companion blog to the e-book the 24/7 Low Carb Diner

Companion blog to the e-book
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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Mini Bell Nachos Diner Style

Last week, we went out to a Mexican food buffet. Oh my, does that take self control. Granted, my plate was yummy and satisfying. I made a bed of lettuce and topped it with slow simmered shredded beef, cheese, sour cream, tomatoes, and jalapenos. Good as it was, I stopped myself from adding an enchilada to my plate. But once out of the buffet line, the temptation should end. But no. Of course the super nice waitress just kept bringing extra baskets of freshly fried tortilla chips to the table.  Grr.

It took me a week, but I finally got a nacho fix. My Sprouts store had these mini bell peppers on sale, and I used the whole bag to make a big cookie sheet of loaded pepper nachos to share with the family. Well, honestly just the hubby and dogs. They were delish--probably even better than the tortilla kind. These don't leave you with those disappointing bald chips at the bottom of the pile. And yes, you can pick them up with your fingers like a true nacho. Just have a napkin handy.  I made this recipe for three, although we probably could have eaten them all. So even without the corn chips, think portion control. They are really filling though. Just so addictive...

Mini Bell Nachos

16 oz mini bell peppers
3/4 lb lean ground beef
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp Adobo seasoning
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup diced cilantro
1/4 cup diced onion

Cut the tops off the peppers. Cut in half and remove seeds. Cut the base if needed to make the pepper lie flat(ish). Arrange the peppers on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from oven to add toppings.

While peppers are pre-baking, brown the ground beef and drain off fat. Sprinkle with chili powder, cumin and Adobo seasoning. Stir to coat meat well. When peppers have baked, distribute the beef mixture over the top. Then sprinkle cheese, onion and cilantro. Go ahead and add jalapenos and salsa if you like.  Place the pan back into the hot oven for an additional 7 minutes. Let cool before serving.

Serves 3:  478 calories  8 net g carbs

I really love the fresh cilantro in these nachos. Leave it out if you want. I have a little advice for trimming the cilantro leaves from the bunch without having to pick out so many stems. That will be a part of the May issue of the Diner News. It is going to feature Kitchen and Food Hacks--shortcuts and clever ideas to make the low carb life easier. You will have to wait to see how to do that one, but you don't have to wait to try some of these delicious treats.

the entire cookie sheet filled with Mini Bell Nachos

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Sunday, April 12, 2015

DIY Yogurt cups for Lunches and Snacks

Don't get me wrong. I like yogurt. I have always included it in our low carb lifestyle, opting to go with the idea that much of the lactose is consumed by the active cultures. I don't pay any attention to carb counts. But even the single serving containers hold more yogurt than I usually want. My sweet tooth is pretty tame. 2 to 3 ounces is plenty for me. But leftover yogurt is gross.

Back when my youngest was on the SCD diet, I had to make lots of homemade yogurt. And it had to be cultured 24 hours. That can make for a tangy treat. I learned lots of ways to flavor it for him too. Grocery store flavorings, LorAnn flavorings, Capella drops, juices and even peanut butter powder. I have an arsenal. I have shared many of these ideas before. To learn my way of making homemade yogurt, see this post. For more flavoring ideas and how to set up a fun yogurt bar for company, see this post. I love making yogurt parfaits with layers of sweetened nuts in between different flavors of yogurt. Yum.

The days of needing to make my own yogurt are past, and I have been enjoying the Oikos Triple Zero Greek style yogurt from Dannon. I like that it is sweetened with stevia. Penny pincher that I am, I prefer to buy the big container and make lots of different flavors. If you buy the vanilla, it is quite simple to add some additional flavorings to mix things up. No getting tired of vanilla everyday. For a long time, my routine was to add flavorings and sweetener to plain yogurt. Now I can skip the sweetening step and save a little more money too!

I like these little food containers from Dollar Tree. Like I said, I don't need the bigger 4 or 5 ounce containers. I eat yogurt as a side dish, not as a breakfast. That is just too much sweet for me. These are just right. The snap on lids are lunchbag safe, fit in my Bento boxes, and give me just the right serving for my little dessert. It is great to make a bunch of single servings at one time and then enjoy lots of flavored yogurts during the week. I use my chalk ink pen to write the flavors on the lids. Washing that off is a breeze. This set of markers is a little pricey, but has lasted for 4 years. Grab your 40% coupon for Hobby Lobby or Michaels and get some. They write on jars as well.

