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

Companion blog to the e-book
Available at

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Beef Italian Sausage

Classes start back tomorrow. Yikes! Still so much to do. It seems like I never get everything on my list crossed off even if I work ahead. Hard to imagine where I'd be if I didn't at least try to plan.

This is a yummy treat and the thing is--these patties are versatile beyond your wildest dreams. Well, maybe not your wildest--unless you are a foodie who dreams about food. My family loves Italian sausage on pizza. This is really similar but it also works great as a breakfast sausage. I will get to all the other uses later. But think about what a timesaver you have when you have pre-cooked sausage patties waiting in the freezer. They reheat really quickly. They pack in lunchboxes super easy. Don't even have to thaw. They work for any meal of the day. Cool. These are made with beef, but pork is fine too. I happen to have run into a great sale of grass fed beef for less than 4 bucks a pound. I made 16 small breakfast patties from one pound. Not that hard, and they are fast to make.

So fast, these are in the upcoming Diner News. This edition will center around timesavers in the low carb kitchen. These are definitely that! You will want some in your freezer.

Italian Sausage Patties

1 lb lean ground beef (or your preference)
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp sage
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp marjoram

Combine meat with all ingredients. Form into 16 small patties. Pan fry until browned. Eat one serving and flash freeze the remaining patties. Pack into a freezer bag.

1 patty is 60 calories no carbs

If you don't like the fennel seeds which make these Italian, by all means leave them out--they will be more like a traditional breakfast sausage. So sure, these are super quick to heat up and serve with eggs for breakfast. I love the browned bits I get to scramble into the eggs after frying up the whole batch of sausage. Yum. Other mornings, they will be even quicker, though the eggs will be purely yellow. (But still delish)

Then think about all the other cool things you can do with an Italian Sausage Patty. From the upcoming Diner News, here are some of my ideas. What might you do?

Serve them so many ways!

As a breakfast slider. The small size patty pairs perfectly with a small muffin as the bread.

As an omelet filler. Warm them, dice them, and add them in the filling.

As a flavorful lunch box treat—finger food that is  wonderful even without a sauce.

As a pizza topping. Dice a bit and add to pizza for that great Italian flavor.

As mini “Meatza” pizzas. Melt a sprinkle of mozzarella and a  dab of tomato sauce on top. A few fresh, finely chopped veggies as you like.

As a protein for a super quick Italian soup. Combine some broth, tomatoes, zucchini and whatever veggies you like..

As a salad—add warm or cold to salad greens dressed with Italian dressing, tomatoes and cheese.

As a substitute for meatballs. Serve with zoodles and sauce for a nice Italian dinner.

The Diner News comes out every month for just $6 a year. There are ideas and recipes you never see here on the blog, so order your own!

I've got my prep work done--well almost. At least I won't have to worry about my lunches at school this week. The first week of classes is always a little stressful, but fun too. Here we go...

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

 Order any of our great cookbooks at

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Pizza Burger Patties

School will start again soon around here. Just a week and I am going to have to be super organized again. Either that, or give up eating all together. Sometimes I think that would be easier, but then I love to eat and my hunger always wins. Since my son (and partner) decided to leave the school last spring, I am pretty much left to run the place with just my few volunteers. We are going to make it, but I suspect that the first few weeks will be a bit stressful. Therefore, I am making monthly menus this weekend rather than a weekly one. Fewer things to think about means less stress. Planning really does make a healthy lifestyle possible--for me it is essential.

For the Diner News for September, I have planned a theme of Time Savers. Today's recipe is one of those. I make a big batch of these tasty burger patties. We ate a couple and the rest went into the freezer. Now when the busy weeks of school start up, I will be able to grab a burger patty for my lunch at school and John's at the radio station. These can go with a salad, cut up veggies or even a cup of soup. Good meal guaranteed with so little effort.

These are not boring burger patties. They are good with absolutely no additional condiments. The herbs and garlic, tomatoes and cheese make them so appealing. I used dehydrated tomato pieces, and you could sub sun dried if you prefer. Then there is that pepperoni flavor. Oh yeah. You could add in some bell peppers or mushrooms too if ya like. Today, I served some garden fresh zucchini and tomatoes as a simple saute on the side. With summer fresh produce, simple is better because the veggies are so naturally flavorful. Beautiful dark red home grown tomatoes.

 I am working on some ideas for make ahead  T.V. dinners too. These patties would be a great candidate for those too I think. Be looking to see all I come up with in the September Diner News.

