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

Companion blog to the e-book
Available at

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Candy Bar Treats

It is getting close! It is almost Christmas candy time. I am already up to my eyeballs in sweets, because I am putting together a really fun issue of the Diner News. I have one whole page of candies. These are my favorites so far. If you like Snickers, you are gonna flip for these.

The chocolate is the real thing. The creamy center is a cream cheese and peanut delight. I know the caramel layer is inside on a Snicker bar, but for me, it is a little dollop of caramel dip on the top. The taste is so there, and the caramel won't pull out your fillings! I don't have any fillings, but I do remember when my oldest son couldn't eat caramel because of his braces. These will work!

I know a guy who used to keep Snickers bars in his freezer. This is really close to that. Just keep em cold. One is so rich, you won't need more! I made these in my square silicone brownie bite pan, but mini muffin cups will work just as well. You can even put them in cupcake papers if you want. I just wanted to be able to see those beautiful layers of yumminess.

Candy Bar Treats

Chocolate Layers:
3 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 tbsp creamy natural peanut butter
1 tbsp unflavored coconut oil
1/4 cup powdered sweetener

Creamy Layer:
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
2 tbsp powdered sweetener or equivalent
1/4 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup chopped peanuts
3 tsp Walden Farms Caramel Dip

Melt chocolate over low heat. Stir in peanut butter, coconut oil and sweetener until smooth. Pour half of the chocolate mixture into 12 mini muffin cups or silicone molds. Chill in the refrigerator or freezer until firm.

While that is chilling, combine the cream cheese, sweetener and vanilla. Mix until very smooth. Remove chocolate from freezer and divide the cream cheese mixture among all the cups. Press the peanuts on top of the cream cheese.

Spoon the remaining chocolate mixture over the peanuts. Chill again until firm. Top each candy with 1/4 tsp Caramel Dip.

each candy is 119 cal.    2 net g carbs

Yep, it is pretty easy. Not much effort for a great taste. One word of advice. Use whatever sweetener you like the best. Chocolate is often tough to sweeten. Lots of people think sucralose just doesn't do a good job of sweetening chocolate. I tend to use a lot of Swerve, but I often throw in a little of another type of sweetener. I think they work together well in combination. You will be able to use liquid stevia or sucralose here too, but too much can seize the chocolate. Granulated erythritol often does not melt into chocolate well, so go with powdered. Judge with your taste buds and don't be afraid to experiment a little.

Thanksgiving is almost upon us. I have two meals to help prepare this year, one at school. Lots of turkey breasts baking at my house this week. Our family holiday is going to be pretty small. Only one of my sons is going to be with us. That is so hard on a Mama's heart. I am finding it hard to scale down the food and even harder to not cry over missing my boys. I had better just be super thankful for the loved ones who will be there. I still have my amazing mom, and my hubby gets part of the day off. Maybe we will see a niece or two.  I hope your holidays are blessed. Be sure to love on people wherever you are! That is more important than the food anyway.

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, November 16, 2014

4 Amazing and Easy Hot Drinks

Peppermint Cocoa

We are getting our first snowfall of the season here. It is the perfect day to cuddle up under a blanket and sip something sweet and steamy. I have 4 different ideas for you--and I have treated myself to one of each this weekend. They are easy to make and are really just as good as any high carb original.

The first two recipes use So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverage in a carton. I have the unsweetened vanilla variety. You could also use almond milk or any coconut/almond blend. Just remember that this is not the coconut milk in a can. I also used a bit of canned whipped cream as a topping. I know it is the lazy way and has some sugar, but I just use a bit--1 -2 carbs at the most. You can sweeten to your tastes. I think my sweet receptors have dulled over the years, as I tend to need more sweetener than some recipes call for. It is always easy to start with less and add more if you need it. For my versions this weekend, I used mostly stevia, and I seem to need more of that. It is easy to overdo though, so use caution.  As usual, your mileage may vary!