I have to say that two of my favorites are newer experiments. I used to stir peanut butter into our yogurt, but now I use peanut flour. It is not as hard to find as it used to be. It was once a coveted substance from Trader Joes--and for me that was a state away. (My town is finally building a Trader Joes. I am so excited. Pretty close to me too.) I have purchased some from Netrition. I love that I get the same great taste with fewer calories. We old girls seem to have to watch that.

John and I both like my blueberry chia jam stirred into the vanilla as well. That recipe is super simple and good for you. Find that on this post. Other flavorings are good too. If you want creative you should look online for Capella or LorAnn flavorings. Some like chocolate but I loathe that. The tang just doesn't go away for me, and I can't do tangy chocolate. Of course, fresh diced strawberries is a treat too, but I save those for desserts and eat them right away. These are good for the long haul.

The other flavor I adore is lemon. It just marries so well with the tartness of the yogurt. I add organic lemon oil most often, but I have also had success with lemon juice. Even a packet of TrueLemon works well. Sometimes I make a big batch of just lemon yogurt. Then I add all three to really ramp up the citrus punch. This has got to be my all time favorite. You should try it too. Those of you who do essential oils could get some amazing lemon flavor there.

So it is Sunday, my prep day for the week, and now I have some great Greek yogurt in my fridge. Today was short for me because I had two boys home. What a treat for this mama. What did you get done today?

Get more great recipes at the Low Carbing Among Friends Facebook Page:     

 Order any of our great cookbooks at

Order my original e-book or the latest version for couples and singles,  A Table for Two here. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf

My husband loves me. He loves that the theme for the Diner News this month is "Man Food." He has been served some amazingly delicious foods. You know the favorites among the guys--bacon, beer, beef, hot sauce, and even whiskey. Yep, we got 'em. I am sharing this incredibly tasty meatloaf. A Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf made with a blend of beef and pork that holds all the flavors of your favorite cheeseburger. Everyone in the family will love it.

I chose to make a freeform meatloaf baked on a rimmed cookie sheet. That way, more bacon can be added to the outside. Yum.

Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf

1 1/2 lb ground beef and pork blend
3/4 cup cheddar cheese, cubed
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup low sugar ketchup (I use Heinz)
2 eggs
2 tbsp yellow mustard
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp Wright’s  liquid smoke
1 tsp onion powder
6-8 slices of bacon

In a large bowl, combine ground meat and all remaining   ingredients except bacon. Form into a freeform loaf. Wrap the loaf with bacon, crisscross weaving. Place  the loaf on a rack over a baking dish. Tuck ends of bacon under the meat. Bake at 375 degrees for 50 minutes.

Serves 6:  392 calories  3 net g carbs

Now, not to show off, but I just have to share some of the delicious foods featured in this month's newsletter. If these don't make you drool, I simply don't know what will.

Beer Brat Skewers

Korean Beef with Stir-fried Veggies

Bacon Wrapped Chicken with Sweet Mustard

Jack's Frisky Whiskey Burger

Pulled Pork Popper Sandwich

Guacamole with Bacon

Tennessee Whiskey Pork Chops

Beer Brat Cheese Chowder

The Ultimate Sriracha Barbecue Bacon Burger

Hobo Dinners on the Grill

Crockpot Phillies

Turkey Sausage Meatza

Beer Braised Beef Chili

Sriracha Skewers

And believe it or not, that is not even all! You really need to order the Diner News if you haven't yet. Just go here.

If you don't like beer or whiskey, don't fret. Cooking and marinating with beer gives a unique flavor, nothing like drinking from a bottle. Same goes with the whiskey. I purchased a tiny airline sized bottle of Jack Daniels for these recipes, and I still have some left. The impact on flavor just can't be compared to anything else. Hope you try some of these!

Get more great recipes at the Low Carbing Among Friends Facebook Page:     

 Order any of our great cookbooks at

Order my original e-book or the latest version for couples and singles,  A Table for Two here. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Mint Chocolate Chip Shake

I am cooking up a storm here! Speaking of storms, it is been a weird week. We had some severe weather--spring in Oklahoma. Tornado in the next town over. Lots of power outages, so school attendance was down. We had no problems at my house, thankfully. We have been there and done that! The basement at school took some water...but life is back to normal now.