Pizza Burger Patties

2 lb lean ground beef
4 oz pepperoni, finely diced
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp minced onion
2 tbsp Italian Herb blend
2 tbsp dried tomatoes
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

Combine beef, pepperoni, cheese, onions, herbs, tomatoes and garlic powder. Use your hands to mix the flavorings into the meat very well. Divide meat into 8 equal portions. Form into patties. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or grill. Top hot patties with 2 tbsp shredded Mozzarella cheese. Serve or cool and wrap to freeze.

Serves 8:   397 calories  2 g carbs

I wanted to take a minute to thank all of you who have ordered books and the Diner News from me this summer. Because of you, I was able to keep our school building and get the rent paid on time. Your support has been my saving grace. To those of you who donated directly, may God bless you a hundred fold.

I will continue to use my book sales for the school. No one is taking a salary yet, and I am hoping to at least offer some small stipends this year to my tutors. We have some new teens coming this year, and I am so excited about the difference we are going to be able to make for them. If you think your small contribution wouldn't make a difference, think again! I see it everyday.

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

 Order any of our great cookbooks at

Sunday, August 3, 2014

No Bake Blueberry Muffin Bites

I am all about no bake during our hot August days. These mini muffin style treats taste a lot like blueberry muffins, but no baking is necessary. They are a great little summertime treat. Especially good for those who appreciate healthy fats. Easy Peasy too. The almond and blueberry flavors go together really well.

No Bake Blueberry Muffin Bites

1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 cup coconut oil, in liquid state
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut
2 tbsp Stevia blend or sweetener of choice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, combine almond butter and coconut oil until smooth. Stir in blueberries, coconut, sweetener and vanilla. Spoon into mini muffin papers and freeze. Makes 15.

Each has 119 calories      2 g net carbs (1 g fiber)      12 g fat

So it doesn't get any easier than that, right? I used a neutral flavored coconut oil, Jarrow Organic. That let the vanilla, almond and blueberry favors not be overpowered by the coconut. You could use any oil though. If you love the coconut flavor, go ahead and use an oil that retains the coconut flavor. I also used a stevia blend for my sweetener. The recipe is an equivalent to sugar ratio. Use any sweetener you like, and feel free to adjust to taste. Yes, you can just dip your finger in or lick the spoon.

These are so good. But do keep them cold. If it is hot where you are, they will get all gooey melty pretty fast. Since they are just a few bites, no problems just gobbing them up straight from the freezer or fridge.  I usually keep my coconut oil treats in the freezer for an extra cool treat. But these, I think, are best in the fridge. That way the berries are not frozen solid and more of that fresh blueberry flavor pops in your mouth.

I love that they don't stick to the cupcake papers. I love how fast these are to make. I love the healthy ingredients. What is not to love? Got my snacks for the week!

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

 Order any of our great cookbooks at

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Fresh Blueberry Icebox Dessert

My mom told me how my grandmother used to make icebox desserts in her ice cube trays during the summer. She remembers one fondly, and has never been able to duplicate it. My "Little Grandma" was not a fancy cook, so I am sure the recipe couldn't be too unusual. Perhaps my own mama's memory makes it even better because it was made with love.

I remember my Grandma's ice box trays. They were metal contraptions with the lever that broke the cubes out. I was never strong enough to pry the lever and it would frustrate me to no end. Even the adults would have to set the trays on a stool and use a lot of body leverage to break the cubes free. I was so happy when she switched to plastic trays. I feel so lazy now that I have all the ice I want without a tray in sight. I am so spoiled here today.

Not having an old ice cube tray, I made this dessert in custard cups. This is pretty much the idea behind the old fashioned icebox dessert. Not actually a cake, but a no bake summertime treat. Not magic. And better, mine is sugarfree! I might have to have a go at a lemon one too though.

My Icebox Dessert has a pecan crust. Yum. I used fresh blueberries and cream cheese. What could be better?

Fresh Blueberry Icebox Dessert

Nut Crust:
1/4 cup pecans
1 tbsp butter
2 tsp erythritol or equivalent sweetener

Blueberry Cream:
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup half and half
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
3 tbsp erythritol blend  or equivalent

1/4 cup fresh blueberries

Using a bullet blender, grind the pecans to a meal. Melt butter and add to pecans, along with sweetener. Press into the base of 4 custard cups or muffin cups, reserving 1 teaspoon.

In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, half an half, 1/2 cup blueberries and sweetener. Puree with a stick blender. Spoon this over the nut crust. Top with remaining berries and reserved nuts. Chill.