Peppermint Cocoa

3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla coconut milk beverage
1 tsp cocoa powder
1/8 tsp peppermint extract
Sugarfree sweetener to taste (I used the equivalent of 4 tsp or 2 packets)
Canned whipped cream for garnish

Heat the coconut milk in a pan or microwave. Stir in the cocoa powder, peppermint extract and sweetener. Top with whipped cream and enjoy.

Serves 1:  64 calories    <2 net carbs

Coconut Cream Pie Hot Sipper

This is an unusual hot drink. No chocolate, no tea, no fruit. It tastes like vanilla and coconut, reminiscent of coconut cream pie. The tiny shake of salt and sliver of butter make a big difference in that pie like flavor. It definitely counts as dessert!

Coconut Cream Pie Hot Sipper

1 cup unsweetened vanilla coconut milk beverage
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp butter
small pinch salt
Sugarfree sweetener to taste (I used the equivalent of 4 tsp or 2 packets)
1/2 tsp toasted shredded coconut
2 tbsp canned whipped cream

Heat the coconut milk in a saucepan or microwave.  Stir in the vanilla, butter, salt and sweetener. Adjust sweetener to taste. Top with whipped cream and shredded toasted coconut.

Serves 1:  130 calories  3 net g carbs

Hot Orange Spice

This cirtusy hot drink tastes amazingly like the Hot Russian Tea mix my mom made in the eighties. The main event there was Orange Tang and instant tea. This one has no tea. The wonderful orange flavor comes with a packet of True Orange. Love that stuff. Then some common spices and you have a terrific drink that warms you up but doesn't cost you the calories and carbs!

Hot Orange Spice 

3/4 cup water
1 packet True Orange
1/8 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp pumpkin pie spice
Sugarfree sweetener to taste (I used the equivalent of 4 tsp or 2 packets)

4 calories 1 net g carb

Pumpkin Pie Spiced Coffee

I love spiced coffee. What I don't like is having 3 or 4 bags of flavored coffees open at once. We really don't have to buy a specialty coffee to get a wonderful spiced flavor. Using my coffee press, I make just a single cup of coffee and add the spices directly to the grounds. Voila!

Pumpkin Pie Spiced Coffee

1 cup water
1 tbsp ground coffee
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tbsp half and half
Sweetener to taste

In a single cup brewer, place coffee and pumpkin pie spice. Brew as usual. Add creamer and sweetener as desired.

Serves 1:   23 calories   1 g carb

So there you have four ways to keep warm and happy this winter. Be sure to adjust the calorie and carb count to match the beverage you use to make milk, and the sweetener you choose.

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, November 5, 2014

Cream Cheese Lasagna

This stuff is amazing. So yummy. I made it a long, long time ago with Dreamfield's Lasagna noodles--before all the hoopla about their real carb content. I don't bother to buy it anymore (although I never did much, as I had already discovered that it raised the hubby's blood sugar). But forget that! Who needs the pasta anyway? This one uses eggplant slices to replace the pasta. Not quite the same texture, but superb flavor!

The thing that makes this dish so special is the cream cheese. Most lasagna recipes rely on ricotta cheese or cottage cheese. This has so much more flavor. Can you say creamy? True that it looks a little weird before it bakes. The tomato mixed in with the cream cheese looks pink. Fear not, when baked the pink is gone and all is well! I used sausage for even more flavor, but it is good with beef too. In the original recipe, I made a larger lasagna, and used half sausage and half beef. This recipe is easy to double, so do that if you have a crowd.

Cream Cheese Lasagna with Eggplant and Sausage

1 lb pork sausage
1 eggplant
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
8 oz cream cheese
14.5 oz canned diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning
5 oz frozen spinach
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (or any of your choice)

In large skillet, brown sausage. Cut the eggplant into thin slices. Cut larger slices in half.  Place slices on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Let sit for 10 minutes. With paper towels, press the moisture off the slices. Brush each with olive oil. Place in a preheated 400 degree oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and flip each slice. Bake another 5-7 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from oven.

