2015)”

  1. I love the list of sites in Utah! Mr. GFE enjoyed seeing the close-up photo of the petroglyphs. We'll definitely have to visit Newspaper Rock one day.

    I went over and read Donna's post. Love her success thus far. Inspiring! I'm not surprised that it's happening by using your recipes all the time though. I need to get on board that program, especially with your salads and veggie dishes!

    I agree that there are definite moments that make one want a soda. I did indulge on my trip to France, for the very same reasons you did. Now I'm back to water and tea, but the appeal is still there even though I know they're not good for me and I definitely don't want them.


  2. Regarding diet soda and low-calorie sweeteners, these products and their ingredients have been extensively tested and reviewed with scientists reaffirming their safety time and again. Second, research has repeatedly reaffirmed that low- and no-calorie beverages can be beneficial to weight loss and management: http://bit.ly/Ik4zjC. Leading health organizations including the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Diabetes Association condone the use of low-calorie sweeteners for this very reason. In other words, diet beverages can be a part of a healthy, active life and help reduce caloric intake as a part of an overall weight management plan; there is no need to eliminate them from your diet.
    -American Beverage Association

    • Dear American Beverage Association, I've seen the research showing that diet soda is safe (and even featured it on this blog.) But I don't think it's something I'd consider a healthy food. And I know from personal experience that I feel better without it. And no offense, but I find it a bit creepy that you're going around leaving comments defending it. Definitely you're not a neutral party.

  3. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with the world, my friend. Just to know that you are not perfect but you keep on trying gives me hope! And let's put that USA road trip on our To Do list!

    • Thanks Donna! I really want to get the Diet Coke thing handled. I would be satisfied with considering it something only for special occasions, but I'm not there yet. The road trip would be so fun! First you have to retire though.

  4. I've cut out soda and artificial flavors, too. I've been really into club soda when I go out and want something bubbly. Otherwise, at home, I have a stash of different flavors of La Croix Sparkling Water – no sodium, no sugar, no artificial sweetners, no calories. A little difficult to get used to when you want that sweet flavor, but as you know, you can train yourself. I like the bubbles! It feels celebratory. 🙂 Especially served in a wine glass or Champagne flute!

  5. Just curious….is it the fizziness that you like from the diet coke or the sweet? You might try kombucha….it's fizzy and comes in gobs of flavors, but a bit pricey. You might also get some Sweet Drops to put in your water if you are missing the flavors and the sweet, it comes in lots of flavors too. Always love a good spiralizer recipe!!

    • Tammy, I think I just like everything about Diet Coke; I've been drinking it so long I'm just used to the flavor. I have thought about trying Kombucha, but the ones I've seen had a lot of sugar. Will have to check it out more thoroughly. Glad you're enjoying the spiralizer recipes!

  6. Just want to say thanks so much for the variety of low carb, healthy, delicious recipes. I'm the only one in my family of 4 who eats low carb so I'm always looking for recipes that I can eat and the rest of my family will enjoy. You make it so much easier!

  7. Good luck fighting off the Diet Coke. These substances we struggle with are not our friends!

  8. I agree that it's much harder to even think about cooking anything hot in hot weather! Veg noodles are definitely on the table at our house too in that situation. I may need to do some zucchini noodles and pesto soon… 🙂

  9. If you like spiralizer recipes, I definitely recommend checking out inspiralized.com ! Ali runs an awesome blog full of suggestions for different veggies you can spiralize and has some AMAZING dishes (I've definitely tried over a dozen or so).

  10. Keep the spiralizer ideas coming, I just upgraded mine. We love it.

    I make a low fat and cal Alfredo that does the job and taste pretty good