Serves 4:  211 calories  4 net carbs

This delicious recipe is one among many in August's Diner News. This month I am featuring Farmer's Market specials. Recipes using the season's best vegetables and fruits. We may have to put up with hot temperatures, but the garden's bounty makes it worth it.  My table has been blessed with squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, rosemary and oregano, and more. Just today I was given some okra. Now, my hubby thinks okra is horse food. I am the only one in the family to appreciate it. I like to roast it. I saw an interesting PBS Show, A Chef's Life. The chef served fried okra with Ranch Ice Cream. Don't know if I need to go that far, but it is interesting. Sure wish I had tasted that!

Wanna order the Diner News?

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

 Order any of our great cookbooks at

Friday, July 25, 2014

Chillin' with Some Cold Cucumber Soup

Despite my Oklahoma roots, I am SO not a farmer. No green thumbs here. I am more than happy to take fresh produce off the hands of my more agriculturally blessed friends and family. Yesterday, I received two garden fresh cucumbers and some beautiful home grown tomatoes. Now, I am not one that generally gets excited about cucumbers. I like them in some salads, but I wanted something to truly glorify them. I sought to celebrate the garden fresh bounty and appreciate all the labor that went into their production. Last week I was also given a variety of fresh herbs from a friend heading out to the islands for vacation. I could use those too.She also sent along some blue cheese. Lucky woman gets to spend 8 weeks in Hawaii. Doesn't need her blue cheese. hmm.

Got me thinking, I do like cucumbers in my salad like they serve at Logan's Steakhouse when I choose blue cheese dressing. I wondered what a chilled cucumber soup with blue cheese would taste like? Not wanting to ruin a whole batch, I first made a really nice yogurt, fresh herb and lime cucumber soup. Really refreshing! Perfect for these hot summer days.

Then I tried adding in some of that blue cheese. It really did taste like my salads at Logan's. The richness of the cheese added body and so much flavor. I am thinking feta cheese would be amazing also. Before that, I have to eat this whole batch of soup. My hubby simply won't go near a cucumber. Only as a sweet pickle will one pass his lips. My darling mom, also not a cucumber fan, tasted both versions. She liked the blue cheese version best.

Cold Cucumber Soup
(with a blue cheese variation)
no cheese variation

2 cucumbers, diced
1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1/2 cup ice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh parsley
2 tbsp fresh mint
2 tbsp fresh basil
1/2 tsp dried dill or 3 tbsp fresh
juice from 1 lime
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
optional: 2 oz blue cheese
fresh herbs for garnish

Place all ingredients into the bowl of a food processor or good blender. Process until smooth. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Chill if not serving immediately. Garnish with additional herbs and/or blue cheese.

Serves 4       184 calories   10 net carbs*
with blue cheese:   234 calories  10 net carbs*

*many nutritionists do not count the full amount of carbohydrate in yogurt, as the live cultures feed on the lactose, thus reducing the effective carb count.

Be sure to read that note about the carb count of yogurt and do what you think is best. I wish I had fresh dill on hand for this trial. Sadly no, but if you have some, then by all means, use it! You can substitute any fresh herbs. I used mint and basil because that is what I had. The parsley really does shine through though, so I would suggest you try it with that the first time at least.

Now looking at these photos. The blue bowl is the one without the cheese. The color of the soup is altered a bit by the blue of the bowl. The white bowl shows the truer color. It looks more green and less yellow.

This soup is perfect for the hot summer days we have ahead. Tomorrow, it will be over 100 in my hometown, with an awful humidity. Can't wait! The farmer's markets will be open though, filled with lots of home grown treats. In fact, this month's Diner News will feature Farmer's Market recipes. This one will be in there, along with a great new tomato and roasted eggplant soup, and lots of recipes that feature summer fruits, veggies and herbs. Be watching August 1st.

Until then, don't forget to order the new e-book! Sales go to help keep my alternative school open. School starts again in just three weeks. Yikes, I have so much still to do!

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

 Order any of our great cookbooks at

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Focaccia Bread Salad

Summer may mean heat, but it also means great produce. At least in my part of the world. Last week we were loving a visit from the 'Polar Vortex' with record low highs. Yep a good 30 degrees below our normal ridiculously hot summer temps. This coming week, though, we will flirt with the triple digits again. Yuck. When the weather is that hot, I like a good salad. But a salad of simple greens just doesn't have that staying power. This one is a little different. A bread salad in the old peasant tradition. OK no peasants here in my part of the world either, but had I been born in Europe in the middle ages, I most assuredly would have been among the peasantry. I once took a test that said I had the "gift" of poverty. Woohoo. Looking for the positive,  I guess that means that I concentrate on the simple things in life--the meaningful stuff. Like feeding a family and spending time with them.