While those are baking, combine the cream cheese, diced tomatoes, garlic powder and Italian seasoning. (If cheese is cold, heat it a bit before adding tomatoes). Place 1/3 of the sausage, along with a bit of the pan drippings, in the base of an 8 inch square dish. Top the sausage with a layer of eggplant slices. Spoon 1/3 of the cream cheese mixture over the slices. Top with half of the spinach. Repeat layers of sausage, eggplant and cream cheese. Add the remaining spinach. Add the last of the sausage and cheese mixture. Top lasagna with shredded cheese. Bake 30 minutes. Let lasagna rest 10 minutes before cutting.

Serves 6:   464 calories    6 net carbs      38 g fat

Carb counts can vary with cream cheese, so watch. Neufchatel would lower the calories and fat a bit, but some have higher carbs. My Fitness Pal had the Neufchatel version 2 carbs per serving higher. I can't see how that can be. I hate how different software programs give you different figures. Grr. Just go with this is somewhere between 6 and 8 net carbs per serving.

The eggplant does not exactly stay in obvious layers like the pasta counterpart. It is really tasty, however. This is nice reheated, so go ahead and make a double batch if you want. Divide it up for lunches or freeze an extra. The busy upcoming holidays will be a time you will appreciate having those frozen meals waiting for you!

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, November 2, 2014

Rhineland Green Beans and the November News

Are you planning your holiday dinners yet? Even though my family tends to like to old favorites from year to year, I always like to come up with something new. This green bean dish is a creation from a couple years ago for me, although its origins are somewhere else back in antiquity. The old country flavors with mustard and vinegar, onion and bacon. I am a huge fan. Although this was featured in the Diner News November 2012, this one is so good it also made it into Low Carbing Among Friends, Volume 5 pg. 113.

The Diner News for November is all about food for the family gatherings of the season. Here in America, Thanksgiving is on the calendar. For those of you everywhere else on the globe, I have to ask if there is any bad time to share your table with family and friends? The Diner News has pages of ideas for special gatherings. No matter where you call home. Some of the recipes are real show stoppers--look at the Delicata Squash Rosette. Beautiful presentation! Others are a taste sensation. Try the Tarragon Cream Spaghetti Squash. Yum. Others are delicious and gorgeous--like the Fondue in an Acorn Squash Cup. You will be the hostess with the mostest! (or host with the most)

Rhineland Green Beans

2 lbs frozen green beans
1 tbsp plus 3/4 tsp salt
8 slices bacon
1/cup thinly sliced red onion
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp whole grain mustard German-style
2 tbsp olive oil
1/tsp coarsely ground black pepper

In large pot, bring water to a boil and add 1 tbsp. salt. Add green beans and cook until just tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain and transfer to a serving bowl. Fry bacon until crisp and transfer to paper towel-lined plate. Let cool, then break into pieces. Reserve 2 tbsp  bacon drippings from skillet and return to medium heat. Add sliced onion and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in vinegar, mustard, oil, remaining 3/4 tsp  salt, and pepper. Add this to green beans, along with bacon, and toss to combine. Serve warm or chilled.

8   servings      218 calories     3 net carbs   18 g fat

So if you want even more ideas for holiday meals, be sure to get this month's Diner News. Here is a sampling of what you will find.
Delicata Squash Rosette

Onion and Sage Roasted Breast of Turkey

Balsamic Glazed Buttercup Squash

Spaghetti Squash in Tarragon Cream

Pioneer Style Green Beans

Fondue in Acorn Squash Cup

Spinach and Shrooms

Cranberry Crumble

Hungarian Cabbage Bake

"Honey" Balsamic Green Beans

Salted Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake Shot

And of course, there is more. This issue will be the perfect start to your low carb holiday season! To order a year of the Diner News, go to

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, October 29, 2014

Candy Corn Cookies or Autumn Leaf Cookies

Yes, my friends call me a goober. I love cuteness. I love things that fit a theme. These are cute and perfect for fall. We can't eat candy corn, but we can eat these cookies. They are really just a variation of my Chocolate Mint Ribbon Cookies. These are cut into triangles and the flavors are jazzed up a bit. They taste really good in my opinion. The orange layer is flavored with a True Orange packet. That is just the right amount of orange flavor. The brown stripe is, of course, chocolate. Maybe these will keep us away from all the Halloween candy out there. One batch, One cookie sheet. No problems.