The cooking storm is all the new recipes I have been creating for the next Diner News. Man Food. Oh my goodness, my hubby loves me lately. Every one has been a winner! Just you wait until the first of April when that comes out. Until then, I did promise you more with those chocolate chips I have been making. How about a thick, creamy vanilla, mint and chocolate chip shake? Oh yeah! Add a little protein and it is all good. Very good. Husband liked his too, and it is not even in the newsletter as a guy favorite. I got the idea from Julieanne at Joy for Our Journey.

This is tasty as a plain chocolate chip flavor if you don't care for the mint. I love the little bursts of chocolate that travel up the straw and surprise your tastebuds with the wonderful flavor you love! When making it, you have some wiggle room with the thickeners. My glucomannan seems to need a little more than many recipes call for, so start with the smaller amount and add more if necessary. It should help make the shake thick but not slick. (play around enough with glucomannan and xanthan gum and you know what I mean, right) Once you know your supply's thickening power, you can adjust recipe amounts up or down.

We are loving the cashew milk these days. It is a little lower in calories than almond milk, and it seems to be thicker too. All the better for a thick shake. The cottage cheese helps there too, but I promise you won't know it is there. John is an avowed cottage cheese hater, and he loved this. It can be a filling breakfast or just the thing to ward off the evening munchies. Yes, Sonic has started the half price shakes after 8 promotion. Not good advertising for my diabetic husband or my late night urges to eat.

If you need to make your own chocolate chips, the recipe is here.

Lisa's Mint Chocolate Chip Shake for 2

1 1/2 cups cashew milk or almond milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1 scoop whey protein isolate, vanilla or unflavored
3 tbsp sugarfree chocolate chips (divided use)
3 tbsp erythritol/stevia blend
2 tbsp heavy cream (optional for creaminess)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp mint extract
1/4 - 1/2 tsp glucomannan or xanthan gum
6-8 ice cubes

Combine cashew milk, water, cottage cheese, whey powder, 2 tbsp of chocolate chips, sweetener, cream if using, vanilla and mint extracts, and thickener of choice. Start by adding the lower amount of glucomannan or xanthan gum and add more if the shake is too thin. Process until the chocolate chips are in smaller pieces. Add ice and process again until ice is well blended. Add the remaining tablespoon of chocolate chips, processing just until they are broken well enough to fit through a straw. Pour into 2 glasses and serve.

Per serving: approx.    200 calories      4 net g carbs (protein powders will vary)

Now that the cold weather seems to be behind us, it will be time for more cool shakes like this one. Since Sonic has so many flavors, maybe it is time for me to get a little more creative. What is your favorite flavor?

Get more great recipes at the Low Carbing Among Friends Facebook Page:     

 Order any of our great cookbooks at

Order my original e-book or the latest version for couples and singles,  A Table for Two here. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Ultra Sriracha Barbecue Sauce and the Ultimate Man Burger

If you happen to have the Classic Diner e-book, you  probably know that "Ultra" is kinda my code word for beer. We Marshalls are not beer drinkers, but I do seem to appreciate it in cooking now and then. Beer as a marinade in my Ultra Chicken is the bomb and has lots of great recipes. I call everything Ultra because Michelob Ultra is a very low carb brand choice. That and I just like the sound of it. My man also liked the Ultimate Man Burger. You decide if it is the man or the burger that deserves that description...

Gotta admit that the hubby was rather fearful when he saw me putting this sauce together. Not of the beer, but of the Sriracha. Don't worry--the heat is not a big deal here. If you like it, you can add some more even. You will have plenty of sauce for multiple burgers. You will want leftovers because this is good stuff!

This month's Diner News is all about "man food." This sauce is in the newsletter, and let me tell you--it's perfect man food. So many complex flavors going on here, but remarkably easy to make. This sauce will be great on burgers, brisket, pulled pork, you name it. We used burgers. Yes, from frozen patties, but an upgrade would be even better. But if you are like us, and some meals need to be easy fix--this sauce will take those preformed patties to wonderful places. Cook the burgers on the grill, baste them with this sauce. Then just fry a little bacon and saute some onion for topping and you are ready for the Ultra experience.

Ultra Sriracha Barbecue Sauce

8 oz tomato sauce
8 oz Ultra Michelob or any light beer
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup granulated erythritol blend sweetener
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 1/2 tsp Sriracha sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp stevia powder (or 2 tsp granulated sweetener of choice)
1/2 tsp glucomannan (m.o.l.)