So peasant food was cheap and available...and bread was both. Not sure fresh produce such as salad greens were particularly favored in the old days, so I am not sure of the origin of dishes of this kind. I am pretty sure the Italians brought it into favor with their Panzanella--a bread and tomato salad dressed with olive oil and lemon juice. This is rather close. Some add cucumbers and capers. I went ahead and added in bell peppers, red onion and fresh basil to those cucumbers. Pretty darn tasty. We are not devotees of capers, but you can add 'em if you want. Some cheese would also be welcome, but optional

Since artisan bread is a big obstacle for low carbers, I improvised. I adapted my Sammie Bread recipe from the June Diner News. I made a half batch and added some extra herbs for flavor. Go ahead and make that bread in the morning when it is cool enough to heat the oven. The bread is even better if it has some time to get a little stale, more like a crouton.

Focaccia Bread

1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup ground golden flax meal
2 tsp psyllium husk powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp Italian herb seasoning
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup boiling water

In a medium bowl, combine almond flour and flax seed meal. In a bullet blender, grind the psyllium husks into a super fine powder. Stir in the baking powder, salt, onion powder, Italian herbs, and garlic powder. Lightly beat eggs and add them to the bowl along with the olive oil. Add in the boiling water and stir well until the mixture comes together in a wet dough. Press into an oiled round baking dish or small pie plate. Bake 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Serves 4:        243 calories  4 net g carbs  18 g fat

cubed and sauteed bread 

Now to assemble the salad:

Focaccia Bread Salad

1 recipe Focaccia Bread

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 green bell pepper
1/8 red onion
1/2 cucumber
1 tomato or 2 Roma tomatoes
2 tbsp fresh basil leaves, sliced

2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the focaccia bread into bite sized cubes. Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Toss the bread cubes into the pan. Saute the cubes until they are toasty on all sides and lightly browned. Set aside to cool. Cut all the vegetables into bite size chunks. Combine the focaccia cubes, vegetables and basil leaves in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil and lemon juice. Sprinkle over the salad and toss. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4:   365 calories   9 net g carbs   28 g  fat

This would be wonderful with along side a steak or grilled chicken breast. Now is the time to take advantage of all that fresh produce that abounds this time of year. No need to add complicated flavors when the natural goodness is so obvious. Some bites taste more like tomato, others like the cucumber and some taste more like the peppers. This salad is fun to eat and the bread adds an interesting texture and substance. Just a little lemon juice and olive oil make the best dressing to keep things light.Since I am all into tasting the fresh veggies, the next issue of the Diner News will feature all sorts of new recipes for Farmer's Market finds. Fresh at its best! You can always order the monthly newsletter here. That one will be coming August 1st.

It has been a good weekend. My thanks go out to you who ordered the new e-book, A Table for Two. That is a great new resource for smaller families living the low carb life. And remember, proceeds from all my book sales go to support the alternative school I run. So, thank you for helping me help the teens!

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

 Order any of our great cookbooks at
Proceeds from my book sales go entirely to support my educational program. Your purchase makes a difference to the teens I teach.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The New Diner E-book, "A Table for Two" is Here!

As you may know, I have gone from a family with three hungry boys and a diabetic dad to an empty nester. Of course, the hubby still needs good low carb choices, but my Diner system has changed considerably since my last son moved out a little over a month ago. Because of that life transition, I updated my prep system and planning system for couples. It is great for singles and young families also--you know, the ones where the kids eat so little or have their own foods? So now, no one ever need to stand with an open refrigerator door wondering what to eat.

To be healthy we need quality food. Even though I am just feeding two now, I still really need a plan in place. Bet you do too. If we don't have the right foods in the house we will end up eating poorly. Granted, you may not even keep carby foods around to tempt you, but good meals don't assemble themselves! Ever had a recipe in mind only to find you were missing a key ingredient? Maybe you forgot to thaw the meat. Sometimes you can't even figure out what to make. With the Diner system in place, those problems will never happen. A Table for Two replaces the large quantity cooking of my Classic Diner e-book, and replaces it with smart cooking for smaller meals. It will teach you efficiency in the kitchen and will keep you from running for take out or eating things that you know are not healthy. Many of the key planning concepts are the same as in the original book, as they have withstood the test of time.