I have included this recipe in the November Diner News. Every year, the November issue is dedicated to holiday meals which are perfect for family gatherings. Some of my all time favorite side dishes have come from these Thanksgiving issues. The new edition will be out on Saturday.

Until then, make some cookies! They are not as hard to assemble as they look. I even shaped a few from scraps with my fingers. Then I got inspired and squished the last few together on purpose. A leaf shaped cookie cutter made another adorable cookie. So either way, you have a fun fall treat.

Candy Corn Cookies

1 cup blanched almond flour
1/3 cup erythritol
2 tbsp coconut flour
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup melted butter
1 egg
11/2 tsp vanilla extract
10 drops stevia, OR 1 tbsp equivalent
21/2 tsp melted, unsweetened chocolate
1 packet True Orange
 food coloring

In medium bowl, combine almond flour, erythritol, coconut flour, xanthan gum, salt, and baking powder. In small bowl, combine melted butter, egg, vanilla and stevia. Add the wet ingredients to the larger bowl, stirring by hand to combine.

Divide the dough into equal thirds. In small bowl, add melted chocolate to 1/3 of the cookie dough. Blend thoroughly. Add the True Orange , 3 drops yellow and 1 drop red food coloring to make orange to another 1/3 of the dough.  For the vanilla dough, simply add 2 drops of yellow food coloring.

When all the dough portions are blended, place the vanilla dough onto a sheet of waxed paper. Press it into a rectangular shape about 6 x 4”. Do the same with the flavored doughs.  Place the vanilla dough between the chocolate and orange doughs. Wrap in waxed paper and chill well. Use your fingers to smooth the edges and blend the layers together.
To bake, slice 1/4-inch slices from the log. Cut that wedge into triangle shapes and place on a silicone liner or parchment-lined cookie sheet. (Save the straight edge pieces to form into marble cookies) Bake 10 minutes at 350°F.  Watch closely and remove cookies before the edges brown. Cool 2 minutes on the sheet before transferring to a flat surface to cool completely.

48 small cookies.    35 calories    <1 net carb each

The packet of True Orange gives a great little citrus punch to the orange part of the cookie. It tastes very natural. I love to use the True packets in  my water and in cooking. They are really handy. If you don't have those, you could sub just a touch of orange extract.

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.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Scary Treats That Are NOT So Sweet!

I am really much more of a Christmas kind of girl, but this time of year, some of these spooky treats are fun. We have been reading Edgar Allen Poe at school, so creepy is a good thing! I do love a good scare from time to time.

I have to say the students all loved these eggs when I packed them up in my bento box this week. Yes, I eat with the kids. We don't even have a teacher lounge. I think the spiders were the biggest hit among the teens. From a distance they are totally scary. Especially since we seem to have more than our share of spiders in the old house that serves as our school.

These decorations are not my own invention, I admit to seeing pictures of similar ones floating around Pinterest. What is different about mine is the taste factor. These scary bites are not laden with food colorings, To get the creepy colors, I used pesto. Talk about a flavor boost there! That made them extra fun and extra tasty. Super easy too. Make a batch for your family this week. Or just for you to scare your co-workers!

This one is more of a process than a recipe. I didn't make a full batch of any of them. I have confidence that you can figure out the numbers and make as many of each as you like. You are smart like that.

Scary Eggs

hard boiled eggs
basil pesto (or any green pesto)
sundried tomato pesto (or any red pesto)
Caesar dressing or mayonnaise
Kalamata olives for spiders
Green olives with pimentos for eyeballs
Hot sauce
Green onion, chive or slices of green bell peppers for pumpkin stems

Hard boil eggs. I do mine in my electric pressure cooker. Easiest peel ever!
Cut the cooled eggs in half. Remove the yolks.

For Pumpkin Eggs: Place yolks in a bowl. Add 1 tsp red pesto for each full egg. Stir to combine. Moisten with Caesar dressing until creamy. Spoon the orange tinted egg mixture back into whites. Round the mixture and add a sliver of green bell pepper or green onion for the stem.