Combine all ingredients except glucomannan in a saucepan. Stir well and simmer on the stovetop over low heat for 10 - 15 minutes. Add the glucomannan to the sauce. Use a stick blender to make sure sauce is free of clumps.  Adjust the amount of glucomannan as needed.  (xanthan gum can also be used)

Sauce is 2 tbsp serving = 25 calories 3 net g carb

We are eating good around here this month. Bet ya wanna know what other manly meals we are enjoying. But you will just have to wait til the April Diner News comes out. Hubby's team--the Razorbacks of Arkansas-- is out in March Madness, but my Sooners are in the Sweet 16. It may be time to come up with some game treats too. Spring break is over for me--again I didn't get everything done that I wanted to. I always try to fit so much in that week. But spring is here and I do love that.

Get more great recipes at the Low Carbing Among Friends Facebook Page:     

 Order any of our great cookbooks at

Order my original e-book or the latest version for couples and singles,  A Table for Two here.  

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Toasted Tidbits Chocolate Chip Cookies

Toasting makes a huge difference in the flavor of nuts and coconut. These cookies are wonderful! A step above the standard chocolate chip cookie--wonderful with the addition of toasted coconut and toasted slivered almonds. That little extra browning adds so much to the flavor. If you have a sweet tooth, you really gotta try these tidbits. The recipe makes 4 dozen, so make a batch and freeze extras for special treats over the next month or so. You really must do this or you will find yourself munching on the whole batch the day you bake. So easy to overdo! Just ask my sneaky husband who keeps stealing them.

To make these precious morsels, today I made my own chocolate chips. Yes, it is spring break and I have time for that this week. You can buy sugarfree chips if you want. I am cheap and never want to pay for the good ones. I am fearful of maltitol in the more readily available sugar free chips. That stuff does a number on my tummy (and lower parts). I stay away. These chips-- it is hard to stay away--but because they are so delicious. I suggest for the best flavor to use a sweetener blend. I like erythritol/stevia blends the most. This one is made with Natvia. Serve is also a good choice. But use what appeals to you.

I came up with this recipe for dark chocolate chips a few years ago. The original recipe is in Low Carbing Among Friends Volume 2 (pg 260) back when my sensitive tummy son still lived at home. Sad that he is now grown and gone. I have to admit, I don't make chips often just for us. The squeeze model technique from that recipe works great, but this time I have a new way to make them that is even easier.

 A few months back I saw a great idea about making chocolate chips in a silicone potholder. The small honeycomb shaped holes make great small chips. All uniform size and shape. In between a mini chip and a standard chip. I couldn't find any of that shape locally. Amazon carried a set, but cheapo me wouldn't buy a whole set with two I don't need. Then, the other day, my nearby Walmart had a similar potholder/trivet. Just 5 bucks. Woohoo!

I would love to credit the right person who first arrived at this genius idea, but I can't seem to track it down. Found a similar idea at Pure and Simple Recipes, but the idea is not original to her either. If you are out there, please let me know!

Many recipes for home made chocolate chips call for cocoa butter. I don't keep that around too much. It is pricey and time consuming to make. I wanted something simpler. My old recipe needed to be kept cold. Not a bad idea with these either, but they hold together well enough in baked goods. To make the chips a little firmer, I left out one tablespoon of heavy cream. The chocolate is not exactly liquidThe recipe worked well. So if you want to make your own sugarfree chocolate chips, let's get started!

Sugarfree Chocolate Chips

2 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 tbsp coconut oil
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup powdered erythritol/stevia blend (I used Natvia)
1 tbsp heavy cream

Melt chocolate and coconut oil in the microwave or on the stovetop over low heat. When liquified, stir in vanilla and powdered sweetener. (If your sweetener blend is granulated, powder it in a blender before adding to chocolate) Stir in cream. Mixture will thicken with this step. Return to heat if needed, but be careful not to scorch.

Spoon approximately half the chocolate onto the silicon potholder. Use a soft spatula to press the chocolate into each cavity. When filled, place into the freezer for 15 minutes or longer. To remove the chips, flex the silicon all directions. I needed to fold row by row and use my finger to pop the chips from the mold.