In addition, you get peace of mind with one less thing to stress over. Mealtime will be pleasant and food is quick. Some menu planners just cover dinner. My new e-book will help you plan all your meals. In my early working years, I can honestly remember times when I took a can of tuna and crackers to work for lunch. That is running-out-the-door-late style lunch packing. Yuck! I usually ended up not eating rather than run everyone off with the smell. Or I would eat the popcorn and cocoa my office supplied for employees and guests. Yep, that was good nutrition! Sound familiar to any of you? Planning will make all the difference. Once I began the Diner system, I  had other teachers check out my lunches to see what I had brought. (It most always looked better than theirs.) When the boys were little, I shutter to think how many times we ran out for fast food because I failed to have dinner ready when the crying time began. (no judgment here) Imagine not worrying all afternoon about that evening meal, or setting the alarm early to cook breakfast. Food no longer consumes so many waking hours!

When you work the Diner System, you will have more time to enjoy life. Now, I love to cook--except when I have to. Does that make sense? I love to be creative in the kitchen. I don't always love getting everyday meals on the table. My e-books teach how to take advantage of freezer meals. Sometimes the entire entree just needs to be heated up. With other meals, the key ingredient is already cooked, just waiting for you to add fresh ingredients. What a time saver that is! Just a little time on the weekend to prep, and you will save many hours later in the week. Salads and snacks prepped. Muffins baked. Meals will be fast and clean up will be minimal.

Either e-book will save you money too. No more overbuying at the grocery store. Very little produce wasted and growing a science project in the back of the crisper. When you know what you are going to eat each week, you only buy what you will use. It is so simple, I honestly don't know why more people don't plan. With my book, you can build your menu and prep day around the items that are on sale that week and save even more money. Because you have freezer meals to rely on, that means you won't be eating chicken all week because that was the sale. But go ahead and stock up because that chicken will be prepped and waiting in the freezer for meals weeks from now. It is just so smart.

The Diner system is customizable. Choose your own meals, your own prep day, shopping day and menu. I have suggestions and tools, but you are in control. When I was younger, I was always trying a new diet plan. What I could never do is correctly follow a pre-written menu. Maybe I am just a maverick at heart, but someone else planning every bite that went into my mouth was a recipe for failure. With A Table for Two, you are still making the choices. You can even switch meals around during the week. Make the system yours without the guilt. Eat what you like. Of course, I have over 100 recipes in the e-book. You may use those or substitute your favorite low carb recipes. Even more, with the PDF format, you can easily print only the pages you want.  You can make your own customized recipe book with your favorites.Or don't print at all. Take your ebook into the kitchen with you. Plus, you choose your favorite sweeteners and oils, choose organic produce and grass fed meats or buy what you can afford.

Not a planner? Like I just said, I have over 100 recipes in the new book. That alone is worth the price. Even if you refuse to ever make a weekly menu, you will benefit from learning how to get three different meals from one basic protein. You will appreciate making one recipe that you can eat once and freeze the rest for another day. It is simply going to make life easier even if you don't follow the whole system. And these recipes are our favorites from over 7 years as low carbers. Some are scaled down versions from the Classic Diner e-book, and many are new creations.

What is different? It is hard to find recipes that make smaller portions. I have done those conversions for you. I happen to adore leftovers, but not everyone does. I get that. Of course, some recipes will still be larger because you are learning investment cooking. I even have learned to adapt crockpot recipes using smaller slow cookers. The rest is very similar to the original system because it works! You will learn how to plan meals, stock a freezer, and be much more efficient in the kitchen, all smaller family style.

One more plea. This blog has always been a companion to the Classic 24/7 Low Carb Diner e-book. It follows our family's life--the ups and downs. I am not a professional cook or author, not even a foodie, just a real person. I don't have time for complicated recipes or fancy preparation. I chose the Diner theme because it is real food for real families, available around the clock. That has not changed. I am now chasing my vision as a full time teacher and administrator for my alternative school, Element. The Diner system has kept my family going though the long hours of launching a school. With no outside funding, I have used everything I earn from these books, my newsletter and the Low Carbing Among Friends series of cookbooks in efforts to keep our program going. I don't draw any salary at the school, and personally scholarship many of the students. You have made that possible. By purchasing my books for just $10, you directly impact the lives of teens who do not thrive in a traditional classroom setting. I have witnessed amazing changes in some of these kids, and I will do everything in my power to keep the school going. We still have great needs to keep our building and to pay for individual tutors for the upcoming year. By purchasing this new book, you can help our mission. The system works for me. It keeps me sane and my family healthy.  I think it will work for you too...and you can support a worthy cause.

To order:
 A Table for Two: A Meal Planning System and Recipes for Couples and Singles 
Living the Low Carb Life 
visit the 24/7 Low Carb Diner website .

Of course, you can also find samples of my recipes here on the blog and at
 Low Carbing Among Friends Facebook page. 
Proceeds from those sales also benefit Element. 
Like the page and be sure to order our team's cookbooks at my link.