For Eyeball Eggs: Place yolks in a bowl. Add 1 tsp green pesto for each full egg. Stir to combine. Moisten with Caesar dressing until creamy. Spoon the green tinted egg mixture back into whites, making an iris. Round the mixture. Slice a green olive with pimentos in half. Place the pimento half into the yolk mixture making a pupil. Use a toothpick to drizzle hot sauce on the whites to create a blood shot look.

For Spider Eggs: Place yolks in a bowl. Moisten with Caesar dressing and whip with a fork until creamy. Spoon  egg mixture back into whites. Cut olives in half lengthwise. Press one half into the yolk.  Use another half to cut legs. One half will make 4 lengthwise cuts, creating 4 legs. Repeat with another half olive. Press the legs into the yolks, forming spider legs.

Each spider egg (2 halves) has approximately 117 calories and 2 carbs. 
The eyes have 121 calories and 1 carb
The pumpkin has 113 calories and 1 carb.

I like the purple spiders, but if black olives are what you have, go for it! I used pestos from Aldi. If you don't have a low carb Caesar dressing, go ahead with mayo or ranch dressing. Like I said, a process not a recipe here.

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, October 19, 2014

Halloween Tamale Pie

I got inspired by an offering on the Woman's Day site--a cute little tamale pie made to look like a Jack-o-lantern. Being the girly girl I am, I love cute food. That recipe has 4 boxes of cornbread mix in it and a special cake pan. Neither one of those was happening.

But I didn't give up on the idea. Thinking of my Mexican Cornbread...Sans Corn recipe, I decided it was worth a trial run to convert this fun dish into a low carb celebration. A few changes here and there, and I have a winner!

Halloween Tamale Pie

1 lb lean ground beef
2 tbsp finely minced onion
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
3/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup salsa
1/3 cup shredded cheese

1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup golden flax meal
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
1/4 cup salsa
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup shredded cheese
2 tbsp water

In a skillet, brown the ground beef with the onion. Drain off any fat. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder until spices are evenly distributed. Add the salsa and cheese to combine, Set the mixture aside.

In a medium bowl, combine almond meal, golden flaxmeal, paprika and baking powder. Make a well in the center. Break the eggs into the well and mix with a fork to break the yolks. Stir to combine the eggs and dry ingredients. When no lumps remain, add the olive oil and salsa. Stir well, then add cheese.

Coat a quiche pan or large round cake pan with oil. Pour half of the batter into the dish. Using the back of an oiled spoon, spread the batter to cover the base. Form an edge similar to a pie crust. Bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from oven.

Place the beef mixture into the partially baked crust. Do not go to the edge. Smooth the meat with a spatula to compact it for easier spreading of the remaining batter. Add the 2 tablespoons of water to the remaining batter to thin it. Spoon batter over the beef. Use the back of the oiled spoon to smooth it and create an even thickness. Return the dish to the oven and bake an additional 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let the pie cool for 30 minutes. Invert the contents carefully onto a serving plate. Decorate with a green bell pepper stem. Cut a bell pepper into triangles for eyes and nose, and mouth as seen in the photo. Reheat the Jack-o-lantern in the microwave oven or a warm oven to bring back to serving temperature.

Serves 6   357 calories   3 net carbs (8 total)   23 g fat

The base after partial baking. See the edge?

My Pitty Tinker hoping for some of that beefy filling.

After baking with the batter baked over the beef,

So that is pretty darn easy. Just be sure to let it cool or the bready part will crumble when you try to remove it. Yes, I discovered that the hard way. Mine tore, so I added in some more cheese and melted it back together. I let it cool, then ran my spatula under it to loosen the base. No more problems. If you don't want to mess with inverting it, just serve it in the pan. In that case, just press the face into the top layer. (And do a better job covering the beef) I have not eaten this yet, I have it saved for tomorrow night's dinner with my middle boy at home. It smells amazing and I did nibble on the beef.

Even though my boys are all grown up, I still love to have fun with food. I have several Halloween themed foods to share with you this week.  One of these days the grandchildren will appreciate the way I like to create in the kitchen. Until then, I guess being around the teenagers keeps me young at heart.

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.