Makes about 1 cup chips. 
 2 tbsp serving is  72 calories 1 net g carb

This cookie recipe does not need the full batch of chips. So what else will these wonderful little chips be delightful in? Stay tuned, and I will post more ideas. I have a couple in mind already. Now to the cookies! The toasting really ups the flavors of the coconut and almonds. That is also why I went with a caramel flavoring rather than vanilla--browned flavor there too. We Marshalls are known for liking the edges of the brownies and crisper rather than softer cookies. The toasting takes us there without needing to actually burn the cookies.

Toasted Tidbits Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup almond slivers, chopped
1 1/4 cup almond flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup erythritol/stevia blend sweetener (Natvia)
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp caramel flavoring
1 egg
3/4 cup sugarfree chocolate chips

In a dry skillet, toast the coconut until just golden. Watch carefully. Place coconut in a large bowl. Add almond slivers to the skillet. Toast over low heat until golden. Remove and let cool.

In the bowl with the coconut, add almond flour, baking powder and salt. Stir to combine. In a smaller bowl, cream the sweetener and butter. (by hand or with a mixer) When blended, stir in yogurt, caramel flavoring and egg. Add the wet ingredients to the dry bowl. Stir to combine.

Chop the cooled almonds into smaller pieces. Add almonds and chilled chocolate chips to the cookie dough. Stir until evenly distributed. Chill dough while oven preheats to 325 degrees. Using a cookie scoop or tablespoon, place cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet. They should not spread. Bake for 13-14 minutes. Let cool 2 minutes before removing from sheet, as they will be fragile when hot.

Makes 48 cookies. 2 cookies per serving
1 serving:   73 calories  1 net g carb

The husband loves these. They taste a bit like macaroons. Just a couple of hints: Make sure your coconut is very finely shredded and dry. My label from Sprouts calls them coconut threads. If you don't like almonds, feel free to add pecans or walnuts.

Get more great recipes at the Low Carbing Among Friends Facebook Page:     

 Order any of our great cookbooks at

Order my original e-book or the latest version for couples and singles,  A Table for Two here. 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Mexican Breakfast Bowls

I have a dilemma. I love savory, hot breakfasts. I also love staying warm under the covers as long as possible. That usually translates in my hot breakfast being coffee. The Diner system saves me with breakfast casseroles that I can zap in the microwave. This is a little like that, but more of a stacked bowl breakfast entree. The layers of yumminess are different from most of my casseroles. But they are alike in that these can be assembled and baked in advance.

Want to know more about Diner cooking? We just released the 2014 Diner News Bundle on our website. If you don't have that year, you can now order all 12 issues delivered in one easy download.

This bowl recipe has a Mexican flair. Quite yummy, but you could leave out the south of the border flavors. The base is spiralized turnips. Since I don't like cleaning my spiralizer much, I did enough at one time to make quite a few of these breakfast bowls. I am either lazy or smart. Or both.

Taco seasoning is sprinkled on the turnips. That takes care of the turnipy taste. A splash of salsa is a treat. The cheese packs a punch with some jalapeno flavoring too. And then, there are the avocado chunks. I love 'em. Hubster, not so much. Do what ya wanna do.

Mexican Breakfast Bowls

4 small turnips
1 1/2 tbsp taco seasoning
1/4 tsp salt
4 Laughing Cow Light Cheese wedges (jalapeno and cheddar flavor)
4 tbsp salsa
4 eggs
4 tsp crumbled bacon bits
1/2 avocado, cut into chunks

Trim and peel the turnips. Using a spiral cutter of any sort, spiral cut the turnips. Alternately, julienne them. Spread the turnips on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle with taco seasoning and salt. Bake for 10 minutes at 325 degrees. (more or less depending on the size of the cut) 

Remove from oven and divide the turnip shreds among 4 ovenproof bowls. Place a cheese wedge in each bowl. (You may chop it if you like) Add a tablespoon of salsa to each bowl. Break an egg into each bowl and top with a tsp of pre-cooked bacon bits.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the egg is done to your liking. Top with cubed avocado and serve.

Serves 4:  172 calories  6 net g carbs

With these already made up, hot breakfast is a cinch. I even took one to school and heated in the microwave. It was yummy. The turnip was mild and the layering of the Mexican flavors was wonderful. Play with the recipe and make it your way. There are many flavors of Laughing Cow Cheese to play with--and the less expensive Aldi version works well also.

Get more great recipes at the Low Carbing Among Friends Facebook Page:     

 Order any of our great cookbooks at

Order my original e-book or the latest version for couples and singles,  A Table for Two here.